The self-sufficient Gut Feeling house produces more electricity than it uses

May 11, 2018 by  
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This narrow rental home, nestled in Oberaudorf — a village in Bavaria, Germany — is the perfect place to refuel and find inspiration. Architect Markus Eck designed the house, named Gut Feeling, as a green  vacation home suitable for two people. With solar panels, which produce more electricity than the home uses, and a heat recovery system that circulates fresh air, the home embraces sustainability while keeping guests comfortable all year long. The house exemplifies simplicity using natural building materials . On the ground floor, there is a small garage, a kitchen, a dining area and a living room. On the second floor, there is a bedroom and bathroom. The third floor houses additional space for guests to sleep and a freestanding bathtub. Both the interior and exterior of the home are clad in timber. In order to create more space, the architect included a terrace on two sides of the building. Residents may also enjoy outstanding views thanks to the large sliding doors that lead out to the terraces. Related: 7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life Eck also included sustainable features, such as s olar panels , which produce more electricity than the home uses, and a heat pump , which collects any extra heat in two large buffers. When the sky is cloudy, the home uses 100 percent green energy provided by a hydroelectric power station at a nearby inn. To maintain a steady, comfortable temperature and allow fresh air to circulate year-round, the home relies on built-in sensors and a heat recovery system . + Markus Eck Architekt Via Dwell Photos by Florian Holzherr

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The self-sufficient Gut Feeling house produces more electricity than it uses

Architects propose a giant circular park in the sky for Asti, Italy

May 11, 2018 by  
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This giant green-roofed ring designed for Asti, Italy pairs a car park with a beautiful public space. The project, designed by architects Angelo Salamone and Ilaria Filippi of AS-DOES , is an example of how green infrastructure can create a functional and attractive community space. AS-DOES presented this car park as a proposal for a competition organized by Asti Servizi Pubblici S.p.A. The contest called for solutions to tackle the redevelopment of Piazza Campo del Palio in Asti. Every project needed to address how to revitalize the area and make it safer and more functional for citizens. Related: Striking new footbridge rehabilitates formerly derelict area of French city The multi-story elliptical car park functions as a covered overpass with a large green roof. The project provides vast open spaces , areas for parking and space for commercial and cultural activities. The designers incorporated green space to make the location more appealing and to provide a place for recreation. The green roof gives visitors incredible city views, too. The roof is an ideal location for friends to gather and play ball or skate. The ground floor of the car park has a central square that can be used for a variety of purposes, including as a venue for performances, local events or markets. + AS-DOES

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Architects propose a giant circular park in the sky for Asti, Italy

Solar-powered house in Ontario redefines sustainable living in the wilderness

April 6, 2018 by  
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This remote cottage , nestled deep in a thick forest 160 miles from Toronto, Canada, allows for sustainable living deep within its wooded surroundings. It occupies a quiet lakeside site and functions as a weekend retreat for the architect’s family. The project was conceived by architect Kelly Doran and designed by his non-profit, MASS Design Group , which is known for innovative, sustainable projects like the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda . The 2,500-square-foot home has a simple layout, with the porch, kitchen, dining room and living area linearly connected from west to east. There is a wood-burning stove at the center of the structure. Each of the three bedrooms offers views of Lake Havelock and access to the deck that runs the length of the house. Related: Modern solar-powered Ontario home is insulated with straw bales Built-in bookcases and cabinets offer plenty of storage space , while clerestory windows facilitate cross-ventilation . Beautiful furniture pieces and fixtures, like the Hiroshima woodseat armchairs by Naoto Fukasawa for Mjolk , and pendants by Jasper Morrison and Peter Bowles provide a more contemporary feel. A garage is housed in the wing that is perpendicular to the main body of the house. A nearby solar array powers the tightly insulated house, which also has a septic tank and leach field for wastewater processing. The house is in a remote location, with only a private logging road as an access route. Surrounded by wilderness, with just three other neighbors, this home is focused on serenity. + MASS Design Group Via Dwell Photos by Marcus Oleniuk

