Recycled Shipping Container House

It’s been awhile since we reported on a cool new shipping container home, but this awesome piece of cargotecture easily makes up for that. It’s called Kin Kin Container House and it was built using a disused shipping container that was already on the property when owner Troy Walker purchased it. Most of the interior furnishings are also made from recycled materials, so it’s an all-around winner. The home is located in Kin Kin, Queensland, Australia.

The shipping container forms just half of the total living area of this home. Troy began the transformation by first cutting out one of the longer sides of the container and he used the pieces to build a bathroom. The rest of the components of the home are also salvaged or recycled and include 1970s era jalousie windows and hardwood poles, as well as a bathroom sink and a fire pit that he constructed using a stainless steel beer keg.

The home has no insulation. The interior walls are finished with plywood, with many of the steel elements left exposed. The home is also covered by a large roof which shields it from the sun and therefore keeps the interior cooler. Troy located the recycled building materials online and at local salvage yards, which he admits was a very time consuming and even costly process.

The home features elements of so-called passive design, with the overhangs letting in the sun in the winter but blocking it out in the summer. It measures 967 sq ft (90 sq m) and features a spacious open plan living, dining and kitchen area, as well as a loft bedroom that has plenty of head room and is big enough to fit a king sized bed. The loft is accessible via a ladder. The home also features a spacious bathroom with a tub, toilet and sink.

The home is fitted with a hybrid solar power system, while the place is kept airy and cool thanks to the bi-fold glass doors and louvres. There is also spacious outdoor deck.

Troy is renting out the cabin via AirBnb and a single night’s stay costs about $70.

Solar Powered Concrete Home With a Green Roof

While concrete may not be a very sustainable material to work with when building houses, the newly completed MeMo House makes up for it in other green features. It is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was designed by the local firm Arquitectura.

The MeMo House measures a generous 2,314 sq ft (215 sq m), and is located on a narrow plot of land. It is a two story house, and the living room, dining room, and kitchen are located on the ground floor. The three bedroom and three bathrooms are located on the first floor, while the home also features a rooftop terrace and a spacious deck on the ground floor. The home has a green roof, as well as several greenery-filled areas throughout.

The walls inside the house are exposed concrete, which might not be ideal for everyone, but in the case of MeMo House it works, due to the ample amounts of greenery and natural wood. The rooms all feature large, floor-to-ceiling windows which let in plenty of natural daylight and allow for excellent cross ventilation. The borders between the indoor and outdoor spaces are also effectively blurred in this way. The windows are also fitted with large wooden shutters for when shade or privacy is needed.

While concrete may not be a very green building material, it does provide excellent thermal mass, so the home is quite energy efficient. The large windows ensure that all rooms in the house have enough light without needing to use electric lights. The home is also equipped with a rainwater collection system, and this water is used to irrigate the green areas of the home. A rooftop solar panel array harvests enough solar energy to lessen the home’s dependence on the grid considerably. The garden gate was made from leftover materials, while they made sure to compost all the biodegradable waste produced during construction.

Water Filtration Using Wood Fibers

 

One of the key components of living off-the-grid is an effective method of water filtration, and a team of researchers at the Swedish KTH Royal Institute of Technology has uncovered a simple and affordable way of doing that. They have developed a technique to filter water using wood fibers.

The main aim of this project is to provide clean water in refugee camps, though the method could easily be used in any setting where a green and off-grid water filtration is needed.

The team created a new material out of wood fibers and a positively-charged polymer, which binds bacteria to its surface. In this way, the bacteria in the water are removed and the water is purified. Another use for this new material is also prevention of infection, since it can be used in bandages and plasters.

However, the main aim of this project is providing an affordable and easy to use filter for a portable water purification system, which isn’t reliant on electricity. All that’s needed for it to do its job is gravity, which forces the water through it. The bacteria is removed from the water by the material, while the filter itself doesn’t cause any toxic chemicals to enter the water as is the case with many currently used on-site water filtration options.

The filter they created works on the basis of the positively-charged polymer attracting the negatively charged bacteria and viruses in the water. The bacteria which are stuck to the surface of the polymer in this way cannot get unstuck or reproduce, and they eventually die. No chemicals or antibacterial agents are used in this process, which also means that creating bacterial resistance is not an issue.

Disposal is also easy, since the wood filter can simply be burned once it is no longer effective.

Fun Little Home

The French firm Baluchon recently unveiled a unique, fun new tiny home on wheels, which packs a lot into a small space. The home is very colorful, and would be a lot of fun to live in, I’m sure, especially given the fact that the interior is very well laid out.

The home is called Essen’Ciel and measures 19.6 ft (6 m) in length. It can still sleep up to four people and features a very spacious kitchen given the diminutive size of the home. The kitchen is equipped with a two-burner stove and a small fridge. It is located on the ground level of the Essen’Ciel, as is the sitting area, which is fitted with a sofa that can be pulled out into a bed. This space is divided in half by a staircase, which gives access to the sleeping loft. The latter is large enough to sleep two people comfortably, but doesn’t have an impressive amount of headroom. The staircase itself is very interesting, since the bottom two steps are retractable, which saves some space when the stairs aren’t in use.

To further make the most of the available space, the shelving in the living room is irregular and angular. In this way storage space is provided without sacrificing too much of the living area to it. The bathroom is small, but still large enough to fit a shower and toilet.

The Essen’Ciel was built atop a double-axle trailer and gets it’s power via a RV-style hookup. The exterior cladding is cedar, while they used sheep’s wool to insulate the floor, and cotton, linen and hemp for the walls. To insulate the ceiling they used wood fiber.

There is no word on price for this model yet, but other tiny homes made by Baluchon start at $65,000 (€60,000).

The City of Nanjing Will Soon Get a Vertical Forest

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When architect Stefano Boeri first came up with the concept of the so-called Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), that is two skyscrapers clad in greenery, many people believed it would remain just a concept and never see the light of day. But now, a third Vertical Forest is to be built in Nanjing, China.

The Nanjing Vertical Forest, as the project is called, will consist of two skyscrapers rising from a shared podium. One will be 656 ft (200 m) high and the other 354 ft (108 m). Apart from apartments they will also house a hotel, office space, a green architecture school, restaurants, a conference hall, an exhibition spaces, and retail space. The taller skyscraper will also have a private club on the roof, and the smaller one will have a rooftop swimming pool.

Together, the buildings will be clad in 600 tall trees and 500 medium-sized trees that will be sourced from 23 local species. The façade will also feature 2,500 cascading plants and shrubs in concrete planters that will be integrated into the units’ balconies. It is estimated that all this will absorb 25 tons of CO2 annually, an produce around 132 lbs (60 kg) of oxygen per day.

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A lot of concrete will be used to construct the towers, so it’s still debatable just how sustainable these Vertical Forests actually are. But giving city dwellers a chance to have a garden in their apartment will definitely improve their quality of life.

The Nanjing Vertical Forest is being financed by the Nanjing Yang Zi State-Owned Investment Group and will be completed by 2018. Boeri is also busy improving his original designs for the Vertical Forest and hopes to see more of them built around in China in the near future, in cities such as Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou, Shanghai and Chongqing.