The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

Do Metal Roofs Save Energy?

April 17, 2019 by  
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The popularity of metal roofs has soared in recent years … The post Do Metal Roofs Save Energy? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Do Metal Roofs Save Energy?

Maven Moment: The Spice Cabinet

April 17, 2019 by  
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Sometimes it can be challenging to live a low-waste or … The post Maven Moment: The Spice Cabinet appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: The Spice Cabinet

This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

April 15, 2019 by  
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With features like a natural ventilation system to cool the home and rainwater collection to supply plumbing, The Hut is completely eco-friendly in addition to being off-grid . There is no access to main electricity or water, so the minimalist structure relies exclusively on solar power. Rather than constructing on top of the building site as most projects do, the architects built the home to harmonize with its surrounding environment. While the sustainable and eco-conscious design is worth commendation alone, The Hut was also born from a unique emotional place as well. Architect Greg Dutton of Midland Architecture wanted to build a quiet retreat in his family’s forested property on their Ohio cattle farm, within an area filled with happy childhood memories of hiking and exploration. The land, which he and his family have owned and operated for 40 years, holds a nostalgic value that helps connect the home with the building site. Related: Eco-friendly “treehouse” in French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors Designed to appear as a treehouse , The Hut is elevated within the trees overlooking a lake through the use of concrete pillars at the edge of a small cliff. The position takes full advantage of exposure from the southern sun, helping to keep the home powered by solar energy. The floor-to-ceiling windows behind the wood-burning stove add to the lofted-in-the-trees effect. Though the natural cedar that tops the roof initially sticks out, with time and weather, the color will blend in perfectly with the surrounding forest. Inside, the floors are made of white pine and the wall/ceiling paneling of yellow pine, an homage to the Scandinavian and Danish architecture style that inspires a cozy atmosphere . The interior utilizes mostly organic light brown and white colors, with touches of black to add natural accents. There is a simple living space that connects to a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. The architect drew inspiration from the rustic and straightforward designs he grew up with in his farming background. + Midland Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Lexi Ribar via Midland Architecture

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This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

April 4, 2019 by  
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Oslo-based firm Atelier Oslo has created a beautiful home for a pair of artists who wanted to enjoy a peaceful retreat on the remote Norwegian island of Skåtøy. Built into the rocky landscape, the design for the House on an Island was inspired by the couple’s desire to find a place for contemplation in nature. The 7,500-square-foot glass cube features a prefabricated timber frame enveloped by a loosely gridded timber facade that filters the sunlight into playful shadows throughout the interior, emitting the calming feeling of sitting under a swaying tree. The home was built on a rugged landscape characterized by smooth and curved rocks that run down to the coastline. Although the rocky terrain was challenging, the architects managed to use it to their advantage. Using the large rocks as a base, the architects laid a concrete foundation that wraps around the rocks to mark the home’s layout, resulting in various split-levels that follow the contour of the natural topography. Built on a slight knoll, the home’s frame is made out of prefabricated timber . Related: Prefab CLT pavilion cleverly encourages dialogue at a Vancouver TED conference The main volume is a cube-like shape comprised of massive glass panels partially covered with a timber “netting.” The timber panels, which were made from heat-treated wood that will turn gray over time, covers the rooftop and drops down over the front facade. This system allowed the architects to truly embed the home into its natural surroundings. The timber slats are placed far apart, allowing filtered natural light and playful shadows to emit a calming atmosphere throughout the interior. The living space of the two-bedroom home is an open layout with modern furnishings. Again, using the home’s natural materials to enhance the atmosphere, Atelier Oslo emphasized natural wood and concrete for the interior design. Exposed wooden beams run the length of the ceilings, and concrete flooring gives the space a fun, industrial feel. Concrete was also used to craft an impressive fireplace and adjacent stairwell (which doubles as a bookcase) that leads to the top floor. + Atelier Oslo Via Dezeen Photography by Ivar Kvaal and Charlotte Thiis via Atelier Oslo

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A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

Modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling in Melbourne is largely self-sufficient

