Zero-energy tiny home has a near-invisible footprint

March 12, 2018 by  
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COULSON architects designed Disappear Retreat, a tiny, mirrored house that not only appears to disappear into the landscape but also boasts a near-invisible footprint. Created for “triple-zero living,” this prefabricated structure is an off-grid dwelling that’s zero energy, zero waste, and zero water. Built to the Passive House Standard, the 83-square-foot home needs no active heating or cooling systems even in extreme weather climates. Disappear Retreat’s minimal boxy form and design open the home up for a myriad of uses from stargazing in the boreal forests to suburban backyard sauna. Mirrored glass walls allow for privacy and full-height views and are triple-pane insulated with R-values of 32 to minimize energy consumption. The walls will also have a UV reflective coating to protect against bird and animal collisions. COULSON Architects have developed three retreat models with different interior layouts, including: Bed+Bath with a built-in sofa/bed and bathroom; Basic with an open-plan layout for multipurpose use; and Sauna that’s equipped with a sauna heater and built-in benches. Each module can fit on a standard trailer. Related: Incredible glass home stays comfortably snug even in extreme temperatures The airtight and super-insulated homes are powered by solar energy and feature an integrated plumbing system with gray, black, and potable water tanks. The units are also equipped with rainwater collection and composting systems. The Disappear Retreats are open for preorder enquiries now. + COULSON architects Via New Atlas Images via COULSON architects

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Zero-energy tiny home has a near-invisible footprint

Gorgeous roof garden feeds owners in proposed off-grid Yin & Yang House

February 27, 2018 by  
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Architecture studio Penda unveiled designs for an off-grid home Kassel, Germany with a stunning rooftop garden . Commissioned by a young family who wants to produce most of their own food, the Yin & Yang house features a minimal timber structure with a terraced roof curved in a shape evocative of the yin yang symbol. As shown in the startlingly realistic renderings, Yin & Yang House occupies a small corner lot. With very little ground space for a garden, Penda turned the roof into two terraced garden spaces to meet the client’s desires for a space to grow fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Rainwater will be collected on the roof and used for irrigation. Related: Trees to grow on the balconies of Penda’s timber high-rise in Toronto The eye-catching and seasonally changing roof is balanced by the building’s minimalist and boxy timber form. The two-story home features a garage, office space, kids’ bedroom, bathroom, master bedroom, and the kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, while the second floor includes additional sitting areas and a secondary workspace accessible by two separate staircases. Large windows let in natural light and views of the outdoors, with beautiful views of the terraced roof garden from the second floor spaces. + Penda Via Dezeen

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Gorgeous roof garden feeds owners in proposed off-grid Yin & Yang House

Take a stargazing getaway in a translucent bubble tent in Australia

January 29, 2018 by  
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Sleeping under the stars is easier than ever thanks to Bubble Tent Australia . The glamping retreat lets adventurers stay in one of three translucent bubble tents tucked deep into the wilderness of Australia’s Capertee Valley – one of the most stunningly scenic landscapes in the world. Mayu Iwasaki and Sonny Vrebac were inspired to found Bubble Tent Australia after they took in a meteorite shower on a clear night at the Mt John observatory. After the experience, they returned to their roofed accommodations still wishing they could lie underneath the starry skies. Bubble Tent Australia, therefore, was born out the desire to let others enjoy non-stop night views in a stunning location. Related: Giant bubble “greenhouse” covers this lush new retail center in Turkey The tents come with all the basics to provide a perfect off-grid escape into nature. A large bed makes up the main bubble, while an attached smaller bubble houses the bathroom with composting toilets . All of the sites come equipped with outdoor kitchens and open-air seating areas with telescopes for optimal star gazing over the valley. The glamping bubbles are located in strategic locations overlooking Capertee Valley, the world’s second largest canyon. The Leo tent is located at one of the highest points in the entire Valley and the Cancer tent is tucked into a stunning gully surrounded by cliffs. But if you’d like to really splurge on your trip, make sure to check out the Virgo, which comes equipped with a warm wood-fired hot tub, private herb garden and a beautiful outdoor seating area. + Bubble Tent Australia Images via Bubble Tent Australia

