Charming hobbit home in Slovenian ‘Shire’ is built of local, natural materials

January 23, 2020 by  
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While it may not be located in the Shire, this hobbit home in Slovenia is just as magical as a Middle Earth abode. Located in an ancient Chalcolithic settlement that dates back more than 5,000 years, the quaint hobbit home was reconstructed using the building principles of the era, including natural materials such as wood, loam, straw and a lush layer of native grass that completely covers the handmade structure. Years ago, archaeologists discovered the ruins of a settlement from the Chalcolithic era in the village of Razkrižje, just a few kilometers from the Slovene-Croatian border. Over time, the local government has reconstructed the settlement, complete with homes made out of wood, clay and additional materials found in nature. Related: Spend the night in this magical Hobbit House tucked into the Washington shire Inspired by the project, one local, Mirko Žižek, decided to build a structure using the same ancient techniques. The result is a charming hobbit home , embedded into the landscape and cloaked in greenery. At the onset of the project, Žižek had strong ideas on the building’s volume and shape. “I wanted the house to be legal and structurally stable, so I have enlisted the help of an architect,” Žižek said. “He resisted my idea of a dome-shaped house for quite a few months, but I was stubborn. Finally, he had to give in.” Because the curves couldn’t be achieved using timber, the architect opted for a steel frame, which was then filled in with a mixture of clay, sand and straw. Although the team primarily relied on natural materials, there are some modern touches as well, including the layer of hydro-insulation that was added to the walls. Once the home’s clay envelope was dry and considered sturdy enough, an exterior layer of packed soil, approximately 10 to 15 centimeters thick, was applied to the building. This layer enabled the planting of a lush green roof that rolls over the entire structure. A natural rock pathway with a log edging leads up to the house. The entrance is unique in that it is made of an arched wooden door surrounded by repurposed glass jars stacked sideways, allowing natural light to stream into the front parlor. The interior walls are plastered with clay and kept in a natural tone. Curved throughout, the dwelling is comprised of a small living area, a kitchen and dining space and a large en suite bedroom, with the bathroom located behind a privacy wall. Mirrored tube lamps in the curved ceiling allow natural light to filter into the living area. Throughout the space, wooden touches, such as shelving, doors and the king-sized bed, were custom-built by Žižek. Right now, the hobbit house is used as a guest accommodation, but Žižek and his wife have plans to move into the beautiful space once they retire. + Ambienti Photography by Arhiv Lastnika

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Charming hobbit home in Slovenian ‘Shire’ is built of local, natural materials

Australian Bushfires: How Might Smoke Haze Affect You?

January 20, 2020 by  
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The bushfires in Australia are having devastating impact on local … The post Australian Bushfires: How Might Smoke Haze Affect You? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Australian Bushfires: How Might Smoke Haze Affect You?

Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

January 16, 2020 by  
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Romanian architecture firm BLIPSZ has created a near-autonomous holiday home that combines the charms of rural Transylvanian architecture with a sustainable and contemporary design aesthetic. Surrounded by gently rolling hills and valley views, the Lodge in a Glade comprises two barn-inspired structures with green-roofed surfaces that appear to emerge from the earth. South-facing solar panels generate about 90% of the building’s energy needs, which are kept to a minimum thanks to its passive solar design and underfloor heating powered by a geothermal heat pump. Located in a Transylvanian mountain village, Lodge in a Glade is a luxurious retreat that seeks to embrace its surroundings while minimizing its visual impact on the landscape. To that end, the architects used mostly natural building materials, including locally molded clay bricks and mineral gabion wall cladding, as well as gabled roof profiles that recall the region’s rural vernacular. The expansive size of the four-bedroom home is partly hidden by its horizontal massing and the local grasses that cover the non-pitched roof sections.  The green roofs provide insulating benefits that are reinforced by cellulose, wood fiber, and compacted straw bale insulation. Triple-glazed windows frame views of the outdoors while locking in heat. The thermal mass of the timber house also benefits from the clay brick wall fillings and thick polished concrete floors throughout. Thirty-three solar panels generate the majority of the home’s energy needs and are complemented by a safety back-up electrical grid connection for very cold and cloudy days. Rainwater is collected and reused for automated irrigation.  Related: Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare “The challenge of the project was experimenting with a multitude of alternative techniques and materials to seamlessly integrate traditional and high-tech elements demanded by the clients along with the sustainable , green solutions,” the architects said in a statement. “The required interior area is quite impressive, especially compared to the modest, traditional local households nearby. Shapes and materials were chosen to blend the expansive building in the special scenery.” + BLIPSZ Via ArchDaily Images by Makkai Bence

