Stunning shipping container home can be yours for $125k

November 22, 2017 by  
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Architect and builder Ty Kelly wanted to disconnect from the stresses of city life in Seattle – so he built an incredible shipping container home deep in the picturesque Montana plains. The 720-square-foot home is made from plenty of reclaimed materials , and it’s currently on the market for $125,000 . The one-bedroom, one-bath home is a true example of shipping container design done right. The home design is a sophisticated blend of wood and glass. Partially clad in wooden planking on the exterior, the house has an all-glass wall that provides natural light into the interior as well as gorgeous views of the rugged Montana landscape. Further embedding the home into its stunning surroundings is the wooden flooring that extends the length of the home onto an open-air deck on the exterior. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon Although the design of the home is quite contemporary, Kelly used quite a bit of reclaimed materials in the construction. The redwood flooring and wall panels are made out of reclaimed wood, as well as the kitchen’s butcher block counters, which were made out of leftover lumber from another project. On the interior, the living space, although quite compact, is incredibly comfortable. The kitchen has a wood stove as well as the typical modern conveniences such as a dishwasher and washer and dryer. The home’s bathroom layout, however, is quite a different story. The home comes complete with an outdoor shower on the side deck that lets the homeowners truly get back to nature. Via Dwell Photos via Zillow  

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Stunning shipping container home can be yours for $125k

Greenbuild: The world’s biggest green building expo kicks off tomorrow in Boston

November 7, 2017 by  
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The world’s biggest conference dedicated to green building kicks off tomorrow – and you won’t want to miss it! The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will convene sustainable building experts, professionals and leaders for mind-blowing exhibits, learning activities, a Net Zero zone, and pavilions packed with the latest in green building technology. If you are passionate about green living, then clear your calendar for November 8 – 10 and get ready for an amazing experience. This year, Greenbuild will feature education, workshops, tours, awards, and an expo hall that is not to be missed. Inhabitat regularly attends the conference, so we know first-hand how great it can be. Check out our coverage from past years to get a glimpse into what you can expect – we’ve rounded up some of our favorite innovations here , here and here . Greenbuild has a reputation for stellar education sessions, where you can learn about a huge range of topics – from passive and net zero building to tips from developers who are changing the face of the industry. Workshops qualify for continuing education credits and toward LEED certification hours. Summit topics will include Communities and Affordable Homes, The Water Summit and the International Summit. Greenbuild’s tours are always highly anticipated, and this year’s lineup promises to be exceptional. Attendees will be able to visit four net positive and passive house buildings that are breaking the mold, MIT to learn about its green building innovations, and some of Boston’s groundbreaking green spaces. Head over to Greenbuild to nab your spot now. + Greenbuild Expo Save

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Greenbuild: The world’s biggest green building expo kicks off tomorrow in Boston

This prefab concrete house harvests rainwater with food-growing vertical gardens

October 10, 2017 by  
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Students from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri  designed this beautiful solar-powered home completely out of prefabricated concrete. Built to showcase the viability of building with concrete , the spectacular design includes a series of gutters on the exterior that serve as a large-scale hydroponic growing system that can produce food all year round. According to the team, the design of the Crete House is meant to be a reminder that concrete continues to be a viable and sustainable building material that makes for a beautiful alternative to wood constructions. Thanks an ultra-strong envelope comprised of four inches of standard concrete, five inches of insulation, and one inch of Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC), the home is incredibly resilient against fire, moisture, mold, insects, seismic activity, and extreme weather. Related: 8 amazing homes that are 100% powered by the sun The design focuses on providing the ultimate in self-sufficiency – including energy generation, water reuse, and food production. Solar panels provide sufficient energy to the home, and a water-to-water heat pump provides hot water for domestic use as well as water for the home’s radiant heating and cooling system installed in the floor and ceiling. The precast insulated concrete panels of the home are factory-manufactured, but assembled on-site, reducing travel time and energy. In addition to the home’s structure, the concrete panels were used to create a series of large L-shaped gutters that extend out and away from the house. The shape of the gutters was strategic in creating an innovative system of water collection that directs to vegetated channels built into the vertical gutters that extend out into horizontal planters on the ground level. This all-in-one hydroponic system, complete with drip emitters, integrates a home garden system into the design, allowing occupants to grow their own food all year round. + Crete House + Solar Decathlon Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

