MIT startup creates camouflage solar panels
Founded at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Sistine creates custom solar panels designed to mimic home facades and other environments, with aims of enticing more homeowners to install photovoltaic systems.
Sistine’s novel technology, SolarSkin, is a layer that can be imprinted with any image and embedded into a solar panel without interfering with the panel’s efficacy. Homeowners can match their rooftop or a grassy lawn.
— MIT News
The product caters to the growing "aesthetic solar" market which tries to attract homeowners that are considering going solar but fear the aesthetic impact of the traditional, bleak-looking dark solar panels on their home's appearance. Just last fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed a line of glass... View full entry
Got wood? Meet Australia's tallest (proposed) timber building
Combine cross laminated timber, glue laminated timber, and the desire to connect with nature while providing ample creative working space, and you have the 5 King Tower, a 52-meter timber structure with the strength of concrete and steel (but a much smaller carbon footprint).The 5 King tower... View full entry
Can 1970s sustainability practices enhance Canada's 2017 architecture?
Did architects have sustainability figured out in the 1970s, and can the lessons they learned help contemporary architects design for the challenges of climate change? In an attempt to answer this question, Canada is taking a closer look at its previously built sustainable architecture during the... View full entry
The four and a half days that Portugal ran entirely on renewable energy
The 130 giant wind turbines that sprout from the peaks, slicing the air with a rhythmic sigh, have helped Portugal to a remarkable achievement. For four and a half days in May the country ran entirely on electricity from renewable sources: wind, hydro and solar power.
Despite fears of a blackout, the lights stayed on for a record 107 hours between 6.45am on Saturday 7 May and 5.45pm the following Wednesday.
— The Guardian
Related:Las Vegas's city facilities are now entirely run on renewable energySay goodbye to clunky solar panels, and hello to Tesla's sleek new glass solar roof tilesThe scientists trying to harness the power of waves View full entry
Santa Monica's 'impossibly green' building dreams: the challenging path to Living Building certification
On a small and skinny lot wedged behind its historic city hall, Santa Monica is trying to accomplish something that has never been done before in California. By 2020, the city hopes to construct a 50,000-square-foot city services building that will meet the requirements of the International Living Future Institute’s “Living Building Challenge” — the most stringent environmental building standard in the world.
"Should the city succeed it will prove that net-zero water is possible in our arid climate, even in a drought — and that if we’re serious about staving off the effects of drought and climate change, we should settle for no less. It will also familiarize code officials with new innovations... View full entry
Ten Top Images on Archinect's "Biophilia" Pinterest Board
In case you haven't checked out Archinect's Pinterest boards in a while, we have compiled ten recently pinned images from outstanding projects on various Archinect Firm and People profiles.(Tip: use the handy FOLLOW feature to easily keep up-to-date with all your favorite Archinect... View full entry
Say goodbye to clunky solar panels, and hello to Tesla's sleek new glass solar roof tiles
While solar panels have been subsidized in many cities for a while now, the blocky, rectangular panels aren’t heavily implemented in part because they tend to appear as, well, an addition, rather than a constitutive element of home design. That's about to change, as Tesla has announced a... View full entry
American firms aren't doing enough to reduce their carbon footprint, according to new report
“We are simply not making significant strides in crucial metrics that predict building performance,” states Greg Mella, FAIA, Director of Sustainable Design at SmithGroupJJR and co-chair of the AIA 2030 Working Group, in a new report that gauges the progress made by firms voluntarily... View full entry
Architecture Dean Poh says reduction in energy savings is not enough: "I am for net zero."
“Right now (the industry is) setting targets of 30 to 40 per cent reduction in energy savings from the current business as usual. I think that’s just not enough. I am for net zero,” he says. [...]
“The time scale between what we know can be done and should be done, and when the technology and processes become the norm, needs to be shortened. Currently it takes about 10 to 15 years.”
Related stories in the Archinect news:Masdar abandons its dream of becoming the first zero-carbon cityFrance Mandates "Green Roofs" for all new buildings2015 Solar Decathlon winner Stevens Institute of Technology addresses post-Sandy resiliency with the SURE HOUSEAlso, don't miss Deans List... View full entry
The Netherlands considers a ban on gasoline-powered vehicles
Gasoline-powered cars may soon be a thing of the past. But the Netherlands wants to get there quicker.
The Dutch government is debating the possibility of banning new gas and diesel cars from 2025. The initial proposal, which was brought forward by the Labor Party, called for an outright ban of all petrol and diesel cars, but was eventually modified so the ban only affected the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. Traditional cars already in use will still run on the streets.
The proposal has since passed in the lower house of the Netherlands’ parliament. It now needs to pass through the Dutch senate.In related news:Faraday Future holds groundbreaking ceremony for $1B Nevada factoryThe "Impossible" Car – Faraday Future's lead designer, Richard... View full entry
Environmentally-friendly design inspires education at Howe Dell Primary school
Howe Dell Primary in Hatfield could well be the UK’s most eco-friendly school. It has toilets that flush using rainwater, sedum roofs made of plants and vegetation, and classroom sink-tops made from recycled yoghurt pots. But the school’s design doesn’t just help protect the environment, it also uses nature to improve children’s academic performance and behaviour.
Howe Dell Primary’s £10 million, eco-friendly design is used by teachers to promote sustainability to a new generation of pupils. Capita Architects were given free reign to push the limits of sustainable design in the project, which was funded by the council, and that was exactly what they did... View full entry
London mayor Sadiq Khan blocks extra funds for garden bridge
The future of London’s proposed garden bridge has been called into further question after the city’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, halted preparatory work on the structure over fears this could involve more public money being spent.
The Garden Bridge Trust says the bridge from South Bank to Temple, featuring 270 trees and thousands of plants, will be a “tiara” for London, being both an iconic landmark and a vital pedestrian bridge.
— The Guardian
Read more about London's Garden Bridge on architnect:London's garden bridge, the saga continuesWhy are Heatherwick's proposals succeeding in New York but tanking in London?Sadiq Khan investigates troublesome details in Thames garden bridge projectInfrastructure or advertisement? Sky to sponsor the... View full entry
Future sustainable cities will be built with... bone?
In bone, the proportions of protein and mineral are roughly equal – the mineral gives bone stiffness and hardness, while the protein gives it toughness or resistance to fracture. While bones can break, it is relatively rare, and they have the benefit of being self-healing [...]
“All of our existing building standards have been designed with concrete and steel in mind. Constructing buildings out of entirely new materials would mean completely rethinking the whole industry."
Bioengineer Dr. Michelle Oyen of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering and her lab are working on ways to build artificial compounds that mimic bone and eggshell. Eventually, once scaled up, the compounds could be used as building materials.When the mineral compounds are "templated" onto the... View full entry
Holistic design tool HOMEKIT takes on issues of resilient community and sustainability in rural Colombia
This post is brought to you by Boston Architectural College. Population growth and lack of shelter are the main indicators of increased poverty in developing countries. Every year, millions of people in rural communities in tropical climates migrate to cities in search of a better life. Informal... View full entry
Tour Norway's "Doomsday" seed vault, deep within the Arctic Circle
What is the architecture of forward-thinking climate change? One example is the Svalbard Seed Vault, which when full will house roughly 3 million different species of plants in anticipation of a future that may be hotter, drier, or simply climatically different than the one we inhabit now.This... View full entry