A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels

July 9, 2018 by  
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Traveling road warriors Andre and Marissa converted a 2017 Mercedes Sprinter van into a beautiful, chic home on wheels  named the Bluebird for their on-the-go adventures. The solar-powered van’s interior was revamped with reclaimed wood and is now equipped with all of the comforts of home including a queen-sized bed, kitchenette, ample seating space and plenty of storage. The High Top Mercedes Sprinter was strategically retrofitted into an efficient tiny home on wheels. The couple made a space-efficient kitchenette using refurbished wood for cabinets and added a touch of color with a fun mosaic backsplash. The kitchen comes with running water, a propane stove and a 45-quart refrigerator. For extra seating and dining space, the front driver and passenger seats swivel around from the driver’s area. A queen-sized bed is located in the back of the van and surrounded by storage. Related: San Francisco is too expensive – so this couple hit the road in an amazing renovated van Best of all, the Bluebird is outfitted to go off the grid . The couple installed two solar panels that are connected to a Yeti 1250 generator. The van runs almost entirely on solar energy . The tiny home’s energy use is also reduced thanks to LED lights and a set of Thinsulate curtains that help maintain a warm, toasty interior on colder days. In addition to creating an off-grid residence, the couple focused on designing the ultimate adventure home on wheels. The “garage” area under the bed is 36 inches high, so it fits quite a bit of gear for kayaking, rafting, skiing and climbing — there is even a bay for bike storage. There are also various cabinets and cubbies for small equipment like climbing ropes, helmets and shoes. After exploring in the van for a while, Andre and Marissa are now selling their beloved Bluebird for $108k in order to start a new transformation project. + Joyful Vans Via Tiny House Talk Images via Joyful Vans

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A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels

This space-saving tiny home offers sustainable housing atop garages in Sydney

June 18, 2018 by  
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As the housing crisis in Sydney continues to intensify, some are tapping into the real estate potential in the city’s backyards and alleys. In a bid to catalyze the development of ‘laneway studios,’ Surry Hills-based McGregor Westlake Architecture has offered a small and sustainable housing model that builds atop existing garage units. Conceived “to subvert the council norm,” this smart tiny home boasts space-saving features and a striking contemporary design. McGregor Westlake Architecture’s Laneway Studio was developed partly to address the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) reactions to shoddy laneway homes born from poor design and inadequate planning guidelines. In contrast, the architecture firm’s prototype shows how good design can turn a tiny and uninspiring plot into a tiny house that not only feels spacious, but also enjoys access to natural light and privacy. The windows on the east and west allow for natural ventilation, while exterior blinds mitigate solar heat gain — no air conditioning needed. The key to the design is the addition of a standing seam metal mansard roof punctuated by dormer windows. The interior, which measures a mere 269 square feet, is lined with honey-colored Australian Hoop Pine sourced from managed forests paired with a linoleum floor made largely of linseed oil. The tiny home comfortably accommodates two in an efficient layout that stacks the living spaces above the existing garage. An open living area, kitchen and dining space dominate the upper floor plan, and the bedroom and bathroom are tucked behind sliding wood-paneled doors. LED lighting is used throughout the tiny house. The homeowners also enjoy access to a rear courtyard . Related: Efficient SIP Laneway House Pops Up in an Unused Urban Backyard in Vancouver “The project is like a case study for a Laneway Studio or Garage-Top dwelling,” the architects said. “As the need for density and intensity of use grow, the 25sqm footprint is an important sustainable model for the fine-grained pedestrian city. In doubling the height of existing frontages and adding another layer of use along it’s length, this building type has the potential to positively transform lanes toward the qualities of our best streets: active, connected and urbane places.” + McGregor Westlake Architecture Images by Brett Boardman

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This space-saving tiny home offers sustainable housing atop garages in Sydney

