Miami Green Homes


Which Renovations Add Value to a Home?

There are many different reasons to remodel or renovate a home, but most typically, people will consider a remodel if they plan to sell in the near future. Some remodeling projects can dramatically increase a home’s market value — but not all.

Carefully considering which renovations to make before putting a home up for sale can help avoid expensive and time-consuming projects that won’t ultimately provide a return on the investment put into them.

Some home improvement or design projects can increase the amount a home will sell for, while others will likely leave prospective buyers unimpressed. It’s good to know which is which — here are the best renovations to make to a home before putting it on the market.

The Heart of the Home

Even people who aren’t enthusiastic cooks spend a great deal of time in the kitchen of their homes. It’s one of the most significant factors potential buyers base decisions on and one of the rooms they will typically look at first. A small, worn kitchen with outdated and inefficient appliances will likely turn buyers off.

Something as simple as newly painted kitchen cabinets and trim can help, but few things increase a home’s market value and buyer appeal like new, energy-efficient appliances. New granite countertops are lovely, but saving money month after month and minimizing environmental impact in the process will likely appeal to many more homebuyers than just cosmetic improvements.

Go Green

Increasing the overall energy efficiency of a home can start with the major appliances, but it doesn’t have to end there.

Replacing or increasing the amount of insulation in a home and installing new windows with a low U factor (which indicates how well they insulate) are excellent investments. Other options like installing solar panels or adding features like smart lighting or a smart thermostat are other excellent ways to add considerable value to a home being put up for sale.

New energy-efficient heat pumps, water heaters, washing machines and dryers, and other large appliances that provide significant energy savings will increase the amount a seller can expect from a home. The initial investment will pay off both in terms of immediate gains and environmental impact over time.

Update the Bathroom

Most of us start and end each day in the bathroom, and a bathroom that feels outdated can make a house feel vaguely rundown and lackluster. Luckily, the bathroom is a great place to make renovations before selling a home. They’re generally some of the smallest rooms in a home and are more affordable to remodel or renovate.

Small cosmetic improvements like new faucets, upgraded tiling, or new window treatments are all excellent options. More considerable value can be added to a house by upgrading the bathroom appliances to be more eco-friendly (and economical). Low-flow showerheads and toilets save money over the long term and are excellent for the environment, as they reduce the amount of wastewater that needs to be treated.

Expert Advice

Whatever your reasons for wanting to renovate, bigger projects call for professional expertise. If you live in Miami or South Florida and are thinking of making a significant renovation, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture today to discuss your immediate needs and how he can help.



How to Improve Home Office Decor

The world just lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, and many workplaces across South Florida and the rest of the U.S. have restructured as hybrid workplaces, where some people work from home and some work from the office, or completely remote workplaces — where everyone at the company works from home. People who are now working from a home office may want to ensure that the space they give themselves to work helps enable their productivity, focus, and comfort.

One way to make sure a home office enables their best performance is to focus on the decor. The decor of a space can greatly influence how they feel, and by incorporating different decor touches and changes, they can feel certain they’re spending their days in a place that makes them feel inspired.

Here are some home office decor tips that anyone can tackle on their own.

Consider Lighting Fixtures

How an office is lit makes a huge difference in how energized a worker feels there. A professional wants to make sure they have enough light to see their work clearly even on cloudy days or at night. An office should have a mixture of overhead lights and lamps on work surfaces. To infuse style into the space, a creative overhead fixture, such as a chandelier, provides plenty of light and also adds interest.

Pick a Great Chair

A home office chair matters because a person working will sit in it a lot. A chair must provide lumbar support and not leave anyone with a backache. However, many people don’t want a clunky rolling office chair in their space, since it’s not necessarily aesthetically pleasing or in line with the decor in the rest of their home. Luckily, there are some beautiful ergonomic chairs available that enable work without pain and also look beautiful in a space. Research stylish ergonomic chairs, then pick one that fits with a home’s style and also will feel great to sit in all day.

Don’t Forget the Walls

The walls of a room can have a significant impact on the way a space feels. Don’t just leave a home office’s walls white. Decorate them in a way that feels fun but also inspiring. Studies have shown that the color green helps people prolong their focus. So consider painting walls a fun green color or even choose a stylish green wallpaper to give a space life and help get more done. 

