Three prefab modules make up this contemporary rural home

March 30, 2020 by  
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On a 190-hectare working farm near the NSW city of Orange, Australian modular design company Modscape has completed a new prefab home that takes in dramatic landscape views in all directions. An exercise in efficiency, the 225-square-meter residence was constructed in a controlled factory environment and comprises just three modules. Dubbed Project Kangaroobie, the contemporary home combines floor-to-ceiling glazing, a neutral palette of natural materials and a minimalist design to keep focus on the outdoors.  When the Sydney-based clients of Project Kangaroobie approached Modscape, prefabrication was already at the top of their minds. Because their rural property was a four-hour drive from their primary residence, the clients wanted the home to be built in a controlled environment to eliminate weather-related delays and any difficulties in coordinating multiple trades. Related: A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living The three-bedroom, two-bedroom home that Modscape designed and built perfectly complements the clients’ rural land both visually and physically. The new modular home stretches across a ridge to follow the natural topography. Vertical Silvertop Ash timber cladding will develop a silvery patina over time and blend the home into its surrounding landscape. The light-filled interior features a neutral palette of warm timber , Scyon-lined walls and ceramic tiles. Project Kangaroobie’s T-shaped plan creates separate wings for living, sleeping and utilities and opens up to outdoor terraces to the west, south and east. The spatial layout also ensures that the living spaces remain clutter-free to preserve sight lines across the home and toward the landscape. The architects noted, “Windows and doors have been positioned to maximize their effect as frames to the landscape: the low wide window which, when seated, frames a view toward the tree line; the enclosed porch (complete with outdoor fireplace and hammock-hanging hooks) is a perfect vantage point for watching the weather roll up the valley; and the window in the living area perfectly captures the spectacular sunsets.” + Modscape Photography by John Madden via Modscape

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Three prefab modules make up this contemporary rural home

Is almond milk bad for the environment?

March 30, 2020 by  
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Almonds are a nutritious and satisfying food source. Not only are the munchable nuts a popular snack , but they are also used in a variety of other consumable products, such as almond butter and almond flour, and can be used in a milk alternative for people with dairy allergies or vegan preferences. Almond milk, a supermarket staple, is used in everything from coffee to baking. But like many other crops, the spotlight has been on whether almonds and the increased demand for almond milk are damaging the environment. How is almond milk produced? It’s important to first understand that almond production is a regional issue. In the United States, California grows nearly every almond in the country and also provides more than 80% of almonds shipped around the world. Needless to say, that level of production affects a significant part of the state’s land, economy and resources. The result is an industry criticized for extreme water consumption and pesticide use. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative Water use in the almond industry The main headline on almonds echoes fears regarding excessive water use. The truth is that farming uses water and a lot of it; almonds are no exception. In fact, a single almond takes about 1.1 gallons of water to produce. However, to put this in perspective, a single pound of beef requires a whopping 1,800 gallons of water , proving that raising cattle is much more resource-intensive than growing almonds. Collectively, meat and dairy production in California uses more water than that of all homes, businesses and government buildings in the entire state. Those figures make choosing almond milk over dairy milk much easier. Farmers realize water is a precious resource, and it’s been a topic of conversation for decades. As a result, California almond producers have spent two decades reducing the amount of water it takes to grow one pound of almonds by 33%. Additionally, they are dedicated to further cutting water usage by another 20% by 2025. Farmers achieve this by targeting water usage where it is needed rather than spraying large areas. Technology is helping, too, with computer-programmed water probes that measure moisture levels in the soil and respond accordingly. Pesticides for growing almonds Another concern centers around the use of pesticides in almond production, as pesticides then end up in the soil and water supply. The answer to this problem is a basic one; simply buy organic . Although the transition has been gradual, an increasing number of almond farmers in California are converting to organic growing methods.  Is our obsession with almond milk killing bees? Then there are the claims that almond milk is killing bees , but almonds are important to bees. Not only is almond nectar the first feast bees have early in the year, but the almond groves support roughly 2 million hives from across the country, making it the world’s largest managed pollination event. With the good comes the bad — pesticides are indeed credited with contributing to colony collapse, enforcing the need to grow and buy organic almonds along with other nuts, fruits and vegetables. Almonds and the economy While California remains cognitive of the potential negative impacts of almond production, the benefits appear to outpace those concerns. As far as the economy goes, The California Agricultural Issues Center says the California almond community delivers significant economic value to the state, including providing 104,000 jobs in the state and boosting GDP by $11 billion. Almond milk’s overall impact on the environment While the discussion of almond production is important to whether almond milk is bad for the environment or not, it’s also critical to realize that most almond milk uses very few almonds. Most almond milks are high in added ingredients, like sugars, artificial flavors and thickeners. Almond milk packaging and transport both have a negative impact, and all of the added ingredients make the nutrition benefits of almond milk questionable at best. You can curb the environmental impact of prepackaged almond milk by making your own at home. There are recipes all over the internet that explain how to do so and even offer twists on the traditional almond flavor by using spices and natural flavorings. So to address the question, “Is almond milk bad for the environment?” the answer is somewhat, but the benefits of a healthy snack producing a healthy economy and a healthy bee population outweigh the water consumption issues. Also remember that almonds offer the same environmental benefits of any other tree, cleaning the air by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Plus, the branches offer shade to the soil allowing for better water retention and less evaporation. When the leaves drop, they add nutrients to the soil through natural composting. In all, the carbon footprint is somewhat small, especially compared to conventional dairy, while the economic, nutritional and environmental rewards are high. Images via Pixabay