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This prefab concrete house harvests rainwater with food-growing vertical gardens

Nonprofit teaches communities how to build homes out of straw, clay and soil

May 31, 2017 by  
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Emily Niehaus was working as a loan officer when she see realized that there was a need for affordable, sustainable housing options in her community. So she founded Community Rebuilds – a nonprofit that teaches people to build affordable homes out of “dirt cheap” materials like clay , straw and soil . Interns participate in a 5-month program, completing two homes from foundation to finish using sustainable living principles. Community Rebuilds started in Moab, UT as a way to ease the financial strains of people living in the community. Since then, the project has spread to southwestern Colorado and the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. The initiative has constructed 25 homes in four communities with the goal of expanding knowledge about valuable natural building skills across the US. Homes are built out of natural materials like straw, soil and clay using passive design techniques. They are equipped with green tech like solar arrays and sustainable features like adobe floors, earthen plasters and greywater systems. Related: Navajo mum gets new lease on life with this solar-powered home The first home was built in 2010, and since then the internship has evolved to include 16 people over a five-month term. Interns build two homes from the ground up. In exchange for their labor they get housing, food and an invaluable education in sustainable building. + Community Rebuilds  

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Nonprofit teaches communities how to build homes out of straw, clay and soil

Everything in this LA store was built with repurposed cardboard rolls

January 24, 2017 by  
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Looks like some swanky LA shops are swapping glitz for green. Aesop , a popular skin care company, has just unveiled a new store completely built with repurposed cylindrical cardboard tubes . Inspired by the stripped fabric bolts discarded by nearby costume shops and fashion houses, designers Brooks + Scarpa went with the unique material to best represent Aesop’s natural, soothing aesthetic. The designers repurposed the six-inch cylindrical cardboard tubes , which are made out of cross laminated engineered paper by a local manufacturer, as the principal building material for the store. The bolts are repurposed from the Los Angeles fashion district just two miles away. Before installation, they were coated with a special flame-retardant material to add durability and strength. Related: Apple’s new Regent Street store is filled with daylight and living trees To build the walls, the tubes were placed in a vertical position to cover the entire layout of the store. From there, everything else was also made out of the recycled tubes, including paper display shelving, door jambs, countertops, cabinets, and a custom light fixture. The store is a resulting monochromatic, pared-back aesthetic is further enhanced by the three vintage porcelain sinks that were repurposed from a local salvage yard. + Aesop + Brooks + Scarpa

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Everything in this LA store was built with repurposed cardboard rolls

Trump may ban the Environmental Protection Agency from funding scientific research

January 24, 2017 by  
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A troubling new report from Axios states that Donald Trump may soon ban the Environmental Protection Agency from funding scientific research. Reporters Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen described the Trump transition team’s action plan for the agency, which they were able to catch a glimpse of while covering the incoming administration. While they didn’t republish the complete document, the summary they’ve provided is terrifying enough. The excerpt the reporters published claims that the agency is manipulating the research it uses to further a political agenda – presumably, a reference to evidence-based policy addressing climate change . The quote in full reads: “EPA does not use science to guide regulatory policy as much as it uses regulatory policy to steer the science. This is an old problem at EPA. In 1992, a blue-ribbon panel of EPA science advisers that [sic] ‘science should not be adjusted to fit policy.’ But rather than heed this advice, EPA has greatly increased its science manipulation.” Related: The White House website has already been scrubbed of any mention of climate change While it’s unknown exactly who authored the document, the contents are not terribly surprising given that Trump’s transition team was headed by Myron Ebell, one of many career climate deniers on the incoming President’s team. It’s important to note that while this new attitude toward the EPA certainly puts much of the country’s climate and clean air policy at risk, environmentalists can at least take comfort in the fact that Congressional support would be needed to overturn many of the agency’s rules. It’s also likely that staff within the agency itself will oppose Trump’s anti-environmental agenda . Those two facts give concerned citizens room to fight for strong anti-pollution standards as the new administration takes office. Via Business Insider Images via Photos via EPA 1 , 2 , 3 and Gage Skidmore

