Greenhouse-inspired home harvests rainwater for backyard garden

October 28, 2020 by  
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In the idyllic town of San Miniato in the region of Tuscany, Italy, local architecture firm  LDA.iMdA architetti associati  has completed a multifunctional home that takes inspiration from the structural technology in greenhouses. The client’s dream of growing a vegetable garden served as a major design influence for the contemporary dwelling, which features a gabled shape optimized for harvesting rainwater that can be reused for irrigating the expansive rear garden. The project, dubbed La casa nell’orto (or House in the Orchard), also incorporates eco-friendly materials such as prefabricated wood self-supporting panels and is elevated off the ground to  reduce the impact on the landscape .  Set on a long and skinny east-west plot, the House in the Orchard follows the shape of the site with its rectilinear volume that spans an area of 84 square meters. The main entrance, located on the west side of the plot, includes a short flight of steps leading up to the front door. The minimalist gabled shape, based on a child’s basic drawing of a house, was created with a lightweight frame — inspired by technology typically used for  greenhouses  — overlaid with an ecological polyolefin sheet selected for high solar reflectance. Like a greenhouse, the  gabled  volume emphasizes an indoor/outdoor connection and was constructed with large expanses of glazing. The operable glazing also promotes natural ventilation. The architects took a house-within-a-house design approach to the interior layout by inserting a smaller gabled structure that comprises the main living functions, including an  open-plan  living area, dining area and kitchen, as well as a bedroom, bathroom and storage space. An even smaller gabled volume set behind the main living structure serves as an indoor greenhouse.  Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse “This project is part of the research we are investigating for: how the figurative synthesis of an architecture is often recurrent in the architect’s work, and how it can be an important element of investigation in finding answers or models for a contemporary fluid and dynamic society,” the architects explained in a press statement. The House in the Orchard was also designed with the intent of hosting events such as the StudiAperti 2019. + LDA.iMdA architetti associati Photography by MEDULLA studio

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Greenhouse-inspired home harvests rainwater for backyard garden

LEED Platinum-seeking home in Cincinnati asks $3.25 million

October 14, 2020 by  
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Near the border of Ohio and Kentucky, a stunning sustainable home has hit the market for $3,249,000. Designed by local architect Jose Garcia , the home was built with natural materials, from the exterior cladding of cedar and cypress wood to the interior use of century-year-old reclaimed Douglas fir. The Douglas fir was sourced from a demolished cotton mill and used for the ceiling and walls. The Cincinnati home is in the process of obtaining LEED platinum certification and boasts 38 solar panels on the roof, a geothermal energy system and a smart home system for optimizing energy efficiency. Located at 1059 Celestial Street, the custom, single-family home in the city’s Mt. Adams suburb spans 6,778 square feet on a quarter-acre lot with four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths and a three-car garage. The home’s elevated location allows for stunning views of downtown Cincinnati as well as the Ohio River, which marks the boundary between Ohio and Kentucky. A rooftop deck with a fire pit and a vegetable garden bed takes advantage of these panoramic views. The main bedroom, which is bathed in light by a skylight, connects to a bridge that leads directly to the rooftop deck.  Related: Architecture students design and build a LEED Platinum smart home in Kansas Natural light and a sense of spaciousness define the interiors of the modern home, which is centered on an atrium . The atrium allows for direct sight lines from the entrance to the pocket sliding glass doors, which open up to a 45-foot-long balcony along the entire side of the home. Full-height windows, a natural materials palette and a courtyard garden also help to usher the outdoor landscape indoors, while tall ceilings and an open-plan layout direct views toward downtown Cincinnati. The abundance of wood that lines the interior is complemented by exposed brick and concrete in parts of the home. The kitchen cabinetry, designed by the architect, is bleached European White Oak and paired with white quartzite countertops. To meet LEED Platinum standards, double-pane windows imported from Luxembourg were installed throughout the residence. Two geothermal wells were drilled beneath the driveway to provide an additional energy source to solar, which collected from the solar array on the front part of the roof. In addition to home automation, the building is equipped with an air-purifying system that filters air in the entire home. The property is listed with Coldwell Banker . + Jose Garcia Design Images via Coldwell Banker

