Alternative Energy

Environment News

The latest environmental news from our global warming and climate news sources.

Jul 20, 2018

Environment & Sustainability

Unusual Kerplunk House is envisioned as a miniature forest in the desert

Jul 20, 2018: Design collective I STIFFEN THEE has completed Kerplunk House, a desert shelter with an eye-catching arrangement of exposed wood piercing through its cuboidal volumes. Inspired by nature and traditional colonial Spanish architecture, the structure was built with stucco and exposed wood and elevated off the ground for minimal site impact. Conceived as a multipurpose live-work space, the Kerplunk House forms part of a desert propagation center and will be gradually surrounded by desert flora. Split...

FDA re-appropriates the term 'milk,' to potential benefit of dairy industry

Jul 20, 2018: Current federal standards of what classifies as milk have been changed as of April 2017 in an attempt to boost sales on dairy related products. Alternative substitutions regarded as "plant-based dairy imitators" popular among vegetarians and health conscious individuals may no longer use the term as a result of changing regulations. Items in the category made from almond or soy must find a new label as the only recognition accepted by the FDA is "the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum...

Jane Goodall and conservationists move to obtain bear hunting licences in Wyoming

Jul 19, 2018: Up to 22 of Yellowstone's grizzly bears are in danger as Wyoming opens up its first bear hunt since the Endangered Species Act of 1975. Wildlife conservationists working alongside famed animal rights champion and educator Jane Goodall raised over $28,000 online for their campaign "Shoot'em with a Camera, Not a Gun" which has infiltrated the list of approximately 7,000 lottery members applying for a hunting licence in the state of Wyoming. The state's game and fish department, who unanimously voted...

This weekend home in Mexico blends in with the forest landscape

Jul 19, 2018: Mexican architecture firm AM30 Taller de Arquitectura has inserted a site-specific weekend home into a forested site in Atemajac de Brizuela, a small town southwest of Guadalajara, Mexico. Dubbed the EC House, the dwelling is split up into a series of interconnected stone-clad volumes placed around existing pine trees and oriented for best views of the nearby mountains. In addition to a natural materials palette that blends the home into the landscape, the EC House was designed to minimize site impact. Located...

UNStudio completes a marina with a luxe yacht-like clubhouse in China

Jul 19, 2018: UNStudio’s Asia office recently completed the Keppel Cove Marina & Clubhouse, a massive waterfront complex in the city of Zhongshan in China’s Guangdong province. Set on the banks of the Xi River, the Keppel Cove Marina was created as part of a 50,000-square-meter masterplan that includes a service building, high-end residential villas, as well as supporting infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and external dykes. Sinuous lines define the eye-catching new marina and clubhouse, which is...

Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM

Jul 19, 2018: New STEM oriented Girl Scout badges have been announced by the Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council as of July 18th, 2018. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The 30 new badges round out last year's issuance of educational programs for girls ages 5-18. Among the curriculum are subjects that "address some of society’s most pressing needs, such as cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science,...

Danish-inspired holiday cabin is a dreamy Pacific Northwest hideout

Jul 19, 2018: Seattle-based design practice Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects is no stranger to creating charming cabins that embrace nature in the Pacific Northwest. So when a local family tapped the firm for a vacation home on a wooded plot overlooking the Hood Canal, the architects delivered with a clean and modern dwelling thoughtfully integrated into the site. Called ‘The Coyle’, the cluster of gabled buildings draw inspiration from the owner’s Danish roots and are wrapped in dark-stained cedar...

A 19th century building is reborn as solar-powered temporary housing for families in need

Jul 19, 2018: No matter where you live or what you do for a living, there’s always a chance that fate will take a few bad turns and you’ll need short-term housing for your family. The Cambridge Health and Human Services Department (CHHSD) and Cambridge’s HMFH Architects recently joined forces to build a shelter in a lovely old 19th Century building once thought doomed for demolition. Once a grand aluminum-gilded lady keeping company among dignified homes on either side along Massachusetts...

An updated Scandinavian summer cottage weaves Japanese influences throughout

Jul 18, 2018: There are few better places to spend a Scandinavian summer than in a breezy cottage by the water. One stellar example is the Summer House completed by Swedish architecture firm Kod Arkitekter in the northern Stockholm archipelago. Located on an island and surrounded by the forest and sea, this home makes the most of its idyllic surroundings with a design that maximizes indoor-outdoor living and combines Scandinavian cottage traditions with Japanese minimalism. Built of timber to reference the...

