Solar-powered Cloverdale house is made of reclaimed wood from a 1970s kit home

June 23, 2017 by  
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This solar-powered home in Cloverdale, California was built using reclaimed wood from an existing 1970s kit log home. Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects utilized existing site elements to create the new 2150-square-foot house with minimal impact on the environment. The owners of the property commissioned the architects to design a sustainable home that’s easy to use and doesn’t disrupt its natural surroundings. Inspired by traditional screened porches , the architects designed a screened-in living space and included the porch in the body of the house as an entry to the guest bedrooms. This double role of the porch reduced the need for circulation and helped keep the footprint of the house to it minimum . Related: Kentfield Hillside Residence Rises Under a Green Roof North of San Francisco A solar array installed on the south-facing roof, along with solar hot water panels, provide enough power to meet most of the energy requirements of the house. PV-powered heat pumps provide radiant heating or cooling, depending on the weather conditions and seasonal needs. In order to reduce construction costs, the architects reused the wood of the original kit log house as decking, interior and exterior wood paneling. + Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects Via Dwell Photos by Matthew Millman

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Solar-powered Cloverdale house is made of reclaimed wood from a 1970s kit home

INTERVIEW: Meet Eric Lundgren, who broke the world record for EV range with a car made from trash

June 22, 2017 by  
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Eric Lundgren, the founder and CEO of e-waste recycling company ITAP , recently beat the electric vehicle driving range of a Tesla with a car made from trash and powered by repurposed Nintendo batteries. (Well, technically not just Nintendo batteries but Lenovo laptop and Time Warner cable box batteries too.) But how did he accomplish the seemingly impossible? Read on for our exclusive interview. “It’s not magic. We just put a larger battery in a lighter frame. It’s that simple,” Lundgren explained in a recent interview with Inhabitat. “We basically put a 130 kilowatt hours battery pack in a car that weighs a little bit less than a Tesla.” Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars Lundgren is a pioneer in hybrid recycling — reusing the components in broken electronics or outdated electronics so that they don’t end up in toxic landfills. His trash car — the Phoenix — broke the world record for longest EV range last month, outlasting a Tesla Model S P100D on a round-trip from L.A. to San Diego. His team had already set the EV range record but Guinness didn’t accept the results because of missing film footage of the event so they gave it another go with cameras on for the entire race. They built the Phoenix in 35 days at a cost of $13,000 using 88 percent consumer waste. The $150,000 Tesla died at 318 miles while the trash car set the new world record — 382.3 miles on a single charge. Related: Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year In our interview (edited for clarity), Lundgren talks about how despite his success with electric vehicle range, his passion lies in making hybrid recycling widely accepted in society. Inhabitat: What motivated you to build the Phoenix and beat the EV world range record? Eric Lundgren: I’m all about hybrid recycling. The Phoenix was a way to demonstrate hybrid recycling. That was the purpose. I don’t want to become a car manufacturer. I want to do hybrid recycling and the Phoenix was a great demonstration. Inhabitat: What materials did you use to build the Phoenix? Lundgren: It is the most environmental car ever built with the lowest carbon footprint. The chassis of the car came from a scrap yard. It was about to get crushed and we dragged it out of the scrap yard. It didn’t even have wheels on it. We put wheels on it. We took out everything. Converted it to an EV. And we put used batteries – basically trash batteries – in it. The controller came off of a forklift. The blinker came off of a bicycle. The car itself is two 1997 BMW 528is that we frankensteined together to make one car. Inhabitat: What is the connection to hybrid recycling? Lundgren: We used garbage. We used all garbage, all old technology. All things that our consumer world said were trash and have zero value. And we built something that is the most valuable because it just beat a world record. So we’re demonstrating the