News Room : Archives : October 2011

 

Posts Tagged ‘the-full’

Wooden 450 Sq Feet Sustainable Home Has Great Use Of Space, Sweet Details In Buenos Aires

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Wooden 450 Sq. Feet Sustainable Home By Gruba At Casa FOA Buenos Aires Photo
Photos: Paula Alvarado for TreeHugger.

Small spaces are not new to TreeHugger, and frankly we’ve seen a lot, from indoor treehouses to tiny camping caravans and everything in between.

But what’s surprising about this sustainable home created by Argentine design firmGruba for this year’s Casa FOA architecture and interior design event is that, thanks to clever planning and details, it doesn’t feel like a small space at all.

With only 450 sq. feet, the space boasts a full living room and dinning area, kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area, storage space and even a small container herbs farm.

The space is organized by a wooden volume that separates the public and private areas and holds the kitchen and bathroom. It was built with discarded wood recovered from factory scraps.

Behind it, another wooden structure holds storage space and two elevated areas, one for the small farm and the other one for sleeping.

Wooden Volume Separates Public And Intimate Areas Photo

Kitchen Hides Behind The Wooden Volume Photo

Small Containers Herb Farm Next To Window Photo

In this structure, water from the kitchen and the bathroom sink is filtered and used to flush the toilet.

Inside of the bathroom, walls are covered with plaques made with recycled bottle caps.

Bathroom With Recycled Bottle Caps Wall Covering Photo

Skipping a proper bedroom to save space (and frankly, because who needs a real bedroom when it’s empty two-thirds of the time), the studio came up with this cozy elevated sleeping area.

The thick mat is an interesting proposition to replace a proper mattress, making the area lighter to the eye and also allowing it to be cleared if a party or event demands the use of the whole space.

It’s made by Artesano de sueños with natural materials. Organic cotton pillows are filled with seeds.

Compact, Cozy Sleeping Area Photo

Detail On The Sleeping Area Photo

Occupying more than half the floor area, the living room is what makes the apartment feel big. It has a large table that easily sits ten people and is also a comfortable working space, a lounge area for entertainment, and a modular cardboard shelving space.

Furniture was designed by the studio as well and is no screw no glue, easy to disassemble. It’s produced with wood from responsible sources. Stools at the table are covered with tennis balls that courts discard when they are no longer good for matches because they loose pressure.

All lights are LEDs and the whole electrical consumption of the house is only 500 watts.

Sustainable Wood, Easy To Disassemble Base Table Photo

Modular Cardboard Shelving Space Photo

Lounge Area With Sustainable Furniture Photo

Casa FOA is an annual design event to gather funds for a local ophthalmologic foundation.

See the original here:
Wooden 450 Sq Feet Sustainable Home Has Great Use Of Space, Sweet Details In Buenos Aires

Sheep Wool Insulation Comes To America

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

oregon wool insulation photo
Image credit Oregon Shepherd

oregon sheep photo
“Our Sheep Make it All Possible And We Take Pride in Keeping Them Well Cared For!”

The company lists a number of significant benefits:

The unique advantage of wool as an insulator is the NATURE of the fiber.

  • It absorbs and desorbs moisture, it heats and cools as this process takes place. Wool therefore can absorb moisture in your house, preventing condensation.
  • It has plastic memory, not that there is any plastic in wool, but rather that technical description is used to explain the “crimp”; the ability to retain the shape it was in before it left the sheep.
  • The energy required to produce our insulation is less than 10% of that required to produce traditional insulation materials.
  • Wool can absorb and breakdown indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
  • Wool is a sustainable and renewable resource; every year our sheep grow a new crop.
  • Wool is completely recyclable; at the end of its life as insulation it can be remanufactured, reused, or biodegraded.
  • Wool is an excellent absorbtion medium of sound waves; its inherent qualities provide much more acoustic insulation than traditional insulation in similar applications.
  • While wool is generally fire resistant, our wool is treated with a 100% natural solution of organic materials that provide unequaled fire and vermin resistance. These materials are bonded chemically to the wool fiber, not merely “glued on” as in most other insulation products.

spray insulation
Installation by spraying

I am always a bit worried about those additives, but Alex Wilson of BuildingGreenlooked at the stuff last year and explains what they have done:

Oregon Shepherd enhances wool’s inherent fire-retardant properties with a borate additive. The company uses a proprietary formulation using a natural protein to covalently bond the borate compound to the wool fibers. The material has been tested to ASTM E-84, E-1496, and C-518 standards, and passes with flying colors, according to Workman.Along with increasing the material’s fire resistance, the borate provides insect resistance–eliminating concern about moth infestations, for example.