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A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

September 11, 2020 by  
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Local practice Salem Architecture has recently renovated the Maison Ave Courcelette, a stately, midcentury home with an improved indoor/outdoor connection in the heart of Montreal. Originally constructed in 1947, the house was built with beautiful attention to detail and sculptural, rounded openings — elements that both the architect, Jad Salem, and the owner wanted to preserve and highlight. The resulting transformation achieves those goals while generously opening up the interior to the large exterior courtyard and bringing an abundance of natural light indoors. Located in the residential borough of Outremont, the Maison Ave Courcelette project connects to a large backyard and is surrounded by many mature trees around the perimeter of the site. To improve the relationship between the home and the outdoors, the architects opened up the rear, south-facing facade with large sliding glass doors. The stones of the facade that were replaced by the new glazing were kept for use in a possible house extension. The new cladding on a portion of the rear facade is made up of vertically oriented timber elements that complement the original stone of the house and serve as an openwork sidewall for privacy from the neighbors while allowing natural light to filter through. Related: Transformed midcentury modern home focuses on sustainability To protect the house from unwanted solar gain in the south, the architects created covered outdoor terraces as well as a retractable canopy for comfortable use of an entertaining space with a sunken seating area and a fire pit next to the pool. “The landscaping, in separate areas, offers owners the opportunity to enjoy the backyard while having a variety of experiences and atmospheres,” the architects noted. New windows have also been added to other parts of the home to bring in additional daylight. Inside, original midcentury building elements have been elegantly enhanced. The architects added new arched openings that follow the configurations of the existing arched windows to elevate the sculptural feel of the home. The railing of the central curved staircase — a major focal point — has been kept minimal so as not to detract attention from the staircase’s sculptural shape and the rounded openings in the ceilings. The original wood floor has also been maintained in some rooms while materials for the new floors were carefully selected to complement existing finishes. + Salem Architecture Photography by Phil Bernard via Salem Architecture

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A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

UN report shows global warming could pass 1.5C limit before 2030

September 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations’ United in Science Report 2020 , global temperatures could exceed the 1.5°C limit set in the Paris Agreement in the next decade. Global temperatures have been on a steady rise since the 1800s due to the effects of industrialization. According to the report, global temperatures have already risen by 2°F (1.1°C) since the late 1800s. Of greater concern is the fact that the last five years have been hotter than previous years. Although the high temperatures experienced in the last five years could be temporary, there is a cause for alarm if global warming continues at the current rate. According to the UN, the world has about a 25% chance of experiencing a year of temperatures hot enough to push global temperatures past the 1.5°C limit in the next five years. The report, released by the UN World Meteorological Organization, reinstates the importance of the Paris Agreement . In 2015, world leaders set two warming limits, with 1.5°C being the most stringent. The limits were set to mark temperature changes where human survival will be more difficult. Related: Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year The report has come at a time when the U.S. is experiencing record-setting temperatures and destruction. A Labor Day weekend heatwave led to several wildfires in California and burned a record amount of land across the state. Death Valley also hit 130°F last month, marking the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth. Fires are also burning in the Amazon and the Arctic. “Record heat, ice loss, wildfires, floods, and droughts continue to worsen, affecting communities, nations, and economies around the world,” wrote UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his foreward. The United in Science report highlighted more disruptions that are likely to occur in the coming years as a result of burning fossil fuels . The world should expect increased polar ice melting and rising sea levels. The only hope is for countries to drastically cut down the use of fossil fuels. Guterres said, “The solution to slowing down the rate of global temperature rise and keeping it below 1.5°C is for nations to dramatically cut emissions , with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.” + United in Science 2020 Via Huffington Post Image via Emilian Robert Vicol

