The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

January 15, 2020 by  
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Architecture is often heavily influenced by the existing landscape surrounding a structure, but architect Dan Brunn didn’t let the weaving waterways on his Los Angeles property limit the options for his home. Dubbed the Bridge House, this 4,500-square-foot home straddles 65 feet of natural stream without harming the landscape. The long, narrow home nestles into the forested background with limited street exposure. The focus on nature is evident with natural light streaming in from expansive windows throughout, a living wall in the living room and an outdoor terrace. In fact, the 210-foot-long home provides a wide expanse of northern exposure for more natural light and less energy consumption. Related: The Garden House features greenery and bee-friendly landscapes While the overall theme is sleek and minimalist, the pool area — complete with a full pool house, an outdoor shower, space for grilling and a Yamaha music room — aims to create an oasis for entertaining. But don’t let the luxuries and size fool you. In addition to the layout and physical situation of the home, each space was designed with low impact in mind. Starting with the foundation, the bridge design suspends a large portion of the structure, minimizing the impact on the landscape. For the structure itself, a BONE steel modular system was incorporated to ease on-site construction with sustainable materials. Plus, the system’s precision leaves little to no cutoff waste, and the steel itself comes from up to 89% recycled material . Although there was waste from the removal of the previous home, all usable parts were donated to the local Habitat for Humanity for reuse. The air quality inside the home is enhanced by the living wall of plants and superior insulation. A water filtration system eliminates the desire for bottled water, and solar power provides for much of the home’s energy needs. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Brandon Shigeta via Dann Brunn Architecture

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The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

Upcycled materials make up this beautiful cabin retreat in Denmark

December 19, 2019 by  
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Located an hour outside of Copenhagen, this beautiful vacation home is tucked into a lush forest mere steps away from a beach. Designed by Nordhavn-based Lendager Group , the Holiday Cabin consists of five connected structures, all of which are constructed from upcycled waste materials found from demolition sites and local factories. According to the architects, the five connected volumes were built with circular principles in mind out of respect for the pristine nature that surrounds them. As they designed the holiday rental, the designers searched locally to find discarded building materials. They found a great source of waste wood at a local flooring company, and several demolition sites allowed them to salvage old bricks to repurpose for the retreat. Related: These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials The cabin exterior, structural frame and exposed rafters are made from the waste wood. To prepare it for its new life in the cabin, the wood was treated in the Japanese traditional preservation of shou sugi ban . Not only does the 700-year-old practice add durability and resilience to the exterior, but dark cladding blends the home into the lush forest that surrounds the property. In addition to the cabin’s reclaimed materials , the living spaces offer guests a gorgeous respite away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Each section of the holiday home offers uninterrupted sea views from the living areas and the outdoor terrace. The entire structure is 1,700 square feet with five bedrooms, three living rooms and three bathrooms. The main living area is arranged in an open plan that it shares with a fully equipped kitchen and dining space. This living area also features several sofas and chairs positioned around a central fireplace. Floor-to-ceiling glazing and skylights allow natural light to filter throughout the interior. + Lendager Group Via ArchDaily Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj – Coast via Lendager Group

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Upcycled materials make up this beautiful cabin retreat in Denmark

Living Vehicle’s 2020 travel trailer generates a whopping 200 percent more solar power than its previous model

October 24, 2019 by  
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A few years ago, we estimated that HofArc’s Living Vehicle would be the future of off-grid living, and now the company has unveiled a new-and-improved model that ups the game when it comes to off-grid, net-zero travel trailers . Adding to its luxurious, eco-friendly features, the Living Vehicle 2020 version generates up to 200 percent more solar power than its previous model. Designed by award-winning, LEED-accredited architect and mobile space designer Matthew Hofmann, the Living Vehicle models offer the full package when it comes to sustainable travel trailers. According to the company’s description of the 2020 model, it has several updated features, but like the previous models, it is strategically engineered to be the highest-end luxury trailer on the market. Related: This Living Vehicle can take you completely off grid for a month The stunning tiny home on wheels comes in the same glossy aluminum cladding, giving it a sleek, modern feel. In fact, the trailer was made with zero wood products, with most of its parts, including the chassis, frame, interior and exterior skin, subflooring and all cabinets, being made out of aluminum. For adventurers seeking to go off the grid for long periods of time, the 28-foot long Living Vehicle offers the ability to do just that. Built with a stand-alone electrical powerhouse with solar-generated Volta Power Systems, the 2020 version generates an impressive 200 percent more solar power than its previous model. Even the refrigerator, dishwasher and pull-out microwave in the kitchen operate on solar power . Additionally, its robust design enables the travel trailer to take on virtually any landscape, from the barren desert landscapes to icy, mountainous regions. Four-season capabilities, off-road running gear and ample storage for equipment allows for an infinite amount of rugged adventures. If all of that durability and unprecedented sustainability isn’t enough, the luxurious interior design is truly out of this world. Much like its modern exterior, the interior also boasts a contemporary edge. The interior features furnishings made out of natural and extremely durable materials that are free from solvents, chemicals and VOCs. The living space was designed to accommodate four people, although it can be increased to six upon request. As an extra bonus, the 2020 model even comes with the ability to extend the living area thanks to a fully integrated, self-supporting deck that offers open-air space. Living Vehicles are so popular that the previous model sold out incredibly fast. Unfortunately, the company has said that it will only be producing 25 of the 2020 models, which start at $199,995. + Living Vehicle Images via Living Vehicle

