Ikea may be known for its furniture, but now it has its eyes set on bigger goals. Its new Space10 future-living space is aimed at making our lives better and more sustainable. It brings together designers, artists, technologists, makers and creatives to investigate major global challenges.
A building in Kaufbeuren, Germany, is the first to receive Passive House Premium certification. The House of Energy is one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. It has an annual heating demand of only 8 kWh / sq m (0.7 kWh / sq ft) and a 250 sq m (2,691 sq ft) photovoltaic system on the roof.
Electronic waste is a huge environmental problem, causing harm to the planet and human health because of the toxic materials used. While this situation is unlikely to change in the near future, there has been research on using materials that biodegrade. More recently, scientists have demonstrated a new route to creating biodegradable electronics by using organic components in screen displays.
The US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon has been run and won for 2015. It’s a nationwide contest between collegiate teams to see who can build the most attractive, cost-effective and efficient solar home. Fourteen teams duked it out for this year’s competition, and the winning team from the Stevens Institute of Technology drew inspiration from Hurricane Sandy to create a sustainable, solar coastal home that opens up for entertaining in summertime but locks down to resist severe weather damage in the winter – and uses some 90 percent less energy than a typical home.
How to improve food systems by looking to nature for design solutions – this was the brief given to entrants in the Biomimicry Institute’s Global Design Challenge, which announced its finalists this week. The selection committee has drawn up a list of eight teams, each of which has been invited to prototype its solution in an accelerator program that will award US$100,000 to the winner.
A new farm-to-table community, said to be the first in California, has
opened in the city of Davis. The Cannery is made up of more than 500 energy-efficient homes, open spaces and trails surrounded and fed by a 7.4-ac (3-ha) working
With the exceptions of wood and bamboo, bicycle frames usually aren't made from sustainable resources. And although some programs
do exist, we generally don't think of old bike frames getting recycled.
Italian design studio Eurocompositi is setting out to change that,
however, with its 3D-printed Bhulk mountain bike frame.
A community space, garden and kitchen in the King's Cross area of London
is feeding its customers with food grown in skips (aka dumpsters). The Skip Garden is
designed to be easily moved around unused development spaces. It is
built with recycled materials and employs organic farming techniques.
A Welsh university claims to have built the UK’s first smart low-carbon energy-positive house. The Solcer House was built by Cardiff University’s Solcer Project, part of the LCRI Programme (Low Carbon Research Institute). It was designed as a prototype with off-the-shelf technologies to show how low-carbon targets could be met.
An Austrian company is building trailer homes that are designed not only to be compact, but with self-sufficiency in mind, too. Wohnwagon's trailers provide 25 sq m (269 sq ft) of living space and have their own off-grid electricity, water and waste systems. They can also be used as offices, guest rooms or cafes.