St. Paddy’s Day is definitely an homage to Ireland, but there’s no denying that it also pays tribute to something a little more universal – booze. And while you may be thinking “What the heck does alcohol have to do with green design?” there are actually a keg’s worth of hooch-related eco innovations out there that you might not know about yet. From a man that recycles his own pee into whisky to a machine that turns beer brewery waste into power , read on to see the best boozy green stories we have on tap. This tiny Irish pub on wheels wins St. Patrick’s Day When Irish cabinetmaker John Walsh decided to convert his rusty old caravan into a tiny pub, the world’s most charming St. Patrick’s Day hotspot was born. The Shebeen is literally translated into “an illicit bar where alcohol is sold illegally.” The mobile booze cruiser was so popular in Ireland, the people of Boston commissioned another one to be brought to the states. Aspiring Chinese architect built his office out of 8,500 recycled beer bottles This brings new meaning to the song 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall . Aspiring architect in Chongqing city, China designed and constructed his very own office with 8,500 recycled beer bottles. The impressive upcycled structure gets its sturdy foundation from 40 layers of beer bottles. The entire construction took four months and $11,000 to complete. PISSKY: Gilpin Whisky is Recycled from Diabetic’s Urine James Gilpin has a bit of a different interpretation of the adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Gilpin, who has Type 1 Diabetes got to thinking about elderly patients with diabetes, like his grandmother, who secrete tons of unprocessed medicine and sugar in their urine and had a cool – albeit a little gross – breakthrough. His Gilpin Family Whisky project is a high end line of single malt whiskey made from the sugar-laden urine of people with diabetes – Pissky! We’ll drink to that! HEINEKEN WOBO: A Beer Bottle That Doubles as a Brick Have your brick and drink it too? Famed beer brewer Alfred Heineken and Dutch architect John Habraken came out with their Heineken WOBO (world bottle) brick all the way back in 1963, but the principle behind it still rings true today. As you probably already guessed, the idea behind the boozy brick was that thirsty people could drink their fix of beer from the WOBO and reuse it to build structures. Cheers to that. Intoxicating Pavilion Made of 33,000 Yellow Beer Crates It must have taken a lot of frat parties to empty out the 33,000 yellow beer crates that architects SHSH stacked atop one another to create this intoxicating pavilion . Using the crates like giant legos, the design features interesting architectural touches like columns, arches and even domes inside. Beer Can House Has 50,000 “Bottles of Beer” on the Walls 99 bottles of beer is already quite a few to have on your walls, but how about 50,000?! Well, that’s about how many John Milkovisch used for his Beer Can House. He drank many of the cans himself (not his least favorite part of the job, we’re sure) and they’re on the walls, swaying from the front porch, and pretty much everywhere else! PurposeEnergy Turns Beer Brewery Waste Into Clean-Burning Biofuel We’ve seen everything from ice cream to 4Loko being used as fuel and now we can add beer to the list of alternative energy sources – well, beer waste, that is. PurposeEnergy Inc. has created a device that recycles the waste from brewing beer into a functional natural gas. World’s Greenest Whisky Distillery Unveiled in Scotland Okay, so we know today is supposed to be all about Ireland, but Scotland has been greening their booze game too so we need to give them a shoutout. Scottish drinks giant Diageo recently unveiled their £40 million environmentally friendly Roseisle Distillery in Elgin. The innovative project by Austin-Smith: Lord Architects infuses traditional distilling with modern environmental technologies and was even awarded a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ award. DIY (Drink-It-Yourself) Xylophone Made From Beer Bottles! Up until we say this crazy contraption, the only music we thought could come out of beer drinking was awful karaoke. Designer Sam Gensburg’s creation is a lot less painful on the ears and features a special packaging for beer bottles that allows them to be transformed into a tone-accurate xylophone after you’ve drunk ’em. + Click through our gallery to see more booze-related green design
Comments Off on Architects use earthen berms to tuck a central reservoir inside tiered office space
Mumbai-based Sanjay Puri Architects have designed an office space concept with a beautiful reservoir as the heart of the design. Inspired by the traditional stepped wells that provide water for India’s severely parched communities, the design incorporates a natural recess found in the landscape to optimize the Reservoir’s natural water collection abilities. As part of a 95-acre planned community development, the Reservoir is designed to connect a residential and commercial area in India’s arid Rajasthan state. Like most of India, water is a precious resource, and more so in this region where temperatures reach an excess of 100 ° F for eight months of the year. Related: Ghostly ruins of a 400-year-old church rise from the waters of a Mexican reservoir Using the natural topography of the landscape, the architects planned the design around an existing cavity in the ground. This was strategic to let the reservoir naturally fill with water almost year round, eliminating the need for additional water source. Any runoff water is collected and supports the water supply for the entire complex. The structure itself is supported into green-covered earthen berms, which create the perimeter of the design. Solar panels are installed on these berms, which have cutouts that lead to underground parking. Six floors of office space follow the site’s natural rising topography surrounding the pool, creating a natural open-air terrace for each office. The recessed water design actively lowers the temperature of the immediate microclimate, creating a pleasant work environment while minimalizing energy use. On the interior, large floor-to-ceiling windows allow for optimal natural light, which also reduces the need for artificial lighting. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via Architect Magazine Images via Sanjay Puri Architects
Comments Off on How to make an edible water "bottle" at home
We were fascinated when we first came across the Ooho , an edible water “bottle” conceived by three students to reduce plastic waste, and decided to make one of our own. Check out our DIY video and DO try this at home!
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How to make an edible water "bottle" at home
Comments Off on Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy
If you’ve ever dreamed of shortening your commute to mere steps, take a look at this brilliant project in the Czech Republic. Petr Stolin was commissioned to design two identical buildings using structural insulated panels (SIPs) – one for living, and one for working. The corresponding design, called Zen Houses, demonstrates a flair for spatial and material economy without compromising on style. Located in a rural landscape outside Liberec, the double-story cubes, which are just 10 meters wide, are clad in transparent acrylic sheets that reveal simple timber framing and surprisingly voluminous interiors. The two buildings, which lie side-by-side, were constructed with a variety of low-budget materials that give them something of a shabby chic aesthetic, including chipboard, plywood, wooden beams, raw metal and rubber. The cubic buildings are connected by a simple walkway and create a series of public, semi-public and private areas between them. They are carefully designed to frame views of the surrounding landscape, while ensuring plenty of natural light reaches the interiors. Related: Green live / work space is a modern update to the vernacular barn The interior of the studio half of the duplex is finished in white, while the residential building is finished in black – providing a subtle distinction between the two. Each building has a half-mezzanine, which increases the interior volume and living space. Its minimalism was inspired by Japanese design . “The experimental character of the houses was the conceptual starting point,” the architects write in their design brief. “Yet the deliberate austerity of the achieved forms definitely brings new lifestyle qualities to an environment built in this way.” + Petr Stolin Architekt
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Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy
Comments Off on Gorgeous net-zero energy home offers luxury living in Washington, D.C.
A leafy and sought-after neighborhood in Northwest Washington, D.C. hides a luxurious gem of a home with a net-zero energy footprint. The local architecture office of Robert M. Gurney designed the contemporary residence, named the Brandywine House, with light-filled interiors and a natural palette that includes high-end materials like zebra wood, granite, and Santos mahogany. Despite its large size, the carefully constructed home is respectful of the scale of its neighboring homes and is incredibly energy efficient. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Smithsonian National Zoo and the high-end shops of Connecticut Avenue, the three-story Brandywine House enjoys the conveniences and benefits of city living, while still preserving privacy and a tranquil environment. The architects retained the majority of mature trees on site and installed a lush planting plan that separates the home from the street. The building’s boxy exterior is composed of traditional and natural materials , like stone, wood, and stucco, to help the building recede into its green surroundings. Carefully placed windows on the street-facing facade ensure privacy. Related: Stunning energy-smart home near D.C. looks like a super swanky Tetris ensemble While the street-facing facade is mostly closed off, floor-to-ceiling glazing wraps around the other sides of the home to bring in ample amounts of natural light and views of the wooded landscape beyond. Arranged in an “L” shape, the house wraps around outdoor living spaces, a swimming pool, and the large, south-facing rear yard. The light-filled interior is modern and cozy, featuring a diverse palette of different timbers—all forest-certified or reconstituted—and stones like limestone and granites, that complement the white-painted walls. To achieve net-zero energy over a calendar year, the daylit house is equipped with computer-programmed shading devices to mitigate solar gain, a geothermal HVAC system with hydronic heating, solar hot water tubes, and photovoltaic panels. + Robert M. Gurney Architect Images © Anice Hoachlander
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Gorgeous net-zero energy home offers luxury living in Washington, D.C.
