BloomingTables offers a "living table" that’s furniture and a terrarium all in one

August 8, 2019 by  
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Scientists, doctors, naturalists and pretty much everyone else agrees that plants in your home and office are a good thing. Not only do they add visual appeal, but they make a space feel cozy and natural. Not to mention, there’s that thing about cleaning up the air. Thanks, plants. But, it’s often difficult to find enough space to display plants in an appealing way so the designers of BloomingTables decided to do something about it with a double-duty table and plant stand that is the very essence of green design . BloomingTables offer a sleek, modern design that fits into any home, office or home office space. Sized at 30” x 33” x 10.5”, the table fits under a window sill, behind the couch, in a hallway or next to your desk. The contemporary white steel legs cradle the white planting tub. Inside is a waterproof liner that protects the planter and the floor below. Related: 9 ways to add more houseplants to your home BloomingTables may be compact, but they are multi-functional. Simply line the tub with gravel and activated charcoal to absorb water and keep it from overflowing. Then add your soil and choice of air-filtering plants . Pillars with suction cups on the top hold an easy-to-remove 6mm tempered-glass shelf that serves as a tabletop. The see-through design allows you to enjoy your plants while offering kid and pet protection. When it’s time to water your plants , remove the glass from the UV-resistant suction cups, water and replace the glass when you’re done. Most plants need light so the BloomingTables were designed to be placed near a window, but if that’s not your ideal location you can place a lamp with an incandescent bulb on or near the tabletop to replace some of the natural light . BloomingTables are easy to set up and use. You can make your own plant selections so each one looks different. The design is ideal for plant lovers that just don’t have the window sill or counter space for the plants they love. It brings color and live decor to even the smallest urban apartment without large pots of soil. The Kickstarter campaign reached its goal very quickly, however it doesn’t end until August 22. There are currently still early bird discounts available. + BloomingTables Images via BloomingTables

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BloomingTables offers a "living table" that’s furniture and a terrarium all in one

Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics

July 15, 2019 by  
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Single-use plastic may be the biggest issue of our time, but admittedly, it’s sometimes an uphill battle to find alternatives. But now, when it comes to finding sustainable toiletries, there’s a eco-friendly option. Already well-known for innovative and sustainable designs, Mi Zhou has just unveiled Soapack, a collection of sustainable shampoo packaging made out of soap. Personal care products often come in mass-produced plastic containers that have a fairly short lifespan, requiring multiple purchases throughout the year. From face lotions to hair gels and everything in between, we are constantly suffocating the planet with a shocking abundance of plastic waste , especially considering that the standard plastic bottle can take up to 450 years to break down . Related: The Refill Shoppe enforces zero-waste packaging, provides bulk refills for household and beauty products Thankfully, there is a new green option for shampoo users that not only helps reduce waste but adds a touch of sustainable luxury to your toiletries. Soapack is a collection of shampoo bottles that are cast from soap that melts away after they are completely used. Each Soapack bottle is made out of a vegetable oil-based soap that is dyed with mineral pigments, plants and flowers. Similar to the process of making ceramic containers, the mixture is poured into molds of various shapes. The bottles are then lined with a thin layer of beeswax to make them waterproof and prevent the liquid contents from completely dissolving when in contact with water. The best place to store the bottles is on a soap dish, so that they can slowly melt away without making a mess, eventually disappearing after use instead of leaving behind another discarded bottle in the trash . The design was inspired by antique perfume bottles — opaque shells with light pastel hues and delicate, shapely curves. Although they are designed to melt away, if kept dry, the sustainable soap bottles can even be used as a decorative feature. With the innovative packaging design , Zhou hopes to revolutionize the packaging industry for the good of the planet. “Product packaging has always been thrown away, no matter how well-designed or what material it is made of,” Zhou explained. “I want to re-evaluate what packaging could be as well as help us to reduce our plastic footprint.” + Mi Zhou Design Images via Mi Zhou

