Genius elevator bed slides vertically on rails to maximize space in Alaskan tiny home

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Ana White , a self-taught carpenter in Alaska, has built a number of impressive tiny homes . But her latest project literally takes her craft to a new level. In keeping with her client’s request for an open and airy space, Ana built an ‘elevator bed’ that slides vertically on rails with just a touch of a button. White’s client for the tiny home design requested that interior of the compact 24-foot-long, 8-foot-wide space be as open as possible. This challenged her to find space for the bed when not in use. As a stroke of space-saving genius, for just $500, she installed the bed on vertical rails using hardware from a garage door system. At the touch of a button, the bed slides up and down on the rails and is held in place by pins drilled into the wall. When not in use, the bed is lifted to almost ceiling height, and the sofa underneath, which also opens up into a guest bed, becomes a comfortable lounge space. Related: Missouri community is building 50 tiny homes for homeless veterans https://youtu.be/lHjJd4tkvSU Additional space-saving techniques are installed throughout the home. Storage nooks were custom created in virtually every corner, leaving no space unused. Almost all of the furniture has been created to be multi-use, including wooden box footrests that can be used as coffee tables, guest seating, and storage bins. Even the lids pull double duty as lap desks for laptops or serving trays. Additional features include a lateral shelving unit that runs the length of the large window, which provides optimal natural light . The storage shelves underneath are covered custom-made sliding barn doors that can be propped up to use as work space or dining area. In the kitchen, more sliding features include a cereal cabinet, and a beautiful barn door that separates the kitchen from the bathroom, which has a composting toilet . The closet space is also built on rails, and slides into the shower stall when not in use. + Ana White Via Treehugger Images via Ana White

Original post:
Genius elevator bed slides vertically on rails to maximize space in Alaskan tiny home

Germany’s environmental ministry nixes meat, fish at official functions

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The German equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency is saying yes to sauerkraut, no to bratwurst—officially, at least. Barbara Hendricks, minister for the environment, announced last week that the Umweltbundesamt , Germany’s federal environmental arm, will serve neither meat nor fish at state events. She cited as a reason the inordinate environmental burden they pose on the environment, especially in the case of livestock farming, which studies show generate more greenhouse-gas emissions than transportation. This isn’t a novel stance for the ministry. In 2009, the Umweltbundesamt counseled Germans to return to the prewar tradition of eating meat only on special occasions, if not for their health, then for the sake of the planet. “We must rethink our high meat consumption,” said then–environment minister Andreas Troge. “I recommend people return to the Sunday roast and to an orientation of their eating habits around those of Mediterranean countries.” A nation that offers hundreds of varieties of sausage may not be so easily swayed, however. Germans consume a lot of meat—about 60 kilograms (132 pounds) per capita per year, according to some estimates . Unsurprisingly, Henrick’s pronouncement has already drawn criticism, with one political rival accusing the minister of “nanny-statism” and forcing vegetarianism on people. “I’m not having this Veggie Day through the back door,” said Christian Schmidt, minister of food and agriculture. “I believe in diversity and freedom of choice, not nanny-statism and ideology. Instead of paternalism and ideology. Meat and fish are also part of a balanced diet.” A member of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union party, Schmidt previously called for a ban on giving meat substitutes names like “vegetarian schnitzel” and “vegetarian sausage” because they are “completely misleading and unsettle consumers.” Infographic: The true environmental cost of eating meat He also censured German schools for eliminating pork from the menu out of consideration for Muslim students. “We should not restrict the choice for the majority of society for reasons of ease or cost,” he said. Meanwhile, Hendricks’s detractors have dismissed her a hypocrite, since meat and fish will still be offered in the staff cafeteria. “The ban only applies to a handful of guests, not to 1,200 employees,” said Gitta Conneman, a senior minister from the Christian Democratic Union. “This is pure ideology, a ‘people’s education’ for the diet.” But, at least for now, the environment ministry isn’t budging. “We’re not telling anyone what they should eat,” it said in a statement. “But we want to set a good example for climate protection, because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish.” Via ThinkProgress Photos by Marco Verch and Oliver Hallmann

Here is the original:
Germany’s environmental ministry nixes meat, fish at official functions

