Biophilic dome homes produce more energy than they consume

October 15, 2018 by  
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It’s no secret that the building sector is a resource-intensive industry, but La Mesa, California-based nonprofit Green New World believes that the future of construction can and should be greener, healthier and energy-producing. Green New World created the House of PeacE (also known as Project HOPE), an autonomous and regenerative residential housing model that champions carbon-free living. Combining biophilic design with renewable energy systems and natural materials, Green New World’s first carbon-negative residential prototype — dubbed HOPEone — is slated for completion by 2019. Conceived as a decentralized, autonomous housing model, Project House of PeacE (HOPE) will integrate water, energy, waste and food production and be adaptable to different climate zones. Shaped into a cluster of domes, the HOPEone prototype will be built from locally sourced earth using low-impact and affordable Superadobe construction methods. The building technique can be easily taught to people and can produce well-insulated and ecologically sound buildings with demonstrated resistance to earthquakes, fires and storms. The geometry of the domes is engineered to optimize energy-efficient thermal regulation and follow passive heating and cooling principles. Related: Dome-shaped Earth Bag House keeps residents naturally cool in Colombia “Modules are selected based on a low-embodied energy and environmental footprint while being simple to recreate with basic skills and, as far as is possible, are constructed with locally available, low-cost and low-impact materials,” Green New World explained. “The first HOPE model, HOPEone, is nearing completion, where the productivity of the core bioenergy modules and carbon sequestration modules will be assessed for the development of future prototypes.” In addition to energy and water conservation measures, the prototype will also harvest and generate its own resources. Depending on the location and climate conditions, different water harvesting systems will be installed and sized to meet the consumption of the inhabitants. The harvested water will be treated with ozone and subject to a three-stage purification, mineralization and alkalization treatment system. Solar photovoltaic panels will also be added to the buildings as will an anaerobic bioreactor for creating biogas used for heating and cooking. + Green New World

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Biophilic dome homes produce more energy than they consume

Greek island Tilos is showing the world how to go 100% renewable

October 11, 2018 by  
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The Greek island of Tilos is nearing 100 percent energy independence using only renewable sources with the help of EU funding. The investment, which has helped the island establish the TILOS (Technology Innovation for the Local Scale, Optimum Integration of Battery Energy Storage) Project, will make the Greek landmass the first island in the Mediterranean to achieve energy independence using only renewable energy. The small island, more specifically located in the Aegean Sea, is home to merely 500 people. The population doubles during the summer months when the beautiful seascape is home to a flood of tourists from all around the globe. Despite renewable integration on such a small scale, however, the island is gaining international recognition for the adoption of a solar-and-wind-based energy system that has proven fault-free. Related: This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne Originally, the island received its electricity through an underwater cable connected to the adjacent island of Kos. The neighbor’s diesel power plant proved unreliable because of tectonic activity that led to power outages for both islands. Aside from problem of being fossil fuel -dependent, the existing power grid’s blackouts were disrupting the island’s main income source — tourism. The hybrid system taking over the island’s energy needs includes an 800-kW wind turbine and a 160-kW solar photovoltaic system. Together with a 2.4 MWh capacity battery storage, islanders and their sight-seeing guests will benefit from a consistent energy supply that will operate regardless of weather conditions or time of day. Experts say the project is so efficient that the oil-powered island of Kos will soon be importing energy from its small neighbor instead of supplying it. According to project partners, TILOS “will set the foundations for the future development and replication of similar hybrid systems in island regions and remote communities facing energy-related problems.” Other countries with islands participating in the project are Germany (Pellworm), Portugal (La Graciosa) and France (Corsica). A flyer for the German-based TILOS extension explained, “The overall idea is to create a special platform that will enable technological know-how transfer between islands, by also exploiting the experience gained from the smart grid system of Pellworm, and that will designate new opportunities for the development of similar systems in other islands.” The island’s new system will start by supplying  renewable energy  at 70 percent of Tilos’ needs, and it will reach 100 percent in the near future — undoubtedly serving as a successful model for islands in the region and hopefully worldwide. + TILOS Via Treehugger and PhysOrg Images via Chris Cherf and Ulrich Scherf

