The Screen House comfortably and sustainably connects with the outdoors

October 23, 2018 by  
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When Camberwell-based design practice Warc Studio Architects was tapped to renovate and extend an existing Edwardian residence in Victoria, the Australian firm also wanted to open the house to greater connection with the outdoors. To mitigate the site’s potentially harsh western aspect and hot summers, the architects strategically constructed an externally operable screen that inspired the project’s name, the Screen House. Passive solar principles were also applied to keep the home comfortable year-round as were other sustainably minded design decisions, such as low-VOC finishes, formaldehyde-free plywood and the inclusion of a compost and vegetable garden. Completed in 2016, the Screen House began with the renovation of an existing detached weatherboard Edwardian residence. The architects upgraded the bathrooms and private areas while simultaneously improving internal circulation and making room for greater landscaping and a new swimming pool. To make the most of the newly added gardens and swimming pool, the firm designed an addition to house a new open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area overlooking the landscape. The main corridor that connects the extension to the existing house provides immediate views to the rear garden from the front entrance. “Windows, cabinetry, walls and ceilings were strategically placed to unveil views and openings to the outside,” the architecture firm explained. “As the the occupants proceed toward the rear, a series of views unfold: the North garden framed by cabinetry; glimpses of the sky through a strip skylight ; views of trees through high level windows; screened views to the western outdoor areas.” Related: An energy-efficient extension in Melbourne captures the owners’ adventurous spirits Timber hardwood screens envelop the rear additions to mitigate unwanted solar gain without compromising views and can be manipulated to maximize seasonal variation in passive solar radiation. To minimize energy needs and waste, the Screen House has also been equipped with high-performance insulation, double glazing, rainwater harvesting and hydronic heating underfoot. + Warc Studio Architects Images by Aaron Pocock

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The Screen House comfortably and sustainably connects with the outdoors

This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers

October 23, 2018 by  
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For those looking to enjoy a serene glamping retreat, this tiny geometric cabin in Slovenia is a dream getaway. Located near the region of Maribor, the itsy-bitsy wooden hut is designed to blend seamlessly into the natural landscape thanks to a large glazed front wall that looks out over the expansive rolling hills. Guests can enjoy the fresh air while swinging from a hammock on the wooden deck or soaking in the hot tub. Guests of the tiny cabin , which starts around $170 per night, will enjoy the modern simplicity of the design. A geometric volume expands the space of the compact interior while adding character to the overall aesthetic. The floor-to-ceiling windows on the front facade were used to connect the interior with the exterior. Of course, the swinging hammock on the front deck is the best way to enjoy the panoramic views of the rolling green hills, mountains and valleys that surround the cabin. Related: This itsy-bitsy treehouse in Norway offers the ultimate off-grid escape The cabin comes with everything needed for a romantic getaway for two. The interior is small with just a queen-sized bed, but it is flooded with natural light . There are also a few tables and shelves for personal belongings. The bathroom is located just a few steps away, and linens and towels as well as bathrobes and slippers are all provided. The best part of the tiny cabin is the wooden deck that has a hammock as well as a small sitting area to enjoy the views. This deck is perfect for a morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. Guests can also enjoy a community fire pit onsite as well as a large fireplace for barbecues. As an extra bonus, the hosts provide a breakfast basket every morning, filled with products from local farms . + Glamping Hub Via Apartment Therapy Images via Glamping Hub

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This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers

These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

October 9, 2018 by  
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In a world headed toward sustainability at every turn, Ochis Coffee is ahead of the curve with its newly-revealed sunglasses made from natural coffee and flax. Unlike standard plastic frames, this coffee-scented eyewear is biodegradable — according to the company, these sunglasses decompose 100 times faster than traditional glasses and become a natural fertilizer for plants . The only thing better than a morning greeted with sunshine is the smell of coffee , which makes the subtle coffee scent of these sunglasses a win-win. The sleek glasses can be fitted for any prescription lenses, or buyers can select one of four colorful UV options. In an innovative design, the temples flex to comfortably fit all face shapes, and the ear-tips can be bent to further improve the fit. Related: HuskeeCup is an eco-friendly cup made entirely from coffee waste The mastermind behind these eco-friendly sunglasses is Max Gavrilenko, who as a child observed as his dad worked in an optical store. Gavrilenko wanted to do things differently though, and after extensive research and development, he is about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first five sustainable models of the organic sunglasses. Ochis Coffee isn’t the first to focus on sustainable sunglasses. However, while most other companies tend to focus on bamboo products for the frames, Gavrilenko and his team have developed a process that eliminates all petroleum, opting instead for a biopolymer made from coffee cake (not the breakfast kind, but rather compressed coffee grounds), flax sawdust and a natural glue made from soybean oil. If you garden, you know coffee is good for the soil — these frames will naturally decompose at the end of the wear cycle, taking about 10 years to break down and become fertilizer. The Kickstarter campaign is preparing to launch soon. In the meantime, you can sign up on the Ochis Coffee website to receive notifications and discounts. Glasses are expected to be priced between $69-$120. + Ochis Coffee

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These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

What To Do With Autumn Leaves

September 21, 2018 by  
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Ah, fall. Back to school, sweater weather, and warm drinks. … The post What To Do With Autumn Leaves appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What To Do With Autumn Leaves

Soil-Savvy Advice for Perky Plants and Tasty Veggies

June 12, 2018 by  
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If you want your yard to yield succulent vegetables, spectacular flowers, … The post Soil-Savvy Advice for Perky Plants and Tasty Veggies appeared first on Earth911.com.

