Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

November 22, 2017 by  
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Oregon-based firm FLOAT Architectural Research and Design recently built the “Outside House” for a client who wants to spend her days communing with nature at its fullest. To provide a strong connection to the surroundings, the architects created two simple wooden cabins – the Mauka house and the Makai house – on top of a three-hundred-year-old solidified lava flow high up in the Maui mountains. According to FLOAT architect Erin Moore, the design was inspired by a back-to-basics philosophy that puts the focus on enjoying nature, “The Outside House is a place to live outside. Two small pavilions shape the basics of daily life and structure an intentional relationship with the land.” Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home—and you can stay overnight The first cabin, the Mauka (Hawaiian for “inland toward the mountains” ) pavilion, is an enclosed cabin with a small bedroom. It’s equipped with just the basic necessities – a bed, built-in bench and small desk with chair – and it has a large sliding window that provides beautiful views of the landscape. The cabin is raised off the ground by four concrete blocks to reduce its impact on the ground. The Makai (Hawaiian for “seaward”) pavilion is an open-air deck with a small kitchen that offers stunning view out over the Pacific and the island of Kahoolawe in the distance. The wooden cladding and deck were are made from Juniper – a tree that is harvested for its protective qualities in the Pacific Northwest. An open shower is located on the backside of the kitchen, covered with a privacy panel made out of woven marine rope. Based on the wishes of the homeowner, the construction process took great lengths to protect the land. The architects built the cabins using prefabricated galvanized steel, which was carried to the building site by hand to anchor one of the cabins to the ground, while the other one was placed on concrete blocks. This reduced the impact of the project while also allowing the structures to be easily dismantled. + FLOAT Architectural Research and Design Via The Contemporist Photography by Olivier Koning

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Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

London buses swap out diesel for a coffee-based biofuel

November 22, 2017 by  
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Brits may prefer tea, but their busses will be getting a buzz from coffee. U.K. startup bio-bean , Shell, and Argent Energy have teamed up to fill London’s double-deckers with an innovative new java-based fuel. According to CNN , bio-bean has already brewed up 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) of the high-octane joe, an amount able to power one city bus for an entire year. So, how is the coffee oil manufactured? As bio-bean shares on its site, the company gathers grounds everywhere from small cafes to Starbucks-like chains to universities and even instant coffee factories. The grounds are then brought to the bio-bean plant where they are dried and coffee oil is extracted. Related: Could coffee help fight cancer? The extracted oil is then blended with other fats and oils to create a “B20” biofuel, which is further mixed with traditional mineral diesel. The new concoction offers a 10-15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions as compared to pure diesel, and prevents the release of any methane that would have occurred had the grounds been sent to a landfill. Notably, the mix does not require a specialized engine and can be used with any diesel bus, making the switch easy. Bio-bean estimates that Britain produces nearly 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds a year—enough to power a third of London’s entire transport network. At the moment, bio-bean’s plant has the capacity to recycle 50,000 tonnes of grounds a year. Company founder Arthur Kay, however, hopes to scale the project. Kay, in fact, has his sights set on the U.S. where coffee consumption is the highest of anywhere on the planet with 400 million cups downed daily. + bio-bean Via CNN Images via Pixbay and bio-bean

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London buses swap out diesel for a coffee-based biofuel

Stunning shipping container home can be yours for $125k

November 22, 2017 by  
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Architect and builder Ty Kelly wanted to disconnect from the stresses of city life in Seattle – so he built an incredible shipping container home deep in the picturesque Montana plains. The 720-square-foot home is made from plenty of reclaimed materials , and it’s currently on the market for $125,000 . The one-bedroom, one-bath home is a true example of shipping container design done right. The home design is a sophisticated blend of wood and glass. Partially clad in wooden planking on the exterior, the house has an all-glass wall that provides natural light into the interior as well as gorgeous views of the rugged Montana landscape. Further embedding the home into its stunning surroundings is the wooden flooring that extends the length of the home onto an open-air deck on the exterior. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon Although the design of the home is quite contemporary, Kelly used quite a bit of reclaimed materials in the construction. The redwood flooring and wall panels are made out of reclaimed wood, as well as the kitchen’s butcher block counters, which were made out of leftover lumber from another project. On the interior, the living space, although quite compact, is incredibly comfortable. The kitchen has a wood stove as well as the typical modern conveniences such as a dishwasher and washer and dryer. The home’s bathroom layout, however, is quite a different story. The home comes complete with an outdoor shower on the side deck that lets the homeowners truly get back to nature. Via Dwell Photos via Zillow  

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Stunning shipping container home can be yours for $125k

Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

October 19, 2017 by  
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The LEED Platinum -certified Noe Hill Smart Ecohome marries state-of-the-art green technology and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that urban dwellers dream about. The house, designed by EAG Studio , creates a healthy living environment with plenty of natural light, native plant gardens, rain catchment, solar power and a bevy of smart features to optimize power use. The house occupies a coveted site near the crest of the Collingwood hill in San Francisco . It spans three levels and comprises 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths (with 3 bedrooms ensuite on the upper floor), media room, gym, flexible use 2-room guest suite, an open main level floor plan, 4 distinct outdoor living areas and 2-car independent parking. Related: Sunset’s Green Dream Home in San Francisco The dramatic vistas open up from the main living room and dining area connected to a sunny deck and a landscaped garden. The garden features drought-tolerant , native plantings. Retractable glass doors in the kitchen open directly to the deck and enhances the experience of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. A sculptural staircase leads to the upper level and receives natural light from the skylight above. The bedrooms occupy the upper floor, with the luxurious master suite openning to its own view deck ideal for a morning cup of coffee or casual lounging. The staircase leads further up toward the roof deck with multiple dining and lounging areas perfect for entertaining guests. Related: San Francisco’s Solar “Mission: House” is a High-Tech Marvel A rainwater harvesting system captures most of the roof/surface water for landscaping irrigation. All exterior walls are insulated and optimized for energy efficiency, while a solar array provides renewable energy for the building. These systems, along with LED lighting , occupancy sensors and the use of reclaimed building materials make this building a modern and truly eco-friendly home. + Noe Hill Leed Home + EAG Studio

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Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

Hundreds of mysterious stone structures discovered near ancient volcanoes in Saudi Arabia

October 19, 2017 by  
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Professor David Kennedy of the University of Oxford just discovered hundreds of mysterious structures near ancient lava domes in Saudi Arabia. Using Google Earth , Kennedy found approximately 400 stone walls that are believed to be more than 9,000 years old. Because the structures appear similar to others found in the Middle East , they have been dubbed “gates” The mysterious gates are located in the western Harrat Khaybar region of the country. According to the Bedouin, a nomadic group of Arab people, they were the “Works of the Old Men.” While there are similarities between the newly-discovered gates and others in the country, there are notable differences, as well. For instance, the gates Kennedy discovered are larger (the longest measures more than half a kilometer, the shortest is just 13 meters) and the space between them varies. Some are “almost touching” while others are “miles apart,” reports The Independent . Kennedy told Newsweek , “It is impossible at the moment to date these gates except relatively. I have argued in the article that they are the earliest of the so-called ‘Works of the Old Men’, the stone-built structures found widely in Arabia from northern Syria to Yemen , but especially common in the lava fields.” The “Old Men” are also credited with building “kites” – stone structures archaeologists say were used to catch migratory birds . They are found on top of the gates in other areas of the Middle East, signifying possible relationship. Said the Professor of archaeology, “The works known as Kites, which are certainly animal traps, may be as old as 9,000 years before present in some cases and there is one example of a kite overlying a gate. So Gates may be up to or more than 9,000 years old, which takes one back to the Neolithic .” Related: Large organic farm in Saudi Arabia switches to solar-powered irrigation Because the gates are situated on ancient lava domes (the volcanoes remain inactive), some of the structures bear traces of lava. This could prove a sufficient method to date the mysterious phenomenon. Kennedy’s findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy . Via The Independent Images via Wiley/Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy/Douglas Kennedy , Google Earth

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Modular shed-like addition turns a 1930s bungalow into an open, light-filled home

August 25, 2017 by  
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A 1930s California Bungalow in Sydney received a modern shed-like addition that maximizes the usability of the original structure, adding plenty open-concept space and natural light. Architect Prineas designed the affordable addition as a modular structure that’s easy to build and alter for optimal flexibility, while honoring the original design of the home. The Allen Key House comprises an original 1930s bungalow and an modern, modular addition conceived as a shed-like structure. The latter emphasizes the kitchen and entertaining areas and acts as the true heart of the home. Related: A translucent room fills this beautifully renovated brick house with daylight The design team made sure that the existing bungalow is kept in its original state. They connected the original structure and the addition with a glazed link which creates two internal courtyards and introduces more natural light into the en suite and study. Related: Timber-clad Cut-away Roof House in Sydney puts a modern spin on traditional pitched roofs Built on an extremely tight budget, the rear addition relies on a grid system that forms double-height spaces through modular design. This system of modules allows simple reconfiguration of courtyards, light wells and stairs. + Architect Prineas Via Architizer Photos by Chris Warnes

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Modular shed-like addition turns a 1930s bungalow into an open, light-filled home