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UN report shows global warming could pass 1.5C limit before 2030

Water irrigation reservoir and spa in Nepal will harness the power of fog

July 24, 2020 by  
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This unique reservoir and spa design by Margot Krasojevi? Architecture for the Ilam District of Eastern Nepal proposes a fog-harvesting structure to help conserve the area’s water and natural environment. The conceptual project would use a network of solar pumps, pipes and valves as well as a system of reservoirs connected to suspended polypropylene fog nets. Once completed, it would have the ability to produce an average of 3,000 to 5,000 liters of filtered water per day. The region is known for its many tea plantations, a subtropical climate, a range of different altitudes and high humidity, all of which combine to create the perfect conditions for fog formation. Rather than using up precious water for the agricultural landscape, this hydrotherapy health retreat is focused on using a fog net to capture the air’s moisture — with the added bonus of providing filtered water to nearby farms. Related: Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air According to the architect, the practice of collecting fog and condensation is rooted in ancient traditions, from the Namib Desert in Africa to dew ponds in Southern England. This contemporary adaptation will use mesh fog nets draped and embedded into the site’s ledge and woven to capture the most water droplets depending on the wind direction. The water droplets that make up the fog are obstructed by the mesh. Then, these droplets flow through the filters and trickle into a collection trough below. The water is then funneled through a pipe network and stored into three pools, one inside to anchor it to the site and two to supply the spa and to be used for agricultural irrigation and drinking water. The fog nets are kept clean and free from toxins, mold and microorganisms using an electrical current. The current will loosen and dislodge airborne pollutants and dust. The location of the project was determined based on where could provide the best conditions for harvest and maximum output efficiency. The nets are hung in sections to allow for adaptation and to accommodate the natural contours of the property. + Margot Krasojevi? Images via Margot Krasojevi?

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Water irrigation reservoir and spa in Nepal will harness the power of fog

Dark Chalet in Utah will generate over 350% more energy than it needs

April 24, 2020 by  
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Los Angeles-based Tom Wiscombe Architecture will be putting the final touches on its “Dark Chalet” by October 2020. Located about an hour north of Salt Lake City on the slopes of Summit’s Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah, the mysterious, net-positive energy building will generate 364% more power than it needs thanks to an integrated commercial-grade solar panel system. Net-positive energy in architecture refers to a building that generates more power than is needed for the structure to operate, going a step further than traditional net-zero energy systems. The extra energy can be utilized for features such as electric vehicle charging and hosting large events or even as a long-term plan to help offset the energy it took to construct the building in the first place. Excess energy can also be returned to the grid. Related: Kendeda, a net-positive Living Building, opens at Georgia Tech The 5,500-square-foot Dark Chalet is meant to act as both a single-family residence and a venue for the Summit Powder Mountain community events. The main structure, which looks like a massive black diamond against the snowy white backdrop, is fitted to follow the natural slope of the mountain with a lifted section contoured to allow skiers to pass through. The entire exterior is constructed with a woven patchwork of matte and glossy solar panels embedded into each other. This design fades the system into the background unlike traditional solar panels; the arrangement helps draw little attention to the fact that energy is being generated and instead presents a sleek exterior. At the forefront of the interior, a mega-scaled fireplace will connect all levels of the house through a network of strategically embedded staircases, a design meant to inspire images of grand ski chalets and castles. The 28-foot-wide fireplace is made of black steel. Both the staircases and the fireplace will have elements including bookshelves, walkways and storage spaces. The completion of the Dark Chalet in October will mark the first phase of a 10,000-acre Summit Powder Mountain ski resort . + Tom Wiscombe Architecture Via The Architect’s Newspaper Images via Tom Wiscombe Architecture

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Dark Chalet in Utah will generate over 350% more energy than it needs

