Earth911 Inspiration: E. O. Wilson on the Act of Discovery

February 21, 2020 by  
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This week’s quote is from American biologist and naturalist Edward … The post Earth911 Inspiration: E. O. Wilson on the Act of Discovery appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: E. O. Wilson on the Act of Discovery

Light-filled home makes the most of affordable, sustainable materials

February 10, 2020 by  
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Proving that building on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on aesthetics, Uruguayan architecture practice Bercetche Estudio has completed the WS House, a single-family home on the outskirts of Montevideo. Built primarily with unpainted natural timber inside and out, the home takes on a minimalist design that highlights its simple palette of natural materials. A strong connection with the outdoors and access to natural light is also emphasized throughout the home. Located in the La Tahona neighborhood about a half-hour drive east from the capital, the WS House stands out from its suburban neighbors with its contemporary form comprising boxy, flat-roofed volumes of varying heights. Spanning an area of nearly 2,750 square feet, the home is shaped like a horseshoe that wraps around the main entrance. Oversized square pavers that lead from the road to the front door emphasize the geometry of the home, while the timber cladding is applied in both horizontal and vertical orientations for visual interest. Related: Danish home champions wood over concrete for lower carbon emissions The main entrance leads directly to the open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen, which seamlessly connect to the outdoor terrace with a sunken circular pool through sliding glass doors. Flanking the main living areas are two bedroom wings: the master bedroom with an en suite bathroom is located on one side, and a secondary bedroom wing contains three flex rooms and two baths. Large windows let in ample natural light and views of the outdoors. “It is an easy-to-read house, built with sustainable and economical materials, which prove that with well-manipulated basic components, an expressive and energy-efficient house can be made,” the architects explained. “[The house] shows great respect for the environment and, through a nice space distribution, takes advantage of it. Two opaque volumes separated from each other generates a permeable ‘in between’ that gives rise to all the common activities of the house.” + Bercetche Estudio Photography by Sebastian Aguilar via Bercetche Estudio

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Light-filled home makes the most of affordable, sustainable materials

Save Energy: Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

February 3, 2020 by  
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The cost of electricity is forecast to rise in 2020, … The post Save Energy: Home Energy Efficiency Checklist appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Save Energy: Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

Infographic: How to Become an Eco-Friendly Driver

February 3, 2020 by  
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Transportation is responsible for a whopping 29 percent of greenhouse … The post Infographic: How to Become an Eco-Friendly Driver appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: How to Become an Eco-Friendly Driver

Zero-carbon home uses hemp fiber for innovative design

January 27, 2020 by  
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As designers and architects continue searching for innovative, sustainable building materials, hemp is becoming a front runner in the world of green design. In fact, London-based firm  Practice Architecture  collaborated with local hemp farmers in Cambridgeshire for the Flat House — a zero-carbon home built using  hemp  grown on-site. To create the amazing home, Practice Architecture’s team headed to Margent Farm, a massive 53-acre farming facility in rural Cambridgeshire that cultivates its own hemp supply. The innovative farm also has an on-site facility that produces bio-plastics made of hemp and flax . Related: “Cannabis walls” add warmth to this eco-friendly home in Israel Working with the farm’s experts, Practice’s team went about designing a home prototype to showcase how the eco-friendly material could be used on a large scale. Although hemp is now a fairly common material used to manufacture everything from clothing to biofuel , its potential for creating sustainable buildings is still being explored. Adding to the home’s innovative construction is the team’s use of prefabricated panels made from  hempcrete  — a mixture of hemp and lime. Built off-site, the panels were transported back to the farm and assembled in just two days. The studio explained to Dezeen, “Developing an offsite system allowed us to build efficiently, at speed and to build through the colder months of the year — something that can be difficult with standard hemp construction.” The resulting Flat House is an example of hemp construction’s potential. The roughly 1,000-square-foot home is not only carbon neutral , but also operates completely off-grid. Thanks to a large photovoltaic array on the roof and heating and power provided by a biomass boiler, the home generates all of its own energy. And for those who may doubt that hemp construction can be contemporary and fresh, the home’s aesthetic is also gorgeous. While creating the home’s frame, the architecture studio worked with experts at the farm to develop hemp-fiber tiles, which were used to clad the home. Each tile was secured into place with a sugar-based resin sourced from agricultural waste. Throughout the interior, the hemp panels have been left exposed, giving the living space a unique earthy look that is complemented by several timber accents. A tall ceiling and ample windows  enhance the home’s healthy atmosphere. + Practice Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Oskar Proctor

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Zero-carbon home uses hemp fiber for innovative design

