Professional Point of View on Sustainability

During my last semester at BCIT, I had the opportunity of receiving guidance for my Capstone project from industry professional Rosa Catacora. I’d like to share with you my interview with her.

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1. What is your role at light house sustainable building centre?
Officially I am a project coordinator, however, I am training for Project Manager.

2. What does being sustainable mean to you?
Is not just a trend, it’s the right thing to do, to design, to orientate our lifestyle

3. What type of projects do you typically work on?
I work with commercial, residential, warehouse, office fit-out projects

4. Are there any new and innovative sustainable technology that is becoming widely used in projects here in Vancouver? Or in the world?
We are pushing hard for the incorporation of health and wellbeing strategies. Now we see more design team incorporation those strategies.

5. At a smaller scale, what can people do to make their homes greener and energy efficient?
First of all, to understand that sustainability is not more expensive or too much work. Secondly, start to upgrade lighting fixtures and appliances which will mean a reduction in the electricity bills. the incorporation of nature of natural materials as wood will help to create regenerative spaces that help to reduce stress and have healing results.

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Hope this was interesting.

Happy Living!

Melody

 

 

 

Re-use + Repurpose + UP-cycle!

If you are like me, you probably have things laying around the house that you no longer need but do not want to throw away just in case it may come in handy later.  Often times, it can be the latter, it may not serve its original purpose, but it can always be used for something else!

In the wasteful world we live in today, we need to think about re-using, repurposing, and up-cycling! As they say, sometimes one person’s junk is another persons treasure. There are many creative ways of making something new out of something old.

Let me show you some cool ideas!

 

Re-use them Jars!

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https://goo.gl/4a0RfQ

 

300 Bottles of Wine = 1 Lovely Cork Matt

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https://goo.gl/yadXX2z

 

Climb your Way to a New Bookcase

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https://goo.gl/TE6SYC

 

Skateboard Shelves

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https://goo.gl/smmKpZ

 

Old Chairs New Storage

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https://goo.gl/q23gQs

 

Old Board Games can tell Time

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https://goo.gl/XwX2M1

 

All that is needed is a New Paint Job

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https://goo.gl/nNLhpc

 

Bottled Lights

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https://goo.gl/v0YrEE

Take a second thought before you throw something away next time. If it cannot be repurposed, it can always be recycled! There are many things you can do instead of adding to the landfill. I hope this post can spark some creative DIY ideas for repurposing and upcycling items in the home!

Happy Living!

Melody

 

 

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Micro Homes: Sometimes Small is Better

As we are starting to feel the effects of overpopulation, rising house costs, environmental deterioration, and over-use of energy in bigger homes, small is actually the better way to go. The best thing about a micro home is that it maximizes space through multi-functional pieces. These transformative homes will wow you in how much they can fit and do. Another benefit to micro homes is that there is less space to maintain and clean, it is also less expensive to build or renovate than a larger home.

Many people prefer spacious luxurious homes, but let me show you how small can also be beautiful, functional, unique, and totally livable.

Here are two examples!

Name: Small Home Smart Home
Location: Hong Kong
Size: 309 sqft apartment
Designed by: LAAB Architects

Special Features: Large Kitchen, Gym, Cinema, and a Large bathtub

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For more details and photos, visit the full article: http://www.designboom.com/architecture/laab-architects-small-home-smart-home-hong-kong-flexible-interiors-04-26-2016/

 

Lego Style Apartment
Location: Barcelona
Size: 258 sqft
Designed by: Barbara Appolloni

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For more details and photos, visit the full article here:
http://www.theinteriordesign.it/en/article/lego-style-apartment/190

Let me know in the comments what you think! Like this post if you would live in a micro home ūüôā

Happy Living!

Melody

 

 

Designing a Sustainable Home

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https://goo.gl/84y3y4

 

If you are looking to design or build a sustainable home, there are many aspects to consider. A sustainable home is a high performance structure that makes efficient use of local resources and energy. It also helps lower the negative impact on the environment as well as the cost of living.

Depending on your geographical location, there are certain systems that will make better use than others. Such as using solar panels, passive house design, geo-thermal temperature control, and natural ventilation systems. However, there are also other methods of creating an eco-home, such as the choice of building materials, finishes, appliances, and fixtures.

Here are a list of things to consider:

Renovate Instead of Building New 

The first thing you could do to save money and the environment is to salvage what you can instead of building new. Too often we are wasting good usable materials and adding unnecessary amounts to the landfill.