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Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics

Sustainable floating dairy farm in the Netherlands is home to 40 blissful bovines

July 9, 2019 by  
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Years of urban development in the harbor area of the Merwehaven in the Netherlands have led to decline of traditional trade in the area, especially in the agricultural sector. However, thanks to the Dutch firm, Goldsmith Company , the harbor is now home to a floating dairy farm that brings sustainably-sourced milk and dairy products to the locals. The Merwehaven area is a bustling port that drives most of the region’s economy. However, due to the ever-growing nautical presence, the agricultural sector in the area has been diminishing for years. With the addition of the floating farm, the locals are now able to appreciate locally-sourced, sustainable milk and other dairy products. Related: An Australian dairy farm is updated with solar-powered ‘grass-to-gate’ facilities According to the architects, the design of the floating farm is based on nautical principles. Built on three connected concrete pontoons and coming in at a whopping 21,527 square feet, the structure’s layout, structural principles and materials were carefully designed to enhance the farm’s buoyancy and stability. The production of fruits used to produce yogurt is found on the bottom floor, which is equipped with a rain and wastewater recycling system . The  upper factory floor houses the milk and yogurt processing, feeding system and manure handling and retail. The upper, open-air floor is where 40 blissful bovines live in a covered cow garden. The area is equipped with a manure cleaning robot, along with a milking robot. In fact, the garden boasts state-of-the-art systems that were strategic in enhancing the animals’ welfare , including as a series of green towers that ensure cooling. In addition to the animal-centered architecture and technology, the farm was also built on full-cycle sustainability principles . Urban waste flows are upgraded from residual product to create feed for the animals. Brewers grains, potato scraps and grass clippings from the nearby Feyenoord football stadium are used to create a daily feast for the bovines, who in return produce healthy sustainable milk to sell back into the local market. + Goldsmith Company Via Archdaily Photography by Ruben Dario Kleimeer

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Sustainable floating dairy farm in the Netherlands is home to 40 blissful bovines

This minimalist prefab playhouse features locally sourced timber, recycled rubber flooring and all-natural finishes

July 8, 2019 by  
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While many children’s playhouses might be filled with overly complicated bells and whistles, sometimes the minimalist route is the best way to go when it comes to connecting young minds with nature. Already known for its exquisite minimalist prefab structures , Japanese firm Koto Design has unveiled the Ilo Playhouse, a tiny prefabricated cabin made out of sustainable materials. Inspired by the simplicity of Scandinavian log cabins, the Ilo Playhouse was designed to create a space where kids could be inspired by nature. The tiny cabin is an angular volume with a sloped roof, adding a geometric aesthetic to the interior and exterior. Three walls envelope the interior with the fourth wall left entirely open to create a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors. Related: BIG and WeWork design a nature-inspired school for kids in NYC According to the architects, the openness of the design, enhanced by additional cutouts in the walls, was intentional so that the space could be open just enough to not feel isolated. It also makes the structure a fun place to play in inclement weather, providing shelter from light rain, for example. The minimalist layout on the interior allows for children to make the space their own, with furniture, toys, art and craft tables, or to simply take in the fresh air during a good old-fashioned game of tag. In addition to being a nature-inspired design, the cabin is also entirely constructed out of sustainable materials chosen for their durability. The playhouse is clad in an attractive, locally sourced larch wood, and the flooring is made out of recycled rubber . Additionally, all of the paints and finishes used in the cabin’s construction were all sourced from natural products. The structures are prefabricated in the U.K. and can be delivered to nearly any location. + Koto Design Photography by Tracey Hosey via Koto Design

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This minimalist prefab playhouse features locally sourced timber, recycled rubber flooring and all-natural finishes