Duke University researchers use light to convert carbon dioxide to fuel

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

What if the carbon dioxide building up in our atmosphere could be put to good use as fuel ? For years chemists have chased a catalyst that could aid the reaction converting carbon dioxide to methane , a building block for many fuels – and now Duke University scientists have found just such a catalyst in tiny rhodium nanoparticles . Duke University researchers converted carbon dioxide into methane with the help of rhodium nanoparticles, which harness ultraviolet light’s energy to catalyze carbon dioxide’s conversion into methane. Rhodium is one of Earth’s rarest elements, but according to Duke University it plays a key role in our daily lives by speeding up reactions in industrial processes like making detergent or drugs. Rhodium also helps break down toxic pollutants in our cars’ catalytic converters. Related: Scientists create a new kind of matter called time crystals The fact that the scientists employed light to power the reaction is important. When graduate student Xiao Zhang tried heating up the nanoparticles to 300 degrees Celsius, the reaction did produce methane but also produced an equal amount of poisonous carbon monoxide . But when he instead used a high-powered ultraviolet LED lamp, the reaction yielded almost entirely methane. Jie Liu, chemistry professor and paper co-author, said in a statement, “The fact that you can use light to influence a specific reaction pathway is very exciting. This discovery will really advance the understanding of catalysis.” The scientists now hope to find a way to employ natural sunlight in the reaction, which Duke University says would be “a potential boon to alternative energy .” The journal Nature Communications published the research of seven scientists from Duke University’s chemistry and physics departments online this week. Via Duke University Images via Chad Scales/Duke University and Xiao Zhang/Duke University

Read the original:
Duke University researchers use light to convert carbon dioxide to fuel

Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

February 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

London-based architecture firm Tonkin Liu recently revealed their competition-winning designs for the Cradle Towers in Zhengzhou , China. Centered on a large green space, this collection of five mixed-use towers is designed with a swooping sculptural form to mimic the nearby Songshan mountains. This urban “mountainscape” will be partly covered in greenery and feature a responsive skin to control solar shading and maximize energy efficiency. Located in a city regarded as China’s cradle of civilization, the 434,000-square-meter Cradle Towers pay homage to the city’s ancient past with its nature-inspired form and simultaneously looks to the future with its contemporary design. The five tapered towers will be built at different heights atop a podium . The towers surround a central park with a large man-made lake that will double as an ice skating rink in the winter. Related: 5+design stacks a dramatic mountain-inspired mixed-use project atop a transit hub in Shenyang The mixed-use buildings will comprise offices, apartments, and a hotel. The podium base will contain retail and leisure open to the public. The fritted glass facade will feature a responsive skin that changes to minimize solar heat gain . The facade has a subtle color gradation and transitions from dark at the podium base to light at the tops of the building, “establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky,” write the architects. Each building will be topped by a landscaped rooftop. + Tonkin Liu Via ArchDaily

Originally posted here: 
Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

INTERVIEW: Bamboo builder, and Ibuku founder Elora Hardy on creating incredible buildings with bamboo

