Solar-powered eco hotel in Portugal offers surfers ocean views from green-roofed bungalows

March 29, 2019 by  
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The surf is always up at this gorgeous eco hotel along Portugal’s Silver Coast. Just steps away from the beach, Noah Surf House  has everything you need for a rad surf getaway. The boutique hotel, which is partially made out of reclaimed materials, was designed on some serious sustainable principles , boasting solar panels, energy-efficient systems and appliances, a rainwater harvesting system and even an organic garden that provides delicious meals to guests. Located in the area of Santa Cruz in northwest Portugal, the eco hotel is tucked into a rising hill just a short stroll from the beach. The project is made up of various buildings, but the most popular part of the complex is a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. Guests can enjoy a wonderful meal of organic fruits and veggies grown in the hotel’s garden, which operates on a “closed feeding cycle” with a little help from the hotel’s 12 chickens. Related: The Truck Surf Hotel is a traveling retreat that hits the best surf spots in Europe and Africa The guests rooms are comprised of various boho-style bungalows, most offering stunning ocean views through private decks. The rooms range in size, offering everything from dorm-style with bunk beds to private luxury bungalows that boast fireplaces and private terraces with outdoor showers. Although the setting itself is quite impressive, guests can rest assured that they are also staying in a very eco-conscious retreat. The hotel’s construction used quite a bit of reclaimed materials , such as old bricks recovered from industrial coal furnaces to clad the walls. Additionally, the buildings are filled with discarded items that have been given new life as decoration for the hotel. Plumbing pipes are incorporated into lamps, lockers from an old summer camp are available for storage and an old water deposit is now a fireplace in the reception area. The construction of the hotel implemented various sustainable materials as well, such as cork as thermic insulation. The bungalows are also topped with native plants . For energy, solar panels generate almost enough energy for the all of the hotel’s hot water needs. When there is an abundance of energy, it is used to heat the pool as well as the radiant flooring in the guest rooms in winter. LED lighting throughout the hotel and energy-efficient appliances help reduce the building’s energy use. Noah Surf House also has a rain water collection system that redirects water to a well to be used in toilet flushing, garden watering and linen laundering. + Noah Surf House Via Uncrate Images via Noah Surf House

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Boutique Ibiza hotel sports a checkerboard facade to take in cooling breezes

March 27, 2019 by  
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Barcelona-based studio Ribas & Ribas Architects has transformed an old apartment building into Hotel Sir Joan Ibiza , a contemporary and chic boutique hotel designed with sustainability in mind. Located in the heart of the Spanish island of Ibiza, the building has been restyled to include 38 rooms and suites dressed to reflect the island’s nautical elements, from stripped wood yacht floors to porthole-inspired vanity mirrors. Its eye-catching, checkerboard-like facade features openings that take advantage of natural light and ventilation, while greenery can be enjoyed in abundance from ground-level green screens to rooftop gardens. In refurbishing the old apartments into a high-end hotel, Ribas & Ribas Architects wanted to refresh the image of the building with a minimalist white and glazed facade that evokes contemporary Ibizan architecture. Tel Aviv-based Baranowitz + Kronenberg designed the hotel’s interiors with luxurious fittings that pay homage to Ibiza’s yachting heritage and upscale club culture, from the highly polished stainless steel wall panels that emulate sunlit waves to the Carrara marble and wood details found in every bathroom. “For reasons of sustainability , the openings in the façade have been designed in order to achieve ventilation and lighting in accordance with the category of the building they will house,” Ribas & Ribas Architects explained in a project statement. “The exterior spaces of the building have been improved, providing them with abundant vegetation in order to ameliorate the visual from the outside and acoustically isolate the users of the hotel. In the west communication core, a vegetal wall is created, formed by a xtend mesh that connects with the roof, hiding the perimeter of the installations and creating a striking green volume.” Related: Centuries-old stable is converted into a self-sustaining dream home In addition to 38 rooms and suites, the hotel also includes two penthouses with views of Ibiza’s port and Old Town. On the ground floor, guests also enjoy access to a pool , cabanas and two restaurants. + Ribas & Ribas Architects Photography by LLuis Casals via Ribas & Ribas Architects

