Envirohaven’s super green geodesic homes can be built in just a few days

May 26, 2017 by  
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Geodesic homes are extremely energy efficient – and they’re a great option for those looking to reduce their footprint while living off the grid. Nevada-based company, Envirohaven , is offering beautiful, custom-made “eco havens” that can be constructed virtually anywhere in just a few days. At 1,600 square feet, the prefab structures are not exactly “ tiny homes “, but their decagon shape only measures 32 feet across. The design is ultra-efficient, affordable, and can be custom made to suit individual tastes. For easy assembly, the structures come with a set of site-specific engineered plans that are guaranteed to qualify for local building permits. Related: Zendome: Gorgeous Geodesic Domes Create Flexible Green Spaces The homes can be built using 30 percent less materials than conventional structures of similar stature. Each home ordered comes standard with sustainable green windows , siding sheeting, and a waterproof coating. They can be equipped with solar panels on the roof as well. Due to the nature of the decagon design, which places the core of the home in the center, energy consumption is minimal. Heating and cooling the home requires minimal energy thanks to the close proximity of the rooms. According to the Environhaven team, an entire house can be heated with a just a simple pellet stove – even in extreme cold climates. The many windows also help provide optimal air circulation during the warmer months while filling the home with a natural light . + Environhaven

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Envirohaven’s super green geodesic homes can be built in just a few days

Amazing solar house generates enough energy to share with its neighbors

May 17, 2017 by  
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Although the Netherlands may seem like a tranquil place to live, its climate can be quite volatile. Frigid winters and searing summer heat make energy efficient home design a must – local architects such as Joris Verhoeven Architectuur are creating amazingly efficient designs that don’t sacrifice on aesthetics. The firm’s sophisticated “Positive Energy House” in the small village of Sterksel is a solar powerhouse that generates enough energy to share with its neighbors Although energy efficiency was the objective of the design, the architects did not want to sacrifice aesthetics. Therefore, the building materials were chosen to create a sophisticated design. Muted grey brick cladding gives the home a contemporary feel while providing the home with an ultra-thick layer of insulation. The slanted roof was chosen to enhance the home’s style while maximizing the energy output of 44 south-oriented solar panels . Related: 8 homes that generate more energy than they consume In fact, orientation was key to creating the ultra-efficient design . On the interior, all of the communal living spaces were built on the “sunny side” of the home to maximize light and natural heating. Integrated solar blinds and screens on the windows block the sun from overheating the interior during the hot summer months. On the back end of the house, a lovely canopy-covered terrace offers a tranquil outdoor area for the family. + Joris Verhoeven Architectuur Photography via John van Groenedaal

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Amazing solar house generates enough energy to share with its neighbors

Watch this groundbreaking new solar device open and move like a flower

May 9, 2017 by  
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The Smartflower is a groundbreaking solar panel that can’t—and won’t—sit still. Arriving Stateside this month, the portable all-in-one unit mimics the behavior of certain sun-tracking blooms by rotating its solar-module “petals” throughout the day. This format, according to Austria’s Smartflower Energy Technology, allows the system to be 40 to 50 percent more efficient than traditional photovoltaic arrays , which tend to be limited by their fixed tilt. The company claims that a single Smartflower can produce the equivalent of a 4 kilowatt rooftop system, which it hails as a breakthrough for a standalone solar product. You can tell that the Smartflower is designed for residential and small-business use. To add to its visual appeal, it’s available in a slew of colors with names like “berry,” “jungle,” and “porcelain.” The Smartflower’s day starts at sunrise when it deploys its panels, which are backed by brushes that slough off any dust and debris. Related: Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels Turning to face the sun at a 90-degree angle, it uses GPS-based dual axis tracking to calculate—and shift—its optimal angle as the day progresses. The modules fold up at night, or when sensors detect high winds that may cause them damage. The basic Smartflower model, which starts at around $16,000, can be used in a variety of “plug and play” settings, including juicing up an electric car. A pricier “Plus” version includes battery storage that lets you squirrel away harvested energy to tide you over cloudy days. About 1,000 Smartflowers have already been installed at sites across Europe, including the Botanical Gardens in Madrid and the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein in Austria. Related: Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany Arnold Schwarzenegger , the actor and former governor of California, is apparently fan. “Even though I like size, sometimes something small is very effective, “ a brochure quotes him as saying. “And when it comes to photovoltaic solar there is nothing better than, for instance, the Smartflower. I mean what a brilliant idea, you put this in front of the house, you plug it in—no installation, nothing.” + Smartflower

