nat-2 creates a completely vegan sneaker made from coffee

November 20, 2018 by  
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Vegan sneakers? You bet! Most people know that the fashion industry is notorious for contributing to global waste, heavy water consumption and high electrical usage. The shoe industry is no exception with the traditional petroleum-based synthetic soles and a reliance on harsh chemicals. One company, nat-2 , has taken a stand against this rampant pollution with its new coffee sneakers, made from — you guessed it — recycled coffee. The unisex design incorporates natural materials from the top to the bottom, and there are two different styles to choose from, a high-top and a low-top. The leather-looking portion of the shoe comes from PET recycled water bottles, helping to remove post-consumer plastic waste from the landfills. Plus, by replacing leather, nat-2 refuses to subscribe to the environmental problems associated with raising beef and toxic tannery byproducts that pollute the planet. The rich chocolate-colored covering comes from up to 50 percent recycled coffee that provides the suede-like texture. The company reports that the shoes do exude a subtle coffee scent. Related: These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer The outsole of the shoe features real rubber, rather than the non-sustainable synthetic rubber that many companies use. To avoid harsh chemicals that not only put workers in danger but also leach into the soil after hitting the landfill, the company uses a water-based glue that is free from animal ingredients. In addition, the insole is made from naturally antibacterial cork , and the upper portion features nat-2’s signature reflective glass for added style. Handmade in Italy in a family-owned, high-tech facility, the sneakers are made in a production process that cuts out much of the carbon dioxide pollution from traditional coal-burning facilities that mass produce the estimated 20 billion shoes flooding the market annually. nat-2 founder Sebastian Thies developed the shoe following the release of another eco-friendly shoe, the fungi sneaker, which is made from tree fungus. The first run of the coffee sneakers is sold out, but more shoes are in production. + nat-2 Images via nat-2

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nat-2 creates a completely vegan sneaker made from coffee

Denver firefighter uses 9 shipping containers to build a stunning family home

November 13, 2018 by  
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Denver-based firefighter Regan Foster used to spend his days putting out fires, but while recovering from a work-related injury, Foster decided to try his hand at building his dream home. The results are breathtaking. Using his own designs, Foster converted nine repurposed shipping containers into a massive 3,840-square-foot home with sophistication that rivals that of any professional architect’s work. Working with architect Joe Simmons of BlueSky Studio , Foster created the design and worked as the principal contractor on the project. To build out the frame of the home, four shipping containers were placed on the ground in pairs set 24 feet apart. Another four containers were then stacked on top of the first level, with a few pushed forward so that they cantilever over the ground floor. The ninth container was placed perpendicular to the back of the second level. Related: Starburst shipping container home to rise in the California desert The team topped the sections of the home with a series of flat roofs, and they covered the front facade in wood panels, contrasting nicely with the corrugated metal. An abundance of large windows were cut out of the containers in order to provide the interior with natural light . Although the exterior of the home is outstanding, the interior of the seven-bedroom, five-bathroom home is just as impressive. Walking into the great room, visitors are greeted with soaring 25-foot ceilings and an open floor plan that leads out to a large patio. As part of the master plan, Foster was determined to maintain the inherent industrial aesthetic of the shipping containers . The inside of the exterior walls were insulated and covered in drywall, but the interior walls and ceilings throughout the living space were left intact so that the corrugated metal would be visible. Foster, who has a passion for furniture making, used reclaimed wood in many of the home’s custom furnishings and design elements. For example, the flooring throughout the home is made with reclaimed barn wood and boards from a felled tree. Foster even refashioned an old walnut slab into a sliding door and used some waste lumber to create a cantilevered walkway that runs the length the second floor. Needless to say, the process of building his own home sparked a new professional path for Foster and his family. After completing the project, Foster retired from the fire department and started his own design and construction company, Foster Design . The family also rents out their home on Airbnb. + Foster Design + BlueSky Studio Via Dwell Photography by Regan Foster and Chris Boylen via Foster Design

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Denver firefighter uses 9 shipping containers to build a stunning family home

Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

November 13, 2018 by  
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Zagreb-based architectural office PROARH completed Issa Megaron, a family retreat in Croatia that’s disguised inside a rocky hillside with a zigzagging road. Due to its remote location and lack of surrounding infrastructure, the modern home operates off the grid by necessity and includes self-sustaining technologies from rainwater collection tanks to solar photovoltaic panels. Going off grid, however, hasn’t compromised the architect’s pursuit of luxurious living, made evident by the contemporary interior design, large pool and spacious footprint of 420 square meters. Completed in 2016, Issa Megaron began with the conceptual combination of a cave, a megaron (a great hall in ancient Greek palaces) and stone dry walls. “The house is envisioned as a dug in volume, a residential pocket between the stretches of space forming walls, an artificial grotto, a memory of a primitive shelter,” explained the architects, who split the house into two floors. The upper floor contains six bedrooms and bathrooms organized around a central living room and book-ended by two offices. The master bedroom and bath, the  open-plan dining room, lounge and kitchen, the game room, the gym and storage are located on the lower floor, which opens up to the pool and outdoor terrace. The traditional stone dry walls have been reinterpreted as reinforced concrete retaining walls topped with rocky green roofs . When viewed from above, Issa Megaron appears to blend into the steep terrain. “The design that emerges from such conditions is subtle, creates a symbiosis with the new/old stonewall topography,” the firm noted. “The newly built structure is man-made but unobtrusive in intent, material and ultimate appearance.” Related: Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside In addition to green roofs and solar panels, the house minimizes its energy footprint by following passive solar design principles that promote natural cooling. A concentrating solar power system is used for heating, while harvested rainwater is filtered and reused in the house and for the pool. + PROARH Via ArchDaily Photography by Damir Fabijani? and Miljenko Bernfest via PROARH

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Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

November 8, 2018 by  
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A dark and gloomy, non-insulated dwelling with zero views to speak of has been dramatically transformed into a bright and sustainable home thanks to the work of local architecture studio Urban Creative . Flanked by 6-meter-tall walls and set on a long and narrow lot in inner Melbourne , 2 Halves Make a Home is a three-bedroom family residence that comprises two structures centered on a light-filled courtyard that allows daylight to penetrate deep into the living areas. Bricks sourced from the original decrepit structure were recycled for the construction of the new home, which features repurposed and sustainable materials throughout, from low-VOC finishes to a solar photovoltaic system and green wall. Faced with a site only 5.5 meters in width, the architects knew that access to the outdoors and light were crucial to making the family residence feel comfortably spacious. To that end, a courtyard was inserted along with walls of operable double-pane glass that blur the line between indoors and out. In addition to allowing natural light to enter the home, the courtyard also promotes passive cross ventilation while the full-height glazing and adjacent masonry party walls help capture early morning solar gain for passive heating in winter. “The original brick party wall has been uncovered and cleaned back to expose its rich warmth throughout the main axis of the dwelling,” the architects explained. “Not only does this avoid the use of new materials to construct this facade, but both dwellings on either side of the party wall serve to insulate each other.” Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Aside from the renovated brick wall and reclaimed brick used for the ground-floor facade, other recycled materials were used wherever possible. Reclaimed timber was used from the stairs and floorboards to the repurposed internal solid timber doors and timber shelves in the living room. Instead of replacing the ground floor structural slab, the architects polished the concrete and added a hydronic heating system. Low-VOC materials and finishes, like Tadelakt — a Moroccan rendering technique based on lime plaster and olive oil soap — promote a healthy indoor living environment. The house is also equipped with a solar array and a rainwater harvesting system. + Urban Creative Photography by Jessie May via Urban Creative

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A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

