Conservatory House Built to Replicate the Design and Functionality of a Tree

Conservatory House External

Conservatory House External

This Conservatory House in Bulgaria by Ignatov Architects was designed to host small music events and house a large flower conservatory. It was built on the site of an old sand quarry for neighboring villages, which was later turned into an eroded waste dump.

The home fits into an existing quarry pit, providing a compact structure that fills the void without obstructing on the natural surroundings. The music room and conservatory are located on top of the home, minimizing the building’s footprint while soaking up plenty of sunlight and gorgeous views.

conservatory house 3

The rooftop conservatory also works as a great insulator, minimizing the home’s footprint along with a geothermal system for heating and cooling. Solar vacuum tubes integrated into the roof provide hot water, and a bio-active wastewater treatment unit turns waste into irrigation water and compost.

conservatory house 4

There is not much cultivated landscaping done around the house, which allows local plant species to regrow and maintain an active microclimate.

Altogether, the formation of the house somewhat resembles a tree – a green roof, solid wood structure, and geothermal probes underground. It is a cozy, inviting, and natural space that causes minimal waste and takes full advantage of the surroundings.

Conservatory House

Conservatory House

Read the rest here: Conservatory House Built to Replicate the Design and Functionality of a Tree


Gulf Islands Cabin by Olson Kundig Provides a Single-Room Retreat in British Columbia

This gorgeous Gulf Islands Cabin by Olson Kundig Architects is the perfect spot for nature lovers to escape for a cozy weekend retreat. Located in British Columbia, the minimalist space consists of one wood-paneled room, with a secure exterior made of corten steel that ensures safety from storms and fires.

The single bedroom is secure on a concrete foundation, and provides just enough room for a bed, chair, toilet, stove, and kitchenette. There is a shower outside on the porch, and the roof overhangs on each side for plenty of shade and protection from natural elements. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide plenty of natural lighting through the front of the cabin, and a movable steel exterior can be closed over it for protection while not in use.

As the steel and exterior begins to weather, it will blend in more with its natural surroundings and begin to emulate a rustic cabin in the woods. There’s even a small section of outdoor wood storage, which enhances the log cabin look and provides plenty of material for campfires all summer long.

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See the article here: Gulf Islands Cabin by Olson Kundig Provides a Single-Room Retreat in British Columbia

Shoal Bay House Offers a Minimalist Retreat Along Hawkes Bay

This gorgeous, minimalist Shoal Bay House by Parsonson Architects is a modestly designed, attractive home that is the perfect spot to enjoy a weekend retreat with family or friends. It is located on the east coast of southern Hawkes Bay, a great place to enjoy the beaches of New Zealand.

It is made of two interconnected gabled structures, one for bedrooms and another for living space. The house is lifted off the ground, which maximizes interior space by providing extra room to store kayaks, bikes, and beach equipment. The home is constructed of responsibly-sourced wood, uses a wood-burning stove to stay warm, and heats the water through solar power.

Shoal Bay House

Decks are located at each end of the living space, providing the perfect spot to view both the sunrise and sunset.

This sustainable getaway house was one of HOME Magazine’s Home of the Year Finalists in 2009, and won a NZIA Local Award in 2010. For more photos and details, please visit

Shoal Bay House interior

Shoal Bay House Exterior

Parsonson Architects

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Wood Fiber Insulation Arrives in the USA

Looks like wood-fiber insulation board is coming to the USA, according to a Greenbuild update on Green Building Advisor.  Agepan THD is the name of the product and it’s used as exterior sheathing for walls and roofs.  Agepan boards connect in tongue and groove fashion and insulate to R-5.74 per panel (2″ x 74.5″ x 23-5/8″).  The material has a high permeability (18 U.S. perms) and can be used in a wall assembly to dry to the exterior.  It’s offered through Washington-based The Small Planet Workshop Store.

[+] More about Agepan THD wood-fiber insulation board.

Credits: The Small Planet Workshop Store.

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Excerpt from: Wood Fiber Insulation Arrives in the USA

Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

For the eleventh year, BuildingGreen has announced their list of Top-10 Green Building Products. BuildingGreen picks the products from additions to the GreenSpec Directory, coverage in Environmental Building News, and blogs on BuildingGreen. Make sure to keep this selection of residential-related winners on your radar:

Amorim Expanded Cork Rigid Insulation
Website // energy efficiency, avoids hazardous ingredients, sustainably harvested

Viridian Reclaimed Wood
Website // salvaged wood, certified wood

GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater by GE
Website // American-made, energy-conserving fixture

Haiku Fan by Big Ass Fans
Website // Energy-conserving product, quiet

Atlas CMU Block w- Carbon Cure
Website // reduces operational pollution; pre-consumer recycled content

Cyber Rain Smart Irrigation Control
Website // conserves water, cloud-based system

[+] See all Top-10 BuildingGreen Green Products.

