Material ConneXion, a global materials consultancy, recently gave its material of the year award to Novacem for the company’s “carbon negative” cement. The product is being touted with increasing frequency and — it would seem from the literature — has the potential to change the world of concrete in 2014-15 when it hits the market.
Insulation is one tough nut to crack. As if you don’t already have several options and factors to consider, I thought I’d mention one more: natural wool insulation by Oregon Shepherd. The company makes batt (PermaBatt) and loose fill (PermaLoft) insulation products, and they both look pretty impressive on paper. Oregon Shepard believes they have the “only loose fill, blown-in wool insulation in the world.”
Interest in urban chickens is growing and — it would seem — the same holds true for urban beekeeping. An outfit out of West Bend, Wisconsin, Beepods.com, is selling personal use beehives for $450, including everything but bees and the know how. The kit comes IKEA-style ready for assembly with a screwdriver and Allen wrench. A single, top-bar Beepod will create about 40 pounds of high-quality honey, as well as propolis, pollen, and wax, if you harvest it.
This is a clever Penguin faucet offered by Sustainable Solutions (SSi). It was designed to conserve water with a flow rate of 1.5 GPM. At the same time, the faucet sends a message about environmental living. With an undeniable resemblance to the shape of a penguin, I can see a situation where you’re brushing your teeth and the faucet causes you to think about the tiny tuxedo birds, and then ice caps, and then other environmental issues. Maybe design in this case does a lot more than save water because it motivates you to save other natural resources, too.
This is the new Natural Series bench from the popular eco-friendly furniture line called Botantist. Designed by Dario Antonioni, the all-wood bench – similar in appearance to the skinny aluminum version – is available in natural walnut or rift oak finishes composed of layered wood and real wood veneer. Antonioni says the wood is sustainably harvested and the bench is made to order in the USA. Measuring 60″x18″x18″ and weighing 55 pounds, Botanist Natural Series retails for $799.
If you’re on a furniture budget and want dead simple storage, perhaps a modular Yube would do the trick. Each 13″-cubed Yube assembles in a jiff with snap-together sides, steel-frame locks, and corner clips. The panels are made from sugar cane waste fibers (biodegradable and compostable), while the frame is made of a blend of plastic and bamboo (recyclable). Yubes can be used as garage storage, a coffee table, a tv stand or anything else. Cubes sell for about $30 each.