LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

June 12, 2017 by  
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LEAPfactory , the Italy -based company known for building gorgeous prefabricated structures in extreme locations , just unveiled their very first LeapHome . Frame is a two-story, 1,400 square foot house built with minimal impact on the environment . The home’s design is super energy efficient , so it can easily go off-grid . LEAPfactory was inspired by the idea of living in harmony with nature to create Frame. The home can be customized and configured according to a buyer’s desires and budget, and includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study area, a kitchen, dining area, an outdoor terrace, and a double height living room. Forest Stewardship Council certified wood , metal sheet cladding, and finishes made with ecological materials comprise the home that includes prefabricated components. Related: LEAPfactory unveils prefab snowboard school at the foot of Mont Blanc The outdoor shell of the home was designed with energy efficiency in mind, so the home doesn’t consume as much power as others do. Solar energy powers the home, which heats water with a solar thermal system. LED lighting and radiant technology electric systems recycle heat in Frame. According to the company’s website , “The structure is designed to maximize air circulation and distribute heat and humidity.” LEAPfactory says the home could potentially be set up in off-grid configurations – sewage can be independently managed thanks to a biological liquid waste treatment system and other sanitation systems. Panoramic openings in the home also serve to connect an inhabitant with nature. Large sliding glass doors, a bay window , a skylight, and a vertical ribbon window can all be part of the design . LEAPfactory co-founders Stefano Testa and Luca Gentilcore said in a statement, “Living immersed in nature represents one of the most important choices to embrace a new style of life. We like to think that we can combine the comforts of a modern home with the profound freedom and the pioneering spirit of a life in perfect harmony with the environment that surrounds us.” LEAPfactory’s process allows them to go from a design to a fully furnished and functioning house “within weeks” according to their website . + LEAPfactory + LeapHome Images courtesy of LEAPfactory

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LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall

April 25, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever walked into a MUJI store and wished you could spend the night, here’s the next best thing. The minimalist Japanese home goods store just announced plans to sell a lovely line tiny homes later this year. The first model available for purchase will be a tiny timber cabin wrapped in “shou sugi ban” charred timber – and it’ll cost just $27,500. Muji’s tiny timber huts measure just under 100 square feet. Thanks to a clever layout, they offer tons of natural light and a simple interior ideal for a quiet weekend escape or a permanent home in the countryside. The cabins also come with an extended porch that creates a seamless connection between the exterior and interior. Related: MUJI unveils trio of tiny prefab homes that can pop up almost anywhere The good news is that beautiful cabins will hit the market for just ¥3,000,000 (approx. $27,500 USD) starting this fall. The price includes the costs of materials needed for construction as well as contractor fees. The bad news? The MUJI Huts will only be available for purchase in Japan for the time being. + MUJI

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MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall

Decrepit freight depot reborn as industrial-chic food lovers paradise in Malm

April 25, 2017 by  
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Swedish architects Wingårdh dramatically transformed a roofless freight depot into an industrial-chic market hall in Malmö, Sweden. The adaptive reuse and expansion project combines old bricks with Corten steel for a modern look that still pays homage to the 19th century building’s industrial roots. Located on Gibraltargatan, the 1,500-square-meter Malmö Market Hall caters to 20 stalls and cafes that celebrate the city’s melting-pot culture with its diversity of food. Clients Nina Totté Karyd and Martin Karyd commissioned Wingårdh in their quest to create a “food lover’s paradise” inside an abandoned goods warehouse . The clients and architects sought to preserve the building’s historic character while imbuing modern details. “As a visitor you should be transported back in time, yet experience a modern day market, slaughterhouse and dairy,” wrote the clients. Related: MVRDV’s Gorgeous Tunnel-Shaped Market Hall Opens its Doors in Rotterdam In addition to renovating the existing structure, Wingårdh added an extension clad in weathered steel . The new addition mirrors the warehouse’s gabled form and the use of Corten steel mimics the rust-colored hues of the brick facade. A large strip of glass separates the extension from the old brick structure. Adjoining courtyards were built to host farmers markets and alfresco dining. + Wingårdh Via Dezeen Images via Wingårdh

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Decrepit freight depot reborn as industrial-chic food lovers paradise in Malm