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Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

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

How to have a sustainable NYE party

December 30, 2019 by  
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With a New Year to ring in, what better time to begin your sustainable efforts for 2020 than during an eco-conscious NYE party? Here are some of Inhabitat’s recommendations for how to enjoy the festivities in green ways. Vegan treats For Earth-friendly food fare, offer fruits and vegetables as your smorgasbord. Source fruits and vegetables from your local farmer, farmers’ market or farm cooperative, or choose organic at the grocery store. For those guests who prefer a charcuterie board, choose vegan cheeses, and you can even find vegan jerky from FOREAL Foods Coconut Jerky , Pan’s Mushroom Jerky , Primal Spirit Foods Meatless Jerky , Unisoy Wholesome Wonders Jerky and Watermelon Road Jerky . Related: 6 sustainably crafted cocktails for New Year’s Eve Low- or zero-waste celebration Go digital by opting for email invites rather than paper invitations. Rather than excessively decorating for the party, opt for simplicity. Also, when decorating, avoid glitter or synthetic confetti, beads and especially anything sparkly, for those excesses can wind their way into the ocean or the environment to disrupt wildlife and their habitats. Try LED tea lights or soy candles to add more eco-conscious ambiance to your soiree without worrying too much about energy waste . If your celebration is being held outdoors, there are solar-powered lights, including fairy lights and garden lights, to set the scene for a celebration. Plastic-free party planning Rather than turning to unnecessary plastic decorations and party goods, choose sustainably sourced and biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, canvas, cloth, recycled paper or wood. Plastic-free decorations can be purchased at Bio & Chic , Botanical Paperworks and Eco Party Time . Paper lanterns and glass cloches are greener than balloons, too. Organic cotton, bamboo fiber and other sustainable fabrics are lovely for any New Year’s Eve gathering. Use these fabrics to make bunting and banners. Even the photo booth can be decorated with fabric to supplement and enhance makeshift structures devised from cardboard boxes. Make sure to raid your local thrift store for secondhand or vintage costumes. There are always wooden pipes, wool scarves, top hats, cloth togas and other unusual apparel to entertain your guests as they pose for pictures at the photo booth. Biodegradable or reusable serving utensils Dinnerware can be eco-friendly, thanks to palm leaf, banana leaf, bamboo , sugarcane and paper products that are both recyclable and compostable. Some of these can be purchased through online stores like the Eco Products store, Susty Party and TreeChoice . Choose real glasses over plastic cups. Not only is glassware eco-friendly, but it will certainly make your party guests feel classy and chic. If you don’t have quite enough glassware to cover your guest list, you can find more at your local thrift store. Horns, shakers and noisemakers No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without noisemakers. How else will celebrants greet the New Year at midnight than with some form of triumphant, thunderous noise? For eco-friendly noisemakers, consider DIY versions of party horns, party blowers and rattles. For DIY rattles, stuff a metal container with coins, pencils or pebbles. For maracas, try raw beans or raw rice in wood containers. If you don’t have time to go the DIY route, consider visiting a thrift shop or even a music store. There, you can look for bells, cabasas, castanets, chimes, claves, cymbals, egg shakers, gongs, harmonicas, recorders, tambourines, triangles, whistles, woodblocks and other percussion instruments. Eco-friendly, functional party favors To go the extra mile, some hosts like to provide party favors. Why not gift eco-friendly ones that are functional? For example, Burt’s Bees lip balm might be appropriate for those shy about chapped lips before the New Year’s midnight kiss. Accessorize guests in allergy-free, cruelty-free, faux fur and featherless boas from Happy Boa . Add in a vegan leather or wood keychain. Include seed packets and mini succulents to help guests cultivate their green thumbs in the New Year. Organic champagne or sparkling cider Before you pop the bubbly, check the labels. Find organic or biodynamic varieties of champagne and sparkling cider to serve guests, who will enjoy toasting to the new year in green style. Related: The differences between organic, natural, biodynamic and sustainable wines Alternatives to fireworks Fireworks are harmful to nocturnal wildlife , especially migrating birds, insects, bats and more. The chemicals associated with fireworks also percolate into the water and soil, further harming ecosystems. Instead, replace fireworks with piñatas filled with vegan goodies. Another possibility is to have a light show indoors with DIY disco balls. There are also non-toxic bubbles that can be homemade from various recipes online. Images via Annie Spratt , Pen Ash , Swab Design , Tom Pumford , Sweet Mellow Chill , Joanna Kosinska , Freestocks , Frédéric Paulussen and Lumpi

