World’s first floating wind farm performing better than anticipated

February 21, 2018 by  
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The 30 megawatt Hywind Scotland floating wind farm started operating last fall , and Statoil recently said the farm, a world first, “performed better than expected in its first three full months in production.” The floating farm, a Statoil and Masdar project, has already survived a winter storm, a hurricane , and wave heights of around 27 feet to power around 20,000 households in the United Kingdom . 45 to 60 percent is the “the typical capacity factor for a bottom fixed offshore wind farm” during the winter, according to Statoil. But Hywind Scotland beat that figure with an average of around 65 percent in November, December, and January, the Norwegian power company said. This means the floating wind farm “was producing 65 percent of max theoretical capacity.” Related: The world’s first floating wind farm just switched online That’s a win for the floating power plant , which has already encountered brutal winter weather. Hurricane Ophelia in October saw wind speeds of 80 miles per hour, and Storm Caroline in December saw gusts of 100 miles per hour and waves of around 27 feet. The wind turbines were switched off for safety during the worst winds, Statoil said, but automatically started operating quickly after. According to the company, “A pitch motion controller is integrated with the Hywind turbine’s control system and will adjust the angle of the turbine blades during heavy winds which mitigates excessive motions of the structure.” Statoil senior vice president of offshore wind operations Beate Myking said in the statement, “We have tested the Hywind technology in harsh weather conditions for many years and we know it works. But putting the world’s first floating wind farm into production comes with some excitement. Therefore, it is very encouraging to see how well the turbines have performed so far. Hywind Scotland’s high availability has ensured that the volume of electricity generated is substantially higher than expected.” Statoil New Energy Solutions executive vice president Irene Rummelhoff said they are seeking new opportunities for the technology, and see potential in Europe, Asia, and North America’s west coast. Statoil and Masdar aim to cut the costs of energy from Hywind Scotland down to 40 to 60 Euros per megawatt-hour by 2030 to make it “cost competitive with other renewable energy sources.” + Statoil Images via Øyvind Gravås/Woldcam/Statoil ( 1 , 2 )

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World’s first floating wind farm performing better than anticipated

Green-roofed holiday home is fashioned from three shipping containers

February 21, 2018 by  
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Led by a desire to reduce landscape impact, Melbourne-based Studio Edwards turned to cargotecture for a sustainably minded getaway on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia. Raised atop stilts on a steep slope, House 28 was fashioned from a trio of 20-foot shipping containers sourced from nearby Port Melbourne. In addition to minimized site disturbance, the green-roofed holiday home uses a rainwater catchment and filtration system to gather water and features double-glazed windows and doors to increase energy efficiency. Set overlooking the Wye River and Australia’s Otway Coast, House 28 is securely anchored to the hillside by steel stilts and deep concrete pile foundations. The architects joined two of the containers to form one long module housing the entrance, a spacious living area, and open kitchen with dining, while the other container comprises two bedrooms and a bathroom. The containers were angled towards one another and connected with a blackbutt timber deck. Related: Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home For a rugged finish, the containers were externally insulated and clad with galvanized steel sheeting. In contrast, the minimalist interiors are lined with marine-grade plywood for a warm feel. Full-height doubled-glazed windows and doors overlook the ocean to the south and keep the narrow buildings from feeling constrained. A garden of native dichondra covers the roof providing extra thermal insulation and rainwater filtration. + Studio Edwards Via Dezeen Images by Tony Gorsevski

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Green-roofed holiday home is fashioned from three shipping containers

