A modernist home in Brazil brings a tropical garden indoors

August 5, 2019 by  
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Designed by São Paulo-based architecture firm BZP Arquitetura , the Casa Flamenco is a modernist home that makes the most of its lush, tropical setting. Surrounded by operable walls of glass and punctuated by interior courtyards , the home pulls the outdoors in at every turn. To further tie the luxury residence into nature, the architects included bioclimatic strategies to ensure a low-energy, comfortable micro-climate; a natural materials palette defined by stone and wood accents; and renewable systems such as solar hot water systems and a rainwater collecting cistern. Spanning an area of 1,300 square meters, Casa Flamenco was created for a young family of four in Jardim Europa, one of São Paulo’s most coveted and upscale residential neighborhoods. The house is spread out across three floors that engage the outdoors with large sliding glass doors. A minimalist materials palette defines the home’s light-toned interior. The design consists of white surfaces and natural materials, such as granite and hickory walnut, to keep the focus on the lush landscaping that is irrigated by collected rainwater. Related: This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof “We have included bioclimatic strategies for the project, such as the use of green slabs in landscaping, protective films on glass, photovoltaic panels that absorb solar energy and convert it to heat, heating water from showers and faucets, and creating a cross ventilation system in environments and greater climatic comfort and air movement inside the residence, reducing the constant use of air conditioning,” the architects said. To keep the emphasis on the landscape, the architects tucked the parking into the underground level, which also houses the technical and service areas. The spacious ground floor comprises the main social spaces including the living areas, dining room, kitchen, office space, home theater and access to an outdoor lap pool. The private sleeping areas are located upstairs. A separate building houses a gym, sauna and toy library. + BZP Arquitetura Via ArchDaily Photography by Tuca Reines via BZP Arquitetura

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A modernist home in Brazil brings a tropical garden indoors

Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

August 5, 2019 by  
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One of the largest nature reserves on continental Africa may soon be destroyed by the China National Petroleum Corporation in the name of oil exploration and economic development. Just seven years after its establishment, and only months after finally becoming operationally managed, Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature Reserve could be reduced in size by half. The Niger government announced plans to remove over 17,000 square miles from what was originally a 38,600-square-mile park. The park is known for containing part of the Sahara desert and low mountain ranges. The specific area of the park that will be converted into oil operations is the most important section in terms of threatened biodiversity. It is home to the critically endangered addax (a type of antelope) and the dama gazelle. There are only an estimated 100 addax remaining, but they continue to be hunted for their meat. Now, the oil development project could shrink their habitat and decimate the addax’s main source of water. The China National Petroleum Corporation is one of the largest oil companies in the world. In exchange for a much-needed $5 billion investment in Niger, the Chinese have exploration rights and permission to build a pipeline that carries 20,000 barrels of oil out of the country every day. Paradoxically, China will be hosting the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020, yet government officials and oil executives seem unbothered by this localized biodiversity issue in the Sahara. The government has proposed to add land to the park along a different border. According to Sébastien Pinchon, a member of the nonprofit that manages the park on behalf of the Niger government, that new area “has little ecological value.” Via Mongabay Image via Shankar S.

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Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

