20 Easy Interior Design Ideas for Small Apartments.
Small apartments deserve the respect that any other interior design project would warrant, but many individuals don’t know where to begin the process. There are many different ways to go about improving upon the interior of your small apartment, but only a few of them are going to feel “perfect”. Take it from someone who owns a small apartment themselves – there is a lot of stuff you can do!
#1. Drapes! When you add drapes to your rooms, make sure that they match the colors of the walls. This will allow a feeling of continuity to take place, letting the space feel larger. You should always be looking to match your color schemes, as it’s one of the more typical things to be considered in within interior design.
#2. Natural light. If you have windows, make sure you’re making ample use of the natural light present in your home. The more natural light you can see, the bigger things will appear. Natural light is also cheap, and doesn’t cost a thing! If you have the right windows in place, you can use as much natural light as you’d like. .
#3. Sofas and Armchairs – When it comes to your sofas and armchairs, you’d be better off with the raised variety. When they don’t touch the ground, it creates a bigger sense of space. The space underneath the furniture might not seem all too important right away, but once you see it all come together, it’s a wonderful feeling. The furniture that you implement within your small apartment is going to be responsible for a good chunk of how spacious your apartment feels.
#4. Clean your clutter! Clutter can be a big problem, especially when it comes to smaller apartments. When you keep things clean, the clutter won’t make you feel closed in. Clutter can be unhealthy in certain ways as well, so ridding your property of it quickly is a useful process.
#5. Neutral colors – When you’re looking into the palette portion, try and pick colors that are going to come off as being neutral. Your space will not only appear larger, but clean and well-lit as well! Beige, gray and tons of other colors could be deemed perfect.
#6. Fabrics/Rug selections – When you’re looking at these items, make sure that they are smaller prints; try and strive for plain/unified colors as well. When you can match colors correctly, a room will be much more appealing visually.
#7. Multi-functional furniture – This is a given, as anybody with a small living space will tell you that multi-functional is a big deal. When you can sleep on your bed, but also store hundreds of pieces of clothing underneath it, you’re going to be better off in regards to your space usage.
#8. Mirrors! Mirrors are a given, as they reflect the rest of your apartment and give it a larger feeling. This is important, as it’s a mind trick of sorts; when you have mirrors in your home, you can’t just stick hundreds of them up. You need to place them strategically, so that your entire apartment is benefiting from the light being reflected.
#9. Large pieces of furniture? They say that smaller pieces are always going to be your best bet, but larger pieces of furniture can actually turn out to be quite beneficial. When you implement a relatively large piece, it can co-operate with the rest of your apartment perfectly; giving it a spacious feeling. Test it out for yourself and see what kind of results you’ll be working with! #10. Small
#10. Small accessories – When it comes to the accessories you’ll have placed throughout your home, you’ll want to keep them smaller than usual. If you have a vase or table that’s incredibly large, it could take away from the space available in the apartment itself. Take a risk and work with small accessories, even if it’s something you’re not used to, you may fall in love with the results. Small scale accessories turn into larger than life interior designs.
#11. Group together your art pieces – if you have a lot of art to hang on your walls, try and group them together. When you keep them spaced out, you may feel like it’s allowing your home to appear larger, but it’s the opposite. You see a lot more of the wall, and if it isn’t matching in regards to color (alongside the rest of your drapes and other accessories), it’s going to cause problems.
#12. Mix and match patterns – Patterns, like squares and lines, can be your best friend. Much like a pair of striped pants will make your legs appear longer, striped accessories will allow your house to appear longer/larger as a whole. It’s a neat trick that many people implement with pillow cushions and such, and this is one opportunity you have in order to create a contrast of color.
#13 Foot traffic – When you live in a tiny space, there is bound to be an abundance of foot traffic somewhere throughout the house. If this is the case, try and identify these problem areas beforehand; this should allow you to prepare for the things that will go on. Create spaces for hanging out, eating and everything else; but also have a specific “high-traffic” area. Smaller apartments are much easier to destroy with a house party! Not that you’ll be having any, of course.
#14. Storage out in the open – Storage that is implemented alongside your typical furniture items (like a bed or couch) is always sought after, but open storage will be ideal as well. Have a few baskets that separate different types of items, and use them effectively; it will help keep your small interior organized at all times. This also has to do with the clutter portion of smaller apartments, and keeping yourself free from it.
#15. Picking proper “Staple Pieces” – Staple pieces are the ones that bring together most living rooms, like coffee tables or a sofa of some sort. Keep those pieces neutral in color, but introduce some variety with your accessories and accents. For example, have a light gray sofa, but use a few different shades of blue for the pillow cushions! It will not only feel comfortable, but spacious as well.
#16. Light fixtures – There are many unique light fixtures on the market that are appealing not only visually, but also emotionally (as weird as it sounds). There are some creative designs out there that could keep your small apartment lit up in style!
#17. Vertical storage – Since you’re already short on space, there are a few ways to get the most out of your small apartment.
When you make use of vertical storage, you’ll notice that there are tons of different places to have shelves built. Shelves can not only look nice, but they will allow you to store more items in your small space. Go vertical and you’ll never need to worry about having enough storage room to work with.
#18. Don’t block any lighting opportunities. – If there are ample opportunities for letting in natural light, make sure that you aren’t blocking any. If you have a bookshelf or anything that is an integral piece to your home, but it happens to be blocking a natural light opportunity, you’ll have to figure out a new place to put it. Light is always going to be the key component to making your home appear larger, as that’s the most ideal thing to be using it for. Blocking light opportunities could be compared to refusing a free shot at making your small apartment appear larger.
#19. Use some plants! Plants will not only bring some fresh air into the mix, but they will also just look appealing as well. Plants aren’t too large, and can add to the home-style atmosphere that so many small apartment owners are trying to achieve. It’s hard to create comfort in such a small space, but when you use plants and other proper accents, you’ll notice a huge difference. If you have a specific kind of plant/flower that you favor, you can work with that choice; there isn’t any specific kind of plant that will make your house appear bigger (just avoid large plants!).
