Former camping site turned into gorgeous family home clad in charred wood and natural stone

January 11, 2019 by  
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When tasked with creating a family home in Austin, local firm, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture , decided to go with a blend of charred wood , locally-sourced stone and glass panels. The result is the stunning Llano retreat, a design that was strategically built to embrace the natural landscape, while providing a contemporary, but cozy living space.   Situated along the Llano River in central Texas, the building site was used for years by the family as a camping and fishing spot for the weekends. After years of spending the warm Texas nights under a pole structure with metal roof, the family finally decided to put up a proper shelter, in the form of a beautiful family home that was specifically designed to take advantage of the idyllic natural setting. Related: Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool “After years of getting to know the ranch land, the family chose a site for their home at the top of a hill overlooking the river, only accessible through a low-water crossing,” said the team. “The design is a result of the knowledge of the landscape and the desire to retain the connection to nature.” The U-shaped layout of the home allowed the architects to bring the outdoors into the living space via a front courtyard . In the back of the home, the natural landscape consisting of trees, shrubs and wildflowers was left in its natural state. The home’s exterior is clad in locally-sourced limestone and wood charred in the Japanese shou sugi ban style.   Large glass panels not only further connect the interior with the exterior, but also flood the home with natural light. Large roof overhangs shade the windows during the hot summer months, but allow sunlight to enter the home during the colder months, reducing the need for artificial heating. The home’s doors and operable windows were strategically placed to enable air circulation. Inside the home, the interior design , led by the team from Laura Roberts Design, was focused on providing the family with a rustic yet cozy atmosphere. Double-height ceilings were clad in warm Douglas Fir and crossed with expose beams, giving the home a modern cabin feel. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels enable the homeowners to comfortably enjoy the stunning views from virtually any corner of the home. From the large kitchen, sliding glass doors open up to an outdoor space. + Michael Hsu Office of Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Casey Dunn

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Former camping site turned into gorgeous family home clad in charred wood and natural stone

Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

October 19, 2018 by  
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Author B.F. (Bruce) Nagy discusses his new book, The Clean … The post Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

October 19, 2018 by  
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Author B.F. (Bruce) Nagy discusses his new book, The Clean … The post Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

Bioclimatic home optimizes thermal comfort and energy efficiency in Cancun

August 22, 2018 by  
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International architecture firm sanzpont has designed a bioclimatic home sculpted by site conditions in Cancun , Mexico. Currently under development, the single-family home — dubbed the T&N Villa — will occupy prime waterfront property within the subdivision “La Laguna 1” in Puerto Cancun. The contemporary building’s sculptural form is largely informed by the architects’ varied site analyses, which include thermal radiation studies and data collection on climate to determine optimal massing and orientation for energy efficiency. The proposed T&N Villa spans 3,414 square feet over two habitable floors, in addition to a basement parking pad and accessible rooftop. The street-facing front facade will comprise two main volumes — the left features a green wall backed by wooden ribs, while the right volume is predominately finished in white vinyl paint. The water-facing rear consists of white vinyl-painted walls that jut outward to provide protection against the sun. Large expanses of glazing will be treated with UV protection, and the windows at the front facade will be tinted shades of green for extra privacy. Non-reflective silver roller blinds will offer added sun protection. Using careful climate analyses that cover the area’s temperature, humidity levels, wind speed, solar incidence and even cloudiness over time, the architects devised a bioclimatic design to achieve thermal comfort year-round. Comfort is also ensured through careful placement of windows to facilitate cross ventilation and the best natural lighting, while the architecture was also modified with solar shades, like louvers and a “Serge Ferrari” roll-over solar protection membrane, to reduce unwanted solar gain and lessen dependence on air conditioning. A green roof also provides an additional layer of insulation. Related: Soak Up the Sun at Casa de las Olas’ Solar Powered Eco-Escape in Tulum “In order to improve the thermal comfort and the efficiency of the energetic demand, it was decided that the façades would be composed of mainly solid materials, with very little openings,” the architects explained. “Sun protection and privacy is resolved with narrow vertical windows, a green wall, walls with air chambers with thermal insulation and a series of louvers to prevent solar radiation inside the house, creating an emphasis on verticality.” + sanzpont

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Bioclimatic home optimizes thermal comfort and energy efficiency in Cancun

Recycling Mystery: Windows

June 27, 2018 by  
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One of the common misconceptions in curbside recycling is that … The post Recycling Mystery: Windows appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: Confused by Recycling Options?

