An origami-like CLT roof crowns this office in Japan

April 7, 2020 by  
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When Tokyo-based architectural office UENOA was tasked to design a new office building for structural screws manufacturer SYNEGIC Co., Ltd, the client also asked them to create “advanced architecture that [would] expand the possibilities of wooden structures.” The architects rose to the challenge by experimenting with new ways of using cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels in construction. The result is a sculptural office with a sweeping roof frame built of heavy CLT panels that touches the ground on four sides. Located in Miyagi prefecture north of Tokyo, the new SYNEGIC office building is oriented north to south and spans 834 square meters across two floors. The ground floor of the hexagonal-shaped building is partitioned into a series of rooms for a variety of functions including meetings, offices, storage, bathrooms and technical equipment. In contrast, the cross-shaped second floor does not have partition walls and comprises an open-plan office, conference room and sample room. Related: First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground The highlight of the project is the massive folded roof with exposed trusses. The architects created the structure by connecting flat laminated timber trusses with widths of 105 millimeters — the typical size for lumber used in Japanese houses — to triangular CLT panels. The use of CLT allowed the architects to take advantage of time-saving prefabrication and avoid on-site hardware joinery. The heavy CLT panels used for the roof have also been used as partition walls for bearing vertical loads on the ground floor.  “After thoroughly controlling the texture of the CLT surface just like a marble, we are trying to join screws with consideration of design and workability rather than general CLT hardware,” the architects said. “Through these ambitious processes commensurate with the high cost of CLT, it was possible to realize a large CLT wall in the atrium that has no modules and emphasizes the wooden texture more.” + UENOA Images by Hiroyuki Hirai via UENOA

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An origami-like CLT roof crowns this office in Japan

A sculptural office crowns the solar-powered Stellar building in India

March 17, 2020 by  
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Following four years of design and construction, Mumbai-based design studio Sanjay Puri Architects recently completed Stellar, a solar-powered commercial building in Ahmedabad, India. The building features a striking sculptural office on its northwest side. Constructed with rust-red colored aluminum sheets, the angular office is a focal point for not only the 110-meter-long building but also for the bustling intersection where the building is located. To mitigate the city’s temperatures, which rise to an excess of 95 degrees Fahrenheit for eight months of the year, Stellar features a series of terraces that deflect solar gain. Spanning an area of 18,580 square meters, the multistory building houses retail on its lower three levels and office spaces on the upper four levels. About one-third of the offices open onto landscaped terraces and are set back from the building perimeter to take advantage of solar shading. The terraces are connected to a rainwater harvesting tank that stores runoff for reuse. Solar panels have also been installed on the terraces to harness renewable energy . Related: Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the “smartest building advances in Germany” The crowning distinction of Stellar is the 500-square-meter office on the building’s northwest side. Surrounded by a spacious, north-facing outdoor terrace, the eye-catching office is wrapped in angular aluminum sheets strategically placed to protect the windows from the sun. Small triangular perforations along the sides of select panels also allow natural light to pass through into the office during the day and are backlit at night to give the office a beautiful, glowing effect. “This office space is deliberately designed to contrast with the rest of the building, creating an interesting juxtaposition of color, volume and geometry in addition to creating an individual identity based upon the brief,” the architects explained. “The simple rectilinear geometry with muted color tones and the complex angular geometry awash with color contrast to create a unique composition.” + Sanjay Puri Architects Photography by Abhishek Shah via Sanjay Puri Architects

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A sculptural office crowns the solar-powered Stellar building in India

Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the smartest building advances in Germany

