Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

January 23, 2020 by  
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The Sun Rain Room is an extension and restoration of a two-story Grade-II listed townhouse designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu. Partnering with local craftspeople to complete the project, the London-based architecture firm was able to create an extension of the existing structure through a landscape that feeds off of the sun and rain . The house, which was built as a home and studio for the owner, features a green roof , garden room and reflecting pool that are all designed to uniquely celebrate nature. The garden room on the ground floor is encased in a wall of curved glass that works as both a living space for occupants and as a meeting area for the owner’s professional studio. The covered outdoor area connected to the garden room contains a studio workshop, kitchen, potting shed, recycling bay and a store. Another wall of sliding mirrors conceals the planter for a collection of small trees that grow through the green roof overhead. The neighboring open patio covers a basement refurbished with a new bedroom, two bathrooms and a utility area. The courtyard garden’s perimeter walls support a roof made of plywood cut to allow the most possible light into the site. Between the patio (which frames the terrace) and the house sits an etched glass staircase to bridge the two spaces. The true meaning of “Sun Rain Room” comes to play with the 110-millimeter structural shell roof that is perforated with coffered skylights made to mimic raindrops that land onto the pool . This creates an ethereal, organic environment inside the home. To make the townhouse more sustainable, heat loss from the ground floor is decreased through double-glazed, double-laminated glass with low-e coatings. Waterproof concrete was used in the construction of the basement, which removed the need for a backup waterproofing system. What’s more, the light-well from the plywood roof around the courtyard has improved the affecting passive ventilation strategy for the home. The green roof not only contributes to sustainable drainage, but is also planted with local trees and plants that suit the natural habitat to improve the site’s biodiversity . The reflecting pool is filled naturally with harvested rainwater, also used to irrigate the green roof. + Tonkin Liu Images via Alex Peacock, Greg Storrar, Tonkin Liu, and Alexander James Photography

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Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

Ramboll helps Lombok locals build earthquake-resistant bamboo housing

January 17, 2020 by  
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In 2018 when Lombok was struck by several earthquakes, some measuring up to magnitude 7, local communities around the seismic region were greatly affected. After the series of earthquakes settled, there were over 500 people dead, 445,000 people homeless and 129,000 homes damaged. Concerned that the quality of the area’s buildings was partially to blame, Els Houttave, founder of the Lombok-based charity Grenzeloos Milieu, knew that something had to be done to ensure this type of devastation never happened again. She teamed up with Ramboll bridge engineer Xavier Echegaray and structural engineer Marcin Dawydzik to find a solution that was both sustainable and resilient. When Dawydzik traveled to Lombok, he discovered the problem was in the building techniques and materials : “Villages were flattened with bricks and rubble scattered all around, in many cases the building foundations were all that remained. This was not an unusually powerful earthquake for the region, but lack of reinforcement in the buildings meant the damage, and consequential loss of life, was far greater than it should have been. What I found even more disturbing was that communities had already started rebuilding with the same absence of structural integrity that had existed in the destroyed buildings!”   As it turns out, the building solution was closer than expected. The partially-destroyed villages were surrounded by bamboo forests, a time-honored building material that is lightweight, strong, affordable, sustainable and reaches full maturity in about five years. Working hand-in-hand with the locals, Ramboll has now built three prototype earthquake-proof “template houses” made almost entirely out of locally-sourced bamboo. The homes are raised on cross-braced columns with a central staircase leading to the living area and space for two bedrooms. The walls are finished with bamboo woven sheets or canes and the roofing is made from recycled Tetra Pak carton packaging.  Going even further, the project headed by Grenzeloos Milieu and University College London will provide locals with a free blueprint on how to construct affordable earthquake-proof homes without complicated construction knowledge necessary. Additionally, Grenzeloos Milieu is growing more bamboo forests and teaching communities how to harvest the trees for food and construction. Ramboll volunteers on the ground in Lombok will teach the process hands-on while ensuring safety and efficiency . + Ramboll Via Dezeen Images via Ramboll

