This minimalist, solar-powered home stands strong against earthquakes

January 14, 2020 by  
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Located in the Swiss municipality of Grimisuat in the district of Sion, House ROFR was created with the future in mind. The modern, solar-powered home is situated on a hilly slope with the help of a protective and stabilizing wall along a surrounding orchard. In addition to its impressive green design features, the house also frames breathtaking views of its mountainous setting. The area here in the canton of Valais is known for its seismic activity. The Swiss Seismological Service has recorded about 270 earthquakes per year over the past 10 years, making it the most quake-prone region in the country. This, of course, has influenced the design decisions made by architects completing projects in the potentially hazardous part of Switzerland — and House ROFR is no exception. The entire structure of the building is made of strong concrete. Related: Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva Per the client’s request, the 200-square-meter flat roof was equipped with as many solar modules as possible. Excess energy from the solar panels is stored in batteries, supplying both the house and electric cars with electricity. The home also uses geothermal heating to keep the interiors warm when the temperatures drop. The design provides for plenty of functional spaces with luxurious additions, such as a wine cave and cheese cellar on the ground floor along with a laundry room, changing room and bathroom. There are two areas making up the property — a larger, 220-square-meter house with the entire living space distributed on the upper floor as well as a smaller, two-level flat. The upper floor holds a patio terrace, the kitchen, a large fireplace and a concrete corridor connecting the different rooms. Occupants must go through the open garage to enter the house, though it is separated from the landscaped garden by larch wooden slats for added aesthetics. Rather than building a traditional garage, the designer wanted to give the owner the opportunity to turn the garage into an additional living area in the future. + Ralph Germann Architectes Photography by Lionel Henriod via Ralph Germann Architectes

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This minimalist, solar-powered home stands strong against earthquakes

Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

January 2, 2020 by  
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Karina Duque had a unique conundrum to overcome when it came to the design of the KDDK House. Located in Frutillar, Chile , the eco-home’s site had views of lush greenery, in the form of meadows and forests, that presumably made the property so attractive to the landowners. These green views, however, could only be found in the opposite direction of the sun’s natural course. In a region that often saw rainy weather, designing a house that could allow for high-quality indoor livability while avoiding a dark or gloomy interior in such a location was quite the challenge. First, the designer placed the home on the highest point of the property to allow for the best views while also creating the greatest potential for natural sunlight to filter indoors for the greater part of the day. Even better, the elevated building site as well as reflective windows and organically inspired colors and materials help immerse and disguise the home among its lush property. Related: An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest The architect took inspiration from the architecture of German settlers, turning to simple lines, an elongated volume, a gable roof and skylights for a contrasting yet relaxing design. This style came with another perk in the form of ample space for a loft that could store heat. The team used painted, locally manufactured zinc for much of the exterior and certified larch roofing for the access corridor. These materials contrasted and complemented the interior, which was painted bright white to make the spaces brighter on those gloomy days. Cellulose insulation (typically made from recycled paper fiber ) for the roof, walls and under the windows helps to maintain heat during cold days, and natural cross-ventilation regulates the indoor temperature during hot days. The addition of a combustion stove in the kitchen serves as a primary heat source during the coldest winter days. In the summer, the iron-and-glass screens fold open to reveal a pleasant outdoor terrace. + Karina Duque Photography by Fernanda Castro via Karina Duque

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Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

