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Möbius Transformations Revealed

by The Green A-Team

Video by Douglas Arnold and Jonathan Rogness.

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SEC changes climate risk disclosure rules

by The Green A-Team

Full Green Building Law article here.

Green Air Filter:

A small yet potent architectural firm whose principals happen to be close friends and occasional business partners of mine, recently completed construction of a very green, very LEED residential townhouse project just down the way in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn (full article and interview is forthcoming).  The project began in 2006, weathered the nightmare market, ran up against DOB blockades thrown up by officials whom had no idea what evacuated tube solar hot water systems meant, and only in the past weeks has the developer been able to show off his dream to potential buyers.

As expressed so eloquently and succinctly by the author of this article, Shari Shapiro, Attorney and LEED AP, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission only just recently by way of what appears to be logical deduction and something that actually resembles reason concluded that companies might actually be encouraged to invest in green technologies as climate risk has been equated to a risk to shareholders.  The correlation between what the SEC has done and what my friends at Cycle Architects are doing is that with perseverance, good work, determination, and knowing what’s just, eventually, dreams do come true.

Photo by webjunkie80.

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Geoengineering: Nature 2.0

by The Green A-Team

Nature’s imbalance at the hands of humans could be catastrophic but could purposefully changing the climate actually help it?

On the fringe of experimental earth science exists a theoretical and nearly improbable study of climate called geoengineering or terraforming.  The basic idea is if we do certain things to alter our atmospheric composition or sunlight intake, we’ll be able to counteract the negative effects of the damage we’ve already done.

One theory suggests that if we shot more sulphur into the atmosphere, it wold enhance a cloud’s ability to reflect sunlight.  Only problem is that atmospheric sulphur particles are what make acid rain and is usually the byproduct of dirty factory pollution.  Other theories involve enriching the sea with iron to propagate plankton growth, one of nature’s most efficient carbon removers.

In the end, the unwitting tampering with fragile climate systems seems only to have presented more problems but an open discussion of geoengineering has new solutions emerging into the mainstream.

For more on geoengineering, take a look at some of the following links:

Geoengineering our way out of trouble (Columbia University)

The human element to geoengineering (Op Ed News)

Recruiting plankton to fight global warming (NY Times)

Diagram by Kathleen Smith/LLNL

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by Kristin Arrigo

The stock market is creeping back up to one of those high rolling numbers and expert analysts singled out Alcoa among the buzz.

Alcoa is trying to mesh its aluminum manufacturing ways into the world of sustainable building. Could this be a contributor to the buzz? It’s most certainly an indication that something is cooking.


Aluminum has been used for used for years successfully as a building material, known for it’s durability and resistance to decay. At the same time, it’s only ecological relevance seems to be that it is made from bauxite which is found in the earth, and aluminum is recyclable. Recyclable to the umpteenth degree. In other words, where a rose is a rose is a rose, an aluminum can is a door, is a frame, is a gutter, is a siding.

The argument here would of course be how sustainable?  Will Alcoa stop mining bauxite and smelting aluminum, or will they go into the business of recycling, oh let’s see, old cars, and airplanes?

alcoa_2Bauxite is mined from areas with tremendous negative effect on the rain forest, chasing animals out of their habitat, leeching into groundwater, increasing dust clouds, it also takes a tremendous amount of energy to mine and smelt. That, in addition to the fact that once it becomes the building material known as aluminum, it does not decompose. Although some say a can will decompose in 2-five hundred years.

But let’s face it, people get behind a good buzz, so for Alcoa, talks about aluminum products that save energy, and subscribe to LEED standards should prove to be very beneficial. It seems the buzz has arrived before the product, which is a strategic move on the part of Alcoa, using momentum to secure, or add leverage for a positive response from the world of sustainable building.

Alcoa’s big mining project in Brazil is underway, with its ‘responsible’ initiatives in place. They have agreed to put back what they destroy, in an effort to mine sustainably.

Did I really just say “mine sustainably?” Seriously people.

Photos by mikeyexists.