April 22, 2019 by  
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There’s no dispute that travel trailers are gaining popularity among those looking to get off the grid and use fewer natural resources, especially while enjoying activities such as camping and road tripping. At 760 pounds and just over 12 feet in length, the Polydrop trailer is an impressive option for your next adventure. Created by architectural designer Kyung-Hyun Lew, this travel trailer has a lightweight frame and sleeps two people comfortably. For the minimalist traveler, it has pretty much all the essentials. The 2017 prototype was so lightweight that the designer was able to travel for an entire year with the personal trailer hitched to a small 4-cylinder car. The attention gained from Lew’s initial 2017 trip influenced the newer 2019 version with improved parts. Inside the wooden cabin bolted to the aluminum frame, there is a three-quarter-sized mattress, three sections of storage cubbies, two USB outlets and a vented roof. The interior is lit with recessed  LED lighting , and thick insulation protects inhabitants from all sorts of weather while saving energy. Heating (controlled by a thermostat), lighting and the electronic system are all powered by a solar panel. Related: Lume Traveler offers panoramic sky views from an open roof There is also a kitchenette with cabinets for electric hookups as well as two storage drawers in the rear. Unlike other travel trailers , the Polydrop doesn’t leave much room for the kitchen space, but the makers insisted that it has all the essentials for a camping trip at a site with separate facilities, like restrooms and benches, available. This isn’t your grandfather’s travel trailer — the Polydrop makes use of a polygonized teardrop shape with a super modern design and a futuristic feel. Safety wise, Timbren Independent suspension and hydraulic disk brakes get the job done for safe driveability. For the unfussy traveler who just needs a place to rest and some storage, the Polydrop certainly offers a successful approach to camping and road-tripping. The simplicity with a sleek, modern design is perfect for those looking for something not quite as bulky as a traditional travel trailer but more comfortable than a tent. + Polydrop Via Curbed Images via Polydrop

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This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

6 Things to Consider Before Replacing Windows

April 2, 2019 by  
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Windows provide light, warmth, ventilation, and views of the outdoors. … The post 6 Things to Consider Before Replacing Windows appeared first on Earth911.com.

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6 Things to Consider Before Replacing Windows

A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in

February 22, 2019 by  
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Small and portable, this tiny structure offers a versatile shelter for the artist, fisherman or weekend traveler. At only 96 square feet, it could make a micro home , but the space, now called a pavilion, is laid out for an effective work studio, storage shed or traveling gallery. When Danish architect Anders Hermansen designed the pavilion 10 years ago, he presented it as a movable art piece. Perhaps more widely known for his vast furniture line and work with audio-visual company Bang & Olufsen (B&O), the lifelong independent designer wanted to create something that encompassed his love for nature and an active lifestyle. Related: Recyclable art pavilion made of mesh pops up in Kolkata Inspired by that connection to the environment, Hermansen used discarded materials sourced from a construction project in Sydhavnen, Copenhagen to support the structure. The main wall hosts four built-in cabinets for storage and organization. Two of the sides are comprised of large double doors that open to the outdoors. The fourth wall incorporates an entrance and a huge floor-to-ceiling window that draws in natural light while protecting from the elements when Mother Nature is in a bad mood. The interior raw lumber creates a seamless transition from the surrounding natural elements and offers a place to mount supplies. The all-wood design adds to the rustic vibe of this tiny studio pavilion. With the idea that art and nature go hand in hand, the pavilion can be moved from place to place as the need arises by loading it onto a flatbed truck. Although tiny, the pavilion offers plenty of space for storage, work or living, and it is now for sale through Adam Schnack at a $38,000 price tag. It is currently situated in a scenic location at Værløse Flyvestation, near Denmark’s largest film studio. + Anders Hermansen Design Via Curbed Images via Adam Schnack and Lars Gundersen

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A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in

The Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy

September 6, 2018 by  
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When Cheryl and Ken Serdar saw one of the homes belonging to Micropolis®, a collection of sustainable and contemporary house plans designed by architect Arielle Condoret Schechter , they knew they wanted a custom home based on the original 950-square-foot “Happy Family” plan. Taking into account the couple’s needs for extra space, Schechter designed a 2,222-square-foot dwelling that also offered all of the sustainable and modern design features defined in her Micropolis® line. Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, the custom net-zero home is the most energy-efficient residence that the architect has designed to date. The clients were very clear with their expectations of their new three-bedroom house and asked for an abode that was “very modern, extremely green [and] almost industrial.” The modified Micropolis® meets all three targets with its predominate use of concrete for durability and sustainability measures as well as through passive solar principles. The home is oriented toward the south for maximum solar gain, while all the aluminum-framed windows and doors were sourced from Awilux and certified for Passive House construction. Ample glazing opens the home up to natural light, natural ventilation and a connection to the outdoors. To minimize unwanted solar gain, Schechter designed deep roof overhangs built with cypress soffit to visually soften the prefab concrete sandwich panels with built-in insulation. The home is also outfitted with space-saving solutions such as sliding interior barn doors, built-in closets, cabinets and shelving. An industrial feel is achieved with exposed ductwork, concrete elements, minimalist cabinetry and a large factory fan. A wall of glazed folding doors opens the home up to the outdoors to create a greater illusion of spaciousness. Related: The net-zero Lightbox 23 boasts sustainable features and stunning views The net-zero energy house is powered by a small 6 kW solar array . An energy recovery ventilator paired with seals on all air gaps makes for an airtight envelope. Under-slab insulation was installed beneath the polished concrete floors, and the home has achieved a HERS rating of -13. + Arielle Condoret Schechter Images via Kim Weiss / Arielle Condoret Schechter