Contemporary Camp O communes with nature in the Catskills

April 1, 2020 by  
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Humble natural materials and modern sensibilities combine in Camp O, a light-filled house-studio nestled in the middle of the Catskills’ preserve. Designed by New York City-based designer  Maria Milans del Bosch  as a private getaway for herself and her husband, the holiday home pays homage to the local vernacular with a distinctly contemporary twist. The forested landscape also inspired the home, which is wrapped in a cedar rain screen treated with the Japanese charring technique “Shou Sugi Ban.” Carefully placed on an existing clearing to minimize site impact, the 2,190-square-foot Camp O takes cues from the local vernacular architecture for its palette of low-maintenance  natural materials , such as the concrete foundation, wood siding, plywood sheathing, wood stud walls, beams and joists, and metal double-pitched roof. Where the home differs from the neighboring barns and cabins is in how those materials are combined to create a sculptural geometric abode defined by natural light, clean lines and minimalism. The  charred cedar facade  that gives the home its contemporary appeal also protects the building from water, fire and insects and doesn’t require maintenance. Sustainability is further integrated into the design through the strategic orientation of the home for natural ventilation and optimal sun exposure to minimize energy consumption. Insulation was placed outside the building envelope to maximize interior comfort and to allow the interior elements to remain exposed. Bathed in natural light from multiple directions, the airy home appears to change throughout the day and seasons. Related: Beautiful solar-powered minimalist cabins are clad in locally sourced charred timber “At Camp O, the dialogue between the stereotomic and the tectonic together with its haptic qualities transcend the mere appearance of the technical in much the same way as its place-form withstands the passing of time rooting the building into the Nature that surrounds it,” explained the architect in a press release. “The building becomes a resonance box that intensifies the experience of the outdoors indoors : Its insertion into the site, its volumetry and its materiality express the site’s calling into matter.” + Maria Milans Studio Images © Montse Zamorano

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Contemporary Camp O communes with nature in the Catskills

Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

January 20, 2020 by  
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Scottish firm Mary Arnold Foster Architects has unveiled a stunning home made out of several timber “pods” and tucked into the idyllic landscape of the Scottish Highlands. Clad in cross-laminated timber ( CLT ) and covered with slats of charred larch, which provide the home with resilience, the Nedd home was built on concrete pillars and set in between two outcrops to minimize damage to the landscape. Located in the remote village of Nedd in the western region of the Scottish Highlands, the eponymous home design was constructed using CLT and covered in burnt larch to give the structure longevity and sufficient durability to stand up to the harsh mountainous climate . Additionally, the charred wood provides the home with an airtight envelope which enables the interior to require very little heating. In fact, a wood-burning stove usually meets most of the home’s heating needs. Related: Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower Made up of connected timber cubes , the Nedd House is divided into three separate volumes. One area houses the central living room, while the remaining cubes house an en-suite master bedroom and a guest bedroom. All three sections are linked by a single corridor, which leads to an ultra-large north-facing window that connects the interior spaces with the  idyllic surroundings . According to the architect, the home design was inspired by the area’s breathtaking views. “I wanted to avoid a wall of glass but instead to frame the large view in two key rooms; the living space and the main bedroom, partly due to the topography of the site,” Arnold-Forster explained. “The other windows frame views of the rocks, heather and grasses.” Contrasting with the dark hue of the exterior, the interior of the home is light and airy thanks to the pale timber walls and ceilings found throughout. Within the main living area, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors provide direct access to an open-air deck that looks out over the landscape. + Mary Arnold Foster Architects Via Dezeen Photography by David Barbour Photography

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Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

