A prefabricated family home boasts an impressively small carbon footprint

June 28, 2019 by  
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London-based firm Proctor & Shaw has just unveiled a stunning country home that blends a traditional farmhouse aesthetic with sleek, modern touches. Set on four idyllic acres at the edge of a small village in North West England, the Zinc House is not only a stunning design but also boasts an impressively small carbon footprint . The three-bedroom family home is a two-story structure comprised of a hand-laid brick base. On top of the base and to its side are two gabled volumes clad in standing seam zinc finishes . Related: A Victorian cottage gets a stylish and sustainable makeover The two gabled volumes add a modern touch to the home’s farmhouse-inspired aesthetic . Both have projecting box windows as well as glass-enclosed garden rooms that provide stunning views of the orchard and expansive farmland that stretches out for miles. The prefab family home has two stories with the social areas on the bottom floor and the master bedroom suite on the top floor. At the family’s request, the spaces were designed to be highly flexible so that they could be reconfigured to meet the family’s future needs. Thanks to interconnecting living spaces and an open plan, the ground floor could be easily converted into one single living space. In addition to its visually pleasing design, the home is also incredibly sustainable. The cross-laminated timber structure was prefabricated off-site, which reduced construction emissions substantially. The materials arrived to the site via truck and the entire structure was erected in just three days. Thanks to its prefab origins as well as strategic passive and active sustainability features, the house is incredibly energy-efficient . For starters,  quality insulation enables it to have an extremely tight envelope, reducing energy costs and providing a stable interior temperature year-round. The orientation of the building was also an important factor in making use of natural light and air circulation. For energy generation, the residence has a large solar array on one of the gabled roofs, and a ground source heat pump was installed to provide heating and additional electricity that results in minimal net running costs for the home. + Proctor & Shaw Via ArchDaily Photography by David Millington Photography Ltd via Proctor & Shaw

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A prefabricated family home boasts an impressively small carbon footprint

A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof

June 26, 2019 by  
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Tucked into a rolling green hillside of Cheongdo-gun, South Korea, the Baomaru House by Busan-based firm Rieuldorang Atelier blurs the lines between nature and the man-made. Embedded into the sloped landscape, the home is split into two separate structures, which are connected by an expansive green roof that pulls double duty as a terrace for both sides of the home. Although the house is designed to blend into its surroundings, the unique design takes on a bold, modern appearance thanks to a series of gabled roofs that jut out of the landscape, creating a fun, pop-art effect. Once the residents and the architects found a building site for the home that was far from the hustle and bustle of city life, they were discouraged to learn that the back of the lot would soon be developed. As a solution, the architects decided to use the existing landscape to their advantage. Related: The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof “It is a general idea that the earth is a space that houses nature, and the house is a space that houses human beings,” the firm said. “In order to overturn this idea, we planned the earth as a space for human beings and the house as a space for nature. We did not want to design on the land … by cutting the ground or building up the soil. The point was to actively use the surrounding natural environment and land while complying with the slope of the land.” To work within the parameters of the natural topography, the architects decided to embed part of the 2,026-square-foot home into the landscape so that the structure would follow its contour. They also decided to split the structure into two parts, with one side housing the private bedrooms and kitchen and the other hosting the main living space. The two halves are split by a large entrance and underground garage, which is embedded completely into the hillside. Although the design was created to blend the structure into the natural surroundings, it takes a modern turn with a series of large white gabled roofs  that jut out of the green landscape. The bold modernity of the exterior continues throughout the interior living spaces. Double-height ceilings, white walls and light wood run through the home, enhanced by an abundance of natural light . With the bedrooms on one side, the main living room takes on a personality of its own. This structure mimics the same volume as the other but has a large cutout in the gabled roof, creating a brilliant open-air terrace that frames the views. On the bottom floor, the living space opens up to a large swimming pool that looks out over the mountains in the distance. + Rieuldorang Atelier Via Dwell Photography by Joonhwan Yoon via Rieuldorang Atelier

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A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof

Free at last: Canada passes Act to prohibit dolphin and whale captivity

June 13, 2019 by  
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This week, Canada’s parliament passed a long awaited Act that will prohibits whales, dolphins and porpoises from being bred or contained in captivity. Originally proposed in 2015 by then Senator Wilfred Moore from Nova Scotia, the legislation received broad support from the public and considerable pressure from animal rights groups. “Nothing fantastic ever happens in a hurry. But today we celebrate that we have ended the captivity and breeding of whales and dolphins. This is news to splash a fin at,” Humane Canada said in a tweet. The Senate voted to pass the “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act” last year, and on Monday the House of Commons finally approved the legislation. The fine for breaking the new law is about $150,000. Related: German circus goes cruelty gree by replacing animals with holograms The legislation does contain exceptions, including mammals that are already held in captivity, those contained for injury rehabilitation and those held for licensed scientific research. Hopefully, these exceptions will have effective oversight that will not lead the way for companies to exploit as loopholes. The legislation will impact a few sites in Canada, including Marineland, which currently has 61 whales, dolphins and an orca. Marineland originally opposed the Act but has since agreed to go along with the legislation. The Act will also impact the Niagara Falls Amusement Park and a zoo . The Vancouver Aquarium also announced last year that it would no longer display dolphins and whales after public pressure. “The public told us they believed the continuing importation and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals was unethical and incompatible with evolving public opinion and we amended our bylaws accordingly,” said the Vancouver Park Board in a statement. In the U.S., amusement parks like SeaWorld continue to host dolphin shows despite protests . Animal rights activists have been campaigning for this change in Canada and throughout the world under the hashtags #freewilly and #emptythetanks. Via NPR Image via skeeze