He concludes that ” The product looks like a winner!”

Costs appear to be about twice that of fiberglass, slightly higher than cellulose and competitive with cotton. This might be the perfect insulation for the hypersensitive.

More at Oregon Shepherd, found on Materials and Sources.

Original post:
Sheep Wool Insulation Comes To America

Build Your Own Pallet Armchair Designed By Pierre Vedel

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

verdel pallet chair photo

They are so commonplace within industrial districts you almost don’t notice them – stacks of usable and broken pallets made of plastic, metal and wood, just waiting for someone to program them into something fresh and useful again.

Younger cousins to the increasingly-famous cargo container (widely used both in shipping and, more recently, architecture), the wooden pallet is used to transport things like furniture from place to place via ships, trains, trucks and fork lifts.

Using pieces from precisely one pallet per seat, this design was modeled after careful structural considerations, scale model testing and much thought about how to take the fewest steps possible from old to new uses.

Pierre Vede preserves the appearance (and thus: the associations) of these ubiquitous building-and-transport blocks, modifying them minimally and adding a few off-the-shelf IKEA cushions to the chair as a finishing touch for human comfort.

For a set of plans, download here download,

Read the rest here:
Build Your Own Pallet Armchair Designed By Pierre Vedel

How Did Granite Become The Kitchen Counter Standard?

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

solid granite kitchen photo
Image credit Neolith

Granite counters have been all the rage for a decade, but now it has come to this, an entire kitchen made of granite. I think it is incredibly ugly and probably ridiculously expensive, But seeing this image, and a recent discussion about counter choices for Graham Hill’s LifeEdited project, reminded me of some research I had done into countertops a while back.


Granite is relatively new to the kitchen counter; back in 1987, it was pretty much available in only two colours, it was incredibly expensive and was not even considered good counter material because of its lack of resilience. Yet in less than a decade, it went from being luxurious to ubiquitous- it is in every new condo and apartment regardless of price. It became the cherry on top of the McMansion sundae. The price dropped so far and so fast that one can now order it online in Florida for $19.95 per square foot, almost as cheap as a laminate counter. (Although at the time of this writing no doubt there is a significant oversupply in Florida.)

How did granite morph from being a virtual unknown in the kitchen to a high end luxury to the de facto standard?

granite excavation photo
Image credit Edward Burtynsky

Like so many other parts of our daily life,

it got globalized.

Granite used to be a very local business- if you lived in the Northeast you got it from Vermont, in the midwest from Minnesota, in eastern Canada from Quebec. It is heavy stuff, and the main market was architectural stone, cut by craftsmen to exacting specifications for the commercial building industry. Taking it out of the ground was dangerous work; granite quarries were often ecological nightmares. However the industry provided a local material, and well-paying skilled jobs.

There is also a lot or waste in quarrying granite; it is not uniform and can often have significant cracks. You don’t want to ship it halfway around the world, just to have to throw it out because it was flawed.

quarry bangalore photo
Granite quarry, Bangalore

But granite is found all over the world, and it is cheaper to dig it out in India and Brazil. The environmental standards are not quite as high either; in the Bangalore district, one study shows that 16% of the workers have dust and water related diseases like tuberculosis, and the air surrounding quarries is hazy with dust. But the local real estate is cheap, as is labour. (more at the BBC)

granite container photo
Image credit Yasta Stone

It got Containerized

Unlike architectural stone used on the exterior of buildings, the stone for counters and floors is a uniform 3/4″ thick. By cutting the stone on site the flawed slabs can be separated before they are shipped, and can even be processed further into tiles, so that there is less transport of waste. Once sliced into the new standard, the 3/4 inch thick slab, it can be put into the standard solution for transport, the shipping container. So what if most of the container is full of air, the cost of shipping is more than compensated for by the low cost of the material. Suddenly granite was no longer just available in two colours, but in dozens.

granite cutter photo
Image credit Hellotrade

It also got computerized.

