Miami Green Homes


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.
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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.



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.



Eco-Friendly Home Spring Cleaning Tips 

Spring officially began on March 20, 2022, and the seasons are changing. The arrival of spring means it’s time for homeowners to do a spring cleaning. Spring cleaning can help declutter spaces and make them feel healthy and airy as we head into the warmest part of the year. If a homeowner cares about the environment and wants to ensure they live in a way that has minimal environmental impact, one step they can take this year is doing an eco-friendly spring cleaning process.

To learn more about what an eco-friendly spring cleaning process entails, read our guide below. These green spring cleaning tips will ensure that the cleaning process simply benefits a home and the loved ones who spend time there, with as little negative impact on the planet as possible.

Clean Blinds and Curtains

There’s no doubt South Florida homes get a lot of sunshine — so much so that many people choose to power their homes with solar energy. In the spring and summer, the sun can be so hot it can significantly heat up any home, causing the people who live there to use more energy from air conditioning. To stop this from happening, people may want to keep their blinds and curtains closed during the day. Make sure blinds are dusted and dirt-free for the spring, so when they’re pulled down they don’t let debris into the air. Take down curtains and give them a good wash. That way they won’t only be dust- and dirt-free when using them to block out the sun, they’ll also look fresh and wrinkle-free, too.

Scrub With Cloth Towels

Forget paper towels for this spring cleaning. When people clean surfaces in their bathrooms, kitchens, and beyond, they should avoid using paper towels to rinse and wipe off cleaning products or soap. Instead, South Florida residents can commit to using only reusable and washable cloth towels. 

Ditch the Chemicals

It may take some research based on a home’s complete cleaning needs, but people should ditch the chemical cleaners as they freshen up their space for springtime, and choose only natural cleaning products. Lemon juice can be a powerful cleaning agent for removing stains and rust, and baking soda also works to remove dirt, grime, and stains. White vinegar is a powerful agent for disinfecting surfaces, and essential oils can help sanitize spaces and make them smell fresh and invigorating. By not using harsh cleaning chemicals, homeowners can minimize damage to the environment as the chemicals spread in the air or get flushed down the drain.

Do You Want a Design Refresh For Spring? Call Sebastian Eilert Architecture

For South Florida residents who want to do more than just a spring cleaning to refresh their home this season, there’s always the option of redecorating or even renovating a space. Get in touch with Sebastian Eilert Architecture. Our company specializes in sustainable and ecologically responsible design, and Sebastian himself has been named one of the most influential sustainable designers in the world. Reach out today via phone or email for a consultation with Sebastian. We help homeowners have a space that feels clean, fresh, and good for the planet through every season. You can reach us at 786.556.3118.



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.



Four Tips for Eco-Friendly Bathroom Cleaning

Most of us look at cleaning as a chore—especially true for bathrooms, as tight corners, grout and our hot and humid South Florida climate make for challenging work. Mold and mildew love heat and humidity, so there’s always grime to get rid of. If you’re environmentally conscious, this becomes doubly unpleasant because so many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals like ammonia, chlorine and formaldehyde. It’s terrible for your mood, bad for your health and bad for the planet. So, what can you do about it?

Green Cleaning

With these four simple tips, you can make cleaning the bathroom eco-friendly, more manageable and quicker. These techniques won’t require any more elbow grease than you’re used to and shouldn’t require a trip to the store. It may be surprising how well you can clean with vinegar and water, but both are potent solvents in their own right—and when combined, they’re even better.

1. Shine Up

Here’s a great example of how powerful white vinegar and water can be together. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mix and get to work cleaning reflective surfaces like mirrors, countertops and faucets. Spray on the vinegar and water mix, wait a few minutes and wipe clean. A baking soda paste can be applied before spraying for especially grimy situations.

2. Shower Power

The same mixture as above can be used to clean glass shower doors, but there’s an even better method. Soapy residue or the minerals in hard water can make cleaning glass shower doors dingy and hazy—and challenging to clean unless you know this trick. Pour straight white vinegar into a spray bottle and heat it in the microwave for a minute or so. Immediately spray the heated vinegar on your shower door (or really, any glass surface). Let it stand for about fifteen minutes, then wipe it away with something non0abrasive, like a soft cotton rag.

