Backwards Sky Ranch House offers gorgeous valley views

November 22, 2021 by  
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Backwards Sky Ranch House by Clayton Korte is embedded into a beautiful landscape, extending from the Dry Frio River in Hill Country, Central Texas , down south to a vast meadow. The house’s site-specific design and adaptability allow residents to enjoy the natural environment and surrounding landscape while mitigating extreme weather conditions to maintain thermal comfort. The building is oriented lengthwise along the Dry Frio riverbank to maximize views of the valley and encourage natural ventilation . For the main entry, a central dog-run porch connects the living spaces to the main bedroom. The living spaces run parallel to the river and float above the open ground floor, providing shade below while allowing cool breezes for ventilation. Operable windows along the north and south facades also harness the prevailing winds that run from the river to the meadow. Extending out from the porch toward the river valley, the elevated pier creates an outdoor gathering space for unwinding and stargazing. Related: Victorian farmhouse transforms into low-energy modern home Innovative techniques to control sunlight are used to create pleasant interior spaces. Soft, morning sunlight is filtered into the interior spaces, and stone bastions positioned along the living spaces, large roof overhangs, and operable shade screens all work to block the harsh afternoon sun, particularly along the south and west facades. During the winter, since the sun is at a lower angle, sunlight can filter through the spaces from the extended patio into the dog-run porch and living spaces. Though the means to control solar radiation remain stationary, sunlight is optimized according to the seasons, allowing for comfort throughout the year. Some key features of the ranch house’s design are the materiality and how it will age. Exterior finishes include the mortared limestone walls and Western Red Cedar cladding that will patina from weathering. Over the years, the materials will begin to resemble the site’s color palette and create a rustic ranch appearance. For the interior, cedar paneling contrasts with the light limestone fireplace and White Oak flooring. To prevent off-gases from polluting the indoor environment, single-coat application finishes have been used only where deemed functionally necessary. Surrounding the property, endemic plants including grasses and wildflowers eliminate the need for irrigation. To maximize resources, the limited rainfall is collected from roof drains and used to refill the site’s water table. Since there is porous limestone under the site’s topsoil, the rainwater filters through the stone to replenish the ground, thus balancing the water footprint of the ranch. + Clayton Korte Renderings by Clayton Korte

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Backwards Sky Ranch House offers gorgeous valley views

PANGEA Movement’s Eco-jacket uses 100% recycled materials

November 22, 2021 by  
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The PANGEA Movement is all about the planet in more than just name. It is a company with a focus on  green design  products and a dedication to using proceeds from sales to rid the Earth’s waterways of plastic and other pollution.  The newest eco-friendly product from the brand is called the Eco-jacket. More than aiming for net-zero, PANGEA is aiming for a net-positive result. With each Eco-jacket sale, the company uses its resources to pull 68 lbs. of trash from rivers, and 68 lbs. of carbon dioxide are offset from the environment . Related: Adidas 100% recycled jacket is solving plastic pollution PANGEA’s Eco-Jacket is made from 100% recycled materials. Rather than requiring virgin plastics, the garment uses 56 recycled plastic bottles. Even the zipper pulls are made from  recycled materials . It also incorporates recycled polyester, eco-friendly dyes and myriad waterproof pockets to protect your cargo. The Eco-Jacket is made with a focus on long-term use in a fight against fast fashion . It’s portable, lightweight, breathable, and it compacts down into a pouch that fits in your hand. It has hidden pockets, cinching cuffs, a drawstring hood and reflective stripes, catering to everything from an early morning jog to a weekend backpacking trip. From there, it includes modern innovations like a matching, detachable face mask, built-in gloves and even a foldable flap that acts as a seat protector you can lay out on the bleachers at the game or a stump on the trail. Although using recycled materials exempts virgin materials from the process, the microplastics released during washing are still a problem, so the jacket also comes with a microfiber-trapping laundry bag. The durable and versatile design serves as a staple for any wardrobe. If there ever is a problem, the company offers free repairs or replacements with a lifetime warranty.  PANGEA takes its role seriously in the effort to be eco-minded throughout the manufacturing process. The company not only fixates on upcycling, but the factory is  solar-powered , and employees are treated ethically.  The PANGEA Movement was founded by fellow backpackers Marcos, William and Juan, who met on the trail and shared sadness over the pollution they witnessed. After an initial foray into beach cleanups, the team discovered a more efficient means of stopping ocean  pollution  at the source — rivers.  With this knowledge, the company centered its message on funding river barriers on the world’s 1,000 most polluted rivers. It reports, “By the end of the PANGEA’s Eco-Jacket KS campaign they will have reduced ocean plastic by approximately 80% in 1% of the world’s 1,000 dirtiest rivers- eliminating more rivers from the list of “world’s dirtiest rivers” than any other company in history.”  + PANGEA Images via PANGEA Movement (Marcos Bulacio, William Di Ricco, and Juan Sebastian Duque) 

