Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

November 6, 2018 by  
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A running track, elevated hydroponic gardens and a miniature “mountain” combine in this fun, new office headquarters for the non-profit Leping Foundation in Beijing , China. Designed by the prolific local design practice People’s Architecture Office (PAO), the mostly open-plan office landscape was created to foster health and wellness. Covering an area of 1,100 square meters, the Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation Headquarters unites four of the company’s departments with a suspended vegetated loop and a running track underneath. Known for its social innovation work, the headquarters of the Leping Foundation covers four distinct fields: job training for migrant workers, agricultural research, preschool education and microfinance. To cultivate a sense of community among the different fields, the People’s Architecture Office created an office that fosters collaboration and interaction. The activity loop track that snakes through the various departments encourages office workers to take breaks and walk laps around the office. In addition to the open kitchen, dining area and lounge, the architects also added a “mini mountain” integrated with stairs to give workers a way to “hike” up to the mezzanine level. The office also includes a separate gym, a meditation space and a meeting room. “The wall design reminds users of the importance of staying active and changing positions,” the architects explained. “Gradating bands of blue span the height of the walls and columns at 60-cm intervals. Recommended periods of time spent at each height are given and each of these correspond with certain postures and activities, which include laying down, sitting, walking and climbing.” Related: China’s rival to AirBnB opens new Beijing office with cutting-edge interior design The suspended hydroponic gardens that are filled with edible plants and aromatic herbs not only add beauty and a source of food for the office, but they also help clean the indoor air. The gardens are complemented with an advanced air filtration system — an important addition given Beijing’s notoriety for severe air pollution . Indoor air quality data is regularly collected, monitored and displayed in real time above the running track. + People’s Architecture Office Photography by Jing Weiqi via People’s Architecture Office

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Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

Breath Easy: Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

August 21, 2018 by  
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Although it may be counterintuitive, indoor air is commonly two … The post Breath Easy: Reduce Indoor Air Pollution appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Breath Easy: Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

Recyclable House is an eco-getaway that celebrates the circular economy

July 25, 2018 by  
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A recently completed environmentally friendly retreat has opened for bookings on AirBnB in the picturesque countryside near Beaufort, Australia. Designed by  Quentin Irvine , the Recyclable House is an experimental modern home that stays true to its name with its use of recyclable materials and passive solar construction principles. Conceived as a “prototype house for the circular economy,” the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath rental comfortably fits 10 guests and promises “sensational indoor air quality.” Inspired by Australia’s iconic galvanized steel woodsheds, Irvine designed the Recyclable House with a gabled farmhouse aesthetic. Three sides of the building are clad in durable Z600 galvanized steel. The fourth facade is covered in timber planks charred using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique. All components in the home were selected for durability and are either biologically or technologically recyclable. Even the walls, which are built with plasterboard, are fully compostable. Passive solar principles and highly effective insulation create comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, with extra heating provided by a Pyroclassic wood-burning stove and a solar hot-water system; no air conditioning has been installed. Natural finishes used throughout ensure low toxicity. Related: Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home “Whilst learning the building profession I identified and became frustrated with the fact that most Australian homes are essentially built with/for rubbish whether they were promoted as eco friendly homes or not,” explains Irvine, discussing the impetus behind his project. “Even though materials were often coming to site as quality recyclable materials , they would be destined for landfill the minute that they were installed due to the building practices and installation methods used. I found solutions to many of these problems by researching older building methods as well as thinking creatively about the problem.” Completed in December 2015, the Recyclable House was recently made available to rent on AirBnB starting at $95 a night. + Recyclable House AirBnB Images by Nic Granleese

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Recyclable House is an eco-getaway that celebrates the circular economy

