4 Ways to Make Your Next Home Greener

There is a huge spotlight on the construction industry when it comes to green initiatives – and rightly so. After all, this is one of the biggest contributors to all of the sustainable problems that the world faces. However, this increased focus does prompt some problems. It can make some people believe that going green in the home is out of the question – and is only going to be achieved through some really costly implementations.

Granted, there are some major infrastructure projects you can invest in if you are building a home, with solar power and ground source heat pumps tending to grab the headlines. At the same time, there are smaller wins – and these shouldn’t be underestimated, such as solid wood flooring. In fact, if everyone was to invest in these, we’d suggest that the typical carbon footprint across cities such as San Diego would drop substantially.

Taking this into account, let’s now take a look at some of the quick, green wins you can succeed with as you bid to make your next home greener and more sustainable.

1. It starts with the placement of your windows

As we work with our architect in the initial design phase of our project, many of us are more concerned about the size of our bedrooms and so on.

A common afterthought is the placement of windows. Sure, some people might think about this as they consider natural light implications – but it’s time to think bigger.

Let’s not forget that as well as allowing rooms to heat naturally, windows are something that lets warm air escape. It means that their position is crucial, and treating them as an afterthought is asking for a completely inefficient dwelling.

2. Never forget insulation

In some ways, we were almost tempted not to include this next point. After all, insulation is an old classic when it comes to energy efficiency. It is something that has been suggested for years, mainly because it is incredibly cheap to implement whilst also being very effective.

Of course, it’s always easier to install insulation during the early phases of a project. Try and remember to focus on the roof and walls; this is where most of your heat is lost and is where you can make the biggest difference.

3. It’s not just about energy; think water as well

A lot of today’s guide has looked at energy, and rightly so. We are also going to dip into a point about water consumption, though.

This is something that often gets forgotten about, but the benefits are substantial. A lot of older, traditional bathroom fittings are anything but efficient – they deliver water at a ridiculous rate, and ultimately waste it.

If you turn to modern-day solutions, you’ll find that you can save gallons every year. Suffice to say, this isn’t just going to benefit your environment, but your pocket as well.

4. Your roof is crucial

Finally, if there was just one area of your next home to concentrate on, your roof should be up there as a priority. Nowadays, there are all sorts of materials that can help your plight. For example, for those of you who reside in hot countries, you can turn to roofs with reflective paint to deal with the heat somewhat. Green roofs are another solution which are surging in popularity but in truth, the list could go on.

Recommended Green Resources:

How Solar Roofs Can Minimize The Urban Heat Island Effect?

As cities grow, open spaces, trees and other greenery, and other naturally occurring surfaces diminish, replaced by concrete and asphalt surfaces. When this happens, the heat absorbed by these surfaces has nowhere to go, and so is radiated and reflected into the immediate surrounding areas. This creates an urban heat island.

This leads to an increase in heat in the immediately surrounding areas, making temperatures a few degrees hotter than the actual weather. This causes discomfort to residents of the area and can also incur damage in the form of heat-damaged structures.

There is also a human cost associated with urban heat islands. Heat-related medical emergencies such as heat stroke become more prevalent in such areas as the heat can go up to dangerous levels. The EPA has taken stock of this phenomenon and is now advising cities to take steps to mitigate it. One such way is the use of solar roofs as a means of making cities cooler and more comfortable to live in.

How does solar minimize this effect?

Cool Roof Strategy

A cool roof strategy is a one that seeks to use heat absorbing and/or dissipating roofing materials and technologies. Typical roofs use materials that either reflect or absorb and radiate back heat thus significantly reducing the urban heat island effect. Conversely, cool roofs, like solar, can help absorb sun rays and convert them into beneficial energy.

Solar excels at this because of the way the cells are designed and organized to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight. Solar roofs are also designed to trap this heat rather than radiate it back into the environment, something that can help reduce the amount of secondary heat being released into the environment.

Reduced Construction

When solar roofs are implemented, there is usually a reduced need to construct structures that support the traditional electric grid. Such a scenario can play out in several ways. If a new estate is being built with nothing but solar power, there is a possibility that some open spaces can be retained as fallow ground in places where utility implements would have been installed.

