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Design Inspirations  Green Talk
            
 

 

Thursday
Mar152012

My latest obsession with water

I just realized something other people may have already known - that I have an obsession with water.  Years ago I pursued a business where I would visit home owners, do an energy assessment of their home focusing primarily on water usage and show how much water they were using and purchasing.  Then I would show them HET (High efficiency toilets) and faucets that use less gpm (gallons per minute) and give a comparison on how much water (and money) they could save by changing out their fixtures as well as educating them on water saving habits.  I really wanted to change our community, one toilet at a time. 

Then I became obsessed with the use of colored light and music in a showering experience.  (Kohler DTV programs colored lights and showering experiences).  I designed a very unique shower complete with a stone garden wall overlooking a waterproof mural of the Spanish countryside on the walls, stone floor mimicking a terrace, preset with colored lights, body sprays, and music (Battlestar Gallactica) to make the ULTIMATE showering experience. 

In 2010 I started my Rain Water Waterfall / rain water harvesting to be used as toilet water project.  I purchased a couple underground water storage tanks and designed (with help) a system to collect rainwater by punching holes in my gutter creating a waterfall in front of my music room windows.  The rainwater would collect in a ‘pool’ that filtered the water and directed it into storage tanks which were to be piped to my home and pumped up to the plumbing wall of my home.  And I would have clean toilet water that had been recycled from my roof.

My concern with the lack of potable water in most of the world directed me into learning about sustainability and becoming a LEED AP.  My family history of manufacturing medical machines that use electricity on our body engrained in me the basic understanding that our body is made of water…. I have been talking and writing about water for a very long time.

So it should not have been a surprise that my newest venture is to design and build and operate a hydro Spa featuring a sauna room, a steam room, a warm ‘floating’ pool with a 12’ waterfall, complete with soft music & lights, in the building that also houses a Wellness Center and a hot Yoga school.  I am REALLY excited about this venture and look forward to the day that I invite all of you to my grand opening!

Keeping Green,   Christine

Tuesday
Feb282012

The Urban Spa

The private Urban Spa is the most recent of trends in our community.  Whether it is a reaction to the stress that we experience exponentially, or our desire to pamper ourselves, we are seeking relaxation opportunities for our lives.  Many of us are creating private 'spas' in our homes to fulfill those needs.  Remodeling a bathroom into your private urban spa is not necessarily more expensive than a normal bathroom remodel.  You just need a few key items to ensure your relaxation.   Here are some basics:

To create a peaceful, relaxing area you should a) select natural materials for the flooring, walls and counters b)  allow the textures from the natural materials create pattern and interest c)  select colors that are soothing (no fire engine reds) d) select fixtures that have simple lines (no ornateness)

Options for your home spa:  a)  heated towel warmer (this can double as the towel rack) b) steam shower (steam shower fixtures are available through Kohler) c) heated flooring d) music (sound system) e) tubs with heat, jets or bubbles f)  large open showers with body sprays, rain shower heads and hand showers g) bench to lay down on both in the steam shower and outside the shower  h) sauna  i) foot massager  j) foot baths (yes they exist! see MTI's foot bath) k) specialty shower enclosures l) aroma therapy & light therapy (available through most tub & shower manufacturers - see Kohler DTV electronic interface

As with any remodel, the key to success is planning. Call me and we can create your eternal relaxation spa!  Chiao!

Tuesday
Feb072012

Is Sustinable Green Energy the key to our nation's defense?

“The next time we want to go to war, maybe we wouldn’t even need to bomb a country.  We could just, you know, turn off its power.’  Liam O’Murchu, Symantec Security Response

War, civil disobedience, and politics have all been significantly affected by technology.  It seems that the more dependent we are on technology, and/or our grid of energy, the more vulnerable we are.  It also follows that as we get ‘more efficient’ we tend to centralize the power source, build large power plants, etc.  If ‘one’ could stop all communications by taking out cell towers, if ‘one’ could starve a country by stopping transportation, if one could win a war by cutting off all energy….

