This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

November 8, 2018 by  
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East of the Hamptons sits a solar-powered, holiday home that celebrates indoor-outdoor living. Wrapped in exposed concrete and fire-resistant charred timber, the home — dubbed the Montauk House — is the work of Desai Chia Architects , a New York City-based design practice that created the two-story home (with a basement level) for a family with two children. The roof of the house also conceals a large photovoltaic array that harnesses enough energy to power the entire residence, while passive design principles were applied to reduce the overall energy footprint. Located on the tip of Long Island , the two-story Montauk House spans 4,600 square feet on a corner lot edged in with mature landscaping for privacy and shade. The architects located the main living areas and master suite on the upper level, which includes the combined living room, dining area and kitchen, two studies for the parents, a powder room and a master bedroom suite. The two children’s bedrooms and an additional guest bedroom are located on the ground floor along with a shared bathroom and the one-car garage. Walls of operable glass pull the outdoors in, while the open-plan layout facilitates clear sight lines across large sections of the dwelling. Indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with the addition of three outdoor terraces, each protected by deep overhangs to allow for relaxing and dining in the summertime. A ‘garden’ terrace links the ground-floor family room to the outdoors, and a ‘reading’ terrace spills out from the upstairs office spaces. The ‘breezeway’ terrace — the largest of the three — is a south-facing space that runs the length of the home and connects to the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Related: Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite In addition to rooftop solar panels, the home embraces green design with the use of low-maintenance materials. The rainscreen of wood was treated with the traditional Japanese process of shou sugi ban to develop resistance against rot, pests and fire. Ample glazing also illuminates the interior with natural light, while the cantilevered roof deflects unwanted solar heat gain. Natural ventilation has also been optimized. + Desai Chia Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Paul Warchol via Desai Chia Architects

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This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

Mecanoo unveils winning designs for a solar-powered velodrome in Luxembourg

October 4, 2018 by  
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Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo and Luxembourg-based design practice Metaform Architects have placed first in an international design competition for the Mondorf-les-Bains Velodrome and Sports Complex in southeastern Luxembourg. The winning design was created to look like a natural extension of the landscape thanks to its engineered timber structure and sprawling, sloped green roof onto which a rounded velodrome is placed. Sustainable and passive solar principles also guided the design of the 24,500-square-meter complex, which optimizes natural light and is powered with solar energy. The Mondorf-les-Bains Velodrome and Sports Complex will be built among the rolling hills in the countryside of Luxembourg in a region known for its thermal baths. The 65 million-euro project will serve as a major sporting hub for the community and comprise a velodrome, aquatics center with indoor and outdoor facilities, two cafes, a multisports hall, a climbing wall and offices for the Luxembourgish Cycling Federation (FSCL). The pools and sports hall are designed to be embedded into the sloped landscape and topped with a green roof to visually reduce the size of the development and simultaneously draw attention to the elevated velodrome that will serve as a landmark structure visible from the neighboring highway. “The Velodrome, Multi-Sports and Swimming Pool Complex project is inspired by its surroundings, a subtly undulating topography,” the architects explained. “The main challenge was to integrate all three functions under one roof while paying respect to the context and at the same time to create the architectural landmark for the city of Mondorf-les-Bains.” Related: Mecanoo designs gorgeous green-roofed train station for Kaohsiung In addition to the massive green roof , wood and concrete finishes will be applied to further tie the building to the landscape. Strategically placed skylights and glazing will let in ample natural light while framing outdoor views. The dates for construction and completion have yet to be announced. + Mecanoo + Metaform Architects Images via Mecanoo

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Mecanoo unveils winning designs for a solar-powered velodrome in Luxembourg

This Swiss straw-bale house is completely self-sufficient

July 6, 2018 by  
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Traditional building techniques and modern technology come together in the House in Berne, a self-sufficient straw bale house in Graben, a Swiss village located less than an hour’s drive north of Bern. Trun-based architecture practice Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH designed the modern home, crafting it to blend in with the rural surroundings by taking on the appearance of an old Bernese farming house. Additionally, the self-sufficient house is powered entirely by rooftop solar panels. Completed this year, the House in Berne is set in the middle of a vast and open farming landscape. The dwelling comprises three floors in addition to a small basement for a total area of 1,970 square feet. In response to the client’s request for a modern, self-sustaining home that would be flooded with natural light , Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH designed a building with large yet carefully placed openings, as well as an energy-efficient envelope to ensure minimal heating energy demands that could be satisfied through a photovoltaic array or passive solar means. “Inside the house, glass ceilings ensure that daylight can penetrate fully into the whole building,” explains Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH in a project statement. “The reduction of inside walls allows the owners to live and work in a big open modern space. The 80 centimeter thick straw-bale walls guarantee minimal heat losses. The electrical and thermic energy gained on the solar roof is stored in a home battery system and in a 5000 [liter] solar tank located in the basement. If needed the house can be heated by the stored thermic energy.” Related: Leaky cottage retrofitted with straw bale sees 80% energy reduction Set on an east-west axis, House in Berne is built primarily from unfinished timber for both the interior and the exterior; the timber façade will develop a patina over time and further blend the building into the landscape. Solar panels top the roof, which features long overhanging eaves to protect the interior from unwanted solar heat gain . + Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH Images by Rasmus Norlander

