A pair of monochromatic cottages are tucked into the idyllic Canadian forestscape

May 13, 2019 by  
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An idyllic forestscape setting that lies deep within the Canadian wilderness has inspired Montreal-based firm Appareil Architecture to build a vacation home in the form of two jet-black, pitched-roofed cabins. The Grand-Pic Chalet is actually made up of two monochromatic cottages separated by a connecting wooden deck, which allows the beautiful family home to sit in serene harmony with the surrounding nature. When the homeowners tasked the Canadian firm to create a cabin that would be a welcoming space to host family and friends, the design team was immediately inspired by the building site. Surrounded by soaring evergreen trees and a rolling landscape, the designers were drawn to create a welcoming but sophisticated space that enjoys a strong connection between the home and the forest . Related: The Little House clad in black cedar is nestled among Washington’s evergreens The house is a total of 1,464 square feet separated into two cabins. The main cottage contains the living room and open kitchen area, while the smaller cabin is used as a guest house. In contrast to the black exteriors, the interiors are clad in light Russian plywood panels. The open layout is perfect for socializing, either with a large party or small family gathering. A series of tall, slender windows let optimal natural light into the interior living spaces as well as provide stunning views of the forestscape. Taking inspiration from Nordic traditions, the minimalist interior design is comprised of a neutral color palette and sparse contemporary furnishings. A simple wood-burning chimney sits in the corner to keep the living space warm and cozy. Meanwhile, the core of the design is the open kitchen, which features a large island with bar stool seating — the perfect space for catching up with friends and family. + APPAREIL Architecture Via Archdaily Photography by Félix Michaud via APPAREIL Architecture

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A pair of monochromatic cottages are tucked into the idyllic Canadian forestscape

This beautiful charred timber lake house extension in Munich is chemical-free

May 3, 2019 by  
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German architect studio, Buero Wagner , designed a modern, chemical-free home using a twist on the traditional Japanese practice of charring wood. The Black House is located near Munich’s Lake Ammersee and features a rural German architecture with a sleek industrial design. It is an addition to an existing family home and uses the site’s natural topography to create a stacked look on the exterior with a fluid, open concept inside. The charred timber façade is a popular trend in Western architecture and uses a sustainable Japanese practice that creates weather-proof wood through a fire-treatment process. The black house has three levels, with the bedroom and open bathroom in the basement level, kitchen and dining in the middle and a living room at the top, all connected by short steps to create modular but overlapping spaces. Related: Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zürich “Spaces and uses form one fluid entity, creating a variety of spatial situations,” said Buero Wagner. Perhaps the most dramatic design element to the house is the pivoting windows on the northwest corner of the living room space. Virtually the entire northern and western walls pivot on an off-center single axis and open up onto the terrace — creating one seamless and open space for hosting. This space also builds a connection from the interior to a small forest outside. The concrete flooring blends seamlessly with the concrete terrace, creating an entirely new, hybrid and open-air space, without a clear line between inside and outside. The house most notably uses a charred wood façade that has a resurgence of popularity in Western architecture. The wood is fire treated and then coated with a natural oil. The result is a jet-black, charcoal aesthetic that is naturally weatherproof. Charred wood is carbonized, which means it is resistant to water , fire, bugs, sun and rot. Despite the charred wood ’s resistant properties, it can be a difficult and tedious process to fire-treat and install. The interior walls and floor utilize an untreated oiled oak combined with slabs of exposed, sandblasted concrete. Together, these materials give the interior an industrial and modern look. A panel heating system is incorporated into the concrete walls and floors, and provides energy efficient  thermal energy storage. + Buero Wagner Via Dezeen Images via Buero Wagner

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This beautiful charred timber lake house extension in Munich is chemical-free

Report Report: Banking, blind spots, carbon capture and climate risk

May 1, 2019 by  
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A new BlackRock report on assessing climate-related risks is among the standouts in the latest research.

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Report Report: Banking, blind spots, carbon capture and climate risk

Fund managers worth $10.2 trillion urge oil firms to align with Paris Agreement goals

May 1, 2019 by  
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A new survey of leading fund managers reveals a large majority want oil majors to adopt Paris Agreement-compliant strategies.

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Fund managers worth $10.2 trillion urge oil firms to align with Paris Agreement goals

