‘Tiny house’ to Inspire and Encourage at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival


via Architecture & Design : ‘Tiny house’ to inspire and encourage at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival A ‘tiny house’ designed and built by sustainable home builder The Sociable Weaver will be showcased at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne. With a 6.2 by 2.4 metre footprint, the house will take up only a small portion of Federation Square when it opens to the public on 11 February. But it’s message is significant. “Living in a ‘tiny house’ can mean that people are able to live more simply,” says Dave Martin, The Sociable Weaver founder. “There’s much less space to clean and maintain, they are easy to heat and cool, and they are very affordable.” Designed with maximum efficiency in mind, the house features a loft queen size bed accessed via a ladder, and another fold out queen bed which doubles as a desk when folded away. “With clever design, you can ensure a small space doesn’t feel cramped,” says Martin. “Simple elements like the use of light colours, a raked or cathedral ceiling, the positioning of windows and having multifunctional spaces all contribute to the feeling of space.” The bathroom is complete with a toilet, shower and vanity unit, and the dividing wall features a sliding door and bookshelf. The kitchen comprises of a two-burner electric cooktop, dishwasher, sink and overhead cupboards, and the laundry has a Bosch washing machine/dryer and rack overhead for hanging clothes. Integrated folding doors and walls allow the space to be reconfigured and for the house… Read more

Lawyers Could be The Next Profession to be Replaced by Computers


via CNBC : Lawyers could be the next profession to be replaced by computers Technology is often blamed for destroying traditional working-class jobs in sectors like manufacturing and retail. But blue collar jobs aren’t the only ones at risk. The legal profession — tradition-bound and labor-heavy — is on the cusp of a transformation in which artificial-intelligence platforms dramatically affect how legal work gets done. Those platforms will mine documents for evidence that will be useful in litigation, to review and create contracts, raise red flags within companies to identify potential fraud and other misconduct or do legal research and perform due diligence before corporate acquisitions. Those are all tasks that — for the moment at least — are largely the responsibility of flesh-and-blood attorneys. Increasing automation of the legal industry promises to increase efficiency and save clients money, but could also cut jobs in the sector as the technology becomes responsible for tasks currently performed by humans. Advocates of AI, however, argue there could actually be an increase in the sector’s labor force as the technology drives costs down and makes legal services more affordable to greater numbers of people. “It’s like the beginning of the beginning of the beginning,” said Noory Bechor, CEO of LawGeex, a leading AI-powered platform for legal contract review. “Legal, right now, I think is in the place that other industries were 10 and 15 years ago, like travel,” he said. Replacing drudge work Bechor’s transition from lawyer to AI advocate came as a result… Read more

Medicine Turns to Solar Energy

solar power

via Rutland Herald :  Medicine turns to solar energy Springfield Medical Care Systems is going solar. The corporate parent of Springfield Hospital and the Springfield Health Center has completed its first solar project, with the installation of four solar panels in front of the entrance of the health center at One Hundred River Street. Larry Kraft, a hospital spokesman, said the hospital will build a full solar array on land adjacent to the hospital later this year. Kraft said Friday the two solar systems were different: One would produce hot water for use for the doctors and patients at the health center, and the larger system at the hospital would produce electricity to offset the hospital’s usage. He said the original intent of the project was to install a system on the rooftop, but the center’s engineers determined the roof was not suitable. But he said a portion of the building near the river is sheltered and receives what he called “excellent sunlight,” and the panels were installed there. The four panels were installed before the onset of winter and have already started decreasing the center’s use of fossil fuels, he said. During the next 10 years, the hot water system will offset the use of 2,500 gallons of propane, which would ordinarily heat the 600,000 gallons of water used annually by staff members, patients and visitors to the health center. He said the total cost of the system was $30,000, and panels were installed by Springfield Heating and Ventilating… Read more

