Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens LEEDs the way in green design

July 8, 2021 by  
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“Imagine the beauty of humanity living in harmony with nature .” This is the goal behind the ongoing work to raise the bar of sustainability in architecture at The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) and other projects at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The conservatory offers a closed-circle campus that, over the course of a year, produces more energy than it consumes through a combination of geothermal and wind systems along with solar panels . In fact, it ranks as the most energy-efficient conservatory in the world. It achieves this title through effective use of natural lighting , venting, earth tubes and fogging systems to cool and light the space without reliance on energy. Related: An off-grid home in South Africa features a conservatory for fully enjoying nature In addition to generating excessive energy, the project treats all water onsite for both human and landscaping needs. It collects rainwater as well as filtering water captured through natural landscaping, a lagoon system and permeable paving.  Throughout the process of updating the campus, the goal has been to set an example of what is possible in innovative, passive design . As a result, the project meets qualifications for six of the most desired certifications in green design. These include the Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum, First SITES™ Platinum and First WELL Building Platinum as well as the achievement of the first certified BREEAM Outstanding In-Use Building in the United States award. The conservatory has also earned a Fitwel three-star rating. The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens invites visitors to wander through the campus, taking in the rain gardens, lagoon and atrium with lush greenery and native plants throughout. In fact, the conservatory has an obligation to promote green building practices with a central focus on merging human activities and nature in a sustainable way. According to a conservatory officials, “As Phipps’ education, research and administration facility, the CSL is an integral part of the Phipps visitor experience as a ‘living museum,’ focusing attention on the important intersection between the built and natural environments, and demonstrating that human and environmental health are inextricably connected.” + Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Images via Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

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Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens LEEDs the way in green design

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens LEEDs the way in green design

July 8, 2021 by  
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“Imagine the beauty of humanity living in harmony with nature .” This is the goal behind the ongoing work to raise the bar of sustainability in architecture at The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) and other projects at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The conservatory offers a closed-circle campus that, over the course of a year, produces more energy than it consumes through a combination of geothermal and wind systems along with solar panels . In fact, it ranks as the most energy-efficient conservatory in the world. It achieves this title through effective use of natural lighting , venting, earth tubes and fogging systems to cool and light the space without reliance on energy. Related: An off-grid home in South Africa features a conservatory for fully enjoying nature In addition to generating excessive energy, the project treats all water onsite for both human and landscaping needs. It collects rainwater as well as filtering water captured through natural landscaping, a lagoon system and permeable paving.  Throughout the process of updating the campus, the goal has been to set an example of what is possible in innovative, passive design . As a result, the project meets qualifications for six of the most desired certifications in green design. These include the Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum, First SITES™ Platinum and First WELL Building Platinum as well as the achievement of the first certified BREEAM Outstanding In-Use Building in the United States award. The conservatory has also earned a Fitwel three-star rating. The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens invites visitors to wander through the campus, taking in the rain gardens, lagoon and atrium with lush greenery and native plants throughout. In fact, the conservatory has an obligation to promote green building practices with a central focus on merging human activities and nature in a sustainable way. According to a conservatory officials, “As Phipps’ education, research and administration facility, the CSL is an integral part of the Phipps visitor experience as a ‘living museum,’ focusing attention on the important intersection between the built and natural environments, and demonstrating that human and environmental health are inextricably connected.” + Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Images via Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

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Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens LEEDs the way in green design

