Couple converts an old school bus into a chic skoolie for travel

May 8, 2019 by  
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When you are ready to explore the country, why not take your home with you? Sure, there are motorhomes and travel trailers to choose from. You could even pick up a Sprinter van. But for a real adventure, you could tootle about in a skoolie. If you didn’t catch the play on words, a skoolie is a converted school bus made into a tiny home on wheels . Couple Robbie and Priscilla have converted a school bus into their own travel-ready abode through a process of trial and error mixed with some frustration and a dash of luck. The couple wanted the exceptional 210-square-feet of open space that a school bus allows so they could bring along their pet cat and feel like they had more of a home than an RV. The 1998 Thomas School Bus was the inspiration that drove them forward with their plan. Related: A 1992 International School Bus gets a second life as an adventure-mobile The conversion took a year and a half to complete, with many obstacles along the journey. For example, discovering leaky windows required a complete replacement. Then, a blown gasket kept the project in park for several months. If ever there was a reward worth the labor, this homey project is it. As a result of their efforts, the couple was able to take to the road in March in a cozy, relaxed dwelling. The lengthy, flowing space is well lit with myriad windows throughout and white cabinetry lining one side. The gray laminate flooring accents the stainless steel appliances and is complemented by the cedar tongue-in-groove ceiling. Storage is tucked in several areas including beneath the raised bed, near the ceiling in the kitchen and under the couch in a sitting area. The tiny home’s unusually large bathroom features tile work alongside glass shower doors, and the bus also has two outdoor showers for convenient clean-up. Unlike most RVs, this skoolie features both air conditioning and a fireplace, which suits the couple well as they begin their trip in Canada and Alaska, planning to later hit all 48 contiguous states. + Going Boundless Via Curbed Images via Going Boundless

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Couple converts an old school bus into a chic skoolie for travel

Go green in your bedroom with these sustainable decor picks

April 24, 2019 by  
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Whether you’re building, have just moved into a new home or are renovating your current room, considering eco-friendly materials can be a healthier decision for both you and the environment. Here are some floor-to-ceiling options for your space. Flooring Introduce sustainable products to your room starting from the ground up. Flooring is a significant investment during any remodel, but the price of eco-friendly options are holding pace with more conventional products these days. Cork is a natural product that doesn’t require cutting down the tree for harvest. The cork is a bark that actually grows outside the tree and is shaved off. Cork is anti-microbial and fire resistant. Bamboo , increasingly used in many products from building materials to socks, continues to see a rise in popularity because of the quick regrowth and environmentally friendly growing practices. Glass tiles, concrete and rubber are other options. If you are looking for carpet, check into wool or those made with recycled plastic (PET). Related: The best eco-friendly floor options for your home Paint In your effort to bring the green into your bedroom, choose any color of recycled paint . More and more companies are recycling unused paint, bringing it back to life instead of adding to the waste stream. There are also paints with soybean and sunflower oils as well as recycled plastic for the resin. Vegetable matter, clay, chalk and other natural materials are just some of the options paint manufacturers have incorporated into their products. Furniture With new flooring and wall color, it might be time to switch out the bedroom furniture, too. Fortunately, there are many furniture options that offer a sustainable solution. You can choose from bamboo and other natural woods, of course. But then there are furniture options made with recycled materials like the Sactional , which recycles water bottles in the manufacturing process. Buying pre-owned items is another earth-friendly option. If you decide to buy new, look for companies with good sustainability practices like West Elm, which is FSC- and fair-trade certified and made in the U.S. Plants Incorporating houseplants into your interior design not only adds visual interest and the calming vibes of nature, but also freshens the air by adding oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Plants in your bedroom can hang from a hook in the ceiling, sit in a window sill or rest on a piece of furniture. One tricky thing about houseplants is that photosynthesis mostly takes place during the day, which means they may release that carbon dioxide back into the air while you’re sleeping. Certain plants such as orchids, succulents, snake plants and bromeliads, however, work in the opposite way, cleaning up the air while you slumber. Related: 9 ways to introduce nature into your dull work space Air purifiers Even though plants help, commercially available air purifiers can really filter out allergens . They come at a cost though —  to both your pocket and the waste stream. Instead, look into eco-friendly options to purify your bedroom air like the low-power consuming Andrea Air Filter that uses plants to more effectively filter the air. Another option is the Chikuno Cube, a natural air purifier made from an ultra-fine powder of activated bamboo charcoal and clay minerals. Himalayan pink salt has natural purification capabilities. This material is available in a variety of lamps that also offer a unique touch to your decor. To minimize the pollutants in your room from petroleum-based candles , incorporate natural beeswax candles instead. Eco-friendly electronics If you must have electronics in your room, be sure to choose those that use less energy and produce less waste. Start by checking out the Energy Star label on any televisions you consider purchasing. An even more in-depth rating comes from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT. Products with this certification have met standards in eight key areas of environmental concern such as material selection, post-consumer waste, packaging and extension of lifecycle. If you are replacing an old TV, be sure to recycle it responsibly. Another product that might be in your bedroom is a computer. Newer models have become quite eco-friendly, too, but you have to look a little harder for them. Our favorite example is the options from iameco , a Dublin company that offers a 10-year design with replaceable and upgradable parts. The computers use less energy than others on the market and the casing is made from wood rather than plastic. Lighting Another source of energy consumption in your room is lighting. For a central light, a ceiling fan can work double-time as a light and fan, which can make the room more pleasant while offering some energy savings. For wall- or ceiling-mounted lights, look for products made with natural or recycled materials. Consider buying secondhand to intercept products from entering the waste stream. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Also pay attention to the bulb. Standard halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light emitting diode ( LED ) bulbs uses significantly less energy than an old-school incandescent. Linens We’ve covered a lot of the germane materials you might add to your room during a remodel or upgrade, but also consider your covers. Sheets, blankets and comforters can have a significant environmental impact. Choose organic cotton instead of standard cotton, which creates chemical runoff. There are several certifications you can look for in your linens, each with its own standards and criteria regarding sourcing and types of materials, treatment of employees and environmental practices. These include Certified B Corporation, Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Green Business Certification. Images via Shutterstock

