New local campaigns can bring cheaper and cleaner rooftop solar to communities of color

August 6, 2020 by  
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New local campaigns can bring cheaper and cleaner rooftop solar to communities of color Lacey Shaver Thu, 08/06/2020 – 00:20 There is a new urgency across the United States to address structural and systemic racial inequities in criminal justice , wealth and housing , employment , health care and education . These disparities are also pervasive in energy. One common measure of this is “energy burden,” or the share of take-home income spent on energy bills. Communities of color have been shown to have a 24–27 percent higher energy burden than White Americans when controlling across income levels, and low-income residents experience an energy burden up to three times higher than high-income residents. Rooftop solar has the potential to reduce energy burden in communities of color, but it has not yet lived up to its potential due to systemic barriers: lack of solar education and outreach; financial challenges such as lower income and access to credit; and issues related to home ownership, such as lower ownership rates or roof condition. Rooftop solar has the potential to reduce energy burden in communities of color, but it has not yet lived up to its potential due to systemic barriers. Local governments can play a pivotal role in expanding access to solar for these communities by developing programs that address these systemic barriers and helping to bring the benefits of clean energy to the communities that need them the most. One useful program that local governments can consider is a “Solarize,” or community bulk-purchasing, campaign, which has been shown to reduce solar costs and address marketing and outreach barriers to solar. Cities can take these programs to a new level by partnering with community groups to focus outreach in communities of color and collaborating with financial institutions to develop solutions for low-and moderate-income (LMI) residents. Solar can help relieve energy burden, but has not yet reached communities of color With a simple payback of less than the 25-year life of solar photovoltaics in all 50 states and less than half that time in most states, rooftop solar has reduced energy costs for residents throughout the country. However, these cost savings have mostly benefited White residents. A 2019 report indicated that in census tracks with the same median household income, Black- and Hispanic-majority neighborhoods have 69 percent and 30 percent less rooftop solar installed, respectively, than neighborhoods without a racial majority (versus 21 percent more solar in majority White communities). This is not just because of differences in homeownership. When controlling for ownership, majority Black and Hispanic communities still had 61 percent less and 45 percent less solar installed, respectively, than neighborhoods with no racial majority (versus 37 percent more in majority White neighborhoods). As a result, nearly half of Black majority communities in the United States do not have a single solar system installed. One thing is fairly certain: It is not because communities of color don’t care about reducing their environmental footprint. Recent polls have indicated that Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely, at 57 percent and 69 percent, respectively, to be concerned or alarmed about climate change than White Americans, at 49 percent. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. These frontline communities are disproportionately exposed to higher rates of pollution and climate change impacts from a long history of systemic inequities. Marketing and education through ‘Solarize’ campaigns Solar marketing and education provide essential exposure to the many benefits of solar and are necessary for increased and persistent solar adoption in any community. Unfortunately, this outreach and local solar education have not reached all communities equally. Marketing may not be reaching communities of color as effectively due to the solar industry’s focus on profitable and affluent areas, as well as its lack of diversity at the decision-making level. With nearly 70 percent of small-scale solar concentrated in just five of the most profitable states, most of which offer solar incentives and are highly affluent , large swaths of the country and communities of color have been left out of the solar industry’s marketing. Marketing may not be reaching communities of color as effectively due to the solar industry’s focus on profitable and affluent areas, as well as its lack of diversity at the decision-making level. Furthermore, the lack of persons of color represented in solar companies — almost 90 percent of solar senior executives are White and only 2 percent Black and 6 percent Hispanic —  likely affects which communities are predominantly targeted through marketing campaigns and the effectiveness of those campaigns. The significant lack of solar in communities of color also has resulted in a lack of general knowledge of how to access and benefit from solar. These communities have not fully benefited from the ” solar contagion effect ,” in which residents who see solar being installed in their neighborhood are more likely to install their own solar systems. This is no surprise considering residents are significantly more trusting of their neighbor’s opinions of solar than information communicated by the solar industry. In fact, SolarCity released a report indicating one-third of solar customers were referred by a neighbor and another study suggests that the presence of two to three solar installations in a neighborhood results in one additional installation. Notably, this contagion effect has been shown to be highest in communities of color but has not yet realized its full potential. Community purchasing campaigns can help fill this void if they focus outreach to specific underserved communities. Long the target of scams and predatory lending , communities of color may be more skeptical of solar product offerings that sound too good to be true. Community purchasing campaigns can help fill this void if