Ethical garment factory becomes the first Passive House building in South Asia

October 2, 2018 by  
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Passive House certification — one of the leading green standards for ultra-low energy architecture — has finally touched down in South Asia with the completion of the Star Innovation Center near Colombo, Sri Lanka. New York City-based Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture completed the solar-powered product development facility that saw the renovation of an obsolete building into only one of two certified Passive House factory buildings in the world. Thanks to an airtight envelope and rigorous engineering, the Star Innovation Center is expected to consume 25 percent less energy as compared to a conventionally “efficient” modern industrial building. The high-performance Passive House (Passivhaus) standards began in cooler, Northern European climates, yet Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture has proved that those green guidelines can also be applied to tropical monsoon climates with high humidity and warm temperatures year-round. At the Star Innovation Center, natural cooling is a primary concern. As such, the building systems were engineered to maintain working environments with low humidity, access to abundant natural light , filtered fresh air and nearly constant temperatures of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, the renovated building is meant to serve as a global model for the entire garment industry in not only sustainability measures but also worker comfort. Billed as a “model for future sweatshop-free commercial buildings,” the Star Innovation Center features a cheerful facade of colorful windscreens with spacious, open-plan rooms and plenty of connections to the outdoors. Energy efficiency has also helped secure lower operational costs for the client. Related: Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit “By choosing to renovate an obsolete building to Passive House standards, the project dramatically reduces the waste, carbon emissions and fossil fuels typically required for demolition and new construction, and promotes the client’s commitment to maintain high standards in social, environmental, ethical and safety compliance,” the firm’s project statement said. “By promoting the project’s goals and inspiring the local building industry, JPDA has sought to establish a clear path to both reducing global carbon emissions and putting an end to worker ‘sweatshop’ conditions.” + Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture Images via Ganidu Balasuriya and Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

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Ethical garment factory becomes the first Passive House building in South Asia

This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

October 2, 2018 by  
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From luxury retreats to minimalist cabins, more and more people are looking for places where they can truly go off the grid. For one family of six, a remote area almost 200 miles from Santiago, Chile was chosen as the perfect place for them to disconnect. Working with architect Mauricio LLaumett of Nüform Studio , the family’s self-sufficient new home is completely “unplugged” thanks to solar energy, passive features and an independent water system connected to a nearby river. Located on an isolated landscape of Huentelauquén, the timber and glass home sits on a rocky field covered in cacti that extends to the ocean. When the family approached Llaumett about their desire to create a vacation home on the challenging topography, they requested a design that would respect the natural landscape. The next request was that the home be 100 percent off-grid, generating its own energy in order to be a self-sufficient structure that the family could use for generations to come. “The most important thing is that the house is totally ‘unplugged,’” LLaumett explained. Related: Minimalist cabin in the Chilean mountains lets climbers escape the daily grind The home’s electricity is generated by rooftop solar panels , while an innovative system collects water from a nearby river. The water is stored in two elevated containers that work with gravity to release water on demand. Additionally, a water waste system was built into the design so that excess water from the shower and the kitchen can be used to irrigate the interior garden. The home was built on a slanted concrete foundation with a shape that mimics the natural slope of the landscape. Dark pine siding  on the exterior blends the home into its surroundings. A wall of sliding glass doors opens up to a large, stepped wooden deck where the family enjoys panoramic views of the sea in the distance. On the interior, the layout was strategically designed to connect the off-grid home to its surroundings. The front glazed facade opens up completely to create a seamless passage between the interior and the exterior. As for the home’s furnishings, many of them were made from  locally sourced wood and handcrafted by local artisans. Even the family built some of the furniture, including the master bed frame and dining room table. + Nüform Studio Via Dwell Photography by Aryeh Kornfeld K. via Nüform Studio

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This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

