Green Building Design

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Green

The process of designing buildings and remodeling projects around green design products and techniques helps to diminish the effect of industrialized processes and create safer interior spaces.

There are now numerous architects, designers, and green design firms who specialize in crafting sustainable, eco-friendly residential and commercial spaces. Habitat for Humanity offers how-to information for a variety of energy efficiency and sustainable construction methods as well as an energy efficient home tutorial.

Green Design Architecture

When constructing green design homes, architects and builders use specific tactics to ensure the projects are environmentally sound. One of the first goals is to use recyclable or reusable materials that had a previous life or will have future recycling potential. Another major goal of green building design is to incorporate as many low-impact raw materials as possible. Low-impact building supplies require less energy to be manufactured, are generally non-hazardous, or come from sustainable or recycled sources.

Another approach utilized in green design architecture is to integrate modular design elements or parts which can be standardized and easily fixed or interchanged. Green design firms often recommend using high quality materials so that the structure has more longevity so there is less need for replacement supplies. The internal systems of green design houses should include highly efficient appliances, air conditioning, and heating units like those with Energy Star ratings. When practical, green building design should involve the use of alternative energy sources like windmills, solar panels, and rainwater collection.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has established a nationwide certification standard for green building design, production, and performance. This organization provides tools to assist with the improvement of structures while promoting a “whole-building approach” to green design architecture. LEED acknowledges achievements and performance in material choice, water conservation, ecological site development, energy efficiency, and interior green design.

Green Design Houses

When a site is being considered for a new home, the architect or builder can make sustainable recommendations for the orientation of the structure. This may involve placing the house so that it best benefits from natural elements like wind and sun. During the construction process, interior green design materials gathered from the site itself or from the regional area will require much less energy to transport compared with supplies that must be sent across long distances or imported from overseas.

Along with energy saving systems, green design homes should incorporate windows and doors with superior insulating qualities along with proper levels of insulation in walls and attics. Interior green design products such as reclaimed or renewable wood flooring can also play a major role in green projects. Any flooring, paint, or other interior products should have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are also less toxic wall paints that can be used in green design houses such as milk-based paint and natural earth pigments.

Green design architecture also applies to the exterior areas of a home such as the landscaping. Water can be collected from natural rainfall, the kitchen sink, and the laundry room for later use as greywater to irrigate lawns or flush toilets. Green design firms usually integrate shade trees or natural windbreaks when laying out the site plan for green building design. Other eco-friendly tactics for home landscaping include xeriscaping with drought tolerant plants and using native species.

Green Wood Flooring Options

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Green, flooring

Green design is a hot topic among architects, builders, and interior designers. Industry professionals also call this trend sustainable design because of its focus on sustainability of construction materials, environment, society, and economic factors. Green home designs are also becoming popular amongst homeowners. Wood flooring can qualify as a green building material if it meets certain criteria. This includes choosing reclaimed wood, fast-growing species, domestic hardwood, or certified sustainable wood. Green flooring is the perfect way to start redesigning your home into a sustainable dream.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood flooring is found in many places such as vintage houses, barns, buildings, warehouses, and bridges. Most of these old structures were constructed of quality hardwoods and contain unique gems like hand-crafted oak flooring. There are also opportunities to keep damaged old-growth trees from cluttering city landfills by redirecting them for use as building materials. Using reclaimed or recycled wood provides builders with premium hardwoods while being kind to the environment. As an added bonus, this product has a lot of character due to nail holes and other surface markings. It is one of the best green flooring materials available.

Bamboo Flooring

Rapidly renewing plant species, such as bamboo, can also be used as green flooring material. It is becoming a hot trend in new green home designs and many interior designers like bamboo because of its durability and how well it tolerates humidity. Bamboo flooring is made from hardy bamboo stalks which are ready to harvest in only about five years. Solid bamboo flooring consists of long planks which can be installed with either nails or glue. Another option is engineered bamboo flooring which features a layer of bamboo adhered to a wood base.

Bamboo flooring planks are available in horizontal and vertical grain patterns. A horizontal grain pattern showcases the characteristic joints or nodes seen in bamboo stalks, while a vertical grain pattern shows the side of the bamboo strip for a sleeker appearance. Bamboo flooring comes in a natural finish and a darker shade called carbonized which results from a steaming process.

Domestic Hardwood and Certified Sustainable Wood

In keeping with green home design, wood flooring should be harvested from a domestic source, since it will take less energy and resources to transport the materials. When looking at flooring suppliers, make sure that they obtain their wood from a FSC-certified forest. The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit group which provides accreditation for agencies who grant forest certifications. This certification guarantees that foresters maintain sustainable growing and culling practices which ensure the lasting health of the forest. This means that choosing a domestic, certified source for oak flooring would qualify as a green choice.