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Is almond milk bad for the environment?

1980s cottage in Melbourne is updated into an energy-efficient retreat

March 19, 2020 by  
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Melbourne-based firm Jost Architects has managed to breathe new life into a rundown 1980s cottage house in the beachside community of St Kilda. The renovation process focused on retaining as much of the building’s original features as possible, with the resulting design boasting several energy-efficient features that reduce the home’s environmental impact. The original home consisted of a one-story layout with two front bedrooms and a bathroom as well as an extension that was previously added to the back of the house. During the green renovation process, the architects decided to remove the addition but retain the original living areas. Related: A Mel bourne worker’s cottage gets revamped into a solar-powered family home Once the project started, the designers had to work around the local building restraints to add an upper level. The extension had to fit just right on the original, irregular layout without causing a distraction from the street. Working within the restrictions, the team carefully added a second floor with a new master bedroom and en suite at the front of the house. This space also has a front balcony with windows that open completely. From the bedroom, a hallway leads to another east-facing deck with an operable aluminum screen that provides the homeowners with a bit of outdoor privacy as well as protection from the western summer sun . The new area on the ground floor was also transformed into a spacious, open-plan living room. The entrance is now through a lovely outdoor courtyard that leads into the modern living area. Farther past the main space is the kitchen followed by two additional bedrooms. The green renovation not only gave the residents a bigger space that is flooded with natural light, but the home is now much more energy-efficient. Adding new outdoor spaces provided the living areas with optimal natural ventilation, both upstairs and downstairs. New materials, such as double-paned windows and decorative concrete with zoned hydronic heating, help keep the home well-insulated. For energy generation, the home was outfitted with a 2.6 kW solar power system on the roof. + Jost Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Tom Roe and Shani Hodson via Jost Architects

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1980s cottage in Melbourne is updated into an energy-efficient retreat

ChopValue recycles 25 million chopsticks into furniture and decor

March 19, 2020 by  
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A Canadian-based company called ChopValue has found some unique ways to reuse single-use chopsticks — think of it as upcycling food utensils into chic, sustainable decor and housewares. The process starts in coordination with restaurants by collecting used chopsticks. The wood then goes through a micro-manufacturing process, which turns it into usable material for other products. ChopValue keeps the production carbon-neutral while maintaining an overall carbon-negative status for the company. Consumers can select products with complete transparency regarding the overall carbon footprint and number of recycled chopsticks that were used to make a specific item. Related: Kwytza chopstick art transforms single-use chopsticks into stylish home decor The founder of ChopValue, Felix Böck, developed and engineered the innovative material while earning his PhD. The idea came one night while having sushi, when Böck and his partner were discussing their frustrations over construction waste in the city. They looked down at their chopsticks and were instantly inspired; the rest is history. Taking an interest in the environment and corporate responsibility, Böck hopes to lead by example and inspire others to rethink resource efficiency. The company offers a variety of decor items, including a hexagonal display shelf and honeycomb-shaped pieces that can be used as a single unit or in conjunction with other tiles for a geometric look. There is also a selection of cutting board options with designs specialized for charcuterie boards, cheese and cracker displays or butcher blocks. There’s even a zero-waste kit that comes with a cheeseboard, coasters, key chains, toothbrushes, chopsticks, stainless steel straws and straw cleaners; the kit comes in a box that can be used to donate used chopsticks back to the company. As an incentive, the company will get you a product equal to the amount of chopsticks you donate. For example, 75 chopsticks will net you a 75-chopstick coaster. In addition to the standard selections available on the website, ChopValue can produce custom wood furniture and other items. For example, a community table created for Little Kitchen Academy diverted 33,436 disposable chopsticks from the landfill. Another big project saw the creation of wall paneling, restaurant tables and entrance flooring for Little Bird Dim Sum that utilized more than 330,000 disposable chopsticks. According to the company, its efforts have recycled more than 25 million chopsticks to date. ChopValue has created a virtual interactive trade show booth in partnership with WireWax as a result of the many canceled trade shows stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Check it out while scrolling through the website, and it might just inspire the designer in you. + ChopValue Images via ChopValue

