A 6-foot-tall man lives comfortably in this custom tiny home

September 12, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen tiny homes built for a number of distinct uses, such as homes for veterans , students and families. But one “large” group has been left out of the movement — until now. The Light Haus is a tiny home on wheels custom-built for a couple, including a man who is over six feet tall. Designed by Vina Lustado from Sol Haus Design , the light-filled home has an interior height of 6’8″. Going vertical didn’t mean sacrificing on space or style; the house has two separate offices, tons of storage space, a luxurious bathroom with a rainfall shower and even special access for the couple’s cat. Anna and Kevin approached Vina with their hopes of finding a tiny home on wheels that would be comfortable for Kevin’s height, but still provide the amenities of a traditional home. By creating a height clearance of 6’8″, there would be ample room for him to stand up, but that wasn’t sufficient when it came to creating a spacious living area. Therefore, the solution was to extend the structure horizontally to 24 feet long, which added much-needed space. The living space is flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of windows, especially the multiple clerestory windows that wrap around the home’s upper level. The layout has a central living area with a compact kitchen on one side. On the adjacent wall, stairs with hidden storage lead up to the sleeping loft. Again, space efficiency was essential here, so there is a whopping 4’6″ of space above the loft. Related: This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five A light color palette and custom-made, multi-functional furniture give the space a fresh, modern aesthetic. Ample storage in every nook and cranny helps keep the space clutter-free. Adding to the healthy atmosphere is the fact that the tiny home was built with non-toxic materials . + Vina Lustado Via Tiny House Talk Images via Vina’s Tiny House

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A 6-foot-tall man lives comfortably in this custom tiny home

Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

September 12, 2018 by  
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Design students Timm Bergmann and Jonas Becker (now Studio Politaire ) decided to put their learned knowledge to the test by building an off-grid cabin in a remote area of Finland. Not only did they build the stunning 280-square-feet cabin from scratch with their own hands, but they stuck to a modest budget of just $14,000, proving once again that great design can be affordable. Bergmann and Becker were both halfway through their studies when they decided to build the off-grid cabin as a project for their dissertations. The determined duo found the perfect building location on an undeveloped forest plot in Finland. Before construction on the project started, they carefully studied the area and its terrain. “There was no electricity or water. No path led to the plot,” Bergmann explained. “We carried out a soil analysis and drew up a design based on the results, under the supervision of architect Jan Kampshoff.” The students scraped together just $14,000 to complete the project, obligating them to do 100 percent of the work — with a little help from their friends. Although the modest budget was seen as an obstacle at first, they soon realized that by doing the labor themselves , they were able to enjoy a certain flexibility when it came to making changes quickly. “As we built everything ourselves, we not only cut costs, but we were also able to make changes along the way,” Bergmann said. “As a result, we extended the terrace, built the roof ourselves after all — contrary to the initial plan — and made the stovepipes ourselves.” Because of the remote location, the young designers spent the first weeks building an elevated wooden walkway that stretched 650 feet in length. Building supplies were delivered from their base camp via tractor before carrying the rest of the materials by hand on the walkway. Related: Norwegian cabin weathers a harsh climate for breathtaking views The frame of the home was placed on a foundation of galvanized water pipes that a local contractor welded together. Apart from the pipes, the rest of the home was built using as many  natural materials as possible, keeping non-essentials to a minimum. The modular frame was built out of local lumber pieces, with walls built from plywood boards. Although it gives off a purely minimalist aesthetic at first glance, the design behind the 280-square-foot cabin is quite complex. The structure is comprised of four staggered volumes, strategically placed to provide distinct views from every angle. According to Becker, the cabin’s windows are double-paned and installed in solid wood frames to insulate the home during Finland’s harsh winters. Inside, the rooms are arranged for efficiency. The layout includes a small kitchen and living space with a bedroom and sauna in the back. Although the duo built many of the home’s features themselves, such as the bedroom cabinetry, most of the furnishings were taken from Bergmann’s grandparents’ home, giving an extra personal touch to the design. The house is 100 percent off-grid and has no electricity. A small, metal wood-burning stove and a sauna stove manage to heat the interior, and there is a detached outhouse with a composting toilet just steps away. Currently, the home is also without running water, but the ambitious builders are working on building a water filtration system that would use water from the nearby lake. + Studio Politaire Via Houzz Photography by Andre Boettcher Photography

