Green walls are great, but they need to work efficiently

March 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Green walls are great, but they need to work efficiently

You may have heard about green walls or even seen a few. Also called living walls , live walls, eco-walls and vertical gardens , these structures are essentially walls covered in vertically grown plants, and they can appear either inside or outside. The idea has been around for a while, and it’s really caught on lately due to their environmental and health benefits, as well as appealing aesthetics. But not all green walls are made equal. Read on to learn how a green wall should be designed in order to be useful and friendly to the environment. How Do They Work? There are several types of green walls. Some might consider regular walls covered in ivy as a green wall, while others would limit the definition to walls specifically designed to hold vegetation. The latter type can be constructed in various ways . They might consist of panels with pre-planted vegetation, or replaceable trays that fit into slots in the wall, enabling easy removal if necessary. Vertical gardens also vary in terms of how they function. The simpler models require hand watering, while others have self-watering pipe systems. Many green walls rely on hydroponic systems that use drip irrigation. Based on the desired aesthetics and effects, you might choose different types of plants. You can include many varieties of plants, including groundcover, ferns, shrubs, flowers and more. Benefits Green walls have become popular in urban areas where people want to make their space greener but don’t have a lot of room to do so. Vertical gardens ensure the benefits of green space without taking up too much space. They also improve air quality, which is advantageous for people as well as animals and the overall environment. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen. They also filter out various contaminants, creating cleaner air, and can remove up 87 percent of airborne toxins inside a home within just 24 hours. This helps people breathe easier, especially indoors where air quality is notoriously bad. Ecowalls can reduce the urban heat-island effect and improve thermal insulation, reducing a building’s energy costs. They can also absorb noise and provide mental health benefits. Research has shown that having plants around can reduce stress and increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Challenges Critics have identified several potential issues with green walls. If the designer doesn’t adequately plan for their project, they say, the costs might outweigh the benefits. Maintaining a green wall requires more work and resources than a regular wall, especially if it doesn’t have a self-watering system. You’ll have to manually water the plants, and even with a self-watering system, the plants will need care at some point. Green walls typically require large amounts of water, which can be unsustainable if supplies are low and the wall isn’t equipped with water recycling equipment. Operating a living wall also requires energy. Producing this energy can have a negative impact on the environment if derived from fossil fuels. How to Make a Green Wall More Efficient A green wall’s efficacy depends on how it’s constructed, operated and maintained. Drip irrigation systems appear in walls that use panels and hydroponic systems, while walls with replaceable trays use tank systems. Drip irrigation tubing is typically about 85 percent more efficient than tank systems. They connect to the building’s plumbing system, while tray systems require manual watering. Drip irrigation systems can also automatically recycle water. You could use recycled water in a tank system from an air conditioning system or another source, but you’d have to do so manually. Because tray systems require more water and use soil, they can attract bugs and form mold, fungus and even introduce pathogens. Due to this possibility, they don’t comply with strict health, safety and hygiene codes in places such as healthcare facilities. These buildings would need to use a hydroponic system. For these reasons, the soil in tray systems must be replaced about every month, which can be costly. Panel systems don’t require this and therefore don’t need as much maintenance. Another factor that can impact a green wall’s efficiency is the type of vegetation with which it is populated. Drought-resistant and local plants need less water than other types of vegetation, so they’re more water-efficient. Plants also, of course, require sunlight. Placing a living wall in an area with a lot of natural light will reduce the amount of artificial light needed and, therefore, the amount of energy it requires. The Importance of Truly Green Green Walls For a green wall to be truly beneficial, you need to use an efficient watering system, put it in the proper place (with ample natural light), and plant vegetation that’s easy to maintain and requires minimal irrigation. Anyone interested to install a green wall, as well as the architects and engineers in charge of designing them, ought to consider the efficiency of the system in addition to their benefits and aesthetics. Photos via Depositphotos , Scott Webb on Unsplash , Mike.dixon.design  via Wikimedia Commons , Kaldari via Wikimedia Commons , AlejandroOrmad via Wikimedia Commons , and Terry Robinson via Wikimedia Commons

