A billboard that absorbs pollution

Air Purifying BillboardA university in Peru has unveiled a pollution-busting billboard designed to tackle the effects of the country’s industrial growth.

Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) teamed up with ad agency FCB Mayo to create the billboard, which can purify 100,000 cubic metres of polluted air in a day.

The billboard uses a water filtration system to absorb the polluted air, which contains metal and stone particles as well as dust and germs, and discharges fresh, clean air back into the atmosphere.

UTEC has previously created a water-producing billboard, which won five Cannes Lions awards.

Watch the video below to find out more about this clever billboard, and tell us if you think more should be built.

The Sustainability Treehouse

Architectural practice Mithun has designed a tree-house with a difference in West Virginia – it educates visiting Scouts about sustainability.

The Sustainability Treehouse, which is 125 feet tall, has been designed to encourage ‘camp adventure, environmental stewardship and innovative building design’.

Using a weathering steel frame to rise through the trees, the tree-house incorporates wind turbines and photovoltaic panels for renewable energy.

With interactive galleries and educational spaces at ground, tree canopy and sky levels, the Sustainability Treehouse is an immersive and entertaining experience for any of its visitors.

Take a closer look at the structure here and tell us if you would like to see more ‘living buildings’.

Sustainability Communication for Formica Group

Formica Sustainability BrochureIf you popped along to Ecobuild a few weeks ago you may have come across the Formica Group stand. During the show they announced that they had completed the measurement of the carbon footprint of their entire range of High Pressure Laminate (HPL), Continuous Pressure Laminates (CPL), Compact Laminates and Bonded Worktops products, and in doing so their products now qualify to carry the Carbon Trust’s
Carbon Reduction Label.   
To recognise being the first laminate manufacturer to achieve this The Think Tank developed a brochure which communicates the Formica Group environmental policy and their commitment to reducing carbon emissions across all its operations.  
The brochure in full can be viewed here.

Smarter Buildings: Interacting with the environment

Experimenting with materials in architecture to achieve environmental benefits has led to the development of many outstanding innovations that have changed the way we interact with buildings.

Now architect Doris Kim Sung, assistant professor of architecture at the USC School of Architecture, is experimenting with how a building can interact with its environment through the materials used in its construction.

Her latest installation, “Bloom”, is 20-foot tall and made from 14,000 tiny sheets of metal that open and close with the sun manipulating the light within the structure.

Sung discovered a new use for a material usually used in thermostat coils that responds to temperature changes. The metal alloy, called “thermobimetal”, is made of two sheets of metal laminated together. Each metal expands at a different rate when heated, curling as the temperature rises and flattening when cooled.

The metal sheets curl upwards with the sun creating moving shaded areas within the installation when needed. Sung believes that it could be used to create canopies that close when the sun is above or vents that open when the air becomes too stuffy and is now working on ways to integrate thermobimetal with standard building components.

It looks fantastic and is a mixture of art and architecture that addresses an environmental need. See a video of the installation below and more can be found on their blog.



Formica Group laminates achieve Carbon Trust qualification

This week saw the Formica Group announce that it has measured the carbon footprint of its range of High Pressure Laminate (HPL), Continuous Pressure Laminates (CPL), Compact Laminates and Bonded Worktops products, which now qualify to carry the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label.     

Mark Adamson, CEO of Formica Group, said: “With our worldwide presence and manufacturing facilities, Formica Group leads the way in design and innovation for the production of High Pressure Laminate.  Now we are leading the way on this important facet of product manufacturing.  Displaying the Carbon Reduction Label on our products is a clear and effective way of communicating to all of our customers that we are working to reduce the carbon footprint of our products. Reducing our impact on the environment is a core part of Formica Group’s company-wide vision and values.”  

The Formica Group has set its own goals to reduce carbon emissions for all operations, vehicles and facilities by 5% by the end of 2012.

The Carbon Reduction Label signifies that the total greenhouse gas emissions from every stage of the product’s lifecycle including raw materials, production, transportation, preparation, use and disposal have been assessed. By displaying the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label, Formica Group has made a commitment to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of its products over a two year period.  

