Miami Green Homes


Best Miami Residential Architects list, March 2018 – ELA Studio/SEA @ #5

Excellent reference list by Miami Architects for their best residential architects list.

Thank you for the recognition. This is a great list with many esteemed colleagues. I am blessed and proud to be among them. Our quality and team approach really make every project great!

http://www.miamiarchitect.org/the-best-residential-architects-in-miami/

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Building information modeling, or BIM, is the newest generation of software used for design and creation of documents for architectural projects.

For thousands of years, architecture has been worked the same way. The tools have changed, from drawings on papyrus or chipped into stone, to drafting on velum and blueprints. The shift to CAD, computer aided design or drafting, was a major shift in the speed of production but doesn’t really change the way architects work. It was, and still is, essentially drawing on a two dimensional surface. It doesn’t matter if that surface is a sheet of paper or model space in a computer file.

What makes BIM different?

BIM is like building in a virtual environment. The property can be accurately modeled, with the topography recreated and the climate set as part of the information. This includes items such as humidity and temperature, solar information and elevation. The materials used can be accurately described, not only by size but with information that can include insulation values and life cycle costs as well. A CMU, concrete modular unit or concrete block, can be accurately dimensioned. A CMU is 7-5/8” x 7-5/8” x 15-5/8” in size. The drawing convention has been to use the nominal size of 8” to represent this. With BIM we can accurately model a wall with real dimensions which helps during construction as less assumptions must be made.

What can BIM do that CAD can’t?

Information is the most important aspect of BIM. The accuracy of design is much higher and more controllable. This doesn’t just include dimensions but material quantities as well. The content of a material such as cast in place concrete can be much more accurately estimated which can save on costs. The building energy uses can be extrapolated from the model to more accurately size AC equipment. This means equipment can be specified that isn’t too big or to small for the building. This information is not just useful to clients and architects but to contractors as well. They can more accurately price out a project because their material needs are more precisely known.

What are some of the issues with BIM?

The adoption of BIM by design professionals is very limited at this time. There are a few of reasons for this. The first one is the reluctance of established practitioners to make major changes to how they work. BIM is a paradigm shift in how architects design and is not an easy change to undertake. Another issue is once the decision to shift from CAD to BIM is made, the learning curve is very steep and long. It may take up to a year before a design team becomes proficient in the software. During this transition production time may actually be longer than before, however the benefits in the long term will be immense. Finding personnel who can use the software is also an issue. The people who know how to use the software don’t usually have the experience in construction to exploit it fully. Conversely experienced designers don’t know the program.

Our experience with BIM:

There have been two major advantages that we have benefitted from using BIM. The amount of time required for construction document production has been reduced significantly. Depending on the project, we have seen time savings of 50-90%. The accuracy of modeling has resulted in fewer construction revisions and RFI’s, requests for information. The most important change has been how we work with our clients. We deliver 3D models as part of the design process in addition to conventional plans. In many ways, we have found that clients, and in some cases engineers, have a better understanding of their project using the 3D model verses the plans. This allows us to have a very interactive design process and deliver a better project.

BIM has become the foundation for construction and as it is adopted more widely in the future by all members of the building team, will continue to be more useful in making design decisions.

 



Architectural Style guide – South Florida: Transitional Style

A recent project in Coral Gables, Florida encouraged me to define a style currently growing in the South Florida markets. It is often referred to as Florida Modern or Key West Modern but more accurately called Transitional Style. It can be defined as follows:

Transitional Style (also known as “updated classic”, “classic with a contemporary twist”, “new takes on old classics”) in design refers to a blend of traditional and contemporary styles, midway between old world traditional and the world of chrome and glass contemporary; incorporating lines that are less ornate than traditional designs, but not as severely basic as contemporary lines. As a result transitional designs are classic, timeless, and clean.

Curves combine with straight lines in a transitional style to deliver a look that balances both masculine and feminine attributes for a comfortable, contemporary design. The scales of the pieces are ample but not overwhelming. A lack of ornamentation and decoration keeps the focus on the simplicity and sophistication of the design.[1]

Unlike contemporary style, transitional style focuses on comfort and practicality to meet the lifestyle of an active household. it looks somewhat traditional on the outside (not a contemporary style home) but on the inside, it most likely has the very open floorplan as well as possibly 2 story volume ceilings, etc, not the traditional well defined rooms with doors and four walls.

3D View 36

Rendered view of Coral Gables design home.

Look for more style definitions and examples in future posts



Water savings 101
There are many ways to save water in the house or business. Most of them have to do with habitual change and simple awareness of what we do.

To setup your home to save water by design the following are easy upgrades.

 Change your toilet to a dual flush system. What is dual flush? In essence you have two buttons to use the appropriate amount of water based on liquid or solid waste. We use significantly more liquid waste and the “half flush” reduces the water used by about 40%. This setup will reduce the amount of water you use for flushing by 40% overall. My favorite brand of dual flush is Caroma (www.CaromaUSA.com) but there are others that do the trick as well. I recommend Caroma, because they also use a different trap system that reduces the possibility of clogging.

Dual Flush Buttons

Dual Flush Buttons

If your fixture is still in good shape or you cannot spend the money on a new system, consider a retrofit kit, such as Eco Flush (www.EcoFlushToilet.com ). They range from $50 to about $80. This is the system I have installed in my house and is working very well. It takes a mere 20 minutes to switch out the old for the new and the savings will last… (it is also a great conversation starter and educator for visitors).

 The other quick fix is to replace your showerhead. I have installed 2 different ones on my house and like the head that Kohler is providing (http://www.us.kohler.com/savewater/products/residential/showerheads.htm ). It will reduce flow rate of water passing through, thus saving water every shower. If you like a higher end product, look at HansGrohe (http://www.hansgrohe-usa.com/cps/rde/xbcr//SID-3F57E8CC-B64043AF/us_en/publications/US/hg_cromaecoair_press.pdf ).

For fixtures, look for the Water Sense logo to easily identify water waving options when purchasing your new faucet of showerhead. This program by the EPA works similar like the Energy Star program.

EPA Water Sense logo

EPA Water Sense logo

Contact me with any questions or comments.

 

 

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