Green-roofed home embraces valley views and daylight

January 7, 2021 by  
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On the steep banks of the Dyje River in the Czech town of Znojmo, Brno-based architecture firm Kuba & Pila? architekti has completed the Family House in the River Valley, a contemporary, geothermal-powered home topped with a lush green roof. Set on a narrow, rectangular plot, the waterfront home complements its neighbors with its simple form, yet it stands out with a modern materials palette that includes a structure of reinforced concrete and steel clad in black aluminum sheets. Access to natural light and views toward the slope and the river largely dictated the design of the home. Completed after 9 years of design and construction, the Family House in the River Valley comprises three floors that face the Dyje River and one floor that faces the slope. The north-facing side of the home is topped with a sharply angled green roof that feels like an extension of the steep, grassy slope and culminates into a rising garden above the home. Related: Modular home in Delft boasts low-carbon timber build and a green roof Unlike the layout of a conventional home, the Family House in the River Valley places the living areas on the top floor and the bedrooms down below. “The living space benefits from the absence of partition, which creates two advantages,” the architects explained. “One, the sunlight floods the room from the southern side, from the garden through the glass wall in the dining area. Two, to the north, it offers impressive views of the valley. It is the beautiful views of the Dyje River valley and the opposite rocky slopes with important historical monuments of Znojmo that are the main strengths of this site.” The interior is kept minimalist so as not to detract from the beautiful landscape views. Large, aluminum-framed windows usher in these vistas and natural light. To create an indoor-outdoor experience, the architects connected the living space to an outdoor terrace and the garden on the south side, which can also be accessed via an outdoor staircase. + Kuba & Pila? architekti Photography by BoysPlayNice

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Green-roofed home embraces valley views and daylight

This modular prefab office space offers sustainable solutions

December 30, 2020 by  
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London studio Boano Prišmontas is no stranger to projects that highlight sustainable  workspaces . Once the pandemic hit, the need for affordable, easy-to-assemble remote work solutions became even more urgent. Enter “My Room in The Garden,” a low-cost prefab home office that can fit a yard of any size and takes less than a day to install. Although many countries around the world have already eased  COVID-19  lockdown restrictions, there are still a huge number of people working from home without a clear idea of when they’ll be returning to the office. Spouses are sharing spaces with their children, setting up makeshift desks in the living room or on the couch (not the best way to stay productive or comfortable during times of uncertainty). “My Room in The Garden” offers a great solution to workers who might not have the time or money to invest in long term changes to the home. Related: Work from home in this minimalist, modular 15-sided cabin Boano Prišmontas believes that the solution can be found outside the home rather than inside since many London houses have backyard gardens, courtyards, shared amenity spaces, pocket parks and even rooftops that provide additional space. The idea isn’t just for individuals, either, but for  businesses  wishing to reduce rent costs for big offices by purchasing home office pods for their employees instead. Basic modules start at £5K for 1.8×2.4 meters of space and can be customized according to need. All versions come at a fixed height of 2.5 meters — the max height of a structure that doesn’t require planning permission. The standard finish for the pods includes corrugated clear polycarbonate cladding to protect the interior from the elements while still allowing  natural light  to flood the space. Thanks to the modular design, the wall options range from peg wall finishes and mirrors to plain or decorated  wood , all according to the customer’s taste. Higher spec modules can include energy-efficient insulated walls, roofs or floor panels as well as glass doors or windows for an extra cost. Even better, each component of the home office is created with minimal material waste through geometrically efficient design. + My Room in the Garden Via Dwell Images via Boano Prišmontas

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This modular prefab office space offers sustainable solutions

