Closing the Loop With Architectural Salvage

August 20, 2019 by  
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Closing the Loop With Architectural Salvage

We Earthlings: Apples vs. Almonds — Water Use & Fiber Content

August 20, 2019 by  
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We Earthlings: Apples vs. Almonds — Water Use & Fiber Content

A playful home built of recycled materials takes in sunrise views in Ecuador

August 19, 2019 by  
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Built largely from recycled materials, the home that architect Daniel Moreno Flores recently completed for an artistically inclined client in Ecuador oozes playfulness and creativity as well as a reduced environmental footprint. Located in the town of Pifo less than an hour’s drive east from Quito, the House of the Flying Tiles is strategically sited to embrace views. The house is named after its massive installation of hanging tiles — reclaimed and new — placed at the entrance to create visual interest and help shield the glass-walled home from unwanted solar heat gain. When deciding where to place the home, Flores began with a site study. Along with the client, he arrived early at the site to observe the direction of the sunrise and the best positions for framing landscape views. To make the home look “as if it had always been there,” Flores also let the site-specific placement of the home be informed by the existing trees and fauna. No trees were removed during the construction process. Related: This staggered, residential tower is draped with greenery in Quito “The house is oriented to the view, for the contemplation of the mountain, of the neighborhoods, and of all the plants and trees of the place,” Flores explained. “These spaces seek an intensification in the relationship with some externalities such as the mountain, the low vegetation, the sky and with the Guirachuro (a kind of bird of the place).” Using a mix of new materials and reclaimed wood and tiles from three houses in Quito , the architect created a 130-square-meter home with three main spaces: a double-height living area that opens up to an outdoor reading terrace and connects to a mezzanine office space; the bedroom area that overlooks mountain views; and the ground-floor bathroom that is built around an existing tree. The roofs of the structure are also designed to be accessible to create a variety of vantage points for enjoying the landscape. + Daniel Moreno Flores Photography by JAG Studio , Santiago Vaca Jaramillo and Daniel Moreno Flores

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A playful home built of recycled materials takes in sunrise views in Ecuador

Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice in July

August 19, 2019 by  
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What melts faster than an ice cream cone on a sweltering summer day? Greenland’s ice sheet. In July, the world’s second biggest ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice and increased sea levels by about half a millimeter. On August 15 alone, Greenland’s ice sheet had a major meltdown, losing 11 billion tons of surface ice to the ocean, scientists reported. While it’s not unusual for Greenland’s ice sheet to melt during the summer, it usually starts at the end of May but began weeks earlier this year. Meteorologists reported that July has been one of the hottest months around the world ever recorded. For instance, global average temperatures for this July are in line with and possibly higher than July 2016, which holds the current record, according to preliminary data reported by the Copernicus Climate Change Programme . Related: Iceland will unveil monument for the first glacier lost to climate change According to Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with Danish Meteorological Institute , Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice in July, enough to fill nearly 80 million Olympic swimming pools. Mottram told CNN the expected average of ice melt this time of year would be between 60 and 70 billion tons. What could it mean? All this wacky weather may ultimately result in one of Greenland’s biggest ice melts since 1950. With the melt season typically lasting to the end of August, Mottram said the ice sheet could see substantial melting; however, it might not be as much as in recent weeks. Melting ice isn’t the only issue facing the Arctic, as the area has also experienced wildfires , which scientists said could be because of high temperatures. Since June, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service has observed more than 100 intense wildfires in the Arctic Circle. The recent wildfires and ice melt in the Arctic Circle could be strong indicators of more climate change -related issues ahead. Via CNN Image via NASA

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Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice in July

