A series of tiny, geometric cabins in an overgrown slate quarry are a truly secluded retreat

April 17, 2019 by  
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Architectural firm New British Design has unveiled four tiny cabin retreats located in Britain’s North Cornwall coast. The Kudhva Wilderness Cabins are compact, angular huts elevated off the landscape by turned pine poles, providing stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Inside, the compact spaces offer guests all the basics needed for a truly off-grid getaway. Located in an old slate quarry that has been overrun by lush natural greenery, the huts are a project between New British Design founder Bill Huggins and long-term collaborator Louise Middleton. Working with boat-builder-turned-furniture-maker Toby Sharp, the designers created the tiny cabins to be the ultimate retreats for travelers to the North Cornwall coast. Although the region is a popular destination for tourists looking to explorer the expansive coastline, this specific area is extremely remote and, as such, is a perfect place to completely disconnect. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The word “Kudhva” comes from the Cornish word for “hideout,” which was the driving factor behind the cabin design. Elevated high up into the tree canopy by a series of cylindrical pine columns, the secluded retreats let visitors enjoy incredible views of the surrounding wilderness and local wildlife . Working directly with the architects, Toby Sharp designed and built the timber cabins with a small team of master craftsmen in a local workshop. This system allowed the construction process to reduce the project’s environmental impact . Once fully constructed, the cabins were then transported to the site and carefully placed onto their cradle bases by crane. Made out of insulated, paged-pine panels with an EDPM rubber membrane covering, the cabins are clad in a series of larch slats. The natural exteriors, along with sharp, angular lines, seamlessly blend the cabins into the forestscape. Accessed through a ladder, the interiors feature an open layout with enough space for a sofa, a sleeping loft and a wood-burning stove. Various triangular windows and glazed facades look out over the surroundings, further embedding the rustic retreats into the tranquil landscape. + New British Design Via Archdaily Photography by George Fielding and Roy Riley via New British Design

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A series of tiny, geometric cabins in an overgrown slate quarry are a truly secluded retreat

These are the best 7 tips to follow for a more eco-friendly backyard

April 17, 2019 by  
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Incorporating and eco-friendly lifestyle to your home can be easier than you think, especially when it comes to your backyard. While we do our best to use energy efficient light bulbs, reduce the use of everyday plastics and limit food waste throughout our homes, why not bring our environmental awareness to the place where we have celebrations and weekend barbecues— our backyards. The backyard is the best place to add our eco-friendly touch and transform into a thriving sustainable environment . An eco-friendly backyard is a great way to create a beautiful space for you and your family to enjoy all year long. Follow these seven tips to turn your backyard into a place that respects the environment without breaking your budget. Save Water Conserving water is a great way to make your backyard more eco-friendly. You can install large water tanks in your backyard that hook up to the gutters in your house. The tanks will fill up whenever it rains . If you do not want a large tank consuming space in your yard, consider buying a smaller one that you can empty more frequently. You can use the recycled water for a number of different applications. This includes watering your garden, drinking (after it has been filtered) and other household projects. Not only is this a good move for the environment, but it can also save you on future water bills. Related: Eco-friendly replacements for common bathroom products Incorporate Ground Cover Different types of ground cover, such as moss and clover, are good alternatives to traditional grass lawns . These varieties of ground cover require far less mowing and water through the hot summer months. Moss is great for shady areas of your backyard, as it will keep its color in the summer heat and feels great underfoot. For other areas of the lawn that get more sun, consider adding some clover as a grass replacement. Clover smell sweet, is resistant to drought, and is great for the soil. Clover also requires less mowing and you can even let it bloom to attract bees . Go Native According to Better Homes and Gardens , you should always pick native trees and plants when selecting flora for your backyard. Trees and plants that are native to your area will attract butterflies, birds and wildlife, and are more suited for the local environment. These plants also come equipped to handle diseases and pests that are common in your location. After they take root, native flora is also easy to maintain. These plants typically do not need extra fertilizers or pesticides because they are already accustomed to the soil. They also require less watering and tend to do well with the natural weather patterns. Use Wood Composite Lumber If you are building a new deck or adding on to an existing structure, consider using wood composite instead of traditional lumber. Wood composite is made out of recycled plastic and reclaimed lumber. According to Tata and Howard , the end result is a sturdy product that is more durable than natural wood and easier to maintain. This type of wood will also last longer than the traditional alternative, which makes it friendly to your budget. Using recycled plastic is also great for the environment and helps reduce the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills . Best Mowing Practices When mowing your grass, only cut off a third of the grass length each time. You should also mow more frequently as this will allow your lawn to retain water. After you mow, consider leaving the clippings in the lawn or try mulching them in. The clippings are mostly made of water and have high concentrations of nitrogen. If you simply cannot leave the clippings behind, you can always add them to your compost pile instead of throwing them in the trash . Related: Tips and tricks to make spring cleaning more eco-friendly Avoid Harmful Pesticides It is no secret that pesticides are bad for the environment and people’s health . Several pesticides that were once widely used, such as DDT, have since been outlawed and deemed hazardous. For best practices, it is recommended that you avoid using pesticides in your backyard. Instead, try pesticide alternatives like natural herbicides or wildlife for pest control. If you need to fight mites or other bug infestations, you can use oil-based sprays or soaps that work as natural insecticides. If you are in need of some exercise or want to soak up some sun, you can always go the old fashioned route and pull weeds by hand. You can also introduce certain types of insects into your garden, like praying mantises or lacewings, which are great at eating pests, creating the ultimate eco-friendly backyard. Build A Compost Composting cuts down on garbage production and gives you a high quality fertilizer for your garden. Better yet, starting a compost pile only requires some soil and a warm location. You can build a compost pile out in the open or invest in a bin if you are concerned about aesthetics. Compost bins are affordable and come in a variety of styles to match existing décor. You can put all kinds of things in a compost pile. From veggie scraps and eggshells to newspapers and lawn clippings, anything that rapidly decomposes is ideal for composting. These types of items will attract the right kind of bugs, which then will turn the waste into fertilizer. A compost pile typically takes around six to nine months to produce fertilizer. Images via Shutterstock

