Masdar, a green city in Abu Dhabi designed by the British architecture firm Foster + Partners planned to be the world's first zero-carbon and zero-waste city in the world is nearing first stage completion after a three year journey. This car-free zone is being driven by Abu Dhabi's Future Energy Company and will be home to the company's headquarters and a new university. The project was unveiled at the Cityscape conference in Abu Dhabi back in 2007.
The land around the city will be home to wind and photovoltaic farms as well as research fields and plantations so that the city is completely self-sustaining but skepticism about Masdar's ability to succeed have trailed the project. The Masdar Institute is due to welcome its first residents this September but it has been no easy road. The project is currently facing its first review. The project was rebranded from "zero carbon" to "carbon neutral" and the parent company recently cut its work force. A piece on Greentech chronicles some of the difficulties which have included sandstorms that limited the solar capacity.
The $22 billion carbon neutral Masdar City project is still planned to provide seven percent of the United Arab Emirates' power with renewable energy sources by 2020 even though the project is behind schedule. In a statement Lord Forster of Foster + Partners said that "Masdar has far reaching significance as a test-bed and an integrated urban research project of unprecedented scale and ambition." Whatever happens with the project is a learning experience not just for Abu Dhabi but for a world trying to go green. It has captured global attention, above, German chancellor Angela Merkel checks out the model of the project.
Keen on getting your hands on a Porsche Panamera, but not so keen on skyrocketing fuel consumption? Then we've got good news for you, because in addition to developing a variety of new electric-drive prototypes for both road and track, Porsche has confirmed the arrival of the Panamera S Hybrid.
Borrowing its gasoline-electric drivetrain from the existing Cayenne S Hybrid sport-utility, the Panamera S Hybrid will be driven by a 329-horsepower 3-liter V6 coupled by a 46hp electric motor. And like its high-riding counterpart, it will be able to operate on electric power alone at low speeds around town. Expect the Panamera S Hybrid to arrive sometime next year.
Gallery: Porsche Panamera V6
The new G-Bike at Fred Segal Fun lives up to the "Fun" brand moniker in a number of unexpected ways.
Firstly, there are the colors; this snazzy scooter-bicycle hybrid is available in the above yellow, a grassy green, dark blue, red, sleek black and white and several other shades, with new hues being developed all the time (or, for a premium, you can design your own). Also, like a hybrid should be, the G-Bike is an eco-friendly, zero-emissions vehicle.
This fully electric scooter-bike can run up to 20 miles per hour for 35 miles per charge (which takes four to eight hours). It's well-suited to students and professionals in urban environments -- people who could walk, but are too awesome to do so. Best of all, you don't need a license to drive it or a registration to have it. Additional features include removable pedals, a remote control alarm, brakes, rear-view mirrors, a horn and ample storage space for books, a work bag, groceries, shopping bags or whatever you have.
The G-Bike is available from the Fred Segal Fun store in Santa Monica (310-394-9814) for $1,100. Check out some of the other colors and the stylish G-Bike Chopper (a more bicycle-like motor-bicycle) in the gallery below.
A number of American artists and writers have contributed to Lives of the Hudson, a compelling new book on the artistic, literary, and environmental history of the Hudson River from Prestel. The site of stunning historic estates like Astor Courts and Marienruh, the river is much more than mere scenery. The companion volume to an exhibition of the same name staged at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, the book explores the river's complex history via sections entitled The Natural River, The Imagined River, The Human River, and The Working River. Along with important works by famed Hudson River School painters such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Cole, the book features literary contributions from the likes of Rick Moody, Carolyn Forche, Philip Lopate and others. Cultural artifacts provide a fascinating background of the river's many lives while contemporary artwork asks us to "reconsider our use of the river and our relationship with nature and history."
Gripsholm is the only EU and US certified organic distillery in Sweden. Once the king's cannon maker in the late 16th century (hence the vodka's name), Gripsholm started supplying vodka to the foundry workers and people in the surrounding area. With its 29 pot-still pans, 280 workers and a production of over a million liters of vodka annually, Gripsholm was once the largest distillery in Sweden.
