Solar-powered home boasts an upside down layout for an expansive feel

June 19, 2018 by  
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When a couple finally decided to fulfill their dream of living by the beach, they reached out to Sydney-based architecture firm Rolf Ockert Design to bring their vision to life. To make the most of the property’s views that overlook the nearby lagoon and beach of North Curl Curl, the beach home was designed with an “upside down” layout where the living areas are stacked on top of the lower level bedrooms. Energy efficiency was also a key driver in the design of the North Curl Curl House, which is powered with solar energy and built with low-energy, recyclable and low-emission materials throughout. Located on one half of a new subdivision on a double-size block, the North Curl Curl House enjoys great waterside views as well as privacy thanks to its siting on a quiet street. “Council regulations asked for a steep angled setback from a rather moderate height on, aiming to encourage pitched roof forms,” explains Rolf Ockert Design in their project statement. “We employed that rule differently, designing instead a two-layered roof within the given envelope, gaining light and 360 degree sky views as well as natural breeze and a ceiling height that adds to the feeling of generosity.” The North Curl Curl House’s “upside down” layout organizes the open-plan living areas on the top floor, with the kitchen occupying the heart of the room. The living room and dining area, which also open up to a large outdoor deck and BBQ area, are placed on the east side of the home to overlook panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean . The floor includes a study area for the family as well. Downstairs, the master bedroom suite also faces east towards stellar vistas of the Pacific Ocean, while the two bedrooms for the kids take up the central space. On the west side is the rumpus room, which connects to the garden and pool. The two-car garage with laundry and storage is discreetly tucked underground so as not to detract from the views. Related: Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes To ensure energy efficiency, the North Curl Curl House makes use of natural light and ventilation over artificial sources wherever possible. The home is also equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and a solar array. The walls in the lower level of the home were constructed from brick to provide high thermal mass. + Rolf Ockert Design Images by Luke Butterly and Rolf Ockert

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Solar-powered home boasts an upside down layout for an expansive feel

Earth Hour: One Hour of Darkness to Increase Environmental Awareness

June 8, 2018 by  
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It started with an hour of darkness in Sydney, Australia, … The post Earth Hour: One Hour of Darkness to Increase Environmental Awareness appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth Hour: One Hour of Darkness to Increase Environmental Awareness

Broccoli powder could pack a veggie punch in smoothies, soups and lattes

June 7, 2018 by  
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Do you consume the recommended serving of vegetables every day? Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study finding only one in 10 adults eat enough vegetables or fruit. Scientists in Australia — a country where the average person also isn’t getting the recommended daily veggie intake — came up with a possible solution: broccoli powder . A Melbourne-area cafe, Commonfolk Coffee , recently tested it out with a latte. How do you take your coffee? Milk, sugar…broccoli powder? There's a new latte shaking up Melbourne's coffee culture. #TenNews @CaryRachel pic.twitter.com/FBMv0JYkkq — Ten News Melbourne (@tennewsmelb) June 6, 2018 Australian science agency  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Hort Innovation developed broccoli powder that provides one serving of broccoli in two tablespoons. They created it using what CSIRO called imperfect-looking broccoli — produce that otherwise might have been trashed. Related: Korean barista creates incredible works of latte art The Melbourne cafe’s broccoli lattes received mixed reviews — in a Ten News Melbourne video , one person said it wasn’t bad; another person said they liked it but described the taste as “milky broccoli.” But there are other uses for the powder for those who can’t stomach a broccoli latte, like in soups, smoothies or baked goods, according to Hort Innovation CEO John Lloyd. “With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, Australian growers are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand,” Lloyd said in a statement . “Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this.” ?????????… …nah but drink whatever floats your boat. Although can you really go past a sustainable and ethical single origin espresso *sans broccoli* ????? > > > #broccolatte #broccocino #coffee #cafe #cafes #melbourne #instacoffee #coffeeoftheday #coffeelovers #vsco #vscocam #vsco_hub #vscobest #vsco_best #vscogood #vscocamphotos #vscofeature #liveauthentic #MKexplore #neverstopexploring #letsgosomewhere #shootaward #igmasters #justgoshoot A post shared by C O M M O N F O L K (@commonfolkcoffee) on Jun 6, 2018 at 1:15am PDT Whole broccoli goes into the 100 percent broccoli powder, which is made through pre-treatment and drying processes. The final product keeps the nutrient composition, color and flavor of fresh broccoli, according to CSIRO. Lead researcher Mary Ann Augustin said broccoli’s high fiber and protein content, as well as bioactive phytochemicals, means the vegetable is an ideal candidate to turn into powder. John Said, managing director of leading broccoli producer  Fresh Select , seems to be on board, describing the project as “the emerging new food trend.” He said farmers in Australia “will have access to an alternative market whilst improving farm yields and sustainability.” + CSIRO Image via CSIRO

