Nina+Co sustainably furnishes a zero-waste London restaurant

May 1, 2020 by  
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In an industry notorious for food waste, award-winning chef Douglas McMaster has achieved the seemingly unattainable —  Silo , the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. For Silo’s second outpost in London, local interior design studio  Nina+Co  teamed up with McMaster to craft an interior that reinforces the restaurant’s sustainable ethos with locally sourced natural materials and innovative design aimed at minimizing environmental impact. Launched in Australia in 2011, Silo was heralded as the world’s first  zero-waste  restaurant. Its success spurred the creation of a branch in Brighton, U.K., followed by a second venue in east London that opened during the fall of last year. The long-anticipated London branch is located on the upper floor of the renovated White Building, within an old cocoa roasting factory with large steel-framed windows and exposed steel trusses. In contrast with the industrial setting (the approach begins with a canal-side cast-iron staircase next to a graffiti-covered bridge), Silo’s interiors are surprisingly elegant and minimalist.  “A few pioneering and high-quality materials, a very crafted process, and a zero-waste mentality form the basis of the design,” said Nina Woodcroft, founder of Nina+Co, in a press release. “The aim is to close the loop, with an interior composed from waste or thoughtfully sourced,  natural materials , that will either biodegrade or easily disassemble for repurposing in the future. Following Silo’s post-industrial ethos, we opted to work with local crafts people using age-old techniques, as well as harnessing innovative materials and technologies.” Related: A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future Recycled materials are featured throughout the restaurant interiors, beginning with the host stand built from offcuts of timber laminated into a tree stump-like shape. Natural cork harvested by hand lines the floors, while natural,  biodegradable  woolen fabrics were used to upholster the seats, and linen was used for the wardrobe curtain. Thirty bespoke lights crafted specially for Silo by Nina+Co were produced by a local potter with crushed glass wine bottles from the restaurant, and a pendant light near the entrance was made from foraged seaweed.  + Nina+Co Images via Sam A. Harris

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Nina+Co sustainably furnishes a zero-waste London restaurant

New study takes nuanced look at bug decline

May 1, 2020 by  
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While scientists have observed the worldwide decline of  insects  over the last decades, a new study shows that the big picture is more complicated than they thought. The study, published in  Science , drew on data from 166 surveys from 1,676 sites. Some of the broad findings were that, while the number of land-dwelling insects is going down, freshwater bugs are increasing. And if you’ve noticed a decrease in bugs splattering your windshield, you’re right. “Our analysis shows that flying insects have indeed decreased on average,” said Jonathan Chase of the German Centre for Integrative  Biodiversity  Research, one of the study’s authors. Insects are extremely diverse, with many species filling key roles on the planet, such as recycling nutrients, aerating soil and pollinating  plants . The study shows how nuanced and mysterious insects are, with many hiding away under the soil, in tree canopies and on riverbanks. Surprisingly, even when bugs live close together geographically, some populations can be thriving while nearby members of the same species are floundering. The study found that overall, terrestrial insects such as ants,  butterflies  and grasshoppers were decreasing by 0.92% per year. This equals 9% per decade. “That is extremely serious, over 30 years it means a quarter less insects,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Roel Van Klink, of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research. “And because it’s a mean, there are places where it is much worse than that.” Bug decline was particularly severe in Western and Midwestern regions of the U.S., and Europe, especially Germany. The increase in freshwater insects such as midges and mayflies was one bright note in the study — assuming you’re not sunbathing on a lakeshore. Their populations were growing by about 1.08% per year. Freshwater insects were especially trending in the western U.S., northern Europe and  Russia . Researchers credited this population growth to legislation that has cleaned polluted lakes and rivers. “We believe that because we see these increases in fresh water insects, that are related to legislation being put in place, it makes us hopeful that if we put in place the right types of legislation for land insects we can also make them recover,” said Van Klink. Even the terrestrial insects could still make a comeback, Van Klink said. “The nice thing about insects is that most have incredibly large numbers of offspring, so if you change the  habitat in the right way we will see them recover really fast.” + BBC Images via Pexels

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Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living

