Architecture students design award-winning Passive House in South Dakota

May 18, 2020 by  
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In Brookings, South Dakota, a group of South Dakota State University architecture students designed and completed the Passive House 01, a home certified under the high-performance Passive House (PHIUS) standard. Funded by a housing grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the student-designed project was led by architects Robert Arlt and Charles MacBride to serve as a “case study house for the 21st century.” The architects said that the Passivhaus residence is not only 90% more efficient than a similar house built to code but is also the first house in the region to sell energy back to the grid.  Located on a long-vacant infill site, Passive House 01 is within walking distance to both the South Dakota State University campus and Main Street. The airtight home’s gabled form and front porch reference the vernacular, while its clean lines and hidden gutters give the home a contemporary appeal. The 2,000-square-foot residence comprises three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms as well as a detached garage located behind an exterior courtyard. Related: Imperial War Museum’s Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness In contrast to the dark, fiber-cement lap siding exterior, the bright interior is dressed in white walls and light-colored timber. The double-height living and dining area in the heart of the home gives the interior an open and airy feel. This openness is emphasized by the open-riser stair, which the architects and students designed and constructed from custom cross-laminated timber and solid glulam with a locally harvested basswood slat railing. To meet net-zero energy targets, the team installed a 3.6 kWh solar system atop the garage. The home is oriented for passive solar — shading is provided along the south side — and quadruple-paned insulating glazing has been used throughout. Energy-efficient fixtures and appliances also help minimize energy use, which, in addition to air quality, is monitored through an online platform in real time. The project won an AIA South Dakota Honor design award in 2019. + South Dakota State University Photography by Peter Vondeline and Robert Arlt via South Dakota State University

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A clean-energy school in southern France draws power from the sun

March 10, 2020 by  
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The French city of Nîmes recently welcomed the Ada Lovelace Secondary School, Occitania’s first-ever clean-energy school that’s earned both BEPOS energy level certification and a sustainability rating of Silver-level BDM (Bâtiments Durables Méditerranéens). Opened in the fall of last year, the eco-friendly school is the work of French design firm A+ Architecture . In addition to its energy-saving and -producing features, the Ada Lovelace Secondary School features a bold and contemporary design to help boost the neighborhood’s ongoing urban revitalization efforts. Crowned winners of a 2015 design competition for the project, A+ Architecture was tasked to reconstruct the 400-student secondary school to a new site that would also include space for housing for half of the student population, sports facilities, a race track and three staff houses. The 5,898-square-meter school also needed to be held up as a positive sign of urban renewal in the Mas de Mingue district. Related: New BU academic tower will be 100% free from fossil fuels “Beyond the environmental basics, we have produced a contemporary, bold, powerful and dynamic architectural structure,” the architects explained. “We wanted people to be drawn to this place of education in this difficult neighborhood. Shapes collide, as stainless-steel panels make it seem as though the facades are empty, which are broken up by rows of windows.” Topped with 800 square meters of solar panels, the Ada Lovelace Secondary School is clad in locally sourced stones that vary in size for visual interest and to help give the volume a more human scale. For stable indoor temperatures, the architects insulated the walls with wood and hemp and installed wood boilers for supplemental heating. Students have also been invited to learn about the school’s energy-saving systems through a digital building model accessible through a game and website managed by Citae. + A+ Architecture Photography by Benoit Wehrle via A+ Architecture

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A clean-energy school in southern France draws power from the sun

York Universitys new green-roofed student center celebrates inclusivity

March 2, 2020 by  
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After overwhelmingly voting in favor of a second campus building devoted solely to student space, students at Toronto’s York University have welcomed a new student center with an inspiring emphasis on inclusivity and sustainability. Designed by global architecture firm CannonDesign , the student center was created not only as a hub of student life but to also improve mental health by creating a welcoming and safe space for students of all backgrounds. Centrally located at the north end of a major campus green space, the new student center is easily accessible to the university’s 50,000 students. The architects took cues from safety design principles to create a building with an abundance of natural light and maximized sight lines. The high-performance glazing that wraps around the building gives the student center a level of transparency reflective of its objective to be open and welcoming to all. Related: New BU academic tower will be 100% free from fossil fuels In addition to serving as a “living room” for student life, the 126,000-square-foot student center also includes a large multi-faith prayer space on the top floor; a food pantry on the lower level to serve students facing food insecurity; a wellness clinic that provides mental health counseling recommendations and more; bustling club spaces; and gender-neutral bathrooms. As part of the school’s commitment to sustainability, the new building also features bicycle parking, showers, green roofs and extensive use of natural lighting to minimize energy use. “This project excels at creating a campus destination where all students can feel welcome, safe, engaged and motivated to excel,” said Brad Lukanic, CEO of CannonDesign and a member of the York U Student Centre project team. “York University made an inclusive design part of this project’s mission from day one. The Second Student Centre stands as a paragon of how design can make measurable positive differences in both campus culture and students’ lives.” + CannonDesign Photography by Tom Arban, Connie Tsang and Lisa Logan via CannonDesign

