Architecture Book Review Building Sustainably Environmental

The Interior – Making $ense

The Interiors

Because I am always in search of great and healthy ways of Interior Designing I was glad to come across a few products I hadn’t researched yet. I have a full list on my blog in the tab ‘Sustainable Interiors.’ This is the last post of the Book Review  I did of Eric Corey Freed and Kevin Daum’s book

Green $ense for the Home

The counter top chart was extensive and fantastic!

Healthy Wall Coverings:

Mioculture wallpaper of 100% recycled paper. This company created by two Columbian boys has a neat sit full of lighting furniture and accessories.

Home $ense gives a Homemade Wallpaper Paste Recipe too! There are lots on the Internet, like this one from Tree Hugger.

There are companies such as Design Tex and Len-Tex who have achieved Cradle to Cradle certification, and others such as:        Maharam       MDC Wall coverings       Milliken      Mod Green Pod    Pallas Dialtones (made of discarded Japanese telephone books)         Sinan Natural Wallpaper Adhesive

Below those wall coverings can be fully recycled content drywall too. Gypsum is a coal combustion byproduct. I looked that up and found useful in formation through the University of Kentucky. Resources for Recycled DryWall include  : EcoRock from Serious Materials   Synthetic GYP from CertainTeed or G-P Gypsum or the recycled content from CleanBoard   National Gypsum Company   Temple-Inland Forest products or USG Corporation

Other interior products highlighted in the book are ~

Cork and Bamboo: Expanko     Habitus   Nova Distinctive Floors   US Floors     Teragren    Eco Timber     Cali Bamboo      Smith & Fong

To protect our Indoor Air Quality  Formaldehyde-free fiberboard: Columbia Forest Products    Flakeboard   Kirei   SierraPine

Cabinets built out of formaldehyde free wood: Breathe Easy Cabinetry    Neff Kitchens    Neil Kelly Cabinets     Custom Cabinets from  Greenline  &  Humabuilt

For Carpet, look at Sheeps wool carpet.


Tomorrow I will share how all this knowledge actually applies to a project, when I showcase

7 Sustainable Choices

I made when designing the interior of a recent doctor’s office.

Book Review Building Sustainably Environmental

The Building Envelope

House Warming in the Winter:

I would love to be able to keep my $15 gas bills year round, but in a 1930’s house with an antiquated furnace what are my options? My monthly bill from November – April on average, raises $100.

I can make sure that the air I am heating in my furnace is being delivered to my rooms the best it can by checking all of my ducts to see if there are any leaks. Duct Sealing with ‘Duct Mastic’ can be applied with a brush or caulk gun. Find one that is a water based formula like Uni-Mastic 181 Duct Sealer, that is safe for you and your indoor air. Use mesh tape if the gaps are larger than 1/4″

EHow tells you step by step what to look for in leaks and what to use. Green Sense adopted an image from the Department of Energy and offered six places where leaks are most likely to occur: Duct Connections, return leaks, furnace and filter slot leaks; ineffective duct tape seal, fallen duct insulation, supply leaks, or restricted airflow because of duct work kinks.

Speaking of leaky ducts.. how about leaky houses?

Making sure you have a good building envelope is the first step. The easiest way to keep the conditioned air in your home is by caulking and weather-stripping. Check any place where two different materials are next to one another, for example, wood door to metal threshold or aluminum window to wooden frame.

You can get an energy audit, hire a contractor or perform the maintenance yourself.

In Ohio, AEP offers In-Home Energy programs for Energy Efficiency. Columbia Gas in Ohio offers Home Performance Solutions, and a link to a cute adobe flash presentation on home performance solutions. Ohio even offers a Home Weatherization Assistance Programs. Wonderful!

Replacing old windows? – Think about replacing the sashes. Great Efficient Windows Collaborative here!

We need more insulation over here! I’ve done a lot of research on insulation and I show what I’ve found to be good here, at my Green Building Supply Matrix. But, through this book I found a little more. Here in Ohio we are in zone 5, almost 6. If you go looking on the DOE website they have a nice insulation calculator. The book directs me to peek into my walls through my outlet boxes to see if my walls have insulation. They probably don’t, so I’ve been looking into a few types of blow in insulation that can be for homes built before modern construction methods.  Recycled newspaper is used in cellulose blow-in applications such as NuWool, but I still want to make sure that these materials aren’t compromising my indoor air quality. At the Pittsburgh Home Show I came across USA Premium Insulation, so I am currently comparing these products for my own home.

If I were building new I’d look into Green Polyiso from Atlas Roofing. This building product provides an R value of 7 per inch! And, I’d consider making my roof as light as possible. Light in color, that is.  A roof coating can be applied to make an existing roof lighter or reflective. An SRI of 29 or higher is good and what that means in the roof’s Solar Reflectivity Index number, being higher is more reflective, and less hot… and that’s good summer news.

~The Building Envelope and the Things we Build With~

Now, let’s talk about the things we build with.  It is important to me to choose local materials that contain no toxic chemicals. In some cases I may even find repurposed materials that would do the job! Look for buildings coming down (so sad!) in your area and create discussion for disassembling versus demolishing them. Then, use the materials in a new way. Habitat for Humanity has ReStores across the country. Check out Habitat for Humanity or the Re Use People. Other places to find reclaimed materials are: Building Materials Reuse Association Salvage Web

If you are considering using concrete in construction look into companies that use fly ask cement from Coal plants. This is the left over soot that can go into the concrete mix and replace portland cement. This gives concrete a smoother and stronger finish and by using the by-product, we turn waste into something useful!

