Passive solar home makes the most of a difficult, triangular site in Sydney

July 17, 2019 by  
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When asked to renovate and expand a home on a challenging triangular lot in Sydney, local architectural practice studioplusthree decided to build upward to make the most of the awkward site. By elevating the home’s new addition into the canopy of a large existing fig tree, the architects maximized access to natural light and city views while taking advantage of the tree’s shade. Dubbed the Platform House after its “new living platform,” the updated house also boasts increased energy efficiency thanks to the use of passive solar strategies as well as the installation of solar hot water panels and a rainwater collection system. Completed over the span of 36 months on a tight budget, the Platform House has been enlarged to cover an area of 2,131 square feet with a 753-square-foot basement. The existing ground floor was retained but reconfigured to house four bedrooms, a sitting room and an outdoor courtyard, while most of the attention was given to the new elevated extension. In contrast to the all-white ground floor volume, the new “platform” is clad in blackened timber and cantilevers out to provide shelter to the courtyard below. Related: A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living “Responding to the triangular site, the diagonal cut of the first floor volume is manifested in elements throughout from window reveals to planter boxes and outdoor seating,” the architects explained in the press release. “Acting as both cladding and screen, the upstairs volume is wrapped in a charred cypress , all of which was undertaken by hand, on-site. The design aims to integrate functionality into the details to enrich family living — such as the northern edge of the elevated deck, expressed in a continuous element that incorporates planting, outdoor seating, privacy screen, benchtop and storage.” For added privacy, the new living platform is partially sheathed in a series of sliding perforated bronze screens that protect against solar heat gain yet still let in natural light when closed. Deep eaves and recessed blinds shelter glass openings, while the fig tree provides additional protection against the western sun. The open-plan living spaces also open up to a north-facing outdoor terrace. + studioplusthree Photography by Brett Boardman via studioplusthree

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Passive solar home makes the most of a difficult, triangular site in Sydney

1942 army train car used in WWII gains a new life as a beautiful tiny home

January 16, 2019 by  
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For those history buffs out there, a stay in this beautifully converted WWII train car would be a dream come true. Tucked into the Smoky Mountains in Maryville, Tennessee, Platform 1346 , which was previously used as a kitchen car for U.S. Army cooks, has been carefully revamped to provide a serene tiny home retreat in an idyllic setting while still retaining its historic character. The train car goes back to 1942 when it was used as a troop train kitchen car for U.S. Army cooks preparing meals for troops that were being transported to the East Coast to board ships bound for Europe. The car served throughout the war until it was decommissioned in 1955 and placed in a military surplus yard for years. Later, it would be called back to duty in the 1970s during the Cold War, when it would serve as a mobile command car for SAC (Strategic Air Command). The historic car was used to transport large computers and communication equipment until 1988, when it was officially retired from duty. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small After being put up for sale at auction in 2005, the old train car was purchased by a retired Lt. Colonel and transported to Maryville, Tennessee. After the train car sat unused for years, the new owners of the property decided to revamp the structure into a tiny home weekend retreat . The family found most of the materials for the renovation secondhand, scouring Craigslist and estate sales for cabinets, countertops, dishware, appliances and more. After eight months of construction, plumbing and electrical work, the almost 80-year-old train car was given a new life as a tiny Airbnb rental. Located on six acres of pristine wooded land, the Platform 1346 offers a beautiful retreat to enjoy the idyllic surroundings. On the interior, hardwood flooring and white walls make the home feel comfy and welcoming. Multiple large windows flood the interior with natural light and provide stunning views of the natural surroundings. The tiny home escape can comfortably accommodate four guests with one queen-sized bed and a queen-sized pull-out sofa bed. The kitchen offers all of the amenities for enjoying a nice homemade meal, including a dining counter that looks out over the expansive fields. There is also an open-air deck, which is a great place for dining al fresco. After a day out hiking or simply enjoying the fresh mountain air, guests can enjoy a nice soak in the large clawfoot tub. There also is a fish pond and a fire pit on site, making for a relaxing spot to unwind in the evening time. + Platform 1346 Photography by Tayler Smith via Platform 1346

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1942 army train car used in WWII gains a new life as a beautiful tiny home

New smart grid solution heals itself amid central grid outages

November 1, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy may offer emissions-free electricity , but it isn’t always easy for electrical grids to integrate that energy. Dutch company Alfen is launching their answer to the dilemma. The Cellular Smart Grid Platform (CSGriP) allows a central grid to be divided into smaller cells that can operate independently, if necessary, and even self-heal . CSGriP provides energy from sources like biogas , solar power , or wind power for local consumers. It includes “a 0.5 megawatt energy storage system and complex algorithm used for local energy management.” Should the central grid go out, local cells would take over to restore power for local customers. According to Alfen, “Once the grid balance within a cell is restored, it automatically reconnects to other cells, and, as such, quickly rebuilds the larger power grid” to reduce the duration of central grid outages. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: How a smart electric grid could reduce emissions by 58 percent in the US Alfen energy storage specialist Evert Raaijen said in a statement, “Unique about this solution is that the local cells are intrinsically stable through self-adjustment of supply and demand based on the frequency of the electricity grid. This makes the grid truly self-healing in cases of central grid outages. The self-healing mechanism based on frequencies sets it apart from many IT-related smart grids that require relatively vulnerable data and ICT connections for balancing local grids.” In developed countries, the point of the platform is to decentralize the grid and make it more ready for renewables. But the platform could also be deployed in developing countries that still need to be electrified, allowing them to avoid constructing central grids obtaining power from large fossil fuel -burning plants in favor of these local cells with storage systems for renewable sources. Alfen has worked in countries from the United Kingdom to the Czech Republic to Nigeria, on projects for electric vehicle charging , transformer substations, energy storage, smart grids, and grid automation. They are currently field testing CSGriP at the Application Center for Renewable Resources in Lelystad, the Netherlands . + Alfen Via Alfen Images via Alfen on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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New smart grid solution heals itself amid central grid outages

