Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guidelines to sustainability

The Professional Landcare Network is ready to release a major publication dealing with sustainability as it applies to the landscape industry. "Green Industry ECOnomics: Innovating toward a sustainable and profitable future," is the title of the publication — Crystal Ball #29. It will be released soon. Get it. Read it.

Meanwhile, here's an interesting case study from Dallas highlighting some of the same principles explained in the PLANET pub:

Residential Architects Stephen B. Chambers Inc., an architectural firm that specializes in modern and traditional residential design, remodeling, and historic renovation, recently completed a home here using many of the principles of sustainable design. Particular attention was paid to efficient use of space and the conservation of energy, water and other natural resources on the site.

“The client’s primary goal in the design of this new home was to downsize to a single-level, low-maintenance, high-efficiency home,” says Chambers. “Protecting the environment, and conserving the site’s natural resources also were important elements. As we progressed through the design process, we carefully studied how to create a Modern Texan design that integrates with nature and provides a habitat for migratory birds and butterflies.

The residence was built to provide food and water for wildlife by providing animals with food and water. This in no way impedes the experience of the garden; it is designed to allow man and animal to co-exist without hindering each other. We also created cover for wildlife, where animals can hide from people and predators alike. Places are provided for wildlife to build nests and have their young. Special attention was paid to landscaping to further make the residence a real certified wildlife habitat.

Another unique feature of this home is a 1,650-gal. galvanized steel cistern in the front yard that serves a real purpose in providing supplementary landscape irrigation by collecting rainwater from the roof. Symbolically, it reminds us of how important water is as a resource.

Steve remembers that his mother, who was raised in Nebraska during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, used white porcelain bowls in the 1950’s in Dallas to collect rainwater from the roof downspouts to wash her hair. “Somehow, in just a few generations,” Steve says, “we have forgotten what a scarce commodity fresh water can be and that a real effort is necessary to intelligently conserve it and other natural resources in our environment. This can be done by specifying many of the recycled, recyclable, renewable, and short-growth products that are now available to architects and designers.”

Other sustainable features of the home are: open cell foam insulation, galvanized steel roofing, stone quarried within 300 miles of Dallas, pine end grain block flooring, deep overhangs and loggia, high-efficiency appliances and ceiling fans, high-performance windows and doors, high-efficiency air conditioning, low-flow plumbing fixtures, drip irrigation system, minimal water use landscaping, low maintenance grasses and no lawn.

Stephen B. Chambers Inc. hopes to offer homeowners with solutions to integrate their homes with local nature and preserve water so that even when living in our homes we can contribute to a sustainable world. — LM Edit Team

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