#20. Kitchen cabinet knobs – Although this may seem out of context, the knobs that you’re sporting on your kitchen cabinets can play a big part in the spaciousness of your home. If it’s all one color, go with an alternative choice this time around – this is good for people who have landlords that despise renovations (or refuse to renovate properties on their own terms). Knobs are relatively easy to swap out, and if you’re under a lease, you can remove them and take them with you in case of a move.
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Looking for your dream home? Just press print. You know, I love 3D printing. I’ve talked about it a lot, in fact the second episode ever of Fw:Thinking was about 3D printing. And it was pretty thorough. But I’ve got to talk about it some more, so here’s a way to catch up. It’s also known as additive manufacturing, because a 3D printer builds an object by laying layer upon layer of material until it’s finished. It’s less wasteful than regular manufacturing because you don’t have to cut or carve away material to build your object. And in fact the automotive and airplane industries have been using this technology for years in order to develop prototypes in a cheap and easy way. But I’m still not thinking big enough! You see most of the 3D printers I’ve had experience with have been on the small side. The biggest one I ever saw was large enough to make a helmet that fit on my head. But when it comes to 3D printers, size is not a limiting factor. So what if you built a 3D printer large enough to print a house? Well if you did… you’re late to the party because someone has already done exactly that! And I’m not talking about a hypothetical prototype.
I’m talking a working 3D printer that uses recycled construction material and quick drying concrete as ink. A Chinese company called Winsun used four of these types of 3D printers to build ten houses in one day outside of Suzhou China. Now how big are these printers? Well how about 33 feet wide by 22 feet tall? And for our friends outside the United States, that’s 10 meters by meters. These printers are gargantuan! Now, these printers follow preprogrammed patterns, and those patterns are designed to create structurally sound houses, so that they can stand up to their own weight.
Now Winsun’s approach requires some work because they print the various pieces separately and then they have to put them together. Even so, with this approach they’re saving money with materials, with labor, with time. And these houses cost less than $5,000 a piece, so this approach could really be a boon for low income housing. Now you don’t have to go all the way to China to see this in action. We have a company here in the United States called Contour Crafting that does essentially the same thing. Now their 3D printer is mounted on a rail system, so it can roll up and down a construction site and build an entire house from floor to roof in one go. No assembly required. And Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis, who is a pioneer in this field says it would take just 24 hours to build a house this way! But this is just the beginning, and people are already talking about using this technology to build houses for people who have lost their homes in the wake of a natural disaster.
And maybe as this technology grows and evolves over time we’ll see it being used to build the dream houses of the future. So you won’t go to break ground on your new housing project, you’ll just make sure the toner’s not too low. OK, I’ve got a question for all of you this week. What do you think about 3D printing? Is it going to democratize manufacturing, or is spelling the doom and gloom of the consumer market? What’s your take on this technology? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video make sure you hit that “like” button, share it with your friends. Join the cool kids, subscribe to the channel. And after you’re done with all that….this is just the tip of the iceberg – to learn about the really awesome future, check out these videos over here!
– Jonathan here, today we’re going to take a look at some of best available home tech thus far of 2017. So first up is the Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Connected. A big shout out to Philips for not only transmitting this out, but also in the dark periods of adpocolypse for also sponsoring this episode. Now yes, this is a toothbrush on a tech canal, but that is because there is a crazy amount of tech packed inside this guy, starting with the fact that it will connect via bluetooth to your smart phone. So what’s cool with that bluetooth connectivity is the fact that it’s not just going to tell you to brush your teeth for “X” amount of minutes.
There is a smart sensor built within this that’s going to know how hard you brushed, whatever it is you brushing, and at the end of it when it’s all said and done which spots you reach accurately and which ones you didn’t. So that combined with the fact that it is steering you through your mouth area by area is kind of cool. I’m not going to lie, there are times when you wake up in the morning and you’re zoned out, you’re half-asleep, and maybe you brush the right side of your mouth course more than there is a requirement and inattention that left side, but with this not no more.
Now for those who’ve caught most recent videos, you know strokes per time is kind of a big deal. This guy is dishing out 31,000 strokes a time, and to breaking that down that’s 516 strokes two seconds and to visualize that, “one, two, three, ” that is 1,550 strokes that just happened. So you blend that kind of apoplexy strength with your adaptive clean brushing brain, which is soft, flexible, and merely kind of hugs your teeth, then you’re going to have some squeaky clean pearly whites. So next up is the Como Audio Solo wireless bluetooth, and specifically I’m taking a look at the one in walnut black. So if you adore lumber and you adore tech, you are going to adore this thing. Aesthetically, it is beautiful and if there were one word I would use to describe this it would be “classy.” Price-wise it is a little more than your median bluetooth speaker, but that is because it is more than your median bluetooth speaker.
For starters, build-quality-wise, it is using real lumber and not some cheap laminate, and when I say it is more than merely a bluetooth speaker, what I intend by that is beyond the bluetooth connectivity, there is built in radio, both FM and internet flavors, Wi-Fi, and then what stood out to me “the worlds largest” is built-in Spotify connect integration. Now, specifically for me, why I really like the Spotify connect feature is you’re actually getting better sound quality, that’s because you are drawing music immediately from the machine as to report to connecting through bluetooth. Then two, formerly you’re setup and ready to go, you can then utilize this stand-alone without needing to use your phone.
As far as sound-quality proceeds, this thing packs course, course more sound than you would ever expect for a box this size. It is clear, “its by” punchy, the issue is abundance of volume, on the other hand though it’s not going to blow your socks off low-end wise, so if that is something you’re in to you may potentially want to look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for something clear, that’s going to fill a chamber, is unique and packed full of features, this is your guy. Following that, maybe one of the coolest home tech gadgets of all time, especially for under $30, this is the Sideclick, and specifically I’m taking a look at the one for Apple TV, but if Apple is not your thing, there’s also one available for the Fire TV and ROKU. So, with the Sideclick, firstly and foremost what it’s going to do basically is house the Apple TV remote. What that’s going to do is add some size, add some volume, and in become hopefully reduce your chances of losing this thing. Now in my suit, the course I have it setup is the strength button is going to strength on and strength off the TV.
