Couple converts 16-year-old van into a compact solar home on wheels

February 24, 2017 by  
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An increasing number of digital nomads are replacing their conventional houses with practical, mobile homes powered by renewable energy technologies . Freelancer photographer Norbert Juhász and his fiancée Dora, a writer, have joined the fray with a 16-year-old van they transformed into a solar-powered home on wheels, and they’re driving it from Budapest to Morocco. While the exterior of the van is unremarkable, its interior packs all the amenities the couple needs on their journey. A multifunctional seat turns into a bed for two and includes a storage space and electrical system underneath. Opposite the bed is a small kitchen unit with a gas cooktop, gas cylinder, sink and a large water tank with a pressure-sensing pump. The tank is connected to an extra hook-up that leads to the rear of the van, where the water is used for quick showers. An L-shaped cabinet accommodates a refrigerator and more storage spaces, and features another section that doubles as a seating structure. Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer The vehicle is powered by a 12-volt electrical system charged by either the 250-watt solar panels mounted on the roof, or the engine’s generator. Excess energy can be stored in 200-Ah batteries attached to an inverter. The couple spent around $7,200 for the van’s transformation, including its custom-made furniture. They will travel through Southern Europe all the way to Morocco, and document their journey on the Rundabella website and Facebook page . + Norbert Juhász + Rundabella Via Treehugger Photos by Norbert Juhász

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Couple converts 16-year-old van into a compact solar home on wheels

Fully-furnished tiny house from France easily fits a family of three

August 24, 2016 by  
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The 217-square-foot house has a space-efficient layout that fits all the amenities of a regular-sized home. The sitting area lies above a small room that can be used as a guest room or play area for a small child. A small, operable window ensures the crawlspace is well ventilated. The kitchen is split into two areas-one with a sink and the other with the stove. A pull-out table forms a small dining space next to the kitchen. Accessible via a ladder is the main sleeping area with a big bed, while the bathroom features a composting toilet . Related: Tiny $33K Home Offers Off-Grid Luxury Living on Wheels The Odyssée, which costs $49,800, comes fully furnished and features a variety of natural materials such as red cedar, oak, ash and spruce. If you’re interested in visiting one of Baluchon’s built projects in person, check out the company’s website for open house dates. + Tiny House Baluchon Via Treehugger Images via Tiny House Baluchon

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Fully-furnished tiny house from France easily fits a family of three

Elevated Caterpillar Trains fly over traffic without blocking out the cityscape

August 24, 2016 by  
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An Indian Railways engineer recently won the MIT Climate CoLab competition with plans for an elevated “Caterpillar Train” (cTrain) that hints at a new era for mass transit. Ashwani Kumar Upadhyaya’s concept, designed by Jacob Innovations Inc , is a new response to the decades-long question of how to integrate effective mass transit into an urban environment without creating an eyesore or adding to traffic congestion. The arch-supported elevated cTrain concept rose to the top of the 29 submissions in the Transportation category of MIT’s challenge to win the award. Unlike existing elevated railways, which are often composed of large concrete supports that block out street-level views, the Mini Elevated cTrain concept seeks to minimize the visual impact of urban mass transit. The design concept relies on thin arches that support two levels of cTrain traffic, and the cars are envisioned to be just as tall and wide as they need to be, but no more. The result is a lighter, minimalistic approach to mass transit that has less of a negative impact on the look and feel of the city. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6u7N7YJ0Tk Related: Futuristic metro station puts a novel spin on the everyday commute in Taipei The cTrain concept calls for rail cars that travel on a network of elevated tracks at an average speed of 62 miles per hour. The train infrastructure could be built quickly and at a low cost, by using concrete poles that connect via arches on opposite sides of a sidewalk. That design also improves accessibility, making it easier for commuters to hop on and off the rail cars without clogging up sidewalk traffic for those who are simply walking past. Upadhyaya presented a paper on his cTrain concept at the 14th World Conference on Transport Research in China last month. Next month, he will join other category winners at the MIT Climate CoLab Crowds & Climate Conference on the MIT campus in Boston. There, he will present the cTrain concept to leaders from businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, and communities around the world. Via Indian Express and Mass Transit Magazine Images via Jacob Innovations Inc

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Elevated Caterpillar Trains fly over traffic without blocking out the cityscape