These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design

May 30, 2018 by  
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Located just north of Joshua Tree National Park, two tiny cabins clad in weathered steel give off the impression that they’ve been abandoned in the beautiful desert landscape. But, in reality, the Folly Cabins ‘ humble facades conceal a complex system that makes these tiny structures, created by architects Malek Alqadi and Hillary Flur, powerhouses of off-grid design. Alqadi says that he has been fascinated with creating sustainable systems since his days as an architectural student. After visiting the Joshua Tree area, he was inspired to convert his dream into reality by building a pair of tiny houses that operate completely off the grid . Alqadi and Flur bought an abandoned single-story home that dated back to 1954, then began bringing their sustainable vision to life. They built two tiny cabins on the site, keeping them strategically separated to create a void that helps the structures blend into the surrounding environment. Related: Couple converts $7,000 Joshua Tree cabin into a sophisticated desert oasis The architects salvaged the original building’s steel cladding for the project and raised the pitched roof to expand the interior space. The main cabin, which is just 460 square feet, includes a living and dining area, a kitchen, a bathroom and a spacious sleeping loft. Along with adding more space, the high ceilings enable hot air to pass through the tiny homes’  solar-powered skylights . The smaller cabin has a ladder on its side that leads up to an open-air terrace, or “stargazing portal.” This beautiful little space is equipped with a heated queen-sized bed and is the perfect place to watch the stars in between sunset and sunrise. There is also a mini-fridge, a movie projector and bio-ethanol fireplace for guests to enjoy. The tiny cabins are powered by a freestanding “solar tree” that Alqadi and Flur assembled by themselves. “We dug a seven-foot hole to reinforce the solar tree. There was no way we were climbing up twenty feet to put panels on the roof in the desert sun in the middle of summer,” said Alqadi. “We could have dug a well,” he added, “but there was no promise we’d find water. So I spent my money on something we could rely on—using the sun as our utility company.” A open-air deck with a firepit juts out from the two tiny houses, providing an ideal space for guests to enjoy the spectacular night skies of Joshua Tree. The deck also has an outdoor rain shower and a soaking tub, which are both connected to the property’s greywater system . The Folly cabins are available for rent for short-term stays throughout the year. Although they are meant to be a place to completely disconnect, the tiny homes do have some modern amenities guests can choose to use. Alqadi says that the cabin’s design is “about allowing people to experience sustainability” and that he “added amenities and technologies, like Wi-Fi, to stay connected, but you have the option to completely disconnect and enjoy nature.” + Folly Folly Cabins + Malek Alqadi Via Dwell Photography by Sam Frost Studio and Brayden McEwan

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These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design

Hawaii’s Kilauea is creating its own weather

May 30, 2018 by  
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Volcanoes can “make their own weather ,” according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) — and the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii is doing just that. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists have observed what are called pyrocumulus clouds, which could possibly turn unstable and cause thunderstorms, over the Kilauea fissure system in Leilani Estates. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Did you know that volcanoes can make their own weather? #HVO scientists are beginning to observe "pyrocumulus" clouds… Posted by USGS Volcanoes on  Monday, May 28, 2018 Pyrocumulus clouds, or flammagenitus clouds or fire clouds, are often caused by fires. Digging into the science behind the clouds above Kilauea, USGS said they form “when intense heating of the air from the ground induces convection, which causes the air mass to rise to a point of stability, usually in the presence of moisture (which condenses and forms the cloud).” Related: 1,000-foot-long fissure opens on Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano amid fears of an explosive eruption USGS shared a photograph on Facebook of a pyrocumulus cloud above Kilauea’s Fissure 8, and said there was another such cloud above the volcano’s Lower East Rift Zone. That cloud rose up to an estimated 3.7 miles, and they said it was described as “tightly roiling and set apart from other stratus clouds.” In a recent status update , USGS said Fissure 8 fountained as high as 200 feet into the air. Volcanic gas emissions from Kilauea are still high due to fissure eruptions. Since trade winds could return in upcoming days, vog — or smog with volcanic dust and gases — could impact the southern and western sides of the Big Island. Everyday, a team of #USGS scientists canvass areas along Kilauea Volcano’s east Lower Rift Zone. #science #KilaueaErupts #volcano pic.twitter.com/wCug0tF8eF — USGS (@USGS) May 30, 2018 The USGS also said Pele’s hair — threads of volcanic glass named after the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes — “and other lightweight volcanic glass from high fountaining of Fissure 8 are being transported downwind and falling to the west of the fissure…Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.” + USGS Volcanoes Facebook + USGS Kilauea Updates Via Earther Image via U.S. Geological Survey