Teslas electric truck will have a 200-300 mile range

August 25, 2017 by  
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More details have been obtained about the Tesla semi truck, which is set to be unveiled next month. According to Reuters , the big rig will have a working range of 200 to 300 miles. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also considering developing an electric tractor trailer to accompany the vehicle. Scott Perry of Ryder, a fleet operator in Florida, told Reuters that Tesla is building “an electric big-rig known as a ‘day cab’ with no sleeper berth, capable of traveling about 200 to 300 miles with a typical payload before recharging.” It is possible Perry has seen the truck first-hand, as Elon Musk mentioned in June that he would be gathering feedback from the trucking industry. At a meeting with Tesla shareholders, Musk said “We’re getting them closely involved in the design process, so the biggest customers of the heavy duty Tesla semi are helping ensure that it is specified to their needs, so it’s not a mystery. They already know that it’s going to meet their needs, because they’ve told us what those needs are. So it’ll really just be a question of scaling volume to make as many as we can.” A conventional semi truck can travel over 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel. This means the Tesla version will have a substantially lower range. To make up for this, Elon Musk is considering developing an electric tractor trailer. Now, he and his team just need to make sure the technology is feasible. Even if Tesla’s big rig doesn’t surpass 300 miles, there is still likely to be a market for it. Approximately 30 percent of US trucking jobs are regional trips of 100 to 200 miles, according to Sandeep Kar, the chief strategy officer of Toronto -based Fleet Complete. “As long as (Musk) can break 200 miles he can claim his truck is ’long haul’ and he will be technically right,” said Kar. The fact that the vehicle will have self-driving technology is an added benefit. Read more: Solar-powered Tesla Tiny House hits the road in Australia Transportation firms are also interested in acquiring electric semi-trucks, as they are less costly to maintain than conventional vehicles. Energy from the grid is also less expensive than diesel . The main challenge is ensuring the big rig’s battery doesn’t take up precious cargo space. When Tesla was pressed for comment via email, a spokesman replied, “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation, whether true or untrue, as doing so would be silly. Silly!” Tesla isn’t the only automobile manufacturer seeking to expand into the trucking industry. Reportedly, Daimler , the largest truck manufacturer in the world, will begin production this year on an electric delivery truck. The big rig will have a driving range of 100 miles and will be able to carry a payload of 9,400 pounds, or about 1,000 pounds less than its diesel counterpart. + Tesla Via Reuters , The Verge Images via Tesla

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Teslas electric truck will have a 200-300 mile range

10 Things in Your Kitchen You Didn’t Know You Could Reuse or Recycle

August 8, 2017 by  
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You’re most likely familiar with how to recycle lots of basics in your kitchen: plastic bottles, glass jars, aluminum cans and the like. Go beyond the norm, take a look and find out how to make your kitchen greener with this list of recyclables…

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10 Things in Your Kitchen You Didn’t Know You Could Reuse or Recycle

Centuries-old apartment in Israel transformed into a remarkable modern "cave"

July 24, 2017 by  
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This ancient apartment in Israel was skillfully renovated to unify its cavernous, centuries-old rooms into a modern residence that offers stunning views of the sea. Pitsou Kedem Architects concealed some parts of the traditional arches while uncovering others to create an elegant combination of the old and the new. The rooms of the apartment, located in Tel Aviv-Yafo – an ancient port city in Israel– have been altered over hundreds of years, giving each room its own unique character. The architects approached the refurbishment of the entire space as an opportunity to bring more natural light into the interior and open it up toward the sea. Related: Decrepit cave transformed into a beautiful modern home in China The integrated interior spaces are sheltered underneath beautiful arches . Some of the decorations added over the years have been covered in plaster, while the dome in the kitchen was uncovered. The team introduced a new raw concrete floor with accentuated filing stones to the floor level. Black sheet covering emphasize the openings connecting the rooms. These dark elements also hide new technical systems in the walls. + Pitsou Kedem Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Amit Geron

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Centuries-old apartment in Israel transformed into a remarkable modern "cave"

Estrade Residence adapts to rocky hillside with locally-harvested materials

January 30, 2017 by  
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The gorgeous Estrade Residence adapts to the rocky, steep topography of a lake shore in Quebec , and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. Canadian design studio MU Architecture design the house using natural and locally sourced materials and created a multitude of spaces and terraces that embrace the site. The main idea was to highlight the peculiarities of the site and integrate nature into the design of the house. This resulted in a staggered structure that includes several terraces that establish a strong dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Thick walls made from rocks extracted during excavation create a spine of the project that extends outwards, protect the apartments on the ground floor, and help establish a direct connection between the interior and exterior spaces. Related: Modern meets rustic in the Hemmingford House built from natural materials The different volumes are gradually revealed as visitors climb an aerial and magisterial staircase which connects all levels of the house. Open spaces dominate the ground floor bathed in natural light, with a double-sided fireplace located in the center of the common room adding warmth to the place. This area extends the kitchen to the outside via a veranda which stretches perpendicularly to the natural ridge. Natural cedar cladding of the upper volumes complements the stone walls and gives the residence both a rustic and modern feel. + MU Architecture Via v2com Photos by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard (YUL Photo)

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