Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

July 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

This 100% solar-powered home has been sitting in Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens for the past ten years – but the tiny aluminum structure will soon serve a new role as a permanent home. The net-zero MiSo House was built for the 2005 Solar Decathlon , however it will soon be home to Lisa and Matt Gunneson, who are moving the 660-square-feet green energy machine piece-by-piece to their property in north Michigan. Designed by architecture students and faculty from Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan , the compact, aluminum-clad home is completely powered by solar energy . The aluminum-clad exterior and rounded shape were inspired by the monocoque designs from the aircraft and automobile industries. After debuting in the 2005 Solar Decathlon, the MiSo House was installed as an exhibition in the university’s botanical gardens, but after ten years on-site the home is being shipped to its new location. The home features a number of solar energy systems including rooftop PV panels, solar thermal panels connected to radiant flooring, and even an energy recovery ventilator system. One unique feature is the home’s “solar chimney”, which heats air in glass spaces along the home’s south facade. The heated air is then circulated through the curve of the roof to provide heat for the interior in winter time. Excess energy is stored in batteries installed underneath the structure’s flooring. The MiSo’s solar systems provide enough power for 100% of the home’s electricity needs – from appliances and lighting to heating. Many of the home’s furnishings, such as the eco-friendly sunflower-board kitchen cabinets, were constructed using low-chemical processes , which further reduced the home’s overall footprint. After purchasing the home at auction, the Gunnesons hired remodeling contractor Meadowlark Design + Build to break down the home’s modular components in order to transport it to their home in Evart, Michigan. In a fun twist of fate, two students who worked on the home’s original design now work on the Meadowlark team. + The MiSo House + Meadowlark Design + Build Via Homecrux

Read the original post: 
Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

Last orca bred in captivity at SeaWorld dies, aged 3 months

July 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Last orca bred in captivity at SeaWorld dies, aged 3 months

Keepers and animal rights activists are mourning the passing of the last orca bred in captivity under SeaWorld’s breeding program, which ended in 2016. The calf, named Kyara, was just three-months-old when she perished at the establishment’s San Antonio, Texas, park due to an unknown illness. Regrettably, she is the third killer whale to die at a SeaWorld park in 18 months. According to a statement made by SeaWorld on July 25, the exact cause of Kyara’s death is presently unknown. Additionally, the results of the post-mortem will take several weeks to be completed. Leading up to the calf’s death, however, she was being treated for a serious case of pneumonia . The marine park establishment is adamant the illness is not a result of living in captivity. In a statement , SeaWorld wrote that pneumonia is “the most common cause of mortality and illness in whales in dolphins, both in the wild and in zoological facilities.” “We’ve also had a lot of questions about how the orca pod in San Antonio is doing. We’ve checked in with the trainers, veterinarians and staff who all say that Takara and the orca pod are doing well,” the statement added. “They have been active all day and are engaging with the trainers, and we will continue to monitor any changes in their behavior.” SeaWorld announced it would end its controversial captive breeding program three years after the controversial documentary Blackfish was produced. The BAFTA-nominated film informed the public of the serious ethical concerns which result from keeping orcas in captivity and the questionable tactics used by employees to “train” orcas. Due to public outcry and plummeting ticket sales, the enterprise had no choice but to shut down the program. It is assumed that Kyara’s mother, Takara, became pregnant with the calf around the same time, as gestation in an orca lasts between 12 to 18 months. Because Kyara was the last killer whale bred in captivity, she was a treasure at SeaWorld . However, there is a reason the public requested SeaWorld end its breeding program, and that is because the mammals have been known to thrive beyond 100-years-old in the wild . Sadly, the young calf survived only three months in captivity. Related: Meet the 103-Year-Old Granny Orca That Spells Bad News for SeaWorld’s PR Upon hearing the news, John Hargrove, a former orca trainer at SeaWorld who appeared in Blackfish, tweeted : “I am grateful Tiki’s calf only lived for 3 months in a concrete box deprived of all things natural. For Takara, my heart is broken in pieces.” He added , “It’s an absolute insult to every one of us that they keep saying ‘healthy and thriving’ as they are dying from disease right in front of us.” Via NBC News Images via SeaWorld , Pixabay

See the original post here: 
Last orca bred in captivity at SeaWorld dies, aged 3 months

This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

July 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

Nigel Kirkwood worked in the mining industry for 25 years and it was his fascination with the natural sustainability of tunnels that led him to build his own underground, earth-sheltered home to live out his retirement years. Located in Quindalup, Western Australia, Kirkwood’s self-built hobbit house is buried under nearly 1,000 tons of soil and covered with greenery. Working in the mining industry taught Kirkwood a thing or two about the sustainable features of underground structures. Using the tunnel layout as inspiration, he built the home on two large concrete footings and covered the structure with 19 tons of high-quality steel. He then sealed the structure with a Polyurea water- and fire-proof coating and, as the final step, buried his new home under 1,000 tons of locally-sourced loam sand. Along with the protection against fires and storms that underground homes offer, the earth-sheltered structure has natural insulative properties, requiring require no heating or cooling. Additionally, the interior is virtually sound-proofed against outdoor noise. Related: This cute little hobbit home cost just $100 to build The interior of the home is surprisingly bright and airy, thanks to the all-glass entranceways on either side of the home. The rooftop is covered in natural plants and beautiful flowers that bloom in the summertime. The greenery is drip irrigated and fertilized throughout the year. Mr. Kirkwood will be opening his house to the public in September for Sustainable House Day in order to inspire others to consider sustainable building options. Via Homecrux Images by ABC South West: Roxanne Taylor, via Homecrux

The rest is here: 
This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

Bad Behavior has blocked 2750 access attempts in the last 7 days.