Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof

July 31, 2017 by  
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Good news for those who have been eyeing Tesla’s new Solar Roof – the company just announced pricing for its photovoltaic tiles, and they come it at just $21.85 per square foot . That’s nearly 20 percent cheaper than a normal roof — even without factoring in the energy savings. Tesla’s sought-after Solar Roof tiles are made of glass layered over a photovoltaic substrate, and they serve as a replacement for traditional roofing materials. This ensures they look like the “real thing” from the ground – even though they accomplish much more than a standard roof. So far, Tesla has two styles available for pre-order: a textured black glass tile and a smooth grey tile. The tuscan and slate tiles will be available for installation in early 2018. According to the company , installing a Solar Roof takes between five and seven days – and Tesla manages the entire process itself. The fact that the Solar Roof tiles are so economical is applaudable, considering that Consumer Reports predicted back in November that the tiles would need to cost under $24.50 per square foot to compete with traditional roofing materials. Tesla accomplished this — and went one step further. Now, the company is offering an infinite warranty for the tiles. “We offer the best warranty in the industry—the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” a Tesla representative told Inverse. Related: Tesla to power Gigafactory with world’s largest solar rooftop installation An additional benefit of the Tesla Solar Roof is that it is touted to be stronger than a traditional roof. In areas where thunderstorms and high winds are rampant, a sturdier abode makes all the difference. Fortunate consumers who purchase the Solar Roof will also receive the forthcoming Powerwall 2.0 , which is a battery storage device with a built-in inverter. It connects to your home’s electrical system, enabling a house to go 100 percent off-the-grid . Though it costs an extra $6,500, the long-term savings are estimated to add up to thousands of dollars. + Tesla Via Inverse Images via Tesla

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Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof

Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Store Day

July 31, 2017 by  
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If you’re the type of shopper that lives for finding hidden gems in vintage stores, mark August 17th on your calendar. That’s when National Thrift Store Day returns to encourage everyone to support their local thrift stores and score secondhand goods. New York City is taking this initiative a step further by bringing awareness to the day’s charitable component and reminding us why it would do a world of good if we went the thrift store route instead of buying brand new. Through its donateNYC program, the New York City Department of Sanitation helps New Yorkers “give goods, find goods, and do good” for their community – and they’re making it really easy for everyone to do their part. Read on for 10 great things you can find on Thrift Store Day – and where you can go to pick them up. Thrift stores have long been a place where anyone can hand off items that are no longer wanted or needed instead of throwing them in the trash. In this way, others who can’t afford these items at their original prices have a chance to own them at a lower price. Necessities like clothes, housewares, books, electronics and furniture are just some of the goods people can buy. Oftentimes, these thrift stores are run by charitable organizations that use the money collected from purchases to fund initiatives that further help those in need. Goodwill , for example, backs “programs that provide education, skills training and career development that help people earn jobs in communities nationwide.” Not to mention, this practice of donating, upcyling, and buying secondhand goods reduces the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills, the energy and resources consumed by waste management, and the amount of money flying out of our pockets. It’s a win all around. If you’re not sure where to drop off your unneeded goods, donateNYC eliminates that hassle for you. A directory of participating shops and a map of your nearest drop-off locations can be found online, as well as through the free donateNYC app for Apple and Android . The program is part of NYC’s 0X30 initiative , which aims to send zero waste to landfills by 2030, and it’s an excellent resource on National Thrift Store Day and every other day of the year. Below are some of the cool items you can find in thrift stores around NYC, courtesy of donateNYC. Vintage Clothing St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Handbags Housing Works Purses for Nurses Goodwill Vintage Thrift Bicycles Recycle-A-Bicycle Building Materials/Appliances Big Reuse Rebuilding Together NYC Salvage Store Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Electronics Lower East Side Ecology Center Jewelry CancerCare Arthritis Foundation Vintage Thrift Housing Works Hour Children Goodwill Textile Scraps FABSCRAP Furniture Refoundry Housing Works Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Big Reuse The Salvation Army Vintage Thrift Hour Children Housewares/furnishings St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Books/Records Big Reuse Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Housing Works Council Thrift Shop St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Cancer Care + donateNYC Images via Depositphotos and donateNYC

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Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Store Day

