Repurposed coffee grounds provide sustainable clothing pigment alternative

September 27, 2019 by  
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Scientists from Iowa State University (ISU) recently unveiled a natural alternative to synthetic clothing pigment. This natural alternative is sourced from brewed coffee grounds. The research team , spearheaded by ISU Assistant Professor Chunhui Xiang and graduate student Changhyun “Lyon” Nam, found a possible alternative via repurposed coffee grounds. Rather than adding to landfill density and single-use waste, brewed coffee grounds can instead be transformed into another high-value resource. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Brewed coffee grounds are feasible because 100 million Americans drink coffee daily, meaning there is an adequate supply of coffee grounds that can be upcycled and diverted away from landfills. Shades of brown can be extracted from the coffee grounds, then bound to various textiles and fabrics. Of course, there remain the quandaries of fading and of replicating consistent hues. While the use of pigment fixative helps to bind the color to the fabric and reduce fading, producing consistent hues that can match a template proves to be more complex. More research is required before repurposed coffee grounds can be ready for mass-production of pigments.  “One disadvantage is that it’s hard to measure the quantity needed to get the same color,” Xiang explained. “There may be a difference in the type of beans, or maybe the coffee was brewed twice. Creating an exact match is a challenge, especially for manufacturers.” However, Xiang asserted that hue consistency can be overcome by changing consumer attitudes. If consumers are able to reframe their interests so that they accept the uniqueness of colors rather than demand their consistency, then repurposed coffee grounds, as a sustainable source, can be a worthwhile commercial venture. Historically, textile hues were originally sourced from plants and minerals.  But industrialization forced the textile sector to turn to synthetics, because laboratories could produce them at cheaper cost. Over time, these synthetics have become less and less environmentally friendly. Because the textile industry utilizes upward of 2 million tons of chemicals for its synthetic pigments, there has been a growing movement in today’s society to find more sustainable sources, such as repurposed coffee grounds. + Taylor and Francis Online Via Phys.org Image via Couleur

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Repurposed coffee grounds provide sustainable clothing pigment alternative

Architecture students build temporary music festival venue using 160 repurposed apple bins

September 11, 2019 by  
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On Friday, August 2, the Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley, Oregon featured a temporary performance venue designed by the Portland State University School of Architecture. The project is another in a line of “diversion design-build” concept stages, known fondly as the “Treeline Stage,” built by the school for the festival since 2014. The very first Treeline Stage was made using wooden shipping pallets. Since then it has also featured cardboard tubes, dimensional lumber and wooden trusses as building material. The 2019 repurposed stage was inspired by images of apple blossoms. The temporary venues holds a total of 160 wooden bins that were previously used to harvest apples by a Pacific Northwest fruit producer. The structure towers are 40 feet at its tallest point, allowing ample space for everything from audio equipment, a backstage area, food vendors and room for audience seating. The natural background of the stage, an area where the meadow meets the woods, only adds to the organic yet mystical ambiance of the structure. This year, the musical festival hosted 18 different bands (all of various genres) on the six stages throughout the weekend. Some of the bands included Mereba, CAAMP, Julia Jacklin, JJUUJJUU, Bonny Light Horseman, Reptaliens, and Black Belt Eagle Scout.  Each tower was made up of anywhere from 15-30 bins, strategically stacked to resemble pentagonal clusters of blossoms. The shadows cast by the apple bins during the day created a series of artistic shadows, while colored LED lights incorporated into the structure helped illuminate the stage after dark. The student-faculty team used leftover lumber from the previous year’s Treeline Stage project to create the vertical elements supporting the towers. Following the festival, the apple bins were returned to the donating company to be used for transporting and holding harvested apples for the late Summer harvest — meaning no materials went to waste. + Portland State University School of Architecture Images via PSU School of Architecture

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Architecture students build temporary music festival venue using 160 repurposed apple bins

