If you’re looking for a new, zero-emission way to get from A to B, check out the new Swissbikeboard. The Swissbikeboard combines two popular “toys” (a skateboard and a bicycle), powers up with two rechargeable, lithium-polymer batteries, and sends you on your way for up to 30 miles on one charge. The style is reminiscent of Sharper Image’s Razor scooter, but looks a bit more like a popular 1950s toy scooter (remember that thing from “Back to the Future”?).
The Swissbikeboard is not your average scooter, though. It offers a juiced up suspension that allows for some radical on-street usage, meaning that it can be used for more than commuting. It is super quiet and, according to Swissbikeboard’s website, it can be used indoors. It provides a powerful braking system that makes it safe – along with a bit of user attentiveness. And it also comes in models that allow serious downhill adventure, snowboarding, and wakeboard-style water fun.
Portland always seems to be in the news because it’s considered one of America’s greenest cities. It’s also referred to as Bike City, USA because of its ranking as the top bicycling city in the U.S. and the city with the highest percentage of bike commuters. But it’s not a result of jumping on the green train — Portland has long been a bicycle-friendly city. In the 1970s, long before it was commonplace, the city encouraged cycling by creating bike lanes on major roads.
And in the last decade, Portland’s two-wheeling community has shown its appreciation by helping grow and nurture the city’s economy.
In addition to riders, Portland has a large cycling industry – from independent bike frame builders to local cycle clothing companies. Of course, there are also Portland-headquartered national companies such as Nike and Columbia Sportswear that contribute to the city’s bicycling interests, but a recent New York Times piece focused on local businesses like Team Estrogen, an online retailer that sells cycling clothing for women.
Rob Paulus is an architect who concentrates on projects with a green emphasis. His concepts focus on the way infill, renovations and adaptive reuse can be complimented by being approached with a green perspective.
To that end, enter the 007 House, designed by Paulus and set in the Arizona desert. All rainwater is captured on the roof via a steel pipe gutter and spills into a 1000-gallon storage tank. This water is then used for courtyard planting.
(via CubeMe.com) “This home went vertical and down below grade to maximize the use of the site. Two insulated masonry walls define the enclosure east and west with floor to ceiling glass at the north and south facing rooms. A large canopy cantilevers out to the south to shade the interior from the harsh desert sun, while establishing an edge for the southern courtyard.”
If you’re a wine drinker, you’re in a powerful position.
Viticulture (the science, production and study of grapes) is a branch of the science of horticulture. “Sustainable viticulture” goes vital steps further and views the vineyard as a whole system which creates a high level quality fruit production reducing reliance on synthetic chemicals and fertilizers to protect the growers, the consumers and the environment. Many conscientious vintners ascribe to this method and produce some very fine wines while pursing a responsible higher goal. Universities and private organizations responsibly teach and encourage these practices.
Commuting in a car here in the United States just plain sucks. Not only does it suck the fun out of your waking hours, it sucks the good air right out of the atmosphere (or releases bad air… whatever, semantics, and that doesn’t work as well for my lead).
Matra Manufacturing and Services may have an answer to your Commuter Sucking Blues. (Which is far different than the Toe Sucking Blues). Matra MS, formerly a motor sports design leader with their hands in Formula 1 and Le Mans, has come out with a line of Light Electric Vehicles consisting of high-performance electric bicycles and quadricyles, available in Europe this spring for around $5,000 USD.
When I think of big city life, I think of tall buildings, lots of noise and a ton of traffic. I certainly don’t think of green gardens or fields of flowers. As the song says, Green Acres is the place to be. When living the big city life, there isn’t much greenery to enjoy. Those who put up with an often cold, hard existence lose the peaceful feelings of calmer pastures. We also lose touch with animal and plant life — things that are important to have in our lives.
But thanks to Hungarian-born street artist Edina Tokodi, big city green is making an appearance. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Todoki has created a way for city-dwellers to enjoy both city life and the green normally found outside the urban atmosphere. Tokodi uses moss to create animal silhouettes and camouflage designs which can be touched as they touch the lives of those who look at and feel them — a subtle reminder for city dwellers of the importance of our environment.
The Toyota Prius … a “gateway drug?” So claims a well-known actor in a new book of celebrity essays, “The Green Book,” about the hybrid that hooked him into living more “G.” “You know how people say marijuana is a gateway drug? That’s sorta what buying a Prius was for me,” he says. “I love nature, and I love taking walks on the beach at sunset. And if that makes me sound like Miss February filling out her turn-ons in a Playboy bio, so be it.”
