Posts Tagged ‘Energy efficiency’
What could be better than tacos & margaritas? Eating them in a LEED Platinum restaurant! Yup, Seattle based Little Water Cantina is expecting to achieve this lofty green goal all while serving up delicious Mexican food in their 3,000 square foot restaurant. Designed by Shed Architecture & Design, the restaurant has a hip and sustainable vibe. Green facts: Little Water Cantina is lit almost entirely with LED lights and they cut their water use (a huge deal in the restaurant biz) by about 70%. Plus energy use is down and reuse is up. Case in point, the cool light feature made of 800 reclaimed tequila bottles (and by reclaimed I mean individually dug out of the dumpster by the dedicated owners) and the awesome pendant lights hung over the bar made from vintage gramophones.
To go along with their LEED certification, Little Water Cantina serves local & organic food when feasible, uses only eco-friendly cleaning products and composts all of their food waste. If only I lived nearby, I’d be enjoying a margarita made from local & organic ingredients right now! (That means its good for you, right?) Plus the interiors are as hip as they are green. Enjoy!
The bar with the cool gramophone pendants. I also love the mix of textured wood with the tons of tequila bottles all lined up.
You can sort of see a detail of the pressed tin behind the bar where the beer taps are hung.
A close up of those cool gramophone pendants.
Bar top made from a plank of live edge wood. Gorgeous!
How cool is this mural? I wonder who all the people are in it…
Here’s a peek of the dining room and that 800-bottle tequila wall. Collecting those bottles and envisioning what it all will look like really takes foresight!
Photos from Little Water Cantina
Okay, so perhaps I should have held onto this hotel to show you during the snowy winter months since Vigilius Mountain Resort is a fantastic ski destination. But as the ever excited blogger that I am, well, I just couldn’t wait. Located in the South Tyrol mountains of Italy, Vigilius is part spa, part peaceful getaway, part luxury resort and all green. Designed by Italian architect, Matteo Thun, the hotel is so full of eco features that it earned 5 green stars from Eco Hotels of the World. To name just a few of these features, the resort is a hermetically tight building to maintain the most energy efficiency possible. In the summer months, sun shading helps keep the rooms cool and in the winter months, the rooms are heated with radiant floor systems. Low-flow plumbing fixtures and towel changes upon request help conserve water. Plus the area around the hotel is car free with the only way of reaching the hotel through cable car. Now that’s how to be eco-friendly!
But on top of all of these eco-creds, Vigilius Mountain Resort is also a stunning destination. Clean mountain air, amazing views, absolute tranquility and a hotel full of beautiful natural materials means that you may never leave. And once you take a look at these pictures, you’ll realize why I just couldn’t save it till the winter. Enjoy!
Vigilius Mountain Resort at night. Notice the ‘sun shading’ devices at the exterior of the property to help it stay cooler in the summer.
Another view of the lobby at sunset
I love the eco-friendly swimming pool filled with natural spring water.
One of the guestrooms. Isn’t that wood color just gorgeous? The color and texture feel very pure and clean, perfect for a getaway hotel.
The bathroom. All of the guestrooms have a radiant flooring system that draws heat from an exterior clay wall.
Seating area in the Suite. The chair is a wonderful nod to traditional wood carving of the Tyrol Basin.
Suite bathroom. I love the contrast of the ultra modern orange glass against the natural textured wood.
I love the look of antique Edison lightbulbs – they have a really nice warm glow with just the right amount of vintage-ness. Unfortunately looking vintage doesn’t necessarily equal actually being vintage and eco-friendly. So that’s why I was excited when I saw these awesome lightbulbs from Plumen. They’re actually compact fluorescents, reshaped into something that’s as far from boring as you can get. In fact their dynamic little shape was inspired by feathers (hence Plumen – clever, huh?). I think they also somewhat resembles those Edison bulbs that I was just waxing poetic about moments ago. And best of all, they’re also as energy efficient as a CLF. The one bummer is that you can’t dim them, although with a shape like that, why would you wanto to?