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Trump may ban the Environmental Protection Agency from funding scientific research

Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house

January 17, 2017 by  
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Passive House is a globally-recognized building design technique that promises huge cuts in energy use for any kind of building in any climate. In a nutshell, the Passive House Design strategy relies on airtight buildings, super insulation, thermal mass and passive solar design. As a former Inhabitat contributor, I was keen to put Passive House design to the test in the Colorado Rockies, where the winters can be brutal and living off-grid comes with a tiny energy budget. The house I ended up building definitely lives up to its promises in terms of energy conservation, but the biggest surprise is how comfortable it is. Read on as I tell my story about how I came to build Colorado’s most energy-efficient house. After years of building, research, and writing about green design, I became fascinated with the concept of Passive House design, which was originally pioneered in Germany. In Europe, hundreds of buildings have been built to consume 90 percent less energy than their neighbors, using super tight insulation and passive solar design, and the trend is gradually picking up in the US as well. Reporting for Inhabitat, I visited a Passive House by NEEDBASED in New Mexico, and was amazed how well adapted it is to a climate that is both very cold and full of sunshine. The visit convinced me Passive House design is the state-of-the-art tool for building design, and that I wanted to apply it for my own home. Passive House has been both celebrated and spurned for its radical departure from normal building techniques. While in Europe it is catching on quickly , and is even being incorporated into the code from New York City to Vancouver BC, it is still considered exotic to many designers and builders. From the thick walls, triple pane windows, and sophisticated fresh air system, to the extensive energy calculations, Passive House design leaves little to chance and the certification process can be arduous. Related: How to design a passive house off-grid, and without foam After having an erratic and disappointing experience trying to certify with the US based group Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), I ultimately chose to certify with the Passive House Institute (PHI) in Germany. One of the main issues when doing energy modeling is avoiding bad inputs. As I looked closely at the critical climate data that we were building, it turned out to be way out of whack. PHIUS was in the process of introducing a more climate dependent certification scheme, and building to such a careful system using bad data left a sour taste in my mouth. Other issues kept coming up and it was time to change the approach. The process of certification with PHI though the Passive House Academy took some time but went relatively smoothly. To my surprise, we beat the energy threshold by almost two times. This turned out to be great news as the home is only powered by solar electricity and has a small propane hydronic heating system. The home’s main heating source is the sun, followed by the “waste” heat of the occupants and appliances, and then finally a small hydronic heating loop in the wall and at the Heat Recovery Ventilation system. The home has been occupied for a year, and while it uses practically no energy for heating, the real take away is how comfortable it is. The house tends to naturally hover between 67 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit without heating or cooling. I use the heating system sparingly, so during a recent cold spell, when exterior temperatures reached -10 degrees, I let the house get down to 62 degrees. After taking a shower, I was surprised that it did not feel chilly like in most houses. Why? What I learned in high school physics class paid off. The heavily insulated building envelope reduces heat loss through conduction, but it turns out that ambient air temperature is not the only reason we feel comfortable or not. With such a tight and well-insulated envelope there is neither cold air coming in nor interior air circulating by cooling convection. But what really makes the difference is the radiantly neutral surfaces, especially the triple pane glass. My bare (and damp) skin does not bleed heat via radiation to cold surfaces, which in turn reduces the need for extra layers. The other discovery was learning the difference between passive solar design and passive house. A typical passive solar building will utilize up to 50 percent of a home’s south side for glass. This works well in some conditions, but in very cold weather there is significant heat loss, or things can get too toasty, especially in spring and fall when the sun sits lower on the horizon. My house comprises about 20 percent glass on the south side, which means it neither heats up dramatically, nor loses heat. That balance pays off in simplifying heating and cooling needs. Even so, the house can still get a little too warm in fall, so I have to be active in opening and closing windows and plan to add some movable external shading. Much is said about health and indoor air quality, but little is known about how Passive Houses keep occupants healthy. I tried to minimize potential risks by building with low-processed materials like plywood, timber, tile, and cellulose and mineral wool insulations. But activities like cooking can still be problematic, so the University of Colorado Boulder is measuring my home’s indoor air quality to see how a passive house compares to a typical house in terms of indoor air quality. I’ll keep you posted! All images by Andrew Michler for Inhabitat