This rammed earth home in India uses recycled materials throughout

October 26, 2018 by  
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When a family of six approached Indian architectural practice Wallmakers for a low-cost home, the architects saw the limited budget as an opportunity to innovate and experiment rather than as a drawback. To keep costs low, recycled and natural materials were prioritized in the design of the Debris House, an approximately 2,000-square-foot dwelling that makes the most of its compact site. In addition to locally sourced materials, the environmentally sensitive home includes a rainwater harvesting and recycling system as well as passive air circulation. Located in Pathanamthitta of Kerala in the south of India, the Debris House derives its name from the site that was peppered with the remnants of many demolished buildings, elements of which were recycled into the new construction. Although smaller towns like Pathanamthitta have increasingly looked to building homes out of glass, concrete and steel in an attempt to mirror their urban neighbors, the architects resisted those trends in hopes that their site-specific design could inspire “the towns to find their own language.” As a result, the architects built the home’s rammed earth walls using soil that was excavated onsite. Recycled materials, also salvaged from the immediate area, were used to form a spiraled wall — dubbed the Debris Wall — that serves as a focal point defining the central courtyard, which allows cooling cross-winds into the home. Furniture was also built from reclaimed wood, specifically from the client’s storage boxes. To protect against unwanted solar gain, the windows are protected with meter boxes sourced from a local scrapyard. The concrete roof and slab were mixed with coconut shells, thus reducing the amount of cement used. Related: Rammed earth walls tie this modern home to the Arizona desert landscape “While the house uses numerous alternate technologies, there is a certain whimsy and playfulness in its design,” the architects said. “Looking at the local context, the project strikes out, humbly maintaining its commitment to the society and the environment .” + Wallmakers Photography by Anand Jaju via Wallmakers

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This rammed earth home in India uses recycled materials throughout

This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes

October 25, 2018 by  
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In sunny Santa Monica, local studio Minarc has unveiled one of its latest projects built from mnmMOD panels , its award-winning and patented prefabricated building system that yields net-zero energy efficiency. Dubbed the Dawnsknoll project, the 2,500-square-foot dwelling champions sustainability beyond just building materials. Positioned for optimal passive solar conditions, the single-family home also boasts repurposed and recycled materials throughout, high-performance energy systems and a healthy living environment. Inspired by the volcanic landscapes of Iceland , Dawnsknoll features a color palette evocative of the country’s dramatic vistas, from the bright, lava-like orange used in the multi-gathering space in the heart of the home to the swimming pool that echoes the color of blue lagoons. Iceland’s rocky landscape is further mimicked with translucent, glacier-inspired light fixtures, the abundance of concrete for the floors and walls and the dark-colored cabinets and shelving. “On the Dawnsknoll project, Minarc focuses on a couple of main concepts: sustainability, color and space,” the designers said in the project statement. “Our green practices and selection of sustainable products do not raise the cost of a house. We believe that building repurposed with recycled and reclaimed material should not be more expensive for our clients. Throughout this house, we recycled, repurposed and reused to its extent.” Related: These prefabricated mnmMOD wall panels could revolutionize the way we build In addition to the prefabricated mnmMOD panels — which are recyclable and resistant to fire and termites — the Dawnsknoll house features 90 percent reused furnishings. The designers aimed to “only use materials in their most organic form,” which meant no paint, tile or carpet. One of many recycled materials used was rubber, seen in the bathroom sinks as well as in the kitchen and juice bar cabinetry, where recycled rubber tires were used. Indoor-outdoor living was emphasized through operable glazed doors that also let in natural ventilation. Radiant floor heating and domestic water heating were installed as well. + Minarc Images by Art Gray

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This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes

An old warehouse is rehabbed into chic apartments in Montreal

October 25, 2018 by  
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A former industrial warehouse in Montreal has been reborn as an airy and modern residential development thanks to the work of local architectural practice Blouin Tardif Architectes . Originally built at the turn of the century, the building has shed its manufacturing persona, yet the adaptive reuse project retains traces of its industrial past with exposed beams, tall ceilings and a brick facade. Dubbed Monument, the renovated building consists of seven contemporary apartments. Located in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal district at the corner of Colonial Avenue and Demers Street, the building was first erected in 1905 for The Saint Louis Preserving Company. A major overhaul and expansion was carried out in 1933 after lingerie company Grenier took over the building; the company left the location in 2012. To pay homage to the building’s long manufacturing history, Blouin Tardif Architectes followed a minimalist approach that preserved the existing frame and material palette of steel, concrete and wood while creating additional openings to increase access to natural light . Related: Old Sydney warehouse is transformed into an industrial-chic home Renovated to include a new third level atop the existing two floors, the three-story building comprises seven spacious units with parking spaces tucked in the basement. The three units on the ground floor consist of two- and three-bedroom layouts each with a fully wood-finished loggia. Above, the second and third floors house four residential units styled as penthouse-style townhouses with courtyards and terraces. The bedrooms, bathrooms and office are organized around a courtyard on the lower level, and the living spaces and a private outdoor terrace are located in the new extension above. Through the preservation of the building’s historical, architectural details, such as the brick masonry, and the addition of modern design elements, Blouin Tardif Architectes tips its hat to the former preservation company — which was known for making jams, pickles and hot sauce — as well as the lingerie company that called the building home for more than 80 years. + Blouin Tardif Architectes Photography by Steve Montpetit via Blouin Tardif Architectes