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Free at last: Canada passes Act to prohibit dolphin and whale captivity

Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

June 12, 2019 by  
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In a Chicago suburb full of traditional gabled rooflines, California-based architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa has inserted a modern dwelling that puts a sculptural twist on a humble and overlooked building material: Chicago “Common” brick. Historically considered unattractive and only fit for unseen areas such as chimney flues, Chicago “Common” brick is given renewed attention in a recently completed courtyard house , dubbed the Thayer Brick House. Not only does the contemporary home use the brick for almost its entire facade, but it also shines the spotlight on the local resource with a sculptural, street-facing facade that’s made with twisting columns of stacked brick. Made from indigenous Michigan clay, Chicago “Common” brick has long been considered undesirable and cheap due to its variations and irregularities. Instead of the classic red color, the prosaic material takes on a more yellow hue and has been traditionally used for areas hidden from the street, such as the side and back walls, chimney flues and structural support behind the facades. In making Chicago “Common” brick highly visible in the Thayer Brick House, Brooks + Scarpa is celebrating a local material and inviting passersby to reconsider unexpected uses for everyday materials and concepts. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork “By using the familiar in an unfamiliar location and application, the material becomes perceptually both old and new at the same time,” the firm said. “This makes one more aware of not just the building, but also our sense of place. There is a sense of discovery, something spontaneous and unexpected. The object is important, but it’s the experience that has a profound impact and leaves something that lasts well beyond the mere physical and visual existence of the building. This gives us the opportunity to not only learn about design but also about ourselves, our collective cultures and our place in society.” The use of Chicago “Common” brick helps contextualize the building and gives the building an unexpected appearance. The street-facing facade is made up of columns of brick rotated at varying degrees to make the courtyard look open or closed depending on where the viewer stands. Passersby can see the full effect of the facade, which has a moire-like pattern that appears to move as one walks past it. The sculptural facade also has the added benefit of reducing glare and providing privacy to the fully glazed interior volume. + Brooks + Scarpa Photography by Marty Peters and Brooks + Scarpa

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Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

5 Recommendations When Building an Energy-Efficient House

June 12, 2019 by  
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There are two ways to create an energy-efficient house: Make … The post 5 Recommendations When Building an Energy-Efficient House appeared first on Earth911.com.

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5 Recommendations When Building an Energy-Efficient House

Maven Moment: The Produce Vendor

June 12, 2019 by  
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Part of the fun of shopping with Mom was hearing … The post Maven Moment: The Produce Vendor appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: The Produce Vendor

Should I Replace My Roof Before Going Solar?

June 7, 2019 by  
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If you have decided to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) … The post Should I Replace My Roof Before Going Solar? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

June 6, 2019 by  
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Can digital fabrication unlock a new frontier in low-cost timber construction? All signs point to yes in the IBA Timber Prototype House, a micro-architecture project that’s been playfully described as “a log cabin turned on its side” by its designers at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart . Designed to meet PassivHaus standards, the airtight and highly sustainable building system was developed as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thueringen and is currently on show in Apolda until September 29. The IBA Timber Prototype House shows how computational design and fabrication technologies can turn low-cost timber construction into an environmentally friendly, economical and architecturally expressive way to build. The mono-material building consists of a series of staggered upright spruce timber frames with thin slits that serve as stress-relief cuts to prevent splitting and dead-air chambers to increase insulation values without compromising structural capacity. Digital fabrication and five-axis CNC milling also allowed for the creation of precision-cut airtight joints for connecting the timber elements so that no metal fasteners or adhesives were needed in construction. “Conventional building systems have a vast array of different materials embedded in them, which often have very high embedded energy costs and are difficult to separate for recycling ,” explains the ICD team. “In contrast, this research draws on traditional joinery, and a system was developed that relies purely on wood elements for structural connections and airtight enclosure, minimizing system layers and ensuring easy disassembly for end-of-life recycling. Furthermore, the project sources all the wood from within the state of Thueringen, where the demonstrator was built, allowing the team to minimize the embodied energy costs associated with moving materials over transportation networks.” Related: This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels The tiny building’s curving walls and roof are also a result of digital fabrication, while simulations of the home’s energy efficiency—the house achieves a U-value of 0.20 W/(m^2K) without additional insulation—have indicated that the prototype should perform up to PassivHaus standards even during cold German winters. + ICD Photos by Thomas Mueller