March 29, 2019 by  
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Desirous of a “low-tech, country life,” a couple reached out to Brunswick-based architectural firm MRTN Architects for the design of the Trentham Long House, a contemporary home inspired by the traditional farming structures that once inhabited the Australian countryside. Located north of Melbourne, the dwelling consists of an elongated structure topped with a gable roof. To meet the client’s brief for a largely self-sufficient home, the architects optimized the thermal performance of the build, taking advantage of passive solar principles and installing a high-efficiency fireplace for supplementary heating in winter. Built for a couple that often hosts their extended family, the single-story home spans an area of 2,787 square feet and is oriented east to west. The main living spaces are located on the west side and include four bedrooms evenly split on either side of the central open-plan living area with a dining space and kitchen. Full-height glazing with custom sliding screens open the living space to an outdoor terrace. “The building’s muted material palette subtly and effectively reflects the surrounding environment, echoing buildings of the past,” MRTN Architects explained. “The spotted gum exterior cladding is left to naturally patina , relying on its innate aptitude to develop character and camouflage over time. The owners are not extravagant or wasteful people, they live with a careful intent behind all they do and their family is very important to them. The house is largely self-sufficient, heating costs are low, cooling costs are non-existent and the extended family can be accommodated at all times.” Related: A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia The client’s son, a builder, constructed the project with finishes and materials selected on the basis of their durability, thermal performance and cost-effectiveness. To ensure energy efficiency, the architects kept glazed openings along the south facade at a minimum while roof overhangs and custom sliding screens help protect against unwanted solar gain. Stone tile set on a concrete slab provides  thermal mass . Moreover, all rainwater runoff from the roof is captured and stored in large water tanks and reused for all the home’s water needs and for irrigation. + MRTN Architects Photography by Anthony Basheer via MRTN Architects

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Modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling in Melbourne is largely self-sufficient

Adulting: Choosing a Sustainable Mattress for College

March 26, 2019 by  
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The first day of college can be exciting and disorienting. … The post Adulting: Choosing a Sustainable Mattress for College appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Q&A With Author: ‘No-Waste Kitchen Gardening’

March 26, 2019 by  
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Q&A With Author: ‘No-Waste Kitchen Gardening’

Truman’s wants to eliminate single-use plastics in the household cleaner industry