Energy-efficient home uses recycled heat to reduce C02 emissions

August 15, 2019 by  
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The Lane End House by PAD studio incorporates natural building material and sustainable solutions to increase energy-efficiency . The resulting design creates a passive home with a smaller environmental footprint and a focus on sustainability.  The exterior of the house contains balcony areas that act as solar shading for the property, complete with thoughtfully-placed openings to create a greater distribution of natural ventilation to rid the home of intense heat during the hot Summer months.  Landscape-wise, the clients wanted to incorporate a natural feel as often as possible, with large windows to connect the inhabitants with the outdoors and a functioning herb garden located on the first floor balcony. The placement of the grand windows creates natural sunlight to light the home during the day while incorporating more profound landscape views. Related: Contemporary barn-inspired home adheres to passive house principles According to the client, “we wanted a house that was big enough to comfortably accommodate the two of us and our lifestyle – and no bigger. For us that meant carefully considered, flexible, multipurpose spaces that created a sense of space whilst retaining a modest footprint .” High quality, insulated timber wood used to create the frame both reduces the need for artificial cooling and heating in the home, and provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional (and heavy carbon emission-inducing) building materials. Additionally, the timber is locally-produced from renewable sources and the brick used to make the fireplace is hand-made by local vendors. On the ground floor, concrete was inserted to make the structure even more air-tight and regulate interior temperatures even further.  The builders installed a MVHR system designed to recycle heat produced from the kitchen and bathroom and mix it with clean air circulated through the ventilation and naturally colder areas of the house. In addition to completing the standard methods such as SAP calculations and EPS ratings, the impressive home was also built to Passive House ideology. +PAD Studio Images via PAD Studio

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Energy-efficient home uses recycled heat to reduce C02 emissions