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Take a stargazing getaway in a translucent bubble tent in Australia

Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse

December 13, 2017 by  
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‘Waste not want not’ seems to be a motto of Horseshoe Farm Residence, a modern solar-powered farmhouse built with reclaimed materials in North Carolina. The clients, a couple seeking an off-grid forever home, tapped design-build firm Buildsense to craft the two-story home set on land the couple had lived on and used for over 15 years. Modern finishes paired with rustic recycled materials like the brick and barn siding give the home a timeless appeal perfect for aging in place. Located in Creedmoor, the Horseshoe Farm Residence was designed with inspiration from the clients’ grandfather who ran a farm where nothing went to waste. “He would deconstruct older structures when beyond repair, remove every nail, and fastidiously hammer them back to straight form for reuse,” said Buildsense. “New structures were planned for durability, utility, and longevity.” In keeping with these thrifty ways, the architects used recycled materials , from concrete slabs to reclaimed barn siding, and used low-maintenance materials like corrugated steel cladding for durability. Related: Charming Italian farmhouse hides a surprisingly modern interior in Tuscany The Horseshoe Farm Residence also boasts off-grid capability. Solar panels power the home, while the rainwater stored in two large cisterns can be used for flushing toilets. The home’s many windows and orientation on an east-west axis take advantage of passive solar. In contrast to its rugged exterior, the interior features timber, white walls, and bright pops of color for a softer appearance. Large windows bring the outdoors in. + Buildsense Via Dezeen Images via Lissa Gotwals Photography

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Stunning chapel in Japan brings a fractal forest indoors

December 13, 2017 by  
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Not all chapels need stained glass windows and soaring archways to take your breath away. This Japanese timber chapel in Nagasaki injects a stunning fractal-like forest indoors for an instant wow factor. Yu Momoeda Architecture Office designed the minimalist chapel with floor-to-ceiling windows to take in sweeping views of the surrounding views of the national park and sea. The boxy 125-square-meter Agri Chapel is a modern interpretation of Oura-Tenshudo, Japan’s oldest timber gothic chapel and national treasure that’s also located in Nagasaki. In contrast to its 19th century predecessor, the new-build chapel is a modernist temple of glass and steel. Seven-meter-tall windows on all sides of the building frame different views of the landscape including the sea, park, mountains, and hills. Related: Mexico’s gorgeous Sunset Chapel looks like a gigantic boulder The tree-like wooden units inserted into the interior are made up of three layers with varying thickness of cedar . Steel rods provide horizontal support. The timber installation’s fractal pattern is based off of 45-degree rotations. Simple wooden furnishings complement the vertical timber supports in the otherwise all-white building. + Yu Momoeda Architecture Office Via ArchDaily

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Stunning chapel in Japan brings a fractal forest indoors

This Living Vehicle can take you completely off grid for a month

October 30, 2017 by  
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HofArc’s new Living Vehicle may just be the future of off-grid living thanks to its dynamic combination of glossy aluminum cladding, eco-friendly materials and self-sustaining features. The stunningly sophisticated home on wheels was built with low-impact materials meant to last a lifetime, and it can be equipped to go off grid for weeks at a time. HofArc’ s founder, Matthew Hoffman, has spent years living and designing modern, mobile living spaces . The Living Vehicle design is the result of years of fine-tuning small spaces so that they make little impact on the environment, but without sacrificing on comfort. Related: Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living The 215-square-feet long camper is clad in ultra-glossy aluminum – a durable, long-lasting, and recyclable product. No only aesthetically pleasing, this shiny facade also helps reflect light and heat, aiding in the trailer’s energy regulation. The high-quality aluminum, along with superior engineering, provides a strong, rigid frame for the RV that can withstand even the most rugged off-road expeditions. Designed to go off grid for weeks at a time, the camper is equipped with ample energy production and storage features including four 150-watt solar panels , four 12-volt lithium ion batteries, and a 3000-watt power inverter. It also comes with a 100-gallon tanks for water storage. Thanks to its ultra-strong insulation, the LV is a comfortable living space all year round. The LV’s interior is not too shabby either. Using many of the tried and true space saving techniques found in RV’s, the LV design goes further on comfort. The kitchen has enough space for a full-sized refrigerator, sink, and stove. An island with counter top is handy for food preparation and provides extra storage space . The living area is light and airy thanks to the large windows. And for sleeping space, there are enough convertible beds to sleep six. Although currently not an option, the HofArc team hopes to modify the current design over the next few years so that the LV can produce its own water and food, therefore converting into a 100% self-sustaining home on wheels . + Living Vehicle + HofArc Via Treehugger Images via Living Vehicle