How to make your own green terrarium to keep or give away for the holidays

December 14, 2017 by  
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If you have a green thumb but minimal garden space, why not create your own mini-world full of lush and beautiful plants by making your own terrarium? If you’re in the southern hemisphere instead, remember that having green plants around is a surefire way to keep away the winter blues, plus plants are certain to help improve your indoor air quality . Terrariums are easy-to-make, low-maintenance gardens, and can last almost indefinitely with minimal water. Don’t believe us? We assembled seven terrariums of various shapes and sizes in a single weekend, and they’re all adorable. Read on for our easy terrarium DIY to learn how to make your own to keep or give away for the holidays. MATERIALS: A clear glass jar, vase, bowl, glass, or whatever interesting glass container you have on hand Rocks, pebbles or recycled glass chunks Activated charcoal (sometimes called activated carbon) Potting soil appropriate for your plants Moss (optional) Figurines, sticks or decorative items (optional) Various small plants A scoop, spoon or shovel Scissors Gloves Source your containers from a thrift store or an antique store, or just scrounge around your house for an old jar. Even simple jelly jars or canning jars can make beautiful terrariums. They can be left open or closed—it’s totally up to you. All other supplies can be bought at your local gardening center. As for the plants, the sky is the limit, but generally speaking look for small plants that you can fit inside your jar and won’t grow too tall. Some plants will have multiple stems so you can break them up even further. To ensure that your terrarium will be successful, keep succulents and cacti together, and keep fern and tropical plants together, because they require different amounts of water and soil. You’ll want cactus soil for the succulents and regular old potting soil for everything else. The rocks are used as a false drainage layer while the activated charcoal helps keep the terrarium healthy, and the moss can be used for decoration and to help soak up and retain water. STEP 1: Prepare the Container Remove any price tags or stickers from your vessel and wash both the interior and exterior thoroughly to ensure that there are no unwanted residues that could affect the health of your plants. Envision how you want to arrange your plants inside the jar. STEP 2: Add Your Drainage Layers Once the container is ready, fill the bottom with rocks or pebbles. This is to create a false drainage layer so water can settle and not flood the plant. The depth of the rocks totally depends on the size of your container, but aim for 1/2″ to 2″. STEP 3: Add the Activated Charcoal The charcoal looks exactly like what you would expect it to and it’s messy. Sometimes it comes as small granules and other times it comes as shards—either works. You don’t need much, just enough to cover the rocks. The charcoal will improve the quality of your little world including reducing bacteria, fungi and odors. Related: How to Make a Recycled Glass Terrarium STEP 4: Add Soil Again, cactus and succulents need a special soil compared to most other plants, so be sure to get the appropriate bag depending on which plants you’re using. Add enough soil so the plant roots will have plenty of room to fit and then grow. Aim for a depth slightly greater than the height of the plant’s pot. STEP 5: Plant Take your plant out of the pot and break up the hard soil ball until you get down to the roots. If you’re breaking the plant into multiple parts, be gentle. You may also want to trim the roots if they are especially long; don’t worry, they’ll grow back. Using a spoon, your fingers, the end of a brush, or even a pencil, dig a well to place your plants roots in. Add more soil around the top and compact the soil down around the base of the plant. Continue placing your little plants in the container and try to keep them away from the edges. The leaves are likely to touch the sides but aim to keep them away as much as possible. STEP 6: Add Accessories After you’re done planting you can add little accessories like a blanket of moss (dried or living), little figurines, old toys, glass beads, shiny metal object, sticks, stones, or even a layer or rocks. This is your little world and you can put whatever you’d like in there. Related: 7 Eco-Friendly Summer Crafts for Creative Adults (and Kids!) STEP 7: Clean and Water You’ll likely have dirt all over the sides of the container, so wipe them down so you can enjoy the beautiful living world inside. Give the terrarium a little bit of water. Unlike most of your house plants, a terrarium doesn’t need to soaked: just a couple of shots of water should get it started. Tips & Tricks – Over time, monitor your terrarium’s water needs based on how dry the soil is. For terrariums with closed lids, if water is dripping down from the top, open the lid to let some evaporate. Likewise, you may need to add more if it looks parched. You shouldn’t need to water them very often. – If leaves die or wilt, remove them from the terrarium immediately to maintain the health of the little eco system. If an entire plant dies, take it out. – Don’t place in direct sunlight. Remember that these are essentially little greenhouses and direct sunlight through the glass will trap heat and scorch the plants. Place in indirect light for best results. – Afterwards, enjoy your little world or give it away and make another! Lead image via Pixabay . All other images ©Bridgette Meinhold

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How to make your own green terrarium to keep or give away for the holidays

Where Do VOCs Lurk In Your Home?

July 2, 2015 by  
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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), found in many household products, contribute to poor indoor air quality. Where are they possibly lurking in your home? Check out this infographic to learn more, courtesy of CustomMade. Founded in 2009 with the…

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Where Do VOCs Lurk In Your Home?

North Peak House Goes Above and Beyond Austin’s Green Building Standard

December 19, 2013 by  
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The two-story North Peak House is located at the edge of a neighborhood bordered by sloping woodlands on the south and an open field to the north. Built with regionally sourced limestone, on-site boulders and sustainably-sourced wood, the home is situated for passive solar design and it utilizes deep overhangs for shading, operable windows for natural ventilation, and it’s heated and cooled with geothermal heat pumps. The owners are both professors at the University of Texas and one of them used the house as a research lab to learn more about healthy indoor air quality in homes. Working with Furman + Keil , she scrutinized each product to ensure that nothing harmful would come into her home. The project received 207 out of 165 points through the Austin Energy Green Building program and it eschews VOCs, formaldehyde and carpeting. Local and sustainably sourced products are used throughout including bamboo flooring, concrete & recycled glass countertops, reclaimed wood, and sustainably harvested decking. A high-reflectance standing seam metal roof is prepped for the addition of a photovoltaic system, and the envelope was tightly sealed and insulated to minimize energy loss. + Furman + Keil Architects Images ©Casey Dunn Photography        

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North Peak House Goes Above and Beyond Austin’s Green Building Standard

Vali Homes Creates Hip Net-Zero Energy Home for the Arizona Desert

October 14, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Vali Homes Creates Hip Net-Zero Energy Home for the Arizona Desert Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , 180 degrees , austin trautman , blown-in cellulose insulation , colab studios , desert living , eps insulation , foam roof , fresh air circulation , green housing phoenix , green single-family house , indoor air quality , matthew salenger , net-zero house , passive solar design , phoenix , rigid insulation , vali homes        

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Vali Homes Creates Hip Net-Zero Energy Home for the Arizona Desert

Policy and incentives drive energy efficiency retrofits

December 4, 2012 by  
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Programs and policies rewarding the most efficient buildlngs can also have the effect of educating companies on their buildings' effects on the environment as well. 

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Policy and incentives drive energy efficiency retrofits

What can Hong Kong teach China about urban sustainability?

December 3, 2012 by  
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Given what has worked in Hong Kong and the looming challenges the city faces, the private sector is well-positioned to provide leadership in creating a more holistic view.

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What can Hong Kong teach China about urban sustainability?

Edmonton Airport’s Beautiful New Living Green Wall Works To Clean The Air

May 23, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Edmonton Airport’s Beautiful New Living Green Wall Works To Clean The Air Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green wall” , “living wall” , “sustainable architecture” , airport , canada , clean air , eco design , Edmonton , edmonton airport , edmonton international airport , fresh air , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green over grey , green wall installation , indoor air quality , Landscape Architecture , living green wall , stantec , Stantec Architecture , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , vertical garden

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Edmonton Airport’s Beautiful New Living Green Wall Works To Clean The Air

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