The eco-friendly wellness guide to Savannah, Georgia

January 2, 2020 by  
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Savannah is just as beautiful as it looks in pictures. Since Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — both the book and the movie — came out in the 1990s, tourism has ramped up in this Southern town known for its 22 park-like squares, sultry summers and Spanish moss dripping from trees. But Savannah also has a modern overlay, thanks in part to the Savannah College of Art & Design, or SCAD, which has renovated deteriorating buildings and attracted talented youth from around the world since its founding in 1978. Today, this Georgia city of 145,000 appeals to visitors who appreciate history, art, ghosts, romantic architecture, Southern culture and a bit of quirkiness. Here are some sustainable stops throughout the city. Savannah outdoors The pace is slow in Savannah, especially if you visit in the summer. Walking around town, reading historic plaques in the squares and on the Savannah River waterfront, wandering into shops and talking with people is probably the best way to get a feel for the town. If you like a more structured outing, Savannah has a plethora of walking tours, with history, architecture and paranormal activity topping the list. It’s no wonder — Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah was established in 1733 and endured fighting in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Related: SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration In keeping with the paranormal and historical themes, Savannah has some of the country’s most beautiful graveyards. Bonaventure Cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, has the grandest monuments. The wide paved lanes are a nice place to stroll. Those who prize cardio workouts will enjoy an early morning visit to 30-acre Forsyth Park, where you’ll encounter locals running and doing walking lunges around the shady, 1.8-mile, figure 8-shaped loop. Historic mansions and monuments ring this flat course with a lovely fountain in the middle. Great Runs has also mapped a 6-mile running tour that hits every square and Forsyth Park. If you like to see places from the water, Savannah Canoe and Kayak offers tours of Little Tybee Island, or they’ll take you inland to see the forested creeks and wildlife of Skidaway Narrows. Because Savannah is only 18 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, many people also visit Tybee Island. This barrier island has wide beaches, a lighthouse and a fort. The League of American Bicyclists deemed Tybee one of the most bike -friendly communities. Several rental shops let you explore the island on two wheels. Wellness in Savannah Savannah’s many yoga studios include friendly Dancing Dogs Yoga right on the main drag downtown. Savannah Yoga Center offers events like learning to read tarot and pendulums, as well as a full schedule of yoga classes. Those who appreciate the healing power of felines will enjoy Pounce Cat Café and Wine Bar , where you’ll find approximately 20 adoptable cats cavorting or napping on any given day. If you’re pressed for time, you can get a 10-minute pass for just $5. Roots Up Gallery is an inspiring place to delve into Southern folk art . As the gallery’s website explains, the self-taught painters, jewelers, sculptors and potters they represent “possess a soulful style that is borne from within.” Vegan restaurants in Savannah The Fox and Fig Café is Savannah’s leading plant-based restaurant. The raw lasagna is deliciously flavorful, and the shakes, made with local favorite Leopold’s coconut ice cream, are very popular. You can even get a vegan truffle flight here. Kayak Kafé on Broughton, one of the main streets downtown, has clearly marked vegetarian and vegan dishes, including vegan tacos with walnut meat. Sit outside for optimal people-watching. People come to the Sentient Bean for espresso drinks and vegan chia yogurt in the morning, and plant-based dinners and local musicians at night. Wednesday nights, the Sentient Bean hosts meetings of the Psychotronic Film Society. Getting around Savannah When your feet get tired, you can hop on the DOT, a free bus that serves 24 stops in the Historic District and the Savannah Belles Ferry. It runs until midnight every day but Sunday, when service stops at 9 p.m. The Savannah Belles Ferry connects downtown with the convention center and Hutchinson Island. If you’re going farther afield, Chatham Area Transit serves Savannah and Chatham County. A shuttle bus service runs from downtown Savannah to Tybee Island in spring and summer. Uber and Lyft both operate in Savannah. Savannah eco-hotels How you feel about spectral visitors might drive your Savannah lodging decisions, because many of the hotels claim to have resident ghosts. The Marshall House generally wins accolades for being the most haunted, while the 1960s restored retro Thunderbird Inn might be the least. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa follows a long list of sustainability practices, including irrigating with gray water, organic waste composting and salt water pool and hot tub systems. The Kimpton Brice offers guests free use of bikes and supplies a yoga mat in every room. Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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This egg carton is made out of seeds that sprout when replanted

June 24, 2019 by  
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As the world teeters on the brink of suffocating from single-use products, some designers are quickly coming up with ingenious ways to reduce our waste. For example, Greek designer George Bosnas has just unveiled the Biopack, a compact egg carton made out of cleared paper pulp, flour, starch and biological legume seeds. Instead of throwing out the eco-friendly container at the end of its use, it can be planted directly into the ground to sprout green plants. According to Bosnas, the inspiration behind the Biopack came from the conundrum that recycling presents. Although communities and citizens around the world are trying to reap the benefits of recycling, the actual process is quite complicated, expensive and usually not as eco-friendly as one would think. An arduous task from start to finish, true recycling involves loads of organization, including transportation, sorting, processing and converting materials into new goods to be, once again, transported back into the market. Related: Designer creates algae-sourced alternative for plastic packaging With this in mind, the truest, most ecological form of recycling is to take a single-use product and naturally turn it into something ecologically beneficial for the environment. Enter the innovative Biopack — a simple box that holds up to four eggs. Made out of cleared paper pulp, flour, starch and seeds, the sustainable packaging is quite dense to protect the eggs from breaking. Once the eggs are used, instead of throwing away the box or shipping it off to be recycled, the entire egg carton can be planted into soil. With a little watering, the bio-packaging breaks down naturally, leaving the seeds to sprout into green plants, which takes approximately 30 days. Not only does the sustainable packaging create a full-cycle system that turns a product into a plant, but according to Bosnas, growing legumes actually increases soil fertility. A win-win for the world! + George Bosnas Images via George Bosnas

