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.

Up-Cycled and Sustainable Home

Soon after architect Alexander Symes from Australia bought his first home, he realized that the maintenance tasks never end. To solve this, he carried out an extensive renovation, which resulted in Up-Cycle House, as he now calls it. The home features lots of recycled materials and was renovated with sustainability in mind. The house is located in Blackheath, New South Wales, Australia.

Up-Cycle House measures around 1,119 sq ft (104 sq m), and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with a large, open plan living, dining and kitchen area. The interior furnishings were kept light and clean.

The path leading up to the house was made from railway sleepers and rather unique brickwork, which makes it look like the home is still under construction. This is understandable, since the entire project was carried out by Symes, along with friends and family in their spare time. During the course of the renovation, which was completed in April of this year, Symes taught himself many building techniques. This resulted in a unique style of the home’s entrance, as well as the “solar pergola,” which is a sort of a solar panel-topped garden element that was constructed out of recycled bricks.

They used a lot of recycled materials for this project. The mosaic floors were made from tiles they collected from sample showrooms and recycled building centers, and the unique glazing came from construction waste of other projects and samples.

The existing external sliding door was re-glazed with glass samples and hey also added scrap hardwood to it. The interior glass door, on the other hand, was salvaged from another project, since it was measured incorrectly for that one. The kitchen cabinetry was custom made using timber flooring offcuts, while one of the room dividers was made from salvaged doors, and a recycled Jenga set made of timber.

All the tiling helps keep the interior cool in the summer, while they also added insulation under the floor and in the walls. They also added a reconditioned Norwegian Jotul fireplace, which is used for heating in the winter. The solar array helps offset the home’s dependency on the electrical grid for power, while they also installed a grey water filtration system.

Symes recently sold the home for an undisclosed sum.

Eco-Friendly Standing Desk

Recent studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer, or otherwise, is very bad for our health. For this reason, standing desks have become quite popular. But since standing for long periods of time also isn’t advisable, it is best to get a desk that can be either/or. One great choice is the CrossOver desk made by US company Next Desk. It is not only gorgeous, but also made from sustainable and recycled materials.

The CrossOver can be used on any existing desk, since it is just a small tabletop that can be placed on any level, sturdy surface. It only takes a couple of seconds to raise it to the desired height, since it is digitally controlled. That also means that it can easily and quickly be adjusted from a standing to a seated position, should you get tired in either.

The CrossOver is made from fast-growing bamboo and is formaldehyde and other solvents free. Bamboo is fast-growing and sustainable, and also forty percent harder and 2.5 times more dimensionally stable than oak, according to the manufacturer. As such, it provides a very stable working surface.

The frame of the CrossOver is made of recycled aluminum, which requires 95 percent less energy than creating new aluminum. The company also offers a downgraded version of the desk, which has a steel frame. The frame itself weighs 40 lbs (18 kg) and can support a weight of up to 100 lbs (45 kg). The desk is also easy to assemble.

As with most standing desks, the price tag is quite steep at $447, though the long-term benefits of better health that using a standing desk brings about do justify it. The price is for the recycled aluminum version, while a steel frame one costs $50 less. There is also the optional $50 extra of adding another work surface to the setup on which the keyboard and mouse can be placed. If you’re considering getting a standing desk, this one is well-worth looking at. It’s also quite portable, meaning you’re not tied down to just using one desk with it.

Tiny home with a retractable bed

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One of the biggest issues in tiny home design is where to place the bedroom. Some swear by the loft, others prefer the headroom that comes from having everything on a single level. The Australian firm The Tiny House Company has come up with a brilliant new solution to this dilemma. The bed they installed in their newest creation called Portal, is set on mechanical tracks and can be retracted all the way to the ceiling when not needed.

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The Portal tiny house measures 194 sq ft (18 sq m), but its clever, minimalist design makes it appear much more spacious than that. With the addition of the retractable bed, the home has a 8.5 ft (2.59 m) tall sitting area during the day, while during the night, when the bed is lowered the owners get a 11.4 ft (3.5 m) tall bedroom. In this way the full height ceiling of the home is utilized to its greatest potential at all times.

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The home also features ample glazing throughout, which greatly adds to the feeling of spaciousness and aids cross-ventilation. These windows and glass doors were also carefully placed in a way that directs the eye towards he outdoors, further eliminating the sense of being boxed in, which can be a problem when living in small spaces.

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The home features a kitchen that runs for half of the length of the house and features a counter, sink, stove, fridge and washer. There is also a foldable table that is ideal for use as a working desk. The home also features a bathroom, which is equipped with a composting toilet and a shower. There is also a grey- and black water filtration in place, and the water filtered through it is used for irrigation. The home features flooring which was made from recycled Australian hardwoods.

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This home was designed for sub-tropical climates, and costs from $90,525 to $113,100 to buy, which depends on the appliances, finishes and materials the customer wants included.

Tiny House that Overlooks a Volcano

How would you like to wake up with the view of an active volcano out your bedroom window? Residents of the so-called Phoenix House in Hawaii can. The home was designed by the firm ArtisTree and can operate off the grid. It’s also available for rent.

Phoenix House is located on a lava field Kalapana, which is near the base of the active Mauna Loa volcano. There are other homes in this area, so it is considered a safe place to live. But the tiny home is very close to red hot flowing lava, while there is also a 100 ft (30 m)-high lava waterfall which crashes directly into the sea nearby.

Phoenix House has a total floorspace of 450 sq ft (41 sq m) and is not towable, as most tiny homes we see are. The home is clad in wood, which was preserved using the traditional Japanese method called Sho Sugi Ban, and recycled corrugated iron. The home is raised off the ground by stilts and has ample glazing, which lets the residents enjoy the spectacular view.

The home’s layout makes the most of the available space inside, so the tiny house appears quite spacious and comfortable. There is a reasonably large living area, with a sofa and a small desk. Next to it is a kitchenette which features a propane-powered stove, fridge, a fairly large counter and a sink. Further down from the kitchenette is the bathroom, which is fitted with a sink, shower and what is most likely a composting toilet, since the home operates independently of the grid. The bedroom is located in a loft which is accessible via a wooden ladder. There is space enough for a queen sized bed, the amount of headroom is very generous.

Electricity for the home is provided via a roof-top mounted solar power array, while there is also a rainwater collection system. Hot water is provided via an on-demand propane water heater.

Phoenix House is available for rent via AirBnb.