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Read the original: Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

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Low-Tech Rainscreen with Charred Wood

Zero Cottage — a net-zero energy project pursuing Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum, Green Point Rated, and Passive House certifications — is finishing nicely. Part of the exterior has a handsome rainscreen of vertical cedar battens and salvaged maple flooring.  The maple strips were charred with a roofing torch shou sugi ban-, or yakisugi-, style for longevity and aesthetics.  The result is a clean and modern look.

The exterior wall section includes charred maple cladding, 1

How to Remodel with Reclaimed Wood Floor

Reclaimed wood is a growing category of floor covering, and that is good news both for consumers and for the environment.  Because of the popularity of reclaimed wood flooring, there are more and more affordable choices than ever.  Sourcing just the right material for your home is still a little more work than buying off the shelf at your local flooring store, but armed with some basic information before you start talking to suppliers will make finding your perfect floor much easier.  Not all suppliers are created equal, either.  In most cases it is worthwhile to do due-diligence to make sure the company is reliable, established and has consistent stock before you fall in love with a particular style.

As you consider reclaimed wood flooring and a supplier for your project, I hope you’ll refer to these articles for reference.  Here’s how to remodel with reclaimed wood flooring:

Step 1:  Understand the Benefits of Reclaimed Wood Flooring.
Step 2:  Select a Wood Type, Milling, and Finish for Any Style.
Step 3:  Keep Key Wood Trends in Mind When Deciding on Style.
Step 4:  Understand How to Source the Choicest Reclaimed Wood.
Step 5:  Choose and Install the Right Finish to Suit Your Needs.

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  1. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Benefits (Part 1 of 5)
  2. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Know Wood Trends (Part 3 of 5)
  3. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Sourcing the Wood (Part 4 of 5)

More here: How to Remodel with Reclaimed Wood Floor

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How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Choosing the Finish (Part 5 of 5)

Last week I talked about how you can source the right reclaimed wood flooring for your project, and this week I want to conclude with some detail about choosing and installing a floor finish.  One thing to keep in mind when installing any wood floor, you should always (always!) follow the guidelines set out by the National Wood Flooring Association.  They cover every possible scenario you might encounter.  We have them posted on the Viridian Reclaimed Wood website here.

Finishes provide a layer of protection for reclaimed wood flooring, guarding it from dirt, moisture and wear. Finishes also add an attractive sheen to bring out the natural beauty of reclaimed wood flooring. There are many finish options to choose from—each with different advantages—and the finish chosen can significantly alter the look of the wood.

This information below is meant as a starting point to select what is right for your home; however, it is always best to test your choices on uninstalled material to make sure you are getting the results you want.

Wax or Wax Paste:
Wax is the oldest finishing substance for wood floors, and there are still many advantages to finishing your reclaimed wood floors with wax. It is inexpensive, easy to apply, fast drying, easy to repair and long lasting, assuming you provide the proper care. Today’s advanced waxes are also environmentally friendly and more durable than in years past.

At Viridian, we regularly use and recommend Osmo Polyx brand for durability and ease of application. Osmo has proven in tests to be as tough as polyurethane, yet it’s still a natural, repairable, low-toxicity finish that nicely complements reclaimed wood flooring. Of course, there are a few downsides to wax, as well – water will stain wax finishes and occasional buffing and reapplication of wax will be required. Chances are, your grandmother knew how to wax her wooden floors; if you are attracted to reclaimed wooden flooring for its old-world charm, wax may be the best finish for you.

Oil is the most popular finish for wood floors around the world. Like wax, oil has long been used as a finish for centuries. Quality oil finishes are plant-based and contain no VOCs to harm the environment. Unlike other finishes, which typically look their best at the time of application and head downhill from there, oil finishes continue looking better and better every year – provided you’re willing to put in the necessary work.

Oil finishes require regular touch-ups and buffing to continue looking great. In fact, many homeowners consider the reparability of oil finishes an advantage over finishes that do not allow repairs, such as polyurethane. Oil finishes also have a low sheen many homeowners prefer, especially on rustic or antique wood flooring.  At Viridian, we routinely recommend Teak Oil and Woca Oil for their penetrating ability, hardness and overall look.  Note that depending on the application you may also need to use a paste or liquid wax to protect the finish.

Newer floors are often finished with surface sealants, such as urethane. A big advantage of urethane-based finishes is that they are stain- and water-resistant. Urethane finishes are so durable that they are often used in high-traffic areas, such as school gymnasiums. The only maintenance required for surface-sealed reclaimed wood flooring is the occasional dusting and mopping.

Urethane floor finishes are available in several forms. Oil-based urethane dries slowly and brings out a beautiful amber glow in reclaimed wood flooring. One downside to oil-modified urethane is that it is a petroleum product; if you originally purchased reclaimed wood floors for sustainability, you may not want to use a finished based on fossil fuels.

Water-based urethane has grown in popularity in recent years because it has the same positive properties as oil-based urethane, but it has very low (or no) volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are many water-based products that are easy to apply, dry quickly, are hard enough for commercial floors and create a clear to amber tone. These are occasionally more expensive than their oil-based counterparts. Moisture-cured urethane is also available; it is extremely durable and moisture resistant, but it’s also so difficult to apply that it is best to call in a professional if you choose this finish.

Swedish Finish:
Also called a “conversion varnish,” this is an alcohol-based finish developed in Scandinavia in the 1950s and has been popular in Europe ever since. Like urethane seals, Swedish floor finishes require virtually no maintenance beyond light damp mopping, however, it is an extremely toxic process. Swedish floor finishes are notoriously smelly; the strong odor from this type of finish may linger for weeks.  For these reasons, and the fact there are so many quality alternatives, we do not recommend Swedish finish for any applications.

Finally: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Conclusion

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More here: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Choosing the Finish (Part 5 of 5)

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How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Sourcing the Wood (Part 4 of 5)

Last week I talked about the importance of knowing wood trends when remodeling with reclaimed wood flooring, and this week I want to talk about how you can source the right reclaimed wood fooring for your project.

Ordering reclaimed wood has its quirks.  Reliable, established suppliers provide greater consistency, better customer service and certified wood, but this comes at possibly (but not necessarily!) a premium price.  Smaller companies may have lower overhead, but they also may not have the supply or consistency required for something as important as your personal home interior.

A common complaint is, “I loved the look of the sample, but when I went to order they no longer had that barn wood and offered me a different material.”  Armed with this information, you should ask about availability up front.  In some cases you might acquire the wood floor and store it until you need it to avoid supply problems, or go with a larger or more reliable company.

Know Your Terminology:
Recycled” and “reclaimed” typically refer to materials sourced from dismantled buildings or other wood products that have served their original purpose and then re-milled into new flooring.  “Salvaged” generally refers to existing flooring that was removed from an existing building and repurposed.  Both are decent options, but they have their own caveats.

For example, salvage may have an existing finish that may need to be tested for suitability in modern construction, and using the existing tongue and groove can pose more challenges at the time of installation.  Freshly milled reclaimed wood, even rustic face, has a new tongue and groove allowing for seamless installation and many different options for finishing.  With reclaimed it good to ask your supplier if it has been kiln dried for stability.  In the case of salvage the material is old enough that kiln drying is probably not required.

Consider FSC® Certified Wood:
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the global standard for responsible forestry.  This certification is your assurance that the product meets international sustainability goals, including criteria regarding humane labor as well as reclamation and forest management.  FSC certification is a rigorous process, and it is an outward symbol of a company’s commitment to sustainability.

Do It Yourself:
Of course, one option is to find reclaimed wood and get it milled yourself.  This could end up being more time consuming and costly than buying from another supplier, but you will get a custom look and it will definitely add a new dimension to the story of the floor.  If you go this route, you will need to arm yourself with additional information such as if the wood contains any metal, the moisture content, and test the wood if it is painted.

Next week: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Finish Details

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Go here to see the original: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Sourcing the Wood (Part 4 of 5)

September Month in Review [Outline]

It’s been another month, and here’s another outline of coverage from September. From newly published posts this month, I noticed that our articles about net-zero energy Grow Community and the not-so-big timber-frame home were the most popular. For a visual look at what’s being shared, also make sure to check out Jetson Green on Pinterest.

Innovative Prefab & Other Projects:

Technology & Products Innovation:

Know-How & Other Green News:

Also, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for updates, article summaries, newsworthy links, and other site news.

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  1. How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Benefits (Part 1 of 5)
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Visit link: September Month in Review [Outline]