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Go green in your bedroom with these sustainable decor picks

A solar-powered home in Maine rises above the sand dunes on wooden stilts

March 20, 2019 by  
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Portland-based firm  Caleb Johnson Studio has unveiled a beautiful cedar-clad home elevated off the ground on stilts so that the natural “landscape is allowed to flow under the house.” The solar-powered home, named “In the Dunes,” was designed to not only protect the natural dune terrain, but the resilient design also reduces the risk of damage caused by potential coastal flooding. Located in the coastal town of Wells in southern Maine, the three-story home is built on sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Due to instability of the dune landscape, the architects decided to elevate the home off the ground by large wooden stilts  built into a concrete plinth. According to the firm, this was a strategic decision to allow the landscape to continue in its natural state under the home. It is also a resilient feature to protect the home from coastal flooding. Related: Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes The design was meant to fit into the local vernacular, comprised mainly of charming beach houses . “This home was influenced by the vernacular coastal structures that can be found dotting the Maine coast,” Caleb Johnson Studio said in a project description. “The building was simplified to pure geometric forms and then manipulated and modernized to take advantage of the sea and marsh views.” With its cedar cladding, pitched roofs (installed with solar panels ) and multiple large windows, the home certainly manages to blend in with its natural surroundings. On the interior, the space is also focused on the incredible views. The ground floor is marked by the large wooden stilts that form a pleasant, open-air space, which wraps around the home with a wooden pathway leading the way to the glass-enclosed entryway. From the front door, a large window surrounded by natural stones leads up to the upper floors. Once inside, an abundance of strategically placed windows provide panoramic views from nearly any angle. An interior design comprised of a neutral color palette and minimal furnishings creates an incredibly welcoming home. + Caleb Johnson Studio Via Dezeen Photography by Trent Bell via Caleb Johnson Studio

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A solar-powered home in Maine rises above the sand dunes on wooden stilts

Are bioenergy facilities the solution to the growing garbage problem?