Bright and airy Sycamore tiny house hits the market for $90k

December 30, 2020 by  
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Wichita-based tiny house builder Made Relative recently unveiled its fourth custom home — Sycamore, a 320-square-foot dwelling that’s now available for $90,000. Crafted by cousins Reid and Kale, the new tiny home features natural timbers throughout the design in addition to an abundance of natural light and an open layout. The home also comes partially furnished with custom built-ins, select lighting and custom furniture pieces. Named after the use of sycamore in the interior, the Sycamore tiny house includes a mix of timber types from the tongue-and-groove cedar siding on the exterior to the engineered and waterproof hickory tongue-and-groove floors found in the living area. The warm timber palette is complemented with copper accents peppered throughout, such as the two copper bar stools that pull up to the sycamore bar and custom copper railings for the loft spaces. Related: The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste For a bright and airy feel, Made Relative wrapped the interior with white shiplap and birch and inserted 11 windows that let in daylight and open up for natural ventilation. At the heart of the home is the kitchen, which features a 2-inch thick elm countertop and a 30-inch, full-size gas range. The bar and dining space sit opposite the kitchen. On one end of the home is the bathroom tucked behind a custom wood herringbone door and on the other is the living room. This living space is organized around an elm entertainment center and includes a custom peach-colored velvet couch that can be easily converted into a bed. To maximize storage, the designers integrated three large cabinets into a switchback staircase that leads up to the main loft, an 80-square-foot elevated space with dimmable overhead LEDs and enough space for storage and a queen-sized mattress. A ladder leads up to the secondary, 32-square-foot loft that can be used as another sleeping space or for storage. + Made Relative Images via Made Relative

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Bright and airy Sycamore tiny house hits the market for $90k

This plastic-free, organic personal care kit is ‘All Good’

December 25, 2020 by  
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When they say it’s All Good, this ethical body care company means it’s good for you and the planet. In addition to the company’s notable organic products previously highlighted in a variety of publications, All Good has now taken the extra step to remove all plastic from the products and shipping packaging in its newest two releases. All Good began in 2006 with the mission to do good. Since its inception, the company has become a member of 1% for the Planet, the J.E.D.I Collaborative and many other industry partnerships for environmental and social justice. Plus, All Good has earned the coveted B-Corp Certification. Related: How your beauty routine might be killing sharks All Good’s newest products Recently, All Good unveiled the Plastic Free Body Care Set, a set of organic body care products packaged with zero waste . It features All Good Goop Skin Relief Balm, reef-friendly SPF 50 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Butter, nourishing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion and a hydrating Coconut Lip Balm. Each item is housed in glass, paper or metal containers and presented in an unbleached canvas travel pouch, making everything reusable, recyclable and biodegradable. While the switch to sustainable outer packaging is a direct response to requests from consumers, the company’s product ingredients are plant-based and organically grown, some harvested from All Good’s own farm. The brand’s commitment to staying away from harmful ingredients means no oxybenzone, gluten, phthalates or parabens. Ingredients grown on the company’s farm rely on regenerative agricultural practices in alignment with sustainable practices. Many products are made in a solar-powered community kitchen. A second product release, called the Get Glowing Lip and Cheek Tint collection, is equally botanically and organically formulated with a focus on ingredients like shea butter and avocado oil, as well as calendula harvested from the same organic farm near Morro Bay, California. The kit includes four colors of blush: rosy beige, coral golden pink, jam berry and shimmer to match any mood. They are packaged in recyclable glass jars. Each of these products is reef-friendly and provides broad spectrum SPF 15 protection. Is All Good really all good? All Good offered to send me a sample kit for review and promptly shipped the Plastic Free Body Care Set. I should start by saying I’m not much of a skincare aficionado and would go so far as to say that my lack of a skincare routine makes my skin health-conscious daughter cringe. However, I am dedicated to sun protection in the form of sunscreen and lip care, so I was excited to dig into my kit. The packaging the kit was sent in was minimalistic , plastic-free and recyclable as expected. The canvas bag is really cute in a very natural way. The statement is clear with the plain earthy colors, and the adorable little turtle is a nice touch and personal favorite of mine. I first grabbed for the Goop Skin Relief Balm. This was my favorite product for a very simple reason — I love the scent. Made with organic herbs and olive oil, I wouldn’t really call it scented. It just smells nourishing, and it is. Since I had just spent the weekend hauling wood for my home’s fireplaces, I had plenty of battle wounds to nurture. The compound is buttery without being greasy. It made my rough knuckles and scraped arms soft and a bit shimmery. Even though I liked the aroma, it was a bit strong for me. However, I’d put myself in the category of extremely scent-sensitive, so the power of the product’s scent might not be a problem for everyone. Next, I reached for the Coconut Body Lotion. I found the consistency luxurious. Although it’s made with cocoa butter and rosehip oil, it doesn’t leave an oily residue. My dry skin (remember aforementioned fireplaces) drank it in willingly, and the results were immediate. The hand and body lotion is high-quality. A little goes a long way, and a single application left my hands feeling soft and looking supple for hours — even with all the handwashing. Unfortunately the coconut smell was a little strong for me, although I imagine most people would find it to be subtle. If you like coconut, you would probably describe it as pleasant. My daughter immediately rehomed it as a favor to my senses, or so she says. I moved on to the reef-friendly, SPF 50 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Butter. While the lotion and Goop came in glass jars, the sunscreen is housed in a tin. It’s recently been 36°F and cloudy, so I wasn’t able to test it at the beach; All Good reports it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The tint looks dark but was subtle when applied to my off-season pale skin. It is a butter, so it has a slightly heavy feel. Although I would say it felt a bit greasy, I can see how that is beneficial for the sunscreen protection requirements. Lastly was the Hydrating Coconut Lip Balm. Admittedly, I am obsessed with lip-moisturizing products. What I lack in skincare products, I make up for in readily-available lip balms in every corner of my home and car. This lip balm lives up to the name. It’s hydrating, nourishing and unequivocally coconut. I loved the texture and moisturizing aspects, but, again, the scent was too much for me. My teenage son quickly adopted it and reports he loves the way it smells and feels on his lips. The packaging is unique to any roll-up lip balm I’ve used, and I deeply appreciate the design away from plastic. In addition to the products, the kit came with a nice message from the company, printed on a seed paper you can plant and watch grow into wildflowers. I thought this was a lovely touch and dynamic way to show the All Good commitment to a sustainable business model. + All Good Images via All Good and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by All Good. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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A friendly rescue dog inspired this sustainable home remodel

