This unique eco home was designed to reduce energy use

July 12, 2019 by  
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Located in Toronto, Canada, this eco home by Craig Race Architecture was built entirely with sustainability in mind. The 1,800-square-foot house was a passion project for the architect, who wanted to use the space to test high-performing methods for the outer elements that facilitate climate control within the house. The highlight of the home is its high-quality insulation . Superior insulation in a structure design can maintain a dry, hot or cold temperature inside by creating a barrier between exterior and interior environments. In the Curvy Eco Home’s case, a majority of the insulation was installed as a continuous, unbroken layer on the outside of the building, which greatly reduced the number of localized areas with low thermal resistance. Related: This family-friendly home is a beacon of modern energy-efficient design in Calgary In combination with the insulation, the home is also almost completely airtight. According to the architects’ energy modeling, they were able to reduce the heating energy in the home by 40 percent by using $1,500 worth of tape to ensure exceptional airtightness. Not only will this dramatically reduce the owner’s electricity bill, but the home itself will be much more comfortable no matter the season. A large amount of glass on the south side of the home allows for passive heating. To reduce energy needs, an in-floor radiant system was installed with separate thermostats for either side of the home. This way, when the passive heating is being utilized on the south side, the owner can turn off half the electric heat, maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout. There is an air conditioner in the house for the hottest days of summer; however, it rarely needs to be used thanks to the skylight purposely placed to move air in and out of the house for natural ventilation. The curvature in the exterior design of the home was intended to follow the same pattern as the street and to maximize space. All of the materials used for cladding are either recycled and/or sustainable, including the cedar shingles. The roof, side walls and south wall were made with standing-seam galvalume panels, which are long-lasting and maintenance-free. The panels are also untreated — meaning no toxic paint or coating — and can be recycled in the future. Inside, the eco home features a rather minimalist design. Each room benefits from a bright, airy atmosphere thanks to natural light, white walls and light wood accents. The kitchen boasts marble countertops and backsplash, while the bedrooms earn extra charm from exposed wood ceiling beams. + Craig Race Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography via Robert Watson via Craig Race Architecture

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This unique eco home was designed to reduce energy use

This multigenerational smart home boasts energy savings

July 3, 2019 by  
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When a family approached international design practice ONG&ONG to design a home for accommodating multigenerational needs, the firm responded with a contemporary abode that not only caters to residents of different ages, but also boasts a reduced carbon footprint. Located in Singapore, the 37FC House is carefully laid out to make the most of its long and linear plot and to optimize exposure for its rooftop solar panels. In addition to other energy saving systems such as home automation , the multigenerational home is estimated to save 30 percent on energy costs as compared to similarly sized homes. The strikingly contemporary 37FC House stands out from its neighbors with its boxy form spread out across four levels to maximize living space on a narrow lot. Deep overhangs protect the interior from Singapore’s intense heat, while an abundance of greenery planted around the perimeter and on every floor of the house help cultivate a cooling microclimate and provide a sense of privacy for the residents. Retractable full-height glazing creates a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience, while the generous use of teak throughout the home further emphasizes the connection with nature. Related: Singapore’s energy-efficient green heart center Spanning an area of 5,800 square feet, the 37FC House includes four bedrooms across four floors, including the basement and attic. The main service areas and communal spaces are located on the ground floor that opens up to a lushly planted rear garden, where a Sukabumi-tiled lap pool is located. With approximately 1.5 times more floor space than the ground volume, the second floor cantilevers over the ground floor and contains two junior suites in the rear and the master bedroom that opens up to views of the street and garden. The attic houses a guest bedroom, while the basement includes an additional living room. A sky-lit black steel staircase and an elevator join the home’s four floors.  To reduce energy consumption, the home is powered with solar energy. Home automation that can be remotely controlled with a smartphone — such as the EIB system for controlling lighting — also helps with energy savings. + ONG&ONG Images by Derek Swalwell

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This multigenerational smart home boasts energy savings