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This egg carton is made out of seeds that sprout when replanted

Quirky youth hostel in Taiwan is made from reclaimed materials

March 14, 2019 by  
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Young wanderers traveling to the city of Hualian in Eastern Taiwan can now book a stay in a fun, quirky youth hostel made almost entirely out of recycled materials. To create the Wow Hostel, designer ChengWei Chiang  from PL Interior Design breathed new life into an existing nine-level property by using a vibrant collection of concrete, stone, wood, greenery and reclaimed materials , such as old window frames and timber. From the moment you enter the hostel, the interesting collection of building materials is clearly visible. From stone walls and a reception made out of reclaimed wood, the nine-story hostel has a energetic, youthful aesthetic. Related: Nha Trang’s first hostel built from recycled shipping containers pops up in Vietnam The ground floor welcomes visitors with a cafe and bar area that is open to everyone, from paying guests to passersby. From the first floor leading up to the second floor reception is a large vertical living wall. The reception also features a check-in desk made out of reclaimed wood paneling. The rest of the floors are split between the dorm rooms and communal places. According to the designer, the hostel layout was strategically designed to provide plenty of space to allow people to meet each other and socialize or simply hang out in the lounge area with a good book. In the main communal space, there is a large table with family-style seating. Around this area are several lounges with big, comfy reading chairs. In one of the lounge areas, a custom-made cabinet stands against the wall. Made out of reused window frames, this is used to showcase art works by local artists as well as knickknacks left by travelers that have passed through the hostel. For outdoor space, one of the floors has an open-air terrace, which features a discarded shipping container door. For lodging, the Wow Hostel offers a number of options, from an eight-person dorm with four double beds to private suites. The guest rooms’ interior design boasts an industrial vibe with exposed concrete block walls and pressed board accents. + PL Interior Design Studio + ChengWei Chiang Images via ChengWei Chiang and PL Interior Design Studio

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Transparent bubble domes in China allow guests to immerse themselves in nature

March 13, 2019 by  
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For those who need a little respite from the hustle and bustle of life and who may find themselves in the Guangxi region of China, there is an entire glamping site comprised of transparent bubble domes . Created by designer ChengWei Chiang of PL Interior Design Studio, the Wow Bubbles are made of special transparent PVC material to let visitors truly immerse themselves in the idyllic landscape that surrounds the site. Located in the mountainous area of southern China  bordering Vietnam, Guangxi is right on the coast and known as a nature-lover’s paradise. Full of lush green forests, winding rivers and towering karst formations, the area is a popular tourist spot for both adventurers and those who just want to commune with nature. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble Now, visitors to the picturesque area can go one step further by staying in the Wow Bubbles lodgings. Made out of special PVC material, the transparent bubble huts are inflated with air. Waterproof and resistant to wind, they were also designed to withstand the severe humidity that is common in this coastal area. The bubble domes are strategically orientated to provide stunning, unobstructed views of the mountains and forest that surround the site. A wooden walkway on the edge of a small lake leads to the individual domes, which are lifted off the landscape on wooden platforms. Once inside, the interior design is quite contemporary. With a spacious living area, a large bedroom and bath, the huts provide all of the amenities of home. According to the designer of the bubbles, ChengWei Chiang, the unique glamping concept was inspired to provide mesmerizing, panoramic views for guests looking to get away from the stress of their urban lifestyles. “As more and more people move into the cities, making more money, buying more luxuries, owning bigger houses, the nature serves as a pure land that evokes peace of mind,” he explained. “Zen is a lifestyle we need today. Zen style is the key to attract urban people to nature.” + PL Interior Design Studio + Chiange Cheng Wei Via World Architecture Images via Chiange Cheng Wei and PL Interior Design Studio

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Transparent bubble domes in China allow guests to immerse themselves in nature