Two abandoned 1960s buildings in the middle of a desert become a chic eco retreat

May 1, 2019 by  
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London-based practice Anarchitect has breathed new life into two stone buildings from the 1960s that had laid vacant in the United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah desert for years. Using the crimson landscape as inspiration, the firm converted the abandoned buildings into the Al Faya Lodge , a light-filled eco retreat that was built with a variety of resilient materials to withstand the remote area’s extreme temperature fluctuations. Set into the foothills of Mount Alvaah and surrounded by miles of desert, the boutique hotel  required a very strategic design that would enable the structures to be resilient against the harsh climate. According to Anarchitect founder Jonathan Ashmore, the location was challenging to say the least. “Desert conditions present extreme heat in summer with intense and prolonged sun exposure,” Ashmore said. “It is important to consider these factors when first designing the form and mass of the building and secondly the selection of suitable and robust materials, which go hand-in-hand.” Related: Off-grid eco-retreats reconnect you to serene nature in Brazil Using the existing frames of the old buildings (formerly a grocery store and cafe) as a guide for the layout, the architects selected a number of robust materials to create a resilient design that would stand up to the elements for years to come. Locally-sourced stone and concrete were chosen to create a heavy thermal mass, which would help keep the interior spaces at a comfortable temperature year-round. Additionally, using concrete and stone also protects the building from the harsh weather that often sees driving rain, sand storms and freezing overnight temperatures. In addition to these materials, the hotel was clad in a vibrant mixture of weathered steel and teak hardwood to add a refined industrial aesthetic to the design. Large floor-to-ceiling panels let in optimal natural light throughout the interior and provide a strong connection with the amazing setting found outdoors. While guests to the lodge can enjoy stunning views of the mountains and desertscape from the hotel’s dining area, reception room and outdoor fire pit, the rooftop terrace is the place to be at sunrise and sunset. All of the five guest rooms feature large skylights for stargazing. When looking for a little downtime from exploring the area, guests can also take in a luxurious soak in the open-air saltwater pool. + Anarchitect + Al Faya Lodge Via Archdaily Photography by Fernando Guerra via Anarchitect

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Two abandoned 1960s buildings in the middle of a desert become a chic eco retreat

This gorgeous LEED Platinum winery is made of reclaimed wood

March 20, 2019 by  
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San Francisco-based firm Piechota Architecture has designed what is being called the most sustainable winery in Sonoma Valley. Tucked into the rolling hills of Alexander Valley, the solar-powered Silver Oak winery design, which was made with repurposed materials, has already earned a LEED-Platinum certification  and is on track to become the one of the world’s most sustainable wineries. The family-owned Silver Oak Cellars winery was established in 1972 and has since become world-renowned for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery’s first location is located in the Napa Valley town of Oakville. The company’s second winery, designed by Daniel Piechota , is located on an expansive 113-acre estate and 75 acres of prime Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in Alexander Valley. Related: LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials With its low-lying gabled farmhouse silhouette, the winery appears low-key from afar; however, behind the clean lines, charred timber cladding and minimalist forms lies a powerhouse of sustainability. According to the architects, the design of the winery applies the concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle” through various sustainable features. For energy generation, the winery has an extended roof installed with more than  2,500 solar panels , which generate 100 percent of the building’s energy needs. The design uses plenty of recycled materials, but the reclaimed wood was specifically chosen to pay homage to the area’s wine-making industry. The winery’s exterior is clad in wood panels taken from 1930s wine tanks from Cherokee Winery, one of the valley’s pioneers of wine-making. Additionally, the design incorporated charred panels recovered from Middletown trees that were naturally felled during a fire in the valley in 2015. Now, the blacked trunks and panels have been given new life as a modern, sleek facade for the  winery . Inside, visitors are met with a large entry staircase, also built out of reclaimed wood from oak wine barrels with red wine stains that were intentionally left visible. The rest of the welcoming interior is a light-filled space filled with steel and wood features. Visitors will be able to take part in wine tasting in the winery’s tasting room, which is nearly net-zero water. With a calming reflective pool, native vegetation and open-air seating, this area is the heart of the design. Created to mimic the local barn vernacular, the gabled roof and large cutouts provide beautiful framed views of the rolling hillside that surrounds the estate. Of course, as with every winery, water plays an essential role in Silver Oak’s production. To reduce waste, the winery was installed with a state-of-the-art water reclamation system, including a membrane bioreactor that treats and filters water from the cellar to provide potable water. Rainwater is harvested and collected to be used in the vineyard’s irrigation. + Daniel Piechota Via Dezeen Photography by Joe Fletcher via Daniel Piechota