The plus minus will then control the volume on the soundbar. The up and down arrows will control the canals on the TV. The generator button will control the source of the TV. Then as far as A& B proceeds, right now I have an A to strength on the TV, that are actually only because I don’t have a secondary machine, but in theory you could have a Blu-ray player or a DVD player. Then lastly I have B powering on the soundbar. Now for me, the coolest thing about this guy aside from the rate, was how easy it was to set it up. It earnestly took less than 5 minutes, that’s because it connects through infrared, as opposed to entering in stupid codes.
Now the instance where you’re maybe also using a cablebox, this will surely improve things, but not be the ideal solution, but on the flip side if you’re someone who watches TV, devours their media through an apple TV, a ROKU, or a Fire TV, perhaps that is merely the answer you were looking for. So next up is the Nuimo smart home controller, which looks like it is straight out of the future. So far as magnitude proceeds, this right here is it. It is a super compact, truly sleek-looking machine, that also comes in lily-white. What it’s going to do is give you control over various tech products in your home, all through a single generator. Now as far as what this will control, right now you have Apple music, Googlecast, Lifx light bulbs, Philips Hue light bulbs, Ronfel, and then Sonos orators. Once you’re put together and connected, it is super is easy to switch between which machine you want to control, simply swipe up or down, then an icon will pop up on which machine is currently being controlled.
In this case, here with Philips Hue, you can see the lightbulb icon pop up, and as far as control proceeds, I can do something as simple as powering the light off or on, or something more complex light changing the coloring blue. Now hopping over to Apple music if I want to play a carol, simply press it,( upbeat music) volume, going to see next carol,( upbeat music) So you can see it tasks really well, it’s pretty instantaneous, and it’s going to give you that next degree control instead of having to reach out for your telephone or your tablet.
Now again the ideal location for this is going to be at the wall or a table or a table, not to be used free-handedly. But the good news is everything there is a requirement do that is going to come in the box. Now if I had any complaints “wouldve been” the fact that you do need an active bluetooth associate to use this whether it’s your telephone or your tablet, it will not work stand-alone. Beyond that I would definitely love to see more app substantiate, especially Spotify, but it’s actually nice if you use Sonos, “if youre using” Apple music, “if youre using” Lifx or Philips Hue. This is a really cool home-tech machine. So next up this would be perfect for best available tech, and if you boys been agitated for a new episode of that, make sure you drop a “like” down below. This is the Avantree bluetooth transmitter, which is going to allow you to use bluetooth headphones with your TV.
So what this tiny compact contraption does is connect to the audio of your TV and then creates a bluetooth associate that you can then connect up to two different bluetooth headphones. Now a couple tones, if you pick this up and you specify it up and you notice a little bit of slowdown or a little bit latency, that’s more than likely because your headphones do not support a low-latency mode, and if that’s the case they do make a complimentary pair of headphones that is designed specifically for this use.
On the contrary, though if you do want to use the low-latency pair of headphones, you can only flow audio to one pair of headphones and not two, so if you do want to stream audio to two separate sources, “youre supposed to” sacrifice the low-latency. You can strength this through the USB port on your TV, but what’s cool with this is there’s a built-in battery that could give you around 6 hours of battery life. That also establishes this perfect to take on the go. So if you’re someone who lives with others and maybe you watch things course too late or course too early, if you’re looking for a solution to continue to do that without disturbing others, this is a marvelous option, and again it is only $39.
Aside from that, thank you guys very much for watching. If you haven’t yet, shape sure you check out this video here where Philips partnered with TED to showcase how cool engineering like the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Connected can help improve lives. This is Jonathan and I will catch you guys right now later ..
We are in a race. the race is against time. We have to build cities, we need them. But we have to make them in a different way. Dan Kammen says that we need a wave of innovation, not only for our way of life, but also for the planet. The consequences would be enormous if we lose this battle. I’m Thomas Goetz, executive editor at Wired Magazine. At wired, we look at the innovators and innovations that are changing our world. Here we will look at three stories from acclaimed filmmakers about the future of energy. We’ll explore cutting edge innovations in how we drive, how we live, and, in our first story, how we fuel our cars. They’re all ideas that promise to shape the path to the world of 2050. The world has close to a billion cars, and based on current growth we might double the number of cars on the planet by 2050. So if we double the number of vehicles, we really increase the amount of fuel they consume, and that’s going to have a big, big footprint in terms of our demand for resources to move all those vehicles around.
Kay Keasling: We’re pulling up carbon that’s been stored underground and burning it in our automobiles and putting all that carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If we don’t reduce that, we could have changes in the climate that we could never recover from. There’s a number of forecasts for what type of transportation economy we could move into. One vision is that we would use more and more liquid fuels, another one is we’ll use more and more electricity. Right now, more of the industrial activity is focused around liquid biofuels. The thing about a fuel is, its really unparalleled on a weight basis how much energy is in a gallon of fuel. And even if batteries develop as some of the advocates hope they develop, we’re not going to see batteries running large trucks and we’re certainly not going to see an electrified air flight.
We’re going to need transportation fuels for those that will directly replace the petroleum based fuels that we’re using today. This has kicked off people looking at a whole range of other alternatives to petroleum in your tank. Isaias Macedo: Commercial production of ethanol as fuel started in Brazil in 1975. When we started the ethanol program, nobody talked about reducing emissions. This was not an issue at that time. First, and most important, we didn’t have money to buy oil anymore after the first oil short. We were importers of oil. And today, more than 50% of all cars use ethanol instead of gasoline. Brazil made a very conscious choice to try to find a way to reduce their fossil fuel dependence.
