Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

August 9, 2018 by  
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Few homes undergo the trials and tribulations of Boston Villa – and fewer still receive a gorgeous renovation that also wins an architectural prize. But in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne, Australia, that’s exactly what happened. For years, Boston Villa stood abandoned, serving as a shelter for indigent wanderers. Even after Nest Architects ‘ clients Dean and Lisa saw promise in the property, someone set it on fire halfway into the preliminary stages of the rebuilding process. The couple remained undaunted, however, and Nest Architects forged ahead with the overhaul, creating a beautiful, light-filled home with numerous energy-saving and sustainable features. For the project’s first phase, the architects tore down walls to let natural light and air flow freely through the space. This demolition also opened up views of courtyards and created light sources throughout the structure. Skylights illuminate the laundry room and bathroom, louvered windows let filtered light brighten the children’s bedrooms, and an enormous glazed glass wall brings the glow of sunlight into the study, guest room, dining room, kitchen and living spaces. Rustic timber columns and beams accentuate this wall and help it harmonize with the rest of the home’s aesthetic. Two large windows flanked by striking Victorian brickwork highlight the front of the structure. Related: Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain Because the clients wanted a sustainable home as well, Nest Architects included a number of features that reduce the house’s overall footprint. The concrete slab foundation effectively controls heat loss, and internal thermal blinds coupled with low-E glass fend off heat from the sun. The architects used recycled fittings and fixtures in every room; additionally, all the plywood and timber came from recycled sources. Low-voltage lighting and appliances with five-star energy ratings further reduce the amount of electricity consumed. Boston Villa won the Victorian Institute of Architects Award in the Alterations and Additions Category in 2011. + Nest Architects Images via Jesse Marlow

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Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

Modern LEED Gold home embraces outdoor entertaining in Aspen

August 7, 2018 by  
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Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood is best known for its ornate Victorian houses, but one residence in particular is turning heads for its modern, award-winning design and LEED Gold certification. Local firm Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design designed the ground-up home — dubbed “Game On” — that splits a historic landmark lot with a neighboring late-19th-century home. The new residence incorporates environmentally friendly and energy-efficient features throughout, from its solar roof tiles on the garage to its sustainably harvested materials palette. Constructed with a traditional gabled form and front porch that mirrors the surrounding architecture, Game On stands out from its neighbors with its clean lines and white-painted exterior. The 4,291-square-foot abode’s contextual design earned approval from Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission. The minimal design approach carries over to the restrained landscaping as well. “Inspired by the residential vernacular of Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood, this home brings a sense of clarity and elegance to a traditionally ornate Victorian form,” the architecture firm said. “With the clients’ personal and professional lifestyle in mind, the design is intended to accommodate a large number of guests for entertaining yet provides a sense of intimacy for private relaxation. The open plan connects the indoor and outdoor spaces with seamless lift and slide pocket doors. Interiors feature custom built-in and floating furnishings and custom fixtures.” Related: Solar-powered mountain home is a sustainable prototype for Aspen development In additional to solar roof tiles , Game On minimizes its energy footprint with a highly efficient mechanical system, radiant in-slab heating and heat loss control. The sustainable water strategy includes high-efficiency fixtures and an irrigation system as well as a bocce ball court in the backyard that collects and filters all stormwater runoff. The interior is dressed in natural and recycled materials with no VOC paints for a healthy indoor environment. + Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design Images via Brent Moss Photography

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Modern LEED Gold home embraces outdoor entertaining in Aspen

The warmest ocean temperature in a century was just recorded in California

August 7, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have recorded the warmest sea surface temperature in more than a hundred years near a pier in San Diego. The Institute, affiliated with the University of California, San Diego, has been collecting data on sea surface temperatures at the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier since 1916. The 2018 level surpassed an unusual 1931 record by 0.2 degrees, coming in at a whopping 78.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Related: Ocean heatwaves have risen by more than 50% since 1925 According to a press release from Scripps , “the ocean region off Southern California has been experiencing anomalously warm temperatures for the past week, and other observational networks farther off the coast have reported record or near-record temperatures as well.” The continuous rise in temperature will have serious implications for sea life and marine ecosystems. For example, it could help create a toxic algae bloom, such as the one that spread along the north Pacific coast in 2014, altering the biodiversity of the area indefinitely. This bloom had a devastating impact on sea lions and other marine mammal groups, closed fisheries, and pushed species of jellyfish and stingrays further inward to shore, causing a perilous domino effect of altered food chains. In 2015, El Niño significantly altered water temperature levels off the coast of California . However, after such environmental phenomena, seawater temperatures are supposed to return to historical averages. This time, it never happened. “It really is weird,” explained Scripps research scientist Clarissa Anderson in an interview with NPR. “We have different records going back decades and while [our ocean water] temperature is tightly connected with the equator, we’re now seeing [temperatures] stabilize at the equator while temperatures in southern California keep going up.” According to researchers, the record temperature is yet another sign of the mounting effects of climate change . + Scripps Institute Via NPR

