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'Protocell drivers' in a flask surrounded by carbon structures, in the Hylozoic Ground ins...

Architects have been looking at ways to improve city buildings with living walls and living roofs that add some much needed greenery and help remove carbon from the atmosphere. Now researchers are looking at using a different sort of “living “ material created from protocells – bubbles of oil in an aqueous fluid sensitive to light or different chemicals – to create a coral-like skin that could be used to clad city buildings, build carbon-negative architecture and even "grow" reefs to stabilize the city of Venice.  Read More

The Eco-Cool Remodel Tool allows you to take a virtual tour through a house for green impr...

King County in Washington has launched two new online initiatives to help you make ecologically-informed decisions with regards to your next home remodel: a virtual home tour with lots of tips and ideas for greening up your house, and Eco-Cribz, a video diary of local homeowners as they undertake the green transformation of their homes.  Read More

On show at Viv'expo in Bordeaux - a cutaway model of a Domespace home

Taking up a large section of the Eco Habitat zone at the recent Viv'expo exhibition in Bordeaux was a walk-in cutaway model of a rotating wooden house known as Domespace. Built on a central concrete pedestal, the Domespace home benefits from little or no damp penetration, and its aerodynamic shape has been found to be resistant to cyclonic winds of up to 174mph (280kph). It also makes the most of passive solar energy, has a central chimney with a designer open fire and is surprisingly spacious.  Read More

Younghwa Lee's door provides shelter in the event of an earthquake

What are you supposed to do when an earthquake hits? If you answered “Go stand in a doorway,” you get a gold star... although "Get under a table" would also be correct. Doorways are structurally stronger than most other parts of a building, and are often the last thing left standing when a structure has been destroyed by an earthquake. A narrow doorway offers little, however, in the way of protection from falling debris. That’s why an MA Design student from England’s Kingston has University invented a special kind of door.  Read More

The 320 square-foot EDGE house

If small is beautiful, then the 320 square-foot EDGE house from Wisconsin’s Revelations Architects is absolutely gorgeous. EDGE stands for Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment, and true to that acronym, the award-winning little modular home includes Earth-friendly features such as rainwater collection, geothermal heating and cooling, air-to-air heat recovery, passive solar windows, and insulated exterior shutter doors that minimize nighttime heat loss. Making the most of every square inch of interior space, the house has multi-functional transformable furniture, plus two overhead bedrooms. It's also made for easy construction and relocation, to the point that the prototype has been assembled, taken apart and moved three times in six months.  Read More

THK's linear motion systems will absorb most of the shock of an earthquake

This technology might not be fully appreciated by readers located in earthquake-free locales, but if you've ever felt the ground move beneath your feet you'll be pleased with this technology. At Tokyo Big Sight last week Japanese company THK was demonstrating how their linear motion systems could dampen the shock of an earthquake. One of their systems, when placed underneath an object that you'd like to protect, will absorb most of the shock of an earthquake.  Read More

The USDA's floating wave barrier system

With all the publicity the Gulf Oil Spill is currently receiving, it’s easy to forget about another disaster from which the city of New Orleans is still recovering - the flood caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. That flood, of course, occurred because the levee along the city’s coastline couldn’t stand up to the assault of the storm-driven waves. Daniel Wren, a hydraulic engineer who works for the USDA Agriculture Research Service in Oxford, Mississippi, is now working on a system that might have kept that from happening. He has developed floating barriers that can dissipate up to 75 percent of a wave’s energy, before that wave reaches the levee.  Read More

Materials and components used in the LUMENHAUS are based on the basic requirements of envi...

Imagine waking up on a cold winter’s morning to light streaming in through your bedroom window and the smell of fresh coffee. The concrete floor is warm and your favorite music starts to play as you eat your breakfast. As you drive away the house automatically locks, the thermostat reduces and the insulation panels close as the house goes into hibernation until you return. Welcome to LUMENHAUS, the completely solar powered, open plan house that uses computer technology, flexible architectural design and energy efficiency to adapt to its owner’s changing needs as well as environmental conditions... and it recently won the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe.  Read More

RavenWindow in cold and hot weather, from left to right

Windows that change their tint are not new, but this window by RavenBrick does so without any energy use required. The RavenWindow changes its transparency depending on the temperature, so basically if it's hot outside less heat passes through it and if it's cold outside then it becomes more transparent, allowing in more heat from the sun. The implications are obvious – savings on your energy bill as a result of reduced use of your heater or air conditioner. With "America's Greenest Building" commissioning the first commercial installation of the product, it's bound to have a bright future.  Read More

The Escape Rescue System can transport rescue personnel up the building and evacuate build...

There would be few scarier places to be in the event of a fire than in a high-rise building with no means of escape. Tragedies such as the World Trade Center disaster have highlighted the vulnerability of the building’s core and emergency stairwell as the only venue for evacuation. We've seen some last resort options that cater for those individuals brave enough to rappel or even parachute from the building, but that's still only part of the equation. When escape routes are compromised it not only prevents evacuation, but also prevents emergency personnel reaching the trouble spots. Escape Rescue Systems' solution is to use collapsible cabins which can be lowered over the side of the building to transport rescue personnel up... and evacuate building occupants down.  Read More

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