March 21, 2019 by  
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The household cleaning aisle at the store features dozens of spray cleaners for different surfaces, and the ingredient lists are a mile long with chemical names that are impossible to pronounce. While many of those cleaners are effective for getting rid of dirt and germs, some of the chemicals inside are environmental hazards. Then, there are the  plastic  bottles, which get thrown into the trash once they are empty, adding to the plastic pollution problem. As the marketplace shifts to products with more sustainable packaging and more eco-friendly ingredients, a new company, Truman’s, is attempting to change the game in the household cleaner industry. Truman’s is trying to “upend the nearly $10 billion spray cleaner market” with its new direct-to-consumer subscription website that features four non-toxic cleaners shipped to customers’ doors in special bottles that they refill when the bottles are empty. “Cleaning is cluttered” Truman’s entered the cleaning market after discovering 57 different cleaners on local store shelves, with 43 different scents and 15 unique surface cleaners. The company founders became “obsessed with reducing waste and clutter” and wanted to find a way to reduce the number of cleaning products filled with harsh chemicals that are filling cabinets in homes across the country. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners The plastic problem Plastic production went bonkers in the 1950s, with Life magazine praising an American future that would feature “throwaway living.” Since then, according to Truman’s website, the “planet has accumulated 9.2 billion tons of plastic,” which breaks down to “1.3 tons for every man, woman and child on Earth.” Globally, less than one-fifth of all plastic gets recycled , and in the United States, the number is less than 10 percent. Single-use plastic bottles are a major factor in the plastic problem. According to a recently published University of California study , in the past 13 years, the world has produced more plastic than it did in the previous 50. Research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation says that by 2050, “the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.” Truman’s says that if just 5 percent of Americans would opt for its delivery service instead of buying cleaning products at the store, it would save 4 billion pounds of water from being shipped in single-use, plastic-bottled cleaning products, and it would reduce the amount of plastic used by 300 million pounds. How does it work? Truman’s offers four spray cleaners: The Glass Is Always Cleaner, Everything and the Kitchen Sink, Floors Truly and More Shower To You. When they join Truman’s, customers receive a starter kit that they can use for 30 days, risk-free. After that first month, Truman’s will then ship refill cartridges, and the automatic shipments continue every six months. However, customers can order extras if needed, or the service can be paused or canceled. The refill cartridges work when mixed with water, and the bottles can be continuously reused . This allows customers to save space under the kitchen sink. Plus it’s significantly cheaper, because the refills are $3.75 while the bottles and shipping are always free. Truman’s always ships refills four at a time per cleaner, which is $15. They also ship all four cleaners, which means every six months, customers are charged $60. However, there is the option to remove certain cleaners from the subscription. This method reduces plastic waste by more than 90 percent, according to Truman’s website, and the bottles are also recyclable. The men behind Truman’s Jon Bostock and Alex Reed had years of experience working with companies like General Electric and Big Ass Fans. But when Big Ass Fans was sold for $500 million in late 2017, Bostock and Reed looked for something new to focus their efforts on. “Alex and I are both neat-freaks, and we knew the home cleaning industry needed real change,” Bostock said. “It’s dominated by a few global companies that add new cleaners you don’t need just to pad profits. Then they compete for shelf space at stores, which all get their share of the price.” Related: Scientists discover hazardous chemicals accumulate in household dust The duo felt that it was time for the cleaning industry to change, so they created a company that delivers easy-to-use cleaning products directly to the consumer. Bostock and Reed knew that large businesses already use concentrated refills to fill the same bottles over and over again, and they believe that if that model works for businesses, it could work for everyone else. They never planned to put their product on store shelves, because that would just add to the problem. Truman’s opted to avoid the shelf rental fees and sell directly to customers to keep costs low and get constant feedback from customers via the website. Truman’s definitely gives customers an eco-friendly cleaning option that can significantly reduce plastic waste. But just remember to ditch disposable paper towels and use reusable cleaning cloths and old T-shirts when using these cleaners. + Truman’s Images via Truman’s

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Truman’s wants to eliminate single-use plastics in the household cleaner industry

Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

March 21, 2019 by  
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When Montreal-based firm YH2 Architecture was tasked with the almost impossible feat of building on an incredibly sloped, rocky landscape, it came up with a solution that goes back to the age of time: building blocks. Using the natural landscape to its advantage, the firm constructed the gorgeous House Dans l’Escarpement out of two concrete “boxes,” one vertical and one horizontal. The ingenious design not only let the project expand vertically but also reduced the footprint of the home on its pristine surroundings. Located in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré region of Quebec, the home is tucked into a vast landscape made up of a lush forest and pristine lakes. The particular building location, however, is marked by a very steep cliff that has never been built on because of its rugged topography. Related: “Delightfully surprising” green-roofed island home cascades down a rocky slope When tasked with building on this seemingly impossible site, the architects employed an elementary concept to create an extraordinary home design. The House Dans l’Escarpement’s 3,230 square footage spans over two large blocks. The main entrance to the home is through an elevated metallic gangway that leads into the vertical block, while a horizontal block extends out on the ground floor. Spread out over three levels, the lowest floor of the vertical block houses a sauna and spa area, while the second floor is home to a small office and library. The master suite holds court on the upper level and boasts stunning views of the forest and river below. Connected to the vertical tower on the ground by an all-glass walkway , the horizontal block features an open-plan living and dining area that opens up to the outdoors with an open-air terrace. Driving the inspiration behind the unique design, the connection between the man-made and the natural is felt throughout the interior. Warm mahogany and  Corten steel panels were used to frame the home’s exterior, enhanced in some parts with slabs of exposed concrete, which the architects used to pay homage to the large boulders that make up the home’s setting. Mahogany is also the prevailing material used throughout the interior, giving the home a contemporary cabin feel. Selected for its durable quality as well as rich, warm tones, the wood is used in almost every surface, from the flooring, ceilings and beams to the window frames and kitchen cabinets. The result is a living space that blends in seamlessly with the forestscape that envelopes the home. + YH2 Architecture Via Archdaily Photography by Maxime Brouillet via YH2 Architecture

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Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

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