Miami Green Homes


GaiaMa – a LEED Platinum Vastu design by Sebastian Eilert Architecture

GaiaMa is a new single-story home of 1500 square feet located in the Miami Dade village of Biscayne Park. The design is inspired by Vastu principles and has strong focus on sustainability and durability. The house is built out of ICF walls and insuldeck roofing system, making it hyper-insulated.

GaiaMa – A Vastu based design by Sebastian Eilert Architecture. Located in Biscayne Park, Florida.

A central cupola features an inverted roof to optimize natural light into the center of the house and assist with rainwater catching. The windows are designed to be shaded from direct sunlight while allowing a breeze to come through when opened.

The Central Cuploa allows for natural light to illuminate the center of the house.

The LEED Platinum home has a HERS rating of -4. TH project features a full photovoltaic array with independent battery backups.

The home is designed as 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with an easily convertible 3rd bedroom by adding one wall and a door.

Cupola and photovoltaic array

The entire landscaping is a edible with a mix of low growth native vegetables, design herbal sections, and larger anchor trees. An underground cistern collects rainwater as well as grey water.

Overall water use has been reduced with the use of dual flush and low flow systems. Finishes include polished concrete, bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood, and recycled countertops.

Edible landscape design and rainwater pond

Sebastian Eilert Architecture is a sustainable architecture and Interior Design firm with its main office in Miami, Florida.  The boutique firm specializes in the quality design and delivery of for custom new residential homes and light hospitality projects. Sebastian Eilert Architecture has significant experience in the design of Miami-Dade County criteria compliance, design for aging in place, durable and minimal maintenance design, as well as waterfront and off-grid projects.

Project highlights include the first USGBC LEED certified project for Miami Dade County, the Lower Garden Building in Pinecrest Gardens for the Village of Pinecrest, a durable focused residence in the Moorings neighborhood in Coconut Grove (no drywall or wood used in the project), a Contemporary style Coral Gables waterfront home with an original canal access boat house, and a major renovation and addition of a 1912 Coconut Grove Mansion (received a Sustainable Design Award from DHT).

Reclaimed wood furniture, bamboo and polished concrete flooring. Recycled material counters.

German born principal, Sebastian Eilert AIA, LEED AP+ has been awarded, among others, the Historic Preservation, Sustainable Design Architect of the Year, and Young Architect of the Year award from the AIA Miami and honorary Emerging Green Builder from the University of Miami. Mr. Eilert was adjunct professor at the University of Miami and a frequent team member of the AIA National SDAT program.

Precision, quality, and dedication to timely completion distinguish Sebastian Eilert Architecture from its competitors… the German Way. Find more projects, and contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to start your own project, on http://www.SebastianEilert.com



Outdoor BBQ Design Options For Your South Florida Home

area. 

What is a freestanding BBQ?

A freestanding BBQ is a unit that is not attached to any structure. They can be operated using either propane tanks or charcoal. Many of these have wheels, so they can be moved around easily and stored away when not in use. For smaller areas, these units are ideal. They can be situated just about anywhere for outdoor use and do not depend on the architecture of a home to determine their placement. 

Freestanding BBQs come in different sizes and price ranges, offering everything from a basic grill to features such as side burners, smokers, dual fuel (charcoal and gas), etc. A BBQ should be chosen based on the amount of use it will receive, what sorts of foods will be cooked on it, and cooking preference—charcoal fire or gas. 

What is a built-in BBQ?

A built-in BBQ is incorporated into a structure, whether the home’s exterior wall or a separate outdoor living area. Most built-in BBQs are “hard-plumbed” into the home’s existing gas system for convenience, eliminating the need for tank changes.

The architecture of a home dictates how easily this can be accomplished and may require the help of a professional architect to ensure an aesthetic and code-compliant addition. 

As with freestanding BBQs, a built-in can be as simple as a charcoal pit with a grill. These are convenient if used infrequently, or the homeowners prefer the stronger smoky taste charcoal imparts.

For those looking for precision in their grilling or ease of cleaning, gas units are available with various options and levels of complexity. 

Patio shade covering options

In the hot Florida sun, patio coverings are essential to get the most out of outdoor spaces. The shade provided by a well-placed covering can increase the number of hours every day spent outdoors, depending on factors such as existing tree cover and directional exposure. A patio on the north side of a home will receive more shade cast by the house than on the western side. Believe it or not, even the insulation built into the house’s walls can help determine the outdoor temperature next to the home. 

What types of patio coverings are available for a BBQ area?

Luckily, there are patio shade coverings to fit every budget. Which cover is chosen will depend on the amount of shade needed and other factors such as neighborhood covenants, the home’s existing architecture, and the primary function of the outdoor space.

These options include pergolas, awnings, canopies, thatched roofs, and solar screens. Each of these has advantages and can add to the functionality of an outdoor space. 