Tiny Heirloom’s luxury micro homes let you live large in small spaces

August 13, 2016 by  
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Style isn’t the only thing that’s big in Tiny Heirloom’s luxurious and beautifully detailed tiny homes—the custom base model package starts at a hefty $65,000 price tag. For that price however, clients can expect high-end materials like granite countertops and real-wood or bamboo flooring. The package also includes, but is not limited to, a Dickinson p12000 heater, in-house speakers, all LED lighting, stainless steel appliances, washer/dryer combo unit, painted or stained interior and exterior, basic wind or solar package, bathroom unit, delivery, and a flight out from any of the 48 continental US states so that the client can meet the Tiny Heirloom team and see their custom home under construction. Related: INTERVIEW: Tiny House Pioneer Dee Williams Discusses Living Large in 84 Square Feet in Her New Memoir “The Big Tiny: A Built-it-Myself Memoir” The cost also covers all the legality headaches that can come with tiny homes ; Tiny Heirloom promises to take care of all manufacturing licenses and other legalities to ensure a stress-free experience. The company’s estimated average construction time for a Tiny Heirloom home is anywhere from 90 to 120 days. + Tiny Heirloom Images via Tiny Heirloom

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Tiny Heirloom’s luxury micro homes let you live large in small spaces

Doubleback Van extends 6.5 feet with the press of a button

June 30, 2016 by  
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The original van frame on which the Doubleback is based measures 5.92 meters (19.4 feet) long, a generous size for a van but a bit cramped for living. However, once it extends, the pod adds another 2 meters (6.5 feet) for 7.92 meters (25.9 feet) of space. The extended compartment in the rear of the van is made of a lightweight but incredibly strong aluminum composite that weighs only 130 kilograms (286 lbs). With built-in supports extended, the area can comfortably hold 600 kgs (1322 lbs) of people or cargo. Unfortunately, all that extra space and built-in furniture comes with a price: there’s only room for two seats up in the cab and the car can only safely hold 2-3 belted passengers, depending on the model. Related: Nondescript VW van hides a gorgeous and chic mobile home If you want a Doubleback of your very own, it won’t come cheap: the campers start at 55,000 British pounds, the equivalent of around 74,000 US dollars. Each model is custom-built, so there’s plenty of room for alterations based on a customer’s personal taste. + Doubleback

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Doubleback Van extends 6.5 feet with the press of a button

‘Global climate emergency’ declared after jet stream crosses equator

June 30, 2016 by  
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A prominent climate scientist has declared a “global climate emergency” after observing the jet stream in the Northern Hemisphere crossing the equator and mixing with the jet stream in the Southern Hemisphere. Paul Beckwith, a geography professor at the University of Ottawa, wrote in a blog post that this behavior is new and “indicates that climate system mayhem is ongoing.” If the merging of the jet streams continues, it could disrupt the seasons, threatening the food supply chain and causing “massive geopolitical unrest.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKasUm77D0U In a YouTube video post , Beckwith explained that the warming Arctic from man-made climate change is slowing down the jet stream and making it waver. He pointed out a few spots where the jet streams have merged, pinpointing the exact time when they touched each other as June 27 at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Beckwith said we’ve lost the separation between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere jet streams and that if the trend continues it could lead to the equalization of the entire global temperature, reducing seasonality. Related: The Arctic is greening and scientists confirm it’s due to human activity Beckwith was alerted to the development from a blog post by environmental writer Robert Scribbler, who wrote that this “weather weirding due to climate change” is something that “would absolutely not happen in a normal world. Something, that if it continues, basically threatens seasonal integrity.” Scribbler explained that the barrier between the two jet streams is what has generated the strong divide between Summer and Winter during the Holocene Climate Epoch. If the boundary is eroded, it could create what Scribbler described as a “death of Winter” scenario with “more Summer heat spilling over into the Winter zone and vice versa.” Both Scribbler and Beckwith agree that human civilization is not prepared to deal with this new climate trend. “There’s very strange things going on on planet Earth right now,” said Beckwith. “There’s very, very strange things going on with the jet streams which guide our weather patterns.” Via Raw Story Lead image via Paul Beckwith

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‘Global climate emergency’ declared after jet stream crosses equator

6 Tiny Homes under $50,000 you can buy right now

April 7, 2016 by  
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Zero-energy Biosphera 2.0 prefab gives you the freedom to live almost anywhere

March 29, 2016 by  
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5 eco-friendly menstrual products that also protect women’s health

March 29, 2016 by  
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Edible spoon lets you ditch the plastic (and tastes great, too)

March 29, 2016 by  
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When plastic cutlery was first introduced, it’s unlikely anyone realized how prevalent it would become, or how damaging to the environment. In India, the enormous waste from single-use utensils prompted one inventor to create an edible alternative that breaks down in record time (if not eaten with the meal). Narayana Peesapaty, founder of Bakeys, has already sold 1.5 million spoons made from made of millet, rice and wheat, and now he’s launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to expand the brand worldwide. The effort has already raised more than four times the original $20,000 goal, with more than two weeks left. Read the rest of Edible spoon lets you ditch the plastic (and tastes great, too)

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