Google’s first retail location earns LEED Platinum certification

September 14, 2021 by  
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This summer, Google opened its first retail storefront in New York City. The landmark event is notable for a variety of reasons, perhaps the most noteworthy being that the location was planned, designed and built with sustainability in mind. In fact, its sustainability measures earned the space a LEED Platinum rating, the highest certification possible from the U.S. Green Building Council. Google has made headlines multiple times for its efforts to lean into environmentally-friendly practices. As a company, Google claims to be carbon neutral since 2007 and has set a goal to be carbon-free by 2030. That may seem like a long timeline, but achieving that goal within a decade for a company that size will require a clear vision and consistent change. In the short term, more immediate goals that will stair step to the larger achievement include earning zero waste to landfill certification in 2022, setting a 2025 deadline to be plastic-free in all packaging and incorporating recyclable or renewable materials into products. Related: Google’s San José Downtown West Mixed-Use Plan approved by city council The development team built a full-scale version of the retail space inside its Mountain View hangar; this allowed developers to physically evaluate the layout’s flow, look and customer experience. Architect Reddymade helped the team achieve its vision of an interactive, warm,  naturally lit  and approachable space. With a blueprint established, the project focused on energy efficiency and material selection to help Google meet its sustainability goals. Inside the space, responsibly sourced hickory veneer dresses the walls while highly sustainable cork and wood furniture was custom made by a local craftsman. Carpet made from recycled materials and  energy-efficient  lighting illuminate the focus on eco-friendly interior design.  More than just a space to display the range of Pixel phones, Nest products and other devices, the retail store stands as an example of LEED Platinum design that is rare amongst retail stores anywhere in the world.  According to a press release, Google is, “Honored to have worked with the U.S. Green Building Council in this process, and we now can share that the Google Store Chelsea is one of fewer than 215 retail spaces in the world to have achieved a LEED Platinum rating — the highest certification possible within the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system.” + Google Via Environmental Leader Photography courtesy of Google and Paul Warchol

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Google’s first retail location earns LEED Platinum certification

Reduce 101: What You Need to Know to Electrify Everything

August 9, 2021 by  
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Experts in buildings, fleets and industrial processes explain the opportunities and challenges in the electrification revolution. Speakers: Liz Morrison | Mobility Analyst | GreenBiz Group, Ali Hasanbeigi | Founder and CEO | Global Efficiency Intelligence Mike Roeth | Executive Director | North American Council for Freight Efficiency Mili Majumdar | Senior Vice President | US Green Building Council This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s VERGE Net Zero, July 27-28, 2021. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/verge-net-zero/online/2021

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Reduce 101: What You Need to Know to Electrify Everything

Measurement 101: What You Need to Know to Quantify Emissions

August 9, 2021 by  
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How to navigate the alphabet soup of reporting — from CDP and SASB to GRI and TCFD — to quantify and disclose your organization’s emissions. Speakers: David Rich | Senior Associate | World Resources Institute Julia Silberman | Associate Director, Corporate Engagement | CDP This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s VERGE Net Zero, July 27-28, 2021. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/verge-net-zero/online/2021

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Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature

August 3, 2021 by  
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The clients for this home in the northernmost part of Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture, wanted the architecture to represent local history and culture while also developing a modern aesthetic in a space that closes the gap between indoors and outdoors. Architect Yasuyuki Kitamura honored the clients’ wishes for a sustainable home that spoke to nature with thin beams on the interior and large windows to invite in natural light and open up the views of the nearby Mount Aogai. Known as the House in Minohshinmachi, the home was situated with the south side facing the road, east and west sides meeting other residential homes and the north side opening up to a buffer zone for the landslide disaster warning area. Related: Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration The one-story house was kept low-lying in order to merge into the landscape without being obtrusive as well as to keep material and construction costs low. Builders used conventional construction methods, relying on wood and structural metals, which came together quickly for a short building period. House in Minohshinmachi was designed to ensure high seismic performance, resulting in the achievement of earthquake-resistance grade three standards. The designer brought elements of nature into the interior design with large pillars that resemble trees standing in the forest. Natural light floods the space with the entire center of the roof acting as skylights. Modern and minimalistic , the home also achieves excellent insulation performance standards while adhering to a modest budget. The project won the prestigious AZ Award and has been selected as the 2021 Architizer A+ Awards Finalist for Architecture + Living Small/Low Cost Design. “We have been searching for the future of environmental architecture, and our goal was to reconstruct the forgotten relationship between local character and the surrounding natural environment,” the architect explained. “The result is a new type of building that, in addition to its high residential performance, feels more like a part of nature than a landscape.” + Yasuyuki Kitamura Photography by Masashige Akeda via v2com

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Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature

Colorful Peoples Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials

November 3, 2017 by  
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All the materials needed to build this temporary pavilion in the Netherlands are borrowed. bureau SLA and Overtreders W built the People’s Pavilion – a centerpiece of the Dutch Design Week (DDW) taking place in Eindhoven – using materials from suppliers and Eindhoven residents which will be returned after the event closes. The only exception is the faceted upper façade, which is made of plastic household waste materials collected by Eindhoven residents. The People’s Pavilion will function as the main pavilion of the World Design Event in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which provides a platform for future makers from all over the world. It will also be used as a meeting place and hang-out for visitors and serves as a venue for music and theater. Related: Spectacular origami pavilion made of recycled plastic pops up in Columbus, Indiana The 269-square-foot (25-square-meter) building can accommodate 200 seated or 600 standing people. Its structure is based on 12 concrete foundation piles and 19 wooden frames, designed in collaboration with Arup. Steel straps hold together wooden beams , while concrete piles and frames are connected with 350 tensioning straps. The glass roof resembles those used in the greenhouse industry. Related: The Folkets House is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs Colorful plastic tiles cover the upper façade of the building and are made from recycled plastic household waste . Leftovers from a refurbishment of BOL.com’s headquarters were used for the glass portion of the façade on the ground floor and will be reused for a new office space after the Dutch Design Week concludes. All the materials, including concrete slabs used for the podium, lighting, heating and bar are borrowed. + bureau SLA + Overtreders W + Dutch Design Week 

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Colorful Peoples Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials

Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

October 31, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to stay in an earthbag dome home , here’s your chance. When Lisa Starr first purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, she wasn’t thinking about vacation rentals. Instead, the artist and drum medicine woman sought a place not too far from the coast where she could build a sustainable life for herself. After deciding to build in accordance with the Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s affordable and disaster-resilient superadobe methodology, she recruited volunteers and CalEarth alumni to first work on a few practice domes that eventually evolved into the “village” that can be booked through Airbnb. This extra income comes as an unplanned perk, but her real dream – to pursue her work as an artist – required building a couple more domes. After completing the practice homes, Starr and her crew of interns, volunteers and CalEarth alumni worked on her personal space – a 1,360 square foot dome home two connecting hallways. The 18″ thick walls, comprised of 15 percent cement and 85 percent earth, provide the thermal mass to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, according to her Facebook page . Starr told Inhabitat she believes in sticking with “traditional Nader” – focusing on being creative with smaller structures rather than 20- to 30-foot domes. Khalili, who founded CalEarth to share his design and life philosophy with others, promoted sustainable homes that could be built with materials found on site. And that’s exactly what Starr was able to accomplish. She says she sourced 75 percent of the materials used in her dome structure from her own land. Related: Build your own disaster-proof home with materials of war While her home is private, guests have access to a “rustic yet luxurious camp-like experience” in the village. With expansive views and open skies day and night, “star gazing is a must,” says Starr. The village includes two 8-foot “Sleep Pod Earth Dome” structures with storage or a cave-like space for a child to sleep in. Each pod, which comes with a full size mattress, bedding and solar-powered ceiling light, can accommodate up to a family of four. In winter, tea light heaters keep the space warm at night. The communal area includes a shaded outdoor kitchen and kiva fire pits, along with a shower house and outhouse complete with a flushing toilet and sink. Guests are encouraged to bring their own bottles to refill with potable water available on site. Now Starr is working on building another 12-foot dome structure to use as a studio, honing in on her original intention. She has been living at Bonita Domes for four years now, and though it comes with its challenges, she says her dream has catapulted forward. + Bonita Domes on Facebook + Bonita Domes on Airbnb Images via Bonita Domes and Dylan Magaster

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Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

Rainwater-harvesting pavilions mimic a lush rainforest at the Indianapolis Zoo

October 23, 2017 by  
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Artful rainwater design has taken root at the Indianapolis Zoo. RATIO Architects recently completed the Bicentennial Pavilion, an open-air events space modeled after a lush rainforest with 11 steel-framed “tree canopies.” Built primarily from natural materials, the pavilion is a beautiful example of multifunctional and sustainable design that provides 40,000 square feet of weather-protected events space while collecting and filtering 100% of its stormwater runoff. The Indianapolis Zoo Bicentennial Pavilion and Promenade was made possible by a $10 million grant provided by the Lilly Endowment in 2015. The money came with the requirement that the zoo “implement a game-changing initiative that benefits the community institution’s long-term sustainability.” To satisfy the zoo’s needs to expand visitor infrastructure and the Lilly Endowment’s condition, RATIO Architects designed an open-air multifunctional facility that could be used year-round and replace the zoo’s former 400-person events tent tucked into the back-of-house areas. The sustainability angle came from the use of natural materials —each tree-like column is built of 63 individual timber beams, while a hearth of rough-back quarry block limestone rests beneath the canopy—and stormwater management . The pavilion canopy funnels rainwater down the tree-like column’s laser-cut weathered steel rain screens and into planting beds, where it then percolates through a water quality unit and is held in a 14-foot deep water detention bed designed to accommodate 100-year flood events. The angled pavilion canopy is built of translucent roofing materials to let filtered light shine through, just as in a real rainforest canopy. Related: Stunning solar Butterfly House masters resource conservation in California The Bicentennial Pavilion is split up into two main event areas, each of which accommodate up to 400 guests. The pavilion can also be converted into one large event space for up to 800 guests. The pavilion’s north side is designed for the new bird exhibition, Magnificent Macaws, with a custom-designed stage and perch to showcase the birds on their twice-daily flight through the Pavilion. + RATIO Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Susan Fleck