The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

February 15, 2017 by  
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What if you could make your home anywhere in the world without sacrificing creature comforts? Meet Coodo , an eco-friendly mobile home that promises just that with its flexible and modern modular design. Created in Germany, Coodo can pop up almost anywhere in the world – from urban rooftops to remote beaches – and it can be easily relocated to give you the freedom to travel with the comforts of home. Designed by LTG Lofts to go GmbH and Co. KG, Coodo is a mobile prefabricated house that can be quickly and easily installed with minimal impact on the building site and environment. The company offers a variety of Coodo models ranging in sizes from 36 to 96 square meters and usage type, such as the saunacoodo and watercoodo, which functions as a houseboat . Depending on the model selected, loading and unloading can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. The Coodo is transported by flat bed truck and craned into place. All models boast a minimal and modern design that can be customized to the owner’s needs. In addition to the desire to provide freedom of travel to the homeowner, the company is also committed to minimizing the mobile home’s environmental impact. According to their website, all units consist of “low-pollutant, ecologically compatible, and mostly natural materials.” All condo houses are designed with passive house principles for energy efficiency and the company is currently developing off-grid units. Triple-glazed full-height windows and high-tech insulation wrap the rounded steel-framed modules and overlook an outdoor shaded deck built from recycled planking. A built-in micro-filtered ventilation and air moisture system ensures clean and dust-free indoor air. Almost all electrical devices will be connected to a wireless smart system so that they can be controlled remotely via smartphone. Related: Solar-powered Ecocapsule lets you live off-the-grid anywhere in the world “We want to lead by example by having a great impact on society and proving that high ecological and sustainable standards do not stand in opposition to equally high standards for design and comfort, but can work in harmony through innovation“, said Mark Dare Schmiedel, CEO of LTG. Prices are not listed on the website and are dependent on module type and interior options, which can be delivered as a shell, with basic interior, or fully equipped. + Coodo

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The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

How to get off the grid and live rent-free

February 7, 2017 by  
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Many people dream of living off the grid, rent-free — and a select few have turned that dream into a reality. It takes more than just a stack of solar panels and a tiny house though – you need a plan that provides for all of the necessities of daily life. If you’ve ever wanted to make the leap to off-grid living but weren’t sure where to start, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to transitioning to a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle. READ MORE: Greenmoxie Tiny House lets you live mortgage-free and off-grid in a luxurious 340 sq. ft. on wheels 1. Decide on your living space You can’t live off-grid if you have nowhere to live. How you acquire this living space is dependent on your resources and style. Those who seek the thrill of the open road would do best in a self-sufficient mobile home. For the DIY type, building your own, as Elizabeth Pearson did in Spain , might be the challenge you need. For those who are not particularly crafty, a prefabricated model like those sold by Big World Homes or Green Moxie would be more your speed. READ MORE: Luxurious tiny home lets owner live off-grid and rent-free If you seek to settle down, think about where you would like to live and why. Are you seeking to abandon civilization entirely or do you simply want to live a more self-sufficient life? Are you willing to pay more for an ideal location near family and friends or are you flexible with your location? If money is not an issue, there are open plots of land even in the world’s most expensive real estate markets . If you seek dirt for dirt cheap, you have options. READ MORE: World’s first off-grid Ecocapsule home to hit the market this year, shipping in 2016 Do you want to support the growth of a new community or do you want to join one that already exists? If you are of the apocalyptic mindset, there are plenty of places to hunker down with those who also feel the end is nigh. If you wish to learn from the cutting edge of off-grid experimentation before you dive in, check out communities like the Off-Grid Experimentation Village . Of course, there are always the Earthship communities to learn from and join. READ MORE: Tiny Off-Grid Hawk House has Soaring Views of the California Mountains If you want to start your own off-grid community, do some research into establishing a land trust. This institution allows for greater community control and provides protection from the encroachment of commercial interests onto the land. If you can’t wait to navigate the red tape, you, like this tiny-house building Australian couple , may find landowners willing to let you use their land in exchange for your time and energy. 2. Harvest and harness water OK, you have your living space. All that hard work planning for and acquiring somewhere to live off-grid has made you thirsty. Living off-grid requires you to harvest and harness the most out of the limited, invaluable resource that is water. This can be achieved through low-tech methods such as the installation of rain barrels, the cultivation of living mulch, and the construction of swales. Water capture can also be facilitated via the design of your living space, as demonstrated by the stepped roofs of Bermuda or bowl-shaped roofs in Iran. If you are hoping to live on the cutting edge of the 21st century, try integrating water saving technologies like the hydroponic systems used by Farm 360 in Indianapolis . Similarly, if your off-grid adventures brings you close to the ocean, modern desalinization methods like that pioneered by SAROS can achieve water self-sufficiency for far less cost than was once imagined. 3. Grow your own food Thirst quenched, time for some grub. If you are living on the road, off the grid, you likely do not have much space to grow your own food. As you meander around the world, it would be worth it to park your home on an idyllic organic farm . In exchange for your labor, you may acquire some nourishing produce, new friends, and a beautiful place to enjoy your tiny porch. READ MORE: Stunning Moon Dragon is a fairytale-like tiny house that goes off-grid If you are settling down in one space, planting perennials will provide you with consistent, nutritious food for years to come. Typical perennial plants include fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and even mushroom patches . A less common but a nonetheless important component of an off-grid diet is perennial vegetables , like sorrel, asparagus, and sylvetta arugula. Although it’s not quite ready yet, perennial wheat may soon find its way to an off-grid homestead near you. 4. Gather your tools and materials You’re satiated. Now it’s time to get to work. If you are living off-grid, you need a well-equipped tool shed and workshop. Open Source Ecology , a project that aims to create open blueprints for the essential tools to build civilization, is an excellent resource to guide the construction of a community toolbox. You will still need to acquire raw materials and a 3D printer, but once the initial investment has been made, you can support others in the establishment of new off-grid communities. READ MORE: Luxurious tiny home in New Zealand is off-grid and 100% self-sustaining 5. Install alternative energy Tending your garden, helping your neighbors, and living the life can be hard work. After a productive day, it’s time to settle in for the evening to enjoy a book or some Netflix. To illuminate your sanctuary and power your viewing, you will need a source of energy. Fortunately, there is no shortage of means for you to acquire that which you need. Solar energy, becoming cheaper by the day, is well suited for mobile off-grid living and that rooted in one place. The wind has got your back, providing power for your vehicle and your village . Even jellyfish are pitching in to support your off-grid dreams. Essentially, the resources are there. There are many paths towards the off-grid lifestyle of your dreams; all you have to do is take that first step and the rest will likely fall in place. Images via Greenmoxie Tiny House, , Walden Studio , Tomas Manina , Image via Alex Wyndham , Zyl Vardos , Living Big in a Tiny House , Wikimedia, J Wynia , Steve Johnson , Flickr/Jules , Flickr/Lisa at Sierra Tierra, and Sean Church