Laminate wood flooring is an easy-to-install option when selecting real wood materials. Sometimes called engineered wood flooring, this product uses younger growth trees to create a consistent, reliable product with little waste. Engineered laminate wood flooring typically features a plywood base with pre-finished wood on top. Besides saving old growth trees, engineered laminate wood flooring is also sold in uniform planks that are easier to install than solid wood planks.

Design With Green Flooring

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Green, flooring

Building and remodeling with green design principles in mind will help reduce the impact of manufacturing processes and make for healthier interior environments. Green flooring materials are one area which has received a lot of attention from green design proponents, and there are a growing number of green flooring material options available.

Laminate Flooring

In order to reduce the number of trees cut down for floor planks, many green builders recommend easy-to-install laminate flooring. This synthetic wood-like invention is actually a layered paper product which is overlaid with an image of wood grain, and then sealed with a tough translucent coating. Look for products with low VOC emissions to reduce the volatile organic compounds released into the room.

Laminate flooring was an innovation made by Pergo, but there are now several competing manufacturers including Armstrong, Dupont, and Mannington. The original Pergo flooring is a top selling laminate brand, and they continue to be innovators in emerging designs and technologies for laminate flooring. Pergo flooring can be installed in almost any room, except those with a lot of moisture such as bathrooms. For those with real wood in mind, Pergo flooring makes an engineered hardwood product which features pre-finished wood on top of a plywood base.

Garage Flooring

The garage is an area that requires a hard-wearing, easily cleanable floor surface. Some green builders choose to simply stain or paint concrete garage flooring, in order to greatly reduce the need for additional building materials.

If a different design is desired, green designers often turn to rubber flooring products. As a highly versatile garage flooring product, it is available as rubber tiles as well as sheet rubber. Rubber flooring is safe when wet, does not skid, and absorbs sound. For the ultimate green garage flooring, check out Atmosphere recycled rubber flooring which combines recycled tire rubber with various colors of rubber granules. Rubber flooring is also great for stair treads, kitchens, bathrooms, kids’ rooms, and commercial settings.

Kitchen Flooring

The kitchen offers a chance to use a variety of green design ideas – especially for floor surfaces. Green kitchen flooring options include laminate, cork tile, and linoleum. If laminate flooring is chosen, make sure that the finish is very durable so that it can withstand thorough cleanings. Cork tile is a green kitchen flooring option which is made from the renewable bark of the cork tree. Not only is it comfortable underfoot, cork flooring is also easy to maintain when it is coated with vinyl or polyurethane. Linoleum is a true green flooring option because it is made from linseed oil and other natural materials. Forbo manufactures stylish marbleized linoleum flooring called Marmoleum which expands the design and color options of this green product.

Green Space Design

Posted By: elyanna  //  Category: Green

Green home design goes beyond aesthetics, efficiency and budget. It is an environmentally responsible approach to interior design that focuses on how design goals impact the world around us. Green solutions attempts to create interiors that are healthier for people and enhance productivity, conserve water and energy, reduce waste and pollution, and minimize the use of materials.

Going green is not just for home design. Eco-friendly green home staging has become a popular topic among both home buyers and sellers.

For many, cost is a primary concern when considering green home design. Environmentally friendly products can be priced comparably but often times are priced considerably higher. Though individual items may cost more, the overall project budget may not be higher.

Often times a minimalist approach is the best approach to green home design. Rather than purchasing a vinyl-composition tile for floors, stain and polish the underlying concrete, a highly durable and environmentally friendly alternative. Or, consider green flooring options such as reclaimed wood floors. Rather than installing a new ceiling, leave interior structures exposed to minimize finishing materials. Rather than purchasing blinds, shutters or drapes, leave windows uncovered and take advantage of natural light.

Before you plan, make a purchase, or use an item for your interior design project, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I do without it?
  • Can I borrow, rent or find it used?
  • Can it be smaller, lighter or made from less?
  • Is it durable, reusable or multi-functional?
  • Is it available is a less toxic form?
  • Does it use renewable resources?
  • Is it recyclable or made with post-consumer recycled or reclaimed materials?
  • Is it available from a socially and environmentally responsible company?
  • Is it made locally?

Green Decor

When planning green decor consider both environmental impact and durability. When painting, look for non-toxic, low-VOC paints. For cabinetry, consider materials such as wheatstraw fiber rather than particleboard. This rapidly renewable, formaldehyde-free product provides exceptional strength and moisture resistance. For areas where carpets are desired, consider recycled, low-emitting carpet or all natural, chemical-free fibers such as wool. When accessorizing, look for items that are recycled, organic or reusable such as dried flowers in an old fashion glass soda bottle or watercolor painting on recycled paper or an organic bamboo scroll.