October 10, 2018 by  
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Berlin-based architecture office rundzwei Architekten recently completed a light-filled home that showcases the many material benefits of cork . Named the Cork Screw House, the sustainably minded abode boasts a facade and roof clad in natural cork, a material that not only gives the building a highly textured appearance, but also contributes significantly to the home’s energy efficiency thanks to high insulation values. The cork home is set on a base of rammed concrete and comprises a series of split-levels for flexibility. The decision to clad the home in cork emerged from the client’s desire for a house with good acoustic performance. Initially drawn by the acoustic insulation properties of cork, the architects were ultimately convinced by the sustainable benefits of the material, which is made from granulated cork waste that has been pressed into naturally weather- and mold-resistant panels without any artificial additives. In addition to insulating cork panels, the architects carefully chose a natural materials palette and steered clear of chemical adhesives. Wood fiber and cellulose were used as additional insulation, while timber and gypsum fiberboards were selected for their ability to absorb humidity and create a comfortable indoor environment. Created for a family of three, the Cork Screw House is organized around a central, atrium -like staircase illuminated by a skylight. To side-step planning regulations that mandated a maximum floor size of 100 square meters, the architects lowered the base floors and designed the timber-framed upper floors as a series of split-levels, bringing the gross floor area to over 320 square meters. On the ground floor, full-height glazing floods the interior with natural light. The home also includes an exterior sunken pool that’s surrounded by rammed concrete walls for privacy. Related: Elegant cork-clad artists’ studio slots into a bijou London garden Due to the selection of natural materials and ample daylighting, the building “doesn’t need an active ventilation system despite the very low energy standard,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Through a stratified heat storage system supplemented by roof integrated solar panels, the heating supply is almost self-sufficient adding to the efficiency of the building’s overall performance.” + rundzwei Architekten Photography by Gui Rebelo

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Light-filled Indianapolis home is a base for Airstream adventurers

January 12, 2018 by  
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Architecture studio Haus completed a modern energy-efficient home with its very own Airstream port. Commissioned by clients with a love of traveling, the Copperwood House in Zionsville, Indianapolis boasts passive and active green-building strategies to achieve an HERS Performance Rating of 43, that the architects say is 60% better than a standard new energy code-compliant home. The geothermal -heated home is equipped with low-energy appliances; all lighting, security, and the HVAC can be remotely controlled via smartphone. Set on a 19-acre lot with natural habitat and wetlands , the Copperwood House was carefully sited to minimize landscape disturbance and interference with an abandoned on-site pipeline. The site constraints, views, and passive solar principles informed the home’s unusual Z-shaped layout. The low-lying home is clad in thermally treated timber ash that doubles as a rainscreen system and will develop a weathered patina over time. The timber facade is complemented by white cement panels and topped with a slanted metal roof with a deep overhang. Related: Geothermal-powered Lake Austin Home is tuned in to nature Natural light pours into the modern interior through full-height glazing, clerestory windows, and skylights, some of which are operable to take advantage of the stack effect. Full-height glazing creates the appearance of living outdoors, while natural materials like cork floors and clear Southern Pine stairs tie the interiors to the landscape. The master suite and two bedrooms are located in the east wing. An open-plan dining room, kitchen, and living room are placed at the heart of the home that’s wrapped in glazing. The client’s Airstream was integrated into the design and sheltered beneath the soaring metal roof. The Airstream is connected to power, sewer, and water, and is used as a guest room and office when docked at home. + Haus Images via Haus and The Home Aesthetic

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Green-roofed office is the first large-scale CLT structure in southeast Europe

January 12, 2018 by  
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Instead of concrete or metal, this striking eco-friendly office building in Romania features a sturdy timber skeleton in what’s claimed as the first large-scale CLT structure in southeast Europe. Romanian firm Tecto Arhitectura designed the building as the new office for HSR factory in Reci, Covasna. Designed for long-term sustainability, the office building draws on geothermal energy, uses energy-efficient technologies, and is topped by an extensive green roof. Shaped like a cross in aerial view, the HSR timber office stretches horizontally from northeast to southwest and is intersected by a two-story volume with a northwest-southeast orientation. A stairway and a double-height atrium are located at the heart of the office that accommodates around 60 people. Built to minimize thermal loss, the office is built mainly of industrially prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels and gluelam elements. Given Romania’s freezing winters, the architects inserted passive house-standard mineral wool insulation into the walls, slabs, and flat roofs and optimized solar gain in winter. Natural cross ventilation and daylighting is optimized and pass through operable triple-glazed windows and doors. Related: Nation’s first large-scale mass timber residence hall breaks ground in Arkansas Colorful aluminum cladding wraps around the building’s airtight envelope and thick CLT walls. The facade colors are echoed in the interior, as is a celebration of timber that is featured throughout. Natural lighting is optimized and complimented by LEDs. A biomass cogeneration plant provides heating and electricity for the radiant heating and cooling system, as do geothermal heat pumps and a heat recovery ventilation system. An extensive green roof covers the building. + Tecto Arhitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Tecto Arhitectura , by Cosmin Dragomir

