Groundbreaking Passivhaus development features ultra-green homes that you can actually afford

October 24, 2017 by  
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UK-based architectural firm Hamson Barron Smith have built a ground-breaking Passivhaus development in Greater Norwich, UK. The Carrowbreck Meadow project includes 14 ultra-sustainable homes, which have been designed to pay homage to the local rural barn vernacular found in the area. The Passivhaus development is the largest of its kind in the area, but will also serve as a benchmark for sustainable building everywhere because 43% of the development is comprised of affordable housing. Built in the traditional barn style, the Carrowbreck Meadow homes are clad in a mix of white render and black-stained timber. The A-frame roofs are covered in either slate or red roof tiles. Wood used in the construction was 100% locally sourced from sustainable northern forests. Additional sustainable features include using low-carbon materials where possible such as the insulation in the roofs, which is made out of recycled newspaper. Local contractors and subcontractors were also hired for the job to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. All of the homes are installed with electric car charging points, rainwater butts and PV connection points. The master plan also includes a unique waste management system that facilitates reusing and recycling processes for the homeowners. Related: Passivehaus Container Complex Proposed for Leeds Waterfront Located in a heavily wooded lot, the positioning and orientation of the homes was strategic in order to take advantage of solar gain in the wintertime and avoid extreme heat in the summer. The homes are installed with an abundance of windows that let in natural light , but are equipped with venetian blinds and brise soleils to provide shade. A heat recovery system provides fresh filtered air throughout the structures. The green building materials and low energy features used in the development, as well as the homes’ integrated thermal bridges and draft-free building envelopes – which is five time over the strict passivehaus regulations for airtightness – have earned the project a full Passivehaus certification . However, the fact that the development includes a high number of affordable homes really makes the Carrowbreck Meadow project unique. By offering 43% percent of the property as affordable housing, the architects hope to not only provide locals with sustainable and energy efficient options, but one that fosters a strong inclusive atmosphere as well. The Carrowbreck Meadow development design was recognized with a RIBA Eastern Region Design Award in May 2017. + Hamson Barron Smith Images via Hamson Barron Smith

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Groundbreaking Passivhaus development features ultra-green homes that you can actually afford

MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

October 24, 2017 by  
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Could flexible architecture be the future of urban design ? Prolific Dutch architects MVRDV just unveiled one very colorful hotel whose nine rooms can be transformed into a variety of configurations. The funky hotel – called (W)ego – is an example of how flexible architecture can help urban areas adapt to diverse needs quickly and effectively — whether it’s making room for growing families, providing student housing, or creating shelters for refugees. The 30-foot-tall hotel is the center of the firm’s Dutch Design Week installation called The Future City is Flexible. In it the firm proposes a new urban design model that is suited to the “users’ most elaborate fantasies.” The hotel has a total of nine rooms, each of which is designated by ultra-vibrant colors and quirky features geared to a variety of tastes. Related: Fully-furnished shipping containers form unique prefab hotel in Manchester The life-sized installation allows visitors to negotiate with each other in order to find the perfect living space of their dreams. The interactive method is based on the idea of creating a participatory process in order to achieve true happiness, “Through gaming and other tools, (W)ego explores participatory design processes to model the competing desires and egos of each resident in the fairest possible way,” explains MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. The hotel, which is currently on display in Eindhoven, was created in collaboration with The Why Factory , the firm’s own research lab that studies how cities across the world will deal with issues such as climate change and population growth in the future. + MVRDV + The Why Factory Via Dezeen Photography by Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

UK man builds highly sustainable Passivhaus-standard home for his elderly parents

July 17, 2017 by  
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A UK man has built his parents the ultimate gift: a highly sustainable home where they can comfortably live out their lives in one of their favorite places on Earth—and it’s also a house that’s won numerous awards to boot. The loving son is Richard Pender, who began the self-built project, called Shawm , as a master’s student studying renewable energy at Newcastle University. Richard worked in collaboration with Dan Kerr of MawsonKerr Architects to create a beautiful airtight home in rural Northumberland that’s built to Passivhaus standards. Richard’s retired parents, Tony and Anne Pender, previously resided in a traditional farmhouse but needed a more modern home where they could comfortably age in place. To allow his parents to continue living in the beautiful yet wild landscapes of rural Northumberland, Richard lived and worked onsite to design and build a custom home with minimal environmental impact. Though Richard isn’t an architect, he drew on his experience with conventional property development projects and dedicated three years to research to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and detailing. Related: Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house The new Shawm home is located within a former farmyard behind the existing farmhouse. The timber-frame new-build is attached to an existing stone wall and features a traditional barn-like silhouette with a clean and contemporary appearance. Materials were sourced locally, such as the larch cladding from Borders and the bespoke furnishings built from trees felled onsite. Richard also manufactured the entire timber frame with a specially designed jig in an old hay shed. Since Shawm was built with Passivhaus principles, the low-impact and low-energy home features highly insulated fabric with airtight construction, thus doing away with any need for a space heating system. The house also includes mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, ‘passive’ solar gain through the south, and use of local and low-carbon materials wherever possible. However, because the site on which Shawm is built is oriented to the north, the home was unable to attain Passivhaus certification. A small biomass pellet boiler provides space heating and domestic hot water in the winter. A solar array powers the house year-round, while rainwater is stored and pumped around the home for non-potable uses. Shawm is also disability friendly and includes ramps, electric blinds, and intercom front door control. The Shawm house won four Regional RIBA Awards, a National RIBA Award, and is long-listed for the RIBA House of the Year 2017 . + Shawm House Via Dezeen Images via Shawm House , by Renderloft

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UK man builds highly sustainable Passivhaus-standard home for his elderly parents