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ReWINEd: Wine bottle upcycling

by Shireen Qudosi

Editor’s Note: The Green A-Team continues to expand like a hyper-adept extremophile over the turbulent digital seas with our newest addition, Shireen Qudosi.  Enjoy her delicious post!

As the saying has it, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  Yet with a little bit of creative thought, you can turn your trash into your treasure.


That’s exactly what has inspired a new wave of sustainability that goes beyond practicality and into decadence.

The idea of artistic living is a growing trend in an eco-friendly culture, which has already witnessed a significant growth in consumer interest when it comes to modular living and organic decor.  Even non-greenies are getting interested now that being green has brought with it a new level of stylish eccentricity.

And what comes more easily in this economy than an assortment of empty wine bottles after you’ve just thrown a smashing get-together?  With the preference being on sourcing cheap entertaining ideas, most people now see staying at home with a good meal and great wine as a viable alternative to spending money on restaurants and clubs.

If your home is the newest place to be seen, then ice maker machines are indispensable for cocktails while compact wine refrigerators are an inexpensive alternative to costly built-in wine cellars.

Wine Bottle Ideas:

There are a number of ways to reuse wine bottles. Among the more common ideas are reusing them as water pitchers, votive vases, torches, and flower bed liners. However, there are dozens of other smart options that are rarely explored.

meltedWine Bottle Cheese Boards – What could be quainter than using a cheese board made out of wine at you next cocktail.  Apparently that’s exactly what Vineyard Designs thought when they started offering their custom recycled wine glass boards.

planterWater Feeders – On a very hot day or when you’re away, fill the bottles of water and stick them into the pot or soil near your plant.  The water will slowly percolate from the bottle and into the soil.

chandalierWine Bottle Chandeliers – In addition to the popular row lighting and pendant lighting, Changedminer (pictured) put together an interesting chandelier with wine bottles strung around it.   It’s a unique sustainable element in your home and it catches the light beautifully during the day and especially at sunset.

glassesRewined Recycled Glassware – Get uniquely hued wine bottle glassware made from orphaned bottles left behind at local restaurants and bars.

windowWine Bottle Building Blocks – Rather than just one element, your entire home or venue can serve as a creatively designed showcase – a testimony of your creativity and commitment to sustainability.

Wine bottles can be used to create an interesting mosaic-styled wall piece.  The most gorgeous of these displays is just outside of Montreal at a place called Bottle Houses, Prince Edward Island.

PEI is known for its lush landscapes and pastoral living, which makes the wine bottle homes stand out that much more, offering a mixture of ingenious modern design paired with an idyllic setting; and the combination works brilliantly.

This theme of bottle wall art has been running strong from coast to coast. Javier’s, an upscale restaurant in Crystal Cove, features bottle-inspired wall art as a key feature in their eclectic setting.

Using wine bottles as building blocks shows creativity and ingenuity that can be carried to stylishly eccentric levels when used in restaurants. Morimoto’s Japanese Restaurant in New York has an entire wall created out of bottles.  The result is a dazzling spectacle that has the potential to launch a restaurant.  An alternative design is found at the Boa Steakhouse in Hollywood, where rows of bottles are lined along a clear wall.

Wine bottles go beyond just building blocks and have also become integral parts of a building’s thermal dynamics, providing a unit that’s not only appealing to the eye, but also meets our duty to our environment.  But if you’re not a wine drinker, you can ask local pubs and restaurants for their bottles, who I’m sure will be more than happy to give you their rubbish to turn into your own treasures.  The same ideas can also be achieved with beer, liquor, Pellegrino or other glass water bottles.

For more on wine bottle upcycling, check out some of the following links:

Wine bottle recycling is low – but some bottles getting lighter (Dr. Vino)

A trial project that uses recycled wine bottles filled with water to regulate a building’s internal temperatures (Media-Newswire)

Sleep it off inside a wine cask (Green Upgrader)

Wine Ideas brought to you by Air & Water, Inc.

Photos by Keith Watson, graciella06, aarn!, *~Dharmainfrisco~*, West County Camerachangedminder.