15 stunning examples of interior design using natural stone

January 31, 2017 by  
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Successful interior design creates aesthetically pleasing and healthy indoor environments that enhance how we live, work, and play. Since many of us spend the majority of our time indoors, it is important that the spaces we inhabit support health, productivity and happiness. From uber-renewable bamboo , to hard woods that develop rich patinas over time, it is no secret that nature produces some of the most beautiful building materials around. But out of all of natural building materials available on our planet, time has proven stone to be the most resilient, luxurious, and longest-lasting of them all. Its ability to resist rot, mold, extreme temperatures and water damage, coupled with a low need for maintenance, makes natural stone a great choice throughout the home. Designers and homeowners often choose stone for flooring and walls due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear, but nowhere is natural stone more popular than in kitchens and bathrooms, where its moisture-resisting properties really shine . For those of you who are interested in the design possibilities of natural stone, here are fifteen examples of stunning interior design using natural stone. Why natural stone is an ideal material for bathrooms When it comes to interior design, stone is a perennially popular finish material – especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Natural stone such as marble and granite connote luxury and opulence in an interior space, and it is easy to see why. Not only are these materials more expensive than your average vinyl countertop or vinyl floor, but stone is also much more durable , water-resistant and long-lasting than any synthetic manmade building material. In the wettest room in the home this water-resistance matters. Because of this, the bathroom is the most-likely room in the house to find marble, slate or other types of natural stone. Here are some beautiful examples of bathrooms using natural stone: photo courtesy of MSI Modern marble makes this bathroom shine From the Taj Mahal to the Washington Monument, marble has always been a popular building material due to its wide availability and durability. This modern and minimalist bathroom (above) makes the most of white Arabescto Carrara marble (also known as “Chinese White” and “White Carrara”), which typically exhibits white and grey coloring in medium variation. This marble isn’t too high-contrast or showy, therefore it is neutral as a background color, allowing the homeowners to have fun with their Chevron Pattern White Quarry marble tiles around the bathtub. These beige-colored marble tiles cut into a chevron pattern lend a cool geometric look to the tub that spices up the minimalist bathroom just a bit and gives it more personality. Spa-like bathroom mixes wood and stone to create zen tranquility This gorgeous bathroom combines rich tropical wood with different textures of grey stone to create a warm, soothing ambiance.  The shower floor and backsplash is lined with Ostrich Grey Quartzite tiles from India which are durable, water-resistant and easy-to-clean, making this shower hassle-free as well as rejuvenating. photo courtesy of MSI The modern, freestanding bathtub next to the shower sits on a textured floor of Black Marble Pebbles .  These pebbles look like river stones, but are polished black marble, so extremely durable and water resistant  The varied, bumpy texture of the pebbles on bare feet stimulates the nervous system and is purportedly good for health , if you subscribe to Asian medicine philosophies (see Chinese reflexology path ). It’s like a massage or acupressure for the feet! Imagine stepping out of the tub on to this textured pebble floor. photo courtesy of Stoneshop Luxurious marble bathroom channels old-fashion opulence Reputed to be Michelangelo’s favorite stone to work with and one of the most sought after natural stones around, calacatta marble carries a certain prestige and emotional weight that few other natural stones rival. This elegant bathroom in a Moorestown, NJ mansion utilizes calacatta marble for flooring, backsplash, shower and vanity countertops, creating a sense of timeless grandeur. An elaborately inlaid floor with gorgeous water-jet marble tile pattern looks a bit like reflections off a surface of water, and creates a feeling of organic flow. photo courtesy of MSI Black slate creates a nature-inspired bathroom retreat This open-plan bathroom embraces three different types of natural stone to create a nature-inspired respite for its homeowners. The shower wall and floor tiles are made of smooth, unglazed Montauk Black slate , which creates an tranquil backdrop for the shower’s water stream. With waterproof and slip-resistant qualities, slate is an ideal material for bathroom applications, and creates a sense of calm and grounding. By sticking with a consistent dark-gray color pallet, eye-catching textures come to play without being overwhelming. Watertight thin veneer black marble covers a large expanse of the bathroom wall and creates a rippled effect reminiscent of a waterfall. Both planes meet loose river stones that soften the look on the bathroom floor, evoking a natural river bed. photo courtesy of MSI Classic marble tiles exude elegance This charming bathroom utilizes 2-inch  hexagonal Telaio marble tiles for the vanity backsplash. The intricate geometric Telaio tiles provide a refreshing twist to a traditional mosaic pattern, with white honed marble and mini gray accents. This preset mosaic looks great on walls but is durable enough for countertops and floors as well. photo courtesy of MSI