This tiny home eschews minimalist design for vibrant colors and bold patterns

January 24, 2019 by  
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Most tiny homes tend to go for the standard “less is more” strategy when it comes to interior design. But one Texas designer, Galeana Younger from the Galeana Group , is breaking that mold with her stunning “maximalist” tiny home. Forgoing the typical neutral color palette, Younger decked out the 190-square-foot tiny home with a host of vibrant colors, funky patterns and plenty of personal touches that give the home a jubilant character. Recently, the designer told Lonny that she wanted the tiny home design to be full of fun. “I wanted to create an environment that would allow/encourage people to feel comfortable and happy but still slightly elevated and outside of themselves,” Younger said. “Like they were in a hip, urban locale that made them feel a little more chispa than usual.” Related: The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes Accordingly, the bold interior design found throughout the home has quite a bit of “spark” from the moment you enter. The living space features a small wicker sofa covered with various pillows in an array of colors and textures. To the right, the bedroom is wallpapered in a lively black and white cactus print. Contrasting the busy pattern on the walls is the ceiling, which is painted a light ethereal blue. A triangle-patterned rug is on the floor, nicely connecting the black door and trim, which is found throughout the interior. Moving into the kitchen , the blast of fun, vibrant colors cannot be missed. The geometric backsplash is comprised of multiple hues and shades that add a sense of whimsy to the cooking area. Open shelving stores the home’s dishware along with decorative bottles in different shapes and colors. Further into the back of the space is the bathroom. Surprisingly spacious for a tiny home, this black and white motif still manages to be filled with personality. The shower stall was hand laid with the words, “Howdy, ya’ll.” Above the bathroom, a ladder leads to a compact sleeping loft . + The Galeana Group Via Curbed Photography by Mark Menjivar via The Galeana Group

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This tiny home eschews minimalist design for vibrant colors and bold patterns

New research finds that ESG screening boosts stock market performance

January 22, 2019 by  
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The research supports BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s latest letter in support of sustainable portfolios.

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New research finds that ESG screening boosts stock market performance

Aligning company values with its retirement plans

December 13, 2018 by  
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A new initiative shaped by Allianz, BlackRock and Mercer highlights the need to incorporate sustainable strategies into 401(k)s.

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Aligning company values with its retirement plans

A lame duck slam dunk

December 13, 2018 by  
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Sustainability and social purpose is an economic investment for brands, and we should identify it as such.

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A lame duck slam dunk

LEGO reintroduces Vestas wind turbine set, now made with plant-based plastic

October 3, 2018 by  
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LEGO Group has just released a  LEGO Creator Expert set from the ‘vault’ that focuses on sustainable energy. The company announced its Vestas Wind Turbine creation at New York Climate Week in hopes of encouraging creativity while spreading the word about renewable and sustainable energy sources. The revamped wind turbine set will be the first LEGO set featuring the new plant-based plastic LEGOs, Plants from Plants. LEGO collaborated with Vestas, a leader in sustainable energy, to make the new and improved wind turbine set. Not only does the kit represent renewable energy, but some of the included plant elements are made from a plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane. This is the first time LEGO has issued a set including pieces from its Plants from Plants initiative, and customers will be able to purchase the wind turbine this coming Black Friday (November 23). Related: LEGO is rolling out its first plant-based plastic pieces The Vestas Wind Turbine set is comprised of 826 pieces and stands 3 feet tall. The wind turbine overlooks a wooded area complete with spruce trees — made in part from sugarcane — as well as a cottage with a working porch light. The set will be available for $200. The toy company plans on using only sustainable materials in core products and product packaging by 2030. In addition to this commitment, LEGO has also pledged to become eco-friendly in the production of its plastic bricks. To that end, LEGO incorporates wind power in the production process and generates as much power from sustainable sources as it does from traditional ones. “We strive to make a positive impact on the environment and are committed to climate action and to use sustainable materials in products and packaging,” said Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility at LEGO. “This wind turbine celebrates our first steps in bringing these ambitions to life, and we hope it will inspire builders to learn about renewable energy.” + LEGO Images via LEGO

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LEGO reintroduces Vestas wind turbine set, now made with plant-based plastic

An old London chapel is reborn into a modern home and artist studio

June 19, 2018 by  
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UK architect Alexander Nikjoo has breathed new life into a Victorian chapel by transforming it into a contemporary home and studio for an artist. Located in Deptford in South London, the renovation has streamlined the look of the former chapel with a fresh coat of paint and a minimalist material palette. The interior was refreshed to feel bright and airy with plenty of natural light. Although the old chapel was already being used as a studio space by the time Nikjoo was approached for the project, it was dark and uninviting. In transforming the building, the architect kept the layout and several architectural features intact, such as the exposed roof trusses. “The building was stripped back to its original form revealing features and details that had been covered through years of piecemeal extensions and additions,” Nikjoo said. “Restored using a palette of rich yet simple materials, the new interventions interweave with the existing fabric of the building.” In contrast to the black exterior, the interior is filled with light-colored materials — including oak, birch plywood , oiled pine, stone and polished concrete floors — that help create a welcoming atmosphere. Skylights and windows bring in copious amounts of natural light, while the tall ceiling brings the view upward toward the new mezzanine built with birch plywood railings. Related: Stunning chapel in Japan brings a fractal forest indoors The former nave now houses the open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen that are positioned linearly from the entrance. The stairs to the mezzanine level, which opens up to a flat roof terrace, are located behind the kitchen. The master suite and two guest bedrooms with a shared bathroom are tucked away in the rear of the home where the vestry once was. Storage is discreetly hidden away behind wooden doors to maintain the minimalist aesthetic. + Nikjoo Via Dezeen Images by Nikjoo

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