This minimalist timber writers studio in Switzerland is suspended in mid-air

Jul 18, 2018: Most writers need a quiet space to gather their thoughts and do their work. Tapping into this need for solitude, Oslo-based Rintala Eggertsson Architects designed ‘In Praise of Shadows,’ a minimalist writer’s cabin built primarily of timber and suspended in the air on the grounds of the Maison de l’Écriture, a literature institute in Montricher, Switzerland. The compact hut takes inspiration from the cross in the Swiss coat of arms for its geometric form and is lifted into the air beneath...

Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii's coastline with the birth of a new island

Jul 18, 2018: Just as mass attention towards Mount Kilauea begins to diminish, the young Hawaiian volcano has commandeered this week's headlines by claiming the formation of a new island in the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully no fatalities have resulted from Kilauea's eruption, which launched its ongoing destruction of Hawaii's main island on May 3rd, 2018. Recently geologists working at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a leading organization in tracking global volcanic activity, have reported volcanic creation -...

Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village

Jul 18, 2018: For design collective KLAB Architecture (kinetic lab of architecture), one of the biggest challenges with public buildings in Greece is the lack of architect involvement in the construction process. To circumvent the problem, KLAB Architecture turned to prefabrication for their design of a public nursery in the Athens suburb of Glyfada. Drawing inspiration from a child’s archetypal drawing of a house, the modular gabled structures are clustered together to form the appearance of tiny urban village....

An old bungalow is transformed into an award-winning home with a modern extension

Jul 18, 2018: Los Angeles-based Edward Ogosta Architecture has breathed new life into a 70-year-old bungalow with a modern new addition fitted with massive windows. Named the Rear Window House, the Culver City dwelling spans 1,450 square feet and was commissioned by clients who sought extra space for their growing family. The new extension respects the local architecture—predominately low-slung bungalows from the post-war era—and maintains the 3:12 roof slope shared by the existing house and surrounding residences....

The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes and it's officially on the market

Jul 18, 2018: Beachfront homes on Sullivan’s Island off Charleston, South Carolina are among the most magnificent dwellings in the country. With vistas that seem to extend beyond infinity and backyards bordering Charleston Harbor, these upscale houses offer the ideal trio of magnificent ocean views, peace and tranquility – except during hurricane season. After Hurricane Hugo demolished their prized home on the island in 1989, the owners’ son George Paul, a builder and designer of dome structures, rebuilt...

Energy-plus home is a beacon of sustainability in Tel Aviv

Jul 17, 2018: Israeli architecture firm Geotectura recently completed a striking modern home that can produce more energy than it needs. Located in Tel Aviv, the single-family home—called the Eco360—combines traditional passive design principles with improved energy-efficient systems such as solar photovoltaic panels and a gray water system. The sustainable dwelling also embraces views of the outdoors as well as plenty of natural light. The project brief was for a modern home that could elegantly...

Midcentury, Scandinavian-inspired Canadian chalet gets a spectacular renovation

Jul 17, 2018: An aging chalet in Canada that was facing demolition has been completely turned around thanks to a stunning renovation led by Montreal-based design studio Alain Carle Architecte. Originally built in the 1960s, the Maribou Residence features midcentury Scandinavian architectural influences—no doubt inspired by the rise of Alvar Aalto’s reputation during that time period. Enamored with the home’s history, the clients wanted to conserve the home’s original character while modernizing the appearance....

This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

Jul 17, 2018: What if renewable energy infrastructure could be both functional and beautiful? Exploring that notion is Italian architectural practice Antonio Maccà, who designed ‘Sun Ray,’ a massive solar collector that could generate enough energy to power 220 Melbourne homes—with approximately 1,100 MWh of electricity produced annually. Shortlisted for this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne design competition, the conceptual design was conceived as a symbol for the future of sustainable...

Futuristic library pops up in an ancient Chinese city

Jul 17, 2018: Incredible, futuristic-looking libraries have been taking root across China, including in one of the country’s most famous ancient cities, Xi’an. Once the capital for thirteen dynasties, the Shaanxi Province city is now home to the curvaceous, all-white Zhongshu bookstore with a design that looks like something straight out of a science fiction film. Crafted by Shanghai-based Wutopia Lab, the bookstore was constructed from 300 tons of steel and 30,000 meters of light strips. Located...

This yurt-inspired modern cabin is a holiday getaway in Slovakia

Jul 17, 2018: Bratislava-based architect Peter Jurkovič of design practice JRKVC has designed a contemporary cabin by the lake that takes inspiration from traditional yurts. Created for a young married couple who own a creative studio in Bratislava, the holiday retreat—called ‘Attila’ as a nod to the nomadic tribes that used yurts in Central Asia—is located in the village of Vojka nad Dunajom, approximately 12 miles away from Slovakia’s capital city. In addition to serving as a cozy getaway, Attila...

Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

Jul 16, 2018: Renowned Mexican architect Alberto Kalach has designed a series of idyllic timber cabins along the Pacific Ocean in Oaxaca, Mexico. Available to rent on AirBnB, these cabins built near the beach were developed as part of the Punta Pájaros, an ecological development located approximately 25 minutes from Puerto Escondido, a port town with stunning surf, jewel-like beaches, and a buzzing nightlife. The cabins, which are strategically placed away from the hustle bustle and are oriented to face the ocean,...

This beautiful planted bridge doubles as a public gathering place in China

Jul 16, 2018: When Beijing-based practice DnA Design and Architecture was tapped to renovate an old stone masonry bridge in Zhejiang, China, founding architect Xu Tiantian saw it as an opportunity to create a transformative and culturally significant gathering space for the public. Spanning the Songyin River, the updated Shimen Bridge now features a beautiful timber addition with built-in seating, planters, and even a centrally located square with trees. Here, villagers are encouraged to come and enjoy their surroundings...

Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal

Jul 16, 2018: When design firms Aurora Arquitectos and Furo were asked to transform an old building in the Portuguese coastal resort town of Cascais into a hip hostel, they had their work cut out for them. Though the roof was still standing, the interiors were completely rundown. Using a laminated steel frame to reinforce the structure, the architects steadily transformed the building from ruin into welcoming lodgings that play up the vacation theme with tropical prints and bright, sunny colors. Located...

Lush green roof camouflages the Chameleon Villa into the Indonesian tropics

Jul 16, 2018: True to its name, the Chameleon Villa is a residence that seamlessly blends into its forested surroundings in Bali thanks to its integration of lush greenery. Designed by international architecture practice Word of Mouth House, the contemporary dwelling spans nearly 11,000 square feet, yet deftly hides its bulk with a landscaped roof. The “camouflaged” roofs also help promote natural cooling and are integrated with rainwater collection and recycling systems as well as solar panels. Located...

Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

Jul 16, 2018: In Sydney’s affluent suburb of Kirribilli, a contemporary home stands out from its Victorian manor neighbors. Local design practice Bijl Architecture reworked an existing semi-detached home into the Doorzien House, a two-story home that takes full advantage of its sweeping Sydney harbor views. In addition to floor-to-ceiling glazing installed in the rear of the house, glass elements are used throughout the house—in the form of skylights, flooring, highlight panels and balustrades—to fill the...

UN Environment and Yale present a sustainable tiny home in NYC

Jul 13, 2018: Un Environment and Yale University’s School of Architecture just unveiled an innovative tiny-house that explores the intersection of policy and eco-conscious design. The Ecological Living Module, located at the UN Plaza in New York City, is a sustainable dwelling that embodies many of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Developments, several of which are under review this month at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Designed by an interdisciplinary group of engineers,...

Ancient rural hamlet reinterpreted as a solar-powered modern home

Jul 13, 2018: Rimini-based GGA Gardini Gibertini Architects renovated a cluster of historic buildings into a modernist dwelling set in the lush Italian countryside. Named the AP House, the project comprises three structures with a more streamlined farmhouse aesthetic on the exterior and a light-filled contemporary interior. The striking renovation is located on one of the highest hills in Urbino atop ancient remains that date back to the Medieval Communes. Clad in rustic stonework, AP House consists...

The spacious Camberwell House reconnects a large family with nature

Jul 13, 2018: Camberwell House, by AM Architecture, had a tall order to fill. The renovated property is a redesign of an existing structure that aimed to bring together parents and kids as well as fuse the indoors with outside.   The result is a 5,920 square-foot property in Melbourne, Australia. The family wanted a larger indoor living space to accommodate their numbers as well as an improved layout that would allow them to enjoy both indoors and outside.   To full the family’s demands,...

Snhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change

Jul 13, 2018: Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and real estate developer MIRIS have unveiled designs for ‘The Spark,’ an urban data center that reuses excess heat to power cities. Framed as a “solution to the global climate crisis,” the prototype is designed to power cities with up to 18,000 people. The city of Os, located south of Norway’s second largest city, Bergen, will be the first municipality to test the concept as part of a plan to become the world’s first-ever energy positive city. Created...