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Ramboll helps Lombok locals build earthquake-resistant bamboo housing

Planet Beyond earbuds combine tech, sustainability and fashion

January 17, 2020 by  
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High-tech products don’t have to be sterile and uniform, but there haven’t been a lot of options for personalizing or styling even common gadgets, like earbuds, until now. That’s what inspired Planet Beyond, a company aimed at offering fashionable options alongside state-of-the-art technology and sustainability. The earbuds, released in early December 2019, offer superior sound that is comparable to Bose or Apple. Even the basic model earbuds are embellished with a metal centerpiece, available in gold, gunmetal or silver tones, giving each pair a striking and unique look. The silicone earpieces not only deliver comfort but are designed for interchangeability of additional jewelry. Related: Korvaa is the world’s first headphones “grown” from bio-based materials Users can create ear art with a selection of add-on options. The jewelry components come in a variety of styles including leaves, shooting stars and sun rays. Each design is available in the same three base colors to match or contrast the center and are easily interchangeable whenever you want a different look. While quality sound is at the heart of these earbuds, sold as product PB01 to represent Planet Beyond’s initial product release, the brand’s bigger goal aims to add something that no other company has brought to the earbud market — style. As a start-up focused on sustainability, Planet Beyond has also placed importance on practicing corporate responsibility. With that in mind, each product is created from recycled metal . “Beyond being lightweight and durable, our Bluetooth earpieces are the synthesis of sustainability, fashion and technology ,” the company said. “With a broad range of offerings at attainable prices, we believe everyone deserves to witness the new intersection of technology and art.” Available now, the PB01 has a base price of $115. The optional accessories add an additional $55 each. With a team made up of a mathematician, an engineer, a computer programmer and an architect, we expect to see more wearable tech innovation from Planet Beyond in the future. + Planet Beyond Images via Planet Beyond

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Planet Beyond earbuds combine tech, sustainability and fashion

Experimental, net-positive energy development in India is a prototype for future sustainable housing

December 12, 2019 by  
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Communities around the globe are struggling to find feasible options for affordable and sustainable housing to meet the needs of growing urban populations. Now, one forward-thinking firm, Auroville Design Consultants , is leading the charge with Humanscapes, an 18,000-square-foot, net-positive energy, experimental housing complex located in Auroville, India. Designed to house up to 500 residents, the sustainable housing complex will be studied for years to come in order to create a future model of sustainable living. According to Suhasini Ayer, director of Auroville Design Consultants, Humanscapes is an experimental project designed to create affordable and sustainable housing for approximately 500 inhabitants. The ambitious project will be used as research into creating future developments that can withstand the impacts of climate change . Related: Green-roofed community center champions sustainable design in London The project was based on three main principles. The first was creating a  resilient structure that could meet India’s urban planning challenges. Secondly, the complex would be made available to house young adults, students and researchers in order to create an active and collaborative society, where the residents learn from each other. Finally, the habits of the community would be monitored for many years in order to create a field test prototype to help design future projects. The large development was built by local workers using locally sourced materials, such as clay. Additionally, the complex will be net-energy positive thanks to its off-grid systems that work on various renewable energy sources, including solar power. The project has several water collection and recycling systems. The landscaping around the apartments incorporates several drought-resistant native plants and trees. There is also ample space set aside for organic food production, which is a hallmark of the project. Future tenants will also be able to enjoy the spirit of community within the Humanscape design. Using the co-housing concept of living, the development was laid out in a way to foster interaction among neighbors.  This “functional fusing” of living, working and recreational environment creates an open learning campus that could offer a real-world prototype for future urban development in countries around the world. + Auroville Design Consultants Via ArchDaily Photography by Akshay Arora and John Mandeen via Auroville Design Consultants

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Experimental, net-positive energy development in India is a prototype for future sustainable housing