NAWA reveals hybrid electric motorcycle at CES 2020

January 20, 2020 by  
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It’s not the first electric motorcycle on the market, but the NAWA Racer is currently the most talked about after a big reveal at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The new tech kid on the block, a French firm called NAWA, has developed a prototype with a body style based on London’s speedy cafe motorcycles from the 1960s. While the sleek design is eye-catching, the innovation hidden within the outer appearance is what makes this motorcycle so unique. Where most electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion for power, NAWA has developed an ultracapacitor that improves performance on nearly every level. For starters, the ultracapacitor can charge and discharge quickly, endless times over. This propels the bike from 0 mph to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. While the ultracapacitor provides stellar power, it works in conjunction with conventional lithium-ion batteries and allows a 93-mile ride per charge. Related: Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle debuts at CES The hybrid ultracapacitor system can reduce the size of the lithium-ion battery by up to half or extend the range by up to double. This is exciting for city riding, which is where the NAWA Racer really excels in efficiency. With the ability to recharge in seconds by recycling energy from the stop-and-go braking of driving in traffic, the energy can last up to 186 miles without recharging. Regenerative braking produces a lot of energy, up to 80% of which is reused for power. The ultracapacitor also provides a fast recharge, allowing the bike to reach 80% of full charge within an hour from a home supply outlet. NAWA fully intends to scale the hybrid technology to other vehicles in the near future. “The NAWA Racer is our vision for the electric motorbike of tomorrow — a retro-inspired machine but one that is thoroughly modern,” said Ulrik Grape, CEO of NAWA Technologies. “It is lightweight, fast and fun, perfect for an emission-free city commute that will put a smile on your face. But it also lays down a blueprint for the future. NAWA Technologies’ next-gen ultracapacitors have unleashed the potential of the hybrid battery system — and this design of powertrain is fully scaleable. There is no reason why this cannot be applied to a larger motorbike or car or other electric vehicle. What is more, this technology could go into production in the very near future.” + NAWA Images via NAWA

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Modern farmhouse in Italy pays homage to its agricultural surroundings

January 20, 2020 by  
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Tucked into the rolling wheat fields of the Italian region of Le Marche, the Border Crossing House is a private residence that pays homage to the area’s rich agricultural history. Designed by Italian firm Simone Subissati Architects, the project manages to skillfully blend a traditional barn volume with several contemporary features, creating a light-filled family home that fits respectfully into its idyllic setting. Located in Polverigi, just outside of Ancona, the Border Crossing House is set on a ridge looking out over expansive fields of wheat. According to the architects, this bucolic location set the tone for the design, which deftly manages to “border” the vernacular aesthetics of both urban and rural architecture. Related: Old Belgian barn is transformed into a gorgeous contemporary home The home’s rectangular volume with an asymmetrical, double-pitched roof, runs from east to west, creating a strong silhouette up on the hill. The exterior cladding, which is made primarily of steel , separates the white upper floor from the ground floor, which was painted in a deep red coating. The home’s classic barn-like volume is broken up, however, by various slatted openings on the roof. These eye-catching slats of different shapes and functions were installed throughout the design as a way of creating a seamless connection between the home and its stunning landscape, which includes fields of wheat, barley, beans and sunflowers. Lead architect, Simone Subissati explained, “The idea was to overflow, to break the boundaries, without following conventions whereby the private living space is separated from the agricultural workspace.” Throughout the two-story home, the layout was designed to be what the architect refers to as a “straightforward simplicity, a true essentially that is very different from today’s trendy poetic of minimalism .” According, the home is functional, efficient and comfortable while maintaining a vibrant, contemporary feel. The ground floor comprises an open-plan living area with a spacious living room, kitchen and spa . A wooden staircase leads to the upper floor, which houses the bedrooms. Protected by a simple chicken coop net, an indoor balcony leads to a central area, where a winter garden and a second living room are located. The second floor is covered with a micro-perforated membrane that allows natural light to brighten the house during the day. At night, the upper part of the home appears to glow from within. The home was also built to passive and bioclimatic standards that created a tight thermal mass for the winter months and a natural cooling system in the warm, summer months. The various openings provide ample cross ventilation, so much so that the home needs no air conditioning to stay cool. A rainwater collection system was also installed and includes several underground storage tanks. + Simone Subissati Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Alessandro Magi Galluzzi via Simone Subissati Architects

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