While the gains at this level would be marginal, implementation of this strategy across several thousand estates can help move the needle in reducing the urban heat island effect.

Combination Approach

This approach offers the greatest promise of reducing heat in urban settings. By combining the cool roof strategy with other strategies like green roofing, planting more trees and vegetation, cool paving and general smart city growth, a lot of ground can be covered.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

All these strategies have one thing in common in that they all absorb and dissipate heat in an efficient and sustainable manner. The EPA recommends these measures, among others, to cities grappling with the urban heat island effect or anticipating it as open spaces and greenery levels go down.

Many cities have a high incentive to deal with this issue because of its effect on residents and visitors to the area. If street-level temperatures are unbearable, it is possible that tourists and potential new residents may shy away from the area in favor of other cooler cities.

Special Attributes of Fiberglass Insulation

Of all the things we want our homes to provide, comfort is usually at the top of the list. In addition to the beauty and usability of the home, comfort also includes the ability to maintain a comfortable temperature, to keep the air clean and healthy, and to provide safety for your family. The most popular technique for accomplishing all these goals is the use of fiberglass insulation. It has become so widespread that you may be wondering if it is still the best choice on the market, or if it’s simply being used out of habit.

Like any other decision for your home, the choice of insulation materials is an important one that you should consider carefully, so you may be asking a simple question: Is fiberglass the best choice for insulation, or could cellulose or other materials be a better option?

The answer is clear. Contractors and homeowners use fiberglass insulation more because it is the best material for home insulation. Here are six benefits of fiberglass that allow it to excel where other materials fall short.

Reducing Noise

The primary purpose of insulation is to increase comfort and reduce energy costs by maintaining the desired temperature inside the home, but it provides soundproofing benefits as well. A properly insulated home will have less noise coming in from the outside as well as less noise moving between rooms.

Fiberglass is much more effective at dampening sound than any other material on the market. Reducing sound transfer is important when you live near busy roads or have young children who need quiet sleep time while the rest of the family is still awake, and fiberglass is the best material for those functions and more.

Recycling Material

Natural plant fibers used in insulation are touted for being renewable, and it is true that new plants can be grown each year to manufacture the product. However, insulation made from fiberglass uses a high percentage of recycled material. The recycled content reduces the need to manufacture additional fiberglass while also eliminating the need to dedicate more crop ground and farming resources to the production of source plants for cellulose.

Containing Fire

Perhaps the greatest benefit of fiberglass in the insulation world is its ability to contain fire. Cellulose is a plant-based product, making it a potential fuel in case of fire. Fiberglass itself is fire-resistant, providing a barrier to the spread of fire that increases the time available for your family to escape while minimizing the amount of damage done to your home.

Firefighters can testify to the simplicity of extinguishing a fire near fiberglass as opposed to one that spreads into cellulose blown-in insulation. The fire travels further, does more damage, and requires greater cleanup than fiberglass.

Simple Installation

Fiberglass batts are perhaps the easiest product to install in a home construction or renovation project. They are manufactured in whatever width and thickness is required, and they simply roll out to install in walls, floors, or ceilings. The end result is a faster, cleaner installation. Blown-in cellulose is touted for its versatility in filling any available space, but it is also messier and much more difficult to move out of the way for future repairs or renovations.

Mold Resistance

Indoor air quality is a topic that is receiving a lot of attention these days. We are all alert to the dangers of breathing harmful molds, yet many of us unwittingly foster the growth of these dangerous substances by using cellulose insulation. In a plant, cellulose is meant to transport water, so it should come as no surprise that it will also retain moisture when used in your home.

Fiberglass does not absorb moisture, speeding the process of drying up any water that may find its way into your walls, floors, or ceilings. This makes for a drier and healthier environment.

Lower Cost

Economizing isn’t just about paying less. It’s about getting more value for your dollar. Fortunately, fiberglass does both for you when you are installing insulation. Apart from all the benefits we’ve already discussed, fiberglass costs less. The result is that you get better performance for less money, and that’s getting the best of both worlds with your insulation dollar.

The process of working in your home is full of decisions. Whether you are building a new home, renovating an existing home, or simply doing some upgrades, you may find yourself overwhelmed at the selection of products available for even the simplest steps in the project. Instead of bogging down on the variety of insulation materials, you can make one decision right at the beginning. Choosing fiberglass for your insulation needs will make your home safer, healthier, and more comfortable than any other product can.

