Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

June 11, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Lisbon-based architectural practice Studio 3A for a small residential project in the seaside village of Comporta, the architects knew that a major challenge would be keeping the house naturally cool during the oppressively hot summers. In keeping with their commitment to sustainable architecture, the architects used passive solar strategies and efficient insulation to mitigate solar heat gain. The firm also teamed up with design studio Mima Housing to prefabricate the buildings, named Cabanas in Comporta, which were topped with solar panels and sheathed in charred timber for a durable and maintenance-free finish. The architecture of Cabanas in Comporta follows a modular design of three types: the “intimate module” that houses the bedroom and bathroom; the “social module” for the living spaces with room for an outdoor pool; and the “service module” that also serves as storage for items such as the client’s car collection. Together with Mima Housing, Studio 3A prefabricated the modular buildings with oriented strand board sandwich panels and wooden joints. The facades are clad in timber charred black using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban. Related: The elegant MIMA Light prefab home ‘floats’ on thin air “As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project,” explain the architects. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which were another important point of our brief. With this construction type we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.” Heat gain is further controlled with a double blind system installed in both the interior and exterior. The external blind also zips down to protect the home from mosquito invasions. Strategic placement of the buildings optimizes solar orientation and access to cooling breezes. Dark cement flooring is used to take advantage of thermal mass, while photovoltaic panels and heat pumps help heat the buildings in winter. + Studio 3A Images by Nelson Garrido

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Imperial War Museums Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness

June 6, 2019 by  
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Britain’s Imperial War Museum has recently gained a new high-performance archive facility in Cambridgeshire, England that boasts the world record for airtightness with results of 0.03 ach (air changes per hour). U.K. architectural practice Architype designed the new storage building — called the IWM Paper Store — to house some of the world’s most important collections of artworks, photographs, letters and diaries that chronicle the history of warfare in the past two centuries. Engineered to meet Passivhaus standards, the boxy, single-story collections facility is sheathed in ground-to-roof panels of perforated oxidized steel. Having completed a Passivhaus archive before, Architype was tapped to develop a second airtight facility for the Imperial War Museum (the new repository is currently awaiting certification). Drawing on its decades of experience designing beautiful, low-carbon buildings, the practice not only crafted the building to meet stringent environmental conditions for archival needs, but also thoughtfully designed the exterior to complement the existing historic buildings on site at IWM Duxford. Completed January 2019 for an approximate cost of £2.8 million, the rectangular building spans an area of 13,326 square feet to bring together over 14,000 linear meters of IWM’s collections into a central repository. The building can provide for up to 30 years’ expansion of IWM’s unique collections. To stabilize temperature and humidity levels, the architects turned to Passivhaus as a low-energy alternative to a highly mechanized and energy-intensive building system. Related: Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York Working together with construction provider Fabrite, the architects conceived an uninterrupted facade of oxidized steel to complement the color and texture of historic brickwork onsite. “Though simple in form, the oxidized steel facade offers thoughtful detail, consisting of ground-to-roof panels that signify each year of archived collections from 1914 onward,” the architects explained. “Perforations in panels denote the 1 According to current records held by the International Passivhaus Association quantity of collected documentation, with noteworthy years around wartimes being heavily perforated in accordance with the volume collected.” + Architype Images via Richard Ash / IWM

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This development offers sustainable, affordable housing and tiny homes in Colorado

May 13, 2019 by  
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The small resort-town of Telluride in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is known for its world-class skiing, remote location and, until now, lack of low-cost housing. When the tourist numbers begin to pile up during the busy season, those working in the hospitality industry at restaurants, shops and resorts are often forced to endure a long commute from the areas outside of town, where prices are cheaper. The expensive hotel rooms and vacation homes are a dream for visitors, but when it comes to lower- to middle-class workers, affordable accommodations are scarce. Architecture firm Charles Cunniffe Architects out of Aspen recently completed a low-cost option for housing just outside of central Telluride, with rents as low as $385 per person. Related: COBE unveils LEED Gold-seeking affordable housing units in Toronto The complex consists of a boarding house with room for 46 tenants, another building with 18 separate apartments and three tiny homes . You wouldn’t know by looking at it that Virginia Placer is considered low-cost housing. The architects blended the structures among the plentiful high-end resorts and expensive housing for which Telluride is known. The buildings are placed at the base of a tree-covered mountain, and the exterior is made of high-quality wooden panels and a variety of metals, including steel. The apartment building utilizes open-air stairs and wooden balconies, while the boarding house has a huge deck with mountain views and a canopy for protection from the elements. Inside the boarding house, communal lounges and two kitchens are available for tenants to use. With a focus on sustainability, the designers installed oversized windows into the apartments for passive solar and ventilation. The tiny homes across the street from the main two buildings share the same design of metal and cedar and total 290 square feet of living space per dwelling. Scoring a spot in the development is a literal win — potential tenants are chosen through a lottery. Apartments range from  $850 to $1430 a month, while a tiny home costs $700 monthly. The cheapest option for individuals is the communal boarding house for $385 per month per person. + Charles Cunniffe Architects Via Dezeen Photography by Dallas & Harris Photography via Charles Cunniffe Architects

