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Environmentally-friendly

— Architecture

The Porter School of Environmental Studies highlights sustainable building in Israel

By - July 2, 2013 16 Pictures
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
— Science

New material could lead to cheaper, more eco-friendly LEDs

By - June 14, 2013 3 Pictures
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
— Architecture

Hathigaon elephant village reclaims land devastated by sand quarrying

By - June 11, 2013 16 Pictures
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
— Science

Potentially very-useful "polymer opals" change color when stretched

By - May 31, 2013 1 Picture
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
— Environment

Non-toxic corn starch could replace cyanide in gold mines

By - May 14, 2013 1 Picture
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
— Good Thinking

New system could put dead seaweed to use as a source of power

By - May 6, 2013 2 Pictures
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
— Architecture

Disused helipad transformed into Foro Ciel rooftop garden and office

By - April 26, 2013 12 Pictures
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
— Architecture

In pictures: Top ten green buildings in the US

By - April 25, 2013 35 Pictures
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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