3. Rub-a-Dub Tub

Baking soda makes another appearance here and the vinegar/water mix with baking soda works well when cleaning tubs—but may require a little extra effort. To avoid breaking a sweat, combine a couple of tablespoons of baking soda with liquid dish detergent or Castile soap and generously apply this mixture to the sides and bottom of your tub. It’s great for cleaning grout, too, because you can use a toothbrush to get in there. Please don’t use an abrasive scrubber for the tub, as it might scratch the surfaces.

4. Last But Not Least: The Dreaded Toilet

Here’s one chore that’s almost universally regarded with dread: cleaning the toilet. It’s no one’s favorite task, but it has to be done (and you can always wash up afterward). That 50/50 vinegar and water mix comes in handy again here, but for extra cleaning power, you can add lemon juice or any essential oils you might have on hand, such as tea tree or lavender. Spray the surfaces to be cleaned with the vinegar and water mixture, then apply the baking soda with a sponge or toilet brush. Let it sit for ten or fifteen minutes, then scrub it off with a brush.

Cleaner and Greener

You don’t need to rely on cleaners with harsh chemicals and getting them out of your routine (and out of your house!) is better not only for your health but also for the health of the planet. Solutions that are good for the environment are also good for us and when you can feel good about chores like cleaning the bathroom, they’re easier to get through.



Scientists Develop Breakthrough Method for Recycling Industrial Plastics at Room Temperature in 20 Minutes


Residential Toilets—A History And Options

The flush toilet is now ubiquitous in modern homes, and it’s hard to imagine anyone living without one. Though historical examples date back as far as the 26th century BCE, toilets as we know them weren’t invented until 1596. The first design was created for Queen Elizabeth I by her godson, Sir John Harrington, but she reportedly demurred from using it as it was too loud for her royal sensibilities.

Though the Romans were among the first to build underground sewers around 4500 BCE, there weren’t many improvements to the “hole in the ground” bathroom architecture for thousands of years. Toilet paper as we know it wasn’t even invented until 1857 (which makes for some uncomfortable musing).

Found in the Finest Castles

Though the common people wouldn’t have indoor toilets for many years, Medieval castles incorporated special rooms starting in about the 11th century CE. Built along outer walls and directly above castle moats, these toilet rooms would frequently cause unfortunate accidents resulting in wastewater accumulation.

The warning cry “Gardez l’eau!” (or “watch out for the water!”) could be heard all over Medieval Europe, and the special rooms where one did one’s business came to be called “l’eau,” which eventually became “the loo,” a term still in everyday use in the UK and former Commonwealth countries today.

The first public building in the US to have indoor plumbing was the Tremont Hotel in Boston. Its eight “water closets” were installed in 1829 by Isaiah Rogers, who would later become the Supervising Architect of the United States in 1863. Coincidence? Maybe he was just flush with luck.

Interior design incorporating toilets became increasingly common throughout the 1800s as people realized that improper sanitation could cause disease. Recommended by the medical experts of the day, flush toilets connected to underground sewer systems became a priority to legislators who began passing laws dictating their installation and use.

Inventors and engineers responded by designing “new and improved” variations, but indoor toilets were uncommon in all but the wealthiest homes until around 1840.

American Standard

As late as 1940, nearly half the houses in the US lacked an indoor flush toilet, and people still relied on the outhouse, which was little more than a rough wooden shed featuring a bench with a hole in the middle of it, built above a large pit. Thankfully, toilets are now standard in all homes, though there are many options.

The traditional round-bowl design has largely made way for more comfortable (and ADA-compliant) elongated fixtures. Both are available in economical floor-mounted or space-saving wall-hung designs. Recent innovations allow for the use of specialized fixtures and connections that bring benefits like cost savings, quieter operation, and minimized water consumption for planet-friendly bathroom visits.

Planet-Friendly Options

If you’re in Miami (or anywhere in South Florida) and you’d like to upgrade your “necessarium,” contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to plan the bathroom of your dreams today.

Also available by email or phone, Sebastian is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world, is US Green Building Council accredited, and would be happy to discuss ecological (and hygienic!) options like the Toto Washlet C5 or other bidets, available both as attachments or standalone fixtures.



New Company Turns 100 Tons of Non-Recyclable Plastic Into Building Blocks For Construction

Turning hard to recycle plastics into building blocks for construction, ByFusion has diverted 100 tons of plastic from landfills.
— Read on www.goodnewsnetwork.org/byfusion-turns-100-tons-of-nonrecyclable-plastic-into-building-blocks/