These bioclimatic student dorms use low-cost, sustainable materials

March 1, 2021 by  
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In the tropical Vietnamese province of Dong Nai, Southeast Asian architecture firm  T3 Architects  has completed the Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitories, a cost-effective housing structure that uses locally sourced materials and  bioclimatic  design principles to stay naturally cool and comfortable year-round. A limited budget and a brief that specified low-impact construction led the architects to explore traditional construction methods such as using Vietnamese bulk rice husk with inspect-resistant diatomaceous earth for the roof insulation. The building is also equipped with composting toilets, low-flow plumbing fixtures and rooftop solar heaters to further minimize the project’s environmental footprint.  Catherine and Olivier, the founders of Hippo Farm, commissioned the Bioclimatic Dormitories as an expansion of their three-hectare permaculture farm in Binh Hoa, about an hour away from downtown  Ho Chi Minh City . The new construction was designed to follow the example of the existing architecture on site, which was constructed for low environmental impact and built with locally sourced natural materials. Hippo Farm’s existing buildings also feature solar panels, graywater recycling and passive solar design principles. As a result, the architects first conducted solar and wind studies to create a  site-specific  design that would not only take advantage of cooling cross breezes in the summer but also protect against water infiltration by rain during the monsoon season. As a first defense, the steel-framed building (a custom structure assembled near the site) is elevated above the flood zone using repurposed debris from demolished horse boxes. Large timber windows with woven bamboo shutters let in natural ventilation, while long roof overhangs provide shelter from intense sun and rain.  Related: A green roof naturally cools a bioclimatic mosque in Indonesia Melaleuca timber makes up the handrails and pergolas, while thermo-wood is used for the decking. The walls are built of local  bricks  covered with natural lime plaster mixed with locally sourced sand for a reddish tint. The landscaping comprises native, low-maintenance species. “This Building is the perfect “manifesto” of a project in line with Happy and Creative Frugality adapted for Tropical country (countryside),” the architects said.  + T3 Architects Images by Herve GOUBAND (Alisa Production)

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These bioclimatic student dorms use low-cost, sustainable materials

USPS cuts emissions with new delivery vehicle fleet

March 1, 2021 by  
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The United States Postal Service announced last week that it was awarded a multi-billion-dollar contract to update the postal delivery fleet. Oshkosh Defense of Oshkosh, Wisconsin , won the 10-year contract to build more efficient vehicles with fewer emissions. In recent years, the USPS has faced stiff competition from private delivery services and has endured derision over being less reliable. Investing in a modernized fleet is just part of an overarching, soon-to-be-released plan for USPS to triumph and once again become the nation’s preferred delivery service provider. Related: Canoo unveils 100% electric delivery vans that start at $33K Oshkosh Defense is finalizing designs for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). The plan is to assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of the new right-hand-drive mail and package delivery vehicles over the next decade. The vehicles will have either battery electric powertrains or fuel-efficient internal combustion engines. USPS plans to design them so that they can be easily retrofitted as electric vehicle technology evolves. An initial $482 million investment includes building the U.S. manufacturing facility where final assembly of the new fleet will happen. “Our fleet modernization also reflects the Postal Service’s commitment to a more environmentally sustainable mix of vehicles,” Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy said in a statement. “Because we operate one of the largest civilian government fleets in the world, we are committed to pursuing near-term and long-term opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment.” NGDV safety features include advanced braking and traction control, 360-degree cameras and a front- and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warning and automatic braking, according to USPS. Increased cargo capacity will accommodate more packages and maximize efficiency. The current USPS fleet includes more than 230,000 vehicles in every class. Some are purpose-built for USPS delivery, while others are commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles. Some have already been in service for 30 years. About 190,000 of these deliver mail six or seven days a week, making them some of the hardest working vehicles on the road. + USPS Images via USPS

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Facebook Marketplace fuels illegal sales of land in the Amazon rainforest