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Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

How to celebrate World Environment Day

June 5, 2019 by  
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Today, June 5, is World Environment Day! There are many ways that you can celebrate today, and you can use the celebration as a start to building more healthy, environmentally friendly habits. Here are some suggestions for fun activities and behavior changes to consider today and every day. Group activities for World Environment Day Plan a clean-up Get together with friends and neighbors for a clean-up activity in your area, such as at a beach, park or river. Get outside Getting outside doesn’t necessarily help nature , but taking the time to enjoy it and remember why it is essential to protect in the first place is a great way to honor the environment. Find a local hiking group or coordinate a picnic in the park. If your friends aren’t as excited about outdoor activities as you are, search for outdoorsy MeetUp groups in your area and meet some new, like-minded friends. Write to your senators What environmental issues are important to you and your family? This year, the theme of World Environment Day is “Air Pollution.” Find out what your local government is doing to protect the air quality in your area and write to your senator or representatives about your concerns. Healthy personal habits you can start now Use less water Small changes in how you use water at home can add up to a significant difference and conserve a lot of water in the long run. Turn off your tap when you are brushing your teeth. Be mindful of how long your shower is. When washing dishes, fill up a pot or large mixing bowl with warm water and dish soap. Use that water to scrub all of your dishes at once, and then turn on the tap only to rinse. Do not keep the tap running the whole time to wash and rinse each dish individually. Walk more You’ve heard it a million times, but have you implemented more walking in your own life? Consider the places you go often, like work, and figure out if there are ways that you can walk — even if it is only once or twice a week. Walking is great for your health, cuts down on transportation-related carbon emissions and allows you to get to know your neighborhood in a completely different way. Carpool Take the time to discuss with friends, family and coworkers before an event or activity and find out how you can cut down on the number of cars. For places that you go frequently — like work — get to know who lives near you and decide if you can agree on a schedule to carpool. Switch your light bulbs Every time a light bulb burns out in your house, switch to a long-lasting LED bulb . These light bulbs reduce your energy consumption and last a very long time. Buy energy-efficient appliances When possible, choose ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. It is an extra cost upfront, but it will significantly reduce your energy bill long into the future. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Keep fridge coils and AC vents clean If the coils on your refrigerator and the vents on your air conditioner are kept clean, they won’t need to use up additional energy just to cool to the regular temperature. Recycle e-waste When your cellphone or laptop breaks, bring it to an e-waste recycle facility rather than letting it sit around your house or tossing it into the trash. Shut off your devices When you are finished using it, turn off your computer and monitor. Avoid overcharging your cellphone or leaving it to charge overnight. Ideally, shut off your TV and other appliances through the main switch or outlet, not just the remote, so that you break the circuit and save energy . Switch to sustainable products Consider the products you use at home, like cleaning supplies and toothpaste . Switch to something more eco-friendly, ideally made from natural, biodegradable materials in plastic-free or fully recyclable packaging. Via News 18 Images via Riccardo Chiarini , Brian Yurasits and Arek Adeoye

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How to celebrate World Environment Day

LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

June 5, 2019 by  
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The University of California Santa Barbara boasts not only a beautiful campus near the ocean, but also recently completed student housing that’s been certified LEED Platinum . Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing was created to take advantage of the region’s ideal coastal climate to reduce energy demands. In addition to the use of passive design principles, the project employs several other sustainable strategies such as bioswales, solar water heating, and increased insulation. The project is 20 percent over California’s Title 24 requirements. Spanning an area of 95,000 square feet, the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing comprises seven structures that augment the existing housing volumes and student facilities located at the university’s 15-acre North Campus. LOHA designed the new housing clusters to align with the existing community’s scale and character while creating an environment that would encourage greater social activity. Related: These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes “UCSB dormitories have typically pushed circulation to their exterior envelope, with an inert central courtyard accessible only from within the building,” explain the architects. “LOHA’s design inverts this circulation scheme, designing a reductive exterior edge with an open, lively interior courtyard containing all building circulation, encouraging movement throughout the complex. Social hubs (reading rooms, gathering spaces, dining) are dispersed and floated above others. This distribution of spaces creates varied student experiences to generate a healthy campus culture.” Durability was a major driving feature in the design as well. The San Joaquin Student Housing complex’s street-facing facade is clad in corrugated metal panels, while the interior-facing elevations are covered in painted plaster punctuated by aluminum fins that support the elevated walkways finished with industrial cable mesh. Aluminum sunshades provide protection from unwanted solar gain and passive fresh air intake units are installed at each unit’s entryway. The project also boasts a built environment that’s over 90 percent permeable, a boon for stormwater management and for preventing onsite heat island effects. + LOHA Photos by Bruce Damonte

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LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

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