Columbia Most Livable City in SC


via Wistv : Columbia most livable city in SC The Columbia area is having some success improving quality of life issues. That is one finding in the latest version of a report tracking economic competitiveness in 10 southeastern cities. The annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report ranks Columbia first among South Carolina cities on the issue of livability. The report also shows Columbia tied for second with Raleigh compared to those nine other cities in six states. Mayor Steve Benjamin says the revival of Main Street has helped make the whole area a better place to live. “I believe that every citizen who lives here or is considering living here is emotionally connected to downtown,” Benjamin said. “Downtown is alive and vibrant and they feel like things are happening here. World class art museum, incredible busker scene, and restaurants. Not just college student housing but market rate housing on Main Street. People love it.” The report shows Columbia falling short in several other categories. The area still struggling to provide a skilled workforce – and in entrepreneurship. Columbia also well behind other cities on innovation or the ability to generate ideas and products. Raleigh’s Research Triangle beating Columbia on that topic by a 6-1 margin.

Green Building and Sustainability

green and sustainability

via Environmental Protection :  Green building and sustainability Our climate is changing. A shift in the number of wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, and heavy rainfalls has been attributed to climate change. These changes have had an impact on agriculture and wildlife, including the introduction of new pests and depleting habitats. Humans and our current life style practices remain the leading contributors to climate change, with carbon being the main culprit. The Impact of Carbon According to Architecture 2030, nine hundred billion square feet of buildings will be newly constructed or renovated by 2030. Buildings are one of the leading contributors to carbon emission, mainly from their use of fossil fuels during operations. In fact, cities and urban areas are responsible for approximately 75 percent of carbon emissions. If these buildings continue to be developed and run in the traditional manner, the environmental damage will only progress. Thankfully, with an increased focus on the hazards that buildings emit into the atmosphere, companies are starting to consider adopting greener initiatives. Cities worldwide are investing in climate action plans with the goal of reducing their environmental footprint. This includes “Smart City” initiatives to better manage existing infrastructure, zero waste policies, alternative energy sources, and researching the potential of developing net zero buildings. Resource Efficient Integrating sustainable resources that are long lasting is key to ensuring that a structure is fully sustainable. Products such as reclaimed wood, recycled plastic or glass, as well as energy-efficient, locally sourced materials such as concrete that naturally contains a… Read more

The Tech Trend Too Strong to Slow Down

driverless car

via Daily Reckoning :  The tech trend too strong to slow down I’ve been tracking trends for nearly 40 years. And in that time, I’ve learned a valuable lesson: Don’t ever be surprised when technology advances ahead of even the most ambitious, optimistic predictions. Look no further than the driverless auto trend to prove that statement right. In tracking the driverless vehicle trend for the last several years, one thing is very apparent: You can’t trust at face value what you hear from automakers and their tech affiliates about the progress they are making. The path to fully autonomous vehicles has many twists and turns. While investors need to be weary of the trend of over promising and under delivering from some automakers, the estimates of how and when autonomous cars will flood the market get sooner and sooner. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers predicts that by 2040 driverless vehicles will make up 75 percent of cars on the road. But inside the engineering labs at universities, projections for fully automated vehicles able to navigate complex metro traffic patterns will become reality much sooner, perhaps within the next decade. In Orlando, Florida, for example, state universities, transportation agencies and Kennedy Space Center have partnered with the city to begin testing of driverless cars. One of several sites sanctioned by the Federal Department of Transportation, the effort includes construction of a small simulated city to test the vehicles before they’re put the real test: Driving autonomously on Interstate 4 or… Read more

New Cabins Built For Fallingwater Institute


via treehugger :  New cabins built for fallingwater institute In 2010 Patkau architects won a competition to build six sustainable cottages for the Fallingwater Institute. They quoted Frank Lloyd Wright: No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other. It was a lovely scheme of semi-underground cottages but apparently was never built; instead, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) has designed a project that is very much on the hill. Curbed describes them: Perched above the ground on a network of “nimble” steel columns, the High Meadow residency includes minimal decoration and furniture, with each abode containing just a desk, closet, bathroom, and two twin beds. “The building’s main entry welcomes visitors into a central screened porch, which joins the new architecture to an existing cabin and serves as the outdoor gathering and dining space,” Bill James, project architect from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s Pittsburgh office, notes in a press release. “A horizontal screen, made of Norway Spruce harvested and milled on site, extends from the main cabin and continues along the walkway leading to the dwellings.” It is certainly a more modest intervention than the Patkau scheme, sitting lightly on the ground rather than under it. And given what Frank Lloyd Wright did to the hills at Fallingwater, his architectural modesty can be taken with a bucket of salt.

