Striking rammed earth home blends into the hills of Santa Fe

May 1, 2017 by  
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This incredible Santa Fe residence by Studio GP Architects was inspired by the rich landscape of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon. The home is constructed from rammed earth and surrounded by native plants that help it seamlessly blend into the breathtaking desert landscape. The homeowners of the La Tierra Nueva Residence were looking for a home design that would allow them to enjoy the beauty of the natural landscape from the inside or outside of the home. Multiple large triple-pane doors and windows were installed to provide amazing views as well as optimal natural light for the interior. Additionally, the home had to be strategically functional for the aging couple so the living space, kitchen, and bedrooms are all located on the same floor. Related:Rammed earth walls form the core of this modern Australian home The home’s walls were constructed out of rammed earth , a technique traditionally and currently used for its strong insulative properties , which in this case, also provided the earth tone aesthetic desired by the homeowners. The zinc-toned roof and walls pay homage to the traditional corrugated metal traditionally found in the area. In fact, the roof plays a vital role in the design; the multi-layered planes mimic the rolling hills of the expansive La Tierra Nueva in the background while the extended panels shelter the structure from the elements, especially the high desert sun. The roof also has an integrated rainwater harvesting system that funnels water through concealed gutters to be used to irrigate the native juniper bark and sage bushes used in the landscaping. + Studio GP + Zola Windows Images via Studio GP and Zola Windows

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Striking rammed earth home blends into the hills of Santa Fe

5 Green Gadgets That Will Make Spring Cleaning a Breeze

March 31, 2017 by  
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It’s that time of year again. Time to roll up your sleeves and tackle all the dirt and clutter that happened while you were getting through the winter months. That’s right — it’s time to throw open the windows and get down to spring…

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5 Green Gadgets That Will Make Spring Cleaning a Breeze

Mark+Vivi convert a tire shop into an artsy, energy-efficient live/work studio

December 9, 2016 by  
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Look inside Mark+Vivi’s live/work studio and it’s hard to imagine that this beautiful light-filled space used to be a 1920s tire shop. The dramatic transformation from industrial roots to a new chic appearance is a testament to the skills of Mark+Vivi, an interdisciplinary design/build studio based on Montreal, Canada. Located in the transitioning city of Verdun, Quebec, the studio, named the Tire Shop Project, consumes 35 to 50% less energy than similar sized homes in the city thanks to energy-efficient retrofits like double-glazed windows and an inverter ducted heating and cooling system. The Tire Shop was Mark+Vivi’s inaugural project that functioned as the designers’ live/work studio and the home to La Façade Art + Architecture, a storefront gallery dedicated to the exhibition of local contemporary art and experimental architecture. Sustainability was at the heart of the 800-square-foot renovation , from the reuse of the building to the designers’ focus on passive energy design. “One of the greatest sustainable aspects of our building is not what was used to revitalise it but rather how we live because of it,” said designers Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera. Related: JZA+D transforms a defunct Princeton gas station into a pumping pizza joint Mark+Vivi preserved the original building footprint but replaced all of the windows with double-glazed, low-E units. A shop window with commercial-grade storefront glazing was added in the front to show off the art on the display. All the internal floors, shelving, and cabinetry were built from locally sourced Canadian plywood , and the painted and exposed surfaces were finished in low-VOC treatments. An energy-efficient 12,000-btu interior wall-mounted inverter ducted system provides all the heating and cooling. Natural light floods the interior, which further minimized energy use. The Tire Shop project was completed at a cost of $150 per square foot, a considerable savings from the typical $200-$350 per square foot for new construction of projects of comparable size in Montreal. + Mark+Vivi Via v2com Images by Adrien Williams

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Mark+Vivi convert a tire shop into an artsy, energy-efficient live/work studio

Check out the world’s first lights powered by micro-sphere solar cells

December 9, 2016 by  
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Sphelar Power , makers of the world’s first “micro-sphere” solar cell, have declared “flatness is over” when it comes to solar power generation. The Japan-based company is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to back two products : the Sphelar Lantern and the Sphelar Stick. Both are powered by onboard solar cells that integrated right into the product and generate electricity passively when exposed to sunlight. Although the campaign is lagging behind on its fundraising goal, there is still time left to see this project advance to the next phase of production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_ATpCFKvIY When Inhabitat first covered Sphelar’s spherical solar cell in 2012, the product was still in its infancy but showed enormous promise. At that time, the rounded solar cells challenged solar industry standards with their unique ability to capture sunlight from all angles simultaneously. Traditional flat solar panels must be angled directly toward the sun for maximum efficiency, but Sphelar’s design eliminates that fussiness. Related: Revolutionary Sphelar spherical solar cells capture sunlight from all directions Sphelar’s new products—a stylish modern lantern and a pocket-sized flashlight—incorporate the multi-directional solar cells and LEDs in new, portable lighting products. The Sphelar Lantern promises a 4-6 hour charging time for full battery capacity, which can power the light source for up to four hours. The Sphelar Stick provides up to four hours of light when fully charged, and can be recharged before the battery is fully drained. As of the time of this report, Sphelar has raised just over $7,000 of its $20,000 goal with six days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign . If the goal is met, the company aims to expand its production. Currently, the Lantern and Stick are only available inside Japan, but Sphelar hopes to broaden its reach and share its multi-directional solar technology with the world, one light at a time. + Sphelar Power on Kickstarter Images via Sphelar Power

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Check out the world’s first lights powered by micro-sphere solar cells

$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

December 9, 2016 by  
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Could a universal basic income (UBI) be the answer to income inequality in an increasingly automated world? One US group is investing $10 million to find out. The Economic Security Project is a coalition of investors, activists, and technology companies committed to spending the next two years exploring the feasibility of a UBI for US citizens. The work will follow up on previous trials of the UBI , which have shown promising but inconsistent results. (Advocates of the idea claim the programs were under-funded and too short-lived to prove the concept one way or another .) Research has generally shown direct cash transfers to be more helpful than other forms of aid in poor nations, but it’s unclear exactly how matters will play out in a more developed country. Related: Ontario is rolling out a basic income test for citizens living under the poverty line The ESP funds will be used in a variety of ways over the next two years: while there will be some unconditional cash stipends delivered to US citizens, it appears that work will mainly be done through state and local basic income campaigns rather than the organization itself. Some of the funds will also be donated to fund nonprofit research into the best ways to implement UBI and on advocacy efforts to influence political policy. While a universal income may sound like a handout, proponents of the idea believe it will become increasingly necessary as technology advances. One high-profile backer is Elon Musk , who recently told CNBC he believes in the near future, there simply won’t be enough jobs to keep the economy afloat otherwise. But his vision of the future isn’t completely grim: he believes we’ll simply adapt and use our newfound leisure time on more interesting hobbies instead of work. Via The Independent Images via Steven Depolo and Tracy O

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$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

Retrofitted net-zero home in Washington produces double the energy it needs

June 29, 2016 by  
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You don’t need to build a new house to “go green”. The Birchwood home by Sustainable Connections is the first home in Whatcom County, Washington to receive Net-Zero Energy certification , and it was a retrofit. Jeff and Annie Aslan optimized the energy performance of an existing home, installing sufficient solar power to produce twice as much energy as they use. Two years ago, the couple bought the house originally designed by Greg Robinson and built by Cascade Joinery for the Kulshan Community Land Trust. The existing property already came with energy-efficient construction and a solar system installed by Ecotech Solar. They wanted to reduce the energy usage of the property even more and switch to 100% solar power . Related: Heliotrope is the World’s First Energy Positive Solar Home Lacking sufficient surface area to install new solar panels on the roof, the owners took another path to achieving net-zero performance and altered their lifestyles. They started by changing all the lighting to LED and installing a heat pump, heat recovery ventilator , thermal blinds on the windows and adding attic insulation. + Sustainable Connections

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Retrofitted net-zero home in Washington produces double the energy it needs

Brilliant “More Sky” window transforms into a cozy, sun-soaked balcony

January 23, 2016 by  
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INFOGRAPHIC: Helpful tips on making an eco-friendly home

October 20, 2015 by  
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Whether you’re planning to build a home or spruce up an existing one, it always pays to consider the environment in the process. Incorporating eco-friendly features not only reduces your carbon footprint , but it can also help lower your utility bills by a large portion. Senator Windows put together a collection of helpful tips and reminders on how to go green, as well as some industry insights from experts who shed light on the worst energy hogs in the home. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Helpful tips on making an eco-friendly home

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INFOGRAPHIC: Helpful tips on making an eco-friendly home

Philippines footwear factory fire leaves at least 72 dead

May 17, 2015 by  
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Outside of Manilla last Thursday, a slipper factory erupted in flames and trapped many workers inside in a thick cloud of smoke from burning rubber and chemicals. At least 72 people died and scores more were injured. The factor’s second floor was where most of the victims perished, according to officials, and family members of workers have reported that the windows there were covered in fencing wire and iron grills, making escape impossible. Working conditions in the Philippines have been scrutinized for some time, and this most recent tragedy focuses that spotlight, prompting the country’s leaders to promise a full investigation. Will it be enough? READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: clothing factories , factory fire , factory workers , human rights , manilla factory fire , Philippines , southeast asia working conditions , working conditions

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Philippines footwear factory fire leaves at least 72 dead

GREEN BUILDING 101: Energy & Atmosphere – Keeping Cool and Staying Warm

March 6, 2015 by  
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  The very root of what makes a home green is how effectively it responds to its surrounding environment. You could say that this has defined the primary material pursuit of mankind for all time – building better shelters to keep us warmer, cooler, and drier. Many of the native building techniques employed centuries ago are still reliable in similar climates today, and used as optimal models for environmentally conscious architects . That said, since global acceptance of the air conditioner in the 1950s, the benefits of responding to a unique climate have been left by the roadside. Read the rest of GREEN BUILDING 101: Energy & Atmosphere – Keeping Cool and Staying Warm Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , “leed” , air conditioning , cooling , green architecture , Green Building , Green Building 101 , green design , green insulation , heat , heating , insulating , insulation , passive solar , passive solar building , solar , solar heat , sustainable design , warming , window , windows

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GREEN BUILDING 101: Energy & Atmosphere – Keeping Cool and Staying Warm

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