value in garbage and trying to educate the public and corporations to start practicing hybrid recycling, which is a way of saving that value rather than destroying it. Inhabitat: It is amazing how badly you beat the Tesla. Lundgren: We took 35 days to build it. Tesla took a year-and-a-half to build their car. Tesla’s research and development cost was $1.4 billion. Our R&D cost: I paid my engineers in Keystone Light beer. Our car has one-tenth the carbon footprint ratio of a Tesla. Inhabitat: The number one issue with EVs is range anxiety. You would think that Tesla would want to increase their range. Lundgren: If Tesla increased their range, are you willing to pay an extra $30,000 for an extra hundred miles? My guess is they did some sort of marketing survey and realized that at 300 miles people are not willing to pay more money for longer range so they stopped there and the world says ‘oh, they must have stopped there because that’s the best that a car can do.’ Well I just proved that that’s not true. I just proved that cars can do more. Inhabitat: What are your objectives regarding the EV industry and hybrid recycling? Lundgren: My goal is to push the EV industry to produce cars that people want to buy so that we can get off of fossil fuel. My other goal is to demonstrate hybrid recycling so that companies like Tesla send dead battery packs to a hybrid recycler that can actually salvage the good parts out of them to build something new – rather than what they currently do, which is send them to a company in Canada, which smelts the battery pack for its commodity value. That’s bringing all the value in a pack down to its lowest common denominator. Inhabitat: What are you working on next? Lundgren: We’re going to build the largest repurposed battery pack for my facilities. All the power from my recycling is going to come from solar panels that go to a giant solar power array that runs my entire factory that produces batteries from trash. So in other words, my processing facility is going to be run from the sun to garbage batteries. That’s what is going to power my entire processing facility within the next six weeks. Inhabitat: You are building an electric semi truck to compete with Elon Musk’s Tesla Semi? Lundgren: In September Elon Musk releases his electric semi . In November, I’m releasing an electric semi that costs a fraction of the price of his, goes 55 miles further and is built from basically consumer waste. I don’t know what his semi is going to cost. My guess is it is going to cost around $300,000 or $400,000. My semi is going to cost $60,000 – and it will go farther than his. Inhabitat: Any thoughts on the era of affordable electric vehicles about to begin with the upcoming release of the Tesla Model 3 ? Lundgren: I truly believe that the world is going to go EV . I truly believe that the world is going to utilize lithium to get away from burning coal and to get away from all of these other primitive ways that we produce and use power, and transport ourselves today. We need to evolve as a society – and electric vehicles are a way to do that – but the recycling of those vehicles is just as important as the manufacturing. It doesn’t get enough attention. People don’t realize what happens to things when they just discard them. We need to start worrying about efficiency on the back end so we can become more efficient on the front end. Inhabitat: And where do you see hybrid recycling going? Lundgren: In the future, electronics of any type – whether it be an electric car or a laptop or tablet or cell phone or server router, you name it – all of that product is going to be reused very similar to how a chop shop in the auto industry works. If your car has a flat tire, you don’t throw away your car. And if you do, then they salvage every other working part. Let’s say you blow an engine — the chop shop salvages the catalytic converter and the exhaust and the windshield and the transmission and all the other parts. But in electronics today we throw it all away. We’re at a point where hybrid recycling is going to kick off. It’s going to become huge. Nobody understands it, so this car [the Phoenix] is a great demonstration for it. + ITAP Images via Jehu Garcia [Editor’s note: Lundgren was sentenced after we completed this interview to serve 15 months in federal prison for distributing free software (computer restore Freeware) in order to divert computers from landfills and empower consumers to fix their property. He is currently appealing the sentence.]

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INTERVIEW: Meet Eric Lundgren, who broke the world record for EV range with a car made from trash