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Solar-powered house in Ontario redefines sustainable living in the wilderness

Iceland is replanting its forests 1,000 years after vikings razed them

April 6, 2018 by  
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Iceland has become a popular tourist destination due in no small part to its breathtaking views and unique geological features, but it is also one of the worst examples of deforestation on the planet. When settlers first arrived in Iceland in the ninth century, up to 40 percent of the land area was covered with forests. The Vikings cleared these trees for fuel and to make space for grazing. Erosion from overgrazing and disruption from volcanic events left Iceland nearly without woods. Now, in collaboration with forest farmers and local forestry societies, the Icelandic Forest Service is working to regrow what was lost centuries ago and bring forests back in Iceland. Icelandic Forest Service director Þröstur Eysteinsson understands the true magnitude of what the organization he leads is trying to accomplish. “Iceland is certainly among the worst examples in the world of deforestation . It doesn’t take very many people or very many sheep to deforest a whole country over a thousand years,” said Þröstur . “To see the forest growing, to see that we’re actually doing some good is a very rewarding thing.” Þröstur is motivated by a driving desire to build ecological resilience . “My mission is to support growing more forests and better forests, to make land more productive and more able to tolerate the pressures that we put on it.” Related: Iceland makes it illegal to pay women less than men in world first The only native forest-building tree, the downy birch, has struggled to establish itself in new forests. With assistance from the Euforgen program, the Iceland Forest Service is introducing locally-tailored, non-native tree species, most of which are from Alaska , into Iceland woodlands. These newly mixed forests are “growing better than anybody ever thought,” according to Þröstur. The ultimate goal is to improve Iceland’s forest cover from the current two percent to twelve percent by 2100, with help from carefully curated non-native trees . Via Treehugger Images via Deposit Photos and  Icelandic Forest Service

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Iceland is replanting its forests 1,000 years after vikings razed them

This revolutionary sustainable community in Atlanta is still thriving 15 years after its founding

April 6, 2018 by  
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Almost 15 years since the sustainable community of Serenbe built its first home, the modern-day green utopia is still thriving. Located just southwest of Atlanta,  Serenbe is an experimental green community designed by architect Dr. Phill Tabb, who lives on site in a net-zero home . The progressive neighborhood, hidden amid 1,000 acres of natural forest landscape, was created with four main pillars in mind: arts, agriculture, health, and education. In 2001, architect Dr. Phill Tabb designed the masterplan for Serenbe Community – a sustainable neighborhood set in a natural landscape, but with connections to the typical urban amenities. One of the core pillars of the community’s plan was land preservation. Accordingly, the homes were built into strategic locations throughout the hilly landscape that would minimize the impact on the surrounding environment and give residents easy access to nature. Related: EarthCraft-certified Organic Life House teaches Atlanta agrihood residents about healthy living Nearly all of the homes at Serenbe abut a natural area, and manicured lawns are not allowed. All landscaping is natural and edible. The homes themselves are heated and cooled with ground-sourced heat pumps. Most use grey water systems , and a community-based vegetated wetland treats all the wastewater. The neighborhood is an active, vibrant area, arranged according to what Tabb calls the “hamlet constellation theory.” Tabb explained, “I love the hamlet constellation theory, which is something that I developed with the creation of Serenbe…. I found that we could proliferate [sustainable designs] into a constellation. Serenbe is a constellation of individual hamlets that come together to form the larger concept of Serenbe. It is a way of reaching out. Now my pilgrimage has led me to suggesting that constellations like Serenbe be married to the emergence of new high tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, etc.” Today, over 600 residents live in the hamlets, which are connected to the surrounding restaurants and shopping areas via walking trails. Each hamlet reflects a different pillar of the community. For example, Selborne Hamlet is geared towards the visual, performing and culinary arts. Grange Hamlet sits adjacent to Serenbe Farms, a 15-acre organic farm . The third neighborhood, Mado Hamlet, integrates health and wellness functions with community, including a destination spa, recuperative hotel, fitness center and additional centers. The hamlets were developed one at a time, each one more sustainable than the last. The Grange Hamlet saw the construction of the community’s first off-grid homes , which have become more and more prevalent as the development continues to grow. Residents of Serenbe enjoy a wide range of amenities, including restaurants, retail shops, and co-working spaces, all of which work around the community’s eco-friendly core values. In fact, the development is home to  the Blue Eyed Daisy , the country’s smallest Silver LEED-certified building. For the past year, Dr. Tabb has lived within the community he designed. His net-zero Watercolor Cottage, built in accordance with EarthCraft building standards, is surrounded by a wooded lot on three sides. A large glazed wall opens up to an outdoor fruit and vegetable garden integrated into the home’s layout. The two-story structure has a passive solar heating system, as well as geothermal heating and cooling systems. A rooftop PV solar array provides the home’s electricity needs, and works in conjunction with a Tesla Powerwall system. + Serenbe Community Images via Dr. Phill Tabb and Serenbe

