Japanese Home Offers a Minimalist Design With Natural, Earthen Floors

Low-Carbon Concrete Products to be Developed by Atlas Block and CarbonCure

Atlas Concrete Carbon Neutral Block

Atlas Block, a manufacturer of concrete products based in Ontario, has signed a licensing agreement with CarbonCure, an emerging leader in science-based concrete technology for green building, to manufacture low-carbon concrete that will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the concrete industry.

Several months have been spent testing the bolt-on technology from CarbonCure at the Atlas Block Hillsdale plant. The method sequesters carbon dioxide into the concrete during the manufacturing process. CO2 waste is consumed during concrete production to transform it into solid limestone, thus creating a better concrete product.

“This could transform the entire concrete industry,” said Don Gordon, CEO of Atlas Block. “I’ve been in this industry many years. This is easily the most exciting technological improvement I’ve seen.” Concrete is responsible for approximately 5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as the most widely used construction material.

Several major firms are beginning to spec the Atlas Block products, including B+H Architects. “B+H Architects is so impressed with the environmental sustainability of this technology that Atlas Block with CarbonCure products will be exclusively specified on all new products,” said Matthew Roberts of B+H Architects.

Atlas Block joins CarbonCure distributors, The Shaw Group of Nova Scotia, and Basalite Concrete Products of Dixon, California to meet the global demand for innovative green building materials.

Atlas Concrete Production

http://youtu.be/K9wupS_hESA

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Electronically Tintable Dynamic SageGlass Unveiled at BAU by Saint-Gobain

Sage Glass transition stage 1

SAGE Electrochromics, which was recently acquired to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain of Paris, is demonstrating its newly developed advanced dynamic glass that it calls “SageGlass” at the 2013 BAU, the “World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials, Systems” in Munich.

SageGlass is electronically tintable to allow for modulation of light, glare, and solar heat gain. With the push of a button, or by of building automation systems or the proprietary SageClass control system, the glass can alter the solar heat gain and visible light transmission. Providing for efficient and flexible control of exterior light, SageGlass replaces blinds and motorized window shades that block light coming through windows, curtain walls, and skylights.

Sage Glass stage 2

Using a patented technology, the glazing level of SageGlass tint is dynamically controllable from 2% to 62% of light transmittance while maintaining transparency so that outdoor views are unobstructed to maximize energy efficiency while improving the comfort  and productivity of building occupants and increasing the value of the building.

Sage Glass Stage 3

According to a recent press release, SageGlass tint achieves this by managing “solar heat with a g value varying from 0.42 in its clearest state to 0.05 in the darkest state (values for a DGU with a Ug value of 1.1 W/m2.k).” The SageGlass dedicated automatic control system enables the tint to automatically adapt to outdoor luminance.

“BAU will be a terrific opportunity to showcase SageGlass’s impact on daylight and sun heat for the first time to the German market,” said SAGE SAINT-GOBAIN Europe, Director of Marketing and Sales, Kirk Ratzel.

Sage glass tint triple pane glass

Motion Detecting BugPlug Powers Off Gadgets to Save Electricity

BugPlug Energy Saving Device

Many of our home devices are wasting electricity when they are consuming power in standby mode.  Some of these gadgets don’t even have an on/off switch and you have to unplug it or connect it to a power strip that you can turn off.

It might only be a few watts, but add up all of the phantom power consumed in your home and you might be motivated to find a way to save electricity costs. Some estimates put the power usage of standby devices at ten percent of total consumption. Heat generated from devices can limit their lifespan and require your air conditioning systems to work harder.

The solution? Reduce your carbon footprint and your power bill by turning off standby devices whenever possible.

While there are automatic shutdown sockets available, the BugPlug solves the problem of leaking electricity in a fun and attractive package.

BugPlug Design and features

This innovative little bug will help you save on electricity drains of stand-by devices, turning them off when you’re not in the room. Polish design team Ah&Oh Studio, Magda Kalek and Kamil Jerzykowski, created the Bug Plug for the 2009 Greener Gadget Competition.