How Modern Technology is Transforming Urban Development?

Australia is famous the whole world over for its incredible scenery and stunning countryside, from the arid yet beautiful outback to the shimmering sands of the Gold Coast, but the country is also home to some of the world’s favourite cities. Australia’s population is growing, and so urban development and planning is becoming ever more important. The way we plan, design and build our urban centres has changed rapidly over the last decades thanks to evolving needs, environmental concerns and rapidly advancing technology.

It is this combination that is helping Australian towns and cities lead the way when it comes to urban generation and regeneration.

More Accurate Surveying

Thorough surveying is the key to successful development, and it was once a laborious and time-consuming process, and therefore by necessity, an expensive one too. One modern invention has transformed this task completely, as the most forward thinking planners now utilise unmanned aerial surveying techniques.

Using the latest high-powered drones, planners and developers can now get a much more accurate and holistic picture of the land that they plan to build on. The highly detailed maps produced from the air allow clients to make more informed decisions quicker than they would otherwise have been able to, thus helping to ensure that projects come in on time and on budget.

Greener Developments

Many Australians are becoming increasingly concerned about the effect that mankind is having upon the environment, and the effects of climate change can be seen across this nation and beyond. That’s why surveyors and designers have to be very careful when planning urban developments, as it’s imperative that expanding urban centres don’t adversely impact upon our ecology or the incredible animal life that also calls Australia its home.

Today’s leading urban surveying companies put green issues at the heart of the work, using the latest computer modelling techniques to thoroughly assess the impact of an urban development upon the environment surrounding it; in this way, it’s possible to maintain the equilibrium between the need to develop new urban spaces and the need to protect our ecosystems.

Bringing Greater Benefits to Urban Dwellers

There are many factors to be considered when planning an urban development, as well as the green concerns mentioned above. It’s essential for planners to be able to make accurate assessments of what benefits their development will bring to the people who live within it and upon its neighbourhood, and this involves careful study of a wide range of metrics and projections.

The highly detailed maps produced from the air allow clients to make more informed decisions quicker

Whilst this remains a specialist and highly important job, the appearance of specialist computer programmes now allow planners to make an economic and demographic assessment that’s more accurate than ever before.

Expert urban planners know how essential it is to use all of the technological innovations now available to them, from unmanned aerial surveying, to high tech demographic assessment tools and greener planning software. This is why new urban developments bring benefits for residents and businesses, and for the economy as a whole, while still protecting the rural areas and environment that make Australia the envy of the world.

Effective Ways to Minimize Waste on Your Construction Sites

For some people, the whole thing of “going green” is a trend, but in the world of construction, “going green” is definitely no trend… In fact, it’s a sustainable building practice that’s here to stay. As more cities adopt greener building regulations for new construction, contractors and construction companies alike are going to face the challenge of keeping up with these sustainable building practices.

One of the biggest areas in construction that greener changes need to happen in is construction waste. They say, “waste not, want not,”… well, in the world of construction, “when you waste less, you spend less.” Sustainable building practices, in the form of minimizing waste, means you’re not only building better, energy-efficient buildings but you’re also saving time and money on all your construction projects.

It’s just amazing to look at how the industry has changed over the years. True enough, certain things haven’t changed like state and industry-specific certifications and licenses… If you live in Oregon, you would still need to meet the Oregon continuing education requirements. But as far as sustainable practices, it’s amazing how more and more people are becoming conscious about reducing their carbon footprint to make the environment a better place… Back in the early 1940s to the 1960s, people could have cared less about their environmental impact.

construction-waste-management

 

But we are indeed in different times, and the construction industry is doing its part to implement green practices, including reducing construction waste. Here’s how construction companies and contractors are doing their part.

Effective Ways to Minimize Your Construction Waste

1. Avoid Creating Waste in the First Place

To truly manage your construction waste effectively, you should avoid creating it in the first place. Taking steps like taking exact measurements to ensure you have enough materials to build without any unnecessary leftovers is going to help tremendously. Conducting regular inventory checks will prevent you from overordering materials that you already have.