Laid-back limestone channels beachy vibe Limestone is a unique natural stone that actually improves with age. Uniformly textured and even in color, this pleasantly beige stone weathers evenly over time and even develops a patina that is described as antique, old-world, or comfortable. Occasionally it contains pieces of fossils or seashells, which only add to its character. Due to its ability to scratch and stain, limestone is not an optimal choice for kitchens, but it holds up well against water, making it the perfect material for bathroom floors, showers, or tubs. This gorgeous bathroom embraces a beachy vibe with an entire coastal sand limestone wall and a backsplash made of eye-catching hexagon tiles. photo courtesy of Lundhs Using stone in the kitchen Stone is widely used for kitchen countertops, due to durability, water resistance, and imperviousness to scratching, bacteria and food stains.  Popular countertop choices include granite, marble, quartzite and Lundhs Larvikite.  Some kitchen countertops – like the Lundhs Emerald (shown above) are so scratch and stain-resistant that you can forgo cutting boards and do your chopping right on the stone. photo courtesy of MSI Form follows function in modern granite kitchen There’s a reason granite is the most popular choice for kitchen countertops. It’s easy to clean, durable, and scratch resistant, but economical and available in a wide range of colors and patterns. This snowfall granite countertop adds an unexpected pop to an otherwise minimalist kitchen, making it eye-catching yet still understated. Snowfall granite is distinctive for its speckled, snowfall-like markings, which come in black, charcoal, grey and beige. photo courtesy of Stoneshop Quartzite countertop exemplifies elegance and practicality Any successful cook will tell you that having a sturdy, accessible, and fuss-free counter space is key to getting the job done. With constant and repeated exposure to sharp utensils, extreme temperatures, mechanical force, and spills, kitchen countertops take a beating that is guaranteed to wear down even the sturdiest synthetic materials over time. For those who want to spend less time on cleanup and more time on preparing yummy food (all of us), hardy, water-resistant quartzite makes an excellent choice for kitchen counter top material. With a creamy gray-white backdrop decorated with beige or darker gray veins, quartzite resembles marble but it boasts the incredible durability of granite, making it well suited to the daily kitchen stresses. This well-polished Mont Blanc quartzite island in a Moorestown, NJ mansion brings all of marble’s timeless elegance to the room without forgoing practicality. photo courtesy of Stoneshop Quartzite counter accents contemporary kitchen style Like other types of quartzite, White Macaubas quartzite boasts all the sturdiness desired for a kitchen countertop, with the rich and timeless beauty of marble. Lighter in color than most forms of granite, white macaubas is a sure bet for anyone looking to increase the value of their home with a material that is sophisticated, low maintenance, and durable. Breakfast nooks, kitchen islands or counters, buffet tables and decorative wall accents are popular spots to make the most of this attractive natural stone. In this kitchen, the quartzite countertops look great paired with the classic tiled backsplash. photo courtesy of Lundhs Norweigan Larvikite sparkles in modern kitchen A beautiful, sparkly stone endemic to Norway is sometimes marketed as ” Blue Granite ” – but it is not actually granite. Instead, it is called Larvikite , and it comes only from the specific Larvik region of Norway . Larvikite is prized as a building material due to its incredible durability and iridescence caused by the crystalline structure of the stone. You can find it in many upscale storefronts in London and New York such as Harrods, and even in the Burj Dubai, but it is also quite popular as a kitchen countertop material. This modern kitchen in Norway is using Lundhs Blue for the countertop. Photo courtesy of Lundhs Here’s another photo of a different Lundhs blue larvikite countertop in the same modern Norwegian kitchen. Prized for its polish and crystalline sparkle, larvikite contains dime-sized crystals of feldspar. Lundhs larvikite is just as hard and durable as granite and is used in similar applications. Larvikite is believed to have calming and healing properties and has also been adopted as Norway’s national stone. photo courtesy of Arizona Tile Artistic tiling exudes charm This eye-catching geometric wall using Arizona Tile illustrates the design possibilities that can be explored by combining different types of natural stone. The contrast between the artfully arranged round White Carrara marble tiles and smooth Fantasy Brown marble countertop demonstrates the homeowner’s artistic eye and attention to detail. While beautiful and easy-to-clean marble has always been a popular countertop choice, it is subtle decorative applications like this that add character and warmth to a home. photo courtesy of MSI Sleek granite and unpolished quartzite complement each other in surprising ways This arrangement by Arizona Tile provides another example of how pairing contrasting natural stones creates unexpected depth and texture. A sleek and contemporary Marron Cohiba Satin granite countertop meets rugged Golden Gate Stack quartzite to create a kitchen space that is both unique and inviting. What might seem like an unlikely combination at first ends up feeling like an organic pairing. To learn more about different types of natural stone, check out MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute . + MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute

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15 stunning examples of interior design using natural stone

Trump may gut the Endangered Species Act

January 31, 2017 by  
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The former head of Trump’s EPA transition team, Myron Ebell, has called for the Endangered Species Act to be drastically overhauled, with many of the key provisions completely scrapped. The 1973 act was created to prevent the extinction of hundreds of species – however Ebell insists the act is a “political weapon” that does little to protect wildlife. While he’s not a current member of Trump’s team, his words should worry anyone who cares about conservation, because they seem to be in line with GOP lawmakers set on repealing the law . In a speech in London , Ebell stated, “The endangered species act doesn’t do much for protecting endangered wildlife, but it does a huge amount to control private property land use, and it is enforced very selectively, so that some landowners are not affected but people with exactly the same habitat, their use is limited or eliminated. It is a political weapon and I am very interested in reforming, and I don’t know if we will see that any time in the next decade, but I hope so.” Related: Trump presidency could spell the end for wolves in America’s West Some researchers suggest an alternate approach: privatizing the protection of wildlife . George Wilson, an adjunct professor at Australian National University, has proposed giving landowners authority over the endangered species on their own land. This may sound strange to many in the US, but it’s an approach that’s been used in countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa in years past. Essentially, landowners would take the lead in regulating hunting, eco-tourism , and conservation programs, instead of the government. The logic behind the proposal is this: when the government takes on the duty of protecting a “public good” like wildlife , humans don’t have an incentive to help and may resent the regulations created. If those landowners are given control and offered ways to profit off tourism or hunting, they may be interested in helping those animal populations grow and thrive. Related: This could be the United States’ first endangered bee species Of course, the downside is that privatization can simply result in the wealthy hoarding wildlife, creating hunting grounds full of captive animals. On the other hand, South Africa has used these policies successfully to maintain and even grow wildlife populations in the past century. It’s certainly no substitute for the protections offered by the Endangered Species Act, but it could provide a lifeline for vulnerable species if the landmark legislation is repealed. Via The Independent and Markets Insider Images via Wikimedia Commons and USFWS Endangered Species

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French schools create extra classrooms with Lego-style PopUp Houses

January 11, 2017 by  
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Two savvy private schools have just upped their learning space by almost 4,000 square feet with Multipod Studio ‘s incredible prefab Pop-Up Houses that snap together like LEGO bricks. Located in Indre-et-Loire, France, both schools went with the low-cost option not only due to budget restrictions, but also because of the structures’ sustainable materials and optimal energy performance. Low-cost and energy efficient pop ups are becoming the go-to solution for those with limited budgets in need of additional space. The PopUp House system is easy to assemble, lightweight and made with breathable materials. Constructed with insulating blocks and wooden panels, the design is a very practical system that provides optimal thermal insulation, reducing dependence on additional heating and cooling. Related: Multipod Studio’s Affordable Pop-Up House Snaps Together Like LEGO Bricks The staff at Rollinat High School and Alfred de Vigny High School worked with Multipod Studio to design the most efficient version of the structures to meet their needs. The popup building for Rollinat High School is 1614 square feet and includes two connected classrooms, while the three classrooms at Alfred de Vigny total about 2422 square feet. Once the materials were on site, the actual construction process happened (with just a screwdriver as the only required tool) in about two weeks. The final building was completed in December, 2016 and students began using their new classrooms in early January, 2017. + Multipod Studio + Arc A3 Sud Touraine Via Business Insider