Researchers successfully made a battery out of trash

June 14, 2017 by  
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If there’s one thing that abounds on planet Earth , it is man-made trash . Fortunately, researchers have developed a method of using discarded goods to create sodium-ion batteries. Made from recycled materials and safer than lithium variants, the battery is the latest step in renewable energy storage. To create batteries out of trash, the scientists accumulated rusty, recycled stainless steel mesh. Then, they used a potassium ferrocyanide solution — the same solution used in fertilizers and in wine production — to dissolve the ions out of the rust layer. Ions such as nickel and iron then bonded with other ions in the solution. This created a salt that clung to the mesh as scaffolded nanotubes that store and release potassium ions. As Engadget reports , “The movement of potassium ions allows for conductivity, which was boosted with an added coating of oxidized graphite.” Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars More often than not, lithium batteries are used for renewable energy storage. However, the type of battery is expensive and exists in limited amounts. Additionally, lithium batteries have been known to explode. Not only are the new sodium-ion batteries safer, they boast a high capacity, discharge voltage, and cycle stability. Developing the battery was step one of testing the concept. Now that scientists have successfully created renewable energy from trash, the battery can be improved upon to maximize its potential. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Elegant Australian home shows the beauty and toughness of rammed earth

June 14, 2017 by  
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Rammed earth may be an ancient building material, but the modern homes that use compact earth are anything but old-fashioned. One such example is Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers’ recently completed Layer House, a robust and elegant home in Victoria, Australia that keeps naturally cool with rammed earth walls. Made from local materials by local artisans, the rammed earth is paired with timber to create a beautiful palette that will last the test of time. Built to last generations, the large 470-square-meter Layer House was designed with an eye for detail and quality. The home derives its name from the intersecting zones and private vistas created from an asymmetrical layout that wraps around a series of courtyards . Rammed earth and timber are the two main building materials in the Layer House. The architects write: “The sand component of the rammed earth is locally sourced and built by local artisans. Rammed earth is a sustainable, honest, and efficient building material that requires no maintenance and ages gracefully. The timber will be allowed to grey off and age with time.” A few vibrant pops of color, such as the green tiled island bench and blue sofa, provide contrast to the pale color palette. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The low-maintenance rammed earth walls provide a thermal mass for passive cooling in summer and heating in winter. Energy efficiency is further improved with double glazed and thermally broken aluminum doors and windows. Louvers control the flow of cross ventilation, while hydronic heating is embedded into the concrete floors. + Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers Via ArchDaily Images © Shannon McGrath

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Worlds most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid homeand you can stay overnight

June 8, 2017 by  
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The Phoenix House is a tiny off-grid home that truly befits its name. Rising from the ashes of the world’s most active volcano, this solar-powered abode built of recycled materials boasts spectacular views of the Hawaiian landscape. Available for rent on AirBnB , the Phoenix House promises an unforgettable, off-the-beaten track experience and is just a bike ride away from a 100-foot lava waterfall. The eco-friendly Phoenix House is the newest creation by ArtisTree , a green design studio with an impressive portfolio of beautiful, low-impact treehouses and vacation homes. Located at the base of Mauna Loa volcano next to Kilauea, the tiny 450-square-foot Phoenix House is a shining beacon of sustainability and is part of a regenerative, off-grid community compound. Created to symbolize the temporal nature of life, the Phoenix House merges visual elements from a modern beach farmhouse with the stark volcanic landscape. The building is clad in charred Shou Sugi Ban timber to blend into the surroundings as well as recycled rusted corrugated metal that represents hot lava. “We built this house with deep respect for Mother Earth. For that reason, you will find the design minimalist, the development footprint light, and the result is one with its surroundings,” said Will Beilharz, the designer of Phoenix House, who also spoke of the difficulties of building on a lava field with 30-mile-per-hour winds. Related: Solar-powered cylindrical treehouse in Mexico is made with sustainable bamboo Sustainability is a major focus of the tiny house design. In addition to its use of solar power and recycled materials, the Phoenix House also collects and reuses rainwater . The modern home is equipped with all the comforts of home, including electricity, high-speed wifi and hot showers. The home, which accommodates two on a queen bed, is available for rent on Airbnb for $111 a night . Guests also have access to a fully equipped kitchenette with a propane stove top, living area with a couch and desk, and a small dinette table. + ArtisTree

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Worlds most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid homeand you can stay overnight

