This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Chilean city of Pucón, Santiago architect Alejandro Soffia has recently completed a prefab home that visually pops against its wooded surroundings. Fittingly named the Yellow House after its bright yellow facade, the modular residence is elevated off the ground for reduced site impact and to create a treehouse-like feel. The home’s modules were strategically connected with wooden joints and punctuated by full-height glazing to frame views of Lake Villarrica on one side and the Villarrica volcano on the other. Built from a series of SIP modules that Soffia designed himself, the prefabricated Yellow House spans just under 1,100 square feet and consists of a long hallway that connects an open-plan living room, kitchen, library and dining area on one end of the house to the two bedrooms on the other side. The house also opens up to an outdoor terrace built from wood. “The hypothesis is, that if you create a prefabricated system which has a good architectural design, then you can reproduce this quality as much as you need it, within the laws of short/long production series,” explains Soffia, who adds that he prefers prefabrication due to its reduced site impact and speed of construction without compromising quality. “And if in the serial industrial production of buildings you get bored, you can also customize form and function through the system. More benefits when you fasten the building process and have more control over quality and cost.” Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Full-height glazing fills the interior with light and creates an indoor/ outdoor living experience that immerses the owner in the forest. In contrast to the bright yellow corrugated facade, the interiors are lined in wood, with some sections left unpainted and others painted black. Minimalist decor keeps the focus on the outdoors. + Alejandro Soffia Via ArchDaily Images by Juan Durán Sierralta, Mathias Jacobs

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This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

A guide to the different types of plastic

April 18, 2019 by  
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BPA, PET, HDPE. You’re trying to do the right thing by recycling, following health alerts and shopping wisely, but you’re not fluent in molecular chemistry. So how do you decipher exactly what it all means and how to stay green? We’re here to help with a handy guide on different types of plastic and how they impact the planet and your health. Fast facts about our plastic problem According to Earth Day , here are some stats that give you an idea of the scale of our plastic addiction. • Since its invention in the 1950s, over 9 billion tons of plastic have been produced. • Ninety-one percent of all plastics are not recycled, meaning almost all plastic ever produced is piled up in our landfills and oceans . • Americans use 100 billion plastic bags every year. If you tie all these bags together, they reach around the Earth 773 times. • By 2050, there will be more pounds of plastic in the ocean than fish. • There are more microplastics in the ocean than stars in the Milk Way. What are microplastics? Keep reading! Types of plastic: what the terms mean, where you find them and how they impact health Courtesy of National Geographic and  Waste4Change , below are terms commonly used by manufacturers and health advisers. Additives Additives are chemicals added to plastic to enhance certain qualities. For example, they might make the material stronger, more flexible, fire-resistant or UV inhibitive. Depending on what is added to the plastic, these substances can be toxic to your health. Biodegradable This term means that a material can break down into natural substances through decomposition within a reasonable amount of time. Plastic does not biodegrade , so the term is misleading and still means that the substance may leave toxic residue behind. In fact, some states are now banning this term in relation to plastic. Bioplastic Bioplastic is a broad term for all types of plastic, including both petroleum and biological-based products. It does not mean that a plastic is non-toxic, made from safe or natural sources or non-fossil-fuel-based. This term can be misleading, because many consumers assume “bio” means natural and therefore healthy. Related: Shellworks upcycled leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics Bisphenol-A (BPA) BPA is a toxic industrial chemical that can be found in plastic containers and in the coating of cans, among other uses. It can leach into foods and liquids. BPA-free products have merely replaced the substance with less-toxic bisphenol-S or bisphenol-F, both of which still pose health concerns. Compostable This term means something can break down or degrade into natural materials within a composting system, typically through decomposition by microorganisms. Some new plastics are labeled as compostable; however, this certification mostly requires industrial composting systems, not your garden compost pile. Compostable plastics do not leave behind toxic residue after they decompose, but they must be separated out for industrial composting and not put in recycle or landfill bins. Some major cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Minneapolis have industrial composting programs, but many do not. Ghost nets/fishing gear Approximately 640,000 tons of fishing gear are abandoned, lost or discarded in the ocean every year. Most of this equipment is made from plastic, including nets, buoys, traps and lines, and all of it endangers marine life . Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) HDPE is thick plastic used in bags, containers and bottles. It is safer and more stable that other plastics for food and drinks and can be recycled . Microplastics Microplastics are particles less than 5 millimeters long. There are two types: Primary: resin pellets melted down to make plastic or microbeads used in cosmetics and soaps Secondary : particles that result from larger pieces of plastic (such as fabrics and bottles) breaking down into millions of tiny particles that can enter air and water Ocean garbage patches Specific ocean currents carry litter thousands of miles and cause it to collect in certain areas known as garbage patches . The largest patch in the world spans a million square miles of ocean and is mostly made up of plastics. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, PETE) Polyethylene terephthalate is a widely used plastic that is clear, strong and lightweight. It does not wrinkle and is typically used in food containers and fabrics. It is the most likely to be recycled, but it is a known carcinogen, meaning it can be absorbed into liquids over time and cause cancer . Polypropylene (PP) PP is stiffer and more heat-resistant than other types of plastic. It is often used for hot food containers, diapers, sanitary pads and car parts. It is safer than PVC and PET but still linked to asthma and hormone issues. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Typically used in food containers and helmets, this material does not recycle well and can leach styrene that is toxic for the brain and nervous system. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) PVC is considered the most hazardous plastic, because it can leach chemicals like BPA, lead, mercury and cadmium that may cause cancer and disrupt hormones. It is often used in toys, cling wrap, detergent bottles, pipes and medical tubes. It usually has to be recycled into separate and more rare recycling programs. Single-use plastic Single-use plastic is designed to be used only once and then disposed of, such as grocery bags and packaging. Environmentalists encourage reducing your single-use plastic consumption, because after their short lifespan, these plastics pile up and pollute the Earth for centuries. Via National Geographic ,  Earth Day , Waste4Change and The Dodo Images via Shutterstock