Ephemeral timber pavilion doubles as sculpture and film venue in Portugal

February 21, 2018 by  
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This elegant ephemeral pavilion does double duty as a film venue and sculpture that complements the garden grounds of Portugal’s Serralves Museum. Porto-based Diogo Aguiar Studio designed the architectural object, which is made up of curved timber partitions that come together to form two concentric spaces: the main film viewing area and the interstitial space. Diogo Aguiar Studio was selected to design the pavilion, which formed one of Serralves Museum’s five temporary structures for the architectural exhibition Live Uncertainty, 32nd Bienal de São Paulo that concluded this Sunday, February 18. Like depA’s pavilion design for Serralves, Diogo Aguiar Studio’s contribution is a minimalist affair and its all-timber cladding complements rather than detracts from the wooded surroundings. The pavilion nucleus is a dark space where the film “Os humores artificiais” (2016) by Gabriel Abrantes is shown. The addition of a secondary curved skin helps control the amount of daylight that reaches the interior and adds a sense of mystery: the three openings on the outer facade do not match up with those in the antechamber and force visitors to walk along a mulch pathway. The journey through the pavilion to watch the film thus becomes an experience in itself. Related: Mirrored pavilion all but disappears into nature As the architects put it: “Contributing to the control of natural light in the interior space, the juxtaposition of two façade-plans, curved and parallel, which alternately open double-curved arc spans, guides the visitor to walk through the immersive space of mediation – as an antechamber-path – without revealing the central nucleus – as a space-enclosed – the projection place.” + Diogo Aguiar Studio Via ArchDaily Images © 2017 Francisco Nogueira Architectural Photography

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Ephemeral timber pavilion doubles as sculpture and film venue in Portugal

World’s first freeform 3D-printed house to break ground this year

February 2, 2018 by  
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The world’s first freeform 3D-printed home just got one step closer to fruition. Designed by WATG Urban , the Curve Appeal home won the Freeform Home Design Challenge in 2016 – and it’s slated to break ground this year after a research and development phase. The futuristic home will be the first of its kind, and it features a complex blend of curved angles and glazed windows. The home’s construction is slated for a heavily wooded lot just steps away from the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. Although the design envisioned a strong futuristic aesthetic, the elongated arching structure with glazed walls is actually designed to provide a strong connection to nature through its open-plan living spaces and optimal natural light . Inspired by the Case Study Houses, a program developed between 1945-1966, the 3D-printed home is designed to use minimal materials. Related: WATG unveils plans for the world’s first freeform 3D-printed house Since winning the competition, the architects have been working along with 3D specialists, Branch Technology to create the sophisticated structure. The company is known for its innovative 3D technology that can create complex forms rarely seen in other 3D projects. According to the company “The arching form provides structural rigidity to the residence, using various spring points throughout the floor plan, allowing the structure to carry roof loads and provide large open-plan living spaces, shaping structures in new ways without any restrictions.” According to the Chicago-based architects, Curve Appeal is the next evolutionary step in the world of modern residential design and could lead sustainable architecture into the next generation. The architects and Branch Technology are researching various materials to create a sustainable construction process, including using gypsum materials in the printed structure as fire protection, structural reinforcement and wall finishing. They have also met with a structural design firm to create a passive mechanical system for the home with the objective of making the design a net zero energy structure. + WATG Urban Via Archdaily Images via WATG Urban

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World’s first freeform 3D-printed house to break ground this year

The Springingstream Guesthouse mimics the mountains of China with an undulating roof

