Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Great guest post that speaks to the benefits of Green Design in the work space.  Many of these principles and practices are scalable to the residential environment too.

S Interior Design encourages eco-friendly design elements where ever feasible for their projects residential and commercial.

 

Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Protecting the environment has become a vital issue for many people. As the need for environmentally conscious ways of living increases, businesses are now doing their part to introduce green initiatives into their workspaces.
Listed here are 5 examples of the most interesting and creative green work environments that have been developed by companies in recent years. Each example goes out to prove the various tactics that industry leaders are tackling in order to accomplish, essentially, their most important job: preserving the environment!

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Seattle’s Bullitt Center
Considered the greenest business building in the world, the Bullitt Center in Seattle has over 50,000 square feet of space and uses a small percentage of the energy normally required for commercial buildings.  It has been designed to create its own energy source by using solar panel technology. But because Seattle has relatively little sunshine throughout the year, the Bullitt Center also utilizes the grid when needed.  The building contains showers on each of its floors and has no automobile parking on its premises. It does provide covered parking for bicycles, encouraging occupants to use bikes in place of cars.

Skanska, Väla Gård 120925Foto: Klas Andersson
Skanska’s Green Building
Skanska’s office building is located on a former farm in Sweeden. It’s the nation’s first Deep Green building and has a net-zero energy consumption level. No hazardous materials were used for its construction, and none of the waste produced during the process ended up in landfills.

Similar to the Bullitt Center, Skanska’s green workspace uses a solar power system for its energy. The building uses heat recovery units that help reuse a large percentage of heat that would otherwise be lost in outgoing air. The building cost $5 million and used locally sourced materials in its construction.

The Jones Lang LaSalle building prioritized non-hazardous materials in its construction and recycled approximately 75 percent of the waste produced. The building uses sensors to monitor daylight and occupancy as a means of controlling its energy requirements. This creative green workspace was able to reduce its water use by 40 percent along with an overall energy reduction of 13 percent. But perhaps more significant was the result it had on the building’s occupants.  When looking at the number of sick days of its employees, the company discovered that absenteeism was lowered by over 30 percent. The green technology led to fewer sick days among workers, pushing the notion that going green isn’t just beneficial for the environment, but for the people as well!
Lohre and Associates
Cincinnati saw the green workplace revolution appear in the workspace of Lohre and Associates. It saved considerable costs both in its construction and in its operation. Scraps from carpet and wood were recycled and composted in the building process, while old window blinds were reused. The building features creative green bathroom technology that uses hand-washing adapters that funnel sink water into toilets, which in turn, reduces massive amounts of water usage.

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Energy Systems Design

Energy Systems Design utilized environmentally-friendly energy controls, plumbing and lighting systems within their green workspace. Although limited in their ability to renovate the existing structure, they found creative ways to design a greener workspace.   Throughout the building, recycled materials such as used glass and wood were utilized in a remarkable act of turning junk into something new. Also, rubber cork tiles were used for the building’s flooring, which helped to further the project’s resourcefulness and aesthetic appeal. The result of is a set of high-efficiency units that save energy and reduce costs.
The possibilities are endless…

Plenty of other companies now, too, are joining the green workspace revolution, by initializing smarter design tactics that consist of recycled and eco-friendly materials. To some it may mean resorting to more heavily involved projects such as harvesting solar power and implementing smart water systems to cut down wasteful consumption, but to others, it may be something as simple as installing glass balustrades, such as those offered by Aqua Vista Glass. A solution like this allows for the use of more natural light to indoor spaces and less dependency on timber resources. This saves energy and costs for business owners, while creating a more naturally lit open space that promotes a smarter, eco-friendly standard.

As more people become conscious of the need to reduce waste and energy consumption, eco-friendly workspaces will become the norm. Employees will reap the benefits of a greener work environment, and will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are part of the solution, and not the problem.

Image credit: wikipedia.org and http://www. group.skanska.com/
Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who travels frequently. She is interested in all forms of green design, particularly those modern, clever ideas that can help in protecting the environment.

 

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Bathroom Design Trends

S Interior Design loves remodeling bathrooms for their clients.  When we were asked to host this guest blog post on Bathroom Trends, we said YES!  Fun, contemporary design ideas to inspire you.