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How to get off the grid and live rent-free

8 surprising uses for hemp that could make the world a greener place

January 30, 2017 by  
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Hemp isn’t just for hackin’ the sack at Phish shows or making rope. This amazing plant, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis grown specifically for industrial purposes, has a vast number of applications for a greener planet. Cultivated hemp grows quickly in a wide variety of climates and does not degrade the soil in which it is grown. Tune in, turn on, and read this feature to learn the latest developments in the magical (yet still illegal in most countries) world of hemp. Housing Hemp can processed into a durable material that was once used by Henry Ford to construct a car that was lighter, less expensive and consumed less power than traditional metal cars. These principles have also been applied to housing throughout the world. In the United Kingdom, farmer Nick Voase turned his own grown hemp into an amazing eco-house, held together by lime, that is cool in summer, warm in winter, and even features a walk-in fridge made out of hemp. In South Africa, hemp advocate Tony Budden is working hard to demonstrate the value of the wonder plant; he and his partner built the country’s first hemp home. Northern Ireland’s Bevan Architects  used hemp to construct a simple low-impact cottage on a riverside apple orchard for an environmentally friendly retreat from urban living. Lastly, in Australia, Mihaus Studio built a prefabricated hemp-based modular space that can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes. Plastic Traditional plastic is derived from non-renewable resources and is non-biodegradable, which means that disposed plastic usually ends up in ever expanding landfills. Enter our hero, hemp, a renewable resource which can be used to produce biodegradable plastic. A shift to the greener hemp would not require a sacrifice of quality . Hemp plastic may be up to 5 times stiffer and 2.5 stronger than traditional plastic made from polypropylene and unlike glass fibers, hemp plastic would not pose safety and health risks. Designers, such as  Studio Aisslinger , have incorporated this fine bioplastic into its products, such as the chair shown above. Pet Toys Hemp isn’t only for humans. Dogs, cats, and other furry, feathered, or scaly friends can also benefit from the plant. Honest Pet Products has created a line of pet toys made from sustainable hemp and organic wool. The method by which these toys are produced is also beneficial for the environment and community. The toys are manufactured by adults with developmental disabilities in Wisconsin and women living in the Gobi Desert and Nepal, who simultaneously support their family with their work and vow to protect the local snow leopards as a condition for their employment. Energy Storage Graphene  has received a great deal of attention for its superstrength and its astounding ability as a superconductor of electricity. Lost in this storm is the fact that hemp may be able to replicate graphene’s function as a supercapacitor, a revolutionary energy storage device, at a radically lower cost . David Mitlin of Clarkson University , New York discovered hemp’s superconductive properties by “cooking” plant material in a process. “Once you dissolve the lignin and the semicellulose, it leaves these carbon nanosheets – a pseudo-graphene structure,” said Mitlin. These nanosheets are then fabricated into electrodes, infused with an ionic liquid as an electrolyte, and function as supercapacitors that work in a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Mitlin founded a small company, Alta Supercaps , with the goal of producing hemp-based supercapacitors on a small scale. Insulation Not only is hemp a durable material for housing structure, it also is an excellent insulator. In Belgium,  Martens Van Caimere Architecten  renovated a local home with a sustainable hemp-based insulation material known as hempcrete . Hempcrete is a mixture of lime, hemp, and water that is superior to concrete in its sustainability and cost while also offering better insulation. “In our projects we try finding solutions to lower the building costs,” said architect Nikolaas Martens. “In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Belgians were building houses that were badly or not insulated. So renovating these houses in a sustainable way tends to be expensive. Hempcrete combines the insulation and finishing in one layer, reducing building costs. Plus it is durable and sustainable, because