A stunning solar-powered pavilion is planned for pasta company Barilla

September 21, 2018 by  
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London-based firm Open Architecture Systems  has just unveiled designs for a gorgeous solar-powered pavilion for the Italian food company Barilla. Slated to be built adjacent to the company’s headquarters in Parma, Italy, the plans show a contemporary building with an undulating roof rising out of the surrounding landscape. According to the architects, the inspiration for the design originated with the company’s key values of tradition, family and community. Although the concept is based on the pasta company’s long history, the structure itself is a fresh,  contemporary design that manages to be both subtle and striking at the same time. Related: Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun The architects explained that their first objective was to blend the new building into its surrounding landscape in order to become one harmonious space. “We strongly believe that landscape and pavilion should always be merged into one system, one building,” the firm said. “The new topography allows us to define a sense of space, and to provide shelter and a place for discovery, very much like in nature . We are interested not only in the space created by the topography but the spaces around it and how they interact with the new Barilla Pavilion. Raising the landscape provides us with infinite potentials for visitor interactions, interesting and unique experiences such as a raised piazza, a stepped hill with seating for an amphitheater, a valley for gatherings and many more different uses.” Partially embedded into the surrounding landscape, the building’s height is kept low to put the focus on the bold, undulating canopy that looks as if it’s about to take off at any moment. Comprised of perforated rows of solar panels , the roof’s array will generate clean energy for the building and also enable a system of natural ventilation. The exterior will be clad in large vertical glass panels framed in metal posts, providing natural light  throughout the interior. Once inside, visitors will be greeted with an open-floor plan comprised of several independent elements used for distinct purposes. At the heart of the structure will be the Hub, a large central space that can be adapted to various uses. There will also be flexible spaces for art exhibits and meetings as well as a large 400-seat auditorium. Also found inside will be the Start-ups Pavilion, an open office space where young entrepreneurs can foster their ideas. Within the solar-powered pavilion there will also be a nutrition center, which will serve as a research facility that is open to the public. And of course, guests to the pavilion will be able to dine in Sapori Barilla, a large restaurant featuring the company’s signature pastas. + Open Architecture Systems Images via Open Architecture Systems

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A stunning solar-powered pavilion is planned for pasta company Barilla

Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

September 5, 2018 by  
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There’s finally hope for those tired of waiting on mile-long taxi stands at the airport. Developed by architect Steve Lee of Los Angeles-based Aprilli Design Studio , the Autonomous Travel Suite is a solar-powered electric vehicle that could revolutionize the future of travel and urban design. Lee was inspired to create the driverless  mobile suites to provide travelers with a comfortable door-to-door transportation service, complete with a memory foam mattress, kitchen and mini bar, a washroom and work space. Recently chosen as a finalist in the Radical Innovation Awards , the self-driving hotel suite would be part of an Autonomous Hotel Chain. Conceptualized as a personal rental car and hotel room, the self-driving cars are meant to be an extension of what Lee calls a “parent suite,” offering all of the comforts of a luxury suite while on the road. Related: GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel When not in use, the solar-powered cars would charge in a docking facility at the main hotel, of which the mobile unit would serve as an extension. Guests would be able to choose between different room types and sizes at different prices, and they could order custom features, such as a televisions or extra beds. The futuristic design was created with the busy traveler in mind, offering a driverless, door-to-door car service  that would allow guests to work or rest while on the go. The car interiors would include a foam mattress, a wash room and a working space, along with ample storage for luggage. In addition to the comfy living area, the suites would be built with smart glass, which can be dimmed for privacy. At the moment, the driverless hotel suite on wheels is just a concept, but Lee maintains that its real-world cost would be beneficial to travelers. Pricing would be cost-effective, because the solar-powered cars would bundle both transportation and lodging. + Aprilli Design Suite Via Curbed Images via Radical Innovation Awards

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Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

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

California legislature passes historic bill to achieve 100% clean energy

August 30, 2018 by  
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California is going all in on clean energy. Legislators just passed a bill that puts the state on a path to become 100 percent reliable on clean energy by 2045, making it the largest economy in the world to enact such an environmentally friendly policy. Governor Jerry Brown has until the end of next month to sign the bill and make it official. This is not the first eco-friendly move in the California state legislature. The state previously had a goal to become 50 percent reliant on clean energy by 2030, a goal the new bill upped to 60 percent. This past spring, legislators changed state building codes to require newly constructed houses to feature solar energy capabilities. The mandates show that California is looking to become a leader in environmental issues in the decades to come. The historic bill comes amid a struggle with Donald Trump’s administration, which has been attempting to revive interest in traditional energy sources, such as coal, over renewable energy . Trump has also been relaxing regulations when it comes to the environment. California’s new bill flies in the face of Trump’s political agenda and is a victory for clean energy supporters. It also follows what has been a difficult year for California, as the state continues to deal with the aftermath of historic wildfires. “Ongoing wildfires fueled by record-high temperatures and drier conditions exacerbated by climate change have shown us that we can’t wait any longer to tackle the climate crisis and move to clean energy,” said Michael Brune, executive director of Sierra Club. California is not the only state to eye 100 percent clean energy. Hawaii passed a similar bill in 2015 and plans on fulfilling the initiative in 2045. Following California’s clean energy bill , New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and New York are debating similar policies. Colorado and Maryland have also considered going 100 percent clean energy but did not have enough votes to pass it. Legislators in California passed their clean energy mandate 44 to 33 votes. Democrat Gov. Brown is fully expected to support the bill in the coming weeks. Via Earthjustice and Sierra Club Image via Camille Seaman / Solutions Project, 100% Campaign

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California legislature passes historic bill to achieve 100% clean energy

A charming net-zero cottage in Cornwall asks $845K

August 30, 2018 by  
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A sweet English cottage that has been treated to a sustainable transformation has recently hit the market for £650,000 (approximately $845,000 USD). Set within 11 acres of a private nature reserve in the small town of Lostwithiel in Cornwall , England, this beautiful retreat offers an idyllic return to nature with a minimized environmental footprint. Updated by Guy Stansfeld Architects , the zero-energy home is powered by solar energy as well as a ground-source heat pump for heating and hot water. Spanning an area of 2,100 square feet, the home was renovated by the current owner Guy Stansfeld, who breathed new life into the historic yet decaying estate cottage over the course of four years. The house, dubbed Rosedale, has been restored in white stucco and re-organized to follow an open-plan, double-height layout spread out across a single level with four bedrooms. Completed in 2015, the updated home’s modern interiors are filled with natural light and views of the outdoors, which includes vistas of wetlands, woodland, a garden and a pond. Blonde wood paneling, vaulted ceilings and white surfaces help create an airy atmosphere. Stansfeld added an extension built with SIPs for speed of construction and superior insulation. There’s also a kitchen garden area and ample parking for cars. Related: This dream job lets you live on a Cornish island with a medieval castle All the fixtures and lighting in the home were selected for their low energy consumption. Radiant floor heating also keeps energy bills to a minimum. Since Rosedale is powered with photovoltaic panels , Stansfeld has tapped into the local feed-in tariff to recoup his electricity costs by selling surplus energy to the National Grid. This effectively brings the well-insulated dwelling to net-zero energy status. The Rosedale property is now on the market and listed through Savills with the real estate agent Ben Davis for £650,000. + Guy Stansfeld Architects Images via Savills

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A charming net-zero cottage in Cornwall asks $845K

This eco-hotel in Costa Rica will be completely solar-powered by 2019

August 22, 2018 by  
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Good news for travelers who want all the comforts of a hotel, but without the accompanying carbon footprint: Cala Luna, a luxury hotel in Costa Rica , provides a green retreat that’s about to get even greener. While Cala Luna has already attracted attention for its sustainability efforts, the hotel has launched new initiatives that will make it completely solar-powered and carbon-neutral by 2019. Related to: Repurposed cargotecture dwellings keep naturally cool in Costa Rica Cala Luna was one of the first luxury hotel resorts to embrace ecological concerns and sustainability . Renowned for its far-reaching renewability standards and goals, the tropical sanctuary is devoted to the local neighborhood and surroundings and is proud to have the highest Sustainable Tourism certification (level 5) bestowed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT). Additionally, the hotel has a Programa Bandera Azul Ecologica (Blue Flag Ecological Program) certification, a government recognition for ecologically focused communities in Costa Rica. As if all this weren’t enough, Cala Luna recently announced its newest goal: attaining 100 percent solar-powered and carbon-neutral status throughout the hotel and villas by 2019. All of Cala Luna’s water heaters are already powered by solar panels, so the next step is solar power for the entire resort. According to Cala Luna general manager Federico Pilurzu, “Guests staying at our planet-friendly hotel can enjoy their vacation and know they are traveling responsibly. We are passionate about reducing carbon footprint, embracing our vibrant landscapes and promoting wildlife conservation. Sustainability is at the core of everything Cala Luna stands for.” From its inception, Cala Luna has been a pioneer in the inclusion of green efforts in all operations. These efforts include the use of LED lights , biodegradable toiletries and glass-bottled water in all their rooms and villas, endemic ingredients in spa treatments, and eco-friendly bamboo straws for beverages. Additionally, the staff is taught to implement green practices, and guests have access to free bikes to get around town. Besides providing an eco-conscious space for visitors to kick back and relax, Cala Luna actively participates in greening the local community. For example, the hotel leads farm tours that let guests learn more about the source of their organic meals and partners with local organization The Clean Wave to help with beach cleanups. Guests at Cala Luna can rest assured that their eco-retreat will not only help them get closer to nature, but help protect it as well. + Cala Luna Images via Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas

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This eco-hotel in Costa Rica will be completely solar-powered by 2019

Photovoltaic glass clads a sustainably minded residential tower in Melbourne

August 17, 2018 by  
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Melbourne-based architecture firm C. Kairouz Architects recently completed The General, an eight-story building that’s said to be Australia’s first-ever large-scale residential structure to use photovoltaic glass on its facade. Located in the inner-suburb of Northcote in Melbourne , the building comprises 87 apartments as well as mixed-use commercial space on the first two floors. Thanks to photovoltaic glazing as well as a slew of other energy-efficient systems and resource-saving measures, The General has achieved a 7-star energy rating. Set on a prominent corner lot on Northcote’s bustling High Street, The General takes it name from the nickname of Kairouz’s father, who had formerly owned a butcher business on the project site. The General also references Kairouz’s father in the patterned glass that makes up the curved secondary facade, which features a subtle image of a Victorian general on a horse. This facade is juxtaposed with the continuous bands of Onyx Solar photovoltaic glass that run along the northern facade as well as the horizontal balustrades and glazing on the east facade. All windows are double-glazed and let an abundance of natural light into the apartments. “Technically speaking, it displays a solar factor of 10%, making it an ideal candidate to achieve control over the interior temperature,” says C. Kairouz Architects in its project statement. “The product has been proven to yield low-emissivity properties, provide a UV and IR filter, promote natural light , and generate power. Statistically translated, this allows The General to generate 2,075 kWh per year and prevents the release of 1.95 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. This energy may be used for light, power and mechanical equipment in common areas.” Related: Steven Holl unveils office clad in colorful photovoltaic glass for Doctors Without Borders In addition to the building’s solar solutions, the architects also emphasized green-centric transit options. The General is located a short walk from a major tram station and from the Northcote shopping complex; 137 bicycle parking spaces were installed in the building’s basement parking garage. The basement also includes a 25,000-liter rainwater tank that collects rainwater runoff , which is then recycled to flush 50 toilets within the building. + C. Kairouz Architects Images by Peter Clarke

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Photovoltaic glass clads a sustainably minded residential tower in Melbourne

This riverfront pier is revitalized after Cyclone Maria ravaged Rockhampton

August 10, 2018 by  
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When Cyclone Maria hit Rockhampton,  Queensland in 2015, the whole community quickly joined forces to repair and rebuild local homes and businesses. Now, one of the most prized assets of the community, the Rockhampton Riverside Precinct, is getting a major makeover — led by Woods Bagot — that everyone can enjoy. The massive riverfront pier site suffered from neglect even before the cyclone hit, but its potential was steadfast. Architectural firm Woods Bagot is at the forefront of the renovation of the pier and adjacent structures and is intent to restore the two-story landmark back to the community hub it once was. Not only will the pier be overhauled and upgraded, the site will be designed to offer something for everyone, from kids to adults. The plans include interactive water attractions, galleries of local artwork, lush terraced landscaping, a playground and plenty of open space for mulling around or just taking in the picturesque surroundings. Local businesses, including a new restaurant celebrating the region’s fresh produce and seafood, will round out the attractions at the Rockhampton Riverside Precinct. Related: Australia’s cyclone-resistant home The rich auburn exterior of Corten steel will include embellishments of silver, gold and copper, homage to the region’s history of ore mining. Green aspects of the project include solar roof tiles that produce electricity for the project’s power grid, plenty of charging stations for electric cars  and sites for bicycle maintenance and minor repairs to encourage green transportation . Instead of energy-hungry cooling systems, the complex largely depends on keeping the atmosphere comfortable with huge roof overhangs and fresh breezes off the water wafting through the open hallways and deck. Images of ancient ship masts come to mind as the winds whip through the structure, impatiently changing direction as nature dictates. “Rockhampton Riverside Precinct has become a destination for everyone to visit, occupy and enjoy,” said Mark Damant, principal of Woods Bagot. “The vision of restoring the energy from the gold period has been realized along with the aim to provide the people of Rockhampton with a world-class civic and recreational space.” + Woods Bagot Images via Florian Groehn

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This riverfront pier is revitalized after Cyclone Maria ravaged Rockhampton

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