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The warmest ocean temperature in a century was just recorded in California

Hood River retreat boasts minimal environmental impact

August 7, 2018 by  
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Lovers of the Columbia River Gorge will swoon over this beautiful vacation retreat perched right on Neal Creek, just an hour outside Portland, Oregon. Designed by Portland -based practice Paul McKean Architecture to embrace the outdoors, this two-bedroom weekend getaway was crafted to maximize valley and water views while minimizing impact on the natural environment. The owners—both outdoor enthusiasts—sought an environmentally friendly home that they now serves as a vacation rental available for all to rent . To minimize site impact, Paul McKean Architecture raised the habitable part of the home to one full floor above grade, creating a top-heavy form with elevated views of the creek and treetop canopy. Set atop a concrete plinth, the second level is clad in horizontal planks of timber. “Their wooded two-acre parcel of land presented many unique challenges including wetlands, creek protection setbacks, and floodplain restrictions,” explains the architecture in a project statement. “Lifting the main space protects the house from potential flooding and brush fire damage while making way for a covered outdoor patio and much needed gear storage below. At the uppermost level, a future planted roof will replace the landscape lost to the building footprint and reduces heat gain to the interior spaces.” Related: Spend the night in this magical Hobbit House tucked into the Washington shire Completed in 2008 for a project budget of $185,000, the weekend retreat spans 960 square feet. However, full-height glazing and white walls give the home a more spacious feel than its size lets on. The two bedrooms include two queen beds, while two twin beds can be added to the hallway; the retreat can sleep a total of six people. The year-round nightly rate at the Neal Creek Retreat starts at $230. + Paul McKean Architecture Images by Stephen Tamiesie

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Hood River retreat boasts minimal environmental impact

Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

August 7, 2018 by  
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This summer’s deadly heatwaves in Japan  have caused government and Olympic officials to consider the benefits of adopting daylight savings time for the  2020 Summer Olympics to ensure athlete safety. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered his ruling party to consider what impacts a two hour shift forward would have on the country after backlash on social media followed the announcement. Adopting daylight savings time would allow events such as the marathon to be scheduled in the cooler morning hours. Masa Takaya, spokesperson for the 2020 games, urged the time push, saying it would also “help protect the environment and realize a low-carbon society in Japan,” alongside other efforts to add more plant life and heat-inhibiting pavements in the city. Although the time shift would provide both energy-saving and safety measures in the face of climate change , many citizens are protesting that the change would result in longer working hours for them. This is not a light claim made by the Japanese labor force, as a 2017 report by BBC News revealed that most individuals in the nation clock in more than 80 hours of overtime each month. Related: Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones Japan has not used the daylight savings system since the U.S. Occupation following World War II from 1948 until 1952. The event, a sour subject for many Japanese, also impeded initiatives during the 1970s and early 2000s to return to the system in the hopes of conserving energy in the country. The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to be held in Tokyo from July 24 until August 9, 2020, followed by the Paralympics from August 25 until September 6. As these are typically the hottest months of the year and likely to become hotter with global warming , the decision to enforce daylights savings time in Japan weighs very precariously in the balance for now. + 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Via Reuters and  The Japan Times Image via T-Mizo

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Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