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A guide to the different types of plastic

Kodasema unveils gorgeous prefab floating tiny house

March 18, 2019 by  
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Already well-known for their gorgeous and sustainable tiny structures, Estonian design firm Kodasema has just unveiled a floating prefabricated tiny home . The 227-square-foot KODA Light Float is an updated version of their KODA design, set on floating pontoons that enable the minimalist home to be installed on virtually any waterfront space. Much like its land-based counterpart, the solar-powered KODA , the floating tiny home is a beautiful example of modern minimalism. Built in collaboration with floating marina installations company Top Marine , the Koda Floating Light was built with a timber frame and platform. Under the platform are a series of floating pontoons that enable the home to be docked at virtually any waterfront property. Related: Sail away from it all in this gorgeous floating tiny home According to the Kodasema team, the floating tiny structure would be just as home at a private yacht club harbor as it would be a secluded lake or canal. Although the structure has all of the amenities for a serene home or weekend retreat, it could also be easily used as a harbor cafe, information center or even an artist’s studio. The floating home ‘s cube-like volume is surrounded by the large platform with a bridge that attaches to the dock. The extended platform acts as a wrap around deck for the home, and can be crafted into added green space or vibrant entertaining area. The exterior of the home can also be customized with a variety of cladding options such as timber or zinc. The interior is also a contemporary space, with all-white plywood walls and high ceilings. The 277-square-foot interior houses an open-space living area, kitchen, full bedroom and small bathroom. The home is also equipped with extra large window panels, that flood the interior with natural light and provide stunning views of the surroundings. + Kodasema Via Designboom Photography by Riku Kylä, Getter Kuusmaa, Tonu Tunnel, and Daniel Mets via Kodesma

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New net-zero Solar Farmhouse from Deltec generates all its own energy

January 24, 2017 by  
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In these uncertain times of erratic weather and changing climate patterns, net-zero energy (or NZE) is quickly becoming the gold standard in green building. If you can generate all of your own energy on site, you never need to rely on the grid or worry about energy bills. The North Carolina prefab builders at Deltec launched a line of affordable net-zero energy homes last year to great fanfare from off-grid buffs around the U.S. Now we’re thrilled to see them introduce a brand new design to this collection; a charming, classically-styled Solar Farmhouse with all of the old-fashioned curb appeal, plus the futuristic technology that makes this home achieve net-zero energy.

