Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles

March 19, 2019 by  
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Crafted to embrace spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the Ziering Residence is defined by its dramatically curved architecture and walls of glass. Local practice SPF: architects designed the contemporary house that’s perched high in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles and engineered to take advantage of passive systems, including cooling ocean breezes and the thermal mass of concrete floors. The home also reduces its energy footprint with rooftop solar panels and solar hot water heaters. With Pacific Ocean views on one side and the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains on the other, the solar powered  Ziering Residence was designed to embrace panoramic views on both sides while maintaining a deliberately low-slung profile so as not to obstruct views for neighboring residences. For privacy, the street-facing facade of the dwelling is clad in an ipe wood rainscreen. In contrast, the courtyard side is wrapped in sliding floor-to-ceiling glazing that seamlessly connects the interiors to the outdoors. The spacious 9,000-square-foot home is marked by an open-floor plan. The main living areas are housed in the curved section of the building, along with a guest suite, and overlook views of the ocean as well as the outdoor pool, courtyard  and long wood deck. A large kitchen and parlor connects the curved wing with the bedroom wing that juts out towards the ocean and contains the master bedroom. The lower level, which is partly submerged underground, contains an office, two additional bedrooms, a study, technical rooms, a sauna and a gym. Related: Wave-inspired Rainbow Bridge in Long Beach is covered in mini gardens and twinkling LED lights In addition to rooftop solar panels and passive solar principles , the Ziering Residence reduces its energy footprint by limiting the mechanical AC to only the kitchen, master suite and study. “A patented ‘Climate Right System’ designed and fabricated by the project engineer coordinates and controls all the systems, and a heat recovery ventilation program provides for the continuous cycling of fresh outside air,” the architects add. “Resulting utility costs are kept to a minimum, and like the rest of the home’s design and intent energy use is dictated, maintained, and heavily influenced by the natural climate.” + SPF: architects Images by Bruce Damonte

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Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles

How to Evaluate Your Charity Choices

March 19, 2019 by  
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New charity scams come to light every day. With 1.8 … The post How to Evaluate Your Charity Choices appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to Evaluate Your Charity Choices

Zero-Waste Cleaning and Laundry Tips

March 19, 2019 by  
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Similar to a forest ecosystem, zero-waste cleaning systems produce nothing … The post Zero-Waste Cleaning and Laundry Tips appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Zero-Waste Cleaning and Laundry Tips

Zero-Waste Cleaning and Laundry Tips

March 19, 2019 by  
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Similar to a forest ecosystem, zero-waste cleaning systems produce nothing … The post Zero-Waste Cleaning and Laundry Tips appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Zero-Waste Cleaning and Laundry Tips

Activists trying to prevent the vaquita porpoise from extinction

March 18, 2019 by  
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Researchers just confirmed the sad news that only around 10 vaquita porpoises remain in the wild. Unless immediate steps are taken, these sea creatures will undoubtedly become extinct over the next few years. Vaquita porpoises are among the ocean’s smallest cetaceans and they only reside in the northern Gulf of California. The update on population numbers comes after news of the first vaquita death this year. Scientists are expected to release more information on that front later this week. Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans The International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita is leading the charge in preventing these beloved creatures from becoming extinct. The conservation group challenged the president of Mexico , Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, to put a stop to gillnet fishing in vaquita habitats in hopes to boost population numbers. “One of Earth’s most incredible creatures is about to be wiped off the planet forever,” Sarah Uhlemann, the head of the Center for Biological Diversity, explained. “…Time is running out for President Lopez Obrador to stop all gillnet fishing and save the vaquita.” Gillnet fishing practices are the biggest threat to the vaquita and other marine wildlife, including the totoaba, another endangered species. Mexican has attempted to curb gillnet fishing but has yet to initiate any plans that work. Vaquita population declined a staggering 50 percent last year alone. The highest estimates put the number of vaquitas at 22, while some researchers say that number could be as low as six. Mexico has passed laws that outlaw the use of gillnet fishing. Enforcing those laws, however, has been the challenge. Last year, conservationists uncovered over 400 gillnet rigs in the vaquita’s habitat, and their efforts to remove them were met with violence. Unless Obrador and his administration does something fast, the vaquita will be killed off before his term is up. Although the numbers are alarmingly small, scientists believe there is hope for vaquita porpoises . Fortunately, the remaining vaquitas are still having babies and remain healthy, which are the two main elements for recovering an endangered species that is one the verge of extinction. Via Eco Watch Image via Paula Olson

