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Environmentally-friendly

The Compleat FoodBag from Unikia is a new take on the reusable lunch box that remains stur...

Norwegian company Unikia is looking to update the plain old lunch bag with its Compleat FoodBag, a reusable lunch box that keeps food fresh and protected in transit and rolls up compactly when the meal is over.  Read More

Tel Aviv University's new building, featuring its EcoWall (Image: Axelrod-Grobman Architec...

A new building at Tel Aviv University features a standalone EcoWall that aims to provide vertical garden space and research facilities for its faculty. The university's Porter School of Environmental Studies (PSES) hopes that its new green building design will not only join the small number of LEED certified buildings in the country, but will also highlight sustainable methodologies for future buildings in Israel.  Read More

LumiSands founders Chang-Ching Tu (left) and Ji Hoo, demonstrating the warmer hue of an LE...

LED light bulbs may be more energy-efficient and longer-lived than their incandescent equivalents, but they’re also considerably more expensive to purchase. This is largely because rare earth elements (REEs) are used in their phosphors. There are hazards involved in the mining and processing of REEs, plus China is responsible for almost the entire world’s supply, so they’re becoming increasingly pricey. Now, however, scientists have come up with a plentiful alternative material that they say is much more environmentally friendly, and that should drive down the price of LEDs.  Read More

The Hathigaon elephants can visually connect with their caretakers (Photo: Carlos Chen)

Hathigaon (or elephant village) is an ongoing low-income housing project by RMA Architects designed to provide a suitable habitat for 100 working elephants and their keepers. The project is located on the foothills of the popular tourist destination of Amber Palace, near Jaipur, India, and sees land once devastated by sand quarrying once again reclaimed for use.  Read More

A sheet made up of the polymer opals

Some of the most vividly colored materials in nature, including things like butterfly wings, don’t obtain their color from pigment. Instead, their internal structure reflects light at a given wavelength, producing a specific color. Opals are another example of something that utilizes this effect. In collaboration with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability, scientists from the University of Cambridge have now copied the colorful nanostructure of the opal. The result is a flexible, colorful material that won’t fade over time, that changes color when stretched, and that could have many applications.  Read More

A newly-developed process gives gold mines an alternative to using cyanide for extracting ...

In the gold-mining process, the precious metal is often extracted from low-grade ore in a technique known as gold cyanidation. As its name suggests, the process utilizes highly-poisonous cyanide, some of which ends up entering the environment in the mines’ tailings. That’s not so good. Scientists at Illinois’ Northwestern University, however, recently announced their discovery of a new gold recovery process that’s based on a non-toxic component of corn starch.  Read More

Dead seaweed on a beach in the Spanish city of Alicante

When it’s alive and in the ocean, seaweed serves as a habitat, spawning ground and food source for marine life. Once it gets washed ashore, however, it pretty much just rots. Typically, along beaches in tourist areas, that dead seaweed is simply gathered and taken to a landfill. Now, however, researchers from Spain’s University of Alicante have conceived of a new seaweed-removal system that has less environmental impact, and that allows the seaweed to be used as an energy source.  Read More

The Hotchkiss School's new biomass building (Photo: Centerbrook)

A US school has cut a six-figure sum from its winter energy bill by replacing its oil-burning boiler with woodchip biomass ones. The switch has reduced the school's carbon footprint by between 35 and 45 percent. The boilers are housed in a brand new green-roofed building which has become only the third LEED-certified power facility in the US.  Read More

The new roof, re-named 'Foro Ciel,' is now home to some species of cacti and a few small o...

When Coca-Cola found itself with an unused helipad on top of its building in Mexico City, the simplest thing to do would have been to strip everything down, leaving a bare rooftop. But that would have been a waste of usable real estate, not to mention just plain dull. Instead, the company enlisted the help of design teams at Rojkind Arquitectos and AGENT to convert the area into a sustainable rooftop garden and customizable office space.  Read More

A New Norris House: perhaps the most modest building in the AIA's top ten (Photo: Ken McCo...

The American Institute of Architects announced its top ten green buildings in the US for 2013 on Monday (Earth Day, uncoincidentally). It's a diverse list, containing a cheese factory, senior citizens' apartments, school buildings, and a smattering of LEED certificates. There's only one net zero building on the list, though it's worth remembering that it's much easier to build a net zero home than it is a net zero office or factory. Step inside for a short profile of each of the buildings, or head straight to the gallery for the architectural eye candy.  Read More

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