Tag Archives: Sustainable

Sustainable Houses: The Calm Living House in Melbourne

What is it?

You must have heard of the Sustainable homes that are being built all over Melbourne and have been for a few years now. So, I decided to check out and do some research on the internet about the whole thing. Apparently, there are a large number of sustainable houses and you can make a paid trip to some of this. So I decided to check out one of them – the Calm Living House at Upper Ferntree Gully 3156.

Basically, it was built by the famous owner and builder Anton Engelmayer. The house was built with completely eco-friendly objects and is completely passive, that is, it, in no way, harms the ecosystem or the atmosphere.

Here is what I found out.

What are its features?

The house is a standalone type of architecture. It is 54m square, has six large bedrooms and 2 large bathrooms. Its design is adaptable in nature. It consists of two green walls, three green roofs and one rain garden. The presence of such a green infrastructure is beneficial for the solar panels installed in the house. Therefore, the green makes sure that there is enough energy and electricity for the house to run upon. The flora also acts as a binder of the soil, thus preventing soil erosion and water run off by controlling the flow of water at the steep side.

What are the eco-friendly sustainable features?

The house has been built with insulated panels. The paint that was used all over the house, is completely non-toxic and therefore, does not emit toxic fumes, which is harmful to the environment as well as the family living in the house.

The entire household runs on solar energy, which is generated by the solar pv grid system installed. This generates electricity as well as heats water. The temperature inside the rooms remains low due to cross ventilation and the presence of ample green trees.

The house is also provided with a drip irrigation water system as well as an edible garden filled with local as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables. Certain water wise plants are also present in the garden and the surrounding. You can even grow chicken in a coup here!

What is the approximate cost of the sustainable home?

Around 150,000 dollars approximately. They provide tours to the house for 25 dollars. That is how I got to visit it!

Eco-Friendly Interior Design – A Guide to Creating a Sustainable and Ecological Interior

It is not often realized that the materials used for interior design could be threatening the environment or even your health. It is always a wise option to look out for an eco-friendly interior designer who could bring your ideas to your life at an affordable cost while ensuring the materials used don’t endanger the environment or put you at the risk of respiratory problems and other conditions.

Paint

A host of eco-friendly solutions are in the market if you only look for them. Eco-friendly paint is one, conventional paints and finishes are quite dangerous if scientific reports and investigations by interior designers are to be believed. They are said to release low level toxic emissions long after they have dried on your walls. Paints with Low-Volatile Organic Compounds (Low-VOC and No-VOC) are the solution. You can feel the difference they are free from odor, thanks to the lack of harmful chemicals. Some of these eco-friendly paints are however expensive and may turn those on a budget off. But it is important to remember that it is almost impossible to create 100% non-toxic and non-allergenic paint even though manufacturers claim so. What can be done is to use paints that have a lesser concentration of the harmful elements which is effectively what the Low-VOC and No-VOC paints are.

Wallpaper

For those who would like a bit of vibrancy added to their walls, eco-friendly wallpapers are around. The problem with the regular wallpapers lies in the inks that are used while manufacturing. Eco-friendly wallpapers feature water-based inks; these inks are printed on chlorine-free paper obtained from forests specifically managed for the purpose. Low-VOC adhesive can be used for lightweight and medium weight paper-based wall decorations.

Carpets

Once you are done with the walls it is time to turn your interior design cravings to the floor. The pollution hazard with generally used carpets and flooring is that their installation can fill the indoor air with plenty of VOCs or volatile organic compounds. Included in these VOCs are carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene. You certainly would not want yourself or your loved ones to be inhaling these toxic substances. You ca not escape from it as these compounds could take years to dissipate, long after your flooring has been completed. What’s more, the treatment employed to keep the carpets free from moths, soil and moisture involves toxic chemicals. The carpets themselves could attract toxic substances and VOCs from outside the house. The good news is that eco-friendly interior designs can be employed here as well. There is wide variety of eco-friendly flooring options that include bamboo, cork, recycled metal and glass tiles, linoleum, stones and sustainable and reclaimed woods.

Carpet Tiles

Check out modular carpet tile squares that can used in place of the traditional carpet, these tiles are held to the ground by adhesive dots. They resemble the conventional carpet when all the tiles fall in place together, but are made from totally recycled materials and can be recycled again and again square-by-square. If you’ve dirtied one square by mistake it can be given to be recycled while you get a new tile!