DIY natural cleaners for every household chore

August 13, 2019 by  
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Your home is your castle. It’s where you live, play, relax and sometimes even work or attend school. A clean castle pleases the royal family, but harsh chemicals are unwelcome guests in the kingdom. With the amount of time you spend in your surroundings, considering your air and water quality seems like a good investment. These DIY cleaners are safe for your home, your family and the planet. There seems to be a debate surrounding what products are safe, with every major manufacturer slapping sustainability verbiage on products to promote all-natural, chemical-free and organic assumptions. For the most part, it’s marketing, plain and simple. In truth, most commercial cleaners contain damaging chemicals, even when the label disguises them as healthy options. The only way to really know what you’re cleaning with is to make your own cleaning products, and fortunately there are many truly natural cleaners that will leave the sparkle without the chemical aftermath. Related: Get ready to use soapnuts for everything from cleaning to self care Ingredients Vinegar Vinegar is nature’s cleaner. It can be used outright on nearly every surface. It is great as a versatile cleaner for everything from countertops to windows. Although not touting antibacterial qualities, it is biodegradable . Lemon Lemon juice has natural antibacterial qualities. Although many store-bought products have a lemon scent to sell this message, including fresh lemon in your own cleaners gives you assurance that it’s the real thing. Baking soda Another ingredient found in many cleaning recipes, baking soda offers superior odor neutralization and has impressive stain-fighting capabilities.  Liquid castile soap Castile soap is a plant-based product that has been used for generations in different forms. Dr. Brommer’s is a commonly used brand that you might recognize. It is naturally sourced from vegetable fat, so it is non-toxic and biodegradable, meaning that it’s good for the environment, too. Hydrogen peroxide Inexpensive and readily available, hydrogen peroxide makes a great non-toxic disinfectant for your household surfaces. Simply spray and leave to bubble for a minute or two before wiping clean. Make sure to store hydrogen peroxide in an opaque or darker bottle, because light will break down its effectiveness. Note that hydrogen peroxide is not a safe choice for granite surfaces. Borax Borax is a naturally occurring substance that has earned a name in the cleaning industry. However, there is some dispute as to its safety in cleaning products. Although typically only required in small amounts for most recipes, borax can cause skin and breathing problems, so it doesn’t rank high as a healthy cleaner for some. Moreover, it’s toxic to children and pets, so it’s not a good choice for cleaners that touch every surface in your home. DIY natural cleaner recipes Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s get to the recipes, so you can get to cleaning. Multipurpose cleaner This DIY cleaner is good for all floors and most other surfaces. The basic recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients: 1 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon water and essential oils if you wish to disguise the vinegar scent. When cleaning any wood surface, use minimal water and other ingredients. Do not saturate the wood. Apply a light layer with a mop and dry immediately. All-purpose cleaner This is the stuff you can use in the toilet, on the counter or on the floors. Here are a couple of options that will work well: Castile soap all-purpose cleaner 2 cups distilled or boiled water 2-4 tablespoons castile soap 15 drops of your favorite essential oil (we recommend peppermint) Vinegar all-purpose cleaner 1 cup distilled or boiled water 1 cup white distilled vinegar 1/2 lemon, juiced (optional, but store cleaner in the fridge if you do add lemon) 15 drops of your favorite essential oil (we recommend orange) Alcohol all-purpose cleaner 1/4 cup alcohol (rubbing alcohol or cheap vodka) A few drops of essential oil A few drops of eco-friendly liquid soap 13 ounces of water Drain cleaner Set the teapot on to boil and grab the baking soda. Spoon about one cup of baking soda down the drain. Let it slip down as far into the drainpipe as it will go. Then add one cup of lemon juice or one cup of white vinegar. Either will cause a chemical reaction, so pour slowly. The reaction helps eat away at whatever is clogging your drain. After 10-15 minutes, chase it down the drain with several cups of boiling water (use caution). Repeat if necessary. Stain remover When it comes to tackling those deodorant armpit stains on your T-shirts or the unidentified marks on the carpet, look no further than the mixture below. 1/2 cup baking soda 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide Create a paste and apply to the stain. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. Remove with water and clean rags, or wash the item in the washing machine. Make sure to dab carpets, and don’t oversaturate. Related: Cora Ball emulates natural filtering of coral to remove toxic microfibers from your washing machine Glass and window cleaner Vinegar and water in a one-to-one ratio will tackle the windows pretty well. If you have a lot of dirt, clean the windows with an eco-friendly dish soap and water solution first. Use coffee filters or recycled newspapers to wipe down the glass . Alternate recipe 1/2 cup vinegar 1 cup rubbing alcohol 2 cups water Combine and use as a spray cleaner for mirrors and windows. Liquid fabric softener Avoid the fabric sheets headed to the landfill . Instead, make your own easy and eco-friendly fabric softener. Although not technically a cleaner, we couldn’t skip putting this one on the list. 1/8 cup food-grade glycerine 2 cups water 2 cups white vinegar Combine and pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of this mixture into the liquid fabric softener dispenser in the washing machine for fresh, soft sheets and clothes. Images via Conger Design , Monfocus ( 1 , 2 ) and Daiga Ellaby

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DIY natural cleaners for every household chore

This funky, hobbit-like home is immersed in lush greenery

August 1, 2019 by  
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Channeling Mother Nature into built form, Mexican architect Javier Senosiain designed a peanut-shaped bespoke home with nary a straight line in sight. Appropriately named Casa Orgánica (or Organic House), the home stands out from its suburban surroundings near Mexico City with its curvaceous shape, hobbit-like entryway and a semi-submerged construction. The home, which was built in 1984 and expanded upon a few years later, is the first organic architecture project by Senosiain. Spanning an area of 1,873 square feet, the Organic House was constructed with a rounded rebar skeleton filled with mortar, coated with sprayed polyurethane for insulation and waterproofing and covered in grass to disguise the building as a green dune that blends into the rolling lawn landscape. Taking inspiration from the shape of a peanut shell, Senosiain organized the home as two ovate spaces — one for the living room, dining area and kitchen and the other for the bedroom and bathroom — unified by a curved hallway. The entrance is attached to the living area and marked by a hobbit -like round door framed by a dense fringe of foliage. The interior feels distinctly cavernous with its rounded surfaces. Yet despite the cave-like , semi-underground interior, the home is full of light thanks to the insertion of large, curved windows that frame a variety of outdoor views. Related: The Nautilus — a giant, snail-shaped home fit for a family “The original concept is defined in two large spaces: one day and one night, looking for the feeling that inside the person will enter the land, that was aware of the uniqueness of this space without losing integration with the exterior green areas,” Senosiain said. “The green dune is the envelope of the interior volume that is almost invisible. From the outside we only see grass, shrubs, trees and flowers. Walking on the garden is walking on the roof of the house without realizing it.” + Javier Senosiain Via ArchDaily Images via Javier Senosiain

