Written on May 21, 2013 at 19:53
Located in the Swiss Mountains, this gorgeous 200-year-old home has received a variety of energy-efficient, sustainable upgrades by Savioz Fabrizzi Architects, who sought to maintain the home’s original beauty while achieving Swiss Minergie energy conservation standards.
The exterior remained untouched, and exposed concrete walls and screed floors were added to the interior to match the stone facade. The grey color scheme may seem drab to some, but the textural differences and pops of color, particularly the mustard yellow in the kitchen, keep it from looking dull or unfinished.
Thermal insulation is obtained through a concrete layer and foamed recycled glass, and the roof is equipped with 75 square feet of solar panels. The windows were replaced with bigger, better versions that provide more natural light and even better views of the scenic surroundings.
Overall, this home is the perfect blend of classic style and modern efficiency.
Written on May 21, 2013 at 07:50
Next year’s SUPRASTUDIO program at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design will be all about going off the grid on an urban scale.
In a recent discussion with Dennis Shelden, Craig Webb, and Andrew Witt of Gehry Technologies, Frank Gehry talks about how, early in his career, he would get upset when electricians came into his buildings and punched holes in the walls to put wires in. Considering that the aerospace industry is developing systems for Skylab that were miniaturized and light, Gehry started to think about how to change the way we solve problems in urban design to be less dependent on distribution systems.
What came of ensuing talks with his colleagues is Mr. Gehry’s participation in the creation of a SUPRASTUDIO program to confront challenges of the grid and its impact on the environment and address the possibility of local power generation.
If you could whisper in Frank’s ear, what would you ask him to have the SUPRASTUDIO students focus on next fall?
About Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry is a Pritzker Prize-winning architect based in Los Angeles and the designer of the designer of the future Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. He is known for his “paper architecture” design technique and many famous buildings:
- Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain
- MIT Ray and Maria Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles
- Experience Music Project in Seattle
- Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis
- Dancing House in Prague
- Vitra Design Museum andMARTa Museum in Germany
- Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto
- Cinémathèque française in Paris
- 8 Spruce Street in New York City
SUPRASTUDIO at the UCLA Architecture and Urban Design is an architecture educational research platform that is designed to advance experimentation in architecture in collaboration with other building construction and design disciplines. Each program is a one-year course of study that can contribute to completion of a Masters of Architecture degree. During the course, students work on a specific research project in conjunction with industry professionals. Applications for the next SUPRASTUDIO program, which starts on August 5, 2013, are being accepted through January 7, 2013 from students who have obtained a Bachelor of Architecture degree from any NAAB accredited program in the United States, foreign equivalent, or a graduate degree in architecture.
Written on May 20, 2013 at 07:45
If you’re wondering what it would be like to take a look inside an iconic home like the Breezehouse by Blu Homes, your opportunity to do so is this weekend. As the first home of its kind on the East Coast, the Breezehouse offers a unique living style that accentuates the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley with high ceilings, clean lines, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an intricate yet minimalist prefabricated style.
On May 18 and 19 at noon, Blu Homes will offer an exclusive design seminar for those interested in finding out more about the sustainable features, personalization options, and intricate design elements of the Breezehouse in Hudson Valley.
More information on the home and event is available at bluhomes.com. To get in touch with the company or for more information about the event, email email@example.com or call 866.887.7997.
Written on May 19, 2013 at 07:42
Earlier this year, the World Record Academy awarded a home in Dillingham, Alaska with the record for the Tightest Residential Building.
In a video that documents the blower door test, the home’s owners and residents, Dr. Tom Marsik and Kristin Donalson, who designed and built the extremely insulated building, explain their motivation to push the limits of green building methods. The blower door test, which used a special attachment to get the most accurate reading, pressurized the building and then measured the flow that was needed to maintain the difference in pressure from the outside.
The key energy features of the home include its small size (600 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom), 28 inch thick walls, an extremely tight building envelope (0.05 ACH50), ventilation via a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). The majority of the heat needed by the home is derived from internal heat gains (from lighting, appliances, passive solar, and body heat).
Only about 35 gallons of heating oil is needed each year to make up the difference between internal heat gains and needed heat. Windows are triple-pane, argon-filled with fiberglass frames. Appliances are Energy Star rated, lighting is supplied by CFLs, and plumbing fixtures are low-flow.
While extra insulation cost around $20,000 of the estimated construction costs of $169,500, the owners expect to save about $4,000 per year in energy costs.
The home design was based on an educational tool that was developed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Bristol Bay Campus Sustainable Energy Program, Passive Office, which was an experiment in energy-efficient building construction. Marsik is an assistant professor of sustainable energy at UAF.
Extensive details about the home’s specifications and construction can be found on the Alaska Energy Wiki where you can find links to more images and articles about the record-setting Dillingham house.
Written on May 16, 2013 at 07:30
A shortage of affordable housing in London has led to an increase in the number of homeless people on city streets, as young people who lose their supported accommodation benefits when securing full-time employment often can not afford deposits for affordable flat rentals.
Teaming up with the Waltham Forest Council, the Forest Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in East London has found a way to respond to the need for transitional housing by converting recycled shipping containers into sustainable single-person dwellings that can be delivered to any site. Dubbed mYPad, the project makes the homes available to those who are newly employed at a rental price of £75 per week, which is approximately 30% of the local minimum wage pay rate, until they can save the necessary deposits for long-term rentals.
The first two prototype mYPad units were delivered last June and have been tested by staff and visitors, including Councillor Richard Sweden, Mayor of Waltham Forest, and Councillor Paul Douglas, who stayed overnight in one on March 21, 2013. “It was an extremely comfortable night’s sleep,” said Mayor Sweden. “They are very cosy units and a clever way of meeting a real need that lots of young people face.”
“It’s really comfortable,” said Forest YMCA Chief Executive, Timothy Pain, in an April 11, 2013 interview with BBC London 94.9. “I lived in one for three weeks as part of our nine months testing programme through British summer and British winter to make sure that it wasn’t like a fridge in the winter and like an oven in the summer. It’s got a shower, it’s got a toilet and it’s got a sink. We work with a contractor for the Ministry of Defence, so that it’s vandal-proof and sustainable.”
Worcestershire-based architectural firm, Robert Kilgour Associates, has contributed interior design for the mYPads, while design firm, Essence Design, is creating the exterior design and branding for the homes. Initial plans are for the mYPads to be located on two sites in East London.
“We are very pleased with the coverage the BBC have given the mYPads,” said Mr. Pain. “It’s allowed us to introduce the mYPad concept to a wider audience and in turn show that there is a credible solution to the affordable housing crisis.”
A faith-based charity that has been operating for more than forty years, Forest YMCA operates of the United Kingdom’s largest “direct-access” hostels for the homeless and is one of North East London’s biggest Third Sector organizations. A staff of 160 people provides assistance to young people to help them integrate into society and develop independent lifestyles by providing them with education, training, and employment. Forest YMCA is accepting donations for mYPads and other projects through JustGiving.com.
“Housing is an incredibly important priority for the Council, and one we take very seriously,” said Mayor Sweden. “This sort of innovative approach gives young people a chance to move from semi-independent accommodation to their own self-contained living space. Forest YMCA should be commended for taking this project forward.”
Written on May 16, 2013 at 07:30
Designed by Charles Wright Architects to satisfy a desire for a carbon-neutral home, the Stamp House is located on the edge of the beachfront rainforest in Far North Queensland (FNQ), Australia, a region that includes over seventy national parks and contributes up to AU$700 million annually in agricultural products that include sugar cane, bananas, mangoes, and coffee.
The environmentally-sensitive home makes the most of the off-grid site’s natural amenities, overlooking an engineered water ecosystem that was developed in collaboration with Australian governmental organizations such as the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).
Formed of a combination of insulated precast and in-situ concrete, the cantilevered design protects the home from king tide inundation and flooding that can result from cyclonic activity. Its classification as a cyclone shelter is “category 5 cyclone proof.”
Its sustainable development features include total 250,000 liter water harvesting, recycling, and reticulation. Renewable solar energy is generated with solar backup that is not reliant upon fossil fuel. A tertiary sewerage treatment plant is located on-site, along with grey water recycling and irrigation. A thermal storage tank system provides for cooling and feeds back into the mechanical and hydraulic facilities. All systems are controlled by C-bus smart building automation.
Written on May 15, 2013 at 07:29
Daniel Schwaag and Allison Dring, of design firm, Elegant Embellishments, have developed a remarkable three-dimensional architectural tile that is capable of reducing air pollution in urban locations, is quick and easy to install, and provides visual appeal.
In response to the priorities that have been set by the EU Clean Air Strategy 2005 to reduce pollution deaths and pollution-related damages, Elegant Embellishments has developed prosolve370e tiles, which are coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2) to neutralize air pollutants. The tiles can be positioned near sources of pollution and, when installed on a facade, can serve to direct natural light into a building and reduce wind flow, thus generating turbulence that improves distribution of air pollutants across the surface of the tiles.
The complex grid pattern of the tiles has been based on that of sponges and corals but are easily assembled and mounted to a vertical grid. The hollow modules are constructed of ABS-polycarbonate plastic sheets that are vacuum-formed over aluminum. TiO2 and primers that can adhere to plastic substrate are applied in layers. When the coating wears thin, it can be cleaned with a damp cloth and resprayed without requiring removal of the grid.
The pollutant-reducing capability of the tiles occurs when ultraviolet rays activate the electrons in the coating’s 20-nanometer TiO2 particles, which break down VOCs and nitrogen oxides on contact, resulting in by-products of water and calcium nitrate that washes away when it rains. The facade of the Torre de Especialidades (described below) is expected to eliminate NOx in the equivalent of 8,750 vehicles per day.
To date, the prosolve370e tiles have been utilized in three projects: the enex100 retail complex in Perth, the Torre de Especialidades in Mexico City, the Al Bustan Complex in Abu Dhabi.
Prosolve370e 1050 series tiles were installed in the enex100 retail complex at St. George’s Terrace in downtown Perth, Australia in September 2009. Comprising around 750 tiles that cover about 800 square meters of a ceiling and wall, the feature can be seen from an entrance on Hays Street, through the food court and shopping areas, to the entrance on St. George’s Street. The project has received the Julius Eslicher Award for Interior Architecture and the MondoLuce Architectural Lighting Award from the A.I.A. Australia.
The Torre de Especialidades, part of del Hospital General Dr. Manuel Gea González in Mexico City, has been treated with a 100 meter long, curved screen on its 2500 square-meter facade along Avenida San Fernando, a street with heavy traffic in one of the country’s most polluted cities. While creating a visually complex and memorable addition to the building, the antimicrobial and de-polluting effects of the prosolve370e was a key consideration in its selection for the project.
Currently under construction, with expected completion this summer, six suspended, double-sided screens made from the prosolve370e 390 Series is being installed in the dining area of the hotel lobby in the Al Bustan Complex Abu Dhabi.
Written on May 14, 2013 at 07:27
About LYNNE OCONNOR:
Lynne joined the Jetson Green team in 2012 as a writer of articles related to beautiful design, smart construction, resource conservation, energy efficiency, water savings, healthy air, green technology, and renewable energy. Her favorite topics are tiny homes, passive houses, prefab and modular structures, and materials reuse, such as shipping containers. She currently resides near Sacramento, California, where she works as a freelance writer, content manager, and marketing consultant.
Written on May 13, 2013 at 07:25
The new NASA Sustainability Base was designed by William McDonough + Partners to embody the spirit of NASA while fostering collaboration, supporting health and well-being, and exceed the requirements of LEED® Platinum with systems that will eventually use only renewable energy and closed-loop water maintenance facilities.
An exoskeleton approach provides for structural stability during seismic events, facilitates glare-free daylighting and shading, natural ventilation and connection to the outdoors, and flexibility of the workspace with its column-free interior.
Atop the two-story 50,000-square-foot building is a solid-oxide fuel cell and rooftop solar arrays, supplying the building with more energy than it requires and sending surplus electricity back into the grid where the Base is located at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Currently running on natural gas, the fuel cell is ready to be converted to landfill gas when a source is available.
Built on the site in a configuration of linked structures that was inspired by the nearby wind tunnel, the construction did not disturb existing growth of stone pine and heritage redwoods and allows for most workers in the building to depend on daylight about 80-90% of the time.
A central computer optimizes building performance and controls lighting, heating, and cooling, coordinating weather forecasts with scheduled usage of building facilities, adjusting its formulas to learn from itself based on how close it achieves desired goals.
“Once we’ve demonstrated the performance of the technology, I want to work with private-sector vendors,” said Steve Zornetzer, the associate center director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, in a press release, referring to the base’s forward-osmosis water-filtration system that recycles wastewater for use as gray water. “We’ll license the technology to them and say, ‘You guys develop this and you put it on the marketplace for consumers to buy. We can really bring advanced technology to the built environment and make a difference.”
As GreenSource stated, “Houston, We Have a Solution: NASA’s new base harnesses space-age technology to take building performance to the next level. It’s one giant leap for green design.”
Written on May 12, 2013 at 07:23
Located in Venice, California and designed by Brooks + Scarpa, the Yin Yang home provides private living spaces for a family that includes several children along with commercial office space for its owners and recently made the top ten list of Green Projects as compiled by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE).
Sustainability features include passive design strategies, R-21 blown-in cellulose insulation, a tight building envelope, and a 12 KW solar photovoltaic panel system that also provides shade and reduces overheating of the home. Eco-friendly and rapidly renewable materials that were used in construction include interior finishes with high recycled content and low emissions, FSC-certified flooring and cabinets, bamboo, composite stone and tile.
Exceeding California Title 24 requirements by almost 50 percent, the home has produced 100 percent of its energy. After living in the home for more than nine months, the owners had not yet received a power bill, due in part to high-efficiency solar water heaters, energy-efficient lighting, and Energy Star-labeled appliances.
A steel entry door on a solid facade leads into a courtyard and outdoor spaces, with a rear garden wall, that are integrated with the home’s interior by way of a 50-foot sliding glass door that leads into a main living room. Several exterior terraces and decks allow for an abundance of natural lighting and ventilation and ocean breezes all but eliminate the need for electrical cooling. Bedrooms on the upper floor open up to a green roof.