December 25, 2020 by  
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This property in Lithuania is shared by “the real owner of the area,” a rescue dog named Brownie. According to the architects at Arches, the firm responsible for the sustainable home remodel , the calm dog was the first to greet them when they initially came to visit the site. Apparently, Brownie had been there longer than the current owners. Years ago, the former owners noticed a lost stray on their property and decided to feed and shelter the dog while letting him come and go as he pleased. When the owners sold the home and moved away, Brownie stayed loyal to the place, even sticking around waiting patiently through the construction period. Brownie has since become a beloved and well-known dog in the area, and he has remained on-patrol on the property with the new owners, helping to greet visitors. Related: Get away from it all in this tiny hut tucked into a Lithuanian forest The project focused on reconstructing the existing older buildings to better compliment that picturesque landscape. There is a main residential house located in the upper area of the site as well as a separate storehouse sitting on the lower part. A granite pavement connects the two with some newly planted pines to continue the undergrowth of the former trees. Only ecological and sustainable materials are used in the project. The facades, made from natural cedar , are what help give this project its name of Cedar House. The window and door details are made from copper. The materials offer a traditional and reliable option by giving long-lasting protection. Pinewood is used for the main construction of both buildings, and the designers chose natural wood wool for the heat insulation. Clay plaster , a locally sourced material, covers the inner walls. Cedar House requires minimal interventions and helps celebrate the natural context of its surroundings, including Brownie the loyal watchdog. + Arches Photography by Norbert Tukaj via Arches

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A friendly rescue dog inspired this sustainable home remodel

Wow, You Can Recycle That?

December 22, 2020 by  
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We hear all the time about recycling plastic bottles and … The post Wow, You Can Recycle That? appeared first on Earth 911.

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Luxury timber home mimics a rocky outcropping for minimal site impact

December 18, 2020 by  
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As part of an ongoing series to promote the eco-friendly use of renewable materials, Montreal-based studio Natalie Dionne Architecture has completed the Forest House I, a low-impact luxury home that celebrates timber inside and out. Set atop an outcrop of the Canadian Shield in the forested Eastern Townships, roughly 100 kilometers southeast of Montreal , the recently completed dwelling was commissioned by a couple who had long dreamed of a home in the heart of nature. In addition to a predominately timber palette, the architects inserted large glazing and outdoor living spaces to achieve a seamless transition between the indoors and out. Though rich in natural beauty, the client’s 3-acre property posed major siting challenges in the beginning due to suboptimal orientation and the presence of many rocky outcrops. Rather than fill in the landscape with concrete, the architects took inspiration from a “particularly impractical” 3-meter-tall rock formation to devise an elevated design solution that would not only minimize site impact to the existing terrain but would also improve the home’s access to views and natural light. Related: This timber-clad cabin appears to hover over an idyllic lake landscape Wrapped in low-maintenance eastern white cedar pretreated to encourage a silvery gray patina , the linear, 215-square-meter home rises out of the landscape like a rocky outcropping that is anchored on one end atop a base where a rock once stood. The other end, which is supported by slim columns, appears to hover over the rocky cleft and culminates in a partially sheltered terrace pointing toward a moss-covered escarpment. Glazed sliding doors allow for an uninterrupted transition between the outdoor living area and indoor kitchen, dining room and living room. The couple’s bedroom suite is tucked away on the southern end of the house. A staircase leads down to the smaller ground floor, where the entrance hall and a bunkroom — capable of accommodating up to 10 guests — are located.  Views of the forest are pulled indoors by floor-to-ceiling glazing, and a variety of timber surfaces reinforce the design’s connection with nature. Solid maple was used for the kitchen islands as well as for the vanities and stairs. The built-in cabinetry is constructed from Russian plywood. The timber palette is harmoniously integrated with polished concrete floors, white gypsum walls and natural aluminum windows. + Natalie Dionne Architecture Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau via Natalie Dionne Architecture

