Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort

February 28, 2020 by  
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Once known as one of Uganda’s most popular hotels, the Nile Safari Lodge had fallen into disrepair over the years. When it was tasked to breathe new life into the property, Kampala-based studio Localworks decided to pay homage to the building’s history by respectfully and carefully rebuilding the existing facilities instead of tearing them down and starting from scratch. Now, the fully refurbished accommodation is an incredible, solar-powered eco-retreat offering guests a direct connection to the nature surrounding the property. Located on the southern bank of the Nile River, the Nile River Lodge is enveloped in wilderness. Looking over the famed river, the lodge offers guests a chance to recharge their batteries while taking in the views. This calm atmosphere became the focal point of the green renovation process. Related: Two abandoned 1960s buildings in the middle of a desert become a chic eco-retreat Starting with the main building, the architects wanted to break open the communal spaces as much as possible. They did this by covering the existing building with a series of thick, grass-thatched roofs . The design strategy also aimed to implement new openings around the property to allow for indoor-outdoor living. The Ugandan climate is typically very hot and humid, so passive cooling strategies , such as natural light and ventilation, were used whenever possible. The wide, triangular openings and curved walkways found throughout the hotel allow guests to enjoy framed views of the river and surrounding Murchison Falls National Park from nearly anywhere onsite. At the heart of the eco-retreat is a soothing infinity pool that looks out over the river. A covered pavilion opens up to the pool and serves as the perfect spot to take in both the sunrise and the sunset. Guests will be able to enjoy down time in one of the eight cottages, all of which face the river. Although distinct in size and amenities, the cottages, referred to as bandas , are raised on stilts to reduce their impact on the landscape and generate air flow under the buildings. Made of natural materials such as wood, grass and stone, the buildings were all positioned to protect the interiors from the harsh equatorial sunlight. While passive strategies were used throughout the eco-resort, several modern features were also implemented to reduce the project’s environmental impact. Completely free of mechanical cooling systems, the lodge runs solely on solar power . + Localworks + Nile Safari Lodge Via ArchDaily Photography by Will Boase via Localworks

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Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort

LEED Platinum-targeted Santa Monica apartments are powered by solar energy

January 30, 2020 by  
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Los Angeles-based design practice KFA Architecture has recently completed Pico Eleven, a new multi-unit residential housing project designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. In addition to the building’s inclusion of solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and passive solar strategies, Pico Eleven has also dedicated approximately one-third of its units to affordable housing, with four units set aside for very low-income households. Located near Downtown Santa Monica, the housing project reflects its waterfront environment with reclaimed timber siding that recalls the rustic California beach house aesthetic. Nestled into a sloping hillside just blocks from Downtown Santa Monica , Pico Eleven comprises 32 units spread out across four floors and is organized into three distinct masses that step down the slope. The 33,000-square-foot building also includes two levels of subterranean parking with space for 64 vehicles. Eleven of the 32 units — which mainly comprise one- and two-bedroom units — are reserved for rent control, while four units are designated low-income. Related: Eco-friendly crematorium is envisioned for Santa Monica To take advantage of the building’s proximity to the waterfront, the architects have added three upper-level decks with sweeping ocean views and amenities including built-in barbecue grills, gas fire pits and outdoor seating. Outdoor space is further integrated into the design with the private patios that come with every unit as well as the inclusion of two large, open courtyards with drought-tolerant landscaping. Open floor plans and expansive glazing on the sides of every residential unit also give residents access to ocean cross breezes and plenty of natural light. In addition to an emphasis on cross ventilation and daylighting throughout Pico Eleven, the architects have added photovoltaic panels to the roof to generate electricity for the entire building. All units come with energy-efficient appliances and residents have access to two electric vehicle charging stations as well.  + KFA Architecture Images via KFA Architecture

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LEED Platinum-targeted Santa Monica apartments are powered by solar energy

