A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

November 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

A dark and gloomy, non-insulated dwelling with zero views to speak of has been dramatically transformed into a bright and sustainable home thanks to the work of local architecture studio Urban Creative . Flanked by 6-meter-tall walls and set on a long and narrow lot in inner Melbourne , 2 Halves Make a Home is a three-bedroom family residence that comprises two structures centered on a light-filled courtyard that allows daylight to penetrate deep into the living areas. Bricks sourced from the original decrepit structure were recycled for the construction of the new home, which features repurposed and sustainable materials throughout, from low-VOC finishes to a solar photovoltaic system and green wall. Faced with a site only 5.5 meters in width, the architects knew that access to the outdoors and light were crucial to making the family residence feel comfortably spacious. To that end, a courtyard was inserted along with walls of operable double-pane glass that blur the line between indoors and out. In addition to allowing natural light to enter the home, the courtyard also promotes passive cross ventilation while the full-height glazing and adjacent masonry party walls help capture early morning solar gain for passive heating in winter. “The original brick party wall has been uncovered and cleaned back to expose its rich warmth throughout the main axis of the dwelling,” the architects explained. “Not only does this avoid the use of new materials to construct this facade, but both dwellings on either side of the party wall serve to insulate each other.” Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Aside from the renovated brick wall and reclaimed brick used for the ground-floor facade, other recycled materials were used wherever possible. Reclaimed timber was used from the stairs and floorboards to the repurposed internal solid timber doors and timber shelves in the living room. Instead of replacing the ground floor structural slab, the architects polished the concrete and added a hydronic heating system. Low-VOC materials and finishes, like Tadelakt — a Moroccan rendering technique based on lime plaster and olive oil soap — promote a healthy indoor living environment. The house is also equipped with a solar array and a rainwater harvesting system. + Urban Creative Photography by Jessie May via Urban Creative

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A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

November 8, 2018 by  
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East of the Hamptons sits a solar-powered, holiday home that celebrates indoor-outdoor living. Wrapped in exposed concrete and fire-resistant charred timber, the home — dubbed the Montauk House — is the work of Desai Chia Architects , a New York City-based design practice that created the two-story home (with a basement level) for a family with two children. The roof of the house also conceals a large photovoltaic array that harnesses enough energy to power the entire residence, while passive design principles were applied to reduce the overall energy footprint. Located on the tip of Long Island , the two-story Montauk House spans 4,600 square feet on a corner lot edged in with mature landscaping for privacy and shade. The architects located the main living areas and master suite on the upper level, which includes the combined living room, dining area and kitchen, two studies for the parents, a powder room and a master bedroom suite. The two children’s bedrooms and an additional guest bedroom are located on the ground floor along with a shared bathroom and the one-car garage. Walls of operable glass pull the outdoors in, while the open-plan layout facilitates clear sight lines across large sections of the dwelling. Indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with the addition of three outdoor terraces, each protected by deep overhangs to allow for relaxing and dining in the summertime. A ‘garden’ terrace links the ground-floor family room to the outdoors, and a ‘reading’ terrace spills out from the upstairs office spaces. The ‘breezeway’ terrace — the largest of the three — is a south-facing space that runs the length of the home and connects to the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Related: Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite In addition to rooftop solar panels, the home embraces green design with the use of low-maintenance materials. The rainscreen of wood was treated with the traditional Japanese process of shou sugi ban to develop resistance against rot, pests and fire. Ample glazing also illuminates the interior with natural light, while the cantilevered roof deflects unwanted solar heat gain. Natural ventilation has also been optimized. + Desai Chia Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Paul Warchol via Desai Chia Architects

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This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant

November 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

New Delhi-based, multidisciplinary design practice Studio Lotus has transformed a portion of Jaipur’s lavish City Palace Museum into Baradari, a contemporary fine dining restaurant that pays homage to its rich architectural roots. Formerly used as a fairly nondescript palace cafe, the 14,000-square-foot property has been given a sumptuous revamp using traditional craftsmanship and artisanal techniques. The adaptive reuse project is not only a hybrid of centuries-old elements and modern aesthetics, but is also a historic preservation project that included careful restoration efforts. The royal family of Jaipur commissioned Studio Lotus to redevelop the neglected property into a fine dining destination with a private dining area, bar, lounge space, a quick service counter and back of house facilities to accommodate approximately 200 patrons. The design team began with a lengthy research and restoration phase, during which the walls were stripped of recently added plaster to reveal the original stone masonry. These walls were then restored and repainted using traditional techniques and materials, including cured slaked lime with crushed sandstone and brick . The restaurant is organized around a pavilion -like bar, created in the likeness of a ‘baradari’ (meaning a pavilion with twelve columns), that divides the courtyard into two zones and is built from handcrafted marble and glass. Traditional Jaipur craftsmanship is mixed with modern design throughout the restaurant, from the structural additions to flooring and furniture. The black and white marble floors, for instance, are a contemporary take on the traditional Rajasthani leheriya pattern, while the designs for the decorative art made from thikri (mirror) techniques were computer generated. Related: The Farm art hotel delights guests with recycled art and farm-fresh food Energy usage is also minimized thanks to a combination of low tech and high tech means. In addition to energy-efficient air conditioning and remote-controlled LEDs , the restaurant is equipped with rainwater harvesting systems and strategically placed water features that help create a cooling microclimate. + Studio Lotus Images via Studio Lotus

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An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant

The votes are in for key environmental issues of the 2018 midterms

November 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Most of the results are in from Tuesday’s election, and when it comes to environmental issues, the outcomes sent a lot of mixed messages. While renewable energy and the fight against climate change won in some states, fossil fuel companies are celebrating in other states. Read on for the results to important environmental issues of 2018 elections across the country. Changes in Washington On the national stage, the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, putting up a roadblock to any major environmental legislation President Trump would like to pass. In the past two years, the POTUS has pushed for an attack on the Endangered Species Act and a farm bill with limited controls on water pollution and pesticides. So for environmental activists, this change is a big win. Also, many of the Republicans who were ousted from the House were climate-science deniers, and voters replaced them with Democrats who are supporters of investments in clean energy. But in the Senate, there was a big blow in the Florida race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott. During his time as a Senator, Nelson had consistently voted in favor of climate action and attacked anyone who denied climate science. Nelson lost to Scott, who has a history of challenging the science behind climate change. There will likely be a recount in this race, because it was so close. Climate activists were also hoping that Democrat Beto O’Rourke would unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but Cruz held on and ended up defeating O’Rourke. There were a couple of wins in the Senate for climate activists. Mitt Romney won the race in Utah (he scored higher on climate issues than his opponent, Democrat Jenny Wilson). In Nevada, challenger Jacky Rosen defeated the incumbent Republican Senator Dean Heller. During his time in office, Heller expressed doubts about the science of climate change, and he also voted against any effort to reduce carbon pollution. Results of state ballot initiatives The environment did not score a lot of wins when it came to state ballot initiatives, but there were a few victories. Related: A quick guide to the environmental issues you’ll find on the ballot Alaska Salmon Initiative – defeated The first measure on Alaska’s ballot was an initiative that would have forced the state’s Department of Fish and Game to hand out permits for projects and activities that might harm fish. The measure also focused on improving habitats for anadromous fish , like salmon, by looking at water quality, stream flow and temperature. Arizona Proposition 127 – defeated This clean energy proposal would have required 50 percent of electricity from utility companies to come from renewable sources by 2030. California Proposition 3 – pending, projected defeat The most significant proposition on California’s ballot related to environmental issues was Proposition 3. But with over 93 percent of precincts reporting at the time of writing, 52 percent of voters have rejected it, and the projection is that it will not pass. This initiative would have allocated close to $8 billion in funds for surface and groundwater storage, watershed protection (habitat restoration) and water infrastructure. Colorado Proposition 112 – defeated This ballot proposition would have banned oil and gas drilling on 85 percent of non-federal lands in the state, but it failed to pass. The fossil fuel industry invested millions into this election to defeat Proposition 112. Florida Constitutional Revision 4 – passed Florida took a major step against offshore drilling in this election. Constitutional Revision 4 bans offshore drilling and will put an end to oil and gas mining on lands under state waters. Lumped into this revision is a ban that will prevent individuals from vaping inside closed workplaces. The ban included all electronic devices that generate vapor, such as electronic cigarettes, and will only be enforced in indoor workplaces. This movement for clean water and air passed by 69 percent. Georgia Amendment 1 – passed This proposal allows up to 80 percent of the revenue from sales and use taxes of outdoor recreational goods to go toward land conservation: protecting water quality, conserving forests and wildlife habitats and improving state and local parks. The measure had overwhelming bipartisan support and passed by 83 percent. Montana Ballot Issue #14 I-186 – defeated This initiative would have helped regulate new rock mines in the state by requiring them to have plans for reclamation, restoration or rehabilitation to receive permits. The new mines would have also been required to have adequate plans to avoid water pollution . Nevada Question 6 – passed This initiative aims to put the state on track for renewable energy by 2030. Voters said yes to all utility companies investing in renewable energy over the next 12 years. The measure also requires electric companies to transform half of their electrical output to renewable sources by the projected date. Rhode Island Bond Measure – passed Voters approved this bond measure that authorizes $47.3 million in funds for various environmental projects throughout the state. The measure outlines where the money will be allocated and the different types of projects that will be funded, including coastal resiliency and access, clean water and treatment, dam infrastructure, bikeway initiatives, farmland access and local recreation. The largest project on the ballot is related to improving water quality and will receive $7.9 million. The measure passed with nearly 79 percent of voters’ support. Washington Initiative 1631 – defeated Initiative 1631 in Washington was designed to target greenhouse gases while rewarding companies that promote clean energy. The law would have imposed the nation’s first fees on carbon emissions, starting out at $15 for every metric ton of carbon and increasing every year by $2. The money from the fees was also going to go back into the environment and help improve air quality, raise awareness about clean energy and examine environmental issues in various communities. Companies that complied with the environmental standards could have also received credits from the added revenue. The U.S. oil industry pumped about $30 million into the race to stop this initiative from passing. Via EcoWatch , Green Tech Media and Forbes Images via Jomar , Tom Coe and Aaron Burden