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This Living Vehicle can take you completely off grid for a month

LGs new smartphone repels mosquitos using sound waves

October 30, 2017 by  
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Forget bug spray — LG recently unveiled a new smartphone that repels mosquitos using sound waves. The India-exclusive K7i smartphone is a fairly ordinary phone with a 5-inch HD display, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. Except its unique Mosquito Away feature sets it apart from other devices. By using ultrasonic sound wave technology, pesky mosquitos are supposedly driven away from the vicinity of the phone. The Mosquito Away feature was previously installed in the company’s air conditioners, washing machines, and TVs. According to LG , the ultrasonic waves are “absolutely safe” for humans. Additionally, the technology is silent, odorless and also user-friendly. It is presently selling for 7,990 rupees in India — or $121. Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether or not the technology actually works. The  BBC , for instance, says the tech is a myth. And according to Bart Knols, an entomologist who chairs the advisory board of the Dutch Malaria Foundation, there is “no scientific evidence whatsoever” that mosquitos can be driven away using ultrasonic sound technology. Related: Flesh-eating bacteria might be spread by mosquitoes in Australia If the Mosquito Away feature does work, the technology could have grand implications. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2015,  212 million malaria cases were reported , which resulted in 429,000 deaths. Through prevention and control measures, there has been a 29 percent reduction in malaria mortality globally since 2010. However, the parasite which is spread by mosquitos still puts populations at risk, particularly in third-world nations. Via Phone Radar , The Verge Images via LG , Pixabay , YouTube

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LGs new smartphone repels mosquitos using sound waves

Skinny micro-apartment can pop up in any city in just one day

October 17, 2017 by  
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The thought of living in an apartment with the footprint of a parking space may seem improbable and uncomfortable, but the chic Tikku micro-apartment shows us that it can be done. In response to pressures of the housing crises, Finnish architect Marco Casagrande of Casagrande Laboratory designed and built a prefabricated mobile micro-apartment that can pop up in as little as a day. The three-story-tall micro-apartment is designed to be mobile so it can go almost anywhere a car can—with enough overhead clearance—and can operate off the grid. Tikku, which means ‘stick’ in Finnish, earns its name from its skinny profile and timber construction assembled from cross-laminated timber modules. The stackable modules occupy the footprint of a parking space measuring 2.5 by 5 meters and require no foundations thanks to a sand box counterweight located at the bottom of the building. Even in Finland’s brutal winters, the architects say that 20-centimeter-thick cross-laminated timber is sufficient to weather the cold without added insulation . The first Tikku prototype was unveiled for the Helsinki Design Week 2017 outside Atheneum in the heart of Helsinki. The 37.5-square-meter micro-apartment includes three floors, one for sleeping, another for working, and the topmost reserved for a light-filled greenhouse. The CLT modules allow for easy customization and the introduction of different living spaces, from a kitchen and sauna to knitting room and workshop. Related: NYC announces opening of its first micro-apartment building, Carmel Place The Tikku is self-sufficient and runs off of solar energy. Composting toilets are installed, however running water is not. Residents are expected to make use of their urban resources for showers, saunas, and laundry machines—a reasonable expectation for cities like Helsinki or Tokyo that have that infrastructure. “Tikku is a safe-house for neo-archaic biourbanism, a contemporary cave for a modern urban nomad,” wrote the architects. “It will offer privacy, safety and comfort. All the rest of the functions can be found in the surrounding city. Tikku is a needle of urban acupuncture, conquering the no-man’s land from the cars and tuning the city towards the organic. Many Tikkus can grow side-by-side like mushrooms and they can fuse into larger organisms.” + Casagrande Laboratory Via ArchDaily Images via Casagrande Laboratory

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Off-grid camping just got so much better with these solar-powered teardrop trailers

October 5, 2017 by  
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Explorers could venture way off the grid thanks to a new collaboration between teardrop trailer maker Vistabule and solar power company Sunflare . Sunflare makes bendy solar panels a few micrometers thick that can be taped to any surface – so they’re the perfect solution to adorn the top of the Vistable camper , conforming to its unique shape. The lightweight solar panels add virtually no weight to the trailer. Vistabule trailers, manufactured by Minnesota Teardrop Trailers, can now be lined with flexible solar panels on their rooftops. Solar energy allows users to turn on lights, charge phones, and cook in the trailer’s full kitchen off-grid . Sunflare CEO Philip Gao said the solar panels can be installed on a new trailer or retrofitted to ones people already own. Related: Sunflare’s new ultra-thin solar “wallpaper” can stick to any surface The trailers feature 1950’s-inspired design, with plenty of space inside for adventurers to store gear, cook dinner, or snuggle up. There’s a full-size sofa bed, collapsible coffee table, and drop-down nightstands inside. A two-burner stovetop and sink with running water allows users to prepare food. Several large windows offer grand views inside the trailer that can be towed by just about any car. With Sunflare solar panels atop the Vistabule trailer can fully charge two smartphones, charge a laptop up to 30 percent, allow campers to switch on the lights and a fan, enable the refrigerator to keep running all day for two and a half days, and run the heater for three hours per day. Sunflare says after that users will probably need to recharge the battery . Minnesota Teardrop Trailers CEO Bert Taylor said in a statement, “When we first started our business, we wanted to make a camping trailer that was beautiful, energy efficient, and would easily blend technology with human comfort. Adding Sunflare solar collection panels to our Vistabule trailers substantially lengthens the time campers can be off the grid, and greatly enhances the entire camping experience.” + Sunflare + Vistabule Images courtesy of Sunflare and Vistabule Facebook

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Off-grid camping just got so much better with these solar-powered teardrop trailers

Go way off-grid in this beautiful bamboo hut in tucked into Bali’s lush mountains

September 25, 2017 by  
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Adventurous travelers looking to go way, way off grid will love this beautiful bamboo haven located deep in Bali’s mountainous region of Gunung Agung. The Hideout Bali Hut , designed by Jarmil Lhoták and Alena Fibichová, sits adjacent to a peaceful riverbank and is just steps away from picturesque rice fields, letting guests experience the Balinese countryside. The Hideout Bali Hut is made completely out of locally-sourced bamboo. Jarmil Lhoták and Alena Fibichová used this sustainable material to create an incredibly durable structure with a low construction footprint. The bamboo used in Hideout’s construction is from the nearby Karangasem Mountains and it’s considered to be one of the best types of bamboo for building. Thanks to its growing height – usually about 800 meters above sea level – the flesh of the bamboo stalks have lower sugar levels, which results in a greater density and durability. Before construction, the stalks were treated with smoke and non-toxic products to increase their longevity. Related: Beautiful bamboo building withstands floods and storms in Vietnam The A-frame hut is supported by six pillars and topped with a thatched roof . The triangular shape of the house led the architects to install large triangular windows on the upper level, which provide stellar views while flooding the interior with natural light . The rest of the house is closely connected to its natural surroundings, and the garden features an outdoor shower surrounded by overhanging trees. + Hideout Bali Via Archdaily

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Go way off-grid in this beautiful bamboo hut in tucked into Bali’s lush mountains

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