Solar-powered mountain home is a sustainable prototype for Aspen development

June 22, 2018 by  
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Like in many places across the U.S., the real estate market is booming in Aspen , Colorado. And, as companies move in to replenish the dwindling housing inventory, one real estate developer hopes to provide a more sustainable alternative to the inevitable onslaught of cookie-cutter homes. Working in collaboration with San Francisco-based Aidlin Darling Design , the developer has completed a solar-powered dwelling that serves as a new energy-efficient prototype for speculative real estate in Aspen. Located on the steep slopes of Red Mountain, the Aspen Residence boasts spectacular panoramic views that overlook Aspen to the west and an undeveloped landscape to the south. The spacious home covers an area of 9,618 square feet and is oriented on a north-south axis to maximize views, preserve privacy, and optimize passive solar strategies. To tie the contemporary design to the landscape, the architects used local materials and long stone walls that anchor the space into the hillside and frame outdoor spaces that function as extensions of indoor living areas. “The client, a developer with an earnest desire to change the real estate paradigm in Aspen, desired a more sustainable, site-sensitive , and modern alternative to the usual developments,” explains Aidlin Darling Design. “The design challenges conventional notions of interior and exterior, absorbing the surrounding landscape.” Related: Solar-powered Colorado school houses a sun-soaked learning environment Sustainability is key to the design. The Aspen Residence’s rooftop is integrated with a 12.6 kW solar photovoltaic array as well as a green roof and solar hot water panels. The roof is also designed to slow and reduce stormwater runoff in conjunction with the on-site bio-retention pond. To reduce energy demands, the home is wrapped in closed cell spray foam insulation and punctuated with glazed windows and doors that let in natural light and promote natural ventilation. Moreover, energy-efficient radiant heating is built into the floor slabs and a heat recovery ventilation system recaptures heat from exhausted indoor air. + Aidlin Darling Design Images via Aidlin Darling Design

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Solar-powered mountain home is a sustainable prototype for Aspen development

Giant manta ray nursery discovered in Gulf of Mexico

June 22, 2018 by  
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Researchers have identified the first recognized giant manta ray nursery in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico , about 70 miles offshore from Galveston, Texas . Graduate student and executive director of  Manta Trust Josh Stewart first made this discovery while studying adult mantas in the area for the first time. “I was there trying to get a genetic sample from a full grown manta, and that’s when I saw it. It was a juvenile male manta, which is a very rare,” Stewart told NPR . After expressing his excitement to local researchers, he was informed that young manta sightings were quite common there. He said, “And that’s when I knew that this was a really special, unique place.” The local researchers at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration had misidentified the young manta rays as another species, neglecting to recognize the importance of this place until the arrival of an outside perspective. Typically, adult manta rays live in deep tropical and subtropical waters, making the study of these majestic sea creatures quite difficult. Young manta rays are almost never seen with adults. Related: Microplastic pollution poses particular threat to filter-feeding rays, sharks and whales “The juvenile life stage for oceanic mantas has been a bit of a black box for us, since we’re so rarely able to observe them,” Stewart explained. “We don’t know much about their movements, their feeding behavior and how that compares to the adults. Now we have a pool of juveniles that we can study.” The recognition of the nursery will ensure that these young mantas, now an endangered species in the U.S., are protected while also providing a road map for the protection of juvenile habitats around the world. “This research backs up the need for protection of other critical habitat, especially since manta rays have recently been designated as threatened species,” study co-author Michelle Johnston told the Herald Sun . “Threatened species need a safe space to grow up and thrive and live.” + Scripps Institution of Oceanography Via NPR and  The Herald Sun Images via G.P. Schmahl / FGBNMS

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Giant manta ray nursery discovered in Gulf of Mexico

