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Sustainability


— Architecture

Could the eco-friendly Binishell dome be set for a revival?

It may not come as a surprise that a papier-mâché-like building technique using an inflatable membrane and concrete dome is yet to really take hold. It was in the 1960s that architect Dr Dante Bini pioneered the Binishell as a cheaper and more eco-friendly way of construction. While this led to the building of more than a thousand domes, the practice was largely abandoned, due in part to concerns surrounding their stability. Dante's son Nicolo, also an architect, is now looking to revive the Binishell method, with a view to providing low-cost housing solutions around the world. Read More
— Architecture

BioSkin defies urban heat island effect to help keep buildings cool

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
— Drones

Drones take flight over Belize coastline to monitor illegal fishing activity

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
— Architecture

Casa Futebol concept would turn World Cup Stadiums into low-cost housing

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
— Environment

Net-zero energy test home ends year-long study with surplus energy

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
— Environment

Germany's first waste-free supermarket about to open its doors

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
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