Norwegian expedition cruise line Hurtigruten aiming to convert six of its 17 ships to use biogas

November 28, 2018 by  
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The Norwegian expedition cruise line Hurtigruten is going to do their part to help the environment. The 125-year-old company is aiming to convert six of its 17 ships to use biogas , liquified natural gas, and large battery packs by 2021. The biogas will be generated with waste fish parts – leftovers of fish processed for food – and mixed with other organic waste to use green energy to power their polluting cruise liners. Biogas is the result of speeding up the natural decomposition process and capturing the methane produced. Liquified natural gas is a fossil fuel, but it is cleaner than many alternatives. Battery power is also a promising technology for ocean transport. It has been difficult building batteries that are powerful enough to last an entire voyage, but advances in battery manufacturing are starting to make it possible. Related: Invasive soft rush weed turned into sustainable packaging materials “Norway is a large shipping nation, but fishery and forestry are also large sectors. They create jobs and produce income, but they also produce a lot of waste products. The steady access to high volumes of organic waste gives the Nordic countries a unique position on the biogas market. We are pushing for more innovation, more investment. I believe we have just seen the beginning of what in a few years will be a huge sector,” says Daniel Skjeldam, the chief executive of Hurtigruten. Ocean transport vessels currently use heavy fossil fuels , and it is an ever-increasing problem because they pollute more than fuels used by land vehicles and they emit sulfur and other contaminants. The daily greenhouse gas emissions from the largest cruise liners in the world are more than the emissions of a million cars. The cruise ship fuels are contributing to air pollution and climate change . But, this change to biogas will cut down the number of pollutants, plus it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Related: The Netherlands will spend 150 million Euros to turn cow poop into biogas Hurtigruten is also banning single-use plastics as part of their plan to be more environmentally sustainable. The company is also currently building three new hybrid-powered ships that will be delivered over the next three years. According to The Guardian, the company operates its cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic , which are both highly sensitive environments. Via The Guardian Images via michaelmep

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Norwegian expedition cruise line Hurtigruten aiming to convert six of its 17 ships to use biogas

Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdus Jincheng Lake

November 26, 2018 by  
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Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi of the firm NLÉ Architects recently unveiled his third iteration on the award-winning Makoko Floating School, a prefabricated building system aimed at addressing “the challenges and opportunities of urbanization and climate change” through sustainable and alternative building typologies. Dubbed the MFS IIIx3, the thought-provoking collection of structures has been set afloat on a lake in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province. The project was created in collaboration with local Chengdu partners Fanmate Creative Furniture Company and Chengdu Keruijiesi Technology Company. Located on Jincheng Lake in Chengdu’s new ecological belt, MFS IIIx3 marks NLÉ Architects’ fourth prototype of the Makoko Floating School. The first prototype floating structure was built in 2013 for and by the historic water community of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, an area considered at-risk for climate change . Although the initial project has met its demise , the architects have gone on to improve and reiterate their designs. In 2016, the Waterfront Atlas (MFS II) was launched in Venice, Italy, as well as the Minne Floating School (MFS III) in Bruges, Belgium. In their latest take on the Makoko Floating School, the architects have recreated the modular building in three sizes — small, medium and large. All structures were prefabricated from wood and locally sourced bamboo . The collection of floating buildings includes an open-air concert hall, an indoor exhibition space and a small information center. All three spaces are organized around a communal plaza. Related: Sustainable Makoko Floating School in Nigeria is finally complete “MFS IIIx3 is introduced into the dynamics of a 2,200 year-old history of water management expertise, originating from the Min River (Minjiang) and from Dujiangyan — an ingenious irrigation system built in 256 BC, and still in use today — keeping the southwestern Sichuan province free of floods and drought and making it one of the most fertile and economically developed urban and agricultural areas in China,” the architects explained. “MFS IIIx3 offers an approach to and revives an ancient yet contemporary civilizational relationship with water, originally inspired by the water community of Makoko in Lagos, and now adapted for the water city of Chengdu.” + NLÉ Architects Images via NLÉ Architects

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Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdus Jincheng Lake

Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments

November 21, 2018 by  
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In a bid to save, rather than tear down, a historically significant bridge in the Netherlands, Delft-based cepezed architects unveiled an adaptive reuse scheme for turning the defunct bridge into a base for energy-neutral dwellings and a conference center. Created in collaboration with Expericon, Hollandia Infra, Mammoet and the IV-Group, this innovative proposal was the result of a consortium that sought to sustainably redevelop the structure, which spans the river Lek near Vianen. Although the plan did not pass planning approval, the team hopes that its designs will serve as inspiration for similar adaptive reuse projects in other locations. Originally built in 1936, the arch bridge over the river Lek was once one of the most important connectors between the north and south sides of the Netherlands. Starting in 2004, however, the historic bridge was rendered obsolete after the completion of the larger Jan Blanken-bridges. The consortium was put together in hopes of restoring and reusing the bridge so as to avoid the cost and labor of dismantling and removing the existing structure. The plan — informed by the consortium’s focus on “ sustainability , circularity and uniqueness” — proposed turning the ramps of the bridge into zero-energy apartments that would bookend a centrally located catering and conference pavilion. The design would use efficient and lightweight materials for the new construction; an abundance of glass would also be installed to take advantage of impressive landscape views and to bring ample natural light indoors. The industrial heritage of the bridge would be celebrated through the preserved architecture. Related: Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park “With the inevitable further modernization, beautiful old constructions on a variety of locations frequently go out of use,” said cepezed director Jan Pesman in a project statement. “With smart solutions, we can often think up and design unique new destinations for them. We really love such challenges; reuse provides the historical settings with new layers of meaning and the new functions with an enormous added value. Moreover, it is plainly sustainable, of course.” + cepezed Images via cepezed

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Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments

Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

November 21, 2018 by  
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When Melbourne-based firm  Merrylees Architecture was tasked with giving on old Victorian home a modern makeover , they wanted to retain the home’s original features as much as possible. After stripping layers and layers of exterior paint off the home, the architects discovered that the original red bricks underneath were in excellent condition, leading the way for the Unbricked House’s rebirth, which included a number of restored and new materials. When the homeowners of the 2,637 -square-foot home first contacted the architects, they requested that their beloved Victorian home be restored , but with a focus on maintaining the home’s charming character. Additionally, they wanted a new layout that would cater to their personal lifestyle and one that would be thermally-sound year round. Related: A Seattle midcentury home is restored to its original brilliance with a modern twist Beginning on the exterior, the architects stripped the old paint completely off the red brick walls. Once they discovered the brick facade was in excellent condition, they decided to use it to establish a distinct connection between the old home and a new red brick addition, which would add more space and light to the family home. The second request from the client was to add as much natural light into the home as possible. With this in mind, the home’s new addition was made out of multiple black steel framed windows. According to the architects, “Early discussions about materiality lead to a combination of recycled red brick, black steel framed windows, blackened blackbutt and black metal trims. Contemporary yet sustainable materials; solid and everlasting just like the original home.” To create a family-friendly layout, the living space was reconfigured to include large proportions on the areas that serve as communal spaces, the living room, kitchen, etc. These spaces are flooded with natural light thanks to not only the large glazed walls, but the strategically-placed skylights throughout the home. The interior design throughout the home is fresh and modern, with white walls, hints of a soothing light blue and light timber features. + Merrylees Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Merrylees Architecture

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Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

A traditional log cabin in Colorado is the perfect winter wonderland retreat

November 21, 2018 by  
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The cold winter months are almost upon us and what better way to enjoy a snowy vacation than staying in a beautiful log cabin tucked into a winter wonderland? Located in Durango, Colorado, Bear Hollow Cabin is a traditional log cabin that offers guests a cold weather getaway including a roaring fireplace and private outdoor hot tub. The beautiful cabin has everything needed to provide a serene winter escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Secluded deep into the Rockies, the log cabin is surrounded by a dense forest, but it is just three miles from the nearest ski resort. Related: Super-insulated modern log cabin withstands frigid Finnish winters in style The two-story structure, made out of thick log walls, has been recently updated, but it still retains a traditional mountain getaway vibe. Built into a sloped landscape, the cabin offers stunning views of the evergreen forest and aspen trees, which can be best appreciated from the private hot tub located on the large deck. The interior is homey and spacious with two living areas, three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The main living space is an open layout that includes a fully-equipped kitchen and dining area. There is another small living area downstairs designed for quiet reading time or game night. A wood-burning stove warms the interior on chilly nights. To take advantage of the incredible surroundings, the large wrap-around deck is perfect for dining al fresco. For activities, the area around Durango is full of options. Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the many hiking trails, and nearby Electra Lake has excellent fishing. For wintertime fun, there is a nearby ski resort, which offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Of course, after a long day of activities, guests to the cabin can enjoy a glass of wine in the hot tub or beside a toasty fire. + Bear Hollow Cabin Images via Vacasa

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A traditional log cabin in Colorado is the perfect winter wonderland retreat

Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

November 13, 2018 by  
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Zagreb-based architectural office PROARH completed Issa Megaron, a family retreat in Croatia that’s disguised inside a rocky hillside with a zigzagging road. Due to its remote location and lack of surrounding infrastructure, the modern home operates off the grid by necessity and includes self-sustaining technologies from rainwater collection tanks to solar photovoltaic panels. Going off grid, however, hasn’t compromised the architect’s pursuit of luxurious living, made evident by the contemporary interior design, large pool and spacious footprint of 420 square meters. Completed in 2016, Issa Megaron began with the conceptual combination of a cave, a megaron (a great hall in ancient Greek palaces) and stone dry walls. “The house is envisioned as a dug in volume, a residential pocket between the stretches of space forming walls, an artificial grotto, a memory of a primitive shelter,” explained the architects, who split the house into two floors. The upper floor contains six bedrooms and bathrooms organized around a central living room and book-ended by two offices. The master bedroom and bath, the  open-plan dining room, lounge and kitchen, the game room, the gym and storage are located on the lower floor, which opens up to the pool and outdoor terrace. The traditional stone dry walls have been reinterpreted as reinforced concrete retaining walls topped with rocky green roofs . When viewed from above, Issa Megaron appears to blend into the steep terrain. “The design that emerges from such conditions is subtle, creates a symbiosis with the new/old stonewall topography,” the firm noted. “The newly built structure is man-made but unobtrusive in intent, material and ultimate appearance.” Related: Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside In addition to green roofs and solar panels, the house minimizes its energy footprint by following passive solar design principles that promote natural cooling. A concentrating solar power system is used for heating, while harvested rainwater is filtered and reused in the house and for the pool. + PROARH Via ArchDaily Photography by Damir Fabijani? and Miljenko Bernfest via PROARH

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Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

November 6, 2018 by  
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A running track, elevated hydroponic gardens and a miniature “mountain” combine in this fun, new office headquarters for the non-profit Leping Foundation in Beijing , China. Designed by the prolific local design practice People’s Architecture Office (PAO), the mostly open-plan office landscape was created to foster health and wellness. Covering an area of 1,100 square meters, the Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation Headquarters unites four of the company’s departments with a suspended vegetated loop and a running track underneath. Known for its social innovation work, the headquarters of the Leping Foundation covers four distinct fields: job training for migrant workers, agricultural research, preschool education and microfinance. To cultivate a sense of community among the different fields, the People’s Architecture Office created an office that fosters collaboration and interaction. The activity loop track that snakes through the various departments encourages office workers to take breaks and walk laps around the office. In addition to the open kitchen, dining area and lounge, the architects also added a “mini mountain” integrated with stairs to give workers a way to “hike” up to the mezzanine level. The office also includes a separate gym, a meditation space and a meeting room. “The wall design reminds users of the importance of staying active and changing positions,” the architects explained. “Gradating bands of blue span the height of the walls and columns at 60-cm intervals. Recommended periods of time spent at each height are given and each of these correspond with certain postures and activities, which include laying down, sitting, walking and climbing.” Related: China’s rival to AirBnB opens new Beijing office with cutting-edge interior design The suspended hydroponic gardens that are filled with edible plants and aromatic herbs not only add beauty and a source of food for the office, but they also help clean the indoor air. The gardens are complemented with an advanced air filtration system — an important addition given Beijing’s notoriety for severe air pollution . Indoor air quality data is regularly collected, monitored and displayed in real time above the running track. + People’s Architecture Office Photography by Jing Weiqi via People’s Architecture Office

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Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior

November 1, 2018 by  
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The sustainable builders at ArtisTree are known for creating some seriously beautiful and green structures. The company has just unveiled a charming treehouse located in a remote eco-retreat in Texas. Perched 25 feet in the air between two cypress trees, the Yoki Treehouse is an exceptional example of the company’s artistry and deep respect for nature. Located in central Texas, the Yoki Treehouse is Austin’s first treehouse resort at Cypress Valley. Designed to be a luxury retreat, the  treehouse sits 25 feet above a creek, which served as the inspiration for the design and name (Yoki is the Hopi Native American word for rain). According to Will Beilharz, founder of ArtisTree, “Water is life — one of our most precious resources, and ArtisTree treehouses are designed to let people experience nature’s resources more intimately.” Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home — and you can stay overnight Built with sustainable woods such as elm, cypress and spruce, the treehouse holds court high up within the tree canopy.  The retreat is comprised of a 500-square-foot suspended treehouse and a separate bathhouse, which sits on solid ground. The two buildings are connected by a 60-foot-long suspension bridge with various platforms to provide plenty of open spaces for enjoying the surrounding nature. In the main house, this strong emphasis on nature is apparent at every angle. The entrance is located on the roof, which doubles as an observation platform perfect for enjoying the lush green forest views and the babbling brook. There is also an open-air porch where the branches grow through the floor, further connecting the structure into its environment. Inside, the walls of the treehouse are clad in a warm birch wood, creating a cabin-like aesthetic. Again, an abundance of windows, including an all-glass front wall, allows guests to reconnect with nature. The interior design and furnishings were inspired by Japanese minimalism, while touches of Turkish decor add a sense of whimsy. The separate bathhouse was built with solitude in mind. It features a spa-like atmosphere, complete with a large Onsen-style soaking bathtub. Ample floor-to-ceiling windows offer guests a serene spot to enjoy a bit of bird watching or stargazing. + ArtisTree Via Dezeen Photography by Smiling Forest via ArtisTree

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A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior

Garden-facing timber home uses highly efficient SIPs to minimize waste

October 31, 2018 by  
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When asked by a long-time friend to build a garden-facing retirement home in Hobart, Australia, Brunswick-based architectural practice Archier created the Five Yards House, a timber-clad abode that takes its name from the numerous “yards,” or gardens, integrated into the design. To minimize onsite waste and to ensure rapid installation, the design firm turned to SIP (structural insulated panel) construction, a high-performing methodology that “provides structural, insulative and aesthetic solutions in one,” according the the architects. High performance and environmentally friendly materials were also specified for the rest of the design, from operable double glazing to recycled timber to  LEDs . Strong connections with the garden were a priority in the 131-square-meter Five Yards House’s project brief. Rather than design a simple glass house for enjoying views of one garden, the architects designed the home around a series of unique gardens, each with its own distinct appearance and framed by full-height walls of double glazing. The entrance on the east side is flanked by two gardens, or “yards,” and opens up to a mud room, a library and a long hallway that extends to the far west end of the home. At the heart of the building is an  open-plan living room, dining space and kitchen that connects to the outdoors on both ends; a smaller garden is to the south, and a more spacious yard is to the north. The bedroom is located at the far end of the house and overlooks a small garden as well. Related: Industrial modern Sawmill House is built from recycled concrete blocks Because the house was constructed with SIPs, the building boasts high thermal performance, and the operable walls of glass allow for natural ventilation in summer to negate the need for mechanical cooling. A restrained palette of natural materials helps strengthen the indoor-outdoor connection. Recycled Tasmanian Oak timber was used to line the interior, and the exterior is painted matte black. + Archier Photography by Adam Gibson via Archier

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Garden-facing timber home uses highly efficient SIPs to minimize waste

A dark, timber home rests peacefully among evergreen pine trees

October 30, 2018 by  
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San Francisco- and Oslo-based firm  Mork Ulnes Architects has unveiled a black  timber home tucked into a forestscape in Norden, California. To connect the home with its stunning scenery, the chalet-inspired Troll Hus was clad in pine tar-treated wood and elevated off the landscape with large concrete pillars for minimal site impact. The massive, 3,300-square-foot family home holds court in the middle of a pine forest , just an hour and a half outside of Sacramento. To blend the home into its pristine natural environment, it was clad in dark wood. The black, timber structure sits high up near the tree canopies, giving off a sense of peaceful solitude among the soaring trees. Related: A cypress tree grows through this hillside home in Los Angeles According to the architects, the inspiration for the design was to create a family home where the residents could reconnect with nature, whether inside or outside the home. They explained, “The design is driven both by the extreme environmental conditions found at a 6,800-foot elevation and a California sensibility of generous indoor-outdoor living.” While the elevation of the home certainly affords stunning views, the pillars are also a strategic feature that provides resilience and passive temperature control . The concrete legs were meant to reduce the impact on the environment and protect the home from snow fall, which can reach up to 800 inches during winter. Additionally, putting extra elevation to the home allows for optimal solar exposure in the winter and shading from direct sun in the summer. The orientation of the house also shields the building from strong winds. On the interior, the living space is clad in light wood paneling, creating a soothing vibe. An abundance of large windows brighten the interior with natural light . The open living and dining layout was designed to offer ample room for entertaining or simply enjoying the views in solitude. A large terrace wraps around one side of the home, further enhancing the design’s strong connection to the outdoors. + Mork Ulnes Architects Via Freshome Photography by  Bruce Damonte

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A dark, timber home rests peacefully among evergreen pine trees

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