African urbanization is being transformed by 3D printing

October 19, 2021 by  
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Every day, over 40,000 Africans move from rural regions to vibrant, growing cities to access improved facilities and economic growth. However, throughout the continent, countries are facing infrastructure shortages. In light of this, the U.K.-based CDC Group and the multinational materials distributor LafargeHolcim, have formed a joint venture called 14Trees to help meet increasing demands via sustainable building solutions. The project utilizes 3D printing technology to provide rapidly-built yet sturdy infrastructure that reduces construction costs, building time and carbon emissions. Through the use of 3D printers, the walls and vertical structures are extruded. Meanwhile, the local building team can focus its efforts on the installation of doors and windows, as well as interior finishes. 14Trees has already printed a house and a school in Malawi and has plans to expand its reach into other East African countries, beginning with Kenya and Zimbabwe. Related: Habitat for Humanity develops its first 3D-printed home in US 14Trees’ 3D printed prototype house is located in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital, and cost less than $10,000 to build. The walls were fabricated within 12 hours, a fraction of the time of traditional construction , which could take up to four days for a house of the same size. Besides the lowered costs and assembly time of these 3D-printed buildings, the use of optimized materials reduces carbon emissions by up to 70%. Since over 50% of Africa’s population lives in urban agglomerations, this construction method could be used as an eco-friendly, more affordable alternative for densely populated pockets in a city’s urban fabric. While houses are high in demand, the need for schools is also increasing. In Malawi alone, UNICEF estimates a shortage of 36,000 classrooms. While this could take 70 years to build using conventional construction methods, 14Trees estimates that 3D printing could complete this in 10 years, saving time, resources and energy. 14Trees’ new 3D-printed school in Malawi’s Salima district took a mere 18 hours to construct. The school is operational as of late June 2021 and provides a durable, sheltered environment that the community was lacking. The space allows for teaching to occur both inside and outside the classroom. Its unique design can also attract students who had previously dropped out of school to rejoin for better facilities. In addition to environmental benefits and cost-efficiency, the 3D printing construction process also provides economic opportunities for communities. Alongside jobs for carpenters, electricians, painters and other builders, local engineers can train to become material specialists and operate 3D extruding technology . By adopting 3D printing construction systems, NGOs and contractors throughout Africa can make use of multi-level sustainable solutions to combat infrastructure challenges brought about by urbanization. +14Trees Via CDC Group and World Economic Forum Images from 14Trees/Homeline media

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African urbanization is being transformed by 3D printing

Biden plans for 700% increase in community solar by 2025

October 13, 2021 by  
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The Biden administration has announced a new ambitious target of powering 5 million American homes with community solar power by 2025. This would require the current capacity to grow by 700% in the next four years. Although the target may seem unrealistic, experts say it is achievable. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a total of 3,253 MW-AC of community solar was installed by the end of 2020. This energy can serve up to 600,000 homes . Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement that achieving the new set targets would provide affordable energy for Americans. “Community solar is one of the most powerful tools we have to provide affordable solar energy to all American households, regardless of whether they own a home or have a roof suitable for solar panels,” Granholm said. “Achieving these ambitious targets will lead to meaningful energy cost savings, create jobs in these communities, and make our clean energy transition more equitable.” According to C.J. Colavito, vice president of engineering at Standard Solar and one of the leading proprietors of community solar projects in the U.S., the problem in the sector lies with policies. He argues that with proper policies , community-based solar can be developed past the target. For instance, he cites challenges in permitting, interconnection and subscriptions. According to Colavito, some projects take up to 24 months to get approved, a situation that is already delaying the start of many projects. Further, he points at the interconnection of projects as another problem that may take years to resolve. “Oftentimes, siting your system and getting interconnection can be the two most important items to get done before you even dive into the other challenges with community solar,” Colavito said. Currently, community solar projects exist in 21 states and the District of Colombia. According to the NREL, these projects are either state-required or pilot programs. Even so, the concentration of available solar projects in just a few states shows the policy disparities. States like Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts and New York lead the way due to helpful policies. If the Biden Administration reaches its targets, it would result in $1 billion in energy savings. Further, clean energy would create jobs while providing cheaper and sustainable energy for Americans. Via Renewable Energy World Lead image via Pexels

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Black and White Beach House employs climate-ready architecture