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The Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy

A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

July 12, 2018 by  
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A small mountain lodge has replaced an old ski lift station on the Krkonoše mountains in the Czech Republic. Czech studio ADR designed the ?erná Voda, named after a nearby stream, to serve as a place of respite for short-term guests of a nearby lodge’s owner. The isolated retreat stands in a meadow apart from the Horní Malá Úpa village, among tall trees and lush shrubbery that shroud the cabin in serenity. Stepping inside the ?erná Voda, guests will find a bright, minimalist design. Light timber, which covers the walls, floors and ceilings, creates an open, airy feel. The kitchen space offers a sharp contrast with blackened wood cabinetry. The simple interior draws focus to the large windows and their picturesque views of the mountains , including Sn?žka, the highest mountain peak in the country. One window opens to the outdoors and allows a breath of fresh air into the cabin. Upstairs, a sleeping loft outfitted with protective netting offers a quiet space for visitors to rest. As natural light filters into the ground floor at daybreak, the loft benefits from the pitched ceiling and retains some darkness for guests who prefer to sleep in. During cooler months, a small wood-burning stove keeps the cabin toasty and inviting after a long day of exploring the outdoors. The mountain lodge blends into its forested surroundings in the summer with its dark metal and blackened wood cladding. When the landscape becomes blanketed in snow, the gabled cabin stands out boldly in its environment. On the west end of the home, a deck extends the living areas to the outdoors. The ?erná Voda mountain lodge has been nominated for a 2018 Czech Architecture Award , which promotes projects that embrace the public and the environment by both new and seasoned architects. + ADR Images via Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma / BoysPlayNice

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This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

July 12, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of going to outer space, prepare to swoon over this spacecraft-inspired tiny home  perched on the edge of the Columbia River in Central Washington. The holiday home — named the Lunar Lander — was designed and built by Kurt Hughes, a naval architect of Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs , who applied boat-building techniques to make the unique structure habitable, comfortable and environmentally friendly. Elevated off the ground on steel pillars, the off-grid, geometric abode measures only 250 square feet and weighs 3,000 pounds. Inspired by the image of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, Hughes sought to create a tiny house with futuristic features, both in appearance and in function. Drawing on his years-long experience with boat- and home-building, Hughes used the latest marine composite technology to construct the dwelling, which is waterproof, airtight  and resistant to vermin, mold and insects. An air-to-air heat exchanger provides comfort and ventilation. The Lunar Lander has neither roofing nor siding, and it is primarily built of plywood, epoxy and fiberglass . Related: Subterranean fridge pod: keep food cold without electricity “The Lunar Lander is not only an interesting configuration, but an homage to a time when people did new things,” explained Hughes of his desire to push the envelope. “Innovators were prized, not feared. And what’s more, the actual Apollo astronauts trained some 25 miles from where this project is sited. The Lunar Lander can rest comfortably on drastic, uneven terrain, with virtually no environmental footprint .” Related: Sail your worries away on this solar-powered floating tiny home Topped with a transparent geodesic dome that fills the tiny home with natural light, the interior features external modules for the bathroom, galley, dining space and storage. A stairway leads down to the sleeping space. Solar panels are affixed to the top of the structure, and the unit is optimized for minimal maintenance. Hughes has also expressed the possibility of making larger models of the Lunar Lander in the future. + Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs Images via Kurt Hughes

