These solar-powered floating homes are built to withstand floods and hurricanes

April 1, 2019 by  
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As many coastal cities struggle to come up with resiliency plans in the face of rising sea levels, a Miami-based firm is creating sustainable, solar-powered floating residences that could offer the perfect solution. Already well-known for its high-end floating homes , Arkup is now teaming up with Artefacto , an environmentally friendly Brazilian furnishing brand, to create stylish floating houses that are not only resilient to storms and sea levels, but also represent the luxury style for which Miami is known. Arkup has long been recognized for creating sustainable and attractive floating homes that can provide discerning homeowners with what the Miami-based company refers to as “avant-garde life on water.” The residences are modern, cube-like structures that are completely self-sufficient, operating 100 percent off-grid thanks to solar power generation, eco-friendly waste management features, rainwater harvesting and water purification systems. Additionally, the homes are equipped with unique self-elevating systems that help the structures withstand high winds, floods and hurricanes. Related: These hurricane-proof floating homes are packed with green features In addition to the ultra sustainable and resilient features, the two-story floating homes boast interiors with a 775-square-foot living room, bedroom, kitchen and dining space, as well as an open-air rooftop lounge. Sliding glass doors, which almost make up the entirety of the front facade, lead out to a beautiful terrace. Although the company has been working on its floating homes for some time, it recently announced a new partnership with Artefacto, a Brazilian furnishing company with a strong commitment to sustainability  that is known for combining luxurious furniture made of raw materials with cutting-edge smart automation technologies. The Arkup residences will now be outfitted with eco-friendly furnishings, including high-end pieces made out of timber approved for use by the Brazilian Environment Department. + Arkup + Artefacto Images via Arkup

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These solar-powered floating homes are built to withstand floods and hurricanes

A solar-powered seaside home embraces contrast and scenic views

February 20, 2019 by  
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Melbourne-based firm  Megowan Architectural has unveiled a beautiful home located in Mount Eliza in Victoria, Australia that uses strategic angles and contrast to make the most of the idyllic seaside setting. The three-story Two Angle House is not only aesthetically stunning — behind its sophisticated concrete and wood facade is a complex system that makes the home incredibly energy-efficient . Located in the seaside town of Mount Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula, the 5,920-square-foot home’s sophisticated design scheme is based on contrasting building materials. According to the architects, “The interior and exterior are a play on the contrast between two angles of internal organization, the contrast between warm and cold materials and a considered contrast between architecture and landscape.” Related: Solar-powered modular retreat design in Melbourne inspired by the local landscape The exterior and interior are made with a number of contrasting materials, namely concrete and wood. Using extensive concrete in the floors and walls was strategic to creating a tight thermal mass while in-slab hydronic heating further helps regulate the interior temperatures year-round. Using a system of cubed volumes, which contain two angles within the layout, the Two Angle House was strategically designed to provide stunning views of the ocean. Additionally, the design saw the home’s large concrete blade wall “stretched” from east to west to take advantage of optimal passive solar gain throughout. This allows the structure to not only benefit from a natural heating and lighting system, but it also reduces energy usage substantially. The roof was also equipped with solar panels to provide much of the building’s energy . Much like the outdoor space and wraparound deck, the interior is focused on the amazing sea views, which can be found from virtually any angle inside the home. In fact, just opening the front door leads the eye to the sea at the other side of the house. Large floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors naturally brighten the interior and open up the living space to the outdoors, creating a seamless connection to the natural surroundings. + Megowan Architectural Via Dwell Images via Megowan Architectural

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A solar-powered seaside home embraces contrast and scenic views

Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

January 11, 2019 by  
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Located adjacent to designated wetlands, the Tung House by Seoul-based firm Project Architecture  is a net-zero home that combines conscientious landscape design with energy efficiency. Along with a large photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels to provide power and heating, the home uses a number of passive features to achieve its  net-zero energy use . At 2,900 square feet, the Tung House is a fairly large structure but relatively small in comparison with other homes in the area. One of the reasons that the size was restrained is its location. The home is built in Lincoln, Massachusetts on a strictly preserved site adjacent to designated wetlands. The size limitations imposed by the local government presented a challenge to the architects, who met the restrictions head-on with a gorgeous angular design that aesthetically gives the home a unique character while simultaneously achieving net-zero energy use . Related: This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes At the heart of the design are the geometric features. The roof, which is comprised of various planes, was used to give the home ample space for the photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels . The rooftop solar panels provide sufficient power and heating to the house, and in the summer months, any additional energy is transferred back to the city’s local grid. In addition to making room for solar panels, the multiple roof planes provide several overhangs that shade the interior living space during the warmer months and help provide natural light and heat during the wintertime. Inside, the architects wanted to create an open layout that offered a seamless connection between the living space and the outdoors. From the front door to the upper level, multiple large windows offer views of the serene backyard. Naturally lit by sunlight , a loft-like living room and open kitchen are on the ground floor, which is connected to the upper floors through a mezzanine level. The interior design scheme of all-white provides a contemporary elegance throughout the home, enhanced by the various angular ceilings. + Project Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Project Architecture