February 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

We’ve showcased numerous bamboo designs over the years, from furniture to entire buildings, but when it comes to combining green building and renewable materials, Ibuku’s incredible bent-bamboo buildings take the cake. The Bali-based bamboo building team already has luxury villas, houses, schools and infrastructure buildings in their portfolio, and is renowned for their dedication to using traditional Indonesian building techniques . We spoke with the firm’s founder and CEO, designer Elora Hardy, about vernacular architecture traditions, her involvement with designing bamboo buildings , and the reasons behind her vocational change from high-end fashion to sustainable architecture Photo by Rio Helmi INHABITAT: Before founding Ibuku, you had a successful career in fashion. What prompted this change in direction? Elora: I visited Green School just as construction was completing in 2010, and it blew my mind. My father and step-mother (John and Cynthia Hardy) founded the Green School and built every structure on campus out of the most sustainable material they could find: bamboo. I felt the need to be involved in a sustainable industry and I realized this was it. Having grown up in Bali, I had already had a taste of the creative possibilities of working with natural materials and skilled local craftsmen, and so the temptation to get involved with what was going on at home was strong enough to coax me away from both fashion and NYC. Photo by Rio Helmi INHABITAT: Can you describe the dynamic of your design and construction process? Elora: We spend time on the land, and with the people who will be using it. We sketch a bit, and make simple real-scale mockups on the site. Once the placements are clear, we make 1:50 scale structural models out of bamboo . This is where the art—and engineering—happen. Our bamboo builders follow this model (not blueprints) to build the structure of the house. There are over 100 people involved in construction, with an average of 20 onsite at one time. No heavy machinery, no cranes, no bulldozers. Walls are woven onsite, and craftsmen whittle bamboo pins to pin splits of bamboo skin onto the floor one by one. These are truly hand-made homes. Photo by Tim Street Porter INHABITAT: Bamboo is known as the quintessential rapidly renewable building material. What are its characteristics in terms of fire resistance, strength, and lifespan? Elora: ?Bamboo is a truly sustainable unrivalled timber, with the compressive strength of concrete and the tensile strength of steel. The kind of timber we use, Petung (or Dendorocalaus asper ) ?can have as much as? 18 meters of useable length. It’s lightweight , hollow, round, curving, and tapering. It’s also flexible, making it ?ideal for earthquakes, as it will bend and flex long before it breaks. There are 1450 species of Bamboo in the world, and my team uses 7 of them. It grows on most continents on Earth, and we harvest ours from groves deep in the ravines of Bali and Java—from between 1 hour and 1 day’s drive away. It grows on land that’s not useful for agriculture and thrives on rain or spring water. In an established clump, each shoot emerges from the ground full at diameter, growing up to 1m per day.  3-4? year?s? later, it’s dense and mature and ready for harvest. Photo by Rio Helmi INHABITAT: One of the major concerns when it comes to building with bamboo is its susceptibility to insect damage. You have developed a new treatment method which tackles this issue—can you tell us how it works, and what your experiences with it have been so far? Elora:  In the past, the powder post beetle succeeded in eating just about every bamboo object ever made. Bamboo is a member of the grass family, and its sap is sweet. If you succeed in replacing those sugars with salts, the beetle can’t eat it. We treat our bamboo with a natural Boron salt solution, which permanently protects it? from insect attack. The treatment is the key to what we do: without it, bamboo cannot be considered a permanent building material. Linda Garlad founded  Bamboo Central , the Environmental Bamboo Foundation in Bali, innovating and promoting bamboo treatment methods and opening up the possibilities for bamboo as a sustainable timber. She inspired us to build with bamboo and gave us the confidence to build long-lasting structures, and that has been the key to what we’ve been able to build. Photo by Tim Street Porter INHABITAT: Your buildings rely on passive sustainability. How often do you incorporate active sustainable systems such as photovoltaics or rainwater harvesting? Elora: We recently designed a solar field and battery house at Green School for the solar system that Akuo energy donated to the school. Our focus is on bamboo, on expanding our capabilities and expertise with this material, but as new technologies are designed and become available, and as we connect with other sustainability experts in other fields, we collaborate with them and integrate their systems in to our designs. INHABITAT: How does Ibuku’s practice affect local Balinese communities? Elora: Most of our craftsmen are descended from wood-carving and farming families from surrounding villages here in Bali. They say if they weren’t working here with us, they would likely be carving handicrafts from wood, or perhaps working in the tourist industry as security guards or waiters. I’m proud to have created an opportunity for these skilled craftsmen to continue their trade and broaden their expertise. How we build with bamboo gives the world a glimpse into the artistic value of Balinese culture, beyond the tropical island destination reputation. Photo by Agung Dwi INHABITAT: Ibuku’s bamboo designs span different typologies. You’ve built houses, schools , bridges, auditoriums and even a car park. How do you see the applicability of bamboo evolving in the future? Elora: Bamboo has extreme versatility. If you follow the basic rules, and innovate with complementary technologies and materials, the possibilities worldwide are endless. Most of our buildings to date have been into the land they were built on; they are designed for Bali.  Often they are designed from the point of view of bamboo, utilizing its strength and protecting its vulnerabilities. I’m excited to see how other designers will interpret bamboo for the rest of the world; in structures and beyond. INHABITAT: Bamboo is used as a building material in tropical countries where it can be harvested locally, but in Asia it’s mostly used for scaffolding. Do you see it becoming a major building material beyond Bali and Indonesia? Elora:  Bamboo is ideal for tropical construction, but I’m sure it will also have application in structures in other climates, likely used in combination with other appropriate materials for those regions. I imagine bamboo structural towers within structures enclosed by rammed-earth walls , with insulated roofing material. Photo by Rio Helmi INHABITAT: Our readers are familiar with several of Ibuku’s projects, namely the Green Village and the Green School. What are you working on at the moment? Elora: We have two new homes in process at Green Village , as well as an extraordinary private home in nearby Ubud that has a kids’ house with a climbing wall and slide. We just completed several additions at Green School , and our gardening team built them a Peace Garden. On an island neighboring Bali, we are designing a school for local kids. We have a yoga pavilion design in process, and just completing a riverside spa with a bamboo basket pod suspended over the river. + Ibuku + Green Village + Green School Photo by Rio Helmi Photo by Rio Helmi Images by  Rio Helmi , Agung Dwi,  Tim Street-Porter / OTTO  