Where cutting granite used to be a skilled craft working in three dimensions, as counters it became a simple matter of cutting the slabs in two dimensions. Often the slabs would be shipped from India or Brazil to shops in China with finishing and edging equipment. Now a kitchen designer in Toronto might send a CAD file to the shop in China where a computerized saw cuts the Indian granite into a countertop, which is then put into a container and shipped to Toronto and installed in a condo.

granite counter installation photo

A heavy, local, expensive and luxurious material has been turned into cheap, ubiquitous, 3/4″ thick wallpaper. A powerful industry has grown and thrived in the face of, and in fact in spite of, a rising interest in green and sustainable materials, for a granite counter is anything but green.

But there are a lot of other problems with granite that the consumer doesn’t see, know about or often care about.

It is not particularly solid; granite is full of fissures and microscopic cracks that must be filled, and the counters must be maintained and sealed. Studies have shown that the crevices and fissures can become breeding areas for bacteria. A Brazilian/ portuguese study (pdf here) compared two plastic surfaces commonly used in cutting boards (polyethylene and polypropylene) to granite and found that “the two plastic materials were generally less prome to colonization [from salmonella] than was the granite.”

Really, the stuff makes a lousy counter that is subject to contamination, the workers who extract it are exploited, it is shipped all over the world chasing the cheapest labour to extract and then cut it, and it may even be radioactive. I can’t imagine why anyone wants it.

full story on TreeHugger

Original Post by Lloyd Alter, Tree Hugger
How Did Granite Become The Kitchen Counter Standard?

"Woodland House" Builder Ben Law on Why Prince Charles Rocks

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Ben Law’s Camp Fire Mythology – Interview by Willi Paul. Sponsored byopenmythsource.com .

“I could network with so many people, but would I find time to grow food and harvest firewood. As you have experienced with our brief exchanges, I prioritize the land over my lap top. After all you can’t eat a lap top.”

– Ben Law

“Don’t matter how much money you got, there’s only two kinds of people: there’s saved people and there’s lost people.”

– Bob Dylan

* * * * * * *

How has your idea of stewardship changed over the years? Are you an ecologist?

I guess I am kind of an ecologist, but I prefer not to label myself. I got involved in managing woodlands as I wanted to protect them and realized that sustainable forest management was a good way to try to achieve that. As I have settled in one place and got to know the woodland year by year my depth of understanding has grown. The connections of life cycles of plants to insect /butterfly/ woodland management become clearer and working in ways that produce timber but benefit flora and fauna has become a key focus – hence my love of coppicing. Coppicing is a form of woodland management when the human activity (cutting of broadleaf trees during the dormant winter period) is an essential part of the diverse flora and fauna within the forest. Remove the human input and biodiversity greatly decreases. How many other land use systems can you say that about? And of course you have the bonus of the produce from which to build structures and keep warm.

What is sacred to you?

LIFE, being alive every day on this incredibly beautiful planet. I don’t take it for granted; I am not relying on coming back. Sitting on my veranda watching a thunderstorm erupt on a humid summers evening and smelling the woodland soil as the rain hammers the parched ground and the sweet scent of jasmine cutting through, add a glass of wine and a beautiful woman – its getting sacred now.

Name three of your heroes? What is common to all of them?

Bob Dylan, Mahatma Gandhi, and Prince Charles They all have a voice and have shown protest through songs, actions or words. Prince Charles is probably the odd one in the mix. I am not an advocate royalist, but Prince Charles has stood up and spoken out about his environmental beliefs. His 60th birthday speech was an amazing example of where he passionately put the case for ‘Nature’ and how he felt he must stand up for nature and give nature a voice. For
someone saddled with the expectations and rigid lifestyle of royalty he has let his truth come through.