And they didn’t have to look very far because Brazil’s climate is ideal for growing sugar cane. Carlos Dinucci: when you have sugar cane plantation, you have only two things to make: sugar and ethanol. My family has been in the sugarcane business since 1955 and about thirty years ago, I thought “there’s an opportunity to make more ethanol.” Now, we’re producing 120,000 cubic meters of ethanol. Brazil today has very close to 400 sugar mills. The overall sales is 30 billion us dollars. And this number is increasing. If you look at how they make ethanol and how efficient the process is, it’s really a model for all of us.
They grind the plant up, extract the sugar from the cane, the sugar goes into these large fermentation tanks which combine sugars together with yeast that naturally produces ethanol. They use the rest of the plant to generate heat to distill the ethanol and turn it into fuel. They also use that heat to generate electricity renewably, not putting excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Brazil has gotten to a point today where they’re using about 40% less petroleum than they would be otherwise, but Brazil cannot supply the whole world with ethanol because they would have to cut very strongly into food production and into critical natural areas like the Amazon to make that happen. This really boils down to the fact that there’s only so much arable land, and growing fuel for our gas tanks is yet another demand on that landscape. We cannot kid ourselves into thinking that we’ve found a general solution for the world problem. I think we have to face the world in this way today. We have no oil in very large quantities anymore. We have no coal transforming in a clean way, in the meantime we have to do the best we can, and the best at the moment is that we can do biofuels.
Sugarcane to ethanol is an incredibly efficient process. You get out about seven times the energy you put into growing the sugar cane. In the US when we produce ethanol from corn, for every unit of input of energy we get about the same amount of energy out. So we’re really not gaining anything. We need a better process. We don’t have to take what nature’s given us, we can actually engineer plants and yeast to be more efficient. And that’s the basis for a lot of the work that we’re doing now. What we need to look at though, is which of the pathways to come out of this are not only good financially, but those that are also good for sustainability. And this equation is really wide open right now. We are in a race to develop fuels. The race isn’t with other countries, the race is against time. Cristiano Borges: To meet the immediate and future demands, we made the energy solution spring from the ground. Luis Scoffone: Brazil is the most efficient ethanol producing country in the world.
Sugarcane alcohol from Brazil can reduce the total carbon footprint by up to 70%, compared with gasoline. The biggest challenge for fuel providers, and car manufacturers is to reduce CO2 emissions over the next twenty years. Demand for mobility will continue to grow. We believe that biofuels are very important because they help in an immediate way. All forms of fuel are going to be needed; hydrocarbons, natural gas, biofuels, all of them are going to be part of the energy needs for the future of transportation. Brazil has been very successful at taking a resource they had and finding the process to make that into ethanol and people call those first generation biofuels. We have lots of lab work around the world that are looking at the second generation and that’s generally turning cellulosic material from for example weeds, into biofuels.
And the United States is very much at the forefront of the innovation part of the equation. For centuries we’ve been using yeast to consume glucose and produce wine and beer. We’re trying to do something very similar, only we’re engineering the yeast to consume that glucose and turn it into a fuel or drug or chemical. We call this synthetic biology and when i started in this area, many of my colleagues said “Oh Jay, this is great work, but where’s the application, what are you going to do with these tools?” Who cares? Malaria is an enormous problem. In any one year, a million or so people die of the disease and most of them are children under the age of 5.
So we thought this was a great opportunity to engineer yeast to produce an antimalarial drug called artemisinin. This drug is derived from plants right now, but its too expensive for people in the developing world. So my laboratory engineered yeast to produce small quantities of artemisinin, now that process is being scaled up and we’ll have this drug on the market shortly, but at a substantially reduced cost. It turns out that that anti-malarial drug is a hydrocarbon and it’s very similar in many ways to diesel fuel. We thought, gosh we can turn our attention now to fuels. We can make a few changes in that microbe to turn it into a fuel-producing microbe. If we imagine that glucose is going to be our new petroleum, we need a source for that glucose.
So the crops that we’re looking at are crops like switchgrass. This is a native grass, it grows without a lot of water and on marginal lands. we could turn it into energy farms. The challenge though, is that unlike sugar cane, it’s very difficult to get the sugar out of that biomass. So we use what we call a pre-treatment process to extract the glucose from the plant, and then we feed that glucose to a yeast that we’ve engineered to produce hydrocarbons.
And that yeast takes in the sugar, and it changes its composition and gives us this high-energy molecule. They float to the top, you skim them off, you put them in your tank. But it takes a lot of work to get from that small test tube all the way up into the million-gallon tank, so we have to give it time. But I think that some of the discoveries that are happening might be applied by the end of the decade. In terms of a sustainable equation for the planet, the role of biofuels is quite tricky. There are a variety of crops that do not compete directly with food, and finding ways to utilize those types of crops first, that’s very attractive. So solving the science is part of the story, but then evaluating all of the new fuels in terms of the land-use impacts that they could have, that is an even harder story than doing the good science. Imagine that you could have one process that could take in sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn it into fuel. And imagine if that didn’t involve growing anything at all.
Nate Lewis: The synthetic biologists are trying to take plants and make them do things that they wouldn’t normally do. On the other hand, materials chemists, like myself, want to do artificial photosynthesis to improve on the process that nature does in real photosynthesis. We should follow the blue print of plants converting sunlight into fuel, but take the approach that it could be much simpler. All we really need is a light absorber that absorbs sunlight. We also need a catalyst like iron or nickel. So when you see the hydrogen coming off of the photo-active material, that’s an example of a semi-conductor breaking the chemical bonds of water to make hydrogen and oxygen. Ultimately, our pieces are going to be contained in something that is easy to roll out like bubble wrap, where in would come sunlight and water. You would vent the oxygen to the air, but the bottom would wick out your liquid or gaseous fuel, that then you could collect and use for our cars and planes and storage. Our goal is within two years, to have the first artificial photosynthesis solarfuels generator that we can hold in our hands.