Additionally, properly training your team and educating them on the importance of construction waste management will help them to implement greener practices within their own job responsibilities.

2. Store Your Materials Properly

With construction sites, you’re not always going to be able to haul your materials in and out of a proper storage area; sometimes your materials have to set out on the site. But that also doesn’t mean your materials have to be ruined. You have to first and foremost, secure your site to minimize damage and even theft.

construction-wastes

For example, you can store lumber on blocking and make sure to cover it up to prevent any damages. You want to do the same with brick and other masonry. The main thing is that your materials are a huge investment and you need to do all you can to protect your investment.

According to the National Equipment Register, states that have a large economy percentage in agriculture and construction industries are the biggest targets for thieves, and the most common pieces of equipment to steal include valuable pieces that are easy to move, like tractors, mowers, and other tools. Heavier pieces like bulldozers and backhoes aren’t so common because they’re too difficult to move.

3. Add Organization to Your Construction Site

Construction sites seem like they can be a bit chaotic, which they can, but they don’t have to be by simply adding a little organization to your site. Consider separating your recyclable and salvageable materials together in an area to reduce confusion; this just puts everyone on the same page. When your site is organized and your team knows where everything is, it will cause you to spend less money on unnecessary materials, re-doing work, and sorting in the middle of a project.

4. Recycle and Re-Use Your Salvageable Materials

On all of your construction sites, make it a point to recycle materials like paper, plastic, metal, and glass… wood too. In that same token, also make sure that if there’s a way to reduce any costs in construction projects, re-using your salvaged materials is the way to do it. The purpose is to reuse these materials so that they don’t end up in a landfill somewhere… You can’t always avoid waste on all projects but landfills are one of the worst ways to handle your construction site waste.

Combating Concrete: Alternative and Sustainable Building Materials

Around 5% of the world’s CO2 emissions are caused by concrete production, so finding sustainable alternatives is essential to slowing down climate change. Fortunately, there are plenty of materials out there which are perfect for mass home construction, without the same ecological damage. If you want to continue to do meaningful things, such as travel the world or live in safe and comfortable accommodation, then finding alternative building materials is the route to doing this sustainably.

Hemp Concrete Substitute

By compacting hemp and lime, it is possible to create a building block comparable to concrete. Unlike concrete, however, hemp absorbs carbon dioxide rather than emits it. This means that during the production process, 1m3 of hemp concrete wall will suck up 165kg of CO2. It is just as durable and robust as regular concrete, but will require cannabis legalisation before manufacture can begin.

Nigerians are building fireproof, bulletproof, and eco-friendly homes with plastic bottles and mud

In countries where the plant is already legal to produce, then the switch to hemp alternative building material should begin immediately. Hemp plastic is an attractive sustainable building material which holds great potential worldwide.

Bamboo and Straw

Wood has long been a popular home building material, but not all plants are equally green. Bamboo has the quickest regrowth time of any plant, meaning that it can be replaced as quickly as it is cut down. It is strong and durable. Meanwhile, straw, when packed tightly, is a perfect eco-friendly insulation material. Together, this makes the most environmentally conscious wooden cabin.

In the debate of manufactured vs modular cabins, the latter tends to be preferred due to its rigidity and durability, while the former is more affordable. By constructing modular bamboo cabins, however, you are able to produce a long-lasting, energy efficient home at a much cheaper cost.

Reused Plastic Waste

The world purchases a million plastic bottles a minute or 480 billion a year. We need to seriously start thinking about how we can reduce our consumption of single use plastics, but also what to do with the waste in the meantime.

One thing that the bottles can be used for is the construction of houses. When filled with sand and stacked together, they form a durable and insulating wall. In some countries, this is being used as a way to bring affordable housing to those living in poverty. It is certainly a creative way to build homes without using more of the Earth’s precious resources.

Final Thoughts

There are so many alternatives to concrete out there. Governments and construction companies need to come together to move towards sustainable building practices. This will help to ensure that everyone has a safe place to call home, while recycling resources and cleaning the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

4 Essential Tips for Building an Eco-Friendly Deck

Building an eco-friendly deck requires carefully sourcing materials, strategically creating designs, and researching quality maintenance practices. If you’re interested in building a beautiful and sustainable deck for your home, follow these 4 essential tips for success.

green-deck

The Importance of Going Green

Gradually, the importance of living an eco-friendly lifestyle is gaining in popularity. People strive daily to discover sustainable changes they can implement in their lives to truly make a difference for the planet.

