This modular, off-grid design can adapt to any landscape

April 27, 2020 by  
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DIY home design is a life-long dream of many, and today’s architects are making it easier than ever to build your own home without toiling for years. Genoa-based firm  TEKE Architects  has just unveiled the MU50, a modular  off-grid home  designed to be configurable to virtually any landscape. Using modules of prefabricated timber frames that can be connected in various layouts, the innovative design is meant to be incorporated into any landscape with minimal impact. The MU50 design is meant to be a feasible solution to sustainable and convenient modern  home design . According to the architects, a basic principle of the innovative home design was to create a modular, highly-flexible system that incorporates reusable and recyclable materials that would ensure minimal environmental impact across the board. The modular frames and enclosure panels, which are prefabricated off-site, are easily delivered on-site where they can be installed in just a few days, depending on size. Related: This ready-made tiny home can be shipped to any destination Part of the design includes a severe pitched overhang roof made out of three possible building materials, either wood, aluminum or copper. As one of the design’s many passive features, the roof offers several climate control features. First, the underside of the roof includes tight thermal insulation and waterproofed panels. Secondly, the large overhangs shade the interior spaces. The roof will also be installed with  solar panels,  which depending on the location and size of the home, should provide sufficient energy to power the entire house. The living space is designed to be an open plan that allows for optimal natural lighting and air ventilation. No matter what the size, the system’s modular pods allow for  maximum flexibility , meaning minimalists can create the tiny home of their dreams, and families can create larger spaces that are suited to their individual needs. This flexible system also allows homeowners to adjust their living space to their changing needs throughout the years. Additionally, the home can run off-grid in any number of climates or terrains thanks to several active and passive climate control features. The modular frames are designed to be elevated off the landscape to allow for air circulation below its base. With proper building orientation, custom windows with double-paned glazing, and piston-operated pine sunshades, the home’s interior is protected from harsh sunlight and heat. In terms of active sustainable systems, the home design is created to run solely on solar power, but additional clean energy-generating systems can be used as well, such as a water collection system. Additionally, ground source heat pumps and underfloor heating create optimal  energy-efficiency  for the beautiful home design. + TEKE Architects Via Archdaily Images via TEKE Architects

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This modular, off-grid design can adapt to any landscape

Studio Precht designs a fingerprint-like park for social distancing

April 27, 2020 by  
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Studio Precht has turned the rules of social distancing into a design guideline for Parc de la Distance, an innovative park proposal that ensures all visitors will be separated at least 6 feet from one another at all times. Created in the shape of a fingerprint with spiraling ridges represented by tall hedge rows, the conceptual park takes inspiration from both French baroque gardens and Japanese Zen gardens. The hedge-lined paths slowly spiral toward a center, where fountains are located. With all famous parks across Vienna closed due to the pandemic , Studio Precht wanted to create a safe way for local residents to get access to a brief time of solitude and nature. As a result, it has proposed Parc de la Distance for a vacant lot in Vienna that comprises multiple spaced-out pathways for individual walks. “Although our ‘Park de la Distance’ encourages physical distance, the design is shaped by the human touch: a fingerprint,” the architects explained. “Like a fingerprint, parallel lanes guide visitors through the undulating landscape.” Related: Architects propose produce markets designed for social distancing Each lane is bookended by an entrance gateway and exit gateway to indicate whether the path is occupied or free to stroll . The lanes are spaced 8 feet apart and flanked with nearly 3-foot-wide hedges on either side for visual separation. The height of the hedges vary along the path. Each individual path is 0.37 miles long and takes around 20 minutes to walk from start to finish. Although visitors are often shielded from view from one another, they will be able to hear the sounds of footsteps on the reddish granite gravel that line each path. “For now, the park is designed to create a safe physical distance between its visitors,” Studio Precht founder Chris Precht said. “After the pandemic, the park is used to escape the noise and bustle of the city and be alone for some time. I lived in many cities, but I think I have never been alone in public. I think that’s a rare quality.” + Studio Precht Images via Studio Precht

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Studio Precht designs a fingerprint-like park for social distancing