Modern townhome in Philadelphia combines functionality and sustainability

December 18, 2019 by  
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Constructed with reinforced concrete and structural steel, the Red House is one home in a collection of three townhouses located in the northern Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia . Custom, artistic elements throughout the property paired with the sustainable and efficient features give this building its unique, eco-friendly flair. Each home is 3,200 square feet in size, 18 feet wide and four stories tall. The complex is entirely electric-running and designed to operate a 7.37kW grid-tied, roof-mounted PV solar panel system. Apart from providing the owner with a significant cost reduction for utilities, the solar panels produce no carbon dioxide emissions. Related: Striking, LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia All of the appliances and features in the homes are designed to maximize the efficiency of the massive rooftop solar panel. A one-car, heated garage comes complete with an electric car charger . To provide a great deal of natural light and natural airflow from front to back, there are 6-foot, wall-to-wall, aluminum-clad wood casement windows on the northern side, as well as double and single 5-foot casement windows on the southern side. The home is heated by a hydronic radiant heating system installed into the floors, complete with the ability to control the temperature of each individual floor separately to reduce excess electricity when all zones aren’t being used. On the second floor, you’ll find a spacious open plan that welcomes guests into a casual space for living, dining and cooking. The interiors are marked with an industrial design scheme; the modern, open kitchen utilizes stainless steel countertops and cabinetry inset with local black walnut wood embellishments. In each townhome, there are four bedrooms in total, dispersed among the first and third floors as well as the master bedroom on the fourth floor. Each of the three full baths are designed with colorful, handmade tiles from Spain. Families who need more space can make use of the finished basement, which is fully heated, insulated and waterproof. Outside, the green backyard was contained using corrugated metal fencing. Meanwhile, the roof deck provides a unique view of the Philadelphia skyline. + Octo Studio Photography by HomeJab via Octo Studio

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Modern townhome in Philadelphia combines functionality and sustainability

Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

December 17, 2019 by  
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The formerly industrial borough of Harbugh in Hamburg, Germany will soon get a strikingly modern and eco-conscious facelift thanks to Neuländer Quarree, a new mixed-use community planned for the area. Cape Town-based architecture and design firm SAOTA won the architectural competition for the project with its design of a net-zero energy development powered by geothermal wells, wood pellet-fuelled cogeneration plants and photovoltaic panels. The project was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Residential Future Project category of the World Architecture Festival, a global architectural awards program and festival, earlier this month. Created in collaboration with Cologne-based BeL Architecture and Berlin-based ROBERTNEUN Architects, the new Neuländer Quarree design aims to revitalize the Harburg inland port with mixed programming and an attractive streetscape with contemporary architecture rooted in historic context. The development will span a site of approximately 44,000 square meters and include 400 apartments, a hotel, offices, retail trade and a technology park with space for businesses, manufacturing and crafts. Related: LAVA designs carbon-neutral LIFE Hamburg with an edible green roof “What sets this project apart is the introduction of communal roof gardens and a variety of social functions on the roof, including sports facilities with running and walking routes, outside dining areas, toddler and kids play areas, an outside cinema and a large area dedicated to urban agriculture,” said Phillippe Fouché, director of SAOTA, in a press release. “As a public gesture, the design introduces a raised public enclave which allows visual access to the canal, the steps leading to it also double as urban seating and meeting place, creating an inclusive urban interface.” Sustainability is also a key feature of the net-zero energy community and part of the overarching goal of promoting “long-term commitment to future residents and users.” In addition to the sculptural buildings, the waterfront development will be defined by attractive public spaces and retail to attract residents and visitors alike. Construction on Neuländer Quarree is scheduled for 2020 with planned completion in 2023. + SAOTA Images via SAOTA

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Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

Tesla revives its clean energy business with new version of its solar roof tiles

October 30, 2019 by  
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Tesla’s newly released version of solar roof tiles is promising to be a better green energy alternative. For one, it is easier to install than traditional shingles. Plus, these new Tesla tiles are more cost-effective than purchasing a new roof with separate solar panels. Because of the innovative upgrades, Tesla CEO Elon Musk optimistically projects the company will install 1,000 of these new solar roofs per week. Tesla ventured into the solar roof industry three years ago in partnership with SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016. The most recently upgraded solar roof tiles are designed to look like normal roof tiles yet double as power-generating solar panels. Related: Newly-revealed Tesla solar roof patent shows the secrets behind the technology This newly unveiled solar roof tile is a third-generation version that features more refinements like increased size, beefed up power density, reduced components for better efficiency and improved roof edges that no longer require time-consuming “artisanal” fine-tuning onsite. The new solar roof tiles are made from tempered glass and are three times more durable than standard roofing tiles. As Musk explained, “With versions one and two, we were still sort of figuring things out. Version three, I think, is finally ready for the big time. And so, we’re scaling our production of the version three solar tower roof at our Buffalo Gigafactory. And I think this product is going to be incredible.” Tesla’s website offers two varieties of solar roof — a normal roof with solar panels and the third iteration of the textured glass shingle roof. Musk has touted the latter to be cheaper, easier and faster to install than its predecessors. The version three roof has a 25-year warranty, and its glass material can endure 130-mph winds and hail of up to 1.75 inches in diameter. Efficiency is the name of the game in the solar roof sector. Thus, for Tesla, the company plans to implement a “Tesla-certified installer” program that enlists outside roofers that are local to the client. Similarly, Tesla has optimized its roof installation so that the whole process should only span eight hours. Musk has said that orders for Tesla’s version three solar panels have risen as a response to the power outages caused by California utility PG&E repeatedly shutting off electricity to hundreds of thousands of Golden State residents to prevent wildfires . Tesla therefore is recommending homeowners go green to avoid these rolling blackouts. “We can make roofs come alive,” Musk shared. “There are all these roofs out there just gathering sunlight, but not doing anything with it. In the future, it will be odd for roofs to be dormant or not gathering energy.” + Tesla Via CNBC Image via Tesla

