The sustainable wardrobe: its more accessible than you think

January 29, 2019 by  
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When it comes to making sure our homes are eco-friendly, it is easy to neglect the closet. Your clothes, however, might just be the biggest culprit. All those synthetic fabrics will take over 200 years to fully decompose, and the microfibers often end up in the ocean and in the bellies of sea creatures. The fashion industry produces 20 percent of all wastewater, and the amount of pollutants it emits is the second largest in the world (the first is oil). This is all while generating 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined total from all international flights and maritime shipping. So what can you do to build a more sustainable wardrobe? First and foremost, educate yourself. Before you do anything, learn why you’re doing it. Start out by doing some research to figure out what your biggest priority is. Vegan and cruelty-free? Non-toxic materials? Organic materials? Do you care more about what the clothes are made out of, or who made the clothes? Arming yourself with information makes it easier to make better decisions for yourself and the environment. Support ethical businesses The rise of fast fashion has brought about high demand for cheap, trendy clothing items. The cost of manufacturing these inexpensive clothes has led many factories to turn toward cheap labor and sweatshops in developing countries — often with dangerous work conditions on unlivable wages. When you do purchase clothes, read the label and see where it was made. If you’re not sure about the country, opt for the U.S. and the U.K. where the labor laws are more strict and regulated. Invest in higher quality, eco-friendly fabrics Growing materials for certain fabrics take a heavier toll on the planet, so buying clothes made from natural materials like organic cotton, linen or hemp can help offset the environmental impacts. Not only do certain fabric materials take huge amounts of water to grow, but the chemicals used to rid these crops of pests also seep down into the soil and natural water supply. The upside is that not all crops are grown this way. Organic cotton is grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Hemp is versatile, strong and requires much fewer pesticides or fertilizers to grow. Linen, made from flax, demands less water and energy sources, and it is naturally biodegradable. Related: Faux fur or real fur, which one is better for the planet? Don’t throw clothes away This seems simple enough, but it’s surprising just how many pieces of clothing end up in the trash every year. In 2015, there were 10.5 million tons of textiles in landfills, and many of those were synthetic fibers that don’t decompose. When a favorite piece of clothing gets torn, mend it up rather than tossing it in the trash — you’ll save more money, too! Not a master sewer? Take it to a tailor. If you really want to get rid of something, take it to a donation center or thrift store. Or, try a clothing swap with a friend — you’ll both get new pieces for your wardrobes without anything ending up in the trash can. Related: Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste Shop vintage and thrift When it comes to fashion, choose timeless over trendy. Buy clothes that will work year-round rather than just for a season. Think multi-purposefully. Most importantly, don’t think that being on a budget means limiting yourself to cheap clothes or fast fashion trends. Shop mindfully Stop to ask yourself: do I need this, or do I just want it? There’s a big difference there. If you really need something new for a wedding or special event, buy with purpose. Don’t just go into a store to shop for nothing in particular, or you’ll most definitely end up with something you don’t need. Also, if you buy items that are more versatile, it will actually help you in the long run. You’ll have more outfit choices and less clutter to worry about in your closet. Take good care of the clothes you have Using a lower temperature in your washing is not only less damaging to fabrics, but it’s a win for the environment, too. Heating accounts for 90 percent of the energy used from doing a load of laundry. If you can swing it, skip the dryer altogether and hang-dry your clothes (of course, this works better in a dry, warm climate). You can also try washing your clothes in larger batches, because this will waste less water and electricity. Consider switching to an eco-friendly brand of detergent as well. Keep an eye out for ones that are biodegradable , phosphate-free and made from plant-derived ingredients. The better shape your clothes are in, the longer they will last. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners DIY Here’s the good news: there are more ways to express your personal style than buying clothes. Learn to make your own accessories or bags; it might turn into a fun new hobby or a skill you never knew you had! Rather than throwing old clothes away, repurpose them into something new. Old T-shirts make great dusting rags, and soft materials like cotton can be made into pillowcases or quilts. Check out these great ideas for recycling old clothes from DIY for Life. Images via Charles Etoroma , MNZ , Prudence Earl , Raw Pixel , Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke , Egle and Shutterstock

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The sustainable wardrobe: its more accessible than you think

Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

November 21, 2018 by  
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When Melbourne-based firm  Merrylees Architecture was tasked with giving on old Victorian home a modern makeover , they wanted to retain the home’s original features as much as possible. After stripping layers and layers of exterior paint off the home, the architects discovered that the original red bricks underneath were in excellent condition, leading the way for the Unbricked House’s rebirth, which included a number of restored and new materials. When the homeowners of the 2,637 -square-foot home first contacted the architects, they requested that their beloved Victorian home be restored , but with a focus on maintaining the home’s charming character. Additionally, they wanted a new layout that would cater to their personal lifestyle and one that would be thermally-sound year round. Related: A Seattle midcentury home is restored to its original brilliance with a modern twist Beginning on the exterior, the architects stripped the old paint completely off the red brick walls. Once they discovered the brick facade was in excellent condition, they decided to use it to establish a distinct connection between the old home and a new red brick addition, which would add more space and light to the family home. The second request from the client was to add as much natural light into the home as possible. With this in mind, the home’s new addition was made out of multiple black steel framed windows. According to the architects, “Early discussions about materiality lead to a combination of recycled red brick, black steel framed windows, blackened blackbutt and black metal trims. Contemporary yet sustainable materials; solid and everlasting just like the original home.” To create a family-friendly layout, the living space was reconfigured to include large proportions on the areas that serve as communal spaces, the living room, kitchen, etc. These spaces are flooded with natural light thanks to not only the large glazed walls, but the strategically-placed skylights throughout the home. The interior design throughout the home is fresh and modern, with white walls, hints of a soothing light blue and light timber features. + Merrylees Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Merrylees Architecture

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Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

One for Hundred a furniture company that grows more wood than it uses

November 1, 2018 by  
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One for Hundred , an Austrian furniture company, was founded on the belief that creating furniture doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with destroying forests . With this philosophy in mind, Anna and Karl Philip Prinzhorn — the founders of One for Hundred — decided to plant 100 trees for every piece of wooden furniture that they sell. The decision about where to plant the trees and harvest the wood for the furniture was an easy one, because it all comes from the company’s own forest just outside of Vienna that has been in the family for seven generations, spanning ownership for more than 200 years. Because of this personal connection, the designers place emphasis on maintaining the health of a diverse blend of trees in the forest. Their goal is to use the trees to make quality wood pieces while simultaneously preserving the forest for the next generation. Related: Karton creates ultra-durable cardboard furniture for every room in your home While other manufacturers harvest and ship internationally, One for Hundred spins the sustainability dial way up with short forest-to-workshop travel requirements. In fact, the master craftspeople are located a short distance from the forest where the trees are harvested. Cut in the winter, the wood is sent to the craftspeople and dried for months before being turned into unique furniture pieces. Each piece of furniture is customizable to suit the customer’s preference of size, wood choice and color. Wood options include ash, oak, walnut, cherry, larch and maple. The One for Hundred furniture also includes the ability to be flat-packed, offering a storage solution and reducing shipping costs. The furnishings have a sleek, Scandinavian vibe with models including coffee and side tables, wall shelving, benches and media storage cabinets. The tree-to-table efforts of One for Hundred are being widely recognized, as can be seen in the company’s recent invitation to the Vienna Design Week 2018 as well as the Blickfang Vienna Fair. With a focus on the future as well as the present, Anna and Karl Philip hope to inspire sustainability in an industry often criticized as anything but. + One for Hundred Via Dwell Images via One for Hundred

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One for Hundred a furniture company that grows more wood than it uses

Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion electric sedan concept takes aim at Tesla’s Model S

February 19, 2018 by  
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With a driving range of 413 miles, Volkswagen’s latest concept sedan aims to beat the Tesla Model S at its own game. Volkswagen has released teaser photos of its new I.D. Vizzion concept, and it features a fully-autonomous system that lets passengers sit back and let the car do the driving. The I.D. Vizzion concept is the latest from the family of I.D. electric cars that VW has released, which started with the I.D. hatchback in late 2016. While the previous I.D. concepts have been previews of VW’s future electric models, the I.D. Vizzion takes it a step further by being the first to feature fully autonomous technology, which VW is going to debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show . Related: Volkswagen may offer more electric cars than any other brand Inside the I.D. Vizzion doesn’t have a steering wheel or pedals. Instead a “digital chauffer” is responsible for piloting the vehicle. The concept car drives, steers and navigates autonomously in traffic, while the passengers are given the freedom to do other tasks. The I.D. Vizzion concept also features a virtual host, which the passengers can interact with via voice or gesture controls. The system also automatically knows the personal preferences of the passengers. The I.D. Vizzion concept is the largest of all the I.D. concepts and previews a premium electric sedan. The concept is powered by two electric motors that generate a combined 302 horsepower that’s sent to all four wheels. A 111 kWh lithium-ion battery gives the concept a driving range up to 413 miles. VW has yet to announce when the production version of the I.D. Vizzion concept will arrive, but the first I.D. model, the hatchback, will go on sale in 2020. The electric hatchback will then be followed by the I.D. Crozz electric SUV and then the microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz . By 2025 VW plans to introduce more than 20 electric vehicles. +Volkswagen All images © Volkswagen

