Architecture Building Sustainably Environmental

Sustainable Products

Living, Eating, Sleeping, Cleaning, Working:

This is what we are doing in our homes and work places.

Over the past few year I have come closer to defining my work, and the impact with my career as it relates to what I believe in the overall well-being of myself, those who are close to me, and the world. As an architect I believe that I have an opportunity to help people evaluate their current life situations and suggest a different way that they may use their space or acquire a new place.

I promote using what you own, and self-sufficiency. In our Green-saturated world of products, if you build new, I promote using those items for your own health-sake and to abide by nature’s given sequence.

Below is an Interiors Matrix that I have developed in hopes to allow people who want to afford products that are local, good to breathe around, and sturdy, the ability to do so.


Flooring –

Aluminum Floor Tile Eco Friendy Flooring, Madison WI

Daltile Rittenhouse Subway Tiles

Altro Healthcare Flooring

CentreMills Antique Floors

Conklin’s Vintage Wood – NE Pa

Aged Wood Antique Flooring in York PA

Sylvan Brandt Reclaimed Wood PA

The Woods Company PA

EcoTimber Artemis

Goodwin Heart Pine Micanopy, FL

Fritz Tile Texas

Stone Eco Friendy Flooring, Madison WI

Eco-Terr Slab / Tile Floors

SileStone Tiles

Cork Click by Natural Cork           Artemis

EnviroGlass in Plano Texas

Lascaux Tile – Decoritive

Forbo Marmoleum   Stout Carpet Mt. Lebannon 412 563 5600

Forbo Marmoleum  Click 1’x3’    Artemis

Forbo Marmoleum  Click 1’x1’    Artemis

Forbo Marmoleum Sheet             Artemis

Forbo Composition Tile 13”x13” Artemis

Earth Weave Carpet Dalton, Georgia

Interface Carpet Tile  InterfaceFlor

FLOR Modular Tiles Artemis

Flexco Flextuft (rubber tile best outdoor apl.) Bennet

Flexco Tuflex (rubber tile best outdoor apl.) Bennet

Cast Basalt Tile     Artemis

Warm Board

4 x 8 x 1 particle, Recycled Wheat /Straw Plywood

Dragon Fly Bamboo Flooring

Nice Flooring Website – Amtico

Vermont Natural Coating

Mapei Floor Sealer

AFM Safecoat Stains / Sealers

Stained Concrete Radiant Floors 15622 zip


Warmly Yours

Hannel Radiant Direct

Uponor Radient Floors

Heated & Chilled Raised Floors by Lindner

Armstrong Standard Excelon VCT

Shaw Carpet, Anso Nylon

Trim –

Stained Wood Base 5 ½”

Lewislp Reclaimed Trim in Picture Rocks, Pa

Wood Crown

Johnsonite Contour Base

Mdf Base Sierra Pine

Roppe Eco Effects

Forbo Base

Stock Pine 9/16” x 4 ½”

Walls –

American Clay  Artemis & EcoSupply

Trove Wallpaper & Printed Wood Veneer

Fashion Wallcovering

Altro Healthcare Wall Surface

Wall Coverng by Grahm Brown

MDC Wallcovering IL

Carnegie xorele (sustainable wallcovering)

Grass Cloth (asian grasses)

Ppg Primer & 2 Finish coats

Farrow Ball

BioShield Paint

Tabrasa Low VOC Dry Erase Paint

Green Series Caulk

Red Devil Caulk

Modular Arts Wall Panels

3 Form – Translucent Panels / Partitions

Echo Recycled Glass Tile from Crossville Wa

Recycled Glass Tile Eco Friendy Flooring, Madison WI

Surface Materials 

Daltile Rittenhouse Subway Tiles

Ellen Blakeley NJ, manuf. Where?

Aluminum Floor Tile Eco Friendy Flooring, Madison WI

Walker Zanger Tile


Colored Stainless Steel

NovaCork 4’x8’ sheet                  Bennet Supply

Design Wall 4’x8’ sheet               Bennet Supply

Burlap 4’x8’ sheet                          Bennet Supply

Nyloboard (rec.cpt)                    Artemis

3/4″, 5/8″, 3/8″ X 4 X 8 sheets and beadboard

Used for outdoor app. garage doors, rainscreens & pergolas.