Green roofs can improve air quality inside buildings

April 15, 2019 by  
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A new study has found that green roofs do a lot more than just provide extra space to grow plants. These eco-friendly roofs can also enhance air quality inside of buildings by reducing the ozone levels that come in from the outdoors. Scientists at Portland State University conducted the study at a large commercial building in Portland. Researchers installed devices on the roof, which was split between a traditional membrane and a green roof. The devices measured ozone levels of the air surrounding the building. They discovered that plants on the roof helped to trap ozone, preventing it from coming into the building. Related: 9 ways to add more houseplants to your home The new study adds to the growing list of green roof benefits. According to Phys.org , this includes the ability to filter carbon dioxide, cut down on excess water runoff after big storms and reduce heat in urban environments. Not to mention all of the veggies and plants that can be grown, cultivated and even shared with the local community. But how does the vegetation trap ozone and remove it from the air? The process of trapping ozone is called dry deposition, where particles in the air accumulate on solid surfaces. The process of dry deposition is completely natural and has been proven to be an effective way of filtering air. Prior to the new research, however, scientists did not know that a green roof could actually improve air quality indoors. It should be noted that the study, which was published last month in Building and Environment, only took place over a few days. The scientists who led the research effort have admitted that more studies that measure pollutants trapped over a long period should be completed. They also want to look at other pollutants other than just ozone. Once this happens, we will better understand the broader benefits of green roofs and just how much they can contribute to better indoor air quality. + Portland State University Via Phys.org Image via Urformat

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3GATTI hopes to land a ‘green spaceship’ in Madrid

April 15, 2019 by  
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3GATTI Architecture Studio has unveiled a spectacular design for a new public library in Madrid. The firm envisions an eye-catching “green spaceship” for the public space; it is a building almost entirely clad in lush Virginia creeper vines. As well as creating an attractive landmark for the community, the building’s expansive greenery will act as a passive feature that will help to insulate the structure in winter and cool the interior spaces in the hot summer months. The international firm has proposed landing the green spaceship in the Villaverde district in southern Madrid. According to the architects, the library’s unique design was inspired by the desire to create a recognizable landmark in the community, a vibrant public space that will attract local visitors and forge a strong bond between residents and the neighborhood. Related: This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops The base of the two-story building will be comprised of a simple concrete and brick construction clad in a dark plaster. The first floor of the building will be completely transparent with floor-to-ceiling glass facades. This bottom floor will house the public areas, which will contain the ‘noisy’ functions. On the top floor will be the quiet zones, where visitors will be able to study and read. From the outside, this level will be completely covered in Virginia creeper vines planted on the roof of the building. Contained with red tubes and metallic netting, the lush greenery will look like it is floating above the street, giving the library a surreal, spaceship vibe. However, in addition to being eye-catching, the concept is also very practical and optimized for the city’s climate. Green walls and rooftops always add an extra level of insulation. In this case, the vines will help cool the interior spaces during the hot summer months by shading them from direct sunlight. Adding to the building’s abundance of green spaces, the structure will house several courtyard spaces that let in air and light into the interior spaces. At the eastern side of the building will be enough space to plant an urban vegetable garden . Attached to the youth library rooms, these gardens will be used to teach children about the benefits of healthy living. Through the community gardens, workshops and various activities, the library will have a strong connection to the neighborhood. + 3GATTI Architecture Studio Images via 3GATTI Architecture Studio

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Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

April 10, 2018 by  
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Solar energy development has skyrocketed in recent years, but many … The post Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

April 10, 2018 by  
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Solar energy development has skyrocketed in recent years, but many … The post Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

Lightyear unveils solar-powered car with a 500-mile driving range

June 29, 2017 by  
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A little-known Dutch startup called Lightyear just unveiled plans for a solar-powered electric car with a 500-mile driving range. The Lightyear One features a four-wheel drive powertrain that can handle rough terrain – and thanks to its solar panels, it can drive for months without having to be charged. “You can think of the Lightyear One as being as an electric car redesigned from the ground up to combine the best of solar cars and electric cars.”, says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. “It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility because we are able to combine a great look with extreme efficiency. This first model makes science fiction become reality: cars powered using just the sun”. Related: The world’s most efficient 5-seater car is powered entirely by the sun The solar-powered Lightyear One can travel up to 500 miles on a single charge. Other automakers have unveiled electric cars with solar panels on the roof, but none of them have been able to propel a car as far as Lightyear’s new vehicle. The integrated solar cells on the roof of the Lightyear One will generate enough energy to recharge the battery during the day, rendering charging virtually unnecessary. In sunny climates, the car can drive for months without charging, but if you need to travel further, you can also charge it using a standard power socket. Since the Lightyear One doesn’t need to rely heavily on charging infrastructure , the solar-powered car is a new option for drivers that don’t have access to a charger. “The Lightyear One is a statement to show that electric cars are ready for every corner of the planet”, Hoefsloot says. “It is the first step in our mission to make electric cars available for everyone”. The Lightyear One will be unveiled in early 2018, with the first deliveries in the United States and Europe expected to arrive in 2019. Pricing starts at 119,000 Euros, and reservations are already being taken on Lightyear’s website . Images @Lightyear + Lightyear

