Passive solar community in Brazil combines social justice and sustainability

January 15, 2020 by  
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To empower a marginalized community in Brazil’s Maranhão state, São Paulo-based architecture firm  Estudio Flume  has completed Castanha de Caju, a new headquarters for a women’s agricultural cooperative that doubles as a welcoming community hub. Constructed on a limited budget and a tight timeline, the inspiring project included the refurbishment and extension of a small house as well as the inclusion of traditional construction techniques and materials to reduce costs. Low-cost passive thermal control strategies and considerable community input helped shape the project, which also includes permaculture principles, a biodigester, and rainwater harvesting. Located in Nova Vida, a small impoverished community in Bom Jesus das Selvas, the new agricultural co-op headquarters was primarily built to serve a group of women who make their living by collecting and processing a type of oil-rich Brazilian nut. As a result, the layout of the building was informed by the co-op’s workflows and includes nut cooking and breaking areas as well as an internal courtyard for drying foods. In light of the lack of  public spaces in the town, the architects also added facilities to the project, such as the sun-room and concrete bunch, to encourage community cohesion and knowledge sharing. In addition to  reusing  as much of the original building as possible, the new headquarters is constructed with perforated bricks and ‘brise-soleil’ pivot doors made with traditional techniques to allow for cross ventilation, natural light, and views. Since the area lacks a sewage system and a constant supply of potable water, the architects added a rainwater harvesting system and a septic tank biodigester for sewage treatment as well as a banana circle to filter gray water. The architects hope that through continued use and maintenance, the community will gradually begin to adapt these systems into other buildings in the town. Related: This beekeepers workshop uses sustainable design to minimize its footprint “This project is part of a wider plan for renovation works for small cooperatives and associations in the interior Maranhão and Pará states, in the north and northeast of Brazil ,” the architects said. “In a country with enormous continental diversity and cultural richness, it represents the opportunity to defend some sense of social justice, to ensure job security, comfort in the routine of a group of women. This was an opportunity to work with those who produce food on a small scale and with respect for the environment and, in the end, these products are eaten in the big cities.” + Estudio Flume Images via Estudio Flume

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Passive solar community in Brazil combines social justice and sustainability

A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

November 6, 2018 by  
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When Caroline and Julien traveled across South America in their Volkswagen Kombi, the couple noticed a dearth of quality accommodations and decided to fill that hospitality gap by building a beautifully crafted rental cabin in Chile . After 19 months of construction, the couple realized their dream on the slopes of the Calbuco Volcano in Ensenada. Designed and constructed for an approximate cost of $30,000, the cozy, handcrafted home — dubbed Casa Nido — has been listed on Airbnb starting at $116 a night . Designing and building Casa Nido was a big adventure for the couple, given that they didn’t know anything about construction before starting. Yet all parts of the cabin , from the design and interior finishes to the electrical wiring and water systems, were carried out by the duo without any outside help. “We are offering tourists and travelers high quality, fully handmade accommodation, somewhere to relax and contemplate far away from consumer society,” said Caroline and Julien. “It is also the ideal place to rethink one’s priorities and experiment, for a given time, what is ‘going back to the essential.’” Inspired by images of fairytale cottages , Casa Nido spans two floors, with a ground floor of 290 square feet and a smaller second level of 129 square feet. The curved roof beam is constructed from plywood, and all the other timber materials are locally sourced, native species. For instance, Patagonian Cypress was used for the windows, doors and furnishings while Manio was used for the outside siding, interior lining and flooring. In addition to a bedroom that sleeps two, the cabin comes with a living room overlooking Calbuco Volcano vistas, a fully equipped kitchen that frames views of Osorno Volcano, a ground floor terrace and a wood-fired hot tub. Related: Award-winning glass cabin is nestled inside an Australian rainforest The cabin is powered by a photovoltaic solar system that provides enough electricity to meet daily needs, while the water is sourced from a nearby natural spring higher up in the valley. Wastewater is treated with a photo-purification system. The couple also plans to build a homemade biodigester to replace the use of gas cylinders for the cabin’s gas system. To wake up to volcano views at Casa Nido, check out the listing on Airbnb . + Casa Nido

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A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

‘Cow Power’ Explores How Vermont Is Turning Turds Into a Treasured Energy Resource

August 23, 2013 by  
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Dairy farms are going out of business all across the United States, but in Vermont, citizens have banded together to support family farms by turning cow manure into a form of renewable energy . Cow Power is a new documentary by Allison Gillette that explores how the state of Vermont is turning waste into treasure by collecting manure and then biodigesting it to generate electricity. So far, the project can generate enough energy to power 400 homes while reducing methane emissions from livestock—and the founders believe the initiative could eventually generate upwards of 10% of the nation’s energy needs. If you’d like to check out this inspiring documentary, you can watch it today on iTunes or Google Play , and it will be coming to Netflix in the next few months. + Cow Power Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Allison Gillette , bio-energy , biodigester , cow power , cow power film , green energy , Poo Power! , renewable energy        

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‘Cow Power’ Explores How Vermont Is Turning Turds Into a Treasured Energy Resource

‘Cow Power’ Explores How Vermont Is Turning Turds Into a Treasured Energy Resource

August 23, 2013 by  
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Dairy farms are going out of business all across the United States, but in Vermont, citizens have banded together to support family farms by turning cow manure into a form of renewable energy . Cow Power is a new documentary by Allison Gillette that explores how the state of Vermont is turning waste into treasure by collecting manure and then biodigesting it to generate electricity. So far, the project can generate enough energy to power 400 homes while reducing methane emissions from livestock—and the founders believe the initiative could eventually generate upwards of 10% of the nation’s energy needs. If you’d like to check out this inspiring documentary, you can watch it today on iTunes or Google Play , and it will be coming to Netflix in the next few months. + Cow Power Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Allison Gillette , bio-energy , biodigester , cow power , cow power film , green energy , Poo Power! , renewable energy        

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‘Cow Power’ Explores How Vermont Is Turning Turds Into a Treasured Energy Resource

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