Shop Local and Natural with no VOCs

A part of designing a sustainable home is to also consider where your building materials, furnishings, and fixtures come from. Though imported fancy and exotic materials are nice, it is always better to find something similar that can be supplied locally. Not only are you helping your local economy, you are saving the environment from thousands of miles of carbon pollution. It is also important to look at choosing natural materials that are rapidly renewable and finishes that contain no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) to avoid off-gassing that will lower the indoor air quality of your home. Though many manufacturers are beginning to create products with none to low VOCs, you should still consult suppliers in products such as paints, varnishes, carpets, laminates, vinyl, and glues.

Efficient Appliances, Lighting, and Fixtures 

To help save on water and electrical bills, look for energy efficient appliances, LED lighting options, low flush toilets, and aerated fixtures.

Passive House Design

A passive house design is creating a super efficient building that helps prevent heat loss by using heavy insulation and heat exchange systems. This type of design depends very little on electrical systems and relies on the natural flow of hot and cold air within the house.

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https://goo.gl/bQr062

Other Sustainable Systems 

Again, depending on your geographical location, some sustainable systems may function more effectively than others. With the right combination of these systems, it is possible for a home to become completely non-reliant of the power grid. Though initial costs may be much higher, homeowners will save much more in the long run.

  • Solar Panels
    • Energy Harvester
  • Wind Turbine
    • Energy Harvester
  • Geo Thermal Heating and Cooling
    • Using the natural temperatures of underground to regulate the temperatures¬†of air and water in our home
  • Rain Water Collection and Water Filtration/Condition Systems
    • Water Harvesting for garden usage
    • Grey water filtration for water recycling use
  • Green Roofs
    • Provides insulation and cooling benefits to the home
    • Great for the environment
    • Lowers storm water run-offs (lessens water run-off into sewage system)
  • Home Energy Manager
    • Central energy system to help homeowners manage efficient energy consumption
  • Recycle and Compost
    • Reduce waste and give back to the environment instead of the landfill

Here is a great diagram to help you visualize how these systems may work together:

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https://goo.gl/NlY56r

 

Again, there are many things to consider when building and designing a sustainable home. These ideas and systems are just a start. Stay tuned for more innovative ideas on how to achieve sustainability through design!

Happy Living!

Melody

3 Steps in Creating a Healthier Home

When it comes to your personal safe haven, there are many things you can do to create a healthier and happier home. These 6 simple steps can help to improve indoor air quality, boost overall well-being, and encourage a positive lifestyle.

1. Get Rid of Toxic Household Chemicals or Store them Properly

Many household chemicals including cleaning agents, perfumes, air fresheners, insect/rodent repellents, paints, and nail-polish paints/removers have harmful chemical ingredients that can off-gas and contaminate our indoor air quality. Exposure to poor indoor air quality can greatly affect our health. Short term exposure may headaches as well as eye and throat irritations. Long term exposure can lead to possible respiratory diseases and cancers.

It is important to start being aware of labels and looking into natural and sustainable products that are better for you and the environment. If you cannot get rid of all of the toxic household chemicals within your home, it is better to keep them stored in a well ventilated room that is away from your most used spaces.

Here is an informative diagraph created by BodyLogicMD It shows you the different effects of certain chemicals and how to avoid them.

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https://goo.gl/gDAh03

2. Let the Light Shine In

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https://goo.gl/KxoFGZ

As most of you know, natural daylight is a great source of vitamin D! On a bright and sunny day, sunlight can impact our emotional well-being by boosting happiness and energy! Studies have shown that exposure to natural daylight can improve productivity and health. This is why it is important to open those curtains and blinds to let more daylight into the home. Another trick is using translucent curtains to allow for a bit of privacy yet still maintaining a good level of natural day lighting in the interior space.

Natural daylight not only benefits health but also your wallet. Cha-Ching! The sunlight can help warm up your home during the day as well as help you save money on electricity. A win-win situation!

 

3. Bring the Outdoors In

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https://goo.gl/8tCQJu

As human beings, it is an instinct to yearn for the connection with nature. Nature is a part of us in the sense that we eat, breathe, and live in it. In the modern world we live in today, being enclosed indoors away from nature most of our days can have negative health impacts. This is why it is important to bring nature into our living spaces to capture the benefits of human and nature connections.

Exposure to nature can boost overall emotional and psychological well-being. Even the sight of greenery or sounds of water can promote relaxation and relief from stressful environments.

In the home, there are many ways of bringing the outdoors in.

  • Indoor Plants
  • Sunlight
  • Natural materials and textures like wood, stone, and wool
  • Indoor water fountains/waterfalls (helps with relaxation and helps clean the air)
  • Biophilic designs: Mimic natural elements through colors, materials, and forms

 

These are just 3 things you can do to create a happier and healthier home! Keep checking back for updates, the next post will be about sustainable homes!

Happy Living!

Melody