Reducing your carbon footprint can be accomplished in a variety of ways from simple changes, like choosing reusable over plastic, to major alterations, such as experimenting with alternative energy sources.

Analyze your life to uncover eco-friendly habits you can start forming today.

Building a deck is not exempt from green practices. By carefully planning and strategizing, you can build a sustainable deck that won’t harm the environment.

Ensure every aspect of your life aligns with your eco-friendly goals by discovering how to create an environmentally-sound deck for your home.

1. Choose the Proper Materials

Constructing an eco-friendly deck involves selecting the proper materials for the job. Take time to search and analyze numerous potential materials to utilize for your deck project.

Potential sustainable and quality building materials to choose include:

  • Natural wood
  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Composite decking

Each material option provides different advantages and disadvantages for the earth and your deck.

Research each type of building material to discover the decking that’ll suit your green project. Contemplate important information related to locality, production, maintenance, longevity, and recycling.

Create a pro and con list to determine the perfect decking material that aligns with your eco-friendly conscious.

Choosing the proper building materials for your sustainable project is the first step to ensuring you build an ecological deck.

2. Select a Conscious Design

Planning your dream deck should be completed with an environmentally-sound focus. Guarantee your deck design minimally impacts your carbon footprint by carefully considering important aspects.

How will you build your deck? Avoid excessive digging by marking the location of your support beams and only digging in the specific spots.

How will you position your deck? Evaluate your home and deck building space. Choose a location, if possible, that’s protected from the sun and utilizes the shade of trees. Arranging your deck with sufficient shade will help you avoid building additional structures in the future.

How will you decorate your deck? Select eco-friendly decorations to support your sustainable deck. Purchase recycled deck furniture, install solar lighting, and incorporate plants.

Create an environmentally-conscious design to guarantee you build a beautiful deck.

3. Perform Deck Maintenance Carefully

Preserve your sustainable deck by performing regular maintenance. Avoid harsh chemicals and select eco-friendly cleaners that’ll keep your deck beautiful and help save the planet.

Research a variety of methods for cleaning your deck. Search for natural cleaners, homemade solutions, and chemical-free products.

Natural cleaners for decks can be located online by performing a simple search. Research reviews for different cleaners to discover the best option.

Household solutions, such as white vinegar, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide, can be combined with water to create a green cleaner for your deck.

Chemical-free products that serve as deck cleaners include oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach will clean your deck without damaging or bleaching the wood.

Contemplate your deck maintenance options to ensure you don’t undermine the integrity of your eco-friendly deck by choosing improper cleaners. A lot of these improper cleaners are products that many people have sitting around in their homes… these items are what you would call household hazardous wastes.

4. Seek Assistance

Purchasing materials and designing a deck is a difficult process, especially if you’re inexperienced. Consider hiring a professional if you need assistance building a quality, eco-friendly deck.

Research different decking companies in your area. Ask friends and family for business recommendations. During your search, specifically review each company’s skills, style, and eco-friendly focus.

Ask questions about building materials, designs, and maintenance possibilities. Guarantee they’re aware of your desire to create a sustainable deck.

Select a decking company capable of completing your green project and talented at building quality Kansas City decks.

If you’re interested in building an eco-friendly deck, follow these 4 essential tips to ensure you create a beautiful deck while reducing your carbon footprint.

Everything You Need to Know About Construction Project Manager

A construction project manager basically coordinates material resources and employee schedules throughout an entire project. This is normally accomplished by using different techniques and determining the scope of the project, the cost of the project, the time that is required from start to finish, and the quality of the completed work. Anyone who works in this field knows that a construction project manager’s day is never the same, as the work is continuously changing as the project progresses.

construction-project-professionals

Construction project managers can work on residential, commercial, and even industrial buildings, or they can work on bridges, roads, and schools. They will hire all the contractors and oversee the work of the architects, engineers, and all the vendors. Depending on the size of the project, a single construction project manager may be in charge, or there may be multiple ones in charge of their own specific sections.