The design was influenced by urban vinyl toys and features motion sensors built in to the two antennaes. When you enter the room the BugPlug is monitoring, it powers on the devices that you have connected to it. The BugPlug has a detachable power cord that can be used with a variety of plugs.

When you leave the room, the timer powers off the devices after a period of time that you configure. Adjust the timer in the BugPlug’s belly button for up to thirty minutes after the BugPlug notices there is nobody in the room.

Until the BugPlug goes into production, there are a wide variety of products available that include automatic shutdown features and timers. I found several options on Amazon, including surge protectors and devices with built-in timers, by searching keywords: automatic shutdown, auto shut-off

What are you doing in your home and office to reduce energy consumption from standby devices?

BugPlug how it works

BugPlug design how it works

BugPlug Single Bug

O+A Architecture Builds Pavilion Out of Recycled Shipping Containers in Amsterdam

This recycled shipping container stage was created by architecture studio O+A in celebration of Amsterdam’s Over het IJ theatre festival’s 20th anniversary. Made of locally sourced materials, the containers have been retrofitted to create a temporary space designed for live artistic performances.

The repurposed containers were used as building blocks, creating a lasting impression for visitors with its overwhelmingly large scale. The horizontally stacked containers were used as pop-up stores, platforms, and even a restaurant, featuring long tables and a corrugated bar.

The three-dimensional checkerboard structure provides indoor and outdoor space that is raw yet cozy, the perfect combination for architecture enthusiasts and festival visitors who need a space to relax after a long day of festivities.

Roundhouse Garden Buildings Inspired by Yurts

Rotunda Tiny House

Rotunda Living, a small home builder based in the United Kingdom, has designed some small, contemporary round houses inspired by nature’s shapes and elements. They look like the perfect backyard getaway to use as a studio, guest bedroom, pool house, or meditative escape space.

The design is similar to a yurt, but with solid walls. The plan is to use locally-sourced materials and a local supply chain to create quality, sustainable materials that will not sacrifice aesthetics. Each design uses natural, breathable, and efficient materials for insulation and construction, providing a healthy environment that inspires creativity in an atmosphere inspired by nature.

Rotunda Tiny House

If you’ve always wondered how closely you could incorporate nature into the design of a small home or room, these roundhouses offer an option that is pretty close. For more information on their designs and inspiration, visit rotunda-living.co.uk.

Rotunda Tiny House Interior

Images via Rotunda Living

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New LED Lighting Styles Launched by Barn Light Electric

Modern Kitchen LED Red Cherry Aero

Barn Light Electric has announced its launch a a new line of lighting fixtures that utilize innovative LED technology from Cree, Inc., an innovator in LED lighting.

Barn Light is combining its vintage-styled lighting with energy-efficient, low-maintenance LEDs. Cree provides a proprietary TrueWhite® technology that transmits a warm light similar to traditional incandescent bulbs.

“While LED lighting is hardly new, many people are unclear on all of the benefits of using LEDs,” said Scott Dodson, Project Manager and LED Liaison at Barn Light Electric. “When you invest in LED lighting, it may cost more up front than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, but you’ll start saving money, through reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance costs, the minute you flip the switch.”

Barn Light Gooseneck LED light

Dodson was pivotal in the implementation of Cree’s technology into Barn Light Electric’s lighting fixtures. Barn Light has incorporated the Cree LED components into a wide range of its most popular products such as the stem mount, wall sconce, gooseneck, cord hung, and RLM warehouse shades.

Barn Light Cord Hung LED Light

In a recent press release, Barn Light explains how the newest LEDs offer bright, natural light. “The color rendering index (CRI) characterizes light sources on a scale of 0 to 100 for their ability to produce natural light. The closer an LED light comes to 100 on the CRI, the more naturally colors are rendered. The CRI of fluorescent tubes is often around 72. Barn Light Electric LED fixtures, utilizing the latest in Cree technology, have a CRI between 92 and 94.”

LED lighting does not contain hazardous materials, is approximately 85 percent more efficient, is designed to last around 50,000 hours, and lasts longer than incandescents

“You can now have all the style and charm of vintage-style barn light fixtures coupled with LED technology,” said Bryan Scott, owner of Barn Light Electric. “You can truly have the best of both worlds with energy-efficient LED lighting available in all of your favorite barn lighting styles.”

Barn Light Electric is now the exclusive United States supplier of Benjamin™, Goodrich™, and Ivanhoe™ porcelain lights.

Ivanhoe bomber 11inch-robins egg blue LED

Seadrift Residence is a Zero-Energy Home With Natural, Stylish Features

Seadrift Home

This Seadrift Residence home by CCS Architecture in San Francisco may not look out of the ordinary for a modern lakehouse, but this sleek and stylish 1,900 square foot home is as environmentally friendly as it is stylish.

The middle of the living space consists of a rotating fire orb that is designed to distribute warmth equally throughout the room. The generous amount of wood throughout the home gives a natural, inviting look while providing plenty of natural insulation.

Seadrift Home Internal

Some of the environmental benefits of this home include the photovoltaic roof that provides solar energy, smart heating technology that reduces energy consumption, efficient lighting fixtures that are still aesthetically pleasing, and an innovative low-flow water management system. All of these features turn the Seadrift Residence into a zero-energy home that does not sacrifice the environment for style.

For more photos and information on the architects of this beautiful beach home in Stinson Beach, California, visit CSS-Architecture.com.

Seadrift Home External

Seadrift Home Internal

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Empowerhome – The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future


Empowerhome - The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future

The Empowerhouse, a home that produces all of its own energy, has just been built in a Washington D.C. neighborhood. It was designed by students at the New School and Stevens Institute of Technology as part of a Solar Decathlon design competition, which partnered with the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development. This made one of the competition’s homes a reality for the first time ever.

This “net-zero” home consists of a bright, bold exterior, with an interior built out of recycled materials and receives plenty of natural light. The exterior contains stormwater management systems that help control heavy runoff impacting polluted rivers. Each unit has a terrace with a green roof and small agriculture plot, with a rain garden in the rear that captures rainwater escaping from the roof gardens. There is also an underground cistern that collects rainwater and uses it to water the property.

Empowerhome - The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future

The parking space is made of permeable pavers, allowing stormwater to sink into the soil. It is also placed on D.C.’s first residential green street, which contains a trough full of dirt and plants that soak up street runoff and absorb oily pollutants.

Empowerhome - The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future

The house is a shining example of how sustainable, affordable housing is possible, even in inner-city neighborhoods. Now that Habitat for Humanity is involved as well, it is likely that more of these homes will be popping up around the country.

BluServ™Plus Brings You Full-Service Homebuilding from Blu® Homes

Blu Homes Breezehouse Rear Elevation

Blu® Homes is now offering “start to finish” project management services so that they can more easily provide customers with precision-engineered, green prefabricated houses. BluServ™ Plus services include design, fixed bid, general contractor, schedule management, project management, and site work.

“Our clients asked us to provide this service, so we built a national team of project managers and architects to assure Blu clients the flexibility to get exactly the project design they want. They also get the simplicity of a single point of contact, the assurance of a reliable and clearly articulated building schedule and the confidence that their projects are being expertly managed by Blu’s team for the duration of the building cycle—from the initial design concept, permitting and site preparation to the final walk-through of a beautifully finished home, ” said Brett Chisholm, Blu Vice President in a recent press release. “Our focus is to create a customer experience for Blu’s clients that is second to none.”

Blu Homes builds its architecturally designed, eco-friendly prefab homes in a 250,000 square foot manufacturaing facility near Vallejo, California. Their proprietary steel framing and building technology results in economical, healthy, low-maintenance houses that are strong, beautiful, and finished on-site. Blu Homes can help make sure that your house achieves LEED certification and work with Energy Star or your local green rating system.

For more information about BluServ Plus (not available in select markets), call 888-228-8081 or visit www.bluhomes.com/bluserv. Like Blu Homes on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @BluHomes.