This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

June 28, 2019 by  
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A Tampa neighborhood design just became the first in the world to earn a WELL Design & Operations designation from the Delos International WELL Building Institute, a global community standard for wellness. You may have heard of the Delos company from advocates such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Clinton, or you may have heard about it for creating the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a global movement designed to transform communities and buildings in ways that promote health and wellness. The IWBI WELL Community Standard studies how well a community’s public spaces positively impact individuals in their general well-being, sustainability and health. Under those standards, the WELL Design & Operations (“D&O”) certification recognizes implemented design and policy strategies aimed to improve the lives of local residents through the concepts of: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Sound, Mind, Temperature, Materials and Community. Related: LEED Gold eco hotel in the Wine Country was built using reclaimed wood The only neighborhood design to earn a D&O title so far? Water Street Tampa , an aptly-named $3 billion, 53-acre waterfront community project being brought to life entirely with wellness in mind by Strategic Property Partners, Elkus Manfredi Architects and designer Reed Hilderbrand. The vision, which will create 13 acres of parks and public spaces and one million square feet of new retail, cultural, educational and entertainment spaces, is being built from the ground up to promote healthy living. Some of the ways Water Street will achieve these wellness standards is by building sidewalks with a width of 14 to 45 feet (exceeding the city of Tampa’s requirements), creating outdoor community activity programs such as yoga, offering free filtered water bottle filling stations, reducing light pollution through required light dimming times in designated public spaces, offering recycling in every building and implementing tree canopies and light-colored pavement to reduce urban heat. Additionally, Water Street will also have free public WIFI, app-based parking, a community wellness center, consistent farmers markets and a public kitchen with regularly scheduled chef-led classes in healthy cooking techniques. “Phase One” of the project is scheduled to be completed between 2020 and 2021 and will include over one million square feet of new office space, 300,000 square feet of new retail space (including a grocery store and a gym) and 1,300 new residential units that promise to provide a variety of price points and styles. + International WELL Building Institute Images via WELL

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This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces

March 28, 2019 by  
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A historic waterfront factory has been given a new lease on life thanks to New York-based architecture firm ODA and Triangle Assets. Located at 10 Jay Street in DUMBO, New York City, the project explores both adaptive reuse and historic preservation in its transformation of the former Arbuckle Brothers sugar refinery into creative office spaces. The sensitive renovation updates the building to modern standards while carefully preserving its history, from the restrained industrial-inspired material palette to a new reflective facade that evokes sugar crystals. Built in 1898, the massive structure first served as the Arbuckle Brothers’ sugar refinery. After the building was converted into a winery , the front structure of the building was torn down, leaving only three of the original facades intact. The building then remained vacant and abandoned for 50 years until real estate agency Triangle Assets purchased the property with aims of renovation. To that end, Triangle Assets tapped ODA to turn the 230,000-square-foot warehouse and its 10 stories into flexible offices that overlook panoramic views of Manhattan and Williamsburg’s waterfront. The interiors are also minimally dressed in exposed brick and steel in a nod to the site’s industrial heritage. Existing historical features, such as the terracotta arches and octagonal columns, were restored and exposed. The building is also embedded in Brooklyn Bridge Park, making it the only privately owned building in the park thanks to the owner’s donation of nearly 15,000 square feet of land to the park. The new crystalline west facade reflects the park and sunsets over the river. Related: Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory “As the conversation surrounding heritage and preservation grows, 10 Jay Street is a prime example of how cities around the world recover and readapt buildings,” a press release on the project said. “The design dared to challenge the way landmark buildings are seen and, in doing so, created unique threads to link old with new, the industrial age with the digital era, and create a product for the modern age.” + ODA Photography by Pavel Bendov via ODA

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An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces

Valser is using carbon capture technology to carbonate its beverages

December 28, 2018 by  
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Valser, a Coca-Cola-owned brand of sparkling water based in Switzerland, is embracing new climate capture technology. Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland (the bottling plant that makes Valser) has partnered with Climeworks, a pioneering company that captures carbon dioxide, to use the new technology to carbonate its water . Climeworks has already partnered with a greenhouse that uses CO2 to help plants grow faster, and since the beverage industry is one of the only existing markets that uses carbon dioxide , it seemed like the natural next step. But, the technology won’t stop there. Christoph Gebald, co-founder and director of Climeworks, says that other applications are coming, including making carbon-neutral fuel or concrete to make plastic , shoes and fish feed. But, it’s the greenhouse and beverage industries that use carbon dioxide on a large scale, and this is how Climeworks hopes to scale up its technology. At Climeworks plants, the company uses its one-of-a-kind  technology to capture CO2 inside shipping containers by pulling air inside of them and then processing it through filters — working almost like an incredibly powerful tree. When a filter gets full, the team heats the collector and release the gas in a pure form so it can be injected into deep underground storage. Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is higher than it has been for millennia (about 400,000 years to be exact), and this new process from Climeworks will help address this problem. But, putting the CO2 into beverages instead of underground still allows the fizz to come out when you open the bottle. To help impact climate change , the amount of carbon dioxide we need to remove from the air could be around 10 billion tons per year — according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — and the global food and beverage industry produces about 6 million tons annually. So there is still a long way to go. “The beverage industry is really the bridge from today — no existing market — to enabling us to further work down our cost curve and industrialize the technology,” says Gebald. “It’s really the missing bridge between startups and, one day, climate-relevant scale to remove carbon from the air.” Sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is currently a more expensive option than resorting to other sources, but it does make sense for some locations. Once the technology becomes cheaper, it will become a more attractive option for other businesses. Via Fast Company Images via ExplorerBob

