9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

February 18, 2019 by  
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Adding plants to your living space is an easy way to add beauty and character to your home. But aesthetics aren’t the only benefit of indoor gardening as houseplants can make your home’s air healthier  and also make you happier . No to mention, you can easily grow useful plants and herbs that work great for healthy cooking and as natural medicines . Even if you weren’t born with a green thumb or have a tiny space to work with, there are ways to go green with your decor. If you choose the right plants and get creative, your indoor garden will thrive. Here are nine ways to add more plant life to your home. Use the Windows For many indoor plants , sunlight is essential. So, placing your plants near windows is a no-brainer. A Beautiful Mess suggests a DIY ledge for the kitchen window to set up your herb garden or hang an over-the-window plant shelf in your living room or bedroom. Instead of hanging a curtain for privacy, you can create a “ plant shelfie ” and group a bunch of plants together or use a large sturdy tension rods to hang plants at the top of the window. Custom shelves around or under the window —  or added to the ledge— also work well, too. Wire Grid Jazz up a plain wall with a wire grid and S-hooks to display houseplants . You don’t need a ton of space for this idea, and it makes it easy to hang gardening essentials like scissors and a watering can. You can find wire grids in different shapes and sizes, and some also have mountable shelves. Kitchen Garden A window in your kitchen is an excellent place to grow an indoor herb garden , however, that’s not an option for everyone. You can still make it happen by hanging small planters on your cabinets .  Also, if you have the counter space,  you can create a small garden for succulents with a two-tier fruit basket and some fabric scraps. Related: How to grow 10 foods from kitchen scraps Pegboard Like the wire shelves, a pegboard is also a great idea for small spaces. They work well in any room, no matter how big or small. You can even use a peg board as a headboard . The great thing about pegboards is that you can use hooks, baskets and shelves to create the look you want. You can also add a pop of color with a few tiny potted plants or cover the board entirely. Ceiling Hangers Speaking of macrame, it has made a major comeback recently, which means you can easily find macrame plant hangers to hang from the ceiling. They are great to hang near windows, or you can use ceiling hangers in unexpected places like in the bathroom or over a dining table . When you live in a small space, ceiling hangers are a fantastic option. You won’t give up any shelf, floor or wall space, and they add a fun, unexpected layer to the decor . Wall Art Turn plants into pieces of living art by adding them to string art or macrame wall hangings . You can find tons of affordable options on sites like Etsy that can quickly turn plants and flowers into artwork. Plants and flowers nestled into different designs look great. Air plants are a great option for wall art because they are super easy to take care of. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Bookshelves and Picture Ledges If you have built-in shelves in your living room, bedroom or kitchen, don’t let the high shelves go to waste just because they are out of reach. Add some plants that drape down to add some green to your space. Trailing plants are very popular and they are low-maintenance. If you have the option of adding something to the wall, pictures ledges are perfect for displaying plants indoors because the small lip on the edge will keep them from falling. Picture ledges are usually cheaper than traditional shelves. Just make sure you choose ledges that are wide enough. Carts If there is a small, dull space in your home that needs some love, you can add some plants with a rolling cart . If you live in an apartment and can’t add shelves, grids or peg boards to the wall, a rolling cart is the perfect option for creating a mini- jungle . Or, if you have some dead space in a large room, the cart doesn’t even have to go up against the wall. Plant Corner If you have an empty corner that needs some attention, consider filling it with plants of different shapes and sizes. Place different pots (of various shapes and sizes) in the corner to create a plant corner. You can incorporate your plant cart into the area for some added height. Images via Shutterstock

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9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

New guest home in Estonia uses a weathered metal facade to blend into ancient castle ruins

February 1, 2019 by  
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Visitors to the the ruins of a 14th-century castle in Vastseliina, Estonia will now have a beautiful place to stay in this beautiful guest home by Estonian architects, Kaos Architects . The Pilgrims’ House was clad in a weathered steel to compliment the ancient ruins of a 14th-century castle. Located in southeastern Estonia, the complex is a medieval setting with the ruins of a 14th century castle and an old pub house tucked into the rolling green hills and valleys adjacent to the Piusa river. When tasked with designing a guest home for the unique space, the bucolic atmosphere prompted the architects to create something that would be modern and comfortable, but that would blend in seamlessly with the landscape as well as the older buildings on site. Related:Modern gabled guesthouse embraces passive solar in Australia Along with the idyllic landscape, the architects were also inspired by the castle’s long history . After a miracle was reported to have taken place there in 1353, the castle complex became a popular pilgrimage destination. Although in ruins today, the site is used as an “experience center” to welcome guests who would like to experience the medieval way of life. To create the new addition to the complex , the architects tucked the Pilgrims’ House into a deep slope in the landscape so that it would not block the view of the castle ruins. Partially hidden by bushes and trees, the center’s weathered metal facade was intentionally used so that it would compliment the red brick and granite of the ruins. On the interior of the building, the design went medieval through and through. High ceilings and wooden doors, brick floors and secret niches create a vibrant, fresh interior with plenty of medieval features such as the steel chandeliers. Various small windows are reminiscent of early castles, offering scenic views while providing the utmost in privacy. In one room, a jet black wall showcases white graphics that were inspired by old engravings, featuring the area’s long history. Guests will enjoy a stay in the Pilgrim’s House where the personnel is dressed in medieval clothing and serve traditional fare. Although the guest rooms are quite humble, they do have hints of modern comforts such as a claw foot bathtub and simple Scandinavian-inspired furniture . + KAOS Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Terje Ugandi and Maris Tomba via KAOS Architects

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New guest home in Estonia uses a weathered metal facade to blend into ancient castle ruins

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

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