While some construction project managers do not have a degree, it is becoming more common for a Bachelor’s Degree to be required for this position. The degree should be in a construction related field like construction management, civil engineering, or building science, but that may not be necessary if a person has quite a bit of hands-on experience in the field. That same hands-on experience is still necessary though, even with a construction related degree, and it can be earned by working as an intern, craftworker, and even a supervisor at a construction site.

Successful construction project managers will continue with their schooling to earn their Master’s Degree, as well as earning their certification for either Associate Constructor, Certified Professional Constructor, or Certified Construction Manager.

One of the first things that a construction project manager will do when they are hired for a job is to create a schedule for the entire project. This schedule will list everything that needs to be done in chronological order, while including the time needed for each item and detailed masonry estimates. They may need to make a few changes before the schedule is complete, due to ensuring that everything is finished at the agreed upon time.

Once a construction project manager has the schedule figured out, they will need to determine how many workers they will need and when each one will be needed. This can be tricky, as one small mistake can throw the entire schedule off. Each part of the project will need different workers, as many construction workers specialize in one thing or another. That means that project managers will be hiring painters, plumbers, electricians, drywallers, flooring installers, waste management professionals and numerous other workers to keep each part of the project moving along on time.

As soon as the project begins, a construction project manager must inspect and review everything that is being completed, so that it all meets current building and safety codes and regulations. In order for that to happen, they must explain all the plans and contract terms to everyone who is working on the project. This can be accomplished all at once or spread out over multiple meetings as the project progresses.

Changes are always part of the construction world, whether the client changes their mind on something in the original design or part of that design will not work the way that it was thought. Those changes always need to be documented somewhere and construction project managers need to be the ones that make sure that they are. Changes can be written as revisions or a change order and then approved by all parties.

There is always a need for permits and licensing when constructing a new building and if any are not obtained when they need to be, the construction may not start on time or the work that was completed may need to be torn down. Most construction project managers are well-versed in the necessary permits and licenses that are needed, but if there are ever any questions, they would need to contact the local town or city board for the proper answers.

While a good part of a project manager’s day will be spent supervising all the workers, they will also need to complete paperwork and track all the progress and costs. This is necessary so that they can stay on budget and on time, but it is also something that the clients like to keep an eye on as well. This is also an excellent way to see how delays have affected the schedule or how future delays could jeopardize the entire project.

The quality of a construction project should always be high and project managers are in charge of ensuring that quality control programs are in place. This can be as simple as doing in-house inspections routinely. Those inspections can also show if there is any damage or ways that an accident can happen and how those can be prevented.

A construction project manager has quite a bit to do each day, but thankfully, due to the use of computers and construction estimation software, they can easily do some of their work wherever they are. They will also have everything that they need at any time, since they can easily access that information from their smartphone or laptop.

Every project manager needs to be organized and a quick thinker, but those who choose this profession thrive in the hustle and bustle of their everchanging workload.

How to Choose Tile for Your Living Room?

What role does your living room play for you? It is usually the heart of the whole house. It is the place where you socialize when you have visitors or the place where you relax with your loved ones at night. Therefore, it is natural that there are a lot of things to consider when choosing tiles for your living room. Follow this guide to find the right tile that suits your lifestyle.

1. Ensure a Suitable Atmosphere

Getting a space that has a homely feel is an essential factor to consider when choosing tiles for the living room. After all, this is the room where your loved ones and guests spend the most time. So how do you choose the tiles for your living room?

tile-living-room

To make it a comfortable space for everyone, choosing the right colors is essential. It is well documented that the colors of an environment can affect the human subconscious. Therefore, the color scheme in your living room should favor soft colors and avoid extremes. Some of the favorite colors used in living rooms are brown, beige, gray, and amber colors.

Consistency in how you choose the tiles for your living room between the flooring and the furniture design is also crucial in getting the perfect space.

2. Choose Wood Look Tile, if You Like the Aesthetics of Hardwood

Hardwood floors look excellent in the living room, but they scratch easily and can be challenging to maintain. If you like aesthetics of hardwood but want the hassle, go for ceramic wood look tile. It is really durable and resistant to both moisture and scratches, which means your floors will look great for a long time.

