When the Dekalb Market opened in Brooklyn last Summer, the use of recycled shipping containers gave potential tenants a sense of stability: developers didn’t have long-term access to the land, so businesses could open shop in a structure that could be easily moved if that access dried up. Apparently, such flexibility has universal appeal (especially in a down economy): London’s new Boxpark development is also constructed from shipping containers, and designed to make relatively short-term use of land that might find buyers or other developers once the economy picks back up.
Is there anything you can’t do with a used shipping container? Designers have intrepidly redesigned these metal boxes that pile up at ports as everything from office buildings to portable commercial space to prison cells. Industrial designer Jon Friedman and environmental scientist Brad McNamara have found yet another potential use for shipping containers: small, self-contained urban farms. Combining hydroponics, solar power and rainwater harvesting, their Freight Farms concept recycles containers into “modular, expandable, portable crop production units.”
Lots of building tech this week, from shipping container “farms” to a net-zero rehab to a “living building” in Seattle.
Shipping containers as mini farms?: Is there anything you can’t do with used shipping containers? Atlanta-based PodPonics turns them into small hydroponic “farms” for growing food near the point of sale. (via Triplepundit)
Solar collector by day, light display by night: Move over, Jumbotron! Industrial designer Meidad Marzan‘s Urban Tiles concept combines solar panels and OLED panels that can be installed on the outside of buildings in an array, and which “flip” to shift from solar collector to advertising display, big screen television, or even a massive artistic canvas. (via Inhabitat)
Builders and architects have fallen in love with shipping containers and are using them to design and build everything from office buildings to prison space. It makes sense: they come in standard sizes (a bit like Legos), they’re sturdy, mobile, and readily available. This also makes shipping containers ideal for temporary developments, and a new open-air market in Brooklyn is putting that notion to the test.
eople-powered gyms, transmitting from turtles in Illinois, and combining flies and poop for good use… your green tech finds for the week.
- The open-source solar concentrator: Designer Eerik Wissenz claims that his Solar Fire open source solar concentrator concept can harvest power at ten times cheaper than photovoltaics. Check it out in the video above… (via Earth Techling)
- New university trend — the human-powered gym: Powering exercise and recreation facilities with energy harvested from workout equipment is catching on at universities… the Sustainable Cities Collective takes a closer look at Drexel University’s approach.
Shipping containers have become a hot form of prefabricated building material: they’re cheap, plentiful, and ready for retrofitting. Their modular nature provides lots of opportunities for creativity, and architects have used them for both homes and larger buildings.
All of these reasons have played into Adelaide, Australia’s decision to experiment with shipping containers as prison cells. But a number of state legislators and activists are crying foul, claiming that the plan is inhumane. Civil libertarian George Mancini told The Advertiser that he sees the plan as representative of short-term thinking on corrections: “I would have thought the future of prisons involves the rehabilitation of prisoners… There needs to be a focus on rehabilitation and reasonable conditions, not just cheap housing but effective housing.”
Poop-powered lighting, a shipping container office building, and the trade-in possibilities for a Chevy Volt battery… your green tech finds for the week.
- The affordable EV: Lots of green tech news coming out of this week’s meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, including GreenTech Automotive‘s announcement that it will sell the first 100,ooo of its MyCar neighborhood electric vehicles at a discounted price of $10,000. (via TMCnet)
- Dog-powered lamps: Specifically, dog poop powered… part artistic statement, part green tech, the Park Spark Project gives Cambridge, MA, dog walkers the opportunity to power a outdoor lamp with their dog’s “leftovers”…. (via Green Upgrader)
This week’s programming on THE GREEN focuses on the ways in which everyday life can be made more sustainable. From the products that you put and use in your homes to new types of homes constructed from reused shipping containers, this week can give you some ideas for use in everyday living. BIG IDEAS FOR…