Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

July 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Renowned Mexican architect Alberto Kalach has designed a series of idyllic timber cabins along the Pacific Ocean in Oaxaca , Mexico. Available to rent on Airbnb, these cabins were developed as part of the Punta Pájaros, an ecological development located approximately 25 minutes from Puerto Escondido, a port town with stunning surf, pristine beaches and a buzzing nightlife. The cabins, which are strategically placed away from the hustle and bustle and are oriented to face the ocean, offer a blissful opportunity to reconnect with nature in all directions. The Alberto Kalach-designed cabins include Casa Mar and Casa Arena as well as eight other cabins with private pools and gardens. These holiday getaways are built almost entirely of timber and are raised approximately a meter above the ground to minimize site impact. Each dwelling is fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and al fresco shower. Sliding doors built of palm wood completely open the interior up to the landscape, let in cooling cross breezes and provide panoramic views of the stunning landscape. “Each cabin was designed based on a simple wooden structure, reticulated in modules of 3 x 3m, concentrating the wet core at the center of the house, to leave a bedroom and common area at opposite ends with views of the landscape and a wide perimeter covered terrace,” explained Kalach’s firm. “Using the same modulation, other rooms were allocated to kitchen and dining services. The houses are camouflaged in the local landscape, being identifiable only by their twisted water covers, which look like bird profiles.” Related: Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico The cabins face a long, nearly private beach with rock climbing and fishing opportunities on one end and the Manialtepec Lagoon on the other. The cabins are also very close to Casa Wabi , a multicultural and multidisciplinary community artists’ retreat designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando . The cabins start at around $200 USD a night. + Alberto Kalach Images via Alberto Kalach

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Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

Snhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change

July 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and real estate developer MIRIS have unveiled designs for ‘ The Spark ,’ an urban data center that reuses excess heat to power cities. Framed as a “solution to the global climate crisis ,” the prototype is designed to power cities with up to 18,000 people. The city of Os, located south of Norway’s second largest city, Bergen, will be the first municipality to test the concept as part of a plan to become the world’s first-ever energy positive city. Created in collaboration with Skanska, Asplan Viak and Nokia, The Spark was born from a study that examined the energy footprint of data centers and how they could be redesigned for energy efficiency . According to their research, they found that 40 percent of the total energy consumption in the world could be attributed to buildings, while data centers alone account for approximately two percent of total energy consumption. As digitalization continues to rise, so will demand for more data centers. Although data centers have traditionally been located in remote locations, The Spark would be placed in the middle of a city so that recaptured excess heat could be used to power nearby buildings, which would also be solar-powered to feed energy back to the center and thus slash overall energy consumption by up to 40 percent. “We have developed a cyclical energy concept,” explains Elin Vatn of Snøhetta. “By cyclical, we mean that the heat generated from the data center is looped through the city before it is brought back to the center. This system allows us to heat the buildings in the city, but also to cool down the center towards the end of the cycle. This way we can maximize the utilization from beginning to end.” Related: Snøhetta unveils plans for world’s first “energy-positive” hotel in the Arctic Circle The Spark will be tested in a pilot project in Lyseparken, Os as part of a sustainable business park that will generate at least 4,000 new jobs with thousands of households in the surrounding area. If the pilot is successful, Lyseparken is expected to be the first-ever energy-positive city in the world. The Spark data center would be constructed following the Powerhouse standard—a set of guidelines for plus-energy buildings—and include low-embodied materials like wood instead of concrete. + Snøhetta + Spark City Images © Plompmozes

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Snhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change

A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

July 12, 2018 by  
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A small mountain lodge has replaced an old ski lift station on the Krkonoše mountains in the Czech Republic. Czech studio ADR designed the ?erná Voda, named after a nearby stream, to serve as a place of respite for short-term guests of a nearby lodge’s owner. The isolated retreat stands in a meadow apart from the Horní Malá Úpa village, among tall trees and lush shrubbery that shroud the cabin in serenity. Stepping inside the ?erná Voda, guests will find a bright, minimalist design. Light timber, which covers the walls, floors and ceilings, creates an open, airy feel. The kitchen space offers a sharp contrast with blackened wood cabinetry. The simple interior draws focus to the large windows and their picturesque views of the mountains , including Sn?žka, the highest mountain peak in the country. One window opens to the outdoors and allows a breath of fresh air into the cabin. Upstairs, a sleeping loft outfitted with protective netting offers a quiet space for visitors to rest. As natural light filters into the ground floor at daybreak, the loft benefits from the pitched ceiling and retains some darkness for guests who prefer to sleep in. During cooler months, a small wood-burning stove keeps the cabin toasty and inviting after a long day of exploring the outdoors. The mountain lodge blends into its forested surroundings in the summer with its dark metal and blackened wood cladding. When the landscape becomes blanketed in snow, the gabled cabin stands out boldly in its environment. On the west end of the home, a deck extends the living areas to the outdoors. The ?erná Voda mountain lodge has been nominated for a 2018 Czech Architecture Award , which promotes projects that embrace the public and the environment by both new and seasoned architects. + ADR Images via Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma / BoysPlayNice