Let Sebastian Eilert Architecture Help you Redo Your Office

For anyone who doesn’t want to tackle a home office redecoration project on their own, or think they could benefit from the guidance of a professional, reach out to Sebastian Eilert Architecture. Our sustainable and ecologically responsible design firm also handles interior design projects in South Florida homes. Reach out to us via email to set up a consultation or call 786.556.3118. We can give our initial thoughts about how to improve a home office, and then we can get started ensuring a client’s home office is a place that’s beautiful — and really helps them work.



Solar Panels That Make Electricity at Night

Solar Panels That Make Electricity at Night are Finally Here – And They’re Cheap and Don’t Need Batteries



Electric Foil Boat Concept – the future or powerboating?


Portable EV charger option – coming 2023


Passive House Design Principles for New or Existing Homes

Passive House Design began in the 1970s as a response to the energy crisis and increased awareness of climate change. Based on incorporating principles intended to reduce energy needs for heating and cooling, this type of construction can be found all over the world and can be applied to anything from single-family homes to larger buildings. Here are some of the more accessible principles to incorporate.

Continuous, High-Quality Insulation

Perhaps the easiest passive house principle to include in existing structures, the concepts behind continuous and high-quality insulation are chiefly concerned with keeping heat or cooling inside the home and providing an energy barrier between external sources of energy transfer. The effectiveness of insulation is rated by its R-Value—the higher, the better.

When using cavity insulation, the framing material can still transmit energy through a process called thermal bridging. Thermal bridging detracts from energy efficiency and is especially problematic when metal framing is used. Continuous insulation, the more efficient system, can counteract this effect. It refers to a single continuous layer of insulation wrapping an entire structure.

Airtight Construction

While insulation helps guard against losing the energy needed to heat or cool interior spaces, it can’t do its job if the structure it’s installed in is leaking air. Airtight construction ensures direct air transfer, minimizing the amount of heating or cooling needed. Every home has necessary design elements like drains and vents that penetrate roofing or exterior walls and windows and doors must be fitted with adequate sealing (like gaskets or caulk) to avoid unintended energy loss.

Solar Heating and Shading

An ancient design principle, examples can be found in early architecture all over the world. Capturing the sun’s light for heating or blocking it to provide cooler interiors can be as easy as installing larger windows in an appropriate location or planting a tree outdoors to shield parts of a house from direct sun. Deciduous trees work well for this, as they’ll block the sun’s light in the hot summer months, but after losing leaves in late autumn, they will allow it through in the winter months.

Energy Recovery

An airtight house requires ventilation to bring in fresh air and vent CO2, moisture and built-up pollutants. This venting means air exchange, representing energy losses in heating or cooling air taken into a structure. A heat recovering ventilator continuously replaces stale air with fresh air without mixing the air streams, resulting in significant energy retention, sometimes as high as seventy-five percent.

Have a Passive House Project in Mind?

If you’re thinking of remodeling or redesigning an existing structure to incorporate passive house principles or would like to pursue a new construction project, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for assistance. Committed to sustainable and ecologically responsible design, Sebastian is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world, he is also available for consultation via email or phone.



Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Options

There are plenty of reasons to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. Rising fuel prices are just one motive, as is a concern for the environment. Awareness of the damage that internal combustion engines and traditional power generation can cause is generally the inspiration most people have when adopting greener personal vehicles.

Zero Tailpipe Emissions

Most vehicles on the road today are internal combustion engine cars; this is one of the most significant sources of non-industrial pollution. Conventional vehicles produce pollution from tailpipe emissions and in the form of fuel evaporation. Electric vehicles (or EVs), which have zero tailpipe emissions, are among the best options available for individuals looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Long Range Choices

Recent studies have shown that 95% of all daily travel in the US could be made in electric cars. Most of us—roughly 85%—travel fewer than 100 miles on a typical day. Nearly all electric vehicles can travel more than 100 miles on a single charge, and newer models can travel well beyond 200 miles on a fully-charged battery.

Electric vehicles typically use one or more electric motors which draw power from large lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are super-sized versions of those found in smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Like their smaller cousins, they’re rechargeable.

Charging, From Home to Work

Electric vehicles draw most of their power from charging stations, both publically available ones and electric vehicle chargers installed in the home. Public charging stations are typically found in places like shopping malls, in the parking lots of many government buildings, and in locations close to public mass transportation, like train stations.

A growing number of workplaces are installing charging stations, as are many condominium and apartment buildings. Many universities are also providing facilities with electric vehicle chargers. The University of South Florida offers charging stations, and maps of recharging facilities are available online, like this ChargeHub page listing charging stations in and around Miami.

