A solar-powered home hides behind a colossal, sloped green roof

October 12, 2018 by  
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We often profess our love of green roofs , but a recent home design in Krakow has really taken the idea to the next level. Polish firm Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa has just unveiled a beautiful home with an enormous green roof that’s sloped over the entire northern side of the home. The roof is so large that it camouflages the barn-inspired home entirely on one side, providing the home with its name, the House Behind the Roof. The 2,000-square-foot home is located in a residential area outside Krakow. The building is part of a housing estate with 10 other homes built relatively close together. According to the architects, the first stages of the planning were focused on ensuring the privacy of the homeowners. As a result, the home’s design was created with the immense roof that pulls double duty as an eave that shades the interior while providing the utmost in privacy. Related: A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture Although the architects wanted to go with a traditional, flat green roof, local building codes prohibited them from doing so. As an alternative, the architects decided to top the home with a 45-degree sloped plane on the northern side. Covered with lush succulents, the roof gives a touch of whimsy to the design but also acts as a privacy shade and insulation. On the southern side of the home, multiple solar panels soak up the sun’s energy. At the apex of the A-frame roof, a series of large skylights allow natural light into the home. The house is clad in a light-hued Western Red Cedar. Because of the resilient nature of the wood , it wasn’t necessary to treat the timber beforehand. As a result, the wood will take on a silver-gray patina over time. Additionally, care for the green roof is also minimal. Long-lasting dry periods in this region are not common, and the succulents planted on the roof are low-maintenance. The rustic wooden aesthetic continues throughout the interior of the two-story home. Along with the skylights, there are multiple windows that are mounted high in the walls to provide the interior with natural light and ventilation. The home is laid out in a rectangular plan, reminiscent of a traditional barn . The ground floor houses the kitchen and living space, along with a bathroom and utility room. The master bedroom and en suite bathroom are on the top floor, as well as two extra bedrooms and a children’s playroom. On the bottom floor, large sliding glass doors lead out to an open-air deck with a barbecue and dining space. + Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa Via Archdaily Photography by Bart?omiej Drabik

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A solar-powered home hides behind a colossal, sloped green roof

New study suggests it’s time to replace modern, grassy lawns

October 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The lush green lawns surrounding many homes, businesses, parks and other outdoor spaces might not be the greatest idea, according to Australian scientist Maria Ignatieva and Swedish scientist Marcus Hedblom. In a new study published in the journal  Science , the urban ecologists suggested that we need to rethink the modern lawn in favor of more sustainable options. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that the negative environmental consequences of green lawns far outweigh the natural benefits, and we need to start exploring new forms of groundcover. The scientists claimed that the amount of water , fertilizer and mowing that lawns require is a problem — especially when we use gas-powered mowers that emit carbon monoxide and other toxins into the air. The use of those mowers negates any positives of the lawn pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. Related: How to transform your wasteful grassy space into a food forest garden The ecologists also pointed out that globally, lawns occupy an amount of land equivalent to the area of England and Spain combined. In arid regions of the U.S., lawns are responsible for 75 percent of household water consumption. To make matters worse, weed killers and fertilizers used to keep lawns pristine find their way to the water table. If you think artificial turf is a solution, think again. Turf does not contribute to carbon sequestration — the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — and it also causes problems with water runoff. It is also possible that it could poison local water tables. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that some communities have started allowing natural meadows to grow instead of lawns. In places like Berlin, residents have allowed the landscape to grow wild. These ideas are a step in the right direction, but the ecologists suggest the need for more scientific research into some plant types that could develop into naturally short grass alternatives that don’t require a lot of water for survival. The study also urges people to change their way of thinking when it comes to their lawns. + Science Mag Via Phys.org Images via Daniel Watson

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New study suggests it’s time to replace modern, grassy lawns

