Tag Archives: Carbon Footprint

3 Reasons to Gradually Go Green: Healthy Homes Chicago


3 Reasons to Gradually Go Green: Healthy Homes Chicago.

Gramata Development Corporation - DesignBuild ChicagoRecently I posted on the Four Categories to a Healthy Home:

1) food & nutrition 
2) furnishings  
3) finishes & fixtures  
4) systems

If one of these components is not a part of your healthy homes decision matrix then you’re probably not living a fully healthy lifestyle. Most of us are aware of the food and nutrition category but what about your home furnishings? Your couch probably contains flame retardant chemicals used on the upholstery which when absorbed can be harmful and some research indicates cancer-causing. How about your home finishes such as the volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the paint you just bought for the kids bedroom? They may contain ingredients known to cause illness too. Did you know a low or no-VOC paint is available in most cases for the same price which is a healthier option?  And what about your home systems such as your furnace? I am not talking about whether they operate but how can they be improved over time with a healthier indoor environment mind?
Some or all of these are often overlooked but critically important to a fully healthy home lifestyle and the focus of this book. Most people are not aware of this nor what options are available to them.

That is one of my goals. To make you aware of some of the options and then how to begin to implement them into your lifestyle so you can gradually go green towards a healthy home lifestyle. 

Why should we care about making our homes and communities healthy and what questions should we be asking to make sure we are comfortable that the answer is a resounding “yes”? 

It begins with awareness and knowing what important questions to ask.

Some Questions to Ask:

  • What can I do to make my home healthy?
  • How can I define my goals of a healthy home?
  • Who can I trust to help me with those decisions?
  • What resources are available to help me establish and reach my goals?
  • What decisions will have the greatest impact on my healthy lifestyle?
  • What investments or decisions will have the greatest economic return over time?
  • How can they add value to my home in addition to the health benefits?

The association between our health and our homes has been known for centuries. People spend over 90% of their time indoors including both at home and work. If your home environment is unhealthy or unsafe, it can lead to illnesses that can appear immediately or in other cases it can lay dormant and lead to illness or even death in the months, years and even decades to come.

The quality of our housing effects our quality of life. Our home can and should support both our health and our well-being for the benefit of ourselves and our communities.

Why?

According to the US Green Building Council buildings consume 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials and 39% of energy in the United States alone consuming over 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials annually. 

There are three general reasons to work towards healthy homes and communities.

1) Health Impact: improving our indoor air quality by reducing the emissions and chemical mixtures released by the products, furnishings and stuff we fill our homes with can have a huge impact on our lives and the development of our children. Focusing from the building envelope inwards and down to the finishes and fixtures is the only way to being the steps needed to live in a healthy home. 

2) Savings: “healthy green home systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They can also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer.”

3) Environmental Impact: “Implementing green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.” 

Create a list in your daily routine which focuses on one or all three of these components and start going green over time in your life!

 

Illinois’ Third Passive House built in River Forest


The home’s cobalt blue siding sets it apart from older brick houses in its River Forest neighborhood. But the color of the house on Jackson Avenue is the least of its distinguishing factors.

 

As northern Illinois’ first certified passive house, Corinna and Rodrigo Lema’s new house is a celebrity in architectural circles. Originated in Germany, a passive house has maximum indoor air quality and is super energy-efficient.

 

The Lemas’ house is the third certified passive house in Illinois, according to the Passive House Institute U.S., which certifies them. The other two are in Urbana and Champaign.

 

“If it were a car, it would be getting 300 miles per gallon,” said Mark Miller, executive director of the Passive House Alliance United States, which advocates for these homes. “Europe has embraced this for years. In the U.S., we’re just catching up. There are only 34 certified in the U.S.”

 

Alex Steffen: The shareable future of cities | Video on TED.com


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago
The Sharable Future of Cities

TED Talks How can cities help save the future? Alex Steffen shows some cool neighborhood-based green projects that expand our access to things we want and need — while reducing the time we spend in cars.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Rethinking the global vision of moving towards urban net zero designs. As always TED rocks and so does Alex Steffen

See on www.ted.com

Chicago City Council OKs electricity deal with zero coal-fired power


Chicago City Council OKs electricity deal with Integrys – Utilities News – Crain’s Chicago Business http://ow.ly/g3gYU #healthyhomeschicago

“Chicago will be the largest aggregator in the nation and the first major city to adopt this kind of a program,” he said. “And, in fact, I suspect Chicago will set a national standard by utilizing the cleanest power mix possible without increasing cost.”

