Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

August 2, 2017 by  
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Acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma has crafted a stunning cross-cultural home that combines the best of American modern amenities with traditional Japanese design principles. Located in Oregon’s NW Natural Street of Dreams in Portland, the sustainably built SUTEKI home promotes healthy living with its strong connection to the outdoors in both its use of natural materials and garden surroundings. The master-built home is the first of its kind constructed by Japanese homebuilder, Suteki, in the United States. As with many of Kuma’s architectural projects, nature is a big theme in the SUTEKI home. A natural materials palette used throughout the home shows off sustainably harvested wood , from the soaring Olympia wall built of timber to the regional Alaskan yellow cedar in the louvre walls. Natural stone and tile are also prominently featured. A high level of detail and craftsmanship is seen around the home, especially in the origami-inspired ceiling that creates a feeling of fluidity and movement. To deepen the connection with the outdoors and create a restorative living experience, Kuma incorporated seamless indoor and outdoor living spaces built around nature. Large openings frame views of the outdoors and every view is optimized inside and out. Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama designed the garden and used “borrowed scenery” principles to incorporate the surrounding landscape—a giant oak and sequoia tree, and a stream that runs along the property. Related: Kengo Kuma unveils nature-filled Eco-Luxury Hotel for Paris “My collaboration with Suteki is owed to our shared view of the sublimity of nature,” said Kuma. “Embracing the surroundings, insisting on natural materials, sustainability and transparency creates a space where people can experience nature more completely and intimately.” The placement and orientation of the home contributes to its energy efficiency . The Suteki company plans to build more sustainably built homes in the Portland market in the near future. + Street of Dreams Images by Justin Krug Photography

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Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

July 28, 2017 by  
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This 100% solar-powered home has been sitting in Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens for the past ten years – but the tiny aluminum structure will soon serve a new role as a permanent home. The net-zero MiSo House was built for the 2005 Solar Decathlon , however it will soon be home to Lisa and Matt Gunneson, who are moving the 660-square-feet green energy machine piece-by-piece to their property in north Michigan. Designed by architecture students and faculty from Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan , the compact, aluminum-clad home is completely powered by solar energy . The aluminum-clad exterior and rounded shape were inspired by the monocoque designs from the aircraft and automobile industries. After debuting in the 2005 Solar Decathlon, the MiSo House was installed as an exhibition in the university’s botanical gardens, but after ten years on-site the home is being shipped to its new location. The home features a number of solar energy systems including rooftop PV panels, solar thermal panels connected to radiant flooring, and even an energy recovery ventilator system. One unique feature is the home’s “solar chimney”, which heats air in glass spaces along the home’s south facade. The heated air is then circulated through the curve of the roof to provide heat for the interior in winter time. Excess energy is stored in batteries installed underneath the structure’s flooring. The MiSo’s solar systems provide enough power for 100% of the home’s electricity needs – from appliances and lighting to heating. Many of the home’s furnishings, such as the eco-friendly sunflower-board kitchen cabinets, were constructed using low-chemical processes , which further reduced the home’s overall footprint. After purchasing the home at auction, the Gunnesons hired remodeling contractor Meadowlark Design + Build to break down the home’s modular components in order to transport it to their home in Evart, Michigan. In a fun twist of fate, two students who worked on the home’s original design now work on the Meadowlark team. + The MiSo House + Meadowlark Design + Build Via Homecrux

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Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

This flower-clad home that spreads contagious happiness goes on sale in L.A.

