Off-grid camping just got so much better with these solar-powered teardrop trailers

October 5, 2017 by  
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Explorers could venture way off the grid thanks to a new collaboration between teardrop trailer maker Vistabule and solar power company Sunflare . Sunflare makes bendy solar panels a few micrometers thick that can be taped to any surface – so they’re the perfect solution to adorn the top of the Vistable camper , conforming to its unique shape. The lightweight solar panels add virtually no weight to the trailer. Vistabule trailers, manufactured by Minnesota Teardrop Trailers, can now be lined with flexible solar panels on their rooftops. Solar energy allows users to turn on lights, charge phones, and cook in the trailer’s full kitchen off-grid . Sunflare CEO Philip Gao said the solar panels can be installed on a new trailer or retrofitted to ones people already own. Related: Sunflare’s new ultra-thin solar “wallpaper” can stick to any surface The trailers feature 1950’s-inspired design, with plenty of space inside for adventurers to store gear, cook dinner, or snuggle up. There’s a full-size sofa bed, collapsible coffee table, and drop-down nightstands inside. A two-burner stovetop and sink with running water allows users to prepare food. Several large windows offer grand views inside the trailer that can be towed by just about any car. With Sunflare solar panels atop the Vistabule trailer can fully charge two smartphones, charge a laptop up to 30 percent, allow campers to switch on the lights and a fan, enable the refrigerator to keep running all day for two and a half days, and run the heater for three hours per day. Sunflare says after that users will probably need to recharge the battery . Minnesota Teardrop Trailers CEO Bert Taylor said in a statement, “When we first started our business, we wanted to make a camping trailer that was beautiful, energy efficient, and would easily blend technology with human comfort. Adding Sunflare solar collection panels to our Vistabule trailers substantially lengthens the time campers can be off the grid, and greatly enhances the entire camping experience.” + Sunflare + Vistabule Images courtesy of Sunflare and Vistabule Facebook

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Off-grid camping just got so much better with these solar-powered teardrop trailers

World’s first solar-powered, indoor vertical farm sprouts in Philadelphia

October 5, 2017 by  
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Future-farming experts Metropolis Farms have opened the world’s first solar powered, indoor vertical farm in the heart of Philadelphia . Although the City of Brotherly Love currently hosts only about eight acres of urban farming due to lack of traditional agricultural land, Metropolis Farms seeks to take advantage of the urban jungle to provide a new model for local agriculture in the city. Rather than receiving sunlight from the open air, the crops will receive concentrated full-spectrum light in a controlled indoor environment. In its latest undertaking, Metropolis Farms has installed a 500 kilowatt solar array composed of over 2,000 solar panels, which will be used to power the indoor vertical operation. The company plans to produce the equivalent of 660 acres of traditional farmland on less than 100,000 square feet. While it may not always be sunny in Philadelphia, the solar panels atop Metropolis Farms are an innovative way to capture energy and redirect it towards an efficient, controlled environment for growing vegetables. “By bringing the growing process indoors, in line with our mission of social responsibility, we are revitalizing abandoned spaces and are using them for local food production,” said Metropolis Farms in a statement. Their technological design is applicable for urban environments regardless of climate , making local, fresh, sustainable food accessible for the billions of people that live in cities across the globe. Related: This brilliant floating farm actually heals the world’s oceans The primary challenge to an efficient indoor growing operation is the high cost of electricity to power the lighting and pumps necessary to keep the plants healthy. Through its use of on-site solar power and further innovations, Metropolis Farms seeks to eventually achieve a zero-carbon farming operation. The company hopes to reveal its latest innovative practices and technology at the 2017 Indoor Ag-Con, which will be hosted by Philadelphia for the first time. Via Clean Technica Images via Metropolis Farms  and Jonas Ingold/Flickr

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World’s first solar-powered, indoor vertical farm sprouts in Philadelphia

