Passive solar house embraces indoor-outdoor living in sustainable comfort

June 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Just 15 minutes from New Zealand’s capital is an environmentally conscious house that enjoys the best of city and country living. Designed by Wellington-based architectural firm Parsonson Architects , the hybrid city-country house — dubbed the Ostrich House — feels like a rural escape from the city with its hilltop location boasting panoramic views and its indoor-outdoor design approach. To minimize energy use and future-proof the home, the architects followed passive solar principles and outfitted the home with low-maintenance materials as well as a rainwater collection system. Spanning an area of 2,368 square feet, the Ostrich House takes inspiration from its rugged, hilltop location. Wrapped around a sheltered courtyard , the dwelling is topped with an angled roofline that not only references the surrounding topography, but also provides protection from the prevailing hot and dry Nor-Westerlies. The house is also backed up to a hill for protection from the cold southern winds. Long roof eaves provide added protection from the elements. The interior of the house also pays homage to the outdoors. Massive windows and floor-to-ceiling glazing bring the outdoors in at every angle. Okoume plywood lines the sculptural ceiling and matches the predominately timber palette used in the minimalist interior. Cedar, which is used as cladding for the exterior, is repeated as interior wall linings to further the indoor-outdoor connection. Related: Beautiful Wellington Welcome Pavilion glows like a lantern at night The timber floors and cedar cladding have been oiled — zinc was also added to the exterior — to ensure durability for the low-maintenance building envelope. Following passive solar principles, the home is positioned for optimal passive solar gain in winter, while sections of exposed concrete floor and internal block walls help retain that heat. In summer, slatted sunscreens and generous eaves mitigate unwanted heat gain. The double-glazed, low-E windows with thermally broken frames and a heat recovery ventilation system also help keep temperature fluctuations in check. In addition to a rainwater collection system, the house is equipped with an on-site septic system that uses Tiger Worms to reduce solids by approximately 95 percent. + Parsonson Architects Photography by Paul McCredie via Parsonson Architects

View original here: 
Passive solar house embraces indoor-outdoor living in sustainable comfort

The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

See the rest here:
The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

A series of tiny, geometric cabins in an overgrown slate quarry are a truly secluded retreat

April 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on A series of tiny, geometric cabins in an overgrown slate quarry are a truly secluded retreat

Architectural firm New British Design has unveiled four tiny cabin retreats located in Britain’s North Cornwall coast. The Kudhva Wilderness Cabins are compact, angular huts elevated off the landscape by turned pine poles, providing stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Inside, the compact spaces offer guests all the basics needed for a truly off-grid getaway. Located in an old slate quarry that has been overrun by lush natural greenery, the huts are a project between New British Design founder Bill Huggins and long-term collaborator Louise Middleton. Working with boat-builder-turned-furniture-maker Toby Sharp, the designers created the tiny cabins to be the ultimate retreats for travelers to the North Cornwall coast. Although the region is a popular destination for tourists looking to explorer the expansive coastline, this specific area is extremely remote and, as such, is a perfect place to completely disconnect. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The word “Kudhva” comes from the Cornish word for “hideout,” which was the driving factor behind the cabin design. Elevated high up into the tree canopy by a series of cylindrical pine columns, the secluded retreats let visitors enjoy incredible views of the surrounding wilderness and local wildlife . Working directly with the architects, Toby Sharp designed and built the timber cabins with a small team of master craftsmen in a local workshop. This system allowed the construction process to reduce the project’s environmental impact . Once fully constructed, the cabins were then transported to the site and carefully placed onto their cradle bases by crane. Made out of insulated, paged-pine panels with an EDPM rubber membrane covering, the cabins are clad in a series of larch slats. The natural exteriors, along with sharp, angular lines, seamlessly blend the cabins into the forestscape. Accessed through a ladder, the interiors feature an open layout with enough space for a sofa, a sleeping loft and a wood-burning stove. Various triangular windows and glazed facades look out over the surroundings, further embedding the rustic retreats into the tranquil landscape. + New British Design Via Archdaily Photography by George Fielding and Roy Riley via New British Design

Read more from the original source:
A series of tiny, geometric cabins in an overgrown slate quarry are a truly secluded retreat

These are the best 7 tips to follow for a more eco-friendly backyard

April 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on These are the best 7 tips to follow for a more eco-friendly backyard