16th-century Czech home reborn as a guesthouse imbued with history

June 7, 2017 by  
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ORA architects transformed a 16th-century home in the former Jewish quarter of Mikulov, Czech Republic into Štajnhaus, a beautiful bespoke guesthouse and residence. Built in the Czech Renaissance period, the old house has been damaged, rebuilt, and transformed numerous times over hundreds of years. The architects carefully peeled back those layers in the palimpsest-like home to uncover unexpected architectural elements. In upgrading the old home, the architects also worked to preserve many of the original details such as old plasterwork and stone steps. In hopes of preserving these historic features—many of which continued to unexpectedly turn up in the process—the architects let these discoveries inform the renovation to keep the building as organic as possible. The old and new features are meant to blend together, giving every room a unique character. Materials, such as timber beams and bricks, salvaged on-site were reused as tiles and furniture. The vaulted brick wine cellars beneath the home were also brought back to life. The aboveground walls were painted white to reflect light and give the building an airy, spacious feel. Related: This Czech archaeological museum springs from the ground like a series of caves “We came to a ‘pudding stone’. The more individual layers, spaces and surprising circumstances we uncovered, the more revisions and alterations our project we had to make in our project; and this lasted, in fact, until the end of realisation,” wrote the architects. “In the beginning we did not have a clue where we would come to in the end. We were looking for a limit what time we could come back to and for a point when we should rather go on a new journey. But we still wanted to preserve the house as an organic unit. You will not find a straight wall or a rectangular opening in the house, so we had to reinvent and remake to measure all the elements, which the investor was compliant with.” + ORA architects Via ArchDaily Images by Jakub Skokan, Martin T?ma / BoysPlayNice

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16th-century Czech home reborn as a guesthouse imbued with history

Kinfolks hipster haven in Brooklyn oozes an off-grid, hippie aesthetic

June 7, 2017 by  
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Pacific Northwest hipster vibes meets Buckminster Fuller in clothing company Kinfolk’s beautiful multi-use events space in Williamsburg. Carved out from a former mechanic’s garage, 94 Kinfolk welcomes guests with two geodesic-inspired shells built of plywood, Douglas fir, and Western red cedar. New York-based Berg Design Architecture designed the events venue to meet the client’s desire for a space that feels “like it was designed for an off the grid Pacific Northwest hippy mathematician.” Located on Wythe Avenue near Kinfolk 90, the creative collective’s first location, the newer Kinfolk 94 events space includes a bar, art gallery, and retail. To bring the former car garage’s 20-foot-tall ceilings down to a more intimate human scale, Berg Design Architecture inserted two timber “geo-shells” and a bar canopy. The curved additions are of slightly different sizes and create semi-enclosed areas that evoke a cozy, bird’s nest -like feel. The shells can be altered with removable panels. Related: Patalab Architects transform dank mechanics garage into light-filled London home “As a design directive the client asked that the space look like it was designed by a ‘Pacific North West hippie Mathematician’,” wrote the architects. “The bar area had to feel intimate on a slow night with only 30-40 people but feel connected to the rear event space when the venue is filled to capacity with 150 people. The bar and event space needed to be adaptable to a variety of uses including art gallery shows, movie screenings, DJ dance parties, musical performances and large dinner parties.” + Berg Design Architecture Via ArchDaily Images © Edward Caruso

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Kinfolks hipster haven in Brooklyn oozes an off-grid, hippie aesthetic