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Vancouver on track to kill wasteful single-use packaging

June 29, 2017 by  
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Vancouver , Canada wants to become a zero-waste city – no easy feat for an area with over 600,000 people. But as part of its Greenest City Action Plan , the city is exploring options to limit single-use packaging, like all those coffee cups, plastic bags and foam take-out containers littering our landfills . This summer they’re launching a pilot program to allow restaurants to fill take-out orders in reusable containers brought by patrons. Vancouver is teaming up with Vancouver Coastal Health to allow retailers and restaurants to fill orders in customer-brought containers. They pointed to container share programs in San Francisco, New York City, and Portland as examples of alternatives to the single-use waste issue in the past. Vancouver Coastal Health will work to ensure food safety and health for the program. Related: Insidious single-use coffee pods banned in German city Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement, “Vancouver is on track to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, and taking these next steps to reduce coffee cups, Styrofoam , and plastic bags from our landfills will take our environmental leadership to the next level.” He called for city residents to weigh in on reducing single-use packaging waste. If you live in Vancouver, you can find out about zero waste events or sound off on your ideas here . Even though Vancouver is taking large strides towards becoming a zero waste city, they’ve got a long way to go. According to city officials, 2.6 million coffee cups are tossed into the garbage every single week there, while around two million plastic bags end up in the trash. They also frequently find foam in Vancouver shoreline cleanup projects. But the effort to prioritize a zero waste future is a positive step, as the city encourages its citizens to shift their thinking on waste . Via the City of Vancouver ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Wikimedia Commons and Takahiro Sakamoto on Unsplash

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Bizarre Chinese Temple Discovered Atop a 21-Story Luxury Apartment Building in Shenzhen

January 8, 2017 by  
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A Chinese microblogger recently noticed a curious architectural object built upon the roof of a housing complex in Shenzhen . A mysterious temple has been sitting atop the 21-story luxury apartment building in Nanfang district of Shenzhen for at least three years, but apparently nobody knows who it belongs to still. The temple is surrounded by vegetation, has a security system to protect the premises against unwanted visitors, and walls covered in glazed golden tiles. It looks like an out-of-place private facility illegally built on public property. [youtube width=”537″ height=”302″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZpBQ0p5skk[/youtube] One of several illegally built rooftop structures in China, the temple could compromise the overall structural integrity of the building and put its tenants in danger. The majority of Chinese, especially after the affair involving a mountain villa built on the roof of a Beijing apartment building , feel that the arrogance of this sort should be stopped by the government. An anonymous source reportedly told South China Morning Post the identity of the building’s owner—a piece of information still not officially confirmed. Via Oddity Central

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1,000-year-old UK cathedral is likely world’s oldest cathedral to go solar

October 31, 2016 by  
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A 1000-year-old UK cathedral is joining the solar power revolution. UK solar company Mypower just installed the first panel of around 150 on the roof of Gloucester Cathedral in England earlier this week. When the installation is complete, Mypower says the cathedral will be the oldest in the UK and maybe even the world to have a ” commercial size solar panel system on the roof .” The solar panels will adorn the roof of the cathedral’s South Nave, and due to the building design probably won’t be visible from the ground. They will provide the cathedral with 40 kilowatts of clean energy . In true British fashion, the cathedral said the solar panels would reduce power costs by about a quarter, “enough to make 2,000 cups of tea every day of the year!” Related: Philip Johnson’s Iconic Christ Cathedral to be Renovated With Thousands of Heat-Combatting Metal Petals Installing solar on a cathedral is trickier than placing panels on modern buildings; Mypower Managing Partner Ben Harrison said they’ve had to work around twists and spots where the roof has sagged over time. He said they’ve worked closely with the cathedral’s structural engineers and architect to ensure the work is completed correctly. Harrison said in a statement, “At times it’s been extremely tight in terms of maneuverability around parts of the site, particularly when the work required us to work just inches away from centuries-old gargoyles, but we put strategies and measures in place to protect the building from any damage.” Reverend Canon Celia Thomson was on hand to help install the first panel. The Church of England is running a Shrinking the Footprint campaign, and the solar array will help Gloucester Cathedral work towards the campaign’s goal of slashing carbon emissions ” by 80 percent by 2050 .” King Henry III had his coronation at Gloucester Cathedral, and King Edward II is buried there. The historic building also provided a location for three Harry Potter movies. Via BusinessGreen Images via Wikimedia Commons and Mypower

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