they focus outreach to specific underserved communities. However, partnering with a trusted local community organization that understands the community dynamics can build trust and enable solar education to come through community leaders, newsletters and events. These sources have shown to be most effective for increasing solar uptake in low-income and communities of color . For communities with minimal solar exposure (again, nearly 50 percent of Black communities have zero solar), these campaigns provide the essential education to drive community-wide solar adoption. Bringing down solar costs and — in some cases — reducing credit barriers The top barrier to installing residential solar is typically financial, regardless of income or race. Solarize campaigns have shown to help lessen these financial barriers by reducing solar costs by about 20 percent . These cost savings result from removing solar company costs for customer marketing and using economies of scale. The cost and time savings with this simplified process can be even more prevalent in jurisdictions that streamline solar permitting given the high volume of installations that come with Solarize campaigns. While this discount has been shown to be a leading factor to participate in Solarize campaigns at every income level, these savings alone do not solve the compounding issues of overall cost and creditworthiness facing communities of color. First, Black and Hispanic families have significantly lower median household incomes, 41 percent and 27 percent lower than White families, and therefore additional incentives beyond Solarize may be necessary to enable participation. Second, they are more likely to have lower credit scores that can result in challenges in obtaining a loan to pay the upfront cost ($16,500 for the typical 5 kW system) or meeting the credit requirements for a solar power purchase agreement or lease . This situation can lead to higher interest rates and make solar less economic or uneconomic for these community members. To make Solarize campaigns work for LMI residents, cities can develop partnerships with local green lending institutions (a Green Bank, community development financial institution or local credit union) to address cost and credit barriers. Connecticut’s version of Solarize, the Solar for All Campaign , offers a great example of using a financial partnership to expand the reach of a typical Solarize campaign to LMI residents. To make Solarize campaigns work for LMI residents, cities can develop partnerships with local green lending institutions to address cost and credit barriers. After realizing that business as usual wasn’t spurring solar uptake in low-income communities, the Connecticut Green Bank created new incentives specifically for LMI residents, paired solar with energy efficiency upgrades, instituted “no money down, no credit required” Solarize offerings and recruited contractors with experience reaching underserved markets. In three years, this multifaceted approach increased solar penetration in Connecticut’s low-income communities by 188 percent, and helped over 900 low-income households go solar. Pairing Solarize with community solar to bring solar to renters Lack of home ownership is a major barrier to solar in communities of color due to a long history of discriminatory housing policies. Black and Hispanic households are less likely to own their homes, at 43 percent and 46 percent, respectively, versus 72 percent of White households . With a higher percentage of renters, it is much more difficult for communities of color to access residential solar due to a split incentive between the landlord, who typically decides whether to pursue capital improvements, and the renter, who pay the utility bills. Further, for people of color that do own their home, many live in older homes that need significant roof or structural repairs to support a solar system. One successful way that cities are expanding solar access to renters is through community solar projects, which enable participants to subscribe to a local clean energy project and receive the associated credits on their electricity bill. Combining marketing and outreach on parallel Solarize campaigns and community solar projects can leverage limited local government resources and more effectively reach both renters and homeowners. This has been an effective strategy for NY-Sun’s community solar Solarize option and Denver’s parallel Solarize and community solar campaigns . Take action today to implement a Solarize campaign The American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator , co-led by Rocky Mountain Institute and World Resources Institute, is launching a residential solar cohort this summer to help local governments implement Solarize campaigns and accelerate residential solar adoption in their community, with a particular focus on historically marginalized communities. If your local government is interested in learning how a community purchasing campaign can help expand solar access in your community, please reach out to Ryan Shea at rshea@rmi.org to learn more. Pull Quote Rooftop solar has the potential to reduce energy burden in communities of color, but it has not yet lived up to its potential due to systemic barriers. Marketing may not be reaching communities of color as effectively due to the solar industry’s focus on profitable and affluent areas, as well as its lack of diversity at the decision-making level. Community purchasing campaigns can help fill this void if they focus outreach to specific underserved communities. To make Solarize campaigns work for LMI residents, cities can develop partnerships with local green lending institutions to address cost and credit barriers. Contributors Ryan Shea Topics Energy & Climate Cities Finance & Investing Social Justice Solar Community Energy Equity & Inclusion Collective Insight Rocky Mountain Institute RMI Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off NREL researchers work on a photovoltaic dual-use research project at the UMass Crop Animal Research and Education Center in South Deerfield, MA. Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash. Close Authorship