February 25, 2020 by  
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In the heart of Berlin, Danish architecture firm 3XN has recently completed Cube Berlin, a striking new office showcasing the latest advances in sustainability, digitization and design. Opened this month, Cube Berlin also serves as a new city landmark with its sculptural, reflective facade designed to engage the pedestrian realm at the historically significant site of Washingtonplatz. The building is expected to achieve DNGB Gold certification and is engineered with smart office technologies that learn and adapt to user behavior to optimize comfort and energy efficiency. Designed as a prismatic reinterpretation of the cube, the sculptural Cube Berlin measures 4.25 meters in all directions. Reflective glazing wraps around the exterior to mirror the surroundings and engage passersby while allowing natural light into the building without compromising privacy. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame stunning views of Berlin landmarks, and select operable openings let in natural ventilation. Solar coatings to the facade, described by the architects as an “osmotic skin,” along with external solar shading mitigate unwanted solar gain and ensure high energy savings. Related: 3XN unveils new, sustainable building for UNSW Sydney In addition to providing visual interest, the reflective prismatic facade also provides opportunities for outdoor terraces on all levels. Outdoor space has also been created on the roof — the “fifth facade” — that features a spacious rooftop terrace shared by office tenants. The office building comprises 10 floors of flexible, multi-tenant office space as well as a ground-floor food market and office lobby, underground parking, plant rooms, conference areas and a rooftop terrace.  As a “next generation smart building,” Cube Berlin allows for greater interactivity between users and the building operations. Building operational information is stored in a “digital brain” server that collects data on energy flow and consumption. Users can use an app to interact with the system by remotely controlling features such as access control, indoor heating and cooling, maintenance, energy supply, room and parking reservations, charging of electric cars and bicycles and more. “In this way, the building and its users enter into an interplay where both are learning from each other,” the architects explained. “The building learns to adjust to the preferences of its users, while the users can control and adapt the building’s settings according to their desires and needs.” + 3XN Photography by Adam Mørk via 3XN

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Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the smartest building advances in Germany

5 revelations from a talk with Temple Grandin

February 10, 2020 by  
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“The suits have got to get out of the office,” the animal behaviorist told GreenBiz 20 attendees numerous times.

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5 revelations from a talk with Temple Grandin

5 revelations from a talk with Temple Grandin

February 10, 2020 by  
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“The suits have got to get out of the office,” the animal behaviorist told GreenBiz 20 attendees numerous times.

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5 revelations from a talk with Temple Grandin

Sights and scenes of GreenBiz 20

February 10, 2020 by  
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Attendees of GreenBiz 20 gathered in summits, plenaries, breakouts, exhibit areas and outdoor activities galore. Here are some visual highlights.

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Down plastic, up morale: How a sustainability graduate school is reducing single-use plastic

January 24, 2020 by  
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Our finance department measured the “before” of our office’s single-use plastic, and implemented improvements right away.

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Down plastic, up morale: How a sustainability graduate school is reducing single-use plastic

