Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Beehives in the City

The latest buzz on urban gardening? Urban beehives, of course! These beehives are ideal for anyone who wants to invite a little urban wildlife into their nature-challenged neighborhood.

The Beehaus

A Beehive that is Light and Easy To Move

The Beehaus comes with four ‘supers’ for the bees to store honey. You place these boxes on top of the hive in the spring when the bees start collecting nectar. The supers use a standard National super frame. However for easy handling, the Beehaus’ super boxes are half the size and therefore half the weight of a traditional beehive super box.

The BeeCrib

A group project focused on solving a real world problem using digital manufacturing and recyclable materials.

With bee populations declining globally and monoculture farming destroying their habitats, this project focuses on re-designing a beehive for the urban environment. Using CNC routing we have designed a flat-pack top bar beehive that can be assembled easily without tools or glue. 
The goal is to help hobbyist beekeeping become more accessible and affordable for everyone.

  • Removable bottom board for monitoring Varroa Mite.
  • Observation window.
  • Interchangeable BeeDoors for different seasons.
  • Laser Engraved top bars.
  • Lid made from recycled materials. 
  • Flat Pack into lid.
  • Tool and Glue-less assembly.
A group project from the Bachelor of Design Innovation at Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand.

The Warré Beehive

The Warré hive was developed in France during the early 20th century by Abbé Émile Warré, an ordained priest and an avid beekeeper. His vision was to develop an easy-to-build and easy-to-manage beehive with which everyone could have success (thus often referred to as the Peoples’ hive).

This simple, cost-effective and efficient design has been gaining renewed popularity among DIY beekeepers and those seeking more organic approaches to beekeeping.

The Urban Beehive by Philips

Most of the time you think of beekeepers as living out on large farms, tending to their hives with crazy hazmat-style suits on. With the Philips Urban Beehive, you can become your own beekeeper — with the bees living inside your own house. This stylish concept consists of two parts: an entry passage and flower pot that sits outdoors, and a glass shell inside. The tinted glass shell filters light to let through the orange wavelength the bees use for sight, and holds an array of honeycomb frames inside. When it's time to harvest some honey, just pull on the smoke actuator chain and grab some out while the bees are happily sedated.

The Urban Beehive is as sleek and modern as they come, and that includes the gracefully curved integral flowerpot that provides hard-working bees with a quick sip before landing. The device also features a built-in smoke activator that comes into play when collecting honey from the hive. While only a concept, the warm reception given the Urban Beehive during its debut at Dutch Design Week
bodes well for both bees and bee-lovers.


Designer: Adam Weaver

Get your stingers out for the “Bikube;” it’s a beehive for modern city dwellers who want to help fix the decreasing bee population. The designer of this project, Adam Weaver, attacks the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) problem head-on with this stylish box. It’s a beehive. You attach it to your outside wall. Bees live in it! And you could probably paint flames on it if you wanted to!

More details: The Bikube is designed with slopes on all sides to let rain and debris slide off with ease. The Bikube is a nucleus hive, and it is easily wall mounted. The Bikube utilizes an integrated handle for ease of use and transport, and there’s a glass section for humans to look and peek in on what kind of business is going on inside the hive.


Lena Goldsteiner came up with a beehive for your balcony, backyard or rooftop garden. Who said that living in the city means you can’t keep bees?

As a beekeeper, you are direct observer of the symbiosis of animal, plants and human. Inspired by Richard Buckminster Fullers theory of Synergetics and Albert Einstein direct and simple conclusion:

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe the man would only have 4 years of life left.


– Albert Einstein

Mason Bee House

While harvesting honey from your urban beehive is sweet payback for the work put in making your winged guests comfy & cozy, other types of bees are worth supporting too, honey or not. Take the Mason Bee: slightly smaller than honeybees, non-stinging Mason Bees visit up to 1,000 flowers daily – 20 times as much as the average honeybee! The Mason Bee House is built from biodegradable bamboo and its network of hollow tubes perfectly suits the nesting needs of Mason Bees.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Urban Lace: Eco-friendly Jewlery

Elegant design with the planet in Mind.

Urban Lace specializes in making unique eco-friendly designer jewelry. Their one of a kind jewelry is created from recycled bicycle inner tubes collected from local bike shops. They also use recycled ultra micro fiber from post industrial fabric waste in order to create our bold and colorful pieces. Their goal is to make high quality, high fashion, environmentally friendly products that people love to wear. We create elegant design with the planet in mind.  

So what do old bike parts and Jewelry have to do with each other? Well for the purpose of this story, just about everything as a matter of fact.