January 25, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based studio WEI Architects renovated an abandoned building in China’s remote Fujian province into a beautiful guest home using traditional materials and construction techniques. The architects breathed new life into the Springingstream Guesthouse by installing reclaimed materials and creating a series of undulating roofs that mimic the outline of the mountainous landscape. The guest home is located in a remote valley that has been abandoned over the years. Although the majority of the homes in the area are derelict, there is a new movement to preserve the history of the area . WEI Architects were commissioned to develop a project that could serve as a prototype for restoring the existing properties in an attempt to revitalize the village. The project was even part of a national TV program, which drew a lot of attention to the efforts. Related: Wavy green-roofed Casa Jura disappears into France’s rolling hills The existing structure was an old home that had been abandoned for years. The architects worked carefully to bring it back to life while retaining as much as the existing structure as possible. The home’s old timber panels and various materials were used in the new structure, while stone bases and other materials were locally-sourced. Local labor was also used to restore the old building using traditional methods. “Local villagers with building techniques were hired to ensure the traditional construction methods, like the mortise-and-tenon structure and special transformational window-door framing,” said the architects. The architects were also inspired by the local scenery, which they used as a guide to create a serene atmosphere. The home is located on the banks of a stream that cuts through the mountainous landscape, and its undulating roof mimics its stunningly beautiful backdrop. Additionally, the undulating roof juts out over the structure, creating covered verandahs for the main home, as well as for a guest home that was erected on the site of the former sheep pens. Landscaping made of local plants and stones creates a rustic walking path that connects the two structures. The completed building will serve as a bed and breakfast that generates income for the community. Accordingly, the interior design blends tradition with modern comforts for visiting guests. The interior layout follows the local tradition of arranging the rooms around a central hearth. Exposed brick and traditional furniture also pay homage to the home’s history. Although seeped in tradition, the renovated guest home does have a few modern touches. A copper path set within the poured concrete flooring runs from the entrance to a lounge space and then a covered outdoor terrace that serves as the tea room. The second floor of the structure houses two bedrooms that feature large windows with movable wooden panels that provide natural ventilation and stunning views of the scenery. + WEI Architects Via Dezeen Images via WEI Architects

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The Springingstream Guesthouse mimics the mountains of China with an undulating roof

Solar-powered Miami office is made entirely from repurposed shipping containers

January 16, 2018 by  
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Argentina-based Reale Arquitectos just unveiled plans for a stunning office building made completely out of shipping containers . Currently under construction in Miami, the contemporary structure is made out of four repurposed containers strategically configured to give the building plenty of open spaces and great ocean views. In addition to the shipping containers, the project take advantage of a variety of green building strategies including solar power and a rainwater harvesting system. Since its inception, the project focused on combining sophisticated design with sustainable systems . The use of repurposed shipping containers cuts down on building and transportation costs. Additional sustainable features include water heating panels, garden terraces, and a greywater harvesting system . The building also features interior and exterior LED lighting as well as energy-efficient appliances. Related: Affordable shipping container village can pop up almost anywhere in the world To fit into the Miami landscape, the containers were painted a stark white, which also helps with passive cooling. The strategic placement of the containers provides the interior with beautiful views of the Miami shoreline, as well as optimal natural light throughout the interior. The configuration was also pivotal in providing the building with a number of outdoor garden spaces for relaxing, working, or entertaining. + Reale Arquitectos Images via Reale Arquitectos

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Solar-powered Miami office is made entirely from repurposed shipping containers

Salesforce Tower to include largest blackwater recycling system in a US commercial high-rise