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ChopValue recycles 25 million chopsticks into furniture and decor

Rubia Tiny House features minimalist, sustainable design

March 17, 2020 by  
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Byron Bay-based Little Byron has really outdone itself with its latest tiny home model. The Rubia Tiny House is merely 160 square feet, but thanks to several savvy design techniques, it comes across as being much more spacious. The impressive tiny home can also be customized for self-sustenance with solar panels, a rainwater collection system and a composting toilet. Named for its light blond exterior ( rubia is Spanish for blond), the Rubia Tiny House is made out of sustainably sourced hardwood . At 19 feet long and just under 8 feet wide, the compact, cube-like structure is built on a trailer and can be easily transported. Related: This tiny farmhouse features a quaint reading nook The gorgeous interior design mimics the lightness of the exterior. White walls with light wood accents create a modern, minimalist atmosphere. Along with the LED lighting that was installed throughout the home, natural light is ushered in through an abundance of windows. The Rubia Tiny House consists of a small living room, a full kitchen, a bathroom and a dinette set. The kitchen is equipped with a four-burner gas stove and a full-sized oven. There is also plenty of overhead storage in the cabinets, which have been outfitted with LED strip lighting . Farther past the kitchen, the bathroom features a composting toilet and a shower along with a standard vanity cabinet. The bedroom is located upstairs on an unusually large sleeping loft , which fits a queen-sized bed as well as an end table. Windows on either side of the bed and a light wood accent wall allow for a calming sense of openness. For guests, there is a custom-built sofa that pulls out into a twin-sized bed. The stairs leading to the loft offer extra storage. In addition to its sustainable wood exterior, composting toilet and LED lighting, the Rubia Tiny House can be customized for off-grid functionality. Potential installations include solar panels with batteries and a rainwater collection system with a holding tank. + Little Byron Via Tiny House Talk Images via Little Byron

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Modular tiny home on wheels can fit a family of 6

March 13, 2020 by  
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Although  tiny home living  has typically been geared to young couples looking to downsize, Barcelona-based creative studio,  In-Tenta has used their savvy, space-efficient skills to show us that tiny homes can be a great choice for families as well. Their latest design, the TENZO, is a modular 430 square foot home on wheels that comfortably accommodates an entire family of six! While most tiny homes are usually designed for two to four occupants, and maybe a pull-out sofa for guests, the TENZO tiny home is an outstanding design for families that would like to experience a more minimalist lifestyle. Related:The DROP Eco-Hotel is a Portable Prefab Pod Home for the Modern Nomad At 430 square feet, the structure isn’t much bigger than most contemporary tiny homes. A  modular design , the three-bedroom home is built off-site, which reduces its impact on the environment. Additionally, the home is built on wheels, so there’s no need for a permanent foundation, further reducing its footprint. But what makes this tiny home stand out is its strategic use of space. The space-efficient layout  revolves around the central living space, which includes a lounge area, kitchen and dining space. At the heart of the home is the wonderful outdoor deck that leads into the interior via double sliding glass doors. Shaded by a unique set of sunshade sails, there is even an outdoor bar area that connects directly to the kitchen’s countertop. For the interior, the main living room is light and airy with custom furnishings. An abundance of windows allows natural light  and ventilation, while the sliding glass doors open completely to blend the indoor and outdoor spaces into one large lounge area. The  tiny home ‘s three sleeping quarters are arranged around the main living space. There is a large master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and closet. On the other side of the design are two more bedrooms, one with two single beds and the other outfitted with a set of bunk beds — a perfect setup for family-style tiny home living. + In-Tenta Images via In-Tenta

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A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future