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How one couple adapted a 204-square-foot tiny house for their new baby

February 7, 2018 by  
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What’s it like to live in a 204-square-foot space with a baby? Samantha and Robert Garlow of SHEDsistence know, and they’re sharing their story. After designing and constructing their SHED tiny house in Yakima, Washington , the couple moved into it with their cat in early 2016. Then they welcomed their first baby, Aubrin, last year. Sounds pretty tight, right? We checked in with Robert to get the low-down on their experience living with a tiny baby in a tiny home. Over 14 months, the Garlows designed and built their tiny house , working mostly during weekends. They moved in on January 31, 2016. Robert told Inhabitat, “We were tired of throwing money away in the form of rent and we had no interest in taking on a 30-year mortgage in addition to our six-figure student loan debt. A tiny house was mentioned as a joke until we began to realize it would help us achieve many of our goals and we liked the challenging idea of designing, building, and living in a tiny space. At the end of the day we knew it would be a memorable experience that we would learn a lot from and those are the best projects to take on.” Related: Meet the Tiny House Family Who Built an Amazing Mini Home for Just $12,000 Their 24-foot long, eight-foot-six-inch-wide, 13-foot-five-inch-tall tiny home includes a bathroom, living area, and kitchen, with a loft above. The stairs to reach the loft include storage , and they also dedicated 24 square feet for a storage room for their outdoor gear. They spent around $30,000 on materials. “Our mindset as to what is possible has changed,” Robert told Inhabitat. “What we expected to be a challenge has been effortless and rather than ‘surviving’ this experiment we are thriving. The biggest takeaway has been that good design makes all the difference. Careful, custom design based on the inhabitants’ ergonomics, needs, and aesthetics is paramount to making a space the size of many peoples’ master bathrooms a fully functioning home for a family. Everything has a place and a purpose (or two). We have everything we need and nothing that we don’t, which has led to an incredible liberating experience we hadn’t know beforehand.” But what happens when you have a baby in said tiny home? The Garlows made a few changes to welcome baby Aubrin, such as a loft net and door – with space for their cat to travel in and out. For sleeping, they started with a bedside bassinet and have since created a loft crib . Aubrin is now over eight months old. On their blog , the Garlows pointed out they’ve only ever raised a baby in a tiny house – “and without anything to compare it to, we have nothing but positive things to report. There is great peace of mind in knowing that we are raising our daughter in the cleanest, most healthy house we have ever lived in and the ability to always keep an eye on her is an added bonus.” The Garlows have used the tiny house to “ design the life we wanted ” – living in their tiny space enabled them to take extended parental leave, and Robert has been able to work from home and raise their baby. What about when Aubrin gets a little bigger? In a blog post , the couple said they’d utilize the tiny house for as long as it works for them, and then perhaps repurpose it as necessary. If they decide to move out of SHED tiny house, they said they could use it as studio or guesthouse, to name a few options. When asked what advice he’d give to people considering switching to a tiny home, Garlow told Inhabitat, “Commit to it. Tiny houses are an amazing life hack; a tool that can unlock incredible opportunities that would otherwise not be possible for many people, family or not.” He also recommended people custom design their homes to work for them – and construct them if possible, saying, “Not only do you save a lot of money but you gain an incredible experience and wealth of new knowledge throughout the process.” You can learn more about the Garlows’ journey here . They recently released the second edition of their book, Built With Our Hands , with a long appendix about their two years of calling the tiny house home, and the small things they’d change. You can order it here to read more and see their floor plans. + SHEDsistence + SHEDsistence Book: Built With Our Hands + SHEDsistence Facebook + SHEDsistence Instagram Images courtesy of Samantha and Robert Garlow/SHED tiny house ( 1 , 2 )

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How one couple adapted a 204-square-foot tiny house for their new baby