In winning the deal, Integrys agreed not to purchase any coal-fired power in supplying the city’s residents and small businesses. Company officials told the City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday that the vast majority of the power will come from natural gas-fired plants.

While not without negative environmental effects, the burning of natural gas contributes significantly lower emissions of carbon gases that are tied to global warming. Coal also is connected to pollutants that contribute to urban smog.

Over the course of the two-year deal, city officials project the average household will save $130 to $150.

Said Mayor Rahm Emanuel today: “I think it sends . . . a clear message, the fact that we made sure for families that live paycheck to paycheck that our residents are going to get what the suburban residents have been getting for a while: saving on their utility bill.”

He also said the deal proves “a city the size of Chicago (can be powered) without any coal.”

My guilt on fake vs real tree has been answered!


My guilt on fake vs real tree has been answered! Real Christmas trees more sustainable than fakes http://ow.ly/g2oRl#healthyhomeschicago

Real Christmas trees more sustainable than fakes, forestry professor says

Steve Mitchell among the cultured Christmas trees at the UBC Farm in Vancouver, B.C., December 7, 2012. Mitchell says the most sustainable Christmas tree is the wild tree cut from underneath power lines and road right of ways – with a permit. The carbon footprint of artificial trees takes about 20 years to payback.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , Vancouver Sun

An artificial Christmas tree would have to be used for 20 years before its carbon footprint matches that of a farmed tree, according to a forestry professor at the University of B.C.

Steve Mitchell said most artificial trees are kept only six years before fashions change and owners throw them out. Most end their life in a landfill.

“Artificial trees need to be kept for 20 years for the carbon emissions to be equivalent to using natural trees,” Mitchell said, referring to a life cycle study done in 2009 by Ellipsos, a Montreal-based sustainable consulting company.

People can choose a wild tree and either a farmed cut tree or a farmed living tree. Of all the options, the most sustainable is a wild tree, he said.

How to get ahead in sustainable living.


See on Scoop.itSustainable Green Real Estate

The GuardianHow to get ahead in … sustainable livingThe GuardianAdvising tenants on how to reduce their carbon footprint and cut their energy costs is becoming part of the core skills expected of frontline housing officers.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Sustainable living starts with healthy homes and having these core sustainable principles to all aspects of our built environment.

Post Topics:

green, healthy homes, healthy homes Chicago, sustainable, Smart buildings, green building, green energy, carbon footprint, housing

See on www.guardian.co.uk

Congress Creates New Water Heater Energy Efficiency Ratings


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago
new water heater energy-efficiency rating system for the US

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

From my last post about making no small plans to this post about the smallest of common housing systems; the domestic hot water heater and the congressional rating system about to be established for our country. Small plans too are just as important as the larger ones.

See on feedproxy.google.com

A Sustainable Community – Constructech


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

A Sustainable CommunityConstructechGreen building is growing at a rapid pace. Rather than one-off, high-tech, sustainable buildings, many governments have something a bit larger in mind—sustainable city centers.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Daniel Burnham said (amongst other wise things) “Make no small plans”. Take heed Chicago and global friends. Think sustainable at the neighborhood scale and city center scale.

See on www.constructech.com

More British homes to stay warm with heat pumps or solar | Greenbang


See on Scoop.itChicago healthy homes

If winter is making temperatures drop to frigid levels where you live, you’re likely grateful for a functioning home furnace … but dreading the coming heating bills. Wouldn’t it be wonderful not to have to worry about those, …

See on www.greenbang.com

Sustainable Style : Rebuilding or Renovating Your Home with Reclaimed Wood


See on Scoop.itGreen Real Estate

I first talked about reclaimed wood, briefly, in my piece 10 Eco-friendly ways to Renovate your Home…. Now, on the heels of Hurricane Sandy many of us are looking to rebuild or renovate our homes after suffering severe damage and devastation.

See on homes.yahoo.com

Visual look at NYC carbon dioxide output in 2010


In 2010 New York City released 54 metric tons of CO into the atmosphere. That is two tons per second! 75% of the output came from buildings.

What does this mean exactly? Here is visual look at the carbon dioxide output of New York City in the course of one day, one month and one year.

With one of the best public transportations systems in the world, individual New Yorkers tend to have smaller carbon footprints than typical Suburbanites, but with a population of over 8.2 million, the carbon footprint for the city itself is pretty outrageous. This visualization shows what it would look like if all of the carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles, buildings, factories, and people could be captured in “bubbles.” Each turquoise orb represents one ton of CO2, which would fill a sphere with a diameter of 33 feet, and as of now two are released every second in the Big Apple!