Sustainable Buildings

Chengdu city prototype

Green Architecture has become the new fad in modern construction. Simply installing eco-friendly outlet plugs and energy filters isn’t enough anymore. Nowadays, expect to see solar panels, wind turbines, natural/recyclable building materials, and more coming to a neighborhood near you. One of the more well-known proponents for a natural architecture revolution is a company called Earthship Biotecture. They offer a wide range of residences, from single individual and large family size, to commercial structure and disaster management projects. Most of their developments are in rural and desert areas, but they hope to expand their reach to more populated communities soon…. read more

Handmade Wreaths

Handmade wreaths

Store bought wreaths can be expensive, and if they are living ones they may not last as long as their price tag dent does in your budget. Assembling your own is a way to have an original wreath that will be both fun to make and look at. Wreaths actually date back thousands of years and can be found in various cultures. They come in many sizes, from smaller loops that were once worn on top of the head as honorable adornments to larger sizes used for decoration and to represent unity or hold special significance. Though the wreath’s looks… read more

Natural Paint

Natural Paints (photo by knottyboy on Flickr)

Some of the first recorded paintings were found in Africa and date back around 30,000 years. Early painted works have been found in caves and dwelling areas worldwide, and the art of painting continues as expression and necessity. Modern paints are obviously vastly different than the cave variety. Store bought paints contain chemical additives and harmful substances that are released into the air in varying quantities, called volatile organic compounds. When you choose a natural mixture you have total quality control and there are no lingering toxins. In addition to being better for your space and the environment, it is… read more

Lighting is Everything

Natural light

Or almost everything. Whether it is used to improve one’s mood or as a necessity to complete a task, a little change in lighting goes a long way. The best source of light remains daylight, which is preferred by humans because of the balanced color spectrum provided by sunlight. In areas where natural light cannot be incorporated, the switch to efficient lighting, like full-spectrum fluorescent light, has still been shown to benefit the mental and physical health of people. In schools, day light contributes to improve the overall health of students and teachers. Managed properly, daylight strengthens the concentration and mental clarity of students. Allowing more natural light in classrooms has  resulted in higher test scores,… read more

Lighting: The Greener Way

Energy efficient lighting

Light is the most dynamic element of the home décor. Home lighting today is much more than just about illumination. The light is not just a “utility”, rather it is the essence for the ambience for the home that echoes the mood and adds a flavor to the home decor. But considering the wastage on the inappropriate lighting solutions, it becomes a major concern when this issue is seen at the macro level. Say, for instance, in a country like India, over 10,000 MW can be saved if proper lighting is used, both domestically and commercially. This is just a… read more

The Revival of Sisal

Naturally sustainable sisal

There is a revival of the use of sisal. Sisal is extracted from the fleshy leaves of the Agave Cactus plant and has a wide variety of uses these days. It yields a stiff, durable fibre used for a range of products, most notably rope and industrial fibres. Back in the 1970s, global production was booming with Kenya and Tanzania accounting for over 30 percent of the total produce and China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Mozambique also taking part in its production. In 2006, however, production decreased  dramatically. This was due to the the fact that sisal initially caused… read more

Eco-Friendly Bamboo

Bamboo

Bamboo is like a miracle material. It has endless advantages and is highly renewable. It is actually from the grass family, not a wood, as commonly perceived. It is a perennial evergreen and giant bamboos are the largest of the grasses. Bamboos are some of the quickest growing plants in the world so it makes it quite a resourceful product indeed! It can be used for building materials as well as a food source and many other products. Bamboo matures in three to five years. When compared to other soft-woods, which take ten to twenty years to mature, bamboo is… read more

A Greener Bathroom

Renovating a bathroom to be greener

If you are building, renovating or just looking to ‘green-ify’ your bathroom, there are many things, great and small, you can do to better serve the environment: Replace – nearly a third of the water consumed in homes is used to flush toilets. Renovating is a perfect time to install a water-saving toilet. Install – low-flow, or water-saving bathroom faucets, taps and shower heads produce an adequate flow but use 60 percent less water by combining the water with air pressure. Replace Water Heater – look for a high Energy Factor as this is the measure of the water heaters’… read more

Modern eco chair

Butter seat

Australian designers, Nicholas Karlovasitis & Sarah Gibson, have created a 100% recycled chair that itself is 100% recyclable! The Butter Seat is derived almost entirely from post consumer recycled milk containers. The product comes in both upholstered and non-upholstered versions. The non-upholstered version is suitable for indoor and outdoor use as it is UV stable and waterproof. The Butter Seat can be transported as a flat piece to reduce its environmental impact during distribution. The robustness of the chair ensures product longevity and DesignByThem offers a product stewardship program where it takes back products to be repaired, reused or recycled…. read more