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Greek island Tilos is showing the world how to go 100% renewable

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

MAD unveils biophilic home of the future that produces all its own energy in China

September 25, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based MAD Architects recently completed its “home of the future” prototype, a net-zero energy pavilion that aims to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Created in collaboration with Chinese renewable energy company Hanergy, the “Living Garden” features a curvaceous, latticed roof topped with Hanergy solar panels that are angled for optimal solar conditions and generate enough electricity to satisfy the daily needs of a household of three. The futuristic structure was installed as part of the 2018 China House Vision Exhibition located next to the Bird’s Nest Stadium inside Beijing’s Olympic Park. Conceived as an experimental model, “Living Garden” does not have much in common with a traditional house. Rather, the structure was built like an airy pavilion filled with lush green space and seating. The nature-inspired structure consists of three main parts: a series of angled solar panels, a latticed timber roof structure and columns and various living spaces and gardens on the ground level. The grid-like roof is inset with translucent, waterproof glass to provide shelter from the rain. Hard angles were eschewed in favor of organic curves, while the addition of feathery grasses and trees help soften the overall look. “Defying notions of the traditional home, where walls and roofs form boundaries, MAD’s design envisions an ‘en-plein-air’ atmosphere,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Maintaining an openness toward the sky and its surroundings, ‘Living Garden’ sees life, ( solar ) energy and nature coincide, seamlessly blending together to create an architectural ‘living’ landscape — one that emphasizes humanity’s emotional connection with nature.” Related: MAD reactivates an abandoned Japanese tunnel using surreal immersive art MAD Architects and Hanergy’s “Living Garden” installation will be on show until Nov. 6, 2018. Launched as a cultural research project by Japanese graphic designer and curator Kenya Hara, the 2018 China House Vision Exhibition commissioned the design and construction of ten 1:1 scale “home of the future” pavilions. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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MAD unveils biophilic home of the future that produces all its own energy in China

"Cheesy" solar charger kit empowers students in East Africa

September 24, 2018 by  
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Playful in its design and highly functional, SunMade Cheese features a charger for flashlights, lighters, radios and even cellphones powered by mere sunlight. The device was developed by YOLK, the solar company applauded for its Kickstarter project ‘Solar Paper’ in 2015 that has sold millions of dollars worth of units worldwide. This time, it seems whimsy has struck the cutting-edge solar tech firm, which decided to express its love of cheese in this new project. Continuing its sun-charged aspirations, the group has debuted quirky, cheese-plate-shaped solar panels and cheese-shaped, solar-powered accessories with a meaningful mission to boot. YOLK is eager to attract current generations to solar energy , making it easy to incorporate the technology in their daily routines. The group also hopes to improve energy infrastructure and conservation in developing nations as well as put an end to child labor, instead empowering families to send children to school. Rather than tackling these issues separately (as is common), YOLK decided to put its creativity to the test and develop the Solar Cow in conjunction with the new cheese chargers. The Solar Cow systems are much larger solar energy generators built with a portion of the revenue that YOLK receives from SunMade Cheese. The company is deploying the conductive cows in remote areas of East Africa that are burdened by poor energy infrastructure. Related: Striking, solar-powered LA roundabout manages stormwater runoff with art As many as one in every five children are prevented from attending school in East Africa. Families rely on child labor to supplement the household income. Besides providing power to local schools , the Solar Cow will provide an incentive for parents to send their children to school instead of sending them off to work. In the mornings, students are able to attach batteries to the “cow’s udders” for charging and take them home at night with a full supply of free, clean energy. “The SunMade Cheese project is more about enjoying solar power and promoting education for solar technology, but the Solar Cow is really a lifeline for people,” YOLK CEO Sen Chang explained. “They are two projects for two different perspectives, but combined in one initiative.” Families in rural areas commonly travel around four to six hours in order to reach a charging station to juice up their cellphones. The mobile phones are a necessity, because they facilitate communication to the rest of the world and a means to make payments and receive income. The cost of this process is astounding, with the average family spending approximately 10-20 percent of their total monthly earnings to simply charge their cellular devices an average of 10-12 times per month. The SunMade Cheese charger is the perfect accessory to promote an environmentally friendly lifestyle at home while assisting YOLK’s efforts to help communities abroad. Stressing creativity and efficiency, the award-winning innovators deserve to bask in the sunlight for their life-changing technological designs . No doubt, many will join them — cheese plate in hand! + YOLK Images via YOLK