To qualify to bear the Carbon Trust Carbon Reduction Label, Formica Group has had each product’s carbon footprint assessed to the PAS 2050: 2008 Specification for lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services, the Footprint Expert Guide TM and the Code of Good Practice for Product Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Reductions Claims.  

Darran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust, said:   “We congratulate the Formica Group of companies on the certification and labelling of their products. The Carbon Reduction Label allows Formica Group to easily and openly communicate the serious and credible steps it is taking to reduce carbon emissions. Certifying these products will have a positive effect on Formica Group’s reputation, and the business as a whole. We are pleased to be working with Formica Group, as it works to reduce the carbon footprint of its products.”  

Gavin Todd, Development Manager, Formica Group, who directs the company’s sustainability strategy, commented:   “Formica Group completed a Life Cycle Assessment on key products and their environmental impacts in all ten of our manufacturing plants. This has provided a benchmark for our processes and enabled us to set goals for the future.  Creating a company culture that demands continuous improvement and working to internationally recognised accreditations and certifications are part and parcel of our journey for excellence in sustainability.  Working with the Carbon Trust and being the first laminate manufacturer in the world to display the CRL is an exciting part of this.”  

Well done to Formica Group for leading the way and joining other prestigous household names in adding the Carbon Trust Label to its products.

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New environment message from Formica at Ecobuild 2012

One of our clients, the Formica Group, is exhibiting at Ecobuild (20-23rd March), the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment and the UK’s largest construction event of any kind. We will be supporting them throughout the three-day event which takes place at the ExCeL exhibition and conference centre in London’s Docklands, and have set up press interviews, designed a special brochure for the event and look forward to making a special announcement at the show relating to a major sustainability initiative which underlines the company’s commitment to meet the challenges of tomorrow.  

Renee Hytry Derrington and Gavin Todd, Formica Group senior executives will be at the stand, offering a unique insight into the company’s product innovation and sustainability strategies.   After 99 years of defining the look and performance of modern interiors worldwide, the company goes all out (excuse the pun) with its innovative exterior facade panels VIVIX which will be showcased in the UK for the first time at Ecobuild. A perfect way to celebrating many decades of innovation!

See more about Formica and the Environment here.

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LondonKillsMe featured in Clerkenwell

LondonKillsMe is an independent design and screen print company based in London specialising in designing and making fashion and interior products of the highest quality. It has been described as a lifestyle anti-brand and a movement towards a more social conscious consumer who takes an ethical approach to lifestyle products.

Established in Nov 2007 by Jane Young and Nick Darrieulat LondonKillsMe counts the Museum of London, Rockett St.George, Handmade Interiors, One in the House (Brighton) and the Zetter Hotel as clients. All products are ethically traced and made from natural or reclaimed materials, such as pure linen, cotton and silk. All the slate products are made from reclaimed roof slate and are hand cut and finished.

LKM will be featured at a One Day Designers Sale at Craft Central, St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London, EC1 on Wednesday 22nd Sept 12-7pm and also at The Pop Up shop at Clerkenwell Green from Tue 28th September – Sunday 3rd October.

See more here



Quirky Solar House Design by IAAC

The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) has designed the Fab Lab house as their entry into the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe. The goal of all the houses in the competition is to communicate the benefits of using renewable energies, especially solar energy, in a domestic environment.

This is very quirky and an interesting use of renewable technology and sustainable construction.

See more on Contemporist

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White roofs to save energy


US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, has been promoting the benefits of ‘white roofs’ and the energy savings they could provide in the USA.. He has now mandated that all new roofs on Energy Department buildings be either white or reflective to provide a cooling effect. He estimates that is could save $735 million per year if 85% of all air-conditioned buildings in the US had white roofs. Wow!
Read more on Inhabitat

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Solar panels on a roll

SoloPower has introduced a new flexible rolling solar panel that can significantly reduce production and installation costs. These easily-installed thin-film panels may be an answer for areas where traditional solar panels are difficult to install. The SoloPower device is built on a thin, flexible foil substrate in a high throughput, roll-to-roll process.