March 20, 2019 by  
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Have you ever heard of bioenergy? Or, have you ever wondered where your garbage goes once you throw it out? For many people — especially Americans — once their trash leaves the house, there is no more thought about where it goes or what happens to it. As soon as a sanitation worker picks up your garbage , there is no reason to think about the serious problems that massive amounts of waste can cause. Every year, Americans discard about 250 million tons of resources, making them the largest generator of waste on Earth. Approximately 136 million tons are buried, 89 million tons are composted or recycled  and 33 million tons are burned. Yet, have you ever thought about how those methods of trash disposal impact communities and the environment ? In an effort to dispose of trash in a more eco-friendly way, many countries have started increasing the disposal method of waste-to-energy, or bioenergy , because when the garbage is burned, it generates energy. Some countries have even switched to bioenergy completely, like Sweden, who has actually run out of its own trash and imports 700,000 tons annually to meet the capacity of their waste-to-energy plants. In Norway, they are experimenting with fueling their public transportation system with biogas. According to Energy Central, one kilogram of food waste produces a half liter of fuel . The city of Oslo powers 135 buses with their organic waste. It may seem like a good idea to turn trash into energy, but is the process really as environmentally-friendly as it sounds? Related: Scientists invent a solar panel that produces hydrogen The Controversy When waste is burned to produce energy and heat, the process produces an enormous amount of smoke. Nearly all of that smoke is carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, and there is nothing clean about that. Could this really be better than recycling or even burying trash in a landfill ? Waste-to-energy is not a “renewable” process because unlike solar or wind, once the waste is burned, that’s it. There is no more energy production from that specific resource. Gayle Sloan, chief executive of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia, says that the goal is to create energy from burning materials that recycling programs leave behind. This means the waste hierarchy is prevention and recycling before bioenergy and landfills. But, according to Jane Bremmer, coordinator of the campaign group Zero Waste Oz, waste-to-energy incinerators are actually a threat to recycling. “We appear to have this system where waste-to-energy incinerations are being allowed to remove material recovery facilities (recycling centers) from their planned projects,” says Bremmer. “They are doing that because it assures their waste stream.” Not only is waste-to-energy emitting greenhouse gasses and threatening recycling, but it can also be polluting the air. Wheelabrator, an incinerator located in Peekskill, New York, burns 2,250 tons of waste every day and provides “clean, renewable electricity.” But, is that an honest claim? The plant emits toxins into the air that can be deadly — 577 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 131,000 pounds of carbon monoxide every year, according to the Emissions Containment Totals Report . Then there is the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen, which means the citizens around that plant are breathing in a plethora of dirty pollutants . Related: Verizon pledges $1 billion for programs that help the environment In Australia, there is also a problem when it comes to funding. Not only are their waste-to-energy plants polluting the air and damaging their recycling programs, but they are also gobbling up cash from government grant and loan programs. “It’s consuming, in a large degree, a petroleum product into an energy stream which produces CO2 equivalent,” says Robin Chapple, Greens Western Australian MP. “We managed to control the emissions, like dioxins, but we are still turning the plastics into a greenhouse gas . If you have a good recycling program which deals well with waste, the feedstock for incineration disappears.” Smart Solutions Inventors from the Center for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) program at the University of New South Wales are attempting to take recycling to the next level . Instead of burning materials to create energy, they have developed a microfactory that can be placed at waste sites that can turn discarded items into molecules which can then be transformed into something new. “If you are using something and then, after a single life, saying, ‘I’m done with it, and I’m going to burn away the fundamental molecules and elements and everything else to release a bit of energy’, then that’s not good,” says UNSW engineering professor Veena Sahajwalla, the head of the SMaRT project. She says that if we simply burn our waste, then we aren’t trying hard enough to find ways to repurpose materials and resources. For Sahajwalla, bioenergy is not the solution to our environmental problems. Via The Guardian Images via Shutterstock

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Are bioenergy facilities the solution to the growing garbage problem?

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in these bamboo huts built on a remote Vietnamese beach

March 20, 2019 by  
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When it comes to completely disconnecting from the stresses of everyday life, sometimes it’s worth the while to really go off-the-beaten-path. Thanks to Vietnamese architecture firm, VTN Architects , now you can find a little slice of serenity in a very remote area of Vietnam. Located about 2 hours from the nearest port and only accessible by boat, the Castaway Island Resort is comprised of five bamboo guest huts , covered in thatched roofs and engulfed on one side by a verdant mountain range and on the other by a private white sand beach. The Ho Chi Minh City-based firm designed the resort to offer the ultimate in lodging for those who want to reconnect with nature. Located on a tiny island that’s part of the Cat Ba Archipelago, the idyllic area is a well-known tourist destination. Tucked into a soaring mountain range on one side and a private beach on the other, guests at the eco-retreat can enjoy breathtaking views from anywhere inside the bamboo huts and outside the property. Related: Top 6 Must-See Summer Eco Resorts Around the World! Using the natural landscape for inspiration, the architects used environment-friendly bamboo to craft the huts that make up the guests rooms, as well as the restaurant and multi-use pavilion. The huts were built using thin bamboo rods that were treated in a traditional Vietnamese technique that involves soaking the bamboo in mud first and then smoking it afterwards. Once properly treated, the bamboo frames were assembled by bamboo dowel nails and re-enforced by rope. Covered with thatched roofs, the huts not only offer an authentic Vietnamese cultural experience, but also reduce the building’s impact on the existing landscape. Using bamboo as the primary building material meant adding durability to the design, as well as the option to be easily removed without leaving a footprint on the beautiful landscape. Guests will enjoy staying in the spacious guest rooms, but can also enjoy spending time in the restaurant and onsite pavilion. Built in the same style as the bamboo huts , the restaurant is built in a hyperbolic-parabolic shell volume. This shape allows the communal area to be covered, but open on all sides so that guests can take in unobstructed views while they enjoy local fare served by the restaurant. + VTN Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Hiroyuki Oki, via VTN Architects