This sculptural home takes cues from the sloping Hollywood Hills landscape

October 12, 2018 by  
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Tucked inside a quiet and wooded site of Nichols Canyon is the Hollywood Hills House, a sculptural home that boasts cutting-edge green technologies and materials. Los Angeles-based design practice Tighe Architecture crafted the home for a musician and took inspiration from the terrain to form the curvaceous, multi-story dwelling. Spanning an area of 5,200 square feet, the home is faced with an abundance of full-height glazing that creates a seamless connection between the indoors and out. Although the Hollywood Hills House is located less than a 10-minute drive from the bustling Hollywood Boulevard, the home feels a world away in its secluded plot surrounded by mature pines, eucalyptus and indigenous plants . The multifaceted building was optimally placed to make the most of its landscape views and to protect against unwanted solar gain. Set on a solid base of board-formed concrete walls, the home’s upper levels appear to float in comparison because of its curved lines, walls of glass and plastered exterior. The main living areas, kitchen and dining room are located on the first floor and open up to views of the landscape through floor-to-ceiling glass. The master suite and two additional bedrooms can be found on the top floor, while the basement consists of a music studio, laundry room, storage and the garage. A swimming pool has been installed in the backyard. “The floating mass is shaped by the constraints of the site and a series of openings that frame specific views,” the studio noted. Related: Richard Neutra’s mid-century Hailey Residence is an exercise in compact space design The client’s request for a sustainable home directed the adoption of passive solar principles in the design process. The home is optimized for natural ventilation and lighting, yet also includes a solar photovoltaic system and a solar hydronic system for heating water. The existing native landscape has been supplemented with a drought-tolerant native planting plan. + Tighe Architecture Via Dezeen Images by Antonio Follo

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This sculptural home takes cues from the sloping Hollywood Hills landscape

War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon

October 11, 2018 by  
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Having survived the Lebanese Civil War as a torture and detention center for militia forces, The House With Two Lives has a colorful past to say the least. So when Lebanese design practice Nabil Gholam Architects was asked to renovate the structure — originally built as a resort building in the 1930s — the firm took its time to sensitively pick apart the site’s history and breathe new and positive life into the property. Described as a “difficult exorcism,” the design process saw the reuse of the historic ruins and the insertion of a brand new home celebrating nature and sustainable design, from rainwater harvesting systems to passive cooling strategies. Located near the Lebanese mountain village of Bois de Boulogne and surrounded by beautiful pine forests, the House With Two Lives was designed to blend in with its idyllic surroundings. To “cleanse the house of its troubled history,” the architects introduced new plant growth to camouflage the building into the landscape, from vines that climb over the ruins to more than 1,000 pine trees planted in the garden, including umbrella pines, oak trees, cork trees, Lebanese cedars and more. The site has also gained a new rose garden. The theme of regrowth and revival has also been applied to the architecture of the house, which comprises a three-story main house of 2,000 square meters as well as an annex and guard house of 850 square meters. The new additions to the existing 1,500-square-meter stone ruins of the main house were articulated as a series of Corten steel -clad boxes that will develop a patina over time and are perforated with tree-shaped patterns. Sustainability guided the design of the renovated structure, which is built with high-performance insulation and follows passive solar strategies. The home also harvests solar energy for winter heating and uses rainwater collection systems. Related: Modern alpine home is built on the ruins of an old rustic structure “The case of this house is as dreadful as it is beautiful,” said the architects, who spent months stripping the existing structure of leftover torture devices, black ashes and graffiti. “The story behind it and the testimonials backing it makes it stand as a powerful message. The House With Two Lives restores faith in man’s will to fight and is with no doubt an example of an architectural work of high precision.” + Nabil Gholam Architects Photography by Geraldine Bruneel, Nabil Gholam, Joe Kesrouani and Richard Saad via Nabil Gholam Architects

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War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon

Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds

October 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Now this is one sweet tiny home! Dunkin’ Donuts has long claimed that ¨America Runs on Dunkin’,” but now, the company has created a gorgeous tiny home that is truly fueled with coffee. Recently unveiled at NYC’s Madison Square Park, the 275-square-foot “ Home That Runs on Dunkin’ ” is powered entirely by an eco-friendly biofuel created out of recycled coffee grounds. The tiny home project was a collaboration between Dunkin’ Donuts and builder  New Frontier Tiny Home . The custom-made home was built on a trailer with wheels for easy transport. The design was inspired by the doughnut company’s dark, rich coffee and bright orange and pink logo. Related: This beautiful tiny home doubles as a tasty doughnut shop The house is clad in dark, black-stained cedar, inspired by the color of a cup of coffee. On the corners of the home, weathered steel panels add an industrial touch. Although compact, the interior of the tiny home is warm and cozy — just like a cup of Joe. There is a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, a spa-like bathroom, a chef’s kitchen with high-end appliances and an elevated dining area with an extra-large window that brings in natural light. From the living room, a garage door wall opens up to an open-air cedar porch. The interior design, spearheaded by actress Olivia Wilde, is fresh and modern. Reclaimed wood siding and shiplap add a warm touch to the living space. The home’s furnishings, many of which were also made out of reclaimed materials, are multifunctional to add space. Throughout the house, the company’s iconic pink and orange logo colors can be found. Of course, the most spectacular aspect to the beautiful tiny home is its clean energy , which is produced out of recycled coffee grounds. Developed by Blue Marble Biomaterials , a sustainable biochemical company, the home runs on biofuel converted out of approximately 65,000 pounds of used coffee grounds. To create the biofuel, excess oils in the coffee grounds are extracted and then mixed with alcohol to undergo a chemical reaction known as transesterification. This process produces a biodiesel that burns efficiently. Once the biodiesel is washed and refined, it is ready to be used as fuel through the use of a standard biofuel generator. According to the project description, 170 pounds of recycled coffee grounds produce about one gallon of fuel. The Dunkin’ Donuts tiny home is an excellent example of how to reuse waste , and it also shows the importance of creating a sustainable energy system for homes of the future. Your morning cup of coffee now powers you and your home! + Dunkin’ at Home Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Cindy Ord / Getty Images for Dunkin’ Donuts

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Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds

Keeping Chlorine off Baby’s Behind

October 8, 2018 by  
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New parents take heart: A little poop might not be … The post Keeping Chlorine off Baby’s Behind appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Keeping Chlorine off Baby’s Behind

So, You’ve Audited Your Waste, Now What?

September 19, 2018 by  
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In part one, Conducting A Home Waste Audit, you learned … The post So, You’ve Audited Your Waste, Now What? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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So, You’ve Audited Your Waste, Now What?

Passive House-inspired home ushers in spectacular Grand Tetons views

September 17, 2018 by  
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The sublime beauty of the Grand Tetons is fully embraced in the stunning House of Fir, a forever home that boasts sustainable and durable elements throughout. Designed by Wyoming-based architecture firm kt814 for a pair of retirees who actively volunteer for the National Park Service, this Jackson Hole abode was crafted to prioritize low-maintenance comfort with passive house design principles and universal design for aging in place. In fact, the home’s energy-efficient construction was put to the test this past winter, when the homeowners lost power — the home was able to stay comfortably snug for four consecutive days despite below-zero temperatures outside. The House of Fir comprises three connected pavilion-like units clad in Douglas fir and cedar that span a total area of 2,500 square feet, plus a 685-square-foot garage. Sloped rooflines help the structures shed snow in winter. Architects Rich Assenberg and Nathan Gray of kt814 carefully positioned the home to follow passive solar principles and to maximize privacy as well as unobstructed views of the spectacular Teton Range. The key to success was the installation of FSC-certified Thermo Clad Pine, triple-glazed windows that usher in landscape views; the strategic placement of the full-height glazing also blocks views of the homes to the east and west. Related: Modern open-plan home in Jackson Hole reduces construction waste with six prefab units In addition to triple-glazed windows, the House of Fir incorporates an airtight double wall system with superior insulation and hydronic radiant-floor heating . Local designer Jacque Jenkins-Stireman dressed the clean and modern interiors in a natural material palette that matches the architecture to keep the focus on the outdoors. For instance, many of the furnishings, like the kitchen cabinet doors, dining table and master bedroom furniture were constructed from a mixture of walnut. Alex Everett, the homeowner’s son-in-law, also handcrafted custom pieces for the house, giving it a personal touch. + kt814 Images by David Agnello

