Infographic: How a Passive House Saves Energy

April 24, 2020 by  
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An energy efficiency building standard, Passive House design reduces a … The post Infographic: How a Passive House Saves Energy appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: How a Passive House Saves Energy

Earth911 Inspiration: Adopt the Pace of Nature

April 24, 2020 by  
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Today’s quote is from American poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Adopt the Pace of Nature appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Adopt the Pace of Nature

Solar-powered home in Maine stays warm with passive design

April 6, 2020 by  
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As one of the most beautiful states in the country, Maine offers an infinite number of advantages. But the state’s notoriously frigid winters often leave new residents desperate to find some respite from the long, cold months. After spending a few years in a drafty home where she and her family lived in multiple layers of clothing, author Jessica Kerwin Jenkins and her husband decided to build their own energy-efficient home. The result is an incredible barn-inspired structure that uses solar power and multiple passive features to keep the stunning interior living spaces warm and cozy throughout the year. Once they set out to build a new home, the couple researched passive house concepts that would suit their family’s needs, which included a comfortable living space where they wouldn’t have to dress in 10 layers of warm clothing for six months out of the year. With the help of a local architect, the couple set out to build an extremely airtight structure that used solar power and passive strategies to create an energy-efficient home with a minimal carbon footprint. Related: Beautiful Maine home uses passive solar principles to achieve near net-zero energy Located in the quaint community of Blue Hill, the beautiful home is tucked into an old blueberry field just minutes away from a secluded cove. The incredibly idyllic setting set the tone for the design, which focused on creating something that would fit the region’s style but also reap the benefits of modern sustainability. As for aesthetics, Jenkins explained that she and her husband were both intrigued by the traditional Japanese practice of shou sugi ban . But they ended up cladding the home in something that would pay homage to the local seaside community — pitch tar. Typically used to weatherproof ships’ masts, the material is durable, low-maintenance and highly insulative. Additionally, the jet-black exterior allows the home to both stand out and blend in with its natural surroundings. “We always wanted to do a black house, which seems really dramatic — but there are so many evergreens here that it disappears into the tree line,” Jenkins said. The house is topped with a 26-panel, 7.8 kW solar array on the pitched roof, generating more power than the home uses. The exterior is punctuated with an abundance of triple-paned windows that, thanks to the home’s southern orientation, provide optimal solar gain to keep the interiors warm. At 2,288 square feet, the four-bedroom home is quite spacious. Plentiful windows and high ceilings add to the modern feel of the living spaces. For an extra touch of warmth, the home is equipped with a radiant floor heating and an air exchanger that pulls in air from outside and passes it through a filter. This stunning, eco-friendly home set in an unbelievable location, not far from Acadia National Park, can be all yours for just $585,000 , as it is currently listed for sale. + Christopher Group Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Bruce Frame Photography via Christopher Group

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Solar-powered home in Maine stays warm with passive design

First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

February 24, 2020 by  
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Move over steel and concrete — a pioneering cross-laminated timber (CLT) project that’s set to break ground in Boston could spearhead a greater adoption of mass timber across the country. Local startup  Generate Architecture + Technologies  has teamed up with progressive developer Placetailor to lead the project — the city’s first-ever CLT Cellular Passive House Demonstration Project — and provide live/work spaces in Lower Roxbury. Developed with the startup’s Model-C system for prefabricated kit-of-parts construction, the building will forgo conventional concrete and steel materials in favor of carbon-sequestering engineered wood products. Expected to break ground in June of 2020, the CLT Passive House demonstration project will comprise five floors with 14 residential units as well as innovative and affordable co-working spaces for the local community on the ground floor. In addition to introducing low-carbon, mixed-use  programming to the neighborhood, the project will be a working prototype for Generate’s Model-C, “a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.”  The Model-C system is not only designed to function at net-zero carbon levels, but is also Passive House certified and built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” which were developed with Placetailor. As a result, the demonstration project is expected to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction. The  CLT  rooftop canopy is also engineered to make it easy to mount solar panels. Modular units, like the bathrooms, can be prefabricated offsite and then plugged into the building to reduce construction time and waste.  Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Thanks to  prefabrication  methods and the reduction of interior framing, the Model-C prototype is expected to completed by the end of 2020 and will be available for tours at the Industrial Wood-Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4. Generate is also exploring the possibility of applying the Model-C system to projects that range from six to 18 stories across the U.S. + Generate Images by Forbes Massie Studio

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First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