Extraordinary man builds 25 plastic bottle homes for refugees in Algeria

May 18, 2017 by  
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A Sahrawi refugee in Algeria is rebuilding lives – literally. Born and raised in the refugee camp in Awserd near Tindouf, 27-year-old Tateh Lehbib Breica is constructing disaster resistant homes using discarded plastic bottles – for himself and others. These recycled homes are specifically built to endure harsh desert conditions for an affordable price. It’s no easy feat to construct homes in a climate where temperatures can spike to around 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Sandstorms also prey on refugee shelters in five camps near Tindouf, Algeria, where people live after fleeing violence in the Western Sahara War over 40 years ago. But the area also faces destructive rainstorms – in 2015 heavy rains wrecked thousands of homes. Related: Mayor born in Syria converts abandoned Greek resort into a sanctuary for refugees Breica may have found a solution in old plastic bottles filled with sand. He has a master’s degree in energy efficiency after participating in a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) scholarship program. He’d intended to build a rooftop garden, growing seedlings in the bottles, but the circular shape of the energy efficient home he was building posed a challenge to that idea. He wondered what he could do with the bottles instead and recalled a documentary on building with plastic bottles he’d seen during his time at university. The plastic bottle homes can better withstand storms than adobe , mudbrick, or tent homes, and are water resistant. The homes have thick walls, and partnered with their circular shape, stand up better to sandstorms. Breica built the first bottle home for his grandmother, who was hurt while being carried to a community center to hunker down during a sandstorm. Working with UNHCR, Breica has built 25 homes so far. He’s earned the nickname Crazy with Bottles for his work. Although he’s won awards for his design, he said, “People still see me as the guy obsessed with recycling bottles and building unusual houses.” Via UNCHR Images © UNHCR/Russell Fraser

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Extraordinary man builds 25 plastic bottle homes for refugees in Algeria

The prefab house of the future is made from recycled, reusable, and sustainable materials

May 5, 2017 by  
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This prefab home by Arup Associates is made from recycled, reusable and sustainably sourced materials . The Circular Economy Building was designed as a prototype for this year’s London Design Festival and built in only two weeks. The project revisits the archetypal house and reinvents it with refined prefab construction techniques and sustainable materials. The prefab clearly show its Circular Economy elements by revealing them visually– visitors can observe the layers of the envelope – including the demountable SIPS panels and the structural steel frame , which creates enables extension and future adaptation. The design aims to demonstrate that flexible, sustainable architecture can be highly compatible with a comfortable modern lifestyle. Related: Arup’s timber prefab Sky Believe in Better Building wins the 2014 Wood in Architecture Award The architects worked closely with Arup’s engineers to marry pleasant spatial solutions with sustainable building techniques. This informed the choice of finishes and fittings throughout the interior. Even the carpets, supplied by Desso on a take-back scheme, can be replaced when worn out and sustainably refurbished and reused . Related: London’s new Design Museum opens this week inside a renovated post-war modernist building The building’s superior acoustic performance is ensured by using an acoustic wall system built entirely from recycled plastic bottles . A high-tech automation system uses sensors to monitor the interior environment and adjust the skylights , blinds and lights. The building’s flat-pack construction utilizes custom-made panels standardized through several computational iterations. + Arup Associates Via v2com Photos by Simon Kennedy

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The prefab house of the future is made from recycled, reusable, and sustainable materials

Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin

May 3, 2017 by  
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Austin-based Andersson-Wise Architects designed a unique boathouse that blends into its surroundings and, according to the firm, “appears softly in a state of natural decomposition.” Set on the shore of Lake Austin, the Bunny Run Boat Dock is a breezy two-story building constructed from different species of wood for textured effect. Reclaimed materials hailing from different regions of the world punctuate the interior and give the boathouse an electric and worldly vibe. The 2,563-square-foot Bunny Run Boat Dock features two boat slips on the ground level and an outdoor bar and living area on the upper level. The steel frame superstructure is clad in vertically oriented cedar planks irregularly spaced to allow for views and natural light. The sense of openness and connection with the outdoors is a theme throughout the design, with only a few moveable screens dividing the living spaces from the landscape. The railing that wraps around the terrace, for instance, can be removed so the space can be used as a diving platform. Related: Gorgeous Flathead Lake Cabin is a Minimalist Home for the True Adventurer Different timber species were used in the construction, from the cedar patchwork cladding and interior cedar boards to the Douglas fir ceiling and sinker cypress flooring. The summer retreat’s fun and eclectic atmosphere comes from the selection of reclaimed materials that add texture and color. “The architectural palette is complemented by several reclaimed items: antique doors from India, a timeworn butcher block from England and a steel structure that weathers naturally,” the architects said to Dezeen . “The experience is intended to be an inviting homage to the beautiful climate and setting – a place to become connected to and surrounded by nature.” + Andersson-Wise Architects Via Dezeen Images via Andersson-Wise Architects , by Andrew Pogue

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