Explore the Saltbox Passive House’s sweet sustainable design

August 20, 2021 by  
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The Saltbox Passive House is located in Bromont, Quebec , and is a residence for a family of four. The 3100-square-foot home sits in a meadow at the edge of a 2.5-acre wooded plot. Its design combines elements of the local context with energy-efficient strategies to enhance sustainability while maintaining a modern aesthetic. Through the efforts of the architects from Atelier l’Abri, the contractor Construction Rocket and consultants from the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), the building has obtained LEED Platinum and PHIUS 2018+ certifications, making it the third certified passive house in Quebec. The architects employed an L-shaped plan with two different roof slopes that mirror the topography of the landscape. The name of the house stems from the architectural language of saltbox buildings, a form of vernacular architecture from New England . The primary characteristic of saltbox houses is a gable roof over the main section of the building with a single-pitch roof over the lower section, making them easy to identify at first glance. Related: Passive House-certified residence frames ski resort views in Utah The Saltbox Passive House comprises three levels, of which the bottom two are tucked into the mountain along the rear retaining wall. The basement level serves as a workshop and houses a garage. The ground level includes shared spaces for the family. This includes living and dining spaces, which are organized around a double-height volume encompassing the kitchen, pantry, mudroom and powder room. This volume extends to the top level and is adjacent to the passageway that leads to the private spaces, including the three bedrooms and a home office. Throughout the design process, the architects collaborated with consultants to ensure that the project met Passivhaus Institut standards. Established in the early 1980s in Germany, the institute promotes buildings that consider occupant comfort while maintaining high levels of energy efficiency. This is often achieved through the use of well-insulated interiors, extensive heat recovery from mechanical ventilation systems and conscious design of openings for thermal comfort. Several design choices were made to ensure high performance without compromising comfort and aesthetics. The house incorporates south-facing, triple-glazed UPVC openings to capture sunlight and frame views of the lush landscape while serving as a means of passive solar heating. Close attention to materiality has further reduced the building’s carbon footprint. Cellulose insulation, excavated stone for the retaining wall and cedar cladding are all readily available in the region and aid in keeping the house thermally insulated. Though the building is connected to public electricity systems and utilities, its enhanced environmentally friendly measures reduce dependence on these facilities. + L’Abri Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau

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Explore the Saltbox Passive House’s sweet sustainable design

The new Africa Institute in UAE will highlight open air design

August 13, 2021 by  
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Dedicated to the advanced study, research and documentation of Africa and the African diaspora in the Arab world, the Africa Institute in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates  recently commissioned Adjaye Associates to design a new 343,175-square-foot campus. The project comes after a two-year collaboration that helped align the architectural components to the institute’s mission. The campus will connect four wings using a series of open-air interior courtyards  accented with large overhangs to provide shade and lower solar heat. Each wing spans between four and seven stories high, constructed out of low carbon  concrete .  Related: Abu Dhabi’s new urban biodiversity park enhances local microclimate These open-air courtyards will adorn both the first and second floors of each wing to ensure plenty of access to fresh air and the outdoors regardless of positioning in the building. The courtyards also incorporate water features and planters for  native plants  to help improve air circulation and provide natural cooling. Not only will the new campus include different types of spaces for various classes and seminars, it also includes a new research library, climate-controlled archive facility, auditorium and performance space, restaurant, cafe and bookstore. The institute will even provide public walkways to connect its property with surrounding institutions. “We selected David Adjaye to create the first purpose-built home for this vital institution because of his experience in designing buildings that foster learning, collaboration, and community building,” said The Africa Institute President Hoor Al Qasimi. “We started working together in 2017 so that the vision for The Africa Institute and the building that supports its critical mission would be developed hand-in-hand. David’s ability to create such a beautiful sequence of diverse spaces and welcoming sense of place will make The Africa Institute a nexus for knowledge-building and learning that will serve people in the region and our partners across Africa and around the world for generations to come.”  The  campus  is scheduled for completion by 2023. + Adjaye Associates Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Adjaye Associates

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The new Africa Institute in UAE will highlight open air design

RMI @ 35: A conversation with Amory Lovins

October 23, 2017 by  
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The co-founder and life spirit of the Rocky Mountain Institute looks back — and forward.

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RMI @ 35: A conversation with Amory Lovins

High aspirations: What’s next for Rocky Mountain Institute

October 23, 2017 by  
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A heightened sense of urgency and purpose as the non-profit marks its 35th anniversary.

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5 disruptive technologies driving the circular economy

October 23, 2017 by  
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From Apple’s Liam to the Nigerian company HelloTractor, waste materials are creating value for both emerging and established businesses.

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5 disruptive technologies driving the circular economy

MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months

October 12, 2017 by  
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Could this air-breathing battery help solve energy storage woes? 10 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers developed the battery capable of storing electricity for months for around one fifth of the cost of comparable technologies. MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang said, “This battery literally inhales and exhales air , but it doesn’t exhale carbon dioxide , like humans – it exhales oxygen .” MIT says their air-breathing battery could help renewable energy , like solar and wind, be more practicable for the grid . Their rechargeable flow battery costs a fraction of current technology, and can store power for long periods of time, with zero emissions and few location restraints. Related: Former Tesla executives to produce battery “with significantly lower carbon footprint” Sulfur dissolved in water comprises the battery’s liquid anode. What MIT described as an aerated liquid salt solution in the liquid cathode brings in and lets out oxygen. According to the institute, “Oxygen flowing into the cathode causes the anode to discharge electrons to an external circuit. Oxygen flowing out sends electrons back to the anode, recharging the battery.” The cost of the anode, cathode, and electrode materials in the battery is around 1/30 that of lithium-ion batteries , according to MIT. If the battery system was scaled up, it could store electricity for around $20 to $30 per kilowatt-hour – compare that against today’s batteries, which are around $100 per kilowatt-hour, at least. Right now, the prototype is about as big as a coffee cup. But Chiang said flow batteries are highly scalable. This new technology could compete with pumped hydroelectric storage systems, though, since the MIT system is more compact, it could be deployed in more locations where renewable energy is being generated. As solar and wind energy production can be intermittent, the battery could store the energy they generate to offer a reliable source of power. The journal Joule published the research this week. Via MIT News Images courtesy of the researchers and Felice Frankel

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Company Honored for Making Products Out of Hard-to-Recycle Waste

May 30, 2017 by  
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Imagine if all of America’s commercial recycling gurus joined forces to form one, huge recycling powerhouse. Well, it’s real, folks, and it’s called the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, also known as ISRI. ISRI represents more than 1,300…

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Company Honored for Making Products Out of Hard-to-Recycle Waste

Special Announcement: The Sustainability Solutions Celebration

February 23, 2017 by  
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ASU, with the help of some special guests, previews the Sustainability Solutions Celebration, presented as part of the Sustainability Solutions Festival hosted by the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

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Special Announcement: The Sustainability Solutions Celebration

Rethinking the Water Cycle for a Water Quality Constrained World

February 23, 2017 by  
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Global water scarcity is a function of the compounding impacts of decreasing availability and declining quality. The impacts of these factors on business are complex and far reaching. Succeeding in a water quality constrained world requires the ingenuity of business to drive water strategies that go beyond conservation to reuse, recycling and stewardship.  Ecolab vice president of sustainability Emilio Tenuta will outline imperatives for achieving business resilience  amidst water scarcity.

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Rethinking the Water Cycle for a Water Quality Constrained World

Connecting Nature & People

February 23, 2017 by  
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Connecting Nature & People

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