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Mars Australia to go to 100% renewable energy in just over one year

June 5, 2018 by  
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One of the largest manufacturers in Australia is going green. Food company Mars Australia recently announced it will match 100 percent of its  electricity use with clean power by 2020. The company’s goal is to completely eliminate greenhouse gases from its operations by 2040. Exciting news from down under – Mars Australia has entered the solar system! We’re proud to announce we’re now purchasing the equivalent of 100% of our electricity use from #renewable #solar energy! Learn more about our commitment to a #sustainable future: https://t.co/BZnJSuCLkb pic.twitter.com/vofAZea3ht — Mars, Incorporated (@MarsGlobal) May 31, 2018 Mars Australia signed a 20-year power-purchase agreement with renewable energy company Total Eren. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the deal will support the Kiamal Solar Farm in northern Victoria, which Total Eren is developing, as well as a second clean power project in New South Wales. Mars Australia said it has contracted for power to match electricity needs of six factories and two sales offices in Australia. The company’s electricity use in the country is around 100 gigawatt-hours a year; general manager Barry O’Sullivan told The Sydney Morning Herald, “We’ve got a pretty big footprint on this planet. Our energy usage in total is equivalent to a small country’s.” Related: Australia’s solar energy capacity could almost double in one year Solar power from the Kiamal Solar Farm, which is slated for completion in the middle of 2019, won’t go directly to Mars Australia’s operations. Instead, it will go to the country’s national grid. Mars Australia will receive Renewable Energy Certifications from the Kiamal Solar Farm and will support Total Eren in expanding the farm to a planned 200-megawatt capacity. Mars Australia said the energy generated at the solar farm could power 185 million 180-gram (around 6-ounce) bags of peanut M&Ms, 2.5 billion packets of EXTRA gum, 1.4 billion bottles of MasterFoods tomato sauce or 29 million 3-kilogram (around 6-pound) bags of PEDIGREE dog food. We’re thrilled to announce that Mars Australia is adding new solar power to the national grid equivalent to 100% of our electricity use! But how much is that? Here’s a taste… pic.twitter.com/5HQurC9oUK — Mars, Incorporated (@MarsGlobal) May 31, 2018 O’Sullivan said in a Mars press release  that rising electricity prices played a role in the company’s decision to switch to renewable energy. The move joins Mars sites in the U.S., U.K. and about nine other countries. O’Sullivan said the “price volatility of energy in Australia made renewables the best option for our business.” Total Eren CEO David Corchia said, “Partnering with manufacturing thought leaders like Mars Australia is essential and sends a strong message to the rest of the market that now is the time to capitalize on the opportunities offered by renewable power purchase agreements and to drive positive changes in the environment .” + Mars Australia Via The Sydney Morning Herald Images via Depositphotos

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Mars Australia to go to 100% renewable energy in just over one year

Get away from it all in gorgeous solar-powered glamping tents in Australia

May 29, 2018 by  
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Those wanting to go way off grid to get away from the hustle and bustle can find respite in the unbelievably idyllic setting of Australia’s Sierra Escape . Tucked into the rolling hills of the Mudgee countryside, the eco-friendly lodge just unveiled two new solar-powered glamping tents  that include extra large windows, guaranteeing spectacular panoramic views of sunrises, sunsets and starry nights. Of course, if you’d prefer, you can also “soak in” the stunning scenery from the large outdoor bathtubs. Located just northwest of Sydney, the Mudgee countryside is known for its immense natural beauty, as well as its award-winning wineries. Surrounded by rolling hills, the Sierra Escape lodge offers a perfect off-grid experience. Along with enjoying the peace and quiet that surrounds the property, guests can also enjoy some of the region’s delicious wines. Related: Rainforest Retreat is a nature lover’s escape with minimal building impact Guests at the Sierra Escape eco lodge can choose from two tents located discreetly, even from each other, to offer the utmost privacy. Both tents run completely on solar power and have enough energy to charge phones and power a small fridge, indoor and outdoor lighting, a small gas cook-top and the tents’ gas hot water systems. The Duliti tent (meaning ‘together’ in the local Aboriginal dialect) sleeps up to seven guests and is designed to help families and friends bond over the area’s incredible beauty. The family-sized tent comes with a total of five beds. A designer kitchen is perfect for enjoying large, family-style meals in the indoor or outdoor dining spaces. Inside, there is a wood-burning fireplace for chilly nights. There is also a fire pit to throw a few shrimps on the barbie if the mood strikes. Those looking for a more secluded romantic getaway can enjoy the Uralla tent (meaning ‘home on the hill’). The tent, also equipped with an abundance of extra large windows, brings even more luxury and comfort to the glamping experience . There is a designer kitchen, king-sized bed, fireplace and outdoor freestanding tub to enjoy spectacular views while soaking in a warm bath. According to the owners, the lodge has plans to add a few more features in the future. For starters, they are hoping to build a swimming pool out of a shipping container . The area will be used as a common social space, and include space for barbecues, yoga, wine tastings and more. + Sierra Escape Images via Sierra Escape

