Sustainable Design Strategies
The Laundry room door is aligned with the window so that views can be shared with the hall, and when the temperature and humidity permit, the air can circulate through the space to exhaust out the skylight and upper hall. Energy Efficient appliances are boosted by a ceiling fan that allows a homeowner to skip the dryer altogether, and hang their clothes to air dry. CLICK HERE for more tips for low impact Laundry Practices.
The Front Loading Washer and Dryer are both Energy Star Certified. An ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer can cut your energy costs by about a third and your water costs by more than half. CLICK HERE to view a list of most efficient products here. CLICK HERE for more tips for low impact Laundry Practices.
The Buxton recycled quartz countertop by Cambria contains 59% recycled content, and depicts an industrial, grainy concrete foundation intermixed with daubs of gray and cream and a constellation of white speckles. Cambria is committed to sustainability and offers products with recycled content consisting of reused Cambria natural quartz slabs, pigments, and binders.
Cambria is an American made, family-owned company, based in Minnesota. From slab production to countertop installation, every Cambria purchase invests over 95% of costs back into the U.S. economy. A domestic supply chain, means a limited carbon footprint, compared to countertops shipped from overseas, and on demand inventory. Cambria uses rail, instead of trucks to transfer raw material to their warehouse to further reduce pollution. Through a series of advanced settling and filtering techniques, they recycle 100% of the water used for production in Cambria’s processing and fabrication facilities, saving an estimated 1.6 billion gallons annually. Located in close proximity to our manufacturing facilities, a crushing facility processes any unused Cambria for reuse. Some of this crushed material can be reused in Cambria slabs and Life + Style retail products such as bookends and coasters. The remainder is repurposed for community road materials and other construction needs. They also repurpose 100% of pallet wood used.
Cambria has an ongoing commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of their manufacturing, and to clean materials. Cambria voluntarily discloses where their products come from, what they are made of, and where they go at the end of their life through the Declare label, developed by the International Living Future Institute.
WaterSense certified faucets conserve both water and energy, by reducing hot water use, and increasing savings on utility bills. The average family could save 700 gallons of water a year by switching to WaterSense certified faucets.
The Wrap Fan by Fanimation’s bamboo ceiling fan is on Energy Star’s list of their “Most Efficient” certified fans. The curved shape of the blades reinforces the cooling sensation of air movement and the warmth of bamboo in the blades adds another biophilic element to the fixture. Fans save energy by expanding your perceived comfort range with the cooling sensation of air movement, without actually having to change the air temperature. A ceiling fan in the laundry room can help clothes to air dry more quickly, saving energy and time.
The wood flooring used throughout the Inspiration home is a pale white oak with distinctive graining and a matte finish that gives it the appearance of unfinished wood. Using visibly identifiable natural materials is a biophilic design strategy that has been proven to provide emotional and cognitive benefits, including decreased blood pressure, increased creativity, and increased comfort. Learn more by reading The 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design by Terrapin Bright Green.
The adhesives and sealants used in its installation, are GreenGuard certified for low emissions. Products with GREENGUARD Certification are compliant with stringent emission levels for over 360 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), plus a limit on the total of all chemical emissions combined (TVOC).
US Gypsum USG Sheetrock® Brand UltraLight Panels are Greenguard Gold certified, low emitting materials. Sheetrock is ubiquitous in construction, it is a heavy material used in large quantities. Using light weight drywall is a simple step that greatly reduces the pollution associated with transporting the materials from manufacture to the site.
USG Sheetrock® Brand UltraLight Panels are 1/2 in. (12.7 mm) gypsum panels that feature proprietary core and paper technologies, resulting in a high strength-to-weight ratio composite design. These lightweight panels are also engineered to have superior sag resistance, eliminating the need for traditional 1/2 in. (12.7 mm) sag-resistant ceiling panels. The noncombustible gypsum core is encased in 100% recycled face and back papers, The light weight design is easier for installers to work with, and can improve construction speed and safety.
People tend to think of the environmental impact of a home or building in terms of energy use and utility bills. However, building materials also create significant environmental impacts, through the pollution associated with their extraction, manufacture, and transportation to the job site. This is called “embodied carbon,” with carbon being an indicator of all greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide. The environmental impacts of building materials are also front loaded in time, while a building’s energy use creates incremental impacts over a lifetime of use. Since the emissions that we produce between now and 2050 will determine whether or not we avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the embodied carbon of building materials matters a great deal.
For the greatest impact, prioritize the selection of locally produced and sustainably manufactured materials for heavy items that are needed in large quantities, like brick, concrete, framing, or drywall.
Solid wood doors and finger jointed molding use wood sourced from Koetter’s own managed forests that were planted from vacant land. Keotter has won multiple awards for forest management Including the “Good Steward” award from the Arbor Day foundation and the Forestry Award from the Indiana Wildlife Federation. Solid wood doors are naturally low emitting materials. Finger jointed molding conserves materials by utilizing smaller pieces of wood joined together.
The curved shapes of moldings and door panels balance the strong lines of the cabinets. and reinforce the biophilic interior design, by echoing organic forms, like the curve of a wave or a seashell.
The interior paint is Greenguard Gold certified as a low emitting material, or has an equivalent certification with small chamber testing. This means that the paint has been tested in a sealed chamber where any off gassing can be analyzed and measured for compliance with health standards. This is not the same as being labeled “low emitting”. Many products are labeled “low emitting” that simply meet legal requirements for the volatile organic compounds in their ingredients. They may only be “low” compared to materials that are no longer legal to use, hardly something to brag about.
Indoor Air Plus certification requires that 90% of all paints, stains, and coatings applied inside the home meet GreenGuard Gold or an equivalent certification. Not only the paint, but also all of the stains, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and caulks in this home were carefully screened to prevent emissions that could contaminate the interior of this home.
All of the paint colors used in the Inspiration Home contain no black or grey pigment, which make them extremely dynamic and responsive to differing conditions of daylight. This mimics the dynamic appearance of colors found in nature and is one of our biophilic design strategies.