Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

October 19, 2017 by  
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The LEED Platinum -certified Noe Hill Smart Ecohome marries state-of-the-art green technology and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that urban dwellers dream about. The house, designed by EAG Studio , creates a healthy living environment with plenty of natural light, native plant gardens, rain catchment, solar power and a bevy of smart features to optimize power use. The house occupies a coveted site near the crest of the Collingwood hill in San Francisco . It spans three levels and comprises 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths (with 3 bedrooms ensuite on the upper floor), media room, gym, flexible use 2-room guest suite, an open main level floor plan, 4 distinct outdoor living areas and 2-car independent parking. Related: Sunset’s Green Dream Home in San Francisco The dramatic vistas open up from the main living room and dining area connected to a sunny deck and a landscaped garden. The garden features drought-tolerant , native plantings. Retractable glass doors in the kitchen open directly to the deck and enhances the experience of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. A sculptural staircase leads to the upper level and receives natural light from the skylight above. The bedrooms occupy the upper floor, with the luxurious master suite openning to its own view deck ideal for a morning cup of coffee or casual lounging. The staircase leads further up toward the roof deck with multiple dining and lounging areas perfect for entertaining guests. Related: San Francisco’s Solar “Mission: House” is a High-Tech Marvel A rainwater harvesting system captures most of the roof/surface water for landscaping irrigation. All exterior walls are insulated and optimized for energy efficiency, while a solar array provides renewable energy for the building. These systems, along with LED lighting , occupancy sensors and the use of reclaimed building materials make this building a modern and truly eco-friendly home. + Noe Hill Leed Home + EAG Studio

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Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

Hundreds of mysterious stone structures discovered near ancient volcanoes in Saudi Arabia

October 19, 2017 by  
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Professor David Kennedy of the University of Oxford just discovered hundreds of mysterious structures near ancient lava domes in Saudi Arabia. Using Google Earth , Kennedy found approximately 400 stone walls that are believed to be more than 9,000 years old. Because the structures appear similar to others found in the Middle East , they have been dubbed “gates” The mysterious gates are located in the western Harrat Khaybar region of the country. According to the Bedouin, a nomadic group of Arab people, they were the “Works of the Old Men.” While there are similarities between the newly-discovered gates and others in the country, there are notable differences, as well. For instance, the gates Kennedy discovered are larger (the longest measures more than half a kilometer, the shortest is just 13 meters) and the space between them varies. Some are “almost touching” while others are “miles apart,” reports The Independent . Kennedy told Newsweek , “It is impossible at the moment to date these gates except relatively. I have argued in the article that they are the earliest of the so-called ‘Works of the Old Men’, the stone-built structures found widely in Arabia from northern Syria to Yemen , but especially common in the lava fields.” The “Old Men” are also credited with building “kites” – stone structures archaeologists say were used to catch migratory birds . They are found on top of the gates in other areas of the Middle East, signifying possible relationship. Said the Professor of archaeology, “The works known as Kites, which are certainly animal traps, may be as old as 9,000 years before present in some cases and there is one example of a kite overlying a gate. So Gates may be up to or more than 9,000 years old, which takes one back to the Neolithic .” Related: Large organic farm in Saudi Arabia switches to solar-powered irrigation Because the gates are situated on ancient lava domes (the volcanoes remain inactive), some of the structures bear traces of lava. This could prove a sufficient method to date the mysterious phenomenon. Kennedy’s findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy . Via The Independent Images via Wiley/Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy/Douglas Kennedy , Google Earth

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Hundreds of mysterious stone structures discovered near ancient volcanoes in Saudi Arabia

Bloombergs new London HQ rated worlds most sustainable office

October 3, 2017 by  
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Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London scored a 98.5% against the latest BREEAM sustainability rating scheme—making it the world’s most sustainable office building, as designed. Certified BREEAM Outstanding with its design-stage score, the Foster + Partners -designed project uses 73% less water and 35% less energy than a typical office building. Innovative energy saving technologies are visibly integrated into the building, from the beautiful and multifunctional petal-leaf ceiling panels to the façade’s bronze solar shading fins. From design development to construction, sustainability played a key role in the Bloomberg European HQ project. A 95% recycling rate of demolition and construction waste was achieved during the six-year construction process thanks to the reuse of existing structural foundations and a unique waste management system that tracked waste production. The new London building is one of Bloomberg’s 34 LEED or BREEAM -certified projects globally. The most eye-catching energy-saving feature of the new office headquarters is the approximately 4,000 integrated ceiling panels that combine heating, cooling, lighting, and acoustic functions. Half a million LED lights are embedded into the bespoke ceiling panels and use 40% less energy than a typical fluorescent office lighting system. The ceiling panels’ metal petals also use elevated chilled water temperatures to reduce energy use in a first-of-its-kind integrated cooling system. Related: Peek inside Bloomberg’s sustainable new headquarters in London An on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generation center supplies heat and power in a single, efficient system that’s estimated to save 500 to 700 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Rooftop solar also provides additional power. To cool the building naturally, the facade is equipped with 117 operable large bronze fins that open and close for natural ventilation. Smart sensing controls automatically adjust airflow depending on occupancy. Rainwater from the roof, cooling tower blow-off water, and gray water are captured, treated, and recycled to flush toilets. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Bloombergs new London HQ rated worlds most sustainable office