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"Cheesy" solar charger kit empowers students in East Africa

Harvest your own produce at this solar-powered wellness retreat

September 20, 2018 by  
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The Inn at Moonlight Beach, located near San Diego, puts a fresh spin on wellness retreats . The inn was built with the WELL Building Standards in mind, a practice that focuses on improving the well-being of guests. Here’s a look at how the inn, redesigned and renovated by architect Shangwen Kennedy and husband Mike, is the perfect destination for your next vacation. The Inn at Moonlight Beach was constructed from reclaimed lumber and other recycled building materials. The inn is powered by solar panels , which output 90 percent of the building’s electricity. The owners also installed high-quality air and water filtration systems, as well as other environmentally conscious features, without sacrificing the comfort and well-being of guests. Related: Truly get away from it all at this gorgeous eco-resort and yoga retreat The inn has a few gorgeous shared spaces located in the main building. This includes a common room that features a book wall and dining area. Guests can enjoy bountiful fruits and vegetables in the common room, as well as ready-made breakfast baskets. After enjoying a fresh meal, guests can spend some time at the inn’s yoga studio, which offers lush garden views. Of course, they can also take a short walk to the nearby beach or explore the shops and cafes in the local town of Encinitas. The guestrooms are just as bright and inviting as the common areas. Each room features open spaces with fresh-cut flowers to make every guest feel at home. The rooms are also equipped with sitting areas, baths, modern amenities and decks that overlook the gardens below. The biodynamic gardens do more than just grace the perimeter of the inn. In addition to lending a vibrant area to view the ocean , the garden’s plants provide fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables for the establishment. The flowers are used to welcome guests in every room. The herbs are used for hot teas, and guests have full access to fruits and veggies whenever they need nourishment. + Inn at Moonlight Beach Images via Inn at Moonlight Beach

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Harvest your own produce at this solar-powered wellness retreat

Can Large Solar Farms Create Pollinator Habitat?

September 18, 2018 by  
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Pollinators play a crucial role in ecosystems. They are instrumental … The post Can Large Solar Farms Create Pollinator Habitat? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can Large Solar Farms Create Pollinator Habitat?

This beautiful Washington cabin meets net-zero targets even in extreme temperatures

September 13, 2018 by  
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Nestled in a historic mining area in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains, a holiday retreat offers luxurious comfort without compromising sustainability targets. Despite the region’s freezing cold winters and extremely hot summers, Bainbridge Island-based Coates Design Architects crafted the Tumble Creek Cabin to net-zero energy standards using renewable energy and passive solar strategies, rather than traditional energy consumptive cooling and heating systems. Powered by solar energy, the energy-efficient cabin boasts a contemporary design with an abundance of full-height glazing to look out on the landscape beyond. With a natural palette designed to evoke the region’s mining history, the 3,835-square-foot Tumble Creek Cabin is mainly built of stone, Corten steel and reclaimed barn wood. The steel and timber elements are left exposed throughout, while floor-to-ceiling glazing establishes strong connections with the outdoors. To minimize the home’s energy usage, Coates Design Architects oriented the home to follow passive solar principles and mapped the interior layout to conserve energy as much as possible. The self-contained entry vestibule and mud room, for instance, doubles as an air lock to stop chilly drafts and unwanted hot air from entering the main living spaces. Designed as “a legacy piece” for the clients’ extended family, the vacation home includes two primary bedroom suites and a bunk room in the main residence, and an additional guest room can be found in the separate extension. An L-shaped open-plan great room on the east side of the main house is anchored by a massive board-formed concrete fireplace and opens up to a spacious patio. A winding outdoor walkway leads from the patio to an outdoor spa and a freestanding garage on the southwest side of the site. Related: Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home In addition to a 10 kWh photovoltaic array on the roof, the cabin relies on radiant underfloor heating and an energy recovery ventilation system; both systems can be monitored and adjusted remotely. Energy-efficient aluminum-clad wood windows and doors were installed, as is a Tesla Powerwall for electric vehicle charging. + Coates Design Architects Images via Coates Design Architects