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Boutique Ibiza hotel sports a checkerboard facade to take in cooling breezes

Kooshoo introduces the first plastic-free, sustainable hair ties

March 27, 2019 by  
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Amid growing concerns of plastic waste around the world, one company has created sustainable hair ties that are better for the environment. Made from organic materials like cotton and rubber, Kooshoo has come up with the world’s first plastic-free hair ties that are completely biodegradable. These hair ties come in a variety of colors and styles and are made with sustainability in mind — from the way the materials are sourced to how the products are manufactured. About the company Jesse and Rachel, a couple based out of Victoria, Canada, founded  Kooshoo . The two, who made a name for themselves as yoga teachers, built the company from the ground up. Their goal was to create a business model with sustainability in mind. They are also hoping to lead the change in the fashion industry when it comes to eliminating plastics in clothing. With its core values being love, honesty and transparency, Kooshoo is well on its way to meeting its sustainability goals. Given that more than 20,000 pounds of hair-related products end up in the trash each day, Kooshoo’s mission is important in preserving the future of our planet. An inside look at Kooshoo hair ties People around the world lose hair ties on a daily basis. Most of these elastics end up in the trash or litter the environment, which is why it is important that Kooshoo hair ties are completely  biodegradable . Related: Saving the environment one hair wash at a time Kooshoo hair ties only contain two ingredients: natural rubber and organic cotton. This includes the thread that is used to keep the ties together. Each and every product is also certified by the GOTS, or better known as the Global Organic Textile Standard. Natural materials According to Kooshoo, all of the materials used in its hair ties are sourced from organic cotton. There are absolutely zero synthetics in the products, and the cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides . Not only is the end result better for the environment, but it is also beneficial to your skin. Each hair tie is manufactured in California, though all of the design work and testing is done in Canada. The materials are sent to local shops in Los Angeles , where workers cut, weave, sew and dye the ties before distributing them around the world. The dying process Kooshoo hand dyes all of its hair ties. The company employs a crew of artisans that are specially trained in dying  textiles , which also means that each product is unique. How fast do the hair ties biodegrade? The rate of degradation depends on how the hair ties are disposed. If the ties are put in a compost pile, then the organic materials — which make up about 75 percent of the product — will start to degrade in less than one year. In fact, microorganisms in the environment will feed on these organics until there is basically nothing left. The other 25 percent of the product is the natural rubber. This material is drawn from trees in a similar way as maple syrup. It does take a bit longer to biodegrade, though organisms will eventually eliminate it in anywhere from three to seven years. Compared to traditional hair ties that contain plastics, this is much more sustainable. Even if you were to lose the hair tie in water, it will still break down completely. According to a recent article published by  Kooshoo , it takes about double the time for its hair ties to completely biodegrade in water. Scientists estimate that these sustainable hair ties take about 14 years to break down in water conditions, but once they biodegrade, they leave absolutely no trace. What other kind of products does it offer? The main selling item for the company is its twist headband. These  organic  head pieces come in a variety of colors and styles and are suitable for men, women and children alike. The company, of course, has an assortment of plastic-free hair ties that come in various color schemes, including black and brown, blonde, rainbow assorted and sea shepherd. These ties are secure enough for the thickest of hair, yet soft enough to remain gentle on the head. Kooshoo also offers a few clothing options, including a versatile shawl for women and children’s pants that grow as the kid grows. Sustainability in mind Kooshoo facilities feature dye houses that are completely powered by solar energy . The organization also packages its hair ties in reusable shipping containers and bags. These practices help curb carbon emissions and lessen the amount of waste that ends up in landfills — and ultimately  oceans — across the globe. Charitable offerings For the people who own and operate Kooshoo, selling hair ties is not only about making money. The business has also donated a portion of its profits, along with some of its products, to  charitable  organizations. Related: 6 of the best places to donate your things For instance, the establishment initiated a fitness and wellness plan for people in marginalized communities. More than 1,000 individuals in these communities were given access to meditation courses and yoga classes. + Kooshoo Images via Kooshoo

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A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites

March 5, 2019 by  
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Milan-based design firm Peter Pichler Architecture has unveiled a conceptual design for a series of gorgeous geometrical treehouses for the lush green forests of the Italian Dolomites. The two-story structures are arranged in a modern, vertical design and clad in sustainably-sourced wood. Each treehouse is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling glazed windows to provide breathtaking views of the surrounding forestscape. According to the architects, the stunning treehouses were designed as an addition to an existing hotel . The inspiration came from wanting to create a serene but modern lodging option that would help guests immerse themselves completely in the surrounding nature. Referring to the inspiration as a “slow down” form of tourism, they explained, “We believe that the future of tourism is based on the relationship of the human being with nature. Well integrated, sustainable architecture can amplify this relationship, nothing else is needed.” Related: Stunning wooden Oberholz Mountain Hut branches out of the mountainside like a fallen tree The project includes vertical, diamond-esque volumes with sharp, steep roofs inspired by the soaring trees in the area. The design also calls for using locally-sourced wood for the cladding, which would be painted jet-black to blend in to the nearby fir and larch trees. Large, floor-to-ceiling glass panels that stretch the length of the structure would allow the guests to feel a constant connection to the amazing views. The unique guest homes would vary in size, ranging from 375 square feet to almost 500 square feet in the larger units. Spanning over two levels connected by an internal staircase, the treehouses would hold the living area with a small reading nook that looks out over the forestscape on the bottom level. The sleeping areas and a small bathroom would be on the upper floor, which would also provide breathtaking views. + Peter Pichler Architects Via Archdaily Images via Peter Pichler Architects

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Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

March 5, 2019 by  
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Residents of Toledo are fighting back against water pollution in Lake Erie. Residents in the Ohio town voted on a Lake Erie Bill of Rights to help protect the lake from human waste, a move that has been criticized by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). The piece of legislation, dubbed LEBOR, basically gives the lake the same rights as humans. If the measure stands up in court, residents will be able to sue individuals and businesses on behalf of the lake. Citizens in Toledo hope this will cut down on water pollution by empowering people to sue anyone who harms the waters of Lake Erie via pollution . Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint The measure was passed by an overwhelming majority of residents in Lucas County. Over 61 percent of individuals voted in favor of the new law, while only 38 percent voted against it. Poll numbers indicate that only about 9 percent of eligible voters in the county showed up for the special election . While the measure may help improve the water quality in Lake Erie, the OFBF openly criticized the proposal. The organization’s director, Joe Cornely, released a statement after the vote and argued that residents are going to be the ones who end up fitting the bill for the upcoming legal battles. “We were concerned before and remain concerned that farmers , taxpayers and Ohio businesses are now going to spend a lot of time and money fighting legal that eventually are likely to be thrown out of court,” Cornely shared. The bill of rights measure was originally introduced by activists in 2018, but organizers failed to get it on the ballot. The OFBF claims that outside forces are behind the measure and warn that it opens up too many opportunities for lawsuits, especially against farmers in the area. LEBOR is the first bill of its kind to be passed in the United States. Shortly after the measured was voted in, conservationists praised Toledo citizens for sticking up for the environment and fighting water pollution at one of the state’s most iconic sites. Via Ohio’s Country Journal and Vox Image via NOAA and Counselman Collection

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Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo

February 27, 2019 by  
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Hong Kong’s vegan and vegetarian scene has proliferated in the last few years, and now the autonomous territory of China has its first vegetarian restaurant within a hotel. Veda, inside the freshly revamped Ovolo Central Hotel, is open for business. Well-known Australian vegetarian chef Hetty McKinnon devised the menu, and MALE and KplusK Associates designed the space. Despite an upsurge in the availability of veg foods, Hong Kong is still the world’s third largest per capita beef consumer, according to Beef2Live . McKinnon isn’t necessarily trying to convert everybody. She’ll be happy to reduce consumption. “I remain undaunted in my vision to win diners over with the other major food group: vegetables!” she told afoodieworld.com . “I think it’s a matter of communication — even though the food I create is vegetarian, I want people to understand you don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat it. My food is inclusive, it’s for everyone — carnivores and herbivores alike. My recipes are not centered around the ‘without’; rather they are 100 percent focused upon the ‘with’ — with food, with flavor, with texture, with creativity, with thought.” Related: These are the world’s top vegan cities Diners will find lots of Asian influences on the menu, from Nepalese momos made with ricotta, spinach and smoked chili to a congee featuring shitake mushrooms, quinoa and kale chips. Desserts include dark sponge cake and a vegan fig cheesecake with caramel sauce. While everything on the menu is vegetarian, the many vegan options are clearly marked. The Ovolo Central has a modern look. Its façade boasts a glazed black metal grid that invites ventilation and natural daylight. The hotel describes the décor of its 41 rooms as having an “edgy, rock-n-roll vibe” with many commissioned artworks. The 700 square foot Radio Suite, designed by award-winning firm ALT-254, takes up the hotel’s entire top floor for unbeatable Hong Kong views. Ovolo is a private, Hong Kong-based, family-owned hotel brand with properties in Hong Kong and Australia. McKinnon has high hopes for Veda. “Hong Kong is a sophisticated, food-loving city with truly international people, so I strongly believe that they will embrace this new, healthier way to eat,” she told afoodieworld.com. “I applaud Ovolo for their forward-thinking approach to the future of food. A predominately plant -based diet is the way of the future — without getting too political, eating meat-free is one of the single biggest ways to reduce your impact on the earth . Frankly, it’s the smarter way to eat, for your body and the planet.” + Ovolo Central Images via WEILL

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Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo

Sleep in this restored WWII air control tower full of historic charm

February 15, 2019 by  
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A unique Airbnb listing in Scotland is inviting guests to stay at an amazing restored WWII air traffic control tower. Located in the Scottish Highlands area of Tain, the HMS OWL Air Control Tower dates back to the second world war, when it was used as an airbase for planes coming in and out of the country. Now, the tower has been renovated into a vibrant guesthouse with design features that pay homage to its military past. The old air tower is located in Tain, a former WWII air base that sits adjacent to the North Coast 500 Scenic Route. The former military structure was bought by Justin Hooper and Charlotte Seddon, who converted it into their family home. The family lives on the first three floors, but the top floor of the building is available for rent starting around $100 per night. Related: Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower The five-year renovation process was extensive, but the couple went to extreme lengths to retain the military character of the building. To blend the tower into the expansive grassy landscape, Justin and Charlotte painted the exterior a jet black. They also left the original steel-framed Crittal windows that let in optimal natural light into the property. On the interior, large concrete pillars and exposed brickwork gives the living atmosphere a chic,  industrial feel. Large leather sofas and chairs, along with a wood-burning stove, make the living space extra warm and inviting. The top floor’s  unique guest room sleeps up to two people in a comfortable king-sized bed and beautiful en suite. The room has plenty of large windows to let in natural light as well as to offer the stunning views of the Scottish countryside. + HMS OWL Air Control Tower Via Curbed Images via HMS OWL Air Control Tower

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Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

February 13, 2019 by  
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As today’s urban planners are struggling on how to integrate renewable energy into existing infrastructure, some forward-thinking architects are making the task much easier. Beijing-based firm Margot Krasojevi? Architecture has just released a design that would see an existing oil rig in South Korea’s coast converted into a futuristic lighthouse hotel whose organic flowing form would be installed with pivoting turbines to harness tidal energy to power the hotel. The lighthouse hotel is slated for an area off the coast of mainland South Korea near the island of Jeju, which is only accessible by boat. Currently there is an existing oil rig floating in the water, which will be repurposed into a large platform support for the lighthouse hotel. Related: This futuristic energy-positive hotel will harness power from the tides The hotel’s design will be comprised of multiple flowing volumes made out of layered aluminum surfaces and a series of partly inflated membrane sections. These materials were chosen for not only their durability, but also their light weight. In case of emergency or rogue waves, the airlock sections split apart and float. Wrapped around the structure’s main core, a number of flipwing turbines will harvest the tidal power. As seawater crashes over surfaces, the turbines will pivot in accordance with the wind and wave motion, converting kinetic water energy into electrical energy. According to the architect, the turbines will generate enough clean energy to run the hotel and the structure’s desalination filters. Any surplus energy will be stored. The lighthouse hotel’s interior will have three main sections, the guest rooms, the lobby and various social areas. The lantern room, which is at the top of the hotel will have a Fresnel glass lantern that projects light rays out to the sea. The refracted light will also beam through the interior of the hotel, creating a vibrant, light-filled atmosphere. + Margot Krasojevi? Architecture Images via Margot Krasojevi? Architecture