West Antarctica’s bedrock is rising, providing some protection to melting ice

June 22, 2018 by  
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It seems that most news concerning Antarctica’s ice sheets is bad news, with two of the world’s fastest melting glaciers shrinking away in the continent’s western region. Fortunately, this same region is also home to an unusual geological feature that may provide some relief to the effects of climate change. In a new study published in the journal Science , researchers examined how the Earth’s surface seems to expand when heavy objects, such as glaciers , are no longer present and pushing down on the ground. According to data gathered from GPS sensors, the land beneath the Amundsen Sea Embayment in western Antarctica is rising at a rate of about two inches per year, one of the fastest rising rates ever recorded. As is often the case, the discovery of western Antarctica’s rising bedrock was made somewhat by chance. “[Study co-author] Terry Wilson and colleagues were extremely wise and lucky,” study co-author Valentina Barletta told Earther . “They had the really, really good idea [to place those sensors] with very few indication[s] that there might have been something special.” The researchers concluded that the land beneath the Amundsen Sea Embayment springs back because of a relatively fluid mantle beneath the surface, which is more capable of responding to changes above. Related: Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica “This study shows this region of Antarctica has a very short memory,” Antarctica researcher Matt King told Earther, likening the local geological phenomenon to memory foam. Understanding the impact that rebounding land can have enables researchers to more accurately assess ice loss, the measurement of which has been incomplete due to a lack of knowledge about rising rock. The study also provides some hope to those who live in coastal areas, which may benefit from the potential slowing of melting ice by its rising higher than the warmer water . Via Earther Image via Depositphotos

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West Antarctica’s bedrock is rising, providing some protection to melting ice

8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living

June 22, 2018 by  
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Many people mistake tiny homes for delicate structures that provide a minimal amount of space for simple living. But these modern tiny homes are proving that they can be just as resilient as any traditional home twice their size. Check out eight tiny homes that are built to withstand brutal climates and rugged landscapes while still offering residents the sustainable option of  off-grid living . NestHouse offers charm and energy efficiency Designed by Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland , the beautiful NestHouse is a sustainable and energy-efficient tiny home. Hidden behind its endearing Scandinavian aesthetics, the home boasts impressive off-grid options like passive ventilation and solar. Related: This mini caravan with a telescopic roof is the stuff of off-grid dreams Payette Urban tiny home runs on solar power TruForm Tiny has made a name for itself by crafting made-to-order tiny homes, and the Payette Urban is one of our favorite models. The tiny home is as big on design and comfort as it is on energy efficiency. The house can utilize solar or wind power, offering residents more flexibility for their energy source. Father and son build tiny off-grid cabin in Wisconsin When Bill Yudchitz  and his son, Daniel, decided to bond over a tiny home project, they did not realize that the result would be so spectacular. The duo created a contemporary 325-square-foot home designed with minimal impact on the landscape. Installed with various sustainable technologies such as solar lanterns and a rainwater harvesting system, the light-filled home is a great example of tiny house design done right. $33K hOMe offers off-grid luxury on wheels It’s not often that a tiny home is considered luxurious, but this house is the exception. Built by Andrew and Gabriella Morrison , hOMe is a 221-square foot tiny house built to go off the grid with solar connections and a composting toilet . The structure can be mounted on a flat-deck trailer, allowing homeowners to tow and set up their homes virtually anywhere. Tiny flat-packed homes provide affordable housing Architect Alex Symes developed this flat-pack off-grid home as a solution to expensive city housing. Built with low environmental impact materials, Big World Homes are powered by solar energy and include rainwater harvesting systems. The homes can also increase in size with additional modules. World’s most active volcano harbors tiny off-grid home Located at the base of Mauna Loa volcano next to Kilauea, the tiny 450-square-foot Phoenix House — designed by ArtisTree — is a very cool Airbnb rental with some incredible eco-friendly features, such as solar power and a rainwater harvesting system. Built with recycled materials, the home is part of a local regenerative, off-grid community compound. Zero-energy retreat has a near-invisible footprint COULSON architects’ Disappear Retreat stands out for its ability to disappear from sight… and the grid. Built to Passive House Standards, the 83-square-foot mirrored home boasts a near-invisible footprint. According to the architects, the prefabricated retreat was strategically designed for “triple-zero living”: zero energy, zero waste and zero water. Old-fashioned caravan home is 100% self sustaining This hand-built caravan tiny home proves that sometimes state-of-the-art technology isn’t needed to get completely off the grid. Built by the father and son team known as The Unknown Craftsmen , the Old Time Caravan is crafted from reclaimed wood and relies on natural light to illuminate the interior. Images via © Jonathan Avery of  Tiny House Scotland ; TruForm Tiny ;  Revelations Architects/Builders ;  Tiny House Build ;  Big World Homes and Barton Taylor Photography; ArtisTree ;  COULSON architects and  The Unknown Craftsmen

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8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living

5 Entry-Level Green Jobs for Recent Grads

June 22, 2018 by  
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Congratulations to the class of 2018 on your recent graduation. … The post 5 Entry-Level Green Jobs for Recent Grads appeared first on Earth911.com.