And then, get to scale beyond that time. We’re certainly not good at predicting the future, but to me, electric vehicles look like a sustainable option. We’ve heard proposals about things as far-fetched as nuclear power planes, and even some proposals to move freight around with lighter-than-air vehicles. And so if the future in 2050 does include a fair amount of oil, what it means would be that we haven’t deployed as many of these clean technologies as we already know are possible. If you think about how long it’s taken for us to build up the petroleum industry, we can’t hope to reverse that overnight. It’s a huge change in our infrastructure. Yes, we should have been working on it 30 years ago. We didn’t. We’re trying to make up for that, and that means basic research needs to be done now and by as many people as possible. We have a long way to go, but I’m confident that we’ll get there. In the future, 3d maps are going to help people get places more efficiently. As we just saw, the race to produce cleaner energy is charging ahead.
In the meantime, demand for cars continues to climb. By 2050, it’s predicted there will be two billion cars on the planet, and fuel consumption will have tripled. To keep pace, we’ll have to radically change the way we drive. Here’s our next story, ‘Driven by design.’ Asaaf Biderman: The automobile came around, in many ways it was the future. We thought of it as one of the more positive changes that had happened to society.
Suddenly, our ability to get a job changed, we can live farther away with bigger plots of land, with better quality of living. It all looked quite good. But there are limitations to swearing by the car. If it gets congested, your quality of life drops immediately. You have to spend so long in the car. It’s a very inefficient use of fuel consumption. Things stop making sense all of a sudden. It doesn’t bring you closer to where you want to get, it actually, sometimes brings you farther. Narrator: The average American spends nearly 300 hours a year in their car. 38 of them stuck in traffic. Annually, congestion consumes over $1 billion in gasoline in the United States alone.
The inefficiency caused by traffic, both financial and personal, is enormous. Dirk Sheehan and Carmen White’s story is not that unusual today. Carmen White: Dirk works an hour and a half away in Warrenville, Illinois. Generally he wouldn’t leave work until 6 or and I would say usual time for him to get home is around 8. You all done? Thanks, buddy. Dirk Sheehan: Usually when I wake up I’m the only one up. Sometimes the kids wake up with my routine. More often than not, I don’t see them in the morning. I think about my commute when I wake up. I check the traffic report to see if there’s any delays. The worst case scenario, it takes me two hours to get to work. We are already so limited in the amount of time he can spend with the kids, and our expenses are crazy high. We’re spending $400 a month on gas. It takes away from our food budget, and we never paid for gas like that before.
Ever. If there’s technology that would allow me to spend less time in the car, spend less money on gas, and spend more time at home, I’d be all for that. Mike Finn: The cost of traffic is people’s time, it’s fuel wasted, it’s an emotional toll, it’s a frustration. Utilizing the roads more intelligently is a much more efficient approach to the inability to have supply keep up with traffic demand. John Leonard: If you took a satellite picture of the highway, you can see that there’s actually a lot of open space.
If we had the technology for cars to drive more closely, but safely, then you could increase the utilization of the road network. What this means is that to be more efficient, to use less fuel, we need to see the road differently. We need cars that can navigate through the urban landscape in a radically different way. Cliff Fox: Maps in the future are going to be able to help people get places either more safely or more efficiently. Today, just helps you get from point A to point B. But, what if I want to get someplace and use the least amount of fuel possible? Or, if I’ve got a hybrid vehicle, and I want to make sure I’ve got plenty of charge to not only get there but to get back home? So, information that is gonna help people achieve the more efficient or the safer route is more detailed information about the road than a lot of people realize is possible to collect today.
Here in Chicago, Nokia’s location & commerce unit is developing the next generation of mapping. Lidar, sonar, 360-degree video, all are components of what Nokia calls – digital mapping. We use 64 lasers that rotate and they collect data in a 3D way about the world. It creates what we call a point cloud of information. That point cloud allows us to measure distances then between the points that we collect. That system combined with the cameras, with higher precision location detection through inertial measurement units, that whole data system allows us to collect million points of data per second. Probably within 2-3 years, you’re gonna see 3D maps that are gonna integrate the traffic information into your routing, to help you understand. If I’ve got 5 different routes to take, which one is the most efficient today, given the way the stoplights are running, given the way traffic is running.
All of those factors are gonna be taken into consideration to make sure I’ve got the best route. But better mapping that can integrate topography, infrastructure, and density is only part of the answer. Another key to improving transport efficiency is building cars that drive themselves. Autonomous vehicle technology has a tremendous potential to improve efficiency of our road infrastructure. By removing humans from the equation, we eliminate all the things we do wrong behind the wheel – speeding, changing lanes too often, merging haphazardly; and by marrying them with sophisticated 3D maps, we can make driving safer and more energy efficient. That next generation vehicle is being built right now by Swedish trucking company, Scania. Tony Sandberg: The solution, as we see it, is that the vehicles can utilize intelligent maps. 3D maps with traffic information.
The vehicles will be intelligent and communicate with each other. They will talk to each other, they will talk to the infrastructure. And we will see autonomously-driven vehicles. The goal was to have multiple robots and see if they could go 60 miles fully autonomously. Helen Taylor: My name’s Helen Taylor. My husband John and I, we’re very passionate about fuel economy. John Taylor: Yea it’s great to break world records, but that’s not the be all and end all now. It’s more important to educate people. Together we’re showing drivers around the world simple techniques to improve their fuel efficiency.
We run these education programs, get people on the road with us, and we finally tweak their driving techniques. Things like just checking your tire pressures before you even get into your car. For every one psi your tires are under inflated, you’re wasting 3% of your fuel efficiency. And the difference between 65 and 75 miles per hour is a saving of 23%. When you talk to the general public, they’re very surprised that an energy company, like Shell, is trying to educate people on how to save money, how to reduce CO2 emissions.