Here is the original post:
INTERVIEW: Bamboo builder, and Ibuku founder Elora Hardy on creating incredible buildings with bamboo

German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center

February 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Architecture students from Germany’s University of Kaiserslautern teamed up with 25 refugees to build a timber community center for a refugee camp in Mannheim, Germany. Completed as part of the “Building Together—Learning Together” program, the 550-square-meter structure breathes new life into the bare-bones surroundings with a beautiful new gathering space. The design/build project prioritized ecological and cost-effective design without compromising construction quality. The timber community center was created in response to the desolate conditions of the Mannheim refugee camp located on the former American Spinelli Barracks. To aid in the refugee crisis , 18 architecture students teamed up with 25 refugees to design the new building, from concept to final build. The students lived at the refugee camp and worked intensively for six weeks from mid-August to the end of October to realize the project and help teach their new coworkers basic building skills and German. Related: Self-shaping shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing The community center is made almost entirely of lightweight untreated timber , with the larger components prefabricated in a hangar of the former military facility and later assembled onsite. The main walls are clad in Douglas fir while the latticework walls are used as structural support, allowing for natural ventilation and light while also creating a beautiful dappled play of light and shadow. The center wraps around a small garden courtyard as well as a large outdoor events space. Built-in seating is arranged around this area, shielded from the elements by a two-meter-wall canopy and partitions. The center also includes a pair of storerooms that can be adapted for different uses in the future. + Atelier U20 Via ArchDaily Images © Yannick Wegner

Read the original: 
German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center

Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

February 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Design firm Arquitectónica transformed an 18-story tower in Quito, Ecuador into a slender urban sculpture that twists upwards to meet the sky. The building’s animated exterior is matched by a deep green interior designed by Marcel Wanders , and belongs to a larger scheme comprising four major developments conceived in collaboration between leading experts in real estate development, industrial design and architecture. The architects achieved the twisting shape of the tower by displacing the floor plates, generating the impression of movement. Nestled between two orthogonal buildings, the Oh Residences introduce an element of playfulness and surprise to the neighborhood. Related: Marcel Wanders Unveils Plant-Sprouting Swing for Droog The interior design, inspired by Ecuadorian flora and fauna , offers diverse spaces that reference three classical elements–earth, air and fire. The areas referencing earth use authentic natural materials , while sensations of serenity, softness and tranquility dominate the spaces where air is the main motif. Contrasts that combine crafts, patterns and colors mark the spaces with fire as the thematic guide. + YOO + Marcel Wanders + Arquitectónica + Uribe & Schwarzkopf

View original here: 
Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

New silicon nanoparticles could finally make solar windows commercially viable

February 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The trend toward integrating solar into homes and buildings seems to be taking off. First Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled his rooftop solar shingles that are invisible when viewed from the street. Now, researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca have developed technology that could usher in a future with photovoltaic windows harvesting renewable energy from the sun. The research, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Photonics, demonstrates that high-tech silicon nanoparticles embedded into luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) can make the performance of solar windows more efficient, comparable to flat solar concentrators. “In our lab, we ‘trick’ nature by shirking the dimension of silicon crystals to a few nanometers, that is about one ten-thousandths of the diameter of human hair,” said University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor Uwe Kortshagen, one of the senior authors of the study. “At this size, silicon’s properties change and it becomes an efficient light emitter, with the important property not to re-absorb its own luminescence. This is the key feature that makes silicon nanoparticles ideally suited for LSC applications.” Related: Revolutionary new solar windows could generate 50 times more power than conventional photovoltaics Photovoltaic windows could be a game changer in the race to power cities with renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. Modern glass office towers could be retrofited with photovoltaic windows that wouldn’t change the aesthetics of the building and yet would be able to meet the structure’s electricity needs. According to the US Department of Energy, turning the windows at One World Trade Center into solar collectors could power more than 350 apartments. The researchers say that silicon nanoparticles could make solar windows commercially viable for the building-integrated photovoltaic market. The silicon nanoparticles, which are produced using a plasma reactor and formed into a powder, could realize flexible LSCs that efficiently capture more than five percent of the sun’s energy. One day soon the sun shining on skyscrapers in cities around the world could also be the source of their energy. + Highly efficient luminescent solar concentrators based on earth-abundant indirect-bandgap silicon quantum dots Via Phys.org Images via University of Minnesota