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5 Entry-Level Green Jobs for Recent Grads

A 1960s Swiss chalet is transformed into a whimsical off-grid home

June 21, 2018 by  
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Swiss architecture firm Frundgallina has dramatically transformed a rundown chalet in the Jura Mountains into a whimsical self-sufficient dwelling punctuated by a variety of  gabled openings. The architects kept the structure’s exterior dimensions, but rearranged the interior by dividing the floor plan into four sections measuring approximately 86 square feet each. The gabled home operates off the grid and is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system. The chalet was built almost entirely of fir boards sourced from the Jura forests. Vertically oriented rough sawn fir clads the exterior, while the interior boards — also nailed vertically — were planed. Grooved-ridge fir from the same source was laid on the floors and ceilings as well. A thin folded sheet of stainless steel forms the gabled roof and is outfitted with a rainwater harvesting system. The gable theme continues through the interior where it can be seen in doorways and windows. The interior, divided into four identical volumes, was also split into two levels to create seven distinct spaces, each specially positioned to offer outdoor views. Some of the windows are also large enough to serve as entrances and as such, there is no designated formal door, but rather four entrances — one on each side of the chalet . Related: Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape “These ‘rooms’ are connected to each other by large, medium or small openings, allowing a playful, spiral stroll, and continuously guaranteeing the perception of the whole of the interior space, isolated from each other by strongly felt thresholds,” Frundgallina said in a statement. “On each facade are drawn a small and a large window, as well as a double door opening to the outside. Cutting the walls to different heights, they reveal to the visitor the principle of interior spatial organization.” + Frundgallina Via ArchDaily Images by J.-C. Frund

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A 1960s Swiss chalet is transformed into a whimsical off-grid home

Mirrored art complex in Bangkok seamlessly co-exists with the surrounding trees

June 21, 2018 by  
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A reflective facade and calculated layout blends Bangkok’s new Naiipa Art Complex into the environment. Designed by Bangkok-based Stu/D/O Architects , the mixed-use building carefully wraps around the existing trees on the property while using its mirrored cladding to camouflage the structure into the lush green backdrop. The Naiipa complex (which means “deep in the forest”) is a 25,000-square-foot building that includes an art gallery, music studio, dance studio and office space, along with restaurants and coffee shops. According to the architects, the plan was to provide a community-focused center that wouldn’t disturb the existing greenery . Stu/D/O said, “The project is named after the concept of concealing the architecture in the forest as the vision of greenery is expanded by using reflective glass all around.” Related: Gorgeous mirrored facade extension allows brick Belgian notary to blend into the landscape To create a subtle volume for the large building and its multiple uses, the design was divided into two main sections separated by a tree-filled courtyard. Building A is an elongated structure that was carefully built around an existing pink trumpet tree to protect its growth. The second building is a cube-like four-story structure. A winding multilevel walkway that connects the two buildings intertwines around the existing trees , giving visitors a chance to truly connect with nature. To disguise the complex within its surroundings, the architects used three different types of glazing to create a mirrored effect : reflective, translucent and transparent. According to the firm, the multiple glazed walls, along with the “rhythmic folding pattern” of the facade, helped accomplish the goal. The east side of the building uses a translucent double facade that helps filter direct sunlight and reduce heat on the interior. As visitors follow this facade to the entrance, the building begins to “fold,” creating a narrow entrance reminiscent of a vibrant forest. Inside, the sun’s rays are reflected off the exterior facade , creating displays of shadow and light throughout the day, again imitating a forest canopy. The structure welcomes visitors with a floating “Bird Nest” gallery that is clad in reflective glass and appears to be surrounded by trees, creating a true feeling of ‘Naiipa.’ + Stu/D/O Architects Via Archdaily Images via Stu/D/O Architects