Meet the solar-powered electric motorhome we’ve all been waiting for

August 31, 2017 by  
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Tesla and Cummins are making waves right now with their new electric-powered semi trucks, but one other long-range vehicle has yet to make a significant jump to greener pastures – until now. German camper manufacturer Dethleffs has unveiled the e.home concept – a solar-powered electric motorhome. The idea of an electric motorhome would seem like a great idea, until you realize that many of the remote locations that you’d be traveling to probably don’t have the charging infrastructure you would need. That’s where the e.home concept comes in. Since it’s a solar-powered motorhome, it can use the power of the sun to recharge the motorhome’s battery pack. Related: sCarabane: a self-sufficient expanding caravan powered by the sun and wind The e.home is built on Dethleffs Iveco Daily Electric chassis. The Iveco Daily is powered by a 107-hp electric motor with several different battery options, but the largest gives it a range up to 174 miles on the European Cycle, in non-camper trim. With the extra weight of the camper, the range of the e.home concept drops to just over 100 miles. That short driving range won’t really matter, since the e.home has 334 square feet of thin-film solar panels on its exterior. The solar panels can generate up to 3,000 watts of electricity to power the 228-Ah sodium-nickel-chloride battery. Besides the solar panels and electric motor, there are other efficient tricks to the e.home concept, like a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79°. The heat is then released into the cabin when the temperature drops at night. There are also infrared heating panels in the floor, walls and furniture. There are also some driver assistance technologies in the e.home, like the Mobileye-based front vehicle monitoring system and the CampConnect app. Via New Atlas + Dethleffs Images @Dethleffs

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Meet the solar-powered electric motorhome we’ve all been waiting for

Green-roofed Albion Library in Toronto feels like an extension of your living room

August 31, 2017 by  
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It’s no surprise that the Albion Public Library is one of the busiest libraries in Toronto—its welcoming and light-filled atmosphere makes it feel like an extension of a cozy living room. Perkins+Will completed the new 29,000-square-foot library to serve the city’s Rexdale neighborhood, a diverse community with many immigrant families. The new building also incorporates innovative sustainable principles and includes a sloped green roof, energy-saving technologies, and stormwater management strategies. The Albion District Library is the culmination of numerous community workshops that informed the decision for a new-build, rather than a renovation of the existing building. The new facility was built on the underutilized parking lot so that the existing library could stay operable until construction competition, after which the old site was converted into a lush public plaza with a landscaped parking lot and space for a market square. The architects wrote: “The new parking lot will also be designed as a multi-use space, functioning as a parking lot during the day for normal operating hours and serving as a community event space for special occasions.” Related: World’s largest bookstore opens in Tehran, Iran The new library includes a Children’s Area, a Computer Learning Center, and a Digital Innovation + Maker Space with a 3D printer and Urban Living Room. The contemporary building catches the eye with its colorful polychrome terra-cotta screen and glazing that lets in ample natural light. Greenery is woven into the design, from the sloped green roof atop the building to the interior courtyard gardens and pavilions. The library was completed in 2016. + Perkins+Will Via ArchDaily Images via Perkins+Will

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Green-roofed Albion Library in Toronto feels like an extension of your living room

sCarabane: a self-sufficient collapsible caravan powered by sun and wind

August 29, 2017 by  
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Green camping is about to get a lot more glamorous. Green Cat Technologies from France -has designed the sCarabane, a self-sufficient caravan with several fancy clean technologies: you’ll find solar cells but also a solar concentrator to generate hot water, and a telescopic wind turbine . The foldable caravan can rotate 360 degrees to follow the sun – and provide incredible views. The sCarabane folds up for easy travel, and one person can do the job in around half an hour. It can then be towed as a standard caravan. Once in place, it unfolds into a futuristic getaway that rests on a circular stand so it’s able to rotate and make the most of the renewable technologies on board. Related: Live off the grid and rent-free in the charming Wohnwagon mobile caravan A parabolic mirror atop the sCarabane tracks the sun. A telescopic vertical axis wind turbine can generate 500 watts of clean power. Solar cells supplement the renewable energy generation, providing another 500 watts. The bright space includes fold-out components to connect the indoors and outdoors. A hatch can open to connect the kitchen with a full-length deck outside. There’s a 77.5 square foot master bedroom, with a 59 square foot children’s bedroom next door. Each of these opens to the outdoors with a full-size door. The dining area in the kitchen also doubles as an extra bed. A bathroom area includes a toilet, sink, shower, and compact washing machine. A rotating bubble window offers a fun way to look outside, and rose windows on the bedroom roofs let those beneath control the sunlight’s intensity inside. Green Cat Technologies notes the sCarabane may not be completely self-sufficient anywhere a person could travel – that depends on weather and geographical location. They said right now, users still need a bottle of propane to cook. They are still developing the caravan – including rainwater harvesting and water filtration systems – so don’t yet have a date for when it will be on the market (or what it will cost). + Green Cat Technologies Via New Atlas Images via screenshot