October 12, 2021 by  
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With construction earning the unwanted title of a top-ranking dirty industry, architecture focused on energy efficiency, natural materials and durability even in the face of natural disasters is a win for the environment and the home or business owner. In consideration of the increased number of hurricanes connected to the effects of climate change in coastal communities, Unabridged Architecture developed the Black and White Beach House to address these issues. The family complex sits in an area heavily impacted by storm activity, in a historic Gulf of Mexico beach town. In fact, the previous house on the site was lost during Hurricane Katrina. In its place, Black and White Beach House has already endured two substantial hurricanes with its climate-ready design. Related: Miami Beach Convention Center receives a stunning LEED Silver makeover Unabridged Architecture co-principal Allison Anderson said, “Built on the site of a home lost in Katrina, creating architecture to last requires a willingness to experiment with form and material to meet climate challenges.” Developers placed the dual homes at the highest point of land, supported by a plinth to bring it above the flood zone. The move away from the water also preserved a grove of historic oak  trees  that have survived at least 300 years of coastal storms. The main home pays homage to traditional southern architecture with a white exterior and wraparound porch, while the next-door additional family home and outbuildings are clad in shou sugi ban, charred Accoya  wood . Between the buildings, a terraced garden provides a gathering space, and crushed limestone paths connect the areas. The  natural material  selection provides a durable and functional walkway that naturally allows stormwater to permeate the surface. Throughout the landscape, walls are built using travertine tiles, and terraces are reinforced with steel edging.  The invasive species that had taken over the lot following Hurricane Katrina were replaced with native  plants  that grow well with few water requirements. The native habitat is also salt-tolerant and attracts a variety of animals. Architects also addressed  energy efficiency  with deep overhangs, an airtight building envelope, and comprehensive insulation. As stated in a press release, Unabridged Architecture is “rooted deeply in building for the future. Their mission is to produce sustainable, resilient design, specializing in architectural responses to climate challenges. Most notably — their substantial role in rebuilding Mississippi towns post-Katrina and winning a COTE “Top Ten” award for their Marine Education Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory project.”  + Unabridged Architecture Images via Unabridged Architecture 

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1903 New York house gets an eco-friendly makeover

October 7, 2021 by  
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Although originally built in 1903, the home at 45-12 11th Street in Queens, New York now stands as an example of modern sustainable housing . Known as the Climate Change Row House, its renovation was completed in 2014 by owner and architect Thomas Paino. It is currently on the market with an asking price of $3.6 million. Paino spent three years on the comprehensive rebuild in an effort to meet environmental standards that counter the impact of climate change. As a result, Climate Change Row House meets energy-efficient passive house specifications.  Related: Nation’s first triple net-zero housing development to rise in New York The reconstruction started from the ground up, lifting the entire house 3.5 feet to raise it above the floodplain. Although only 19.5 feet wide, the home features a three-bedroom unit with an additional two-bedroom apartment on a different level. Throughout the space, large windows bring in natural light and the interior design elements add to the bright, open feel. A kitchen is positioned with two exterior accesses for cross ventilation and the dining room extends outdoors with a south-facing terrace.  A solarium on the top floor provides space for gathering, relaxing or growing plants. While the backyard garden is irrigated with the use of a rainwater collection system. Coupled with the green roof and 13 large planters placed on the terraces, a multi-season urban garden is supported. The green spaces not only naturally capture carbon for cleaner air, but also provide bird habitat. To date, 60 species of visiting birds have been identified. The entire house is equipped with a hospital-grade passive air exchange system for fresh air. The water is solar-heated for energy and cost savings. Additional savings and sound insulation is offered through the triple-paned windows. All of this combines to offer a healthy and quiet indoor living space with adjacent outdoor enjoyment.   + The Corcoran Group Images via Jesse Winter Photographer for Corcoran and Lifestyle Production Group for Corcoran

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Explore Minetta Lane, a green townhouse with a climbing wall

September 16, 2021 by  
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Kushner Studios has completed a major renovation of a century-old townhouse in Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village. Glorious expansive living spaces look out onto New York’s skyline through a woven steel and foliage facade. The towering home even has its own  climbing wall! With over 4,800 square feet of interior space and 1,200 square feet of outdoor and roof space, this extensive home at Minetta Lane in Manhattan offers five bedrooms, multiple living spaces, four bathrooms, a jacuzzi, and a gym. Its 83-foot tall rock climbing wall is the tallest east of Reno, Nevada. Related: Extraordinary treehouse is a climber’s dream with its own indoor climbing wall Kushner Studios took on the $2.7 million renovation intending to leave the historical shell intact and create a new interior and vertical extension. The original streetscape was preserved. “The crossing tree limbs forming Gothic archways fronting the Minetta Street, inspired the defining narrative structure played out in the building’s newly inserted facade. The playful steel facade is covered in Ivy adding a green wall terminus to the street as an homage to the past and a vision of public good will,” a project statement explains. Interior designer Robert Isabell previously owned the townhouse and created as much streetside greenery as possible, lending the building its name as the Salad House. Evoking rural landscapes, the huge stacked chord woodpile in the triple-height living room has been harvested by hand from the owner’s property upstate and can keep the inhabitants warm via a total of nine woodburning fireplaces. This alternative heat source is in addition to the incorporation of solar panels.  Natural finishes and materials are abundant throughout the five-story home, from the floorings in wood and rope to the rustic stairs and built-in storage in naturally varied timbers . The home’s smaller service areas work to serve the adjacent larger served spaces. The bedrooms, for example, have secondary work or office spaces alongside them. A mid-level convertible open space demarcates the original home from the additional floors added.  The roof features cooking and entertaining space plus thrilling views of the city. The rock climbing wall is situated in the rear courtyard and provides a surreal urban sports experience.  Construction took a total of seven years, from May 2012 to January 2020. + Kushner Studios Images via Kushner Studios