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A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

Earth911 Quiz #19: Check Your Sustainability News Knowledge

July 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco

By transitioning to sustainable production and circular economics, we can … The post Earth911 Quiz #19: Check Your Sustainability News Knowledge appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #19: Check Your Sustainability News Knowledge

Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

July 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

A two-story heritage building in Melbourne has been remade into Birkenstock Australia’s new headquarters, an eco-conscious development with a modern aesthetic to reflect the classic elegance of the company’s shoe line. Designed by local architecture firm Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) , the adaptive reuse project targets carbon neutral status thanks to its solar photovoltaic system, passive solar design, and a sustainably minded material palette that includes recycled timbers and natural materials. The offices are also designed with human comfort and health in mind and feature low-VOC materials, an abundance of indoor plants and natural daylighting. Located in Clifton Hill, the award-winning Birkenstock Australia headquarters includes a retail shopfront, e-tail, wholesale operations, offices, showrooms and a workshop, as well as a courtyard and warehouse with a mezzanine. The Australian landscape is celebrated throughout the adaptive reuse project’s design, starting with the retail shopfront, which is outfitted with double glazing, a living grass floor and a deciduous tree. The central courtyard also echoes the landscape with recycled timber sleepers and a water tank. “Creating a green environment within an existing, heritage building is much more challenging than a new build,” explains Melbourne Design Studios founding director Marc Bernstein-Hussmann, who adds that they opted to integrate the different departments of Birkenstock into a single company culture. “Coincidentally over a hundred years ago the building was conceived for a boot manufacturer. We’ve reinvented an almost derelict building to live and breathe its owners’ values.” Related: Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home To promote collaboration between the departments, the architects inserted an open office layout dressed with air-purifying plants. The interior is flooded with natural light, while timber slat screens provide shading. The sustainably sourced timber palette includes woods such as sugar gum with linseed oil, EO plywood, and recycled paper with bamboo fiber that’s used in the office’s bench tops. + Melbourne Design Studios Images by Peter Clarke

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Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

Award-winning Palm Springs home embraces the California climate in sustainable style

July 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Los Angeles-based architecture firm Poon Design Inc.  has crafted a luxury residence that eschews the mid-century modern style for a more minimalist and contemporary design fitted out with sustainable technologies. Dubbed ‘Museum Modern,’ the Linea Residence G serves as a production home that the architect and developer say can be completed for a “record low construction cost,” totaling one-fourth the cost per square foot of typical high-end residences in Southern California. The all-white house was recently recognized in the American Institute of Architects’ 2018 Best in Housing. Conceived as “a new standard for the speculative tract housing industry,” Residence G takes up nearly a quarter of the site measuring approximately 20,000 square feet. The house comprises three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, a three-car garage and a detached one-bedroom guest house. To embrace California’s climate and indoor-outdoor living, the architects installed 90 feet of continuous sliding low-e glass doors that measure 10.5 feet tall for floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding desert mountains. “Our design opposes the predictable Taco-Bell-style or the cliché Mid-Century Modern tract homes prevalent in the area,” explains Poon Design Inc. “To the home buying audience, Residence G offers a production home that equals the presence of custom luxury estates. In the past few years, Residence G and parallel other sustainable home designs by this architect and developer have been built and sold, totaling over 200 completed homes in the Palm Springs area.” Related: Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs In addition to sleek, minimalist style, Residence G is also integrated with a wide array of energy-efficient features. The rooftop solar panels provide a base 6kW solar package that can be added onto if desired. Passive cooling is implemented with long roof overhangs and complemented by a reflective energy-efficient cool roof. The locally sourced material palette includes VOC-free finishes and adhesives and includes a number of recycled or rapidly renewable materials. + Poon Design Images by The Agency, Locke Pleninger and Mark Ballogg

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Award-winning Palm Springs home embraces the California climate in sustainable style

Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store glows like a paper lantern in Macau