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Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia

May 9, 2019 by  
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In the city of Depok in West Java, Jakarta-based architectural firm DELUTION architect has completed the Flick House, a two-story home with a brick facade and a contemporary design that stands out from its more conventional neighbors. Created to follow sustainable and low-energy principles, the house features cooling microclimates and is optimized for natural ventilation . Daylight is also maximized in the house to reduce reliance on artificial lighting while a second “skin” facade helps buffer unwanted solar gain. When the clients approached DELUTION architect with the commission, they asked for a large home that would feel “humble and warm.” In response, the architects suggested a brick facade, which they said can create a welcoming atmosphere no matter the size. The warm and inviting character is carried through to the light-filled interior, which features an open layout conducive to large family gatherings. Energy efficiency was also a major design objective for the architects. To keep the spacious, 3,326-square-foot house naturally cool, the architects added four gardens — Main Garden, Private Garden, Floating Garden and Innercourt — and a fish pond to create cooling microclimates . The cooled air from the gardens is swept into the rooms through the sliding doors and windows that promote airflow throughout. Perforations in the brick facade also allow for natural ventilation while blocking unwanted solar gain. Related: Rammed earth addition brings light and energy savings to a Melbourne home “Besides applying the green architecture concept, Flick House also has quite unique architectural and interior details,” the architects added. “Some parts of the walls even seem to be floating. On the first floor, bathrooms are hidden behind the mirrored closet, and on the second floor, the bathroom has a semi-outdoor concept so that if the curtain is opened it can be seen from the outside.” + DELUTION architect Photography by Fernando Gomulya via DELUTION architect

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Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia

8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly

May 9, 2019 by  
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For most people, getting in a good workout on a daily basis is hard enough, let alone making sure it is also beneficial to the environment. While combining the best of both worlds seems difficult, there are ways you can create an eco-friendly exercise program without too much trouble. From working out at home to enjoying the splendor of the outdoors, here are eight ways you can improve the environment and your health. Go Outdoors Taking your workout to the great outdoors is one of the best ways to go green with your fitness. There are plenty of ways to get in a good eco-friendly workout under the sun such as walking, running and cycling. Walking is a good option if you do not want to put a lot of stress on your joints, while running a mile everyday will keep you in top shape. Whenever you exercise outdoors , remember to keep hydrated and always bring along some water. You can also explore various outdoor trails in your area if you want to mix things up. Related: 7 Ways to live an eco-friendly life while staying healthy Yoga Yoga is a total body workout that improves your mind, strength and flexibility. If you have never meditated before, yoga is a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of focusing your thoughts. You can do yoga in the comfort of your home or take your mat outdoors to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. When it comes to buying a good yoga mat, consider purchasing one that is eco-friendly . There are a few companies that sell mats that are completely biodegradable and made from recycled materials. These products, which are usually made out of TPE, are also easy on your wallet. Home Fitness If you live in an area that is not conducive to outdoor activities or if the weather is bad, you can always move your eco-friendly workout indoors. All you need is a little space to stretch out and a good plan. If you do not know where to start, there are plenty of exercise programs online that are tailored to every experience level. Apart from keeping you in shape, working out at home has several benefits. For starters, your home workouts will save you from paying a monthly gym membership. You also use much less electricity at your home than you would at the gym. Recycling Workout Gear Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can improve the environment. If you work out on a regular basis, you will likely burn through several shoes over the course of a year. Instead of throwing away those old sneakers, consider donating them to a local charitable organization. For instance, Nike have their own recycling programs that turn old shoes into playground materials. You can also consider purchasing worn workout gear, such as shorts, t-shirts and other accessories. Ditch The Plastic Plastic waste is a growing concern around the world and plastic bottles are a big part of the problem. Three-quarters of plastic water bottles are thrown away in landfills every year instead of being placed in recycling facilities. You can help curb this waste by investing in some reusable water bottles. Not only will this help cut down on plastic waste , but it will also save you from buying bottled water every week. Gym Tips Sometimes, going to the gym is your only option. If you have to go to the gym or prefer it to a home workout, there are still plenty of ways you can be more eco-friendly. For starters, try and stay away from machines that use electricity. If you need to get some cardio in, for example, run on the track or do routines that combine lifting and cardio. If you have to run on a treadmill , incline the machine so that it using less electricity. You should also consider looking in your area for gyms that promote eco-friendly workouts. These establishments usually rely less on electricity and even have machines that generate energy as you work out. Change Your Commute Switching up your commute to work can give you a great workout while helping the environment. If it is feasible, consider walking or biking to your place of employment instead of driving. This will help cut down on air pollution, even if you only do it a few times per week. It will also get your fitness routine out of the way so that you can focus on other things throughout the day. Eater Greener Working out, of course, is only part of living a healthy life. While it is tempting to refuel with a post-workout protein bar or drink, consider opting for a more sustainable option. Eating organic fruits and veggies is a great way to replenish the body and give you all the nutrients you need to recover in time for your next workout. If you need to infuse more protein into your diet, consider investing in a good protein powder. You can find organically produced powders at your local supplement store, which are great for morning smoothies. For example, hemp powder is packed full of protein, has a delicious nutty flavor and requires less water than other sources of protein. Via Best Health Magazine.   Greener Ideal Images via Shutterstock