8 attainable sustainability resolutions for 2020

January 1, 2020 by  
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Setting goals is a ubiquitous part of ushering in each new year. With a renewed vigor for healthy living, embrace the opportunity to incorporate more eco-friendly habits into your routine. This task can be achieved in a variety of ways, from changing your diet to reducing waste . Wherever you are on your sustainable living journey, we’ve got some ideas for how to lower your carbon footprint and enhance your sense of commitment to the planet. Commit to less driving Reducing miles equals reducing carbon emissions . To minimize personal auto usage, use public transportation for your daily commute. If subways and buses don’t take you where you need to go, set up a carpool to eliminate multiple cars going to the same location. Over the course of a year, replacing your 10-mile drive to work or school at least one day each week will greatly reduce emissions. If possible, skip the car altogether by walking or using a bike. Alternately, look into electric cars if you’re in the market for a new vehicle. Even if you must rely on your car daily, you can still reduce miles by combining errands when you head to town, organizing a carpool for kid drop-offs and pickups, sending the kids to school on the bus, eating your lunch in the office instead of driving to a restaurant and walking or biking to places in your neighborhood instead of jumping in the car. Related: People for Bikes is making cycling safer with Ride Spot Start a garden There’s nothing better than having fresh, organic vegetables at your disposal and no better way to achieve that goal than by starting a garden. If you have the space, plan for the seasons with cool weather leafy veggies and carrots in the spring, a salsa garden in the summer and squash in the fall. In a small space, prepare a container garden on your patio with cherry tomatoes, herbs and peas. If you don’t have space for your own garden, bring together like-minded people and start a community garden. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work,” so having help with planting, maintaining and harvesting plants benefits everyone. If outdoor space isn’t an option, consider setting up a hydroponics system to grow indoors instead. Join an environmentally focused group Finding ways to help the environment can feel somewhat overwhelming, but when you join a group of like-minded people sharing in a common goal, you can achieve great things. Whether your passion is cleaning up the oceans or planting trees , find a local group that supports your cause. If there isn’t one in your area, set a goal to start one. Budget for the environment We are surrounded by prompts to constantly buy more stuff. Every billboard, bus and storefront is filled with enticing marketing meant to convince you that you need whatever they offer. But each product contributes to emissions from sourcing materials, manufacturing, transporting, maintaining warehouse and retail space and disposing of post-consumer waste. Of course, it’s important to make conscientious decisions about avoiding plastic and plastic foam, buying in bulk when possible and investing in durable products that will last many years rather than disposables, but avoiding the purchase in the first place is the best thing you can do for the planet. Boil purchases down to the essentials. Give experiences rather than physical gifts. Only buy in quantities you’re likely to use. Focus on multipurpose items that can suit alternate needs. Really evaluate whether you will use an item long-term. Set a goal to reduce unnecessary purchases, and do your budget a favor at the same time. Hint: Sharing or renting equipment, tools and supplies is another easy way to save money and reduce environmental impact. Take a class There are endless ways to lower your carbon footprint , so target a topic of interest and learn more about it. Some examples include beekeeping, preserving food, woodworking, sewing, gardening or learning how to build solar and wind technology. Become more self-sufficient by obtaining skills in homesteading, identifying edible plants or using plants in alternative ways. Reduce waste Becoming conscious of your waste is a huge step toward reducing it. Take a look at your typical waste. Do you fill a 64-gallon street container each week? If so, see if you can reduce that to a 32-gallon instead. If you don’t already, start recycling . Capabilities of local recycling centers vary widely across the nation, so educate yourself on the regional process. Most facilities accept glass, tin cans, large plastic containers and paper — at a minimum. Also, always return your bottles and aluminum cans for recycling or redemption. Related: Recycling Identifying Device takes the guesswork out of figuring out what is recyclable To repeat an earlier sentiment, the best way to reduce garbage is to keep it from entering the house in the first place. Look at the packaging when you make a purchase, and support companies that ship in recyclable or biodegradable containers. Set a tangible goal for yourself to reduce your waste production by half. Maybe next year, you can halve it again. Write a letter Believe it or not, companies want to know how you feel about their products. When you notice something you like, such as a commitment to carbon offsetting or sustainable material sourcing, let them know with your buying power and your word. Conversely, let businesses know when they miss the mark. Write a letter to the CEO or owner, and let them know you would be a loyal customer if they worked toward corporate responsibility. Near and far, make companies aware of changes they can make to be more sustainable. Offer suggestions to local restaurants to replace plastic straws or single-use plastic tablecloths. Ask if to-go containers are cardboard, and refuse them if an establishment only provides plastic foam. At a city, state or federal level, get your representative involved. Drop them a note each month of the year to let them know what is important to you. Educate them about issues they may not be aware of. Ask for representation around topics like reducing petroleum reliance, protecting nature and supporting organic farming. Make your voice heard by speaking out for what you believe. Clean your plate Feeding the planet’s population puts a burden on our limited resources, but there are many things you can do to lessen your individual impact. Start by buying as local as possible. Source food from the farmer’s market seasonally, and purchase directly from farms in your town. Buying organic produce supports farmers who make the extra effort to keep pesticides and other chemicals out of our waterways. You don’t want to eat chemical-laden food, anyway. Cut back on animal products, because animal farming is a major producer of methane. Skip meat a few days a week or altogether. Cut out dairy products where you can, too. Don’t buy more food than you need , and use up leftovers rather than throwing them out. Do most of your cooking at home. A commitment to home-cooked meals is better for your health, your budget and the planet. Setting resolutions for the new year is a healthy way to guide yourself toward your sustainability goals, which is a win for you and for Earth. Happy New Year! Images via Shutterstock