You can buy ceramic lumber that mimics the look of almost any type of tree. Keep in mind that real wood floors are softer and warmer than ceramic wood, which can be hard and cold. However, ceramic wood look floors are easier to clean than real hardwood floors.

engineered-wood-flooring

3. Pick Ceramic or Porcelain Tile for a Solid and Dense Flooring

Ceramic and porcelain look-alike, but porcelain is slightly denser and slightly less porous than ceramic. If you have children and pets, this can be a good option as it can handle a bit more action (and is less likely to get stained).

Porcelain generally costs a bit more than ceramic, but it usually lasts a bit longer. Porcelain tiles come in many different designs and colors, so you’ll have plenty of options!

4. Install Mosaic Tile for a Patterned and Textured Flooring

Mosaic tile may look strange for a living room, but it can really add a lot of color, texture, and artistry to your space. It works well if you want the rest of the room to be simple, and at the same time, you want an explosion of color or design in the room.

Mosaic tile is ideal if you want to create a design yourself, it lasts a long time and is easy to clean.

5. Consider Durability and Maintenance

When choosing tiles for your living room, durability is an essential factor to consider. Not only does your living room floor get a lot of human traffic, but it’s also exposed to falling and spills objects that can cause damage.

For durability, porcelain tile is always the top priority. Porcelain tile is harder than old-style ceramic tile and most natural stone tiles. Regardless of the finish, the hard body ensures that they will retain their original appearance for a long time.

Most porcelain tiles are stain-resistant, which means they are virtually maintenance-free. This is because most porcelain tiles are pre-glazed or sealed, so surface porosity is kept to a minimum.

6. Choose Flooring that Suits Your Daily Lifestyle

Don’t buy fancy flooring for entertainment purposes. If your floors are regularly subjected to heavy traffic, you shouldn’t add glazed or slippery tiles to your rooms, particularly when you have children or pets in the house.

Having a tile floor makes you vulnerable to slips and minor accidents. Therefore, consider the daily needs of your family members when choosing a tile for your living room.

wood-flooring

Parquet wood floors are back in vogue

7. Make a Small Room Looks Bigger by Choosing Lighter Colored Tiles

Ceramic and porcelain are decent options for small living rooms, as are all other tiles in white, beige, or cream. Light colors give the room a more open look.

Ultimately, you need your tiles to be a color that you don’t mind looking at every day. Take home samples of different colors and styles to see what works best for your living room before making a final decision.

8. Choose Large Tiles to Make Your Living Room Appear Spacious

The larger the tiles, the bigger your room will appear. Look for tiles that are 13 x13 inches (33 x33 cm) or larger. There will be fewer grout lines in your living room, simplifying the space.

That also means you have to clean fewer grout lines. Larger tile looks more modern than smaller ones. However, remember that small tiles are more slip-resistant than large tiles.

9. Select a Matching Grout to Create a More Cohesive Room

If you don’t want your floor to get a lot of attention, choose a grout that matches the tile of your choice. Similar colors will make the tiles appear to flow together, making the living room perfect.

An off-white or gray grout will bond light tiles and draw less attention to the floor. Select a grout that matches the color of the tiles for the perfect look.

10. Take Pictures of Your Furniture and Paints to See How Things Blend Together.

Take some photos of your living room before going to the store. Think about the decorations, doors, curtains, furniture, and artwork that you have in the living room. It will always be tough to say precisely how things will look together. Still, having the photos should help you narrow down your options.

If you have fabric or paint samples from when you painted or bought new furniture, take those with you too. Be sure to bring photos of the room with you when you buy tiles.

The Concept of Passive House: An Interview with Toyin-Ann Yerifor

Green building concepts have come a long way. As architects, designers, and builders gain access to better tools that help push the limits of construction energy efficiency; we see longer strides made towards more mainstream adoption of green building standards. One such standard that is coming of age is passive houses. The concept of passive houses was first mooted in the early eighties when the idea of green building was still in its infancy. Today, the concept is well entrenched with over 25,000 houses and buildings across the world qualifying as passive houses.