it is made from a waste product.” Airplanes Fly high in the sky with hemp! In 2014, Canada-based Hempearth  contracted with a Florida-based plane manufacturer to build an airplane almost entirely out of hemp material . The plane will seat four people and have a wingspan of 36 feet. Approximately 75 percent of the plane will be constructed of industrial hemp. Originally scheduled for its first flight (appropriately out of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina) in 2015, the plane has yet to fly. Hempearth is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their project. Biofuel Not satisfied with simply being made from hemp, the designers at Hempearth also plan for their plane to be powered entirely by hemp-based biofuel . While hemp biodiesel has great potential, there are currently legal and economic barriers to widespread adoption . “That particularly, is very much an issue of economies of scale,” said Arthur Hanks, executive director of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance. “We are still very much a specialty crop.”  The limited production of hemp is primarily geared towards the health food market, in which hemp provides the greatest return to farmers. “Every pound that’s being produced goes into the food chain,” Paul Bobbee, a Canadian hemp grower. While hemp production is legal in Canada, the continued haziness surrounding hemp policy in the United States suppresses the market.  If hemp production were legalized nationwide, “it would help regularize hemp in America, and help to increase markets,” said Hanks. Food Bring on the munchies. Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, sprouted, or ground up while the iconic hemp leaf can be thrown into a salad. Hemp seeds are high in protein and have a similar amino acid profile to meat, milk, and eggs. Often cold-pressed into oil form, hemp seeds are a rich source of Vitamin B, iron, dietary fiber, magnesium and zinc. Although illegal to produce in most American states, hemp can be imported as a food product. As of 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of hemp products. Images via  The Event Chronicle , vhcmor/Flickr , Christina Griffin ,  Cedric Verhelst , Hempearth , FluffyMuppet/Flickr , Wikimedia Commons   (2) , Don Goofy/Flickr , Studio Aisslinger   and Bob Doran/Flickr

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Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling

January 26, 2017 by  
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It should come as no surprise that when Apple’s Director of Store Design was in the market for a new house, he wanted a home that would be as modern and streamlined as his employer’s impeccable shopfronts. He, along with the team at Alchemy, tweaked the original designs of the Alchemy weeHouse to create the Sonoma weeHouse, a prefabricated home made up of two elevated open-sided boxes. The ultra-minimal home was swiftly assembled onsite between gnarled oaks and boasts fantastic views of the Santa Rosa valley in California. The 970-square-foot Sonoma weeHouse is based on Alchemy’s original weeHouse modified with several customizations and finishing requirements by the San Francisco-based client, who is also an architect. While the home’s design was finalized in Minnesota by the Alchemy team, the structure was mostly prefabricated in Oregon before it was shipped, 90 percent complete, to its California site. The steel accessories, which include stairs, porch railings, and lasercut trim, were prefabricated in and shipped out from Minnesota. The Sonoma weeHouse comprises two main modules—a 640-square-foot main house and a 330-square-foot accompanying guesthouse—set atop horizontally banded, board-formed concrete plinths . Both modules feature steel frames, nine-foot-tall sliding glass walls, custom corrugated weathering steel cladding, and ipe interiors with oiled oak cabinetry. The low-maintenance oxidized steel facade helps blend the home into the landscape of gnarled coastal oaks and seasonal grasses. Related: Alchemy Architects Build Tiny Prefab weeHouses that Connect with Nature The main house contains a whitewashed oak box in the middle that houses the bedroom and divides the open kitchen, dining room, and living room on one end of the box from the toilet and shower on the other. Sliding glass doors connect the interior to an outdoor bolt-on porch that cantilevers into the dramatic landscape valley of Santa Rosa. A rear walkway connects the main house to the small guesthouse. Doors, privacy screens, and insect screens are recessed to minimize visual clutter. + Alchemy Via ArchDaily Images © Geoffrey Warner