Plyboo, Plywood & Sheet Goods                Artemis

Kirei, Sorghum Board, Coconut Panels      Artemis

Sunflower Seed Board, Wheatboard            Artemis

Wedi Board for shower 3’x3’       Artemis

Eco-Cem Panel

Kliptec Exterior Surfaces

Nichiha Exterior Panels

Fresh face on Concrete Panels

Standing Seam Metal Roof & Exterior Walls Light-in in brick ties

2 x 6 Stud, GWB, Batt insulation

Zip System by Huber Engineered Woods

Cement Siding   James Hardie Bldg. Supply

Fiber Cement Board

Green Screen Plant Trellis

Green Screen

Ice Block

Solarbord osb w/ reflective foil – Roof / wall Sheating

DenShield Moisture resistant by Georgia Pacific for Tile Backer


Weka – Wool insulation through Artemis

Ultra Touch Cotton  Gray Group, Altoona Pa 814.949.0371

Bonded Logic


Greensulate by Ecovative Design

Cell Pak Blow in Insulation KY

Green Fiber Loose Fill Insulation

Icynene Spray Foam formaldehyde-free

Stains & Finishes –

AFM Safecoat paint and Caulking

Quartz Lock Grout at Dal-Tile Pittsburgh #169  412 787 2040

Bulkhead –

Studs & Gwb with Paint

Casework & Work Surface –

Gouldsberry Cabinet Shop Middle Grave Crk Moundsville, WV 26041 (304) 845-3466

Products Online


Richlite EcoSupply

Subterra Cork             EcoSupply

Paperstone -1”std   Artemis

ShetkaSTONE in Le Center, MN

Cement based w/ recycled content:

Ice Stone



Vetrazzo Color Palet

Squak Mountain Stone

Epoxy/Resin based w/ recycled content:



EnviroGlass in Plano Texas

Sand Hill Industries Recycled Glass in Idaho

Subterra Cork

Solid Surface:

Silestone – eased edge – Distributor Vangura, 81 miles, pa

Sierra Pine MDF – ½” 4’x8’ sheet Beth B @ Bennet

Sierra Pine MDF – ¾” 4’x8’ sheet Beth B @ Bennet



Formica Signature

Wilsonart Laminate

Formica Laminate

Cambria Quartz Countertop – at Famous and Lowes

Quartz Countertop, Eco by Conentino – made of 75% recycled material and bound by corn oil resin

At Famous Supply & Shuttler

CaesarStone CaesarStone Motivo, wall Tile


Eco-Terr Slab countertop

Eco-Cem Panel For cabinetry face

Staron Solid Surface – Acrylic solid surface with recycled content. Found at Home Depot.

Holiday Kitchens – Wisconsin Cabinet company

Kliptec surfaces

Doors / Frames and Hardware –

Handmade Cabinetry Knobs       Artemis

Eleek Door Handles / Pulls / Switchplates

Spectra Hardware


EcoBuilt Garage Doors by

Larson Juhl Photo Frames

Atlas Homewares

Ceiling –

Acoustic Plaster System Pyrok Inc, NY

2 x 2 Jute ACT  by Armstrong

Heated & Chilled Metal Ceilings

Sustainably Harvested / Repurposed Wood Plank Ceiling

Conklin’s Beams – Vintage Wood – NE Pa

Corrugated Aluminum

Furniture –

Green Grove Design AZ

Salvage Shops:

Arch.emporium, Adams Ave. in Cannonsburg Pa

Construction Junction, Lexington Ave., Pittsburgh

Who’s New 5156 Butler StreetPittsburgh, PA

Bedrock Industries

Mattresses & Linens


Sage in Design Furniture

Some Sustainable Furniture from All Steel from rep Lisa Tomasovich from rep Lisa Tomasovich

Bernhardt – at Macys and Today’s Home in Pittsburgh

Organic Towels  bedside manor

Furniture by Lee


Excel Dryer

Whirlpool Energy Star Dryer

Amish wash tumble

Stoves –

Blaze King Industries

Elmira Stoveworks


Fabric / Curtains / Shades –


Exterior Designer Shades

Mecho Shade (Interior / Exterior)

Lutron (Interior / Exterior)