KAJ Hotel is a one-room boathouse rental that exudes hygge

July 7, 2021 by  
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The Danish idea of hygge brings “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Why wouldn’t you want to have more of that in your life? At KAJ Hotel, you can. Kaj is a traditional Danish name that also means ‘quay’ or ‘wharf’. The name and the association with hygge are appropriate in the rental that is not a hotel or a houseboat but a memorable lodging on the harbor in central Copenhagen, Denmark. It provides a unique visitor experience as a one-room boathouse and tiny home . It even comes with an extra boat. Related: These floating, 3D-printed private offices have no land impact The project came to light when business and life partners Barbara von Haffner and Toke Larsen commissioned architect Karl Smith Meyer to help develop the plan. The couple have their own houseboat, which they used as a prefabrication point for part of the KAJ lodging. With copious inquiries about what it was like living on a houseboat , they decided to give others the experience firsthand. KAJ Hotel technically has no footprint, perched over the edge of the harbor, but it also avoids a heavy carbon footprint with the use of reclaimed materials. The majority of the mini-rental is built using wood, and there was minimal site impact by craning the prefabricated pieces into place.  Window frames were upcycled from the previous Danish Defense Command building. Old railroad poles were used in the foundation, and recycled materials from a ship were used to build the stairs and gangway.  The tiny abode delivers big on interior design with a traditional Danish feel. Known for a modern minimalism vibe, the Scandinavian-style lightly-colored wood ceilings, walls, floors and furniture are complemented by white walls and window frames for a neutral color palette that doesn’t distract from the natural surroundings just steps away. The micro-hotel provides a countertop/desk area, bathroom with portal window, a primary bedroom and additional sleeping spaces all within a 16-square-meter room.  Along the water’s edge, visitors can take in the opportunity for leisurely or quick swimming, sunbathing or enjoying views of the nearby tourist attractions. Unlike a hotel, you’ll have no one sharing the space, yet amenities like the provided porridge, coffee and tea deliver the comforts of home.  + KAJ Hotel Via Wallpaper Images via KAJ Hotel

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This luxury yacht runs on 100% renewable energy

July 2, 2021 by  
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For those who enjoy yachting, there’s nothing better than long stretches of propulsion across the water while you take in the sea and scenery. Except perhaps if you get to experience the newest Sunreef 80 Eco, an electric luxury ride that’s silent and sustainable. Sunreef Yachts developed a thin, highly efficient solar cell system that mounts completely flush to all surfaces of the boat, including masts, hull sides and bimini tops. The expected capacity of the system is 34 kWp energy, which is stored in ultralight lithium batteries until needed. Related: Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept “We reinvented solar panels for yachts . Our team has challenged the status quo in marine photovoltaic technology, making solar panels an integral part of the Sunreef Yachts Eco design. This is something unique in the whole yachting world,” said Francis Lapp, founder and president of Sunreef Yachts. In addition to the solar panels, the yacht also produces energy through wind turbines , which seems like a natural addition as wind is a natural byproduct of moving through the water. Below the surface, the boat creates additional energy through hydropower from propeller rotations capable of generating over 15 kWh at about seven knots. All of these systems work together to provide quiet sailing with no range limitations because the energy to run both the propulsion and appliances of the Sunreef 80 Eco is renewable during travel. The processes also produce enough energy to power the water toys and the tender. Systems such as air conditioning, water makers and kitchen appliances that require power are designed to be energy-efficient .   The Sunreef 80 Eco is equipped with two electric motors that produce no pollution , fumes or vibrations, regardless of the trip distance. In addition to providing an environmentally guilt-free ride as one of the most energy-efficient luxury yachts on the planet, the boat is completely customizable with endless interior and feature options. Sunreef Yachts takes its commitment to the planet seriously with interior furnishings and hard finishes that meet stringent sustainability standards. The company expects a full release of Sunreef 80 Eco this summer.  + Sunreef Yachts Via Yanko Design Images via Sunreef Yachts

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This luxury yacht runs on 100% renewable energy

