Leading Stanford climate scientist builds incredible net zero home, complete with Tesla Powerwall

October 30, 2017 by  
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A leading climate scientist — who has dedicated his career to proving the feasibility of transitioning the world off fossil fuels — walks the walk with his personal home. Professor of civil & environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, Mark Z. Jacobson has built an incredible Net Zero home using energy-efficient features that enable the house to generate all of its own energy from renewable sources . Jacobson is one of the founders of The Solutions Project , an initiative backed by scientific research that aims to show how every state in the USA can transition to 100 percent renewable energy . Using the organization’s ethos and his own research as a guide, Jacobson worked with luxury custom homebuilders, BONE Structure to design and build his ultra-efficient home . Related: This new energy concept from Sweden can make any building net zero Located in Stanford, California, the structure is the epitome of future efficient home design that doesn’t sacrifice on style or comfort. The project’s planning began by creating an ultra-low energy thermal shell that would insulate the home and reduce energy requirements. Next, to generate and conserve energy, the home was equipped with solar panels along with a couple of Tesla Powerwall battery packs for storage. This system meets all of the home’s energy needs, including heating, cooling, plug loads and even transportation charging. Jacobson moved into his Net Zero home last summer and has been monitoring its performance ever since. Not only does his energy system generate enough clean energy to meet his family’s needs, but Jacobson has also been able to sell 67 percent of the clean electricity back to the utility grid. + BONE Structure

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Leading Stanford climate scientist builds incredible net zero home, complete with Tesla Powerwall

Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

October 10, 2017 by  
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Wish you could expand the size of your home without breaking the bank? A group of architecture students from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver created RISE, an affordable and sustainable housing solution that lets you do just that. Conceived for urban infill lots, the adaptable and scalable solar-powered home stacks together like children’s blocks and can expand up to three stories with up to five units of multifamily living. RISE—which stands for Residential, Inviting, Stackable, Efficient—was designed specifically for Richmond, California, a coastal city struggling with a shortage of affordable, sustainable housing. Flexibility is key to the RISE design, which boasts customizable floor plans with moveable walls and windows to meet the needs of diverse occupants. The moveable walls, installed on a track system, can roll to the sides to transform three-quarters of the interior into an open-plan area or can be used to delineate multiple rooms. Transforming furniture and modular cabinetry support this versatile floor plan. Modular, prefabricated construction makes the home scalable and stackable, and gives homeowners the ability to transform their home from a single-story family unit into a multigenerational dwelling. The house can be constructed efficiently without specialized labor. Sustainability is also an important factor to RISE, which is designed to achieve net-zero energy consumption and is powered by solar energy. Daylighting and access to natural ventilation is optimized throughout the home, while wool insulation helps lock in stable and comfortable indoor temperatures. A green wall of moss covers the north facade. RISE was completed as University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver’s entry to the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition, after which the home will be donated to the Denver Habitat for Humanity, which will install it on a permanent lot and sell it to a family in need. Related: Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably “At $200,000, a single RISE unit is less expensive than 72% of homes in the city,” wrote the students . “Whereas this fact is significant, what really increases the affordability of RISE is that five units can fit onto a single lot that traditionally would host just one home. The RISE home’s stacked design and large open roof-deck spaces allows greater density and a lower price point per unit while preserving the open feel of a neighborhood home, which residents both need and desire to build community. Though designed specifically for Richmond, this approach would translate well to other urban centers that currently face a shortage of affordable housing.” + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