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Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

Look out, meat industry – flexitarianism is on the rise

August 29, 2018 by  
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With all of the meatless options on the market, it’s not surprising that flexitarianism is on the rise. Unlike vegetarians , who completely exclude meat from their diet, flexitarians simply cut down on how much meat they eat on a weekly basis. This raises an important question: What are the benefits of eating less meat? Related: Vegetarian diets could help avert one-third of early deaths, new research finds Research has found a correlation between eating less meat and losing weight. Flexitarian diets can also help prevent certain health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. Given these health benefits , adopting a flexitarian diet can be beneficial, especially if you’re concerned with gaining weight or have a history of diabetes and high blood pressure in your family. Flexitarianism is also easier to get into than vegetarianism. Cutting meat out of a few meals a week is much more doable than eliminating meat altogether. Although some vegetarians have a negative attitude towards flexitarianism – which they view as cheating – it is on the rise around the world. In fact, the amount of vegetarian products available in supermarkets has doubled since 2009, and that trend is not slowing down. Last year, the vegetarian industry sold over $3 billion worth of products, an eight percent increase from the previous year. Not everyone in the United States is convinced, however. While flexitarianism has many health benefits, the majority of people around the country believe meals should include meat in some capacity. People under 50 years of age are also more likely to follow a flexitarian or vegetarian diet, as are individuals who make $30,000 a year or less. People older than 50 and those who earn over $70,000 are not likely to follow a meat-less diet. Lastly, conservatives are less likely to adopt a meat-free diet or cut down on meat consumption than are liberals. Despite these challenges, flexitarianism is on the rise and we can only hope that that trend continues into the future. Via The Washington Post

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Look out, meat industry – flexitarianism is on the rise

Infographic: Food Waste in the US

August 24, 2018 by  
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In the United States, we waste between 30 to 40 … The post Infographic: Food Waste in the US appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: Food Waste in the US

After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over

August 8, 2018 by  
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After more than three months of continuous eruption, Mount Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island has finally stopped emitting lava. At the base of Kilauea, fissure 8 has been the longest lasting and most destructive of the two dozen fissures that formed throughout the eruption, and its lava flow is now coming to a halt. United States Geological Survey (USGS)  announced Monday, “This morning’s overflight crew saw a weak to moderately active bubbling lava lake within the fissure 8 cone, a weak gas plume and a completely crusted lava channel.” The Halema’uma’u crater deflations have also slowed down, and the Pu’u ‘O’o vent has reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions, revealing magma within the crater to be at very low levels. But it is still unknown whether activity from Kilauea has subsided completely. “In 1955, there was an eruption that went on for 88 days, and it did include two shutdowns of five and 16 days, so that’s a model for what might be happening,” said Tina Neal, chief scientist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory . “It could be weeks or months before we feel comfortable calling the eruption and the summit collapse over.” Related: Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii’s coastline with the birth of a new island The fissure has been responsible for spurts of deadly magma of over 200 feet and rare volcanic tornadoes of lava , fire, smoke and ash suspended in the air. All in all, the destruction has claimed more than 700 homes. Impending Hurricane Hector is expected to hit the Big Island next, where heavy rainfall could create a “white out” zone as the rain hits the molten lava and creates plumes of steam and sulfur dioxide. + USGS Via Reuters , New York Times and Maui Now Images via U.S. Geological Survey

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After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over