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Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in these bamboo huts built on a remote Vietnamese beach

Transparent bubble domes in China allow guests to immerse themselves in nature

March 13, 2019 by  
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For those who need a little respite from the hustle and bustle of life and who may find themselves in the Guangxi region of China, there is an entire glamping site comprised of transparent bubble domes . Created by designer ChengWei Chiang of PL Interior Design Studio, the Wow Bubbles are made of special transparent PVC material to let visitors truly immerse themselves in the idyllic landscape that surrounds the site. Located in the mountainous area of southern China  bordering Vietnam, Guangxi is right on the coast and known as a nature-lover’s paradise. Full of lush green forests, winding rivers and towering karst formations, the area is a popular tourist spot for both adventurers and those who just want to commune with nature. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble Now, visitors to the picturesque area can go one step further by staying in the Wow Bubbles lodgings. Made out of special PVC material, the transparent bubble huts are inflated with air. Waterproof and resistant to wind, they were also designed to withstand the severe humidity that is common in this coastal area. The bubble domes are strategically orientated to provide stunning, unobstructed views of the mountains and forest that surround the site. A wooden walkway on the edge of a small lake leads to the individual domes, which are lifted off the landscape on wooden platforms. Once inside, the interior design is quite contemporary. With a spacious living area, a large bedroom and bath, the huts provide all of the amenities of home. According to the designer of the bubbles, ChengWei Chiang, the unique glamping concept was inspired to provide mesmerizing, panoramic views for guests looking to get away from the stress of their urban lifestyles. “As more and more people move into the cities, making more money, buying more luxuries, owning bigger houses, the nature serves as a pure land that evokes peace of mind,” he explained. “Zen is a lifestyle we need today. Zen style is the key to attract urban people to nature.” + PL Interior Design Studio + Chiange Cheng Wei Via World Architecture Images via Chiange Cheng Wei and PL Interior Design Studio

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Transparent bubble domes in China allow guests to immerse themselves in nature

This sleek lamp provides light and grows food

March 12, 2019 by  
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As the population of the planet continues to grow, the ability to produce enough food is a continual discussion. Not only are we busy finding ways to make enough of the right kinds of foods to sustain the masses, but we’re simultaneously investing in opportunities for the backyard (or living room) gardener to grow their own foods. With an urban lifestyle in mind, start-up Benditas Studio has created a lamp that doubles as a vegetable garden. Brot, a dual functioning lamp and garden, made its inaugural appearance at the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February in the “Greenhouse” category as a debut piece from duo Caterina Vianna and Ferran Gest, self-proclaimed food and design lovers. Related: This hexagonal indoor farm grows more food in less space with 90% less water “We love food, and we love design, and this is how Benditas Studio came up,” shared Vianna. “When we say we design furniture for food, we mean that we create objects/services, not only for persons but for the food itself. We wanted to play with the meaning of furniture because we saw projects of ‘furniture for public spaces,’ ‘furniture for the living area’ or ‘furniture for the contract sector’ … but we never heard about a furniture for food. We design products and services that dialogue with food; merge them in a way to spread a new message.” The terracotta material of the lamp brings a natural feel to the space and a supportive element for the growth of the seeds inside. The bottom of two pieces contains a stainless steel tray to hold the plant. Different seeds are available, but the process is the same for them all. Simply soak the seeds for the specified amount of time, and then place them into the tray and moisten them two to three times per day. Produce like sprouts are ready to eat in as little as four to six days. The heat and light from the lamp in the upper piece furnishes warmth for the seeds while providing ambient light for the surrounding space. The Brot is not yet for sale, but the company hopes to find a production facility soon. + Benditas Studio Via Core77 Images via Benditas Studio