Germany is building world’s largest passive housing complex with 162 green units

August 18, 2016 by  
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In Germany , the world’s biggest passive housing complex is currently under construction. The solar-powered Heidelberg Village designed by Frey Architekten will comprise 162 units and a host of sustainable features, including rooftop and vertical gardens . Frey Architekten founder Wolfgang Frey designed the complex so a wide variety of people could live on the property. There’s a range of one bedroom apartments to apartments that can house families of four or five people. Each apartment will have its own balcony. Solar power and modern ventilation systems will allow the complex to be energy efficient . Vertical gardens and roof gardens will add beauty, fresh air and other benefits. According to the complex’s website, even the “wall color” will make the building sustainable by oxidizing greenhouse gases nitrogen oxides ” into harmless nitrates .” Through the process, oxygen will be released into the air. Related: Belgium’s largest passive office building breaks ground in Brussels Heidelberg Village is being built according to Frey’s “Five-Finger-Principle,” which views sustainability holistically, including “ecology, affordability, integration, innovation, and profitability” as part of the process. The ultimate goal is “building a home environment to last a lifetime,” according to Frey Architekten. Heidelberg Village will likely be finished in 2017. The architects also announced plans to provide construction workers and future residents with food, a lunch program designed to connect the people who will live in Heidelberg Village to those who built their homes. By bringing together these two groups that otherwise may never have met, Frey Architekten hopes to foster a deep sense of community and belonging. In a press release, Frey Architekten founder Wolfgang Frey said, “Our idea is to build a strong community identity by inviting potential residents to our weekly soup kitchen to meet the construction workers and learn more about the people behind the scenes. Through consistent interaction the entire complex will bond over food and friendship.” + Frey Architekten + Heidelberg Village Images courtesy of Frey Architekten

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Germany is building world’s largest passive housing complex with 162 green units

North Americas first fully prefabricated passive houses could revolutionize the housing market

June 13, 2016 by  
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The Ecocor-RPA partnership launched today with the unveiling of eleven prefabricated passive house model home designs that range from a 323-square-foot one-bedroom cabin to a 2,685-square-foot three to four-bedroom house. Passive House , a term which refers to a set of rigorous standards for ultra low-energy homes that provide high levels of comfort, has been used by manufacturers in numerous European countries but has yet to be popularly adopted in North America. Ecocor is the first company in North America to begin manufacturing prefabricated Passive Houses, and is also the only company in the continent to have Passive House Institute (PHI)-certified opaque prefabricated building components. Ecocor’s foundation and wall designs can reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling buildings by an incredible 80 to 90 percent. “Richard Pedranti and I are looking to establish industry best practices for delivering beautiful certified Passive Homes in the United States,” said Chris Corson, Founder and Technical Director at Ecocor. “RPA’s designs combined with Ecocor’s state-of-the-art equipment and proven processes allows us to deliver the highest quality energy efficient homes available domestically.” The homes will be built in a controlled environment at the Ecocor factory before they are delivered and assembled on sites evaluated and optimized for Passive House construction. The prefabrication and assembly process minimizes construction time and site disturbance . Related: 12 brilliant prefab homes that can be assembled in three days or less In addition to the eleven house models, clients will have the chance to work with RPA to design a unique and custom Passive House build. Any changes in design will be plugged directly into Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, which reduces costs and shortens the pre-construction phase. That data is directly integrated into the manufacturing software used in the machines that build the home’s prefabricated components. Ecocor and RPA aim for PHI and Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) certification for all the Passive Houses produced. + Ecocor + Richard Pedranti Architect

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This Canadian passive house factory was built from its own prefab wood panels

May 27, 2016 by  
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The firm estimates the factory will produce 971 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, when compared to a facility built from concrete. A heat-recovery ventilation system and incredibly well-insulated walls help reduce carbon emissions, making the BC Passive House Factory as efficient as any of the houses its products build. Screens made from two-by-fours make up the building’s facade, with each side featuring unique spacing between the wood to accommodate its relation to the sun. The firm stated, “The two-by-fours were prefabbed into screens and left unfinished to naturally weather over time.” Natural light from clerestory windows is abundant for the workers inside, creating a warm complement to the wooden walls. The ceiling is an especially unique tribute to responsible construction, as the beams are made from cedar wood felled from a nearby forest fire. Related: Turkey’s first certified Passive House cuts energy use by 90% Recently, the 1,500 square meter site was awarded the coveted 2016 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture . The factory hopes its accolades and commitment to sustainable and energy-efficient design will help to promote the presence of passive houses near and far. +Hemsworth Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Ema Peter

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This Canadian passive house factory was built from its own prefab wood panels

Surprising new green-roofed community center in Paris meets stringent Passivhaus standards

December 31, 2015 by  
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Volkswagen set to finally unveil its all-electric Microbus next week

December 31, 2015 by  
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Lovers of the Volkswagen microbus, take note: the iconic car may (finally!) be making an eco-friendly comeback. Rumors are swirling that VW could be working on something seriously awesome – a successor to the much loved Microbus with an exciting twist:  an electric powertrain . VW has confirmed plans to unveil a new concept vehicle next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Even though the automaker is keeping most details about the concept under wraps, VW  has hinted in the past that it could be reviving the beloved bus and they recently stated that they will use the show to discuss latest developments in electric mobility as well as next-generation connectivity. Read the rest of Volkswagen set to finally unveil its all-electric Microbus next week

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Volkswagen set to finally unveil its all-electric Microbus next week

Award-winning solar home in the UK costs $2 a month to run

December 21, 2015 by  
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Gorgeous solar-powered prefab can be easily picked up and moved almost anywhere

December 9, 2015 by  
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