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This gorgeous LEED Platinum winery is made of reclaimed wood

Climate change causing Nebraska’s worst floods on record, damage visible from space

March 20, 2019 by  
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Amid growing concerns about the negative effects of climate change , Following historic levels of rainfall and flooding, the governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, has officially declared certain counties disaster areas as officials deal with the situation. “This really is the most devastating flooding we’ve probably ever had in our state’s history, from the standpoint of how widespread it is,” Ricketts shared. The flooding crisis started last week after a hurricane-like storm ripped through Nebraska, dumping massive amounts of rain on top of heavily packed snow. The warmer temperatures and moisture rapidly melted the snow, leading to widespread flooding throughout the state. Related: Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests Temperatures have remained well above freezing since the storm, which has only led to additional runoff issues. The flooding is so bad that satellites are picking it up from space. Nebraska faces springtime flooding on an annual basis, but the current situation is breaking records in all the major waterways running through the state. Climate change is one of the reasons why the flooding has worsened, as warmer temperatures are coming earlier than usual. In one area of the Missouri River, the water line broke a previous high by close to four feet. The flooding also crashed through the Niobrara River’s Spencer Dam, which is located in the north-central part of the state. The failing dam resulted in an 11-foot tall wave of water rushing through the area. The flood waters have destroyed homes, bridges and roadways all across the state. Over the weekend, a few levees on the Platte River broke, surrounding the city of Fremont with water. With access to the town completely cut-off, officials have been airlifting supplies for local residents. Flooding has started to level out this week, though experts predict that water levels will remain high for a few more days. Offutt Air Force base and Omaha’s National Weather Service station have both been overrun with water, a reminder of the devastating effects of climate change. Via Grist Image via Shutterstock

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Climate change causing Nebraska’s worst floods on record, damage visible from space

Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery

July 9, 2018 by  
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This new eatery in Pozna? , Poland sports an unconventional interior that’s all about imaginative upcycling. Polish architectural interior design studio mode:lina outfitted the restaurant — called The Rusztowanie Grill and Bistro — with a suite of construction materials repurposed into decor, serving plates, lighting fixtures and more. Serving up comfort food like massive burgers and hearty soups, the eatery’s contemporary and industrial-chic design matches its Instagrammable food offerings. Located in ?azarz (St. Lazarus District), one of the oldest districts in Pozna?, Rusztowanie Grill and Bistro can be found in the basement of a historic townhouse that dates back more than 100 years. The space spans 538 square feet and was designed with products sourced from a building warehouse. The existing exposed brick walls were retained and, matched with the Edison bulbs, track lighting and exposed concrete ceiling, they give the space an industrial feel that’s emphasized in the decor. Timber sourced from the warehouse forms the bar front and booth seating. The timbers were deliberately misaligned to bring attention to their raw appearance. Galvanized metal pipes were reworked into sculptural lamps, table legs and wall partitions. Concrete lattice paving blocks were stacked in front of some of the exposed brick walls that are painted black. The burgers are even served on a shovel head repurposed as a plate. Related: Spiky sweets shop makes extraordinary use of the common traffic cone “[We] ensured that the interior design of a basement in an over 100-year old townhouse is consistent with the name and communication strategy of the restaurant,” explained mode:lina in a project statement. “All is done in line with the type of food available here – simple dishes served in an unusual way.” + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewin?ski