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Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

Stunning carbon-neutral home uses traditional materials to create a synergy with its natural setting

November 28, 2018 by  
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London-based practice Foster Lomas , has unveiled a stunning carbon-neutral home on the Island of Man. The Sartfell Retreat is a private home built by local craftsman using locally-sourced drystone walls. The home boasts plenty of sustainable features, including an off-grid water system for fresh water and a plush green roof, covered in carbon-capturing hay and native wildflowers, further creating a strong connection with the home’s breathtaking natural setting. Located near Sartfell Mountain, the home is tucked into seven acres of restored hillside. The retreat is actually part of an ambitious plan by the homeowners, a retired scientist and teacher, who set out with the goal of restoring the existing landscape and protecting the existing biodiversity . In collaboration with Foster Lomas and the local charity, Manx Wildlife Trust, the project is part of a master plan which will eventually have a Vistor’s Center that will be used as an educational platform to showcase the area’s biodiversity. Related: Portuguese stone ruins rise anew as a minimalist dream home Before breaking ground on the modern home, the homeowners and the architects conducted various studies on the local climate and topography. First and foremost, the project was focused on fully restoring the land , which included removing nitrates from the soil in order to allow native plants to grow on site. Additionally, a year before the project was due to start, the architects installed a weather station on the site to gather important data, which was ultimately used to guide the design of the home. Crafted by local builders, the home’s volume follows the natural slope of the land. Locally-sourced drystone was used to create ultra-thick walls in order to provide a tight thermal mass. Large ribbon windows were embedded into the drystone exterior to provide unobstructed views from virtually anywhere in the home. The triple-paned windows were placed into protruding frames of corten steel, which helps prevent solar gain. While the exterior of the home seamlessly blends into the incredible rural landscape, the interior design is quite contemporary. Polished concrete was used for the flooring and walls throughout the home. Minimal, modern furnishings create an open, uncluttered space that puts the focus on the surrounding nature. At the heart of the modern home is a large staircase, made out of perforated metal, that winds up through the home’s three levels. On each level, the stairs are flanked by what the homeowners call the “Knowledge Centre”, a soaring three-level library, stocked with books. Although certainly an eye-catcher, the stairs actually double as a ventilation stack, enabling the home to achieve its zero-carbon classification . + Foster Lomas Via Wallpaper Photography by Edmund Sumner via Foster Lomas

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Stunning carbon-neutral home uses traditional materials to create a synergy with its natural setting

1960s home remodeled with energy-efficient and non-toxic hempcrete

November 19, 2018 by  
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When homeowner Pam Bosch was looking for ways to remodel her 1960s home in Bellingham, Washington, she was determined to renovate the older home with energy efficient and non toxic materials. Through her research into various potential sustainable materials, she found that hempcrete, a hemp-based render made out of a mixture of hemp, lime and water, would be the best option. Working in collaboration with Matthew Mead from Hempitecture , the now solar-powered Highland Hemp House was reborn and constructed with an insulative hempcrete thermal envelope. When inspired to renovate her home using sustainable , eco-friendly and non-toxic materials, Bosch decided to work with hempcrete, a bioaggregate building material that is derived from the woody core of the industrial hemp stalk. When combined with hydrated lime and water, it solidifies by absorbing carbon dioxide, resulting in a concrete-like material. However, when compared to concrete, hempcrete is a more sustainable and affordable material, which is estimated to absorb about seven pounds of CO2 per cubic foot. Related: The tiny solar-powered hemp home with a green roof To begin the process of remodeling the three-story home , Mead worked with local contractors to create a new framework suited for a hempcrete wall system. Once the home was primed for its new envelope, the next step was to create the hempcrete material by mixing 12,000 pounds of hemp aggregate with 23,000 of lime binder. When mixed at a specific ratio, the material solidifies, creating a concrete-like texture. The material was then cast around the home’s frame, forming a monolithic wall. From a distance, the home’s construction process may look like any other home renovation. However, in working with hempcrete , Pam Bosch’s madeover Highland Hemp House is insulated with a material that is fireproof, breathable, resistant to mold, pests, and regulates moisture. Additionally, the new thermal envelope of the home is estimated to sequester about 15,372 pounds of CO2. + Hempitecture Images via Hempitecture

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1960s home remodeled with energy-efficient and non-toxic hempcrete

