Prefabricated garden retreat snaps together in less than a week

February 10, 2017 by  
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If your dream garden look like something from a fantasy world, you’ll love this Dragonfly Pavilion built for a backyard in Hoboken, New Jersey. Built from sustainably harvested and FSC-certified Sapele mahogany and recycled aluminum, this beautifully intricate garden shed takes inspiration from the complex pattern of butterfly and dragonfly wings. New York-based CDR Studio Architects designed this prefabricated backyard retreat, which took less than one week to install. Prefabricated by SITU Fabrication , Dragonfly Pavilion is made with a recycled aluminum frame clad in Sapele lumber and large sections of glazing. A single timber bench is built into the interior while a laminated-tempered glass sits on the roof. The glazing is broken up by a gradient of complex geometric shapes, or cells, that give the structure its delicate, dragonfly wing-like appearance. “These cells are more than just aesthetically appealing,” write the architects. “Their shape and size respond directly to the forces acting on it.” Related: Glowing bamboo pavilion promotes ecological design in Hong Kong The wing-like pattern was derived from a computer-generated algorithm. Mosquito netting is also installed on the interior of the mahogany cells, giving the structure a second, inner skin. The Dragonfly Pavilion’s simple rectangular form allows for a variety of programs, from use as a yoga studio to a small dining area. The pavilion was prefabricated offsite and then reassembled onsite in less than one week. + CDR Studio Architects Photography by John Muggenborg

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Prefabricated garden retreat snaps together in less than a week

New material converts sunlight, heat, and movement into electricityat the same time

February 10, 2017 by  
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Like harnessing the power of the sun or getting a charge from physical movement, the conversion of ambient energy into electricity is getting pretty old hat. Tapping multiple sources simultaneously, on the other hand, is something else altogether. The secret was under our noses this whole time. While minerals known as perovskites have shown promise for extracting one or two types of energy concurrently, one particular member of that family leaves them in the shade by distilling sunlight, heat, and movement into electricity at once. Like all perovskites, KBNNO is ferroelectric in nature. This means it contains tiny electric dipoles, packed with positive charges on one end and negative charges on the other, according to scientists from University of Oulu , who described the material in the journal Applied Physics Letters this week. Changes in temperature coaxes these dipoles to shift, which in turn induces an electric current. Likewise, mechanical stress causes parts of the material to attract or repel charges, producing another current. KBNNO’s photovoltaic and ferroelectric properties have been the subject of prior research, but the Oulu study marks the first time anyone has evaluated properties relating to temperature and pressure. Previous studies also operated at temperatures hundreds of degrees below freezing, rather than above room temperature, as the latest experiments did. Related: Piezoelectric device harvests wasted heat energy from tech Still, there was one wrinkle: Although KBNNO proved “reasonably good” at generating electricity from heat and pressure, scientists didn’t think it quite measured up to its fellow perovskites—at least, not without some tinkering, say by preparing KBNNO with sodium to amplify certain piezoelectric or pyroelectric properties. “It is possible that all these properties can be tuned to a maximum point,” Yang Bai, who led the study, said in a statement. By next year, Bai and his team say they hope to construct a prototype of a multi-energy-harvesting device – one that could render batteries for portable devices obsolete. He said, “This will push the development of the Internet of Things and smart cities, where power-consuming sensors and devices can be energy sustainable”. + American Institute of Physics Via PhysOrg Photos by Arcadiuš and TimOve

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New material converts sunlight, heat, and movement into electricityat the same time

Desert Rain House in Oregon is one of the greenest homes in the world

February 10, 2017 by  
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There’s a new contender for the world’s greenest home: Desert Rain House in Bend, Oregon . Designed by Tozer Design , the LEED Platinum home recycles all its water, produces more power than it can use, and it is the first residential compound to be certified by the Living Building Challenge . Solar panels and a rainwater collection cistern help this super green home pioneer a new paradigm for sustainable family living. The five-building Desert Rain House boasts seriously environmentally friendly features. Human waste is composted thanks to a central composting system, and greywater is reused for irrigation via a constructed wetland. Natural and local materials comprise the elegant dwellings; reclaimed lumber and plaster made with local clay, sand, and straw are among the sustainable building materials utilized. Related: Kansas University students build net-zero home with LEED Platinum and Passive House certification Materials from old buildings that once occupied the site were repurposed for Desert Rain House, such as old stone salvaged from old foundations and used in concrete for patios. The team that built the home looked for ways to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. For example, instead of having a manufacturer ship them roofing panels, the team assembled roofing onsite from a large roll of steel. Red List-compliant sealants and finishes also make for a non-toxic environment. Indoors the air is clear: not only can the owners open large windows for air circulation, but a waste heat-capturing energy recovery ventilator also means fresh air continually wafts through the main residence. Three homes and two out-buildings add up to 4,810 square feet situated on 0.7 acres. Elliott Scott, who owns the home with his wife Barbara, said in a statement, “We can’t continue thinking we are building a better world by making a ‘less bad’ version of the world we have created. The Living Building Challenge forces us to think in terms of a new paradigm.” + Tozer Design + Desert Rain House Via International Living Future Institute and Curbed Images via Desert Rain House Facebook and Desert Rain House

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Desert Rain House in Oregon is one of the greenest homes in the world

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