These chargers are commonly called EVSE, or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. There are three types, with the fastest—Level 3—most widely used in larger public installations. Level 1 and Level 2 chargers are more commonly installed in homes.

Bringing it Home

Level 1 EVSE allows an EV driver to plug into a standard 120-volt socket. These types of chargers are entirely sufficient to meet the needs of most commuters, charging a typical battery from empty to full overnight, or in around twelve hours.

Level 2 EVSE relies on a dedicated 240-volt circuit, is more powerful, and can charge a typical EV battery in just under four hours. Level 2 chargers can be installed virtually anywhere and use the same power supply and wiring used for larger home appliances like washers or dryers.

Great Options for South Florida

There are around 28,000 electric vehicles in Florida, making Florida second in the US, just behind California. There are many publically available Level 2 and 3 EVSE locations, with almost 2000 charging stations in the greater Miami area alone. Florida EV drivers currently qualify to travel in the state’s HOV and Express Lanes for free, and state and local governments plan more incentives.

If you drive an electric vehicle or are thinking of purchasing one and would like to have EVSE installed in your home, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your options. Also available by email or phone to help with all of your architectural and interior design project needs, Mr. Eilert is proud of his commitment to the environment. He is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world, is US Green Building Council accredited, and is proud to serve on the City of Miami Green Commission.



Residential Insulation Options for South Florida

There’s a reason why an increasing number of people choose to call Florida home. The beautiful weather and gorgeous landscapes can’t be beaten. However, as with any warm climate, special considerations need to be taken to ensure that a house, whether new construction or an existing home, is as comfortable and cost-efficient as possible, all year-round.

The importance of residential insulation

It may seem like a house in a temperate area like Miami wouldn’t need much insulation, but the opposite is true. While houses in colder regions of the country require insulation to keep the heat in, homes in southern Florida must be insulated to hold the heat at bay and minimize the amount of work the A/C has to do. 

The history of insulation use

People have been using some form of insulation for millennia. From fur-covered hides stretched over wooden frames in prehistorical times to the advent of fiberglass insulation in the 1930s and modern blown-in foam, insulation has played a significant part in making homes more comfortable and hospitable. Luckily, there is no longer a need for hair-on hides, but the modern options are greater than ever.

The best types of insulation for South Florida homes

Choosing insulation that matches the architecture of a home is important. For instance, a house with a vaulted ceiling will require a different type of insulation that will work with the home’s interior design, as opposed to a single-level ranch where it will not be obvious. The most crucial factor is the R-value of insulation. R-value indicates how well insulation will perform in keeping heat from either entering or leaving your home. The higher the number, the more efficient it will be. 

Batt Insulation

Batt insulation is sold in rolls or strips. It is appropriate for walls, ceilings, and floors. It is made from fiberglass or rock wool and, while one of the older forms of insulation, it is still popular.

Blown-in Fiberglass or Cellulose Insulation

Both blown-in fiberglass and cellulose insulation gained popularity between the 1950s and 1990s. They are a particularly popular option for attics and walls. Cellulose has been shown to have a higher R-value than fiberglass. The downside to these insulations is that they can be messy if attics or other areas must be accessed regularly.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation has become a popular choice for many homes. It is easily applied (by qualified contractors) to walls and roofs and is shown to be watertight while having a high R-value. 

Rigid Insulation

Also known as foam board insulation, rigid insulation can be used in any part of the home. It can be cut to size and is easily removed if need be. It is advantageous in areas where blown-in or foam insulation may not be practical. 

 

Foil Insulation

Foil insulation is an excellent option in hot climates in that it reflects heat away from the foil surface. Its thin composition makes it ideal for pairing with other insulations, such as batt insulation. Therefore, installing the foil side facing out will keep heat from moving through the walls and roof into the living areas. 

Ready to start your own project? Contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for your Architectural and Interior Design project needs.

http://www.SebastianEilert.com

Sebastian@SebastianEilert.com

786.556.3118



Florida’s Place in Smart Design and Sustainable Architecture 

Sustainable “green” building and the integration of smart designs into architecture and homes have both gained momentum since the creation of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in the early 1990s

Globally, there are more than 500,000 LEED-certified residential homes, including single-family, multifamily and affordable housing units. Out of these, 400,000 are located in the USA, showing the importance of the nation’s efforts to lead the world’s sustainable architecture with residential design and new builds. 

