Tag Archives: design

Four Healthy Homes Lifestyle Categories to Consider When Going Green


I have started to organized my thoughts on how to start going towards a fully healthy lifestyle by breaking down my healthy home choices into four separate categories which should be considered when establishing our own baseline goals for healthy lifestyles.

Each category must be taken into account when pursuing the goal of a healthy life. Our outdoor environments,  neighborhoods, our office environment and even our commutes as well as so many other factors come into play into establishing a healthy lifestyle, but I believe you might consider each of these four categories to better understand and define a complete healthy homes lifestyle. If you miss on one area you may be missing some opportunities.

Category 1- Food & Nutrition–  the way I eat – food and nutrition and products I use to maintain and clean my home. The consumables both of my family and me but also products used to clean and routinely maintain the home on a daily basis. If my diet is poor then clearly I cannot live and sustain my life in an active and healthy manner.

Category 2: Furnishings & Finishes – the products and services that I bring into my house. Such as the couches, tables or chairs I sit on or the furnishings I bring into my home.  Also, the  finishes of my home including including the bathroom tiles, the paints and flooring finishes I use in my home. If the finishes or furnishings are made of unhealthy or unsustainable products then we must ask why are they a part of our healthy homes lifestyle.

Category 3: Systems – this category gets more into the  mechanical systems, the type of delivery of the heating and air-conditioning and mechanical and water delivery systems of our home as well as the plumbing systems and ventilation systems; Also it should consider and understand the new sustainable delivery methods such as geothermal energy sources, wind and solar as well as the higher velocity mechanical systems which can deliver warm comfortable well filtered air which will significantly improve the indoor air quality and healthy living environment. If this is sounding too complex I will explain all this in detail later.

Category 4: Building Structure & Shell – this category focuses more on the shell of the building;  the building envelope and the exterior walls – the structure itself. If I am eating my organic apple on a non-fire retardant treated couch with my high-efficiency furnace creating healthy air quality levels but the plywood under my floors is emitting formaldehyde off-gasses or there is an ongoing leak in the basement allowing mold to grow, then I believe three out of four does not constitute a complete healthy home life.

How healthy is my home lifestyle? Well the point is that the goal should be to incorporate all four categories into the healthy homes lifestyle design.

The way I look at it is that if I am eating really healthy and nutritious and getting my exercise and if any of the other three categories are not living up to the healthy way they should be or could be then I am not living a healthy lifestyle. I would then by my definition be living in an unhealthy home.

So where to begin? Because that really is the question  all who think about this stuff are asking. First we each need to individually ask ourselves what kind of life do we want to live and how far do we want to take this? I think the only way to really answer this is to be informed and made aware about the consequences and options available for each of the four categories outlined above.

I can say with certainty that we all want to live a healthy life. No one would disagree with that statement. However, I  know for sure that most people are not aware of what it means to make healthy choices in each of these four categories. You might be eating well but if you buy a couch that unknowingly has fire retardants on its surface that you absorb each time you sit down that can cause cancer would you do so? Or when you buy a home and you’re told the furnace works are you also told how well it performs? How much better it would perform if the air it filters went from filtering dust to filtering dander and even viruses. Do you think most homeowner’s know to ask their mechanical contractors how to improve their indoor air quality? Not most because it is not really a hot sexy topic.Wanna talk energy audits? Won’t see that on television. Wanna talk organic natural pure life improving green products? The airwaves are full of it.

Most believe the choices they’re making are healthy and some may be. But I know in my own experience many choices I make or have made I did without knowing they were compromising my health or the health of my children.

Yikes. That is not good.

It’s not so much redefining what it means to live a healthy but becoming aware of the choices available to live a healthy life and on this blog specifically about how to make our homes from the interior walls and woodwork, to flooring and foundation and structure and roofing and siding and finishes and appliances and mechanical systems and new energy methods. The complete package mostly related to categories 3 and 4 above. I will be focusing on how to do this primarily in existing homes but also in new construction since I am a designer and architect I want to understand not only how to improve our existing housing stock (reuse) but also I want to improve the standards by which we build our new housing and establish much much higher healthier standards which take into account the materials and methods used and the sustainable path to making sure the resources are renewable and available for the next generations to come.