Award-winning Owl Woods Passive House playfully mimics birdhouses in Australia

January 24, 2020 by  
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Australian design studio Talina Edwards Architecture recently completed the Owl Woods Passive House — the first certified Passivhaus project designed by a woman architect in Australia. Located in the Victorian town of Trentham, the sustainable home not only follows Passivhaus standards for an extremely energy-efficient build, but it also adheres to biophilic principles with its pitched roofs in the shape of unique “bird beaks” for solar shading. The project also won the Sustainability Medal at the 2019 Architeam Awards and was an official finalist in the New Home Category at the 2019 Sustainability Awards. As the 20th certified Passive House project in all of Australia, the Owl Woods Passive House is designed and constructed to meet strict Passivhaus standards that translate to an airtight building envelope for comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, energy efficiency, durability, controlled ventilation and adherence to passive solar design principles. Due to the building envelope specified for the site, the high-performance home is oriented slightly northwest but includes extended roofs along the western sides to protect the interiors from the afternoon summer sunlight. Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Inspired by the farmhouses of a Scottish village, where the clients previously lived, the home is organized into four interconnected gable-roofed pavilions. The easternmost wing houses two bedrooms and a shared bath. The central wing, which is topped with two pitched roofs, contains the open-plan living area and service rooms. The wing to the west comprises the master en suite with a sitting room. The home also includes an outdoor deck on the north side and is punctuated with large windows and glazed doors throughout for a constant visual and physical connection to nature and natural light. In addition to Passive House certification, the timber-framed project has also earned a NATHERS 7.4-star rating and is solar -ready. The interiors continue the exterior’s palette of natural materials and are finished with low-VOC paints for a healthy home environment. “The Owl Woods Passive House is a unique blend of biophilic design and Passivhaus standards of construction — a balance of creative design outcomes, which focus on how the occupants will feel in their home, along with the integration of building science, which delivers a high-performance home,” the architects explained. “In this aspect, it really is a pioneer project for Passivhaus homes in Australia.” + Talina Edwards Architecture Photography by Tatjana Plitt via Talina Edwards Architecture

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Award-winning Owl Woods Passive House playfully mimics birdhouses in Australia

Check out these amazing sustainable cabins by ZeroCabin

January 23, 2020 by  
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Armed only with experience in biology, chemistry and physics, a group of Chile -based scientists took concepts ranging from photosynthesis to thermodynamics to create ZeroCabin, a collection of off-grid and self-sustaining cabins that use “free energy” to function. With no prior knowledge of architecture between them, the team set out with one rule: to place nature (namely sun and rainwater) at the forefront of the project. The timber-framed cabins are elevated on two-meter wooden piles and built by the company itself, but come with maintenance plans for photovoltaic panels, waste recycling and rainwater collection through reverse osmosis. These kits provide buyers with the tools and information to create a self-sustaining cabin with negative impact customized to function anywhere in the world. The structures use biodegradable insulation, and the need for excess artificial heating and cooling is cut down with thermal glazing. To reduce the need for additional materials during construction, the frame is built without using nails. In the field of botany, phyllotaxis refers to the arrangement of leaves on a plant stem, one of the many ways that nature organically creates the maximum conversion of photosynthesis and harnesses energy more efficiently. ZeroCabin takes this concept and applies it to architecture, arranging each self-sustaining cabin at the optimal angle for sun exposure, therefore gaining the most efficient use of solar panels. For heating, a system was created by placing air suction tubes onto the sides of the stove burn chamber. This allows owners to cook, bake and warm water using one-third the typical amount of wood. Apart from the goal of generating a smaller environmental footprint, ZeroCabin is also driven by creating a higher quality of life for its clients. Lower utility bills on trash, water, electricity and gas mean less financial strain — a cherry on top of zero-impact living. Another inspiration behind ZeroCabin is the sense of freedom gained by using only natural resources as power. The company proves its dedication to the environment even further by putting 10% of its utility towards native forests and wildlife preservation. + ZeroCabin Images via ZeroCabin

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Check out these amazing sustainable cabins by ZeroCabin

Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

January 23, 2020 by  
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The Sun Rain Room is an extension and restoration of a two-story Grade-II listed townhouse designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu. Partnering with local craftspeople to complete the project, the London-based architecture firm was able to create an extension of the existing structure through a landscape that feeds off of the sun and rain . The house, which was built as a home and studio for the owner, features a green roof , garden room and reflecting pool that are all designed to uniquely celebrate nature. The garden room on the ground floor is encased in a wall of curved glass that works as both a living space for occupants and as a meeting area for the owner’s professional studio. The covered outdoor area connected to the garden room contains a studio workshop, kitchen, potting shed, recycling bay and a store. Another wall of sliding mirrors conceals the planter for a collection of small trees that grow through the green roof overhead. The neighboring open patio covers a basement refurbished with a new bedroom, two bathrooms and a utility area. The courtyard garden’s perimeter walls support a roof made of plywood cut to allow the most possible light into the site. Between the patio (which frames the terrace) and the house sits an etched glass staircase to bridge the two spaces. The true meaning of “Sun Rain Room” comes to play with the 110-millimeter structural shell roof that is perforated with coffered skylights made to mimic raindrops that land onto the pool . This creates an ethereal, organic environment inside the home. To make the townhouse more sustainable, heat loss from the ground floor is decreased through double-glazed, double-laminated glass with low-e coatings. Waterproof concrete was used in the construction of the basement, which removed the need for a backup waterproofing system. What’s more, the light-well from the plywood roof around the courtyard has improved the affecting passive ventilation strategy for the home. The green roof not only contributes to sustainable drainage, but is also planted with local trees and plants that suit the natural habitat to improve the site’s biodiversity . The reflecting pool is filled naturally with harvested rainwater, also used to irrigate the green roof. + Tonkin Liu Images via Alex Peacock, Greg Storrar, Tonkin Liu, and Alexander James Photography

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Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

Henning Larsen unveils plans for Copenhagens first all-timber community

January 23, 2020 by  
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A sustainable, nature-filled neighborhood unlike any other in Denmark could soon take root just beyond Copenhagen’s city center. Scandinavian architecture firm Henning Larsen has collaborated with biologists and environmental engineers from MOE to design the Fælledby community, a proposal for Copenhagen’s first all-timber neighborhood. Proposed for a former dumping ground site, the development promotes sustainable living, a reduced carbon footprint and a harmonious relationship with nature. Designed to accommodate 7,000 residents on an 18.1-hectare project site, the Fælledby community features a hybrid architectural design that merges traditional Danish urban design with rural typologies and includes a mix of housing types. The development, which would be about the size of Billund, would be built in phases and comprise three radial village-like “cores” that accommodate about 2,300 people each. These cores are connected via a series of native-planted green corridors, thereby maximizing access to nature and ensuring free movement for local wildlife . For any given residence, nature will be less than a 2-minute walk away. Related: Henning Larsen completes award-winning Wave apartments in Denmark The green corridors will be part of the undeveloped habitat for local flora and fauna, which make up 40% of the development. Nature will also be integrated into the built environment with nests for songbirds and bats built into the walls of the houses. A pond that occupies the center of each of the three Fælledby “villages” will offer a habitat for frogs and salamanders, while community gardens would attract other local species and encourage neighborly relations. “Deciding to build the natural landscape around Fælledby comes with a commitment to balance people with nature,” said Signe Kongebro, partner at Henning Larsen. “Specifically, this means that our new district will be Copenhagen’s first built fully in wood and incorporating natural habitats that encourage richer growth for plants and animals. With the rural village as an archetype, we’re creating a city where biodiversity and active recreation define a sustainable pact between people and nature.” + Henning Larsen Images via Henning Larsen

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Henning Larsen unveils plans for Copenhagens first all-timber community

Off-grid home is inspired by the iconic Australian Akubra hat

January 22, 2020 by  
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The Australian Akubra hat is one of the many symbols of the country, and one architectural team has used the hat’s recognizable form as inspiration for a spectacular off-grid home in the small NSW town of Nundle. Designed by architect Alexander Symes, the Upside Down Akubra House, which is located on a bull farm, features a massive flat roof that is about 2.5 times the size of the building’s footprint. But the unique volume isn’t all about whimsy. In fact, the structure is actually a powerhouse of passive and active design features that allow it to operate completely off the grid . Throughout the design process, the architect worked closely with the homeowners, who are bull farmers. Set in a large grove of eucalyptus trees, the owners requested that their new house not only provide unobstructed, 360-degree views of the stunning landscape but also offer them the off-grid lifestyle required by the remote location. Related: Off-grid farmhouse on Australia’s remote French Island runs on solar energy Accordingly, the resulting home features wide windows and sliding glass doors that lead out to a wrap-around deck, allowing the interior to have a strong connection to the outdoors. Additionally, this outdoor space is shaded by the oversized roof. This shading strategy provides a lovely open-air place to hang out with friends and family and keeps the house nice and cool during the searing-hot summers. The interior of the three-bedroom home boasts sleek concrete flooring and walls that contrast nicely with natural wood accents. The main living area has a spacious layout that opens up to the decks, which feature ample room for dining and lounging. A cozy fire pit welcomes the homeowners and their guests to gather together at the end of the day. The beautiful design lets the residents take full advantage of its breathtaking setting and enjoy the perks that come with living off the grid. An adjacent 800-square-foot carport is covered with solar panels , which allow the house to generate and store all of its own energy. Additionally, the rooftop also has a catchment system to reroute rain into water tanks for reuse. + Alexander Symes Architect Via ArchDaily Images via Alexander Symes Architect

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Off-grid home is inspired by the iconic Australian Akubra hat

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