This luxury yacht runs on 100% renewable energy

July 2, 2021 by  
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For those who enjoy yachting, there’s nothing better than long stretches of propulsion across the water while you take in the sea and scenery. Except perhaps if you get to experience the newest Sunreef 80 Eco, an electric luxury ride that’s silent and sustainable. Sunreef Yachts developed a thin, highly efficient solar cell system that mounts completely flush to all surfaces of the boat, including masts, hull sides and bimini tops. The expected capacity of the system is 34 kWp energy, which is stored in ultralight lithium batteries until needed. Related: Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept “We reinvented solar panels for yachts . Our team has challenged the status quo in marine photovoltaic technology, making solar panels an integral part of the Sunreef Yachts Eco design. This is something unique in the whole yachting world,” said Francis Lapp, founder and president of Sunreef Yachts. In addition to the solar panels, the yacht also produces energy through wind turbines , which seems like a natural addition as wind is a natural byproduct of moving through the water. Below the surface, the boat creates additional energy through hydropower from propeller rotations capable of generating over 15 kWh at about seven knots. All of these systems work together to provide quiet sailing with no range limitations because the energy to run both the propulsion and appliances of the Sunreef 80 Eco is renewable during travel. The processes also produce enough energy to power the water toys and the tender. Systems such as air conditioning, water makers and kitchen appliances that require power are designed to be energy-efficient .   The Sunreef 80 Eco is equipped with two electric motors that produce no pollution , fumes or vibrations, regardless of the trip distance. In addition to providing an environmentally guilt-free ride as one of the most energy-efficient luxury yachts on the planet, the boat is completely customizable with endless interior and feature options. Sunreef Yachts takes its commitment to the planet seriously with interior furnishings and hard finishes that meet stringent sustainability standards. The company expects a full release of Sunreef 80 Eco this summer.  + Sunreef Yachts Via Yanko Design Images via Sunreef Yachts

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This luxury yacht runs on 100% renewable energy

Eco Method Interiors marries environmental science and design

July 2, 2021 by  
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Traditional construction, home improvement and interior design are fraught with  waste , chemicals and carbon release. But they don’t have to be. Erica Reiner, an eco-friendly interior designer in Los Angeles and founder of Eco Method Interiors, has built her business around creating beautiful, welcoming spaces that are healthy for people and the planet. Reiner brings an interesting background to the profession, with educational and practical experience in interior decorating as well as a degree in environmental science and a Master’s of Marine Science and Management. At first, Reiner says she kept the two practices separate until she found a focus on the  environment  and the indoors could go hand in hand. Related: WELL-designed home eliminates toxins from interior textiles Reiner told Inhabitat, “I studied, worked, and lectured all in the environmental field prior to this business. I did a decorating certificate for fun between environmental degrees before realizing I could start a business. At first, I offered sustainability consulting and design separately while building my portfolio, before realizing how dirty the industry was, and realizing that I could marry the two pieces of my identity and passions together in one business.” Now well established in L.A. and across the country, Reiner provides virtual consulting, event decorating and full-service  interior design  with a specialty in removing toxic cleaning supplies and finding sustainable, eco-friendly furniture and textile options. She also hosts a popular podcast called “Green By Design,” which focuses on ways clients and design professionals can create sustainable design.  Although Reiner has worked in the business for several years, she shared her excitement over the increasing awareness of and interest in environmentally-friendly products. “In [the past] 5-7 years there’s been a huge increase in overall awareness, self-education and concern. For reference, in 2006 when I finished my prerequisites and chose my major in environmental studies for undergrad, most of the population I came across didn’t even understand what that meant,” she said. For Reiner, projects naturally come together after seeing the space and talking with the clients. She vets vendors for greenwashing saying, “We do everything from reading their website, emailing them for clarity, asking for their certification documentation or anything I feel we need for clarity. I don’t have a simple process for detecting greenwashing. It’s often just a little alarm that goes off in the way the product or material is described. Often legit companies who are proud of their efforts go into detail and have clear information accessible. Some companies, even if they don’t promote their practices, once asked can provide clear information. Companies that greenwash often use language to try to sound good, but with my background in ES academia I know it doesn’t make sense.” Reiner’s current project is a complete 9,000-square-foot house in Brentwood for a Hollywood family concerned about toxicities in the home. With this in mind, Reiner and the owners have relied on green manufacturing to custom-build sofas, beds, rugs and even wallpaper.  Her portfolio is varied, with large and small projects, residential and commercial spaces, and geographically dispersed locations. A few are highlighted below. Office and clubhouse in San Antonio, TX This project incorporated  recycled  paper countertops, furniture and art pieces made from reclaimed wood, non-toxic wallpaper, recycled PET area rugs and pre-loved books and accessories. Master bedroom and entryway in West Los Angeles, CA  To make the space cozy and environmentally friendly, Reiner included striking tables made from recycled  wood  beams. She also created a statement wall with FSC wallpaper free of toxins and made using low-impact dye. The rooms are accented with artwork, rugs, bedding and baskets made from natural fibers and organic materials. It also features vegetable-tanned leather chairs, recycled glass vases and  energy-efficient  lighting. Nursery in Manhattan Beach, CA This small, 168-square-foot nursery creates a big visual impact but a small environmental footprint with the use of organic bedding and a GOTS-certified area rug. The client chose to forgo the chemical-laden fire retardant in the nursing chairs and had a crib custom built to ensure it was made with FSC wood and low-toxin adhesives and finishes. Playroom, Los Angeles, CA Kids need space to play. While these clients wanted to look out for the health of children in the space, they also wanted to pay attention to the health of the planet by avoiding waste and upcycling where possible. To this end, they selected non-toxic throw pillow inserts, an upcycled cotton scrap area rug and a pre-owned, vintage coffee table. The space is also adorned with VOC-free paint and 100% linen curtains. Apartment, Austin, TX Recycled materials, especially those from the local area, give this apartment high ratings for low impact. To accomplish this, Reiner included pre-loved furniture and pieces with GreenGuard Certification. The space also features pillows and a rug made from recycled plastic and a wall specifically for locally sourced art. While Eco Method Interiors can help you sustainably makeover your space, Reiner mentions that there are fewer barriers than ever in creating a space you love without hurting the environment. She recommends researching online, reading books on sustainable interior design , of course listening to her podcast, and perhaps setting up an online e-design session to see how she can help. + Eco Method Interiors Images via Eco Method Interiors