For you lucky Brits and Europeans, the Plumen lightbulb has been out in 220v for a while. But they’ve finally branched out to a US version for us 110 volt-ers. You can purchase them online or in stores at MoMA or The Future Perfect.
These light bulbs really do look like a modern take on an Edison bulb.
I love that they’re hung without a shade in this installation so their shape really takes center stage.
Of course, they also look great peeking out from the bottom of a pendant…
or thru a translucent shade
Photos from Plumen by Tom Mannion
As I said in yesterday’s post about ICFF, I spent most of the day Sunday walking up and down the aisles of the Javits Center in search of unique, beautiful and inventive eco-friendly products to show you. If you didn’t take a look yet, you should pop over to that round-up as well.
I have to say, this Binary Chair from BRC Designs, is one of the most unique and inventive pieces I’ve ever seen. There’s also an accompanying coffee table and both are made out of motherboards and computer rescued from old computers and printers with the upholstery on the chair meticulously woven from ribbon cable. These pieces are conversation starters to say the least. I for one could spend quite a while just looking at all the different components and trying to guess where they came from.
I’m not even sure how to describe Molo other than absolutely unique and interesting. They make reusable partitions, furniture and lighting from their surprisingly strong kevlar & kraft paper accordion forms which are recyclable and reusable. My pictures definitely don’t do their products justice so take a peek at Molo’s website to get an idea of what they do.
Newly launched pillow resource, MUMO is a socially and environmentally responsible company. Their fabrics are sourced from developing nations and their products are made through fair trade labor. But I’ll just call them unique and artistic, made out of everything from traditional textiles to interesting materials like fish skin. If you wan to see more, take a peek at MUMO’s Facebook page.
If I had known about Fermob when I wrote my round-up of fun outdoor furniture, I would have included their brightly colored bistro chairs and tables. Their products are made from recycled steel, coated with paint in a zero-release facility (which means that their sprays don’t become airborne and therefore don’t get out into the world) and made to last. You might have even seen these chairs before since they’re scattered throughout Bryant Park and Times Square in New York City.
John Ross makes beautiful furniture and art out of reclaimed wood found near his home in Vancouver Island, BC. Each one is formed from the inherent shape the wood takes when he finds it. I really love this wall piece, but his furniture is just as gorgeous.
Made with LED lights, these newly debuted lamps from Cerno are sculptural but still fun. They’re made with an integrated cooling technology so the bulbs don’t get hot, which you can cover, as they did with this lamp or keep out as a decorative element. They also have an oversized floor lamp version which I love.
I really haven’t gotten into mattresses yet on the blog, but I thought these hi-tech and allergy free ones from Somnium were quite interesting. From the TPEE springs (or Thermoplastic Polyether-Ester Elastomer) that contour to your body to the hypoallergenic covers and foam, my interest was definitely piqued. I can tell you from sitting on it, the mattress was quite comfortable, although I suppose that’s not the most thorough test. I’d love to try one out for a few nights or hear from someone else who has.
It was nice to finally meet Jason Phillips of the Phillips Collection in person. If you remember back, I wrote about his beautiful organic furniture a while ago. All of his wood furniture comes from sustainable source and is coated with water based, non-toxic finishes. Take a look at the entire collection here.
You may have seen these CFLs before, but guess what, they’re finally available in the United States! Plumen takes the regular compact fluorescent light bulb design and turns it on its head. The shape is reminiscent of the filaments of an Edison bulb, but of course as a much more energy efficient version. If you’ve been using incandescents only so you didn’t have to see the ugly shape of the CFL, this is your answer. I’m almost tempted to buy a fixture with an exposed bulb just so I can try it out.
I never thought I’d say this, but Martha Stewart is going green! She teamed up with KB Homes and Builder Magazine to create the 2011 Builder Concept Home, an eco-friendly and energy efficient concept home that debuted at the International Builders Show. I know Martha can be a bit controversial to some people, but I’m a fan. I wish my life could be as organized, well decorated and beautiful as hers. But alas I don’t have any minions to help me out, so I’ll just have to do my best till I do (kidding!). You may think I’m a big nerd, but I’ve been honestly waiting for Martha to start tackling sustainable issues and I’m so glad it’s with an entire house.