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New local campaigns can bring cheaper and cleaner rooftop solar to communities of color

Villa CasaBlanca is an earthen home made from clay found onsite

July 30, 2020 by  
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The Villa CasaBlanca in Bali puts a new spin on the ancient tradition of cob building — a construction technique using materials such as clay and straw, often harvested from the building site. The home is part of a larger project consisting of 24 similar sustainable luxury homes in a communal eco-village designed by Kurt Beckman and MUD Sustainable Homes. The practice of building cob homes certainly makes sense in the tropical landscape of Bali. Cob homes provide a naturally cool living space with natural resistance to termites, mold, fires and earthquakes. The country is known for the rich clay soil that helps grow its coffee, supply spa treatments and even inspire traditional mepantigan mud wrestling. Unfortunately, the cob building technique largely disappeared following the rise of concrete in the 1970s. According to the designer, the villa is the first and only modern example of a cob and bamboo home in Bali. Related: This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo Inside, low-energy design considerations include full LED lighting, while outside, a graywater reclamation system and groundwater recharge well help control water flow. Though the cob construction technique naturally cools the space, the designers included additional open living spaces to allow for further access to breezes and natural light. Sustainable building materials for the home include bamboo and sugarcane for its curved grass roof and local volcanic stone for the house’s foundation as well as the bathroom and garden walls. The garden itself is landscaped with edible plants, such as lemongrass, sugarcane, chili peppers, bananas, pineapples, roselle and local herbs. The main building of the 1,291-square-foot villa has three bedrooms with another bedroom and study available inside the guest house. Additions like interior and exterior balconies, bedroom lofts, an upstairs lounge and a swing make the space more luxurious, and furnishings of local Balinese carvings honor the cultural heritage of the area. MUD Sustainable Homes and local craftspeople were responsible for the build of the Villa CasaBlanca, with interior design by Earthwright Eco Design. Located in Ubud, Bali, the project was completed in February 2020. + Villa CasaBlanca Images via Kurt Beckman

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Villa CasaBlanca is an earthen home made from clay found onsite

This dad built a backyard coffee shop with repurposed materials

July 28, 2020 by  
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When Julianna Astrid posted about the DIY coffee shop that her dad, Ed, built in his  backyard , her social media blew up with supportive comments. The impressive backyard cafe uses only repurposed construction materials, combined with various pieces from swap meets, antique stores and thrift stores. Ed works full time as a contractor in Orange County and took unused  building materials  from past projects to build the structure. He finished the job in just three months, working on the weekends and after his regular work hours to complete the passion project. Related: San Francisco superdad builds homemade roller coaster in his backyard As daughter Julianna explained to  Newsweek , “My dad is a contractor and has been on so many job sites where he has to throw old materials away to make room for the new remodels ; but he saved some of the ‘trash’ from numerous jobs and repurposed it to create his coffee shop; these things included materials to build the structure, the coffee shops doors and the front window!” The mini coffee shop, or “La Vida” as Ed has named it, serves as a place to relax and enjoy a brew with friends and family. The design features a painted wooden exterior and interior, a bar area under one of the glass windows and a dedicated outside patio with string lights and seating. A cute pastry case and a mini-fridge filled with cold  coffee  beverages fill out the space. From the chalk menu board to the cozy chess table in the corner, you’d never know that you were in someone’s private backyard rather than an actual cafe. Julianna originally posted about La Vida on her TikTok in March before  tweeting  about it in June. Since then, the Twitter post has received over 37,000 retweets and 302,000 likes. According to Julianna, her dad has always loved coffee and building, so this project came naturally for the hardworking contractor. The space is still a work in progress, with Ed keeping an eye out for different types of coffee beans from around the world and unique pieces from second-hand stores to stock his shop. In the future, he plans on making  YouTube  videos teaching people to build things for their homes. + ELS Builds Via Twitter Images via Julianna Astrid

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This dad built a backyard coffee shop with repurposed materials