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Watch this groundbreaking new solar device open and move like a flower

Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany

May 4, 2017 by  
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Google’s Project Sunroof is launching in Germany today , extending the company’s solar estimator to 7 million homes. Project Sunroof is a simple tool that allows you to determine if your house gets enough sun to switch over to solar power, and now 40 percent of the homes in Germany are covered by the project, allowing people to quickly determine if they can save money and lower their carbon footprint by swapping. Germany’s Project Sunroof is hosted by the Germany electricity provider E.on . Since it is a collaboration between Google and E.on, users are directed to E.on’s solar department if their home is a good fit. This is different than the US, where Google directs users to multiple solar panel providers. Related: Google’s Project Sunroof shows your home’s solar potential for free Google doesn’t make money off of the project – it’s provided for free to users. In the US, Project Sunroof currently covers all 50 states. + Project Sunroof Via The Verge

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Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany

C.F. Mller unveils eco-conscious highrise in Sweden

May 2, 2017 by  
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International design firm C.F. Møller won an architecture competition with their proposal for an eco-conscious high-rise in the central Swedish city of Västerås. Topped with solar panels and a green roof , the energy-efficient skyscraper will be a beautiful landmark and model of hybrid design with its proposed timber and concrete structure. Greenery is woven throughout the design, from the panoramic garden on the 15th floor to the trees planted on every balcony. The 15,700-square-meter mixed-use tower was designed for an architecture competition launched by property management company Riksbyggen in January 2017. The winning design features an elliptical shape with 22 floors; concrete will be used for supporting construction up to the 15th floor, while the remaining seven floors will be framed in solid wood. Untreated wood , protected from the elements by balconies, clads the rounded facade. “The architecture and details of the facades are inspired by the light reflections on Lake Mälaren,” says Ola Jonsson, Architect and associate partner at C.F. Møller. “The result is a three-dimensional and dynamic facade composition that is exciting both near and from afar. The panoramic garden placed high up in the building is a focal point for the city and a fantastic common area for the residents of the house. Our ambition has been to optimize the synergies between the city, building and urban greenery.” Related: C.F. Møller is building a garden-filled vertical village in Antwerp The building’s ground floor will be open for restaurants and commercial use, while residences occupy the upper floors. A vertical green wall faces a public square and is complemented with small parks with active and passive spaces. A garden on the 15th floor offers additional green space to residents as well as 360-degree panoramic views of the city. Green roofs top the parking building and the tower. + C.F. Møller Images via C.F. Møller

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C.F. Mller unveils eco-conscious highrise in Sweden

Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town

April 29, 2017 by  
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Bigert & Bergström just unveiled the Solar Egg, a giant golden sauna located in the town of Luossabacken, Sweden. The golden egg concept was hatched for the country’s northernmost town to provide residents with a toasty meeting place deep in the snow-covered landscape. The mining town of Kiruna is currently facing radical changes; the entire city is moving so that a mining company can extract more iron from underneath its landscape. Mining has been an essential part of the isolated town since the 19th century and the industry is vital to its existence. However, many are debating this dependence on iron mining – especially granted its impact on the environment and the town’s well-being. This issue inspired the Swedish designers from Bigert & Bergström to create the Solar Egg as a warm social meeting place where residents can debate the town’s future, or as they put it, “prompt thoughts of rebirth.” Related: Solar-powered Ecocapsule lets you live off-the-grid anywhere in the world The Solar Egg is made of stainless mirror sheeting that contrasts with the snowy landscape. The shimmering panels reflect and break up the surroundings into mirrored fragmented images – a design feature meant to represent the complexities that come with “heated” debates about climate change and sustainable living . The egg’s interior walls are clad in honeycomb wood panels that give the egg its pod-like shape. LED lighting illuminates the interior, and a large wood-heated, heart-shaped sauna stove made out of iron and stone sits in the middle of the space, providing a warm temperature of anywhere between 75° and 85° C. The Solar Egg is a part of Bigert & Bergström’s strategy to incorporate artwork into climate discussions – an initiative that began with the team’s Climate Chambers project in 1994. + Studio Bigert & Bergström Photography by Jean-Baptiste Béranger

