This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

August 16, 2018 by  
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Set in one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, the Off-Grid Guest House, designed by architect Dan Weber of Anacapa and designer Steven Willson of Willson Design , is a stunning showcase of sustainable and low-impact design. The contemporary home is nestled into a steep hillside in a wildlife preserve and perfectly perched to offer breathtaking, nearly 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscape of rolling hills and rocky outcroppings. Due to its remote location, the guest house—and the owner’s nearby main residence—are completely self-sufficient by necessity and powered with a rooftop solar panel system. Topped with a lush green roof planted with native grasses, the Off-Grid Guest House is built from durable and resilient materials including steel, concrete and glass. Full-height glazing surrounds the home, as does a wraparound outdoor balcony that’s cantilevered over the landscape and is partly sheltered by overhanging eaves. The abundance of glazing—including the glass balustrades—blurs the boundaries between inside and out and welcomes sweeping panoramic landscape views into the living spaces. “At the heart of the Owner’s objectives for this project, is preservation and protection of the natural environment,” reads the project statement on Anacapa’s website. “As such, this modern guest house is nestled into the hillside and situated on a spectacular site with ocean views. This healthy home is the pinnacle of environmentally-conscious, low-impact design and construction.” Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas The home operates off the grid with a photovoltaic energy system, on-site water supply and sewage treatment system that directs wastewater to a septic tank and dry well. The interior is fitted out with LEDs and low-energy appliances. Jessica Helgerson Interior Design furnished the interior with rich walnut accents and custom fixtures and furnishings. The house also includes a detached garage discreetly built into the hillside. + Anacapa + Willson Design Images via Erin Feinblatt

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This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas

July 26, 2018 by  
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When a pair of retired ordained ministers set their sights on creating a sustainable community for “spiritual renewal,” the couple turned to Austin-based design practice Miró Rivera Architects to bring their vision to life. Located on a 47-acre meadow property in Texas , the recently completed Hill Country House serves as the community’s first housing prototype and as a private residence for the clients. Affectionately dubbed “The Sanctuary” by its owners, the spacious farmhouse-style abode combines rural influences with a modern aesthetic on a very modest budget. Arranged in a linear layout spanning 5,100 square feet, The Hill Country House cuts a striking and sculptural silhouette in the landscape with its zigzagging standing-seam metal roof that mimics the surrounding hilly topography. The home is primarily clad in white corrugated aluminum siding interrupted by vertical planks of warm cedar siding. The tapering limestone chimney, inspired by an existing shed on site, was built of dry-stacked local stone. Natural and locally sourced materials were used to reduce environmental impact and to tie the appearance to the landscape. Inside, the home is flooded with natural light and overlooks framed outdoor views. Crisp white walls and tall ceilings lend the home its bright and airy character. The public and private areas of the home are located on opposite ends. “Particular attention was paid to creating spaces that would enable hosting large groups of friends and family, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor space,” the architects explained. “The stark white aluminum cladding is broken at various intervals by warm cypress siding that defines a series of rooms outside the house, including a temple-like screen porch that extends from the volume containing the main living spaces.” Related: Spectacular wildflower roof grows atop a dreamy Texan cabana The environmentally friendly features of the Hill Country House have earned it a 4-star rating from the Austin Energy Green Building, a precursor of the LEED certification system. An 8 kW solar array meets nearly two-thirds of the home’s annual energy usage, while a five-ton geothermal system supplies mechanical heating and cooling. The homeowners’ water needs are supplied by a 30,000-gallon rainwater collection system. According to a project statement, the owners hope their modern farmhouse will serve “as a model for future off-the-grid development.” + Miró Rivera Architects Images by Paul Finkel / Piston Design

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A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas

These African farmers carved an important message to the world – into the soil

July 20, 2017 by  
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Most people in Western countries reflect on Africa as a continent in which poverty is rife and economic opportunities are lacking. While this may be true in some cases, it’s a fixable problem. This is the message a group of farmers and villagers in Zambia seeks to share with the world – in the most unusual way. They spent 5 days last December carving data into a field to demonstrate that African farmers can enjoy independence too. The series of graphs in the soil, called the Field Report, outlined key data revealing why investment in agriculture is essential. At present, an increasing amount of young people are moving away from rural communities to urban locations in the prospect of a job. This is a problem, as Africa presently has a quarter of the world’s arable land yet only produces 10 percent of the world’s food. If action is not taken, a food shortage beyond what we’ve already witnessed is imminent. The farmers drew attention to this fact with a giant “11”, pointing out that agriculture is 11 times more effective at reducing extreme poverty than other sectors. Gilbert Houngbo, president of IFAD, which has support from the UN, said: “The Field Report makes the case for investment in agricultural development in the very land that needs it the most. We were inspired by the sheer power and potential land holds to reduce poverty and hunger, contribute to vibrant, self-sustaining communities and dramatically increase agricultural outputs capable of feeding a growing population.” As FastCompany reports, four-fifths of the world’s poorest people live in rural locations and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. If the initiative is taken to improve production and access to markets, families can increase their incomes while at the same time offering more food to society. Related: The Great Green Wall of Africa could fight desertification and poverty Africa spends $35 billion importing food rather than growing all its population needs; with the right tools, its economy could be transformed. “Rising prices and demand hold tremendous promise for the people who work the world’s 500 million small farms to grow and sell more food, lifting themselves out of poverty and food insecurity ,” said Houngbo. “When connected to markets, smallholder farmers can generate an income and create a multiplier effect–sending their children to school and stimulating the economy in order to help lift their community out of poverty for the long term.” IFAD’s main argument is that investment is needed to improve productivity in rural locations and to connect young farmers with technologies that can “connect them with experts and the information needed to best grow food.” Reportedly, what young African need most is access to finance . Once this is accomplished, a new generation of “agripreneurs” can be fostered. Later this week, the Field Report will be presented at a sustainable development forum in New York City. + IFAD Via FastCompany Images via IFAD

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Black Barn is a self-sustaining, off-grid version of historical English architecture

July 7, 2016 by  
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The yet-completed home will feature a bevy of green elements. Charring timber , an ancient Japanese technique, is used to preserve the wood without chemicals. The dramatic line of the roof draws the eyes to its unique angle, which hovers above the wild meadows on a concrete foundation. Locally-sourced timber, aggregate, and flint will be used in the construction, paying homage to the natural landscape. Related: Author builds tiny solar-powered off grid cabin for under $2,000! The home will be equipped with a solar array, bio-diesel generator, and battery storage. On-site sewage treatment and water accessed through a borehole mean the home is completely off the grid . An orchard of fruit trees and vegetable gardens reduce the family’s food footprint in the 300 square meter home. Heating and cooling are simplified with the heavily insulated walls and roof, as well as a widely overhanging gable over the balcony. A southern-located concrete slab absorbs heat during the day and disperses it throughout the space as the indoors become cooler. The barn is a perfect home for a family who loves the countryside , history and architecture as much as living in an environmentally conscious manner. +Studio Bark Via ArchDaily Images via Studio Bark

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Black Barn is a self-sustaining, off-grid version of historical English architecture

Self-Sustaining Haiti Children’s Academy Breaks Ground Outside Port-au-Prince

November 2, 2011 by  
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Read the rest of Self-Sustaining Haiti Children’s Academy Breaks Ground Outside Port-au-Prince Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Architecture for Humanity , bar architects , eco design , eco school , green architecture , Green Building , green design , haiti partner’s children’s academy , humanitarian design , net zero , port-au-prince , self-sufficient , self-sustaining , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , Zero energy

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Self-Sustaining Haiti Children’s Academy Breaks Ground Outside Port-au-Prince

Chinese Scientists Create Human Blood Protein From Grains of Rice

November 2, 2011 by  
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Researchers in China have found a way to extract an essential human blood protein from grains of rice, and development of the procedure could help with lessening blood shortages around the world. The blood protein in question is called human serum albumin (HSA), it is used to treat burns, traumatic shock and liver disease. Generally the protein is extracted from blood donations but if it were to come from rice, those blood donations would be left for patients who need whole transfusions and not just the protein. In China especially, where blood shortages are an ever growing concern, this development could save lives. Read the rest of Chinese Scientists Create Human Blood Protein From Grains of Rice Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: artificial blood , blood donation , blood donation resources , blood protein , blood shortage , health technologies , Red Cross

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Chinese Scientists Create Human Blood Protein From Grains of Rice

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