Cannabis walls add warmth to this eco-friendly home in Israel

December 4, 2017 by  
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Cannabis is good for more than just medicine—industrial hemp has its uses in eco-friendly architecture too. Haifa-based studio Tav Group built Ein Hod, an eco-minded home for artists, using hempcrete, a bio-composite made from hemp hurds, hydrated lime, and water with desirable thermal properties. Located on a hillside in a rural Israeli artist’s village, the beautiful terraced home is optimized for passive solar and ventilation to further minimize energy demands. The use of natural materials and external lime plaster helps blend the 250-square-meter Eid Hod home into the rocky terrain. Concrete is avoided save for the mandatory safety room and foundations. Locally excavated stone make up the lower floor walls, while hempcrete, set between wood framing, makes up the walls of the upper levels. Interior walls are built of rammed earth and earth-based plaster is applied throughout the light-filled interior to create a warm and comfortable non-toxic environment. Timber ties the rooms together and can be seen in the rustic furnishings, stairways, window frames, and exposed ceiling beams. The architects say the Ein Hod home is the first structure in Israel built of hempcrete , a fire-resistant plant-based material with carbon sequestration benefits. The use of lime coating also adds to hempcrete’s anti-microbial and anti-fungal advantages. However, hempcrete is no replacement for concrete; the material isn’t suitable for structural use but is an eco-friendly insulation choice, albeit a pricey one depending on where it’s used. Related: Hemp-based insulation makes a comeback in Belgium In addition to the use of hempcrete and passive solar principles , Ein Hod is also equipped with solar panels and rainwater collection as well as graywater purification systems to minimize water use. + Tav Group Images by Yoav Etiel

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Cannabis walls add warmth to this eco-friendly home in Israel

Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain

November 29, 2017 by  
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This rustic sanctuary nestled in a remote village in China combines modernity and vernacular design to extraordinary effect. Architecture studio RSAA approached the home renovation with a strong sense of respect for the history of the building and its stunning natural surroundings. The original house, nested on the top of a mountain in the north of Anhui Province, China , was uninhabited for years until the owner decided to renovate it into a modern residence. The design team introduced dramatic changed to the space, cutting, lowering and rebuilding parts of the house to facilitate optimal views of the surroundings and accommodate new functions. Related: Decrepit cave transformed into a beautiful modern home in China New and old coexist in the renovated house, with semi-private and semi-open areas creating a more complex spatial flow. At the core of the structure is an outdoor atrium that was once an indoor space. Here, the original gable has been transformed into a decorative wall that blocks vertical views of the living room and bedrooms. Old bricks were used to rebuild one of the original walls at the site. In the process of rebuilding the wall, many old bricks were cut into slices and used as traditional decoration to hide the steel structure inside. The architects emphasized the junction between different kinds of materials and employed local craftsmen who used traditional building techniques . + RSAA Via Archdaily Lead photo by SU Shengliang

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Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain

The world’s first "Biological House" opens in Denmark

November 29, 2017 by  
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Danish firm Een til Een just unveiled the world’s first “Biological House.” The designers developed a process that converts agricultural waste (including grass, straw and seaweed) into raw building materials – and the resulting home leaves virtually zero impact upon the environment. Supported by the Danish Ministry of the Environment Fund for Ecological Construction, the architects built the eco-friendly home in secret for the new BIOTOPE ecopark in Middelfart, Denmark. The project – which was designed by advanced digital production technology – was first and foremost guided by sustainability at every stage. The architects sourced various agricultural “leftovers” for the project’s building materials. Mounds of recovered grass, straw and seaweed – all of which would, under normal circumstances, be burned for energy – were processed into raw materials to be used in the home’s construction. Not only were the products upcycled, but the environmental impact of burning them was avoided. Related: Man builds ultra-efficient green home as a love letter to the environment The home’s sophisticated cladding was also chosen for its strong eco-friendly profile. Kebony modifies sustainably-sourced softwoods by heating the wood with a bio-based liquid, basically polymerising the wood’s cell wall. This innovative process, which was developed in Norway, coverts softwood pieces into durable hardwood panels, perfect for building. In the case of the Biological House, the silver-grey cladding will develop a patina over time, giving the home a beautiful rustic character. The home’s construction process was also environmentally-forward. The architects tested and developed many innovative technologies during the construction process that would reduce the project’s impact. Instead of building on a typical concrete foundation, for example, the home was built on screw piles. This allows the home to be easily removed at any point, without causing damage to the terrain. + Een til Een Via World Architecture News Images via Kebony Technology

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The world’s first "Biological House" opens in Denmark