June 27, 2018 by  
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Express your opinion and help drive environmental change. Every week, … The post Earthling Survey: Confused by Recycling Options? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: Confused by Recycling Options?

Couple turns old toy hauler into a gorgeous tiny home for their family of four

May 28, 2018 by  
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Rusty and Autumn Bailey travel a lot for Rusty’s job, so in order to travel comfortably on the road, they purchased a Keystone Fuzion 416 toy hauler to transform into their dream home on wheels. Surprisingly, it only took about 12 weeks to convert the 300-square-foot camper into a homey, light-filled tiny home with plenty of custom-made features designed to provide optimal space efficiency for a family of four. The couple began to reform the interior of the 42-foot-long camper by incorporating as many  colorful and bright accents as possible. The original interior was very dark and drab, so the ambitious couple painted all of the walls white. Beautiful Persian rugs bought on eBay for less than $100 adorn the interior. Related: 7 beautifully designed tiny homes that fit big families The next major upgrade to the space was the flooring. With a large family, the couple knew that they had to have durable flooring, so they went with a waterproof vinyl plank tongue-in-groove flooring with a cork base for easy installation. The kitchen was also in desperate need of a makeover. The couple updated the space with a butcher block countertop made out of 8? slabs of builder-grade honey maple, then repainted the cupboards a dark slate grey, which contrasts nicely with the home’s contemporary all-white interior. For the bathroom renovation, they used a little bit of the leftover butcher block slab to create a nice vanity space. A beautiful hammered copper sink, found on eBay, completes the sophisticated look. The family also completely renovated the sleeping quarters in order to create the maximum amount of space. They gutted the former  main bedroom and converted it into their oldest child’s bedroom, adding a closet with a sliding door and a tiny play area. Autumn says that they focused on opening up the space as much as possible for the couple’s first child: “We tried to keep it open so he had all the space he needed to romp around in and play with toys.” Finally, the couple gutted the master room to make space for a large bed, instead of the existing bunk beds. With just a coat of new paint on the walls and new flooring , the master bedroom became a calming oasis with natural light flooding in through the windows. According to Autumn, the entire camper renovation , which she and Rusty did themselves, took about 12 weeks and cost approximately $6,000. The family posts updates on tiny home living on their Instagram page, @AutumnABailey. + Asphalt Gypsy Via Dwell Images via Autumn Bailey

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Couple turns old toy hauler into a gorgeous tiny home for their family of four

New double-pane quantum dot solar windows generate power with better efficiency

January 3, 2018 by  
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Researchers at an American national laboratory have now employed quantum dots for double-pane solar windows that offer shading, insulation, and, of course, generate energy – with greater efficiency. The Los Alamos National Laboratory team drew on a new window architecture utilizing two layers of low-priced quantum dots, tuned to take in distinct parts of the solar spectrum. The double-pane windows were equipped with manganese-doped quantum dots, absorbing blue and ultraviolet, on the surface of the front glass pane, and copper indium selenide quantum dots, absorbing the rest of the spectrum, on the back pane’s surface. Once light is absorbed, dots re-emit it at a longer wavelength. Total internal reflection guides the light to the edges, where it can be gathered and turned into power by solar cells in the window frame. Related: National laboratory scales up quantum-dot solar windows that can power entire buildings Solar-spectrum splitting – in which higher- and lower-energy solar photons can be processed separately – is key to the research, according to Los Alamos. And the dots in the front layer are essentially reabsorption free, which the laboratory said the team accomplished by incorporating into quantum dots manganese ions “that serve as highly emissive impurities. Light absorbed by the quantum dots activates these impurities. Following activation, the manganese ions emit light at energies below the quantum-dot absorption onset. This trick allows for almost complete elimination of losses due to self-absorption by the quantum dots.” The journal Nature Photonics published the research online on New Year’s Day. Per the article’s abstract, the researchers’ prototype “exhibits a high optical quantum efficiency of 6.4 percent for sunlight illumination and solar-to-electrical power conversion efficiency of 3.1 percent. The efficiency gains due to the tandem architecture over single-layer devices quickly increases with increasing LSC [luminescent solar concentrator] size and can reach more than 100 percent in structures with window sizes of more than 2,500 centimeters squared.” Double-pane quantum dot solar window research could lower the cost of solar power , according to lead researcher Victor Klimov, who said in a statement , “Because of the strong performance we can achieve with low-cost, solution processable materials, these quantum-dot-based double-pane windows and even more complex luminescent solar concentrators offer a new way to bring down the cost of solar electricity.” Via Los Alamos National Laboratory Images via Los Alamos National Laboratory Twitter and Depositphotos

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New double-pane quantum dot solar windows generate power with better efficiency

Edgy black slats conceal a surprisingly light-filled interior in this Brisbane home

October 16, 2017 by  
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Brisbane-based Bureau Proberts  designed a beautiful home whose wonderfully bright interior is completely concealed by its edgy black exterior. The Bardon House is clad in vertical black slats to provide the homeowners with the utmost privacy and shade from the harsh sun, but the interior is anything but dark. Illuminated by an abundance of natural light thanks to multiple windows and a large skylight in the roof, the interior is vibrant and airy. From the outside, the shape of three-story home mimics the surrounding landscape, gradually sloping to either side of the home. The resulting angular shape is continued throughout the interior where the large sloped ceilings create an open living space, which is flooded in natural light thanks to a large skylight installed at the apex of the ceiling. Most of the interior color scheme is neutral with natural white walls and grey tile flooring, but the windows and doors are framed in a beautiful dark-stained timber for contrast. Related: Elegant timber extension uses angular volumes to maximize natural light The main living area is located on the first floor while the bedrooms are located on the second level. From the living room, sliding glass doors open into beautiful open-air space courtyard filled with greenery . The architects describe the space as “a veranda-like thoroughfare, melding the courtyard with the landscape beyond.” The bottom level of the home has been designed as a social space, which leads out to the open-air terrace and pool area, further connecting the house to its natural surroundings. + Bureau Proberts Via Dwell Photography by Alicia Taylor

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Edgy black slats conceal a surprisingly light-filled interior in this Brisbane home

Scientists witnessed a neutron star mashup for the first time – and it transformed our understanding of the universe

October 16, 2017 by  
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For the first time, scientists have detected gravitational waves stemming from the crash of two ultra-dense neutron stars – and the event has spawned a new era of astronomy known as “multi-messenger astronomy.” It is believed that cataclysmic events such as these generated at least half of the gold in the Universe. Though astronomers have witnessed ripples in the fabric of space in time before (created by objects moving in the Universe), this is the first time in history the event was detectable by regular light telescopes. As a result, researchers have gained new insight into massive cosmic collisions. A neutron star is the burnt-out core of a massive star that ran out of fuel , blew up and died. Typically 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter, a neutron star is radioactive and has a mass slightly more dense than the sun in our solar system. Reportedly, a handful of neutron star material weighs as much as Mount Everest ! When two neutron stars combine, they spiral around each other, growing closer and closer over time. The spinning intensifies until the two objects revolve around each other several times per second. Then, a forceful impact takes place and a gargantuan gravitational wave is emitted into the Universe at the speed of light. On August 18th, astronomers witnessed the remains of a neutron star mash-up, which traveled 130 million light years before it was seen by Earthly detectors. The phenomena resulted in dozens of scientific papers being published in top academic journals. As Phys.org reports, the observation also solved several physics riddles – including how much of the universe’s gold , platinum, mercury and other heavy elements were formed. Related: Einstein’s gravitational wave theory proven by the sound of two black holes colliding Said co-discoverer Benoit Mours of France’s CNRS research institute, “We witnessed history unfolding in front of our eyes: two neutron stars drawing closer, closer… turning faster and faster around each other, then colliding and scattering debris all over the place.” Days before the highly-anticipated event, three different gravitational wave observatories based around the world picked up gravitational waves. Astronomers worked together to locate the area where the merger occurred. After narrowing it down to a very small patch in the southern sky, the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) mobilized the rest of the astronomy community, reports The Verge. Within hours, thousands of astronomers searched the sky , eventually spotting the explosive leftovers of the neutron star mashup. Telescopes witnessed newly-forged material in the fallout. This confirmed that “maybe half, maybe more, of the heavy elements in the Universe are actually produced by this kind of collision,” said physicist Patrick Sutton, a member of LIGO. “This is a revolution in astronomy, of having thousands of astronomers focus on one source for weeks and having this collaboration unravel in seconds, in hours, then days, and weeks,” said Vicky Kalogera, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University and a LIGO collaborator. “For us, that’s the Holy Grail.” The development comes two years after the first gravitational wave was detected (also by LIGO). For the past century, astronomers have been trying to figure out how to detect the ripples, which were predicted by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity . Via Phys , The Verge Images via Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science , NSF LIGO Sonoma State University / A. Simonnet , Tony Piro, Carnegie Institution for Science

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Scientists witnessed a neutron star mashup for the first time – and it transformed our understanding of the universe

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