With the help of BMW i, we're proud to present the Gizmodo Guide to Green Luxury. Last week we featured a whole slew of eco-fabulous ways for you to trot the globe. Today we're bringing green glamour a little closer to home—your actual home, to be exact. Below you'll find some examples of sumptuous sustainable architecture, Earth-hugging home goods, and an assortment of gadgets that will keep you living lavishly—and responsibly.
A luxurious home is one that's outfitted in drool-inducing tech. A green home is one that makes a low environmental impact. The following items are naturally both.
- Depth and height have always been essential measurements when determining a top-of-the-line computer monitor. As it turns out, that which makes a high-quality screen is also what makes it an energy-efficient one. HP's 23'' Micro Thin LED backlit monitor received a 5.0 Energy Star rating and reportedly uses arsenic-free glass to give you a crystal clear, pollutant-free picture.
- There's no wittier way to listen to some good old rock and roll than through an actual rock. Audiomasons' custom, high-end soundsystems utilize the earth's bounty by taking advantage of stone's naturally resonant qualities. Plus, in comparison to engineered materials used in standard speakers, rock extraction and fabrication has virtually no harmful environmental effects.
- Thoreau once said, "Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind." That being said, Thoreau never had an iPad. Just imagine how Walden might have been different had he owned a touchscreen that was charged by a solar-powered carrying case.
Luxury is all in the details. Even the most magnificent mansion won't feel fully furnished if it's not decked out in decadent accessories.
- What's more luxurious in a living room than a fur throw draped cozily over a recycled-leather chair ? Eco-Luxury Fur blankets, are imported from New Zealand and made from the pelts of an invasive, non-native species called the Paihamu, whose exponentially increasing population currently exceeds seventy million. The sumptuous skins feel more mink than some-beast-with-a-hard-to-pronounce name, and each purchase contributes to preserving the integrity of New Zealand's ecosystem by humanely thinning out a threat that would otherwise destroy native-and in some cases, endangered-life forms.
- The ANDREA air purification system, exhibited in 2008 at New York's Museum of Modern Art , is the perfect meeting point of innovative design and high function. Each modular filter comes equipped with a real living plant of your choosing, and works by drawing poor-quality air through the organism's root system, the soil and the water, which ultimately eliminates any residual toxins—leaving you to breathe easy.
- Just like real Champagne can only originate from one small region in France, condoms can't be considered luxury items unless they come from the town of Condom (Yes, it's a real place. Look it up.) The Original Condom Company (La Société Condom originale, for the multi-lingual) packages its fine, imported wares in a sleek and discreet, black wooden box—which eliminates the need for excessive packaging. Plus the company is committed to offsetting its carbon emissions by planting trees, so you're not just getting busy for yourself, you're doing it for the environment.
The advantage of sustainable luxe design is that it draws inspiration from a world's worth of natural resources without draining them. Check out these examples of organically opulent homes, and starting thinking about where you'll put your solar-heated sauna.
- Imagine waking up every morning with sunlight streaming down your face and the knowledge that while you were sleeping, your home was slowly rotating in an attempt to capture every last ray. The spiral-shaped Heliotrope house, designed by German architect Rolf Disch, is the first home to produce more energy than it expends—thanks to its sparkling floor-to-ceiling, heat-absorbing windows, rainwater drainage system, and lush rooftop garden.
- If custom-built is more your style, perhaps you should consider reaching out to the fine folks behind Earthship Biotecture. For a fee they will provide you with site-specific blueprints, consult with your local builders, and advise you through the process of building your eco-friendly dream home.
- Singapore's Cluny House, built by design firm Guz Architects, makes Mother Nature feel right at home. The building's verdant design incorporates a number of sustainable building practices, including: material recycling, water conservation, and elemental energy harvesting. The single-family home is literally dripping with plant life and features a number of placid reflecting pools, one of which is viewable through an underwater observation room.
Well, that's it for the second edition of the Gizmodo Guide to Green Luxury. Check back next week when we bring you more environmentally-conscious luxury products, design solutions, and gadgets for your home. And to experience the pinnacle of innovative, responsible comfort, check out everything that is BMW i.