March 1, 2021 by  
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Large parcels of land in the Amazon rainforest are being sold illegally on Facebook. According to a recent investigation carried out by the BBC, Facebook Marketplace ads are being used to sell land in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon Rainforest to global buyers. Facebook has distanced itself from the illegal trade, saying, “We are ready to work with local authorities.” The company also added, “Our commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations.” Related: Amazon deforestation reaches a 12-year record Ivaneide Bandeira, head of environmental NGO Kanindé, said that those selling the land “feel very empowered to the point that they are not ashamed of going on Facebook to make illegal land deals.” Many of the people selling the land have admitted they don’t possess the land titles, which are the official documents that prove land ownership in Brazil . “There’s no risk of an inspection by state agents here,” said Fabricio Guimarães, one land seller, told BBC. Some of the land being advertised for sale belongs to Indigenous communities. One community leader, Bitaté Uru Eu Wau Wau, has condemned the Facebook Marketplace ads, urging the company to take action. “This is a lack of respect,” he said. “I don’t know these people. I think their objective is to deforest the Indigenous land, to deforest what is standing. To deforest our lives, you could say.” While local authorities are slow to act, Facebook has the capacity to take action. All ads go through an approval process before going live. Interestingly, some of the classifieds posted also include coordinates. But the company says the task of deciding which sales are illegal would be too much for it to handle and that authorities need to step in. In recent years, the Brazilian government has said that it does not support deforestation , but its actions say otherwise. “President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has always made it clear that his is a zero-tolerance government for any crime, including environmental ones.” Brazil’s Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles said. While the government says it is taking action, the budgetary allocation to Ibama, the body mandated with inspection of the rainforest, has been cut by 40%. + BBC Image via Mario Dimas N Silva

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A green roof naturally cools a bioclimatic mosque in Indonesia

September 16, 2020 by  
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Jakarta-based architecture firm RAD+ar (Research Artistic Design + architecture) has recently completed the Bioclimatic Community Mosque of Pamulang, which is located about an hour south of the Indonesian capital. Designed to follow passive solar principles, the bioclimatic building departs from traditional mosque architecture in favor of optimizing indoor comfort, self-sufficiency and minimal maintenance. In addition to maximizing natural light and ventilation, the architects also topped the community mosque with an active green roof — instead of the iconic Islamic dome — in order to reduce the urban heat island effect. Spanning an area of 1,200 square meters to accommodate approximately 1,000 people, the Bioclimatic Community Mosque is more than just a place of worship. Like many mosques , the Pamulang building also functions as a community center, meeting space and recreational space for the surrounding neighborhood. RAD+ar’s strikingly contemporary design for the mosque reflects the building’s multifunctional services. Related: Henning Larsen Architects reveal plans for a new mosque in Copenhagen that marries Islamic and Nordic design Creating low-maintenance and cost-effective safeguards against the region’s extreme heat and humidity drove the design narrative and informed the architects’ decision to replace almost all of the brick partitions with over 30,000 pieces of locally produced accustomed roster block that provide privacy while allowing light and air through. “Basic geometric-volumetric approach as the sunken massing (to harness lower temperature) stacked on top of another, this allowed many level of wind speed variation crossing the building that provides total shade and extreme temperature and air pressure differences that ensure 24 hours cross ventilation & thermal chimney effect,” the architects explained in a press release. Natural lighting is also maximized throughout the building, while strategically placed openings optimize cross ventilating and the stack effect . Both indoor and outdoor spaces were crafted to provide thermal comfort; the inclusion of shaded outdoor spaces large enough to accommodate gatherings has been particularly helpful for accommodating activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. + RAD+ar Photography by William Sutanto via RAD+ar

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A green roof naturally cools a bioclimatic mosque in Indonesia

Ecosistema Urbano designs a digitally integrated eco-campus for the University of Malaga