Geothermal-powered Forest House showcases sustainable features in Maryland

Jul 13, 2018: Set on the edge of a forest conservation area in central Maryland, the Forest House is a contemporary home integrated with a wide variety of energy-efficient features. Local design firm Gardner Architects LLC designed the spacious home that responds to passive solar principles and rises to the height of the tree canopy to capture surrounding views. The sustainable technologies include geothermal energy, rooftop solar panels, rain gardens, as well as low-tech solutions like stack ventilation. Commissioned...

The luxurious Pohutukawa tiny home on wheels lets you live large in style

Jul 13, 2018: The notion of living large in small spaces is perfectly captured in the Pohutukawa, a tiny house on wheels that fits up to six people and boasts a double mezzanine. Designed by New Zealand-based firm Tiny House Builders, the contemporary Pohutukawa is a luxury tiny house that comes with a fully fitted-out interior and all the necessary hookups. Keep scrolling to take a peek inside the surprisingly spacious tiny house. Fitted out with all the modern comforts of home, the Pohutukawa...

Confluence Park's new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun

Jul 12, 2018: San Antonio’s idyllic Confluence Park just became a little greener and more scenic, thanks to the teamwork between American firms Lake Flato and Matysys with the support of landscape architect Rialto Studio. The riverfront park now boasts sweeping sculptural pavilions that provide shade from the fierce Texas sun as well as an elegant method for collecting rainwater.   Confluence Park is located at the spot where the San Antonia River merges with San Pedro Creek. Covering just over 3...

Historic warehouses transformed into a swanky boutique hotel in New Orleans

Jul 12, 2018: New York City-based architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor tapped into New Orleans’ storied past for their design of The Eliza Jane, a new boutique hotel a few blocks west from the city’s iconic French Quarter. The unique hotel was created from seven centuries-old warehouses that were combined and renovated to form a variety of elegantly dressed spaces including 196 guest rooms with 50 suites, a fitness center, garden courtyard, lounge, restaurant, and lobby. Created...

Go glamping with views of the Statue of Liberty on NYCs Governors Island

Jul 12, 2018: A new glamping destination has popped up in an unlikely destination—on a 172-acre island just across the river from New York City’s Statue of Liberty. Launched by Denver-based Collective Retreats on Governors Island, the Collective Governors Island retreat combines luxury tents with modern amenities in a verdant setting just a quick ferry ride away from Manhattan. The experimental campsite is the first time camping has been allowed on Governors Island, which has recently undergone dramatic changes...

A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

Jul 12, 2018: A small mountain lodge has replaced an old lower ski lift in the Krkonoše mountains in the Czech Republic. The project from Czech studio ADRhas been nominated for a Czech Architecture Award 2018.   The lodge is named after the confluence of the Kolben and Černá Voda streams, which marks the location of the elegant mountain retreat.   The small structure was created as a lodge for short-term guests of the Tereza mountain chalet’s owner.   The mountain dwelling...

This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

Jul 12, 2018: If you’ve ever dreamed of going to outer space, prepare to swoon over this spacecraft-inspired holiday home perched on the edge of the Columbia River in Central Washington. The tiny home—named the Lunar Lander—was designed and built by Kurt Hughes, a naval architect of Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs who applied boat-building techniques to make the unique structure habitable, comfortable, and environmentally friendly. Elevated off the ground on steel pillars, the off-grid geometric abode measures...

This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste

Jul 11, 2018: Over 1,000 square feet of plastic ultimately destined for the ocean is getting a second lease on life in Rotterdam. On July 4, 2018, Recycled Park opened their first phase to the public: a floating park made entirely of recycled waste. According to a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, over 1,000 cubic meters of plastic is transported every year down the Meuse River and into the North Sea. The plastics come from landfills, agriculture, sewage and...

Illegal ivory trade continues to thrive in Europe

Jul 11, 2018: International rights group Avaaz says the illegal ivory trade is still alive and well in Europe, after they purchased 109 illegal items across ten nations. The items were taken off the streets by the activist group funded by public donations. <!—more--> During their four-month investigation, the non-profit was able to successfully purchase ivory items in ten European nations, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Their authenticity and age were...

Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

Jul 11, 2018: A two-story heritage building in Melbourne has been remade into Birkenstock Australia’s new headquarters, an eco-conscious development with a modern aesthetic to reflect the classic elegance of their shoe line. Designed by local architecture firm Melbourne Design Studios (MDS), the adaptive reuse project targets carbon neutral status thanks to its solar photovoltaic system, passive solar design, and a sustainably minded material palette that includes recycled timbers and natural materials. The...