Green building often sounds like a radical alternative to the chemical-laden, modular & labor-saving ways of modern house building. What are the key principles in your practice?

I got into green building as I had a renewable source of timber poles and wanted to make good use of them. I believe the building industry to be one of the most wasteful of industries, and I want to show it doesn’t have to be that way. I also wanted to shift the perception in architects who design buildings often with good imagination and then source the materials to build their designs with from all corners of the planet. I want to take architects into the forest and say to them “Today, there are 50 coppiced chestnut poles, 10 larch and 5 western red cedar ready to be used. Go and design you’re building from this starting point”. It is about putting the local resource first, choosing renewable materials and reducing transport distances. My house has been built for 10 years, the trees I cut the main timbers from are already carrying 6 meters of regrowth, by the time my house is 30 years old, and another house will have grown from the same stumps I built mine from.

Roundwood Timber framing involves the use of timber in the round. Small diameter poles which are jointed together to make frames with joints adapted from traditional timber framing and log building. We source all our materials from only a few kilometers of the building site. We choose naturally durable timbers and create aesthetically pleasing buildings. We use breathable materials, natural insulation and recycled materials (no fresh concrete) for foundations. These are buildings that have soul. They are places where humans can settle and want to stay; they are buildings of our future.

Is permaculture a revolution in the UK? Can you please define this for us?

I would not describe permaculture as a revolution in the UK, more of an awakening in people realizing that in order to create a world with some hope for the next generation it is time to start with ourselves and our local communities and create the world we want to see. The design principles of permaculture create the framework to begin this process of change.

When Maddy Harland from Permaculture Magazine gave me your name and background, we talked about new mythology based in permaculture. What songs, poems, symbols and/or places come to mind when you think about post WW II green mythology?

There have been many mythologies and stories that flow through permaculture. My own story is used by many for inspiration. Tales of ‘the Diggers’, ‘battle of the beanfield’ ‘tony wrench’s roundhouse’ ‘greenham common camp’ ‘lammas community’ ‘transition movement’ ‘roundwood timber framing’….festivals,environmental art performance/poets/songs…….it’s all in there being passed from campfire to campfire from one traveler to another, our stories are forming, our lives are the history of hope for those yet to come.

How do you understand formal religion dogma vs. things spiritual? Are you pagan in any sense?

I would not describe myself as a pagan but changes in the seasons, longest and shortest days have tangible meaning when you work on the land. I don’t want to focus on religious dogma, I believe its time will pass. I celebrate what is real to the way of life I am living, the end of the coppicing season, the birth of a child, the seasonal arrival of the nightjar having achieved its migratory journey back to the forest where I live and where it was born.

If you could ask Bill Mollison a coupla’ of questions, what would they be?

+ Would you like a glass of my birch sap wine?

+ Did you watch the ashes?

I have built new alchemies for the transition:

  • Imaginative: This alchemy excites and creates our ideas, conflicts and even prayers in our brains.
  • Eco: Seeds, soil, plants and animals living, birthing and dying in a inter-related system pulsed by eco alchemy.
  • Shamanic: This is alchemy transmutates healing through ceremonies and rituals lead by a trained spiritual leader.
  • Sound or Sonic: The ancient alchemic power of song from cave rants to classical music and rock’n’roll.
  • Digital: Electronic learning and feeling working with computers including chat text, email and documents.
  • Community: People working with people: transforming attitudes, sharing ideas and making plans.
  • Earth: Planetary consciousness building and human evolution on a universal scale.

Are you an “EcoAlchemist?”

I would not call myself an “EcoAlchemist”. Although I see value in all the areas (alchemies) you highlight; I prefer not to get bogged down with labeling and as much as the intentions may be good, your definition in shamanic –‘ rituals led by a trained spiritual leader’ is always open to abuse. Whose training? Whose dogma? Whose power trip? This is not to say that there are not many evolved shamanic teachers but I would keep the spiritual for the individual to discover and perceive at a personal and localized level rather than risk creating an eco-religion.