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Get away from it all in gorgeous solar-powered glamping tents in Australia

A 1940s home gets a modern update with reclaimed materials

May 26, 2018 by  
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Australian studio Porter Architects has sensitively restored and updated a 1940s dwelling in Lake Wendouree, Australia into a modern and light-filled family home. Large windows, contemporary furnishings and finishes breathe new life into the Ballarat property, but the clients and architects were also careful to preserve the home’s original historic elements as well. As a result, recycled and reclaimed materials were used throughout the renovation. Renovations can often be stressful affairs, especially when it comes to older properties like the Lake Wendouree House. Fortunately, however, clients Tom and Meeghan McInerney bought a home that had been extremely well looked after. Its previous owners were two sisters who had lived there for 60 years and kept detailed records for maintenance. Careful upkeep also meant that the original timber paneling and decorative plasterwork were kept in pristine condition. However, the home felt too dark for the couple, who wanted a home that not only was filled with natural light , but would also embrace the outdoors. To preserve the existing architecture as much as possible, Porter Architects created a contemporary extension that opens up to the north-facing backyard and timber patio through large windows and a folding operable glass wall. The Lake Wendouree House’s original front, which they kept intact, contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a study, while the new addition serves as the heart of the home with an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room. Unsurprisingly, the client’s favorite room is the light-filled kitchen that features a marble backsplash and counters. Related: Mid-century Dutch farmhouse gets a bold contemporary makeover To match the existing hardwood floors found in the original structure, the architects installed recycled floorboards in the rear extension. To give the traditional brick exterior a modern refresh, the architects added timber paneling and added reclaimed 1940s bricks in a contemporary pattern. The extension’s minimalist interior features whitewashed walls, timber paneling and furniture, and contemporary furnishings and fittings. + Porter Architects Images by Derek Swalwell

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Modern gabled guesthouse embraces passive solar in Australia

May 4, 2018 by  
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A sleek and modern take on the Australian farm building has popped up in the coastal town of Gerringong. Atelier Andy Carson designed Escarpment House as a two-bed guesthouse on an east-west axis to make the most of ocean views to the south and pastoral views to the north. The building orientation and material choice were also guided by passive solar principles. Set on nearly 150 acres of pasture with dairy cows, the Escarpment House maintains a relatively low profile with a simple gabled form created in the likeness of the traditional metal shed dairy structures of the region. “The project utilizes north and south decks as ‘winter’ and ‘summer’ outdoor space to enable the occupants to use the building mass as sun or wind protection moving to each side as favored,” wrote the architects. “The site positioning offered a significant view towards the nearby dairy with the setting sun over the escarpment offering a unique user experience.” The two bedrooms are located on the home’s east end, while the open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living space face the west. Related: Passive solar home stays naturally cool without AC in Australia Energy consumption is minimized through the regulation of light and views thanks to the west façade’s large operable panels that open or close with the touch of a button. Escarpment House also features extra-thick insulated walls and double-glazing . Supplementary solar power, rainwater harvesting with UV filtration and treatment, as well as on-site sewage treatment further reduce the home’s environmental impact. + Atelier Andy Carson Via ArchDaily Images © Michael Nicholson

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Modern gabled guesthouse embraces passive solar in Australia

Mecanoo unveils greenery-filled social housing for Kaohsiung

May 4, 2018 by  
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Hot on the heels of their recently completed National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Dutch firm Mecanoo unveiled their competition-winning social housing designs for the southern Taiwan city. The mixed-use complex will offer 234 units of housing, green space, and publicly accessible programming. Located between a new green corridor and an existing neighborhood along the railway, the project will kick off a larger urban redevelopment scheme in Kaohsiung . The 307,850-square-foot Kaohsiung social housing project comprises two buildings flanking a new green space. Housing units, which vary between 269 and 807 square feet, will cater to a wide variety of users from students and young families to the elderly and people with disabilities. The ground floors of both buildings will be zoned for commercial use to engage the surroundings. The massing of the buildings is optimized to reduce solar heat gain inside the apartments. Related: Mecanoo designs gorgeous green-roofed train station for Kaohsiung The tallest building on the east houses the majority of the apartments and is topped with community facilities while the shorter west tower includes more public-facing facilities such as a senior day-care center. “Distributed in several floors and connected by green terraces , the Sky Park works as a social hub open to the public, which brings together residents and the local community,” said Mecanoo of the greenery-filled complex. White stucco will be applied to the facade that’s partially infilled with green and white ceramic tiles—a departure from the local norm where entire facades are typically covered in tile. + Mecanoo Via Architect Magazine Images via Mecanoo

