Home is where the respiratory system, the kidneys, the livers, and of course, the heart is. It is also where the off-gassing is. Off-gassing being the emission of noxious gases that are frequently emitted inside homes from everyday items. Products such as flooring, paints, furniture, bedding. Items we purchase without a second thought and then sit, sleep, and eat on. Americans spend 90% of their time indoors so it is important that the air we are breathing is clean and healthy. Off-gassing, however, does not constitute clean and healthy, and in fact, can have detrimental affects on the aforementioned organs.
Then there are the elements that make up the production of the home. Those too contribute to off-gassing which then contribute the demise of an environmentally sound structure. Fortunately there are some sustainably designed options available today that are as stylish as they are green. Even if you can't jump into a full blown remodel or brand spankin' new pre-fab you can still look to these designs for inspiration. One action in the right direction can still make a difference.
Michelle Kaufmann Designs: Michelle Kaufmann is a architectural design firm that specializes in sustainable and innovative designs. Having won several awards for her stylist and environmentally-friendly architectural gems her designs are just plain cool.
Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects: This group of talented folks have created Rolling Huts. Yes, rolling huts that you can wheel around and stick the in-laws in. The designers refer to the huts as a step above camping, and remain low-tech and low-impact with their design. I'd say they are a few steps above camping and can think of many times when I'd have loved to escape to my own Rolling Hut.
Taliesin Mod.Fab: This ultra modern structure was created by graduate and undergraduate students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Arizona. The Tasliesin exemplifies clean lines, elegance and sustainable living.
Kaplan Thompson Architects BrightBuilt Barn: This project is a collaboration between Kaplan Thompson Architects, Bensonwood Homes, and several Maine engineers and professionals. The structure features renewable materials, water conservation, energy efficiency, sustainable landscape, and renewable power. According to the team the goals from the start have been: livability, sustainability, replicability / affordability, disentaglement / flexibility, and education.
We are in the infancy stage of green building and while these examples stand out for their innovative designs there will soon be a day when sustainable living is the new normal. Hopefully that normality will be accepted sooner rather than later.