Tesla moves beyond electric cars with new California battery farm


Via The Guardian : Tesla moves beyond electric cars with new California battery farm The project is part of Elon Musk’s plan to help transform the power grid From the road, the close to 400 white industrial boxes packed into 1.5 acres of barren land in Ontario, California, a little more than 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles, look like standard electrical equipment. They’re surrounded by a metal fence, stand on concrete pads and sit under long electrical lines. But take a closer look and you’ll notice the bright red coloring and gray logo of electric car company Tesla on the sides. And inside the boxes are thousands of battery cells – the same ones that are used in Tesla’s electric cars – made by the company in its massive $5bn Tesla Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada. This spot, located at the Mira Loma substation of Southern California Edison, hosts the biggest battery farm Tesla has built for a power company. Southern California Edison will use the battery farm, which has been operating since December and is one of the biggest in the world, to store energy and meet spikes in demand – like on hot summer afternoons when buildings start to crank up the air conditioning. Tesla’s project has a capacity of 20 megawatts and is designed to discharge 80-megawatt hours of electricity in four-hour periods. It contains enough batteries to run about 1,000 Tesla cars, and the equivalent energy to supply power to 15,000 homes for four hours. The… Read more

Robotic Fabricator Could Change the Way Buildings Are Constructed


Via MIT Technology Review : Robotic Fabricator Could Change the Way Buildings Are Constructed A construction robot has to be powerful enough to handle heavy material, small enough to enter standard buildings, and flexible enough to navigate the terrain. Back in the 1970s, robots revolutionized the automotive industry, performing a wide range of task more reliably and quickly than humans. More recently, a new generation of more gentle robots has begun to crop up on production lines in other industries. These machines are capable of more delicate, fiddly tasks like packing lettuce. This powerful new workforce is set to revolutionize manufacturing in ways that are, as yet, hard to imagine. But the building industry is trickier than many others. Construction sites are complex environments that are constantly changing. Any robot would have to be powerful enough to handle heavy material but light and small enough to enter standard buildings and flexible enough to navigate the terrain. That’s a big ask, but the potential benefits are huge. Construction robots would allow new types of complex structures to be assembled in situ rather than in distant factories and then transported to the site. That allows new types of structures to be built in place, indeed these structures could be modified in real time to allow for any unexpected changes in the environment. So what is the state-of-the-art for construction robots? Today we get an answer thanks to the work of Markus Giftthaler at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland and a few pals who… Read more

Design/life: Gráinne Weber, Architect


Via Irish Examiner : Design/life: Gráinne Weber, Architect Gráinne Weber takes regular trips to London and Paris to trade shows to keep up with what’s going on. What’s your background? I qualified as an architect from UCD. When I went to work in an architectural practice, some years ago, they did a lot of hospitality projects and tended to keep the interiors of projects in-house. The result was that I got involved in hospitality projects from planning through to construction and on to the interiors. advertisement I then set up Gráinne Weber Architects in 2006, and we do a lot of hospitality projects and are happy to get in involved in any or all stages of a project. What’s a typical work day like for you? Once I have gotten the kids out the door and the dog walked, my work day starts. Every day is different. I have three staff at the moment and I like to spend at least part of every day in the office with them, reviewing where they are at with various projects, and assessing what to prioritise. Site meetings or informal site visits to check on things often break up a day. We have two jobs on site at the moment, a Saba to Go in Deansgrange and a Fonte Coffee unit in Parliament Street and we have ongoing works at the Haddington Hotel in Dun Laoghaire. I try to get staff out of the office at least once a week to enforce the idea… Read more