What does your local community look like in 2051 to you?

Similar to today, but with a few key differences. People no longer go to work in the way they did. People get up and do what needs doing, growing food, harvesting timber, childcare. There is more of a communal spirit and sense of self organization. The roads are pretty empty, a few solar vehicles and horses. The fields of polo ponies have gone, we ate those long ago. A horse needs to pull tools to be looked after now. Population is smaller, many died in the epidemic and others in the transition. No one travels anywhere anymore except in an emergency, we are learning to enjoy what we have.

Life is simpler.

From my office in Silicon Valley, just south of San Francisco, CA, it is clear that Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and the many other networking tools are here to stay. How are you marketing your books and courses? Do you find balance between the “computerized and the naturalized?”

I am still working on finding this balance. The amount of knowledge available through networking is mind blowing when you grew up with just a few books. The challenge for me is balance in this .I believe that technology and communications have a major role to play, and we need to embrace the positive side of this. However, I could network with so many people, but would I find time to grow food and harvest firewood. As you have experienced with our brief exchanges, I prioritize the land over my lap top.

After all you can’t eat a lap top.

* * * * * * *

About Ben –

Ben Law lives and works at Prickly Nut Woods in West Sussex, UK, where apart from making a living from coppicing he trains apprentices and runs courses on sustainable woodland management, eco-building and permaculture design. Mr. Law runs a specialist eco-building company called The Roundwood Timber Framing Company Limited. His firm specializes in the supply of roundwood construction timber and a building and project management service.

He is author of The Woodland Way, a permaculture approach to sustainable woodland management and The Woodland House, which charts the building of his unique cruck framed home in the woods. The building of his house was filmed for Channel 4′sGrand Designs program and proved to be the most popular program of the series. Ben now runs occasional open days in response to the popular demand.

Ben’s third book The Woodland Year, was published on September the 12th 2008.

“Woodland House” Builder Ben Law on Why Prince Charles Rocks

Is Mango Wood the New Bamboo?

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

mango trees photo

From bikes and floors to sheets and t-shirts, bamboo is well-known as a popular green choice because as a fast-growing grass, it’s a renewable material. Hemp is also considered environmentally smart for a variety of products including its wood. Mango trees are also fast-growing and another sustainable source of timber — once they stop bearing its sweet delicious fruit

More than 30 million metric tons of mango fruit are grown every year – and there are more than 1000 varieties of luscious mangoes. The mango tree can grow to a huge 80- to 100-foot height relatively quickly, when it then becomes difficult to harvest. With its limited lifespan for yielding the best fruit, the trees are cut down. On sustainably managed farms, mango trees are replaced every seven to 15 years with the barren tree providing farmers with extra income.

Chocolate mango tray image
Mango wood tray from Mangowood Home harvested at a sustainably managed plantation.

As a sustainable source of hardwood, mango is best used for furnishings and home accessories such as bowls, vases, trays, shelving etc. as a good alternative wood choice. Its wood has a range of colors from blonde to dark brown, and can even show off a hint of pink, with unique grain. Though durable and as dense as ash or cherry wood, it’s not hard enough for construction. Like bamboo flooring, it’s probably not the best choice for walking on.

Tropical mango wood can have some hiccups in certain climates, such as the dry Southwest or cold Northeast where it requires care with occasional natural oil polishing. It is water-resistant but if not allowed to dehydrate, it can last for generations.

Most plantations are based in India and Southeast Asia in the Eastern Hemisphere, Mexico and Brazil in the Western Hemisphere, and there’s also an Australian variety. So with the footprint in mind, mango tree wood is a eco-choice for enjoying the fruit of the harvest twice.

Continue reading here:
Is Mango Wood the New Bamboo?

George Bernard Shaw and The Marvelous Spinning Shed (LIGHT

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

There is something very personal about a work hut. It is a place where first and foremost – work – is done. So right off the bat we need to consider what kind of work is to be done and what are the preferred working conditions of the – worker -.