The KB Homes Greenhouse is a net zero concept home, meaning that it produces more energy than it uses. Pretty cool, huh? And it has just about every green certification you can possibly get. To start off with, this house has earned the highest possible USGBC LEED for Homes rating of platinum and has been labelled a “Maximized Energy Efficient Home” by the US Department of Energy. Not to mention the Energy Star and Water Sense qualifications, this house is truly one to watch. I certainly hope it does get rolled out all over the country. The model home is a bit bland for my taste, especially knowing what Martha can do, but add a few vintage pieces, some nice florals and a few accessories and we’re in business. What do you think?
Another view of the Kitchen looking towards the garden
Backyard and Garden
Solar Panels (by the way, do you see how the solar panels are integrated into the shingles? Very innovative.)
Photos from Builder Concept Home & KB Homes
I’ve had the idea to write this post for a while, but after an especially heated Interior Designer Chat on Twitter last week, I figured it was time to spill my real feelings about Ikea. If you know me, you’ve probably heard a rant or two about this furniture giant. But as was so appropriately pointed out to me last week, Ikea is not totally bad. In fact, they do quite a lot of good. They have brought good design to the masses in a way that no other furniture manufacturer ever has. And they definitely try to do their eco part: from energy efficient lighting to low-VOC materials, reduced packaging and other green initiatives within their stores, Ikea definitely has a lot of good going on.
But here’s my real gripe – while I understand that all of Ikea’s pluses are totally valid and very important, I just can’t get over one thing. Disposable furniture. And to be absolutely fair, Ikea is not the only culprit. Target, Walmart and Kmart, to begin with, all make incredibly cheap pieces that are just as disposable. Most (although not all) of their furniture is so cheaply made, that even if you wanted to keep it forever, you just couldn’t. I mean, forget about heirloom pieces, you’re lucky if they survive a move. I understand that no one expects Ikea (or the other retailers’) furniture to last for the ages. That’s why it’s so inexpensive, right? But maybe my real gripe is that buying cheap, disposable furniture is our cultural norm. And that makes me so sad. Furniture should be treasured, not thrown in a landfill. I wish people would realize that solving their immediate furniture need creates so many environmental problems later.
So now that we’ve gotten down to the heart of my issue, I’m going to stop scapegoating Ikea. To their credit, they have quite a few really amazing green initiates, so let me tell you about a few of them (in no particular order):
- Finally recognizing that their furniture often ends up in a landfill, Ikea is working on improving the entire life-cycle of their products. From using recycled/renewable/reused materials to create them and making it easier to recycle when you’re done, they’re addressing it all.
- Their famous flat packed furniture allows for more boxes to be sent in one shipment, thereby saving transportation energy and CO2 emissions.
- All of their hefty catalogs are made from recycled paper products.
- All of their stores use energy efficient lightbulbs and many of them also run on renewable energy. Plus Ikea is working hard to get all the stores to run on renewable energy.
- Much of the wood they use in their furniture comes from sustainably managed forests. None of it comes from illegally felled trees and they’re working with their suppliers to trace the origins of the wood back to the source. They even send out their own forest specialists to check up on the suppliers. They’re like tree spies!
- Never. any. child. labor.
- They do more with less. Many of their products have been specially engineered to use fewer raw materials, not only saving those resources but also making them lighter to transport (less CO2 emissions).
- Fabrics: Ikea no longer uses no chemical brighteners, their cottons are made with less water and fewer pesticides than traditionally grown cotton and they try to use as minimize the use of chemicals in the production process.
- Energy efficient lighting including: LED bulbs, solar powered lamps and tons of CFLs for sale.
- Ikea promotes public transit from providing shuttle bus service to their stores (go Red Hook!) to premium parking for bikes and hybrids. In Denmark they even loan out bikes with an attached trailer capable of towing about 100 pounds. I would totally take advantage of that one if I lived in Denmark.