Archaeologists find 2,150-year-old Petra monument ‘hiding in plain sight’

June 10, 2016 by  
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The ancient city of Petra in Jordan is known for its fascinating ruins built into surrounding rocky cliffs, and now archaeologists have made an exciting new discovery. Using satellite images , they recently discovered a massive subterranean monument that remained hidden for years. The monument is about the length and double the width of an Olympic swimming pool . The archaeologists used satellite imagery to find the platform, which is 184 feet by 161 feet. An interior platform had columns along one end and a huge staircase. Based on pottery studies, the researchers think the platform could be at least 2,150 years old . Related: Family accidentally discovers “extraordinarily well-preserved” Roman villa in England Given the colossal size, it’s surprising no one has yet discovered the monument, but the researchers said it was difficult to get to and “hidden.”Even though the monument is close to the center of Petra – just around half a mile south, prior surveys didn’t find it. The paper the archaeologists published is titled ” Hiding in Plain Sight .” Co-author of the paper Christopher Tuttle told National Geographic, “I’m sure that over the course of two centuries of research [in Petra], someone had to know [this site] was there, but it’s never been systematically studied or written up. I’ve worked in Petra for 20 years, and I knew that something was there, but it’s certainly legitimate to call this a discovery.” Tuttle told The Guardian the platform could have been used for “some kind of massive display function.” Throughout the rest of Petra, there are several shrines and sites used for “various cultic displays or political activities.” However, one reason the new monument stands apart is because the massive staircase doesn’t face Petra’s city center. “We don’t understand what the purpose [of visible shrines], because the Nabateans didn’t leave any written documents to tell us,” Tuttle said. “But I find it interesting that such a monumental feature doesn’t have a visible relationship to the city.” As of now the researchers don’t have a plan for excavation , but they hope to work at the site at some point. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Archaeologists find 2,150-year-old Petra monument ‘hiding in plain sight’

This spectacular lookout frames dizzying views of Ecuador’s Quilotao Crater

December 17, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of This spectacular lookout frames dizzying views of Ecuador’s Quilotao Crater Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , daniel moreno , daniel moreno flores , eco design , eco-tourism , eco-travel , ecuador , erdc arquitectors , green architecture , Green Building , green design , javier mera , jorge andrade , jorge andrade benitez , mirado en la laguna del quilotoa , modular , modular construction , pavilion , platform , quilotoa , quilotoa crater , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , teak wood , view platform , viewpoint

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This spectacular lookout frames dizzying views of Ecuador’s Quilotao Crater

JCI Unveils Panoptix Platform to Boost Building Performance Insight

October 4, 2011 by  
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Johnson Controls introduces a new cloud-based strategy to help close the gaps between green building design and actual building performance.  

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"Double Impact" to Help Amplify Your Green Actions, Help Charities

June 16, 2011 by  
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Here at TreeHugger, we spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect combination of information, community and incentives required to get people to change their behavior towards a more sustainable direction, which is why I’m very excited to announce the beta launch of Double Impact , a Facebook Connected platform that allows people to earn money for their favorite charities by completing simple actions that will help them live a more sustainable life. More on the platform and why you should join after the jump…..

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"Double Impact" to Help Amplify Your Green Actions, Help Charities

Use Social Media to Buy and Sell Unwanted Items to Friends

May 1, 2011 by  
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Photo: courtesy Oodle You’ve done the grunt work of your spring cleaning, but now what? What do you do with all the things you no longer need? Recycling is the obvious choice but even better is extending the items life by selling it or giving it away.

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Use Social Media to Buy and Sell Unwanted Items to Friends

Don’t Agonize, Organize! Powershift Re-launches Web Site for Climate Activists

May 1, 2011 by  
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photo via powershift.org Two weeks ago, over 10,000 students activists descended on Washington, D.C. to collaborate, train, motivate, and take action at Powershift 2011 . They made enough of an impact that President Obama took notice and invited 12 student leaders for a conversation

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Can Psychedelic Politics Ride Out The Coming Storm?

May 1, 2011 by  
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Sudden storm . Image credit:Flickr, allspice1 , “…entry into the Leave It To Me Challenge #30.” The radical right has been fighting a successful culture war against all things 60’s and 70’s. Earth day and its legislative outcomes are under especially intense attack, for example

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Can Psychedelic Politics Ride Out The Coming Storm?

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