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French schools create extra classrooms with Lego-style PopUp Houses

Furniture grown from bacteria and mushrooms is now available for purchase

December 2, 2016 by  
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Mushrooms are good for so much more than just eating. Ecovative , the company behind Mushroom Packaging , has teamed up with cement-growing company bioMASON to create classy furniture grown entirely from microorganisms and mushrooms. The two companies recently unveiled their new biofabricated line at Biofabricate 2016 .

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Furniture grown from bacteria and mushrooms is now available for purchase

Apartments made out of re-used materials pop-up in protest of the housing crisis in Munich

November 30, 2016 by  
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These unique “Shabby Shabby Apartments” recently popped up in unexpected locations around Munich’s shopping district as a commentary on rising costs of living in the area. Envisioned by architecture collective Raumlabor and Munich Kammerspiele , they are made from repurposed objects like old clothes, scrap wood and even yellow-painted bathtubs. At only € 28 a night for two people, these temporary dwellings stand as a playful battle against the housing crisis in the city.

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Apartments made out of re-used materials pop-up in protest of the housing crisis in Munich

How stone can help you create a more sustainable home

November 23, 2016 by  
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From the pyramids at Giza, to Stonehenge, to Machu Picchu, it is no coincidence that all of the longest lasting human structures are made from stone. Stone lasts forever, is natural, and is readily available in the environment. When it comes to outdoor landscaping or interior applications that see a lot of use and moisture (i.e. kitchens and bathrooms), natural stone is often the most durable and lowest-maintenance choice for surfaces. Unlike wood, plastics or composite materials, stone will not rot, mildew or disintegrate over time. From granite, to marble, to slate, read on to find out more about how natural stone can help you create a more beautiful and sustainable home. The stone walls at Saksaywayan outside of Cusco, Peru, are still in great shape after 1000 years! photo courtesy of wikimedia Durability = sustainability As I argued in my article Resilient Design is Green Design , the ability to stand the test of time is the epitome of sustainability. Out of all of the building materials that humans can utilize to create structures, stone is the longest lasting, and for this reason, the most sustainable. Image via Pixabay Architects and builders have always held stone in a high regard due to its durability, aesthetic, and ease of maintenance, but one of the most compelling reasons for homeowners to consider stone is its environmental sustainability . And this doesn’t just mean “sustainability” in the stereotypical treehugger sense of low carbon footprint, but also the material’s ability to endure over time. Unlike bricks or concrete, natural stone requires no baking or heating and is a fully formed, finished product upon extraction. This means no additional CO2 needs to be released in producing it. Natural stone also doesn’t have toxic chemicals like VOCs that can off-gas into your home, polluting the indoor air, unlike synthetic surfaces such as carpeting and vinyl. If positioned optimally within a house, natural stone has the ability to passively heat and cool a home due to its ability to store heat and release it gradually. And of course, the biggest appeal to most homeowners is that natural stone has an incredibly long lifespan with very low maintenance, which means that you are not going to have to refinish it, replace it, or send it to a landfill in 15 years. photo courtesy of Artistic Tile Low maintenance = sustainability Natural stone typically doesn’t show dirt and wear and tear in the way that materials such as wood, gypsum board or vinyl do. It doesn’t easily get scratched, waterlogged or stained, and is easy to clean. An imperviousness to moisture makes materials like limestone, marble, and slate popular choices for bathrooms, while sturdy, scratch-proof, and easy-to-clean granite is an obvious choice for kitchen countertops that endure sharp knives, liquids and food spills (and the microbes that come with them). Outdoors, designers like to use stone for everything from patios to walkways, retaining walls to landscape planters. Stone’s longevity and durability makes it a smart investment that, if cared for properly, means it won’t need to be replaced. This keeps wasteful, synthetic materials out of landfill. photo courtesy of Connecticut Stone Stone is a natural material Stone is a natural material that comes straight from the earth, unlike most other commonly used building materials. How the stone is quarried, processed, and transported affects its environmental footprint, as does the distance the stone must travel to get to you. The kinds of natural stone endemic to where you live are likely to differ from those found in other regions, but with so many different types of stone available, finding something local that fits your taste and budget should be fairly easy. Gneiss, granite, limestone, marble, quartzite, sandstone, and serpentine are all common to North America and exist in a range of colors and textures. Consumers who value environmental sustainability will be happy to know that there are stone quarry sites within 500 miles of nearly any building site in the United States and Canada. photo courtesy of Matthew Giampietro, Waterfalls Fountains and Gardens Inc. Using stone outdoors As Mother Nature’s original green building material, natural stone is the best material available when it comes to withstanding the elements and aging gracefully outdoors. Because of its ability to weather harsh changes in temperature and moisture