Sleep in this restored WWII air control tower full of historic charm

February 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A unique Airbnb listing in Scotland is inviting guests to stay at an amazing restored WWII air traffic control tower. Located in the Scottish Highlands area of Tain, the HMS OWL Air Control Tower dates back to the second world war, when it was used as an airbase for planes coming in and out of the country. Now, the tower has been renovated into a vibrant guesthouse with design features that pay homage to its military past. The old air tower is located in Tain, a former WWII air base that sits adjacent to the North Coast 500 Scenic Route. The former military structure was bought by Justin Hooper and Charlotte Seddon, who converted it into their family home. The family lives on the first three floors, but the top floor of the building is available for rent starting around $100 per night. Related: Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower The five-year renovation process was extensive, but the couple went to extreme lengths to retain the military character of the building. To blend the tower into the expansive grassy landscape, Justin and Charlotte painted the exterior a jet black. They also left the original steel-framed Crittal windows that let in optimal natural light into the property. On the interior, large concrete pillars and exposed brickwork gives the living atmosphere a chic,  industrial feel. Large leather sofas and chairs, along with a wood-burning stove, make the living space extra warm and inviting. The top floor’s  unique guest room sleeps up to two people in a comfortable king-sized bed and beautiful en suite. The room has plenty of large windows to let in natural light as well as to offer the stunning views of the Scottish countryside. + HMS OWL Air Control Tower Via Curbed Images via HMS OWL Air Control Tower

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Sleep in this restored WWII air control tower full of historic charm

A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Vilnius-based IM Interior has proven once again that great design doesn’t need a lot of space. The architects recently revamped an old garage in the Lithuanian capital into a stunning micro home clad in a weathered steel. The 226-square-foot space was also completely made-over with a warm birch wood interior cladding and recessed lighting to create a modern and comfortable living space. While many critics argue that micro housing is not a feasible solution to soaring real estate prices around the world, the micro home trend continues to grow, much to the delight of minimalists. Regarding IM Interior’s recent project, founder Indr? Mylyt?-Sinkevi?ien? explained that the inspiration behind the micro garage was to demonstrate another way of life. “I wanted to show how little a person needs,” he said. Related: Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining Located in the Lithuanian capital, the ultra tiny home was really built from nothing but a skeleton structure. Connected to a dilapidated building that had been vacant for years, the corner garage was a forgotten piece of property. To breathe new life into the space, the architects clad the compact structure in weathered steel . They also added new windows and a new door to convert the empty garage into a truly comfortable home. Although the weathered metal exterior gives the design a cool,  industrial vibe on the outside, the interior living space by contrast is bright and airy. The living area, dining room and bedroom are all located in one open layout. Two large narrow windows, one over the bed and the other in the kitchen, frame the urban views. Recessed lighting was installed throughout the home, which is clad in warm birch wood, to create a soothing atmosphere. To maintain a clutter-free interior, custom-made furniture provides plenty of concealed storage space. Sitting under the large window, the bed pulls double duty as a sofa , which is also surrounded by built-in storage. Additional seating is found in the hanging wicker chair, adding a bit of whimsy to the design. Like most of the living space, the kitchen is clean and minimalist  but was built with plenty of counter space. The bathroom, although quite compact, features triangular black and white tiling, further lending to the modern aesthetic. + IM Interior Via Dezeen Images via IM Interior

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A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home

Global warming makes 2018 the 4th hottest year ever

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

U.S. officials have confirmed that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA just revealed that temperatures were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the worldwide average, which includes temperatures between 1951 and 1980. Temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest of any year since 1880. That places 2018 slightly behind the top three average temperatures on record: 2016, 2017 and 2015, respectively. According to The Guardian , the rise in temperatures affects more than just the heat index. Global warming also raises sea levels and spawns increasingly extreme weather patterns. In 2018, for example, the U.S. witnessed two of the worst hurricanes on record, while wildfires devastated California. Elsewhere around the globe, India experienced massive flooding, while a disastrous typhoon hit the Philippines. Greece and Sweden also suffered deadly wildfires , and the Arctic had one of the warmest years ever. In fact, scientists warn that the Arctic is experiencing double the warming rate of any other region on Earth. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 “2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” NASA’s Gavin Schmidt explained. “The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding , heatwaves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change.” With global warming not showing any signs of slowing down, scientists believe hotter temperatures are the new norm. This year has already begun with El Niño in the forecast, which means it could be even hotter than last year. Unless carbon emissions are drastically cut within the next decade, it is possible that we see another record setting year between now and 2023. Even if governments around the world exceed expectations in cutting  carbon emissions, slowing global warming will be difficult. Even more disturbing is the fact that we have seen 18 of the 19 hottest years since 2001. For reference, children who are now graduating from high school have only experienced record-setting temperatures. Last year was the fourth hottest year on record, but it may turn out to be a mild one for future generations. Via The Guardian Image via Pixel2013