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How to have a sustainable NYE party

Sustainably shop, eat and travel your way through Vancouver

December 30, 2019 by  
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Vancouver is Canada’s most temperate area, known for forests, sea, cosmopolitan entertainment, lots of rain and a high cost of living. The densely populated city in western Canada has more than 610,000 residents with a total of nearly 2.5 million in the metro area. Visitors can easily get around on bus, foot and bike share. Just be sure to pack an umbrella and a rain poncho! Here are the outdoor activities, vegan restaurants and eco-hotels to visit during your trip to Vancouver. Vancouver’s great outdoors Stanley Park is Vancouver’s most popular outdoor spot. Once the homeland for the native Squamish people, it has been a park since 1888. You can rent a bike and cruise around to see the gardens, totem poles and views of English Bay and Lions Gate Bridge. To learn more about Canada’s First Nations culture, contact Talaysay Tours and sign up for the Talking Trees tour to learn how the Squamish used local plants as food and medicine. Related: Vancouver Food Tour showcases the city’s vegan side The Capilano Suspension Bridge, built in 1889, is an engineering marvel — a 450-foot walking bridge over the Capilano River. Visitors also get high up in the canopy on a series of shorter, tree-to-tree bridges. For those who believe fitness never takes a vacation, there’s the Grouse Grind. Hikers climb 2,800 feet in 1.8 miles, then take the gondola back down Grouse Mountain. Both Capilano and Grouse Mountain are a short distance outside Vancouver, but free shuttle buses depart from Canada Place. Vancouver also offers splendid kayaking opportunities. Perhaps the best is at the Indian Arm fjord in the Deep Cove neighborhood. Rent a kayak from Deep Cove Kayak Centre or join a tour for additional company, security and/or information on history, geography and wildlife. You might see purple sea stars, moon jellyfish, 1,800-year-old petroglyphs, baby seals or even a cougar lounging on a rock. Looking to kick back and relax? Take a silent, zero-emissions cruise on a whale-friendly electric boat . Electric Harbour Tours offers public and private tours from Coal Harbour. Vancouver wellness Vancouver loves yoga . If you’re visiting in summer, check out the outdoor classes offered by the Mat Collective at Kitsilano Beach and pop-up locations. Do Peak Yoga atop Grouse Mountain on summer weekends, weather permitting. For a spa experience, visit Miraj Hammam , where you’ll open your pores in a steam room, then lie on a golden marble slab while an attendant exfoliates your body. Some of the most deluxe spas are at the big hotels, such as the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim and the giant, new spa at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. Vegan restaurants in Vancouver The historic Naam restaurant has served vegan and vegetarian food 24 hours a day since 1968. Its versatile menu ranges from enchiladas to a crying tiger Thai stir fry to vegan chocolate carrot cake topped with hemp icing for dessert. For a modern take on vegan comfort food, MeeT has three locations serving burgers, fries and bowls around the city. The Acorn is Vancouver’s most upscale vegan restaurant, creating complex dishes that showcase seasonal vegetables . For dessert, Umaluma Dairy-Free Gelato serves inventive gelato flavors like blood orange jalapeño jelly and salted caramel seafoam. There’s even a dedicated plant-based pudding store, Vegan Pudding and Co. Getting around Vancouver If you’re already in the Northwest, consider taking the Amtrak or bus service to Vancouver, then getting around on foot and by public transportation . If you’re flying in, you might be able to take the SkyTrain to your hotel, depending where you’re staying. The SkyTrain light rail system serves downtown Vancouver and many suburbs. Walking is an ideal way to get around Vancouver . Check out the Walk Vancouver site for good sightseeing routes. Bright blue Mobi bikes are everywhere in Vancouver. If you want to try the local bike share , you’ll need to download an app and keep your eye on the time, so you don’t rack up overage charges. Rent a bike by the day at one of the shops near Stanley Park. TransLink is the public bus system that will take you around the Vancouver metro area. The SeaBus 385-passenger ferry crosses the Burrard Inlet, bringing you from downtown Vancouver to the North Shore. The West Coast Express commuter railway connects Vancouver to the scenic Fraser Valley. Eco-hotels in Vancouver Vancouver has many excellent hotels, but be prepared for sticker shock. Wellness-focused guests will appreciate the amenities at the Loden . The hotel’s garden terrace rooms on its second floor sanctuary include special tea, yoga props, a 30-minute infrared sauna treatment and access to an urban garden, reflection pond and waterfall. The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel partners with Hives for Humanity , a nonprofit that educates people about gardens and beehives . You can tour the hotel’s rooftop gardens and learn about the pollination corridor connecting the city’s green spaces. Even the Vancouver police department hosts four beehives. The Skwachàys Lodge is a First Nations-focused social enterprise hotel combining 18 uniquely decorated rooms, studio space for First Nations artists and a ground-floor art gallery. Visitors can book private sweat-lodge ceremonies. Travelers on a budget can stay in the tidy and colorful YWCA Hotel . Not only do you get a comfortable place to stay and access to excellent fitness facilities and exercise classes; some of your money goes toward services for women and children in need. Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Sustainably shop, eat and travel your way through Vancouver