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A potato field is transformed into an award-winning communal home in the Netherlands

May 8, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based architectural firm bureau SLA and Utrecht-based ZakenMaker have transformed a one-hectare potato field in the rural area of Oosterwold Almere, the Netherlands into nine connected homes for a group of pioneers seeking a sustainable communal lifestyle. Initially, Frode Bolhuis had approached the architects to construct his dream home, but the very limited budget prompted him to ask eight of his like-minded friends to join to make the project possible. The nine homes—each 1,722 square feet in size—are all located under one roof in the Oosterwold Co-living Complex, a long rectangular building with a shared porch, landscape and vegetable garden. The client’s tight budget largely drove the design decisions behind Oosterwold Co-living Complex. Not only did the project morph into a co-living complex as a result of limited funds, but the architects also decided that only the exterior would be designed and left the design of the interiors up to families. Elevated off the ground for a reduced footprint and to allow residents to choose the location of the sewage system and water pipes, the rectilinear building extends nearly 330 feet in length and appears to float above the landscape. “The façade is designed to give maximum freedom of choice within an efficient building system,” explain the architects. “Each family received a plan for seven windows and doors, which can be placed in the façade. The space between the frames is vitrified with solid parts of glass without a frame. This creates an uncluttered but diverse façade. Oosterwold Co-living Complex demonstrates that it’s possible to achieve a convincing design within a tight budget and which, most importantly, manages to meet the expectations of nine different clients.” Related: How shared space makes four micro apartments in Japan seem much larger For a cost-effective solution to insulation, the architects built the floor, roof and adjoining walls out of hollow wooden cassettes that were then filled with insulating cellulose. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to a long, communal porch that overlooks the shared landscape and vegetable garden. The windows also bring ample amounts of natural light indoors while the roof overhang helps block unwanted solar gain. The Oosterwold Co-living Complex won the Frame Awards 2019 in the category Co-living Complex of the Year. + bureau SLA + ZakenMaker Images by Filip Dujardin

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Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

May 6, 2019 by  
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Delft-based architectural firm cepezed has completed the Netherlands’ first self-sufficient bus station in the southern city of Tilburg. Designed to generate all of its own energy, the new transit facility features a massive solar panel -topped awning that provides shade and gives the bus station its modern and sculptural appearance. The Tilburg bus station was completed as part of the large-scale revitalization of the city’s public transit hub and offers easy access to the neighboring train station and bicycle parking in the railway zone. The new bus station at the west side of the Tilburg train station was designed to prioritize user comfort and safety. To that end, the architects topped the structure with a spacious awning that not only fully covers the bus platforms but also part of the buses, so travelers can be protected from the rain while boarding and deboarding. The steel-framed awning is fitted with lights and covered with ETFE-foil so as to let in filtered sunlight during the day and illuminate the space at night. For inclusivity, the station is equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps and handrails with braille signing. As a symbol of smart development, the station adopts a contemporary and minimalist design with highly efficient detailing. Built of steel plates and strips, the thin columns that support the large awning also contain water drainage and electric cabling. The S.O.S. button and intercom have also been integrated into one of the columns. In addition to the raised black concrete sitting edges, the architects included backed seating made with strip steel with heating. Related: Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments Solar panels spanning 2,691 square feet top the awning and power all of the bus station’s needs, from the lighting and digital information signs to the staff canteen and public transport service point. Certain solar-powered lights are triggered by energy-saving motion sensors integrated into the steel edge of the awning. For greater sustainability, the architects ensured the longevity of the structure with a low-maintenance material palette and minimized the edges and corners to reduce costs and resources for cleaning. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

