Earth911 Inspiration: Living by Sufficiency Rather Than Excess

June 26, 2020 by  
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Today’s quote is from Yvon Chouinard, rock climber, environmentalist, and … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Living by Sufficiency Rather Than Excess appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Living by Sufficiency Rather Than Excess

Tiny minimalist cabin in the Pyrenees uses natural materials

May 21, 2020 by  
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Although known as one of the most idyllic areas in Spain, the Catalan Pyrenees are also known for their rugged landscapes and harsh winter climate, both of which make construction very challenging. Barcelona-based firm  Agora Arquitectura  recently took on this challenge by building the Weekend Shelter — a tiny, minimalist cabin constructed out of carefully-selected natural materials that make the structure extremely  resilient. At just 430 square feet, the Weekend Shelter was designed to be a part-time refuge set in the remote area of Isòvol, Spain .  The region is known for its breathtaking landscapes and extremely harsh winters, which are marked by heavy snow and rain. Accordingly, the  shelter’s construction  is a complex combination made out of resilient and sustainable natural materials that can withstand the test of time. Related: These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours The structure was  prefabricated off-site  to save on construction costs and minimize environmental impact. Once the prefab pieces were delivered on-site, the cabin was assembled quickly. The first step was to elevate the structure off the landscape to protect it and add a flexible option to move the shelter in the future if necessary. The shelter design consists of three thermal layers. First, the frame of the structure is made out of concrete blocks to help create a strong barrier from snow and moisture. Then, a shell of oriented strand board was used to cover the main frame. To add an extra layer of resilience, the exterior was then clad in panels of expanded  corks  and topped with a rubber membrane, again creating an impermeable shell. Three large sliding glass doors lead to the interior, which is flooded with natural light. The interior walls, ceilings and flooring are all covered in  sustainably-sourced  plywood panels, which, according to the architects, help provide great thermal and acoustic protection to the living space. Throughout the structure, the cabin counts on several  passive strategies  to reduce its energy use. Being oriented towards the south ensures that the interior is illuminated by natural light. The glass doors are double-paned to limit heat loss during winter. Additionally, wrapping around the front walkway is a simple system of roll-up shutters that allow the residents to fully control the amount of shade and sun that enters the living space. + Agora Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Joan Casals Pañella

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Tiny minimalist cabin in the Pyrenees uses natural materials

Crowds fill national park for Yellowstone reopening

May 21, 2020 by  
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As some of the biggest national parks start to reopen, visitors reassure themselves that it is safe to be outdoors. But unfortunately in places like the ever-popular Yellowstone National Park, everybody is crowding in to see Old Faithful. On May 18, cars with license plates from all over the country filled Yellowstone’s parking lots and hardly a mask was in sight as people crowded together to watch the park’s famous geysers. Locals worry this could spread the virus to their communities. For now, only Yellowstone’s Wyoming gates are open. The Montana entrances remain closed. Tour buses, overnight camping and park lodging aren’t allowed. The park’s official stance is to encourage the use of masks in high-density areas. Related: Best practices for outdoor exercise during COVID-19 “We checked the webcam at Old Faithful at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday,” Kristin Brengel, senior vice-president of government affairs at the National Parks Conservation Association, told The Guardian . “Not much physical distancing happening and not a single mask in sight.” Cars from all over began lining up at 5:30 a.m. for Yellowstone’s noon reopening. Local Mark Segal said his was the only car he saw from Teton County. He worried about out-of-state visitors spreading the coronavirus to the local community. “What if everyone that leaves here goes and gets a bite in Jackson?” he asked. “This is exactly what we’re afraid of.” Montana and Wyoming have had fewer COVID-19 cases than surrounding states. Locals are divided on the issue, with some local business owners pressing the park to reopen and bring much needed tourism dollars, while others are more concerned about public health. Melissa Alder, co-owner of a coffee and outdoor store called Freeheel and Wheel in West Yellowstone, told NPR she’s feeling nervous. “We are fearful of the congregation of people that will come, and I don’t think we’re ready,” Alder said. “I mean, we don’t have a hospital. We don’t have a bed. We don’t even have a doctor full-time here in West Yellowstone.” Via The Guardian and NPR Image via NPS / Jacob W. Frank

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Crowds fill national park for Yellowstone reopening

