Researchers In Spain Turn Paper Waste Into Bricks.

Paper waste bricks - University of JaenWhen I read the headline on Gizmag and glanced at the image above, I didn’t know how this story would turn the corner and be about paper waste bricks. Waste maybe but not bricks.

Researchers from the University of Jaen have developed a way to turn paper waste into bricks. From the article on Gizmag:

“The scientists gathered cellulose waste from a paper mill, along with sludge left over from the purification process of that plant’s waste water. Those substances were then mixed with clay used in building construction, pressurized, and then extruded in one long sausage-like length. The bricks were subsequently sliced from that material, and fired in a kiln.”

The paper waste bricks also harden with less kiln time. Early paper waste bricks were not as strong as actual bricks so the team is working to perfect the mix and make the bricks sturdier by adding waste from the beer, olive and biodiesel industries as well as sewage sludge. Sewage sludge? I guess my first take was partially right. [Gizmag]


Want Or Need? CEBRA And Danski Want To Build The World’s Largest Indoor Ski Park In Denmark.

World's Largest Indoor Ski-Park - CEBRA Danski

“CEBRA has designed the ski dome based upon a six point snowflake and if built it will be the largest indoor ski park in the world at 100,000 square meters (1,076,000 sq.ft) in total, with 70,000 square meters (753,473 sq.ft) of skiing, taking over from SkiDubai with its current 22,500 square meter (242,187 sq.ft) indoor ski facility.”
Indoor ski-park designed by CEBRA – Gizmag

Let me first get this out of the way: I am not an anti-ski’ite. Skiing is a fun outdoor activity that people of all ages can enjoy. But building the world’s largest indoor ski resort is another story. To me, indoor snow skiing is nature-defying at worst and unnecessary at best. It seems like want and need are not taken into consideration and projects like this are simply about economics – can the world’s largest indoor ski-park make money? For all the resources consumed to build and run a massive indoor ski-park, whether it makes money or not is the only factor that matters and that’s the problem.

Instead of counting on DOHA and Kyoto Protocol to tackle climate change, we need to look beyond economics when we look at these “give Mother Nature the finger” projects. I think we can live without the world’s largest indoor ski-park. I think we have to. [Gizmag]


Trike-Bike Transportable Bao House: When Tiny Homes Go Bad.

Bao House from dot ArchitectsCould the Bao House from dot Architects be the mobile padded cell for the on-the-go mental health counselor? No, it’s a spray polyurethane foam (SPF) stuffed structure that’s toted around by a tricycle bike and touted as a possible “tiny home.” Bao is the Chinese word for bulge and I can’t help thinking about the disappointed web traffic they would’ve received had dot Architects gone with Bulge House instead.

Move along folks – not much to see here. [Treehugger]


CEMEX Cement Plant In Kentucky Reduced Emissions By Switching Power Source From Coal To Scrap Tires.

CEMEX-Kosmos Cement KilnThis is news to me – burning scrap tires to make cement is better for the environment than using coal. According to an article in the Courier-Journal, emissions of nitrogen oxides (a component of smog) have dropped by 37% ever since the CEMEX cement plant in Kosmos KY switched their fuel source from coal to scrap tires in December 2010.

From the Courier-Journal, here’s how the tire-powered cement kiln works:

“Two rollers grab a scrapped rubber tire before pitching it at 85 mph as far as 110 feet into the bowels of the kiln — where it vaporizes in an instant in 3,000-degree temperatures.”

We need our cement so we have to choose “what’s less worse”: coal (30 tons/hour) or recycled tires (3-6 tons/hour)?

After reading the article in C-J and watching the video, I couldn’t help feeling that CEMEX’s switch from coal to scrap tires isn’t going to end well. It’s kind of like the 1940’s advertisements with doctors recommending one cigarette brand over another. Consume less. [Courier-Journal]


Need To Add A Room To Your House? Build A Treehouse/Cabin Room Within A Room.

Architect Terri Chiao wanted to live in a open-floor loft apartment. In order to afford the rent, Ms. Chiao knew that she would need roommates but she didn’t want to and separate rooms with light-blocking walls within her apartment. Her solution was simple: construct a private cabin and treehouse living space within her open loft.

Ms. Chiao’s affordable “room within a room” solution could work for anyone who needs more private living space and doesn’t want to knock down walls to build an addition. This would work out great for my boys too – they currently share a bedroom. [Fair Companies]

Cardboard Box Living Space

"Don't worry kids; the dog has 24 hours to vacate."


47″ Wide Keret House, The World’s Skinniest Home, Is Being Built In Poland.

The Keret House - Warsaw PolandUpdate: 10/22/2012 The Keret House is complete! [Treehugger]