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

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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.


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.



Eco-Friendly Housing Design Principles

There are many different ways to increase the environmental responsibility of our housing and minimize the negative impact that new home construction can have. Whether reducing scale and minimizing possessions by adopting micro-living ideals or replacing appliances, thermostats, and lighting with smart, energy-efficient alternatives, we can each find some small way to make a meaningful contribution.

Here are a few of the most popular green, eco-friendly home design ideas that have gained popularity recently.

Passive House Design

The concept of a highly efficient home that minimizes unnecessary energy use through improved insulation materials and methods isn’t a new one, but it has gained traction and increased exposure in recent years.

The principles or standards that go into Passive House design are intended to optimize energy efficiency by incorporating elements like highly effective wall insulation, limiting heat transfer with superior materials, and heat recovery through specially designed devices built into the heating and cooling system.

The exterior walls of the home and the windows and doors must be made of high-quality material and constructed with exacting standards to ensure optimal energy use and conservation. Passive House design even extends to the physical orientation of the house. Windows which are correctly aligned to make the best use of available sunlight are central to some Passive House designs, and similarly thoughtful design elements make this one of the most popular eco-friendly design philosophies in housing.

Use Natural, Renewable Materials

Many more environmentally friendly building materials are commercially available now than they have been in the past. Sustainably sourced wood and plant products such as bamboo flooring are excellent alternatives to conventional materials. They cost less to produce, require less energy in production, and are free of any harmful or toxic chemicals that may have otherwise been needed for processing.

There are high-quality insulation options made from recycled materials and many natural options for flooring, wall coverings, window treatments, and interior and exterior wall paint. These green alternatives have the additional benefit of being free from toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds.

These chemicals present in conventional building materials in significant concentrations can contaminate living spaces for decades and cause serious health complications. These sustainable options are not only better for our environment, but they are also better for us and everyone we share it with.

Less is More

The Tiny House movement started as a design response to issues raised by worsening climate change conditions. Smaller houses require fewer construction materials and are designed to optimize energy use and incorporate renewable alternative energy sources.

These houses require much less energy to heat and cool and are easier to insulate more effectively than larger homes. Though Tiny House living may not be for everyone, many of the principles can be adapted for more conventional living spaces and inspire people to be more thoughtful about the way they use energy, especially at home.

Putting Principle Into Practice

If you would like to explore tiny house or other sustainable design options, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to discuss ways you can reduce your environmental impact. Mr. Eilert is proud of his commitment to sustainable housing and would love to be able to help you meet your conservation goals.



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.

www.instagram.com/p/Cdn0x0CLzco/



Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Interior Design

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.

Natural Materials

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.



Benefits of Sustainable Design

Increasing awareness of climate change and the impact man has had on the environment has led to new perspectives and movements in architecture and design. Sustainability, once little more than a marketing buzzword, is now an essential factor in the design and construction of new homes as well as in retrofits or renovations.

Changing the way we build, repair, and improve our living spaces can have a significant positive effect on the environment. By using more natural, local, and eco-friendly building components, architects can design homes that are not reliant on traditional construction materials and techniques.

Sustainable Opportunities in Design and Construction

Traditional construction uses significant amounts of newly mined, milled, and processed raw materials like stone, lumber, and metals. These conventional materials require the consumption of more energy to produce and are typically transported long distances.

This results in massive amounts of direct CO2 emissions — 15% of the world’s total. Even more concerning is the direct energy consumption of the construction industry, which amounts to one-third of all energy produced in a given year.

By adopting more eco-friendly design principles, we can build new homes and renovate existing construction in ways that aren’t harmful to our environment. Reducing the energy required to produce and transport building materials provides significant opportunities for sustainable and responsible construction and renovation.

Sustainable Design and Construction

Reducing CO2 emissions is a worthy goal, but it’s not the only benefit of adopting sustainable design principles. Incorporating green, renewable energy sources like solar, which is an excellent option in South Florida, into design considerations provides environmental benefits that will last the life of the home.

Efforts like using sustainable and renewable building materials and maximizing energy efficiency through the application of Passive House principles are essential for increased sustainability. In a place like South Florida, the energy used to cool a home can account for as much as a third of the total energy used by a home in an average year. This can be significantly reduced through increased insulation, thermal barriers, and other Passive design principles.

Even more significant benefits can be had from looking beyond the home itself. Truly eco-friendly design incorporates environmental considerations such as protecting existing wildlife habitats during new construction, replanting and replenishing greenery, and ensuring any construction waste is prevented from contaminating the environment and disposed of responsibly.

Eco-Friendly Means Human Friendly

Sustainable and renewable building materials tend to have some things in common. They are typically of natural origin instead of synthetic manufacture and ideally locally sourced. Natural materials are non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals found in many conventional construction supplies.

Using these natural, renewable resources also reduces or eliminates waste associated with the production of traditional building materials. Much of the production waste involved in such production contains dangerous chemicals that can cause significant environmental harm if released.

We sometimes forget that human beings are part of the natural world, and the same toxic chemicals that can harm the environment can harm us. Eco-friendly buildings are as good for the people who live and work in them as they are for the planet.

People who live in homes constructed with green, sustainable principles typically report better overall health and wellness. This is doubtless because of the absence of harmful chemicals, but studies have shown that being around natural materials increases feelings of well-being and happiness, as well.

Contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to learn more about how you can incorporate eco-friendly design principles in your next project.



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.