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This lake house shows how nature inspires seamless design

September 13, 2021 by  
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Organic Shelter sits in the middle of a forest, with a lake transitioning smoothly away from it. Nature is all around, creating stunning views for everyone inside. This beautiful modern home is the latest project from Studio Organic’s Aga Kobus and Grzegorz Goworek. Kobus and Goworek decided to make the lake and the landscape part of the home design itself. Nature surrounds the house, unspoiled, wild and pure. The house is not an intruder into this natural world; it’s made to be a part of it. Related: This house by the lake erases the barrier between inside and outside The house is made from natural materials such as stone and wood. Polish limestone gives the home its distinct look, alongside burned larch wood that creates black planks. These elements combine for a simple, elegant and modern design with clean lines. Inside, the minimalist style continues. Japanese design influenced the flow of the interior spaces. Glass surfaces allow plenty of natural light, and the rooms have light colors to keep the spaces feeling airy and open. The walls and floor are oak, with matching oak boards on the ceiling. Upholstery and fabrics in the space are made of natural linen and cotton. Lamps woven with wooden strips hang over the table. Soft edges and simple lines define the space. Organic Shelter’s minimalist, beautiful design takes nothing away from the amazing natural views outside. The living area is full of curving sofas that look out over the lake and the trees . This creates a continuous effect, bringing the home and lake into a seamless flow. As Studio Organic explained in a press release, “The house flows smoothly into the surface of the lake, surrounded by a forest , with the southern exposition. It sounds like a dream of every nature lover. This is what the latest project of the Studio Organic looks like.” + Studio Organic Images via Studio Organic

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This lake house shows how nature inspires seamless design

A green remodel gave this 1950s home major treehouse vibes

September 13, 2021 by  
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Your home might be cozy, but nothing compares to the fun of a childhood treehouse . Hazel Road Residence combines modern home design with treehouse vibes to showcase the best of both worlds. Completed by Oakland -based firm Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design, this project transformed a 1950s residence into a gorgeous family home with sustainable features. Located in Berkeley, California , this house began its life in 1952 as a 1,714-square-foot structure. Bringing the home’s “good bones” into the modern era took thoughtful planning. Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design started the transformation with a kitchen remodel in 2012. Warm wood cabinets echo the trees outdoors, while steel appliances keep the kitchen looking modern and fresh. This remodel also laid the groundwork for an upstairs addition, completed with the help of IDA Structural Engineers and Jetton Construction, Inc. The project was completed in 2018. Related: Residential building from the ’60s gets an energy-efficient remodel Now a 2,392-square-foot home, Hazel Road can comfortably house a family with kids. But more space isn’t the only welcoming element to the updated house. As stated in a project description, a “unifying concept to the project was to use the yard to greater effect.” This is where Hazel Road’s “tree-house feel” comes into play. The green yard features inviting wood and concrete stairs leading up to a deck shaded by a gorgeous Magnolia tree. Flush sliders added to the family room/kitchen blur the barrier between indoor and outdoor spaces . Continuing to bring the outdoors in, windows throughout the home frame views of the tree. This includes the upstairs master bedroom’s full-wall sliding windows with an ‘invisible’ glass safety rail. Sustainability features reinforce the home’s green perspective. For example, spray foam insulation and energy-efficient LED lighting were used throughout the structure. Exterior shades and deep overhangs control both glare and western light to minimize solar gain. The residence also includes a “state of the art rainscreen wall” with cementitious panel siding. + Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design Photography by Cesar Rubio, Matthew Millman and Buttrick Projects A+D

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New report shows solar could generate 40% of US energy by 2035