Uses for Bamboo

Bamboo is an excellent option for eco-friendly flooring as well. Interior designers could give you innovative ideas to use bamboo for not only flooring but an array of interior furnishings. Recycled metal tiles available in aluminum as well as brass from dealers are great for the bathroom, kitchen floors and walls. They are often thought of as fashionable interior design statements. Available in polished, matte or rough finish, they can satisfy the decorative tastes of many, especially offering a contrast with wood used elsewhere in the room.

Sustainable and Reclaimed Wood

Sustainable and reclaimed wood are great interior design options and they work for floors as well as furniture. Rapidly disappearing forests have spawned the need for sustainable wood products. These wood products are made with wood from managed forests. The difference between a regular and managed forest is that the latter is never destroyed in one clear sweep (clear-cutting) as is the case with other forests. Only selected trees are removed, leaving behind a variety of different tree species. Each area of forest is then managed and replanted giving a 30 years cycle of regeneration of the forest to be complete before the felling starts again. This system does not deplete the land of its tree cover and it also ensures a constant supply of wood.

Here’s how interior designers can find out if the furniture or wooden accessories they purchase is made from wood from sustainable and managed forests. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal is one of the seals that are reliable, the other being Rainforest Alliance’s “SmartWood”, and the SCS and “Green Seal” labels from Scientific Certification Systems. FSC works globally to ensure responsible use of the forests of the world. The FSC certification only falls on forest managers and manufacturers who have satisfied the highest environmental and social standards in all stages of the wood production cycle, from the forest to the market through the factory. There’s no better way to balance the interests of society, environment and industry.

Beds, bed frames, dressers, nightstands and accessories are all available from sustainable wood certified by the FSC and other organizations, while reclaimed wood products are also around. Reclaimed wood products are made from wood that have previously served in structures and flooring. No fresh tree is cut to create a reclaimed wood product.

And Finally…

If you make the decision to make the environment safer for everyone, there are plenty of options you can try out. Beginning with the floor, you can customize everything from furniture and accessories to flooring and walls. Newer eco-friendly ideas are set to come up in the market as well. Kick-start the eco-friendly revolution!

Is There Really A Need for Sustainable Green Housing?

Anchored on the growing issues of climate change and global warming, sustainable green housing plans and developments have been at the forefront of many real estate company portfolios. The reasons that green housing are more sustainable than the traditional or conventional houses become a primary key point in lobbying these types of homes to modern-day home buyers. The demand for more eco-friendly houses is seen to be doubling incredibly. But sans its purchasing price, is there really a need for sustainable green housing. The rest of the article attempts to explain.

Energy-efficiency

One of the main thrusts of sustainable green housing is to provide home owners with houses that are energy-efficient. This means that the entire household, through various means, can cut down its power-related expenses. Aside from the use of construction materials that facilitate natural movement of cool and hot air when needed, energy efficiency also lies on the use of appliances that are certified Energy Star compliant. With its logo depicted in a household appliance, expect to cut down on your electric bill to as much as 50% compared to non-compliant models.

Resource conservation

A new construction home uses a lot of materials that required raw ingredients to be used during their manufacture. Wall, floor, and roofing materials all consume some of the earth’s natural resources. If you are going to use new materials each time – you become liable for the depletion of natural resources. For instance, materials made of wood directly increase the number of trees being cut down. And for every tree being cut down, an area of the forest becomes depleted. In green housing, the use of fully-recycled or partly-recycled construction materials is promoted. This is a great answer towards resource conservation.

Healthier indoor and outdoor setting

Green housing also aims to provide home owners with houses that maintain healthier indoor and outdoor setting. By standards, the use of construction materials that emit harmful components like gases is avoided. This means that green houses are to be free of paints with VOCs, asbestos, and other materials which are hazardous to the health. Don’t you want a healthier indoor air that is free of these respiratory hazards?

For a healthier outdoor setting, sustainable home gardening is encouraged. Not only ornamental plants are advised for planting, but also those which are herbal, and those which yield fruits and vegetables. Isn’t this healthy? To make it healthier, make it organic by avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers. You’ll have tasty garden fresh ingredients for use in your already-appetizing recipes. How’s that for sumptuous meals?

Green housing aims to make lives comfortable not only with the appeal and design of the house, but also of its healthier approach to functionality.