And here we have Shell sending us around the world to do that. You always hope when you’re on this planet that you can make a real difference in people’s lives. When you get emails from people saying “I’ve saved this amount of money this year, now I can put food on the table”, then you know you are really making a difference. By displaying traffic density in the urban infrastructure in a revolutionary way, 3D digital maps will help create a more fuel-efficient future. But these technologies are limited by the drivers who sit behind the wheel. Some believe, that for cars and trucks to be truly energy-efficient, they will need to drive themselves. The technology’s coming into play, through sensors and capabilities for cars to drive autonomously. In 2007, the United States’ department of defense held a competition to see if a completely autonomous, self-driving vehicle was possible. DARPA stands for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
They had a competition to develop self-driving robots that could drive themselves in traffic. The goal was to have multiple robots, turn them loose on a course, and see if they could go sixty miles in six hours, fully autonomously. Driving may be one of the most complex things we do every day. Drivers make dozens of decisions at any given moment. One study found that drivers Were exposed to over 1,300 items of information per minute. We make so many decisions when we’re driving without even thinking about it. So in creating our vehicle, a great component of the enterprise was developing software to handle lots of sensors, feeding lots of data, and generating a bunch of potential paths that the vehicle might follow.
And even though the robot doesn’t have the ability to predict the future, by using this fast random path generation, the robot could anticipate a potential accident and choose a path to avoid it because its always thinking about what things could the car do next. No one expects millions of cars driving themselves anytime soon. But there is a place where self-navigating technologies are being optimized to create the vehicle of the future. We’re on the Scania test track outside Stockholm, where we have basically, it looks like a highway but it’s a separate test track where we conduct our own experiments. Scania, the Swedish trucking company, has recently begun testing its next generation of long-haul truck, utilizing radar, sonar, and intelligent mapping. They’ve been able to drastically reduce fuel consumption. Jonas Martensson: We have this example with platooning, where will make use of the reduction in air resistance, or air drag, that you get from driving close to each other with heavy duty vehicles. And in order to control this, you need to know where the other vehicles are, their position, their velocity, their actions in the near future.
And to be very close to the vehicle ahead of you, it requires that you have a very accurate control. If you look at robotics broadly, there’s a wonderful set of research of people looking at schooling fish and trying to develop the ability for robots to work together like that. So there are wonderful examples from nature of how cooperation can lead to more efficient resource utilization. Jonas Hofstedt: You can see it when people are competing in Tour de France. They platoon to reduce air drag. They are not bicycling behind each other that close because it’s fun, or because they are racing, it is because they are reducing air drag sitting behind the man who is leading. A truck traveling 55 miles per hour expends half its energy just to move the air around it. At 65 miles per hour, that number jumps to almost two-thirds. Even if platooning can reduce the energy used by 10 percent, the savings would be substantial. If a vehicle in front of another vehicle wants to brake, it immediately sends out the brake message to the other vehicles, so they actually brake at the same time. Hassad Alem: The way we do this is by, we have an automated system.
So now for instance, if i take my feet off the acceleration pedal, and turn the system on, the velocity is automatically governed by getting information from the vehicle ahead through its wireless system. We want these vehicles to maintain a short relative distance. So through this system, we can reduce fuel consumption by utulizing the air drag reduction by 10%. and 10% would mean you would be able to save approximately 8,000 Euros per single heavyduty vehicle per year. It may be sometime before autonomous vehicles make up the majority of cars on America’s highways. Nevertheless, some of these technologies are already making their way into our lives. Now this polar baby wants to sleep. Do you get to pick out books every day or is it just… I get to pick out books sometimes. Okay. When we look toward the future, the systems will absolutely make it safer and more efficient and less costly for you and also make your life easier because you’re spending less time on the roads. The city begins to talk, begins to tell you where is there congestion, what’s going on in different areas of town? Suddenly the car becomes a part of a much bigger ecosystem.
We can look at how cars interact with other cars, how cars interact with infrastructure and us, the drivers, can start to make smart decisions about how to move around. Suddenly, mobility becomes a whole other thing. Paul Goldberger: No matter how much money they have, no matter how much oil they have, everybody has to go in a different direction. We’ve seen that changing the way we drive can improve transportation efficiencies. But what if we change the way we build and live in our cities? That’s the subject of our next story, “Searching for Utopia”. We’ll travel to the United Arab Emirates, and discover a city rising out of the desert.
Let’s take a look. From the beginning, we’ve dreamed of Utopia. A place where we could live in harmony with each other, and in balance with nature. Many have imagined it, tried to design it, but the dream always slipped away. Then, I heard they were building a new city called “Masdar”, near Abu Dhabi, in the Arabian desert. It sounded like an unlikely place for Utopia, and I wanted to see it. The last half-century has been a pretty bad time for the making of cities, mostly. The natural tendency has been to accommodate to the automobile more than anything else. Try walking around Abu Dhabi, it’s impossible, you have to take a car everywhere.
Dubai, the same thing. They are among the least pedestrian-friendly places in the world, they are not green by any other measure either, and these are not easy things to fix. Masdar is still under construction, and it doesn’t look like much from the highway. But they claim it’s going to redefine the way cities are designed, built, and powered. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, will be the city of the future, and the role model for the world. Once you see what they’ve envisioned for this utopian city, its very impressive. It’s carbon-neutral, pedestrian friendly and powered by renewable energies.
But I do notice, we’re going to have to change our relationship with cars. Car audio: Welcome to Masdar City. Austin Relton: We are driving in the bowels of Masdar City in an electric transportation system. It’s slightly unnerving to see this for the first time and “where are we going?” the first big move the architects at foster and partners made was to put all transportation underneath the city, leaving the streets of Masdar totally free of cars.
The place reminded me of a medieval city. And actually, many design elements are adapted from ancient Arabic towns and villages. It’s all about looking back into history to move forward. There are some very very simple ideas that have a huge impact. This is a pedestrian zone, there’s no cars here. This has enabled us to push our streets together to take advantage of the shade, channel the cooling breezes through. The whole scale here is based on the human being, its not based on the motor car. As soon as you lift up the pedestrian plane by seven meters, you’ve suddenly captured this breeze.
What you can see here on the balcony is we’ve got a modern interpretation of an ancient Arabic screen. What we must avoid is direct sunlight hitting any piece of glass. As soon as the sun hits the glass, the heat’s transferred into the building and we have to use more energy to cool it down. Can this really make all that much of a difference? Yeah, absolutely. For example, downtown Abu Dhabi… sixty-meter wide streets, black asphalt, mirrored reflective buildings, no relief from the sun. On a day in September, the air temperature in both places was 39 degrees. in Abu Dhabi, the temperature measured at the asphalt was 57 degrees. in Masdar, the temperature measured on the ground, 33 degrees, so we’ve actually lowered the air temperature. We’re trying to do as much as possible, with as little as possible. These simple design moves, cut air conditioning needs by 60%. But this place is also, technically, very sophisticated. The roof panels not only provide shade, they also generate electricity.
And the walls themselves are made of glass reinforced concrete, literally sand taken from the desert. Everything here is geared towards maximizing energy efficiency. Masdar does represent a whole different value system. It represents an acknowledgment that, eventually, everybody has to go in a different kind of direction. No matter how much money they have, no matter how much oil they have, no matter anything else. All of the cities here in this part of the world have come out of nowhere. There was nothing here not so long ago, except small settlements in the desert. And then all of this oil and all of this money, and suddenly, you know, wham, these cities started popping up.
But they sprung up in a false love of a Western model that was already out of date. The model of the late 20th century automobile-based energy-hogging city. For most of the world, energy is very expensive. But the United Arab Emirates is sitting on 10% of the world’s oil, and energy is cheap, so cheap you can run a ski slope in a shopping mall, and build the world’s tallest skyscraper. But even here, cheap energy won’t last forever, and the people behind Masdar are determined to find alternatives. Martin Haigh: One of the most crucial aspects of our energy odeling and scenario quantification is how much energy in total is the world going to use in 2050. Wim Thomas: The scenarios team is a bunch of people with rich imagination, I would say. Adam Newton: We have political scientists, economists, geopolitical experts.
Really we try to simplify the complexity all around us. Jeremy Bentham: We in the Scenarios team are currently putting a lot of attention into cities and city development. A lot of megacities are going to be built in the coming decades. We’re talking about the equivalent of a new city of a million people every week. That is an incredible demand. Most of the world’s resources are consumed by the cities. What if we could offer a blueprint for a better city? Public transportation, information, energy. We understand demand will rise, we understand the current supplies will struggle to keep pace. So we have to of course, find ways of bridging the gap between the demand and the supply. Decisions that we take now are going to have a major impact on decades to come. There’s enough oil under these sands to last 150 years.
But fundamental to the Masdar ideal, is getting energy from renewable sources, from geothermal and wind, and most of all, from a source they have in abundance in the desert: the sun. This field of solar panels makes more than enough electricity to run Masdar, and the excess power is sent to the Abu Dhabi grid. But silicon panels are expensive, and the price of solar power needs to drop if its going to be competitive from Africa to Asia to Arizona. in the future, Masdar hopes to get energy from this prototype called the solar beam down.
Uusing highly reflective mirrors, the solar beam down may generate power more cheaply and ecologically than silicon panels. The mirrors bounce the suns rays up to the tower, and then down to a point. reaching a temperature of 600 degrees, steam can be generated to run turbines to make electricity. There’s just one problem: neither of these solar technologies work at night. So Masdar needs to draw power from the grid when the sun goes down, and that power comes from natural gas. The reality is, it’s just not yet possible to power Masdar entirely without fossil fuels. The great challenge with Masdar, will be “how do you make it a place that will not be just this ideal city that no other place could actually aspire to, ’cause it doesn’t seem real.” What Masdar has to be is a laboratory that develops things that then can be applied in existing cities all around the world, because that’s where it will pay off. There’s no pay off if it’s just about itself. The payoff is “how can everything it’s trying to do matter in the rest of the world?” Right now, there’s only a store, two restaurants, a bank, and a few hundred students living here.
It’s too early to tell if Masdar will work as a city when it’s finished, but much has been achieved: they are carbon-neutral, and largely, powered by renewable energies. Solutions here won’t work everywhere though, many cities are in cold climates, and cooling is not their energy problem. They need to let sunlight in, not keep it out. Cities like Los Angeles or Houston are built around cars.
Can Masdar’s lessons be applied to them? Still, its a step in the right direction. And, its impressive that this step is being taken by a country that doesn’t need to take it. I met a guy who said “actually, they did need to take it.” He took me to the desert to explain. Muhamad Alkhalil: God says… [arabic] God talks about man’s place in, in the universe. That this world is a trust. And god offered this trust to the mountains, to the heavens, to the land, to earth, and all refused it, refused to take this trust. But man being adventurous, vain, maybe too ambitious, being man accepted it. Now, accepting it, there is a responsibility. Taking responsibility isn’t always easy. Utopia may be unattainable, but we must reach for it, and Masdar does give us a clue to what cities will be like in the future.
They may not look quite like Masdar, but they will be shaped by the same concerns. By energy. Where it comes from, and how its used. The way we’ve been building cities lately is unsustainable. We can’t go on building them that way. But to say that we can’t build cities the way we have been building them doesn’t mean we can’t build cities in the future. In fact, we have to build cities. Cities are the essential statement of human civilization.
So, we will continue to make them, but we have to make them in a different way. what we’ve seen is that the world of 2050 won’t look drastically different from the world today, but the challenges of a growing population and increased energy use demand real solutions. Its innovations like those we’ve just seen that will be critical in charting our path to the world of 2050..
At some point in every business, there comes the dreaded question of do we move or renovate? While renovations cost money and time, an updated office can result in increased worker productivity and morale, as well as brand awareness which drive through to your bottom line. In an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) survey, 90% of top management indicated that updated design had positive effects on worker productivity.