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Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house

9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects

September 28, 2016 by  
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Image: Ethan Drinker Photography 1. Smith College Bechtel Environmental Classroom The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, designed by Coldham and Hartman Architects , is a former pastoral observatory transformed into a green learning space in Whatley, Massachusetts. The 2,500-square-foot, single-story building serves as a part of Smith College and sits on 223 acres of pasture and forest , overlooking an old stone dump site. One of the two enclosed areas provides space for biological and environmental science classes and the other, larger area gives plenty of room for humanities seminars and other classes, such as poetry and dance. A drilled well ensures a sustainable water supply and composting toilets give back to the Earth. LED lighting and two solar panels combined ensure a gentle footprint on this peaceful site. Image: Matthew Millman Photography 2. Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab If you are going to teach the next generation how to move forward with alternative energy, the facilities had better reflect the mission. That is just what the Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab ensured with its completely sustainable, net-zero-energy design. Flansburgh Architects are behind the structure, which achieved

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9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects

Earthships heading to Canada will provide First Nation communities with low-income housing

July 20, 2016 by  
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Earthships are a unique kind of low-cost homes that are built primarily with recycled materials and produce and provide as much as possible on site. Created and marketed by New Mexico-based Earthship Biotecture , the earthship alleviates the problems of housing insecurity and environmental waste in one elegant solution. These sustainable housing units have been installed in India, Haiti, Sierra Leone, and other countries as a means to empower local communities. The Earthship team are now bringing their housing model to First Nations communities facing a housing crisis in Canada. Francine Doxtator and her family are among the first members of the First Nations to collaborate with Earthship Biotechture on such a project. “We’re all looking forward to the new home,” says Doxtator, “but I still don’t believe it’s happening.” The new earthship home, powered by solar panels, hydrated by a rainwater collection system, and insulated by recycled tires, will reduce utility bills by hundreds of dollars per month. It will also allow the family to have a more respectful relationship with nature. “We try and respect Mother Earth, says Doxtator. “Right now we’re ruining her. We have to look after her so she can look after us.” Related: First Nation builds spirited solar project in the heart of Canada’s oil sands While earthships may seem an ideal solution, there are obstacles that currently prevent their wider adoption. Earthships often do not qualify for standard mortgages or loans in Canada , which puts its cost of C$60,000 out of reach for many. Strict regulations on new housing on First Nations land also prohibits the spread of earthships. The newest earthship installation at the Doxtator homestead arrives as Prime Minister Trudeau has promised the public investment of C$554 million in First Nations communities. The earthship’s best days may still lie ahead. “I would love to see this happen for more people,” says Doxtator. Still, even the new homeowner is a bit perplexed by the unusual design. “I just hope it doesn’t look like a Flintstones house in the end.” Via the Guardian Images via Wikipedia , Flickr and  Adrienne Harper

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This Canadian passive house factory was built from its own prefab wood panels

May 27, 2016 by  
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The firm estimates the factory will produce 971 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, when compared to a facility built from concrete. A heat-recovery ventilation system and incredibly well-insulated walls help reduce carbon emissions, making the BC Passive House Factory as efficient as any of the houses its products build. Screens made from two-by-fours make up the building’s facade, with each side featuring unique spacing between the wood to accommodate its relation to the sun. The firm stated, “The two-by-fours were prefabbed into screens and left unfinished to naturally weather over time.” Natural light from clerestory windows is abundant for the workers inside, creating a warm complement to the wooden walls. The ceiling is an especially unique tribute to responsible construction, as the beams are made from cedar wood felled from a nearby forest fire. Related: Turkey’s first certified Passive House cuts energy use by 90% Recently, the 1,500 square meter site was awarded the coveted 2016 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture . The factory hopes its accolades and commitment to sustainable and energy-efficient design will help to promote the presence of passive houses near and far. +Hemsworth Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Ema Peter

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This Canadian passive house factory was built from its own prefab wood panels

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