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This beautiful Washington cabin meets net-zero targets even in extreme temperatures

Solar-powered POP-UP Park takes over underused Budapest square

August 31, 2018 by  
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Hungarian design studio Hello Wood has teamed up with the Municipality of Budapest City yet again to revive a forgotten public space with a dazzling summer haven that’s free and open to everyone, 24 hours a day. Located beside City Hall Park, the temporary, solar-powered park is Hello Wood’s latest POP-UP Park, a short-term urban intervention with eye-catching street furniture. This year’s version is inspired by the Mediterranean with its use of olive trees and wave-shaped seating. This year’s POP-UP Park serves as both a respite from the summer heat as well as a destination for outdoor exercise. Inspired by the World Cup craze, as well as Budapest’s upcoming status as the European Capital of Sport in 2019, Hello Wood teamed up with HardBodyHang to incorporate free-to-use street workout equipment that can be enjoyed by both amateur and professional athletes alike. The summer-only intervention also includes ping pong and Teqball tables — a mainstay of last year’s POP-UP Park — and chessboards. “The park is open to all 24 hours a day, available to all walks of life: the traveling tourist arriving into the city from the airport, the businessperson eating their lunch, local elderly people meeting to relax and chat or the homeless,” Hello Wood explained. “We wanted this sense of democracy to be epitomized by the POP-UP Park, a unique, free-to-use space that was put together in conjunction with the Municipality of Budapest — who recognized the power of utilizing the space temporarily until its development is completed and supported its creation.” Related: Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade The designers also installed colorful wave-shaped wooden seating and structures to make the pop-up park an inviting space to linger and lounge. To warm up the otherwise drab, cobblestone-lined square, Hello Wood brought in palms and olive trees for a Mediterranean touch. Sail shades provide additional shading, while string lights add a romantic twinkle at night. Moreover, Hungarian startup Platio supplied solar panels to power charging stations, where visitors can charge their laptops and other electronic devices. The POP-UP Park will be available until October. + Hello Wood Images by BVA

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Solar-powered POP-UP Park takes over underused Budapest square

A California beacon of sustainability gets a LEED Platinum refresh

August 8, 2018 by  
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An inspiring beacon for recycling in El Cerrito, California has recently received a sustainable revamp that includes newly minted LEED Platinum certification. Redesigned by Berkeley-based architecture practice Noll & Tam Architects , the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center (RERC/Center) was overhauled following extensive community involvement and now features a more user-friendly environment with educational opportunities and a greater holistic approach to sustainability. The facility aims for net-zero energy use and is equipped with renewable energy systems as well as passive design strategies, including solar panels and 100% daylighting autonomy. Originally founded by a group of local volunteers in the early 1970s, the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center has become a source of community pride that has attracted visitors from neighboring communities, including the wider San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Inspired by the facility’s industrial uses, the architects incorporated corrugated steel, reclaimed timber and other durable materials into the building, while local quarry borders and existing concrete retaining blocks used on site allude to the old quarry in which the Center sits. “The design of the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center was inspired by the community’s devotion to environmental stewardship, the Center’s functional requirements, and its unique natural setting,” reads the project statement. “It was important to create a strong sense of place for the community, a great place for the gathering and interaction of the Center’s diverse users and visitors, and a demonstration project for zero net waste, net zero energy use, restoration and regeneration, and maximizing community value.” Related: NYC’s New State-of-the-Art Recycling Facility to Eliminate 150,000 Annual Truck Trips Taking advantage of the local temperate climate and cross ventilation, the Center operates in passive mode for most of the year. A 12 kW photovoltaic array provides more than enough electricity to power the building to achieve net-zero energy usage. The Center is also equipped with an additional 8.8 kW solar array to offset electricity needs from electric car charging stations and the recycling industrial equipment. A rainwater cistern, native gardens and rain gardens handle stormwater runoff on-site. + Noll & Tam Architects Images by David Wakely

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A California beacon of sustainability gets a LEED Platinum refresh

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