This vibrant, waterproof pavilion floats along the canal at the 2018 Bruges Triennial

Jul 11, 2018: A spectacular art and architecture festival is currently underway in Bruges, Belgium—and the attractions include a beautiful floating pavilion by Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano. Evocative of their vibrant and curvaceous work for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2015, the SelgasCano pavilion in Bruges is likewise a colorful affair, made with pink-orange fluorescent vinyl that allows light and views to pass through. Commissioned by the city for the 2018 Bruges Triennial, the pavilion serves...

Award-winning Palm Springs home embraces the California climate in sustainable style

Jul 11, 2018: Los Angeles-based architecture firm Poon Design Inc. crafted a luxury residence that eschews the mid-century modern style for a more minimalist and contemporary design fitted out with sustainable technologies. Dubbed ‘Museum Modern,’ the Linea Residence G home serves as a production home that the architect and developer say can be completed for a “record low construction cost” totaling one-fourth the cost per square foot of typical high-end residences seen in Southern California. The all-white...

Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store glows like a paper lantern in Macau

Jul 10, 2018: Foster + Partners has unveiled a new Apple Store in Macau—and it’s very different from the all-glass buildings we’ve come to expect. In response to the hustle bustle of the port city known as the “Las Vegas of Asia”, the British international architecture studio crafted Apple Cotai Central as an oasis of calm housed in a glowing cube surrounded by bamboo. Instead of the Apple brand’s iconic full-height glazing, the architects applied a “first-of-its-kind” glass-stone composite facade...

Krill fishers partner with Greenpeace to protect Antarctic wildlife

Jul 10, 2018: An unlikely alliance has formed between krill fishing companies and environmental protection groups over a common cause: protecting the Antarctic Ocean. Greenpeace is teaming with members of the Association for Responsible Krill Harvesting (ARK) to ensure wildlife sustainability of the southern ice cap. The agreement was announced during the Greenpeace Antarctic 360° event in Cambridge. The individual fishing companies honoring the agreement are all ARK members, representing 85 percent...

Coral forests thrive near Sicilys underwater volcanoes

Jul 10, 2018: Nearly one kilometer below the water surface near Sicily, a rare ecosystem of corals, sponges and wildlife is thriving. A recent study from conservation agency Oceana discovered a healthy and active coral forest previously undiscovered by humans. As an under-researched area, scientists wanted to learn more about the wildlife near the Aeolians Islands north of Sicily, the location of several underwater volcanoes. Exploring around a kilometer under the surface, the team found a forest rich...

Starbucks ditches plastic straws for the environment

Jul 10, 2018: Coffee drinkers around the world can soon rest assured their daily latte is getting better for the environment. Starbucks announced they will eliminate single-use plastic straws from over 28,000 company owned or licensed stores by 2020. Plastic pollution from single-use products is a major concern. The United Nations’ Environment Program estimates as much as eight million tons of disposable plastic products end up in the oceans, where it ultimately harms aquatic ecosystems. Related: This...

Bjarke Ingels is crowdfunding a massive reflective sphere for Burning Man 2018

Jul 10, 2018: A massive airborne sphere is gearing up to be one of the most eye-catching pieces at this year’s Burning Man festival. Designed by architects Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange of the world-renowned architecture firm BIG, The Orb is a giant reflective sphere that would serve as an art piece and wayfinding device. To make the inflatable art installation a reality, the architects have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo seeking $50,000 over the next two months. Elevated into...

Gleaming, recyclable facade clads a solar-powered Dutch house

Jul 9, 2018: Move over brick and mortar—a new house in Amsterdam is eschewing the traditional facade for a striking alternative that gleams golden in the sun. Local architecture practice MOPET architecten designed the contemporary home—named the Brass House Amsterdam—for a family who sought sustainable features. In addition to its fully recyclable facade, the house is equipped with solar panels, LEDs, and triple-insulated glazing. Sandwiched between two brick buildings in the city’s IJburg...

These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

Jul 9, 2018: In an effort to decrease conventional tourism, which accelerates pollution, soil erosion, loss of natural habitats and endangered species, the United Arab Emirates is encouraging ecotourism for the millions that visit the country each year.   The Biodomes will be located in the Al Hajar Mountains, the eastern region of UAE, and home to rare species of Arab wildlife. The project seeks to raise awareness of mountain biodiversity through programs at the wildlife conservation center and an...

Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery

Jul 9, 2018: This new eatery in Poznań, Poland sports an unconventional interior that’s all about imaginative upcycling. Polish architectural interior design studio mode:lina fitted out the restaurant—called The Rusztowanie Grill and Bistro—with a suite of construction materials repurposed into decor, serving plates, lighting fixtures and more. Serving up comfort food like massive burgers and hearty soups, the contemporary eatery’s contemporary and industrial-chic design matches its Instagrammable food...