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Living Vehicle’s 2020 travel trailer generates a whopping 200 percent more solar power than its previous model

Unfavorable times for the electric scooter industry

October 24, 2019 by  
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Once billed as an environmentally-friendly and enterprising venture, the electric scooter-sharing micromobility business has not lived up to the promising hype but is now looking dismal. Could this be the end for e-scooters? By commuting via e-scooters, it was hoped they would reduce traffic volume, promote zero-carbon transport and improve air quality by mitigating pollution . Instead, there have even been numerous complaints regarding cluttered sidewalks and claims about the injuries they cause due to irresponsible riders. Not to mention, they have an average lifespan of less than a month per e-scooter together, with an average of three and a half rides per day, their cost-effectiveness and sustainability are coming into question. Related:  We love electric scooters — but is the Bird trend actually bad for the environment? However, e-scooter economics have been grabbing headlines, especially since the two major players, Bird and Lime, are projected to financially lose big time. Lime, for instance, is experiencing a troubling downturn to the tune of $300 million in operational costs because of “depreciation of its e-scooters and how much it costs to run warehouses that repair and position the vehicles,” according to The Information . Similarly, its competitor, Bird, has likewise lost approximately $100 million in the first quarter of this year while revenues shrank to just $15 million. Consequently, Bird is trying to drum up more investment capital just to stay afloat, thus hinting at the startup’s overvaluation. Perhaps even more worrisome is the perspective that these e-scooters, despite being electric, are in fact environmentally unfriendly. Repeatedly manufacturing, purchasing, transporting, repairing and replacing a continuous array of e-scooters with short lifespans do not collectively translate to a reduced carbon footprint .  As for those e-scooters that find themselves inoperable and beyond repair from vandalism or theft, their parts are not likely to be recycled but improperly disposed of. Finally, the lithium-ion batteries that power these e-scooters have associated environmental risks, thereby raising concerns about just how eco-friendly they are after all. Interestingly, e-scooters have now entered the radar of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). “This is a new item coming into scrapyards. ISRI is working to educate its members about e-scooters and advises them to be on the lookout for these devices,” says Mark Carpenter, ISRI assistant vice president of communications and marketing. “Facilities need to be aware the scooters contain batteries that can pose a safety hazard, and those must be removed before handling.” The environmental hazards that e-scooters pose, coupled with their poor economic feasibility, have understandably sparked skepticism. It remains to be seen whether the labor and cost intensive e-scooter business model will prove to be anything but wasteful in their net sustainability. Via Gizmodo and The Information Image via Lime

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Unfavorable times for the electric scooter industry

How the Urban Freight Lab seeks to fix the last 50 feet of shipping

October 15, 2019 by  
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Packed with automotive and logistics giants, the living lab out of Seattle aspires to test solutions to “the transportation challenge of our time.”

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How the Urban Freight Lab seeks to fix the last 50 feet of shipping

How the Urban Freight Lab seeks to fix the last 50 feet of shipping

October 15, 2019 by  
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Packed with automotive and logistics giants, the living lab out of Seattle aspires to test solutions to “the transportation challenge of our time.”

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How the Urban Freight Lab seeks to fix the last 50 feet of shipping

Breezy home design for artist couple boasts a green roof of succulents

August 30, 2019 by  
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When Seattle-based firm Heliotrope Architects were approached by a couple to create a home that would reflect their passion for art, the architects immediately envisioned a vibrant space that incorporated several features such as natural light to give the space an art-gallery feel. The resulting Artist Residence is a beautifully contemporary, light-filled design that not only features wide open spaces to showcase the couple’s art collection, but also has a strong connection to the outdoors through its multiple gardens, including an expansive green roof . Clad in stained cedar siding , the home’s exterior was carefully designed to fit into the general aesthetic of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. A gabled roof and nice front garden give the home a classic feel— which quickly disappears when entering the home. Related: Tiny prefab timber cabin in New Zealand designed to be serene art studio The interior of the 3,953 square foot residence is bright and airy, with loads of natural light flooding into virtually every corner. Stark white walls and polished concrete flooring give the space its modern feel while the interior design, made up of contemporary furniture with vibrant splashes of color, add a bit of whimsy to the living space. To create a strong connection with the outdoors, the home design was laid out in a checker-board pattern, alternating between interior and exterior spaces. From the entrance, the main living areas, living room, kitchen and dining spaces, stretch out to the rear patio courtyard. Large custom-made windows were installed high up so that the residents could observe their surroundings, but still maintain their privacy. Adjacent to the living space is the art studio , which features a double-height cathedral ceiling. To designate the area as a working space for the couple, the studio was sunk half a level down from the living room. The private spaces are located on the upper floor. The master suite features a large spa–like bathroom with a Japanese soaking tub. From the suite, large windows frame the views of the Japanese garden out back, which is irrigated thanks to a rainwater runoff system built into the roof. Green space was another important feature of the home design. In addition to the front and rear gardens, the home has a flat rooftop garden planted with succulents. + Heliotrope Architects Photography by Benjamin Benschneider

