"There are so many things we can do to avoid a negative impact on the environment. It all starts with smart design."
Building Our Shared Future...
We've been given a glorious planet to inhabit, and I don't know about you, but we want this world to be a better place because of our existence, not the opposite. There is an ethical Hebrew concept, Tikkun Olam, which mandates a responsibility upon us all to repair the earth. You see, it isn't really our choice, but rather, our duty, to take care of this place. That is one of the fundamental principles that guides me in this profession, and thus guides our company.
So, you ask, how does that fit into The Revolution? Actually, it is simpler than you would think - remodeling usually means tearing stuff out and throwing it away - but there are so many things we can do to avoid a negative impact on our environment, and it all starts with smart design.
We don’t necessarily have to throw it all away, right?
The First Step Towards Building Green is Understanding
As we migrate through the Environmental Revolution, we must ask the question, "how can we remodel in a healthy, responsible, and environmentally friendly manner?" There are many ways, some are just smart choices, some more grand; it’s our job to help you learn what is right for you. It’s your home, you need to make the call.
Remodeling can actually be good for the environment. Are you aware that buildings are responsible for over 40% of the world's energy use and raw materials? If your home is outdated, inefficient or parts of it are performing poorly, not addressing these issues cause more harm than good. Older appliances are a huge consumer of energy and water resources, but so are outdated toilets and shower faucets. Of course, everyone would like a new kitchen, but motivations don't just end at functionality or beauty - there is so much good to be done!
Knowing that upgraded heating and cooling systems, better insulation, new windows, efficient appliances, flow-limiting plumbing fixtures, and many other items are resource-conserving isn't too hard to fathom. But did you ever stop to think about the simple benefit a programmable thermostat could have on the environment? For less that $100, you can reduce heating/cooling costs by upwards of $150/annually if used correctly? Not only did you reduce your carbon footprint, you just made $50 bucks!
This is just an example of the countless items and decisions out there, all to be made during the design process – almost everything we do involves choices that affect the amount of energy your home uses, and the other decisions probably affect how much energy was used to manufacture or deliver the materials coming into your home. It is our goal to discover all the benefits we can attain with your project and put those important questions to you.
My personal favorite aspect of this whole topic - let's not build more space than we need, okay? And, if we decide to add on, let's think about how we use the space, who will use it, when we'll use it, and how we might combine uses. I'm a big fan of quality of space versus quantity of space. I like gorgeous, effective, useful spaces that are a pleasure to be in - they don't have to be big - just effective. If we decide to add a family room, what are we going to do with the now dormant living room you already have? We may ask you this very question - and hopefully, we’ll have the answer; because if we don't, we're likely doing the wrong thing.
Just because your house has unique issues, it doesn't mean they are a problem - rather, they are a challenge - if we can truly utilize the good parts of your house, we can likely make them elements of the solution rather than a problem - that means less demolition, less waste, and more investment dollars put into practical use. Our design process examines these issues and holds efficiency as one of its greatest goals.
And finally, there are smart and informed decisions we can make.
When we choose our finishes for cabinets, floors, walls, counters for example, there are many things to consider. Are any materials considered more renewable than others, is there significant cost (both labor and environmental) to fabricating them, is there anything that we can reuse from the house before we throw it away, are there any similar local products that can be obtained at less fuel/transportation costs, what surfaces have a greater longevity and will require less maintenance or replacement, what materials or products can we use to produce less harmful off-gases? If we ask these questions, we are likely to make an informed decision that takes use, beauty, function, as well as the environmental impact, all into account. In the end, your decision, whatever it may be, will be the right decision for you, and we will support you in it.