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



Moorgins Residence Renovation/Addition – Sebastian Eilert Architecture
Moorings front elevation

The Moorings Residence is a wonderful remodel of a 1960’s gem settled in the Moorings community within the neighborhood of Coconut Grove. The original single-story residence boasted with wood details and featured a structural roof made from 2x’s. Supported by only a few bearing walls, the house literally invites the outside in with removed floors and enclosed patios.

Storefront entrance with enlarged concert step and protective overhang.

The renovation focused on bringing more light into the spaces and on controlling the border between inside and out while connecting the building to its site. Clean and clearly defined lines as well as the Florida Modern architectural style were the guiding direction from the owner.

Architectural Floor Plan

S.E.A. incorporated many sustainable features, such as LED lighting, non-toxic cabinetry and finishes, a terrazzo floor, and updated energy efficiency for the entire building envelope (doors, windows, walls, and roof).

With a strong focus on durability, there is no drywall in this project. All interior walls are constructed with 4” masonry units and stucco finish, and the ceiling is finished with fiberglass board. The kitchen features a solid poured-in-place concrete counter and waterfall edge with stainless steel cabinetry and glass shelves.

Poured in place concrete counter and island. Stainless steel appliances and cabinets

Concrete counters were also utilized in the bathrooms. The master features a sunken shower as well as a soaking tub. All fixtures are dual flush water sense rated.

The house has improved energy coating in all glazing, a reflective exterior paint, and increased rigid insulation in the roof. Air conditioning equipment was selected with increased SEER to further improve the energy performance. The house is PV-ready with installed piping and mounting brackets for a future system.

Primary Suite recessed shower and concrete counter with stainless steel vanity

Sebastian Eilert Architecture is a sustainable architecture and Interior Design firm with its main office in Miami, Florida.  The boutique firm specializes in the quality design and delivery of for custom new residential homes and light hospitality projects. Sebastian Eilert Architecture has significant experience in the design of Miami-Dade County criteria compliance, design for aging in place, durable and minimal maintenance design, as well as waterfront and off-grid projects.

Project highlights include the first USGBC LEED certified project for Miami Dade County, the Lower Garden Building in Pinecrest Gardens for the Village of Pinecrest, a durable focused residence in the Moorings neighborhood in Coconut Grove (no drywall or wood used in the project), a Contemporary style Coral Gables waterfront home with an original canal access boat house, and a major renovation and addition of a 1912 Coconut Grove Mansion (received a Sustainable Design Award from DHT).

German born principal, Sebastian Eilert AIA, LEED AP+ has been awarded, among others, the Historic Preservation, Sustainable Design Architect of the Year, and Young Architect of the Year award from the AIA Miami and honorary Emerging Green Builder from the University of Miami. Mr. Eilert was adjunct professor at the University of Miami and a frequent team member of the AIA National SDAT program.

Precision, quality, and dedication to timely completion distinguish Sebastian Eilert Architecture from its competitors… the German Way. Find more projects, and contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to start your own project, on http://www.SebastianEilert.com

Outdoor shower and pool. Beveled window edge for natural light transition.


5 DIY Home Projects You Can Do To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly
Image via Pexels

Turning your home into a more eco-friendly space doesn’t have to require a massive renovation right away. You can do simple things on your own that promote low waste and green living. Consider these DIY projects shared by Miami Green Living to help you start your eco-friendly journey.

1. Simple Ways To Reduce Water Usage

One study shows that homes in the U.S. use over 27 billion gallons of surface and groundwater every day. There are simple ways you can decrease the use of water in your home at little to no cost. For example, install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to decrease the amount of water you use in the bathroom. If you’re concerned about installing these features correctly, you can hire a plumber to help. They can cause up to $150 per hour. Therefore, make sure you read up on the company first. Do a quick search for a “local plumber near me” and check reviews and ask for proof of licensing and insurance before you allow them to work on your house.

2. Seal Your Windows

Improperly sealed windows are the top cause of excessive utility bills. If your windows are older, you may notice issues with the caulking around them. This is a project you can handle on your own. All you need is the right materials, and you can reseal the windows to stop incoming air from hindering your heating and cooling efforts. Additionally, home buyers typically service for utility use history on a home. This simple task of sealing the windows could increase your property value by lowering utility costs and creating a more visually pleasing window as well.

3. Use a Smart Thermostat

Heating and cooling systems account for a vast majority of the energy bills in a home. The benefit of a smart thermostat is that it learns how you typically adjust the temperature throughout the day and automatically does it for you. Additionally, you can program a smart thermostat to adjust at certain times of the day. For example, when you leave for work in the morning, program the thermostat to go up or down, depending on the season. Then, before you come home, you can program it to start getting the temperature where you prefer it. It saves on the energy bill and makes your home more comfortable.

4. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Natural cleaning products are a great way to make your home greener and save money. Hot water, white vinegar, and citrus form the foundation of many cleaning products. You can get your entire kitchen clean and fresh just with a spray bottle containing mostly warm water, a half-cup of vinegar, and several drops of orange and lemon essential oils.

5. Drink Tap Water

Most people are afraid of drinking tap water, but depending on where you live, it’s often no different than the distilled bottled water you drink. You can buy a pitcher with a filter for $30 and keep it in the fridge for fresh, cold water. The filter will significantly reduce the presence of hard metals and make the water taste better. Remember to check your local water statistics to ensure drinking tap is a healthy option.

Once you start implementing changes and seeing the decrease in utility bills, you’ll likely want to keep going. Continue looking for ways you can be more eco-friendly outside of the home as well. Before you know it, green living will be a natural part of your everyday life.



Eco-Friendly Renovation Options

Renovating a home provides an excellent opportunity to adopt eco-friendly design principles. Making sustainable choices is not only the right thing to do, it’s surprisingly easy and affordable. Reducing a home’s environmental impact has several other benefits for the homeowner.

Greener homes are more energy-efficient, resulting in significant savings in heating or cooling — but this is just one such benefit. Almost every item on this list is beneficial in more than one way. Options that are good for the environment are often also good for the people in it.

Here is a brief list of some excellent renovation options that provide lasting benefits to both the homeowner and our shared planet.

Go Solar

Solar power is an obvious option for homes here in the Sunshine State. Solar panels are now more effective, efficient, and affordable than ever before. From larger professional installations to smaller DIY panels that can be installed with a bit of assistance from an electrician in a matter of hours, there are many available options and packages to choose from.

Breathe Easier

When choosing renovation material, it is best to always opt for nontoxic options whenever possible. Sourcing for things like flooring, upholstery, and cabinetry free of dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde or benzene has gotten significantly more accessible in the past few years.

Even though many of these chemicals appear in many household products, they commonly have much higher concentrations in building or renovation materials. In some cases, they can continue to pollute indoor air by outgassing for decades.

Likewise, paint that has low or no volatile organic compound components is a much healthier and increasingly accessible choice. Conventional paint, which is high in VOCs, can cause headaches, throat and sinus irritation, and has even been linked to some cancers. Avoiding these chemicals is not only the best choice for the environment, it is the healthiest option for the homeowner.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Replacing older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient models is an easy way to reduce a home’s carbon footprint while also providing convenience and energy savings to the people who live there. Newer designs use energy more effectively and are typically manufactured with greener materials and techniques.

Even replacing a single air conditioner, refrigerator, or dishwasher can provide significant environmental benefits and also save considerable amounts of money in the long run.

Use Recycled Materials

Using materials that have been salvaged from existing construction is an excellent way to reduce a renovation project’s impact on the environment. There are many different options, from recycled wood flooring to recycled glass windows and beyond. These materials are intrinsically green because they prevent the need for new product manufacture — and prevent the recycled materials from ending up in a landfill.

Choose a Low-Flow Toilet

Low-flow toilets are a great way to contribute to protecting the environment. They are affordable, available in a range of models with various features, and can be installed quickly and with little effort. They provide significant water savings and prevent energy consumption that would ordinarily go toward treating excess wastewater.

To discuss eco-friendly options available to you and get expert advice on your next renovation project, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your project needs. Mr. Eilert is dedicated to sustainable, eco-friendly design and construction methods and would love to discuss the many green options available to you.



Greener Kitchens

The kitchen is, in many ways, the heart of the home, and it’s a fantastic place to make environmentally-friendly changes. Much of the energy consumed in the home is used in the kitchen, and positive changes there can bring significant benefits. It’s more than just environmentally friendly — it’s fiscally friendly as well, and even small changes can add up to considerable savings over time.

Eco-Friendly Cooking

Increasing the energy efficiency of kitchen appliances is one of the best things you can do to reduce a home’s carbon footprint. Of course, the best options are newer, energy-efficient appliances, but there are various other ways to conserve that are nearly as effective.

When possible, choose smaller model appliances that require less energy. A two-burner stove uses significantly less energy than a conventional four-burner cooktop, and smaller refrigerators can be excellent choices for energy conservation if the capacity of a larger model isn’t necessary.

Small Efforts, Big Impacts

If relying on older appliances is a necessity, simply unplugging them when not in use can prevent a significant amount of energy from being needlessly consumed. Use a microwave for smaller meals or for reheating food — it uses less energy than a gas stove to do nearly the same job. Avoid heating a larger than necessary amount of water, and always cover pots so they will heat more quickly.

When storing food, always let it cool before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. Freezers work best when full, and refrigerators work best when there’s sufficient room for air to circulate, so try to store food accordingly. Avoid leaving refrigerator and freezer doors open for longer than necessary, and make sure to defrost regularly and check to ensure food is kept at the proper temperature.