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Global warming makes 2018 the 4th hottest year ever

ODA to transform Rotterdams historic post office into a vibrant destination

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

After sitting vacant for over a decade, Rotterdam’s former Central Post Office, the Postkantoor, will soon undergo an extraordinary transformation into a vibrant, mixed-use destination. Designed by ODA New York , the adaptive reuse project will span 58,000 square meters and sensitively restore the building’s early 20th century architecture while injecting new programming ranging from retail to a five-star hotel. ODA will work in close collaboration with local architecture firm Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau in addition to Omnam Investment Group to create POST Rotterdam, a civic hub that’s slated to begin construction in 2019. Built in 1916, Rotterdam’s former Central Post Office is one of the only original structures left standing after the 1940 Rotterdam Blitz that decimated much of the city’s historic core. ODA New York was tapped to revive the building with a mixed-use design that mixes new construction with preservation efforts, from the new 150-meter tower that will rise at the rear of the Postkantoor to the restoration of the dramatically vaulted 1916 Great Hall, which will serve as the project’s public heart. Public amenities will reactivate the building’s curbside appeal and include retail, gallery spaces, restaurants and cafes woven throughout the hall and courtyard spaces. A five-star hotel operated by Kimpton will take over the upper floors that formerly housed the Post Office’s telegraph and telephone services. The renovated Postkantoor will be accessible from every side and not only offer open sight lines to the Coolsingel and Rodezand streets, but also serve as a bustling city hub and connection between Rotterdam Centraal to Markthal. Related: This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste “We believe that it’s time for the POST to stand not only as a memory, but also as an expression of the strength of Rotterdam today as a vibrant, connected, center of culture, renewal, and quality of life. We believe that the hidden treasures that it holds should be shared by all citizens,” says Eran Chen, Executive Director at ODA. “The POST tower is a reinterpretation of both urban living and the Post Office’s architectural assets, extending the elegance of the main hall through to the tower. This modern addition to the Ensemble Buildings in the Coolsingel district is based on an extremely rigorous investigation combined with the expertise gained over two years working with city partners.” + ODA New York Images by Forbes Massie via ODA New York

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ODA to transform Rotterdams historic post office into a vibrant destination

This Australian property was redesigned with a sustainable, lush garden

February 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Shoreham House in Victoria, Australia was designed in the early 2000’s, but was in need of an update to the overall structure and gardens. The new architects wanted to update the home with sustainability in mind while respecting the original designers and builders. According to Tim Spicer Architects, “The renovation and addition needed a sensitive, well considered approach to create unity between the old and the new, without the obvious signature of new Architects. The design intent was to update what was already a beautiful house, yet make it feel like it had been built at the same time.” The new landscape takes full advantage of the lush surroundings, something that went slightly overlooked in the original design. It utilizes a deep water bore to provide water to the gardens, rather than using the local town water to irrigate. The 50-meter bore has the power to provide the landscape with 20,000 liters of water in a day. In addition to the sustainable garden, the architects also replaced the old halogen lighting in the house with new LED lighting, which is more energy efficient and longer-lasting. The new hot water system is solar-powered, and the windows have new Low-E coating which works to minimize the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light without losing visibility. They also installed new eco-friendly high R-value insulation and a new ducted combustion fireplace to make the structure more energy efficient overall. Related: A midcentury warehouse becomes a vibrant office for creatives Designers faced the difficult task of connecting the new guest wing to the master area without compromising privacy. As a result, they created a whole new staircase leading from the dining room and past the master staircase. The project was a challenging feat for the builders who used hand tools to blast through the bedrock under the house in order to construct the second staircase. To connect the master and newly-designed guest wings, the architects created a glazed bridge walkway, make-shifting a courtyard garden area with new meandering paths and green spaces. The house now has new large windows and glazed doors that allow for beautiful, sweeping views of the gardens from the inside. In the original house, the master area deck already had views of the ocean . With the intent of making the view more accessible to guests, the architects installed a “slow stair” between the master deck and ground floor courtyard. Via Archdaily Images via Tim Spicer Architects

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This Australian property was redesigned with a sustainable, lush garden