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Bathroom Trends: Glass Mosaic Tile (via)

Bathroom trends to me start with the tile work. In this case, one of my favorite examples is the Copper Color Bisazza Glass Mosaic Tile. It gives you that contemporary look and serene feeling to your bathroom. Other trendy styles of tile you should consider for your bathroom redesign project are natural stone, pebble tile, stone mosaic tile and stainless steel tile. If you’re doing budget-conscious remodeling, use designer tile sparingly in the form of cut-out tile accents, to give you that designer tile design cue.

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Turquoise Painted Glass Vessel Sink (via)

Vessel sinks are very much trendy these days. Walk into any high-end restaurant’s bathroom, and you’ll likely see a vessel sink. Depending on the style, they can also be very affordable. Personally, I like the above vessel sink made of glass, and painted turquoise.

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Trendy Shower Doors: Neo-Angle Frameless Shower Enclosures and Glass BathTub Screens

If you couldn’t tell from the glass vessel sinks and the glass mosaic tile recommendations, glass is in style when it comes to the bathroom. One of the reasons for that is because glass allows for the passage of light. That means a lot of glass, opens up an otherwise small looking bathroom, and makes it look more spacious. Also, if you have fancy tile work in your bathroom, there’s no better way to show off that tile work than with beautiful low-iron glass (in which the green hue has been reduced by taking out the iron content).

Nothing looks drabber than cheap, toxic, vinyl shower curtains. In these examples, the neo-angle shower enclosure is the trendiest and most expensive shower enclosure on the market. It’s frameless, so the metal hardware is barely visible.

On the other side, is the glass bathtub screen. These are very trendy in Europe, and are starting to make their way over into the United States. In Europe, people aren’t afraid of a little bit of water splashing out of their tubs. At the end of the day, both a full shower enclosure and a glass bathtub screen are great options for a trendy bathroom.

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Granite Countertop (via)

Granite countertops are a popular décor trend both in the bathroom and the kitchen. They provide the perfect backdrop for the aforementioned glass vessel sinks. And if you’re going to spend the “dough-re-mi” for a solid-slab granite countertop, utilizing clear glass vessel sinks might be a good idea in order to better showcase the granite. If you’re looking to save money, you can also do a DIY project and use a granite tile kit, which is a third of the price of buying the solid slab of granite, as seen above. They both provide that trendy, natural, solid-stone look for one’s bathroom.

About the Author

Shahab Shokouhi is a glass design expert at www.dullesglassandmirror.com, an innovative manufacturer of glass table tops, glass shelves, and all other glass and mirror products. Follow Dulles Glass and Mirror on Pinterest or on YouTube to see how they’re changing the way glass products are manufactured, customized and delivered.

It’s Good to be GREEN

No, I am not talking about green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, or green eggs and ham, but green in terms of selection of eco-friendly materials to complete  your home remodel.   Below is a guest post that describes some good ideas about how you can ‘think green’.

Making your home remodel as green as possible

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When remodelling a home you have to make environmental concerns a priority now, not just because of government regulations and stipulations, but also because we have a duty to build buildings and homes that use as few resources as possible, will operate without depleting natural resources on an ongoing basis, and will stand the test of time and be durable and liveable for many years to come. This might sound like a challenge if you’re remodelling a home, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t mean your remodelled home has to be a complete off-the-grid tepee without electricity or running water, it just means that you should use approved green products and appliances when doing your constructions. Information about green solutions is readily available; just browse design and construction firms like Unique Design. Green design doesn’t have to affect the appearance of your remodel either, just the mechanics of it. Here are some pictures of green remodelled homes:

It is now very easy to power your kitchen or bathroom by using solar energy, so if you are doing works on your plumbing or light fittings you should think about this. Solar energy will also attract generous rebates from the government, meaning that your energy bill will dramatically decrease.

Plumbing fixtures are good place to focus your attention as well, as faulty or inadequate fixtures are responsible for huge amounts of leaking and water wastage. A good thing to do when in the midst of a remodel is to get an energy audit, which will show you exactly how and where your energy consumption is going. It might be a revelation to find out exactly how energy is used in your home, and then you’ll know what the big consumers are and how you can save on energy expenses. Most people find that energy is used for a few hours in the evening, across two rooms, the kitchen and the bathroom. As a general rule, good quality products are better for the environment because they use energy more efficiently and last longer, meaning that they stay out of our landfill for longer.