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Breezy home design for artist couple boasts a green roof of succulents

Reward offered to identify Mojave burro killer

August 30, 2019 by  
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A total of 42 wild burros from the Clark Mountain Herd Area in the Mojave Desert in California have been found shot to death since May in what officials declare as one of the largest killings of its kind on land overlooked by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Currently, BLM and animal rights groups have pooled their funds to offer nearly $60,000 in reward money to find the guilty party. “The cruelty involved in shooting these burros and leaving them to die warrants prosecution to the fullest extent of the law,” BLM’s Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley said in a statement Wednesday . “We thank the animal welfare groups for adding their voices to those organizations who value these iconic symbols of the West.” Related: Trail use by outdoor enthusiasts is driving out an elk herd in Colorado BLM spokesperson Sarah Webster told the Washington Post that many of the slain burros appear to have been shot from a distance with a rifle aimed at their necks. Victims include both adult burros and foals who were innocently drinking from a water hole when the killer struck. The Platero Project— a collaboration between the BLM and the Humane Society of the US (HSUS)— has offered $32,500 in reward money. Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom and The Cloud Foundation have also contributed to the fund, plus additional donations by both BLM and HSUS independent of Platero. Originally from North Africa, burros were first introduced to North America by the Spanish but wound up wild when they wandered off, were set free by dejected miners or survived their prospector owners. After finding a home in the desert land of Southern California, the wild burro populations grew exponentially, doubling every four to five years. By the 1950s the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals intervened due to excessive killings and called upon the government to enact proper legislation for their protection. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act has protected them against animal cruelty and animal abuse since 1971, charging anyone caught harming, capturing or killing a burro with fines up to $2,000 or a year in prison. If apprehended, the offender responsible for the 42 burro deaths can face up to 42 years in prison. Via Ecowatch Image via BLM

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Reward offered to identify Mojave burro killer

Iceland will unveil monument for the first glacier lost to climate change

July 24, 2019 by  
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Scientists and local Icelanders will unveil a monument next month that memorializes the first glacier out of the country’s 400 glaciers to be lost to climate change. The Okjokull glacier, nicknamed “Ok”, no longer qualifies as a glacier, given that it is melting at a faster rate than it can expand. When this happens, glaciers become known as “dead ice”. Scientists in Iceland and Texas’ Rice University believe that this will be the fate of all Icelandic glaciers by year 2200— unless the world takes drastic action to curb climate change . “By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire. These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance,” said Cymene Howe, a professor at Rice University. Related:Earliest human air pollution detected in glaciers The unveiling celebration will be held on August 18 and attended by scientists, locals, media and Hiking Society members. Just 100 years ago, the glacier covered nearly six square miles and was over 150 feet thick. The plaque, located at a site where the glacier once covered, will read: “Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” The plaque is in both Icelandic and English. The plaque also monumentalizes the current count of carbon parts per million in the atmosphere, which reaches a record breaking 415 parts per million in May. “An Icelandic colleague said: ‘Memorials are not for the dead; they are for the living,’” Howe said. “We want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change. For Ok glacier it is already too late.” The Guardian Image via RICE University

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Iceland will unveil monument for the first glacier lost to climate change

Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

June 12, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than dark cabins embedded into lush evergreen forests, and this tiny structure is no exception. The Black Villa in the Forest, designed by Russian architectural firm Archslon, has a certain air of mystery to it that is enhanced by its off-grid location just outside of bustling Moscow. The tiny cabin is a low-lying rectangular volume comprised of two blocks with an inner courtyard separating the two spaces. The entrance is through a small open area, which runs from the front of the house to the back. Related: Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zürich The front of the cabin is an elongated, open-air deck, or what the architects call a “bypass gallery,” that runs the length of one of the main blocks. The space is lined with a series of thin columns, giving a touch of modernity to the structure. The compact square footage and height was a strategic decision made to conserve as many existing trees as possible during construction. Clad in jet-black timber, the home was also designed to blend into its natural surroundings. The main living area is illumined by natural light thanks to a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Along with providing panoramic views of the picturesque scenery, the glazed wall creates a strong, continual connection to the home’s forestscape surroundings. The two blocks separate the home into two living spaces: public and private. On one side of the cabin is the living room and open kitchen. On the other end is the master bedroom that is connected with another small room that can be used as a small office or library. Like the living space, the master bedroom has fully glazed walls, further integrating the surrounding nature into the cabin’s interior. + Archslon Via Archdaily Images via Archslon

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Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

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