Tony Schaefer, one of the founders of the Chicago Prius Club, uses the same analogy when he describes how the Prius turned him from an unaware Buick Regal owner — “Emissions? Didn’t care. Mileage? Didn’t care” — into a “raving, evangelical environmentalist” with a bumper sticker of a stick-figure man blowing his brains out with a gas nozzle.
When it comes to Priuses, Schaefer turned into a pusher and an enabler, turning on people to hybrids, and helping them score that mileage high. “When you are truly inspired by something,” he says, “you should never want to stop talking about it.”
What’s black and white and carried all over town? Not a nun in a parade…Considering how trendy it is, I’m surprised more retailers aren’t offering reusable shopping bags for customers. I’m not talking about the high-end grocers that charge you $15 to buy a “sustainable” bag that lets you walk around town advertising for them. I’m talking about the every day sort of store that cares about the amount of plastic they spread around the planet.
Well, here’s a BYOB idea every store can fly with: Handmade Expressions (whose motto is “Fair trade = justice + peace + love”) has cool grocery bags that measure 12”x16” and are made of several layers of used newspaper and sturdy cardboard. They’re inexpensive and customizable. Best of all, they save new paper from being produced by using paper that would otherwise go into a trash bin.
And they’re totally affordable. At 60 cents a bag, now even Mom & Pops can get you to walk around town advertising for them.
The Solar Tower plant that was once constructed and successfully operated in Manzaneres, Spain, is now the prototype for Australian company Enviromission Limited’s Solar Tower plant. The 50 kilowatt tower in Spain, originally designed by Jorg Schlaich of Schlaich Bergermann Partners, ran from 1982 to 1989. Now Enviromission hopes to have their 200 megawatt scaled-up version running in Australia by 2008. So far, the location is thought to be Buronga in the Wentworth Shire of New South Wales.
Once built, it will be one of the world’s tallest structures. At 1,000 meters, its height alone makes the concept seem a bit surreal. But in reality, the plant has been proven to work and is based on some very simple and tangible principles: the greenhouse, the turbine and the chimney. The higher and wider the chimney, the greater the efficiency.
Have a small space that just doesn’t seem right for your hip, modern lifestyle? Can’t afford a big space, but want to stop short of living in the suburbs? Setmund Leung Kam Biu has designed an apartment that moves – literally. The rooms move around on mobile tracks (except the kitchen and bath) akin to track lighting or sliding doors. So, today’s bedroom could be tonight’s dining room.
The point is making the most of small spaces while keeping an open living area. When you’re done in the bedroom, roll it out of the way so there’s more room in your living space. When you’re done cooking, slide a door over the kitchen so it’s out of the way.
It appears that these places come with top-of-the-line appointments like stainless steel, full-sized appliances and BR-111 exotic (i.e. rainforest) wood floors. I checked out BR-111. They pride themselves on selectively harvesting in the rainforests under strict government guideline and stringent reforestation policies, but there are other issues like cutting roads and burning fossil fuels to get the wood out (and for what purpose? To have an exotic floor?). Check out their dedication to the Amazon here.
Is nude the new standard of beauty? First Alicia Silverstone went nude for PETA, and now a new line of skincare appropriately named Nude is nestled among the Crème de la Mer on the beauty counter. But what makes “Nude” less stuffy and more “G”? I did a little digging to find out.
First off, the driving force behind the Nude skincare concept is “If you wouldn’t consider eating it, why put it on your skin? To that end, their products are all formulated without parabens, sulphates and all those other things you can’t pronounce and shouldn’t have to.
And if you’re like a lot of women who worry about protecting our planet and combating wrinkles, Nude tackles both. According to their website, their age-defying products contain peptides, phytoactives, bioactives and various biocompatible elements. What exactly does this mean? It means they use high performance natural ingredients that work with your skin’s existing biology.
Here’s a prefab that caught my eye: a modern home made of one of the planet’s most sustainable materials – bamboo. Not surprisingly, it’s another innovative concept from Montreal-based Gau Designs.
It’s only a concept – but after looking at these photos, I’m ready to sign on the dotted line and move in. Sure they had me at “sustainable”, but the building’s design takes comfort and functionality to another level. Two levels, to be exact. From the green roof to the spacious rooms, which are lined with textured bamboo along the walls and floors and interrupted only by large picture windows (view sold separately, I imagine).