This unisex T-shirt is naturally dyed with Japanese cherry blossoms

December 30, 2019 by  
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Acutely aware of the massive waste in the textile industry, material development company PANGAIA (pronounced Pan-guy-ya) uses plants to make natural fabric dyes, skipping the need for harsh, synthetic additives. One of these natural dyes is sourced from the petals of the Japanese Sakura tree, which only blooms for a few days each year. The result is a gorgeous, light pink T-shirt made from organic cotton and dyed from the discarded cherry blossoms. Dozens of varieties of these cherry trees supply petals for specialty Japanese cherry blossom teas. These specially bred trees provide large quantities of blossoms that fall naturally following the brief annual bloom. Only petals that have already dropped are collected during this time, called sakura fubuki. The trees are never cut or harvested during the process. Related: Collection of plant-based shirts raise awareness of endangered species PANGAIA works in conjunction with the tea companies in Nagoya, Japan to collect the blossoms they reject. This gives the unwanted petals new life. In the lab, the petals are converted into a pink dye with bioengineering that uses no chemicals in the process. The waste- and chemical-free dye is then used to color the Sakura T-shirt, one of many clothing products the company has designed using natural or recycled products . The non-toxic, natural dye provides a subtle pink hue that enhances the GOTS certified organic cotton material. The Sakura T-shirt is made with a relaxed unisex design. The shirt is currently available for $85 and will be sent in biodegradable packaging. Similar products are available as part of the botanical dye T-shirt line, all of which are colored from dyes created from food waste and natural resources. Plants, fruits and vegetables are sourced to achieve the rich tones. PANGAIA reports its “supplier dyes textiles in a way that uses less water, is non-toxic and biodegradable.” To ensure transparency throughout the manufacturing process, each garment tag includes blockchain technology that shows the full history of the garment. A blockchain cannot be altered and provides a record of each stage of the journey, with complete traceability and authenticity. + PANGAIA Images via PANGAIA

