Wednesday, 24 May 2017

From landfill to landscape -

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A landscape restoration of a rubbish dump has won the Energy, Waste and Recycling category at the 2008 World Architecture Festival in Barcelona, Spain.

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Spanish architects Batlle and Roig have returned a 150 hectare rubbish dump back to nature.

"La Vall d'en Joan" (The Valley of Joan) project, designed by Spanish architects Batlle and Roig, has transformed a 150 hectare site in the Garraf Natural Park, south-west of Barcelona into a green terraced agricultural landscape.

In awarding the prize, judges Luis Mansilla -- Mansilla + Tunon architects -- and Martin Keiding -- editor-in-chief of Arkitektur DK -- described the scheme as: "a perfect example of bringing dead nature back to life by converting rubbish into a beautiful piece of landscape architecture...using few and humble means".

Joan Roig of Batlle and Roig Architects told CNN: "The idea was to create a system of hills and banks in a way that would avoid erosion from water and to give the rubbish dump back to nature with a natural design."

Work to transform the site -- the largest landfill in Spain -- began in 2000 and was completed earlier this year. It is a striking redrawing of a previously scarred and polluted landscape.

The landfill has been servicing Barcelona's metropolitan area for over 30 years. More than 20 million tons of rubbish was spread around the valley before the site was closed in 2006. In some places, you would have to dig down over 100 meters before you found soil again.

But this isn't just a cosmetic makeover . There is an underground drainage system on site which filters contaminated waste fluids. Part of this recycled water is then used to irrigate the park. "The whole project is very sustainable," Roig said.

Furthermore, the dump is also utilizing the bio gas that is emitted to provide electricity.

Some of the rubbish has remained above ground. Housed in large steel cages which flank the entrance to the site, Roig says they serve as a permanent reminder to visitors of the site's previous life.

Judge, Martin Keiding told CNN: "It's a very beautiful and simple design. It Sprinkler System Installation is landscape architecture that is inspiring. It is a very good example that everyone could look at and say: 'We could do the same.' This competition is about pointing out good examples that could inspire architects."

Batlle and Roig's winning design was one of eight short-listed projects in the Energ y, Waste and Recycling category, which was notable for the variety of entries.

They range from state of the art, hi-tech plans such as the Digital Beijing designed by Studio Pei Zhu and Urbanus, right down to low-cost, primitive ventures like the Community Cooker devised by Kenyan company, Planning Systems Services.

The communal cooker is turning rubbish into fuel to feed residents of one of Africa's biggest slums -- Kibera -- on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. The project was highly commended by the judges.

"Sustainability is a very import ant issue and so are the questions about rubbish, especially in Third World countries," Keiding said. "The community cooker is a way of introducing a solution directly into the society."

Keiding, himself a trained architect, believes that Energy, Waste and Recycling is the most important category at the inaugural World Architecture Festival. "We are facing big problems, so it is a great opportunity for architects to work seriously with this problem on many different levels.

"I think flashy executive buildings are interesting in one sense but they are not interesting if they are not dealing seriously with this matter. In my opinion you can throw them out. We have to be far more serious about integrating aspects of sustainability into architecture."

Both Mansilla and Keiding noted that engineering and architecture had to combine to deal with issues concerning waste and recycling. They said that achieving sustainability was a difficult task but it also represented a great opportunity for architects to contribute to the sphere.

All About Architecture o Nature and the Environment

Monday, 15 May 2017

Gardening :: Virus, Mildew, Clubroot And More

Mosaic Virus: This disease is highly viral and can infect an entire garden if one is not careful. There is currently no way to cure this virus but there are plants and seeds that can be purchased which are already resistant to the virus. The disease can be identified by a stunting in the growth of the infected plants and the leaves will begin to curl without reason. Infected plants must be destroyed and one way to help cut down on chances of the disease is to spray plants with homemade pesticide to kill or repel any insects that might be carrying the virus.

Wilts: This disease is another one that can affect your entire garden. It can be identified by wilting of lower leaves and is often accompanied by yellow blotches. To avoid the disease altogether organic vegetable growers should watch out for cucumber beetles which carry the disease and other insect. Vegetable growers should also try to plant vegetables which are resistant to the disease.

