Making it Easier to be Green
Green design includes energy conservation, but that's not what it's all about. It's about having good air quality both indoors and outdoors, making the environments in which we work, live, study and play healthier and more comfortable and conserving all of our natural resources.
This site will provide a balanced, holistic view that includes advice about saving energy, water and other natural resources, improving indoor air quality, using environmentally responsible design and construction techniques and minimizing waste.

I will be focusing on interiors for three reasons:

  • We spend about 90% of our time indoors.
  • Buildings in the United States annually consume about 30% of our total energy and 75% of our electricity.
  • As a New York State Certified Interior Designer and a LEED Accredited Professional, I want to share my knowledge and expertise with you.
Sustainable design and construction can be done in many different styles and using a wide variety of materials. There are examples of healthy, sustainable, comfortable and inviting interiors for commercial, not-for-profit and residential clients on the web site for Interior Design Solutions.
You can use the labels on the sidebar to locate entries that you want to read. For instance, most people might want to look at the entries for "Green Homes," but "Green Finance" would be of more interest to professionals involved in the design, construction, management, financing and marketing of buildings.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Be Afraid - Be Very Afraid

Optimizing energy performance in buildings is a critical element in minimizing climate change, which is why so many government initiatives on the federal, state and local levels are aimed at increasing energy efficiency. However, making buildings more airtight without being vigilant about improving air circulation and reducing the toxins that we introduce into our buildings can have serious consequences for our health.

Americans of all ages spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, where the level of pollutants is often two to five times higher than it is outdoors and can be considerably higher. The air in most homes, schools and offices is already not what it should be, and as air quality worsens, so does health. While children are the most at risk (childhood asthma has increased 140% in the past 10 years), good air is important for everyone. Improved indoor environmental quality has been linked to improved productivity, higher test scores and even patient recovery rates.

There are two reasons that our indoor air quality is so bad:

  • We don’t introduce enough fresh air from outdoors.
  • We fill our spaces with toxic mixes of chemicals, organic matter and dust.

Most energy initiatives are based upon ASHRAE Standard 90.1, which governs energy performance. Equally important is ASHRAE Standard 62.1, which governs ventilation. Unless compliance with the second standard is policed, a less than 100% scrupulous building owner could reduce energy consumption by reducing the amount of fresh air for building occupants.

Homeowners need to be educated on safeguarding their health and the health of their children as they improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Significant energy savings and superior indoor environmental quality can certainly be achieved simultaneously. But it does require some thought and planning.

For additional information, please go to the blog below and read the entries on “The ABCs of LEED – Part 6 - Indoor Environmental Quality,” “10 Tips for Making the White House Greener,” and “Improving the Air We Breathe.”

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