August 31, 2016 by  
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Australian state Victoria  is taking an unprecedented step after they announced this week that they would protect farmers by banning “onshore unconventional gas,” including fracking . Outcry from local farmers helped push the government to make the historical ban. Victoria is the first Australian state to ban such gas exploration and development. A 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria obtained 1,600 submissions. They found most respondents were against fracking, fearing such practices endangered the agriculture sector in Victoria, public health, and the environment. Dairy farmer Julie Boulton told The Guardian, “It has been so heart-wrenching at times, when we thought the drill rigs were coming and there was nothing we could do. But we pulled together as a community and decided to fight this threat to our farmland, water, and health.” Related: Germany just banned fracking for all practical purposes 190,000 people work in the Victorian agriculture sector. While the gas industry had claimed there would be economic benefits to fracking, research from think tank The Australia Institute appeared to indicate otherwise. They found that when ten gas jobs were created, 18 jobs were lost in agriculture. Many farmers felt fracking would threaten Victoria’s reputation for ” clean, green ” food. The Australia Institute Principal Adviser Mark Ogge said any benefits have nearly all gone to ” overseas owners of global oil and gas companies .” He said the ban is “sound economic and energy policy .” A ” permanent legislative ban ” will be introduced later in 2016 to Parliament, but a “current moratorium” will ensure unconventional gas development and exploration doesn’t occur for now. The ban includes ” exploration and development ” of Victoria unconventional gas, from fracking to coal seam gas. The ban does not cover offshore gas exploration. There are also exemptions for “carbon storage research” and gas storage. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement, “Victorians have made it clear that they don’t support fracking and that the health and environmental risks involved outweigh any potential benefits.” Via The Guardian Images via Lock the Gate Alliance Facebook

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Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

BuckleyGrayYeoman Livens Up a Historic Building in Scotland with a Shipping Container Addition

December 4, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of BuckleyGrayYeoman Livens Up a Historic Building in Scotland with a Shipping Container Addition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: BuckleyGrayYeoman , Cargotecture , chicken , dundee , Fritz Hansen , historic building , industrial , mural , Nando’s , portuguese , Reclaimed , Restaurant , Scotland , shipping container , victorian

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BuckleyGrayYeoman Livens Up a Historic Building in Scotland with a Shipping Container Addition

Scientists Say Carbon Emissions Are Too High to Stop Climate Change Without Immediate Action

December 4, 2012 by  
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Climate change photo from Shutterstock For years, scientists have said that it is imperative to prevent the world’s climate from rising 2 degrees celsius (3. 6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels . However according to a new report, climate scientists believe that it is increasingly unlikely that this will happen – data shows that 2012 CO2 emissions hit 35.6 billion tons – a 2.6% increase from 2011 and 58% above 1990 levels. Read the rest of Scientists Say Carbon Emissions Are Too High to Stop Climate Change Without Immediate Action Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: C02 2020 , Carbon emissions targets , Climate Change , CO2 emissions , CO2 targets , emissions , global warming , un environment programme , UN report , UNEP

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Scientists Say Carbon Emissions Are Too High to Stop Climate Change Without Immediate Action

Anna Garforth Unveils a 3D Digital Model of a Migrating Bear In an Urbanscape

December 4, 2012 by  
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Activist and sustainable designer Anna Garforth created a wonderful piece for the recent edition of Dutch Design Week. Dubbed ‘Wondering Territory’, the 3-D model illustrates the migration of a brown bear and the evolving urban landscapes that have spoiled its natural habitats. The recycled cardboard work woefully highlights the impact humans have had on our planet’s precious animals. Read the rest of Anna Garforth Unveils a 3D Digital Model of a Migrating Bear In an Urbanscape Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Animals , Anna Garforth , Art , Bear , Dutch Design Week , Green Design Events , human landscape , migration , PaperCraft , recycled cardboard , Recycled Materials

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Anna Garforth Unveils a 3D Digital Model of a Migrating Bear In an Urbanscape

Bite Me: Edible Lamp Comes in a Rainbow of Juicy, Fruity Colors

December 4, 2012 by  
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The idea of eating a lamp seems as ridiculous as Charlie Chaplin famously eating a shoe in  The Gold Rush , but Vetterlein’s Bite Me is no joke. The glossy colorful lamp stretches out across any table top, gently and efficiently illuminating with an LED strip. Attached to an adhesive strip, the electric components and LED weld are simply pulled away before making the lamp into dinner. The translucent biodegradable plastic comes in four fruity colors, including orange, cherry, blueberry and green apple. Once the electrical attachments are removed, the colorful plastic body can be prepped for chowing down. The enticing recipe is simple; just soak the cleaned lamp in water for about an hour, and once softened, users can tear into the gummy lamp, for dinner or dessert. Bite Me is not just edible , but good for you too. Agar, the gelatin that is derived from boiled algae, is high in Vitamins E and K, as well as zinc, copper pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. For those who don’t find gummy lamps appetizing, the stripped lamp can also be placed in compost or the trash, and will biodegrade just as perishable foods do. + Victor Vetterlein Via Gizmodo

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Bite Me: Edible Lamp Comes in a Rainbow of Juicy, Fruity Colors

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