September 10, 2021 by  
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A report prepared by the Energy Department and National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the U.S. could increase its solar power generation from the current 3% to 40% by 2035. To achieve this feat, the federal government would need to invest less than $562 billion and support related policies. The report further shows that solar power could be scaled up to generate 50% of U.S. energy by 2050. According to the report, generating solar energy has become affordable thanks to the falling costs in the industry. Related: mySUN combines human energy and solar for a renewable solution To achieve 50%, U.S. solar capacity must reach 1,600 gigawatts. This would cover more than the total electricity consumed by commercial and residential buildings. Though “not intended as a policy statement,” the report may offer inspiration for policymakers. As Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Energy Department’s solar energy technologies office, said, the report is “designed to guide and inspire the next decade of solar innovation by helping us answer questions like: How fast does solar need to increase capacity and to what level?” The report also addressed the economic implications of expanding solar systems in the U.S. When it comes to green energy, many people debate how it will impact jobs in the energy sector. Those who oppose energy reforms claim that the oil and coal industries provide jobs to millions of Americans and are the backbone of the economy . Would a shift to renewable energy be able to replace the jobs lost in coal and oil? According to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, if solar, the “cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy , could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035,” it could “employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process.” Further, transitioning to solar energy could generate an estimated $1.7 trillion in economic gain via reduced health costs associated with air pollution. Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pixabay

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New report shows solar could generate 40% of US energy by 2035

Finally a Court House is a house designed around a courtyard

August 31, 2021 by  
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Wind and Wellington, New Zealand go hand in hand. Finding an outdoor space with an escape from the constant wind became the primary goal when Spacecraft Architects began designing this home for a young family seeking shelter from the elements. Dubbed Finally a Court House, the centralized courtyard was the starting point for this roughly 80-square-meter home that features two bedrooms, main living areas, two separate conservatories and a studio, in addition to the court garden. Every room in the house faces the central courtyard, offering views through high-efficiency powder-coated aluminum windows with clear double glazing, which provide  natural light  throughout. In addition, the windows open to provide ventilation and passive solar heating. Related: Energy-efficient Wanaka Wedge House offers views of the Southern Alps The home offers a tight envelope and is highly insulated for energy efficiency. It’s placed on a thermally broken natural concrete slab that reduces heat loss and features thick wall framing for maximum thermal insulation. The exterior of Finally a Court House is clad in fiber-cement sheets, which are budget-friendly and fireproof. Interior walls that face the courtyard are clad with  wood  sourced locally from the Macrocarpa Cypress tree, which is native to New Zealand. Outdoor areas feature corrugated polycarbonate sheet roofing to protect from the wind while allowing the sun into the garden and, ultimately, the home. The house is oriented to take advantage of winter sunlight to warm the house, while the natural ventilation through skylights, windows and large doors eliminates the need for air conditioning. Further energy savings are achieved through the use of LED lighting and ceramic light shades. Concrete slabs inside the home capture heat from the  passive design  elements that provide direct sunlight. However, for supplemental heat, there is a small wood-burning fireplace that can also be used as a stovetop. An instant gas system heats  water  close to the source in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.  + Spacecraft Architects Via ArchDaily   Images via David Straight and Joe Norman

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Finally a Court House is a house designed around a courtyard

New LEED Platinum student housing supports net-zero goals

August 27, 2021 by  
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California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is setting the bar for campus buildings that serve the health of students and staff as well as the environment. The most recent student housing, completed by McCarthy Building Company in collaboration with architectural firm Gensler, earned LEED certification and contributes to the university’s goal to have the entire campus reach net-zero status by 2030. Students will move into Parkside North Housing, CSULB’s first new dormitory in 34 years, for the 2021-2022 school year. The four-story, 472-bed dormitory is only the third project in California to receive this level of sustainability (Living Building Challenge certified) and 23rd in the world. We can expect to see more in the future with the goals set by the California State University, which requires all new buildings and renovations to be at least LEED Silver certified. Related: ZHA unveils solar-powered student residences for HKUST McCarthy’s, named a top-20 green builder in the country, is well-versed in developments centered around  green design . The CSULB project incorporates the newest technologies to optimize energy efficiency, earning the building LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certifications.  The sustainable systems in the building have led to the CSU system’s first net-zero energy residential building. This means the building produces as much energy as it uses, achieved through  solar panels  on the roof. In addition, it reclaims rainwater for reuse. For materials selection, each item was vetted using the Red List, which identifies chemicals of concern. All materials were sourced within 500 miles of campus, in an area of the country with stringent building and manufacturing regulations.  The team also made changes to the Housing Administration Office, another building on campus . With the completion of these projects, CSULB has achieved a total of eight LEED certifications.   “We’re honored to provide the students at CSULB with a state-of-the-art residential facility, delivering a renewed sense of comfort on campus. As they embark on the upcoming school year, they should feel proud their campus is home to the third most sustainable building in the state of California and 23rd in the world!” said Nate Ray, McCarthy Southern California project director. “The Parkside North Housing residence hall will be a north star for campuses across the nation, and specifically within the Cal State System.” + McCarthy Builders Images via McCarthy Builders

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