These are just a few notions the book led me too… research in this area of the things we build with is ongoing. It consumes my thoughts and research daily and I really enjoy learning about how to be more energy-efficient so that I can share my knowledge with clients and the general public… and hold intelligent conversations with people who have been practicing a light lifestyle a lot longer than me.

Book Review Building Sustainably Environmental

Utilities Use – Water

What about Water?

Using less water means that first we need to identify where we use the most.  In the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room we can reduce the amount of water we use without compromising anything else. We can look at the toilet, the shower, sinks and the washing machine as large water users. The steps below can reduce the water your toilet uses by 25% and what water pumps through your shower head by a 30% reduction. (see book for full disclosure of % calculations) A little knowledge and investment in conservation methods saves more money in the long run that it costs to replace parts in the beginning.

To use less water in the toilet, all you need is a soda bottle and pebbles. See this Wiki Step by Step for how to use less water when you flush if you have an older non efficient toilet. One step up, for about $50, is to install dual flush converter.

The book offered a dual flush converter by Brondell. The image below shows how this works.

Next, I learned about the new wave in water conservation from Water Saver Technologies. Their AQUS, a grey water system, recycles water used from the sink and pipes it to your toilet.

Oh, and get this, some states will actually give you money if you replace your existing toilet. Check out Toilet Rebates in your state here.

If you want to consider a Whole House Gray Water System, look at case studies on homes and commercial spaces that have integrated this type of plumbing.

Shower Water Savers:  Evolve Showerheads Oxygenics AquaHelix Or, start a ripple with the Ripple Shower Timer From Ripple.

Not that I am a big proponent in consumption, but if there are ways I can acknowledge what I am using to use less, then I may weigh the purchase against that.

How about Electricity to Heat Water?

If you are building new and want to recover water to use again, or the heat in that waste water, here are a few resources the book offered:  Clivus Multrum   ReWater Systems    EcoInnovation Technologies   RenewABILiTY Energy Inc   ReTherm Energy Systems   WaterFilm Energy

A simple solution to keeping water hotter after it leaves your water tank is to insulate the hot water pipes or the tank itself! Or, have you ever thought about only heating water when you need it. If you work away from home all day, or sleep a normal nights rest, do you really need hot water at 3am or at 1 in the afternoon during the week? There is a green solution for this! A programmable thermostat. I found one at Cardellos, a local Wheeling WV store for $60. You may also want to check the temperature. 123 degrees is ideal and for every 10 degree reduction you can save  3-5% in the energy that it takes to heat that unused hot water.Wrapping your hot water tank in a blanket of insulation allows you to turn the tank down 2-4 degrees… which means that you can do a math problem with your electricity bill to figure out the rate of return in the savings it allows you once the 3-5% energy cost reduction equals the cost of the insulation blanket. Warm up with this idea from recycled cotton to hot water tank blanket from Bonded Logic.

Call your local utilities to find out about rebates on your conservation efforts and check out DSIRE for state incentives, or call your local architect! 🙂

Solar Hot Water Heaters:    EnerWorks Inc. Heliodyne, Inc. North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Solar Energy, Inc Taylor Munro Energy Systems Inc.

Hot Water Heaters:

The Gas Tankless saves more!  It is more difficult to install though because running a larger gas line is probably necessary.  And, if you plan to have a radiant heating system underfoot you needs a conventional tank, or use a conventional tank to be a fire burner.  Some rebates and tax credits are available.  Eternal Water Heater – These tankless models by lasts twice as long, at 20 years!

Solar Hot Water Heater- you’ll need 10sf of roof space per person in the house. There are three types of collectors and they are the batch, flat plate and the evacuated tube collector. The most efficient being the evacuated tube collectors. The simplest is a passive system, where no pumps are needed. Use pylene glycol as solution in cold weather climate as a closed loop system. This method of water heating will run 3,600 – 9,000 big ones.

What’s this about?

Water Bottle fact: It takes 2-3x the water to make a plastic bottle compared to what the little plastic guy holds. Invest in a filter. I researched a few different kinds and came to an easy solution with PUR’s Mineral Clear faucet attachment.

What about water conservation in the yard? The book discussed drip irrigation and using native plants in your yard instead of tending to a lawn.

In drip irrigation, water is run through pipes (with holes in them) either buried or lying slightly above the ground next to the crops. Water slowly drips onto the crop roots and stems. Unlike spray irrigation, very little is lost to evaporation and the water can be directed only to the plants that need it, cutting back on water waste. –USGS’s Water Science for Schools

Our Ohio offers some advice for getting your lawn off of grass, and gives advice on planting native plants. Or, we could all be a bit more like Damali Ayo and plant your entire yard as your edible garden! You’ll have something to do with all of that compost if your community ever initiates a Pay-As-You-Throw program.

Think about rain water harvesting for showers, laundry, and  plants. You could consider investing in a rain barrel to water your yard or garden. Make sure that your roof is made of non toxic asphalt tile, metal or plastic.

Hope you are enjoying all of these Green tips from Green $ense!