As an architect I tend to begin a project by getting to know the person I am working with before I begin to develop a design. I desire to find out what is important to the client. Through experience I have developed an understanding for what works in certain situations and what might be an aesthetic preference. With that in mind I appreciate the fact that each person is different and tends to – see – things differently. That is what makes every project exciting and can potentially lead to new discoveries and wonderful results.

Light

Whether I design a space for an artist or a writer something as fundamental as light can take on a variety of meanings.
For instance, what type of light does a painter prefer. Does the artist paint from life? Do they prefer direct light or a diffused light. Does a writer enjoy the warmth of sunlight on her back? What time do they write? Do they want to sit in a room in which a wall has been bathed in sun – a warm wall? Is he amused or inspired by the way light dances through the leaves of trees? If so, what kinds of trees? Or, what kind of construct can simulate the memory of light dancing through trees … (the subject of my next post). One natural element can have infinite design and experiential possibilities.

The fundamental way in which we experience light in the arena of – work – led me to examine this writing hut designed by writer George Bernard Shaw. The first time I read about the GBS writing hut was in a book entitled ” A Little House of My Own : 47 Grand Designs for 47 Tiny Houses”. Now let me just say that looks can be deceiving. At first glance this is just a simple box with a door and three windows; two of which are fixed. It has a sloping roof to shed rain and snow build up but there is a little secret hidden below. Literally. The hut is built atop a large Lazy Susan.

Now, Lazy Susans have been around for a while. Some even date back to the early 1700′s. Vanity Fair advertised a Lazy Susan in 1917, but it took the creative mind of Bernard Shaw to see it’s potential when combined with a writing hut. The idea was ingenious for a few reasons.
1. It allowed George to write in his hut without having to use an artificial light source. He would just get up (which was a good and healthy thing to do anyway) and give the hut a little turn towards the light.

2. It limited the windows needed for direct light to enter the space. This is important in cold weather. More glass in the cold months made for a cooler working space. By limiting windows to one side of the shed (with only one other window opposite the door) made it possible to work in the hut even in cooler months.

3.The direct sunlight entering the hut created passive solar heating within. Limiting the windows to the one side facing the sun also reduced the amount of heat loss.

4. Last but not least, Bernard was able to pivot the hut in the summer to create a shaded space (passive shading) whenever he desired to do so. Opening the only operable window opposite the open door created natural ventilation.

Shaw’s hut is a beautiful example of function based on nature. It might not be aesthetically pleasing, but there is a beauty to it’s functionality. For that reason I think it is an example of an honest architecture.

George Bernard Shaw’s Early Passivhaus

Want To Go Live In A Cave? Over 30 Gorgeous Cave Houses To Inspire You

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Stone houses invoke thoughts of dark, cold, and damp places full of creepy creatures. Some cultures have battled these prejudices for centuries, building dwellings deep into rock, and now modern architects are giving it a shot. With all of the warmth and convenience of a suburban home, a cave house is beginning to look a lot more tempting.

(Images via vncegroupcabinzoomcavesspaininhabitatchannel4)

Underground homes are most well known in films like Lord of the Rings, but there’s actually a large green movement promoting their expansion into the currently conformist development culture. Underground homes are cheaper to heat and cool, allow for a lot more plant life, and require less materials to build.

(Images via samanthamuseinhabitatlocalpropertyindexregent-estates-group)

Spain is known for the running of the bulls, and its fine wine and food, but a less well known tourist destination is Spain’s variety of cave homes. Subtly built into existing stone, or built at large cave entrances, these homes are stunning and organic. Tourists will pay a hefty price to spend a night in such unusual settings.

(Images via chinablogpbase)

Yaodongs are dug out shelters found throughout northern China, sculpted straight out of the hard rock walls. Requiring less material to create these homes, yaodongs are quire popular. Entire villages have been built into the sides of mountains.

(Images via theshady80hotelclub)

Rocks homes are by nature unique, but some are more interesting than others. A home built into a freestanding stone looks unusual but amazing, whereas an entire monastery built out of the very rock it rests on is wondrous in its own right.

