Sustainable Design Strategies
Planning and Design
The Powder room door is aligned with the window so that views can be shared with the hall and stairwell, and when the temperature and humidity permit, the air can circulate through the powder room to exhaust out the skylight and upper hall.
The botanical design of the Hampton chandelier, is rendered in plaster for a modern more abstract version of a floral chandelier, that still reinforces a biophilic interior environment. Efficient LED lighting conserves energy.
The Alabama marble countertop is sourced from within a few hundred miles, which reduces the carbon impact and pollution associated with transporting the raw materials, particularly when compared to an Italian stone. Alabama marble is recognizably local, and selected to celebrate this home’s connection to place.
Lavatory Sink and Faucet
A round semi-vessel sink from Kohler’s “wading pool” line celebrates the flow of water. The cast iron sink contains at least 80% recycled content, and is manufactured in Kohler Wisconsin. This may not seem “local” but compared to overseas manufacturing facilities it greatly reduces the pollution associated with transporting the product to the job site.
The WaterSense certified faucet, by Delta Brizo, has an open spout and biophilic form that celebrates the flow and movement of water. 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.
Dual Flush Toilet
WaterSense certified, Kohler Veil toilets not only conserve water, but minimize the use of potable water to convey sewage, while saving the homeowner on both water and sewer costs. The Inspiration Home dual flush toilets can be flushed with either .8 or 1.28 gallons of water, allowing water to be used only as needed for a successful flush.
You might not know that toilets are by far the biggest source of water use in most homes, and in many cases a significant source of water waste. The average family could save about 13,000 gallons a year by switching to water sense toilets and $2,900 over the lifetime of the toilets. This also saves the energy required for sewage treatment, and the pollution associated with generating that energy, at a community level. Nationally, if all old, inefficient toilets in the United States were replaced with WaterSense labeled models, we could save 520 billion gallons of water per year, or the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in about 12 days.
Even if your toilet is relatively new, it could be wasting water through a silent leak. You can find out if your toilet is leaking by putting a drop of food coloring in the tank. If after 10 minutes or so, you see colored water in the bown, then your flapper needs to be replaced.
Contemporary Toilet Paper Holders with Grab Bars
These clever contemporary toilet paper holders from the Delta Decor Assist line are designed with a subtle, integrated grab bar. This feature eases use for people of all ages and abilities, adds to the adaptability of the space.
The bathroom exhaust fan is on the “most efficient” list of Energy Star certified ventilation fans. These exhaust fans have three different air flow settings to be tailored to the needs of each space and have a certified sone rating for quiet operation. Effective ventilation in bathrooms and high humidity areas helps to control moisture inside the home and prevent potential indoor air quality and durability issues with mold or mildew.
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).
UltraLight Gypsum Drywall
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.
Wood Doors and Trim
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.