Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Sustainability

The BioSkin that coats the NBF Osaki Building in Tokyo integrates evaporative cooling to k...

The urban heat island effect, whereby the high concentration of heat-retaining concrete and bitumen causes metropolitan centers to be significantly warmer than the rural areas surrounding them, is a common problem around the world. The phenomenon is particularly prevalent in Tokyo, Japan, but among the sea of towering structures stands one beacon of hope. The BioSkin that coats the NBF Osaki Building integrates evaporative cooling to keep its surface temperature down and could inspire new solutions to rising city temperatures across the globe.  Read More

Belize has begun using drones to monitor its coastline for illegal fishing operations

Unsustainable fishing in Belize has placed growing pressure on local anglers and the country's celebrated coral reef systems. Decades of decline has led to the introduction of catch limits and even the European Union blacklisting seafood imports from Belize for a perceived lack of action against illegal fishing. In an effort to better regulate the industry, the Belize Fisheries Department has begun using drones to monitor coastal areas for unlicensed and unlawful activity.  Read More

Casa Futebol would see pre-fabricated homes installed in Brazil's 12 World Cup stadiums

Brazil spent around US$4 billion renovating and constructing its stadiums for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But with the excitement of hosting the globe's biggest sporting event now having passed, one awkward, but important question remains. What to do with all that infrastructure? Drawing inspiration from the social issues plaguing much of the publicity around the event, a pair of French architects have developed a proposal to re-invent the structures as complexes for low-cost housing.  Read More

The net-zero test home at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Braving a harsh winter with snow-covered solar panels, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) in Washington DC has come up trumps in a year-long study of its energy harvesting capabilities. Located on campus at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), researchers used computer simulation to replicate the energy consumption of a family of four. At the end of its first 12 months, there was a large enough surplus to power an electric car for 1,440 miles (2,317 km).  Read More

Dunn and Hillam architects has won been honored by the AIA for its Desert House project

A house built in the demanding environment of Alice Springs, Australia, has been honored by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Dunn and Hillam's Desert House was designed to withstand the extreme desert conditions while remaining energy efficient. The AIA cited the project's "genuine sensibility to environmental management in this specific climate."  Read More

Chartier-Corbasson architects has designed a concept skyscraper that would be built using ...

Green structures and buildings are a growing trend. Vertical gardens like the Clearpoint Residencies apartment block in Sri Lanka and The Living's Hy-Fi organic sculpture in New York are two examples. Now, Chartier-Corbasson has designed a concept for a skyscraper that would be built from the recycled waste of its occupants.  Read More

The Soofa bench is the creation of Changing Environments, an MIT Media Lab spin-off compan...

A number of parks in the Boston area will soon receive solar-powered smart benches, courtesy of Changing Environments, an MIT Media Lab spin-off company. Dubbed Soofa, the benches sport a solar panel, a pair of charging points for smartphones (or similar devices), and they monitor environmental data such as local air quality and noise pollution.  Read More

Original Unverpackt is aiming to become Germany's first waste-free supermarket

When it comes to sustainability, you might know Germany best for its renewable energy ambitions and efforts to reduce carbon pollution. While these initiatives have been largely driven by government and researchers, a team of budding entrepreneurs is looking to get in on the action, too. Aiming to open this (northern summer), Original Unverpackt will be Germany's first package-free supermarket.  Read More

The GreenChamp Bike is a balance bike made from environmentally sustainable bamboo

Balance or run bikes are a popular tool to help children learn balance and steering before transitioning to pedaled bikes. GreenChampBikes has developed a bamboo balance bike that is aimed at not only teaching children the skills they need to get rolling on two wheels, but also educate them on sustainability and the environment at the same time.  Read More

The Container Bar is based in Austin, Texas (Photo: Chris Perez)

Shipping container-based architecture has produced plenty of innovative structures already, but isn't generally associated with beer ... until now. The recently-opened Austin, Texas-based Container Bar brings sustainable architecture and alcoholic beverages together under one roof, and provides a fine example of recycled architectural design, too.  Read More

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