View post:
Green walls are great, but they need to work efficiently

Snhetta unveils designs for worlds first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Snhetta unveils designs for worlds first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle

Snøhetta has revealed designs for the world’s first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle —an incredible proposal given the region’s below-freezing temperatures. Located at the foot of Svartisen, Norway’s second largest glacier, the circular Svart hotel will offer panoramic 360-degree views of the fjord and use solar panels to produce more energy than it needs. The sustainable building is being developed in collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska. Set partly on shore at the foot of the Almlifjellet mountain, Svart also extends into Holandsfjorden fjord’s crystal-clear waters where kayakers can paddle beneath the circular building . Elevated off the ground for low-impact, the hotel’s V-shaped timber structure is a nod to the local vernacular architecture, more specifically the form of the A-shaped fiskehjell, a wooden device used for drying fish and the local fisherman “rorbue” house. A boardwalk built into the timber structure serves as a walkway for guests in summer or as boat storage in winter. “Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” said Founding Partner at Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “It was primordial for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature. Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier.” Related: Jaw-dropping hotel made of ice and snow opens in Sweden The new hotel aims to reduce its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% as compared to an equivalent hotel built to modern building standards in Norway. Snøhetta hopes to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint by topping the rooftop with solar panels produced with clean hydro-energy and by using materials with low-embodied energy like timber over energy-intensive materials such as structural steel and concrete. Extensive site mapping informed the placement and design of the hotel to best exploit solar energy during the day and minimize unwanted solar gain. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

Excerpt from:
Snhetta unveils designs for worlds first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle

BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper

Bjarke Ingels Group and Carlo Ratti Associati have broken ground on a new nature-infused skyscraper that’s bringing Singapore a step closer to its ‘City in a Garden’ vision. Located in the heart of the financial district, the 280-meter-tall Singapore Tower will be one of the city’s tallest and offer a mixed-use program including an “office of the future,” residences, and retail. Greenery is integrated into the multiple parts of the building from a public rainforest plaza and park on the ground floor to a multi-level green oasis visible from the outside. Commissioned by CapitaLand, the 51-story high-rise comprises a podium of retail and restaurants beneath eight floors of serviced residences. Residents will enjoy access to a wide variety of facilities and landscaped spaces such as an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, jogging track, and barbecue pits. Offices will occupy the building’s top 29 floors and look out to panoramic views of the Singapore River and Marina Bay. Separate lobbies will service the offices and residences. Sensors, Internet-of-Things and artificial intelligence are embedded into the smart tech building for the benefit of tenants. “BIG’s design seeks to continue Singapore’s pioneering vertical urbanism with the 280m tall diverse community of places to work, live and play inside as well as outside,” said Bjarke Ingels. “At multiple elevations, the facade peels open to reveal urban oases for its users and the surrounding city – animating the elegant smoothness of modern architecture with the ubiquitous tropical nature.” Singapore Tower’s glass-and-steel facade appears to pull open at the base, core, and rooftop to reveal glimpses of tropical greenery within. Related: A rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapore’s Marina One Lush landscaping can be enjoyed at the ground floor park that transitions into the 19-meter-tall City Room in the tower’s mixed use podium. A four-level Green Oasis occupies the core of the building—between the residences and offices—and houses a 30-meter open-air garden with winding walkways, diverse seating, jungle gym, treetop cocoons, sky hammocks, and a cafe. The Singapore Tower is expected for completion in 2021. + Bjarke Ingels Group + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Bjarke Ingels Group, Exterior images by Bjarke Ingels Group and VMW

Here is the original:
BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper

Stunning shipping container home can be yours for $125k

November 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Stunning shipping container home can be yours for $125k

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  

Read more here: 
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  
Filed under Green

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

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

Excerpt from: 
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  
Filed under Green

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

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

More:
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  
Filed under Green

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

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  

View original post here:
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  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Everything in this LA store was built with repurposed cardboard rolls

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

See the rest here: 
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  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Trump may ban the Environmental Protection Agency from funding scientific research

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

Read more from the original source: 
Trump may ban the Environmental Protection Agency from funding scientific research

Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house

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

The rest is here: 
Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 929 access attempts in the last 7 days.