In 2020 alone, over 24,000 residential units and 4,700 commercial projects were given LEED certification globally, with over 1,100 of those buildings being constructed in the USA. This trend of combining smart design into new builds and homes also continues to grow in Miami, Orlando, Tampa and throughout North, Central and South Florida.

The LEED Rating System 

At its core, the LEED rating system encourages architects and builders to use sustainable building materials and smart designs in new builds that protect the environment while improving the lives of people who use these buildings. 

LEED-certified homes and buildings might focus on micro-living, use less water and electricity, have a lower carbon footprint, be made from sustainable materials and be designed for better accessibility for people with disabilities. The overarching goal of LEED certification is to create spaces that support health and wellbeing. 

Buildings awarded LEED certification are designed to: 

  • Reduce the amount of waste associated with the building.
  • Lower the building’s overall costs.
  • Conserve water and energy.
  • Reduce harmful emissions.

The Top States for LEED-Certified Buildings 

According to the USGBC (US Green Building Council), Florida has done well in supporting LEED construction projects all over the state, from North to South Florida. In 2018, Florida had the eighth-highest number of LEED-certified buildings based on square footage.

California took first place for that year with a total of 768,940,808 square feet, while Florida had 154,686,673 square feet. The following year, Florida fell off the LEED Top 10 list for square footage. However, by 2020, the state had stayed in the top 10 at number four for the total number of LEED credential holders, behind California, New York and Texas. These talented professionals of Florida include some of the best builders, designers and architects around. 

Having a large pool of industry professionals in the state who are maintaining their LEED certifications gives hope for the future of sustainable architecture, residential design and green new builds in Florida. It also puts the right professionals within arm’s reach of any local Floridians considering new residential builds or micro-living and who want to combine smart design and sustainable architecture into future homes and residential designs. 

LEED Projects in Florida 

Even though Florida has fallen off the USGBC Top 10 list in recent years, there are still some inspiring projects and homes with smart design in mind that have been constructed recently. The cities of TallahasseeOrlando and Tampa have each been awarded Gold LEED certification, as well as Miami Beach in South Florida in July 2021. This certification highlights each city’s focus on combining sustainability, resilience and inclusion into key aspects of city planning, housing, transportation and workforce development. 

Two of the great residential projects in South Florida include: 

•            Live Oak House in St. Augustine

This residential design in St. Augustine received Platinum LEED certification in 2017 thanks to its energy-efficient smart design principles. The architect of this house designed it for improved airflow in a North/South direction to naturally combat hot temperatures, while making it out of locally-sourced materials. The architect of this residential property also included passive solar lighting and low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, adhesives and sealants. Live Oak House has since been awarded the Florida Water Star Gold certificate for its conservative water consumption. 

•            GaiaMa Residence in Biscayne Park, Miami, South Florida

The GaiaMa Residence is one of the creations of South Florida architect Sebastian Eilert. This residential building in Miami has been awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest of all LEED ratings. This is thanks to the incorporation of micro-living with smart design, which maximizes space and energy efficiency. Its ICF (Insulating Concrete Walls) and insuldeck roofing provide enhanced insulation, resulting in a -4 HERS rating, which proves this home is four percent more efficient than a net-zero home.

The Benefits of Green Building and Sustainable Architecture 

According to the Environment and Energy Study Institute (EESI), homes and other new builds account for around 40 percent of global energy-related CO2, highlighting the importance of integrating sustainable practices into the industry. 

Keeping this fact in mind, the USGBC has outlined some of the core benefits of green building that don’t only focus on reducing carbon footprints. They include: 

  • Constructing buildings that are profitable, cost-effective and good for the economy on a local and national level.
  • Prioritizing people’s health and wellbeing by improving indoor air and water quality and encouraging collaboration between residents and property owners to meet residents’ needs.
  • Providing an environmental solution that reduces carbon, water and energy waste while producing less waste during construction and through the life of the building.

As the world moves into the future, Florida continues to make strides in sustainable architecture and design that shape how entire cities in the state are planned. As a member of the USGBC, Sebastian Eilert Architecture is one of the industry-leading companies bringing about this sustainable change to South Florida’s architecture and design industry.  

To get one of South Florida’s most experienced sustainable architects working on your next project, click here to visit Eilert’s website and explore his previous projects in and around the Miami area and throughout the state.



There Are Many Reasons Electric Vehicles Are ‘Green’, According to Yale Researchers

Yale University researchers have looked into additional reasons into how electrical vehicles are green. Take a look at them here.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/additional-reasons-electric-vehicles-are-green-according-to-yale-researchers/