March 12, 2020 by  
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Designed by Shanghai-based firm YANG Design , the Green Concept House is a futuristic concept that envisions a residence where sustainable technologies are embedded into the living spaces to create a zero-waste, 100% self-sustaining home. The design features several high-tech systems that use spare household energy to provide water, lighting and energy for growing plants throughout the home, essentially becoming a living greenhouse. House Vision is an annual event that invites architects to create futuristic residential designs that incorporate innovative technologies. This year, against the backdrop of the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing’s Olympic Park, 10 dwellings were unveiled, one of which was the incredible Green Concept House by Yang Design. Related: A greenhouse is transformed into an experimental living space in Taiwan Like the other full-scale home prototypes, the Green Concept House was a collaboration between architects and leading global companies that specialize in the various fields of technology, such as energy, vehicles, logistics and artificial intelligence. The 1,600-square-foot structure is a powerhouse of futuristic tech that merges organic food production into the house in order to create a living space that is 100% self-sustaining. Several compact garden pockets in every corner of the layout would allow homeowners to care for almost any type of plant using spare household energy (from solar and wind power generation ) to provide water and light for the gardens. The setup would permit residents to closely monitor their home gardens, including fruits, vegetables and herbs, via an app on their phones. For example, the app would sound an alarm when one of the plants is in need of specific care. Another notification would alert homeowners when a specific fruit or veggie is ready to be picked. Using this full-circle system, homeowners will not only be able to grow their own organic fare but will also be able to lead zero-waste lifestyles . + YANG Design Via ArchDaily Images via YANG Design

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A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future

Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

March 12, 2020 by  
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Just outside Kaohsiung’s city center, Taiwanese architecture firm Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute has completed Comfort in Context, a contemporary new home nestled in a lush hillside. Crafted as a respite in nature, the building is set far back from the road and is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing to take in mountain views. Nature also informed the design and orientation of the home, which relies on cross breezes and strategically located roof eaves to stay naturally cool while minimizing the use of electricity. Though strikingly contemporary in appearance, the design of Comfort in Context relies on age-old passive design principles for providing a comfortable living environment year-round. Oriented east to west, the home features a facade that mitigates unwanted solar gain at all times of the day while taking advantage of southwesterly winds to combat Taiwan’s hot and humid summers. In winter, the neighboring hills protect the building from cold winds. Related: Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan “Nature doesn’t have to be the second thought for an architect in 2020, it must always be his or her first,” the firm explained. “The earth isn’t getting any better and everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the emissions of their projects.” To further reduce the carbon footprint of the home, the architects planted a number of Taiwanese beech trees around the property. Environmentally friendly recycled materials were also used for the building structure, facade, finishes and interior. By building with the existing landscape to minimize site impact, the architects were able to reduce construction costs. As a result, more resources were diverted to the clients’ most important space in the house: the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that occupy a large part of the ground floor. The upper floor contains a spacious master bedroom, secondary bedroom, two atriums and five balconies. + Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute

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Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

March 12, 2020 by  
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Just outside Kaohsiung’s city center, Taiwanese architecture firm Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute has completed Comfort in Context, a contemporary new home nestled in a lush hillside. Crafted as a respite in nature, the building is set far back from the road and is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing to take in mountain views. Nature also informed the design and orientation of the home, which relies on cross breezes and strategically located roof eaves to stay naturally cool while minimizing the use of electricity. Though strikingly contemporary in appearance, the design of Comfort in Context relies on age-old passive design principles for providing a comfortable living environment year-round. Oriented east to west, the home features a facade that mitigates unwanted solar gain at all times of the day while taking advantage of southwesterly winds to combat Taiwan’s hot and humid summers. In winter, the neighboring hills protect the building from cold winds. Related: Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan “Nature doesn’t have to be the second thought for an architect in 2020, it must always be his or her first,” the firm explained. “The earth isn’t getting any better and everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the emissions of their projects.” To further reduce the carbon footprint of the home, the architects planted a number of Taiwanese beech trees around the property. Environmentally friendly recycled materials were also used for the building structure, facade, finishes and interior. By building with the existing landscape to minimize site impact, the architects were able to reduce construction costs. As a result, more resources were diverted to the clients’ most important space in the house: the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that occupy a large part of the ground floor. The upper floor contains a spacious master bedroom, secondary bedroom, two atriums and five balconies. + Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute

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Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

Use Coronavirus To Reset Your Life for Sustainability

March 9, 2020 by  
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The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has shaken daily … The post Use Coronavirus To Reset Your Life for Sustainability appeared first on Earth911.com.

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