Tag Archives: sustainable design

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!

 

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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

Building the Green Economy and Job Creation


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

Main Authored by:  Maggie Comstock Media Feature image:  Prolonged applause, two standing ovations, a full crowd erupting in…

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Pushing forward the concept of sustainable building and job creation!

See on new.usgbc.org

British construction companies amongst keenest to invest in sustainable buildings


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

Green building practices are becoming the norm across the globe, with Singapore and the UK setting the best examples, according to a new poll.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Is the US willing to shift our building practices towards a more healthy sustainable design path? We can do better than 65% but Britain is moving it forward. Let’s get going here at home.

See on www.colorcoat-online.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

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


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

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

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

Making a Difference One Healthy Home at a Time


One builder is making it right in Valpo Indiana. Sustainable and green housing design/build concepts with an outline of some real numbers and the specific systems used to meet their Healthy Homes targets and beyond. Great job!

Since building the Gem, the first National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Emerald-Certified House in the state, Treasure Homes Inc. continues to be a green building leader in northwest Indiana.

“Green building is much more than energy efficiency. It’s a holistic approach to healthy homes that minimizes environmental impact and is certified through third-party verification,” Sarah Oudman of Treasure Homes and leader of the Green Building Alliance for the Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana (HBA of NWI), explained. “There are 7 keys to a green home – lot design, preparation and development; resource efficiency; energy efficiency; water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; and operation, maintenance and building owner education.”

Making a Difference One Home at a Time.

Ecological Footprint Video


Featured Event this Saturday! Jackson Park Bike Clinic


Read more…

Anyone got an extra planet we can consume?


World Footprint

Do we fit on the planet?

Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.

Moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us. And of course, we only have one.

Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend.


world footprint scenarios

The result is collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build up of carbon dioxide emissions, which creates problems like global climate change. These are just a few of the most noticeable effects of overshoot.

Overshoot also contributes to resource conflicts and wars, mass migrations, famine, disease and other human tragedies—and tends to have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who cannot buy their way out of the problem by getting resources from somewhere else.

World Footprint.

Your Ecological Footprint: Defining, Calculating, and Reducing Your Environmental Footprint : TreeHugger


 

Your Ecological Footprint: Defining, Calculating, and Reducing Your Environmental Footprint

by   on 02. 7.08

 

 

REpublished from treehugger.com

Ecological footprint: what is it?
An analysis that gauges our impact on the planet’s biological systems, the ecological footprint measures human consumption of natural resources in comparison to Earth’s ecological capacity to regenerate them. Individually, each of us has “a footprint,” and, collectively, they aggregate across geographical zones and other means of classification. Calculation of the footprint takes into account just about everything we do; from the food we eat, to the house we live in, to the car we drive and the other consumption habits we practice each day. It’s a very complex calculation that answers a straightforward question: how much of the Earth’s resources do our lifestyles require?

Your Ecological Footprint: Defining, Calculating, and Reducing Your Environmental Footprint : TreeHugger.

City of Chicago Restarts Waste to Profit Network


The City of Chicago announced today that it has issued a grant to the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) for the re-launch of the Chicago Waste to Profit (WTP) Network, a by-product synergy project in which wastes and under-valued resources at one facility are matched with users at another, resulting in cost savings for the participating businesses while diverting waste from landfills, reducing energy use and CO2 emissions and helping create and retain jobs.

The highly successful network was started in 2006 by the Chicago Manufacturing Center and the US BCSD in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Environment, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and US EPA Region 5.  

City of Chicago :: City of Chicago Restarts Waste to Profit Network.

Going Green : A Case Study


I LOVE case studies and success stories of how a group of teachers, parents and/or community leaders not only get it but GOT it done!

Check out how this Arrowhead High School Green Group structured their successful group almost completely ONLINE (how green) and made it work. Way to GO Arrowhead.

Although we still meet as a class at least once a week, all of the materials students need are online: we discuss and edit papers online, we talk about problems and solutions online, we read articles online, we take notes online, we watch videos online and we hold discussions online.

Within this form, students demonstrated learning and growth when they were able to:
•    Set and have a goal they can reach (that makes sense to them)
•    Be internally motivated
•    Be positively challenged
•    Be useful in the learning process
•    Be given a chance to practice what they’ve learned
•    Produce quality work they’re proud of
•    See the outcomes of their learning
•    Do something
•    Complete enjoyable assignments
•    Take charge of their learning
•    Become competent in the subject
•    Be partners with the teachers in their own learning
•    Evaluate their own learning and

•    GO GREEN!

Going Green at Arrowhead.

How to Start a Recycling Program at Your School


Recycling is one of the easiest and most traditional ways to have a positive impact on your environment and community. The simple act of tossing a can into a recycling bin rather than a trashcan not only diverts needless trash from entering landfills, but also decreases the need to extract and process virgin materials from the earth.  In this way, recycling saves natural resources and energy, thus helping the economy by reducing production and energy expenses.

Here is a great step by step path to going Green by starting with a recycling program at your school.  Why reinvent the wheel? Use this great step by step guide to getting your program started and share with me your successes and failures!

I am about to start one at my daughters’ school here in Chicago and really want to expand the idea just beyond a recycling program.

Why are we recycling? What are the implications for our planet and how will our efforts measurably impact our school, our community and the world?

If kids can undertand in some way (depending on their grade level) WHY they are doing something then I think it will go a long way towards their involvement with and their more complete understanding of why we should recycle (and re-use and reduce) our waste.

How to Start a Recycling Program at Your School.

Green Home Guide from USGBC


A really great tool available to align home owner’s Green goals with contractors.

ASID Foundation and USGBC have partnered on the development of best practice guidelines for sustainable residential improvement projects. REGREEN fosters sustainable renovation practices and benefits by providing quality resources, including REGREEN Residential Remodeling Guidelines, numerous case studies, educational offerings, a Certificate of designation for green remodel professionals, a green strategy generator that specifies green measures based on project scope and goals and much more.

U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide.