A micro home in one of Quebecs regional parks offers a unique way to enjoy the outdoors

April 9, 2019 by  
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La Pointe is located within Canada’s Poisson Blanc Regional Park, and it’s a nature-loving minimalist’s dream come true. The micro home gets its name from the distinctive triangular geometry that comes to a cathedral-style point in the roof. The designers at Atelier L’abri wanted to honor the A-frame style that was made popular in North America in the 1950s while still providing the essential functions needed in a forest cabin. La Pointe offers off-the-grid living that isn’t completely isolated from civilization. The micro home is located off of a nature trail about 10 minutes by foot from the park’s reception pavilion. Despite the minimal square footage, there is room for up to four occupants inside thanks to the first-floor table’s ability to convert into an extra bed. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The structure was built on-site and features a kitchenette, an outdoor porch area and a lofted bedroom accessible by ladder. The bed is suspended mezzanine-style using steel rods, and it calmly overlooks the rest of the home. The entire space, including the sleeping area, takes full advantage of the natural light that streams in during the day. The connecting covered terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy the space when the weather is hot, and the wood-burning stove keeps the house warm in the cold Canadian winters. The whole structure is raised off the ground to prevent weather-related damage from both the snow and the nearby reservoir. The exterior, made from natural cedar boards, creates a woodsy look that blends in beautifully to the surrounding forest landscape. The roof is made from steel, a recycle-friendly option for a building material. The interior uses the same cedar, which — combined with the dark, steel-colored appliances inside — creates an organic and raw look. Occupants can enjoy the forest views from the large bay window that centers the home from the first floor. + Atelier L’abri Photography by Jack Jérôme via Atelier L’abri

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A micro home in one of Quebecs regional parks offers a unique way to enjoy the outdoors

16th century building in Malta is now a charming eco hotel that reflects a long history

April 3, 2019 by  
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Located within the fortified walls of Birgu in eastern Malta, the Locanda La Gelsomina building dates back to the 16th century. Today, the space has been renovated to bring the historic building back to its original glory in the form of a stunning boutique eco hotel boasting several sustainable features, such as solar power and a rainwater collection system. Visitors to beautiful Malta have a sophisticated eco hotel to hang their hats in while they visit the scenic Mediterranean island. Tucked into the hamlet of Birgu on the island’s eastern coast, Locanda La Gelsomina offers guests “an oasis of harmony” located just a short stroll away from the town’s historical sites and the harbor. Related: 8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list The building dates back about 500 years, but it was recently renovated into a jaw-dropping  boutique hotel . Although the objective was to provide a new and luxurious space for guests, the restoration project focused on retaining the building’s traditional Maltese architectural features as much as possible. Stone walls, high ceilings and arched doorways give the interior spaces a palace-like feel enhanced with antiques and decorative pieces collected from around the world. In addition to its aesthetic and structural renovation, the hotel was also updated with several sustainable features to bring it into the 21st century. A  solar-powered  heating system provides hot water for the property. Additionally, a rainwater collection system, which leads to an ancient well, is used for the hotel’s sanitation systems. The hotel houses four extremely spacious suites, each with its own individual interior design . In addition to the suites, guests can enjoy spending time in the hotel’s many social areas, such as the “jewel-box teahouse,” where Bellocq tea blends are served, or the rooftop terrace, where they can enjoy breathtaking views of the city. + Locanda La Gelsomina Images via Locanda La Gelsomina

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16th century building in Malta is now a charming eco hotel that reflects a long history

Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

March 18, 2019 by  
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Architect Beatrice Bonzanigo from Milan-based firm IB Studio has unveiled a stunning, off-grid micro home that is transportable and adaptable to virtually any climate. The tiny structure, called Casa Ojalá, is just shy of 300 square feet but is equipped with a manual mechanical system that allows the space to be configured into as many as 20 different layouts. According to Bonzanigo, the flexible and transportable design of Casa Ojalá was inspired by the need to offer an alternative to the “world of static architecture.” Its versatility opens up a world of opportunity not only in terms of low-impact architecture , but also in offering an off-grid experience that lets occupants completely immerse themselves into the natural world. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world “Casa Ojalá is a sustainable, minimal, compact and flexible product for a new comfort, away from TV or air conditioning,” explained IB Studio, which is led by Bonzanigo and Isabella Invernizzi. “The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists. Outdoor is a substantial, fundamental and precious part of it.” The structure is a round volume with a simple layout comprised of two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and a bathroom. A wrap-around, open-air terrace is used to provide a seamless connection between the micro home and its surroundings, no matter where they may be. To create its flexible design , the main structure is equipped with a manual mechanical system made up of ropes, pulleys and cranks that control the sliding wooden walls and fabric partitions. This system allows the structure to be continuously transformed into a fully-customized space, with private rooms or even one large outdoor platform. Built on a track, the house is completely mobile and can be easily assembled on-site. In terms of its sustainability, the structure is made out of eco-friendly materials along with socially-sustainable fabrics and wood features. The design’s footprint is minimal, and the project was also designed to be completely self-sustaining. The design calls for a rainwater collection system and can be installed with photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy. The Casa Ojalá design is slated to be presented during this year’s Milan Design Week. + IB Studio Via Dezeen Images via IB Studio

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Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

China hopes to bring solar power to space

March 6, 2019 by  
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China is looking to be the first country in the world to install a solar power outlet in space . Scientists at the China Academy of Space Technology are working on new technology to make solar power in space a reality, and they hope to have something in place by the year 2050. The story of China’s ambitious solar power initiative was first published by a newspaper ran by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology. The scientists working on the project believe that installing solar power in space will provide them with “inexhaustible clean energy,” though details of the plan are still being ironed out. Related: China plans to launch the world’s first ‘artificial moon’ The scientists, led by Pang Zhihao, are targeting space as a potential landing spot for solar power, because the equipment will not be exposed to overcast skies or night conditions. According to Dezeen , Zhihao is optimistic that the solar power will provide as much as six times the energy of solar farms based within the Earth’s atmosphere. Zhihao and his team are currently building prototypes in Chongqing and plan to continue testing different models over the next decade. Once they work out all of the details, they plan to start construction of the solar power space station as early as 2030. Governments around the globe are looking into ways to use clean energy on a larger scale. Businesses are also researching ways to lessen their carbon footprint, and solar power could be a means to that end. For example, Apple recently promised to use 100 percent clean energy in all of its stores and facilities. The company is installing solar panels on rooftops to help reach its renewable energy goals.  NASA has also looked into installing solar power in space over the past 20 years. Japan is looking to put a solar power farm in orbit and has developed technology for it. One of the main issues with solar power in space is getting the energy back to Earth, something China hopes to accomplish via lasers or microwaves. Via Dezeen Image via NASA / GSFC / SDO

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Uber transforms 19th-century industrial buildings into hub for futuristic tech

March 6, 2019 by  
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A row of historic industrial buildings long considered at-risk of collapse has been saved thanks to Uber . The Uber Advanced Technologies Group R&D Center, a group that develops experimental and futuristic transit projects including self-driving technologies, is now housed within part of San Francisco’s Pier 70 — the best-preserved 19th century industrial complex west of the Mississippi. A sensitive undertaking, the adaptive reuse project breathed new life into the decrepit structures yet stayed true to the complex’s architectural integrity. With masterplanning efforts spearheaded by San Francisco-based urban studio SITELAB, Pier 70 in the city’s Dogpatch neighborhood has been undergoing a renaissance of change from a former industrial site to a mixed-use development consisting of offices, retail, residences and public space. Drawn by the site’s history with transportation — Bethlehem Shipbuilding was once a Pier 70 tenant — and the spacious interiors, Uber leased out 130,000 square feet within the complex across four continuous buildings (Building 113, 114, 115 and 116), an area approximately equivalent to two city blocks. Damaged from years of neglect and vandalism, the four buildings needed a gut renovation before Uber could move in. In a process the firm described as a “labor of love,” Uber restabilized the structures with steel braces and columns carefully chosen to complement the historic architecture. To retain existing elements and abide by the regulations put forth by the National Register of Historic Places, the project used a “building-within-a-building concept” that allowed for the insertion of mezzanines, stairs, rooms and other free-standing programmed elements without damaging the historic perimeter brick walls. Nods to the building’s history can be seen in the industrial-inspired architectural lighting and minimalist material palette. Related: Uber just gave the world a first look at its air taxi prototype “The project’s contribution to the community and industry is immense in that it revitalizes a crumbling shipyard facility into a vibrant place for work and public gatherings,” Uber shared in a statement. “Precision craftsmanship is required to both refurbish deteriorated existing construction and accommodate new building components into the highly complex and diverse existing structures. The approach retains and repairs salvageable elements . If un-salvageable, the replacement element or material is specified to be historically compatible and environmentally benign.” + Uber Advanced Technologies Group Via Architectural Digest Photography by Billy Hustace Photography via Uber

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A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in

February 22, 2019 by  
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Small and portable, this tiny structure offers a versatile shelter for the artist, fisherman or weekend traveler. At only 96 square feet, it could make a micro home , but the space, now called a pavilion, is laid out for an effective work studio, storage shed or traveling gallery. When Danish architect Anders Hermansen designed the pavilion 10 years ago, he presented it as a movable art piece. Perhaps more widely known for his vast furniture line and work with audio-visual company Bang & Olufsen (B&O), the lifelong independent designer wanted to create something that encompassed his love for nature and an active lifestyle. Related: Recyclable art pavilion made of mesh pops up in Kolkata Inspired by that connection to the environment, Hermansen used discarded materials sourced from a construction project in Sydhavnen, Copenhagen to support the structure. The main wall hosts four built-in cabinets for storage and organization. Two of the sides are comprised of large double doors that open to the outdoors. The fourth wall incorporates an entrance and a huge floor-to-ceiling window that draws in natural light while protecting from the elements when Mother Nature is in a bad mood. The interior raw lumber creates a seamless transition from the surrounding natural elements and offers a place to mount supplies. The all-wood design adds to the rustic vibe of this tiny studio pavilion. With the idea that art and nature go hand in hand, the pavilion can be moved from place to place as the need arises by loading it onto a flatbed truck. Although tiny, the pavilion offers plenty of space for storage, work or living, and it is now for sale through Adam Schnack at a $38,000 price tag. It is currently situated in a scenic location at Værløse Flyvestation, near Denmark’s largest film studio. + Anders Hermansen Design Via Curbed Images via Adam Schnack and Lars Gundersen

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A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in