conditions, landscape designers prefer stone for everything from patios to walkways, retaining walls to planters. photo courtesy of Stone Pavers Concrete Natural stone can add charm to your yard or garden by adding a sense of timelessness. While concrete, wooden decking and other manmade materials often impose rigid lines and hierarchy onto the nature world, stone fits organically into nature’s design. Stone is also just the most long-lasting outdoor material, hands down. Since it won’t warp, rot or disintegrate over time, it’s an ideal choice for withstanding weather, biological and environmental stresses. Termites, beetles and funguses may enjoy munching on wood, but they can’t eat stone. Stone doesn’t erode over time with wind and rain, unlike soil. While ceramics like brick and concrete are porous and can crack and absorb water, most types of outdoor stone are much harder, and generally last longer. photo courtesy of Smokey Mountain Tops Patios, walkways and outdoor ground cover For outdoor patios and walkways, the choice often comes down to stone, brick, wooden decking, or gravel. Gravel is inexpensive and easy to work with, but erodes over time, needs constant raking to look nice, and is often tracked into the house. Wooden decking provides a nice warm feeling to the touch, but need to be sealed and stained on a regular basis, and still eventually will give in to dry rot. (Trust me, I just fell through a rotten board on my wooden deck the other day, and it wasn’t fun.) Concrete has the advantage of a smooth, even surface, but it needs to be poured and can also contribute to flooding and water runoff where it doesn’t allow proper drainage. While stone is one of the most expensive outdoor materials, it has the advantage of long life and durability with little maintenance. Depending on how it is installed, spaced stone pavers can also allow greenery and soil to break up the hardscape, providing a green look, and allowing water to drain naturally. photo courtesy of SBI Materials Landscaping with natural stone For retaining walls and raised planter beds, stone can’t be beat. Landscape plants and trees need a constant supply of water, and that irrigation can lead to erosion of soil and to the disintegration of competing materials, like wood, over time. Strategically placed stones can reinforce the shape of your designed landscape with retaining walls and berms, preventing soil erosion. Although it is heavier and more expensive than wood, natural stone makes a far more durable and long-lasting material for planters. photo courtesy of Lundhs Using natural stone indoors Stone is as resilient indoors as it is outdoors. From the kitchen countertop to the bathroom floor, natural stone is easy to clean with mild dish soap and water, is naturally slip resistant, and is one of the most durable surfaces on the planet. According to the Natural Stone Council , stone can last more than 100 years with proper maintenance. Its lifecycle continues beyond the life of a building, because of the fact that it’s so recyclable and can be reused in so many other applications. photo courtesy of Calvetta Brothers Stone flooring Stone is a great flooring material for high traffic areas, because of its innate durability. Stone is pretty hard to scratch or damage, and any damage that does occur tends to be hard to see due to color variations and texture. Unlike vinyl or wood, natural stone will hardly ever show a scratch or be dulled, and needs only regular sweeping or vacuuming to look as good as new. If you are considering radiant floor heating for your home, stone is the best material to combine with that type of heating system due to the natural ability of stone to absorb and retain heat (and not absorb moisture). Using stone for walls One might not immediately think of stone as a common wall surface aside from a kitchen backsplash, but walls can be a great use for recycled and salvaged stone. Stone walls, like stone floors, are very resilient, can’t be easily damaged, and don’t show fingerprints and dirt. Stone is also readily recyclable. Old stone buildings can be deconstructed and used for retaining walls , and small flat stones can be repurposed in mosaic wall designs. photo courtesy of MSI Using stone in your bathroom If there’s one room in the home that takes the best advantage of stone’s imperviousness to moisture, it’s the bathroom. From limestone showers, to pebbled shower floors, to slate sinks, to marble countertops, stone is easy to clean, resistant to wear, and in many cases, highly resistant to staining. Stones used for bathroom applications must be pretreated to prevent damage from bath products, cleaning products, and water, and must be resealed regularly. If maintained properly, natural stone is a long term investment that adds luxury, durability and character to any bathroom. Stone in the kitchen Many cooks are more passionate about their counter space than they are about their range, since countertops are where the bulk of the food preparation takes place. Countertops endure daily wear from a range of sharp utensils, spills, extreme temperatures, and mechanical force, causing synthetic materials to wear over time and become dingy. Granite and marble are ideal materials for kitchen countertops because of their sturdiness, imperviousness to moisture and heat, and lack of absorption (which makes them easier to keep clean and hygienic). Very difficult to scratch and easy to wipe down, granite helps keep bacteria at bay, making it the counter material of choice for those who are serious about cooking. Its inherently cool temperature makes it ideal for working on with pastry or pizzas, and a resistance to warping under high heat makes working with hot dishes a breeze. The bottom line is that stone is a great choice throughout any part of a house for durability, quality, low-maintenance and environmental sustainability. To learn more about different types of natural stone, check out the Natural Stone Institute . + Natural Stone Institute Article underwritten by the Natural Stone Institute

