This ultra-sustainable home has moveable walls for endless reconfigurability

October 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Students from Northwestern University have created a sophisticated, energy-efficient home that is strategically designed to address the many challenges that come with aging. The solar-powered Enable House was built with various responsive design features – such as movable interior walls that create adaptable spaces through the years. The home’s deck features a beautiful greenhouse-like structure that opens up to the outdoors with sliding walls. Students from the Northwestern team conducted extensive research within local Chicago communities before creating their responsive home design. In talking with various baby boomers, the team realized that although sustainability is certainly a priority when it comes to living space, people over the age of 55 are increasingly concerned with aging comfortably in their own home. Related:Light-filled Danish home with flexible interiors welcomes the forest indoors Inspired to meet the needs of the aging population, the team worked to create a structure that would be incredibly energy efficient, but also functional and adaptable, all in one beautiful package. Team chose to use renewable building materials such as wood and fiber cement cladding to create a sophisticated, but welcoming home. The glazed sections of the beautiful attached sunroom easily slide open and shut to control air circulation. As an added health benefit, the deck’s glazed walls are treated with a special coating that purifies the air. The Enable House takes advantage of various sustainable features such as rooftop solar panels and thick structural insulated panels (SIPs), which help insulate the home during Chicago’s frigid winter months. Energy-efficient appliances installed throughout the home help reduce energy use and cost. The design also incorporates air filtering technologies, a living wall, and an innovative system that monitors the home’s VOCs, CO2, dust, and humidity to provide an extremely healthy environment year-round. The home’s modular interior walls enable a huge variety of layouts, so the home can be reconfigured based on the occupants’ changing needs through the years. For accessibility, the home is equipped with various universal design aspects such as zero-step entrances, single-floor living, wide hallways and doorways, wheelchair-accessible switches, and lever-style door handles and faucets. + Enable House Northwestern + Solar Decathlon Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

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This ultra-sustainable home has moveable walls for endless reconfigurability

Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

October 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

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The homes of the future will be smart, responsive, and even save us money. University of Maryland students let us take a peek into what the future may hold with reACT, a smart sustainable home that rethinks architecture as living organisms. Created as a “kit of parts,” this modular solar-powered dwelling is likened to a home-building kit that can be easily shipped out and readily adapted to different needs and environments. Most impressively, reACT —short for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology—is self-sufficient and generates clean energy, recycles waste, self-regulates its building systems, and even produces clean water and grows nutrient-rich foods. UMD students designed and built reACT for a married couple living in Denver, Colorado, who are also members of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The solar-powered home draws inspiration from the clients’ Native American roots to demonstrate how reACT’s innovative building system with off-grid capabilities can be customized to unique occupant needs. Thus, the reACT prototype incorporates Native American influences such as materials, patterns, and even ancestral farming practices, which can be found in the hydroponic garden, exterior vegetable garden, and movable living walls. The modular design allows the homeowners to expand or contract the house as needed. “Team Maryland created Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology to showcase how a sustainable future is more than just designing a better built home; it is a lifestyle system that incorporates a home with its surrounding environment, interacts with its occupants, and strives to give back more than it takes,” wrote the students. “This lifestyle system is supported by regeneratively mindful innovations that can be seen and explored throughout reACT communications. A modular ‘kit-of-parts’ home is the base of reACT as a lifestyle system. The ability to customize a home to adapt to the occupant’s unique needs is complimented by the technologies and innovations that increase energy efficiency , power generation, comfort, self-reliance, and overall enhance sustainable living.” Related: University of Maryland’s WaterShed Solar Decathlon House Takes First Place In Architecture! The modular reACT home is designed around a central courtyard with an operable glass roof and wall panels to bring light into the interior and serve as a solar heat collector. A solar electric photovoltaic array harnesses renewable energy and stores it in an on-site battery. Residents will have the option to sell energy back to the grid. The reACT home also produces clean water through rainwater and gray water collection and treatment systems. Indoor gardening creates the home’s green core where nutrient-rich foods are grown using organic waste gathered from the composting toilet. Self-regulating building systems, achieved through automation, program the home to become more energy efficient over time as the virtual house technology learns from its environment and the occupants’ lifestyles. The reACT home is the University of Maryland’s submission to this year’s Solar Decathlon competition. Once the competition is over, reACT will be shipped back to Maryland and installed next to Maryland’s Solar Decathlon 2007 second-place house in a sustainability park for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

October 6, 2017 by  
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Meet “The Escher”—a stunning tiny home that’ll steal your breath away. Designed and built by New Frontier Tiny Homes , this gorgeous mobile home uses clever space-saving design, high-end materials, and craftsmanship to prove that living large is possible in small spaces. The Escher combines rustic appeal with contemporary design into a surprisingly luxurious and dreamy abode. The Escher model was designed and built as a full-time family home for a couple with a child. Although the clients originally wanted the firm’s flagship model, The Alpha, they later decided on a more spacious custom-build, The Escher, which was named after their child. Shou Sugi Ban cedar siding, Red Western Cedar siding, and Federal Blue Custom Metal Siding clad the 28-foot-long Escher, while mechanical seam metal tops the roof. The home achieves its spacious feel thanks largely to tall ceilings, ample insulated glazing (in particular the 8-foot-by-8-foot glass garage door), and recessed LEDs. Solid poplar shiplap is used for the interior siding and ceiling. Ebony-stained solid walnut hardwood lines the floors. Two bedrooms are placed on either end of the home—the master bedroom with a king-size bed located in the 7.5-foot-long gooseneck, while the child’s bedroom is placed in a spacious loft accessible via a custom solid oak ladder (made with only wooden joinery). In total, the home offers seven distinct spaces: two bedrooms, kitchen, office, bathroom, walk-in closet with storage, and a dining area. The dining/living area is located in a spacious area behind the giant glass garage door that opens up the home to the outdoors. Moveable and transformable furniture make up a custom dining table, two benches, four stools, and two coffee tables that can be stored beneath the kitchen floor and provide extra hidden storage. The gorgeous kitchen features a 33-inch porcelain farmhouse apron sink with a fridge, 36-inch gas cooktop with hood, dishwasher drawer, custom cabinetry and shelving, porcelain countertops, as well as a custom copper backsplash and accents. Custom shoji paper sliding doors separate the kitchen from the master bedroom that houses a king-sized bed on a hydraulic lift that allows for full floor storage underneath. Below the loft bedroom on the opposite side of the home is the office, walk-in closet, and bathroom. The office consists of a bifold walnut standing desk and windows that open up to an outdoor bar area. The bathroom includes a composting toilet , floating sink, washer/dryer, custom tiling, herringbone pattern flooring made of ebony stained walnut, and a beautiful shower that easily fits two people. Related: Tiny home clad in burnt wood packs a ton of luxury into just 240 square feet The stunning home’s space-saving design is impressive but we think it’s the craftsmanship and detailing that elevates The Escher high above the typical tiny home. In addition to high-end appliances, the home features custom stone and timber furnishings and detailing, as well as a one-of-a-kind mural wall by 1767 Designs. Pricing for The Escher starts at $139,000. The tiny home was recently unveiled on HGTV and DIY’s “Tiny House, Big Living” television series. + New Frontier Tiny Homes

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Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

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