Designer Dana Cohen creates unique, recycled fabric garments

February 24, 2020 by  
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It’s no secret that the United States wastes millions of tons of textiles every year. From fast fashion to unsustainable production to consumers simply choosing to throw out clothes instead of donating them, the environmental costs of fabric waste is starting to add up — and fast. A 2015 graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Dana Cohen is choosing ecological design methods and making waves in the sustainable fashion industry. Cohen’s first award-winning collection, Worn Again, was developed in 2015 using recycled materials. By taking discarded fabrics and shredding them into smaller monochromatic fibers, Cohen was able to create new felted textiles out of scraps that would usually be taken to the landfill. After the process was complete, the designer was left with a completely unique knit boasting a combination of colors and patterns produced by the different original fabrics. Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The process to create these eco-textiles combines machinery and hand work to help give each piece a one-of-a-kind look. The felting process also leaves the material extremely soft and durable. The Worn Again collection won both the Fini Leitersdorf Excellence Award for Creativity and Originality in Fashion and the Rozen Award for Design and Sustainable Technologies in 2015. In 2018, Cohen revealed the City Growth collection, which was featured in Tel Aviv Fashion Week and Vietnam International Fashion Week that same year. The collection was inspired by global urban development and the diminution of agriculture by city growth, something Cohen had seen first-hand as the daughter of a farmer. Unsurprisingly, the collection went on to also earn awards, including the Israeli Lottery Company Fashion Design Award, the “Mifal Hapais.” In 2019, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem displayed the City Grown collection as part of an exhibition on fashion statements. The designer’s mission is to help people feel good inside and out by providing exclusive and beautiful garments that have a positive impact on society while still maintaining style. Cohen’s inspirational designs prove that recycled products can be just as fashionable (if not more) than traditional clothing items. + Dana Cohen Photography by Rafi Deloya, Rotem Lebel and Ron Kedmi via Dana Cohen

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Designer Dana Cohen creates unique, recycled fabric garments

This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere

November 19, 2019 by  
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At nearly 70,000 square feet, Gillies Hall at Monash University in Australia has become the country’s largest Passive House-certified building. The school has a population of about 4,000 students, most of whom are studying subjects of early childhood education, physiotherapy and nursing. Since the building was opened, modeling has maintained indoor temperatures between 22 °C (71 °F) and 24 °C (75 °F) throughout the year. At the forefront of the project was the usage of cross-laminated timber (or CLT), which inspired much of the design for the building’s interior. CLT is a type of prefabricated , solid wood paneling that is both lightweight and strong and is widely considered to have a low environmental impact in construction projects. Aside from providing superior thermal insulation, its simple and quick installation generates minimal waste onsite. Related: LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses California’s coastal climate According to Simon Topliss, project director for Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, “CLT was a wonderful, low-carbon solution and is a robust, structural product with a warmth that concrete doesn’t have.” Close to 50 percent of the entire building’s internal walls and the partition walls in each apartment were made using CLT . There are two wings of apartments on each residential floor, each joined by a connective “knuckle,” allowing the building’s circulation to integrate with the communal kitchen, lounge and study. There are glazed, open stairs with outside views connecting to other floors as well. In Australia, Passive House -certified projects typically cost 6 to 10 percent extra to construct but use about 70 percent less energy than conventional buildings. The region where Gillies Hall was built often sees a large number of extremely hot summer days, so plenty of shading and cross-ventilation methods were implemented in order to keep the building within the temperature standards of Passive House certification. The project was completed in 19 months, just in time for students to move in for the 2019 school year. Topliss said that the university’s commitment to fostering community was one of the main focuses for the design of the building. “So we wanted to take every design opportunity to create spaces for students to socialize, play and study together,” Topliss explained. “There is one resident adviser per 30 students, and floor planning was developed around this model.” + Jackson Clements Burrows Architects Via Dwell Photography by Peter Clarke via Jackson Clements Burrows Architects

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This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere

Passive House Design: Changing the Future of New Home Construction

October 31, 2019 by  
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Existing buildings consume between 40 percent and 50 percent of … The post Passive House Design: Changing the Future of New Home Construction appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Passive House Design: Changing the Future of New Home Construction

Geothermal-powered home fuses high-end luxury with restraint

October 30, 2019 by  
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In central Hungary, Budapest-based architectural studio Benyei Architectural Studio has designed an elegant family home that pairs luxury with restraint to beautiful effect. Fitted with custom designs and high-end finishes, the home’s decor is deliberately pared down for a modern and minimalist look that inspired the project’s name, “Bold, rather than brash.” The result of a close collaboration between architect and client, the residence follows passive house criteria and is equipped with a geothermal system that meets the family’s energy needs. Spread out across two floors and 517 square meters, the “Bold, rather than brash” residence was completed over the course of four years and was mainly built with reinforced concrete for a monolithic appearance. Citing 1930s architecture and mid-century design as inspirations, the architect sought to create a building that would communicate strength and elegance through simplicity. The home also comes with a spacious 1,600-square-meter garden, the enjoyment of which is enhanced by the building’s connected terraces . Related: Luxury condo in Budapest will bring residents closer to nature “It was crucial for Benyei’s team to ensure there was a purity to the building and born from that was its cavernous sense of attachment to the land, as though it is a natural part of the surrounding environment as it seems to subtly emerge from it rather than exist within it,” the firm said. The interior design complements the boxy silhouette of the building yet introduces a wider variety of textures and finishes for character and warmth. The living room wall, for instance, is covered with three-dimensional tiles created by KAZA Concrete that give the room a more tactile feel. Custom-designed pieces abound in the home, from the living room textiles created by textile designer Andrea Heged?s to the spectacular Manooi crystal chandelier that hangs above the Italian volcanic rock dining table. In addition to the minimalist decor, the home’s sense of grandeur and spaciousness is emphasized with an open-floor layout and large walls of glazing. + Benyei Architectural Studio Photography by Zsolt Batár via Benyei Architectural Studio

