Offshore oil platforms are reimagined as self-sustaining homes

March 23, 2020 by  
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As the world looks for sustainable housing solutions to meet the needs of a burgeoning population, Paris-based design firm XTU Architects has unveiled a conceptual design that would convert old oil platforms into plant-covered homes of the future. The project, X_Lands, would not only provide self-sustaining homes to families but would also transform a global symbol of pollution into a beacon of sustainability. In a perfect future world where we have once and for all put an end to oil drilling, the planet’s ocean will be still brimming with large, useless oil platforms that have reached the end of their lifecycles. In a fantastical glimpse into the future, the innovative designers of XTU Architects have reimagined these old beasts as self-sustaining homes . Related: Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy Although the concept may seem a bit whimsical at first, the need to create new housing solutions is weighing on countries around the world as the global population continues to grow. Creating affordable, green housing is of the utmost importance to create a more sustainable world using what is already in existence. The inoperative offshore oil platforms could potentially provide a very feasible solution, or as the designers put it, “a sustainable path for tomorrow,” to solve the impending housing crisis while also addressing climate change. Massive in scale, the floating structures could easily be adapted to fit a variety of housing needs. Specifically, the X_Lands concept envisions bubble-like housing units covered with lush greenery that provides a natural, healthy atmosphere for residents. The futuristic housing units would be equipped to generate their own clean energy via solar and wind power, creating completely self-sufficient, water-based communities. Additionally, the homes would provide gardening space for residents to grow their own food. + XTU Architects Images via XTU Architects

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Offshore oil platforms are reimagined as self-sustaining homes

COVID-19 pandemic leads to plastic ban reversals

March 23, 2020 by  
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Health concerns are trumping environmental worries as U.S. states and cities reverse single-use plastic bans . As shoppers worry about catching germs from everything and everyone in grocery stores, and restaurants move from dine-in to take-out, bags and containers have become a big issue. Maine Governor Janet Mills announced on March 17 that the state will delay a single-use plastic bag ban that had been slated to start on April 22. “These emergency measures will support the state’s response to the coronavirus and mitigate its spread in Maine,” Mills told Plastic News . Brookline, Massachusetts has suspended its ban on polystyrene containers, and Nick Isgro, mayor of Waterville, Maine, wants to ban shoppers from bringing their own reusable bags. Related: Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats “These reusable tote bags can sustain the COVID-19 and flu viruses — and spread the viruses throughout the store,” Isgro said on his Facebook page. “Be assured this is not to re-litigate our current ordinance. … This should be seen as a temporary public safety measure.” While some environmental organizations claim that properly washed reusable bags are as safe as disposable bags, experts warn that shoppers seldom follow hygienic protocol. A 2011 study by Loma Linda University and University of Arizona randomly collected bags from shoppers entering grocery stores in California and Arizona. They learned that consumers rarely, if ever, wash their bags. Almost all of the bags collected were covered in bacteria, including E. coli on 12% of bags. Those bags that had carried leaky packets of meat and were stored in car trunks for 2 hours had tenfold the bacterial growth. However, hand- or machine-washing can reduce bag bacteria by 99.9%. Since 2014, eight states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont — have enacted some kind of single-use plastic bag ban. Polystyrene bans have also been on the rise. But COVID-19 could change all that. Via Plastics News , Forbes and Food Protection Trends Image via ToddTrumble

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Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it

February 5, 2018 by  
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What if a home could improve the environment around it? That’s the question architect Michelle Lanker of Lanker Design LLC and her ecologist husband Bill Bloxom put to the test when they designed their new getaway—a floating home docked on Washington’s Lake Union that’s not only net-zero and certified LEED Platinum, but also improves water quality and biodiversity. Dubbed Houseboat H, this stunning sustainable home boasts a bevy of eco-friendly elements from material choices and renewable energy sources to its use of floating islands to create new aquatic habitats. Sustainability and symbiosis are at the heart of Houseboat H. Powered by solar and designed for minimal energy use, this net-zero home floats above a series of floating islands specially designed to improve water quality. Buoyant planters made of recycled plastic house native plants that form root systems to purify the water and encourage fish habitats. The growing aquatic habitats can be observed from a large window in the basement float of the home. In addition to the recycled plastics in the planters, thoughtful material choice can be seen throughout the home, most notably in the old-growth cedar logs used in the interior that were salvaged from Michelle and Bill’s original, century-old houseboat destroyed in a fire. Durable materials were carefully selected, like the plastic laminate for the cabinets and counters as well as the cement fiberboard for exterior cladding. The use of cedar and bamboo in the home lend a sense of warmth to the light-filled interior. Related: Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home Natural lighting and beautiful Seattle skyline views are welcomed indoors through large triple-glazed windows that often span floor to ceiling. To minimize energy loss, the walls and roof are filled with spray foam insulation at maximum insulation thicknesses. A small green roof also aids in insulation. A 5.43-kW solar array attached to the standing seam metal roof powers the home’s LED fixtures, low-energy appliances, and water heater (with a 80 gallon storage tank) for the hydronic radiant floor system. A heat exchanger is also installed to collect heat from the lake. + Lanker Design LLC Images via Lanker Design LLC

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Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it

Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home

October 26, 2017 by  
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Yacht construction and house building fabulously come together in this conversion project that turned a 1957 cargo ship into a modern  floating home in Amsterdam. Dutch studio ANA architecten redesigned the structure for a client who wanted to live on the water and enjoy expansive views of Amsterdam’s canals without giving up the comforts of a traditional home. The architects shortened the ship to fit the water plot and made sure that the interior has enough space to house a modern home. Unlike most ship and barge conversions, this transformation eliminated the linear system of spaces and offers several sight lines that run the entire length of the ship and across different floors. One of the most important elements is the terrace that sits in the middle of the double-height space. Windows in the wheelhouse, portoles and the patio that leads onto the terrace provide ample natural light. Related: Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home The master bedroom functions as an independent living space and includes a pantry, bathroom, toilet and a sitting area. The kitchen sits at the core of the ship and provides a direct connection to the main living area. The wheelhouse acts as an alternative living room, which fits the overall concept of creating several seating areas throughout the interior. Related: Experimental floating office takes over a converted WWII barge The architects replaced the existing aluminum and single-glass windows with handmade mahogany frames and double glazing. An air-water heat pump extracts heat from the air and heats the ship through low-temperature floor heating. Photovoltaic panels can be installed on the roof in order to make the structure more energy-efficient. + ANA architecten

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Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home

Beautiful prefab houseboats let you live on the water with a minimal energy footprint

September 28, 2016 by  
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Though Bluefield Houseboats is based in Ireland, the design/build firm delivers worldwide and handles all aspects of the design process, from initial consultation to the final handover. All houseboats are manufactured in a factory before they’re shipped out for on-site assembly. Since the modular houseboats are custom-built with a free spanning structural system, homebuyers can design their own open-plan layout with a variety of spaces from 500 square feet up to 2,000 square feet across one or two stories. The firm promises a high-quality material palette, each certified to BBA, British Standard, Eurocode, or equivalent standards for a minimum 50-year design life. Related: Floating solar-powered Waternest eco-home is nearly 100% recyclable “We aim to offer the same standard of living on the water as on land,” say the designers. “At Bluefield Houseboats our mission is to create high quality, useable space on the water which is accessible to all and maximizes the use of modern technology to explore sites which have previously been inaccessible.” The bespoke houseboats abide by the classifications for both a land-based building and a water-based vessel. To minimize energy usage, the homes incorporate passive design principles to take advantage of natural heating, cooling, and ventilation . A SMART home automation system gives the owner control over energy usage, from appliances to light switches, using a smartphone or tablet. + Bluefield Houseboats Images via Bluefield Houseboats

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Beautiful prefab houseboats let you live on the water with a minimal energy footprint

9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects

September 28, 2016 by  
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Image: Ethan Drinker Photography 1. Smith College Bechtel Environmental Classroom The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, designed by Coldham and Hartman Architects , is a former pastoral observatory transformed into a green learning space in Whatley, Massachusetts. The 2,500-square-foot, single-story building serves as a part of Smith College and sits on 223 acres of pasture and forest , overlooking an old stone dump site. One of the two enclosed areas provides space for biological and environmental science classes and the other, larger area gives plenty of room for humanities seminars and other classes, such as poetry and dance. A drilled well ensures a sustainable water supply and composting toilets give back to the Earth. LED lighting and two solar panels combined ensure a gentle footprint on this peaceful site. Image: Matthew Millman Photography 2. Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab If you are going to teach the next generation how to move forward with alternative energy, the facilities had better reflect the mission. That is just what the Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab ensured with its completely sustainable, net-zero-energy design. Flansburgh Architects are behind the structure, which achieved

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9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects

Floating solar-powered Waternest eco-home is nearly 100% recyclable

July 31, 2016 by  
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The 1000-square-foot floating pod-shaped home measures 12 meters in diameter and 4 meters tall. Its curved body is constructed from recycled glued laminated timber and a recycled aluminum hull. The rounded wooden roof is topped by a 60-square-meter photovoltaic array capable of generating 4 kWp. Four skylights flank both sides of the photovoltaic array . Large windows and balconies wrap around the unit to allow users to enjoy views of the water. Related: Waterstudio.nl’s Sea Tree is a Protected Floating Habitat for Flora & Fauna The developers created a “sophisticated system of internal natural micro-ventilation and air conditioning” to classify the building as a “low-consumption residential habitat.” The WaterNest 100 also features a flexible interior design that can be changed to suit different uses. If the owner doesn’t intend to use the unit as a home, the floating ecological pod could easily be reconfigured into an office space, lounge bar, restaurant, shop, or exhibition space. + EcoFloLife + Giancarlo Zema Images via EcoFloLife

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Floating solar-powered Waternest eco-home is nearly 100% recyclable

Solar-powered floating home in Portugal generates a year’s worth of energy in just six months

October 20, 2015 by  
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Bloom is an electric kettle that recycles steam for cooking, making it safe for kids to get involved

October 20, 2015 by  
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Add this one to the list of product concepts that we wish would become real things. A “super kettle” called Bloom offers a smart and safe way for kids to get more involved in the kitchen. The invention, which scored its designer the top award in the Electrolux Design Lab this year, is an electric water kettle that makes the most of energy by reusing the steam generated from boiling water. Since the competition’s theme was “Healthy Happy Kids,” Bloom was created as a way to engage kids in food preparation without risk of getting burned on a hot stove or by scorching steam. Read the rest of Bloom is an electric kettle that recycles steam for cooking, making it safe for kids to get involved

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+31 Architects’ tranquil new houseboat is moored on Amsterdam’s Amstel River

October 16, 2015 by  
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