There are many opportunities to limit our impact on our natural environment. From choosing green, renewable energy sources, driving electric or hybrid cars, or making environmentally friendly choices in how we choose to design our living spaces, we can each make some small positive impact each day.
A Breath of Fresh Air
The air we breathe is often more polluted in our homes and workspaces than outside. This pollution comes from traditional construction or design materials and is released as out-gassing chemicals from flooring, upholstery, or paint. Choosing a Zero VOC paint can be an excellent way to eliminate one source of indoor toxins.
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, harmful, highly solvent chemicals that linger as invisible air pollution. VOCs can cause significant illnesses, including headaches, sore throats, and shortness of breath, and they have even been linked to some cancers.
Zero VOC paint is free of synthetic and petroleum-based chemicals and many other harmful toxins like ammonia, benzene, and formaldehyde. Choosing a Zero VOC paint helps eliminate these toxins and chemicals from the air we breathe inside our homes and removes the threat of more extensive environmental contamination by these same chemicals.
Another excellent way to ensure better air quality in indoor spaces is to include a wide variety of houseplants. Not only will they remove CO2 and produce oxygen, but they can even clean dangerous chemicals from the air.
Natural Light, Cooling Shade
Paying particular attention to window treatments and blinds during a redesign or renovation can go a long way toward increasing how eco-friendly a home can be. Using room-darkening shades, shutters, or light-blocking curtains can drastically reduce cooling bills in a hot climate such as the one we have here in South Florida.
This helps cut down on the use of air conditioning, and on cool evenings windows can be opened to increase airflow and lower interior temperatures. On cooler days, using as much indirect natural light as possible from windows that aren’t directly exposed to the sun can lower the amount of energy used to illuminate interior spaces.
Using natural, solid wood is always preferable to using particleboard or MDF, which contains synthetic resins and other binders which can be harmful. Furniture or trim made from solid hardwoods like oak or walnut is better for your environment, more attractive, and lasts longer.
Things like rattan, wicker, or bamboo are excellent choices for lighter-weight furniture and have enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. These materials are breathable, easily cleaned, and completely free of harsh chemicals.
Bigger Projects, Bigger Opportunities
If you live in Miami or South Florida and you’re ready to tackle a bigger redesign project or are interested in a new home and want to incorporate sustainable, eco-friendly principles, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture 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 love to discuss your needs with you.