New rooftop solar hydropanels harvest drinking water and energy at the same time

November 29, 2017 by  
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Sunlight + Air = Water . It’s a seemingly befuddling equation, but it’s at the heart of a new solar hydropanel developed by Arizona-based startup Zero Mass Water . Called SOURCE, the panels can be installed atop any building just like a standard photovoltaic, but instead of just harvesting solar energy, it uses the sun’s rays to pull water from the air. Indeed, each panel has the potential to draw up to 10 liters (2.64 gallons) of water per day. So how does it work? Each SOURCE array consists of a standard solar panel flanked by two hydropanels. As explained by The Verge in the video above, the photovoltaic at the center of the array drives a fan and the system’s communication with the hydropanels. The hydropanels themselves consist of two different proprietary materials, one that can generate heat, and another that can absorb moisture from the air. Together they are able to condense water into an onboard, 30-liter reservoir where it is mineralized with calcium and magnesium. From there, the water can be siphoned directly to a drinking tap. As one might guess, the amount of humidity in the atmosphere and solar energy available will affect the payout. However, Zero Mass Water says that even low-humidity and arid regions can effectively benefit. The company’s CEO, Cody Friesen, cited the array atop his headquarters as an example. “Our array on the Zero Mass Water headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona makes water year-long despite low relative humidity. The Phoenix-Metro area can get below 5% relative humidity in the summer, and SOURCE still produces water in these incredibly dry conditions,” he said. Additional panels can also be added to optimize water collection, but there is the matter of cost. Right now, the two-panel array costs $4000, plus installation, which runs $500. The whole system has been engineered to last 10 years, which according to  Treehugger ’s calculations, this averages out to about $1.23 per day, or between $0.12 and $0.30 per liter of H2O. To date, hundreds of panels have been set up in eight countries around the globe. Zero MassWater says the installations represent a combination of early adopters who have paid out of pocket for the technology and developing areas and emergency situations where funding has been provided by donors, NGOs, or other institutions. +  Zero Mass Water Via Treehugger  and  The Verge Images via Zero Mass Water

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This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden

November 28, 2017 by  
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The verdant Villa Jardín in Mexico City uses vegetation to unify its indoor and outdoor spaces. Architecture firm ASP Arquitectura Sergio Portillo introduced terraces, pergolas and an entire room packed with greenery to this apartment occupying the lower level of a residential building in Mexico City. The result is an exotic home that draws nature inside. The naturally ventilated apartment features a series of outdoor spaces that interact with the indoors through semi-private areas. Two terraces joined by a pergola occupy the northeast side, which features a lush vertical garden made of wooden boxes reclaimed from the shoring system used during the construction process. Related: Apostrophy’s gorgeous Bangkok townhouse boasts a 25-foot vertical garden The second terrace sits on a lower overhang and offers a direct connection to level below. A more private garden located in the southwest part of the home. This green space connects to the bedrooms, TV room and kitchen, and ultimately leads to the Garden Box – a modular space designed for contemplation. + ASP Arquitectura Sergio Portillo Via v2com Photos by Rafael Gamo

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This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden

Ultra-narrow Wood Lane house looks like a ship wedged between Londons brick buildings

November 28, 2017 by  
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This narrow house , home of architect Mike Russum , looks like a ship wedged in-between traditional brick townhouses in north London . The architect maximized the potential of the 22-foot wide plot by inverting the conventional layout used in tiny spaces and combining prefab building methods with site-built construction. The house, named Wood Lane, has been long-listed for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year award. Russum and his partner decided to build their home after they inherited some money in 2006. It took nearly a decade to get over various hold-ups to complete the building. Located on an extremely narrow plot–only 22 feet wide– the project required a creative organizational approach. Related: Super skinny 1.8-meter-wide house slots into a narrow Tokyo lot The architects extended the upper floors out towards the pavement. The structure was constructed off-site and placed them on top of the lower section, which was built from bricks infilled with concrete and supported by steel beams. The double-height living space on the upper floors contains an open plan space with combined kitchen, dining and living space with an elevated crystalline conservatory on the south side and an external terrace above the entrance. The elements for the living space are made by cold formed timber and resin boat building technology which ensures quality and space efficient construction. The upper ground floor houses the study that opens to a full-width terrace overlooking the garden. Two en-suite bedrooms occupy the lower ground floor. All the furniture is custom-designed by Birds Portchmouth Russum , working together with the architect’s wife, interior designers, and artist Sally Cox. The nautical look of the building makes it stand out from the surrounding architecture and stop passersby in their tracks. The residence also featured on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year. + Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects + RIBA House of the Year 2017 Via The Telegraph