This cozy cabin in the woods was once just an old tool shed

July 24, 2018 by  
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An old tool shed has undergone a dramatic transformation in the hands of James Cutler, principal architect at American design practice Cutler Anderson Architects . Reimagined as a cozy, multipurpose cabin, the Studio / Bunkhouse now serves as a work and living space for James and his 12-year-old daughter. Nestled in the woods and faced with a large expanse of glass, the 80-square-foot cabin embraces stunning views of Puget Sound on Washington’s Bainbridge Island. Placed just 30 feet away from the main house, Studio / Bunkhouse serves as a compact getaway accessible via a raised wooden walkway. The foundation was made using bags of ready-mix concrete , while the building was framed by James and his daughter out of locally milled rough-sawn Douglas Fir timbers. He also covered the exterior in rigid insulation as well as overlapping custom-cut 16-by-24-inch Corten steel shingles, which complement the surrounding Madrone and Cedar trees. A large window wraps around the west side to let in light and frame landscape views. “During the daytime hours, the building is a design studio , yet when the daughter comes home, she often joins her father and curls up on the lower bunk to read (it’s warm and cozy now),” according to the project statement. “Then, they switch the computer to TV mode and watch the evening news or movies. Since built, the building has surprised the designer and family by becoming the cozy, de facto family/media room for the main residence.” Related: Elegant net-zero home wraps around a large pond in Connecticut Inside, the two bunk beds fold up on traction struts, while the studio desk also folds up to save space. Rolling file cabinets hide the inverter/charger and 4.5 kilowatts of backup batteries. The space is also equipped with a cast iron wood-burning stove and a small fridge that can run off battery power. When all the furniture is folded away, the cabin can also be used as a poker room. + Cutler Anderson Architects Images by Art Grice

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This cozy cabin in the woods was once just an old tool shed

Take a break in this nautically inspired tiny pod on a Scottish island

July 24, 2018 by  
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Airbnb’s roster of unique lodgings has just added a new star to its lineup: this tiny pod retreat located on a remote Scottish island. Designed by Roderick James Architects , the submarine-inspired, aluminum-clad Airship 002 is located on four acres of expansive greenery on the the Isle of Mull and comes equipped with all the amenities needed to disconnect from life’s hustle and bustle. The Airship 002, which rents for $168 a night , stands out in the idyllic landscape thanks to its elongated form capped with two all-glass domes on either side. Clad in  shiny aluminum , the building has a nautical theme – immediately noticeable thanks to multiple portholes in the walls. Inside the tiny pod, wood paneling creates a warm interior enhanced by an abundance of natural light. Related: Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve Although the Airship is a compact structure, the contemporary interior design creates a warm and relaxing atmosphere. The kitchen is an open space with all of the amenities needed to create a home-cooked meal. To open up space throughout the tiny structure, space-saving techniques, such as a fold-out table, keep the living area uncluttered. Located just past the kitchen area, the bedroom features a comfy four-poster queen bed. A pair of portholes over the bed allows guests to enjoy a bit of stargazing as they drift off to sleep. At the heart of the interior are the two domed glass walls  on either side of the pod. A serene seating area with a wood-burning stove looks out over the mountains and sea to the west. On the opposite side, a large writing desk faces the beautiful Sound of Mull. A wooden deck with outdoor seating on the side of the pod offers additional views of the incredible surroundings. + Roderick James Architects + Airship 002 Via Uncrate Photography by Nigel Rigden

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Take a break in this nautically inspired tiny pod on a Scottish island

Vegan Interior Designer Talks Cruelty-Free Home Decor

March 2, 2018 by  
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We nap on pillows stuffed with down feathers. We warm … The post Vegan Interior Designer Talks Cruelty-Free Home Decor appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Vegan Interior Designer Talks Cruelty-Free Home Decor

Pauline van Dongen unveils backpack made with ‘energy harvesting textile’

February 15, 2018 by  
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Dutch designer Pauline van Dongen has made a name for herself designing wearable technology and now she’s back with a stunning solar-harvesting backpack. The Radius is made from a single piece of knitted fabric embedded with tiny solar power beads , which enables the backpack to charge devices while on the go. The Radius backpack builds on the energy-generating technology that Van Dongen is known for using in her collections. The bag’ strap is embedded with solar-powered technology using tiny little solar beads. The strap runs the length of the stylish bag. Related: This gorgeous t-shirt is a glamorous way to charge your phone with solar power “From afar, [the strap] appears to blend with the knit of the top lid. But a closer look reveals how light breaks on a beaded surface,” said the designer. “This magical material holds secret powers: each bead is a tiny spherical solar cell that is woven into the fabric, creating a unique energy harvesting textile.” Dongen collaborated on the solar backpack with designer Eva de Laat to create the bag’s fabric, which is made from a single knitted piece of material. Developed at the Santoni research lab in Shanghai, the revolutionary textile is actually a three-dimensional fabric made out of different yarns using a data-driven knitting machine . The result is a ribbed fabric that is not only decorative, but adds extra padding to the back and shoulder straps for extra comfort. + Pauline van Dongen Via Dezeen Photography by Ola Krondahl

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