Tag Archives: Innovation

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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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.”

What Makes Radiant Flooring Sustainable?


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

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

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

Green Gadget Holiday Gifts | Green Holiday


Green Gadget Holiday Gifts | Green Holiday Gift Guide http://ow.ly/fVTPB ^HH

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 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


See on Scoop.itChicago healthy homes

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

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:

Continue reading

100% Sustainable: Product Design


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

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

Chicago Mayor Jump starts the Electric Vehicle Industry


Mayor Emanuel Jump starts the Electric Vehicle Industry

Last week, Mayor Emanuel joined city, state and federal leaders to make a number of important announcements with respect to electric vehicles and batteries: a $15 million incentive program to encourage the adoption of electric trucks; Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp. opening an electric-vehicle factory in Chicago; a new procurement program that will encourage city contractors to purchase electric vehicles; and a dramatic expansion of the city’s commitment to building an energy-efficient fleet. The week was capped off with the announcement of a historic partnership and a $120 million investment in Argonne National Laboratory that will turn Chicago into a world-renowned battery hub.

These five initiatives fit into one broad strategy that addresses every aspect of electronic vehicles, from their conception and design to their construction to, ultimately, their presence on our streets. In line with Goals #11 and 12 of the Mayor’s roadmap, Sustainable Chicago 2015, this strategy will lead to Chicago becoming the electric-vehicle epicenter for Illinois, the Midwest and beyond.

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/December-2012-City-of-Chicago-Sustainability-Programs—Events.html?soid=1102254033668&aid=ZG9c_8teC74.

Nanotechnology Now – “Nansulate® Industrial”


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Heard about this really cool product today at the IIT IPRO presentations in Chicago. Energy savings up to 35% improvement with a simple coat of this nano-product! Case studies on the site. Thanks undergrads for the great lead and for all your hard work! “The paper titled, “Energy Conservation Using Nanotechnology Based Insulation Coating in Paper Machine Dryer At Seshasayee Paper” describes the benefits experienced in the pulp and paper industry by using patented …

See on www.nanotech-now.com