Tag Archives: environment

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.”

 

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What impact do your recycling efforts have on the environment? Here is the answer


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Did you ever wonder how much your recycling efforts have on the environment? Check it out here! Every bit helps…

Check out Recycling Energy Saver here and let us know how you’re doing!

 

How healthy is your home? How to start going green gradually and over time


Jim Gramata - Healthy Homes ChicagoHow healthy is your home? or perhaps better… how healthy is your entire home lifestyle? I have researched thousands of articles, blog posts, white papers, books and websites studying the concept of sustainable, ‘green’, safe and healthy homes. I’ve seen the impact unhealthy choices have had on people, families, neighborhoods, communities and our environment through research and stories told. I’ve been appalled at the ‘green washing’ efforts the public is facing from the media which is only adding more confusion to the question of what is true, who can be trusted for a consolidated collection of information of the best path to healthy living.  I am committed to providing an honest introduction to the concepts of living in healthy homes.

Most of us can agree on what makes a home unhealthy. Poor indoor air quality, mold, lead or radon in a home etc. But each definition of what is a healthy home should be self-constructed because each persons efforts and vision may differ, but I believe in order to make educated decisions we must first know what questions to ask in order to define our vision and awareness of what is a healthy homes.

This blog is my effort to share my knowledge, thoughts and resources with homeowners who are unsure about where to begin on making your home (present of future) healthy. It can be so overwhelming.

Many choices were made for you from the previous owners of your home who were stewards of the home. Or they were made by the developers who built your home and who (along with the architect and designer) made so many of the choices of the components that make up the house. They made decisions related to healthy living whether they framed the decision matrix in this light or not. In some cases they did and in others I am sure they did not. 

This blog will also focus on current (or future) homeowners who continues to make maintenance decisions or improvements decisions which may unknowingly be having a harmful effect on your health without you knowing it. This is where the awareness factors is brought to light for readers or followers. 

To me as an architect who makes material choices for renovated or newly built homes I know the consequences are very real on many levels.  As I continued to watch designers and builders make the choices many of them are making, I became committed to publishing a message that these poor choices have consequences. This hopefully will be a wakeup for someone who will take the message to heart and take small steps (or large) to make their homes and neighborhood healthier and safe places to live.

Jim Gramata
The Gramata Realty Group
2214 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60614
www.GramataRealtyGroup.com

Make informed decision about energy-effiency


Make informed decision about energy-efficient windows | ProudGreenHome.com http://ow.ly/gQ7G2 #healthyhomes

Developers braced for ‘green’ building codes in Washington DC


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

Developers braced for ‘green’ building codes in Washington DCSustainable Business OregonWashington D.C.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Love the concept they’re trying for here – to implement policy wide in DC better building code standards. In order to make the most impact on our local, regional and international methods we must move these ideas to the legislative levels.

See on sustainablebusinessoregon.com

#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

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


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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

Organic = Healthy: Who Are You Kidding? – Huffington Post UK (blog)


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Organic = Healthy: Who Are You Kidding?Huffington Post UK (blog)Ok, before we get started, I’m all for the environment, I’m totally against the abhorrent treatment of animals, and as my profession would suggest, I’m very much up for people eating…

See on www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

Sustainable homes for Earth – Earthship Biotecture


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By Caitlin Howlett G Magazine Looking like something Tolkein’s hobbits would reside in, the quirky Earthship homes are in fact some of the greenest ki…

See on earthship.com

American Homes Filled With Fire Retardants | Care2 Healthy Living


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Spare change isn’t the only thing hiding in your couch cushions. Fire retardants are surprisingly common in everyday furniture items.

See on www.care2.com

The incredible origami house that can change shape depending on the weather


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

This new incredible folding house is able to, in the words of its creators, ‘metamorphosize’ into eight different configurations to adapt to seasonal, meteorological and even astronomical conditions (The house that is EIGHT homes in one: The incredible…

See on www.dailymail.co.uk

Shooting hoops for healthy hearts at HMS – Helena Independent Record


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Shooting hoops for healthy hearts at HMSHelena Independent RecordAbout 50 Helena Middle School students took to the basketball court Friday morning to keep their hearts healthy, learn basketball skills and celebrate their contribution to the…

See on helenair.com

Homes go from blight to energy efficiency – Toledo Blade


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Toledo BladeHomes go from blight to energy efficiencyToledo BladeThat’s the goal of NeighborWorks Toledo Region, which launched construction Friday of two new houses on the 300 block of Toledo’s Chapin Street.

See on www.toledoblade.com

Former President Carter and wife to build homes in Denver neighborhood – Denver Post


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Former President Carter and wife to build homes in Denver neighborhoodDenver PostFormer President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will visit Denver next year to help build 11 new townhomes and repair up to 15 existing homes in the Globeville…

See on www.denverpost.com

Healthy People Have Hundreds Of Flawed Genes – Medical News Today


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Zee NewsHealthy People Have Hundreds Of Flawed GenesMedical News TodayA normal healthy person has an average of 400 flaws in their DNA, according to a new study in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

See on www.medicalnewstoday.com

Home energy retrofits reducing healthcare costs!


Home energy retrofits reducing healthcare costs | SmartPlanet http://ow.ly/fV1vv #healthyhomes

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.

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© 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