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Activists trying to prevent the vaquita porpoise from extinction

Brazilian Biodiversity Information System is bringing Brazil’s biological diversity to the internet

March 18, 2019 by  
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As one of the most biologically diverse countries on Earth, Brazil is taking steps to consolidate all of the nation’s biodiversity data and information into one place to support scientific research , as well as decision-making and creation of eco-friendly public policy. In an effort to achieve those goals, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC) has created the Brazilian Biodiversity Information System (SiBBr), which is an online platform that gives free access to a collection of the largest amount of data and information on biodiversity in the South American nation. What is Megadiversity? In 1998, Conservation International made a list of 18 megadiverse countries, which meant that those nations harbored the majority of Earth’s species, as well as a large number of endemic species. The term megadiversity defines an area that features a significant amount of biodiversity . According to the UN’s Environment Program, Brazil is at the top of their list of the 18 most megadiverse countries in the world. With more than 120,000 species of invertebrates, 9,000 vertebrates and 4,000 plant species, Brazil hosts nearly 20 percent of Earth’s biological diversity. These natural assets can be a significant factor in Brazil’s future economic growth, but to avoid losing their biodiversity, the country wants to monitor conservation efforts and make sure their natural resources are sustainably used. Related: Biodiversity decline puts food supply at risk On average, “700 new animal species are discovered every year in Brazil,” says UN Environment. Considering how large Brazil is— as well as the numerous institutions researching the country’s biodiversity— putting all of that information in one easily-accessible place is a formidable challenge. “When the information is spread around different institutions, one is less able to find it, judge the quality of the data and understand how it can be used. Besides, the time needed to compile the data can make its use inefficient, as is the case in public policies,” explains Andrea Nunes, general coordinator of biomes of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology , Innovations and Communications, and national director of the Brazilian Biodiversity Information System project. To illustrate her point, Nunes talked about Brazil’s special map that highlights the areas of the country that are a top priority for conservation and sustainable use. The map is a tool for public policy decision-making that takes two years to develop and is updated every four to five years. Nunes says that in terms of “territory dynamics and land use changes,” five years is a long time. However, SiBBr can change all of that. How SiBBr works Currently, the SiBBr gathers information and data from 230 Brazilian institutions, like state agencies, research centers, museums, and zoos. It has more than 15 million records about different species in the country published by those institutions. Researchers can use the database to find information on different species, as well as share their findings. Farmers can use the platform to calculate environmental compensation credits and get information about endangered animals and plants. There is also a way for Brazilian citizens to contribute their own information, like pictures and documentation on biodiversity in their area. There is also a tool called Biodiversity and Nutrition, which is a nutritional database of native Brazilian species. But, they aren’t just keeping all of this information to themselves. The SiBBr is also part of the Global Biodiversity Information Platform, which is “an international network and research infrastructure” that provides free biodiversity data from hundreds of institutions across the globe. Related: Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa This is the largest global initiative aiming to give people virtual access to free biological information, and it currently spans 60 countries and has more than 570 million species records. Conservation and sustainability is a top priority, and knowing Brazil’s biodiversity is key to achieving those goals. With SiBBr, anyone from government organizations to students and educators can access this vital information. According to their website, SiBBr is an accessible platform filled with tools to help with the “organization, publication, and consultation” of: Occurrences of species A catalog of species Ecological data Biodiversity projects The use of biodiversity Registration of the country’s biological collections The database continues to grow, and in the coming months SiBBr will switch to a new platform to make using the data even easier. BaMBa Connected to SiBBr is BaMBa, the Brazilian Marine Biodiversity database, which has the same goal for collecting data about the country’s marine life as SiBBr does for species on land. The information comes from sources like integrated, holistic studies and fish surveys which can be used for governmental policies related to the use and management of marine resources. Via U.N. Environment , SiBBr Images via Shutterstock

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Brazilian Biodiversity Information System is bringing Brazil’s biological diversity to the internet

