Humanity is something that we don’t get to see much these days. We see people fighting, cheering for wars, governments toppling down, sickness being prevalent, and poverty rates hitting the roof. Though individual countries, governments and organizations have taken steps to minimize these, not much has come out of them. Granted a few countries have overcome such major obstacles, but most of the countries, especially developing countries are yet to tackle such issues. That’s where the Sustainable Development Goals from the UNO comes in The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Global Goals, is an international action to stop pressing issues like poverty, hunger, economic depression and climate change. But, what has this particular project achieved till now? And what can we expect in the near future?

The Sustainable Development Goals program came into effect in January 2016, and it has been an ongoing project ever since. Countries around the world are participating in this worldwide campaign. After millions being spent by companies and governments, a report was called for from the UNO, and the results were not that pleasing. Both industry insiders and the UNO agree that a lot more effort and resources are needed to get this project don. Though the period of this project extends till 2030, the efforts that have been put in have not been worthwhile, and implementation is slow. In UNO’s own words, °progress is uneven°.

When coming to extreme poverty, about 767 remain helpless as the necessary action was not taken. Though advances were taken to combat malnutrition and hunger, a high number of children are still affected by malnutrition. The most alarming fact is that these children are under the age of 5. Under the project also comes the goal to eradicate maternal mortality. Though the rate has declined considerably, an alarming 303,000 women died during pregnancy When coming to children, 53 million children died under the age of 5 worldwide.

The progress in areas of energy is also slow. Sustainable energy was a keen point that was taken up as a goal in the project, and though there has been progress, it’s very small. In fact, in 2012, 43 million deaths were reported due to the lack of access to clean and sustainable cooking fuels. In whole, over 3 billion people lacked access to clean energy.

While in some countries economic growth is seen, the progress is not even and development is not equally shared. Even in countries where economic progress was evident, losses due to natural hazards saw a peak of 250 billion to 300 billion dollars a year

This is just half of the report, In areas of access to water, access and control of data and gender equality, there is still a lot to be don. Mr Wu Hongbo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs stated that °Empowering vulnerable groups is critical to ending poverty and promoting prosperity for everyone, everywhere…And by the looks of this report, every single project that has been undertaken is critical.

Industry insiders and business analysts strongly believe that though the UNO is keen in making changes, progress is not evident. They also predict that the rate of progress of the project in many areas is slow, and meeting the target by 2030 would not be possible.

Today I’m going to discuss my latest piece of thought leadership on the topic of sustainable investment. For occupiers, sustainable real estate practices can lower operating costs. Less energy used equals cost savings, pure and simple. Making real estate facilities green can also go a long way to enhancing brand appeal. It demonstrates to the world the brand’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

The value proposition of sustainability for building owners hasn’t always been clear. This latest thought leadership discussion focuses on the investment drivers for sustainable real state. By surveying leading owners and investment managers across North America I set out to understand the motivation for owning and developing green buildings and how sustainability impacts real estate investment decisions. I conducted one-on-one interviews with 25 top property owners and managers in North America and their view points across four main categories are interesting. I learned that the demand factors for sustainable buildings are driving increased momentum among the investment community. These factors include investors, stakeholders, occupiers, tenants and industry best practice. As a result many of the owners we interviewed have implemented formal sustainability policies and owners who don’t have policies indicated that the absence of a written statement does not mean sustainability is not a factor in their investment decisions.

Our interviews also revealed the strong opinion that sustainability has a positive correlation to property value. Investors saw increased rents in their sustainable buildings. Using research previously conducted by my colleagues I compared the perspective on sustainability in North America to Europe. I learned that greater emphasis is placed on sustainability across in Europe  leaving me to wonder how much growth is yet to come here in the states. Most of the investment professionals interviewed had clear opinions on sustainability and the value proposition of LEED certification. Some were far along in their development of sustainability policies and others were just beginning. But one thing is clear from my report is that the sustainability performance of a property is a factor that should not be ignored for anyone who wants to add value to their real estate portfolios.

To learn more about the role this critical issue plays in a real estate investment please contact me and I can share it with you.

 

Today I’m talking about ways to green your home.