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PANGEA Movement’s Eco-jacket uses 100% recycled materials

Walk to work at this eco-friendly office tower in India

September 1, 2021 by  
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Commuting got you down? New Delhi-based architectural practice Design Forum International (DFI) takes traffic jams out of the morning routine with a plan for a “walk to work” office tower dubbed Amtron. Proposed for development in Bongora’s Tech City in Assam, India, the project blends pedestrian-friendly design with sustainability features. In an attempt to move away from what DFI describes as “the conventional closed work environment,” the design incorporates a landscaped plaza and co-working spaces to foster an open atmosphere. Meanwhile, drop-off and pick-up points at opposite ends of the building prevent traffic jams. This combination of easy movement and an open environment helps the tower achieve DFI’s pedestrian-friendly goal. Related: Live, work and shop at this green building in France Speaking on the inspiration behind this design, a statement from DFI explains, “In accordance with DFI’s ethos of people-first design , [Amtron] is an experience that promotes meaningful interactions and pauses that awes, inspires and stays in the memory of its users.” Sustainability features such as solar panels , rainwater harvesting and green terraces show that this project keeps the environment in mind. In addition to mutual shading and sun-tracking louvers that minimize heat gain and reduce the need for artificial air conditioning, solar-reflective glazing helps regulate temperature while still allowing in natural light. Solar panels on the roof help address the tower’s energy needs. To address water needs, harvested rainwater and recycled wastewater fuel a drip-irrigation system for the landscaping full of native, climate-adaptive vegetation. Green terraces on the facade round out Amtron’s sustainable features and help prevent the heat island effect. ??As for the project’s material palette, DFI wanted to balance the modern and traditional. A reinforced cement concrete (RCC) core supports the tower, while recycled wood panels used for roofing and ceilings help “infuse regional identity.” For the cladding, zinc and aluminum protect the structure from weathering. Amtron’s predicted completion time is 18-21 months after its mid-2021 targeted construction start date. + Design Forum International Images via Design Forum International

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Walk to work at this eco-friendly office tower in India

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

Rainwater-harvesting pavilions mimic a lush rainforest at the Indianapolis Zoo

October 23, 2017 by  
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Artful rainwater design has taken root at the Indianapolis Zoo. RATIO Architects recently completed the Bicentennial Pavilion, an open-air events space modeled after a lush rainforest with 11 steel-framed “tree canopies.” Built primarily from natural materials, the pavilion is a beautiful example of multifunctional and sustainable design that provides 40,000 square feet of weather-protected events space while collecting and filtering 100% of its stormwater runoff. The Indianapolis Zoo Bicentennial Pavilion and Promenade was made possible by a $10 million grant provided by the Lilly Endowment in 2015. The money came with the requirement that the zoo “implement a game-changing initiative that benefits the community institution’s long-term sustainability.” To satisfy the zoo’s needs to expand visitor infrastructure and the Lilly Endowment’s condition, RATIO Architects designed an open-air multifunctional facility that could be used year-round and replace the zoo’s former 400-person events tent tucked into the back-of-house areas. The sustainability angle came from the use of natural materials —each tree-like column is built of 63 individual timber beams, while a hearth of rough-back quarry block limestone rests beneath the canopy—and stormwater management . The pavilion canopy funnels rainwater down the tree-like column’s laser-cut weathered steel rain screens and into planting beds, where it then percolates through a water quality unit and is held in a 14-foot deep water detention bed designed to accommodate 100-year flood events. The angled pavilion canopy is built of translucent roofing materials to let filtered light shine through, just as in a real rainforest canopy. Related: Stunning solar Butterfly House masters resource conservation in California The Bicentennial Pavilion is split up into two main event areas, each of which accommodate up to 400 guests. The pavilion can also be converted into one large event space for up to 800 guests. The pavilion’s north side is designed for the new bird exhibition, Magnificent Macaws, with a custom-designed stage and perch to showcase the birds on their twice-daily flight through the Pavilion. + RATIO Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Susan Fleck

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Rainwater-harvesting pavilions mimic a lush rainforest at the Indianapolis Zoo

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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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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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

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