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How stone can help you create a more sustainable home

Zaha Hadids Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza focuses on environmental sustainability

November 23, 2016 by  
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Located in Baiyun New Town of Guangzhou , the 167,000-square-meter Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza will serve as the new headquarters of Infinitus (China) Company Ltd . The campus will comprise a collection of modern facilities that include a new global R&D center, a Chinese herbal medicine research and safety assessment center, as well as a corporate exhibition center and gallery. The buildings are arranged in a series of “infinite rings” wrapping around the central atria and courtyards to emphasize open communication, connection, and collaboration. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects to build world’s greenest football stadium The layout and generous amounts of insulated glazing on the facades maximize natural light within the interior, while aluminum perforated screens protect against direct solar heat gain and aid in rainwater collection . The digitally operable screens are equipped with sensors that monitor weather, energy use, and lighting to further reduce energy consumption. Connected walkways with access to ground and roof gardens filled with Chinese herbal plants and flora encourage workers and visitors to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. “Zaha Hadid developed the design of Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza with concepts of integration, connectivity and fluidity,” said Satoshi Ohashi, Zaha Hadid Architects Director in China. “This groundbreaking ceremony continues her renowned legacy. LKKHPG has a vision for nurturing better health and wellbeing through their work and important community programs. Zaha translated this vision to create a new workplace environment and corporate culture that fosters openness and communication. The design connects with the city and implements the latest technological solutions and construction methods to create a functional, adaptable and enjoyable workplace.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Zaha Hadid Architects and Infinitus

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Zaha Hadids Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza focuses on environmental sustainability

Biodegradable ‘Forest Wool’ furniture is made entirely out of pine needles

October 27, 2016 by  
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Eindhoven -based Latvian designer Tamara Orjola researched the potential for the billions of needles left over from the timber industry. She found the dry sharp leaves to be a great alternative for all kinds of fibers including cotton and coir. She transforms them into paper, textiles and composites boards that she then uses for making furniture. The result is an elegant series of no-screw and no-glue stools and carpets that are biodegradable and compostable. Related: Cargill, Shell and Honda Team Up to Make Gasoline from Pine Cones and Corn Husks Turning pine needles into a new raw material for diverse applications takes a few steps but each step is a standard manufacturing technique, so there is no special process required. The steps include collecting, drying, crushing, soaking, steaming, carding, binding and pressing pine needles for tactile, scented designs. ‘Forest Wool’ is currently on show at the Design Academy of Eindhoven graduate show, held as part of Dutch Design Week 2016 at the ‘Dutch City of Light’ . + Tamara Orjola + Design Academy of Eindhoven + Dutch Design Week Photos by Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat and Tamara Orjola

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Biodegradable ‘Forest Wool’ furniture is made entirely out of pine needles

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