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An old warehouse is rehabbed into chic apartments in Montreal

Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool

October 25, 2018 by  
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Located mere steps away from idyllic white sand beaches on one side and a coconut grove on the other, this beach house designed by Studio Saxe is giving us major home envy. Situated on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, the spacious 3,250-square-foot Villa Akoya’s beautiful aesthetic hides several passive strategies designed to reduce the home’s energy use and impact on the environment. The breathtaking location serves as the principal inspiration for the design. Built using traditional cinder block construction, the one-story home was was raised off the ground to create a continuous sight line with the ocean views. This feature also helped reduce the footprint on the landscape . Related: Triangular beachfront home is a dreamy retreat buried in the earth The beach house’s dimensions are divided into four separate horizontal roof planes that slant slightly upward, covering each of the three bedrooms plus the main living area. This strategy creates distinct volumes within the structure. Additionally, the flat wooden roofs extend out over the exterior walls to create large overhang extensions that shade the interior while creating several indoor-outdoor living spaces around the exterior. The interior layout includes several spaces that are open to the exterior, creating a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors. All of the bedrooms have their own outdoor spaces, and an all-glass wall in the living room slides completely open, leading to a wooden deck and a swimming pool . Concealed within the design are several passive features to create an energy-efficient beach house. The “elevated” roof lines create a natural system of air ventilation, cooling the home in the hot summer months. The abundance of windows and glass doors brighten the interior during the day, further reducing the need for electricity. The home also operates on solar-generated hot water and has a gray water system. + Studio Saxe Via Archdaily Photography by Andres Garcia Lachner via Studio Saxe

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Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool

Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool

October 25, 2018 by  
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Located mere steps away from idyllic white sand beaches on one side and a coconut grove on the other, this beach house designed by Studio Saxe is giving us major home envy. Situated on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, the spacious 3,250-square-foot Villa Akoya’s beautiful aesthetic hides several passive strategies designed to reduce the home’s energy use and impact on the environment. The breathtaking location serves as the principal inspiration for the design. Built using traditional cinder block construction, the one-story home was was raised off the ground to create a continuous sight line with the ocean views. This feature also helped reduce the footprint on the landscape . Related: Triangular beachfront home is a dreamy retreat buried in the earth The beach house’s dimensions are divided into four separate horizontal roof planes that slant slightly upward, covering each of the three bedrooms plus the main living area. This strategy creates distinct volumes within the structure. Additionally, the flat wooden roofs extend out over the exterior walls to create large overhang extensions that shade the interior while creating several indoor-outdoor living spaces around the exterior. The interior layout includes several spaces that are open to the exterior, creating a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors. All of the bedrooms have their own outdoor spaces, and an all-glass wall in the living room slides completely open, leading to a wooden deck and a swimming pool . Concealed within the design are several passive features to create an energy-efficient beach house. The “elevated” roof lines create a natural system of air ventilation, cooling the home in the hot summer months. The abundance of windows and glass doors brighten the interior during the day, further reducing the need for electricity. The home also operates on solar-generated hot water and has a gray water system. + Studio Saxe Via Archdaily Photography by Andres Garcia Lachner via Studio Saxe

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Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool

Oregon initiates first modern statewide refillable glass bottle system in the US

October 22, 2018 by  
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At the beginning of the century, refillable bottles were the only option when you purchased a beer or soda from the local merchant. With the invention of the steel can in 1938, however, that practice began to change. Within 10 years, the 100 percent refillable glass usage for beer had dropped to 84 percent. When non-refillable glass started taking over mainstream production, that number dropped to 8 percent by 1986 and, according to the Container Recycling Institute , refillable beer bottles now account for less than 4 percent of the total containers used. Today, Oregon is getting back to the basics by revitalizing the use of refillable beer bottles. The World Counts reported, “The world’s beer and soda consumption uses about 200 billion aluminium cans every year. This is 6,700 cans every second — enough to go around the planet every 17 hours.” While recycling is an important piece of the puzzle, a large percentage of cans and bottles are tossed into the landfill. Those that do make it to the recycling plant require massive amounts of water and energy to recycle into clean, usable material. With all of this in mind, Oregon recently initiated a statewide recycling program that cuts out the need to break down materials and turn them into something new. Instead, they’ve gone old school by bringing back refillable bottles. Related: Eco-minded Melbourne brewery breaks the mold for sustainable beer production The process works the same as any other bottle deposit system. The consumer pays a deposit upfront when buying a beverage. Upon returning the empty container, they receive the deposit back. The bottle return machines identify the refillable bottles by a unique barcode and automatically separate them from the recyclable glass options. The bottles themselves are slightly different in other ways, too. Noticeably thicker and marked with a “refillable” stamp, the bottles can be reused up to 40 times, which sharply dials back the carbon footprint for the industry. Oregon has been poised to reintroduce refillable bottles into the market because of an existing statewide program that collects and recycles bottles and cans. With that efficient infrastructure in place, adding refillable bottles to the mix is a natural step in the progression of responsible resource management within the state. It’s no surprise that Oregon is an early adopter of the program, as it has a long history of innovation in the beverage recycling industry. In fact, Oregon was the first state to pass a bottle refund law in 1971. In order for the program to be cost-effective, there are some stipulations in place. For example, bottles leaving the state and not being returned for refill drives up costs. To protect against this, bottlers who commit to using the refillable bottles are only allowed to export 20 percent of those bottles out of state. Although Oregon hopes to be a leader in the refillable bottle movement, the program is still going through some growing pains. Bottles are currently being shipped to Montana for cleaning until Oregon can complete its own facility to do the work. While the state’s Department of Environmental Quality hasn’t put an exact measurement on the impact of these efforts, most agree that even with temporary transport to another state, refillable bottles cut the carbon footprint at every post-production phase of the life cycle. The real measure of the program’s success will come with the deposit return rates. If people don’t return the bottles, the system won’t work. This is a struggle that Double Mountain Brewery founder Matt Swihart knows all too well as the original provider of refillable bottles within the Oregon brewing industry. He’s fought an uphill battle in his efforts to successfully introduce refillable bottles to his Hood River bottling plant. With an initial return rate of only 15-20 percent, he’s hoping an organized state system will help facilitate his goals. “Anything we get back and clean saves us money down the road, and of course is a more responsible environmental package,” Swihart told OPB . “Frankly, it’s just the right thing to do.” Currently, seven breweries in Oregon have stepped up to the program. Widmer Brothers Brewing is one such optimistic leader of change. It has always been transparent in its efforts to maintain sustainability wherever possible in the beer-making process, with actions like donating spent grains to local farms and providing reusable to-go containers for employees to cut back on waste. For a company that looks to repurpose and recycle everything down to the crayons and corks, moving to refillable bottles is a natural progression. The company stated, “In 2016, we completed our first Life Cycle Analysis on a bottle of beer produced at our brewery to understand the biggest opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, learning that one bottle generates 392 grams of carbon dioxide emissions. We are partnering with suppliers to improve!” And now, the brewery is doing just that. Buoy Beer, Double Mountain, GoodLife, Gigantic, Wild Ride and Rock Bottom breweries have also signed on with hopes of many others joining as the program gains credibility. Although breweries are in the spotlight right now, there is hope that the soda industry will also jump on the refillable bottle bandwagon. Who knows — maybe it’s just a few short years before we make the full circle back to refillable milk bottles. Via  OPB ,  The World Counts and  Container Recycling Institute Images via Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative and Thomas Picauly

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Oregon initiates first modern statewide refillable glass bottle system in the US

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