Kanon is distilled from locally grown organic wheat in a continuous process without the use of environmentally harmful or genetically modified additives. The whole setup is eco-friendly; the distillery is run on wind and water power and all by-products are renewed. Even the attractive bottle is made from 60% recycled glass. Now available in New York at Morgan's hotels, Kanon will be launching in Los Angeles in January 2011.
Gallery: Kanon Organic Vodka
A British car design expert named Richard Sauter known for several important innovations has adapted the latest in green automotive technology to create the world's first zero carbon superyacht. The design for the lightweight 160-ft. yacht employs both Mercedes-Benz's BlueTec clean diesel engines and the KERS (kinetic energy regeneration) system used by Porsche in its new 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, along with solar power. Dubbed Transcendence, the sleek, high-performance yacht will be capable of 25 knots under full power using what Sauter claims is the cleanest marine propulsion system in the world. Solar cells situated on PV deck spoilers in addition to the KERS and plug-in sources of energy charge a lithium ion storage system that runs all the yacht's services including AC, day and night. The system allows Transcendence to achieve her maximum speed under peak loads and to navigate in and out of harbors with zero emissions under battery power alone. Inside are luxe accommodations for 10 guests as well as 12 crew, fitted with the latest high-end sustainable materials.
The brand has already attracted a high-profile celebrity endorsement from actor Don Cheadle. On the Dixon Golf website a quote from Cheadle proclaims that he is a "a single digit handicapper and feel that the Dixon Earth ball fits my game as well as any ball out there. It is refreshing to be associated with a company that shares my love of golf and the environment."
Dixon Golf has created the world's first high-performance eco-friendly golf balls. Unlike some Golf Ball Brands that use harsh heavy-metal pollutants like tungsten, cobalt, lead or contain non-renewable synthetic materials and compounds; all balls manufactured by Dixon Golf are "green" to the core. They are 100% recyclable and made from reprocessable materials. Even the packaging is made from 100% recycled material.
Now you can be ecologically correct when you picnic. Simply shun the wicker and the piles of paper plates and cups you usually use and buy a Boxsal, a totally compostable, reusable picnic box. Each Boxsal is roomy enough for salads, sandwiches, a bottle of wine, maybe some brownies and fruit. It even has separate, adjustable compartments so that nothing gets squeezed or crushed. Good-for-the-planet Boxsal comes with fully compostable forks, knives, and spoons for four people, four trays, four large bowls, four small bowls, four cold cups (that's how you drink wine on a picnic to avoid broken glass), eight napkins, and a bag for trash. It's nice to feel virtuous when you're not adding to the waste at a landfill, but it's also a treat to have a picnic box that is good looking and well designed. Boxsal comes in three graphic styles ---one with an urban buzz, another for a couple on a date, and a third that's all business. It even looks like a briefcase. You can order the Boxsal, $35, on the website, www.boxsal.com or by phone at 214-377-1582.
Gallery: Boxsal Picnic Boxes
Before one can enjoy one's summer house, there's often a fair amount of cleaning to do; sometimes it seems to take up most of the vacation. One way to alleviate some of the ennui of the task is to hire someone else to do it, of course; but you shouldn't overlook the therapeutic value of tackling the job yourself with the aid of great-smelling, eco-friendly products that are a pleasure to use. Caldrea, a company based in Minneapolis, MN,makes high quality, earth-friendly products in exclusive signature fragrances for all types of house cleaning. They use the finest plant-derived ingredients and essential oils to provide natural freshness and cleaning potency – no harsh chemicals, no harsh fragrances, and all products are biodegradable and not tested on animals. They've just introduced a new fragrance, Sandalwood Riceflower, though our favorite remains their original, Lavender Pine. They also now make cleaning tools and carry sets combining both. The company is currently holding a summer sale with all items marked 20% off.