Green Furniture

Finding green furnishings can be challenging. Natural fabrics and furniture lines without formaldehyde, fire retardants and other chemicals can be difficult to obtain. As the popularity of green design grows, and manufactures receive more requests for non-toxic goods, more goods will be made available. Look for solid wood furnishings finished with environmentally friendly products such as low-toxicity water-based sealer. Some alternative finishes, such as beeswax, may require more maintenance and show watermarks. For upholstered items, look for chemical-free, all-natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk and hemp.

Green Staging

Making people feel good inside a home when selling is one of the ingredients to a successful sale. Trees and plants are one step in a seven-layer process to staging a great room. Indoor plants create a more relaxed atmosphere while absorbing pollutants.

Paint The World Green

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Green

“The era of procrastination is coming to a close. In its place
we are entering a period of consequence.”
-Winston Churchill

In contemplating content for this article I pondered a while on the power of one. One idea, one person, one small step, one action, one will and the effects those things can have on the world – ONE-DERFUL.

We hear many stories over the centuries of people who believed so passionately and spoke so strongly about an issue that they were able to raise the awareness of the social consciousness until everyone cared enough to help make strategic changes of significant proportion to help make the world a better place. Now the power of one is making a huge difference again. This time not only will it change the world but its goal is to save it.

For decades groups of concerned people have been scoffed at as “tree huggers” or activists have been considered weird by some are finally having their day.

People in general are waking up and noticing that the latest environmental movement starts with them; they are taking notice and more importantly starting to care enough to do something to help, however small the action may be.

I am of course talking about the power of the GREEN movement. There is a growing belief by many that we as an individual power of one can make changes to our day to day environment at home, at work and at play which will contribute significantly to this universal quest of saving the planet and its resources to ensure the sustainability of the earth for generations to follow. Pretty powerful! I believe the power of Al Gore movie “An Inconvenient Truth” can really help raise the social consciousness.

Written by Christine Rae
Home Staging Expert, Author, Keynote Speaker
President of Certified Staging ProfessionalsTM (CSP)

Eco Staging

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Green

CSPTM – Eco Staging? What Next???

Everyone is talking about it. Some people are doing something about it and many people are thinking what can I do? – I am only one person. I recently saw the passage below on a website for Parkinson’s disease and was moved to think how one person can really make a difference to anything. I thought I would share it with you

“The Difference of One is really the difference in everything. In every struggle, every battle, every search and every dream there comes a moment when the outcome is decided. There are countless things that may have occurred leading up to that point, that moment, but something trips the forces in play and the scale tips to one way or another. That something is The Difference of One.

“Every person knows or has felt the difference that just one thing can make and has made in her/his life. One goal made, one appointment missed, one date made, one job completed, one wrong turn, one dream realized, one piece of homework lost, one hug, one lie, one apology, one smile.” (www.thedifferenceofone.org)

Everything we are, everything we do or want to do begins with one small step. I am forever motivated by remembering when President Kennedy said “Within ten years we will put a man on the moon and safely return him to earth” They didn’t even have a rocket ship plan at that time. They had a goal and they achieved it one step at a time.

So if the goal is to save the planet for our grandchildren, great grandchildren and all the generations to come, we all need to do our part – one small step at a time, but do we must. I have been inspired by Al Gore’s movie “Inconvenient Truth.” If you have not seen it yet, consider doing so.

Sit down with your pre teens and older children and start thinking about the small steps your family can take. If we each do a little it will eventually mean a lot.

In the process of getting a property ready for sale, CSPTM consultants remark frequently that the work they did in preparation for that house sale was the catalyst for that home seller to change the way they lived.

Comments reverberate around the continent – “I didn’t know how much stuff I had accumulated”. ” I am amazed at how great the house looks with less “stuff” in it” or “I am inspired to live like this all the time; less is definitely more”.

The CSPTM organisation will be involved in special projects with Habitat For Humanity beginning Sept 07 and CSPTM consultants recommend clients consider donating to the Habitat for Humanities “ReStore” any household items they are replacing; another small step to reduce waste in the landfill sites.

In July 2007, the CSPTM organization is introducing eco friendly products which the graduates of their program may choose to use in the work they do. Another small step towards a cleaner planet. This research motivated me to find some ideas that you can implement at home for little to no cost.