1. Cloth napkins

I have this little napkin holder and I have my cloth napkins in here and I just put it on the table and tada! napkins. It’s a lot cheaper if you obviously make them or get them at Goodwill. Goodwill always has an entire section of cloth napkins and placemats and they’re super super cheap. To go along with cloth napkins, obviously, the next step is to ditch the paper towels. I just use kitchen towels flour sack towels. So I have my kitchen towels and then I have my rags. I don’t see the need to buy paper towels anymore because I have these rags. People think they get really oily or dirty, but I’ll throw them out way before then. Whenever my husband gets another cotton tshirt because his is worn out I’ll usually cut it up and we’ll have more rags. if you want something a little bit more pretty and fancy for your kitchen you can go with what they call unpaper towels. These are paper towels made of different materials like flannel cotton. People make them and you can make them yourself if you have a sewing machine and you’re crafty. You can either put snaps on them and put them around your actual paper towel roller or you can just put them in a nice basket. It’s basically up to you and the way you like things done.

2. Ditch the plastic water bottles

So this one is my favorite. I have  a clean canteen food grade stainless steel. I take this baby everywhere with me. We have a big crock of distilled water and I fill this up every day and the good thing about having a large water bottle is that you really get to visualize how much water you drink. I take this everywhere with me so I don’t have to waste any cups or water bottles at someone else’s house.

3. Take a look at the local estate sales, local garage sales, and thrift stores that is close to you.

If you’re like I really want a new lamp, before you go to like your Target go over to your thrift store go to a vintage shop and try to find one there. I have found the most amazing, most beautiful lamps at estate sales. They’re a lot cheaper than going to a designer store and they’re a lot better quality than you would ever find in an Ikea or Target. If you’re not the type to go searching through Goodwill and you really like finding unique vintage clothes check your city for local vintage shops. Obviously they’re going to be more expensive because someone else went through the trouble to find you the clothes, but you can find some amazing gems there’s also some online.

4. Have a lot of plants indoors

I have a snake plant, not one of those fake plants, and it’s an amazing way to purify the air in your home. So a snake plant is one of the top contenders because you don’t have to water it for two weeks. It needs minimal sunlight and it’s just a workhorse. Another great plant that you should have is an aloe vera. I have that a different room. It does also clean the air but it’s also great for medicinal purposes. if you get a cut or a sunburn you can just go to your aloe vera plant and cut a little piece off and put the gel on you. I really really recommend house plants that are good for purifying the air.

5. Essential oils

So I have a bag of essential oils. You can use whatever you want but just try to find a high quality brand that you trust. I use them mainly for a diffusers so instead of candles or air wick plugins. I use an essential oil diffuser and it makes the entire room smell really good and it lasts a few hours. Yes you do have to re fill it with your essential oils and water. Not only are essential oils good for that, but they’re also good for cleaning. So for example we have the lemon oil and it obviously smells really good, but it’s also really good for cleaning and disinfecting, that type of thing. Especially your kitchen there’s a reason that you go to the store and a lot of cleaning supplies have a citrus scent. Instead of having an artificial citrus scent you have the real thing.

6. Make your own all purpose spray

So this is a vinegar, distilled water, lemon mix that I made. Making your own vinegars is great especially if you have children and your children are like mine where you wipe the countertop and then they start licking it or eating off of it. You don’t have to worry about any kind of harsh chemicals that would hurt you or your family or anything.

7. Repurpose what you have when they are emptied out

For example, I have a lot of skin care products and a lot of them come packaged in glass. I have these glass bottles with the nice spray thingy. So what I do is I repurpose that so I now have a rubbing alcohol spray.

8. Reusable cotton pads

The ones that women use to take off their makeup or people use the to clean off a cut or anything like that. Well I made my own and I keep them in this little glass container I got from the thrift store. I made them from an old receiving blanket and some flannel. If you’re not crafty and you don’t want to make your own you can also buy them off Etsy.

9. Feminine care

You know there’s a lot of different options in this category for you know when you’re menstruating. My favorite is a cloth pad so this is obviously like an overnight large heavy duty pad. It’s super super soft. I’m actually going to be using pads for my postpartum bleeding after I have our baby and I’ve been using these pads for a few years and I really really love them.

Well hopefully this gives some insight into some ways you can “green” your home. If you liked this article send me an email and I’ll have more for you next time.

Sustainable housing projects are one of my favorite topics it’s so funny nowadays people are talking about this very topic.  From everyone I come across — from my colleagues to friends and family, everyone seems to be talking about sustainability.  As it relates to construction projects, from my perspective, this topic is well-covered.