Powdery Mildew: T his disease will appear on the leaves, stems, flowers, of the vegetables in your garden. It comes in the form of a powdery mildew that will coat the affected areas with a white or gray coating. Ways to avoid the mildew are pruning plants to help encourage air circulation and removing any fallen leaves from underneath the plants. Keeping organic mulch around your plants will also help and baking soda can be used to help treat the disease and prevent it spread. Adding baking soda to water and spraying the infected plants will help cure them and prevent more infections.

Clubroot: A disease that infects cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli clubroot is a fungus that inhabits the soil. Plants that are infected with this disease will have swollen roots and will wilt in the full sun. A way to avoid clubroot is to purchase seeds that are resistant to the disease and to rotate veg etable crops each year. Once you have conquered weeds, insects, and avoided water shortages along with diseases you must always be sure that your vegetables are receiving enough nutrients. This nutrient comes from the rich soil and compost that they are growing from. Do not be afraid to spread more compost around your growing plants to help encourage growth.

Some plants , corn especially, need compost every few weeks in order to grow properly. If you feel that your compost is not making enough of a difference consider purchasing organic manure from local nurseries and even small farms. Aged manure might sound disgusting but it can mean the difference between a healthy, thriving, garden and a struggling one.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Good Houseplants for Feng Shui

There are many reasons to add houseplants to your home. Not only are they beautiful, but they can also help purify the air and create a healthier atmosphere in your home. However, there are also a number of houseplants that work well with the principles of feng shui. Try adding a few of these plants to enhance the positive energy within your home.

The Ying and Yang of Plants

The concept of yin and yang is important to keep in mind when choosing plants for inside your home. Yang energy is quite stimulating, and as a result can be beneficial to mental pursuits, learning, and when you need extra energy. Yang plants can be recognized by their pointy or spiky leaves. Use yang plants in your office when you wish to add more power and drive to your actions. Yin energy is restful and peaceful, and can be much more conducive to mental relaxation and sleep. Yin plants have rounded leaves and often have an overall rounded shape. Use yin plants in the bedroom, bathroom and other rooms where you wish to promote relaxation.

Smoothing Out the Corners of Your Home with Plants

Sharp corners in your home can create what are known as "shars." It Sprinkler Installation is often recommended to soften these sharp corners to promote a more harmonious energy in the room. Plants are a wonderful solution to soften these corners. Place a large potted plant with rounded leaves, such as a rubber tree, on the floor in a corner of the room. This can be especially effective if the corner is in the Wealth area of your home, since rubber plants symbolize abundance, good fortune and wealth. A hanging pla nter suspended from the ceiling in the corner containing a round-leaf plant such as Swedish ivy can also be a great way Sprinkler System Installation Mckinney of adding an element of softness. If you wish to add some warmth and emotion to your home, add a philodendron plant with its heart-shaped leaves.

Promoting Good Relationships with Plants

If you wish to attract a new relationship to your life or reinforce and strengthen an existing one, display plants in pairs within your home. Any deco rations in your home that are displayed in pairs, including plants, will increase the tendency for relationship "coupling." A pair of jade plants can be beautiful as well as effective. Jade plants are also thought to attract wealth to your home.

Plants for Good Luck

Bamboo is a beautiful plant to add to your home. It is easy to grow and is thought to bring good luck. You can also add a touch of the Water element to your home when growing bamboo by simply growing the bamboo in a vase of water instead of a planter. Bamboo is especially beautiful in the bathroom. If you wish to attract financial good luck to your home, add African violets. Their round coin-shaped leaves symbolize wealth. For the best effect, place in the Wealth area of your home. Of course, no matter which plants you choose to grow, always take good care of them. Wilted, dead or dying plants should be removed from the home immediately, since they encourage negative energy. It is also not advisable to disp lay dried plant material in your home for the same reason.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Troubleshooting Sprinkler Systems | hubpages

An irrigation system should work perfectly for many seasons without any trouble. However, every sprinkler system eventually malfunctions. Luckily changing a single part usually returns the system to full working condition. With a little troubleshooting advice, a homeowner can often repair their own sprinkler system without calling a professional contractor.