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The votes are in for key environmental issues of the 2018 midterms

Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade

November 7, 2018 by  
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Calgary’s new Central Library has just opened its doors to the public — and it’s a thing of elegant, energy-efficient beauty. International architecture firm Snøhetta teamed up with North America-based multidisciplinary design firm DIALOG to create the new main branch of the Calgary Public Library, one of the largest library systems on the continent. Wrapped in a dynamic, triple-glazed facade overlaid in an intricate, hexagonal pattern, the eye-catching library provides 240,000 square feet of expanded facilities in a contemporary and light-filled environment. Located in downtown Calgary and elevated above the Light Rail Transit Line, the $245 million CAD Calgary Central Library is the city’s largest public investment since the 1988 Olympics. Opened on Nov. 1, 2018, the library is expected to welcome over twice as many annual visitors and offer a strengthened role as a public gathering space with new areas dedicated to social interaction and exchange as well as sufficient spaces for studying and learning. The outdoor landscape has also been designed to facilitate public gatherings with outdoor amphitheaters and an entry plaza that unites the Downtown and East Village, two neighborhoods previously split by the Light Rail Transit Line. The outdoor planting plan references Calgary’s mountains and prairies with a palette of native flora. The crystalline geometry of the building facade dramatically stands out from the urban fabric while fritted glass cutouts provide views into the building from afar. “From these shapes emerge familiar forms: parts of the pattern might resemble an open book, snowflake-like linework or interlocking houses, anchoring the ideas of the collective and community,” the firm explained. “Most importantly, the entire building volume is enclosed in the same pattern, allowing all sides to function as the ‘front’ of the building. This visual vocabulary continues inside, expressed in the design of CPL’s new visual identity and wayfinding signage in the building, unifying the library’s goals of inclusivity.” Related: Snøhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change Inside, the library is spread out across six floors and lined with wood throughout. The floors are organized “on a spectrum of ‘fun’ to ‘serious’” with the more active programming, like the Children’s Library, placed on the lower floors and the quiet study areas and jewel box-like Great Reading Room on the upper floors. + Snøhetta + DIALOG Photography by Michael Grimm via Snøhetta

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Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade

A gorgeous houseboat with a shockingly spacious interior can be yours for $375K

November 7, 2018 by  
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Tiny home builders are always popping up with new and ingenious ways to make a small space seem larger, and this gorgeous houseboat is no exception. The amazing interior design will make you forget all about the home’s 510-square-footage. Located on Seattle’s ship canal just minutes from downtown, the charming cottage on the water comes with plenty of unique features, including a Japanese-style, cedar soaking tub, a custom-made elevator bed and an open-air rooftop lounge. The beautiful houseboat, which is currently listed for $375,000 , is clad in a serene blue hue that pays homage to its aquatic environment. Inside, the design is simply jaw-dropping. Light wood panels on the ceiling complement the calming white walls, while large windows naturally brighten the entire space. Throughout the home, unique cork flooring leads from the living room to the kitchen to the two bedrooms, seamlessly connecting the spaces. Related: This whimsical houseboat in Seattle is straight out of a fairytale The interior, which has recently been renovated, uses a number of space-saving techniques  and fabulous furnishings to open up the tiny home. The living room is a welcoming area with a long comfy couch meant for socializing. The sofa and most of the furnishings were kept in neutral shades to keep the atmosphere peaceful. Strategic pops of color here and there add a modern vibrancy to the design. In this home, every room has a strong personality. The kitchen was renovated with rustic, live-edge counters and backsplash. Salvaged slate cabinets were installed to lend an industrial touch to the design. The spa-like bathroom boasts a soothing pebble floor and an aromatic, cedar soaking tub. The two bedrooms also hide a few fun secrets, such as the vertical lift bed that converts one of the bedrooms into an office space or playroom when raised. Throughout the home, ample storage in the walls and stairs helps to avoid clutter. Of course, the heart of the home is found on the upper level lounge with a small sitting area, which leads to an open-air rooftop balcony . This space is perfect for entertaining, al fresco dining or just enjoying the serene water views. + Metropolist Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Diwas Photography via Metropolist

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A gorgeous houseboat with a shockingly spacious interior can be yours for $375K

A 1928 Spanish bungalow gets some high-tech, energy-efficient upgrades

November 5, 2018 by  
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This incredibly charming Spanish bungalow in San Jose, California might have been built in 1928, but the 759-square-foot home has been retrofitted with some seriously high-tech features to convert it into a modern, energy-efficient powerhouse. While retaining some of its original features, the home was upgraded with rooftop solar panels and an electric vehicle charging port. Best of all, this bungalow just went on the market, meaning all of this energy-efficient cuteness can be yours for  $798,000 . Located on a corner lot with a large backyard, the two bedroom, one bath Spanish bungalow is a beautiful space with lots of character. The interior is bright and airy, with high ceilings and plenty of windows. To give the home a modern makeover, the interior and exterior were repainted and new tiles floors were installed in the kitchen and bathroom. Although the renovation process was focused on modernizing the living space, the home’s original wood floors, stained glass windows and wood-burning fireplace were retained. Related: An old bungalow is transformed into an award-winning home with a modern extension To create an energy-efficient space , the home was retrofitted with several modern amenities. The roof is home to new solar panels, and there is a charging port for electric vehicles. The backyard was also given a resilient makeover with drought-tolerant landscaping and mature trees. The calming outdoor area will allow the new homeowners to enjoy a brand new hot tub, which sits next to a serene seating area covered by a pergola. The charismatic  cottage is within walking distance from downtown San Jose and historic Japantown, where the new homeowners can enjoy the many shops, markets and eateries. The home is also just one mile from the proposed BART Station slated to open in the near future. + Coldwell Banker Photography by f8 Media via Coldwell Banker  

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A 1928 Spanish bungalow gets some high-tech, energy-efficient upgrades

This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

November 1, 2018 by  
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Tapped to design a home for a master gardener in Portland, Oregon, Olson Kundig crafted the Country Garden House, a light-filled home that frames garden views from every room. Designed for indoor-outdoor living, the home features walls of glass that overlook stunning vistas and spans 5,300 square feet to accommodate the needs of a multigenerational family. Clad in reclaimed barnwood, the home’s simple gabled form and ample glazing are evocative of traditional farm architecture. Completed in 2013, the Country Garden House is designed to harmonize with its lush landscape. Timber is used throughout, from the exterior siding and soffits to the interior surfaces and furnishings. Large grid windows with black metal framing help to break up the timber palette while also brightening the interior with natural light. American plantsman and garden writer Dan Hinkley was brought on to collaborate on the design of the gardens, which are visible from every room in the home. A green roof further ties the house into its surroundings, as do the easily accessible outdoor living spaces designed for family gatherings. “The entry sequence brings visitors underneath leafy trellises to a front door that opens to a long vista through the living room, opening to views of the verdant hillside beyond,” the architects explained in a project statement. “A long gallery corridor separates the private bedroom spaces from the more ‘public’ living spaces, and showcases the owners’ artworks. Their art extends into the main living areas with custom casework designed to display a rich collection of Asian porcelain, as well as a hand-painted mural by Leo Adams in the dining room.” Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials Enclosed by cedar walls and grid glazing, the living areas are anchored by a stone fireplace that separates the den from the living room. Exposed timber ceilings create “a sense of rustic refinement” and give the home another rustic counterpoint to the mix of contemporary and antique furnishings used throughout. + Olson Kundig Photography by  Jeremy Bittermann Photography via Olson Kundig