July 25, 2017 by  
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A unique new home said to spread “contagious happiness” has hit the Los Angeles market—and it’s checking all the major boxes for walkability, amenities, and even sustainability. Architect and artist Cameron McNall originally designed the home, known as 4016 Tivoli, for his family, drawing inspiration from his dual careers and the California spirit of the 1960s. Wrapped in giant metallic flower cutouts, the quirky artistic home is also built to the City of Los Angeles’ “Green Building” standards. L.A. is notorious for its traffic and car-dominated landscapes, but 4016 Tivoli promises homeowners the freedom to walk and bike to nearly every imaginable amenity, from grocery stores to salons. Located on the east side of Venice in the west-Washington area known as “Silicon Beach,” the 2,700-square-foot house includes four bedrooms, a flex room, four-and-a-half baths, as well as an attached 375-square-foot studio garage that could be legally converted into an accessory dwelling unit. An 800-square-foot landscaped roof deck crowns the home and offers beautiful views that don’t compromise privacy. The beautiful rooftop includes built-in seating, hardwood decking, a gas fire pit, dining area, and a gas-heated hot tub. To create privacy and allow natural light to filter through, the architect wrapped the home with a decorative 110-foot-tall facade of computer-cut metallic flowers. The interior’s tall ceilings and white walls help create a bright, airy, and spacious living environment with framed views of the outdoors. The building’s energy-saving features include one-inch thick double-pane thermal low-E windows and doors, two high-efficiency heating/cooling units, low-flow toilets, LEDs, rain barrels, permeable pavers, 100-amp Tesla quick-charging capability, eco-compliant insulation, and remotely controlled smart home tech such as the Nest smoke detectors and Ecobee thermostats. The home is also outfitted with low VOC paints, FSC-certified wood, and other high-quality materials. Related: Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home “I designed 4016 Tivoli for my family as a total design living experience that represents my relationship to art, architecture and design,” wrote the architect. “Although I was just a child when I lived in California in the sixties, I was very influenced by the energy and graphics of that period, everything from Warhol to the Mexico ’68 Olympics to Fillmore West concert flyers. When people walk by the house or visit inside, I am pleased that it elicits a smile and a contagious happiness.” The architect carefully curated and/or designed all the home’s furnishings, artwork, and objects to create a cohesive work of art. All of these objects and furnishings seen in the photos are included in the sale of the home. Price is not disclosed, however, 4016 Tivoli is offering tours and considering purchasing offers from qualified buyers. + 4016 Tivoli

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This flower-clad home that spreads contagious happiness goes on sale in L.A.

Affordable home geothermal energy systems come to upstate New York

July 17, 2017 by  
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When you think of home renewable power systems, geothermal energy probably isn’t the first source that springs to mind. But new company Dandelion , which starts after time at Google’s moonshot factory X , aims to power houses with the clean , free source “right under our feet.” They’re offering their systems beginning in northeastern America. The Dandelion team launched their company independent of Alphabet this month, offering geothermal heating and cooling for homes. They come in and replace cooling, heating, and hot water equipment with their geothermal systems, including underground pipes and a heat pump, which gather energy from the earth. The company describes geothermal cooling and heating as the most efficient method of such climate control for the home. Related: St. Patrick’s Cathedral unveils state-of-the-art geothermal plant Affordability was one of Dandelion’s main goals. They say many homes haven’t yet adopted geothermal systems due to the hefty cost associated with setup. In contrast, Dandelion’s system costs $20,000. On their website they say they’ve partnered with a leading financing company to install the systems with zero costs upfront followed by low monthly payments. The company also designed a better drill to install the systems. In the past, geothermal systems were installed with a wide drill that was intended for water wells more than 1,000 feet into the ground. The Dandelion team designed a slender drill that can create one or two deep holes a few inches wide – with less waste. Their new drill lets them put in ground loops in under one day. Overall, putting in their geothermal systems takes two to three days. Dandelion’s heat pumps will last around 25 years, while the closed-loop piping can last for a minimum of 50. The system comes with a smart thermostat enabling homeowners to regulate the temperature inside. The team is starting with 11 counties in New York – they say regions with cold winters and hot summers are ideal for home geothermal systems. + Dandelion Via Kathy Hannun on Medium Images via Dandelion Facebook and Dandelion

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Affordable home geothermal energy systems come to upstate New York