October 7, 2019 by  
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The University of Malaga in Spain will soon be home to a high-tech campus that will redefine the urban fabric with digital connectivity and renewable energy systems. Designed by Ecosistema Urbano to regenerate the underused Louis Pasteur Boulevard area, the project will not only enhance the city’s infrastructure, but it will also create new spaces where everyday university activities, including classes, can take place in public areas. Spanning a total surface area of 52 acres, the Malaga University Campus planning project will improve the climatic comfort and digital connectivity of currently underused public spaces. The plan targets four main strategies: a Connected Campus strategy for opening the university to its urban surroundings; a Green Campus strategy that seeks to create, restore and enhance existing green space; an Interactive Campus strategy that will allow users to visualize real-time information and manipulate physical aspects of public space with technology; and an Open Campus strategy to make educational meeting spaces and devices in the public areas available for use by both students and local citizens. Using a network of sensors and interactive technologies, the outdoor spaces can be manipulated to support both educational and playful programming, as well as improved outdoor comfort that can be enhanced with solar-powered climate conditioning systems. Related: Ecosistema Urbano’s amazing LED Energy Carousel is powered by play “One of the key aspects of this project is its commitment to using technology as a way of improving the interaction between people and the environment,” explained the architects, who were inspired by the smart cities approach. “It will be the first public space that users can control through an application. In parallel with the construction of the project, the official UMA app will be extended with open source modules that will allow access to an augmented environment of interactivity and information.” To reduce the environmental footprint of the project, the architects have proposed installing photovoltaic panels to power the campus’ bioclimatic conditioning systems, such as evaporative cooling and geothermal air circulation. Passive bioclimatic strategies will also be used, including shading elements like green walls and sculptural canopies. The first construction phase, which covers 17 acres, is planned for December 2020. + Ecosistema Urbano Images via Ecosistema Urbano

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Brazilian timber home uses bioclimatic principles to reduce its environmental footprint

July 16, 2019 by  
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Designed by Brazilian firm PITTA Arquitetura , the aptly named Casa Modelo serves as an architectural model for sustainable home design. Built using numerous bioclimatic principles , the solar-powered home has minimal environmental impact on its idyllic tropical setting just outside of São Paulo. Built for the owner of a sustainable real estate development company, Casa Modelo is located in the remote area of Ubatuba. Surrounded by acres of lush, green, protected biospheres that span out to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, the home has a setting that is as idyllic as it gets. Related: Striking home in Greece uses bioclimatic features to be energy-efficient year-round The incredible location set the tone for the design. Working with the homeowner, the architects sought to create a model sustainable home that could serve as a platform for future constructions in the area. At the forefront of the design was the objective of reducing the home’s impact on the pristine natural setting. Inserting the 1,100-square-foot building into the lot with minimal interference was essential to the project. Accordingly, the timber home is elevated off of the landscape by a concrete platform and pillars that allow natural vegetation to grow under and around the structure. The local climate is marked by severe humidity, ultra hot summers and considerable rainfall, all of which prompted the designers to create a resilient structure that could stand up to the extreme elements. Not only did elevating the home reduce its impact on the landscape, but it also helps keep ground humidity at bay and improves natural air circulation. Passive, energy-saving features are found throughout the home, namely in the structure’s large openings and high interior ceilings. The open-plan living area and kitchen open up to the outdoors thanks to a long stretch of sliding glass doors with retractable timber screens on either side of the house. The doors can be completely or partially left open to ensure cool temps and natural ventilation on the interior, a feature that also creates a strong, seamless connection with the outdoors. The layout was also driven by the natural elements. The two bedrooms were orientated to embrace the morning sunlight , while overhangs shade the living spaces from the hot summer sun. In the winter months, sunlight from the large, north-facing windows is absorbed by the concrete walls and floors during the day and released at night. In addition to its impressive passive features, the home was installed with several systems to minimize energy use. A solar array covers 100 percent of the electrical needs, which are reduced thanks to highly efficient lighting, electrical equipment and smart home devices. Additionally, an innovative rainwater harvesting system provides water for the residents. + PITTA Arquitetura Via Dwell Photography by Gustavo Alkmim via PITTA Arquitetura

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Low-budget, bioclimatic home boasts a minimal energy footprint in Costa Rica