A prefabricated family home boasts an impressively small carbon footprint

June 28, 2019 by  
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London-based firm Proctor & Shaw has just unveiled a stunning country home that blends a traditional farmhouse aesthetic with sleek, modern touches. Set on four idyllic acres at the edge of a small village in North West England, the Zinc House is not only a stunning design but also boasts an impressively small carbon footprint . The three-bedroom family home is a two-story structure comprised of a hand-laid brick base. On top of the base and to its side are two gabled volumes clad in standing seam zinc finishes . Related: A Victorian cottage gets a stylish and sustainable makeover The two gabled volumes add a modern touch to the home’s farmhouse-inspired aesthetic . Both have projecting box windows as well as glass-enclosed garden rooms that provide stunning views of the orchard and expansive farmland that stretches out for miles. The prefab family home has two stories with the social areas on the bottom floor and the master bedroom suite on the top floor. At the family’s request, the spaces were designed to be highly flexible so that they could be reconfigured to meet the family’s future needs. Thanks to interconnecting living spaces and an open plan, the ground floor could be easily converted into one single living space. In addition to its visually pleasing design, the home is also incredibly sustainable. The cross-laminated timber structure was prefabricated off-site, which reduced construction emissions substantially. The materials arrived to the site via truck and the entire structure was erected in just three days. Thanks to its prefab origins as well as strategic passive and active sustainability features, the house is incredibly energy-efficient . For starters,  quality insulation enables it to have an extremely tight envelope, reducing energy costs and providing a stable interior temperature year-round. The orientation of the building was also an important factor in making use of natural light and air circulation. For energy generation, the residence has a large solar array on one of the gabled roofs, and a ground source heat pump was installed to provide heating and additional electricity that results in minimal net running costs for the home. + Proctor & Shaw Via ArchDaily Photography by David Millington Photography Ltd via Proctor & Shaw

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A prefabricated family home boasts an impressively small carbon footprint

Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter

June 14, 2019 by  
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Innovative design start-up Six Miles Across London Limited (small.) has just unveiled an emergency shelter made almost entirely out of upcycled plastic bottles . The Recycled BottleHouse is a pyramid-shaped shelter that was constructed from a bamboo frame covered in discarded plastic bottles. Recently debuted at the Clerkenwell Design Week, the innovative shelter is an example of how a truly circular economy is feasible with just a little design know-how. Related: MIT students find a way to make stronger concrete with plastic bottles Designed to be used for emergencies in remote parts of the world, the Recycled BottleHouse shelter is made out of low-cost, lightweight and sustainably sourced materials and built to be thermally comfortable. The frame of the structure is made out of thin bamboo rods joined together in the form of a tipi. The frame is then entirely covered with discarded plastic bottles filled with hay to provide privacy to the interior. For extra stability, the shelter flooring is made out of bottles filled with sand that are burrowed into the landscape. Next, hollow bottles are placed around the main bamboo frame to create four walls with a front door that swings upward. Inside, the space provides protection from both solar radiation and precipitation. The interior also boasts a lantern made from plastic bottles powered by the shelter’s integrated PV panels . According to small. founder Ricky Sandhu, the emergency shelter was inspired by the need to find feasible and sustainable solutions to the world’s growing plastic problem. Sandhu said, “We believe ‘BottleHouse’ provides a new formula for the world’s growing problem of discarded plastic bottles by transforming them into rapidly deployable, protective and valuable shelters in areas of the world that need them the most and, at the same time, setting a new mission for the rest of the world to think about and contribute to — a new circular economy .” + Six Miles Across London Limited Images via Six Miles Across London Limited

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Upcycled plastic bottles are used to create this durable emergency shelter

McDonalds creates McHives to raise awareness of the world’s decreasing bee populations