Comments Off on This Mexico City home hides a lush paradise behind its tall walls
The design of Casa O unfolds as an intimate landscape that combines vegetation, stone, timber , and minimalist furniture to create a cozy environments while maintaining a functional appearance. The street-facing facade features the main entrance that connects the habitable interior areas with the exterior. Related: Hacienda-style rammed-Earth home in Mexico City radiates stored heat during cool nights The generous interior features thick timber-clad walls that direct the eye, extending visual limits to include a generous garden and other parts of the house. + Despacho Arquitectos HV Via Archdaily Photos by Paul Czitrom
Comments Off on Eyesore garage transformed into a stunning waterfall illusion in Lithuania
The 4th annual Vilnius Street Art Festival in Lithuania is all about changing perceptions of existing city structures. The Vilnius Waterfall project revamps an old, riverside Soviet building from a concrete eyesore into a striking facade of rushing, tumbling waters, thanks to the creativity of street artist Ignas Lukauskas and Studio Vieta . The building belongs to the Lithuanian Parliament, housing and maintaining government-owned cars, yet the plain structure right on the Neris River has never been a dazzling addition to the cityscape. The addition of the lively, crashing waterfall image across the 2000-square-meter-exterior, albeit temporarily, completely changes the view from the river. Related: Street artist makes this Lithuania trolleybus vanish for a fleeting moment every day Artist Ignas Lukauskas based the project on the topic of his Ph.D. thesis that explores how art and architecture can disrupt urban landscapes. Water seems to flow naturally from the descending structures into the river, creating a unique and visually intriguing connection between manmade creation and Earth’s natural splendor. The Vilnius Waterfall is the one of the largest pieces ever curated for the street art festival, where the Vanishing Trolleybus by artist Liudas Parulskis was also featured. +Studio Vieta Images via Studio Vieta
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Eyesore garage transformed into a stunning waterfall illusion in Lithuania
Comments Off on Pine needle eyelashes, petal lipstick and other beauty tools from nature
In addition to flower plant petals, Murphy’s series includes an icicle beard, a thorn “grill”, pine needle eyelashes, and some mushroom body parts. Some images draw straightforward, satirical parallels between beauty products and natural materials, others blur the line between plant/human hybrid, and a mushroom augmentation suggests that if we really take in our consideration for nature, we acknowledge an expanded spectrum of gender, as well. Related: Amazing tree grows 40 different kinds of fruit The photos are fun and funky, celebrating natural forms while ironically commenting on beauty products (hopefully in a cruelty-free manner ). Check out the images for some truly perishable natural cosmetics.