Off-grid home threads through a South African riverine forest

July 23, 2020 by  
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When a nature-loving elderly couple tapped South African architecture firm  Frankie Pappas  to design their new home, they requested a residence with minimal site impact. The architects responded with a site-specific house that operates completely off-grid and weaves between trees to preserve the natural scenery. Built largely of natural materials , the home — named the House of the Big Arch — seems to disappear into the landscape.  Located within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve between a riverine forest and a sandstone cliff, the House of the Big Arch comprises two main skinny linear volumes joined together at an angle with small additions to the sides. The unusual shape directly responds to the sloped site and the location and size of the surrounding trees. To ensure the preservation of all existing trees, the architects laser-scanned the entire site to create a digital  3D model  that informed critical design decisions.  To “bridge the landscape between the riverine forest and sandstone cliff,” the architects constructed the building with rough stock brick matching the color of the site’s weathered sandstone. The “bridge” portions of the home use sustainably grown timber, and the non-structural walls use glass and aluminum. In addition to blending in with the surroundings, the home operates entirely off-grid and follows passive principles for a reduced energy footprint. Water collected from the roof gets filtered and stored for reuse.  Greywater , stored separately, also gets processed for reuse. A 16-square-meter solar array provides for all the home’s energy needs.  Related: South Africa’s first interior 6 star Green Star awarded to Formfunc The House of the Big Arch spreads across three floors, with an underground cellar for storing food supplies, curing meats and aging wines. The ground floor opens up to  courtyards  and houses a study, library and a small swing beneath the arch at the front of the site. On the first floor, open-plan communal areas connect to a tree-shaded deck and a pool.  + Frankie Pappas Images via Frankie Pappas

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Off-grid home threads through a South African riverine forest

Prefab home was assembled onsite in New Zealand in just 4 days

July 23, 2020 by  
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The Karangahake House is nestled within the dense mountain forest of Waitawheta Valley, located on the North Island of New Zealand. The secluded home is built of FSC-certified, native douglas fir wood and paired with an eco-friendly prefabrication construction process. Vast, 360-degree views of neighboring farmlands circle the property, as well as stunning vistas of the Karangahake and Te Aroha Mountains across the historic gold-mining region to the east. The project is meant to provide a sustainable home for its owners, who put great value on the importance of the environment and quiet family moments. Related: Tiny prefab timber cabin in New Zealand designed to be serene art studio The designers made the most out of the local materials available to them, cladding the home in locally grown and sustainably harvested timber with an environmentally friendly, natural wood finish and sustainable insulation. The finish is meant to age over time to reveal a rustic silver hue, paying homage to the nostalgic hiking shelters, or Kiwi Tramper Huts, for which the area is known. At just over 1,000 square feet, the main house features a double-height open living and kitchen area, two double bedrooms and a bathroom under a mezzanine and a connecting room to accommodate guests or transform into office space. The grand “Outdoor Room” alludes to farmhouse style and provides opportunities for indoor-outdoor living, taking in beautiful forest views. This room also serves as an open connection between the main house and guest area. Responsible for the design is MAKE Architects, who collaborated with local partners to create the prefabricated floors, roof and wall panels that helped reduce waste and costs of the construction process. The Karangahake House was assembled onsite in four days by local workers, resulting in nearly 0% onsite waste and a massive reduction of transportation pollution. The FSC-certified wood , natural wood coating and prefab building process will ensure a long lifespan for the property, according to the architects. Additionally, the home will require minimal user maintenance. + MAKE Architects Photography by David Straight via MAKE Architects

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Prefab home was assembled onsite in New Zealand in just 4 days

Conceptual eco-village empowers women in Beirut

July 23, 2020 by  
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In a bid to advance gender equity in Lebanon, Beirut-based Anastasia Elrouss Architects has proposed the Vertical Eco-Village: Urban Lung of Beirut, a three-pronged proposal that centers on the M Tower, a 14-story, greenery-covered tower in the eclectic suburb of Chyah. Designed with a structural concrete shell fitted with recycled wooden partitions, the tower would comprise residences as well as spaces for workshops, retail and agricultural functions on the lower levels. The tower, in conjunction with an off-site wooden pavilion and urban farm, would function as a vocational training and cultural center specifically aimed at empowering Lebanese women through agricultural and self-sustainable skill building. Proposed for a 900-square-meter site at the intersection of two suburban streets, the M Tower emphasizes flexibility and adaptability with open-floor apartment plans that can be uniquely configured by residents into single-floor apartments, duplexes or penthouses with varying amounts of urban gardening space. Pocket gardens and linear terraces wrap around the tower to provide panoramic views of the city and reduce the urban heat island effect. Related: Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable “The building takes on the appearance of a single structural vertical planted element extending the busy city life,” the architects explained. “The intervention is a vertical green landmark revealing a unified structure whose multilayered facades are acting as a protective translucent shell vis-a-vis the street and the surrounding buildings.” For self-sufficiency, the tower would be equipped with photovoltaic panels , solar thermal panels, a rainwater harvesting and storage system and natural underground water storage for irrigation and domestic use. The training and retail facilities, operated by the Warchee NGO, would occupy the lower levels and could include urban farming areas, carpentry workshops, mushroom farming, a vegetable cannery and a vegetable market. The tower’s agricultural production areas would be complemented by the project’s two other satellite locations — Beirut Park’s renovated wooden pavilion and an urban farm — that would be connected to each other via electric shuttle.  + Anastasia Elrouss Architects Images via Anastasia Elrouss Architects