Incorporating and eco-friendly lifestyle to your home can be easier than you think, especially when it comes to your backyard. While we do our best to use energy efficient light bulbs, reduce the use of everyday plastics and limit food waste throughout our homes, why not bring our environmental awareness to the place where we have celebrations and weekend barbecues— our backyards. The backyard is the best place to add our eco-friendly touch and transform into a thriving sustainable environment . An eco-friendly backyard is a great way to create a beautiful space for you and your family to enjoy all year long. Follow these seven tips to turn your backyard into a place that respects the environment without breaking your budget. Save Water Conserving water is a great way to make your backyard more eco-friendly. You can install large water tanks in your backyard that hook up to the gutters in your house. The tanks will fill up whenever it rains . If you do not want a large tank consuming space in your yard, consider buying a smaller one that you can empty more frequently. You can use the recycled water for a number of different applications. This includes watering your garden, drinking (after it has been filtered) and other household projects. Not only is this a good move for the environment, but it can also save you on future water bills. Related: Eco-friendly replacements for common bathroom products Incorporate Ground Cover Different types of ground cover, such as moss and clover, are good alternatives to traditional grass lawns . These varieties of ground cover require far less mowing and water through the hot summer months. Moss is great for shady areas of your backyard, as it will keep its color in the summer heat and feels great underfoot. For other areas of the lawn that get more sun, consider adding some clover as a grass replacement. Clover smell sweet, is resistant to drought, and is great for the soil. Clover also requires less mowing and you can even let it bloom to attract bees . Go Native According to Better Homes and Gardens , you should always pick native trees and plants when selecting flora for your backyard. Trees and plants that are native to your area will attract butterflies, birds and wildlife, and are more suited for the local environment. These plants also come equipped to handle diseases and pests that are common in your location. After they take root, native flora is also easy to maintain. These plants typically do not need extra fertilizers or pesticides because they are already accustomed to the soil. They also require less watering and tend to do well with the natural weather patterns. Use Wood Composite Lumber If you are building a new deck or adding on to an existing structure, consider using wood composite instead of traditional lumber. Wood composite is made out of recycled plastic and reclaimed lumber. According to Tata and Howard , the end result is a sturdy product that is more durable than natural wood and easier to maintain. This type of wood will also last longer than the traditional alternative, which makes it friendly to your budget. Using recycled plastic is also great for the environment and helps reduce the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills . Best Mowing Practices When mowing your grass, only cut off a third of the grass length each time. You should also mow more frequently as this will allow your lawn to retain water. After you mow, consider leaving the clippings in the lawn or try mulching them in. The clippings are mostly made of water and have high concentrations of nitrogen. If you simply cannot leave the clippings behind, you can always add them to your compost pile instead of throwing them in the trash . Related: Tips and tricks to make spring cleaning more eco-friendly Avoid Harmful Pesticides It is no secret that pesticides are bad for the environment and people’s health . Several pesticides that were once widely used, such as DDT, have since been outlawed and deemed hazardous. For best practices, it is recommended that you avoid using pesticides in your backyard. Instead, try pesticide alternatives like natural herbicides or wildlife for pest control. If you need to fight mites or other bug infestations, you can use oil-based sprays or soaps that work as natural insecticides. If you are in need of some exercise or want to soak up some sun, you can always go the old fashioned route and pull weeds by hand. You can also introduce certain types of insects into your garden, like praying mantises or lacewings, which are great at eating pests, creating the ultimate eco-friendly backyard. Build A Compost Composting cuts down on garbage production and gives you a high quality fertilizer for your garden. Better yet, starting a compost pile only requires some soil and a warm location. You can build a compost pile out in the open or invest in a bin if you are concerned about aesthetics. Compost bins are affordable and come in a variety of styles to match existing décor. You can put all kinds of things in a compost pile. From veggie scraps and eggshells to newspapers and lawn clippings, anything that rapidly decomposes is ideal for composting. These types of items will attract the right kind of bugs, which then will turn the waste into fertilizer. A compost pile typically takes around six to nine months to produce fertilizer. Images via Shutterstock

See the rest here:
These are the best 7 tips to follow for a more eco-friendly backyard

An urban wetland springs to life among Bogotas high rises

March 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on An urban wetland springs to life among Bogotas high rises