Top 10 states for LEED green buildings in 2018

February 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has officially revealed the Top 10 states for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) certification. The states that led the country in LEED standards constructed over 468 million square feet of green building space for a population of 128 million people. The USGBC has high standards when it comes to LEED certification. Buildings that fall under the LEED umbrella have a small carbon footprint, are energy efficient, use less water and are affordable for family and businesses. The new top 10 list corresponds with the newest rating framework, LEED v4.1, which places a higher priority on gathering statistics. Illinois led the pack of the top 10 LEED states in the country. Last year, Illinois had 172 projects that adhered to LEED standards. One of the more interesting projects to come out of the state was the Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, which was built on an older campus and features more than 700 doctors. Related: LEED Gold Gateway Arch Museum sports a 3-acre green roof in St. Louis The most popular reasons for building eco-friendly LEED homes are demand and health concerns. Not only are green buildings better for the environment , but they also improve the health of occupants by increasing the quality of air and water. With LEED being the worldwide standard for best green building practices, the trend is catching on. Massachusetts came in second on the list and is a great example of how schools are incorporating LEED standards into their building practices. The state’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School was certified LEED Platinum for being energy efficient and using its building to teach students about sustainable living. Other states that made it onto the list include Washington, New York, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, California and Maryland. Several states, such as Illinois, Maryland, New York, Colorado, Virginia, California and Maryland, were also in the top 10 in 2017. Via Living Standard ,  USGBC Image via USGBC

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Top 10 states for LEED green buildings in 2018

Energy-efficient villa in Portugal uses locally sourced cork for insulation

February 5, 2019 by  
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When tasked with reforming an existing home for an older couple looking to live out their retirement years in picturesque Algarve, Portugal, local firm Core Architects looked to make the structure as energy-efficient as possible. In addition to converting the previously two-story home into a one-story reborn as Villa GK, the architects used various ecological building materials such as cork insulation and travertine rock, which were both locally-sourced. The homeowners had visited Algarve for years, but when it came to living there full-time, they knew that they had to reform the two-story home to adjust to their comfort levels as they aged. Working closely with the couple, the architects created a plan that would turn the 2,000-square-foot home into a more open, one-story layout. To do this, the team decided to slope the home and add an outdoor staircase that leads to the garden, complete with a putting course. Related: A modern vacation retreat is embedded into the rolling hills of southern Portugal The home’s new layout not only helped create a flowing living space, but it was also orientated to take advantage of the sun’s position . Additionally, the architects were able to optimize cross-ventilation for the interior. A large glazed facade looks out over the swimming pool and, of course, stunning views of the sea in the distance. To create an energy-efficient home that would keep the interior temperature comfortable and reduce energy costs, the home was built with concrete and clad in heat-efficient clay blocks. This system not only added a tight thermal shell, but it also made the home more secure in case of an earthquake, which are somewhat common in the area. According to the architects,”In our projects we only use thermal clay tiles with mortar-free butt jointing. These are produced in Portugal and are fast and easy to work with. Their thermal performance is more than twice as efficient than the traditional bricks that are conventionally used.” They used locally-sourced cork boards and cork caulking to further insulate the home. The home was also installed with a solar thermal system for heating water. The interior living space is bright and airy with optimal natural light reaching each room. A neutral color palette of all-white gives the space a sleek, Mediterranean feel. The living room runs into an open kitchen, which features a beautiful island made out of locally-sourced travertine. + Core Architects Via Dwell Photography by Alexander Bogorodskiy via Core Architects  

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Energy-efficient villa in Portugal uses locally sourced cork for insulation

It’s time to decide: clean your room or plant a tree

February 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Are luxury and sustainability compatible? The Parq Vancouver complex in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia strives to have it all by balancing two luxury hotels, a casino and eight restaurants with LEED gold standards and a host of environmental initiatives, including the option to forgo one common hotel amenity in favor of a greener option. One of the Parq’s newer programs is a twist on skipping housekeeping in favor of an alternative reward, something becoming more popular among hotels . At the Parq , when a guest checks in for more than two nights, they can skip room cleaning and opt instead for either 500 bonus Marriott points per night or having a tree planted. That’s one tree for every two nights. If they stayed at the hotel long enough, soon they’d foster a small grove. Related: Meet the teen planting 150 trees for every person on Earth To personalize the tree planting program, the Parq allows guests to include their names or dedicate the seedling to somebody else. This information appears on a webpage showing a cartoon version of the forest, including where the tree is planted and to whom it’s dedicated. Workers plant the trees in the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area near Calgary, Alberta. Cutting down on hotel housekeeping is better for both the environment and the hotel’s operating costs. Less frequent washing of towels and bedding means decreased water usage and fewer chemicals dripping into sewers. “You get the benefit of not using cleaning chemicals in the rest of the room,” Jeanne Marie Varney, who teaches courses on sustainability at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, told the New York Times . “Not running vacuum cleaners saves energy .” The Parq, open since late 2017, also offers an unusual 30,000-square-foot park on its sixth floor, designed by landscape artist Christopher Phillips of PFS Studio. This elevated park combines an oxygen hit from more than 200 pine trees with dramatic views of Vancouver’s skyline. If that’s not enough green space , travelers can visit next door province Alberta to look for the tree that exists because they skipped room cleaning. The Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area welcomes hikers and snowshoers. + Parq Vancouver Via New York Times Images via Heiko Stein