Indian Railways launches first train with solar-powered coaches

July 17, 2017 by  
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Train travel in India just got a little greener. Last week Indian Railways rolled out their first train outfitted with rooftop solar panels – in the Delhi area notorious for its pollution . The solar panels will completely power fans, lighting, and display systems in the coaches. The government expects the move will save them around 5,547 gallons of diesel every single year. The train, a 1600 HP DEMU, is just the first of several more trains with solar-powered coaches to come. Indian Railways will install solar panels on 24 other trains in the upcoming six months. In the past, a diesel-fueled generator provided electricity for a train’s lighting and fans, but the new solar system includes a smart MPPT inverter so these features can be cleanly powered even during the night. According to Indian Railways, the solar panels will slash carbon dioxide generation by nine metric tons per coach per year. Related: Indian Railways installing rooftop solar panels on 250 trains 16 solar panels generating 300 watts each offer a 4.5 kilowatt peak capacity for each coach. The system can generate around 20 kilowatt-hours of clean power per day. A 120 AH battery system will store excess power generated during peak hours. Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said the railways are committed to conserving the environment and using more clean energy . The government’s press release on the trains pointed to other measures the railways have taken to become more environmentally friendly, such as the use of bio-toilets , biofuels, and wind energy. Jakson Engineers, under the guidance of the Indian Railways Organization for Alternative Fuels (IROAF), developed the new train solar system. Managing director Sundeep Gupta told Business Standard is was no easy feat to attach solar panels to trains that will move at speeds of 80 kilometers per hour, which is around 50 miles per hour. The train has a lifetime of around 25 years. Via Quartz India and Government of India Images via screenshot and Ministry of Railways on Twitter

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Indian Railways launches first train with solar-powered coaches

Reflective paint helps women in slums combat extreme heat caused by climate change

July 14, 2017 by  
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Temperatures are skyrocketing in India, as a result of climate change . Sadly, this has resulted in a 150 percent increase in the number of heat waves , killing thousands of people in recent years. To help those who are suffering find some relief, the non-profit Mahila Housing Trust is working with Indian women based in 100 slums across five cities to apply reflective paint to units, decreasing indoor temperatures by several degrees. Additional goals of the non-profit include upgrading and redeveloping slums, helping women secure property rights, and assisting women in dealing with climate change pressures by utilizing techniques such as rainwater collection and harvesting. The organization is presently experimenting with reflective paint, as well as insulated ceiling and modular roofs in units located in the Ramesh Dutt Colony. This low-cost approach to making homes more comfortable could literally save lives, since more than 2,400 deaths were recorded in 2015 due to heatwaves , according to government data. One individual benefiting from the reflective paint is Meenaben, who says she used to dread summers in India . Before applying the reflective paint, her two-room home in the Ahmedabad slum would get so hot, she could not sit indoors for several hours during the day. Now, she is able to sit in her abode and work, sewing quilts and bedcovers. “We used to really suffer from the heat. We could not sit inside, we could not work, people were falling sick,” said Meenaben. “This year it has been so much better. The paint brought the temperature down by several degrees, and I have been able to sit in my home, do my work.” Related: School principal uses $22,000 of paint to transform former slum into a rainbow wonderland Bharati Bhonsale, a program manager at Mahila Housing Trust, noted the devastation some families experience from unexpected weather patterns which result from climate change . “They work so hard to improve their lives, their homes. But even one setback from something like flash floods or a heat wave can have a big impact and cause them to slip back into poverty ,” Bhonsale told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “A flash flood can destroy their belongings, heat stress affects their work and their health. So it is important they are equipped to manage the effects of climate change.” Fortunately, most poverty-stricken citizens are happy and willing to implement technologies that may better their lives and the environment . Some measures the women have been trained to incorporate include using fuel-efficient stoves to reduce reliance on firewood, composting, cleaning stormwater drains, planting shrubs to help prevent flash floods, and harvesting rainwater. The women have also learned how to keep narrow lanes free of trash and to dump unused collected rainwater in an effort to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Bhonsale said, “They may not understand the science of global warming , but they have first-hand experience of its effects, and with some education and simple solutions, they are better able to tackle it.” + Mahila Housing Trust Via Scroll Images via Mahila Housing Trust , Pixabay

