Courtesy of Phyllis Nichyporuk

BRAIN TEASERS ALTERNATEENDINGS…FORBUILDINGS A professor of architecture at Northeastern University has been encouraging students to think more about what happens to buildings once their intended lifecycle has come to an end. While most architects come into a building’s life at the beginning – during the design and construction phase – Professor Ang Li wants to create a culture where designers remain involved with a building throughout its maintenance and eventual renovation or demolition. She believes a building shouldn’t be thought of as a static object, but of something that follows a cyclical path. One of her current graduate courses entitled “Alternate Endings” has students examining the demolition and repurposing of buildings and materials. INNOVATIVECOMPANIESMAKE ITEASYTOBEGREEN–ANDORIGINAL Making your home more eco-friendly isn’t just about adding insulation and turning down your thermostat. There is a whole host of companies that focus on making every area of the home sustainable. Here are five of them! Light Earth Blocks: Light Earth blocks are a type of compressed earth block (CEB) made from waste by-products such as straw, earth and chalk. Solid blocks are compressed using high pressure, which can then be used in building construction in the same way as typical masonry bricks. Coffee Logs: Made from recycled coffee grounds, each briquette is made from 25 cups worth of grounds. They can be used in solid fuel stones, chimneys and open fires. Coffee logs are also completely carbon-neutral and burn longer and hotter than wood. Piñatex: Looks like leather, but is made from pineapple leaves. Already a byproduct of the pineapple harvest, the leaves are shipped from the Philippines to a factory in Spain and turned into a versatile textile that can be used to create bags, shoes, clothes and furniture. Transparent Speaker: What began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 has evolved into one very cool product. Stripped to its bare minimum parts, the Transparent Speaker is more than just cool – it’s environmentally friendly too. Nearly every part can be replaced if needed and old parts are fully recyclable. Durapalm: Instead of cutting down old-growth forests to create wood veneer and flooring, Durapalm uses palm trees that are past their nut and fruit producing period. The palm timber comes from across Central America, Africa and the Pacific Islands, providing jobs in the growing sustainability sector.

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