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This revolutionary sustainable community in Atlanta is still thriving 15 years after its founding

This self-sustaining Australian home harvests its own food, energy, and water

April 6, 2018 by  
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Building a self-sustaining home can involve a higher upfront investment, but it usually pays off in the long run thanks to increased efficiency and lower energy bills. Sydney residents Geoff Carroll and Julie Young did just that by hiring  CplusC Architectural Workshop  to  renovate their 1980s terrace house into an environmentally friendly home that allows them to grow their own produce and track daily energy consumption . Carroll and Young, who work at a company that helps clients confront the challenges of hyper-urbanization and climate change, wanted a home that would reflect their commitment to sustainability. The result, named Aquas Perma Solar Firma, is a house dominated by sustainable features like a greenery-filled central courtyard , vertical gardens , aquaponics , rain filter systems and even a chicken coop. Related: Historic Belgian farmhouse renovated into a modern solar-powered home The architects significantly enhanced the building’s thermal performance and introduced ample outdoor spaces. They also reduced the number of bedrooms from four to two, relocated the staircase to the front of the building, and converted the existing carport into a permaculture garden. A rain chain going through a large concrete weight funnels rainwater into an underground tank. This rainwater is used for supplying the laundry, toilet and garden. The rear garden features an aquaponics system for fish harvesting, a wicking bed, a compost system, a vegetable garden and chicken coops. Finally, an evacuated glass tube solar system is used for hot water, while a solar array provides clean energy for electricity. + CplusC Architectural Workshop Via Dwell Photos by Murray Fredericks

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This self-sustaining Australian home harvests its own food, energy, and water

This plant-covered house in Indonesia has a "second skin" that helps keep the interior cool

April 2, 2018 by  
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Nestled in a densely populated residential area of West Jakarta, Indonesia , the Pedongkelan-YN house provides a quiet tropical oasis in the midst of the surrounding city. In order to shelter the occupants from strong direct sunlight, architecture firm HYJA designed the house with a protective layer covering its glass surfaces. This layer works in tandem with the building’s swimming pool to keep the interior shaded and cool. Because the house occupies a west-facing corner lot, it receives copious amounts of sunlight in the afternoon. The architects responded to this issue by placing easy-to-maintain wooden grilles over the majority of the building’s glass openings. Related: Incredible daylit house in Vietnam is filled with living trees A swimming pool  sits next to the residence, with the pool terrace occupying the middle of the room and dividing the interior space into two parts. Glass surfaces dominate this part of the house, visually connecting the outdoor and indoor areas and allowing cooled air to reach the furthest corners of the residence. The bedroom balcony floor features a hollow iron plate that facilitates continuous air flow. In addition, the wood, iron and stone walls combine with the surrounding green landscape to give the impression of a modern tropical house . + HYJA Via Archdaily Photos by Ernest Theofilus

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This plant-covered house in Indonesia has a "second skin" that helps keep the interior cool