A sprinkler system consists of a few basic parts: a water source, pipes, timer, valves and the sprinklers. Many homes use city water as the water source, while others take advantage of a well or lake. A home using a lake or well as its water source needs a high-voltage pump. A timer wires directly to the pump motor. When the timer activates, the pump motor draws water from the source and forces it into the irrigation pipes. A sprinkler system connected to city water uses a low-voltage timer. A low-voltage timer's transforme r taps into the home's 120-volt circuit. The transformer converts high voltage into the low voltage power source the system requires. When the timer activates a zone, it sends the low voltage power source to the appropriate valve solenoid. Once activated the solenoid opens the valve, letting the water pass. Once it reaches the sprinkler heads, it is distributed across the landscaping.

Locating and Repairing Broken Sprinkler System Pipes

Eventually every sprinkler system suffers an underground broken pipe. Isolated areas of excessively moist soil, visible geysers and a water meter that runs with the sprinkler system off indicate that a sprinkler pipe has broken or cracked. In the worst cases, this problem can waste thousands of gallons of water each month. Finding the break often becomes frustrating. Common culprits include tree roots and careless shovel work.

If the break occurs before the valve, the broken pipe needs immediate attention. A break in this locatio n leaks constantly and left unattended the damaged pipe will rupture. If a small area of the lawn turns exceptionally green or the soil seems spongy, check for a sprinkler pipe with a small leak. Once the pipe ruptures the constant water pressure bubbles up to the surface, clearly identifying the broken pipe's location.

Leaks after a valve will only appear when the timer activates the zone with the damaged pipe, resulting in a hard to find problem area. To find this type of leak, close or cap each sprinkler head and turn on the respective zone until the soil becomes wet. Carefully probe the wet area with a shovel to find the pipe. To close an adjustable fan-spray sprinkler head, pull up the sprinkler head's stem. Twist the top of the nozzle counterclockwise with one hand while holding the bottom of the nozzle still with your other hand. To close a rotor or gear driven sprinkl er head, place the appropriate tool into the grove next to the arrow. Turn the adjustment screw counterclockwise. If the sprinkler head will not turn off, remove the soil surrounding the sprinkler head. Unscrew the sprinkler head from its male adapter. Place the correct sized threaded cap, either 1/2 or 3/4 inch NPT, on the exposed male adapter and hand tighten the cap.

The materials needed for repairing a broken or cracked sprinkler pipe include a can of wet-or-dry PVC cement, a small section of the correct size PVC pipe and a few fittings. Turn off the sprinkler system's water source. Remove at least 6 inches of soil underneath the broken pipe. Cut out the damaged section of pipe and let the residual water drain into the hole under the break. Clean the debris from the ends of the pipe. Replace the missing section of pipe, using the appropriate fittings and pipe. To avoid digging up large lengths of pipe, finish the repair with an expandable coupling or flexible tubing.

Repairing or Replacing Damaged Sprinkler Heads

Broken and incorrectly adjusted sprinkler heads do not distribute water correctly, leaving large areas of a lawn dry. Returning a sprinkler head to its proper adjustment setting often fixes the problem. Due to a new sprinkler head's relatively low cost and the variations between manufacturers, homeowners often find a complete replacement of a broken sprinkler head the easiest and most cost effective solution.

All fan spray sprinkler heads have a distance adjustment screw, the screw located on the to p of the nozzle. Many nozzles throw water between 10 and 15 feet, assuming 25 PSI of water pressure at the nozzle. Turning the distance screw clockwise increases the water throw. Twisting the top of an adjustable nozzle changes the arc. Rotor sprinkler heads have distance and arc adjustments. The adjustment procedure depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers supply an adjustment key, while others use a small slotted screwdriver.

Lawnmowers cause extreme damage to a sprinkler head. Cement landscaping donuts help prevent the lawnmower blade from hitting the sprinkler head. If the lawnmower broke the sprinkler head's body, replace the entire sprinkler head with an exact replacement. If the lawnmower blade damaged the top of the sprinkler head, either replace the entire sprinkler head or try to identify the brand of sprinkler head and replace just the broken part from a new head. Replacing a broken cap and stem, sometimes called the shaft, eliminates the need to dig up the body.

Automobiles often drive over sprinkler heads positioned next to a driveway, usually breaking the sprinkler head or pipe below. Often the best solution involves digging up the sprinkler pipe and replacing the short section of hard PVC directly below the sprinkler head with a flexible PVC pipe, then installing an exact replacement sprinkler head.