Raindrop makes rainwater harvesting at home beautiful and easy

September 19, 2017 by  
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Traditional rain barrels are often clunky eyesores, which is why Studio Bas van der Veer designed a beautiful modern alternative that we love. Meet Raindrop, a stylish drop-shaped rain barrel with a built-in watering can. The award-winning design was recently unveiled during the three-day spoga+gafa 2017 fair in Cologne and will be ready for sale by 2018. Eight years ago, Van der Veer introduced his stylish drop-shaped design as ‘A Drop of Water’ as part of his thesis for the Design Academy Eindhoven . Several iterations and awards later, Raindrop was created. This sleek and polished design complements a wide variety of homes and comes in a variety of sizes and functionalities. His current collection includes the Raindrop Mini, a smaller rain barrel for limited spaces like balconies, as well as the larger Pure Rain model that even includes a birdbath. Raindrop is expected to be available for sale early next year and will be produced by pottery label Elho . Related: 3 ways to capture water for your backyard garden (that won’t break the bank) Since Van der Veer traded size for style, Raindrop won’t hold as much as a traditional rain barrel of the same height. The modern drop shape is “a symbolical reference to what the design contains: water ,” says Van der Veer. The Raindrop models can be easily attached to drainpipes with diameters up to 50 to 80 millimeters. A convenient watering can integrated into the design collects water directly from the pipe. There is also a faucet at the bottom of the barrel. + Studio Bas van der Veer Via ArchDaily

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Raindrop makes rainwater harvesting at home beautiful and easy

Wind and solar-powered eco community to house 4,000 members of the Oglala Lakota Nation

May 5, 2017 by  
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The Thunder Valley Regenerative Community masterplan provides housing for some 4,000 people in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community in South Dakota . This eco-friendly, climate-adaptable community was designed from the ground up with local culture and values in mind, using sustainable technologies for solar , wind and geothermal energy. The Thunder Valley Regenerative Community is currently underway on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which is home to the Oglala Lakota Nation. The project brought together the local community and several organizations and design studios around the idea of creating a visionary community design. Local community members worked together with the Oglala Lakota nonprofit organization Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) , and architecture firms BNIM and Pyatt Studio , with support from KLJ Engineering and Studio NYL . Related: 8 ways to help the water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation As the lead planner for the project masterplan, architecture firm BNIM designed the multifamily and mixed-used buildings and created a high-performance water collection and reuse system, wastewater treatment systems, and on-site solar, wind and geothermal energy generators. Related: Brad Pitt’s Make it Right delivers first 3 LEED Platinum homes The architects completed the first two buildings – the Thunder Valley Community Center and Guest House – both of which function as community gathering spaces . The first phase of the single family homes—by Pyatt Studio—is scheduled for completion this year. + BNIM + Pyatt Studio + KLJ Engineering + Studio NYL + Thunder Valley CDC

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Wind and solar-powered eco community to house 4,000 members of the Oglala Lakota Nation

Casa Sanchez combines urban living with the lush Bolivian rainforest

February 9, 2017 by  
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Looking like a modest, one-story building when seen from the road, the Sanchez House actually boasts three spacious floors that offer stunning views of the Bolivian Amazon. Young Bolivian architect Juan Carlos Menacho designed the residence, named after its owners, to fit perfectly into a sloping site in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in eastern Bolivia. The 10,674-square-foot house is located in an exclusive gated community in Santa Cruz, and was designed to provide shade and protect from the region’s tropical sun. It utilizes the sloping site to create an illusion of small scale. Its wings are designed around the existing trees, with each room enjoying views of the surrounding greenery. Related: Bolivia’s Ecolodge del Lago takes inspiration from traditional Lak’a Uta architecture Several sustainable features incorporated into the design of the residence, including rainwater harvesting and the use of natural building materials , ensure an eco-friendly performance. The location itself combines urban living and proximity to nature. + Juan Carlos Menacho

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Casa Sanchez combines urban living with the lush Bolivian rainforest

Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments

January 2, 2017 by  
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Water scarcity is felt unequally throughout the world with some regions worse off than others. Iran-based BMDesign Studios addressed their home country’s arid climates with an architectural solution to water shortages called Concave Roof, a double-roof system designed to collect and store rainwater, and promote natural cooling. The Concave Roof was engineered for arid environments, where rainwater collection can be tricky due to higher than average evaporation rates and low annual precipitation. The double-roof system, which includes a domed roof beneath a bowl-shaped catchment area, is designed to “help [make] even the smallest quantities of rain [flow down] the roof and eventually coalesce into bigger drops, just right for harvesting before they evaporate,” said the architects to ArchDaily . Stacking a concave roof atop a convex roof promotes natural cooling through shade and wind movement between the two roofs. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier The bowl-shaped catchment area is steeply sloped to move raindrops towards a central collection point, where the rain is funneled into reservoirs . The reservoirs are placed between building walls to help regulate indoor temperatures. With this system, the architects estimate that 28 cubic meters of water could be harvested with just 923 square meters of a concave roof surface. BMDesign Studios’ vision also goes beyond the double-roof system and includes a massing design where the buildings and courtyards are sunken to promote natural cooling. The buildings would be organized around atriums to promote circulation and community. + BMDesign Studios Via ArchDaily Images via BMDesign Studios

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Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments

Daylit eco-friendly home in London is built around a 100-year-old pear tree

November 15, 2016 by  
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The 425-square-meter Pear Tree House is a self-build project for the firm director Jake Edgley’s own family home. To preserve the 100-year-old pear tree—a remnant of the site’s past as a Victorian fruit orchard—the architects split the house into two volumes that frame the tree in an internal courtyard and are linked by a green-roofed glass walkway. The entire structure is elevated on pile foundations to avoid damage to the tree roots. The walls of the home that face the courtyard are glazed to bring natural light , views, and ventilation into the home and allow the street-facing facade to remain mostly closed for privacy. Related: Edgley Design restores a run-down home with stainless steel cladding The interior of the home is also arranged for optimal solar orientation , from the kitchen in the northeast that takes advantage of morning light to the southwest living areas that are bathed in afternoon light. The interior layout features mostly open-plan spaces that can be easily modified if and when the homeowners’ mobility becomes limited. Board-marked concrete walls on the ground floor give the home texture, while timber surfaces such as the bespoke joinery made from oak veneer lend warmth to the restrained interior palette. + Edgley Design Via Dezeen Images via Edgley Design , by Jack Hobhouse

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Daylit eco-friendly home in London is built around a 100-year-old pear tree

Twisting ribbons of plants transform a badly burned Maryland building into an interactive public artwork

October 20, 2016 by  
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https://vimeo.com/181187568 Located in Frederick’s downtown historic district, Sky Stage is a temporary artwork that uses vegetation and a digitally designed structure to breathe life into the damaged building . The organizers removed the plywood boards that formerly blocked public access to the historic stone building, which has no roof. Artist Heather Clark and MIT’s Digital Structures research group used computer algorithms to engineer a complex two-story-tall wooden lattice that forms the structural base for twisting ribbons covered in drought-resistant plantings. State-of-the-art green roof technology was used to create the spiraling vegetated bands that weave through the building’s open doors and windows. Related: Floating bridge transforms a crumbling historic Boston bridge into a moving event space A timber seating area was constructed next to the two-story structure to form an open-air theatre that accommodates 140 people. Trees integrated into the wooden benches soften the stone background and provide relief from the sun. Rainwater collected from an adjacent roof is stored in a cistern and reused to irrigate the plants and trees. The Frederick Arts Council and AmeriCorps will oversee the day-to-day operations of the theater as well as future creative endeavors for the public including plays, music acts, children’s story time, art classes, dance, history, literature, and film. The Sky Stage will be open through July 2017. + Sky Stage Images via Heather Clark

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Twisting ribbons of plants transform a badly burned Maryland building into an interactive public artwork

Green-roofed apartment block in Tehran uses recycled rainwater and reclaimed materials

October 10, 2016 by  
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Though the Saba Apartment’s sustainable elements are impressive, the building’s most eye-catching features are its wavy timber shutters that cover the street-side grid façade made of square recessed windows. The wooden slats also lend a warm touch to the light-colored stone exterior. The floor-to-ceiling shutters can be swiveled and moved by hand to block unwanted solar gain and for privacy. This double-skin facade and the recessed balconies with double-glazed windows help residents keep cool in the Tehran heat. A garden located in the rear comprises a pool, planting beds, and paving made from recycled railway sleepers. The apartment’s garden-facing facade is made from locally sourced and reclaimed brick and covered with modular vertical planters fed drip irrigation using rainwater harvested from the roof. A green roof tops the building and is integrated with solar panels that generate the energy used for lighting the communal areas. Related: Prefab Parisian housing is clad in a double-skin timber facade to optimize solar shading “With the change in people’s lifestyle, development of the cities and the uprising demand for constructing high-rise buildings; this valuable heritage of our ancestors efforts in engaging the architecture with nature has gone obliterated, which has changed into a blurred memory over less than a century,” write the architects. “This project was the result of our efforts in revitalizing this lost heritage and giving a new interpretation to the old concept. Which we believe one of the main reasons of the cultural crisis our society is engaged with nowadays is the result of this abrupt shift in the living space.” + TDC Office Via Dezeen Images via TDC Office

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Green-roofed apartment block in Tehran uses recycled rainwater and reclaimed materials

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