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It’s time to decide: clean your room or plant a tree

A Victorian cottage gets a stylish and sustainable makeover

January 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

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In one of its latest eco-conscious retrofits, Australian architecture firm Green Sheep Collective has given a single-fronted timber Victorian cottage a sustainable transformation in inner Melbourne. The renovation and expansion project combined recycled and eco-certified materials with low-tech, passive solar principles to reduce the carbon footprint of the home while improving livability. Filled with light and contemporary flourishes, the updated house — named Magnolia Soul — has also been designed to embrace the outdoors. Commissioned by a young family with pets, Magnolia Soul was designed with an emphasis on spacious indoor-outdoor living as well as healthy and eco-friendly materials. During the renovation, the architects preserved a mature magnolia tree — a stunning Magnolia x soulangeana — and turned it into a main focal point. In addition to the tree, the existing property conditions also informed the building’s siting, mass and volume, which were all optimized to follow passive solar principles. Moreover, the building footprint is minimized in favor of maximizing the garden area. “A unique folding roof form envelopes and cradles robust living spaces, whose lowered floor level is embraced by adjacent decking,” the architects explained, having created a flexible open-plan interior layout with strong sight lines to the outdoors. “Views of the magnolia tree are intentionally framed by the roof structure, through a high-angled window and bay window seat. The generous and versatile window seat creates a lovely place to relax, read a book, admire the flowering magnolia or sit on the edge of the garden. High angular ceilings offer views of the magnolia, allow dappled light to penetrate deep into the residence and provide stack effect ventilation.” Related: Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia The home is oriented for optimal thermal comfort : north-facing windows draw in natural heat for winter, while deep eaves and strategically placed windows for cross ventilation combat unwanted summer heat gain. Low-E double glazing and effective insulation also accommodate a temperate climate. Recycled, low-emission and ethnically procured materials were used wherever possible. For added resource savings, the home is equipped with a rainwater tank that reuses roof runoff for the laundry and toilets. + Green Sheep Collective Photography by Emma Cross via Green Sheep Collective

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A Victorian cottage gets a stylish and sustainable makeover

An old post office is reborn as a bright and breezy beach house

January 9, 2019 by  
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A former post office has been revived as a bright and breezy beach house in Breamlea, Australia. Designed by St. Kilda-based design firm OOF! Architecture , the modern makeover—dubbed the Green Shutter House—was created for clients who had already adapted the post office into a home but were frustrated with the building’s lack of connection with the outdoors. The renovation process opened the front of the house up to waterfront views while introducing more natural light and ventilation to the interior for improved energy savings. Oriented northwards, the Green Shutter House is located on a spit of land sandwiched between a surf beach and marsh wetlands . As a former post office, the original building had boxy dimensions and few views of the outdoors. To connect the home with the landscape, the architects removed the existing high-silled windows and cut the entire front of the house open to create a veranda-like space on the ground floor. An eye-catching addition of green shutters protects the veranda-like space from the searing sun. “The green shutters may look a bit random if you just look at them from outside but we tried to make all the work here from the inside out so it’s the interior view that counts,” the architects explain. “The shutters are all about being on the inside looking out— how the views are framed, how the light is filtered, how the variegated green of the shutter frames sit against the landscape of the wetlands. When they’re open, they also provide a sort of ‘spaceframe’ density to the façade like a verandah when we had no room – or budget – to build a verandah.” Related: Historic Copenhagen post office transformed into a beautiful mixed-use hub To keep within the modest budget, the architects used a palette of robust and low maintenance natural materials . Plywood was used for the interior joinery, while stone was chosen for the countertops. Salvaged barn doors were also installed. The shiplap ceilings were retained to reinforce the home’s beach vibes. The interior was also rearranged for a more spacious open-plan layout. + OOF! Architecture Images by Tatjana Plitt

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An old post office is reborn as a bright and breezy beach house

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