Lassen Volcanic Park, CA
A green designed house can
respond to the serious problem of growing landfills, dwindling
natural resources and global warming. Harmony Architects
creates solutions for your house to achieve maximum harmony with the
environment. This is achieved through thoughtful planning with
respect to site orientation, consideration of heat gain and loss, selection of
eco-friendly building materials, energy saving appliances and incorporating
renewable energy sources. Green building goals are triple fold:
consideration for the environment, healthier buildings for the
occupants and to save money in energy and utility bills.
www.treehugger.com/gogreen.php for a plethora of information on
how to "go green" in every aspect of life.
Think about the environmental impact of a
product before making a purchase. When comparing products, think
about how much energy has been utilized in creating the product.
Buying higher quality products increases the chance of a longer
rather than it being thrown in a landfill soon.
Reuse plastic grocery bags for trash or at the
grocery store till they are worn out and then recycle.
Take your own bags to the grocery store. If you
purchase only one or few items, do not accept a plastic bag- just
carry your goods! Visit www.amazon.com
to buy canvas grocery bags.
Request online bills and pay online to reduce
paper used by corporations.
Walk or bike where you can instead of driving.
Use public transportation wherever possible.
Avoid cheap plastic toys for children's goody
bag gifts. Most of them are made abroad with no regulation on the
quality of plastic and dyes used. These toys also break easily and
quickly end up in landfills.
Use unwanted envelopes of junk mail for quick
notes or writing grocery lists.
Buy products with recycled content. There are
building products, paper products, home products such as door mats,
garden edging boards, outdoor furniture, paper towels, tissues etc
made with recycled content.
Do not keep the water running when brushing
teeth or shaving. Wash hands by rinse, soap and rinse method instead
of keeping the tap running.
Run appliances such as laundry and dishwasher
during off-peak times to save on electricity.
Run the dishwasher and laundry when loads are
full and on short cycles.
In summer, utilize the natural heat to dry
blankets, sheets and bath rugs.
In summer, utilize portable fans instead of
turning on the whole house A/C. An effective way to reduce heat gain
in summer is to keep windows facing east, south and west closed with
drapes drawn from 10 am to 5pm when heat gains are maximum. If
required, turn on A/C to cool down the house and then turn it off.
Thereafter utilize a fan.
In winter, allow maximum heat gain through
windows by keeping the drapes open, but windows closed. Use portable
heaters instead of whole house furnace. Wear extra clothes for
warmth before turning the furnace on. Heat from a furnace dries up
the indoor air inducing nasal dryness leading to coughs and colds.
Utilize a humidifier along with a heater to balance the humidity
levels in a room.
Reuse, repair, refinish, upholster or donate
Donate items to thrift stores.
Recycle or donate electronic goods, bicycles,
CD's, batteries, appliances, toys, computers etc. Visit
www.stopwaste.org for a list
of facilities which accept these goods for recycling and proper
Purchase Energy star
www.energystar.gov/ approved appliances such as
dishwashers, refrigerators, furnaces and windows.
Use cleaning products which do not release
harmful chemicals. Baking soda on a damp sponge works great on
kitchen countertops to get rid of tough stains and grease. A spray
bottle filled with water, a teaspoon of vinegar and a drop of liquid
dish soap works great to clean mirrors, windows and even floors.
Clean stains on carpet with a rag towel, warm water and a bit of
liquid dish soap.
Maintain indoor air quality by ventilating the
house by opening windows, replace furnace air filter, and use
natural cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar for sinks, windows,
mirrors, etc. Use formaldehyde and toluene free nail polish and
avoid using permanent marker pens like "Sharpies" in poorly
Save energy by turning down the furnace
thermostat and water heater setting to "vacation mode" if you plan
to be out of the house for a few days.
Use durable reusable items such as cloth
napkins for cleaning; plastic or glass plates for entertaining
instead of paper or Styrofoam. For parties, have guests write their
names on paper cups to avoid each person using three or four cups
for a single evening.
Use reusable gift bags rather than gift
wrapping paper wherever possible.
Do not use Styrofoam containers, plates and cups.
These items are non biodegradable and only containers which have not
come in contact with food can be recycled.
Avoid using paper towels for wiping and
cleaning. Use cloth or micro
fiber towels which can be reused.
Use zero or low VOC (volatile organic compound)
paints. Regular paints emit fumes which are toxic to human
health and are ozone depleting. These are available through
manufacturers such as Sherwin Williams, Kelly Moore, Benjamin Moore.
Do not dump left over paints, cleaning
solutions, chemicals or motor oil in a household or storm
drain. These products have
hazardous chemicals which contaminate the watershed when poured down
a storm drain and contaminate our Bay. Dispose off at
local hazardous waste drop off centers. Find more information from
your city waste management department. Clean brushes with rags and turpentine instead of washing in sinks.
If remodeling; old carpets, windows, bathroom
fixtures, and cabinets can be donated instead of disposing off in a
landfill. Items can be listed on websites such as
Notify the contractor to carefully remove old building materials
rather than demolish, so it could be salvaged for reuse.
Use compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs instead of
incandescent bulbs. Several attractive fluorescent light fixtures
are now available which accept pin type fluorescent bulbs.
Consider planting drought resistant plants
instead of lawns to conserve water. Use mulch, pebbles or decorative
glass pieces at base of plant to retain moisture in soil. Visit
http://www.stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=629 for a list of
Bay friendly plants which require minimal water and maintenance.
Install drip irrigation system instead of overhead sprinklers to
For outdoor paving surfaces, use permeable pavers or
pavers laid in sand over a compacted sub base. This allows rainwater
to naturally infiltrate the ground and replenish groundwater