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Geothermal-powered home fuses high-end luxury with restraint

Certified Passive House in New York generates all of its own energy

August 13, 2019 by  
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In New York’s Hudson Valley, a beautiful new beacon for sustainable, net-zero design has taken root. New York-based North River Architecture & Planning recently added another energy-efficient build to its growing portfolio of environmentally friendly projects — the Accord Passive House, a modern home that has not only achieved PHIUS+ Certification but also boasts no net energy costs annually. Located in the hamlet of Accord, the contemporary house is sensitive to both the environment as well as the local culture and history. The architects drew inspiration from the rural farm buildings for the design of a gabled , barn-like house that emphasizes connection with the outdoors and flexible living spaces accommodating of the homeowners’ changing needs. As with traditional farm buildings, the construction materials were selected for longevity, durability and low-maintenance properties. Related: Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York Galvanized corrugated steel siding wraps the exterior, while a trowel-finished concrete slab is used for the floor inside and is visually tied to the xeriscaped pea gravel patio that requires no irrigation. “Trim materials inside and out were chosen for their adaptive reuse and low resource extraction properties, including the use of engineered lumber for trim work, salvaged white oak slats and carmelized cork throughout the project,” the firm added. “The cork was used inside and out for its sustainable harvest and broad utility for acoustics, water resistance and insulation value.” Topped with a 9kW photovoltaic array, the impressive net-zero energy build was also created to show how Passive House design can be beautiful, resilient and comfortable without incurring sky-high costs. The firm said it has achieved “a competitive price per square foot relative to regional costs for this market niche.” During construction, the architects hosted open-house learning events to promote open-source sharing of energy-efficient design methods and solutions with the local community. + North River Architecture & Planning Photography by Deborah DeGraffenreid via North River Architecture & Planning

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Certified Passive House in New York generates all of its own energy

Delaware becomes first ‘no-kill’ state for animal shelters

August 13, 2019 by  
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Nicknamed “The First State,” Delaware has racked up even more kudos: it has recently been named the first and only no-kill animal shelter state in the country. According to the Best Friends Animal Society website , a nonprofit animal welfare group, a no-kill community “is one that acts on the belief that every healthy, adoptable dog and healthy cat should be saved, and that its focus should be on saving as many lives as possible through pet adoption, spay/neuter, trap-neuter-return and other community support programs rather than achieving a specific numerical outcome.” Related: 7 ways to be a sustainable and eco-friendly pet owner In order to be considered no-kill, a state must report at least a 90 percent save rate for all cats and dogs entering shelters , the website explains. The nonprofit organization’s website also says the group is committed to aiding homeless pets from coast to coast. “That means leading local no-kill initiatives, working to end breed discrimination, eliminating puppy mills and keeping community cats (stray and feral felines) safe and out of shelters through TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs,” the site reads. Adding to the excitement, Brandywine Valley SPCA said it was also recognized by Best Friends for its leadership and dedication with the no-kill shelter plan. “The Brandywine Valley SPCA has a live release rate of 95 percent for the more than 14,000 animals a year we intake,” Linda Torelli, marketing director of Brandywine Valley SPCA, told CNN . “Within Delaware, we intake more than 60 percent of the animals entering shelters and more than four times the next largest shelter, so our policies have had a significant impact on the state becoming no-kill.” In 2018, about 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in animal shelters across the country, because the animals didn’t find homes. But Best Friends believes this can change in the U.S. by 2025 if everyone commits. Some of Delaware’s programs that earned the state its place as the first no-kill state include adoption events, trap/neuter/spay programs for cats that might not be adoptable, low-cost veterinary clinics, education programs and behavioral training for dogs that need additional attention. If you’re interested in working on a no-kill resolution for your community or state, you can obtain important information and guidelines from the Best Friends website . + Best Friends Animal Society Via CNN Image via Thomas Park

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Delaware becomes first ‘no-kill’ state for animal shelters

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