The company Biodomes of Romania recently unveiled their lineup of dome homes, which can function completely independently of the grid, and can withstand high winds and severe earthquakes. There are many possible uses for these domes, such as serving as a full time home, cabin, greenhouse, garden shed, guesthouse and more.
The Biodomes are built out of metal and single, double, or triple-glazed glass. They offer a turnkey option that comes pre-installed with all that’s needed for comfortable living, while, on the other end of the extreme, they can also supply just the shell of the dome, with which the customer can then do as they wish.
The only version of the Biodome that they’ve built so far is the so-called Pollux model. It measures just 204 sq ft (19 sq m), though the company says they can build them as large as 3,379 sq ft (314 sq m). To create a full time living solution one of the larger domes can either be partitioned into different rooms, or one can install several smaller domes and link them via tunnels. It is also possible to build these domes on top of a stone wall, which is useful for gaining more usable height. They do require a foundation and cannot be moved easily once installed. According to the company, the homes can withstand earthquakes up to 8.5 on the Richter scale and winds blowing up to 198 mph (320 km/h).
The basic version must be hooked up to the grid, but they offer a variety of optional off-grid addons, such as custom made triangular solar panels and solar hot water heaters. Magnetic blinds can also be installed to offer more privacy and shield the interior from the sun, while the domes can also be partly buried to create a thermally efficient earth-sheltered home. The prices for the domes start at $1060 per 10 sq ft (€1,000 per sq m).
It’s always great to hear about new, large-scale construction projects getting underway in a sustainable way. One such is certainly the new stadium that will soon be built for the Forest Green Rovers soccer team in the UK. It will be designed and built by Zaha Hadid Architects, and it will be a low-carbon structure made out of sustainably-sourced wood.
The stadium will be located in the town of Stroud, UK and will be large enough to accommodate up to 5,000 fans. The design of the structure will also allow for increasing this capacity to 10,000 people. This will be achieve by adding extra seating space along the sides once Phase One of the building process is completed. As such, the expansion will not require costly construction work.
The stadium will have the shape of a continuous spectator bowl that will feature a low profile, sweeping curves and a wooden skeleton. Each seat will have a clear sightline to the field, and the closest spectators will be seated just 16 ft (5 m) from the pitch.
This new wooden stadium will be a part of the so-called Ecotricity’s Eco Park development, which is a sports and green tech business park that is set to cover an area of 40 ha (100 ac), and will cost about $125 million to build. Construction of the stadium is set to begin in late 2017 or early 2018, and it will take two years to complete.
This stadium will be the first of its kind constructed entirely of wood. While the use of this sustainable material is commendable, it does present a risk of a devastating fire, while a building of such size could arguably never be considered entirely sustainable, due to the amount of electricity it requires to run. Heating such a structure is also quite a burden on the environment. Yet given the alternative of building it out of concrete, this stadium will still very sustainable.
One of the main criticisms of tiny houses stems from their limited use as family homes. But the company Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses of Durango, Colorado aims to change that with their newest offering. The so-called Red Mountain 34′ Tiny House is spacious enough for a whole family, yet still retains the main tiny home features and advantages, such as being towable.
The Red Mountain 34′ Tiny House has a total floor space of 410 sq ft (38 sq m) and measures 34 x 8 ft (10.3 x 2.4 m). The ground level of the interior is comprised of a lounge, a dining area with a fold-down table, an office nook, a bathroom and a kitchen. The home also features two loft bedrooms. The master bedroom is accessible via a set of storage stairs, and is spacious enough to fit a king sized bed. The kid’s bedroom is accessible via a bookcase that doubles as a ladder.
The kitchen looks quite spacious and is equipped with a fridge, a propane-powered range cooker, and a sink. The bathroom is large enough to fit a full-size clawfoot bathtub and shower, and also features a regular toilet and a custom-made sink. The house can be hooked up to the grid using a standard RV-style hookup, while heating is provided by a gas stove.
This home was named after a group of three mountain peaks between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado, which are recognized by their red hue. This is part of the reason they used rusty corrugated wainscot, barn wood board and batten, and cedar shakes as cladding for the home, giving it a reddish tone.
The tiny house rests atop a triple-axle trailer and weighs around 14,000 lbs (6,350 kg). It cost $105,000 to build.
When working from home, having a dedicated office space is awesome, and having one that serves more than just a single purpose is even better. The firm Neil Dusheiko Architects from London, UK, recently built this sustainable garden office, which also doubles as a yoga studio and even a playroom for children. This space is used by a psychiatrist who practices from home, and they use it to see patients during the day. The structure is called the Shadow Shed, and they chose this name because it was envisioned as a space with a dark skin, but with light and warmth at its center. I think they did a good job of bringing this image to life.
The office shed is located at the far end of the garden and was sunken slightly into the ground. It is clad with heat-blackened cedar, also known as the shou sugi ban technique which is a popular all-natural way of protecting wood from fire, pests and rot. The main aim in the design of this structure was to make it blend into the surroundings as much as possible, and I think they pretty much succeeded.
The interior is comprised of just a single room, which was clad using recycled birch plywood. The furniture was also made using this same material, which gives the interior a clean, seamless look. The shed has two large windows on the side, as well as a skylight, which togetehr let in plenty of natural light. LEDs in the form strips and tubes, as well as multi-colored, pinpoint bulbs placed into the ceiling, are used to illuminate the interior after it gets dark outside. Due to it’s dark façade, the office shed is virtually invisible at night, save for the light spilling out of it’s oversized windows.
This cleverly designed garden shed is definitely one of the nicer ones we’ve seen. The fact that it was also built using sustainable methods and techniques is also commendable.
The so-called SMUD Tiny House Competition is very new, and this year it took place in Sacramento, California. Its main aim is to promote sustainable living and eco-construction of tiny homes. This year, the winning entry was the so-called Revolve House, which was entered into the competition by Santa Clara University. It competed against 9 other California-based college teams and their creations.
Revolve House is powered by a solar power array, which is comprised of eight 330 W panels. The array is hooked up to saltwater batteries and this system provides all the needed power for the home. Revolve House gets it’s name from the fact that it is designed in a way that allows it to automatically rotate to follow the sun, thereby maximizing the solar array’s energy harvesting potential. This is possible because Revolve House sits on a trailer, which is placed atop a Colossun sun tracking ring that rotates the home and ensures the array gets hit with as much sunlight as possible. Apparently this entire system improves the home’s solar efficiency by a 30 percent over a regular home fitted with solar panels.
Revolve House was constructed out of SIPs (structural insulated panels) and measures 238 sq ft (22 sq m). The interior features a dining and kitchen area that has a clever pull down table. There is also a wet-room type bathroom, while the living area also doubles as a bedroom, which was achieved by installing a murphy-style bed. The house also features a deck on the roof, which has space enough for six people and can be accessed via an exterior staircase.
The home is equipped with an efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) unit. This unit, as well as the lighting and skylight are controlled by a touchscreen system. The home also has a greywater recycling system in place.
The home was actually designed to be used by disabled veterans, so all the doorways, as well as the shower and appliances are wheelchair-accessible. Not sure how they will be able to access the roof deck though, and there is also a step leading to the lounge, while someone in a wheelchair would also have trouble pulling down the Murphy bed, though maybe they will still solve these things in some way. The home will be donated to Operation Freedom Paws, an organization that teaches veterans and other people with disabilities to train their own service dogs.