Earth Shade

Arc-Com Fabrics        Artemis

Brentano Fabrics        Artemis

Solucent Exterior Shades by Cambridge Architectural

Dressage and Strata by Conrad UV Shades of Natural Fibers

Fabric by Distinctly Duralee

Curtain Works

Lighting –

Eleek Sconces, Ceiling, Table & Floor          Artemis

Charles Loomis Lighting Cabin


Exterior – Sternberg Lighting

Insight Lighting – Compact-5 Hanging Fluorescent and EX-5 Linear Fluorescent

Partitions –

Lumicor Recycled content

Plumbing –

Clean Grey Water System by Hansgrohe

Black Water by WET

Sinks by Eleek   Artemis

James Hardie rain Cistern

Tankless heater

Hybrid Energy Touchless Faucet by Kohler

Signange –

Energy Usage & Equipment –

Solar Hot Water

Solar Attic Fan  Artemis

Climate Master Geothermal

Solar Thermal System (Solar Hot water heating) by Apricus

Wood Stoves

Radiant Floors

Misc. Finishes –

Masland silk carpets                       Artemis

AFM Safecoat Paint                       Artemis

Durostain                                       Artemis

AFM Naturals line of oil wax       Artemis

Sealent – OSI Green series            Artemis

Osmo OIl wax (atl. to stain)        Artemis

Garuda Woven Rugs

Eleek Hardware

Upcycled Accessories by Mothology

Rugs by Roubini

Home Decorators – Rugs

Windows –

Serious Logic Window Systems

Roofing –

Metal Galvalume roofing

Semper Green Green Roof

Carlisle Roof Gardnes

Site –

Soil Retention Plantable Concrete Systems

Compost Pail

Recycled Plastic Lumber for Planters/ outdoor furniture



I believe in quality over quantity. There are many products that are competitive to other non-sustainable products in price, and I think in the long run that if the price of things drive us to act or not, then we should evaluate our values again. If something is too expensive then it is probably not necessary, in our country, in America.  When we buy cheap products, cheap food, cheap clothes, too much too often, it is always at the cost of something!

~ Conceptual Work with the Online Green Design Team below~

Other recent products I’ve found:

Upcycled Accessories by Mothology.

Furniture made by artisans at McGuire in San Francisco.

Furniture by Bernhardt at Macys and Today’s Home in Pittsburgh.

Bath Mat of handwoven vetiver root fibers by Gaiam.

Ever Heard of Affordable Comfort?

Look into Deep Energy Reductions and Thousand Home Challenge for more on affordable comfort!

My contact is Linda Wiggington, who is the founder, though her main work now is on 2 initiatives: “Deep Energy Reductions” and “Thousand Home Challenge” listed on this page here.


Free Cycle


Want to use less? Make a list.

Vatican, Rome

School started again last week. That means that Morgantown is now impassible with the traffic, and I find myself going down to Fairmont State University every Thursday for class. I love going to school and was so glad for it to start up again.

Last semester I read Tom Bender and his piece on Becoming Slaves to Energy. In honor of a busy fall, I thought I’d share what I wrote for class last spring.

Tom Bender states: ‘Our consumption of existing goods and services is frequently, for all practical purposes, compulsory.’ This caused me to evaluate what I buy, what I get rid of each week, and what I need.

I made a list of where money is spent each week. The mortgage, restaurants, and travel expenses are costly, but utility bills and grocery items are where money is spent most often. Being aware of electric and water use allows me to cut back or be conscious of how I might conserve by taking shorter showers or line-drying the laundry. Most of my grocery items are unprocessed food, except for the pasta and cheese which I could make. I spend more money at the grocery on expensive items because a $4.50 box of cereal is the same price as a coffee shop muffin. I’ll be inclined to eat at home if I buy things I enjoy. My typical purchases have become compulsive.

The amount of recyclable glass and paper products I place on the curb has been cut down as I filter tap water, refill growlers, bought a soda machine, and make my own bread now. Making cheese, having a local milk source and not eating refined cereal could help more. During the summer I am able to have less recyclables because of the produce available through a farmer’s market and personal gardening. I often bring my own reusable containers and enjoy when I have the option to buy items per the pound. Many unrefined products such as apple cores and broccoli stems are great compost.