Enough about this – let’s start moving forward. Let’s get our entire lifestyle from food and nutrition to the furnishing we fill our homes with to the systems within our homes to our actual built structures and the shells of our homes.

Becoming aware is the first step. Let’s take a look together and begin the first step to a healthier, happier, more comfortable and sustainable place we call home.

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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

Climate Change and Human Responsibility


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It can’t be denied any longer: Sea levels are rising, major droughts are continuing, and record hot summers are being experienced all around the world. Climate change is real and, as residents of Earth, we have a responsibility to our planet to do something about it. A recent study conducted by Yale University and George Mason University finds that, for the first time since the research began in 2008, the majority of Americans believe that global warming is mostly a man-made phenomenon.

As sobering images of catastrophes are making headlines, this graphic looks at how people are recognizing that the effects of their actions aren’t just an increasing danger to the world but are a direct threat to the future for themselves and their families.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Decisions have consequences. In some cases irreversible and significant. Changing Tides….great post

See on columnfivemedia.com

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

What Makes Radiant Flooring Sustainable?


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What makes radiant flooring so green and such a smart home heating solution? Why has Warmboard heated flooring been green since inception? (What Makes Radiant #Flooring #Sustainable?

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

I usually don’t promote articles that are from manufacturer’s unless I see some actual value or potential value in the product or services. This warmboard idea is something to tuck away for that next radiant flooring project requiring a LEED certified system.

See on blog.warmboard.com

A Sleek Pre-Fab Design For The Modern Homesteader


See on Scoop.itSustainable Modern Homes

Many high-design concepts for sustainable housing remain just that: concepts. We see them on blogs, but they’re either too expensive or impractical to make it to our neighborhoods.

See on www.fastcoexist.com

Rugged, Sustainable Architecture at Shoal Bay, New Zealand


See on Scoop.itChicago healthy homes

The owners of this small weekender in Shoal Bay New Zealand wanted a getaway that was rugged, rural in character and felt unpretentious. Architect Gerald Parsonson responded with the design of a beautiful cedar clad bach in the form of two offset pavilions.

Architects Statement:

“Shoal Bay is a remote settlement on the rugged east coast of southern Hawkes Bay. The building is designed to be part of the rural setting, raised off the ground and sitting beside the original woolshed, which has served the bay since the early 1900’s. The bach is rugged yet welcoming and offers unpretentious shelter, it is the type of place where you kick off your shoes and don’t need to worry about walking sand through the house.
The bach is formed of two slightly off-set pavilions, one housing the bedrooms and the other the main living space. Decks are located at each end of the living pavilion allowing the sun to be followed throughout the day. Sliding screens at the north-west end provide adjustable shelter for the different wind conditions, offer privacy from neighbouring campers and act as walls for outside sleeping.”

The sustainable, passive design features an interior spatial arrangement oriented for solar gain, shaded in the summer by the sliding shutters, which also provide shelter from the prevailing northwest winds. Also increasing the efficiency are high levels of insulation, along with solar panels that sit between the two pavilions…

Visit the link to view more images of this contemporary passive design that responds to its site and rural context…

See on www.designhunter.net

#USGBC Is at it again with this awesome interactive and innovative website they just launched to promote the global initiatives being discovered and improved around the world. GBIG


Green Building Information Gateway http://ow.ly/fYHml #healthyhomes

The First Net-Zero-Energy Stadium Will Be In The Next World Cup


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Brazil is about to do double-duty hosting international sporting events–first, the 2014 World Cup and then the 2016 Olympics. That means some serious sports center remodeling is in order.