KITCHEN:

* Install a faucet aerator to reduce the flow of water by 25% – 50%

* Use left over cooled boiled water from vegetables, eggs etc to water house or garden plants

* If you use a teapot and have some left over – pour into a container in the fridge – enjoy as a refreshing ice tea later.

* Consider upgrading appliances to “Energy Star” quality. Save hydro, water and money.

* Only run the dishwasher when it is full. If you don’t have a dish washer or you prefer the “old fashioned” way remember to fill the sink rather than run the water – saves 94 litres per wash, a recent Home Dept article stated.

* Repair faucets throughout the house. A leaky faucet can waste more than 25 litres a day which is 9,000 litres a year.

BATHROOMS:

* Toilets are the biggest water wasters in the whole house. Try a low flow appliance which uses less water per flush but still maintains the force. Look for a model which uses 6 litres or less. Or you can insert a water filled plastic bag or bottle into the toilet tank to displace the water

* Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth to save 5 litres a minute and encourage you to brush longer.

* Shave with a half basin of water; by not running the tap you save 10-20 litres a day.

GARDENS:

* Water the garden between 7am – 10am, when temperatures are low and evaporation is low. A soaker hose can use up to 70% less water.

* Use garden solar lights. Install time and motion sensors on other lights to conserve energy.

* If using fertilizers be sure it’s an all purpose organic brand which releases slowly.

* The rain barrel has returned! A great “yester year” standby. Today’s models have a spigot for easy hose connection and a screen so debris is filtered out and mosquitoes can’t breed there.

* Use a broom on your driveway instead of hosing down

* Wash the car using a bucket rather than a hose. 300 litres per wash are wasted hosing the car down

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity ReStores – retail outlets where surplus building materials are sold at discount prices. Proceeds help fund Habitat houses within the community.

Written by Christine Rae, www.christinerae.com
Home Staging Expert, Author, Keynote Speaker
President of Certified Staging ProfessionalsTM (CSP)

The Costs of Green Home Design

Posted By: anned  //  Category: Green

If you’re considering building a new house or renovating your existing one, you don’t have to break the bank to use sustainable, green materials for an affordable home design.

While incorporating green house design principles can increase your up-front costs somewhat, the savings in energy, water, heat and other utilities definitely pays off over time. Here are some ideas to incorporate green design in your house:

Take advantage of daylighting one of the cornerstones of green design is introducing more natural light. A good daylighting system can significantly decrease your home’s energy use.

Replace old windows look for new windows that have a low overall value to prevent heat from escaping. There are many double-paneled energy-efficient windows with insulating glass available in a variety of styles and sizes.

Renew your insulation recycled newsprint reduces drafts as well as the need to heat and cool your home as much.

Use low VOC paint an easy, affordable way to keep the costs of green design under control is to use low VOC paint, as well as water-based finishes on wood and floors.

Consider natural flooring options linoleum, cork and bamboo are all cost-effective, durable green home design materials. Wool carpeting cuts down on potentially toxic emissions.

Replace old bathroom fixtures low-flow toilets and showerheads conserve water and save money.

Incorporating green home design concepts from the beginning of a project can be an affordable, environmentally friendly choice for today’s homeowners.

Green, Modern Loft Designs

Posted By: Renee Blanchet  //  Category: Green, Lofts

Creating environmentally friendly loft living spaces

For decades, loft apartments have appealed to the homeowner who wants a spacious, urban environment – often in an unusual or historic building. Thanks to many cities’ redevelopment efforts, remodeled factories or warehouses located in on-time industrial neighborhoods have been transformed into thriving residential loft living neighborhoods.

Taking advantage of the new products available and the desire to live a more environmentally friendly life, developers around the country are offering green loft designs.

Eco-Lofts in Atlanta and the Grand Boulevard Garden Lofts in Detroit as just a few of the new green loft designs popping up throughout the nation.

Most of these loft apartments are modularly constructed, with unique green building design elements such as collected rainwater run-off than can be used to flush toilets and irrigate the surrounding landscape. By using environmentally conscious roofing materials, rainwater easily runs off into a building cistern. Additionally, on-demand hot water heaters, abundant natural light and ventilation, high performance windows, radiant heat, low VOC paints and finishes, and high- efficiency air-to-air heat exchange and HEPA filtration make today’s loft living green friendly.

What makes green loft designs so attractive? Studies show the majority of people living in lofts are those with no children, singles and students. The proximity of public transportation – no more hours stuck in traffic jams, inflated gas prices or car maintenance – not to mention scenic parks, high-end restaurants, museums and top-notch entertainment all within general walking distance means that urban loft living can offer all the amenities of the good life, without sacrificing green living principles.