The amount of waste I produce is related to how busy I am and what type of prepared food I consume. Last week our class discussed money buying happiness and I talked about the importance of free time for me. Vacation days are more important to me than salary increases at this point in my life. I realized I could do more with my time and less with money when I was laid off part-time in 2008. When the layoff happened I was able to move from an apartment alone in with another person so we could share the expenses. I became active in an environmental book club, and began studying for the architectural exams. I had time to grow a productive garden and cook healthier meals. The time spent tending the garden taught me how much I enjoyed working in the dirt and how rewarding the labor was physically and mentally.

Gardens Online Photo


Ecological Literacy – David Orr


Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World

Growth is a renewed sense of being reverberates in my mind. David Orr states ‘hidden beneath the rhetoric [of sustainability] are assumptions about growth, technology, democracy, public participation and human values.’ Orr answers the call of awareness with two attractive solutions I will discuss; mimicking nature and decentralized systems. I’d like to evaluate these ideas in respect to an architectural firm.

Entropy: lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

What firm model develops a business plan to do the right thing for the environment? Must I develop my own projects to progress toward sustainably? Or, take action in educating the public? If I took Orr’s language of the ‘energy efficiency, closed loops, redundancy, and decentralized character of ecosystems allow them to swim upstream against the force of entropy’ to mean stability and current ‘industrial systems, on the contrary, assume linearity, perpetual growth and progress which increase entropy and decrease stability’ as a critique of my own firm how would I change the model? What’s closed loop in a firm, perhaps the hierarchy of principal to project manager to staff back to principal? Redundancy in the type of projects acquired and decentralization of work in team membership? The structure of a team is that they do not cross into the opposing circle. You’re trying to win, or rather, trying to have a project on budget, sustainable, and constructible for clients with the same group of people. What would nature do to be self-organizing? How would nature develop priorities? The Biomimicry Institute has a site,, where these questions may also be addressed.

Would this model of an architectural firm eventually spiral-off to become self-sufficient? (Decentralized systems by Leopold Kahn and Schumacher) Perhaps. Beyond the structure of a firm is the work which is produced. Our practices can rely more on using recycled and local materials, labor, respecting existing places, and renovating when possible. This is an example of ‘unlimited growth in a finite system.’

Architects should be leading others outside of our institution to practice more sustainably and beginning with our clientele is the most obvious opportunity. We architects must educate others that the power of a city is in maintaining what exists. Market research must show a need for the refurbished center, a smarter center patterned like nature.  Architects have the opportunity, if not the responsiblity to be a part of this evolution.

~ Photo from In the Garden with Mariani Landscape ~


Voluntary Simplicity ~ Enjoy where you are

Stay Close.

milesThe ‘make the most of where you are movement’ is intriguing. What would I do if I allowed myself only to do things within a certain radius of home? What about a 15-mile radius for two months, a 40-mile radius for three more months, a 75-mile radius for four and a 200-mile radius for the remaining three months? The idea is that I would be limiting the resources I use in travel.

What could I do in 15 miles? I can run and race, hike in the Coopers Rock state forest, cross-country ski, bike the rail trail, kayak the Monongahela, attend concerts, movies and lectures. Poetry events exist often. I can go to art galleries, libraries, eat at fifty plus restaurants, have friends over, go to work, roller and ice skate, play on recreational sports teams, take classes and participate in workshops. Expanding to a 40-mile radius allows me more opportunities to eat, recreate and take class at a second university nearby. I can then visit my in-laws. A 75-mile radius expands my area to include more work opportunities. Ohiopyle and Pittsburgh offer skiing entertainment, competitive running races, Laurel Highlands recreation and architecture. More white-water rafting adventures, biking and hiking trails exist at Wisp and Deep Creek. I can stay with more family members and host dinner for those I miss. More places exist in a 200-mile radius to do what I enjoy but now with the added value to include all of my relatives. The Appalachian Mountains, the Potomac River, and the GAP to the C&O trail allows plenty of movement by foot, bike and boat from Pittsburgh to DC. West Virginia offers spectacular peaks and creeks throughout at places like Marlington, Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob and Dolly Sods. These places have adventures in every season. I can read a book anywhere and try local food restaurants by the plenty. It’s amazing what I realize I can do when I begin to limit the possibilities by only a few miles. Perhaps focusing is the only way to ever initiate the belief it takes to get something done.   —

Others who have produced books and films about their sustainable choices are:


No Impact Man is a documentary on a family living in NY who went one year without electricity, without waste of materials, and was an inspiration film to start a project as I am proposing above.


