This net-zero home is integrated into the slopes of Carmel Valley

June 26, 2020 by  
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Tehama 2 in Carmel-by-the-Sea by Studio Schicketanz is a net-zero home built using reclaimed wood and local stone. We caught up with Mary Ann Schicketanz to talk about some of the more sustainable features to this project and her studio. In an effort to incorporate the agricultural, architectural tradition of the coastal area, the home was designed in response to the owner’s desire for a traditional environment without artificiality. The main wooden structure is supported by a solid, plaster base, a contrast meant to mirror the ground and the sky. There are PV panels incorporated into the roof of the guest wing, and the generated energy is stored in Tesla Powerwalls. Schicketanz gives us a closer look into all of the sustainable efforts that went into this project. Related: Modern farmhouse targets net-zero energy in Vermont Inhabitat: Your firm designed the first LEED-certified project in Big Sur and the first LEED-certified project in Carmel. Why is sustainability so important to you? Schicketanz: “I believe the future of our planet will depend on everyone, in each industry sector, to work toward a lifecycle economy. We need to stop digging up or pumping up raw materials for production and building. Ultimately, this leads to waste and pollutes the planet after we are done consuming. While we are working toward a healthier world, building LEED-certified is a start.” Inhabitat: What about taking environmental impact into account during construction? Schicketanz: “The biggest issue we face is construction waste , and it is terribly hard to move our industry toward a little-to-no-waste process.” Inhabitat: Can you tell us about some of the more sustainable and eco-friendly features to Tehama 2? Schicketanz: “We used reclaimed wood and materials for the ceiling as well as human-made materials such as concrete floor tiles throughout instead of stone pavers. In this particular job we were striving for, and achieved, a Net Zero rating , which even included charging stations for two electric vehicles.” Inhabitat: Are there any aesthetic features to the house that you are especially proud of? Schicketanz: “Yes, we developed an asymmetrical all-timber structure (inspired by the vernacular architecture of Carmel Valley) allowing for a very deep porch without losing any views toward the Santa Lucia Mountain Range.” Inhabitat: What did you find most rewarding about this particular project? Schicketanz: “I love how the structure is integrated and interlocks into the landscape.” Inhabitat: Why should people invest in a Net Zero home? Schicketanz: “Aside from being extremely good for the environment, another obvious reason is that after a very short time, homeowners no longer have any costs to operate their homes.” + Studio Schicketanz Photography by Tim Griffith Photography via Studio Schicketanz

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This net-zero home is integrated into the slopes of Carmel Valley

This dreamy eco villa runs on solar and wind energy

June 8, 2020 by  
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Located inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the municipality of Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Casa Bautista is a private oasis hidden in the coastal rainforest and completely powered by  solar  and wind energy. The  reserve  area can be found less than 40 miles from the center of tourist-friendly Tulum. It was established as a natural reserve in 1986 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site shortly after. This region is known for its natural limestone cenotes, archaeological ruins and, thanks to the healthy coral reef just off the coast, incredible snorkeling. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment One of the most unique aspects of this  eco resort’s architectural design is the color. To build the main structure, designers used an organic blue cast concrete that reacts to sun exposure throughout the day. Depending on the time of day and sun exposure, the color tones of the house range from various shades of blue to light pink and orange. Aimed at providing sustainable luxury, Casa Bautista is built on raised cross-shaped columns to reduce environmental impact on-site and to provide undisturbed views over the dunes between the property and the Caribbean sea. Terraces and pergolas situated throughout the house are made of locally-sourced wood, and an extended L-shaped floor plan provides natural cross  ventilation . The L-shape protects much of the interior from gaining too much sun exposure, while simultaneously providing adequate natural light during the day. Thanks to the cross breeze generated from the open design, only the bedrooms need air conditioning. A spiral staircase made with the same color-changing blue concrete connects all three levels of the structure. The middle floor and large roof terrace house much of the interior living space, while a pool and outdoor dining room are located on the top floor. A small tower off the master bedroom can be used as an additional space for work or meditation. Terraces also include a folding mechanism that can be raised and lowered to turn the residence into a “robust closed box” in the event of a hurricane. + PRODUCTORA Images via Onnis Luque

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This dreamy eco villa runs on solar and wind energy