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New net-zero Solar Farmhouse from Deltec generates all its own energy

Arkansas university students designed this prefab cantilevering home for $136 per square foot

September 9, 2016 by  
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The modules were stacked perpendicular to one another, with the lower volume housing the kitchen, living and dining room and a small WC nestled under the stairs. A lightweight steel truss that run along the longer side of the module allow the projecting elements of the top volume. The entire house cost $136,000 to construct – $136 per square foot. Related: Blu Homes launches 16 new prefab home designs, including new tiny homes “By rotating the modules perpendicular to each other, three exterior spaces are created — two porches covered by the cantilevers and a roof deck above the kitchen on top of the lower module,” said the team. + Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design Via Dezeen

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Arkansas university students designed this prefab cantilevering home for $136 per square foot

Tenth of world’s wilderness destroyed in last 20 years, study finds

September 9, 2016 by  
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A tenth of the world’s wilderness has been lost since the early 1990s and if trends continue there could be no wilderness left on the planet by 2100, according to new study published in the journal Current Biology. The researchers found that an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon — 3.3 million square kilometres — has been destroyed by human activities such as large-scale land conversion, industrial activity and infrastructure development. That equals to approximately 9.6 percent of the world’s wilderness. The most losses have occurred in South America (29.6 percent loss) and Africa (14 percent loss). The researchers discovered that 30.1 million square kilometres (23.2 percent of the world’s terrestrial areas) now remains as wilderness.

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Tenth of world’s wilderness destroyed in last 20 years, study finds

Affordable chandi gar homes made with recycled plastic bricks pop up in a matter of hours

September 9, 2016 by  
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People living in Karachi, Pakistan generate 12,000 metric tons of trash every day. To deal with the issue, many burn the garbage, which comes with a slew of environmental and health hazards. Nargis Latif, a local environmentalist, decided to do something about the burgeoning plastic waste in particular, transforming it into bricks that can be used to build homes ” in just a matter of hours .” Latif started the organization Gul Bahao , the ” Pakistan’s first research center on waste management ,” according to its website. Chandi ghar, or homes made from the recycled plastic bricks, are one of Gul Bahao’s innovations. According to the website, they have also worked on “instant compost,” a mobile toilet, and a method to purify water. Related: These LEGO-like recycled plastic bricks create sturdy homes for just $5,200 The plastic utilized in chandi ghar are mainly food wrappers discarded by factories often because of printing issues. Latif said while some shy away from the idea of living in houses made of waste, the trash she utilizes is clean. The homes are low cost as well: Gul Bahao receives 300 to 400 rupees per square foot (that’s about $2.90 to $3.80). To build a chandi ghar, strips of recycled plastic are put into a ” thermopore shell ” which is tied together to form the bricks. The bricks are then attached to wooden pillars to rapidly construct homes. Latif said in a video the homes are “modular” and “weatherproof,” and a two story house can be erected in just four to five hours. After an earthquake in 2005, chandi ghar were constructed as shelters for those who had lost homes. They’ve also been set up for families of patients at a hospital in the poor district of Tharparkar. Latif said the chandi ghar could also be beneficial for nomads who have traditionally lived in mud shelters. Residents of chandi ghars aren’t as susceptible to diseases they can be exposed to while living in mud shelters. Latif told Al Jazeera since 2005, over 150 chandi ghar have been built in Pakistan. She said, “You can make beautiful structures using rejected material…If you make such bricks, it’s bye-bye to pollution, climate change, and the melting glaciers. Because you’ve stopped burning garbage and plastic.” Via Al Jazeera Images via Gul Bahao

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Affordable chandi gar homes made with recycled plastic bricks pop up in a matter of hours

Gorgeous solar-powered prefab can be easily picked up and moved almost anywhere

December 9, 2015 by  
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Energy-efficient Bert’s Box is a prefab luxury home that pops up in just one day

September 29, 2015 by  
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Australia’s first carbon-positive prefab house produces more energy than it consumes

February 23, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Australia’s first carbon-positive prefab house produces more energy than it consumes Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Archiblox , australia , carbon positive , carbon positive house , carbon positive prefab , double glazed facade , green roof , in-ground tubes , Melbourne , modular cabinets , passive design , Prefab , prefab house , rainwater recycling , solar gain , sunroom , sustainably-sourced materials , vertical

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