Animal Vegetable Miracle is a book by Barbara Kingsolver who wrote about eating off of her and nearby farmers’ products for one year in Appalachia.

What can you do close to home?


Our Fair Share

2014-08-22 18.02.23

 7 1/2″ of snow fell overnight.

2014-08-22 19.33.47

 The morning provided a quiet walk between Westover and Morgantown.

2014-08-22 19.40.42

 The river is high, and flooding is causing a state of emergency in West Virginia.

2014-08-22 19.43.08

2014-08-22 19.46.45

2014-08-22 19.48.46

~ Morgantown, March 5th 2015 ~



Buddhist Economy – Schumacher


This reading by Schumacher asked me to reflect inward upon thoughts of living locally, my material wants and what work could be. J.C. Kumarappa says [work] ‘nourishes and enlivens the higher man and urges him to produce the best he is capable of.’ This is in line with one of Schumacher’s three Buddhist points of view on work: ‘to give man the chance to utilize and develop his facilities.’ What does this mean for me and on the larger scale of my office and community?

If I was free from the thought of work enabling a paycheck, and put more focus on the type of work I was doing I would work to promote downtown Morgantown. This city allows density and a walkable community to take care of basic needs: food, shelter, and cleanliness. A farmer’s markets, a food co-op, a drug/general store, clothing stores, restaurants, and plenty of apartments in need of maintenance exist here. Morgantown has libraries, a theater, and a university. Focusing on the place where I’d like to see the change is key. The fortunate thing about Morgantown is that the city is not stagnant. Investors are building apartment complexes and commercial retail buildings everywhere. What if these people felt responsible for the upkeep of their community too? What if for every new thing we were required to care for the old too? The readings for this week all suggest personal focus as a way to start spreading change. Constraint and upkeep play a role in focusing as well. If one place is to become better the answer may not always be found in introducing something new. Evaluating what may already be an asset is a great place to start.

How would I promote work that is utilizing and developing my facilities while encouraging others to do the same? People are more interested if it involves them personally. Encouraging action on what interests everyone by opening discussions is a way to communicate compromise. Working toward an end date so that things get finished is also key. Sourcing local thought, labor and materials reinvests money spent back into the community. Compromise and communication offer opportunities to grow creatively and discover what we are capable of doing together.

—Image of Morgantown from atop of the hill (KLM Properties)


My Plate at Phipps






~ Acrylic tank beyond glass rail! ~



Beyond the beautiful blooms, and through the vegetable garden room, I found a treasure of excited children shopping for healthy food. Based off of the Choose My Plate campaign, the small produce booths and checkout were a  hit!  The young children were enamored by the colorful choices, and were eagerly filling their carts. It was so fun to watch.



www.choosemyplate.gov_downloads_mini_poster_English_final_Page_1 www.choosemyplate.gov_downloads_mini_poster_English_final_Page_2







~ Great job Terra Design Studios! ~


Architecture Environmental

Center for Sustainable Landscapes Building

I wish I had visited the website for Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscaping before visiting the building.  You can find that here. The building facade was elegantly detailed in perfect right angles, deep overhangs, and simple brise-soleils, but so much of the design though was hidden. We walked through without interruption or direction from anyone. It was a quiet day onsite here as compared to the spring show next door.




The Phipps’s website offers many diagrams that make one appreciate the

‘Living Building.’




The type of insulation within the walls was something new to me. It’s a phase change material on top of the insulation. The ice pack look to the plastic covering acts in a way similar to how it feels. It absorbs a temperature, and can contain heat or coolness, much like ice can in freezing conditions. Interesting!




~  Reclaimed wood material ~


Architectural Record’s New Life for the American City article highlighted this building as apart of the Pittsburgh spread.

Courtesy of Andropogon - Arch Record

See the article centered on the Phipps building here.


Phipps Desert Room



~ These scorched blooms remind me of where I grew up. ~


~ Thin spiked arms. ~




~ The desert room at Phipps. ~


Building Fabric at Phipps


Building details of Phipps, dating back to the 1890’s, are alongside temporary blooms.








The bark weaving of this tropical tree grows in the heart of Phipps.

Seeing the pattern made me wonder about textures inspired by nature, which lead me to a neat article on the site Ask Nature; a project of Biomimicry 3.8.



Two above photos taken from Ask Nature site here.