9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

February 18, 2019 by  
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Adding plants to your living space is an easy way to add beauty and character to your home. But aesthetics aren’t the only benefit of indoor gardening as houseplants can make your home’s air healthier  and also make you happier . No to mention, you can easily grow useful plants and herbs that work great for healthy cooking and as natural medicines . Even if you weren’t born with a green thumb or have a tiny space to work with, there are ways to go green with your decor. If you choose the right plants and get creative, your indoor garden will thrive. Here are nine ways to add more plant life to your home. Use the Windows For many indoor plants , sunlight is essential. So, placing your plants near windows is a no-brainer. A Beautiful Mess suggests a DIY ledge for the kitchen window to set up your herb garden or hang an over-the-window plant shelf in your living room or bedroom. Instead of hanging a curtain for privacy, you can create a “ plant shelfie ” and group a bunch of plants together or use a large sturdy tension rods to hang plants at the top of the window. Custom shelves around or under the window —  or added to the ledge— also work well, too. Wire Grid Jazz up a plain wall with a wire grid and S-hooks to display houseplants . You don’t need a ton of space for this idea, and it makes it easy to hang gardening essentials like scissors and a watering can. You can find wire grids in different shapes and sizes, and some also have mountable shelves. Kitchen Garden A window in your kitchen is an excellent place to grow an indoor herb garden , however, that’s not an option for everyone. You can still make it happen by hanging small planters on your cabinets .  Also, if you have the counter space,  you can create a small garden for succulents with a two-tier fruit basket and some fabric scraps. Related: How to grow 10 foods from kitchen scraps Pegboard Like the wire shelves, a pegboard is also a great idea for small spaces. They work well in any room, no matter how big or small. You can even use a peg board as a headboard . The great thing about pegboards is that you can use hooks, baskets and shelves to create the look you want. You can also add a pop of color with a few tiny potted plants or cover the board entirely. Ceiling Hangers Speaking of macrame, it has made a major comeback recently, which means you can easily find macrame plant hangers to hang from the ceiling. They are great to hang near windows, or you can use ceiling hangers in unexpected places like in the bathroom or over a dining table . When you live in a small space, ceiling hangers are a fantastic option. You won’t give up any shelf, floor or wall space, and they add a fun, unexpected layer to the decor . Wall Art Turn plants into pieces of living art by adding them to string art or macrame wall hangings . You can find tons of affordable options on sites like Etsy that can quickly turn plants and flowers into artwork. Plants and flowers nestled into different designs look great. Air plants are a great option for wall art because they are super easy to take care of. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Bookshelves and Picture Ledges If you have built-in shelves in your living room, bedroom or kitchen, don’t let the high shelves go to waste just because they are out of reach. Add some plants that drape down to add some green to your space. Trailing plants are very popular and they are low-maintenance. If you have the option of adding something to the wall, pictures ledges are perfect for displaying plants indoors because the small lip on the edge will keep them from falling. Picture ledges are usually cheaper than traditional shelves. Just make sure you choose ledges that are wide enough. Carts If there is a small, dull space in your home that needs some love, you can add some plants with a rolling cart . If you live in an apartment and can’t add shelves, grids or peg boards to the wall, a rolling cart is the perfect option for creating a mini- jungle . Or, if you have some dead space in a large room, the cart doesn’t even have to go up against the wall. Plant Corner If you have an empty corner that needs some attention, consider filling it with plants of different shapes and sizes. Place different pots (of various shapes and sizes) in the corner to create a plant corner. You can incorporate your plant cart into the area for some added height. Images via Shutterstock

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Studio Roosegaarde wants to turn space waste into shooting stars and 3D-printed housing

January 25, 2019 by  
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At the Space Waste Lab Symposium in Almere, Netherlands, artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde announced his creative new solutions for reducing space waste. The main project of his ambitious proposals will be Shooting Stars, a collaborative effort between Studio Roosegaarde and the European Space Agency that will pull floating space waste through the Earth’s atmosphere to create a sustainable alternative to traditional fireworks. The second solution will explore repurposing space waste as the building blocks for 3D-printed structures to house future space societies. Space waste includes natural debris generated from asteroids, comets and meteoroids as well as man-made debris generated from artificially created objects in space, particularly old satellites and spent rocket stages. In a bid to solve the space waste problem — Studio Roosegaarde estimates there are approximately 8.1 million kilograms of space waste — the team has worked together with experts from the European Space Agency and students to launch the Space Waste Lab, a multi-year program to capture and recycle space waste into sustainable products. Streamed live in Dutch , the Space Waste Lab Symposium that was held on January 19 put forth two sustainable proposals for eliminating the currently 29,000 objects larger than 10 centimeters floating in space. The first, called Shooting Stars, would pull the waste through the Earth’s atmosphere, where it would burn and create artificial shooting stars in a new spectacle of light and sustainable alternative to polluting fireworks. The second project aims to design and 3D print innovative structures made from space waste for operation in-orbit and on the moon. Related: Studio Roosegaarde’s laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky “Although the Netherlands is small, we can make a huge impact in playing a role to clean up the space waste, with new innovations and offering opportunities,” Adriana Strating, executive director at KAF (Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland), said at the symposium. The Space Waste Lab will travel next to Luxembourg . + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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Studio Roosegaarde wants to turn space waste into shooting stars and 3D-printed housing