Cozy egg-shaped treehouses offer stunning views of the Italian Alps

October 10, 2017 by  
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A pair of adorable egg-shaped treehouses is hidden away in one of Italy’s oldest forests. Architetto Beltrame Claudio designed these dreamy retreats, called Pigna, that overlook stunning views of the Italian Alps. Inspired by the shape and texture of pinecones, these shingled dwellings are carefully designed to blend into the landscape while serving as a cozy and elegant getaway. Pigna was originally conceived for an architecture competition in 2014 but was only recently completed this year in Malborghetto Valbruna, Italy. The 70-square-meter project comprises two treehouses and both are elevated ten meters off the ground with three stories each. The egg-shaped buildings were constructed from cross-laminated timber with wood fiber insulation. Larch shingles clad the curved exterior punctuated by two covered balconies framing views of the outdoors. Related: Egg-Shaped HemLoft Treehouse is Nestled in the Forests of Whistler “The project started from the desire to create a structure that is not only a refuge for man, but also a natural element of its environment, a mimesis of its surrounding,” wrote the architects. “From the tree, for the tree.” The treehouses are anchored to nearby trees. Both the first and second floors can be reached via outdoor stairs or a walkway. The first floor serves as panoramic covered terrace, whereas the second houses the main living areas with a small kitchen, bathroom, and living room. The bedroom with a double bed placed beneath a circular skylight is located on the third floor. Wooden stairs connect all three floors. + Architetto Beltrame Claudio Via ArchDaily Images via Architetto Beltrame Claudio , interior shots by Laura Tessaro

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Cozy egg-shaped treehouses offer stunning views of the Italian Alps

Dwell Development’s net-zero home in Seattle is packed with sustainable goodness

June 29, 2017 by  
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This 5-Star Built Green home in Mount Baker, Seattle is packed with sustainable elements – including locally and sustainably-sourced materials and net-zero building strategies. The house was designed by JT Architecture for Dwell Development , and it’s perched on a peaceful hilltop in one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods with expansive views of the city. The design of the Mount Baker house is in line with the philosophy of Dwell Development and its net zero strategy rooted in the idea of remaining local. Each home by the firm occupies an urban site in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, where homeowners can live within blocks of all essential services and social activities. This new home was built on an urban infill lot steps away from Hunter Boulevard which includes an Olmsted designed center median park and dense retail and commercial areas on Rainier and McClellan. Related: Dwell Development’s outstanding zero-energy Emerald Star home in Seattle is almost entirely reclaimed The floors throughout the building are covered in sustainably harvested walnut from Montana, while the exterior polished concrete pavers were sourced locally. The exterior facade of the house is clad with reclaimed barn wood and reclaimed standing seam metal sourced from Oregon, while the interior features posts wrapped in over 100-year-old hand-hewn beam skins from Montana. The house is prepped for solar panels and electric vehicle charging, uses 100% LED lighting and is 100% electric. An exterior barrier system and a heat recover ventilation system regulate indoor temperatures 24/7. + JT Architecture + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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BONE Structure breaks ground on first net-zero residential project in California

June 13, 2016 by  
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Thanks to the off-site manufacturing process, the house is easy to outfit with all the electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems , which can be inserted into precut openings. An air-tight envelope ensures stable interior temperatures, with insulation panels clipped into place between steel columns and polyurethane foam insulation. Related: Stanford’s Start.Home is Built Around a Next-Gen Prefab Core at the Solar Decathlon 2013 The Jacobson Residence is only the beginning for BONE Structure. The firm plans to replicate the concept and build 50 new homes in California in 2016. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in visiting the Stanford house, the property will be available for tour on June, 24, 25 and 26. + BONE Structure

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BONE Structure breaks ground on first net-zero residential project in California