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Conceptual eco-village empowers women in Beirut

Zero-waste Orford Mews to bring energy-positive homes to East London

July 22, 2020 by  
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London-based property developer gs8 has unveiled designs for Orford Mews, a pilot project for a sustainable residential development in the North East London district of Walthamstow, which is currently undergoing regeneration. Designed by architect Michael Lynas of Studio Anyo , the contemporary, nine-unit development will serve as a landmark project for energy-positive, zero-waste housing. Orford Mews is expected to achieve and exceed RIBA 2030 operational energy and embodied carbon targets. Orford Mews will consist of eight family houses and a single three-bedroom apartment on a long linear site. The project will rely on local materials and local labor wherever possible to reduce the project’s embodied carbon count and to support the community. All of the non-contaminated materials from the existing buildings in the finished development will be reused. The contemporary and minimalist design will be mainly built from timber and reclaimed brick, and it will feature sloped roofs topped with living moss. Climbing vines will also be encouraged to grow up walls to contribute to a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Related: Dark Chalet in Utah will generate over 350% more energy than it needs In addition to greenery around and on top of the houses, residents will have access to community garden spaces designed by landscape designers at London Glades. Residents will also enjoy little, if any, utility bills thanks to the energy-positive buildings integrated with renewable energy and designed to follow passive principles for reduced energy consumption. Passive design strategies include compact massing for minimized heat loss and strategic window placement for daylight capturing and heat retention. Orford Mews will also include a multifunctional well-being space for the community, a reuse center that encourages circular living choices and a Neighborhood App developed to provide real-time energy usage stats and suggestions to reduce energy consumption. “When we set out four years ago with a goal to develop a flexible framework to build one of the most sustainable projects in the world, we chose Orford Road as the pilot to prove that if we could achieve our carbon and energy-positive , zero-waste aspirations on a site this small and constrained, then it could be viably rolled out across any size development,” said Ben Spencer of gs8. “The next stage is implementing the innovative framework we’ve created and prove that developing truly sustainably doesn’t need to mean compromising on design quality or financial viability.” + gs8 Images via gs8

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Zero-waste Orford Mews to bring energy-positive homes to East London

Pharrell Williams debuts The Pebble, a recyclable dining kit

July 22, 2020 by  
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Pentatonic, a circular economy company focused on removing single-use plastic products from the marketplace, partnered with acclaimed singer and outspoken opponent of single-use plastic Pharrell Williams to launch a portable dining kit made from  recycled materials.   Better known for his “Happy” music, Williams is equally passionate about finding alternatives to  single-use plastic , which is on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the estimated 20-35% increase in single-use waste, Williams has ignited the i am OTHER brand by joining forces with Pentatonic to bring The Pebble by OTHERWARE to the market.  Related: This sleek, reusable cutlery set can fit right inside your pocket The idea is simple and effective: a mobile dining kit that includes a fork, knife, spoon, straw and chopsticks. The entire set easily folds away into a compact egg or pebble that fits into a purse, backpack or briefcase for reuse,  eliminating waste . Utensils can be washed by hand while backpacking or added to the dishwasher at home. “Our team has been super concerned about the seemingly unstoppable flow of single-use plastics, especially around  food and drink . So we decided to get together with Pentatonic to do something about it, in a fresh, creative and relevant way. The goal is that the pebble makes it easy for people to take their first step towards eliminating single use plastics,” said Darla Vaughn from i am OTHER. The Pebble uses entirely recycled materials, including CDs, a nod to Williams’s other industry, and polypropylene from used food packaging. At the end of the kit’s life cycle, it can be recycled. Pentatonic will trade back the product and repurpose the materials into another product for a full zero-waste circle. While Williams brings a recognizable name to the collaboration, Pentatonic boasts noteworthy accomplishments too. The company reports that it “is the world’s leading circular economy company, which focuses upon removing the single use from consumption. It designs and manufactures high quality products as a standalone brand and in collaboration with a broad range of partners including Starbucks , Snarkitecture, Burger King, New Era, The Science Museum and Heron Preston.” And now, Pentatonic can add Williams to the list. The newly launched collection features a limited-edition yellow colorway to support YELLOW, INC., a non-profit foundation established by Williams. All i am OTHER proceeds from OTHERWARE sales will be donated to YELLOW, INC. + Pentatonic  Images via Pentatonic