The list definitely goes on, but I think you get the idea. If you’re interested in reading about all 77 green initiatives on their list, take a look here. As for me, I’m going to challenge you to stop buying disposable furniture (although since you’re on this blog, that’s probably an easy one). If you can get away with it, collect your furniture slowly. Save up for the really beautiful pieces you’ve been keeping your eye on. And look out for the great Craigslist or vintage store finds. A well curated collection of furniture gathered over the years is so much more meaningful and interesting than any bedroom set ever could be.
As for me, I might just become an Ikea convert.
I’m going to leave you with a few Ikea installation shots to see what you can put together with their furniture. Enjoy! (oh and sorry about the prices and names on the pictures. I couldn’t avoid it.)
Photos from Ikea
I try to stay up on trends and activity in the design world, but sometimes I’m totally oblivious to my surroundings. This could not have been more apparent when I happened upon the stunning Linhardt Design Gallery that’s less than two blocks from my apartment. See what I mean about oblivious? I was wandering around my neighborhood with a friend when we popped in and literally tried on every ring and bracelet there. It wasn’t until we started chatting with Lisa Linhart, the lovely owner & creator of these beautiful baubles that I figured out that both her jewelry and store were totally eco-friendly.
The store was designed by Linda & John Meyers of the amazing design firm Wary Meyers. Their Tossed & Found book is an inspiration for cool reuse projects and ideas (more on them later). For the store, all materials were reused in some fashion or another. The floor boards & display case wood was reclaimed from various Maine locations including an old schoolhouse, church and barn. Up in the front of the store is a vintage anvil used for display, around which they planted morning glories that bloom and grow all year long and adding a nice touch of greenery. The counter at the back of the store was made entirely from salvaged materials found in the East Village. And one of my favorite touches is the giant pendant lamps, made by bolting together two plastic garden planters and adding energy efficient lighting. The whole store is the perfect combination of smart and beautiful.
If you know the area, the store used to be a used furniture store called A Repeat Performance. I definitely remember the store, although I can’t say I actually ever stepped foot in it – too cluttered for my taste. Linhardt is such a welcome change.
Beautiful, no? Even though the wood is distressed the white walls and fun pendants really give the store a fresh look.
Here’s the view looking towards the entrance.
And the desk that I told you was made out of salvaged materials found in the East Village – from the drywall down to the 2×4′s. And that painting? John Meyers painted it. He’s not only a talented designer but an amazing artist.
Close up of those pendants. Next chance I get, I’m totally going to try this idea out!
You can see the morning glories just peeking up out of the space surrounding the vintage anvil. I love the creative display here. I can just imagine that it stops a lot of window shoppers.
Not to be outdone by her store, Lisa’s chic jewelry is eco-friendly too: from recycled metals, conflict free diamonds, organic and salvaged materials, to fair-trade practices and a commitment to social programs, she’s covered all the sustainable bases. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the store, she also has a custom program, which is great for engagement and wedding rings.
I think the Mokume process of mixing two or more metals together into this gorgeous pattern might just be my favorite. I’m going to have to start saving up now!
This hand-cut malachite ring is a very close second.
Last week, I showed you Serenbe, an amazing eco-community in Georgia that’s redefining what a housing development looks and functions like. If you missed any of the gorgeous pictures of the community, restaurants, inn or new homes, make sure to take a look back. I wanted to wrap up this series on Serenbe with a peek into the founders’ own home. Recently featured in House Beautiful, this townhouse is not only stunningly beautiful, it’s also eco-friendly (of course). Each house at Serenbe has been built according to EarthCraft guidelines, and the Nygren’s home is no exception. It’s energy efficient, situated to take advantage of natural sun, conserves water and improves air quality. More than anything, I’m loving the inclusion of antique pieces handed down in their family, natural materials & textures and elegant detailing. Enjoy!
Yup, that’s right. The founders of Serenbe don’t live in a huge estate. They live in a compact and super efficient townhouse in the middle of town. Smart.
I’ve always been more of a glossy red front door kind of girl, but the Nygren’s gorgeous reclaimed wood one may make me change my mind.
Library sconces are so underrated. I love how they look installed on shelves.