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Solar-powered National University of Singapore building will produce as much energy as it consumes

November 8, 2016 by  
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The six-story NZEB@SDE will be powered by 1,200 rooftop solar panels and feature a range of other green building designs, including a hybrid cooling approach, natural ventilation, and natural lighting . The contemporary building includes a large overhanging roof to shade the interior from the overbearing tropical sun, while its porous layout allows for cooling cross-breezes for a comfortable environment with minimal reliance on air conditioning. The large openings and balconies help connect the occupants with the outdoor landscape. Related: A tropical paradise grows inside this lush Singapore home “This project marks a new chapter in our School’s vision of learning, knowledge advancement and multidisciplinary collaboration,” said Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of NUS School of Design and Environment. “Many hours of discussion, design iterations and collaborative teamwork have gone into the design of NZEB@SDE, which will serve as a living laboratory to inspire our staff and students to explore innovative ideas as we continue to push the boundaries of sustainable design to build a green and resilient urban habitat for all to enjoy.” The net-zero energy building is slated for completion in early 2019. + Serie Architects + Multiply Architects Via Dezeen

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Solar-powered National University of Singapore building will produce as much energy as it consumes

Renovated Amsterdam office space features a rooftop of glittering aluminum "leaves"

October 3, 2016 by  
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Goede Doelen Loterijen’s 500 employees are currently scattered amongst fifteen different locations, but soon that will all change. The workers came together to assist in the design of their new building, which will take over a vacant structure in desperate need of a transformation. The renovation is expected to receive an “Outstanding” BREEAM rating , the highest available, for its commitment to sustainable functionality. Related: Benthem Crouwel Architects named designer of new Paris airport metro station Inside the building workers will have access to ample office space, a TV studio, public restaurant, and auditorium, most of which will also be open for public meetings and events. The true charm, however, lies in the unique exterior. An extra floor was added to create a uniform roof spanning across the entire building, as well as extending over the lush courtyard. Columns shaped like the surrounding trees support the roof and a pattern of 6,800 polished aluminum “leaves” give off a glittery luster similar to a swaying forest canopy. A total of 2,400 solar panels power the building and a rooftop rainwater collection system will be used for irrigating the building’s gardens. These features combine to create a structure both green in function and in its reverence for the surrounding environment. + Benthem Crouwel Architects Images via Benthem Crouwel Architects

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Renovated Amsterdam office space features a rooftop of glittering aluminum "leaves"

The company that offered integrated solar roofs before Elon Musk

August 17, 2016 by  
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Last week Elon Musk announced SolarCity is working on a solar roof that was “not a thing on the roof” but “the roof.” The promising idea could offer an alternative for those who don’t like the look of traditional rooftop solar panels , but it looks like Musk won’t be the first to create a solar roof. New York-based company SunTegra Solar Roof Systems (formerly Integrated Solar Technology) has already installed integrated solar systems in the northeastern United States and California. According to SunTegra, “three out of four homeowners would prefer an integrated solar option.” So the company, led by industry veteran Oliver Koehler, designed solar shingles and tiles that integrate with roofs. Their tile can produce 67 watts, and their shingle can produce 100 watts. Additionally, the SunTegra shingles utilize ” 50 percent fewer parts ” than traditional rooftop solar panels, and can be rapidly installed in “half the time.” Their systems are lighter than racked panels too. Ventilation built into SunTegra’s units help them stay cool. Related: Elon Musk is developing a roof made entirely out of solar panels While SunTegra’s units are around 15 percent more expensive than traditional rooftop panels, if homeowners need a new roof, pricing can be competitive. None of SunTegra’s roofs have leaked, and the company notes they’ve received ” exceptional wind, snow, and fire ratings .” According to testimonials on the company’s website, clients in California and New Jersey are among those who have had SunTegra shingles or tiles installed, and the company is working to grow sales in more areas of the United States as well as Mexico and Canada. It appears SunTegra is working on other solar projects for the future as well. On their website they said they will be “introducing product lines for garden and patio spaces and for the sides and facades of commercial and community buildings.” + SunTegra Via Treehugger Images via SunTegra and SunTegra Facebook