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Pharrell Williams debuts The Pebble, a recyclable dining kit

Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

July 21, 2020 by  
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American architect Alec Petros has completed the Seaside Reef House, a timber-clad home that celebrates indoor/outdoor living at Solana Beach, California. Designed for Australian clients, the beach house takes cues from the Australian vernacular with its breezy, coastal appearance. Sustainability was also emphasized in the design, which features FSC-certified cedar and passive cooling strategies . Petros gained the commission after a serendipitous meeting with the client at a local bookstore, where the two coincidentally picked up the same architecture book and struck up a conversation that revealed a shared design aesthetic. The challenge with the project was not only the site’s odd shape but also the client’s desires for maximized ocean views and an open floor plan while preserving a sense of privacy in the densely populated coastal area. Related: A Brisbane cottage is sustainably updated to gracefully age in place As a result, Petros strategically placed a floor-to-ceiling door system and large windows to capture ocean views and cooling cross-breezes along the western and southern facades instead of wrapping the entire building in glass. To further emphasize the indoor/outdoor connection, Petros included deep roof eaves that measure 7 feet in length and a natural materials palette. The open-plan layout and interior pocket door systems help maintain sight lines and ensure flexibility for long-term use. “Another strong detail in the thought process behind the design related to sustainability,” Petros explained in a design statement. “The siding is composed of vertical FSC-certified cedar boards attached to a horizontal sleeper system, which created an air gap between the siding and the water-proofing. This allows sunlight to heat the boards without transferring a majority of that heat into the building itself. The beauty of this design is that it reduces the energy usage on the house where cooling is considered.” The wood siding was also selected for its ability to age gracefully in the humid, coastal region. + Alec Petros Studio Images via Alec Petros Studio

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Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

Conceptual rammed earth home harmonizes with an Indian forest

July 17, 2020 by  
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Mumbai-based architecture firm  Morphlab  has unveiled designs for “Shift-ing Earth,” a luxury residence designed to harmonize with nature. Created as part of a proposed township masterplan on densely forested land in India, the design concept marries contemporary architecture with natural materials and passive solar principles. The highly geometric house would primarily use rammed earth walls with large openings for a strong indoor/outdoor relationship. Morphlab’s renderings depict a house that mimics a rocky outcropping with asymmetrical  rammed earth  forms and a two-story outdoor waterfall as a focal feature next to the main entrance. Water, a major theme throughout the design, flows from the entrance waterfall to an L-shaped pool that wraps around the side of the building and culminates in a rectangular pool in the rear outdoor patio. The design would also encourage vegetation to grow in and around the home, from climbing wall vines to garden spaces, to help blur the boundary between indoors and out. According to the architects, integrating vegetation and water features is part of an energy-efficient strategy that takes advantage of natural cooling to minimize dependence on mechanical cooling. The house’s orientation follows  passive principles  as well; the bedrooms face the southwest in alignment with the direction of cross breezes. Mitigation against unwanted solar gain also informed the massing. Several openings, including a large rounded skylight above the living area that takes in canopy views, frame select views of the forest.  Related: Hawk Nest House combines rammed earth and local stone To  minimize site impact,  Morphlab proposes reusing the earth excavated during the construction process for the formwork of the rammed earth walls. To protect the areas of the home most exposed to the elements, the architects have proposed wrapping those sections — including the front door and upper bedroom volume — with corten steel panels that complement the rammed earth construction while adding extra durability.  + Morphlab Images via Morphlab

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Conceptual rammed earth home harmonizes with an Indian forest

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