This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

October 2, 2018 by  
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From luxury retreats to minimalist cabins, more and more people are looking for places where they can truly go off the grid. For one family of six, a remote area almost 200 miles from Santiago, Chile was chosen as the perfect place for them to disconnect. Working with architect Mauricio LLaumett of Nüform Studio , the family’s self-sufficient new home is completely “unplugged” thanks to solar energy, passive features and an independent water system connected to a nearby river. Located on an isolated landscape of Huentelauquén, the timber and glass home sits on a rocky field covered in cacti that extends to the ocean. When the family approached Llaumett about their desire to create a vacation home on the challenging topography, they requested a design that would respect the natural landscape. The next request was that the home be 100 percent off-grid, generating its own energy in order to be a self-sufficient structure that the family could use for generations to come. “The most important thing is that the house is totally ‘unplugged,’” LLaumett explained. Related: Minimalist cabin in the Chilean mountains lets climbers escape the daily grind The home’s electricity is generated by rooftop solar panels , while an innovative system collects water from a nearby river. The water is stored in two elevated containers that work with gravity to release water on demand. Additionally, a water waste system was built into the design so that excess water from the shower and the kitchen can be used to irrigate the interior garden. The home was built on a slanted concrete foundation with a shape that mimics the natural slope of the landscape. Dark pine siding  on the exterior blends the home into its surroundings. A wall of sliding glass doors opens up to a large, stepped wooden deck where the family enjoys panoramic views of the sea in the distance. On the interior, the layout was strategically designed to connect the off-grid home to its surroundings. The front glazed facade opens up completely to create a seamless passage between the interior and the exterior. As for the home’s furnishings, many of them were made from  locally sourced wood and handcrafted by local artisans. Even the family built some of the furniture, including the master bed frame and dining room table. + Nüform Studio Via Dwell Photography by Aryeh Kornfeld K. via Nüform Studio

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This sustainable home in Chile is designed as an ‘unplugged’ retreat for a family of six

Natural stone and an expansive green roof blend the stunning Gozu House into the Andes Mountains

August 30, 2018 by  
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When it comes to creating a serene living space, Medellín-based firm Opus Studio put nature first in their design for the gorgeous Gozu House. Located in the small Colombian province of Antioquia, which sits in the Andes mountains, the home blends into its stunning natural environment with help from its natural stone cladding and expansive green roofs . Sitting at an altitude of 7,200 feet, the 5,000-square-foot family home sits nested into a lush, green valley within the Andes Mountain range. The structure is comprised of three main modules, topped with two undulating green roofs meeting at the center module. The home’s jagged silhouette is designed to mimic the the mountains in the background. Related: A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest The Gozu House has a subtle presence thanks to its low, elongated volume, which, along with the natural pine wood and stone cladding , virtually camouflages the structure into its natural environment. The entrance of the home sits between the two “wings” of the design. Once inside, the entryway extends into a winding corridor that wraps around the interior, leading to the central living area and the exterior. Large glass panels and sliding doors provide a seamless connection with the outdoor space throughout the home’s layout. At the heart of the design is an open-air courtyard with a swimming pool surrounded by a large wooden deck –  a fun entertainment area for socializing. To create a home that was energy-efficient, the architects relied on a number of passive strategies. For instance, the main living space is oriented to the east to take advantage of the day’s sunlight while the bedrooms face the West to provide shade and privacy. Although the dual green roofs certainly play a part in connecting the home to its surroundings, they also provide an insulative thermal inertia for the living space, reducing the home’s energy needs. + Opus Studio Photography and video by Isaac Ramírez Marín via Opus Studio

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Natural stone and an expansive green roof blend the stunning Gozu House into the Andes Mountains