An open plaza in Bogota’s northeastern business district has been radically transformed from a place of pure pavement to a vibrant urban wetland . Colombian architecture firm Obraestudio completed the project in 2016 in the Santa Barbara business center to revitalize the outdoor common space shared by the Torres Unidas Building, Scotia Bank, Samsung, AR and W Hotel towers. Covering an area of over two acres, the architects injected a lush aquatic landscape into the public-facing plaza, creating a striking contrast between wild nature and the sharp geometry of the surrounding high-rises. Winner of an open national design competition sponsored by The Colombian Architects Society, the Usaquén Urban Wetland has become an iconic, privately-owned public space in northeast Bogota . The design draws inspiration from the wetlands of the Bogota Savannah, a rich, biodiverse area located in the southwestern part of the larger Andean plateau, the Altiplano Cundiboyacense. To recreate the wetland appearance, a large recycled rainwater-fed pool was carved out from the heart of the plaza and planted with native aquatic vegetation. “A natural ecosystem — half aquatic, half terrestrial — is recreated by the geometry, colors and textures of the overall design,” Obraestudio explained in a project statement. “Existing buildings and the exterior common areas are a provocative, clear contrast to the wild, free-growing landscape elements. A recycled rainwater garden over the main square creates a native urban wetland that blends harmoniously with the surrounding Andean hills backdrop and preserves the native vegetation in its natural habitat.” Related: Triangular windows bring light and drama to a stunning Bogota bakery Moreover, the parking area was replaced with a linear park that has also been lushly planted and designed to “inspire slow and meditative walks.” Pre-existing green roofs were preserved while the old elevator and stairs structures have been re-engineered so as not to visually detract from the new landscape design. + Obraestudio Via ArchDaily Photography by Daniel Segura and Andres Valbuena via Obraestudio

Original post:
An urban wetland springs to life among Bogotas high rises

Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests

March 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests

Italy is facing a major climate change crisis as the country’s olive harvests continue to decline. Italy’s olive industry has witnessed a 57 percent decrease in olive production, and according to a leading climate scientist, extreme weather is at the forefront of the crop shortage. Olive tree farms across Italy have been devastated by weather-related events this past year, including heavy rainfalls, unpredictable frosts, droughts and powerful winds. All of these weather patterns coincide with what climate scientists have predicted would happen in the event of global warming . Related: Biodiversity decline puts food supply at risk “There are clear observational patterns that point to these types of weather extremes as the main drivers of [lower] food productivity,” Professor Riccardo Valentini explained. Valentini noted that below-zero temperatures are not common in Italy, and extremes like this were foretold through climate change models. Research from the United Nation’s climate change panel also predicted similar weather patterns and indicates that the worst is yet to come. When it comes to olive trees, any abrupt change in temperature can have a devastating effect on the harvest. Valentini explained how a day or two of freezing temperatures can harm the trees and hurt their development. After they have experienced extreme weather , the trees never fully recover and are more susceptible to disease and pest infestations. As a whole, temperatures in Italy and the surrounding Mediterranean have gone up by around 1.4C over the past century, while rainfall has decreased by a staggering 2.5 percent. The changes in weather have cost the country over 1 billion dollars in olive production. Government officials are scrambling to come up with a viable solution but have yet to offer any resources for farmers in the region. Italy is not the only country affected by the changes in weather. The European commission recently predicted that olive harvests in Portugal will decline by around 20 percent this coming year. Greece will take a much larger hit with a decline of around 42 percent. All signs point to a continually increasing problem for European countries, as putting a stop to climate change is proving to be an intricate issue. Via The Guardian Images via vpzotova

View post:
Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests

TemperPack raises $40M to combat plastic foam waste

March 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on TemperPack raises $40M to combat plastic foam waste

If you’ve purchased a TV or other appliance in the past few decades, you’ve experienced the massive chunks of polystyrene foam that came with it. Plastic foam as it is known, also commonly called by the brand name Styrofoam , has dominated the packaging and insulation industries for many years and brought with it tons of waste. Taking an estimated 500 years to break down, the product leaves much to be desired from a sustainability standpoint. There is no doubt that plastic foam is one of the least sustainable products on the market, yet it is still prevalent because it works so well. A newcomer to the market, TemperPack, has developed an eco-friendly option that hopes to eliminate the need for plastic foam altogether. Obviously, TemperPack is not alone in its desire to bring the product to market, as they have sourced around $40 million in funding to further develop the technology . Related: Jamaica will ban plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam by 2019 Longtime friends and now co-founders Brian Powers and James McGoff developed a patent-pending product called ClimaCell that is aimed at sustainability from production through the waste cycle. The company claims that the manufacturing produces 97 percent less carbon emissions than plastic foam manufacturing. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the ClimaCell is the ability to add it to curbside recycling where available. The company has taken the steps to obtain OCC-E certification, ensuring the product meets recycling standards equal to basic cardboard, which has an extraordinarily high recycle rate. The new product is set to replace large hunks and sheets of plastic foam with its cushioning capabilities. In addition, ClimaCell offers an alternative for disposable food shipping coolers while ensuring perishables arrive safely and remain cold during transport. Several thicknesses are available to cater to the different needs of businesses throughout seasonal and product changes. Using the technology in a similar way, TemperPack also produces a completely recyclable alternative to packing peanuts and bubble wrap for full-spectrum packaging and packing options. TemperPack aims to offer complete solutions to businesses in order to make it easier for them to lessen their environmental impact. In the end, its hopes to achieve its mission of solving packaging problems through sustainable design. High consuming industries include pharmaceutical and food companies with a need to keep products cold. The company estimates the use of ClimaCell has diverted 10 million pounds of plastic foam from the waste stream. + TemperPack Via Forbes Images via TemperPack