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This unisex T-shirt is naturally dyed with Japanese cherry blossoms

Dropps offers chemical-, dye- and plastic-free laundry and dishwashing products

December 27, 2019 by  
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In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find products free of harsh chemicals, it’s refreshing to discover a company focused on creating simple household supplies that do the job without endangering the health of humans or the planet. Dropps’ mission is to provide safer cleaning products minus bulky, wasteful packaging and unnecessary ingredients. Chemical- and dye-free The laundry and dishwashing products offered by Dropps come in clear pods that show the absence of dyes. Even though it offers scented options, all varieties omit the harsh chemicals found in many brand name detergents. For those with sensitive skin, some options eliminate scents as well. Related: Cora Ball emulates natural filtering of coral to remove toxic microfibers from your washing machine Eco-friendly packaging Each cleaning pod is made using a water-soluble membrane that leaves no waste behind. One of the most eco-friendly characteristics of the Dropps brand is the elimination of the large plastic tubs that house standard laundry and dishwasher detergents. In fact, both laundry and dishwasher pods come packaged in 100 percent recyclable, compostable and repulpable boxes. Carbon offsetting Dropps are only available via mail order, which means you won’t find these cleaning supplies at the local supermarket. Even though it is conscious about packaging during shipping, the company understands that product transport is hazardous to the environment. With this in mind, Dropps is committed to 100 percent carbon offsetting for each shipment “in the form of forestry conservation efforts or based on a technology that captures gas before it is released such as at a landfill or farm with decomposing waste,” according to the website. Awards With attention to high-quality, natural ingredients , conscientious packaging and carbon offsetting, it’s no surprise Dropps has earned some accolades with organizations that monitor these types of efforts. In 2017, Dropps was honored as an EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year for outstanding achievement in formulation and product manufacturing of both consumer and institutional/industrial products. This recognition is earned by meeting stringent human and environmental health criteria. Inhabitat’s review of Dropps laundry and dish pods While in correspondence with Dropps, the company offered to send samples of several products, which I was happy to try out. My first impression was the packaging . The cardboard boxes were streamlined and minimalist. The products themselves fit tightly inside without extra and unneeded space. The pods are also compact and easy to use with no waste . For the dishwasher, the pods come in a citrus scent or without scent and go directly into the detergent compartment. Dishes came out clean with no residue from the pod on the dishware or in the compartment. I also sampled two varieties of laundry pods. One is labeled for stain and odors and offers a mild scent. The other is unscented and caters to sensitive skin. As a person with acute scent sensitivities, I prefer the unscented version. Both options perform effectively in dirt and odor removal. With three large dogs in the house, I can say I deal with plenty of both. Related: Tips to establish an eco-friendly laundry routine Dropps also provided a cold water washing pouch, which holds the pod if you wash in cold water (which I do). Because the pod takes slightly longer to dissolve in cold water, the washing pouch ensures it stays wet enough to dissolve, even in high-efficiency washing machines that use little water. The bag is small and easy to misplace, so I have washed loads with it and without it with equally good results. However, for the newest, ultra-efficient models, you may notice an issue without the bag. Some users have reported the pod membrane sticking to clothing in a cold water wash without the bag. Dropps also makes products for the dryer and provided me with wool balls to test. I have used wool balls in the past to improve dryer efficiency. The Dropps version seems slightly larger than those I’ve used previously, which helps to separate the clothes as they are drying and also makes the wool balls easier to find at the end of the cycle. Dropps has received high ratings for its chemical- and dye-free household cleaning items, with the main criticism being that it doesn’t provide a “clean, freshly laundered scent.” For me, that’s a pro, not a con, but it’s something to be aware of. Also, the membrane on the pods is very thin and susceptible to sticking together, so make sure you store them in a moisture-free area. Ensure your hands are dry before touching them. The bottom line is that plastic doesn’t have to be part of the cleaning process; neither do harsh chemicals. + Dropps Images via Dropps and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Dropps. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Dropps offers chemical-, dye- and plastic-free laundry and dishwashing products