Build you own terrarium with Tom Dixons gorgeous glass vessels

February 7, 2018 by  
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Tom Dixon keeps on delighting us with his brilliant designs – from renovations of historic buildings to amazing lamps and even a brilliant IKEA collab . Now, Dixon is unveiling his PLANT collection, comprised of beautiful terrarium vessels which you can customize with your own floral arrangements. Each of the mouth-blown vessels has a distinct double-headed form that allows you to create beautiful micro- ecosystems . No two pieces are the same. Variations in the glass, from thickness to shape, contribute a truly unique vessel made to showcase the qualities of contemporary craftsmanship and freedom of form. Related: Tom Dixon’s Converted Water Tower in London is a Modernist Home in the Sky—and it’s Up for Rent! The designer’s website also features a visual “how-to” guide for people to create their own terrariums by using a combination of small rocks that collect water drainage, soil made for succulents and a variety of smaller plants. The PLANT collection is already available online and starts at $165. + Tom Dixon Via Cool Hunting

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Build you own terrarium with Tom Dixons gorgeous glass vessels

San Jose city council approves tiny home village for homeless

December 13, 2017 by  
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San Jose has been struggling with homelessness , and think they have an answer: tiny homes . The City Council recently voted nine to two approving a pilot program to construct a 40-unit tiny house village . Architecture firm Gensler unveiled two design concepts created pro-bono for the city earlier this month, with houses designed to be both aesthetically attractive and efficient. San Jose’s city council just approved a year-long tiny home village program. Elected officials must now determine three potential sites for the pilot. The idea was suggested around a year ago, and would offer 80- to 140-square foot shelters in what are called Bridge Housing Communities. San Jose seems to view the housing as an interim solution, referring to the shelters as emergency sleeping cabins . Around 25 people could dwell in each community, and The Mercury News said the city aims to have a village in each of the 10 city council districts. Related: Dutch studio unveils colorful solar-powered village for area homeless Gensler offered two designs, one called Folding Home and the other Better Together. A small bed, locking door, and windows could be features of the tiny homes. The city also said each site could have community bathrooms and showers, a cooking facility, common areas, and case management onsite to help residents. Some elected leaders have criticized the city’s plan for its cost: $73,125 per tiny house for 40 units. Some people have suggested sanctioned encampments as an alternative, but others argued against legal tent cities in Silicon Valley. Nonprofit Destination: Home executive director Jennifer Loving told The Mercury News, “Sleeping in a tent outside is not the best we can do. We have to start somewhere and a home, even temporary, is better than a tent on the ground.” + Gensler Via The Mercury News ( 1 , 2 ) and the City of San Jose ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Gensler/City of San Jose

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San Jose city council approves tiny home village for homeless

The Farallon is a tiny farmhouse-style home you can take wherever you go

April 3, 2017 by  
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We’ve written before about Tumbleweed Tiny House Company , which handcrafts tiny dwellings for people interested in exploring low-impact living. One of our favorite designs is the new Farallon RV with a classic farmhouse aesthetic. Not only is this tiny home a beauty to behold, but it can also connect to standard RV water and electric hookups, making it a breeze to set up. The Farallon comes in several different styles with multiple floor plans, ranging from 218 to 292 square feet of usable space. Up to six people can sleep comfortably in the home, depending on the options a customer selects—most floor plans include a loft large enough for a queen-sized bed and an option to include an additional bedroom or second loft. All of the designs include the standard appliances you’d expect in a home, like a fridge, stove, heater and air conditioner, washer and dryer, water heater and shower. The RV can be set up to function off the grid or to use propane, while the bathroom can be equipped with a composting toilet or low-flush toilet to reduce waste. Related: 7 Teensy Tiny Tumbleweed Homes for Small-Space Living But perhaps the best part of the Farallon is how it’s modeled after standard RVs, allowing it to be towed by most trucks. Tumbleweed is making it easier than ever for tiny home lovers to easily pick up and move anywhere recreational vehicles are allowed. If you’ve ever taken a long-distance road trip and found yourself pining for your own bed, you can now take your home with you. The Farallon starts at $62,950 for the 20-foot floor plan or $72,950 for the 26-foot plan (and yes, Tumbleweed does offer payment plans). For an additional fee, you can customize it with added skylights, a sliding screen, and a variety of interior finishes. Additional lighting, ceiling fans, a media center, or built-in desk can all be customized when you place your order, among many other options. If you’re the work at home type, you can even set up a room to use as an office . No matter what design you choose, everything is beautifully finished in the hardwood. + Farallon Tiny Home

