vendredi 10 juin 2011

Dan Phillips Builds Enchanting and Affordable Houses from Recycled Materials

Dan Phillips Builds Enchanting and Affordable Houses from Recycled Materials

by Ana Lisa Alperovich, 06/10/11


‘One man's rubbish is another man's gold’ and Dan Phillips has proven that age old truism through his construction business Phoenix Commotion. A trained architect from Huntsville, Texas, Mr. Phillips helps people build their own affordable dream homes with recycled materials that most people would consider useless. Up until now, he has helped construct 14 houses, each of which have welcomed low-income, first-time buyers to the world of home ownership.


Photo © Phoenix Commotion

When Dan Phillips was a child, he saw his parents suffer through the Great Depression years and he quickly learned to value what he had. When he was 14 years old he built a bicycle completely out of scrap materials collected at a nearby dumpsite. And after that first bike, he never looked back.

To build these wonderful and enchanting homes — often made up of 75+% of recycled materials — Mr. Phillips and his builders use what is available to them locally. This ranges from scrap wood leftovers, mismatched bricks and tiles, bottle tops and corks, and even bones he’s collected from a nearby cattle yard. In fact, one of Huntsville’s houses, the Bone House, has a complete range of furniture made from cattle bones, like this customized quirky table and chairs that come with a spine.


Photo © Phoenix Commotion

One of the most playful homes in the area has to be The Story Book House. Inspired by children’s stories that Mr. Phillips used to read as a kid, this Normandy-style home has a unique striped rooftop. The wooden door is decorated with colored bottle ends, acting as stained glass and welcoming visitors with a classy recycled style.

When the Plant Environment needed an extra shelter, owner Clyde Lavelle commissioned Mr. Phillips to help him make a structure with recycled aluminum soft drink cans that were flattened and folded, making a recyclable and decorative façade.

The roof of the License Plate House is entirely made from discarded plates collected from the Texas tax office, which like mirrors, reflect the sun’s radiant energy back into space, helping cool the house throughout the hot, arid summers. Inside the house a floor covered with hundreds of different colored bottle tops make use of creative reuse exposing a cute illustration of an animal.


Photo © Phoenix Commotion

The first house built by Mr. Phillips is also probably the most gorgeous one. The Tree House is located thirty-five feet above the ground on top of a Bois d’arc tree and consists of a complete main house, a working art studio and a large patio area. The house also features a cork floor and is mainly built from scrap wood and tree branches. One of the most striking features of the Tree House, however, is the arty recycled frame ceiling salvaged from a shop that was getting rid of its old frame samples. In addition to amazing views to the lush treetops, the house features a shiny wall decoration made from broken mirrors that reflect the light coming in from the many circular windows of the house.

Even though Phoenix Commotion is not a nonprofit, the building business gives Mr. Phillips enough money to live from what he enjoys doing. The houses are taking less time to build than before and Phillips plans to replicate the idea of recycling materials to make unique sustainable affordable houses. But his biggest reward is to give the less fortunate a home of their own.

lundi 6 juin 2011

QSolar’s Rainbow-Hued Kristal Solar Panels Could Replace Windows and Wall

by Laura K. Cowan, 06/06/11

Solar panels often conjure up images of clumsy, dark sheets lined up in rooftop arrays on green homes and buildings. But what if they weren’t dark and clumsy — and what if they didn’t have to go on the roof? QSolar, the Canadian solar tech company that already brought us spray-on solar cells, has just released a new line of solar panels that are every bit as innovative. QSolar’s Kristal solar panels are available in an array of colors — red, green, blue, pink, grey — and they can replace windows or even walls, opening up new possibilities for green building design. Imagine your house with a colored solar panel atrium, or a pink and blue skylight mosaic set over your local library. How about a solar-powered desert cabin with green solar panel walls on every side, or a greenhouse made entirely of these innovative panels?

QSolar’s colored Kristal solar panels are semi-transparent and rigid, but they do not include frames. According to Andreas Tapakoudes, President and CEO of QSolar, “QSolar’s Kristal panels address the Building Integrated Photovoltaic Market (BIPV) which is expanding at a very rapid rate in Europe. The availability of coloured panels creates an even larger potential market for us because the Kristal panels enable architects and designers to implement a wide variety of building applications.”
The panels are designed to meet structural requirements for walls while generating energy from the sun. We can’t wait to see where this goes – energy-generating covered bridges, canopies, or solar carports may well be on their way.

dimanche 5 juin 2011

Merci de soutenir le Chef Raoni et les populations indigènes du Xingù pour l'abandon définitif du projet de barrage de Belo Monte.
Je tiens à préciser que cette pétition à été signée par Mr Bernard Lavilliers en personne!!

Signer la pétition de Raoni contre le projet Belo Monte

Raoni: sign the petition against the complex of Belo Monte dams
Thank you for supporting the Chief Raoni and indigenous peoples of the Xingu to the final abandonment of the proposed Belo Monte Dams.

Sign the petition against the project Raoni Belo Monte