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York Universitys new green-roofed student center celebrates inclusivity

First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

February 24, 2020 by  
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Move over steel and concrete — a pioneering cross-laminated timber (CLT) project that’s set to break ground in Boston could spearhead a greater adoption of mass timber across the country. Local startup  Generate Architecture + Technologies  has teamed up with progressive developer Placetailor to lead the project — the city’s first-ever CLT Cellular Passive House Demonstration Project — and provide live/work spaces in Lower Roxbury. Developed with the startup’s Model-C system for prefabricated kit-of-parts construction, the building will forgo conventional concrete and steel materials in favor of carbon-sequestering engineered wood products. Expected to break ground in June of 2020, the CLT Passive House demonstration project will comprise five floors with 14 residential units as well as innovative and affordable co-working spaces for the local community on the ground floor. In addition to introducing low-carbon, mixed-use  programming to the neighborhood, the project will be a working prototype for Generate’s Model-C, “a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.”  The Model-C system is not only designed to function at net-zero carbon levels, but is also Passive House certified and built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” which were developed with Placetailor. As a result, the demonstration project is expected to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction. The  CLT  rooftop canopy is also engineered to make it easy to mount solar panels. Modular units, like the bathrooms, can be prefabricated offsite and then plugged into the building to reduce construction time and waste.  Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Thanks to  prefabrication  methods and the reduction of interior framing, the Model-C prototype is expected to completed by the end of 2020 and will be available for tours at the Industrial Wood-Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4. Generate is also exploring the possibility of applying the Model-C system to projects that range from six to 18 stories across the U.S. + Generate Images by Forbes Massie Studio

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First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

Award-winning Owl Woods Passive House playfully mimics birdhouses in Australia

January 24, 2020 by  
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Australian design studio Talina Edwards Architecture recently completed the Owl Woods Passive House — the first certified Passivhaus project designed by a woman architect in Australia. Located in the Victorian town of Trentham, the sustainable home not only follows Passivhaus standards for an extremely energy-efficient build, but it also adheres to biophilic principles with its pitched roofs in the shape of unique “bird beaks” for solar shading. The project also won the Sustainability Medal at the 2019 Architeam Awards and was an official finalist in the New Home Category at the 2019 Sustainability Awards. As the 20th certified Passive House project in all of Australia, the Owl Woods Passive House is designed and constructed to meet strict Passivhaus standards that translate to an airtight building envelope for comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, energy efficiency, durability, controlled ventilation and adherence to passive solar design principles. Due to the building envelope specified for the site, the high-performance home is oriented slightly northwest but includes extended roofs along the western sides to protect the interiors from the afternoon summer sunlight. Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Inspired by the farmhouses of a Scottish village, where the clients previously lived, the home is organized into four interconnected gable-roofed pavilions. The easternmost wing houses two bedrooms and a shared bath. The central wing, which is topped with two pitched roofs, contains the open-plan living area and service rooms. The wing to the west comprises the master en suite with a sitting room. The home also includes an outdoor deck on the north side and is punctuated with large windows and glazed doors throughout for a constant visual and physical connection to nature and natural light. In addition to Passive House certification, the timber-framed project has also earned a NATHERS 7.4-star rating and is solar -ready. The interiors continue the exterior’s palette of natural materials and are finished with low-VOC paints for a healthy home environment. “The Owl Woods Passive House is a unique blend of biophilic design and Passivhaus standards of construction — a balance of creative design outcomes, which focus on how the occupants will feel in their home, along with the integration of building science, which delivers a high-performance home,” the architects explained. “In this aspect, it really is a pioneer project for Passivhaus homes in Australia.” + Talina Edwards Architecture Photography by Tatjana Plitt via Talina Edwards Architecture