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This funky, hobbit-like home is immersed in lush greenery

Contemporary barn-inspired home adheres to passive house principles

July 31, 2019 by  
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Delivering a modern twist to local historic building practices, London-based architectural practice Bureau de Change has recently completed a new home that takes inspiration from traditional farm structures in the Cotswolds, a rural area of south central England. A pair of timber chicken sheds, nearly 100 feet long each, was used as the starting point of the design for the Long House. In addition to respecting the local rural vernacular, the thoughtfully crafted home also follows passive house principles to reduce energy use without sacrificing comfort year-round. Located near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, England, the Long House spans approximately 5,400 square feet across three gabled volumes that have been given two different exterior treatments. The single-story volume to the front is built from stone, while the volume in the rear—split into two parts—is sheathed in natural larch that will gain a natural patina over time. The contrast adds visual richness and the materials selected will naturally develop a patina over time to blend the buildings into the surroundings. “The front barn has been built in dry stone wall by a local craftsman, chosen not only for its local relevance but for its inherent qualities of mass and muscularity,” explains Bureau de Change Architects co-founder Katerina Dionysopoulou. “This facade is monolithic, with fewer openings to produce a heavier, solid volume at the front. As a counterpoint, the taller barn in the back is clad in lighter-weight natural larch which has been charred to a deep leathery black at each window recess. This charring has then been brushed away to gently blend it into the natural larch—creating an ombre effect which emphasizes the rhythmic push and pull of the window indentations.” Related: British farmer plants heart-shaped meadow in honor of his late wife Inside, the front volume hides an inner courtyard that’s hidden behind the elevation and serves as a light-filled focal point for the home. To meet passive house principles , the architects constructed the building with an insulated concrete formwork system to create an airtight thermal envelope. Openings are limited on the south-facing facade and triple-pane glass was installed to minimize unwanted heat gain and loss. Air quality is maintained with a heat recovery ventilation system. + Bureau de Change Images by Gilbert McCarragher

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Contemporary barn-inspired home adheres to passive house principles

Green-roofed home in Poland is made out of reclaimed brick

July 25, 2019 by  
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Polish architectural firm Biuro Toprojekt has unveiled a beautiful home that showcases a brilliant brick and glass facade. The Red House is a 3,900-square-foot home clad with chiaroscuro-style walls made from reclaimed bricks on one side, while the back consists almost entirely of glass doors and windows that frame incredible views of the serene forestscape surrounding the residence. Located in Poland’s Upper Silesia, the brick house sits on the edge of an expansive forestscape. Using the idyllic setting as inspiration, the architects decided to use as many eco-friendly and reclaimed building materials and features as possible, including a solar array that generates sufficient power to the house. Related: A beautiful brick home is embedded into the Brazilian countryside At first glance, the stunning brick exterior catches the eye. Made out of old bricks reclaimed from a nearby brickworks, the facades were hand-laid in a chiaroscuro style, creating a vibrant, three-dimensional pattern made up of light and shadows. The lovely brick facade is topped with a green roof planted with native vegetation, including vines, which will begin to fall over the roofline over time, further melding the structure into its natural setting. The entrance is through an open cutout in the exterior wall that leads into a brick courtyard and garage. As the residents walk inside, the mood changes dramatically as the surroundings transform from a solid brick exterior to a contemporary, luminous space. Although the front facade is marked by its brilliant brick walls, the back of the home consists of entire walls made up of large, sliding glass doors and full-height windows that frame the views of the forest. White walls, along with a natural color palette and minimal furnishings , create a modern but comfortable atmosphere. + Biuro Toprojekt Via Dwell Photography by Juliusz Soko?owski via Biuro Toprojekt