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Eco Method Interiors marries environmental science and design

We will close the loop on waste by 2030

September 13, 2017 by  
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Closed Loop Partners finds the “take-make-waste” cycle giving way to a new model just as powerful as the rise of solar and wind energy.

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We will close the loop on waste by 2030

Offshore wind power is cheaper than new nuclear power in the UK

September 12, 2017 by  
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Offshore wind power has pulled ahead of nuclear power in the United Kingdom . Energy from offshore wind farms will be less expensive than power from a new nuclear project for the first time, based on subsidy figures via the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy after an auction. Emma Pinchbeck of Renewable UK said the figures were “truly astonishing.” Two firms said they’d construct offshore wind farms for a subsidy of £57.50, around $76, per megawatt-hour for 2022-23, according to the BBC, which noted these figures are around half the subsidy costs in a 2015 auction. Compare £57.50 with the subsidy secured by new nuclear plant Hinkley Point C , which is £92.50, or around $122, per megawatt-hour. Related: Is this $26 billion UK nuclear power plant worth its ludicrous cost? Pinchbeck told the BBC, “We still think nuclear can be part of the mix – but our industry has shown how to drive costs down, and now they need to do the same.” The BBC listed larger turbines , foundations that cost less, and higher voltage cables as components that have helped reduce prices for offshore wind, along with UK supply chain growth and the oil and gas industry downturn. An example of those larger turbines are new eight-megawatt ones that are nearly 656 feet tall – and Pinchbeck suggested turbines could double in size during the 2020’s. The nuclear industry said nuclear power is still necessary for times when the wind isn’t blowing. Nuclear Industry Association chief executive Tom Greatrex said, “It doesn’t matter how low the price of offshore wind is. On last year’s figures it only produced electricity for 36 percent of the time.” The subsidies for the wind farms will come from a consumer bill levy, and will run for 15 years, according to the BBC. Hinkley Point C’s subsidies will run for 35 years. Minister for Energy and Industry Richard Harrington said the offshore wind projects would create thousands of new jobs . Via the BBC Images via Wikimedia Commons and NHD-INFO on Flickr

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Offshore wind power is cheaper than new nuclear power in the UK

Sweden is putting stressed-out people in tiny glass ‘chillout cabins’

September 12, 2017 by  
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Can nature really be the cure for stress? Sweden wants to find out – so it’s sending five people in extremely stressful professions to spend three glorious days in beautiful glass-enclosed “ chillout cabins ” on an idyllic island. The 72 Hour Cabin program seeks to investigate the effects of nature on people’s well-being. Led by researchers Walter Osika and Cecilia Stenfors from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the case study explores how Allemansrätten (freedom to roam) affects people’s mental and physical health. The aim of the study is to spread awareness of the unique relationship the Swedish population has with nature , and encourage people around the world to spend more time bonding with Mother Nature. Related: Artist builds incredible stained-glass cabin in the middle of the woods “Year after year, Sweden takes first place in international rankings of countries with the best life quality. Swedish nature, which is clean, vast and easy to take part in, is a part of the secret.” the 72-hour website reads. “The Swedes’ unique relationship with nature is an important part of their well-being, which is why Sweden has created ‘The 72 Hour Cabin’. With the initiative, Sweden wants to acquaint visitors with the special bond that Swedes have with their natural environment, and invite the world to experience it themselves.” The lucky participants include a London broadcaster, a Parisian taxi driver, an event planner from New York, a German police officer, and a British travel journalist. Each will spend three days in their own cabin located on Henriksholm island in West Sweden, experiencing the Swedish “close to nature” lifestyle. All communication with the outside world will be forbidden. For the most part, the participants will be able to hike, fish, cook, swim, and generally enjoy their peaceful surroundings. Researchers will be on-site to measure their well-being based on stress levels, problem-solving ability, and creativity. The results of the study will be presented in October. The glass cabins were designed by Jeanna Berger and built with the help of Fridh & Hells Bygg AB Construction Company . Berger grew up on the island and used the beautiful area as inspiration for the design. The wood-framed structures – which are placed on pillars in order to leave a light footprint – were inspired by the traditional barns found in the area. + 72 Hour Cabin Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Maja Flink  

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Sweden is putting stressed-out people in tiny glass ‘chillout cabins’

LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg

August 4, 2017 by  
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A dynamic new icon of sustainable energy is rising in Heidelberg, Germany. Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) just broke ground on a new energy storage tower for Stadtwerke Heidelberg (SWH) that will be the Heidelberg’s tallest building and symbolize the city’s transition towards renewables . Designed to replace an existing gas tank, the new tower will be wrapped in a dynamic multi-layered facade made up of “energy loops” to render renewable energy visible to the public. The 56-meter-tall energy storage center with 19,500-cubic-meter capacity will be accompanied with a 10,000-square-meter park, both of which are slated for completion in mid-2019. Solar and wind energy will be harnessed and used to heat up the water and sold as heat energy. “This ‘knowledge store’ will replace a previous gas tank, a symbol of energy policy in the 1950s,” said Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA. “Formally and geometrically the new water tank will not be much different from its predecessor. So this raised the challenge for us: How can the parameters of energy regeneration, decentrality, networking, flexibility and adaptivity be made visible in the design of the outer shell? How can an adaptive, dynamic system be produced without extreme technical control? Our task was to transform a big heavy industrial tank into a dynamic object.” Related: Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia The renovated tower is made up of a multi-layered facade with a spiral helix staircase that wraps around an insulating inner layer of mineral wool panels painted varying shades of blue. A cable network fitted between the annular supports creates the outer facade. Around 11,000 diamond-shaped stainless steel plates—the same number of households supplied with energy by the network—also clad the structure and can rotate up to 45 degrees horizontally in the wind. At night, the tower’s inner envelope is illuminated by LEDs that glow blue, green, and white that signify the filling up or emptying of the water storage tank. The publicly accessible tower features two elevators and roof-level event spaces, bistro, and viewing terraces. + Laboratory for Visionary Architecture

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LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg

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