The 10-day trip takes travelers near Rwanda's Virunga Volcanoes, for an adventure that includes tracking the mountain gorillas twice. Other highlights include visiting the grave of famed primatologist Dian Fossey and meeting Dr. Mike Cranfield, a veterinarian from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian project who will explain the threats facing these animals and why they need to be protected. Other highlights include seeing a variety of birds, elephant, hippo, giraffe, spotted hyena, buffalo, and crocodiles in Akagera National Park and staying in the newly refurbished Virunga Lodge. A donation will be made to the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project on behalf of each participant. The tour is available November 26- December 5, 2010; March 4-13, 2011 and May 27-June 5, 2011. Cost per person is $6,649, Group size is limited to 16 participants; single supplement is $1,000; international airfare is not included.
Italian luxury fashion brand Salvatore Ferragamo is launching a new line of bio-friendly men's shoes called Ferragamo WORLD, with a portion of the proceeds going to Acumen Fund, a global non-profit venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia and East Africa. The new collection designed to be casual, sophisticated and functional, drawing on the Ferragamo tradition of "stylistic sophistication, craftsmanship and comfort". The aesthetic is "Italian City Casual", a bit less formal than Ferragamo's core offerings, inspired by Italy's traditional way of life.
The line is evocative of relaxation outdoors, of long walks in the city, of bicycles as an alternative means of transportation, of attention to detail and of a comfortable and wearable elegance. The collection consists of six models in select leathers with a rubber sole: desert boots, moccasins with or without signature hardware and sporty models with a college and tennis feel. Clean lines incorporate a comfortable step guaranteed by the unique structure of an ergonomic sole made of bio-friendly, decomposable material. The leathers use the latest generation water tanning processes and water based adhesives are also used which minimize any kind of harmful waste.
Gallery: Ferragamo WORLD
[via National Jeweler]
For $40 million you can get one of the most stylish and most eco-friendly superyachts ever built – the new Columbus 199 designed by Hydro Tec, currently under construction at the Palumbo shipyard in Naples, Italy. The sleek 199-ft. steel and aluminum superyacht s being built to RINA (Registro Italiano Navale) Green Star code, a classification identifying yachts which are designed, constructed and operated in such a way as to ensure maximum respect for the environment. Slated for completion in 2012, the five-decked craft boasts low fuel consumption, awe-inspiring maneuverability and reduced draft in addition to Italian supermodel looks. Her by twin MTU 16V 4,000 M60 diesel engines produce a top speed of 18 knots and a cruising speed of 12 knots, with a range of 5,000 nautical miles at cruising speed. She can accommodate up to 16 guests in seven staterooms, including four cabins on the lower deck, two VIP cabins on the main deck, and a full-beam master suite on the upper deck, along with 13 crew. Luxe touches include a gym, spa pool, beach club area aft of the tender garage, and elevator serving four of the decks.
But granola in the gift bag and a local farm-fresh menu didn't mean that guests wore Birkenstocks. In fact, Miller had opalescent strips on her not exactly homespun dress. "I was so happy," said the designer, "because they go with my necklace by Jacqui Toboroff that I have never had a chance to wear."
The Green Gala took place at the Wolffer Estate, a sprawling vineyard in Sagaponack, New York . . . Hamptons heartland. Amidst aligned rows of grapevines, a Wolffer Estate tasting center abuts Route 27. Turning west, past an Italianate villa structure, some 400 guests, including James Lipton of "The Actors Studio," drove across flaxen fields where they parked their Mercedes SUVs, and hopefully a few hybrid vehicles.
The local farm-fresh menu served in a breezy tent included gravlax and organic beets on baby lettuce from Early Girl Farm (the Moriches). A Wolffer verjus beurre blanc accompanied the sea bass, as well as a salad of vegetables from Cutchogue's Satur Farms. Chef Brian Fishman of Sweet Karma whipped up a local goat-cheese cake marinated in Wolffer's late harvest Chardonnay. "It was the best food I have ever had at an event . . . ever," said Miller.