New architecture learning center in London is built with bamboo and recycled yogurt pots

November 21, 2019 by  
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Architecture lovers have a new place to convene in London thanks to the recent completion of the Clore Learning Center at the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) headquarters. Designed by local architectural practice Hayhurst & Co , the new public destination offers a variety of interactive learning displays about architecture for all audiences, from children and families to life-long learners. In addition to its creative educational program, the space is also a beacon for sustainable design and incorporates eco-friendly materials such as bamboo and recycled yogurt containers .  Developed with input from Price and Myers, Max Fordham and Jack Wates lighting design, the Clore Learning Center is the result of Hayhurst and Co’s winning proposal in a RIBA -organized design competition in 2017. The architects drew inspiration for their design of the new playful space from architect Grey Wornum’s vision for the original RIBA headquarters, a Grade II* listed building. Located on the fourth floor of the headquarters, the Clore Learning Center includes a dedicated studio, study room, terrace and interactive display area. Related: RIBA crowns Children Village in Brazil as the world’s best new building “Hayhurst & Co’s design invites visitors to explore their ‘sense of space’ and develop an understanding of the architecture that surrounds us every day,” Hayhurst & Co said. “Conceived as a series of simple, delightful and adaptable interventions that enable an interactive learning experience, the spaces promote an understanding of architecture through active learning: observing, testing, making and sharing.” Sustainability was also a major driver behind the design of the project. Instead of timber, the architects opted for fast-growing bamboo and recycled yogurt containers — leaving some lids and labels visible — as primary materials for interior furnishings. Natural daylight is emphasized indoors and complemented with energy-efficient LEDs that can be dimmed and altered depending on the occasion. A mechanical ventilation system helps provide a constant supply of fresh air. + Hayhurst & Co Photography by Kilian O’Sullivan via Hayhurst & Co

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New architecture learning center in London is built with bamboo and recycled yogurt pots

Inside the transition from diesel to electric

November 12, 2019 by  
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Key learnings from the UPS fleet electrification project outside London.

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Inside the transition from diesel to electric

Vehicle-to-grid technology is revving up

November 12, 2019 by  
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Utilities expand the grid without building power plants. Consumers get backup power and a virtually free electric car. Such are the promises of V2G tech, even if the infrastructure isn’t quite here yet.

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Vehicle-to-grid technology is revving up

BREEAM Excellent office building keeps London’s carbon reduction targets in sight

November 4, 2019 by  
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The site of a former petrol station has been given a new lease on life as 1 Valentine Place, an award-winning sustainable office building certified BREEAM Excellent . Completed in March 2013, the seven-story office building was designed by West London architectural practice Stiff + Trevillion , who clad the contemporary structure in anodized aluminum and high-performance, solar-control glazing for a sleek and minimalist appearance. The energy-efficient building was a 2013 NLAwards winner and was shortlisted in the 2014 RIBA London Awards. Located on the corner of Blackfriars Road and Valentine Place, 1 Valentine Place provides grade-A office accommodation across 3,000 square meters within close proximity to the Southwark station. Though undeniably contemporary in design, the building is sensitively scaled and oriented to relate to its more traditional neighbors. For instance, the seven-story office building steps down in mass to match the rooflines of the smaller buildings next door, thus creating space for a large outdoor terrace that overlooks views of the City of London . Related: Railway heat to be repurposed to warm London homes this winter The architects constructed the building with an in situ reinforced concrete frame structure that’s internally exposed to take advantage of passive thermal mass . The exterior is clad in anodized aluminum and energy-efficient glazing as well as solar fins to mitigate unwanted solar heat gain. The glazed, double-height ground floor is protected by an overhang and is designed to engage the pedestrian realm. The reception is lined with wood paneling inspired by the area’s heritage. “Sustainability features such as exposed thermal mass, air-source heat-pump technology and a photovoltaic array far exceed Southwark’s stringent carbon reduction targets,” the architects noted in a project statement. The use of renewable energy and energy-efficient strategies are estimated to provide energy savings of approximately 40 percent. + Stiff + Trevillion Photography by Kilian O’Sullivan via Stiff + Trevillion