See more here

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Rapha Cycle Club opens opposite The Think Tank’s offices

The Rapha Cycle Club has opened in Clerkenwell opposite The Think Tank’s offices. The Club is ‘A unique combination of gallery, shop and café, and a meeting place where riders can share their passion for road racing.’

A full calendar of events including film and music evenings, book and product launches, evening screenings of races, regular group rides and Rapha customer and club evenings will enable visitors to immerse themselves in road cycling throughout the summer.

But hurry as the Club is set to close at the end of July.

Find out more here

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Balinese Alila Villas achieve highest level of Eco certification

The stunning Balinese Alila Villas Uluwatu eco resort is located on a sloping hill in Bali’s Uluwatu region on the Southern Bukit Peninsula . This beautifully designed complex straddles a striking white limestone cliff and an arid savanna on the tropical island’s arid Bukit Pennisula and the Alilas Villas resort is the first of its kind to achieve the highest level of certification for Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) and is designed for the Green Globes GG21 standard.

Read more on Inhabitat web site


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Inhabitat reports on Dwell on Design Event in Los Angeles

Inhabitat reports on the Dwell on Design event, commenting ‘This past weekend’s Dwell on Design event was bigger and better than ever before, with over 20,000 attendees pouring into the Los Angeles Convention center to check out the state of the art in modern design. Inhabitat was on-site with our own booth (thanks to Touch) and on-stage during our Design Innovation panel featuring Zoe Melo and Ruth Oh, a judge and designer from this year’s Spring Greening Contest.

Read more on Inhabitat

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Sitting on the Greenery

This great range is designed by landscape architect Dagný Bjarnadóttir for Furnibloom using plexiglass to cleverly house plants of all sorts. You choose, spices, vegetables or flowers, all easily cultivated and visible within the set of tables and stools.

See more here on Furnibloom



Creating real world scenes from corrugated cardboard

Artist Don Lucho uses corrugated material to create entire 3-D worlds depicting real life scenarios. His sculptures have been featured all over the streets of Santiago, Chile including crashed cars, fallen airplanes and living spaces.


Construction sites caught in charcoal, in association with Blueprint Magazine

Jeanette Barnes has been documenting London’s major construction projects for the last 20 years. Sketching quickly with 4B pencil on site, and then transferring the details with charcoal on to huge landscapes of paper. London Sites, in association with Blueprint, will run from 14 June – 2 July at the Toto Gallery, 140–142 St John Street, London.



Australia unveils cycle bridge made from recycled printer cartridges

Australia’s National Park Service has recently unveiled a new cycle path in the West MacDonnell National Park which includes a bridge built using recycled printer cartridges. Connecting Alice Springs to Simpsons Gap this 17km cycle path uses durable and environmentally friendly materials where possible.

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Copenhagen adopts mandatory green roof policy

Copenhagen has adopted a mandatory green roof policy in its desire to become a carbon neutral city by 2025. The new policy makes vegetation and soil a mandatory obligation in planning and it covers all roofs with less than a 300 pitch as well as the refurbishment of older roofs. ’Copenhagen has set itself the ambitious target of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral capital by 2025. To meet this ambitious goal we need ambitious measures. Therefore we have now decided to ensure the City adapst to extreme weather conditions by making new requirements for getting grass on top of as many buildings as possible, ’ – Mayor of Technical and Environmental Administration, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard.

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Work starts on UK’s largest prefabricated strawbale building

The construction of the UK’s largest straw bale building has started. The Sutton Bonington Biosciences Building at the University of Nottingham’s agriculture campus will combine prefabricated construction and local straw from nearby farmland, bringing a high-tech facility to the rural setting The School of Biosciences and the School of Veterinary and Medical Sciences will be sited in the building designed by London-based Make Architects. It is expected to achieve a BREEAM Excellent

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