Microarchitecture: Lightweight Construction Materials of Highest Stability

Lightweight construction materials modeled on nature; high stability at low density; ceramic microstructures produced by 3-D laser writing Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed microstructured lightweight construction materials that show extremely high stability. The density of this material is said to be below that of water, yet their stability relative to weight exceeds that of heavier materials like high-performance steel or aluminum. These lightweight construction materials feature a framework structure similar to the shell structure of the…

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ASU & AORA Solar Forge Research Partnership on Tempe Campus

I had the pleasure of seeing AORA Solar and its CSP Tulip system two years ago when it was unveiled in Almeria, Spain. I have been waiting for the day when this exciting renewable energy platform might be tested in the United States. In an interview, CEO Zev Rosenzweig told me the company wanted to test in America as part of its long-range planning. Now the company is ready to lay down CSP roots in Tempe at the ASU campus. We…

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Air Conditioning Alternatives: Thermally Driven Cooling Systems

Cooling in the heat of summer can be a daunting challenge in congested urban areas. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg have been working on innovative sorbents that can store a particularly large amount of water vapor that can be used for cooling purposes. This research information released today about sorption energy storage should open new windows into innovative and sustainable cooling and heating platforms. Sorption energy storage and conversion for cooling and heating…

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Guest Post: Three Game-Changing Building & Construction Innovations in 2014

Guest writer Michael Craig provides GBE readers with this glimpse of important construction and building innovations he is looking at this year. Radical advancements that will significantly impact building and construction concerns in 2014 and beyond By Michael Craig With the construction industry on the upswing, with 2013 construction starts on the whole advancing 6% to $516.8 billion over the year prior according to McGraw Hill Construction (a division of McGraw Hill Financial), attentions are turning to emerging building methodologies,…

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Orchid House’s Solar House Primer

If you have not heard about Orchid House in Taiwan, now is the time. Problem: Limited Land & Population Growth Orchid House writes: “We would like to talk about the possible development of our solar house to a new type of Taiwanese social housing system. At the present moment, Taiwan’s social housing situation is in sore need of improvement. As much of Taiwan’s land is not easily developed, most of the 23.31 million people of Taiwan live close to the…

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Prototype Transitional Housing in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a city, like many others, that is facing huge population and industrial growth but does not have housing enough to meet all those needs. There are more than 280,000 individuals living in Hong Kong that are without permanent forms of housing and they resort to building and residing in illegal temporary structures for survival. In 2013, architects AFFECT-T created a micro-dwelling prototype house that could change Hong Kong’s homeless statistic. The built example is a transitional living…

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PublishPlug-In Solar Panel Kit That Is Truly DIY

Anytime I hear phrases like plug-in and DIY when it comes to renewable energy, I get very excited. I’m always looking for methods to pass on to readers that can reduce the investment in solar power without sacrificing performance. Thanks should be sent to Zachary and the folks at CleanTechnica. [repostus]Plug-In Solar Panel Kit That Is Truly DIY (via Clean Technica) DIY: Three letters that have the power to send either titillations of excitement or bolts of pure terror down…

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Emerson LA Grand Opening

A week-long series of events—starting with a ticketed gala on Saturday, March 8—will celebrate the grand opening of Emerson Los Angeles (ELA), a spectacular new academic and residential facility that will enable the College to significantly expand its contribution to the city and to the entertainment and communication industries. Guests scheduled to attend the gala include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, 13th District Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Tom Bergeron P ’12 (Dancing With the Stars), Jennifer Coolidge ’85 (Two Broke Girls, Legally…

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Water Smart Products: Caroma Profile Smart 305 Dual Flush Toilet With Sink

There are many places we can be smarter about the water we use. Start with the toilet, for one. Give it dual-flush capabilities for starters, then put a sink on top. Featured here is the Caroma Profile Smart Dual Flush Toilet with Sink. Caroma provides this profile information: Unique design and advanced performance make the Caroma Profile Smart with integrated sink the ultimate water saver. After flushing, fresh cold water is directed through the faucet for hand-washing and and drains into…

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New and Very Practical Art Forms: Buildings on the Cheap

One of the most popular places to visit at GBE concerns buildings on the cheap, the remarkably alluring Hobbit-like house Wales residents Simon and Jasmine Dale built into a hillside using a hodgepodge of used and organic materials. Their estimated cost for the entire project came in at less than $5,000. This was a tremendous accomplishment for a young couple with two children and very little money, a reality that is all too familiar to a significant sample of our population.…

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New Book: “Making Better Buildings”

Chris Magwood’s comprehensive book concerning sustainable construction for homeowners and contractors has just been released by New Society Publishers. For those wanting to know more, here are some comments: “Making Better Buildings is essential reading for home builders, owner-builders, or anyone interested in hiring a contractor to build their dream green home. This book is full of useful, up-to-date, cutting edge information and is amazingly thorough and easy to read. It will help readers make the best decisions possible regarding…

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The Evolution of Free Homes: From Tiny Shipping Pallet Homes to Tiny Earth Bag Homes

This story about free shipping pallet homes turned a lot of heads in 2009 when it was first posted on GBE. Then it continued to draw attention year after year. There were some good reasons for the draw. First, other than a lot of labor – both from hard work and love – this particular house was being built for free. Second, the developer of this house, Michael Janzen, gathering reclaimed materials from the waste stream like used shipping pallets…

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Guest Post: How You Can Make Your Home Breathe Better

On the surface, some homes are deceptively clean-looking, with visible vacuum cleaner lines running down the carpeting, and the smell of household cleaners fumigating the air. However, there are many hidden health hazards that can lurk in air filters, air ducts, carpet fibers, fans and more that can make breathing very difficult. Replace Air Filters: It’s recommended by most HVAC contractors that air conditioning filters be changed at least once a month. In a short amount of time, air filters…

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Can a Bubble Protect Beijing?

There was a silly movie called Bubble Boy that was released in 2001. It was about a boy who did not have an immune system so he lived his life in a bubble. Can places adapt this same bubble-like existence to create a safe, sterile environment? What does this have to do with today’s world? Is this a fantasy future where a city is enclosed? Can this really solve the problems of the environment that our society has created? Well…

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