Black timber Villa S makes more energy than it consumes

December 4, 2017 by  
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Energy bills are a thing of the past at Villa S, a plus-energy home in the western Netherlands built to replace a former home from the 1960s. RAU architecten designed the new solar-powered home that embraces the surrounding dune and forest landscape through large windows. The architects’ focus on sustainability also extends to materials, which include FSC-certified timber and “emission-free materials.” Clad in black timber , Villa S is a boxy building punctuated by windows of various sizes. A beautiful pine forest to the northwest side of the property informed the placement of the windows and sequence of indoor spaces. “The transition to this forest is gradual, a gradual transition from private to public,” wrote the architects. “An important quality in the design is the successive sequences of different spaces, each with a surprising view of the beautiful surroundings. The forest is always present but is always experienced in a different way. In the house it feels like the forest is part of the garden. The differences in height in the garden are solved in new slopes so that the garden smoothly flows into the environment.” The ground floor is partly sunken and contains a sauna , office, guest room, and a garden room that opens up to the living room above via a staircase. The first floor also includes a dining room, kitchen, and playroom. Bedrooms are located on the second floor. The large windows take in ample natural light that bounces off of reflective light-colored walls and frame views of the pool, garden, and forest. Related: Green-Roofed Villa L Floats Upon a Daylit Glass Volume in the Netherlands In addition to solar panels , the home is equipped with a wood pellet stove for energy generation. A concrete slab beneath the ground level floor provides thermal comfort and is complemented by a low-temperature climate system. + RAU architecten Images by Marcel van der Burg

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Black timber Villa S makes more energy than it consumes

Microsoft is razing its Redmond campus to build a sustainable mini city

December 1, 2017 by  
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If you thought Microsoft’s awesome treehouse offices were the ultimate step in the tech giant’s efforts to make its employees a top priority, think again. The tech giant just announced that it will be razing its 500-acre Redmond campus in order to construct a sustainable Microsoft mini city, complete with 18 new buildings, a two-acre open plaza , retail space, jogging and walking trails, two soccer fields, a cricket field, and its own light rail station. According to the company, the expansive campus, which will be divided into “team neighborhoods”, will be focused on providing a “more open and less formal” working environment. Inside, the spaces will be filled with social hubs and light-filled offices, but the new layout will be primarily focused on providing plenty of outdoor and recreational space for the employees. Once complete, the campus will have 18 new buildings, offering workspace for the 47,000 employees that currently work on site, as well as extra room for an additional 8,000 people. The Redmond campus is already a Zero Waste Certified campus, but will be renovated with increased waste-reduction initiatives . Related: Microsoft unveils amazing treehouse office where employees can brainstorm in fresh air As part of the green transportation focus, all of the cars will be parked in an underground parking lot, so that above ground, the employees can travel by foot, bike or, eventually, by a light rail system scheduled for completion in 2023. As part of the green transportation focus, a new foot and bike bridge will be built over the WA-520 in order to connect both sides of its campus. This will connect with a planned Redmond Technology Transit Station where the Link Light Rail is expected to arrive in 2023. Microsoft president Brad Smith said the project will run approximately $150m, and expects the rebuild to create 2,500 construction and development jobs.”We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact,” explained Smith in the announcement. + Microsoft blog Via ZD Net Images via Microsoft

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Microsoft is razing its Redmond campus to build a sustainable mini city

Striking green-roofed house cantilevers over a cliff in Japan

November 30, 2017 by  
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This striking concrete house extends from a cliff above a river in Japan , providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The two-floor green-roofed structure, designed by architecture firm Planet Creations , establishes a delicate balance between rugged and warm materials, with raw wood contrasting against stark concrete walls. The villa is located in Tenkawa village, and it cantilevers over the Tenokawa River, 56 feet below. It’s built into flat bedrock, and the layout is split along the length of the structure. A bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom occupy one side, while the master bedroom, living room and deck area occupy the other. Related: Organic Japanese Shell Residence Wraps Around a Centenarian Fir Tree The steep slope dictated the design of the house and constrained the flatland space to only 64 square feet – enough to accommodate two cars and not much else. In order to ensure structural stability, the architect decided to “submerge the building near the rock so as to melt into this surrounding environment.” + Planet Creations Via Ignant Photos by Masato Sekiya

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Striking green-roofed house cantilevers over a cliff in Japan

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

Carbon-neutral Caring Wood wins RIBA award for best new house in the UK

November 29, 2017 by  
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A modern, carbon-neutral take on the traditional English country house in Kent has won the Royal Institution of British Architects’ House of the Year award . Designed by James MacDonald Wright and Niall Maxwell , the rural dwelling called Caring Wood was praised for its eco-friendly design and multigenerational design—properties that RIBA president Ben Derbyshire believes are among the many ideas displayed at Caring Wood that will “influence UK housing for many years to come.” Designed for three generations of the same family, Caring Wood sports an eye-catching form with four tilting towers that take inspiration from traditional oast houses, agricultural buildings used for kilning hops. This unusual design that pays homage to the local vernacular is what granted it planning permission in the National Planning Policy Framework, which recognized it early on for its “outstanding architectural quality.” Locally sourced materials and craft traditions were used in construction, including handmade peg tiles, locally quarried ragstone, and coppiced chestnut shingles. The sculptural project also gives back to the landscape with 25,000 trees planted on the 84-acre estate. Low energy design principles maximize natural ventilation, daylighting, and passive stack ventilation , while clean green technologies are also incorporated and include solar panels, EV charging, and ground source heat pumps. Related: Solar-powered English country house offsets all its CO2 emissions “Beyond the impression of sublime craftsmanship and spatial grandeur this house offers, Caring Wood leads us to fundamentally question how we might live together in the future,” said RIBA House of the Year 2017 jury chair, Deborah Saunt. “At a time when we are increasingly atomised, individually preoccupied and lost in personalised digital worlds, designing homes where families come together – in their many permutations – is an increasingly important aim. Whilst this might seem to be a particular brief for one extended family, it is one taking huge risks in asking how we collectively might live inter-generationally as social structures evolve.” + MacDonald Wright Architects Via ArchDaily Images © James Morris

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Carbon-neutral Caring Wood wins RIBA award for best new house in the UK

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

Tips for staying nimble as sustainability leaders

November 28, 2017 by  
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Whether you’re designing one green building, piloting a new technology or revamping a large-scale global supply chain, these timeless strategies apply.

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Tips for staying nimble as sustainability leaders

This college class is an object lesson in sustainable investing

November 28, 2017 by  
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The student-constructed portfolios combining financial and ESG considerations are handily outperforming traditional funds.

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This college class is an object lesson in sustainable investing

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