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Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town

Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

April 13, 2017 by  
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Solar farming greatly can improve farmers’ livelihoods and impacts, but policymakers are raising concerns about solar panels replacing farmland.

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Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

April 13, 2017 by  
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Solar farming greatly can improve farmers’ livelihoods and impacts, but policymakers are raising concerns about solar panels replacing farmland.

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Cultivating the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms

Green Gaud-esque office pops up on a former brownfield in Portland

April 12, 2017 by  
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Portland is a mecca of environmentally friendly design and the city’s new sculptural One North complex is keeping that green reputation alive. Holst Architecture recently completed the eye-catching office project that draws inspiration from Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí’s modernist curves and emphasizes sustainability. Conceived as “an opportunity to break the mold for standard office spaces,” One North uses low-carbon footprint systems to achieve approximately 50 percent more energy efficiency beyond industry requirements. Built on a former brownfield in the up-and-coming Williams District, One North comprises an East Building and West Building that frame a central 14,000-square-foot public courtyard. To the make development more attractive to the community, the architects created Gaudí -inspired jutting apertures that give the buildings a sense of movement and energy. Their projected forms also help provide solar shading and reduce energy use. The facade is clad in locally sourced and sustainably harvested timber siding that lend a sense of warmth. Related: LEED Platinum Skyline Residence is designed to generate as much energy as it consumes “Material selection was critical, and we emphasized low-carbon footprint techniques, such as wood cladding, cellulose insulation and mineral wool insulation,” wrote the architects. The timber-framed buildings are estimated to sequester 587,400 pounds of carbon within its 39,000 cubic feet of wood. Rooftop solar panels produce approximately 71-kilowatt hours of on-site electricity. + Holst Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Holst Architecture

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Green Gaud-esque office pops up on a former brownfield in Portland

Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels

April 10, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk’s solar roof tiles won’t fit the bill for every home. Some homeowners won’t want to replace their entire roofs , but Tesla , of course, already has a solution. They’re now marketing sleek, low-profile solar panels that are easy to install and better blend in with roofs than traditional panels. Leave it to Tesla to offer an elegant alternative to traditional solar panels. They updated the Energy section of their website over the weekend to include new images of their solar panels. The seamless look of the new technology is thanks to “integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware” according to Tesla’s website. Electrek said these features come from Zep Solar , a mounting equipment company SolarCity acquired before Tesla’s acquisition . Zep Solar engineers designed the rail-less system Solar City employed to slash solar installation times in half. Related: Elon Musk says Tesla’s solar roof will be cheaper than ordinary roofs Tesla says their panels “exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan” on their website. Panasonic will be manufacturing the exclusive panels at the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York. There aren’t many specifics available for the new solar panels yet, but Electrek said they will be 325-watt panels. They noted Panasonic sells other 325 watt panels, and those have a 25-year power output warranty and a 21.76 percent module efficiency. Tesla and before that SolarCity used to install solar panels from multiple suppliers as many solar companies do, but told Electrek once these new panels go into production, Tesla will use them for all residential projects in the future. It seems Elon Musk aims at offering solar solutions with better aesthetics for those who have been hesitant to go solar in the past with the bulky rooftop options. Anyone interested right now can request a custom quote on Tesla’s website . The company told Electrek production should begin this summer. Via Electrek and Engadget Images via Tesla

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