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This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

Architects used reclaimed materials to create this stunning home

June 27, 2018 by  
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Tijuana-based firm Guillot Arquitectos has unveiled the gorgeous PS House, a private residence that was built with reclaimed materials salvaged from a previous home on the same lot. The beautiful home design focuses on providing a strong connection with the outdoors and creating a long-lasting space that will accommodate the owners’ needs as they age. The PS House is located on a 10,000-square-foot plot in a secluded residential area of Tijuana, Mexico. The previous home had endured years of structural damage that was too severe to repair; however, when the building team demolished the original structure, they managed to salvage plenty of construction materials that they then used in the new home or donated to other projects. Related: Breezy Verandah House embraces indoor-outdoor living in India From the very beginning, the plan for the PS House’s design  had two main pillars. First, Guillot Arquitectos wanted to create a layout that would allow for a south-facing garden as well as a central patio. Secondly, the residence had to be limited to two floors in order to accommodate the owners’ needs as they aged. The building’s facade of exposed concrete and insulated red brick was chosen to provide the home with optimal energy efficiency . Double-glazed windows and an insulated metal roof bolster this feature by providing an ultra-tight thermal envelope. Solar panels help to provide the PS House with energy, and a greywater system sustains the landscape around the home, including the garden space. The main entrance to the home is through an outdoor patio with a fountain. Once inside, visitors follow an interior walkway that opens up to a spacious living room with plenty of seating. A large, red-brick wall gives the space a modern yet natural atmosphere. The living area, as well as the kitchen and dining room, all lead out to the heart of the home: a large open-air patio . A sliding glass wall connects the interior with the patio, which has a BBQ area, outside chimney and ample seating and dining space. The rest of PS House was equipped with various connections to the outdoors. The master bedroom enjoys beautiful views of the green space that surrounds the home. A wide staircase leads to the bottom floor, where the extra bedrooms, an office space and a small wine cave all have access to the garden area as well. + Guillot Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photography via Guillot Arquitectos

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Architects used reclaimed materials to create this stunning home

This solar-powered school produces enough surplus energy to power 50 homes

June 27, 2018 by  
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This timber elementary school and kindergarten in Switzerland boasts more than just good looks — the School in Port, designed by Zürich-based architecture firm Skop , also gives back to the community through excess energy production. Located in a residential neighborhood, the energy-plus building and communal power station draws from a rooftop array with more than 1,100 solar panels that completely covers the school’s energy needs and powers 50 additional households. Moreover, the school is visually tied to its neighbors with a contemporary zigzagging roof that references the pitched roofs of the local vernacular. Skop won an international competition in 2013 to design School in Port, which is largely informed by sustainable principles. The building was prefabricated using timber sourced from sustainably-managed forests. Wood, which was chosen for its ability to sequester carbon , was also used throughout the interior and in the furnishings. All other construction materials were chosen for their non-toxic, recyclable and low-impact properties. The school covers an area of more than 180,000 square feet to cater to 280 children from kindergarten to elementary school. The light-filled interior is organized around a “central circulation zone,” a zigzagging east-west spine and open learning space that branches off to staggered classrooms and other enclosed spaces to the north and south. Flexibility is a major theme of the interior design — in addition to the multifunctional circulation zone, adjacent classrooms and group working spaces can be connected through large doors — that encourages a variety of teaching and learning methodologies. Related: This minimalist prefab hotel offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps “Placed on a gentle slope, the building takes advantage of the topography and links various outdoor spaces according to the different access routes of the school children,” Skop explained. “On the main level, all rooms benefit from the spatial qualities of the folded roof. Each classroom appears to be an independent little house, creating a cozy and homelike atmosphere for the children.” The School in Port has achieved a MINERGIE-A rating and is also connected to the district heating. + Skop Images via © Simon von Gunten and © Julien Lanoo; illustration via © Skop

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This solar-powered school produces enough surplus energy to power 50 homes

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