A Rocky Mountain Remodel Story

Posted on November 22, 2009 by Annette Stelmack, GBA Advisor

The Rocky Mountain homeowners embraced the opportunity to "green" their remodeling project, primarily targeting the kitchen and the master bathroom. The design team—interior designer, architect, and homeowners—worked together as an integrated team to meet the project goals. We designed for multifunctional rooms with improved spatial relationships, family connectivity, increased storage and work areas, updated aesthetics, energy and water efficiency, and healthy indoor air quality balanced by timeless, durable, and easy-to-maintain design.

Attic Insulation Upgrades

Posted on November 2, 2009 by michael maines

Two projects my company is currently working on involve a common problem: not enough insulation in the attic. Both homes are old; one dates from 1860, the other from 1705. In both cases we initially recommended insulating the rafter bays. In both cases, however, we were not able to get over homeowner biases against heating “storage spaces,” and instead opted for insulating the attic floor.

Patio or deck?

Posted on September 27, 2009 by michael maines

What is the greenest way to build a deck? Is it okay to use pressure-treated lumber? What is the best way to attach it to the house? What kind of decking is the most sustainable, and what is the best method for attaching the deck boards to the framing? Should the surfaces be finished? With what product? These are just some of the questions I hear about creating outdoor living space.

A Soft Eco-Landing

Posted on August 20, 2009 by Annette Stelmack, GBA Advisor

At the end of the day, we long to hang out in our favorite chair or sofa relaxing with a good book or movie. Usually that much-loved furniture is a piece of upholstered seating filled with all kinds of "stuff"—padding, springs, wood, webbing—covered with textile.

A quality piece of upholstery breaks down into four construction components; frames, springs, cushions, and pads. The first three components are wrapped in fabric or leather.

Here are sustainable alternatives to these components.

Potager 2

The Perfect Potager

Posted on July 16, 2009 by michael maines

When people say that it costs more to build green, they are only half right. To build another generic house full of features that everyone is supposed to want but nobody really needs, using designer “green” products purchased at retail prices, would indeed cost more than building the same thing with conventional products. One of the keys to building green, though, is to think critically about every aspect of your home and to determine what is and is not necessary.

NeoCon 2009

Starting a Revolution at NeoCon

Posted on June 19, 2009 by Annette Stelmack, GBA Advisor

The beautiful, green city of Chicago just hosted NeoCon World's Trade Fair, where the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) partnered with NeoCon in hosting its annual conference. It was a great success, bringing together the residential and commercial interior design communities under one enormous roof at the Chicago Merchandise Mart, which, by the way, is a LEED-EB silver-certified building.

Solar Wall

Passive Hot Air from Everyday Materials

Posted on June 17, 2009 by michael maines

At the Unity, Maine, headquarters of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), engineer Jay LeGore has harnessed the power of the sun to replace about 200 gallons of propane a year.

Sacred Space

A Sacred Space

Posted on June 16, 2009 by michael maines

How can you design buildings without being passionate about how they are built and the materials they're made from? How can you engineer something strictly by the numbers, sneering at the “artytechs” who actually care about the user experience?

Earth Weave Carpet Construction

Is Carpet a Four-Letter Word?

Posted on June 11, 2009 by Annette Stelmack, GBA Advisor

If you are considering wall-to-wall carpet for your home or project—stop, look, and read on. Take a minute to think about the pros and cons of your carpet choices before you buy that next roomful.

Carpet is synonymous with comfort—it's soft, absorbs sound, and makes a house warmer, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, it also contributes to poor indoor air quality (IAQ)—off-gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), absorbing and retaining moisture that can lead to mold, and is a huge sinkhole for dirt and dust mites.

O Ecotextiles Natural-Fiber Fabrics image

Natural Fibers, Part Three: It's A Wrap!

Posted on May 20, 2009 by Annette Stelmack, GBA Advisor

A few additional thoughts about natural, eco-friendly fabrics to take into consideration:

To dye or not to dye
Best practice is using natural, undyed fabrics, but who wants to live in a world without color? Look for natural dyes without the use of heavy metal dyes. Another eco-friendly option is a closed-loop system that used low-impact reactive dyes.

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