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This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

One for Hundred a furniture company that grows more wood than it uses

November 1, 2018 by  
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One for Hundred , an Austrian furniture company, was founded on the belief that creating furniture doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with destroying forests . With this philosophy in mind, Anna and Karl Philip Prinzhorn — the founders of One for Hundred — decided to plant 100 trees for every piece of wooden furniture that they sell. The decision about where to plant the trees and harvest the wood for the furniture was an easy one, because it all comes from the company’s own forest just outside of Vienna that has been in the family for seven generations, spanning ownership for more than 200 years. Because of this personal connection, the designers place emphasis on maintaining the health of a diverse blend of trees in the forest. Their goal is to use the trees to make quality wood pieces while simultaneously preserving the forest for the next generation. Related: Karton creates ultra-durable cardboard furniture for every room in your home While other manufacturers harvest and ship internationally, One for Hundred spins the sustainability dial way up with short forest-to-workshop travel requirements. In fact, the master craftspeople are located a short distance from the forest where the trees are harvested. Cut in the winter, the wood is sent to the craftspeople and dried for months before being turned into unique furniture pieces. Each piece of furniture is customizable to suit the customer’s preference of size, wood choice and color. Wood options include ash, oak, walnut, cherry, larch and maple. The One for Hundred furniture also includes the ability to be flat-packed, offering a storage solution and reducing shipping costs. The furnishings have a sleek, Scandinavian vibe with models including coffee and side tables, wall shelving, benches and media storage cabinets. The tree-to-table efforts of One for Hundred are being widely recognized, as can be seen in the company’s recent invitation to the Vienna Design Week 2018 as well as the Blickfang Vienna Fair. With a focus on the future as well as the present, Anna and Karl Philip hope to inspire sustainability in an industry often criticized as anything but. + One for Hundred Via Dwell Images via One for Hundred

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One for Hundred a furniture company that grows more wood than it uses

A rustic, surfside home connects a young family to the beach

November 1, 2018 by  
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Surf’s up for a young couple living in the southwestern France surfing mecca of Soorts-Hossegor. Custom-designed by Paris-based firm Java Architecture, ‘Une Maison Pour Surfer’ serves as a home base for the surf-loving couple and their new baby. Keeping within a tight budget and focusing on minimal impact to the environment, the architects created an elongated home using  prefabricated modules . The 1,000-square-foot home was built in collaboration with the homeowners, a young couple who lived in Paris but wanted a vacation home  to relax and spend their time on the coast doing what they love — surfing. Their chosen spot was the idyllic area of Soorts-Hossegor, a popular area for water sports. Related: The Truck Surf Hotel is traveling retreat that hits the best surf spots in Europe and Africa Located on a hilly landscape surrounded by forest, the welcoming family home has a  minimal impact on the natural surroundings. Building on the top of the hill meant that no big trees had to be cut down, and using prefabricated modules allowed the project to have a reduced construction and transportation time, which in return minimized the project’s carbon footprint. Taking on a shed-like appearance, the home is an elongated form with a gabled roof . Clad in thin, dark wood panels, the exterior blends into the surrounding forestscape, virtually camouflaged within the tree canopy. An extra-wide porch serves as the main attraction. Jutting out into the landscape and covered in a corrugated polycarbonate cladding, this space is the most active area for the family. The transparent nature of the structure lets natural light into the home but protects the interior from rain and wind. Although the large porch is the activity center, the interior living space is just as relaxing. Light wooden panels were used to clad the walls and flooring throughout the home. The design scheme uses muted colors and minimal furnishings to create an ultra soothing space that welcomes the family after a long day on the waves. + Java Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Java Architecture

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A rustic, surfside home connects a young family to the beach

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