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Green-roofed home in Poland is made out of reclaimed brick

How to easily make your own reusable produce bags

July 22, 2019 by  
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If you’re focused on sustainability and/or zero waste , you probably cringe every time you return home from the grocery store and pull out bag after bag of fruits and vegetables, each tucked inside plastic bags conveniently located in the produce section where you shopped. The good news is that it’s easy to end the cringe with reusable cloth produce bags. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your own cloth produce bags at very little cost. There are even no-sew options if a sewing machine isn’t your thing. The best part is that you likely already have everything you need to whip up a pile of reusable cloth bags this weekend. Related: RÆBURN upcycles North Face tents into one-of-a-kind bags Material An old, but freshly washed, bed sheet makes the perfect upcycle material for your cloth produce bags. Alternately, grab some lightly-used pillow cases. These work great since they already have seams on some of the sides. Ideally, you will want cotton or linen and organic is always best, but remember that turning one product into something else is already an eco-friendly action so give yourself a break if your sheets aren’t organic.  The linen closet is an easy place to start, but it’s certainly not the only place to find material in your home. Old clothing is an accessible option, especially when you look for shapes that make produce bags easier to make. For example, a child’s shirt will only need small adaptations to turn into a bag. Same goes for wide sleeves or a tight skirt.  No sew Sewing just might not be your thing. Perhaps you don’t have a sewing machine, or you don’t enjoy the whole needle and thread experience. That’s fine with us. To use no-sew reusable produce bags, simply use Velcro instead. Lay your fabric pieces out inside out. Glue Velcro to the length of each side and allow the strips to dry. Then press the Velcro pieces together completely. Use high-quality Velcro for a firm hold.  Sew Making your own produce bags doesn’t require extensive sewing experience. Simply cut and lay out two rectangles of fabric, back to back (or inside out). You can make bags in a variety of sizes. Sew the edges of three sides, leaving the top open. If you are using a material with existing seams, finish the additional edges. For example, cut a pillowcase in four quarters, turn each quarter inside out, finish the seams and turn it back right side out to see your completed bag. The top Now you have your upcycled produce bag ready to go, but you may be wondering how to keep it closed once you stuff your favorite produce inside. The answer is that you don’t really need to if your bag is deep enough. However, if you prefer to have a top that closes, there are several ways you can go about it. For those that enjoyed the sewing portion, go ahead and add a drawstring to the top. To do this, fold over the material at the top leaving about 1/2 inch before making a seam. The 1/2 inch gap allows room for a piece of rope or that non-partnered shoelace in the junk drawer. You can lay it into the space before stitching it up, but be sure not to stitch over it, which locks it into a stationary position and will inhibit the bag from pulling closed. For a no-sew option attach the two sides with Velcro. An even easier solution is to close the top while you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market using a hair tie band. The elasticity allows the cashier to peak inside the bag hassle free. Plus, if you use your produce bag in the bulk section, you can attach the product number tag directly to the tie band.  Other Uses Produce bags are never just for produce. You can use them to store any number of foods . Beans are an excellent example. Rice, pasta and other pantry items also store well in fabric bags. Shopping bulk is a sustainable action that removes much of the packaging waste from the typical shopping venture. While glass jars are best for some things, fabric bags can handle the “bulk” of your dried foods. Outside the food realm you can use them to store art supplies such as markers, paint brushes and rocks. When it comes time to do laundry, throw small items such as kid’s socks inside and wash the entire bag. Care Fabric produce bags are easy to care for because they are machine washable alongside the rest of your laundry. It’s best to wash bags after each use considering the amount of germs they encounter in the shopping cart, at checkout and in your car. Bags can be hung to dry or tossed into the dryer if necessary. Remember to put your bags somewhere you will remember to take them with you for your next shopping trip, or take them directly to the car for storage. Congratulations on your step towards reducing plastic waste ! Images via Sean and Lauren , Pixabay , Laura Mitulla

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