Food stored at warmer temperatures will spoil faster, but food stored at temperatures colder than necessary can waste a considerable amount of energy. Refer to your appliance manual for the proper temperature ranges and control settings.

Cleaner and Greener

There are many opportunities for more environmentally conscious behaviors when we’re cleaning the kitchen as well. Using washable, reusable cloth dishtowels and napkins is more sustainable than paper products. Similarly, avoid using plastic cups or utensils whenever possible, as non-disposable alternatives are always more environmentally responsible.

Use glass or metal storage containers when possible, as they can be washed and reused, preventing plastic from entering the waste management cycle. Remember the three Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — and always try to get more than one use out of packaging or containers before recycling.

Only run dishwashers when they are full, and if possible, run them at off-peak hours. It’s worth noting that rinsing plates before putting them in the dishwasher is seldom necessary and should be avoided. Likewise, spending more on higher-quality detergent can be a more sustainable option, as cold water can be used instead of hot.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design Expertise

To discuss eco-friendly kitchen design options available to you and to get expert renovation and remodeling advice on your next renovation project, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your project needs. Mr. Eilert is dedicated to sustainable, eco-friendly design and construction methods and would love to discuss green options with you.



GNN – Winery is Amazing Green Building


Small Spaces, Big Changes

One of the many ways we can reduce our impact on the environment is to minimize the amount of space we require for day-to-day living. Fewer belongings in less space need less energy to maintain. Though adopting smaller living spaces may pose some initial challenges, transitioning to a more minimalist lifestyle is less complicated than you might think.

Smaller Appliances, No Empty Spaces

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience or comfort, but successfully adapting to smaller-form living spaces may require a more strategic approach. Whether you’re moving into a tiny house or a smaller apartment or condominium, you’ll need to downsize your thinking to fit your new environment.

Smaller appliances, like compact, front-loading combination washer-dryers, smaller stoves with only two burners, and refrigerators designed for smaller living spaces can make the transition much more manageable.

Plan on making use of every available space for storage. Detergent and other laundry supplies can be kept in a washer-dryer unit between uses, and cookware can be stored inside an oven. Avoid storing items in a refrigerator or freezer, as it’s wasteful to spend energy cooling items that don’t require refrigeration.

Embrace Essentials

Tiny homes and other compact living spaces require a more thoughtful and informed approach to minimizing household items. Micro-living doesn’t leave room for unnecessary clutter or anything that doesn’t serve a useful purpose.

Eliminating extraneous household items is often easier than you might think, and the sense of liberation many people feel when streamlining their possessions can be its own reward. A more minimalist lifestyle requires less time and energy to maintain, and many who have made the move find that fewer things mean fewer worries.

Think Vertically

The amount of floorspace in micro-living and tiny home habitats is much more limited than in more conventional housing. Good use must be made of every bit of space on both the horizontal and the vertical.

Building up and not out means integrating design elements like recessed shelving and stacking containers to make the most of all available space. Use shelving along walls wherever it won’t impede movement. Store infrequently used items higher up and larger or heavier items on lower shelves where they’ll be easier to retrieve when needed.

Up and Out

Look for opportunities to stack items or make the most of unused vertical spaces above or below other surfaces or storage containers. An easy place to accomplish this is in bathrooms and closets. Excellent use can be made of storage caddies designed to hang from shower fixtures or inside doors.

Whenever possible, prioritize shelves and storage along exterior walls to keep precious interior spaces free. Storing items high up on exterior walls may require a footstool or stepladder to access, so bear this in mind. Look for collapsable or folding stepladders that can be stored when not needed.

Stacking isn’t just for stuff — you can stack yourself, too, by integrating a loft bed into your living space design. Even in single-level tiny houses or apartments, beds can often be placed directly above other spaces without sacrificing usability. Any under-bed space should always be used for storage.

Good Things in Small Packages

Though many people are motivated to adopt micro-living principles out of environmental concerns, there are numerous other personal benefits from a simpler, lower impact lifestyle. It’s more affordable for various reasons, leads to less waste, greater energy efficiency, and better use of precious (and expensive) urban real estate.

We must all do what we can to live more sustainably, but it doesn’t have to be unpleasant or require much sacrifice. Most of us can live much more simply and with fewer possessions than we realize. Smaller living spaces mean more efficient living, which translates directly into more free time — and more freedom.

If you’re ready to make a move into tiny housing or want to remodel your existing living space to be more sustainable, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for expert advice in adopting micro-living principles into your life.



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.



Sebastian Eilert, AUA featured on Aia Miami

Featured on the AIA Miami Instagram account. @aiamiami

It has been a privilege to be a member of the community for over 20 years and contribute to its improvement, especially it’s sustainable advancement.

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