A modern timber house in Indonesia celebrates mummified wood

March 18, 2019 by  
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When Bandung-based architectural studio Aaksen Responsible Aarchitecture was asked to renovate an old house in the West Java neighborhood of Kiaracondong in Indonesia, they made a surprising discovery. During the demolition process, the architects found that the wooden roof truss structure was in very good condition, despite its age, thanks to a culturally significant type of timber, a kind of Albizzia wood that’s been mummified to improve strength and durability. Described by the architects as a “local treasure,” the timber was not only preserved in the roof truss, but also becomes a defining element in the contemporary home, aptly named the Albizzia House. Completed in 2019, the Albizzia House spans an area of approximately 2,000 square feet across two floors. The existing timber house was partly demolished to allow for a reorganization of the layout and a structural expansion. Organized around a light-filled atrium housing the primarily living spaces, the home now includes three bedrooms, garden and terrace spaces, a reading room and a ground-floor prayer room. Natural light and ventilation is optimized in the renovated dwelling. One of the key changes to the house was the addition of timber cladding as a secondary skin to mitigate unwanted solar heat gain and privacy concerns. The vertical timber slats—and interior wooden furnishings—are a visual continuation of the Albizzia wood used as accents in the ceiling and reading room. The preserved wood in the existing building’s roof truss is also highlighted with the expansion of the truss into the new structure. Related: Green-roofed Hanging Villa is embedded into a lush jungle landscape Although Albizzia, a fast-growing and economical timber, is typically considered low-grade due to its weak and brittle qualities, local farmers in Ciamis, West Java, discovered long ago a method to improve upon the strength of the wood. In this “long-established technology,” the locally procured wood is buried under the paddy fields after the harvest season and the timber is then “mummified” in the compaction process, which, according to the architects, greatly increases the wood grade. + Aaksen Responsible Aarchitecture Via ArchDaily Images by KIE

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A modern timber house in Indonesia celebrates mummified wood

Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

March 18, 2019 by  
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Architect Beatrice Bonzanigo from Milan-based firm IB Studio has unveiled a stunning, off-grid micro home that is transportable and adaptable to virtually any climate. The tiny structure, called Casa Ojalá, is just shy of 300 square feet but is equipped with a manual mechanical system that allows the space to be configured into as many as 20 different layouts. According to Bonzanigo, the flexible and transportable design of Casa Ojalá was inspired by the need to offer an alternative to the “world of static architecture.” Its versatility opens up a world of opportunity not only in terms of low-impact architecture , but also in offering an off-grid experience that lets occupants completely immerse themselves into the natural world. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world “Casa Ojalá is a sustainable, minimal, compact and flexible product for a new comfort, away from TV or air conditioning,” explained IB Studio, which is led by Bonzanigo and Isabella Invernizzi. “The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists. Outdoor is a substantial, fundamental and precious part of it.” The structure is a round volume with a simple layout comprised of two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and a bathroom. A wrap-around, open-air terrace is used to provide a seamless connection between the micro home and its surroundings, no matter where they may be. To create its flexible design , the main structure is equipped with a manual mechanical system made up of ropes, pulleys and cranks that control the sliding wooden walls and fabric partitions. This system allows the structure to be continuously transformed into a fully-customized space, with private rooms or even one large outdoor platform. Built on a track, the house is completely mobile and can be easily assembled on-site. In terms of its sustainability, the structure is made out of eco-friendly materials along with socially-sustainable fabrics and wood features. The design’s footprint is minimal, and the project was also designed to be completely self-sustaining. The design calls for a rainwater collection system and can be installed with photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy. The Casa Ojalá design is slated to be presented during this year’s Milan Design Week. + IB Studio Via Dezeen Images via IB Studio

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Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

Earth911 Podcast, March 18, 2019: Global Recycling Day

March 18, 2019 by  
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The Global Recycling Day episode of Sustainability in Your Ear … The post Earth911 Podcast, March 18, 2019: Global Recycling Day appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, March 18, 2019: Global Recycling Day

The Greenest Little House Addition and Income Generator

March 18, 2019 by  
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If you’re an avid viewer of Tiny House Nation on … The post The Greenest Little House Addition and Income Generator appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Greenest Little House Addition and Income Generator

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