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BREEAM Excellent office building keeps London’s carbon reduction targets in sight

Swanky hotel made of 26 repurposed shipping containers opens in London

November 4, 2019 by  
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Building with repurposed shipping containers has come leaps and bounds over the years, with various cities around the world using the affordable building material to their advantage. Now, visitors to London’s vibrant Waterloo district can stay at the fabulous Stow-Away Hotel , a sustainable hotel built out of an impressive 26 repurposed shipping containers. Designed by London-based architectural studio Doone Silver Kerr , Stow-Away is London’s latest shipping container building. The chic hotel comprises several 29-foot long containers that are stacked to form five stories. Related: Treehouses made from shipping containers offer the ultimate glamping getaway in Portugal The exterior of the container hotel is stark white, emitting a contemporary aesthetic. The ends of the containers were cut to make room for large windows that overlook the street. Angled steel “fins” were added to the windows to shade the interior rooms. To pay homage to the containers’ industrial past, the bottoms of the shades were painted a bright orange. The hotel offers an apart-hotel concept, where guests can stay just one night or months at a time. As such, the elegant rooms are designed to be more akin to apartments than hotel rooms. Lined with marble and stained plywood, the rooms offer well-lit, comfortable accommodations that appeal to visitors of all types. The compact rooms have flexible furnishings to make the most out of the limited space. Each room comes with a king-sized bed, a seating area and a spa-like bathroom with a shower. The rooms also include kitchenettes equipped with hot plates, sinks and dishwashers. Guests will enjoy a bevy of modern amenities, including air conditioning, a flat-screen smart TV and free high-speed Wi-Fi. The shipping container hotel is located just steps from the Waterloo Underground, which is a huge advantage to travelers. However, to block out the noise from the busy station, special rubber pads were placed between the stories, adding to the hotel’s long list of useful amenities. + Doone Silver Kerr + Stow-Away hotel Via Dezeen Images via Stow-Away Hotel

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Swanky hotel made of 26 repurposed shipping containers opens in London

Research finds heart attacks and strokes surge on high pollution days in England

October 25, 2019 by  
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A new study published by King’s College London (KCL) reports that elevated levels of air pollution contribute to increased spikes in cardiac arrests, stroke admissions and asthma hospitalizations. The sobering news has been described as a health emergency, prompting calls for the British government to commit to more enforceable sustainability targets and improved air quality standards. The research team surveyed data across nine cities: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton. London had the largest uptick of health incidents because it experienced more high pollution days. For the English capital city, an additional 124 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, 231 stroke admissions and 193 asthma hospitalizations occurred on days registering higher pollution levels. The collated data clearly revealed a cause-and-effect correlation. Thus, increased air pollution from wind direction and wind strength conclusively affected people’s health in just a short period of time while similarly having implications on life expectancy. Related: For 2019, the 10 worst cities for air quality are in California and Arizona Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said, “London’s lethal air is a public health crisis — it leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year, as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing cases of respiratory illness.” The research results were published ahead of the British National Clean Air Summit , which was hosted by UK100 , a British network of local government leaders. In response to the study findings, the British National Health Service (NHS) tweeted that almost a third of preventable deaths in England “are due to non-communicable diseases specifically attributed to air pollution .” Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS, further explained, “Since these avoidable deaths are happening now — not in 2025 or 2050 — together we need to act now. For the NHS, that is going to mean further comprehensive action building on the reduction of our carbon footprint of one-fifth in the past decade. So our NHS energy use, supply chain, building adaptations and our transport will all need to change substantially.” + King’s College London Via EcoWatch Image via Matt Buck

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Research finds heart attacks and strokes surge on high pollution days in England

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