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MIT’s new thermal battery releases heat on demand with light

November 28, 2017 by  
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Heat is often plentiful during the daytime for people in developing countries – but at night, when they’re cooking and the sun is down, they don’t typically have access to that heat and must use a material like dung or wood for fuel. A new chemical composite developed by three Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists could offer an alternative by storing the sun’s heat during the day in what MIT described as a thermal battery, and releasing that heat on demand later for cooking or heating. Scientists commonly approach thermal storage with a phase change material (PCM): when heat melts the PCM, it changes from solid to liquid stores energy , according to MIT . When it’s cooled and changes back into a solid, it releases the stored energy as heat. But all current PCMs need a lot of insulation, and MIT said they go through “that phase change temperature uncontrollably, losing their stored heat relatively rapidly.” Related: MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months Researchers overcame challenges to thermal storage with a system drawing on molecular switches that alter shape in response to light . They integrated these molecules into traditional PCM materials to release heat on demand. MIT professor Jeffrey Grossman said in a statement, “By integrating a light-activated molecule into the traditional picture of latent heat, we add a new kind of control knob for properties such as melting, solidification, and supercooling.” Their chemical heat battery could harness solar heat and potentially even waste heat from vehicles or industrial processes. With the system, heat could stay stable for at least 10 hours – and a device of around the same size storing heat directly would release it in just a few minutes. The MIT material can store around 200 joules per gram. Postdoctoral researcher Grace Han said there’s already been some interest in their thermal battery for use in cooking in rural India. The journal Nature Communications published the research online earlier this month. Via Massachusetts Institute of Technology Images via Melanie Gonick/MIT and courtesy of the researchers

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MIT’s new thermal battery releases heat on demand with light

This solar-powered floating farm combines agriculture and dining under one roof

November 17, 2017 by  
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As urban farming becomes increasingly popular, people are finding new, unexpected ways of incorporating agriculture into cities. From rooftops and community gardens, urban farming has descended to waterways and lakes – as in this solar-powered floating farm that doubles as a restaurant. Lotus is designed to grow fresh produce with a vertical hydroponic garden and then serve it in indoor and outdoor dining areas where visitors can enjoy waterside views and learn more about the production of the food. Lotus is a future-oriented farming system that aims to solve problems relating to the production, sale and distribution of crops and produce in urban areas. Its design also addresses the issue of global warming exacerbated by increased emissions of methane and carbon dioxide. Related: Could solar-powered floating farms provide enough food for the entire world? Designers Taeung Kim, Sunae Shin, Sungho An, Seungjun Lee & Mirae Park conceived the structure for client HYDROKOREA, and they were recognized by this year’s K-Design Award – an international design contest held by DESIGNSORI . Via Yanko Design

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This solar-powered floating farm combines agriculture and dining under one roof

This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

November 13, 2017 by  
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This amazing school in rural Ghana was built in 60 days for just $13,976. The new InsideOut School replaces the only school in the area, which was destroyed by strong winds. Architects Andrea Tabocchini & Francesca Vittorini designed the non-profit project and built it with the local community and volunteers from 20 different countries. The team had to work without electricity, which meant they had to build the structure by hand. They moved 58,000 kg of and crafted materials available on site. Local soil was compacted to create staggered walls, while a lightweight wood structure lifts the roof to allow zenithal light into the building. The skylight also facilitates natural ventilation. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The result is an affordable school that can be replicated anywhere with a similar climate. Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Andrea Tabocchini

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This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

Dwell Development introduces net zero-ready homes to Seattles Georgetown neighborhood

November 6, 2017 by  
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Green home builder  Dwell Development  is taking Seattle by storm! After completing several stunning net-zero projects, including this 5-Star Built Green home in Mount Baker , the company has unveiled another two  energy-efficient homes nestled in Georgetown, one of Seattle’s oldest and most eclectic neighborhoods. Both residences feature 12-inch thick walls for optimal thermal insulation, solar-ready rooftop configurations, electric vehicle charging units, and triple-glazed windows. Thanks to these sustainable features, the homes are now targeting 5-star Built Green certification and net zero , highest levels of green building certification. Each is 2500 square feet and includes three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, alley access to a two-car garage and an open-plan layout that maximizes the amount of natural light . Related: Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability The architects drew inspiration from the industrial aesthetic of the neighborhood and its manufacturing tradition. The open-plan layout references airplane hangars, while reclaimed wood accents on the exterior façade act as a nod to the warehouse typology still present in Georgetown. + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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