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Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

A renovated Toronto home boasts energy savings of over 50%

February 13, 2019 by  
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Blending East Asian and Western influences to reflect the client’s Asian-Canadian background, the Echo House is an elegant renovation and expansion project that follows ecologically sustainable principles. Designed by local architecture firm Paul Raff Studio , the home, which covers an expansive area of 11,140 square feet, is set on a two-acre property in the Bridle Path neighborhood of Toronto , Canada. Improvements to the existing structure as well as new high-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation systems have led to over 50 percent savings in the home’s energy consumption. Inspired by the “eastern philosophy of harmony with nature,” the Echo House was designed with strong connections to the environment. Large full-height glazing, open spaces and optimized views of the outdoors strengthen these bonds, while strategically placed openings allow cooling cross breezes and sounds of birdsong to filter through the interior. Garden views were of particular importance and are articulated by walls of glass and huge sliding doors that completely open up the garden-facing side of the home, creating a seamless indoor-outdoor living space. “The name Echo House originates from its design aspirations and listening: be it the echo of birdsong or trees rustling in the wind,” Paul Raff Studio shared in a statement. “The homeowners say, ‘It is an expansive house, but almost all the spaces in it are intimate in size, and they all lead to the living room. It is like a sanctuary at the center of the house.’” The large living spaces were important to the clients, a cosmopolitan family that loves to cook, entertain and host large family gatherings. Related: Beautiful cedar-clad Bridge House crosses a ravine in Ontario Ecological sustainability was also important for the homeowner and architects. Consequently, the renovated building exterior has been sheathed in a very high-performance insulation envelope, while new energy-efficient systems have greatly lowered the home’s energy consumption. Reclaimed Douglas fir was used for the Korean art-inspired exterior wood screens that give the house a sculptural effect. + Paul Raff Studio Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame

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A renovated Toronto home boasts energy savings of over 50%

It’s time to decide: clean your room or plant a tree

February 5, 2019 by  
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Are luxury and sustainability compatible? The Parq Vancouver complex in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia strives to have it all by balancing two luxury hotels, a casino and eight restaurants with LEED gold standards and a host of environmental initiatives, including the option to forgo one common hotel amenity in favor of a greener option. One of the Parq’s newer programs is a twist on skipping housekeeping in favor of an alternative reward, something becoming more popular among hotels . At the Parq , when a guest checks in for more than two nights, they can skip room cleaning and opt instead for either 500 bonus Marriott points per night or having a tree planted. That’s one tree for every two nights. If they stayed at the hotel long enough, soon they’d foster a small grove. Related: Meet the teen planting 150 trees for every person on Earth To personalize the tree planting program, the Parq allows guests to include their names or dedicate the seedling to somebody else. This information appears on a webpage showing a cartoon version of the forest, including where the tree is planted and to whom it’s dedicated. Workers plant the trees in the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area near Calgary, Alberta. Cutting down on hotel housekeeping is better for both the environment and the hotel’s operating costs. Less frequent washing of towels and bedding means decreased water usage and fewer chemicals dripping into sewers. “You get the benefit of not using cleaning chemicals in the rest of the room,” Jeanne Marie Varney, who teaches courses on sustainability at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, told the New York Times . “Not running vacuum cleaners saves energy .” The Parq, open since late 2017, also offers an unusual 30,000-square-foot park on its sixth floor, designed by landscape artist Christopher Phillips of PFS Studio. This elevated park combines an oxygen hit from more than 200 pine trees with dramatic views of Vancouver’s skyline. If that’s not enough green space , travelers can visit next door province Alberta to look for the tree that exists because they skipped room cleaning. The Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area welcomes hikers and snowshoers. + Parq Vancouver Via New York Times Images via Heiko Stein

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It’s time to decide: clean your room or plant a tree

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