Here is the original post: 
TemperPack raises $40M to combat plastic foam waste

General Mills’ Shauna Sadowski on grounding regenerative agriculture at General Mills

November 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on General Mills’ Shauna Sadowski on grounding regenerative agriculture at General Mills

Shauna Sadowski is the head of sustainability in naturals and organics at General Mills — and where her passion and her role intersect are through regenerative agriculture. The term might sound about vague, or a bit hippie-dippy, but for Sadowski, it’s actually about grounding agricultural practices in the outcomes for the crops and the land. Pursuing regenerative practices for General Mills’ agricultural suppliers focuses specifically on soil health, above-ground biodiversity and resilience in the surrounding agricultural communities. 

Read more:
General Mills’ Shauna Sadowski on grounding regenerative agriculture at General Mills

Flood frequency of the Amazon River has increased fivefold

September 21, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Flood frequency of the Amazon River has increased fivefold

New data suggest that flooding in the Amazon River has dramatically increased by as much as five times in both intensity and frequency in the last 100 years. Scientists analyzed data points from the past century and believe the increase in flooding is linked to global warming. Scientists have measured the river’s water levels for 113 years at the Port of Manaus in Brazil . Over time, they found that large flooding events and extreme droughts have gone up over the past 20 to 30 years. In the early part of the century, massive floods only happened about once in every 20-year period. That number has increased to one major flood every four years. Related: High tide coastal flooding in US has doubled in the past 30 years The researchers believe the uptick is related to an oceanic system called Walker circulation, which describes air currents created by temperature fluctuations and pressure changes in the ocean , specifically in tropical locations. The Pacific Ocean has been cooling while the Atlantic Ocean has been getting warmer, which creates these circulating air currents. These changes are affecting the surrounding environment, including precipitation in the Amazon basin. Scientists are not sure why the Atlantic Ocean has been warming up. They do, however, believe that global warming is contributing to the temperature changes, but in a more indirect way. They theorize that global warming has shifted wind belts farther south, which pushes warm water from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. This creates an opposite effect of El Niño and results in more rainfall in the Amazon. Flooding along the Amazon River lasts weeks on end. Not only does it spread disease and contaminate water supplies, but it also destroys farms and homes. Right now, there is no indication that the flooding will decrease. This past year, water levels rose above the flood range, and scientists believe the water levels will only get higher as the years progress. Via EurekAlert! Images via Dave Lonsdale and NASA

Read the original post: 
Flood frequency of the Amazon River has increased fivefold

Substance harmonizes with style in this former Spanish Colonial Revival home

July 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Substance harmonizes with style in this former Spanish Colonial Revival home

Any home perched on the side of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, is a winner. With awesome sky views as the backdrop for majestic deep-red sedimentary sandstone mountain ranges, the vistas are breathtaking, an awesome balance of beauty and tranquility. The owners of a Spanish Colonial Revival style house on the mountain loved the views, but the design of the house stifled the indoor/outdoor relationship they craved. Claire and Cavin Costello of The Ranch Mine architectural firm stepped in and made their vision a reality. The primary concerns of the homeowners were the choppy floorplan, the authentic but heavy clay tile roof on the house, dark beams that absorbed rather than reflected light, and chunky columns inside and out that ruined the panoramic views. The style was lovely, but it didn’t do justice to the natural surroundings. Related: Yield’s Sweet Suspension Shelf is Inspired by Spanish Colonial Design Instead of simply redecorating, the Costellos opted to remove all the original design elements and start the makeover with a simple two-story stucco house . To open up the floorplan and flow of the house, they connected the living spaces and added a glass, wood and steel staircase that left a wide-open view from the back to the front of the house and beyond. An ensuite bedroom added to the second floor juts out over the mountain to leave the footprint unchanged. Clad in limestone with calcite veins, the bedroom addition contrasts beautifully with the surrounding red sandstone that has hints of calcite throughout. The crowning glory to the project was more than 2,000 square feet of shaded patios around the entire perimeter of the house that also protects the interior from searing sunshine. For added comfort, cooling misters line the covered patio on the first floor. This patio leads to additional comforts including a fire pit, hot tub and pool. Custom-built steel screens on the southerly exposed second floor patio keep the sun at bay and the breezes flowing and are easily retractable to watch the sunset at the end of the day. + The Ranch Mine Images via Roehner + Ryan

Read the original here: 
Substance harmonizes with style in this former Spanish Colonial Revival home

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1378 access attempts in the last 7 days.