Handmade – Bespoke Kitchen Design

Is it a tomato or tomatoe?  A sofa or a couch?  Sometimes different words can mean the same thing.  This is NOT true for hand made/bespoke kitchens versus a made -to- measure kitchen which is essentially stock items specified in certain dimensions, and finishes .  S Interior Design often combines semi-custom kitchen components with bespoke, and therefore unique design elements when we do kitchen remodels for our clients.  The guest post shown below (from across ‘The Pond’  for my United States readers who may not recognize some word spelling), describes some key differences between a true Bespoke/Handmade kitchen and other  kitchen design options

Defining a bespoke kitchen:

Bespoke design is a term that is bandied about casually by a number of trades, as well as kitchen and furniture fitters. The word has been adopted by many large kitchen companies who offer little more than ‘made-to-measure’. A bespoke kitchen can be best described as ‘handmade kitchens’. Read on find out about handmade kitchens.

Bespoke versus made-to-measure 

Between the extremes of ‘bespoke design’, and ‘pre-produced’, sits ‘made-to-measure’. Often made-to-measure means taking pre-existing designs and customising them to suit a certain type of room. In terms of kitchen design, this will often mean giving customers the choice of colour, work surface material, or door handle etc. Bespoke on the other hand, refers to something that is individually cut or designed to meet specific individual requirements.

Defining bespoke kitchens

As a concept, bespoke refers to custom-made products, without any pre-existing sizes and patterns. Many kitchen companies will offer ‘made-to-measure’ and think that it qualifies as bespoke. A true bespoke kitchen designer will be able to design and build unique kitchen furniture, tailored to meet specific requirements. These are not pre-produced, but are made specifically on design request. A better phrase to use would be a ‘hand-made kitchen’, as the value is in the expert design and production process.

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Bespoke Kitchen Design

The Design and Production Process

Handmade kitchens are defined by their design and production process. Some companies will allow you to customise designs to fit your individual kitchen, but the process is not truly bespoke. When choosing a handmade kitchen, it is the designers job to take a customers vague ideas and concept of a ‘dream kitchen’ and turn them into reality.

Going bespoke
Purchasing a handmade kitchen will begin with an initial design consultation whereby the designer will try to establish the following. Is it solely a place for preparing food, or does it have a multi-purpose function as a living and a socialising area? These underlining principles will shape the design of a kitchen.

The designer will also ask the customer if they have any specific aesthetic requirements, including a the type of material used or style of design. One way that kitchen designers can ascertain their customers needs, is by asking them what they liked and disliked about their past kitchens.

After establishing what you are looking for in a kitchen, and choosing a design style and other elements such as the type of cooker, the designer can then produce technical drawings or CAD drawings to bring your ideas to life.

Tips:

Request for bespoke designers to show you past work to help to give you an idea of what they can produce.

A truly bespoke kitchen company will own a workshop whereby individualised furniture is made. The value of a handmade kitchen is in the specialised design process, and the highly skilled craftsman employed, to the trusted fitting team. The difference between a top kitchen design company and a poor standard product can often be found out by looking at the production process. If you are serious about purchasing a handmade kitchen, I would advise you enquire into the production process or even request to see the workshop.

 

Article submitted by Richard Davonport, Managing Director at Davonport who offer bespoke kitchens with practical design features which can be tailored exactly to your needs. Founded almost 20 years ago, Davonport combine the latest technology with traditional woodcraft and finishing skills, to create cabinets of the highest quality. Meet our high skilled team of kitchen designers at http://www.davonport.com

 

 

 

 

 

Sinks And Color Get Married

Color is back!  Kohler one of the most widely known names in bath and kitchen  fixtures  including sinks, tubs, toilets, faucets, showers  and more has partnered with renowned designer Jonathan Adler to launch a new line of kitchen and bathroom sinks in an unexpected color palette.