July 10, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners has unveiled a new Apple Store in Macau  — and it’s very different from the all-glass buildings we’ve come to expect from the company. In response to the hustle and bustle of the port city known as the “Las Vegas of Asia,” the British international architecture studio crafted Apple Cotai Central as an oasis of calm housed in a glowing cube surrounded by bamboo. Instead of the Apple brand’s iconic full-height glazing, the architects applied a “first-of-its-kind” glass-stone composite facade that appears to glow from within. Located in the Sands Cotai Central resort, the Apple Cotai Central store opened late last month and is the second Apple store in Macau. Foster + Partners created the design in collaboration with the Apple design team led by chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive as well as with senior vice presidency of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts. The new store continues Apple’s embrace of POPS (privately owned public spaces) in that the grounds also include a large new event plaza nestled within a bamboo forest. “We wanted to create something very simple and pure — a beautiful and elegant building that complements the sounds, sights and colors of Macau, while embodying a sense of clarity and quietude,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners. “The design creates two distinct spaces, one inside and one outside, imbued with a sense of authentic beauty arising from the innovative use of natural materials .” Related: Foster + Partners’ Apple Park Visitor Center opens to the public The Apple Cotai Centra gets its “paper lantern” effect from the glass-stone composite facade made up of extremely thin layers of stone attached to five layers of glass, which creates the effect of translucent stone walls evocative of stained glass. To achieve a sense of lightness, the structural frame is only supported on three corner columns clad in mirrored stainless steel. The airy interior features a glazed facade with a skylit central atrium surrounded by bamboo. A pair of grand stone staircases leads to the upper level that is also flooded with natural light. + Foster + Partners Images by Nigel Young/Foster+Partners

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Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store glows like a paper lantern in Macau

Krill fishers partner with Greenpeace to protect Antarctic wildlife

July 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

An unlikely alliance has formed between krill fishing companies and environmental protection groups over a common cause: protecting the Antarctic Ocean and its marine life. Greenpeace is teaming with members of the Association for Responsible Krill Harvesting (ARK) to ensure wildlife sustainability of the southern ice cap. The agreement was announced during the Greenpeace Antarctic 360° event in Cambridge. The individual fishing companies honoring the agreement are all ARK members, representing 85 percent of the Antarctic krill harvesting industry. Related: The world’s largest wildlife sanctuary proposed for Antarctica Under the pact, the fisherman will honor “buffer zones” in known penguin breeding grounds in order to protect the wildlife. In addition, major portions of the Antarctic Peninsula will be out-of-bounds for the ARK membership. The partnership will also see ARK support scientific endeavors to study the area’s natural inhabitants. Working with scientists and environmental organizations, the groups will end fishing operations in environmentally sensitive areas, permanently closing these locations to fishing in 2020. The prohibition is part of a plan to create permanent protection zones throughout the Antarctic and reduce the potential for wildlife damage . The movement to protect Antarctic wildlife has grown in popularity in the last decade. According to Greenpeace, more than 1.7 million people worldwide have signed the organization’s petition to create stricter protections and maintain wildlife conservation in the southernmost waters. Krill is an important part of the Antarctic ecosystem . The shrimp-like crustacean is a food source for many of the South Pole’s animals, including whales, penguins and seals. By creating the wide protection zones, both Greenpeace and ARK hope to ensure long-term sustainability for animals. “Through our commitment we are showing that it is possible for no-fish zones and sustainable fisheries to co-exist,” Kristine Hartmann, executive vice president at krill fishing company Aker BioMarine, said in a statement. “We are positive that ARK’S commitment will help ensure krill as a sustainable and stable source of healthy omega-3s for the future.” The ARK-Greenpeace partnership is one part of a global plan to help preserve marine life. The multi-nation Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources will meet in October to decide on sanctuary status for parts of the ocean. + Greenpeace Via  The Guardian Image of krill via Uwe Kils

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Krill fishers partner with Greenpeace to protect Antarctic wildlife

These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

July 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

In an effort to encourage ecotourism for the millions that visit the United Arab Emirates each year, the country has officially launched the Biodomes project, which will feature beautiful biodomes designed by Baharash Architecture . Located in the mountainous eastern region of the UAE, the biodomes will be self-sustaining, use 100 percent renewable energy and have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Ultimately, the UAE hopes that the biodomes will promote awareness of and interest in the variety of wildlife in the mountain region. Baharash Architecture’s biodomes will provide a controlled environment, similar to that of a greenhouse, that closely mimics the surrounding natural area. In this case, the biodomes will be located in the Al Hajar Mountains, a stunning region that is home to rare species of Arabian wildlife . The project seeks to raise awareness of mountain biodiversity, and its facilities will include a wildlife conservation center and an adventure-based wilderness retreat. Related: Solar-powered biodome sustains all four seasons at the same time, under one roof The self-sustaining structures are crafted from prefabricated components, which will help to reduce site disruption and allow for the biodomes’ quick assembly. Semi-subterranean typology will provide passive cooling benefits, and the biodomes will rely on 100 percent  renewable energy and use recycled wastewater for irrigation and waste management on site. Visitors to the biodomes can experience a restaurant that offers both organic local cuisine and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, according to Baharash Bagherian, the Director and Founder of Baharash Architecture, the biodomes’ “bioclimatic indoor environments will provide visitors with thermal comfort, restorative and therapeutic benefits.” Visitors can also participate in several nature-based ecotourism activities, including ziplining, horse riding, hiking, camel excursions, mountain biking, paragliding and much more. + Baharash Architecture Images courtesy of Baharash Architecture

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These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

Zen and the Triple Bottom Line

July 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

If we really want to change the system, we must help individuals reconnect with their core values.

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Zen and the Triple Bottom Line

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