Being an architect for over a decade, I am thrilled to be able to talk about one of my favorite topics: sustainability. When I went to the Harvard, one of my professors proclaimed that sustainable construction is the future of our lives and, by golly, my professor was correct. Everyday builders are constantly asking me about sustainability and construction.  Coincidence? I think not.

Sustainable home projects tend to be twofold with the benefits they provide.  From the buyer’s perspective, great energy efficiencies are had, while on the environmental side, great savings for planet Earth are realized.  Can you believe why we’re not talking about this more? when I joined organization I was thrilled because as my professor at Harvard proclaimed, this is a new era we’re living in

The sustainability of housing has never been more important than it is today. Houses are coming and going.  Building materials are more costly than they’ve ever been, and transportation considerations have got to be top-of-mind for many professionals.  But as we are living in a new age and new challenges are upon us, we have got to keep in mind how we are sustaining our livelihood for future generations.

Are we building in the right way now? I would beg to say that we are doing better than we have in the past.  On the topic of sustainable housing, you will realize that there’s a lot of thought leaders pondering the issue.  From the best of my intellectual abilities and experience on the topic, I would say that we have a ways to go.

Have you ever heard of hexapolygranite materials?   These are materials that are still in testing, but will one day be available for all sustainable housing.  It’s a topic that’s dear to my heart and top of mind for my colleagues and I.   Do I think one day that we will be living with sustainable housing primarily composed of the best of materials? I think so.  After all, we are well on our way.

Sustainable materials when building new constructions are constantly adapting to new demands in the marketplace.  Whether that deals with new home constructions or commercial renovations, only time will tell how quickly our efforts are realized in the marketplace

Green home building comes in many shades and styles. The manufacturing construction and operation of residential buildings consumes approximately 20% of America’s energy. Building green is the solution. Home owners can incorporate green into their homes in so many different ways. It really starts with the site preservation, as far as, designing the house around the trees and the lot itself to sealing the house and preventing heat from escaping to using natural stone products like slate in the house. Also using concrete counter tops. There’s just so many different things that you can implement in going green. Many green building methods like site planning and the use of green materials are low cost while providing energy savings. Using recycled, renewable, non-toxic materials improves the indoor environment while promoting conservation of natural resources.

Depending on your home builders like to use renewable sources wherever possible. Builders were concerned about energy efficiency, but they kind of neglected the quality of the air in the home. To me green in construction is in two phases: the building materials that you use and the other is the quality of the air and they try to address both.

Empowered with this information today’s environmentally conscious homeowner demands a home that is built for energy and resource efficiency from the ground up. It’s definitely important to have a green home. It teaches me and the people around me to be efficient and to take care of nature. Without nature we don’t live. With energy efficiency there’s a lot of things that are important. The way society’s going right now it’s hard to teach a lot of that to the younger generation so they try to do as they can to show them the proper ways to be efficient.

Smart site planning is the first component of building an environmentally responsible home. A skilled design team can assess the site and design a home that complements the existing landscape. Slopes, views, and present vegetation are critical factors designers take into consideration. Building a green home and incorporating design strategy is really critical to the success of the project. Being able to walk the site and utilizing the aspects that the site brings to the table, the position of the sun across the land, the views that might be available to the property, and working with the things that the client really loved about the project in the first place and why they chose that particular site.

Taking a green approach results in better homes. Helping owners save money and providing the inhabitants with a healthier environment while preserving our planet for future generations. The important thing is to start building green and learn the rest along the way. Builders get smarter about their processes every time they do it because you find out what’s important.  The build team creates functional livable healthy homes. We have neglected this earth long enough and builders work very hard to make their homes livable for the customers. We need to think about the earth that we’re leaving our kids.

A green building team brings an experienced and knowledgeable perspective to any new construction or renovation project. Whether your concerns are accessibility, air quality, sustainability, or energy efficiency the building team delivers concepts to meet your needs. Establishing the client’s needs takes quite a while. In the very beginning the builders spend a lot of time up front meeting with them discussing all of the things they’d like to bring into the design of the home. The builder also brings the team together in the beginning to walk the site and find out from the client’s perspective what it was that they liked about that particular location. They then bring their own ideas to the table and decide what could be the best solution for integrating all of their design ideas considering their budget and construction processes to decide what their project site will allow. The builder should approach every project with the client’s needs and desires in mind.