Whimsical, off-grid earthship is made out of reclaimed tires and bottles

May 13, 2020 by  
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It’s not everyday that you get to stay in an earthship, but if you’re able to travel to Ironbank, South Australia in the future, make sure to check out the amazing Earthship Ironbank . Made out of reclaimed tires that were pounded into a curved shape, this unique, off-grid Airbnb property is located on about four acres of native bush land and surrounded by native wildlife. The beautiful property, which is the first council-approved earthship in Australia, is made out of various reclaimed materials , such as discarded tires and old glass bottles, and is completely self-sufficient. Created by Martin and Zoe Freney, the design was inspired by the work of Michael Reynolds, who is known for starting the earthship movement years ago. Related: Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K With the help of about 60 volunteers, Earthship Ironbank took shape using, by definition, many reclaimed materials. To start, the frame of the 750-square-foot structure was built primarily from stacked discarded tires. Filled with earth and coated in cement, the tires were pounded into a curved shape. From there, Martin created a strategy to take the earthship off of the grid . According to Martin, a tight thermal shell was key in reducing the need for high-tech energy and water systems. The residence relies primarily on solar power . There is also a solar hot water system. Various windows and skylights allow for natural light and air ventilation, which further reduces the need for electricity. The south side of the structure is tucked into the ground to add thermal mass. This earth-bermed section is covered with natural plantings and gravel for optimal thermal stability. Another bonus to embedding the house into the landscape is the added resilience to bushfires. An expansive rooftop conceals the home’s integral gray water system, which includes various filters that lead to underground water tanks. The off-grid home has a gorgeous design, too. A path made of natural stones leads to an arched doorway with ornate patterns of colorful glass bottles. Inside, a warm hallway leads to the greenhouse , which was planted with lush banana trees as well as other edible plants. The garden is irrigated through the built-in graywater system. The unique Airbnb accommodation has one bedroom for up to two guests, who can enjoy a lovely round lounge area with an open kitchen. The kitchen is equipped with standard amenities, including a wood-burning stove. When they aren’t taking it easy inside the tranquil earthship, guests can enjoy wandering around the grounds, exploring the local landscape and observing wildlife. For anyone interested in spending time in this lovely earthship, check out its availability by visiting its Airbnb posting . + Earthship Ironbank Via Tiny House Talk Photography by James Field via Earthship Ironbank

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Whimsical, off-grid earthship is made out of reclaimed tires and bottles

Spains first Passivhaus nursing home generates surplus energy

May 13, 2020 by  
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Madrid-based design studio CSO Arquitectura has completed Spain’s first Passivhaus-certified nursing home in Camarzana de Tera. Built as an expansion of the nursing home that the firm had completed in 2005, the new addition provides additional bedrooms and stronger connections with the outdoors. The new, airtight building is also equipped with solar panels to power both the old and new buildings. Conceived as an “energy machine”, the new nursing home extension boasts a minimal energy footprint thanks to its airtight envelope constructed from a prefabricated wooden framework system. The prefabricated components were made in a Barcelona workshop and were then transported via trucks to the site, where they were assembled in one week. This process reduced costs and construction time and has environmentally friendly benefits that include waste reduction. Related: Spanish elderly care center wrapped in a pixelated green facade The new construction is semi-buried and comprises three south-facing “programmatic bands” linked by a long corridor. The first “band” houses the daytime services and a north-facing greenhouse with planting beds for the residents. The two remaining sections consist of the bedrooms, each of which opens up to an individual terrace and shares access to a communal patio. Exposed wood, large windows and framed views of nature were key in creating a welcoming sense of home — a distinguishing feature that the architects targeted as a contrast to the stereotypical cold feel of institutions and hospitals. The new nursing home extension is topped with an 18 kW photovoltaic array along with 20 solar thermal panels and rooftop seating. When combined with the building’s airtight envelope, which was engineered to follow passive solar strategies, the renewable energy systems are capable of producing surplus energy, which is diverted to the old building. The Passivhaus-certified extension also includes triple glazed openings, radiant floors, rainwater harvesting and mechanical ventilation equipped with heat recovery.  + CSO Arquitectura Photography by David Frutos via CSO Arquitectura