Johnathan Adler Limited Edition Colors

Sample Tiles

 

As stated by Adler in the Kohler Idea book : ” Your home should be happy.  You should feel like you’re walking into your favorite song on the radio.  Color sets the mood; it’s the first thing you notice when you walk into a room.”

S Interior Design is looking forward to designing a kitchen or bath with beautiful white quartz counter tops and one of these colorful sinks .
In addition to the 4 Jonathan Adler special edition colors, Kohler has 29 other color options to choose from.

Kohler DemiLav Sink

 

 

Eco-Friendly Bathroom Ideas

S Interior Design is pleased to bring you this guest post on ideas to help make your bathroom environment eco-friendly.  Like any room or space in a home or office, using materials derived from nature (cotton, linen, plant-based), versus chemical compounds is taking a step in the right direction.  So forego the PVC vinyls and harsh chemical cleaners.  When it is time to replace your toilets, look for low water usage or dual flush options which are readily available.  And don’t forget your lighting options-go LED for long-lasting beautiful light, and whenever possible day light from windows or Solatubes.

How to Keep your Bathroom Eco-Friendly

If living in an eco-friendly world is important to you, then it’s time to start with your own home. Which room do you utilize the most? Other than the kitchen, the bathroom comes in at a close second.  This is a great place to start, though you may not consider it at first.

TheEnvironmentSite.org suggests, “… You will be amazed how much you could do to make your bathroom more environmentally friendly.  This can start with the cleaning products you use end with how much water you use for flushing your toilet.” From cleaning supplies, to your basic bathroom items, you can go green from every angle.

DIY Cleaning Ideas

 Photo Credit: onyxdistribution.com

If you feel ready to take this project into your own hands, get ready to make your own cleaners. Utilizing many products that you may already have in your house, this is an easy task that’s worth taking on. Not convinced? Care2.com says, “Ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart.”  Time to get started; here are your basic formulas.

  • Shower: Baking soda and water or lemon juice and vinegar.
  • Mirror: Mix vinegar and water – 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a whole gallon of water.
  • Clogged drain: Put half cup of baking soda into your drain and wash it down with 2 cups of boiling water.
  • Toilet cleaner: Baking soda, washing soda, distilled vinegar, liquid soap and tree oil

Buying the Right Cleaners

If DIY cleaning isn’t your thing, you can head to your local grocery store to find some eco-friendly products. Because environmental awareness is on the rise, almost every bathroom cleaning company offers recycled or earth friendly options. Before making your purchase however, look for these key ingredients.  Greenhome.com suggests looking for:

  • Avoid any cleaner with phosphates or chlorine, which are harmful to people.
  • Look for plant born ingredients such as d-limonene or lauramine oxide.

Eco-Friendly Bathroom Items

 Photo Credit: theuptown.net

While you may consider keeping your cleaning supplies eco-friendly, it’s important that your bathroom is green all over. That means you want to be stocked with all the right products. You can find all your basic bathroom necessities in organic, recycled or bamboo materials which are better for your bathroom, your family and the environment.

  • Natural fabric shower curtain: The plastic curtains that eek that ever-recognizable “plastic smell” are made with PVC and should be avoided. Find naturally made curtains in your local home goods store.
  • Recycled toilet paper: Many mainstream companies now offer recycled version of their traditional product, such as Seventh Generation.
  • Towels: Find bamboo and organic materials. According to Bliss.com, “Both are better for you and the environment because they aren’t made from plants sprayed with insecticides and pesticides and often use low-impact dyes.”

If you’re serious about going eco-friendly in the bathroom, there are a number of ways to incorporate bits and pieces or go the whole way. From cleaners to your everyday necessities like towels, you can do your part for the world while making a healthier environment for yourself, your family and visitors.

Sara Fletcher enjoys learning about all aspects of the home ranging from affordable double vanities, interior design, and green furniture. She one day hopes to build her own dream home, complete with luxury bathroom vanities.

 

Peek Inside Celebrity Bathrooms

For some reason we like peering into the private lives of celebrities.  Well, thanks to this guest post, you will have the opportunity to check out 10 master bathrooms of the stars!!  Hopefully they will provide you with some inspiration to make over your very own bathroom this year and express your STAR power in your master bathroom! Continue reading