See on www.fastcoexist.com

Don’t get too cozy: Your couch may be toxic


Don’t get too cozy: Your couch may be toxic | Fox News http://ow.ly/fUIUo ^HH

Sustainable architecture: Siv Helene Stangeland #healthyhomes


TEDx — Sustainable architecture: Siv Helene Stangeland http://ow.ly/fTyuk #healthyhomes

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative


The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and WegoWise start to collect some critical data. Way to go GHHI. Home energy retrofits reducing healthcare costs | SmartPlanet http://ow.ly/fUx9f ^HH

Modern #Prefab Goes Seriously Vertical


http://www.treehugger.com/modular-design/modern-prefab-goes-seriously-vertical.html

Modern Prefab Goes Seriously Vertical

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© Hans van Heeswijk Architects

Here’s to the man who invented stairs
And taught our feet to soar!
He was the first who ever burst
Into a second floor.
The world would be downstairs to-day
Had he not found the key;
So let his name go down to fame,
Whatever it may be.

Oliver Herford (1863-1935)

Certainly Dutch architect Hans van Heeswijk owes a debt to the man who invented stairs. He puts five flights of them in his design for a tower-villa, a vertical prefab. Dutch houses are often very narrow and tall, with lots of stairs; van Heeswijk has taken the idea and translated it for America.

heeswijk-section.png.492x0_q85_crop-smart.png
© Hans van Heeswijk

Lamar Anderson explains in The Atlantic Cities:

Like a downsized multifamily residence, van Heeswijk’s concept for a minimalist prefab dwelling reimagines the single-family home as a compact tower-villa. Each floor is dedicated to a specific activity (eating, sleeping, lounging, working), and levels can be added or subtracted to accommodate more or fewer functions. And in the absence of hills, the Meandering Tower House offers more expansive views—ideally of other tower houses.

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© Hans van Heeswijk

One of the reasons we don’t show as many prefabs as we used to is that they are, with a few exceptions, designed for low-density suburban and exurban sites. While van Heeswijk’s renderings show these towers in the country, they could be packed together to achieve reasonable densities.

Living in a house like this would certainly keep the residents fit. I do wonder about the need for five toilets, though. Lots of people have to go to a different floor to get to a bathroom, including my kids. It’s a bit over-plumbed.

More in the Atlantic Cities and Architizer

Tags: Green Building | Netherlands

2012′s best green gadgets for eco conscious buyers | Eco Arrivals


http://www.ecoarrivals.com/855/2012/12/06/2012s-best-green-gadgets-for-eco-conscious-buyers/

2012′s best green gadgets for eco conscious buyers

With 2013 creeping up on us, now it’s time to look back and pick the best green gadgets that tickled the eco-fancies of gadget lovers in 2012. Most of the gadgets enlisted below might be different in their core functionalities, still they share some of the points in common, which include minimal use of toxic materials, reliance on renewable power, focus on longevity and finally, subjection to e-cycling at the end of their lives. While EPEAT and Greenpeace’s ratings provide enough verification of their environmentally friendly status, user experience, however, is the greatest determinant for sure, we believe.

Have a look at the greenest gadgets of the year 2012:

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100% Sustainable: Product Design


100% Sustainable: Product Design | Inhabitat – #Sustainable #Design #Innovation, #Eco #Architecture, #Green #Building http://ow.ly/fTzhg ^HH

WegoWise Partners with Green & Healthy Homes Initiative in Baltimore – Sacramento Bee


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WegoWise Partners with Green & Healthy Homes Initiative in BaltimoreSacramento Bee6, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — WegoWise, a leading building performance analytics provider, today announced the successful deployment of a pilot program with the Green &…

See on www.sacbee.com

Housing as a Leading Indicator


See on Scoop.itGreen Real Estate

During the economic crisis of 2008, the housing market, along with everything else, crashed hard and fast.

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Sustainable Energy Stands Out in 2012 Platts Global Energy Award | XS4GREEN.com | Makes green products visible


See on Scoop.itSustainable Green Real Estate

Sustainable Energy Stands Out in 2012 @Platts Global Energy Award http://t.co/JkI6BpuK #business…

See on www.xs4green.com

Moladi – innovations in affordable housing “empowering people. Award Blog”


See on Scoop.itSustainable Green Real Estate

@Africare Fight poverty with innovation – empowering people – producing homes http://t.co/yyXm11af @moladi #Africa #Housing #entrepreneur…

See on www.empowering-people-award.siemens-stiftung.org

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