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, June 24, 2010

VOCs? Fuggedaboutit!!! Let's Focus on the Biggest Threats

It's actually no laughing matter. It's a good idea to know exactly what's in something before we take it home, even if the item does have some legitimately green characteristics.
For instance, most people think of bamboo products as sustainable, because using them can save trees. But many items made with bamboo contain urea-formaldehyde, which has been associated with an increased risk of cancer. The most common sources of urea-formaldehyde in construction are composite wood products, such as the plywood and fiberboard from which many cabinets are made.
Another material that is commonly used in construction, but would be better avoided, is vinyl. Manufacturing and disposing of vinyl creates dioxin, a persistent bioaccumulative toxin that has been linked to cancer, birth defects and impaired childhood development. Vinyl contains phthalates, which have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and autism. Unlike VOCs, which are mainly problematic during and shortly after construction, phthalates are released throughout the life of the product.
The Healthy Building Network and Health Care Without Harm have a lot more information on this subject.
Health Care Without Harm
Healthy Building Network

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm from the Government, and I'm Here to Help You - DSIRE

It can be quite challenging to wend one's way through the complex maze of incentives available for energy efficiency. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) offers a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. The DSIRE site features a map similar to the one above, and clicking on a state leads you to a wealth of information about both incentives and regulations for energy efficiency.

Taming the 800 Pound Gorilla - Addressing Financial Barriers to Sustainable Design

I just returned from NeoCon, where I delivered a presentation aimed at overcoming financial and psychological barriers to sustainable design.

Perhaps the most important concept that I introduced was that it can be difficult to convince business executives of the benefits of sustainable design and construction using studies conducted by those who have something to gain by furthering the adoption of green practices.

Fortunately, there is independent corroboration of the benefits of green building. For instance, a 2008 GSA study of twelve green buildings had strikingly similar results in terms of saving energy, water and other natural resources as well as occupant satisfaction to those of USGBC studies. And the CoStar Group, the leading source of data on commercial real estate in the world, has published studies showing that green buildings have higher occupancy rates and command higher rents than comparable non-green properties.