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Green-roofed office is the first large-scale CLT structure in southeast Europe

100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs

July 10, 2017 by  
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An off-grid Spanish winery is harnessing the full power of the sun to ripen grapes and turn the fruit into wine. Local studio Munarq Arquitectes designed Son Juliana’s winery that’s entirely powered by renewable energy on the Spanish island of Majorca. The low-lying building comprises a prefabricated concrete structure built in just 15 days and uses natural materials to blend into its surroundings. Built facing the Tramuntana mountains in the distance, the off-grid winery lies low to the flat, clay terrain in a linear shape informed by the landscape and wine production process. The grapes enter the entrance to the east, where it then passes through several processing rooms until the wine is bottled and labeled and finally put on display and tasted in the sales room at the west entrance. The 1,300-square-meter facility can produce 40,000 liters of wine each year. The winery’s prefabricated concrete structure is clad in marés, a local sandy stone, for the facade and lined in ceramic bricks for the interior. Powered entirely with renewable energy, the winery keeps cool with passive ventilation and use of concrete and stone walls, as well as the sloping cork -lined roof, for insulation. Taking advantage of the earth’s thermal mass, the architects built the winery in the basement to meet the special temperature and humidity requirements. Related: Mexican winery built from recycled wood and rammed earth blends into the valley landscape “The retaining walls are stone gabions to take advantage of the thermal mass and soil moisture that remained during the summer,” wrote the architects. “The contribution of ventilation and temperature is carried through pipes connected to geothermal heat pumps.” + Munarq Arquitectes Via Dezeen Images via Munarq Arquitectes

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A tiny beach shack in Essex wrapped in "magic" cork panels

July 20, 2016 by  
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The artist couple who commissioned the design, which replaces a “dilapidated timber framed 1920s beach house”, wanted a weekend home that would “surpass planning requirements in terms of flood risk mitigation, building control requirements in terms of part L, and expectations in terms of design innovation,” Lisa Shell told Inhabitat. She designed the home to resemble a “hide” that provides the residents with “privacy, peace, and a sense of isolation and distance.” But it also had to overcome a few site challenges – including floods that recently swathed the area in a meter of water, according to The Guardian . Related: Amazing hairdryer made with glass and cork Elevated on red steel stilts like a Redshank wader, the home is constructed in CLT with a 180mm thick expanded cork agglomerate overcoat. The cork panels are created from the by-product of wine cork production in Portugal, according to Shell, using only heat and compression to form a chemical bond between cork chips. Unusually, the designers decided not to apply a polyurethane coating to the panels, resulting in a bleached grey color facade with black flecks. An airtight enclosure, Redshank is heated with a small wood burning stove – reducing the energy required to keep the space warm. The new house increases the amount of land available to fauna and flora within the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). “Within two months of completion, sparrows have already taken up residence in one of the integrated nesting boxes,” writes Shell. “It was also important that support was won for the unconventional design from the community of both permanent and occasional residents in the small hamlet.” + Lisa Shell Architects

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A tiny beach shack in Essex wrapped in "magic" cork panels

17 green gifts for the home

December 3, 2015 by  
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A house becomes a home when it’s filled with the energy of those who live there, and the houseware items  we’ve put together for this year’s gift guide can help make a home as luminous and eco-friendly as possible. A backyard beehive, sustainable bamboo bowls, and the cutest little hedgehog dryer buddies ever are just a few of the gems  we’ve found that can help make this holiday the greenest yet. GREEN ECO-GIFTS FOR THE HOME >

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New underwater hotel in Florida to use profits to protect coral reefs

December 3, 2015 by  
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If being neighbors with Sponge Bob and The Little Mermaid sounds fun, then a new underwater hotel is a dream getaway. The Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel, which is under construction in Key West, Florida , will offer luxury suites for guests who want to sleep with the fishes. Though it may sound like an ecological disaster in the making, the hotel’s mission is “to help fund and implement a worldwide proven coral reef restoration.” Read the rest of New underwater hotel in Florida to use profits to protect coral reefs

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Holiday Entertaining This Fall? Cork It!

October 26, 2015 by  
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Cork.  It boasts itself as one of the Top 10 rapidly renewable materials. Environmentally friendly, cork (harvested from oak trees) production is sustainable in that only the cork bark is harvested and the cork oak tree itself is not cut down. …

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