Technology 

Brazil homebuilder to offer Renault electric cars in buildings

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Latin America’s largest homebuilder, MRV Engenharia e Participacoes SA (MRVE3.SA), is partnering with the Brazilian unit of French automaker Renault SA (RENA.PA) to offer electric car sharing in its buildings. Co-Chief Executive Officer Rafael Menin said in a Thursday statement that the pilot program was part of the Brazilian homebuilder’s energy efficiency initiatives. The homebuilder aims to offer solar energy panels included in all of its new housing by 2022. In the first phase of the electric car program, two Renault Zoe vehicles will be offered…

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Historic England: The endangered buildings saved from ruin

Image copyright Historic England Image caption Pictured in 1987, Tynemouth Station was looking tatty and uncared for Since the heritage “at risk” register launched 20 years ago, more than two thirds of the original entries have been saved. But while hundreds are removed from Historic England’s list each year, nearly as many are added. Which sites count as success stories – and which remain in danger? The Midland Hotel, Morecambe Image copyright Bob Skingle Image caption Pictured in 2008, the Midland reopened as a four-star hotel and since 2013 has…

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Science 

Carrots could be key to making greener buildings, say researchers

LONDON (Reuters) – Crunchy and tasty, yes, but could carrots also strengthen cement and cut carbon dioxide emissions for the building industry? A group of researchers at Britain’s Lancaster University has been using a household food blender to mix particles from the root vegetable with concrete to see if they can produce a stronger and more environmentally sound product.     “We found out you could increase the strength of concrete by 80 percent by using a small amount of this new material,” lead researcher Mohamed Saafi told Reuters. Slideshow (4…

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Victorian Society reveals top 10 buildings ‘crying out’ to be saved

Image copyright Victorian Society Image caption The old Legat’s Ballet School is hidden by thick woodland and “shrouded in mystery”. An old Islamic school once suspected of training terrorists and a group of gothic cemetery chapels have been named on a top 10 endangered buildings list. The former Legat’s ballet school in East Sussex was raided by police in 2006 – now a campaign hopes to save it. The Victorian Society’s annual list aims to expose the plight of Victorian and Edwardian buildings at risk. Society president Griff Rhys Jones…

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The drug that makes people jump off buildings

Image copyright Staffordshire Police Image caption Police have warned that the use of monkey dust is at epidemic levels It has led people to jump off buildings, bite others and run into people’s homes. Now police say it is only a matter of time before someone dies as the result of “monkey dust” – a synthetic drug rising in popularity in the West Midlands. “At night time I won’t go out, because that’s when the people on drugs tend to come out,” Molly Lawton, a 19-year-old chef from Stoke, tells…

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Technology 

Portugal app empowers disabled to win better access to buildings

LISBON (Reuters) – Fed up with the obstacle course of Lisbon’s narrow footways and stairs in doorways, wheelchair user Ricardo Teixeira has taken matters into his own hands, giving disabled people the chance to fight back and instantly report violations via a phone app. Developed together with Portugal’s disability charity Salvador Association, +Acesso is believed to be the world’s first application allowing users to file official complaints against public buildings and businesses that do not meet accessibility laws.     The digital entrepreneur, a tetraplegic since the age of 18, came up…

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Single-use coffee cups ban in Scottish government buildings

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption From next week, hot drinks will be served in reusable mugs instead of disposable cups The Scottish government is banning single-use coffee cups in its main buildings in a bid to cut plastic pollution. From 4 June, hot drinks will only be served in reusable mugs. It is hoped the move will prevent 450,000 cups from being thrown away every year. Staff were informed of the changes and the alternatives from the beginning of May to give them time to prepare for the change.…

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