Blind "bird man" of Uruguay recognizes 3000 unique bird songs

June 13, 2016 by  
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In the warmer seasons and biomes of the Earth, birds envelop the sonic landscape with uniquely composed songs and calls that identify the species present, even if unseen. Bioacoustics and ornithological expert Juan Pablo Culasso has so refined his ability to recognize these sounds that he is now able to differentiate between 720 species of birds by ear. 29-year-old Culasso was born blind, though able to sense changes in light, and has always relied on his ears to explore the world around him. Culasso also possesses the rare gift of absolute, or perfect, pitch, which enables him to identify a particular note simply by hearing it. Through his unique abilities, Culasso can identify over 3,000 unique bird sounds. Perfect pitch is less about the ear than it is about the brain’s capacity for identification and interpretation. “It’s not that these people hear more, they hear the same as anyone else,” says Alicia Munyo, head of the phonology department at Republica University in Montevideo, Uruguay. “It’s that their brain has a great capacity to interpret sounds and their nuances, much more than normal people do.” Culasso recalls his perfect pitch in childhood, in which he could identify the musical note for sounds made by stones tossed into the water. His father introduced his young son to the world of birds by reading aloud encyclopedia articles that were accompanied by audio cassettes of bird sounds. Related: Shocking study reveals 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic Culasso, encouraged by field work with an ornithologist, began recording bird sounds as a teenager. “At that moment, I felt as if I had been doing this forever without knowing it. I fell in love with that task,” he says. Culasso has used his skills to produce nature documentaries, assist scientific studies, and in 2014, was granted a $45,000 prize from Nat Geo TV. Most of this money was invested in audio equipment, so that Culasso can better complete his work. He also recently completed a two month expedition in Antarctica. “I keep adding sounds to my list,” he says. “In Antarctica, I recorded sea lions, seals and a melting iceberg.” Via Phys.org Images via Juan Pablo Culasso  and Flickr

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Blind "bird man" of Uruguay recognizes 3000 unique bird songs

Net-zero Spring Ranch boasts enviable views of California’s Central Valley

March 17, 2016 by  
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Net-zero INhouse boasts water-smart solutions essential for parched California

October 9, 2015 by  
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Team Austria’s LISI Solar Decathlon Home Keeps Cool with a Movable Exterior Curtain

October 4, 2013 by  
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The Solar Decathlon 2013 competition officially kicked off 3 October, 2013; to celebrate the ribbon cutting ceremony, groups of officials and decathletes gathered to take a much deserved break from all the hard work they’ve put in over the last few weeks. True to form, every year there seems to be a handful of designs that quickly emerge as strong contenders. In fact, since construction was completed on their solar home, the Austrian Team’s LISI House has raised more than a few admiring eco-observing eyebrows. The LISI Home (Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation) is a modular timber construction with a flexible layout that permits residents to fully take advantage of the building’s living space found on the interior as well as the exterior. The design itself is made up of three zones: the service core, the interior living area and two adjoining patios. The end result is a solar home that strikes a unique balance of cool modernity and inviting appeal. The primary objectives of the LISI “living cocoon” design are climate regulation and high utility of liveable space. With one central living area that can be extended to the two adjacent patios to the north and south, the LISI design offers optimal communal space as well as ventilation and light control. A ramp leads into the main interior space where a moveable shade curtain envelopes the entire structure, adding a breezy Mediterranean feel. In addition to LISI’s various architectural layers, the shade from the curtain helps to optimize interior temperatures, providing shade on hot summer days and subsequently reducing cooling loads. Along with the interior living areas, the two open patios add a major component to the quality of life integral to the LISI design itself. By subtly blending nature into the daily living areas, residents can fully embrace the surrounding natural environment in their day-to-day life. Multiple garden space and a vertical garden are installed on the patios, which allow residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables. The plants also serve as a natural filtration system, providing a healthy atmosphere for families and visitors. The modular LISI home is entirely constructed and insulated with wood. The decision to work with wood was based on its multiple eco-positive characteristics. Since wood is a carbon-neutral material and a 100% natural product, it’s ideal as a building material in terms of construction, maintenance and transport. Additionally, choosing to work with wood meant the team could utilize the entire product in many forms giving the design aesthetic a cohesive feel throughout. In fact, every part of the tree was used, from the roots and leaves used in the LISI foundation, curtain and cornice materials to the trunk itself, used in the core construction of the ceiling, floors and walls. The chairs and most of the furniture are made from molded wood chips. The wood’s cohesive natural presence, along with the open concept and natural light, also has a positive effect on the residential atmosphere, adding to the house’s many natural health benefits. In terms of energy savings, LISI is a “plus-energy” construction, generating more than enough electricity for daily energy needs. A mounted PC array is installed on top of the roof, which is comprised of four ceiling modules. In collaboration with the intelligent energy-saving floor plan, interior temperatures are also controlled by an ERV unit, a heat and humidity exchanger. Water waste is limited in a number of ways, most notably through an innovative shower tray that captures thermal energy from daily drain water. From the looks of this year’s Solar Decathon entries, SD 2013 is shaping up to be a fierce contest. But we definitely think that Team Austria’s house will be a top contender in terms of health, comfort and environmental features. + Team Austria for Solar Decathlon + Inhabitat Solar Decathlon Coverage        