Portland welcomes first Living Building Challenge project

May 8, 2020 by  
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Pacific Northwest architecture firm  Mahlum  has made history with the certification of its new architecture studio as Portland’s first Living Building Challenge ( LBC ) project. As an LBC-certified workspace, Mahlum’s new studio meets rigorous sustainability targets including net-zero embodied carbon emissions and the diversion of almost all construction waste from the landfill. The project is the 48th LBC-certified project in the United States and 57th in the world.  Located in a renovated 1930s structure that once served as a Custom Stamping facility, Mahlum’s newly minted 7,500-square-foot  office  in Portland meets the LBC guidelines for the Materials Petal, the Place, Equity and Beauty Petals, and the Health & Happiness Petal. As a result, workplace health and wellness have been emphasized alongside environmentally friendly design and construction. All products used were screened to comply with VOC emission restrictions.  Local materials and labor were also key to the office’s design. Nearly all of the wood used was sourced from the state of Oregon and 100% of all the wood is either  FSC-certified  or salvaged. Working with partners such as Sustainable Northwest Wood and Salvage Works, the architects also used over a dozen unique salvaged products, including Douglas fir wood reclaimed from the nearby National Historic site of Fort Vancouver. Moreover, local artist Paige Wright was commissioned to create nature-inspired ceramic vessels used as planters in the office. Materials have also been vetted to ensure compliance with the Red List, which screens for “worst-in-class” chemicals and environmentally harmful materials. Related: Glumac’s pioneering net-zero Shanghai office paves the way to greener buildings in China Mahlum will receive recognition for their LBC certification at the Living Future Conference, which will be digitally hosted in May 2020. The firm also plans to participate in Design Week Portland , currently expected to take place at the beginning of August, to welcome visitors as part of an Open House event.  + Mahlum Images by Lincoln Barbour

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Portland welcomes first Living Building Challenge project

Earth911 Podcast: Isolation & Earth Day — Living Sustainably During COVID-19

April 13, 2020 by  
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The Earth911 team gathers, again, from the far corners of … The post Earth911 Podcast: Isolation & Earth Day — Living Sustainably During COVID-19 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast: Isolation & Earth Day — Living Sustainably During COVID-19

A business model canvas for the 21st century

March 30, 2020 by  
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Traditional strategy constructs don’t capture the interconnectedness and complexities of the living ecosystems that companies are inherently entangled in today. Here are suggestions for an update.

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A business model canvas for the 21st century

Kendeda, a net-positive Living Building, opens at Georgia Tech

February 10, 2020 by  
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After a visit to the Bullitt Center in Seattle, Diana Blank was inspired to fund a similar project in Georgia. Taking action, she founded the Kendeda Fund and funded it with $30 million to donate toward the cause. Georgia Tech is the recipient of Blank’s vision with a project by Lord Aeck Sargent and The Miller Hull Partnership that resulted in a Living Building . The net-positive Kendeda Building opened for classes in January 2020 and provides a place for learning and a template for innovative, sustainable design. The construction and design were influenced by the Living Building Challenge, “a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal for the built environment.” Receiving this certification means meeting a host of requirements on everything from material selection to accessibility, and the Kendeda building checks all of the boxes. Related: Net-zero Del Mar Civic Center celebrates community and the great outdoors One example is The Red List, which is a compilation of chemicals common in mainstream construction. In order to avoid these chemicals, every building material was scrutinized to ensure it didn’t contain Red List items. John DuConge, the senior project manager, admitted, “Getting through the Red List compliance, that was truly a challenge, and that probably took a lot more time than anyone expected. But we’ve moved the needle in the market, I think, and that’s one of the things that will make it easier for the next Living Building Challenge project.” This added effort creates an atmosphere without off-gassing or other toxins, resulting in clean indoor air for the hundreds of students and staff using the building daily. Every system in the building stands as an example of the focus on function, internal health, aesthetic beauty and energy savings. This is quickly apparent in the fact that the project is net-positive for energy and water, meaning that it gives back more than it takes. The Kendeda Building incorporated the use of solar panels as a basic step in providing energy to the 47,000-square-foot building. They do the job, plus some, with extra energy to return to the grid. Additionally, these solar panels function as water collection devices. The primary heating and cooling systems then push that water through the floors to maintain a comfortable surface temperature. For additional temperature control, 62 ceiling fans throughout the building help balance the humid Georgia environment. Now complete, the structure consists of two 64-person classrooms , four class labs, a conference room, makerspace, auditorium, rooftop apiary and pollinator garden, an office space for co-located programs and a coffee cart. The Kendeda Building will be audited for certification for the first Living Building Challenge facility of its size and function in the Southeast, following one complete year of functional occupancy. + Georgia Tech Photography by Johnathan Hillyer, Justin Chan Photography, Miller Hull Partnership and Vertical River via Georgia Tech

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Kendeda, a net-positive Living Building, opens at Georgia Tech