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An 1820s Catskills manor gets a marvelous modern makeover

June 26, 2018 by  
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Just two hours outside New York City sits a stunning vacation rental that blends old-world charm with contemporary design. Completed by architectural designer Tom Givone , the property was dramatically reworked over the course of four years from a decaying manor into the Floating Farmhouse , a beautiful home that combines historic and modern elements. Crafted to embrace the outdoors, the light-filled home features a veranda that appears to hover over the edge of a pristine Catskills creek as well as a fully glazed gable end wall. Originally built in the 1920s, the Floating Farmhouse had fallen into a severe state of disrepair when Givone came across it in 2007. After a painstaking demolition process that involved careful preservation of original features like the cedar roof shakes, he began rebuilding the structure — 11 pine trees felled on the property were used for the hand-hewn ceiling planks and wainscoting — and inserting a mix of modern and vintage furnishings throughout. “The hope at the outset was to combine archaic and modern elements throughout the home in a way that enhances the innate beauty of each by virtue of its contrast with the other, and create tension between polished and raw, primitive and industrial, sophisticated and simple,” Givone explained. “The Floating Farmhouse is an experiment in how these opposites attract.” Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The grandeur of the spacious interior is emphasized through ample glazing that fills the home with natural light and offers serene views. The most dramatic of the rooms is undoubtedly the “cathedral-like” kitchen with polished concrete floors, a wood-fired pizza oven and a double-story fully glazed wall that frames views of the brook, gazebo, apple orchard and barn. French doors to the side of the living area open up to a shaded veranda that hovers over the creek, where a waterfall cascades over an ancient stone dam. Givone has made his spectacular retreat available for rent . + Floating Farmhouse Images via Tom Givone

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An 1820s Catskills manor gets a marvelous modern makeover

Old fishermans shack is reimagined as a dreamy eco retreat

June 26, 2018 by  
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Eco-conscious couple Jamie and Ingrid Kwong have breathed new life into an old fisherman’s shack by transforming the dilapidated structure into a cozy, environmentally-friendly getaway. Located on Pittwater’s Mackerel Beach in New South Wales, Australia, The Little Black Shack is a restorative retreat that offers complete immersion in nature with minimal site impact . The house was reconstructed by hand with recycled materials and lovingly furnished with secondhand items. Local fishermen originally hand-built the shack around the 1930s. The couple, who lived nearby, had admired the shack for over 20 years and finally jumped at the chance to buy the property when it was put up for sale in 2013. The building was in poor condition with termite-damaged wood, but the couple was undeterred in fixing up the shack and spent the next 18 months with family and an eco-minded builder to completely restore the shack by hand. “Our aim is to give our guests a relaxing and restorative experience in our sustainable little patch of paradise by giving them everything they need, whilst taking very little from the environment ,” the couple explained. “By the end of their stay, our guests tend to take a lot less for granted too. If you want real stars, wildlife, peace, quiet and a place to connect with and appreciate nature and each other, you might want to jump on the old wooden ferry ‘Myra’ and cross Pittwater to Mackerel Beach.” Related: Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact The Little Black Shack was rebuilt with recycled and repurposed materials as part of the owners’ desire to reduce their impact on the environment. Instead of air conditioning, the property relies on natural ventilation and passive heating supplemented with a hand-built, sandstone open fireplace. The paints used throughout the home are all-natural, water-based and VOC-free . Rainwater is also harvested and reused; during times of drought, a desalination system is used to turn salt water into purified fresh water. The couple hopes to take the Little Black Shack completely off the grid in the future. The idyllic retreat is available for rent; for a closer look inside, follow their Instagram . + The Little Black Shack Images by Luisa Brimble

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This custom-built tiny house is big on interior design