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Luxury timber home mimics a rocky outcropping for minimal site impact

The Good Life House uses passive design for year-round comfort in Melbourne

December 17, 2020 by  
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When Mark and Kate approached Brunswick-based firm MRTN Architects to design a new, energy-efficient home for their family of five in Fairfield, they brought with them a wealth of design ideas that included memories of family farm visits and the eco-friendly Alistair Knox houses that they had considered purchasing previously. The resulting home — dubbed the Good Life House — thoughtfully integrates those stylistic influences into a contemporary design that also references the Californian Bungalow and Arts and Crafts houses typical to the Fairfield suburb. Sustainability also informed many design choices, from the use of heat pump technologies to passive design elements, such as reverse brick veneer construction for thermal mass and high operable windows that take advantage of the stack effect. Instead of an open-plan layout, Mark and Kate made it clear from the start that they wanted a home where their family of five could “live together and also live together apart.” As a result, the architects divided the home into a series of smaller spaces that allow for a range of social and solitary activities. For example, instead of a main living space, the architects sandwiched the combined kitchen and dining room at the heart of the home between an “active living room” to the west and a “quiet living room” to the east. Related: Modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling in Melbourne is largely self-sufficient Though undeniably contemporary, the Good Life House respects the surrounding homes’ hip and gable roof forms with a similar roofline to fit in with its existing neighbors. But unlike its neighbors, the home eschews a front door in favor of a variety of entrance options that include entry via the covered outdoor space, the large sliding gate or the garden in the north. To ensure year-round comfort, the architects chose materials for optimal thermal performance and low-maintenance durability. In-slab hydronic flooring, ceiling fans and operable windows help maintain a comfortable thermal environment while energy-efficient appliances and a heat pump reduce the home’s energy footprint. + MRTN Architects Photography by Dave Kulesza via MRTN Architects

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The Good Life House uses passive design for year-round comfort in Melbourne

Maven Moment: Free Promotional Items

December 2, 2020 by  
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Mom loved getting promotional items. She loved the free tote … The post Maven Moment: Free Promotional Items appeared first on Earth 911.

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New global bee map gives scientists a conservation baseline

November 24, 2020 by  
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Bees are crucial pollinators for crops that humans consume, but their populations are on the decline. Now, a new, global bee map is tracking more than 20,000 bee species on Earth to help aid in their conservation. Many scientists worked together on the map, including John Ascher of the National University of Singapore, who compiled a checklist of all known bee species. He and other researchers cross-referenced several datasets about bee life on every continent except Antarctica, which doesn’t support bee life. Related: New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators The study concluded that bees are more prevalent in dry, temperate areas away from the equator. More bees make their home in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere. The U.S., Africa and Middle East are popular with bees. These creatures prefer deserts to forests, since trees don’t offer as many food sources. “People think of bees as just honey bees, bumble bees, and maybe a few others, but there are more species of bees than of birds and mammals combined,” Ascher said. “The United States has by far the most species of bees, but there are also vast areas of the African continent and the Middle East which have high levels of undiscovered diversity, more than in tropical areas.” Honeybees have been well studied, but scientists have little information on more than 96% of bee species. While bee colonies are famous, many people might be surprised that some types of bees are solitary insects. “Many crops, especially in developing countries, rely on native bee species, not honey bees,” said study researcher Alice Hughes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Yunnan. “There isn’t nearly enough data out there about them, and providing a sensible baseline and analyzing it in a sensible way is essential if we’re going to maintain both biodiversity and also the services these species provide in the future.” The study’s authors hope that combining all of this bee data will be an important step toward conservation. + Science Daily Via BBC Image via Rebekka D

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New global bee map gives scientists a conservation baseline

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