Kansas City approves free public transportation for all

December 12, 2019 by  
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Last week, the city council of Kansas City unanimously voted for free public transportation via the Zero Fare Transit proposal. The program will boost ridership of city transit systems, allaying concerns about equity and the challenges of global greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis . Kansas City’s streetcar service is already free, and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) likewise provides free services to veterans. But approval of the resolution is a historic move allowing for free bus and streetcar services to all. Related: When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets “The City Council just took a monumental, unanimous step toward #ZeroFareTransit — setting Kansas City up to soon become the first major metropolitan city with free public bus service,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted. “This is going to improve the lives of so many and help fuel the local economy.” According to a 6-month study by the Citizens for Modern Transit group, which was commissioned by the Missouri Public Transit Association in partnership with AARP, Missouri’s public transportation sector in 2019 provides “an annual average of 60.1 million rides, which is equivalent to 9.8 rides per year, per Missouri resident.” That number is expected to rise with this new Zero Fare Transit program, especially in Kansas City. The rise in public transportation use can help confront the planet’s current environmental challenges. With less vehicles on the road, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced, thus improving air quality . With ride sharing through public transportation, there will be less need for many individual trips by private vehicles in dense urban areas. Plus, traffic congestion will be relieved, saving the fuel that might have been wasted in traffic gridlocks. As to concerns about the fuel use of public transportation, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the United States Department of Energy have both documented that modern buses use alternative fuels rather than diesel and gas, unlike a decade ago. Again, this emphasizes how Kansas City’s new legislation promises a smaller carbon footprint for the city. The new legislation has already garnered attention and praise outside of Missouri, with advocates in Nashville, Portland and Toronto seeking similar measures in their respective cities. Via ArchDaily Image via David Wilson

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Kansas City approves free public transportation for all

Squirrel Park turns shipping containers into affordable housing units

November 25, 2019 by  
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In recent years, shipping container architecture has been moving forward as a real-world solution for affordable housing. What’s even more impressive is that savvy architects around the globe are finding new ways to create inexpensive, practical living spaces without sacrificing comfort and style. London-based firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris has done just that with Squirrel Park, a shipping-container housing development in Oklahoma City that combines the best of green building with sophisticated design. The large shipping container complex contains four two-bedroom homes built on a 27,000-square-foot plot of land. The firm used 16 reclaimed steel shipping containers to construct the four homes, which were built on a tight budget of $1.1 million. Related: Striking apartment complex is made of 48 raw shipping containers The individual units feature two containers on the ground floor that house the living room, kitchen and dining areas. Two more containers, for the home’s two bedrooms, were cantilevered over the ground floor to create a sheltered porch below and a first-floor balcony for the master bedroom. Keeping Oklahoma’s extremely hot and humid climate in mind, the team painted the exterior of the shipping containers white to reduce solar heat gain and added mirrored strips to reflect the sun’s glare. The containers were also cut to make way for large windows that provide natural light and air ventilation. The interiors are light and airy to give the living spaces a modern feel. An extremely tight exterior envelope and high degree of insulation will keep the homes energy-efficient and at stable interior temperatures year-round. Residents will be able to enjoy a number of extra amenities, such as the spacious front porches with porch swings, which lend a dose of traditional charm to the otherwise modern structures. Working around the local landscape and weather conditions, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris elevated the houses off the landscape on pile footings to allow for optimal surface draining. The firm also planted the surrounding landscape with specific greenery to catch and absorb rainwater runoff. Because Oklahoma is in the middle of Tornado Alley, the container homes were reinforced to be as resilient as possible by welding steel tubes into plates in the foundations. There is also an eight-person tornado shelter built underground. In addition to its many sustainable features , the project will also help people who are struggling to get back on their feet. The owner of the property, who also plans to live onsite, runs a local restaurant that often hires individuals who have been incarcerated and strives to give back to the local community. As such, the homes will be made available to residents for “competitive market rates.” + Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Via Dezeen Photography by Timothy Soar via Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

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Squirrel Park turns shipping containers into affordable housing units

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