The worlds tallest wood building was just completed in Norway

April 10, 2019 by  
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In March 2019, the Mjösa Tower became the tallest wooden building in the world at 18 floors (for a total of 85.4 meters tall), followed closely by the HoHo Wien building in Austria (84 meters) and the Peri-S?pân?a Monastery in Romania (75 meters). Because it was made in part with Kerto LVL wood that is both sustainable and green, the building is eco-friendly as well. While both the skeleton and the facade of the building are made of wood, the decks on the upper floors (apartments) utilize concrete to prevent swaying. The bottom 10 floors contain the majority of the Kerto LVL wood and are comprised of hotel facilities and offices. Because the wood is such high quality and lightweight, construction is faster and, in turn, uses less resources. Related: Peek inside the tallest cross-laminated timber building in the US Being a wood building, the Mjösa Tower was designed with fire safety in mind. In addition to a building-wide sprinkler system, each floor is built compartment-style with materials (such as Kerto LVL and glulam timber) with 90-minute fire resistance capability. According to Metsä Wood, when exposed to fire, the untreated, solid wood chars on the outside and provides its own fire-resistant surface. Kerto LVL wood is a laminated veneer lumber, made using thin rotary-peeled softwood glued together to form a continuous chunk of wood. It’s super strong, durable and doesn’t warp, making the wood ideal for adding substantial strength to floors and beams. Additionally, the Finnish company Metsä Wood produces the material using 100 percent bioenergy with little to no waste. The unusable segments of the wood left after the manufacturing process are either used for pulp production or for bioenergy to run the mill. Even better, there is a bio-heating plant next to the mill that’s used to power the wood production, and the remaining energy is used to help power the neighboring town of Lohja. The Metsä Wood company is certainly a large contributor to Finland’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030. Mjösa Tower is a symbol of changing trends in the construction community. It proves that massive structures can be produced using sustainable materials without compromising quality. The building’s designers at Voll Arkitekter hope the the tower will inspire other architects to build using sustainable materials like wood. + Metsä Wood + Vol Arkitekter Images via Metsä Wood

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The worlds tallest wood building was just completed in Norway

London becomes the first city to have an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

April 10, 2019 by  
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London is officially the first city to have an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The zone, which is active all hours of the day and night, will improve air quality in the city by cutting down on pollution caused by vehicle emissions . Any vehicle traveling inside the ULEZ will have to meet strict emission codes or be subject to fines. Scientists believe that vehicle emissions, specifically nitrogen oxide, account for the majority of air pollution in London and are a serious threat to public health. These harmful chemicals have been known to increase risks of dementia and cancer. Related: Teens exposed to air pollution more likely to experience psychotic episodes, new study says “This is a landmark day for our city. Our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest national health emergencies of our generation,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan shared. The ULEZ was activated on April 8 and any vehicles traveling inside the zone that do not meet emissions standards will face charges of around $16 per day. Larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses, will have to pay heftier fines upwards of $130. The zone currently covers an area roughly four miles in size and will be expanded to a much larger area by the fall of 2021. The ULEZ is part of a larger plan to discourage high-emission vehicles from travelling around London. The first stage of the plan initiated what was called a T-charge, which went into effect in the winter of 2017. In the two years since, London has witnessed a drop of around 11,000 vehicles every day from the targeted area. The plan has also increased the number of vehicles becoming compliant with emissions standards in the area. The city’s famous fleet of red double-decker buses, for example, is being upgraded to comply with the new ULEZ.  There are approximately two million residents who live inside the ULEZ, and officials hope the new plan will improve the quality of air so that it meets standards enacted by the European Union. London may be the first city to enact an Ultra Low Emission Zone, but other locations, like New York City, are looking into similar plans. Via CNN Image via  Shrinkin’ Violet

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