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The Farallon is a tiny farmhouse-style home you can take wherever you go

Genius elevator bed slides vertically on rails to maximize space in Alaskan tiny home

February 24, 2017 by  
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Ana White , a self-taught carpenter in Alaska, has built a number of impressive tiny homes . But her latest project literally takes her craft to a new level. In keeping with her client’s request for an open and airy space, Ana built an ‘elevator bed’ that slides vertically on rails with just a touch of a button. White’s client for the tiny home design requested that interior of the compact 24-foot-long, 8-foot-wide space be as open as possible. This challenged her to find space for the bed when not in use. As a stroke of space-saving genius, for just $500, she installed the bed on vertical rails using hardware from a garage door system. At the touch of a button, the bed slides up and down on the rails and is held in place by pins drilled into the wall. When not in use, the bed is lifted to almost ceiling height, and the sofa underneath, which also opens up into a guest bed, becomes a comfortable lounge space. Related: Missouri community is building 50 tiny homes for homeless veterans https://youtu.be/lHjJd4tkvSU Additional space-saving techniques are installed throughout the home. Storage nooks were custom created in virtually every corner, leaving no space unused. Almost all of the furniture has been created to be multi-use, including wooden box footrests that can be used as coffee tables, guest seating, and storage bins. Even the lids pull double duty as lap desks for laptops or serving trays. Additional features include a lateral shelving unit that runs the length of the large window, which provides optimal natural light . The storage shelves underneath are covered custom-made sliding barn doors that can be propped up to use as work space or dining area. In the kitchen, more sliding features include a cereal cabinet, and a beautiful barn door that separates the kitchen from the bathroom, which has a composting toilet . The closet space is also built on rails, and slides into the shower stall when not in use. + Ana White Via Treehugger Images via Ana White

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Genius elevator bed slides vertically on rails to maximize space in Alaskan tiny home

Germany’s environmental ministry nixes meat, fish at official functions

February 24, 2017 by  
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The German equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency is saying yes to sauerkraut, no to bratwurst—officially, at least. Barbara Hendricks, minister for the environment, announced last week that the Umweltbundesamt , Germany’s federal environmental arm, will serve neither meat nor fish at state events. She cited as a reason the inordinate environmental burden they pose on the environment, especially in the case of livestock farming, which studies show generate more greenhouse-gas emissions than transportation. This isn’t a novel stance for the ministry. In 2009, the Umweltbundesamt counseled Germans to return to the prewar tradition of eating meat only on special occasions, if not for their health, then for the sake of the planet. “We must rethink our high meat consumption,” said then–environment minister Andreas Troge. “I recommend people return to the Sunday roast and to an orientation of their eating habits around those of Mediterranean countries.” A nation that offers hundreds of varieties of sausage may not be so easily swayed, however. Germans consume a lot of meat—about 60 kilograms (132 pounds) per capita per year, according to some estimates . Unsurprisingly, Henrick’s pronouncement has already drawn criticism, with one political rival accusing the minister of “nanny-statism” and forcing vegetarianism on people. “I’m not having this Veggie Day through the back door,” said Christian Schmidt, minister of food and agriculture. “I believe in diversity and freedom of choice, not nanny-statism and ideology. Instead of paternalism and ideology. Meat and fish are also part of a balanced diet.” A member of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union party, Schmidt previously called for a ban on giving meat substitutes names like “vegetarian schnitzel” and “vegetarian sausage” because they are “completely misleading and unsettle consumers.” Infographic: The true environmental cost of eating meat He also censured German schools for eliminating pork from the menu out of consideration for Muslim students. “We should not restrict the choice for the majority of society for reasons of ease or cost,” he said. Meanwhile, Hendricks’s detractors have dismissed her a hypocrite, since meat and fish will still be offered in the staff cafeteria. “The ban only applies to a handful of guests, not to 1,200 employees,” said Gitta Conneman, a senior minister from the Christian Democratic Union. “This is pure ideology, a ‘people’s education’ for the diet.” But, at least for now, the environment ministry isn’t budging. “We’re not telling anyone what they should eat,” it said in a statement. “But we want to set a good example for climate protection, because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish.” Via ThinkProgress Photos by Marco Verch and Oliver Hallmann

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