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sCarabane: a self-sufficient collapsible caravan powered by sun and wind

This mini caravan with a telescopic roof is the stuff of off-grid dreams

August 11, 2017 by  
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The Slidavan Caravan is an ultra-compact, lightweight caravan with a handy telescopic roof that can be fully extended in less than a minute. The mini caravan , created by Wooden Widget , weighs a mere 300 kilos and comes complete with a living area that can be expanded to six-feet high, making it a dream home on wheels for any off-grid traveler. The Slidavan’s interior, although compact, provides all the basics of off grid living . The space-efficient design focused on creating a maximum interior volume, which led to the creation of an expandable roof. To provide the camper with flexible space options, a curved roof was designed to be placed on the camper’s box-shaped base. A handy lifting device installed directly underneath allows the roof to be raised in just under a minute, adding much more space to the interior. Related: Darling Tinycamper from Lithuania starts at just 7K The body of the caravan has two large windows on the side and the backdoor has a cutout to provide the interior with tons of natural light. On the interior, the built-in sofas on either side fold out to create a large double bed. A small table is mounted on the wall between the two sofas, and can be folded down when not in use. There is a small galley area on the left side, outfitted with a sink and a two-burner stove top. A hidden strip of LEDs provides the interior lighting. One of the most advantageous things about the Slidavan is its light-weight design. Constructed out of a sandwich of plywood over panels of extruded polystyrene, the caravan is a rigid, lightweight, durable, affordable, and well-insulated structure that can be towed by the smallest of cars. According to the designer, the Slidavan’s design was based on providing a practical camper van that was easily mobile, “In designing the Slidavan I confess I focused pretty much exclusively on practicality. The bottom line is, it’s all very well designing a fancy caravan with a nice flowing aerodynamic shape but it just adds complication to the build and the fitting out and at the end of the day you still have to drag this massive lump through the air at great expense and some trepidation.” + Wooden Widget  

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This mini caravan with a telescopic roof is the stuff of off-grid dreams

Airstream unveils super compact, lightweight travel trailer for $30K

July 7, 2017 by  
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Light as a feather! Airstream has just unveiled the ultra-lightweight Nest, a 16-foot travel trailer that weighs just 2,500 pounds. The company has ditched its iconic polished aluminum for a molded fiberglass in order to create the ultimate in minimalist campervan design. Although the beloved trailer manufacturer has stayed true to its shiny silver aluminum cladding for almost a century, Nest’s molded fiberglass body makes the camper much lighter and more aerodynamic. At just 2,500 pounds, the compact, streamlined design makes for an extremely travel-friendly ride. Related: Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere On the interior, travelers will enjoy a minimalist modern design with enough space for a queen bed and a small, but sufficient kitchen . According to the company, the new trailer was designed for those who “want the legendary design sense, quality, and sophistication of Airstream, in a fresh, new package.” The fiberglass Nest design is the brainchild of Nest Caravans, founded by Robert Johans. In 2016, Airstream purchased the Oregon-based company for an undisclosed amount. The Nest trailers are slated to hit the market in early 2018. + Airstream Nest Via Outside Online Images via Airstream and Roaming Times Save Save

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Airstream unveils super compact, lightweight travel trailer for $30K

Tiny Homie camper expands from roadworthy to camp-ready in a minute

January 6, 2017 by  
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Of all the tiny trailers in all the towns, this one rolled into our line of sight and won us over right away. The Homie represents the next-generation of miniature recreational vehicles , and it is designed to expand in camp in a very clever way. Rather than pushing out horizontally as many expanding RVs do, the Homie doubles in length when the outer shell is rotated back 90 degrees and fastened to the front inner shell. Click through the gallery to see how quickly and easily the trailer sets up, and for a closer look inside. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yc_7XNjNk8 An only slightly beefed up version of its cousin, the bike-drawn Wide Path Camper, the Homie camper is still quite compact. When folded for travel, it measures just 58 inches wide, 57 inches long, and 39 inches wide. Parked and expanded, it it nearly doubles in length to 112 inches. With its towing equipment, the Homie weighs 440 lbs, which is fairly light for a vehicle of its size. Its clever expandable design means the Homie can go from road-worthy to camp-ready in about a minute, which the company demonstrates in the video embedded above. Related: Foldable Wide Path Camper is a whole different kind of bike trailer What this little Homie lacks in elbow room, it makes up for in amenities. The tiny trailer is outfitted with nearly all the basics the wanton traveler might need for a life on the road, including a dining table and seating area that convert to a cozy bed. An optional solar package turns the little rig into an off-grid basecamp, and buyers can select other add-ons to enhance their mobile adventures, too. The Homie is offered with bronze or grey window tints, and a “Lux” package with thicker cushions and matching trim. The trailer can even be ordered with kitchen tools, such as bowls and cutlery. Priced at $7,245, the Homie is for sale in the United States and Europe. Production and delivery are expected in 2018. + Wide Path Camper: Homie Via New Atlas Images via Wide Path Camper

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Tiny Homie camper expands from roadworthy to camp-ready in a minute

Solar-powered Homegrown Trailers weigh just 2,500 pounds so you can roam freely

November 2, 2016 by  
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The Homegrown Trailer features a pop-up roof which can be fitted with 400 watts of solar panels , and lithium batteries with the capacity of 2400 watt-hours. Users can upgrade the panels to 800 watts and the batteries to and a 6000 watt-hours of storage. Sustainably harvested cedar, maple and poplar are combined with wool and cork floors for additional insulation. Related: Teenager turns a $200 run-down camper into a beautiful cozy escape The chassis is made from durable and lightweight steel frame which allows another 10 square feet of additional space at the rear of the trailer which can be used for storage or outdoor cooking. Inside, a pull-out queen bed and two extra-large twin bunks can fit up to four people and convert into couches during the day. A 12-gallon freshwater tank pumps to a large sink at the rear counter, sink water drains through back of trailer into a modular, external graywater tank , and 1.5 gallon water heater available as an add-on option. The composting toilet features a privacy screen. Hot water tanks, Gravity-fill water filters, portable outdoor shower system , brakes, swing tongue and spare tires are all available as add-on features. Related: Foldable Wide Path Camper is a whole different kind of bike trailer As of recently, you can also rent Homegrown Trailers, complete with a full battery charge, a full tank of fresh water, clean bedding, and a full set of eating and cooking utensils and equipment. For those looking to buy, the pricing starts at US$ 32,500, including the solar roof, mattresses, appliances and the composting toilet . + Homegrown Trailers Via Treehugger

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Solar-powered Homegrown Trailers weigh just 2,500 pounds so you can roam freely

Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere

September 12, 2016 by  
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Developed over the course of nearly a decade in collaboration with automotive designer Bryan Thompson, Basecamp was created for both the weekend warrior and the experienced long haul traveler. Like the original Airstream, the compact travel trailer is built with a sleek aerodynamic exterior rugged enough to withstand the elements and diverse terrain. “With its lighter weight and easier towing experience, Basecamp is a fully-loaded adventure waiting to happen,” said Airstream CEO and President, Bob Wheeler. “All you need to do is head out and decide whether to go right or left at the end of your driveway.” Related: Iconic Airstream gets a magnificent revamp to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial In spite of its small size, the Basecamp can accommodate a variety of functions. The convertible rear space can be adapted for eating, sleeping, lounging, or storage. The kitchen includes a cooktop, stainless steel sink, and fridge. A bathroom is also onboard with a toilet and shower. A large window wraps around the rear side for panoramic views of the landscape. A wireless Bluetooth speaker is also integrated into the design. The base model weighs 2,585 pounds and has an MSRP of $34,900. Optional additions include an enclosed patio and rear tent that seamlessly attach to the Basecamp roof track. + Airstream Images via Airstream

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Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere

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