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Spains first Passivhaus nursing home generates surplus energy

With dual sleeping lofts, this family-friendly tiny home proves that the more, the merrier

July 5, 2019 by  
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Although some people might be under the impression that tiny homes don’t have enough space for a family, one savvy, space-efficient design is proving otherwise. Designed and built by New Zealand-based Build Tiny , the Dance Tiny House was custom designed to be a durable family home that boasts beautiful and child-proof interiors. Clad in very practical gray vinyl siding, the tiny home on wheels is durable yet lightweight enough to be towed easily. Double-glazed aluminum windows and quality insulation allow for a tight thermal envelope, reducing energy costs as well as maintaining a comfortable interior temperature. Related: Keep your tiny home safe with these 9 security tips Inside, the space is bright and open with a minimalist interior design that manages to avoid clutter. All-white plywood walls and honey-toned wood flooring, along with an abundance of natural light, gives the home a fresh, modern feel. A compact, open-plan living room with a small sofa and chair make up the social area of the home. To the left of the entrance is the kitchen with full-sized appliances. Although small, the cooking area includes ample counter space thanks to an ingenious rolling butcher block extension. Most of the home’s furnishings, including the counters, feature curved edges to ensure optimal safety for little ones. The far end of the residence houses the bathroom, which has a shower and plenty of storage space. The home’s dual sleeping lofts are accessible via a staircase in the kitchen, with the steps pulling double duty as storage in the form of pull-out drawers and cubbies. At the top, the master bedroom has plenty of room for a queen-sized bed and also includes a full-height closet and built-in storage . Connected by a narrow hallway, the children’s room is located on the opposite side. With plenty of space for a single or double bed, there is also room for play or study. The entire loft is made child-proof thanks to a gate and a metal safety barrier. + Build Tiny Via Tiny House Talk Images via Build Tiny

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With dual sleeping lofts, this family-friendly tiny home proves that the more, the merrier

Energy-efficient villa in Portugal uses locally sourced cork for insulation

February 5, 2019 by  
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When tasked with reforming an existing home for an older couple looking to live out their retirement years in picturesque Algarve, Portugal, local firm Core Architects looked to make the structure as energy-efficient as possible. In addition to converting the previously two-story home into a one-story reborn as Villa GK, the architects used various ecological building materials such as cork insulation and travertine rock, which were both locally-sourced. The homeowners had visited Algarve for years, but when it came to living there full-time, they knew that they had to reform the two-story home to adjust to their comfort levels as they aged. Working closely with the couple, the architects created a plan that would turn the 2,000-square-foot home into a more open, one-story layout. To do this, the team decided to slope the home and add an outdoor staircase that leads to the garden, complete with a putting course. Related: A modern vacation retreat is embedded into the rolling hills of southern Portugal The home’s new layout not only helped create a flowing living space, but it was also orientated to take advantage of the sun’s position . Additionally, the architects were able to optimize cross-ventilation for the interior. A large glazed facade looks out over the swimming pool and, of course, stunning views of the sea in the distance. To create an energy-efficient home that would keep the interior temperature comfortable and reduce energy costs, the home was built with concrete and clad in heat-efficient clay blocks. This system not only added a tight thermal shell, but it also made the home more secure in case of an earthquake, which are somewhat common in the area. According to the architects,”In our projects we only use thermal clay tiles with mortar-free butt jointing. These are produced in Portugal and are fast and easy to work with. Their thermal performance is more than twice as efficient than the traditional bricks that are conventionally used.” They used locally-sourced cork boards and cork caulking to further insulate the home. The home was also installed with a solar thermal system for heating water. The interior living space is bright and airy with optimal natural light reaching each room. A neutral color palette of all-white gives the space a sleek, Mediterranean feel. The living room runs into an open kitchen, which features a beautiful island made out of locally-sourced travertine. + Core Architects Via Dwell Photography by Alexander Bogorodskiy via Core Architects  

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Energy-efficient villa in Portugal uses locally sourced cork for insulation

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