January 11, 2018 by  
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7.8 million gallons of drinking water will be saved every year with a blackwater recycling system at the new 1,070-foot tall Salesforce Tower in San Francisco . The skyscraper , designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects , will be equipped with the on-site system, which is the first of its kind in the city and the biggest in any commercial high-rise building in the United States. Inhabitat spoke with Salesforce’s senior director of sustainability Patrick Flynn to hear more about blackwater recycling and the tower ‘s other green features. Salesforce Tower’s blackwater recycling system will take water from any of the building’s sources, according to Flynn – from toilets or sinks to drainage from the roof. The system itself will be housed in the basement – Flynn said they are converting “a handful of parking spaces on two levels into rooms and storage tanks that can house the system” – and it will extensively treat blackwater and resupply it for non-potable uses like irrigating plants or flushing toilets throughout the entire building. “The impact from a water perspective is huge,” Flynn told Inhabitat. “7.8 million gallons per year of freshwater use reduced – that’s a 76 percent reduction in the overall building’s water demands, and an amount of water avoided that’s equivalent to the use of 16,000 San Francisco residents.” That translates to savings of around 30,000 gallons of water every day. Related: SOM’s LEED Platinum 350 Mission tower offers an urban living room to San Francisco Flynn said California was experiencing a drought when they first discussed the building’s design years ago. “We know that periods of extreme drought will come again,” he said. “We know that climate change is amplifying extreme weather . And so we felt like upholding our values to do the right thing for our community, for our region, here at our headquarters, was to think about water responsibility and water recycling .” Salesforce is the first recipient of a blackwater grant from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), according to the company. But the blackwater recycling system isn’t the only sustainable feature in the tower. Flynn, a HVAC engineer by profession, also said a patented HVAC system will bring fresh air from the outdoors inside the tower – a move that will not only cut energy consumption but also boost occupant health. According to Salesforce, the tower has already achieved LEED Platinum certification. LED lighting , daylight sensors, and what Flynn described as healthy materials fill the building. He told Inhabitat, “We know that people spend most of their time indoors, and it’s important to make sure that that environment is inspiring and healthy.” Clean energy will power the tower; this past summer, the company signed Salesforce East and Salesforce West up for SFPUC’s SuperGreen Service , opting in to a 100 percent renewable energy program. Flynn said they were the first Fortune 500 company to do so, and their entry more than doubled enrollment in the program. Last year the company also reached net zero greenhouse gas emissions – 33 years early on a goal they’d set in 2015. The Salesforce Tower has already changed the San Francisco skyline (check out the construction camera here ), and when asked if there were concerns over its impact on the look of the city, Flynn said, “When I think about the tower, I think of how proud I am to have such a prominent example of how high-performance buildings and sustainable buildings and healthy buildings are all synonymous with one another. I think what we have here is a showcase for how real estate can uphold the expectations and exceed the expectations of its occupants, its local community, and all of its stakeholders – and I think the blackwater system is a great example of how we’ve been able to introduce a first-of-its-kind, largest such system in a commercial high-rise in the U.S. – and show a better way forward.” Salesforce is already beginning to move in to the tower. Construction on the blackwater recycling system hasn’t started yet, but Flynn said it will be constructed over the course of 2018 and could be up and running around the end of this year. Flynn told Inhabitat, “We hope we’ve shown a path forward that other companies can follow and inspired them to take action as well.” + Salesforce Tower + Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Images courtesy of Salesforce

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Salesforce Tower to include largest blackwater recycling system in a US commercial high-rise