When a sprinkler head's shaft extends but water does not spray out of the nozzle, debris has clogged the nozzle or its screen. Turn the system off and remove the nozzle and clean all debris from the nozzle's screen. To remove the a fan-spray sprinkler head nozzle, pull the stem up out of the body with one hand and grip the nozzle with the other. Hold the shaft still and turn the nozzle counterclockwise. Many rotor sprinkler head manufacturers use a nozzle that is locked in place with a set screw. To access the nozzle and set screw, unscrew and pull the rotor's cap and stem from its body.

A multimeter measures several different electrical readings. In most cases, homeowners only need a basic multimeter that reads voltage and resistance; professional technicians occasionally use the multimeter's other functions. Inexpensive digital meters simplify troubleshooting procedures.

One or More Zones Will Not Turn On or Stays On

A system with a zone that will not turn on or off has a malfunctioning timer, zone valve or a short in the low-voltage wire. Troubleshooting a low-voltage circuit requires a multimeter. A technician uses the multimeter to read voltage and continuity across the individual system parts, isolating the faulty device.

If the timer does not work at all, check the timer's transformer for proper input and discharge voltage. Some transformer's plug into a standard 120-volt receptacle, others are wired directly into the home's electrical circuit. If the transformer receives the proper voltage but its output voltage does not match its stated output voltage, replace the transformer. If the transformer works properly, replace the timer.

If only one zone will not turn on, check the timer's output voltage between the respective zone and common terminals. Activate the malfunctioning zone. Turn the multimeter to its lowest AC-voltage setting. Place one multimeter probe on the malfunctioning zone terminal and the other multimeter probe on the common terminal. Compare the multimeter readout with the timer transformer's stated output voltage. When activated, the timer allows low voltage to pass on the valve's solenoid. If the multimeter reads zero, replace the timer. If the multimeter shows voltage, turn off the timer and troubleshoot the valve's solenoid. Remove the wires connected to the valve's solenoid. Turn the multimeter to its resistance setting. Place a probe on each solenoid lead. If the sol enoid does not have continuity, replace the solenoid. If the solenoid has continuity, check the low-voltage wires between the solenoid and the timer for a short. To check for a short, twist the two low-voltage wires at the solenoid together. Disconnect the common wire and the malfunctioning zone's wire at the timer. Using the multimeter, check for continuity through the wires. If the wires do not have continuity, replace the low voltage wires. If the wires do have continuity, reconnect everything. Tighten all electrical connections and test the zone.

If water seeps from the sprinkler heads in a particular zone after the timer turns off the zone, check the zone valve's diaphragm for debris or damage. To inspect a valve diaphragm, first turn off the irrigation system's water supply. Remove the valve's top. The removal procedure depends on the valve type and manufacturer. Lift the diaphragm and its spring from the valve body. Clean any debris from the valve body and inspect the diaphragm and spring for damage. Many home improvement stores sell replacement diaphragms for the various valve manufacturers.

High-Voltage Timer and Pump Issues

Because of the inherent dangers involved with high voltage, only individuals trained and experienced with high-voltage equipment should work on or repair the motor and timer. However, a basic understanding of how the system works never hurts. A sprinkler system drawing water directly from a pond or well usually uses a 240-volt pump motor, some systems operate on a 120-volt circuit. A dual voltage pump motor has a switch, located inside its electrical compartment, that allows operation with either voltage. Sprinkler systems that take water from a pond usually use a jet or transfer pump. Well pumps come in many configurations, including shallow well, deep well and submersible type pumps. Some systems use a pump start relay, while other pump motors are wired directly to a high-voltage timer. An irrigation system with a pump start relay uses the valve timer's low-voltage signal to turn on the pump motor. High voltage timers turn the pump motor on an off directly. Many submersible pumps need a start capacitor as well as a run capacitor. A capacitor holds voltage even after turning off the circuit breaker.

Some of the possible reasons that a pump motor will not turn on include a malfunctioning timer, incorrect voltage, faulty capacitor or a dead short. A dead short trips the pump motor's circuit breaker immediately. The dead short often occurs either in the motor's windings or along a stretch of a wire with worn insulation. The repair depends on the location of the short. A service technician always compares the actual voltage at the motor with the motor's stated operating voltage. If the irrigation system uses a dual-voltage pump motor, the technician will verify the motor's voltage setting. If the measured voltage and the stated voltage do not match, the technician will trace the electric supply back to the timer and then to the circuit breaker. If the measured voltage and the stated voltage match, the technician should test the capacitor before changing the motor.