May 28, 2019 by  
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Although McDonald’s restaurants are ubiquitous around the world, the popular fast food eateries in Sweden are currently expanding to meet the needs of tiny little clients that have an immeasurable impact on our world — honey bees. As part of a country-wide initiative to raise awareness about the world’s dwindling bee population , various franchises in Sweden are installing fully-functional beehives, known as McHives, on their rooftops. Brainchild of creative agency NORD DDB , the McHive initiative started last year when one McDonald’s franchise owner, Christina Richter, decided to place a small beehive on the restaurant’s rooftop. Now, in collaboration with McDonald’s sustainability office in Sweden, additional franchise owners have decided to follow Richter’s lead and install the 16-inch hives on their own roofs. Related: IKEA teams up with London artists to upcycle old furniture into funky abodes for birds, bees and bats The innovative beehives were designed and built by award winning set designer Nicklas Nilsson. Built to scale, the beekeeping box hives are remarkable in their realistic appearance, complete with the restaurant’s signature Golden Arches. Bees enter the structure through the main entrance and can even enjoy outdoor seating, or if they’re really in a hurry, they can swing by the mini drive-thru. Although there are currently five franchises with McHives on their roofs throughout the country, the first hive was recently auctioned for charity , raising more than $10,000 dollars for the Ronald McDonald House. Christoffer Rönnblad, Marketing director of McDonald’s Sweden, explained that the company was thrilled to join forces with the individual franchises in the name of sustainability . “We have a lot of really devoted franchisees who contribute to our sustainability work, and it feels good that we can use our size to amplify such a great idea as beehives on the rooftops,” Rönnblad said. “This miniature McDonald’s is a tribute to franchisee Christina Richter’s initiative.” + Nord DDB Via Adweek Images via McDonald’s

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McDonalds creates McHives to raise awareness of the world’s decreasing bee populations

UNStudio envisions a Garden City of the 21st Century for India

May 28, 2019 by  
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UNStudio has unveiled designs for Karle Town Center (KTC), a new innovative tech campus in Bangalore, dubbed the “Silicon Valley of India.” Currently under construction, the campus will feature contemporary architecture painted in UNStudio and Monopol Color’s unique and patented ‘Coolest White’ for a striking contrast against Bangalore’s dense green canopy. Resiliency and health are also major themes in the design of KTC, which will not only maximize passive design techniques and feature expanses of green space, but it will also integrate “sensorial technologies” that draw on a user dataset collection to create a more responsive and customizable environment for the betterment of workers and residents alike. Set next to the established Manyata Tech Park, the Karle Town Center enjoys direct access to the city’s ring road arterial and expanding metro lines as well as views over Nagavara Lake. The campus’ mixed program will offer an inviting live/work environment both day and night for residents, employees and visitors. In addition to office and residential space, the KTC Masterplan will include a grand central theater, event square plazas, elevated retail stages and amphitheater -style staircases large enough to accommodate outdoor meetings. The KTC Masterplan is accompanied by the Urban Branding Manual, a purpose-designed document developed by UNStudio that will provide a strategy guide for ensuring the proper execution of the urban vision and design integrity. The Urban Branding Manual for Karle Town Center is centered on three ideas: Garden, Health and Culture. The three pillars aim to “inspire the whole of India to ‘lead by example’ when designing future urban destinations,” UNStudio said in a project statement. Related: UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World” To shape KTC as Bangalore’s “Garden City of the 21st Century,” UNStudio has collaborated with Amsterdam-based BALJON Landscape Architects to create a sustainable and resilient landscape plan that will include semi-public vegetative sky gardens and vegetation along the streetscapes, avenues and the lakefront promenade. The abundance of landscaping will help mitigate the urban heat island effect and filter air pollution. Large underground water retention zones will be used to irrigate the landscaping and store treated gray water. + UNStudio Image via UNStudio

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UNStudio envisions a Garden City of the 21st Century for India