How the world’s first floating city could restore the environment

December 27, 2017 by  
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The world got a little closer to the first floating city when the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the French Polynesian government earlier this year. Not only could floating cities offer a sustainable place to live, but they could also potentially help coral reefs recover and provide a habitat for marine life, according to Joe Quirk, Blue Frontiers co-founder and Seasteading Institute seavangelist. Inhabitat spoke with Quirk and architect Simon Nummy to learn more about the vision for the world’s first floating city. Quirk told Inhabitat, “We think of cities as being a blight on the land and polluting the oceans. Floating cities are so different because they could actually be environmentally restorative.” For example, an increase in ocean temperatures has caused much of coral bleaching . Quirk said the mere presence of a floating city could help combat this issue. He said, “The corals could actually recover if we could just lower the temperature a little. Our engineers at Blue Frontiers have devised a plan to position the platforms to create some shadows to lower the temperatures. So as the sun moves about, you get enough light on the ocean floor to spark photosynthesis, but you lower the heat just enough to have a restorative effect.” Related: World’s first floating city one step closer to reality in French Polynesia Solid floating structures can also increase the amount of sea life by serving as a habitat, according to Quirk. He said platform floors, that would be below water level, could be made of glass, creating an aquarium apartment or aquarium restaurant. There are currently a few visions for what the floating cities might look like from different designers, as seen in the images. Nummy, who won the Seasteading Institute’s Architectural Design Contest, told Inhabitat, “The intent is for an architecture derived from nautical technology and sensibility, combined with a deep respect and willingness to learn from the culture and knowledge of the original seasteaders, the Polynesians.” The goal is for the floating city, which will be placed around one kilometer, or a little over half a mile, from shore inside a protected lagoon, to be 100 percent renewable and 100 percent self-sufficient. Floating solar panels could help power the city, and Quirk said as water cools panels, they could generate 20 percent more energy than their landlocked cousins. 20 percent of the floating city could be comprised of solar panels. Another goal is to not discharge any water into the lagoon – waste water is to be treated and recycled. Food could be cultivated in sea farming systems. “Each building strives for energy independence and the architecture results from this; energy efficiency and passive strategies are vital,” Nummy told Inhabitat. “Polynesian architecture is primarily about the roof and we have tried to interpret this in a contemporary, sensitive way that both reflects local precedents while harvesting rainwater and discretely maximizing the opportunities for photovoltaics and vertical axis wind turbines .” The floating city could be designed to look like a natural island, featuring green roofs and buildings constructed with locally-sourced materials – potentially bamboo, coconut fiber, or local wood like teak. Nummy told Inhabitat, “The buildings are designed to connect to nature and embrace the magnificent Tahitian views. Walls are to be louvred or openable whenever possible.” 2020 is the goal for construction of the floating village, which would include around 15 islands 82 by 82 feet. Quirk said the first floating city could be kind of like the first iPhone – rather bulky and expensive – but they aim to drive down the price with later iterations. Two to three years after 2020, they hope to double the amount of platforms – from around 15 to around 30 – and then triple the amount two to three years after that. Quirk said, “Island nations and coastal nations are already suffering from sea level rise , and this is a realistic way for them to adapt.” + Seasteading Institute + Blue Frontiers + Blue21 Images courtesy of Blue Frontiers, Blue21, and Simon Nummy

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How the world’s first floating city could restore the environment

Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will be 100% carbon neutral

December 13, 2017 by  
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A new eco resort in Belize is pulling out all of the stops to be the Caribbean’s first carbon-neutral luxury lodging. Itz’ana Resort & Residences will feature a green building portfolio unprecedented in the area. The complex – designed by Boston-based architect Roberto de Oliveira Castro – will consist of multiple four- and five-bedroom villas, built with locally-sourced materials and completely powered by a combination of solar and hydro-electricity. The complex will offer 50 resort suites and 46 waterfront residences located on a heavenly 16-mile long stretch of Caribbean shoreline. The sustainable design of the resort was created by Boston-based architect Roberto de Oliveira Castro in collaboration with NYC-based interior designer Samuel Amoia . The program is reflective of Itz’ana’s “Mission-Driven Luxury” concept, which envisions a lifestyle that is as sustainable as it is high-end. With luxury beach lodgings in the Caribbean obviously high in demand, the Itz’ana design caters to travelers and homeowners who want to experience the beautiful region, but without leaving a harmful footprint on the environment. Related: Nevis is on track to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island Each of the villas will be equipped with rooftop solar panels , which will cut energy and consumption in half. Although the resort will source the remaining energy from Belize’s national power grid, that energy is generated by eco-friendly hydroelectric dams. The resort will also work through its Belizean forestry partner to offset any additional carbon emissions that the complex produces. Along with its clean energy sources, the complex will also be installed with various sustainable features such as a rainwater collection system, LED-efficient lighting systems, and an organic garden. Additionally, the building materials will consist of locally-sourced wood and designer furnishings throughout the buildings. An eco-friendly system will be used to clean the pools and green cleaning solvents will be used in the laundry service. + Itz’ana Resort & Residences + Roberto de Oliveira Castro

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Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will be 100% carbon neutral

2017 Gift Guide: Green gifts under $20

December 4, 2017 by  
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  Looking for a green gift that doesn’t break the bank? We’ve got 15 unique and affordable gifts that will wow everyone on your list for under $20. There’s something for everyone on your list, from a mushroom garden that grows right on the counter for the chef, to a recycled-paper photo album for the Instagrammer in your life. GIFTS UNDER $20 >

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2017 Gift Guide: Green gifts under $20

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