Seeds on the moon started to sprout for the first time but quickly died

January 18, 2019 by  
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China has taken a major step toward long-term space exploration. Earlier this month, the Chinese moon probe Chang’e 4 carried a container with cotton, mustard and potato seeds , yeast and fruit fly eggs to the moon’s far side (facing away from Earth), and early this week, the China National Space Administration said that those seeds started to sprout. Unfortunately, temperatures dropped and killed the plants. According to the BBC , the project was designed by 28 Chinese universities, and the experiment was contained within a canister 7 inches tall and weighing about 6.5 pounds. It was designed to test photosynthesis and respiration, which are processes that produce energy . For the first time ever seeds 🌱 are growing on the moon 🌑! China’s moon mission success means that astronauts 👩‍🚀👨‍🚀could potentially harvest their own food in space! Learn more 👉 https://t.co/S6dOB3p2Ym via @BBCNews #ZeroHunger #FutureofFood pic.twitter.com/TNssZBLG0R — FAO (@FAO) January 15, 2019 The plants  were in a sealed container on the lunar lander, and the hope was that the crops would form a mini-biosphere. Inside the container, the organisms had a supply of air, water and nutrients to help them grow. The scientists said that keeping it at the right temperature was a challenge, because of the wild temperature swings on the moon , which ultimately killed the first sprout. If the experiment worked, astronauts could potentially begin to harvest their own food in space. That would be incredibly useful for long-term space missions, because they wouldn’t have to return to Earth to resupply. Although the sprout died, the experiment is a move toward this goal. Related: China plans to launch the world’s first ‘artificial moon’ But could these experiments contaminate the moon ? Generally, scientists don’t believe this is something we need to worry about, especially because there have been containers of human waste on the moon for 50 years thanks to the Apollo astronauts. The consensus among experts is that the sprout was “good news.” Fred Watson, astronomer-at-large at the Australian Astronomical Observatory, said that it could be a positive development for future space exploration. “It suggests that there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future trying to grow their own crops on the moon in a controlled environment,” Watson said. “I think there’s certainly a great deal of interest in using the moon as a staging post, particularly for flights to Mars , because it’s relatively near the Earth.” Via BBC and The Guardian Image via Jeremy Bishop

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Seeds on the moon started to sprout for the first time but quickly died

Gorgeous cedar-clad tiny home designed to withstand Ontario’s frigid winters

January 17, 2019 by  
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Canadian tiny home builders, Minimaliste Houses , know a thing or two about creating durable tiny homes that can stand up to extreme temperatures. The  designers are back with another stunning tiny home , the cedar-clad Magnolia. Built to withstand northern Ontario’s weather, the tiny home was designed to be energy-efficient thanks to tight thermal insulation and various sustainable features such as a composting toilet and LED lighting. The exterior of the tiny home reflects most of the tiny home builders’ exteriors. The 10.5 x 34.5 feet structure on wheels is clad with two-tone cedar panels with black steel accents. The black cedar panels were burnt using the Shou Sugi Ban technique, which creates a durable exterior that won’t fade over the years. Additionally, the dark and clear cedar gives the home a modern, yet rustic aesthetic. Related: The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes The sophisticated look of the design continues throughout the interior where a double-height ceiling painted in all white gives the space a bright, open feel. The living room is a surprisingly large spacious, furnished with a comfy sofa and entertainment center. At the clients’ request, the main bedroom is located on the first floor, but there is an additional sleeping loft installed over the bathroom that can be used as a guest room or storage space. The bathroom is also a fairly large design and was installed with a c omposting toilet . The kitchen in the Magnolia is a perfect space for the home chef. Along with a full range of appliances, there is plenty of storage space with a tall pull-out pantry, tons of cabinets and drawers, A white quartz countertop with space doubles as a kitchen prep space and dining table or work surface with three bar stools. LED backlighting was installed in order to dim the lights when watching TV in the living room or working. To create a comfortable interior temperature throughout the year, the home was installed with a LUNOS heat recovery air exchanger and two ceiling fans to provide air circulation throughout the home. An abundance of windows throughout the home flood the interior with natural light , which also reduces the home’s energy use. + Minimaliste Houses Photos via Minimalist Houses

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Gorgeous cedar-clad tiny home designed to withstand Ontario’s frigid winters

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