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Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling

Eco-friendly Syrian refugee housing that anyone would love to call home

January 19, 2017 by  
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Building refugee housing often means fast construction at the expense of beauty and quality, but that doesn’t have to be the case if we take German architect Werner Sobek’s work as any indication. Sobek and the company Aktivhaus recently completed a modular development for 200 Syrian refugees in the German town of Winnenden. Prefabricated in a factory and swiftly assembled on site like Legos, the bright and airy homes are attractive enough for anyone to want to call home. Faced with an influx of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war , the German town of Winnenden turned to Sobek for a quick way to set up a housing estate for around 200 people in the Schelmenholz district. The development also needed to be flexible enough to be converted for different uses in the future and to be easily expanded on or deconstructed. To minimize costs, construction time, and waste, Sobek installed 38 prefabricated modules from Aktivhaus’ 700 Series. Each 60-square-meter module is constructed using timber frame construction and is stacked to create two stories. The airtight walls, clad in larch , are made with high levels insulation—consisting of hemp and wood fibers—to minimize energy demands. Most materials used are resource conserving and recyclable, with minimal concrete used. The windows are sealed with rubber strips instead of toxic polyurethane foam. Related: Sobek’s Activhaus produces enough green power to light up the house next door Sobek estimates that the modules could last hundreds of years if they are well cared for. The Winnenden development is intended as refugee housing for three years, after which they will be converted into social housing. The development also includes a technology module, two community rooms, and a multifunctional space with washing machines and dryers. The project was initiated and completed last year. + Werner Sobek Via Treehugger , zvw.de Images © Zooey Braun

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Eco-friendly Syrian refugee housing that anyone would love to call home

Six factories will supply the UK with 25,000 prefab houses every year

December 28, 2016 by  
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Population growth and a housing undersupply have created a housing crisis in the United Kingdom , but a new joint venture will provide desperately needed homes. China National Building Material Company (CNBM) agreed to a $3.36 billion deal with UK-based Your Housing Group (YHG) and renewable energy company WElink Group to build six factories that will produce 25,000 prefabricated homes every single year. The new prefab homes will be built of modern composite materials and steel frames, according to WElink Group . These materials will allow for low-carbon construction and operation. Energy efficient design and solar panels will enable the houses to operate “at least 75 percent off-grid,” according to WElink Group chairman Ajmal Rahman. Construction company Barcelona Housing Systems will also provide environmentally friendly technology and panels for homes. Related: Ecocor starts production on groundbreaking new prefab passive homes YHG CEO Brian Cronin said in a statement, “This is an opportunity for YHG to get back to building more social and affordable homes across a wider geography of the UK; it also ensures new types of employment, new building skills, and the nurturing of additional apprenticeship opportunities are available, which can only be good news for local people and businesses where we develop our housing and supply chains.” The prefab home factories could provide employment for over one thousand people. Even before the factories are complete, the joint venture hopes to build 2,000 homes in 2017 as part of five pilot projects. The company is awaiting planning permission to build its first pilot project in Liverpool this January, and the factories could potentially produce 25,000 homes a year by 2022. Via World Architecture News Images via Your Housing Group and Your Housing Group Facebook

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Six factories will supply the UK with 25,000 prefab houses every year

Apartment Tour: Inside the world’s tallest modular building

November 17, 2016 by  
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461 Dean , the tallest modular building in the world , opened this week in Brooklyn, New York. The 32-story rental property developed by Forest City Ratner Companies and designed by SHoP Architects launched its official start of leasing on Tuesday, and Inhabitat was invited to take a look at three different apartments inside of the groundbreaking new green property. Check out our video tour here . WATCH THE VIDEO >

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Apartment Tour: Inside the world’s tallest modular building

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