Originally posted here:
New silicon nanoparticles could finally make solar windows commercially viable

Dibdo Francis Kr unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Burkina Faso-born architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has been selected as this year’s designer of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion —making him the first African architect of the annual pavilion. Kéré, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kéré Architecture, unveiled preliminary designs of a pavilion strongly influenced by the rural vernacular of his home country. Designed to mimic the functions and form of a large tree, the temporary pavilion will be topped by a large wooden disc that offers shelter and will help collect rainwater. Now in its 17th iteration, the annual Serpentine Pavilion commissions an international architect to build his or her first structure in London on the lawns of Kensington Gardens . Kéré draws from his experience in socially engaged and ecologically responsible design in his pavilion proposal that aims to connect visitors to nature, to Burkina Faso architecture, and with one another. The steel-framed pavilion is built mostly of wood and will be accessible via four separate entry points that lead to a central open-air courtyard. Related: BIG selected to design the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion Kéré wrote in his architect’s statement: “In Burkina Faso , the tree is a place where people gather together, where everyday activities play out under the shade of its branches. My design for the Serpentine Pavilion has a great over-hanging roof canopy made of steel and a transparent skin covering the structure, which allows sunlight to enter the space while also protecting it from the rain. Wooden shading elements line the underside of the roof to create a dynamic shadow effect on the interior spaces. This combination of features promotes a sense of freedom and community; like the shade of the tree branches, the Pavilion becomes a place where people can gather and share their daily experiences.” The pavilion’s design promotes natural ventilation for cooling in the summer. An oculus funnels collected rainwater from the roof to create a “spectacular waterfall effect” before it drains into a tank for reuse as park irrigation. The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion will be open to the public from June 23 to October 8, 2017. + Serpentine Galleries Images via Serpentine Galleries

See the rest here:
Dibdo Francis Kr unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof

Iceberg-inspired Greenland cultural center celebrates 20 years of resilience in the Arctic

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Greenland’s harsh arctic climates are notoriously unforgiving, which makes the Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland’s 20th anniversary all the more impressive. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects completed the cultural and artistic center in February 1997 and forged a meeting space open to locals, the international Inuit community, and visitors from around the world. Located in Nuuk, the award-winning Katuaq Cultural Centre is largely inspired by the environment, from its iceberg-like massing to its timber unudulating screen that acts as an architectural metaphor for the northern lights . Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won an international competition for the Katuaq Cultural Centre in 1992 with its conceptual designs of a dramatic building inspired by the Greenlandic landscape. The 4,800-square-meter undulating building features a triangular monolithic body that mimics an iceberg , a “floating” second skin made up of golden larch wood that alludes to the northern lights , and a bright, white foyer space that references snow and ice. Natural light illuminates the foyer through roof lights and narrow oblong glass slits in the timber screen. The foyer leads to a theater, cinema, and cafe. Related: Greenland’s wooden Icefjord Center will offer sweeping views of the glacial landscape “Winning the competition to design the Cultural Centre in Greenland was a major breakthrough for our studio as our first project on an international scale. It spearheaded our architectural ambition to create cultural buildings with a strong sense of place and a space that acts as a meeting place for people,” says Founding Partner Morten Schmidt. “The challenge of constructing a sustainable building that could withstand the arctic climate conditions also brought us new knowledge about which materials we should use.” The Katuaq Cultural Centre has stood the test of time and welcomes approximately 100,000 visitors every year, an impressive number given Greenland’s estimated population of 56,500. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

View original here: 
Iceberg-inspired Greenland cultural center celebrates 20 years of resilience in the Arctic

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1472 access attempts in the last 7 days.