We recently caught up with Toyin-Ann Yerifor, an architectural consultant focused on exploring new and innovative ways to design with reduced impact on the environment to explain what passive houses are and their benefits. She holds an MSc in Architecture (AEES) from the University of East London, an MBA from the University of Northampton and an MSc in Computer Science and Engineering from the Université Grenoble Alpes.

What is a Passive House?

First, what is a passive house? Toyin-Ann explains: A passive house is any building that adheres to rigorous energy efficiency standards. The term passive comes from the fact that the building’s energy efficiency comes from its passive structures, which include the roof, walls, windows, doors, and floor. By radically improving the building’s insulation and energy conservation features, it is possible to reduce its heating requirements by up to ninety percent. As such, passive housing as a standard is focused on helping reduce the energy requirements of buildings through insulation, and by extension, their overall energy footprint.

When you reduce a building’s energy footprint, says Toyin-Ann, several benefits accrue, including environmental, health, and cost efficiency benefits.

Environmental Benefits of Passive Houses

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “energy efficiency is the first fuel of a sustainable global energy system. It can mitigate climate change, improve energy security, and grow economies while delivering environmental and social benefits.” Passive houses deliver on this mandate superbly, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor.

One of the biggest challenges traditional buildings face is energy loss. When a building easily loses energy in the form of heat, it takes burning more fuel to heat the building. When this happens, overall energy consumption goes up, which is bad for the environment because a major portion of heat generation comes from burning fossil fuels. When buildings are radically energy efficient, on the other hand, less energy is required, and so fewer fossil fuels need to be burned.

While this is the macro view of the environmental benefits of passive houses, are there any micro benefits of investing in this technology? Here are two, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. First, think of the air quality that comes with less energy consumption. In homes that rely on furnaces, doing away with the furnace improves the air quality in and around the home significantly.

Second, sound pollution is eliminated if you no longer need to use a furnace, HVAC units around the home, or any other heat generation and management devices. Essentially, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor, passive houses reduce the need to burden the environment. Through radical energy efficiency and self-sufficiency, passive house buildings become a part of the environment and not just an addition to it.

Health and Comfort Benefits

When most people hear about passive houses, they imagine living in a sealed paper bag. That thought can be quite disheartening because issues of quality of air, air adequacy, and comfort come to mind. Although the idea behind passive houses is energy efficiency through a tightly sealed envelope (building), this does not mean health and comfort are compromised. Take air quality, for instance. Most people consider opening a window the best way to guarantee air quality in a room. Now, passive houses rely on closed windows to ensure no heat escapes, which presents a dilemma. Passive houses address this dilemma well, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor.

Although you can open a window in a passive house, even if you do not, the heat recovery ventilation system ensures there is enough quality air circulating the house. Regarding comfort, passive houses maintain a comfortable temperature regulated by the passive heat sources in the house like appliances, body heat, and lighting. Also, they tend not to have cold spots or hot spots, which is often the case with traditionally heated homes. Through rigorous design standards afforded by tools such as the Passive House Planning Package, homes built on the passive house standard adhere to comfort standards as rigorous as the energy efficiency standards stipulated.

Cost Efficiency Benefits

Cost efficiency is at the heart of the passive house concept. When a building is exceptionally well insulated, it can use as little as 10 percent of its regular heating energy requirements. This, of course, also significantly reduces the costs associated with heating the building. So, how does the passive house concept achieve such a radical reduction in energy needs? The answer is insulation, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. Passive houses rely on extensive insulation to gain this level of energy efficiency. Why is insulation so effective?

Traditional buildings lose a lot of heat through the roof, walls, floor, doors, and, most of all, windows. With a passive house, each of these structures is carefully designed and built to ensure close to zero loss of heat. When you look at the thermal scan of a passive house next to a traditional house, you’ll notice the passive house is almost entirely blue, meaning there’s close to no energy loss. The other building is close to all red, meaning it is losing a lot of energy. This level of energy conservation and efficiency is what leads to the massive energy savings that make passive houses so cost-efficient.

Passive houses are a concept that is yet to hit mainstream construction. However, this does not mean it is impractical to build passive houses. What it does point to is the need for better awareness of the concept. Toyin-Ann Yerifor recommends anyone interested in the concept to visit a passive house showcase home to experience its benefits firsthand. She says this is the only way to understand and internalize this breakthrough energy efficiency concept.