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Valser is using carbon capture technology to carbonate its beverages

A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor

December 6, 2018 by  
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In their latest installment of Literature vs Traffic, Spanish design collective luzinterruptus transformed a major street in Ann Arbor , Michigan, into a glowing river of 11,000 books. Carried out to bring attention to the importance of pedestrian-friendly spaces, the large-scale installation turned an area typically marred by the sounds and pollution of cars into a quiet haven. At the end of the night, all the books were quickly “recycled” and taken home by visitors as a keepsake of the temporary event. Luzinterruptus’ most recent installation of Literature vs Traffic—the artwork had previously been displayed in Toronto, Melbourne, Madrid and New York—was briefly brought to life at Ann Arbor on October 23, 2018 thanks to the invitation of the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and its curator, Amanda Krugliak. The design collective felt the Michigan city was a fitting choice due to its reputation as a book loving college town and its proximity to Detroit , the birthplace of the U.S. automobile industry. “We want literature to take over the streets and to become the conqueror of all public places, offering passersby a traffic-free area that will, for a few hours, surrender to the humble might of the written word,” explain the designers. “Thus, a place in the city usually dedicated to speed, pollution , and noise, shall turn, for one night, into a place of peace, quiet, and coexistence, lighted by the soft dim light issued from the book pages.” Related: Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires The university organized a book donation drive to collect the 11,000 books used in the installation and also helped to temporarily close the major intersection of State Street and Liberty Street for 24 hours. A team of 90 volunteers also pitched in to help prepare and embed the books with tiny lights. On October 23, a glowing river of books was laid out for a few hours until nightfall, when visitors were invited to enter the ‘river’ and take the books home. All the books disappeared in less than two hours, leaving the street clean and empty by midnight. + luzinterruptus Images by Melisa Hernández and John Eikost  

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A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor

A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

October 23, 2018 by  
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Urban farming can be tough, especially when it’s in the middle of the densely packed Belgian city of Mechelen. But thanks to the determination of a client “with green fingers” and the clever design thinking of Belgian architecture firm dmvA , a solution was conceived in House TP, a renovation project with a new greenhouse in the rear. In addition to space for growing greens, the transformed property also enjoys greater access to natural light and views of the outdoors. Located next to a church, the compact, 90-square-meter home is sandwiched between two buildings with a north-oriented rear side. To improve access to sunlight, the architects removed the back of the building save for a single steel beam that inspired the firm to insert extra beams to create a base for a “floating” greenhouse , which allows natural light to pass through to the patio space below. In contrast to the mostly closed front facade, large glazed openings were also added to the back of the building to frame views of the greenhouse from the second and third floors. Since the top floor enjoys the greatest access to natural light , the architects decided to place the primary living areas on the third floor while placing the bedroom downstairs. The ground floor houses an additional living space that can be converted into a bedroom. The removal of walls and an open-plan layout make the compact home feel larger than its footprint lets on. The stairs were also strategically placed to the side of the building to avoid blocking sight lines. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion In contrast to its redbrick neighbors, the building exterior is painted a bright white. Another major exterior change includes the addition of a gate with steel blinds installed at an angle of 45 degrees. “This kind of gate provides sufficient privacy but still gives an open, light impression,” reads the firm’s project statement. “Previously, the dark corner at the gate was a problematic spot in the street, but with the intervention of dmvA, it has become a fresh corner that revives the street. dmvA not only created a house that met the wishes of the owner, but the refurbishment also led to a revival of the street.” + dmvA Via ArchDaily Images by Bart Gosselin

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide

September 13, 2018 by  
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Air quality sensors are coming to a Google Street View car near you. The tech giant just announced plans to introduce sensors from a San Francisco company called Aclima that test air quality in cities and towns all across the globe. The Google Street View cars take photographs and incorporate them into Google Maps. Aclima is installing the air quality sensors in Google vehicles based in Mexico City, Houston and Sydney. The sensors will detect amounts of carbon dioxide , nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide wherever the cars go. The goal is to map out where pollution is becoming a problem and inform users about which areas of towns and cities have the poorest air quality. Related: Google hits its incredible 100% renewable energy goal A few months ago, Aclima installed some air quality sensors in London to test whether or not they would work with Google’s vehicles. All of the company’s hard work paid off and directly led to the partnership and expansion. This is not the first time Aclima has worked with Google and its Street View division. In 2015, Aclima helped Google determine the air quality on the company’s campus in California . Aclima has also used the cars to test air quality around the Bay Area. Since collaborating with Aclima three years ago, Google’s cars have traveled about 100,000 miles in California. So far, the sensors have generated more than a billion points of data, a lot of which can be used to plan future urban development projects. For example, developers can use the data to pinpoint where pollution problems exist and build neighborhoods in places where the air quality is higher. Google plans to have the sensors installed in its fleet by the end of this fall. Google Earth Outreach manager Karin Bettman said, “These measurements can provide cities with new neighborhood-level insights to help accelerate efforts in their transition to smarter, healthier cities .” + Aclima + Google Via Tech Crunch , Fast Company Image via Aclima