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4 Tips for Jump-Starting a New Compost Pile

April 5, 2018 by  
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Food scraps and yard waste make up about a quarter … The post 4 Tips for Jump-Starting a New Compost Pile appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

December 22, 2017 by  
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Although frost has arrived in most subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, farmers still carry on even in the most extreme cold climates with the help of innovative technology and thoughtful design. Polar Permaculture Solutions of Norway  and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse of Canada are outstanding examples of defiant, determined agriculture in the Arctic. With features such as hydroponic systems, insulated greenhouses, and compost-warmed geodesic domes, these farms are far from frozen despite their high latitude locations. Benjamin Vidmar, founder of Polar Permaculture Solutions , was inspired to make a change through observations of his home, Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago’s largest island. “This whole island is about extraction: whales, coal, animals, fish, gas, oil,” Vidmar told Mic . “Everything here is based on taking things from the Earth . I feel like I have to do something for this town.” Vidmar, a chef, began researching methods for growing food in harsh, frigid climates and started growing microgreens for home and restaurant use in an insulated geodesic dome. Since then, Polar Permaculture Solutions has opened its doors for tours and classes for those interested in the challenge. Vidmar hopes to acquire a biodigester, which would create heat and fertilizer from food waste and quail droppings. Related: New Antarctic farm will grow produce despite temperatures of -100 d Across the Atlantic, then again across the most northern regions of North America, communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories are also implementing innovative systems to grow food despite the short season. In the small town of Inuvik, the Inuvik Community Greenhouse , which was converted from an old hockey rink, is now a cherished community space for all ages. The Greenhouse has 250 members, 149 community garden beds, and 24 smaller beds that grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. During the growing season, which lasts from May to September in the greenhouse, community members donate 100 pounds of food to the local food bank. The Greenhouse also offers a compost collection service for town residents, which reduces local food waste, helps to build greenhouse soil, and financially supports the greenhouse’s growth. Via Mic Images via Polar Permaculture Solutions and Inuvik Greenhouse

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The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

Two protective layers keep this angular house in Chile cool in the summer

December 22, 2017 by  
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The angular Two Skins House, designed by architect Veronica Arcos , is enveloped in two insulating layers that help maintain stable temperatures indoors all year roound. Perched on high cliffs north of Santiago, Chile , the house features generous openings that offer views of the Pacific Ocean. The house has a simple rectangular plan and faceted walls that add drama to the space. Dark pine planks used as cladding add additional variation to the exterior surfaces. Pine and other wooden structural panels were used to bring a little warmth and nature into the interior. Related: Angular cedar-clad home in New Zealand is designed to go completely off-grid Thanks to the presence of two outer layers, occupants can benefit from stable temperatures throughout the year. The gap between the layers facilitates natural ventilation and keeps the house cool in the summer. Mineral wool insulates the inner structure, while a zinc coating protects it from humidity. An overhang on the northern side shelters a raised platform and steps that lead to the garden. This wall extends to enclose the east-facing terrace and provide more privacy for this space. Most functions are housed on the ground floor, while the mezzanine , which marks the spot where the sloping roof reaches its highest point, accommodates the master bedroom. Minimalist interior design dominates the living room, with pops of color providing visual accents. + Veronica Arcos Arquitectos Photos by Cristóbal Palma

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Two protective layers keep this angular house in Chile cool in the summer

NASA picks two finalists for exciting new robotic mission

December 22, 2017 by  
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NASA is planning a robotic mission for the mid-2020s, and they’ve chosen two finalists for a possible destination. One option could snag a sample from a comet nucleus, which could help us understand the origins of life and the oceans on Earth. The other could fly to Saturn’s moon Titan – which scientists think holds an ingredient for life and also has enough energy resources for a United States-sized colony. Out of 12 submitted proposals, NASA has selected two finalist concepts for their robotic mission slated for sometime in the next decade. One is the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR), which would attempt to gather a sample from the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. According to NASA, comets are comprised of “materials from ancient stars, interstellar clouds, and the birth of our solar system .” Obtaining a sample could help us understand how those materials might have played a role in early Earth. Related: Saturn’s biggest moon has enough energy to power a US-sized space colony Option two is a voyage to Titan. NASA could send Dragonfly, a drone-like dual-quadcopter lander, to the ocean world near Saturn to “explore the prebiotic chemistry and habitability of dozens of sites” – some hundreds of miles apart. Dragonfly could conduct seismic studies, image landforms to delve into geological processes, and monitor surface and atmospheric conditions. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement, “This is a giant leap forward in developing our next bold mission of science discovery. These are tantalizing investigations that seek to answer some of the biggest questions in our solar system today.” Cornell University leads the team behind CAESAR, while the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is behind Dragonfly. Both will receive funding through the end of next year to develop the ideas further, and NASA plans to pick one in 2019. Via NASA Images via NASA

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NASA picks two finalists for exciting new robotic mission

Halloween’s Over, Compost Your Pumpkin!

November 2, 2017 by  
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Halloween has come and gone, and you’re probably ready to … The post Halloween’s Over, Compost Your Pumpkin! appeared first on Earth911.com.

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