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Tesla revives its clean energy business with new version of its solar roof tiles

YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

October 30, 2019 by  
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To combat the climate crisis , a coalition of YouTubers has joined together for a mammoth mission to plant 20 million trees beginning in January 2020. Called #TeamTrees, the reforestation campaign has social media all abuzz. They have, so far, raised enough funds to plant more than 8 million trees, and that number is rising. How did it all start? When YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, or MrBeast, reached the 20 million subscribers milestone on his YouTube channel, which is dedicated to extreme stunts and philanthropic challenges, his subscribers dared him to plant 20 million trees to commemorate the occasion. The campaign quickly went viral. Related: Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change “People keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something … this is your chance to make a difference,” MrBeast said to his supporters. “Just to be clear, we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change . But at the end of the day, 20 million more trees is better than zero! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!” Upward of 600 YouTube creatives have since joined the #TeamTrees initiative, even rallying their subscribers to follow suit with the planting trees endeavor. To date, these social media influencers have a combined total of 650 million subscribers, double the United States population.  Each $1 donation plants a single tree. In the first 48 hours of the #TeamTrees website going live on October 25, the initiative raised more than $5 million — and the funds keep growing. All donations are sent directly to the Arbor Day Foundation, the nonprofit devoted to tree planting . For almost 50 years, the nonprofit has planted 250 million trees worldwide. Trees funded by the #TeamTrees endeavor will be planted across the globe beginning January 2020. The Arbor Day Foundation anticipates a December 2022 completion date; the year 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day. To promote successful tree survival rates, the Arbor Day Foundation will partner with the United State Forest Service, the National Park Service and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure the trees planted will not be invasive species . The trees chosen will be native to the region in which they are planted, many in national forests managed by government agencies. To speed up the process, the #TeamTrees campaign is entertaining a collaboration with DroneSeed, a company that deploys drones to plant trees in a scalable fashion. Small drones first map out the landscape, followed by larger drones that drop seed vessels at locations ideal for growing trees. Additionally, this eco-friendly YouTube collaboration is flooding the platform with tree content. The #TeamTrees coalition hopes to game the algorithm and push for more environmental videos to rank at the top of the recommended playlists. With tree videos trending next to cat videos, Mother Nature would be proud. + #TeamTrees Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

Zaha Hadid Architects completes futuristic, energy-saving airport in Beijing

October 11, 2019 by  
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China has officially opened the Beijing Daxing International Airport, a futuristic transit hub designed by Zaha Hadid Architects with the world’s biggest terminal spanning 700,000 square meters. Seamlessly integrated into the city’s expanding transportation network, the new airport is defined by dramatic sweeping curves, an abundance of interior daylighting and energy-saving systems that include photovoltaic panels and a rainwater harvesting system. The Beijing Daxing Airport is expected to accommodate 72 million travelers by 2025 and is planned for further expansion to serve up to 100 million passengers and 4 million tons of cargo annually. Located 46 kilometers south of Beijing’s city center in the Daxing District, the Beijing Daxing International Airport was created to alleviate congestion at the capital’s existing airport. The airport offers direct connections to Beijing — including a 20-minute express train — as well as to the national high-speed rail network and local train services for easy access to nearby regions such as Tianjin and the Hebei Province. The terminal features a compact, radial design to support a maximum number of aircraft and minimize distances from the center of the building. Related: MAD unveils an energy-saving, snowflake-shaped terminal for Harbin Airport “Recently assigned the airport code ‘PKX’ by the International Air Transport Association, Beijing Daxing sets a new standard in air transport services, serving the region’s growing population within a compact and efficient passenger terminal that is adaptable for future growth,” reads the architects’ press release. “Echoing principles within traditional Chinese architecture that organize interconnected spaces around a central courtyard, the terminal’s design guides all passengers seamlessly through the relevant departure, arrival or transfer zones toward the grand courtyard at its center — a multi-layered meeting space at the heart of the terminal.” Zaha Hadid Architects’ iconic, flowing lines are brought to life inside the airport, which features a vaulted roof fitted with linear skylights that flood the interior with natural light. To reduce energy demands, photovoltaic panels were installed to provide a minimum capacity of at least 10 MW. A composite ground-source heat pump system provides supplemental power to the centralized heating system with waste heat recovery. The airport also includes a rainwater collection and water management system that naturally purifies up to 2.8 million cubic meters of water in new wetlands, lakes and streams. + Zaha Hadid Architects Photography by Hufton+Crow via Zaha Hadid Architects