Here be Urban Lace Jewelry. These little beauties are hand crafted by designers Barbi Touron and Aaron Shear, and are re-born from discarded inner tubes of bicycles. Because thousands, (if not hundreds of thousands we think) of inner tubes, are thrown into landfill each year in the US alone, Barbi and Sean have dedicated themselves to reducing the amount of this slow to decompose material, by turning it into chic, wearable, art.

The inner tubes themselves are durable, flexible, and waterproof. Each finished piece has been carefully washed and coated in an organic plant based formula that Urban Lace has developed, giving the material its lasting luster.

Available in the range are wrist cuffs, anklets, necklaces, earrings and masks. To find out more, go to their website here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wear Handmade clothes this Autumn

handmade for fall
The leaves around here are starting to change, and it’s time to pull out those boots and tights and get bundled up for FALL! You don’t have to hit the big box store to stock up on scarves and sweaters. Instead, you add some handmade love to your fall style this year and do something good for the planet while you support some handmade artists at the same time

Why Buy Handmade?

Any time we spend money, we’re voting with our wallets, whether we meant to or not. What we buy tells manufacturers and retailers what types of products we want them to produce and sell. When you shop at the big box store – like a department store – for your fall fashion, you’re often voting for sweatshop labor, pollution and human rights violations, and mass-produced goods with no heart and soul.

This might seem like a bummer, but really it’s an opportunity! Instead of picking up mass-produced pieces this fall, you can add some handmade goodness to your fall wardrobe without giving up an ounce of style. I love fall colors, from muted greys to rich wine shades and even jewel tones, and these Etsy artisans have your fall color palette covered!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

1 Liter of Light Project: recycled bottles to create solar lamps

In The Philippines, like many parts of the developing world, kerosene lamps are the primary source of light for people living in the underprivileged areas. Not only are these lamps dangerous per se they also emit great amounts of CO2 and other toxic gases which cause respiratory problems amongst the people using them as well.

This prompted MIT student Alfredo Moser to come up with an idea for a solar lamp fashioned out of recycled water bottles. This idea was further developed by Illac Diaz, a Filipino student who used it to create the Isang Litrong Liwanag AKA the 1 Liter of Light project. Even though its name may be slightly misleading, the alternative lighting system basically ensures that people are able to utilize natural daylight without having the sun blazing in through a bigger skylight during the day.

Liter of Light is a global, grassroots movement committed to providing affordable, sustainable solar light to people with limited or no access to electricity. Through a network of partnerships around the world, Liter of Light volunteers teach marginalized communities how to use recycled plastic bottles and locally sourced materials to illuminate their homes, businesses and streets. Liter of Light has installed more than 350,000 bottle lights in more than 15 countries and taught green skills to empower grassroots entrepreneurs at every stop. Liter of Light’s open source technology has been recognized by the UN and adopted for use in some UNHCR camps.

Each solar lamp contains one liter of water mixed with bleach which creates the same amount of light as a regular 60 watt incandescent light bulb. What’s ever better is that the bleach keeps the water algae and bacteria-free for over 5 years which gives each installation a longer life. The I Liter of Light project basically uses discarded one liter PET bottles, fills them up with water and uses it to create a solar lamp/skylight hybrid that captures and amplifies the light of the sun which functions like an electric lamp and floods the indoors with light during the day. The lamp does not require any electricity to function though it can be a bit less luminescent on cloudy or rainy days. The project is a part of the My Shelter Foundation group who has invited homeowners, students and volunteers to create their own zero-cost makeshift solar lamps and their goal is to have 1 million bottle lamps fitted in homes throughout the Philippines.

If you want to get involved, visit http://literoflight.org

Monday, October 10, 2016

DALA outdoor furniture made from recycled packaging

The word DALA itself is the Senegalese term for the verb “to make” and the collection draws inspiration from handicrafts and other traditional artistic influences of the region. The collection was created as a collaborative effort between Burks and Dedon, the German furniture company. The DALA collection was showcased at the Design Week in Milan.

Self-proclaimed “design activist” and a designer based in New York City, Stephen Burks is championing the adoption of traditional crafts into the realms of modern design to ensure that these arts are preserved and develop as a part of the natural progression of design.

 The aim of Burks’ activism is to develop a way to enable artisans and communities dependant on the production of these craftworks to benefit socio-economically from the upliftment of these designs from the niche genre of “art and crafts” into legitimately mainstream design. To reinvent local handicrafts and introduce them into contemporary furniture design, Burks has created the DALA outdoor furniture collection.