Tiny prefab cabins in Brazilian forest assembled in under two days

February 5, 2020 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm  Porto Quadrado  has revealed a serene refuge composed of three prefab cabins tucked into the wilderness of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul. The Alpes São Chico Housing Complex is comprised of three tiny cabins, all made out of  structural insulated panels (SIP), which were assembled on-site in less than two days. The result is a low impact refuge that lets its homeowners reconnect with nature. According to the architects, they were first approached by a family who was looking to create a single building that would be shared by three families. Once they began to explore the incredibly remote location, however, the plan blossomed into another concept completely. Instead of one large structure with various bedrooms, the remote landscape inspired the designers to create three separate  tiny cabins  that would be oriented to make the most out of the incredible setting. Related: Tiny prefab timber cabin in New Zealand designed to be serene art studio To bring their concept to fruition economically and sustainably, the architects decided to use prefabricated materials. All of the project’s 48  prefabricated (SIP) panels were constructed off-site and brought to the building site to be assembled. Using the prefab model, the team was able to put together three, roughly 376-square-foot cubes all in less than two days. This process allowed the designers to not only reduce time and costs, but also reduce the impact of the entire project. The resulting complex, known as the Alpes São Chico Housing Complex, is comprised of three cubed SIP structures clad in a waterproof metal membrane. Metal was chosen to add extra durability and  resilience  to the cabins. It also helps to insulate the interior spaces, keeping the living spaces warm and cozy during cold or rainy weather. The cabins have all of the basics of a conventional house, but with an extremely strong  connection to the outdoors . The orientation of the modules’ layout was centered around creating a mixed indoor/outdoor space for each cabin that would create a seamless connection between the interior and the exterior. Comprised of a minimalist layout with sparse furnishings, the interior houses a small bed and sofa, as well as a kitchenette and bathroom. At the heart of the tiny cabins,  however, is a small living room that opens up to a large open-air deck that becomes an integral part of the living area. + Porto Quadrado Via Archdaily Photography by Alessandro Quevedo

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Tiny prefab cabins in Brazilian forest assembled in under two days

KUKU birdhouses combine sustainability and wildlife protection

February 5, 2020 by  
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Birds play an important role in the environment. They are responsible for dispersing seeds, pollination  and pest control. However, urban growth contributes to driving them out of their homes. The KUKU birdhouse offers a solution to the problem in a cute, functional and sustainable design. Designed by Marco Antonio Barba Sánchez , KUKU was created to provide a place for birds  to feel protected and to reproduce. The inspiration comes from the realization that bird populations are dropping in many areas around the world.  Related: These tiny and adorable vintage campers are made for birds “Of 10,000 species of birds in the world, 1,200 are in danger of extinction and 93% are due to the growth of cities and agriculture. We are killing them!!” Marco Barba Industrial Design said in a tweet (quote translated from Spanish). A large part of the issue stems from agricultural practices and the development of cities, but birds have natural enemies like all other animals . The KUKU provides a home where the birds may not have been able to build one naturally. It’s a place where they can take refuge from predators and larger pest birds.  Since the motivation for KUKU stemmed from a  love of nature , it is made with sustainable materials. The shape is geometric, which is meant to be an abstract version of the sun, an element that is vital to birds. Also, the shape allows protection from predators and plenty of room for the winged creatures to feel at home. So while it may not be able to solve the problems of clear-cutting trees , over-development or plastic consumption, KUKU can provide housing for a critical species on the planet. KUKU is nearly ready to hit the market. You can sign up in advance on the KUKU website and receive a notification when it becomes available. Marco Barba Design is a Mexican company focused on sustainable industrial design with a host of design awards under their belt. + KUKU Via Design Milk Images via Marco Barba Design

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KUKU birdhouses combine sustainability and wildlife protection

Sophisticated, sustainable lakeside cabin showcases the best of Nordic minimalism

February 5, 2020 by  
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With its black-oiled timber cladding, angular zinc roofs and minimalist interior , the 3-Square House by Helsinki-based Studio Puisto is the epitome of Nordic design. Located on the waterfront and surrounded by a dense spruce forest, the home’s walls are punctuated with large vertical windows to create a seamless connection between the interior and the stunning natural surroundings. Located on the waterfront of Lake Saimaa in southeastern Finland, the 3-Square House is surrounded by idyllic nature. Tucked into a lush spruce tree forest mere steps away from the water, the home’s location serves as a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. Related: Lakeside cabin made out of reclaimed wood is as idyllic as it gets To make the most out of its incredible setting, the home is comprised of three interconnecting cubes. The main block contains the living, sleeping and dining areas, while the smaller ones contain the sauna, utility facilities and garage. All three of the cubes feature an oil-painted black timber facade and are covered in a series of dark zinc roofs that extend in various angles. Built on a slightly sloped hill, the front of the home is elevated slightly from the back of it. The interior living space follows a minimalist design , with dark wood flooring and honey-toned walnut paneling on the walls. Built-in sofas and a concealed kitchen add to the minimal atmosphere. Within the living areas, there is a continuous flow from one space to the next, with no traditional division into separate rooms. To keep the spaces nice and toasty year-round, a geothermal heat system was installed that lets heat radiate from underneath the floor. The windows are also electrically heated. To create an unobstructed connection between the outdoors and the interior spaces, large vertical glass panels run the length of the main building. Wrapping around one side of the home is an open-air deck, complete with a sunken tub for enjoying a little bit of stargazing. Various walking paths lead from the deck to the waterfront. + Studio Puisto Photography by Marc Goodwin via Studio Puisto

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Sophisticated, sustainable lakeside cabin showcases the best of Nordic minimalism

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