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Award-winning Owl Woods Passive House playfully mimics birdhouses in Australia

New York City is now offering free lunch at all public schools

September 8, 2017 by  
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Good riddance “lunch shaming” — the practice of holding children accountable for school lunch bills. Starting this school year in New York City, all 1.1 million students who attend public schools will receive their lunches for free. The move has been long sought after by food policy advocates, as 75 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches. Now an additional 200,000 kids will benefit, saving their families approximately $300 per year. According to city officials, the program will not cost the city additional money since New York state changed how it tracks families that are eligible for benefits and matched them with schools their children attend. The city was then able to identify more students whose families receive those benefits. It made officials realize the whole city qualifies for a federal program that dishes out free lunches at schools. According to Carmen Fariña, the school’s chancellor, “This is about equity. All communities matter.” Fariña is one of many who thinks the practice of lunch shaming needs to stop. When a student’s account is in overdraft, oftentimes their food is thrown away in front of them and they are given a simple sandwich on white bread as a replacement. The practice is so embarrassing, many kids choose to go hungry rather than subject themselves to the humiliation. Related: 8 Organic School Lunches That Can Be Prepared The Night Before New York isn’t the first city to offer free lunch to all students. Other major cities that do the same include Boston , Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas. However, New York has far more children to feed than any of those cities, which is why this initiative is particularly applaudable. While breakfasts were already free to students at the city’s public schools, this latest development will ensure all students receive most of their daily recommended food intake. This is vital, considering 13 million children in the United States live in food insecure households. Via New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons , Pixnio

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

September 8, 2017 by  
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What3Words is a revolutionary addressing system that pinpoints locations more precisely than conventional street addresses. The tool divides the world into 57 trillion 3 meter x 3 meter squares and assigns a unique combination of three words to each square. This enables more efficient aid and delivery services around the world – and it could actually save lives in disaster zones and informal settlements without street names. Roughly 75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems, meaning that 4 billion people are unable to report crime, receive deliveries or request aid . They also are unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live. Even in the developed world, people get lost and mail goes delivered. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award London-based What3Words offers an efficient, precise solution that is currently being integrated into businesses, apps and services across the globe. Each of the 57 trillion 3mx3m squares in the world has been allocated a fixed & unique 3-word address. The What3words geocoder turns geographic coordinates into these 3 word addresses & vice-versa. The system works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition. Related: Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing Nigeria ‘s postal service has just started using What3Words to tackle its snail-mail problem and the poor addressing system. By adopting this state-of-the-art technology , NIPOST hopes to increase home delivery to 70 percent over the next two years. The firm has also signed a deal with Mongolia’s national delivery service and drone company Altavian, which designs and manufactures high quality drones for commercial enterprises. They teamed up with Indian moped taxi firm Bikxie, which is utilizing What3Words’ award-winning addressing system to help women travel more safely. What3words has been selected as the winner of the world’s biggest design prize – the INDEX: Award – which recognizes sustainable designs that generate positive impact in the world. + What3words + INDEX: Award

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

June 22, 2017 by  
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Imagine zipping between cities in mere minutes—all from the comfort of your hotel suite. That’s the futuristic vision of the $130 million Hyperloop Hotel, a proposal built upon Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One high-speed train system currently in development. Designed by University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate architecture student Brandan Siebrecht, the Hyperloop Hotel envisions seamless transport between 13 cities with a proposed flat fee of $1,200. The visionary Hyperloop Hotel won the student section of this year’s Radical Innovation Award , an annual competition for futuristic hotel designs. Siebrecht’s winning design uses reclaimed shipping containers as mobile, customizable hotel rooms that zip between cities at near-supersonic speeds through tubes and dock at designated hotels. Guests could travel across the U.S. without leaving the comfort of their pods and handle the entire process, from reservation to travel arrangements, with their smartphone. Siebrecht created the design for America’s 13 largest cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Sante Fe, Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. He drew inspiration from Musk’s Hyperloop test track, the DevLoop, located just outside Las Vegas. If successful, the high-speed train could zip travelers from Philadelphia to New York in 10 minutes. Related: Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for the Hyperloop Guests can customize the layout of the repurposed modular shipping container hotel rooms. Each hotel room includes areas for sleeping, bathing, living, and flex. Siebrecht estimates that the construction cost of each docking hotel between $8 and $10 million, and believes construction of his hotel concept feasible within the next five to 10 years. + Radical Innovation Award Via Business Insider