Ultra-rugged, off-grid motorhome is built to go just about anywhere

May 10, 2019 by  
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The bulky BUMO RV might not be the sleekest ride on the market, but its robust design is built to be one of the toughest. Built by a family-owned German company, the all-terrain tiny home is made out of natural materials and can go completely off the grid, allowing those who want to explore the world to do so sustainably. Clad in a warm larch wood facade, the RV is equipped with solar power and a composting toilet, and it can be customized to include a rainwater treatment system and a wood-burning stove. Part tiny home , part cabin, the BUMO’s rugged exterior makes it easy to imagine exploring off the beaten path through deep forests and past soaring mountains. Built with a full aluminum frame, the RV features larch wood cladding that offers strong protection from the elements. Its robust aesthetic conceals a stealthy, self-sustaining system built into its body. Related: Tiny home clad in burnt wood packs a ton of luxury into just 240 square feet Built to be a durable, off-grid expedition vehicle, the BUMO runs on solar power and has plenty of sustainable features that make it 100 percent self-sufficient. In addition to its natural materials, the RV can be custom-equipped with a composting toilet, rainwater treatment systems and a wood-burning stove. Designed to be a comfortable home while on the road, the RV’s floor and roof are sustainably insulated with sheep’s wool, while wood wool made from wood shavings was used in the walls. The living space is clad in stone pine, giving off a cabin-like aesthetic. According to the company, pine was chosen for its claimed abilities to reduce heart rates , eliminate bacteria and promote a general sense of well being. The interior living space of the tiny home on wheels is compact but sufficiently furnished with all of the basics. The living room features a custom, L-shaped sofa that wraps around a dining or working table. There is a spacious kitchen with all of  the typical appliances. A sleeping area and the bathroom are also a tight squeeze, but they get the job done. Oak furniture was used throughout, once again forging a strong connection to the outdoors. + BUMO Via New Atlas Images via BUMO  

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Ultra-rugged, off-grid motorhome is built to go just about anywhere

Eucalyptus screens block out the sun’s harsh rays in this off-grid home

April 24, 2019 by  
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São Paulo-based firm Studio MK27 has unveiled a spectacular home made out of a beautiful blend of natural and prefabricated materials. The Catuçaba House is tucked into the remote rolling hills of Catuçaba, its horizontal volume sitting almost 5,000 feet above sea level. Wanting to forge a strong relationship with its stunning natural surroundings, the architects designed the home with a number of sustainable features to be completely off-grid and low-impact. In fact, the home’s sustainability profile is so impressive that it is the first building in Brazil to earn LEED Platinum certification. The 3,300-square-foot home is a beautiful study in eco-friendly minimalism. The residence, which is a wooden prefab structure , is comprised of an elongated form that sits on a series of pillars. These wooden pillars were carefully embedded into the landscape to reduce the impact on the terrain. Related: This off-grid home on a Greek island provides ‘cinematic frames’ of the sea A wooden deck cantilevers over the hilly topography, creating a large platform that is book-ended by two adobe walls made from local soil. As a passive feature , sliding shades made out of eucalyptus branches cover the floor-to-ceiling front facade and filter light through the interior, offering a vibrant movement of shadows and light in the living space. Further integrating the design into its natural surroundings, the architects covered the home’s roof in native greenery. Like the home’s exterior, the interior is marked by wood finishes throughout, all of which are certified as sustainably-sourced lumber . The living and private spaces are designated by interior wooden frames filled with eco-friendly wool insulation. The rustic decor continues with exposed wooden ceilings, clay flooring, white walls and wood-burning stoves. Because of its remote location, the house has no access to grid electricity or water; therefore, it operates completely off-grid. Solar panels on the roof, along with a nearby wind turbine, generate enough energy for the residence’s needs. Drinking water is collected from a nearby spring. Additionally, the house was installed with an integrated rainwater collection system which routes gray water to irrigate the garden. The sustainable Catuçaba home was completed in 2016 and has since earned a number of accolades. It is the first building in Brazil to earn LEED Platinum certification from the Green Building Council. + Studio MK27  Via Dezeen Photography by Fernando Guerra via Studio MK27

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Eucalyptus screens block out the sun’s harsh rays in this off-grid home

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