Our latest snow/ice storm reminded us how dependent we are on electricity for light, heating, and cooking.  Electricity is a big part of our daily existence.  When the grid goes down, we all go down.  (Gas stations closed due to the power outage)

‘Alternative’ energy sources in individual homes or buildings such as solar, rain water harvesting , geo thermal, etc are one way to de-centralize our energy use.  When the grid goes down, we are still functioning, we still have water, electricity, heat and cooling.  After reading the quotation by O’Murchu, I began to wonder if our government had thought about our centralized energy vulnerability.  Probably.  Then I wondered if that vulnerability had been behind our country’s recent Green Energy push.  Probably.   And here I thought that program was to help ‘save the world.’  Oh well!

Keeping Green!

Christine

Wednesday
Jan112012

Economic downturn & Sustainable products

In this very tough business climate there are still innovations being made, produced and marketed for ‘green’/’sustainable’ products.  Remember, just because a product is healthy does not mean that it is made of sustainable materials, and conversely, some products made of sustainable materials still off gas toxic voc’s. 

GLASS 2, is making a VERY COOL glass product made of 99% recycled glass.  What makes it different from other glass products is that the ‘layering’ of the glass is visible from the edge, creating a wonderful natural pattern.  Overall the product looks like pieces of glass floating in water with the layers visible from the side.  It is stunning when back lit, leading to natural applications of floating counters, front desk materials, etc.  It comes in slabs of 2cm and 3cm in 11 colors and is fabricated by the same fabricators that you use for stone counters.  Glass2 is currently available through Pental

 

Bio Green Clean was introduced to me by my husband and I have to say that this is the ultimate in a cleaning product.  It works on everything from counters, floors, stone, leather, metal, teeth, blood, automobiles, mirrors, appliances, coffee machines, etc.  AND it really works!.  AND, by the way, it is 100% plant derived and is so healthy you can eat it.  (It is not really recommended that you eat it, but the MSDS sheet states that you may experience some diarrhea due to the ‘emulsification of grease and oil in the digestive tract’) You can obtain the product directly through www.biogreenclean.com

It is truly inspiring to see people establishing new businesses and producing products in a poor economic market that are both sustainable and safe! A colleague recently said to me, ‘some people are still wringing their hands and crying about this economy, and others are out there making lemonade from the lemons they have been given.’  What kind of person are you?  I challenge you and myself to rise to the occasion and make 2012 the best come back year ever!

Keeping Green and Positive,

Christine

Wednesday
Dec072011

The Grid and those trying to loosen the stranglehold of government

The Grid – Those trying to loosen the stranglehold of government and Those who never were on the grid

It is interesting to me that with our struggle with energy, (too expensive, pollutes too much, need to lower our needs, etc) our government laws and codes often prevent us from getting off the grid. 

The Bullitt Center being built on Capitol Hill is being hailed as inspiration as it will provide all its own water, process all is own sewage, balance out a net zero on electricity, etc. But as Denis Hayes commented “This building was illegal to build in Seattle three years ago.” He was still trying to persuade health officials to allow the building’s drinking fountains, sinks and showers to use treated rainwater collect on the roof.  The health department wants a level of chlorine that contradicts the Living Building Challenge’s prohibitions on toxins so the center will currently be built with a hook up to city water.  The city granted several code exceptions for this building, specifically height restrictions that prevented the use of higher ceilings to maximize the use of natural light.

THEN there are the monks in Cambodia.  One hour from Cambodia’s capital is a village with eight monks and 10 orphans who have electricity in the first time in their lives – from solar panels.  The solar panels were donated and installed by a NGO (non government organization.) There is a good chance these monks will never be on the grid, and it is increasingly clear that some societies can jump frog the grid entirely as well as jump frog the accompanying government regulations.

Somehow, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Keep Green,  Christine