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Zaha Hadid Architects completes futuristic, energy-saving airport in Beijing

Archstorming announces winning proposals for a school made of recycled plastic in Mexico

October 11, 2019 by  
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Architectural competitions platform Archstorming recently presented the winners of its “Tulum Plastic School” competition that sought proposals for a school built of plastic for the NGO’s MOM I’M FINE Project and Los Amigos de la Esquina in Tulum, Mexico. From 230 submissions, an international jury selected three winning projects that draw attention to the problem of plastic waste in Mexico and found imaginative ways to reuse common plastic objects. First prize was awarded to Daniel Garcia and William Smith from Harvard University. The duo used the international plastic pallet as the building block for their proposed school . Instead of melting down plastic and reforming the material, the designers took advantage of the stability of pallets to create the school’s exterior walls and its very steep roof. The transparent, recyclable and corrugated plastic facade not only allows light into the school, but it also protects the school from the elements and can glow like a beacon when illuminated at night. Related: Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape Malaysian designer David Nee Zhi Kang was awarded second place for his proposal of a school scaled and designed for children. The multifunctional school could also be opened up for community use. Rather than use processed plastic materials, the conceptual building is constructed from common plastic waste materials, such as recycled plastic bottles, and assembled with simple tools without the need of heavy machinery. The vision is for a building that can inspire the residents of Tulum to adopt similar recycling and building practices. In third place, Argentinian designers Iván Elías Barczuk, Matías Raúl Falero, Agustín Flamig and Adrián Eduardo Mendez proposed a modular design to reduce waste and for quick assembly with non-specialized labor. Each modular panel would be built from recycled, shredded-plastic liners and reconstituted wood. To further reduce the environmental footprint, the school can be equipped with vertical gardens, a rainwater collection system and photovoltaic panels. “The result of this contest shows that there are new, very attractive ways of designing a school using recycled plastic and that it is possible to introduce this material into architecture,” Archstorming said. + Tulum Plastic School Images via Archstorming

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Archstorming announces winning proposals for a school made of recycled plastic in Mexico

How to Compare Solar Energy Bids & Select a Solar Installer

September 2, 2019 by  
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More home and business owners are installing solar panels than … The post How to Compare Solar Energy Bids & Select a Solar Installer appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to Compare Solar Energy Bids & Select a Solar Installer

Sustainable Central Park with energy-producing trees unveiled for Ho Chi Minh City

August 8, 2019 by  
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Laboratory for Vision Architecture (LAVA) and Australian design practice Aspect Studios have won an international competition to design the new Central Park for Ho Chi Minh City. Located on the site where southeast Asia’s first train station was located, the 16-hectare linear park will pay homage to its industrial heritage with walkways overlaid atop 19th-century railway tracks. In addition to historical references, the visionary public space will also integrate sustainable and futuristic “tree” structures engineered to provide shelter, harvest water and generate solar energy. Located in District 1, the central urban district of Ho Chi Minh City , the proposed Central Park will replace and expand the existing September 23 Park. The new design will retain its predecessor’s lush appearance while adding greater functionality to include sculpture gardens, outdoor art galleries, water features, music and theater performance pavilions, a skate park, sport zones and playgrounds. ”The site has always been about transportation,” said Chris Bosse, director of LAVA. “It was the first train station in southeast Asia, it’s currently a bus terminal and in the near future it will be Vietnam’s first metro station. Our design references this history and future mobility. Known locally as ‘September 23 Park’, it also hosts the important annual spring festival.” The designers plan to link the redesigned park to the new Ben Thanh Metro Station and memorialize the transport history with a dramatic twisting steel sculpture at one end of the park. Related: A “green veil” of plants protects this home from Ho Chi Minh City’s heat To improve the energy efficiency of Central Park, three types of eco-friendly structures will be installed, and each one will be created in the image of “artificial plants” and “trees.” The “water purification trees” will collect rainwater for reuse for irrigation, drinking fountains and fire hydrants. “Ventilation trees” will reduce the urban heat island effect and generate fresh air, and the “solar trees” feature angled solar panels to generate renewable energy used for powering the charging docks, information screens and the park’s Wi-Fi system. Construction on Central Park is slated to begin in 2020. + LAVA + Aspect Studios Images via LAVA

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Sustainable Central Park with energy-producing trees unveiled for Ho Chi Minh City

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