Photos from House Beautiful
So have I convinced you yet to give it all up and move to Serenbe? If not, I have one more plug for this eco-friendly and beautiful housing community in Georgia – a peek into what could be your home. Recently opened is a model home of the latest part of the development, called the Nest Cottages. I’ve always loved wandering through model homes, mostly because I think it’s interesting what these designers think a fictional family would live like, complete with pictures of said family. But I digress.
Designed by architect Lew Oliver and built by Martin-Dodson Homes, the Nest Cottages are not only EarthCraft homes, they are the most energy efficient home in the green building program to date. Geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, efficient site location, Energy Star rated appliances and materials selected for clean indoor air quality are all aspects that make this house very eco-friendly. At just over 1,000 square feet, 2 bedroom and 2.5 baths, they’ve packed a lot of features into a little space. Now that’s what I call smaller living! There are 15 cottages including the model home (so get yours fast!). I have to admit that the decor of the cottage isn’t totally my style, but it’s well done, super cute and I figured you would enjoy taking a peek.
How refreshing to be surrounded by that much green!
Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a huge soft spot in my heart for front porches. Maybe there’s something of a Southern Lady in me because what I really want to do is sit in a rocker, sip my coffee and talk to the neighbors.
Here’s a view of the living room from the kitchen. Beautiful and simple color scheme.
A fireplace AND a front porch. I’m sold!
The kitchen (I know, I know, duh)
Photos from Serenbe and EcoHome Magazine
I’ve been saving this post on Serenbe for a while not because I didn’t have enough material for it. Rather, I’ve been saving it because, as a model of smaller, greener living, I wanted to give it its proper due. So I’m starting off the new year with a series on this amazing eco community. I’ll be sharing an overview of what Serenbe actually is, as well as peeks into the inn, restaurants and the founders house.
So why is this housing development so special? First of all, Serenbe is not a traditional subdivision. This community is so much more than a bunch of houses grouped together. In 1994, the founders of Serenbe, Steve & Marie Nygren moved their family to a 60-acre farm in rural Chattahoochee Hill Country, one of the last undeveloped stretches of land near Atlanta. When they saw similar rural areas being overtaken by the inevitable sprawl of development, they knew something had to be done to protect this beautiful expanse of land. So they teamed up with neighbors to not only protect the 1000 acres that would become Serenbe, they successfully protected 40,000 acres around the development. This area will remain green & natural and will never be turned into a traditional sprawling subdivision. But realizing that there was still a need for housing and growth in this area, the Nygrens set about to create a development that focused on land preservation, agriculture, green building, arts and culture and community living. Thus Serenbe was born.
Serenbe was planned under a concept new urbanism, namely one that creates a high density community gathered around a central village. Residents have easy access to a number of shops & restaurants, plus walking paths throughout encourage walking rather than driving. Not only is the layout of Serenbe more efficient than a traditional subdivision, it’s also one that fosters a true community in every sense of the word. Here are pictures of just a few of these wonderful shops & businesses. More on the restaurants later!
How cute is this shop? It’s Blue Eyed Daisy, an organic bakeshop in the heart of Serenbe.
This is Bloom, a shop selling vintage pieces, eco-conscious goods and treasures from local artists and craftspeople.
Goodies from Harris & Clark, Serenbe’s local grocery store.
How gorgeous is this? Serenbe Stables – a place to keep your horse or learn to ride
All of the houses at Serenbe are built according to EarthCraft Home guidelines. This means among many other things, that houses are situated for maximum use of natural heating & cooling from the sun as well as minimal disturbance to the land. Recycling and composting are of course encouraged. Native plants are used in lieu of traditional lawns so that there is no need for chemicals or pesticides. Water conservation is fostered through the inclusion of low-flow plumbing fixtures and wastewater treatment facilities. There are a variety of housing options to choose from, from larger estates to smaller cottages and townhouses. Here are just a few of the super charming houses.
Another super cute house
There’s a lot more information about Serenbe online if you’re interested in reading more. Start off at the main website to learn about this community. And check back tomorrow when I’ll be showing you the restaurants at Serenbe.