Modernist, off-grid home in Los Angeles features a huge green roof

May 20, 2020 by  
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New York-based Marc Thorpe Design has brought its savvy architectural talents to the City of Angels in the form of a beautiful, off-grid home set in the Hollywood Hills. Topped with a massive green roof, the Case Study 2020 residence is completely self-sustaining thanks to solar power, a rainwater collection system and a composting system. Set into a quiet lot covered in native plants, the house features a modernist design. Inspired by the Case Study Houses of the 1950s and 1960s, which challenged several prominent architects to design affordable and efficient homes, the Case Study 2020 home is an off-grid marvel that blends sustainability, affordability and thoughtful architecture. Related: Stunning green-roofed home in Poland is embedded into the idyllic landscape A one-level structure that combines concrete, steel, wood and glass, the Case Study 2020 home is square in shape, with an overhanging flat roof that is covered in lush vegetation. At various corners of the green rooftop , open cutouts make way for large trees to grow through. Besides its eye-catching appearance and ability to blend the home into its surroundings, this impressive green roof also conceals a rainwater harvesting system that is used to irrigate the greenery. The exterior of the home is wrapped in massive, floor-to-ceiling glass panels and surrounded by a covered walkway. At the back end of the property, a narrow swimming pool sits just feet away, surrounded by a simple, concrete-clad patio space. This thick, exposed concrete follows through into the interior, where concrete walls, ceilings and flooring bring home the modernist style. The spacious interior of the solar-powered home is comprised of three principle living spaces: the living room, a gallery and the bedrooms — all of which are connected by a series of wide corridors that also lead to the outdoor patio spaces via several accesses. Throughout Case Study 2020, the glass walls and sliding glass doors usher in natural light and ventilation, not to mention stunning views of the twinkling lights of Los Angeles. + Marc Thorpe Design Images via Marc Thorpe Design

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Modernist, off-grid home in Los Angeles features a huge green roof

Rare blue bee spotted in Florida

May 20, 2020 by  
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While most Americans have been inside watching Netflix and cultivating sourdough starter, Chase Kimmel has scoured the Central Florida sand dunes for the blue calamintha bee . The rare bee hadn’t been spotted since 2016, but Kimmel’s diligence paid off. The postdoctoral researcher has caught and released a blue bee 17 times during its March-to-May flying season. Scientists think the bee lives only in the Lake Wales Ridge region, which is due east of Tampa in the “highlands” — about 300 feet above sea level. This biodiversity hotspot traces its geological history back to a time when most of Florida was underwater. The high sand dunes were like islands, each developing its own habitat. Unfortunately, this ecosystem is quickly disappearing. Related: UK bees and wildflowers thrive during lockdown “This is a highly specialized and localized bee,” Jaret Daniels, a curator and director at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Kimmel’s advisor, told the Tampa Bay Times . The bee pollinates Ashe’s calamint, a threatened perennial deciduous shrub with pale purple flowers. Scientists first described the blue calamintha bee in 2011, and some feared it had already gone extinct . It’s only been recorded in four locations within 16 square miles of Lake Wales Ridge. “I was open to the possibility that we may not find the bee at all so that first moment when we spotted it in the field was really exciting,” Kimmel said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is funding Kimmel’s two-year study. Before the Ashe’s calamint began blooming this spring — and before the pandemic upended some of his research strategies — Kimmel and a volunteer positioned nesting boxes in promising areas of the ridge. After the flowers bloomed, he has continued to return and look for bees. When he sees what he thinks is a blue bee, he tries to catch it in a net and puts the bee in a plastic bag. Then, he cuts a hole in the corner of the bag and entices the bee to stick its head out so he can look at it with a hand lens. After photographing the bees, he releases them. Kimmel says their stings aren’t too bad. + Florida Museum Photography by Chase Kimmel via Florida Museum

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Rare blue bee spotted in Florida

Self-sustaining retreat in Idaho is the perfect social distancing getaway

May 20, 2020 by  
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When a family sought reprieve from the rigors of urban living, they asked Salt Lake City-based architecture firm Imbue Design to design a retreat for them in the “middle of nowhere” in southern Idaho. Because there were no utility connections for miles of the property, the architects created a self-sustaining retreat that follows passive solar strategies, harnesses solar energy and uses an airtight envelope to minimize energy use. Dubbed Boar Shoat, the single-family home that was created to serve as a crash pad and base camp for outdoor adventures has also become a welcome getaway during these uncertain times.  Located next to a natural berm by a grove of aspen trees, Boar Shoat is set on a 60-acre parcel of rolling hills with views of Paris Peak in the distance. In response to the client’s conceptualization of the project as a “spartan shelter”, the architects organized the home as a trio of small structures centered on a larger outdoor living space beneath an expansive canopy. The three volumes — consisting of the main residence, guest quarters and utilitarian storage — flank the outdoor living space on three sides and serve as windbreaks.  Related: Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient The exterior is clad in accordion metal panels selected for their weather-resistant and low-maintenance properties. The interior complements the outdoors with its simple design and full-height glazing that blurs the boundaries between indoors and out. Natural wood ceilings lend warmth to the interior, while the untreated concrete floors serve as a durable, worry-free surface. Walls were painted white to create a blank backdrop for the clients’ extensive art collection. To generate all of the home’s energy needs onsite, the architects crafted the building with an airtight envelope fitted with performance-enhancing windows and doors as well as superior insulation. Solar energy powers the electricity and heat with supplemental battery storage and a backup generator.  + Imbue Design Images via Imbue Design

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Self-sustaining retreat in Idaho is the perfect social distancing getaway

Work from home in style in these slippers made of natural and recycled materials

May 20, 2020 by  
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Footwear requirements at home are different than anywhere else you may roam. While sometimes slippers or bare feet fit the bill, other times you might need proper support, even if you’re staying indoors. The entrepreneur behind Dooeys thinks you can have the best of both worlds, with a shoe and a slipper in one that won’t hurt the planet. Founder of Dooeys, Jordan Clark, originally from Seattle, Washington, was living in Amsterdam and found herself struggling to find a proper pair of shoes for her typical work-from-home activities. Tennis shoes were too rigid, and slippers didn’t offer the support she needed nor the style she desired. So she decided to design her own footwear that women could wear while working and lounging at home. She dubbed this footwear Slipshoes. Related: Vegan shoes from Insecta are a stylish option for eco-friendly footwear In addition to comfort and versatility, it was important to Clark that the shoes were made with sustainability in mind. She said, “I came up with the idea for Dooeys two years ago before I had any idea there would be a global shift forcing millions to work from home. I spent the past year-and-a-half designing and sourcing sustainable materials to make the perfect house shoes for women.” To that end, Slipshoes are made with a breathable upper portion using vegan apple leather that comes from post-processing organic apple skins grown in the Italian Alps. The insoles are produced from cork , which is harvested in Portugal and bound with natural latex from the rubber tree. The EVA soles are made from sugarcane while the footbed stems from coconut husks. Each shoe is made in Portugal using these earth-friendly materials, along with recycled plastic and recycled polyester.  Jordan hopes the shoes appeal to anyone who loves the environment and just enjoys working, lounging or entertaining at home. The Slipshoes are available as two-tone loafer or slide-in mules. Both styles are currently available for pre-order on the Dooeys website for $145. + Dooeys Images via Dooeys

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Work from home in style in these slippers made of natural and recycled materials

Whimsical, off-grid earthship is made out of reclaimed tires and bottles

May 13, 2020 by  
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It’s not everyday that you get to stay in an earthship, but if you’re able to travel to Ironbank, South Australia in the future, make sure to check out the amazing Earthship Ironbank . Made out of reclaimed tires that were pounded into a curved shape, this unique, off-grid Airbnb property is located on about four acres of native bush land and surrounded by native wildlife. The beautiful property, which is the first council-approved earthship in Australia, is made out of various reclaimed materials , such as discarded tires and old glass bottles, and is completely self-sufficient. Created by Martin and Zoe Freney, the design was inspired by the work of Michael Reynolds, who is known for starting the earthship movement years ago. Related: Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K With the help of about 60 volunteers, Earthship Ironbank took shape using, by definition, many reclaimed materials. To start, the frame of the 750-square-foot structure was built primarily from stacked discarded tires. Filled with earth and coated in cement, the tires were pounded into a curved shape. From there, Martin created a strategy to take the earthship off of the grid . According to Martin, a tight thermal shell was key in reducing the need for high-tech energy and water systems. The residence relies primarily on solar power . There is also a solar hot water system. Various windows and skylights allow for natural light and air ventilation, which further reduces the need for electricity. The south side of the structure is tucked into the ground to add thermal mass. This earth-bermed section is covered with natural plantings and gravel for optimal thermal stability. Another bonus to embedding the house into the landscape is the added resilience to bushfires. An expansive rooftop conceals the home’s integral gray water system, which includes various filters that lead to underground water tanks. The off-grid home has a gorgeous design, too. A path made of natural stones leads to an arched doorway with ornate patterns of colorful glass bottles. Inside, a warm hallway leads to the greenhouse , which was planted with lush banana trees as well as other edible plants. The garden is irrigated through the built-in graywater system. The unique Airbnb accommodation has one bedroom for up to two guests, who can enjoy a lovely round lounge area with an open kitchen. The kitchen is equipped with standard amenities, including a wood-burning stove. When they aren’t taking it easy inside the tranquil earthship, guests can enjoy wandering around the grounds, exploring the local landscape and observing wildlife. For anyone interested in spending time in this lovely earthship, check out its availability by visiting its Airbnb posting . + Earthship Ironbank Via Tiny House Talk Photography by James Field via Earthship Ironbank

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Whimsical, off-grid earthship is made out of reclaimed tires and bottles