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White, latticed exoskeleton wraps a LEED Platinum office in Madrid

December 23, 2019 by  
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On the side of a large roundabout in Madrid, Spanish architecture firm Rafael de La-Hoz has realized the eye-catching Oxxeo project, a five-story office building with a LEED Platinum Core & Shell certification . The energy-efficient building makes the most of its wedge-shaped plot with an asymmetrical, three-sided design, of which the geometry is emphasized with the building’s three large-scale, lattice facades with a white, rhomboidal pattern. In addition to creating greater visual interest for Oxxeo, the sculptural facade also helps mitigate unwanted solar gain. Spanning an area of 14,299 square meters, the Oxxeo office building was created with efficiency in mind, from the efficient use of energy to the smart use of space. The building’s double facade includes a glass curtain wall that floods the interior with natural light and reduces reliance on artificial lighting, while the latticed exoskeleton provides solar shading . For flexibility in the floor plan, the architects located supporting pillars inside the vertical core and in the chamfered corners to maximize the seemingly pillar-free office space. Related: This is one of the only LEED Gold-certified hotels in Spain “This building has no other concept idea than the one shown in its own construction,” Rafael de La-Hoz explained in a project statement. “This way, it is the structure, or rather the construction of its structure, or the details of the facade, or the knots and joints which generate its architectural form, or the concept.” The intersecting points for the rhomboidal lattice are spaced out at every 8.1 meters and serve as the supporting elements for the perimeters of the slabs. The corners of each rhomboid are curved to soften the facade’s appearance. The minimalist exterior is matched by a clean interior design. The building is also topped with a green roof . + Rafael de La-Hoz arquitectos Photography by Alfonso Quiroga and David Frutos via Rafael de La-Hoz arquitectos

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White, latticed exoskeleton wraps a LEED Platinum office in Madrid

Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

November 29, 2019 by  
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In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of construction, French architecture firm Atelier du Pont has created an office for Santé publique France, the French public healthcare agency. The new office is built almost entirely from wood and is free of solvents and plastics . Nicknamed “Woody” after its timber build, the office is located on the eastern edge of Paris right next to the Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in the city. The architecture responds to the neighboring landscape with its branching design that embraces the surroundings “like open, protective arms.” Inspired by the Bois de Vincennes, Woody features an all-natural material palette of timber, which is used for everything from the cross-laminated timber structural components and oak flooring to the shingled facades and wood furnishings. Large, furnished terraces jut out from the building to overlook beautiful views of the wooded park, while expansive walls of glass bring those views and natural light indoors. The connection to nature is also referenced in the shape of the building, which resembles a bundle of sticks placed on the ground. Related: Railway enclave in Paris is transformed into a solar-powered mixed-use eco-district “This design symbolizes the mission of this institution, which oversees the health of everyone who lives in France ,” the architects explained in a press release. “The aim is to be exemplary in terms of its impact on the environment and the health. The project has created a pleasant space that takes its users’ wellbeing fully into account.” To create a healthy work environment, the architects have emphasized natural daylighting and a connection to nature. The neutral color palette and unpainted timber lend a warm and tactile feel to the interior. In addition to the nearby park, occupants can enjoy the three gardens around the building, each organized around a theme of beneficial, healing or harmful plants. + Atelier du Pont Photography by Takuji Shimmura via Atelier du Pont

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Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

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