(Images via spasticgoatdgpublications24-timepass)

Missouri is home to a lot of random things, including a sprawling cave home built directly into a cliff face. The owners have designed around the natural rock formations and managed to include all the amenities of the modern home. The house even has its own performance area – a huge underground room large enough to host entire parties or bandstands.

(Images via theshady80chatdd)

Iran has its own set of incredible homes built in the valleys and cliffs. It would be fantastic to be privy to the interior of one of these edifices, though just viewing the unique design of their entrances is enough to pique any architect’s interest.

(Images via copleysweirdomaticthedailygreenthedailygreen)

Cave interiors aren’t necessarily as cold and damp as one might expect. With a little organic lighting and some careful interior design choices, they can be just as cozy as anything above ground.

(Images via arkansastashaschmidtspasticgoathotel-in-cappadocia)

Imagine staying as a guest in someone’s home, or in a hotel room, that involved entering the heart of a mountain. The living room seems a bit more exciting when it’s surrounded by natural rock formations and oddly shaped stone walls.

(Images via weltonseeherepittturkeytravelplannerlazybeggersrolfgross)

While the depth of a cave is the measure of its worth, it’s okay to be a little shallow in one’s appreciation. A quick glance across a variety of cave home entrances and one easily notices what works and what doesn’t; windows are a must, and a little greenery doesn’t hurt.

(Images via planetwarespotcoolstuffspotcoolstuffkusadasigeodeluxe)

Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey that is famous for its gorgeous and interesting architectural specialty… entire villages and hotels have been dug deep into the rock. The hotels and resorts in this area are internationally renowned for their unique design and luxurious accommodations.

Original
Want To Go Live In A Cave? Over 30 Gorgeous Cave Houses To Inspire You

There Is More To The Local Movement Than Just Food

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

The question is perhaps best answered by Michael H. Shuman, author of Going Local. As Shuman writes, “Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.”

Significantly more money recirculates in West Michigan when consumers choose to support our locally owned businesses. Unlike their national competition, locally owned businesses regularly purchase from other local retailers, manufacturers, service providers and farms. Supporting our locally owned businesses is critical in growing a strong West Michigan economy and tax base

Small Change. Big Shift.

A 2008 study of Kent County by Civic Economics — commissioned by Local First — determined that just a 10% shift in consumer spending toward locally owned businesses would result in an estimated $140 million in new economic activity, 1,600 new jobs, and $50 million in new wages.

According to Civic Economics, when West Michigan consumers choose a locally owned business over a non-local alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stays in the community. By contrast, only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remains in the community.

For complete results of the “Local Works! Examining the Impact of Local Business on the West Michigan Economy” study, visit Civic Economics online

Read the original post:
There Is More To The Local Movement Than Just Food

Will Garden Shed Home Offices Catch On in North America?

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Credit: Eco-Hab

Uncle Wilco shows us yet another british Garden home office design, the O-Pod. It’s full of green goodness like FSC timber andrecycled insulation, from Aidan Quinn , who previously built the lovely Eco-pod. There are so many of them now.

opod-interior.jpg

I discussed the future of sheds in America with Alex Johnson, author of Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution, and suggested that conditions were very different in the UK. My points:

  • The climate is more extreme in much of America;
  • People have greater expectations of the temperature and humidity of their workplace being stable and within a couple of degrees of ideal;
  • People have bigger houses, often with basements, so that they can find space within the home to have an office;
  • People are more security conscious and would not leave expensive hardware in a backyard shed;
  • People are obsessed with the price per square foot of everything and find them too expensive.
  • Where’s the fridge?

On the other hand;

  • Sheds provide a distance and separation that one often needs for work;
  • It is cheaper and more flexible than adding a room;
  • It is a great opportunity to experiment and mix a little modern into your life;
  • If it is used only for work it is probably fully tax deductible.
  • If you are moving home to mom because of the recession, it is a cheaper way to get a little space.

Original Post by Lloyd Alter, Tree Hugger
Will Garden Shed Home Offices Catch On in North America?