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These are the best 7 tips to follow for a more eco-friendly backyard

CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks

April 17, 2019 by  
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Could the houses of the future be grown from mushrooms? Italian architectural firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) broaches this question with The Circular Garden, a sustainable pavilion made of mushrooms that — true to the project name — was grown out of the soil in six weeks and will return back to the soil at the end of its lifecycle. Created in partnership with global energy company Eni, the mushroom structure was on display at Milan Design Week 2019’s Fuorisalone at Brera’s Orto Botanico, the city’s botanical garden. The Circular Garden is constructed from mycelium, the fibrous root of mushrooms , which was grown in the two months before the debut of the pavilion. With help from leading mycology experts, such as the Dutch Krown.Bio lab, CRA injected spores into organic material to start the growth process and then shaped the material into a series of 60 self-supporting, 4-meter-tall arches that add up to a record 1-kilometer-long mycelium. The design of self-supporting arches was inspired by the works of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who famously used the “inverted catenary” method in his design of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. “Nature is a much smarter architect than us,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “As we continue our collective quest for a more responsive ‘living’ architecture, we will increasingly blur the boundaries between the worlds of the natural and the artificial. What if tomorrow we might be able to program matter to ‘grow a house’ like a plant? Milan’s amazing botanical garden , in the center of the city, seemed the ideal place for such an experiment.” Related: Paris has a new underground — a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies Visitors are invited to explore the Circular Garden, whose arches form four architectural “open rooms” in the garden. While most temporary exhibition pavilions generate large amounts of waste, CRA’s pavilion is largely biodegradable and its elements will be reused; the mushrooms, ropes and wood chips that make up the structure will be shredded and returned to the earth, and the small metal elements will be recycled. The installation is part of the INTERNI Human Spaces exhibition and is open to the public from April 9 to 19, 2019. + Carlo Ratti Associati Photography by Marco Beck Peccoz via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks

New York is curbing food waste and helping people in need with a new initiative

April 17, 2019 by  
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New York is making important strides toward reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, recently agreed to a new food waste initiative with the state legislature that will recycle scraps and send wholesome food to people in need. The new law is called the Food Donation and Food Scrap Recycling Act. Once the bill goes into practice, all surplus food items will be donated to local food shelters while any scraps will be sent to recycling centers, preventing a large portion of food from entering the waste stream. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now Food waste is a growing concern in the United States. According to NRDC , experts estimate that around 40 percent of food ends up in the waste bin on an annual basis. In New York City, this statistic is particularly alarming given that there are close to 2.5 million people in the city who struggle to find food. Food comprises around 18 percent of solid waste, most of which ends up in landfills across the country. Food breaks down easily in the landfill , but the process results in methane gas. You also have to account for wasting all the energy it took to create that food, including water and labor. Governor Cuomo hopes that the new bill will help prevent the majority of food waste from ending up in the landfill. The law will require facilities that create food waste to mark any excess for donation. Once things are in full swing, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation believes that it will save around 250,000 tons of food on a yearly basis. The top priority of the new law is to feed people in need. Following that, any food scraps will be donated for animal feed, followed by industrial uses — such as oil rendering — and composting . The new food waste law will not go into effect in New York City , because there is a similar law already in place. Via NRDC Image via Jasmin S.

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New York is curbing food waste and helping people in need with a new initiative

Tent cabin clusters perfectly blend into the Californian forests

July 11, 2017 by  
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This family retreat hidden in the forests of Northern California is very different from your typical weekend home. Berkeley-based Envelope Architecture + Design designed the Forest House, a holiday retreat broken up into nine minimalist boxes hoisted off the ground for minimal site impact . Clad in stained timber, the cluster of one-room cabins blends into the heavily wooded landscape. Located in Mendocino County a few hours from San Francisco, the Forest House was built for a couple and their three young children. The structure’s nine tent cabins are organized within four clusters, all hooked up to plumbing and electricity, and spread out across two acres around a central concrete-paved plaza. The buildings are raised several feet off the ground on 4×4 posts for a treehouse -like effect and are carefully placed to preserve existing trees. A network of wooden paths connects the raised cabins. Related: Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact The roofs are topped with treated Army canvas anchored with nylon ropes. “The tented roofs and walls allow a connection with the natural setting—its sounds and changing seasons—while large clear and mirrored-bronze glass windows frame views of the landscape and neighboring ‘rooms,’” wrote the architects. “Wood-framed walls and floors lend warmth and support the comforts of modern living, deep within the forest. Here, the forest and house are one with indoor and outdoor rooms suspended between the treetops and canopy floor.” + Envelope Architecture + Design Via Gessato Images via Envelope Architecture + Design, © Richard Barnes

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Tent cabin clusters perfectly blend into the Californian forests

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