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Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion electric sedan concept takes aim at Tesla’s Model S

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at the age of 91

January 29, 2018 by  
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IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad died over the weekend at the age of 91. Kamprad founded the global behemoth in 1943, when he was just 18 years old. Though he became one of the richest people on the planet, he lived frugally, buying used clothes , eating lunch at his own stores and even moving from country to country in order to pay lower taxes. Kamprad stepped down from the company in 2013, after helping to build IKEA into a $44 billion company . The founder of IKEA and one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has passed away at the age of 91. A post shared by IKEA Today (@ikeatoday) on Jan 28, 2018 at 2:26am PST IKEA is arguably one of the most important design companies in the world, providing contemporary furnishings at an affordable price point to homes across the planet and changing the way we shop for furniture. Kamprad founded IKEA as a small mail order company and then moved to retail in the 40s. IKEA’s first store opened in Almhult, Sweden in 1958. Today, there are 411 IKEA stores in countries ranging from Saudia Arabia to Slovakia and beyond. Related: IKEA’s billionaire founder only buys used clothes – because they’re cheaper Kamprad was obsessed with innovation and affordability, which helped him build IKEA into the furniture giant that it is today. That frugality seeped into his personal life, as well. He was known to pocket salt and pepper packets from restaurants, bought his clothing at flea markets and recycled his tea bags. Kamprad’s life hasn’t been without controversy. He has received criticism for dodging Swedish taxes, and was a Nazi sympathizer in his youth, a decision that he called the “greatest mistake of his life”. Via Dezeen images via Wikimedia and Deposit Photos

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IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at the age of 91

Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

October 31, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to stay in an earthbag dome home , here’s your chance. When Lisa Starr first purchased land in Joshua Tree, California, she wasn’t thinking about vacation rentals. Instead, the artist and drum medicine woman sought a place not too far from the coast where she could build a sustainable life for herself. After deciding to build in accordance with the Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s affordable and disaster-resilient superadobe methodology, she recruited volunteers and CalEarth alumni to first work on a few practice domes that eventually evolved into the “village” that can be booked through Airbnb. This extra income comes as an unplanned perk, but her real dream – to pursue her work as an artist – required building a couple more domes. After completing the practice homes, Starr and her crew of interns, volunteers and CalEarth alumni worked on her personal space – a 1,360 square foot dome home two connecting hallways. The 18″ thick walls, comprised of 15 percent cement and 85 percent earth, provide the thermal mass to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, according to her Facebook page . Starr told Inhabitat she believes in sticking with “traditional Nader” – focusing on being creative with smaller structures rather than 20- to 30-foot domes. Khalili, who founded CalEarth to share his design and life philosophy with others, promoted sustainable homes that could be built with materials found on site. And that’s exactly what Starr was able to accomplish. She says she sourced 75 percent of the materials used in her dome structure from her own land. Related: Build your own disaster-proof home with materials of war While her home is private, guests have access to a “rustic yet luxurious camp-like experience” in the village. With expansive views and open skies day and night, “star gazing is a must,” says Starr. The village includes two 8-foot “Sleep Pod Earth Dome” structures with storage or a cave-like space for a child to sleep in. Each pod, which comes with a full size mattress, bedding and solar-powered ceiling light, can accommodate up to a family of four. In winter, tea light heaters keep the space warm at night. The communal area includes a shaded outdoor kitchen and kiva fire pits, along with a shower house and outhouse complete with a flushing toilet and sink. Guests are encouraged to bring their own bottles to refill with potable water available on site. Now Starr is working on building another 12-foot dome structure to use as a studio, honing in on her original intention. She has been living at Bonita Domes for four years now, and though it comes with its challenges, she says her dream has catapulted forward. + Bonita Domes on Facebook + Bonita Domes on Airbnb Images via Bonita Domes and Dylan Magaster

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Medicine drum woman builds beautiful earth home village in Joshua Tree, California

Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

October 31, 2017 by  
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When Faulkner Architects was tasked with building a family home just outside San Francisco, the clients emphasized the importance of the environment. The Truckee-based architecture firm set about creating a striking site-specific dwelling with a small energy footprint. The result is an AIA award-winning three-bedroom home, called Miner Road, that’s wrapped in sheets of Corten Steel—chosen for its low maintenance and the way it “refresh[es] every time it rains, just like the landscape,” says architect Greg Faulkner. Located in Orinda on a sloped eight-acre site with large oak trees, Miner Road takes over the footprint of a former home that once stood on the property. The mature oak trees informed the orientation of the home and provide shade, while glass walls frame the trees’ large gnarled branches. Large cutouts in the weathering steel facade let in ample natural light and views of the landscape. Related: Green-roofed home with rusting walls appears to grow out of a Finnish forest “This bridging between interior and exterior is major feature of the main living space, and an entire wall is devoted to connecting the two visually,” wrote Faulkner Architects. In contrast to the weathering steel facade, the interior is bright and modern, and focuses on a natural materials palette , from the abundant use of white oak to white gypsum walls and basalt floor tiles. The home’s mechanical and electrical systems are designed at a 44.9% improvement over code and include a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels. + Faulkner Architects Via Dezeen

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Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

Try These 10 Eco-Friendly Home Goods Replacements

October 9, 2017 by  
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You can do a huge part to reduce your personal … The post Try These 10 Eco-Friendly Home Goods Replacements appeared first on Earth911.com.

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10 Products to Green Your Picnic

June 9, 2017 by  
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Dreaming of dining barefoot in the park or feasting with silky sand beneath your toes? Before you head off to frolic in the summer sun with picnic basket in hand, be cognizant of your personal impact. Try these sustainable swaps when planning your…

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A goodbye from Inhabitat founder Jill Fehrenbacher

June 7, 2017 by  
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After 12 years as the Editor-in-chief of Inhabitat.com, I say goodbye today — as I step down from running Inhabitat in order to focus on my soon-to-be-expanding-family. This change is bittersweet for me, as Inhabitat has been one of the central focuses and passions in my life for more than a decade. I started Inhabitat.com back in 2005 as a way to explore the power of design to improve the world for the better – first quitting my digital marketing job and then dropping out of grad school to focus on all of my energy, money and attention on growing the website. For years I put all of my blood, sweat and tears into growing Inhabitat to be the premiere website for green design and innovation, and I believe that our website has really made an impact in shaping the global conversation around what design can and should be. I worked on Inhabitat through the births of my two children, and even launched a parenting website the day before my first son was born – merging my personal and professional lives in a way that might not have been entirely healthy! I roped my husband into penning columns for Inhabitat , my kids made videos and starred in sponsored promotions , and this endeavor has always been more like my third child rather than just a job for me for more than a decade. But now that I have a real third baby coming, I realize I needed to make more time for my growing family. Inhabitat’s wonderful Managing Editor Mike Chino , who I have had the pleasure of working with for almost 10 years, will be taking over the leadership of this website moving forward. I want to thank him, and all of the amazing and inspiring people I have worked with over the past 12 years, who helped to make this site what it is today. First, the current Inhabitat team of Mike Chino , Tafline Laylin , Kristine Lofgren and Lucy Wang – thank you guys so much for all of your hard work, creativity and amazing ideas that you bring to Inhabitat on a daily basis. I know the site will be in great hands with their talents and I can’t wait to see how it evolves. I also want to give shout outs to my early partners in the fledgling years; creative-powerhouses Sarah Rich and Emily Pilloton – you guys have both gone on to do so many incredible and inspiring things, but Inhabitat to this day is still shaped by your input from so many years ago. I have so much gratitude for the Inhabitots and Ecouterre Managing Editors Jasmin Malik Chua and Beth Shea , and the many awesome editors and project managers I had the good fortune to work with over the years. And thank you to our early investor Thomas Ermacora for supporting the website, business advisor Shayne McQuade , and the folks at out parent company Internet Brands for taking a chance on our boutique website back in 2011. Finally, thank you to all of the readers, without whom Inhabitat wouldn’t be possible. I have met so many amazing people, and had so many inspiring conversations through the course of this project, and Inhabitat owes a lot to all of you. I look forward to seeing how Inhabitat evolves in the coming years. If you want to reach me, you can find me on social media and at my personal email address JillFehrenbacher at gmail.com

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A goodbye from Inhabitat founder Jill Fehrenbacher

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