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Design/Decorating

Wednesday
Jan292014

Top Ideas For Furnishing Across Multiple Styles For That Perfect Eco-Friendly Living Room Space

Country Causal Living Room. Photo courtesy of Eco-FriendlyModernLiving.

Always looking for green decorating ideas, I decided to focus this post on where we spend the most time at home – living room, which for many of us doubles as the family room.

It’s where we watch television, play games, and generally relax. Spending some much time in the living room, we should also make sure that it’s as healthy and comfortable as it is beautiful.

If you are either planning on redecorating or buying furniture for the first time, then you should really read this post. I found four great online eco-furniture and accessory outlets that are really worth looking at for their ranges of styles and selection. They are: Eco-FriendlyModernLiving, American Eco Furniture, EcoChoices, and GreenSofas.com.

Eco-FriendlyModernLiving

Bali Wing Chair by Eco-FriendlyModernLiving.

Eco-FriendlyModernLiving has one of biggest and eclectic collections of environmentally-friendly furniture on the web, ranging from categories including sustainable, bamboo, modern, reclaimed wood, and colonial.

The company talks about its materials, saying, “The woods used by our manufacturer are either from tree species that are grown specifically for the wood carving industry such as bamboo and rubber trees or from recycled wood which is 75 to 150 years old.”

I have favorite pieces from each of their collections. The piece that I like best from the sustainable collection is the Bali Wing Chair, which feature rattan (palm) and rattan peel in a herringbone weave.

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Friday
Oct252013

Chicago’s Jones College Prep Opens New 7-Story Eco-Building Set For LEED Gold Certification

To both accommodate a growing student population and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of creating a greener city, the William Jones College Prep HS has expanded with the opening of a new 278,000 square foot eco-designed building that will now house an additional 1,200 students in grades nine-to-12.

Exterior rendering of William Jones College Preparatory High School.

Situated within a tight urban space in Chicago’s South Loop, the complex is a seven-story building designed to bring in as much natural light as possible and create an open airy feel with floor-to-ceiling windows extending along the entire eastern side of the building.

On track for LEED Gold certification, the school’s north/south orientation exposes the building to long periods of sunlight. In addition, opaque panels were placed on the building’s façade in order to help regulate light and solar heat.

Interior rendering of William Jones College Preparatory High School.

The design also includes a number of outdoor spaces with large terraces connecting to the lower-level library, cafeteria, and athletics facility.

The architectural design firm Perkins + Will has also incorporated a green roof into the design as well as a green alley that pipes water collected on the roof through the building “to be stored beneath the porous concrete of the pavement before being released into the city’s sewer system.”

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Tuesday
Mar122013

Residents Move Into First Net-Zero Energy Home Built At Affordable Price in Washington, D.C.

In one of the first real-world examples of taking a green sustainable building design and using it to build a house that’s both energy eff icient and affordable, the creators of Empowerhouse have succeeded in doing exactly that.

Empowerhouse. Photo courtesy of the Parsons New School For Design.

Empowerhouse is a two-family duplex, net-zero energy passive house originally built as part of the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Earlier this year, it became the new home of Lakiya Culley, a single mother of three, who works as a secretary for the U.S. State Department, and another family that will be transitioning out of public housing.

The Solar Decathlon is a biannual, international competition that challenges collage teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses, which are then exhibited on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in September and October.

This house has two major components that need a little explaining. A net-zero energy house “produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year,” according to the U.S. Energy Department

The non-profit organization Passive House Institute US explains that a “passive house is a very well-insulated, virtually air-tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain” and a small internal heat source. It also has a constant supply of fresh air provided through “an energy recovery ventilator.”

Both experts at the Passive House Institute and the Parsons New School For Design (one of the primary participants in planning, design, and construction of Empowerhouse) agree that a passive house consumes up to 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a typical house.

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Friday
Jan252013

Flowing Style of Beijing Galaxy SOHO Complex Earns Nomination For Design of the Year Award

Galaxy SOHO mixed-use building complex in Beijing, China. Photo courtesy of Iwan Baan.

Having a unique flowing design with a curving unified feel, the newly completed Beijing Galaxy SOHO mixed-use complex has just been nominated for the London Design Museum’s 2013 Design of the Year Award.

Galaxy SOHO building complex. Photo by Iwan Baan.

This will be the museum’s sixth annual Design of the Year Award exhibition, which will run from March 20, 2013 to July 7, 2013, with the museum saying the exhibition will “compile the most original and exciting designs, prototypes, and designers in the world today.”

The category winners and overall winner will be announced to the public on April 17, 2013. The design awards span seven categories: architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, transport, and product.

The SOHO Galaxy complex – designed by Zaha Hadid Architects – has been nominated in the award’s architecture category.

What’s unique about the SOHO Galaxy’s design is its natural flowing structure. The complex is a melding of four building spaces that blend together and then pull apart, connecting with bridges and plateaus, “creating a world of fluidity within,” said Zaha Hadid Architects.

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Friday
Dec142012

First Algae-Powered Building in Germany Nearing Completion For Next Year’s Hamburg Exhibition

From exploring algae for cleaning oil spills, creating new biofuels, agriculture, and potential sunscreens, now a collaboration of scientists, architects, engineers, and investors in Germany is nearing the completion (expected in March 2013) of an algae-powered building as part of the International Building Exhibition’s Hamburg green community development project.

Algae-powered building rendering. Image courtesy of KOS Wulff Immobilien GmbH, project investor.

 ARUP – an independent design, planning, and engineering firm working on the building – said that this project “is set to provide the first real-life test for a new façade system that uses live microalgae to provide shade and generate renewable energy at the same time.

“The bioreactors not only produce biomass that can subsequently be harvested, but they also capture solar thermal heat – both energy sources can be used to power the building.”

 Strategic Science Consult (SSC), which is also one of the designers as well as co-sponsor of the project, further explained that the algae is produced using the power of the sun, carbon dioxide (CO2),and liquid nutrients, which culminate in energy sources including methane gas that can be used to both power and directly heat the building.

SSC added that, “This smart energy concept leads natural forces to work together in a loop. The façade of living algae biomass produces heat, which combines with geothermal and solar thermal energy to create an environmentally-friendly powerhouse.

“All the energy needed to generate electricity and heat are produced from renewable sources. Fossil fuels are not involved.”

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