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Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes

April 26, 2017 by  
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A California-based tech company is looking to bring tiny homes to the masses by streamlining the construction process with the help of computer algorithms. Cover has developed specialized software that creates custom-made, prefabricated tiny houses that are 80% more efficient than conventional homes – all without the help of architects, planning departments, or even contractors. Cover was founded by Alexis Rivas and Jemuel Joseph in 2014. The company seeks to give everyday people the tools to create “thoughtfully designed and well-built homes” for themselves rather than enlisting the help of costly professionals. The innovative process essentially removes the need for architects, planning departments, or even contractors by guiding users through a simple 3-step process: Design, Permit, and Build. Related: Student invents computer program to help Bedouin villages build better homes Although the idea may seem a little farfetched to some, the founders believe that this is the future of DIY home building : “We’re doing for homes what Tesla is doing for the car – using technology to optimize every step of the process, from design and sales, to permitting and manufacturing.” Cover’s process uses generative design technology and algorithms to spec out various design options based on individual needs. In the design phase of the process, which costs just $250, clients fill out a digital survey providing information about their lifestyle and design preferences such as location, style, size, etc. The company then meets with the clients onsite to discuss details. The next step is feeding all of the information into a computer program that generates multiple designs options based on the information. The program is also equipped to account for geospatial data, solar positioning , and zoning requirements. After the clients choose their design, the company develops and sends “photorealistic renderings and plans” and a full quote to the client. Currently, the company’s tiny dwellings range from $50,000 to $350,000, depending on size, location, design, etc. Once the design details are worked out, the second stage is obtaining the necessary building permits, followed by laying the foundation while the prefab structure is built in a factory. Once the permits are approved, most Cover dwellings can be completed in as little as nine weeks. Cover limits material waste by manufacturing each tiny home in a factory. Additionally, using digital technology produces more energy-efficient structures. According to founder Alexis Rivas, “We’re redesigning the details that make up a home to take advantage of the precision possible in a controlled environment. This allows us to build homes that are 80 per cent more energy efficient than the average new home.” Cover homes are currently only available in Los Angeles, but the company has plans to expand to other cities in the future. + Cover Images via Cover

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Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes

Apple announces goal to make products from 100% recycled materials

April 26, 2017 by  
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The electronics industry is notoriously harsh on the planet. Around 60 million metric tons of e-waste end up in landfills each year, and children are sometimes put to work to mine necessary rare earth elements. Technology giant Apple aims to fix these issues in their company. They recently announced plans to use 100 percent recycled materials in all of their devices. Apple’s aims are ambitious. In addition to using only recycled materials, the company also wants 100 percent of their supply chain to run entirely on renewable energy . They want their packaging to be made of 100 percent responsibly sourced and recycled paper. And they want to stop mining the earth. Related: Apple just unveiled a blazing fast iPhone recycling robot Apple has already made progress in many areas. Their data centers are 100 percent powered by solar, wind, or hydropower. 96 percent of their worldwide facilities run on renewable energy and over 99 percent of their packaging is already made with recycled and responsibly sourced materials. But they still have a long way to go. Apple didn’t offer a specific timeline for their mining goal. “It sounds crazy, but we’re working on it,” the company writes on their website. “We’re moving toward a closed-loop supply chain.” In their 2017 Progress Report , they said they’re challenging themselves to “one day end our reliance on mining” but that will require many years. They pointed to recycling programs and their recycling robots as evidence of progress. Apple Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson told Vice , “We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it. So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.” Greenpeace Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook said in a statement Apple’s goal “highlights the need for greater urgency across the sector to reduce resource consumption and e-waste that are causing significant impacts on the environment and human health …While transitioning to 100 percent recycled materials is critical to reducing the sector’s footprint, it is also fundamental for Apple and other major IT companies to design products that last, are easy to repair, and recyclable at the end of their life.” Via Apple and 9to5Mac Images via Maurizio Pesce on Flickr and screenshot

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