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Passive House-inspired home ushers in spectacular Grand Tetons views

An off-grid cabin on a remote island is inspired by Japanese design

September 17, 2018 by  
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Tasmania-based firm Maguire + Devine Architects has created a gorgeous Japanese-inspired, off-grid tiny cabin tucked away into a remote island off the coast of Tasmania. The 301-square-foot home is designed to operate completely off the grid and comes complete with solar panels and a rainwater collection system. The tiny cabin is located on 99 acres of Bruny Island, a tranquil destination just off the Tasmanian coast. Using minimalist design features, the architects set about to create a soothing retreat that would evoke a sense of serenity and have a strong connection to the surrounding landscape. Related: This off-grid cabin in the pristine Alaskan wilderness can only be reached by sea or air The compact cabin is clad in bush fire-resistant wood siding at its base and enclosed on one side with zincalume metal siding, which is also used for the sloped roof. The shed-like roofline adds character to the design, but it’s also a strategic feature that allows more space for solar panels . Taking advantage of the location, the architects positioned the cabin to open up to the east and west so that the homeowners could enjoy early morning and afternoon sunshine. According to the architects, the design for the off-grid cabin was inspired by their client’s love of Japanese minimalist design. “Our brief was to capture that love and design a building as a piece of furniture with everything she needs built in,” the firm said. “The only furniture allowed was a low table and mattress on the sleeping loft.” Inside, the living space, which is clad in light-colored wooden panels, is bright and airy, illuminated with natural light from a large skylight. Two large sliding doors open up to two wooden decks facing east and west, creating a seamless connection between the inside and the outside. The low-lying platforms were built without railings, so nothing obstructs the views of the surrounding wilderness. To provide the ultimate retreat experience, one of the decks includes a recessed tub for the resident to relax while watching the sun go down. The two large sliding doors are made out of transparent glazing, another nod to Japanese design . “Translucent glass in the sliding doors references the light qualities of Japanese rice-paper screens, creating a sense of enclosure and privacy at night, while encouraging the occupant to open them during the day,” the architects explained. “They also prevent birds, including the endangered swift parrot, from attempting to fly through the building and striking the glass.” Located at the back of the home is a compact kitchen, equipped with a Nectre Bakers oven that is not only used for cooking but also supplies sustainable heating in the colder months. The bedroom is located in a sleeping loft accessible by ladder. An elevated seating area with a large window provides the most stunning views of the island. + Maguire + Devine Architects Via Dwell Photography by Rob Maver via Maguire + Devine Architects

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An off-grid cabin on a remote island is inspired by Japanese design

DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores

September 14, 2018 by  
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Fall is a great time to bust out new decorations, but you don’t have to break the bank to make your house stand out. Making DIY fall decor is a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time. From floating shelves to fall clothing accessories, here are eight autumn decorations you can make from common thrift store items or materials in your craft drawer. Cake Stand Pumpkin Display Nothing says fall like fresh pumpkins . You can proudly display these seasonal staples ( before you cook them up for dinner ) using an old cake stand, or you can build your own from old plates and a candlestick holder. If you are building one, simply mount the candlestick holder between two plates and paint them as desired. Glue down the plates to hold everything securely in place. You can build as many of these as you like, using different sizes holders to vary the heights. Related: Fall decorating ideas Floating Bookshelves Floating bookshelves can add a cozy and mysterious feel to a room, and you can build these imaginative holders with a few old hardcovers and a metal bracket. With a floating bookshelf, the bottom book holds everything in place while concealing the support bracket. Once completed, the shelf makes it appear like the books are floating on their own. For this project, all you need are a few metal brackets and some hardcover books. Start by attaching the bottom of the hardcover book to a metal bracket with a piece of fabric fastener. The fabric fastener should be attached so that it holds the bottom cover in place. The rest of the hardcover book should rest on top of the bracket. Then screw the bracket in place and install the bottom book. You can stack multiple books on top of the first one, just make sure the weight isn’t more than the metal bracket can handle. Stagger as many of these floating bookshelves on your wall to complete the look, and top each with your favorite knick-knacks. Sweater Pumpkins Cable knit sweaters make great DIY pumpkins that won’t rot if you forget about them. You can make these adorable fall decorations with a cable knit sweater, stuffing, yarn, twine and a sewing needle. Start by cutting the sweater in half at the armpits. Then, use the needle and yarn to create a running stitch along the bottom of the fabric, pulling it tight as you work around. With the bottom closed, fill the fabric with your stuffing material, leaving around 5 inches of sweater on top. The stuffing should turn the sweater into a rounded shape. Close the sweater with another running stitch around the top and add a piece of twine for a stem. Lastly, run some twine in sections from the top of the sweater to the bottom to create ridges, pulling tight for a more pumpkin-like appearance. Related: Front porch decorating for fall Basket Storage We could all use some extra storage around the house. Instead of buying new plastic totes, you can convert an old basket to serve as decorative storage space for all the seasonal items taking over your house, like blankets, scarves and boots. All you have to do is take an old basket and repaint it a solid color to match your existing decor. You can also paint a pattern on the basket to really make it stand out. Attach thick rope to the top of the basket to serve as handles, making a basket full of scarves, coats or blankets easier to move from the living room to the laundry room. Fall Clothing There are plenty of things around the house or at your local thrift store that you can upcycle and wear in the cooler fall weather. If you have any sweaters that are beyond repair, you can cut off the sleeves and use them as leg warmers, knit socks or tall boot socks. You can even make several pairs using just one sweater, depending on the size. If you have a blanket that has seen better days, cutting it just right can turn it into your new favorite scarf. The key is to getting the right dimensions. If you have another scarf on hand, use it as a reference point. Traditional scarves are anywhere between 55 and 82 inches long and 5 to 10 inches wide. Depending on the condition and size of the blanket, you should be able to get multiple scarves out of one piece. Seasonal Throw Pillows Take your love for fall to the next level by making throw pillow covers with old sweaters or flannel shirts. Start by cutting off the sleeves of the sweater or flannel, carefully following the seams. Then, put the pillow inside the shirt to get an idea of the best placement. Try to center the pillows with the pockets or buttons, which will lend these covers extra charm. Trim around the pillow, leaving an inch of fabric all the way around. Flip the fabric inside out and sew all of the sides together. Avoid sewing shut the buttons, as this is where you will insert the pillow. Once everything is sewed together, turn the shirt the right side out, unbutton the front, insert the pillow and re-button the cover. If your top of choice doesn’t have buttons, sew in buttons or a zipper on one side of the pillow cover. Related: Refresh your furnishings for fall Mason Jar Pumpkins You can make super cute DIY fall decor using old glass jars. All you need are the glass jars, non-toxic paint , twine and some faux leaves and corks for the stems. Start by painting the lids brown and the jars a dark orange. Once they have dried, screw the lids on the jars and use a piece of twine to tie around the jar just below the base of the lids. Add faux leaves and corks to the top of the lids, and feel free to paint on some fun Jack O’Lantern faces as well. Patio Lights Turning old tin cans into patio lights is a lot easier than you might think. All you need are some snips or shears, a hole punch, paint and tea lights. Start by removing any labels from the cans and cleaning them thoroughly. Use a strong hole punch to create patterns on the cans and paint them a warm fall color. If you do not have a hole punch on hand, you can carefully use a hammer and nail to create the same effect. Simply insert the tea light into the cans and place them around your patio, porch or even indoors. Images via Kamelia Hayati ,  John M. P. Knox , Sarah Dorweiler , Max Conrad , Shutterstock

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