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Pine needle eyelashes, petal lipstick and other beauty tools from nature
Comments Off on Friends give their kitchen a green makeover filled with fun upcycled touches
Tiffany had been planning to eventually overhaul her outdated kitchen anyway, but unexpected flooding caused by burst pipes fast-forwarded the need for renovation. She recruited actor Kat Tingum, a friend and fellow recycling aficionado, to come along on her green makeover adventure. “My job as Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle fully supports this mentality of reuse and upcycling,” Tiffany told us. “And while my day job (and a lot of my hobbies, too) involve building furniture and accessories, neither Kat nor I had ever done anything involving plumbing, hanging cabinets, or installing large appliances. This was definitely new territory and we both learned a ton!” RELATED: How Kitchen Design Has Evolved Over the Last Century Tiffany says she tackled her kitchen reno with the same mindset she does for all of her projects, carefully considering how to use as many salvaged materials as possible in an attractive and appealing way. “That’s where pennies, red wagons, old wallpaper, a few buckets of cement, and bucket lids all come into play,” she said. “All of these materials became the building supplies for my new kitchen.” The shimmering new backsplash is clad in $30 worth of pennies while old bucket lids and scrap fabric were whipped into new cushions for Tiffany’s wooden stools. Three red wagons were transformed into a playful new minibar. Tiffany and Kat used a cement overlay combined with a natural coffee stain and food safe finish to refurbish her dated countertops. New appliances were sourced from a scratch and dent store, saving Tiffany 30-40% off of retail, and the old cabinets and old but still working appliances were sold through Craigslist. “I am loving my new kitchen and am proud of the fact that it was created from loads of love, sweat, and salvaged materials!” says Tiffany. Don’t forget to check out our full photo gallery for more of the fun details that can be found in Tiffany’s new kitchen. + Tiffany Threadgould + Kat Tingum
Comments Off on Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat
Honeywell’s Lyric Wifi Thermostat is a smartphone-connected device that allows you to regulate the temperature of your home while you’re there or on-the-go. Because you can control it via the Lyric app , it gives you the flexibility to start cooling your place down as you leave the office on a hot day, or to shut the system down from 30,000 feet in the air if you forget to switch it off before leaving to catch your plane. Like other programmable thermostats, it can be set up on a schedule so that it maintains a comfortable temperature during the times you’re usually at home while switching the system off during times you’re not. There’s also a handy geofencing feature that allows you to map off a radius around your home so that the system can detect that you’re nearby using your phone’s GPS system and start heating or cooling your home to your preferred temperature. A thermostat that knows when you’re almost home? That’s pretty cool! RELATED: VIDEO: How to save money and energy with a programmable thermostat Design-wise, the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat is one of the most visually pleasing models on the market, although you have to admit that its round form factor does look pretty similar to the Nest’s (a competitor that rings in at about $50 more at $249). On the other hand, it should be noted that Honeywell came up with the first round thermostat way back in 1953, so maybe they’re just getting back to their roots. With a pristine white face wrapped in a sliver of silver, the unit is almost like an artpiece or accessory for your wall. The minimal touchscreen buttons light up in a cool blue, giving it an even more soothing appearance. In the box: The unit itself, a battery, two screws and anchors for mounting, instructions and an optional wall plate. Setting the device up was a breeze, although I should note that since I live in an apartment with no existing in-unit thermostat system, I was unable to actually install the thermostat as you would if you were actually going to use it to control your heater and air conditioner. Instead, I simulated the installation process using a wall adapter, so this part of my review is based solely on the ease of setup, rather than how the device actually regulated the temperature in my home. The first steps are downloading the Lyric app and connecting to your WiFi, and after that, your phone guides you through the entire setup and installation process. Although I wasn’t fiddling with any wiring or anything like that, I was still able to appreciate the step-by-step instructions that popped up right on my phone to guide me through the installation process if I was. It even asks you questions along the way so that you can tailor the experience to your particular system, taking the hassle out of fumbling with an instruction manual and leafing through the parts that may or may not apply to you. The whole thing took me about 5 minutes to complete (though you would probably need to spend at least 20 if you were actually following the steps). One thing I did find was that the touchscreen buttons were not quite as responsive as I wanted them to be and I had to press down harder than I’m used to doing on my smartphone. Luckily, there’s not much need to use the buttons on the unit itself after setup since you can just use your phone to make any changes, or simply rotate the face of the unit clockwise or counterclockwise to turn your temps up or down. The Lyric app itself is intuitive, easy-to-use and starts up in a matter of moments. The Lyric WiFi Thermostat is also fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo and other home ecosystems. In terms of energy and cost savings, Honeywell’s energy savings calculator estimates that I stand to save about $142 per year on my energy bill (based on my zip code) using the Lyric WiFi Thermostat. That means that in addition to keeping my home comfortable and reducing my power usage, I could also make back the $199 spent on the Lyric Thermostat in a little over a year. To learn more about how the Lyric Wifi Thermostat can help you slash your energy bills, check out the video above or visit Honeywell’s Lyric Connected Home website here . + Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat Editor’s note: The Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat was supplied to this writer free-of-charge by Honeywell in exchange for an unbiased review. Photos: Honeywell and Yuka Yoneda
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Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat