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Latest Articles in Green Design

Pia Wustenberg 7

Recycled Paper Lights

I recently came across the work of Pia Wüstenberg, a German-born designer whose recent obsession is transforming piles of waste paper (posters, magazines) into striking pendant lights and tables. First she rolls them around a tube, laminating each sheet on top of the other with a glue-based mixture. Then she uses a woodworking lathe and carving tools to shape the piece, much as a woodworker creates a turned bowl.   For further insight into her working process, check out this video:   Processed Paper from pia wustenberg on Vimeo.
October 20, 2011
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Henry Wilson's "Things Revisited"

When Australian designer Henry Wilson moved to the Netherlands to study for a Masters Degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven, he says he experienced a "philosophical shift away from the creation of new things and a re-examination of the role of the designer." He was feeling "increasing disenchantment with the role of the designer at a time of evident excess and wastefulness in a consumer driven market," he writes, along with a growing awareness of the world's dwindling resources. His musings and experimentations led him to invent a design exercise for himself: to tweak and update existing "classic" designs in a way that would reveal them in a fresh light. Here are the clever and elegant results of his experiments.
September 30, 2011
Achieving zero net energy required integration with every aspect of zHome’s design. Even in initial site planning, we had to take into account solar heat gain and ensuring clear solar access to each unit’s roof.

A Zero-Energy Community: Part 2

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 2: Building REALLY green... It's easier than you think. Forty percent. That’s the share of total CO2 emissions each year in the US that comes from energy used in buildings. Building operations—heating, cooling, lighting, and everything else inside the walls—are the single largest generator of carbon dioxide in the country. It’s an easy thing to forget about, sort of like background noise. But it’s there, humming along, 24/7.
September 28, 2011
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A Zero-Energy Community: Part 1

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 1: Introduction to the project.   I am writing this as I sit in the zHome Stewardship Center, which will open later this Fall as a hub of education and market transformation for radically green housing in the Pacific Northwest. I’m surrounded by the sounds of typical construction wrap-up on a residential community—the clink of rebar being laid down for the concrete walkways, Motown being played on the radio by a cleanup crew, and a trackhoe moving larger trees into place. There’s also non-typical sounds—those of drills on the roof, where the solar panels are being installed, and ground source heat pumps starting up for the first time.
September 14, 2011
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Small Footprint in Fayetteville

Fayetteville, Arkansas, doesn't have a reputation for "going green." Rather, the town has historically garnered recognition for its local beacon, the University of Arkansas. Yet homeowners Myria and A.J. Allen are redefining conventional building practices, beginning with their energy-efficient and environmentally conscious home. Completed in the spring of 2011, the petite 1,368 square foot two-bedroom, two-bath structure sports a broad, wing-like roof, detached carport, clerestory windows and cathedral ceilings. But don’t be deceived by the modern shape; underneath the sharp-cornered dressing lies dozens of meticulous details chosen in the name of sustainability. “We wanted to do our small part to reverse the negative environmental trajectory we see around us,” says Myria. “Essentially we wanted to use our financial resources to create a comfortable home which is consistent with our values.” Working closely with Skiles Architect, Myria, a Professor in Environmental Communication at the university, and A.J., an employee for the city’s Parks and Recreation department were able to honor their earth-friendly lifestyle while maintaining an economical outlook. Meeting the highest possible Energy Star 5+ certification through the use of a geothermal heat pump, SIPs for roofing, and Ultrex windows with Low-E II glazing, among other eco-friendly choices, the couple’s lowest across-the-board electric bill has been $43, while the highest came in at a modest $69. Aside from the financial boon, the house also proves valuable in education. Myria says she’s taken advantage of her Fayetteville rarity and brought her students in to talk with them about creating ethically responsible yet beautiful living spaces. “Most folks really don’t think outside the box when it comes to building a home—this helps them to do so,” she says.
September 12, 2011
The facade of the green-built Suttles and Shah residence.

A Green Home to Last a Lifetime in Austin

Austin couple Anne Suttles and Sam Shah built a house to last their lifetime—and longer. Mixing new efficient systems with old upcycled materials, they keep it weird while keeping it green.
August 31, 2011
la mesa de venn part 1

lamesadevenn: Part One

In this series, trace the story of lamesadevenn, a green live/work space in Santa Fe, New Mexico, created for two community groups, La Mesita and La Resolana. Rather than simply becoming a building that addresses the structural needs of the groups, lamesadevenn seeks to embody their values of sustainability, experiential education, and community involvement. Part 1: How it all began.   Forget the architectural academics bespeckled in thick-rimmed glasses, arguing over theoretical issues or self-serving competitions—this isn’t a standard story, and these aren’t the usual suspects. This is lamesadevenn, a socio-architecture collaborative, an international “archimunity” of innovators stepping outside of their professional fields to explore common interests. Simply put: they're redefining how and why we design.
August 22, 2011
Yerba Buena Street Life Plan

Yerba Buena Street Life Plan

Recently in San Francisco, the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District and CMG Landscape Architecture unveiled the Yerba Buena Street Life Plan. The plan is meant to serve as a master plan for the mixed-use neighborhood known as Yerba Buena that is located south of Market Street and includes prominent public buildings and spaces such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Gardens, and the Moscone Center. The goal of the plan, meant to be implemented over the next ten years, is to create an identity for the neighborhood and foster a sense of community where residents and passers-through can stop and enjoy the area and engage with its outdoor spaces.
August 8, 2011
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Methodology is Extended!

We are excited to announce that the entry period of our Methodology upcyling competition is extended through July 24th. Make good use of the gift of time and enter your ideas now! The submissions we've received so far have been fantastic and we can't wait to see what else everyone can come up with. Build a prototype for easy-to-craft designs, or show us the most fantastical of ideas through a drawing or rendering. Don't delay! The winner of the contest will receive a year's supply of method products, worth $300.
July 15, 2011
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