December 12, 2018 by  
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When clients Luis and Marce approached design collective YUSO proyectos for their new home in Costa Rica, they already had a very clear idea of what they wanted. First and foremost, the clients wanted the concept of “honesty” to define not only the design and construction process, but also the final appearance and function of the bioclimatic home. As a result, the site-specific project — dubbed the Esparza House — is primarily built from natural materials with minimal and natural finishes. Located on a rural plot in San Rafael, Costa Rica , the Esparza House was completed for a cost of roughly $84,300 USD and spans a footprint of 1,345 square feet. To keep costs within budget, the architects decided against a concrete slab foundation in favor of elevated footings. The architects also worked with the commercial sizing of the building materials to minimize construction waste and costs. Excess materials were used for decorative purposes. “The project is characterized by the word ‘HONESTY’, a concept that was present in all stages of design and construction,” said the architects, who cite honesty with the environment, honesty with materials, and honesty with clients. “The construction project was designed to adapt to the environment through the setting of the building within the surrounding landscape; bioclimatic housing design to ensure the residents’ comfort in an environment characterized by humid tropical forests with high temperatures and humidity; use of materials with low carbon footprint such as wood; implementation of a rainwater harvesting system for domestic use; as well as a wastewater treatment system to separate organic and inorganic waste.” Related: This sustainable bioclimatic home is made of volcanic ash and prickly pear fibers Filled with natural light and oriented to follow passive design principles, the three-bedroom home maintains a low-energy footprint and stays naturally cool. A digital three-dimensional model was used through the design process as a helpful aid in communicating with the clients and mocking up all proposed modifications. The model was ultimately a “faithful copy of the finished house.” + YUSO proyectos Via ArchDaily Photography by Roberto D´Ambrosio via YUSO proyectos

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Low-budget, bioclimatic home boasts a minimal energy footprint in Costa Rica

Sustainable bioclimatic home was built using volcanic ash and prickly pair fibers

August 17, 2016 by  
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casa G-M sits on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and the calm natural colors of the house fit in with the seaside environment. The exterior walls are made of tufo, a local stone created when volcanic ash builds up. Cork panels provide insulation. The thick tufo walls also are covered with a “thermal coat plaster;” that’s where the prickly pear comes in. The builders blended natural fibers from prickly pear plants onsite with other local materials like clay and lime. The interior design utilizes recycled materials, and the builders did not use “chemical additives, resins, and solvents.” Related: Four generations live under an energy-efficient and bioclimatic roof in France In addition to the building materials, the layout of the house draws on bioclimatic design. 0-co2 architettura sostenibile noted wind direction and the sun’s path to consider the form and orientation of the home. Window and patio placement allow for ventilation. Wide walls enable casa G-M to take in and store thermal energy in the winter, and keep the home cool in the summer. Solar energy gathered by rooftop solar panels powers the home. There’s also a biomass boiler in the residence. Further, casa G-M is equipped with systems to recycle rainwater and greywater. casa G-M is meant to look as if it was there “all along,” and “aims to link the technological and typological characteristics of the building with the climatic characteristics of the site and the use of renewable energy resources, recovering the ancient rules of construction related to the local micro-climate and other local resources available.” + 0-co2 architettura sostenibile Via Freshome and Architizer Images courtesy of Bart Conterio

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Sustainable bioclimatic home was built using volcanic ash and prickly pair fibers

Sustainable bioclimatic home was built using volcanic ash and prickly pear fibers

August 17, 2016 by  
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casa G-M sits on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and the calm natural colors of the house fit in with the seaside environment. The exterior walls are made of tufo, a local stone created when volcanic ash builds up. Cork panels provide insulation. The thick tufo walls also are covered with a “thermal coat plaster;” that’s where the prickly pear comes in. The builders blended natural fibers from prickly pear plants onsite with other local materials like clay and lime. The interior design utilizes recycled materials, and the builders did not use “chemical additives, resins, and solvents.” Related: Four generations live under an energy-efficient and bioclimatic roof in France In addition to the building materials, the layout of the house draws on bioclimatic design. 0-co2 architettura sostenibile noted wind direction and the sun’s path to consider the form and orientation of the home. Window and patio placement allow for ventilation. Wide walls enable casa G-M to take in and store thermal energy in the winter, and keep the home cool in the summer. Solar energy gathered by rooftop solar panels powers the home. There’s also a biomass boiler in the residence. Further, casa G-M is equipped with systems to recycle rainwater and greywater. casa G-M is meant to look as if it was there “all along,” and “aims to link the technological and typological characteristics of the building with the climatic characteristics of the site and the use of renewable energy resources, recovering the ancient rules of construction related to the local micro-climate and other local resources available.” + 0-co2 architettura sostenibile Via Freshome and Architizer Images courtesy of Bart Conterio

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Sustainable bioclimatic home was built using volcanic ash and prickly pear fibers

Bioclimatic boarding house keeps naturally cool in tropical Indonesia

March 23, 2016 by  
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