April 9, 2018 by  
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Washington-based company Handcrafted Movement is making quite the name for itself with custom-made tiny homes. The company’s latest micro dwelling — called the Coastal Craftsman — is so gorgeously designed that you’ll forget it’s only a mere 238-square-foot space. The energy-efficient tiny home has a stunning interior design that is not only open and airy; it is also handcrafted with various reclaimed materials. The home, which is built onto a transportable trailer , is clad in a cream-colored board and batten siding with Pacific Cedar accents, complimented with a dark metal rooftop. A lovely glass-panel door leads into the living space, which has distressed oak flooring that contrasts nicely with the white walls. Throughout the home, the interior design gives off a relaxed beach vibe, enhanced with an abundance of natural light. Related: These solar-powered tiny homes are designed just for millennials The furnishings were all strategically custom-built  to provide personal touches to the home without adding clutter. A chaise lounge-style sofa bed is at the heart of the living area, providing a comfy place to read or watch television. There’s an electric fireplace to keep warm in the winter months, and a vintage desk and chair sit in a small nook under a window. The tiny kitchen has plenty of shelving and cupboards. The space is compact, but efficient and includes a dining table made out of Oregon-sourced, salvaged walnut wood . In the corner of the kitchen, stairs lead up to the sleeping loft, which has enough space for a king-size bed. Matt Impola, the founder of Handcrafted Movement, framed the walls himself and even inserted custom-made roof trusses to add dimension to the tiny home design . The craftsmanship of the project is incredibly impressive. “I built much of the tiny home components—the exterior shutters, kitchen cabinets, bathroom doors, stairs, electric fireplace, television cabinet, coffee counter, dining table, etc. — from scratch, and had two production assistants help me assemble and finish all them,” Impola said. “I’ve seen too many tiny homes with minuscule couches that will not realistically be comfortable for very long, so it’s important for me to be able to fit full-size furniture in every tiny home I build.” In addition to its amazing design, the home was also built with various energy-efficient features such as rock-based Roxul insulation, 10 large energy-star windows, LED lighting, an instant water heater, and a propane oven and cooker. Thanks to these features, the home’s monthly energy costs are incredibly low — an estimated $12 to $25 per month. + Handcrafted Movement Via Dwell Photos via Handcrafted Movement

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This custom-built tiny house is big on interior design

Old stables morph into a curvy eco-conscious home

December 19, 2017 by  
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Minimal environmental impact was a guiding design principle behind True North, a home built from the bones of 19th century horse stables and a decaying midcentury cottage. Designed by Melbourne-based TANDEM Design Studio , the quirky two-story home takes its sinuous shape from a challenging triangular site. A seamless curving steel skin wraps around the home in a continuous pleated loop. Named after its sunny corner site, True North was built for an architect and his family with a $750,000 project budget. The two-story, 182-square-meter building comprises two connected dwellings: old stables renovated into a one-bedroom townhouse, and a three-bedroom home built to replace a 1950s cottage. The bedrooms are located upstairs, while the communal areas, including the dining, sunken lounge, kitchen, and floor play space, are placed on the ground floor. A double-height atrium and a bridge occupy the center of the home. In contrast to its steel exterior, warm-toned timber lines the majority of the interior. The architects liken the curved shape of the home to a standalone coral structure. “The deeply folded facade was designed to create diagonal bracing, stabilising the curving, assymetric form,” wrote the architects. “The deeply folded triangles retain a layer of still air adding to the performance of the envelope.” The dips and curves of the facade were also informed by passive solar principles and help delineate garden space and event the front door. Related: Historic Horse Stables Converted into a Contemporary Home in the UK To minimize environmental impact, the foundation is built of insulated slab and insulated double brick construction for thermal mass . Highly insulated steel wraps around a timber frame to lock in temperatures. Bricks from the demolished cottage were salvaged and repurposed in new construction. + TANDEM Design Studio Images by John Gollings

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