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Mecanoo unveils greenery-filled social housing for Kaohsiung

California’s desert battery could be three times the size of Tesla’s

April 12, 2018 by  
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Tesla’s 100-megawatt (MW) South Australia battery will no longer be the world’s largest if a new solar project goes through. According to  USA Today ,  Recurrent Energy has requested permission from the federal government for the Crimson Solar Project, a 350-MW solar plant with as much as 350 MW of battery storage in the California desert east of Palm Springs. Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar , aims to build a battery storage project and associated solar plant on 2,500 acres of public land near California’s Mule Mountains, south of Interstate 10. Solar power has rapidly expanded in  California , creating a need for more battery storage. Recurrent Energy’s plans for such a massive battery are encouraging for the clean power industry; GTM Research energy storage analyst Daniel Finn-Foley told USA Today, “If they actually installed 350 MW, that would be a bombshell.” Related: Tesla’s massive Australia battery rakes in estimated $1 million AUD in a few days But it’s not a done deal at this point. The federal permitting process could take years, and Recurrent lacks a buyer for the solar plant’s electricity . Large utilities like Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas & Electric could be possible customers. Recurrent Energy’s director of permitting Scott Dawson told USA Today, “If someone wants it, we’ll build it.” There are environmental concerns at the location, although Dawson said the company has redesigned the Crimson Solar Project to avoid the most sensitive habitats. The plant would disrupt 30 sand dune habitat acres where the Mojave fringe-toed lizard resides; a prior plan disrupted 580 acres. A previous plan also saw the plant disrupting 95 acres of biodiversity-rich microphyll woodlands, but that number is now at 1.2 acres. The solar project would not encroach on critical habitat for the desert tortoise. + Recurrent Energy Via USA Today Images via Recurrent Energy

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California’s desert battery could be three times the size of Tesla’s

This turtle with a green mohawk is one of the most endangered reptiles in the world

April 12, 2018 by  
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It’s not every day you see a turtle with a mohawk – even if that mohawk is made up of algae and not hair. The Mary River turtle is eye-catching for this stylish feature, and it is also known as a butt-breather, or a reptile that can breathe through its genitals. But this unique animal is now ranked 29 out of 100 on the Zoological Society of London ‘s EDGE of Existence Program , a list of vulnerable reptiles . According to an article from herpetologist Rikki Gumbs, the Mary River turtle can breathe through organs in its cloaca — an ability that allows the turtle to remain underwater for as long as 72 hours. Gumbs is also a lead author on a recently published PLOS One study that, according to The Guardian , highlights that reptiles such as the Mary River turtle are in trouble. According to Gumbs, “Intense historical collection for the pet trade, combined with habitat disturbance in its tiny range, mean this species is threatened with extinction .” We launched our #EDGEreptiles list yesterday, and the #punkturtle Elusor macrurus has stolen the show with its algae mohawk and unique ability to breathe through its genitals! Read more about the Mary river turtle here: https://t.co/CLfd355DQT pic.twitter.com/TYhZPyWveT — EDGE of Existence (@EDGEofExistence) April 12, 2018 Related: Turtle hatchlings spotted on Mumbai beach for the first time in nearly 20 years The freshwater turtle lives in Queensland , Australia in — as you might have guessed — the Mary River.  EDGE  explained yet another reason why the turtle is so distinct: “The only species in its genus, the Mary River turtle diverged from all other living species around 40 million years ago. In comparison, we split from our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, less than 10 million years ago.” The International Union for Conservation of Nature  also lists the Mary River turtle as endangered on its Red List. EDGE said it takes a long time for the reptiles to reach sexual maturity; they don’t breed before age 25. Dam construction is one key factor in their decline. The organization said conservation programs are now in place to protect the species. Other striking turtles that made the top 10 list include the Cantor’s giant softshell, which is among the largest freshwater turtles in the world; the pig-nosed turtle, whose nose says it all; and the Roti Island snake-necked turtle, “one of the 15 most endangered turtles worldwide.” + Top 100 EDGE Reptiles + Top 10 Most Amazing EDGE Reptiles + Mary River turtle + PLOS One Via The Guardian Image courtesy of Chris Van Wyk/Zoological Society of London

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