From the moment, your clients or potential clients walk through your door; they are making assessments about you and your business. Likewise your employees and potential employees are determining what it would be like to work for you. How you care for your office space will be a direct reflection of how you care for your clients and employees.
Too many people not enough desks
Your business has grown. What could be better than having more new people working for you? But now where will you put all of them? You are struck by the lack of space and need to rethink the layout. Before you push one more desk into the corner or search for a new office space, consider consulting with a design professional. Designers who specialize in office space planning often have creative solutions to your space management problems. They are well aware of the psychological effects of space on clients and employees and can help you make decisions about the balance of comfort, privacy and flexibility.
For example, do all of your employees have to work at the same time or even from the office? If no, the designer can convert the areas of assigned cubicles into hoteling spaces or touchdown spaces where employees come to work on an as needed basis.
Your furnishings, lighting and technology are outdated
If you haven’t purchased new desks and chairs in the last decade, you are missing out on some of the latest and greatest developments in ergonomics, not to mention your clients will wonder if you are cutting edge enough for them. Workplace injury costs can include lost wages, medical bills, insurance administrative costs, and the cost to other employees who have to pick up the slack. Investing in new furnishings is well worth the time and money spent. Today’s office furnishings accommodate the many different work styles of your employees. Desks can be raised for standing work and lowered for sitting at a computer. Many designers and other creatives prefer to draw standing. At the very least, adjustable and ergonomic office chairs are the norm. Follow the 90-90-90 rule: hips, elbows and knees are each positioned at a 90 degree angle. Feet should be flat on the floor. If they don’t reach, foot rests are effective.
Check the lighting in each office. Is there enough natural light? Lighting has a huge impact on productivity. According to a study in the Scientific Journal, “the prime factor which affects the productivity of employees is lighting in the office”. If necessary, add task lighting, preferably full spectrum light. Finally, are your computer systems up to date? Even a switch to flat screen monitors has a huge impact on the space and feel of an office and having two flat screens can improve productivity.
Your walls, floors, ceiling are showing signs of wear and tear
Sooner or later, every office cries out for new flooring and a fresh coat of paint. With shoe and boot clad clients and employees, carpeting is the first surface in your office to look well worn. Check out those high traffic patterns and consider installing super durable surfaces in those areas. There is high end vinyl flooring that looks just like wood and even feels like it, but is much easier to clean. New carpeting is a great way to bring in updated color to your office space while speaking your brand to your clients. Painting the walls a new color is a quick and one of the least expensive ways to update a space. Depending on the color, the wall color can help improve productivity. Keep the colors of your industry and your brand in mine as you make your choices. An office designer can help you with the right colors. Make sure to have the ceilings painted when you update the walls as freshening one surface will make an old one look drab in comparison.
These are just a few of the most important items to consider as you move forward with your office renovation. Early in your plans, be sure to involve a qualified office designer. He or she can help save you money and time and ease the process so you can get back to focusing on what matters – running your business.
Remember, postal summonses are not legal documents and you need not react to them.
Henk Bolhuis [Ex-Deputy Chief Traffic Officer of Pretoria]
I think, and I am sure that many of you are the same, that the tolls are a disgrace, both the extortionate toll fees themselves and also the widely published fact that we are expected to pay up to R18 BILLION over the next 10 years just to collect the toll fees.
Together we can make this whole thing fail – as it should. Let the toll gates stay there, not working, as monuments to people power. Let’s call this the start of the SA Awakening, look what the normal people are achieving in North Africa with the Arab Awakening.
Taxes and Open Road Toll Fees
People should not install the transponders but still use thehighways and force the government to issue accounts and summonses to allmotorists until such time they drop the prices. The government will be forced to send out millions of accounts every month and they don’t have the manpower to do it. This is the best and easiest way to boycott the system. What is the government going to do about motorists from other neighboringcountries that don’t have these transponders?
South Africans are too complacent and its time we fight back. WE have paid for these roads.
Now they are also proposing a 1% tax to fund the SABC
Has anyone thought just how much tax we are already paying?
a. 35% on your salary
b. 14% on everything you buy (bar fresh produce) and services rendered.
c. Carbon tax if you buy a new car (besides the 14% VAT you have to pay)
d. Tax on the fuel you put in your car to run it.
e. Toll on our roads – and for some it is going to come to a whopper of 10% of your salary (If you earn R10 000.00 a R1 000 would go toward tolling if you migrate between PTA and JHB every day.)
Bully to try and pacify me with the idea that I can claim it back from my income tax!!! I have to fork out the money first. Going on holiday to DBN? Remember to save up your R1000.00 for tolling. To say the least – For every R10.00 you earn, the government is already taking approx R6.00 and still they want more. Are you happy with the R4.00 you are getting?
When are we going to get up and do something about it? Where is all the money going to? It is definitely not being spent on what it should be – our hospitals are in a state of disrepair, our schools in shambles, our roads full of potholes, our water contaminated, sewers not working, left in the dark because Eskom failed to do their upgrades, the poor are poorer still, municipalities on the brink of collapse, and so the list goes on.
Heard about the youth day celebration that cost R100 million? Mmmm… did you pay for it? Oh yes sir/madam you did! R100 million that could have paid for a couple of things our country needed more. And to put the numbers in perspective:
The next time you hear an SA politician use the word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about whether you wanted the ‘politicians’ spending YOUR tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its press releases:
A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
C. A billion Rand ago was only 27 hours and 12 minutes at the rate our SA government is squandering it (over a billion rand a day??!!)
Building Permit Tax
Value Added Tax
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel License Tax
Hunting License Tax
Service charge taxes
Capital gains Tax
Social Security Tax
Securities Transfer Tax
Road Usage Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Worker’s Compensation Tax
STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?
Hardly any of these taxes existed 20 years ago… And our nation was one of the most prosperous in Africa.
We had absolutely no national debt… What happened ?