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Rainwater-harvesting pavilions mimic a lush rainforest at the Indianapolis Zoo

Trees grow on every balcony of this Hanoi university building

October 20, 2017 by  
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This university building in Hanoi weaves Vietnam’s tropical landscape into its checkerboard facade, with trees growing on every balcony. Designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects , the recently completed FPT University administrative building is the first phase in a greater masterplan to convert the campus into a “globally competition environmentally conscious university.” The university is part of Vietnam’s largest technology park, the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, on the outskirts of Hanoi. Completed early this year, the administrative building serves as a campus gateway and will welcome students, staff, and visitors with its tree -integrated envelope. “The building acts as a gateway to the campus and the green facade clearly dictates the future direction of the campus,” wrote the architects. The nature-infused project is characteristic of the architecture firm’s world-renowned style for bringing plants into buildings. Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain Built of concrete , the asymmetric building is clad in prefabricated facade modules to cut down on waste and construction time. Building orientation and large windows optimize the flow of natural ventilation and daylight into the building, while trees on the balconies minimize solar gain. Accessible green roofs top the structure. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Via Dezeen Images via Vo Trong Nghia Architects , by Hoang Le

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Trees grow on every balcony of this Hanoi university building

Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

October 19, 2017 by  
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The LEED Platinum -certified Noe Hill Smart Ecohome marries state-of-the-art green technology and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that urban dwellers dream about. The house, designed by EAG Studio , creates a healthy living environment with plenty of natural light, native plant gardens, rain catchment, solar power and a bevy of smart features to optimize power use. The house occupies a coveted site near the crest of the Collingwood hill in San Francisco . It spans three levels and comprises 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths (with 3 bedrooms ensuite on the upper floor), media room, gym, flexible use 2-room guest suite, an open main level floor plan, 4 distinct outdoor living areas and 2-car independent parking. Related: Sunset’s Green Dream Home in San Francisco The dramatic vistas open up from the main living room and dining area connected to a sunny deck and a landscaped garden. The garden features drought-tolerant , native plantings. Retractable glass doors in the kitchen open directly to the deck and enhances the experience of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. A sculptural staircase leads to the upper level and receives natural light from the skylight above. The bedrooms occupy the upper floor, with the luxurious master suite openning to its own view deck ideal for a morning cup of coffee or casual lounging. The staircase leads further up toward the roof deck with multiple dining and lounging areas perfect for entertaining guests. Related: San Francisco’s Solar “Mission: House” is a High-Tech Marvel A rainwater harvesting system captures most of the roof/surface water for landscaping irrigation. All exterior walls are insulated and optimized for energy efficiency, while a solar array provides renewable energy for the building. These systems, along with LED lighting , occupancy sensors and the use of reclaimed building materials make this building a modern and truly eco-friendly home. + Noe Hill Leed Home + EAG Studio

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Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

3,000 new solar-powered homes in Arizona to be equipped with Sonnen batteries

October 19, 2017 by  
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Prescott, Arizona sees around 277 days of sunshine every year. Arizona-based house builder Mandalay Homes plans to take advantage of all that sunlight in 3,000 new homes to be built in the city, all equipped with rooftop solar panels and batteries from German company Sonnen GmbH . The price of the batteries will be included in the sale price of the homes. Mandalay Homes and Sonnen have partnered to allow homeowners to store extra solar power in Sonnen batteries that cost between $10,000 and $20,000 on their own. Sonnen and Mandalay Homes hope they can work out an arrangement so utilities will pay homeowners to use power stored in their batteries. According to Reuters, the 3,000 batteries, offering eight megawatt-hours of electricity , basically create a virtual power plant that could power around 5,000 homes for a day. Related: Wind and solar-powered Thunder Valley Regenerative Community rises in South Dakota Sonnen senior vice president Blake Richetta said even if utilities don’t purchase the energy, homeowners would save money since they won’t have to purchase as much power – if any – from the grid . There’s no firm agreement as of yet, although Mandalay and Sonnen have reportedly been in talks for a few months with Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project . A Salt River Project spokesperson told Reuters there aren’t any agreements in the works; Arizona Public Service declined to comment but did say batteries “can provide benefit to both our customers and the grid.” The Prescott community will be the first one like it in America, according to Sonnen and Mandalay. Reuters said in Germany, Sonnen has many such communities, but the idea is still fairly new in the United States. Mandalay Homes is a certified United States Department of Energy (DOE) ZERO Energy Ready Home builder, according to their website, and have earned multiple awards from the DOE for energy efficiency . There are around 1,000 Sonnen batteries in America right now, although the company hopes to increase that number to at least 20,000 by 2020, and deals such as the one with Mandalay Homes should help. + Mandalay Homes + Sonnen Via Reuters Images via Mandalay Homes Facebook and Sonnen GmbH

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