Miami Green Homes


Pinecrest Gardens – Lower Garden Bathrooms design by S.E.A.

Pinecrest Garden – Lower Garden

The Village of Pinecrest asked Sebastian Eilert Architecture to provide a design for a new bathroom structure adjacent to the historic original entrance to the park. The free standing building had to blend into the existing park design and feature sustainable building practices, especially focusing on water conservation.

Lower Garden restrooms

The building was designed with exposed beams and rafters and a keystone façade to match the adjacent historic structure. To focus on water savings, the original design featured composting toilets and a system of two natural, planted tanks to filter the effluent residual water from the lavatories and compost excess.

Greywater filtration ponds design.

Unfortunately, HRS did not approve the system and it was changed to a standard septic system. Fixtures were revised to very high efficiency and a waterless urinal. Excellent cross ventilation, LED lighting and non-VOC paint complete the sustainable design. 

LED lighting and non-VOC paint and flooring

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 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

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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.



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.



Four Choices Toward More Sustainable Living

Sustainable living isn’t just a good idea — it’s something for which we all have to share responsibility. Climate change continues to threaten our way of life, and if we don’t accept that responsibility and adapt our lifestyles, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

It may seem like there’s little the individual can do to make a difference, but there are plenty of opportunities to reduce one’s carbon footprint at home. Small changes can be surprisingly easy to make and get much more significant benefits than most people realize.

Here are four lifestyle choices one can make that have significant environmental benefits.

1. Water Conservation

Reducing water use results in less wastewater that requires energy-intensive treatment to be made safe enough to re-enter the environment. Using less water can be as simple and easy as switching to a low-flow toilet, reducing a household’s water use by as much as 4,000 gallons of water in a typical year.

In addition to low-flow toilets, low-flow showerheads are also quite effective and easy to install. Take shorter showers or turn the water off when not needed for even more benefit. It’s also good to have your plumbing inspected to identify and repair any leaks.

Replace any older appliances like dishwashers or washing machines with newer models designed for lower water consumption. Lastly, traditional grass lawns should be replaced with more environmentally appropriate options like drought-resistant ground cover and rock gardens.

2. Change to Renewable Energy Options

Many places, including South Florida, have green energy options available to consumers. Changing to a utility provider that uses energy produced from renewable sources can go a long way to reduce the amount of fossil fuel or coal energy needed.

Additionally, installing solar panels on a home is an excellent way to reduce or eliminate a home’s reliance on fossil fuel energy. South Florida is well suited for solar energy use, and the panels have gotten much more affordable and easier to install.

3. Choose Recyclable Containers

Containers made of single-use plastics will end up in landfills, where they will stay virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Almost all plastic ever produced still exists in one form or another — much of it as pollution. Reducing or eliminating the use of plastics helps prevent making this problem worse.

Whenever possible, use glass or metal containers and reusable shopping bags, and avoid single-use plastic products like water bottles, straws, and many kinds of packaging. Avoiding prepackaged food is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for your health, as these kinds of food tend to be highest in harmful preservatives and other chemicals.

4. Going Green at Home

Improving a home’s energy efficiency can be as easy as increasing its insulation or installing a smart or programmable thermostat. Use sustainably produced materials, and when doing renovations or remodeling, choose products that do not contain toxic chemicals, like paint with zero volatile organic compound content and flooring made out of natural, renewable material like bamboo.

Choosing a Sustainable Lifestyle

All of us must make a serious effort to reduce our impact on our environment. Though initial steps like those above may seem small, any consistent or permanent change for the better produces a significant effect over time.

Small changes can create more extensive opportunities, and as more and more people adopt them, they will produce more significant benefits. Inspiring family, friends, or neighbors to adopt a greener lifestyle by showing them how easy it can be is an excellent way to contribute to a larger solution.

If you’re interested in making some eco-friendly, sustainable living changes to your living space, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss your project needs. Mr. Eilert is dedicated to responsible and environmentally-conscious design and would be delighted to assist you with your next project.



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.



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



Plant derived plastic option!


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.