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Mirrored art complex in Bangkok seamlessly co-exists with the surrounding trees

Earth911.com Quiz #16: Energy and Environmental Policy

June 21, 2018 by  
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Making smart sustainable choices requires practice. Earth911’s weekly sustainability quiz … The post Earth911.com Quiz #16: Energy and Environmental Policy appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911.com Quiz #16: Energy and Environmental Policy

This series of modular wood cabins form a rustic retreat in the Catskills

June 20, 2018 by  
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Paris-based firm  Corpus Studio  has created a rustic retreat tucked into the Catskills. A Craggy Cabin is a 2,200-square-foot haven made out of five smaller wooden cabins all connected with large sliding doors. The wooden exterior pays homage to the nature that surrounds the cabin, while the oak-clad interior offers an elegant and contemporary feel. Five interconnected modular cabins — all clad in wood siding and featuring roofs of distinct sizes and heights — create a unique layout. The asymmetrical volume on the exterior is reflected in the interior, as each of the individual cabins is equipped with extra-high ceilings. At the heart of the cross-shaped floor plan is the large kitchen, and the remaining four wings jut out from there to a bedroom, bathroom, dining room and a large living space. Related: 20-foot shipping container converted into off-grid oasis deep in the Catskills According to Corpus Studio’s co-founder Konrad Steffensen, the design was meant to create a serene nature retreat in the Catskills that could withstand the test of time. Steffensen said, “In the same way the space oscillates between a contemporary, open-plan and traditional, closed-format interior, the materials and textures chosen for the finishes and furniture intentionally juxtapose the old against the new; the rough against the smooth; the comfortable against the austere.” Inside, a tall suspended smoke canopy hangs over a fire pit built into the floor, giving the modern feature a bucolic look. Large floor-to-ceiling windows flood the central living spaces with natural light . The home is decorated with designer furnishings that, although quite contemporary, were chosen for their nature-inspired appearance. Aside from its uniquely sophisticated design, the architects designed the cabin with optimal flexibility for the years to come. Large sliding doors between the cabins can be closed to shut off access to the rest of the structures. Each cabin can be converted into an individual living space, which enables guests the option to stay in a tiny cabin space or a large family-style retreat. + Corpus Studio Via Dwell Images via Corpus Studio

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This series of modular wood cabins form a rustic retreat in the Catskills

Kilauea’s crater has been dramatically altered by eruption

June 20, 2018 by  
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While Hawaii ‘s Kilauea volcano continues to erupt, this explosive episode of volcanic activity has already made a dramatic impact on the land, from the summit down to the ocean . Prior to the eruption, the crater summit presented as a massive lava pool. With the start of the eruption and the opening of fissures in early May, the lava drained from the crater toward lower ground. The subsequent explosions of ash and gas caused the crater to begin to collapse. Now, weeks later, the crater has become a steep, gray depression with a depth of 1,000 feet from the rim to its deepest point.   As the volcanic activity continues, so too does the deepening of the crater . The U.S. Geological Survey recently reported that the location of a GPS station within the crater dropped 200 feet within a week. Satellite images have helped to illustrate the speed and intensity with which the crater summit has deformed. “The fringes are so close together in the center of the caldera that they merge together and cannot be distinguished — a sign of the extreme and rapid style of subsidence happening at the summit!” wrote the USGS . Related: Kilauea lava boils away Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake in just a few hours While the images may be striking, Kilauea’s evolution is very much in line with what scientists expect to occur in the wake of an eruption and the subsequent draining of molten rock. “If you look at a lot of these big shield volcanoes, these collapse calderas are fairly common features,” Denison University volcanologist Erik Klemetti told Earther . Though such a crumbling of the caldera was anticipated, the ultimate conclusion of this eruptive event is yet to be determined. “I think it’s anybody’s guess,” Klemetti said. Meanwhile, the lava flow from the volcano is now more fluid and hotter than it was previously, posing a new, fast-moving danger to those in the region. Via Earther Images via USGS

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Kilauea’s crater has been dramatically altered by eruption

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