Each piece in the DALA collection is shaped to resemble traditional craftwork though interestingly enough; Burks also combined these pieces with his love of recycling. The collection, thus, comes woven around a frame of powered aluminum with the exterior being fashioned using recyclable extrude polyethylene and recycled packaging used in the food-and-drink industry. The collection is offered in three hues- Sea, Grass and Fire.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Green Guide to buying Bicycles

Although I bicycle all year long – even in the snow and ice of winter – the fall is my absolute favorite time to be out on the road on my rusty-but-trusty 10 speed.

I’ve also noticed that fall is probably the best time of year to buy a bicycle. If you’re looking for a brand new one, bike shops often discount their inventory in the fall to make room for next year’s models. But I’ve also found that fall is the best time to score some real deals on used bikes at thrift stores and yard sales; with summer now in the rearview mirror, everyone seems to be jettisoning their lightly used cycles rather than making room for them in the garage.

If you’re not mechanically inclined, buying a used bike can seem a little intimidating. But the risk is usually worth the potential reward: I frequently find used bikes in the $25-$50 range. With a similar amount invested in repairs and labor, that used bike can be rehabbed into one that would cost 250-500 new. Of course many of them are vintage bikes from the 1970’s and 80’s, the likes of which you can’t buy today at any price.


Here are some of the most common mechanical problems to look for if you’re thinking about buying a used bike:
  • Flat/worn out tires and inner tubes. Dry rot is common in tires/tubes that have been sitting un-inflated for a period of time, so they often need to be replaced, rather than just inflated and/or patched. The good news is, new tires and tubes are usually pretty cheap and easy to install.
  • Bent wheels/rims. This is easy to evaluate before buying a used bike. Just spin the wheels, and if they wobble significantly when you spin them or if they’re so bent that they won’t spin at all without hitting the frame, then you have a problem. Diagnosing how serious the problem is – and how costly it will be to repair – is more difficult. It could just be a few broken or loose spokes, and a bike mechanic can fix it with minimal labor and parts. But it could mean you need a whole new wheel, which can get expensive and hard to find for some older bikes. Unless you know what you’re looking for, it’s probably best to stay away from used bikes that have wheels that are seriously out of balance (aka “true”).
  • Check the frame carefully. I’ve bought some used bikes simply because the frame was intact and well worth the price alone, even though all of the other components were worthless. Look for any signs that the frame (including the front forks) is bent, cracked, broken, or has been in an accident (patches for flaking paint can be a sign that it’s seen some collision action). Don’t buy a bike with a bent frame or any clear signs of frame damage; it probably can’t be repaired and will lead to further problems down the road (assuming it even gets you down the road).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Solar powered ice cream cart

Have you ever thought of linking Ice Cream with sun’s heat? With everything going green, a dutch ice cream company in association with an Amsterdam based studio has developed a sustainable ice cream cart. This machine can keep your ice cream intact with help of solar energy. Call it the vending machine or the ice cream cart, it is based on a system that stores solar power in batteries. These batteries supply enough power to the freezer through the day and night, even when the sun isn’t shining.

The ice cream cart has a roof that has photovoltaic panel. This panel generates the effective and reliable AGM batteries all day long. What’s more? These batteries can be charged overnight by connecting the system into an external socket. The roof of the vending machine can be raised whenever required. It can also be extended using four telephoto panels. With green being the latest buzz, this solar powered ice cream cart can be the pick for all the eco lovers. This sustainable and compact vending machine has been created by spring time and surely will be loved by one and all.

Joint venture with IJs&Zopie and Odenwald Organic

Friday, October 7, 2016

Eco Friendly Vision House for all Eco Lovers

For the environment conscious folks, an eco green house has been built by Structure Home in Los Angeles and Green Builder® Media in collaboration. The architects of this house, KAA design and P2 Design have based this house in the Pacific Palisades area of LA. It is spread across an area of 4289 sq. feet approximately. The eco friendly construction is synonymous to a luxury green demonstration home, being referred as vision house.

This sustainable residence focuses on an eco-friendly design which supports a UV light air-purification system along with solar panels and a central vacuum system which will eventually help in reduction of green house gases and carbon emission, This will also result in reduced electricity bills. This house also has a mold-resistant shower and includes fixtures like duct systems or appliances from Gaggenau. These appliances include a countertop steamer and a refrigerator with motorized shelve. Design beauty is not compromised as the architecture of this house highlights large window panels along with ceilings laid in wood. This creates a cozy bright atmosphere.

The house is made of eco-friendly fittings and furnishings like side tables crafted from refurbished car parts. The light fixtures are manufactured from reclaimed blown glass. This vision house is a result of a LEED and Energy Star certified home. This ensures that it is based on green technology. Today’s changing climate requires more such options to be avalaible for all the eco lovers. Not only does it help to save the planet but also helps in individual savings.