Intuits new green-roofed campus is an indoor/outdoor dream office

March 30, 2018 by  
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Intuit’s new Marine Way Building (MWB) in Mountain View , California, aims to become an antidote to the trend of building insular campuses across Silicon Valley. To achieve this goal,  WRNS Studio and Clive Wilkinson Architects joined forces and designed a human-centered, urban-minded workplace that connects to both nature and the public realm. The development comprises two new office buildings and two new parking structures as major additions to Intuit’s existing campus, originally developed in the 1980s as a suburban office park. It offers 185,400 square feet of office spaces distributed across four floors. The large floor plates, which accommodate a variety of places for people to collaborate, concentrate, socialize, and reflect, are organized into human-scaled neighborhoods and connected by clear circulation. The building also features a café, living rooms, bike facilities, showers, and terraces that spin off of the main atrium, which opens onto the campus’s main internal street. Offering expansive views of the bay and an indoor/outdoor workplace experience, large terraces also help knit the campus together. Related: Google and BIG unveil plans for green-roofed tech campus in Sunnyvale The project targets LEED Platinum , thanks to its design strategies that enhance resource efficiency, expand the natural habitat, ensure good indoor environmental quality, reduce water consumption and waste, and enable the expanded use of transit options. This is aided by the building’s  green roofs , themselves part of a comprehensive landscape plan that includes naturalized wetland bio-filtration areas and natural planted areas to help sustain local salt marsh and grassland biome species. + WRNS Studio + Clive Wilkinson Architects Photos by Jeremy Bittermann

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Intuits new green-roofed campus is an indoor/outdoor dream office

This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

March 28, 2018 by  
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With a sinuous, meandering form that blurs the line between interior and exterior, the new Media Library in Thionville, France , is a unique  public space . Dominique Coulon & Associates designed the building by combining irregular, typically independent systems, creating tension in the space and in how it is read. The building aims to promote a new kind of media library – one that allows members of the public to create and curate their own experiences. It offers a variety of activities and spaces that blend into each other, including music studios, a café and restaurant, and exhibition areas . Related: Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter The façade resembles an opaque ribbon that rises and falls to conceal or reveal the building’s interior. At the point closest to the street, the ribbon reaches ground level, then rises up again at points that sit further back on the plot. This construction not only plays with the idea of interior and exterior space, but also brings natural light all the way into the heart of the project, where it’s most needed. Taken as a whole, the project questions the physical and psychological limits of what constitutes public space and follows a design that eludes the Euclidean interpretation of built space. A garden ramp offers another connection to the outside, leading upwards to a summer bar that serves as a culmination of the architectural promenade . In addition, the presence of multiple routes offers constantly renewed viewpoints. The “bubbles” within the building contain specific parts of the library, such as a storytelling area, language laboratories, places for playing video games, and a plastic arts room. + Dominique Coulon & Associates Lead photo by  Eugeni Pons

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This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

Crimson Bluffs Home uses passive solar and cooling to weather the extreme Montana seasons

March 5, 2018 by  
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  The environmentally friendly Crimson Bluffs House in Montana offers stunning 360 views of the Missouri River and the surrounding mountain ranges. Conceived by Greenovision , the house stays naturally warm in the harsh winters and cool in the sweltering summers thanks to its passive solar and passive cooling design. The house combines heating approach of passive solar and radiant hydronic floor heating – a strategy Greenovision calls Sun Smart Radiant Heating. Other green strategies include passive cooling design, ample amounts of natural light , high insulation values, and advanced framing. This home was constructed using locally sourced and recycled materials which are durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance . Large façade openings offer amazing views of the surrounding landscape. Related: Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700 The Sun Smart Radiant Heating captures the sun’s energy on sunny days and has two added benefits. The radiant system distributes the sun’s heat uniformly throughout the home and also produces heat during long stretches of cloudy days or extreme cold. This dual heating method is not only incredibly energy efficient , it relieves any worries homeowners may have about living in a home that is heated with passive solar alone. + Greenovision

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Crimson Bluffs Home uses passive solar and cooling to weather the extreme Montana seasons

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