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Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide

Beautiful, light-filled home slots into a skinny lot in Vancouver

September 3, 2018 by  
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Faced with a unique lot size of 20 by 200 feet, Canadian design studio Randy Bens Architect was challenged to create a home with a sense of expansiveness despite the property’s back lane-like dimensions. Tapped by boutique builder Moosehead Contracting, the architects teamed up with Falken Reynolds Interiors to complete the Saint George House, a project that proves that beautiful and innovative design is possible even on challenging sites. Interested buyers and design lovers will get the chance to tour the modern home next month during Vancouver’s Interior Design Show. Spanning an area of 2,200 square feet, the Saint George House is split into two volumes, both of which are clad in standing-seam metal and topped with a slanted roof. The lower level houses an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen and also spills out to a sunny deck with ample entertaining space through massive sliding glass doors. The larger upper volume cantilevers over the deck and contains the private areas, including three bedrooms. Bringing natural light indoors was key to making the home feel spacious, as was the minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired palette of white walls and light-colored timber. Boasting a style that Falken Reynolds Interiors calls “Canadian Nordic,” the bright and airy home is furnished with Bocci lighting, Corian Solid Surface and Quartz, and Bensen furniture with exclusive Raf Simons fabrics. Pops of color, warm textures and connection with the outdoors help establish the home’s cozy character. Related: Couple builds dream solar-powered home on an awkward lot in Rotterdam “The unique site of the 2,200-square-foot (204-square-meter) Saint George Street house inspired us to get creative with our design process and visually create more space,” said Chad Falkenberg, principal of Falken Reynolds. “For example, natural light was a big focus, so we strategically placed 11 skylights to wash walls with natural light and draw the eye into the room, amplifying spaciousness using the technique of Atmospheric Perspective.” + Randy Bens Architect Images by Ema Peters

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Beautiful, light-filled home slots into a skinny lot in Vancouver

Net-zero home brings sustainable design to a walkable Iowa City neighborhood

August 31, 2018 by  
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A 1960s home has been reborn into an eco-friendly abode with an impressive net-zero energy footprint. Designed by local architecture firm Neumann Monson , the Koser II is a single-family home that combines forward-thinking sustainable strategies within a contemporary envelope in a leafy and walkable Iowa City neighborhood. Powered by solar and geothermal energy, the home doesn’t sacrifice comfort or luxury in its pursuit of energy efficiency — it even includes a beautiful backyard pool. Covering an area of 2,850 square feet (including a 420-square-foot finished basement), the Koser II house is mainly spread out over a single level. To provide privacy, the street-facing facade is primarily clad in dark cedar planks and punctuated with few windows. A long slatted timber screen near the entrance also shields the home from views and frames an outdoor dining area. In contrast to its introverted exterior, the home’s interior is bright and airy with full-height glazing that lets in plenty of natural light and views. “The design bears the mark of the 1960s home that came before it,” the architecture firm explained. “Removing the existing house’s superstructure and incorporating its slab-on-grade foundation into the new construction makes the most of the predecessor’s limited potential. Additional foundations and a concrete collar support exterior walls of nine- and 10-foot pre-cut studs. Their height differential provides adequate slope to the 14-inch truss-joists spanning the 20-foot width. Operable windows extend to the ceiling plane, maximizing daylight penetration and encouraging cross-ventilation .” Related: After a makeover, this local “shack” becomes the envy of the neighborhood The renovated home also features foamed-in-place insulation and a continuous rigid insulation shell with R-24 walls and an R-40 roof. The light-filled interior is supplemented by LEDs at night and equipped with EnergyStar appliances. Radiant floor heating is complemented with a geothermal climate control system connected to an underground horizontally bored loop. A rain garden in the backyard mitigates stormwater runoff, while a 10.08kW solar array brings the home to zero-energy building performance. + Neumann Monson Images by Cameron Campbell Integrated Studio

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Net-zero home brings sustainable design to a walkable Iowa City neighborhood

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