This idyllic 15-acre farmhouse is the worlds second Living Building residence

February 21, 2018 by  
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A picturesque 15-acre farmhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan was just officially crowned the world’s second “Living Building” residence by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). The owners of Burh Becc at Beacon Springs , Tom and Marti Burbeck, spent five years working with a team of 20 designers, engineers, architects and sustainability experts to transform their 2,200 square foot home into an icon of truly sustainable living that gives more than it takes. The beautiful farmhouse, whose design was inspired by traditional Tuscan farmhouses, has a large living space of 2,200 square feet. Additionally, the property has a 2,400 square foot barn and workshop. The farmland had been previously depleted due to years of commodity farming. Following the Living Building criteria, the land was carefully revamped with permaculture farming methods using an integrated system of agriculture, horticulture and ecology, creating a system that will be regenerative for centuries to come. The Burbeck’s not only use these farming methods to grow their own food, but they also provide healthy food for the local community – and for those with limited access to fresh produce. Related: 9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects To create a net-zero energy design , the home is equipped with clean energy generation through a 16.9-kilowatt solar array, which provides electricity to the home and back into the grid. Additionally, a passive solar system works with a very tight thermal envelope and a tall cooling tower to minimize heating and cooling needs. A closed-loop geothermal system provides radiant floor heating during the cold Michigan winters. For water conservation, the home uses a rainwater and snow harvesting system to be water net-positive . A rainwater collection system reroutes to supply 7,500 gallons of in-ground cisterns, used for non-potable water. An on-site well provides potable water at the moment to comply with local building codes, but the home is installed with a future-ready potable rainwater filtration system. After more than three and a half years designing the reformation, 18 months in construction and a year of performance auditing, Burh Becc at Beacon Springs Farm was awarded the Living Building Challenge certification in December 2017. Additionally, the home has been awarded a Platinum LEED Certification. When the Burbecks were asked why they took on such an ambitious project, they explained that it just made sense to their lifestyle. According to Marti Burbeck, “As we looked at the criteria for LBC certification we thought, why not go for it. If our goals include helping to change peoples’ relationship with the environment and to change building philosophies, we should start with our own project, and then become advocates.” Now that they’ve achieved their dream of converting Burh Becc into an icon of sustainability, they’re on their way to becoming advocates. The couple plan to host educational workshops and house tours to educate the community, the building industry, government officials, and anyone who will listen about the benefits of truly sustainable living. + Burh Becc at Beacon Springs + Architectural Resource Via CSR Wire Images via Burh Becc at Beacon Springs

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This idyllic 15-acre farmhouse is the worlds second Living Building residence

Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

November 22, 2017 by  
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Oregon-based firm FLOAT Architectural Research and Design recently built the “Outside House” for a client who wants to spend her days communing with nature at its fullest. To provide a strong connection to the surroundings, the architects created two simple wooden cabins – the Mauka house and the Makai house – on top of a three-hundred-year-old solidified lava flow high up in the Maui mountains. According to FLOAT architect Erin Moore, the design was inspired by a back-to-basics philosophy that puts the focus on enjoying nature, “The Outside House is a place to live outside. Two small pavilions shape the basics of daily life and structure an intentional relationship with the land.” Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home—and you can stay overnight The first cabin, the Mauka (Hawaiian for “inland toward the mountains” ) pavilion, is an enclosed cabin with a small bedroom. It’s equipped with just the basic necessities – a bed, built-in bench and small desk with chair – and it has a large sliding window that provides beautiful views of the landscape. The cabin is raised off the ground by four concrete blocks to reduce its impact on the ground. The Makai (Hawaiian for “seaward”) pavilion is an open-air deck with a small kitchen that offers stunning view out over the Pacific and the island of Kahoolawe in the distance. The wooden cladding and deck were are made from Juniper – a tree that is harvested for its protective qualities in the Pacific Northwest. An open shower is located on the backside of the kitchen, covered with a privacy panel made out of woven marine rope. Based on the wishes of the homeowner, the construction process took great lengths to protect the land. The architects built the cabins using prefabricated galvanized steel, which was carried to the building site by hand to anchor one of the cabins to the ground, while the other one was placed on concrete blocks. This reduced the impact of the project while also allowing the structures to be easily dismantled. + FLOAT Architectural Research and Design Via The Contemporist Photography by Olivier Koning

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Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

London buses swap out diesel for a coffee-based biofuel

November 22, 2017 by  
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Brits may prefer tea, but their busses will be getting a buzz from coffee. U.K. startup bio-bean , Shell, and Argent Energy have teamed up to fill London’s double-deckers with an innovative new java-based fuel. According to CNN , bio-bean has already brewed up 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) of the high-octane joe, an amount able to power one city bus for an entire year. So, how is the coffee oil manufactured? As bio-bean shares on its site, the company gathers grounds everywhere from small cafes to Starbucks-like chains to universities and even instant coffee factories. The grounds are then brought to the bio-bean plant where they are dried and coffee oil is extracted. Related: Could coffee help fight cancer? The extracted oil is then blended with other fats and oils to create a “B20” biofuel, which is further mixed with traditional mineral diesel. The new concoction offers a 10-15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions as compared to pure diesel, and prevents the release of any methane that would have occurred had the grounds been sent to a landfill. Notably, the mix does not require a specialized engine and can be used with any diesel bus, making the switch easy. Bio-bean estimates that Britain produces nearly 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds a year—enough to power a third of London’s entire transport network. At the moment, bio-bean’s plant has the capacity to recycle 50,000 tonnes of grounds a year. Company founder Arthur Kay, however, hopes to scale the project. Kay, in fact, has his sights set on the U.S. where coffee consumption is the highest of anywhere on the planet with 400 million cups downed daily. + bio-bean Via CNN Images via Pixbay and bio-bean

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