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This sleek lamp provides light and grows food

Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

February 22, 2019 by  
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Acoustic products manufacturer  Baux has just unveiled a truly innovative design for some stylish, plant-based acoustic panels. Made out of chemical-free pulp material sourced from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees, the decorative Baux Acoustic Pulp panels can be used to soundproof various environments such as homes, restaurants office spaces, classrooms and more. Launched during this year’s Stockholm Design Week, the eco-friendly Baux Acoustic Pulp panels were made possible through a collaboration between Baux, Swedish industrial design studio  Form Us With Love and scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The revolutionary design was based on more than 25 years of research, utilizing state-of-the art technology while keeping material usage to a minimum. Related: Beautiful sound-absorbing EchoPanels are made from recycled plastic bottles The panels are made through a complex process that is similar to making paper. The process begins with wood from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and fir trees. Cellulosic fibers from the wood are broken down into a liquid cellulose to form a chemical-free pulp. The material is then modified to be fire- and water-repellent. The result is an extremely resilient material that is durable and suitable for any number of environments. But not all of its design is practical functionality; the panels are also quite decorative. At the end of its manufacturing process, the pulp is colored with non-genetically modified wheat bran, giving the panels a pleasant neutral and natural hue that is suitable for almost any interior design scheme. Currently, the panels come in three patterns: Sense, Pulse, and Energy, which are all cut using advanced laser-cutting technology. The company is reportedly planning to experiment with other natural dyes such as lingonberries, blueberries and beetroot. According to Baux CEO Fredrik Franzon, the innovative design of the eco-friendly panels is completely in line with the company’s commitment to creating building materials that are “sustainable, surprisingly functional and remarkably beautiful.” “In the face of climate change , environmental pollution and excessive consumerism, we as an industry can no longer afford to ignore the part we play,” Franzon explained. “Designing and prototyping for the future is not enough. We need to create a sustainable future today. The Acoustic Pulp sound absorbing panel is the result of our deep commitment to this vision.” + Baux + Form Us With Love Via Dezeen Images via Baux

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Baux unveils sustainable acoustic panels made out of chemical-free pulp

Shine On: 5 Green Lighting Tips

January 4, 2019 by  
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Home lighting has a significant impact on interior design and … The post Shine On: 5 Green Lighting Tips appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Shine On: 5 Green Lighting Tips

Harbor town in Germany unveils urban-chic hostel made out of repurposed shipping containers

December 28, 2018 by  
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Berlin-based Holzer Kobler Architekturen and Kinzo Architekten have collaborated on Germany’s first upcycled hostel and its nothing short of spectacular. The Dock Inn is made out of multiple repurposed  shipping containers that have been carved out to create 64 guest rooms which all feature a vibrant interior design that mixes urban chic with industrial charm. Located in Warnemünde, Germany, the Dock Inn shipping container hostel is surrounded by the local harbor and shipyard. According to the designers, the rough charm of the industrial location was the perfect place to pay homage to the shipping containers’ former life at sea. Related: Gorgeous Catalan building renovated into an eco-friendly hostel in Barcelona The hostel design used the industrial nature of the containers to create a modern, contemporary hostel with a vibrant urban feel. A maritime theme runs throughout the space, which is filled with reclaimed furnishings, to pay homage to the containers’ seafaring past. The hostel’s various shipping containers were configured in a way to house 64 rooms with 188 beds, with most looking out over the harbor. There are varying sizes of guest rooms, from private rooms to dormitory-style spaces that have eight single beds. The rooms are compact, but with sleek interiors that give off a sophisticated, contemporary aesthetic. Bright red walls contrast nicely with all white linens in some rooms, while upholstery made of natural materials in muted colors give off a nice earthy feel in other rooms. Throughout the interior, large windows allow natural light to flood the interior spaces. The hostel also has a number of social areas such as a large lounge, computer room, galley kitchen, on-site restaurant and even a spa on the rooftop level. Throughout the common areas, the designers used several reclaimed materials such as the old shipping pallets that were configured into ample seating space in the lounge. + Holzer Kobler Architekturen + Kinzo Architekten + The Dock Inn Photography by Max Schroeder and Sebastian Dörken

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