Escape to the Redwoods in this recently renovated Sea Ranch timber cabin

August 8, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in The Sea Ranch community, here’s your chance to spend the night in one of the original mid-century cabins recently restored by Oakland-based design practice Framestudio . Originally designed by San Francisco Bay area architect Joseph Esherick in 1968, the Timber Ridge Sea Ranch Cabin was created as part of Demonstration Homes, a project led by developer Oceanic to show how the local design guidelines could produce a beautiful and low-cost getaway. Renovated last year, the 684-square-foot timber cabin is available for short-term rentals on Esherick MiniMod . Set amidst a forest of towering redwood trees in the historic south end of The Sea Ranch, the compact timber cabin — dubbed the Esherick MiniMod — is a peaceful getaway. Framestudio sensitively modernized the three-level cabin while preserving its historic elements; the structure is one of the few remaining Demonstration Homes that’s still close to its original state. Priorities included an updated galley kitchen, increased capacity to sleep a total of six and secure storage areas. “Framestudio developed a scheme which restored many of the original details, hallmarks of Esherick’s design, using wood which had been reclaimed from alterations not original to the design,” the project statement reads. “New interventions were conceived to contrast in color from the historic framework of the home, but constructed from materials suitable for the age of the home.” Related: Wooden Sea Ranch Cabin is nestled in a Californian redwood forest The home’s open-plan nature was preserved, but the layout of the two adjoining bedrooms can be manipulated with a new full-height partition that divides the sleeping area into two separate sections and slides away when not in use. For extra storage, the bedroom alcoves were updated with blue laminate cupboards. Framestudio also added a built-in sofa that includes extra storage and a pullout queen-sized bed. Rates at the Esherick MiniMod begin at $120 per night . + Framestudio + Esherick MiniMod Images by Drew Kelly

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Escape to the Redwoods in this recently renovated Sea Ranch timber cabin

Recycling Mystery: Clothing

August 8, 2018 by  
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We have a clothing problem in the United States and … The post Recycling Mystery: Clothing appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Egypt set to open its first solar farm – and it’s the largest in the world

August 2, 2018 by  
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Egypt has long relied on environmentally taxing fossil fuels. Over 90% of electricity is generated from oil and natural gas, and the country subsidizes fossil fuels , making them a cheap option for its 96 million citizens. However, Egypt’s government plans to change courses and put itself on the clean energy map with the inauguration of the world’s largest solar park. Dubbed the  Benban complex , it is under construction in Egypt’s Western Desert and set to open next year. Located 400 miles south of Cairo, the $2.8-billion project will single-handedly revolutionize energy supply for the nation, and none too soon. The World Health Organization recently named Cairo the second most polluted large city on the planet. The Egyptian government, in response, aims to nearly halve its natural gas consumption and provide at least 42% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. Investment in Egypt’s  clean energy  market has increased by 500% since the announcement. Related: The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens this week The country’s prospects look good, says Benjamin Attia, solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie , an energy research and consultancy firm based in the United States. “I can’t think of another example where so many big players have come together to fill the gap,” he stated, referring to the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in supporting the Benban complex. The IMF has backed a reform program that aims to rescue the country’s economy, and scaling back fossil fuels is one part of it. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has unequivocally encouraged the country’s environmental push, inaugurating other big electricity projects, including the creation of wind power farms in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Suez. Several nations have aided with the initiative, including the United States, which is helping to train hundreds of employees in wind and solar energy at local technical schools in Egypt. The Benban complex’s 30 solar plants will be operated by 4,000 workers and generate as much as 1.8 gigawatts of electricity, which will in turn provide energy to hundreds of thousands of residences and business operations. + Benban Complex + WHO Via The LA Times

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Egypt set to open its first solar farm – and it’s the largest in the world

Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

August 1, 2018 by  
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Retrofitting an old house into a Passive House is a challenging feat to say the least, but when done right, it can be amazing. When Bo and Itzy decided to turn their old Victorian home in Brooklyn into a passive home, they took on the ambitious project with help from NYC-based firm  ZH Architects . The result is  powerhouse of energy-efficiency, redesigned and revamped for healthy living. Although the number of new passive home projects continues to grow, retrofitting old structures to fit Passive House requirements is still a massive undertaking rife with complications. In an interview with the architects, Bo explained that one of the biggest hurdles of their home renovation was making the space airtight. Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs “Most passive houses have been either newly built or brownstone/townhouse conversions,” Bo said. “It’s a lot easier to get this right when dealing with a rectangular box or only two exposed walls with a flat roof. With an old Victorian home like ours, there are nooks and crannies everywhere. The hardest part is really getting the house airtight, so you need to work both from the inside and the out taking great care that you don’t have any air infiltration or gaps. We used an Intello vapor barrier on the inside of the attic and a Zip System on the exterior.” The home currently has an air tightness of about 0.29 ACH (air changes per hour) which, according to the architects, is a world record for a retro-fit building. Insulation was a big factor in creating an energy-efficient living space. The architects wrapped the home in extra layers of thick, eco-friendly insulation and installed high-performance windows to create a sealed envelope. Despite New York’s bitterly cold winters and severe summer heat, the interior will sustain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. To complement this level of comfort, the interior design is light and airy, with white walls and hardwood flooring to create an inviting space. For Bo and Itzy, having a passive home was not only about monetary and energy savings , but also to focus on creating a healthy living atmosphere. Along with the home’s many efficient features, the renovation avoided all VOC paints and harmful chemicals. Instead of using polyurethane for the flooring, they went with a natural Scandinavian lye treatment which includes using a natural mixture of oil and soap. The home was also installed with Energy Star-rated appliances, solar roof tiles  and LED lighting . Of course, the process did mean making quite a few tough decisions about the home’s original features. For Itzy, the idea of getting rid of the large chimney was daunting, but by doing so, they were able to create an extra room in the attic. As another perk, they were able to install a wine cellar in the basement that uses an innovative concept for cooling. The heat pump water heater in the basement, which draws in warm air and blows out cool air, was redesigned to blow that cooler air into the wine cellar to keep the bottles cool. With this Passive House project complete, the residents and the architects hope to inspire others to take the time to retrofit old buildings for energy efficiency. + ZH Architects Images via ZH Architects

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Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

Air pollution levels in national parks rival those of major US cities

July 23, 2018 by  
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Bad news for national park lovers: a new study published in Science Advances  has found that many national parks have levels of of air pollution on par with major US cities. In parks such as Sequoia, Acadia, and Joshua tree, toxic ozone levels breaching the safe limit set by the EPA rivaled those found in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, which has the worst air quality rating of cities in the United States. While the number of dangerous pollution days has fallen for both cities and parks since the 1990 enactment of the Clean Air Act and the EPA’s Regional Haze Rule of 1999, experts are pressing for more regulation after this week’s findings. National parks see an 8% decline in visitor numbers, on average, in months recording two to three days of bad air quality. The statistics suggest that many of the parks’ guests choose to come not only for the sights, but for their health as well. And, while some have criticized Regional Haze Rule regulations, study co-author Ivan Rudik disagrees. An assistant professor at Cornell University, Rudik stated that “some of the arguments that people are making against the Regional Haze Rule are that the benefits are basically zero, that these visibility rules don’t matter much or maybe the health improvements are overstated. But if you look at what people actually do, they clearly do care.” Related: UN creates a new global climate change coalition Recent years have seen record-breaking numbers of visitors to national parks, yet another reason to reevaluate government standards when it comes to air pollution. Speaking to The Associated Press, Rudik remarked that “even though the national parks are supposed to be icons of a pristine landscape, quite a lot of people are being exposed to ozone levels that could be detrimental to their health.” + Science Advances Via Ecowatch Images via Shutterstock

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