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Reflective paint helps women in slums combat extreme heat caused by climate change

Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower

July 14, 2017 by  
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An old fight control tower in Stockholm ‘s Arlanda Airport has been transformed into a unique luxury apartment that offers panoramic views of planes taking off and landing – and you can spend the night there. Swedish artist and designer Cilla Ramnek and the Arlanda airport teamed up with vacation rental company HomeAway and Swedavia to give the old tower a complete makeover. Now, the unique living space is perfect for aviation geeks and those who dream of sleeping hundreds of feet in the air. The 262-foot-high tower is located directly next to the runway, which makes it a perfect sport from which to observe plane take off and land. Cilla Ramnek designed the interior in a retro sixties style and furnished it with products already available for purchase inside Arlanda. Related: Architect turns old cement factory into incredible fairytale home – and the interior will blow you away Right now, HomeAway is giving away the opportunity to spend the night in the high-flying tower. Five winners of the competition, which will run until the end of July, will have the opportunity to stay in the apartment for a night, and enjoy a meal at the Pontus in the Air restaurant. The winners can bring guests and, after the stay in the tower, choose other HomeAway rentals for three more nights. + HomeAway + Swedavia + Cilla Ramnek Via CNN Travel

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Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower

Sprawling MW House blends into the Peruvian landscape with an undulating green roof

July 13, 2017 by  
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MW House by Riofrio+Rodrigo Arquitectos acts as an extension of the desert hills in Peru . Resembling the relief of the rocky landscape and featuring an undulating green roof, this seasonal house establishes a direct relationship with its surroundings and offers a series of rich indoor and outdoor spaces to its occupants. The house comprises two L-shaped blocks that house different functions. The first one is the main house which accommodates the living room, dining room, kitchen, wine cellar and a bedroom. This volume also features spaces that direct the view of the main rooms of the house towards the nearest hills. Related: Peru’s Chontay house was made using locally-sourced wood and clay to help it blend in with the surrounding mountains The second, smaller side houses service rooms and the entrance, laundry, bedrooms, car parking, kitchen and a storage space . An open courtyard connects the main house with secondary and guest bedrooms and allows occupants to enjoy a direct connection to nature. All of this is enclosed under a green roof that helps the home blend seamlessly with the landscape. + Riofrio+Rodrigo Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photos by Juan Solano Ojasi

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Sprawling MW House blends into the Peruvian landscape with an undulating green roof

The Best Eco-Friendly Home Decor Materials

June 12, 2017 by  
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To truly express a sustainable lifestyle, one must begin in the home. Modern eco-friendly home decor materials are widely available and varied enough in color, texture and purpose to offer fashionable options for any individual style, and the…

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The Best Eco-Friendly Home Decor Materials

Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

June 2, 2017 by  
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This one-of-a-kind house near Woodstock has a history that is as unique as it is. John Kahn, the home’s creator, was friends with the late Muppet mogul Jim Henson and designed sets for the show. The secretary for the Grateful Dead also lived in the home for several years. Kahn built the Tower House over 15 years using re-purposed and locally available materials . If you want to experience the psychedelic home for yourself, you can nab the 3,518 square-foot building  for a cool $1.2 million. The Tower House sits on a wooded 5.5-acre estate located near Woodstock. In 2007, Kahn sold the house to its current owner, former secretary to the Greatful Dead, who was married to Owsley Stanley, a known 1960s music producer and sound engineer. John Kahn used repurposed materials including slate, copper, aircraft-grade aluminium and redwood, as well as local wood and bluestone to build this cylindrical structure that includes a guest house, a sauna, a large studio building and three storage buildings. Related: Small town restaurateurs transform former church into a stunning cafe The three-bedroom home looks different from practically every angle and resembles a set from a TV show. Each room in the house has a different visual theme, with artwork scattered all over the place. The eclectic use of materials was inspired by the Catskills wilderness, dotted with the artist’s sculptures . Via 6sqft Photos via Keller Williams Realty

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Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

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