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Discreet new SolarSkin panels completely blend in with their environment

July 14, 2016 by  
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Sistine Solar is out to change the way people view rooftop solar . Started by MIT graduate students, the company is developing SolarSkin solar panels that can match rooftops or the surrounding environment. This means the solar panels on your roof could look like clay tiles, slate shingles, or even grass. Inspired by companies like Apple and Tesla, Sistine Solar co-founders Senthil Balasubramanian and Ido Salama aim to combine elegant design with revolutionary technologies . They dream of a world that runs entirely on renewable energy , and felt that more people would get on board with solar energy if the panels were more beautiful. To transform that dream into reality, they teamed up with an artist trained in Italy and an MIT PhD candidate in photovoltaics to come up with a more aesthetically-pleasing design. Related: Santa Monica to require rooftop solar panels on all new buildings Sistine Solar won the 2013 MIT Clean Energy Prize in Renewable Energy and can already count Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Microsoft as future clients. Last fall they received $1 million through the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to further develop their promising technology. Homeowners have responded positively as well; according to Salama, when they showed homeowners the SolarSkin panels, 98 percent of people said they liked it better than traditional solar panels, and many of those people had ” refused solar in the past .” Sistine Solar’s camouflaging panels have an efficiency of 15 to 17 percent, which is an excellent start. The team said on their website , “We at Sistine Solar are on a mission to showcase the innate beauty of solar energy through stunning design, captivating the world’s imagination and ushering in the era of clean energy. We passionately believe that by designing beautiful products that generate electricity more elegantly, we can capture the hearts and minds of the world, driving the mass adoption of clean energy.” You can pre-order the panels here ; Sistine Solar anticipates SolarSkin will be ready in 2017. + Sistine Solar Images via Sistine Solar

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Discreet new SolarSkin panels completely blend in with their environment

IKEA reaches for net positive energy status in the next four years

May 27, 2016 by  
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IKEA , famed Swedish retailer after our own hearts, is taking a giant leap forward in the sustainability department. The chain has announced its goal to be “all in” to have a net positive impact on the environment with a multi-pronged strategy of renewable energy investments, energy efficiency techniques, emissions reductions in the supply chain. The company will even redesign some products to encourage more eco-friendly behaviors in its customers. The retailer’s efforts earned the company a 2016 Guardian Sustainable Business Award in the net positive category. The Swedish retail giant  plans to hit its net positive energy goal within four years. Currently, IKEA generates around 53 percent of the energy it uses from renewable sources , primarily wind and solar. The retailer has 314 wind turbines, and has installed 700,000 solar panels to date on its stores and distribution hubs. Energy production varies by location. IKEA’s operations in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Poland have already reached net zero energy status, by producing all the energy they need to operate. IKEA’s Canadian wind farm generates more than double the energy the retail chain uses there. Related: IKEA starts solar panel sales in UK stores Inspired by the COP21 climate agreement last December, IKEA sunk a ton of money into renewable energy projects outside its business operations as well. The company pledged a $670 million investment in renewable energy projects in advance of the international climate agreement, which added to previous investments of $1.67 billion cash investments and another $446 million to protect communities at risk from the effects of climate change. Via The Guardian Images via IKEA

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Apple unveils second stunning “spaceship” campus for Sunnyvale

October 5, 2015 by  
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California dishes out free solar panels to its poorest residents

May 27, 2015 by  
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Roy Rivera is a disabled man who lives on a fixed income in Sacramento, and he’s also the first California resident to receive a free rooftop solar system. But he won’t be the last. Thanks to legislation first introduced by Senator Kevin de León, the Oakland-based non-profit organization GRID Alternatives is funneling funds gathered under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GCRF), the state’s cap-and-trade program designed to discourage carbon dioxide emissions, into a program that is expected to deliver 1,600 free solar panels to California’s poorest residents by 2016 . Read the rest of California dishes out free solar panels to its poorest residents Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , “solar energy” , CA cap-and-trade , California free solar , California free solar program , clean tech , free rooftop solar panels , free solar , free solar for poor California residents , greenhouse gas emissions , Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund , GRID alternatives , reduced CO2 emissions , rooftop solar , rooftop solar panels , Roy Rivera , Sacramento , Senator Kevin de Leon , solar panels

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