Spains first Passivhaus nursing home generates surplus energy

May 13, 2020 by  
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Madrid-based design studio CSO Arquitectura has completed Spain’s first Passivhaus-certified nursing home in Camarzana de Tera. Built as an expansion of the nursing home that the firm had completed in 2005, the new addition provides additional bedrooms and stronger connections with the outdoors. The new, airtight building is also equipped with solar panels to power both the old and new buildings. Conceived as an “energy machine”, the new nursing home extension boasts a minimal energy footprint thanks to its airtight envelope constructed from a prefabricated wooden framework system. The prefabricated components were made in a Barcelona workshop and were then transported via trucks to the site, where they were assembled in one week. This process reduced costs and construction time and has environmentally friendly benefits that include waste reduction. Related: Spanish elderly care center wrapped in a pixelated green facade The new construction is semi-buried and comprises three south-facing “programmatic bands” linked by a long corridor. The first “band” houses the daytime services and a north-facing greenhouse with planting beds for the residents. The two remaining sections consist of the bedrooms, each of which opens up to an individual terrace and shares access to a communal patio. Exposed wood, large windows and framed views of nature were key in creating a welcoming sense of home — a distinguishing feature that the architects targeted as a contrast to the stereotypical cold feel of institutions and hospitals. The new nursing home extension is topped with an 18 kW photovoltaic array along with 20 solar thermal panels and rooftop seating. When combined with the building’s airtight envelope, which was engineered to follow passive solar strategies, the renewable energy systems are capable of producing surplus energy, which is diverted to the old building. The Passivhaus-certified extension also includes triple glazed openings, radiant floors, rainwater harvesting and mechanical ventilation equipped with heat recovery.  + CSO Arquitectura Photography by David Frutos via CSO Arquitectura

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Spains first Passivhaus nursing home generates surplus energy

Red brick firehouse in Belgium runs on solar power

May 4, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based studio Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven has built a charming new firehouse for Wilrijk, Belgium. The firehouse is clad in bright red bricks that stand out thanks to white grout and vertical columns made of larger bricks. The building is also incredibly sustainable, generating its own clean energy through a massive rooftop solar array . Located on the city’s main road, the three-story Fire Station Wilrijk doubles as a local landmark. According to Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven, “The monochrome character provides a recognizable identity in the neighborhood, an architecture parlante in which form and appearance irrevocably remind us of the function of the building and the urgency of its users.” Related: LEED Platinum fire station is powered with solar energy in Seattle The building is clad in a robust red brick to help it stand out. In contrast, the interiors feature gray concrete walls framed in CLT panels for a minimalist feel that emphasizes comfort and ease of movement. Spacious rooms and hallways are connected by wide doorways to allow firefighters to respond quickly during emergency calls. The building is divided into two spaces: a double-height garage toward the front that accommodates three firetrucks and firehouse support areas toward the back. The back of the firehouse includes operation rooms, dressing areas, a lounge, sleeping quarters, a kitchen and dining space. The work-focused rooms are on the lower two levels, while beds, the lounge and dressing rooms are on the top floor to make it feel more like home. To power all of these spaces, the firehouse generates its own solar energy via photovoltaic panels on the roof. The project also includes a solar water heater and heat pump to further boost its sustainability. + Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven Via Dezeen Images via Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven

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New Airstream camper uses solar panels for off-grid power

April 30, 2020 by  
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For nearly a century, Airstream has been designing campers built for both adventurous forever roamers or big families looking to enjoy summer time trips together. Now, the iconic camper brand has just introduced its latest concept, which is geared towards sustainable travelers of all types. The 2020 Atlas Camper features a solar-paneled rooftop and an ultra luxurious living space. Although Airstream has long leaned into contemporary and high-tech design, even featuring smart technology in their recent models , the Atlas 2020 is one of the company’s boldest designs yet. Modeled after the 201′ Mercedes-Benz  Sprinter , the exterior stays true to the camper’s signature shimmery silver cladding, which affords the camper an aerodynamicity that provides a very smooth ride. Related: Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology For power generation, the camper’s rooftop is lined with three-hundred watts of solar panels , which provides enough clean energy to charge electronic devices, and can be increased to potentially go completely off-grid. The contemporary camper stretches out over 24 feet and looks to be one of the company’s most luxurious designs yet. With the capacity to accommodate two passengers, the camper’s living space is increased thanks to its power slide-out — a first of its kind for the camper manufacturers. The interior design  is made up of sleek, shiny black and grey furnishings that give off a definite contemporary vibe. The main living space converts into a comfy bedroom thanks to a  fold-out Murphy bed . When not in use, the bedroom is a spacious living room with a hideaway smart TV. Past the living room is a small kitchenette, which features a refrigerator and two-burner stovetop. And for a true glimpse into luxurious design, the bathroom is a spa-inspired space with closet, standup-shower and porcelain toilet. For extra living space, the beautiful  Airstream model  features a wonderful amenity on its exterior. At just a simple push of a button, an exterior awning extends to let campers enjoy a bit of outdoor space for dining or just taking in the views while parked in amazing settings. + Airstream Via Design Boom Images via Airstream

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New Airstream camper uses solar panels for off-grid power

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