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Team Austria’s LISI Solar Decathlon Home Keeps Cool with a Movable Exterior Curtain

Team Austria’s LISI Solar Decathlon Home Keeps Cool with a Movable Exterior Curtain

October 4, 2013 by  
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The Solar Decathlon 2013 competition officially kicked off 3 October, 2013; to celebrate the ribbon cutting ceremony, groups of officials and decathletes gathered to take a much deserved break from all the hard work they’ve put in over the last few weeks. True to form, every year there seems to be a handful of designs that quickly emerge as strong contenders. In fact, since construction was completed on their solar home, the Austrian Team’s LISI House has raised more than a few admiring eco-observing eyebrows. The LISI Home (Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation) is a modular timber construction with a flexible layout that permits residents to fully take advantage of the building’s living space found on the interior as well as the exterior. The design itself is made up of three zones: the service core, the interior living area and two adjoining patios. The end result is a solar home that strikes a unique balance of cool modernity and inviting appeal. The primary objectives of the LISI “living cocoon” design are climate regulation and high utility of liveable space. With one central living area that can be extended to the two adjacent patios to the north and south, the LISI design offers optimal communal space as well as ventilation and light control. A ramp leads into the main interior space where a moveable shade curtain envelopes the entire structure, adding a breezy Mediterranean feel. In addition to LISI’s various architectural layers, the shade from the curtain helps to optimize interior temperatures, providing shade on hot summer days and subsequently reducing cooling loads. Along with the interior living areas, the two open patios add a major component to the quality of life integral to the LISI design itself. By subtly blending nature into the daily living areas, residents can fully embrace the surrounding natural environment in their day-to-day life. Multiple garden space and a vertical garden are installed on the patios, which allow residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables. The plants also serve as a natural filtration system, providing a healthy atmosphere for families and visitors. The modular LISI home is entirely constructed and insulated with wood. The decision to work with wood was based on its multiple eco-positive characteristics. Since wood is a carbon-neutral material and a 100% natural product, it’s ideal as a building material in terms of construction, maintenance and transport. Additionally, choosing to work with wood meant the team could utilize the entire product in many forms giving the design aesthetic a cohesive feel throughout. In fact, every part of the tree was used, from the roots and leaves used in the LISI foundation, curtain and cornice materials to the trunk itself, used in the core construction of the ceiling, floors and walls. The chairs and most of the furniture are made from molded wood chips. The wood’s cohesive natural presence, along with the open concept and natural light, also has a positive effect on the residential atmosphere, adding to the house’s many natural health benefits. In terms of energy savings, LISI is a “plus-energy” construction, generating more than enough electricity for daily energy needs. A mounted PC array is installed on top of the roof, which is comprised of four ceiling modules. In collaboration with the intelligent energy-saving floor plan, interior temperatures are also controlled by an ERV unit, a heat and humidity exchanger. Water waste is limited in a number of ways, most notably through an innovative shower tray that captures thermal energy from daily drain water. From the looks of this year’s Solar Decathon entries, SD 2013 is shaping up to be a fierce contest. But we definitely think that Team Austria’s house will be a top contender in terms of health, comfort and environmental features. + Team Austria for Solar Decathlon + Inhabitat Solar Decathlon Coverage        

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Team Austria’s LISI Solar Decathlon Home Keeps Cool with a Movable Exterior Curtain

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