Couple Creates Cozy Home in a Van

ext

Full time traveling, at least for a while, is the dream of many, and artist Kelsey and journalist Corbin of Steps to Wander have made it a reality. They converted an old Ford E-350 El Dorado Encore camper van into a cozy home, which they can easily take on the road. The young couple from Portland, Oregon, are currently living in the van full time as they travel east along the US-Canadian border. (more…)

By |November 21st, 2016|Affordable|0 Comments

Energy Efficient Homes – Saginaw Sunset

SPONSORED POST

Jim Guild and Nunzie Gould don’t just want to build places to live. They want to create homes that live forever.

1639-nw-scott-henry-main-floor-2

© Jim Guild Construction

They approach every project with a commitment not only to their clients, but to community, and the environment.  They think deeply not only about the layout of the house, but how what they are building will live and evolve and fit in Bend, Oregon, where they have been master builders for three decades.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

The married partners in Jim Guild Construction build high performance homes featuring solar arrays, high efficiency, energy-saving windows, fresh air flow technology and cabinetry and woodwork milled from recycled timbers (they are famous in town for their work with old wood). After decades in town, they know Bend’s climate and understand what materials age well there.

But the materials, their experience and their use of local artisans are only a few of ways they build enduring homes.

Take their latest project, Saginaw Sunset, a 20-lot community on five acres in the heart of rapidly-growing Bend. Saginaw is a property most developers drive right by, urban infill set on a steep, sloping site two blocks from the downtown core. For Nunzie and Jim, it was a challenge they embraced. “We don’t go looking for hard things, but we’re not afraid of them,” Jim says.

At Saginaw, they are creating homes with the aid of local architects and designers that fit into the high desert landscape and offer stunning views of the Cascades, where even in summer residents can see the glacier on the Middle Sister peak.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

They are pieces that fit into a whole, parts of the fabric of the community.  “When you are committed to community, you build things differently,” Nunzie says. “It’s not just blow and go.”

Their focus on building quality green homes meshes with the growing number of people moving to Bend looking for a smaller, manageable city offering the best of the great outdoors and an active arts and foodie scene. The city is among the 50 finalists for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP), an award that will go to the community with the greatest progress toward energy efficiency in the next two years.

So the work Jim and Nunzie, active members of the town’s Environmental Center (Jim is on the board), fits right into the city’s growing green reputation. Saginaw Sunset is a way to meet some of the demand for growth in the city without adding to sprawl by expanding Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).  Their first home in the development was featured on the Tour of Homes and won the coveted ‘People’s Choice Award’ on the Environmental Center’s Green and Solar Tour.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

They are homes with a conscience, built to last. “We want to build something functionally and aesthetically attractive that will be enduring,” Jim adds. “Something that is forward thinking.”

That forward thinking extends throughout the process, from designing the roof line for highest solar efficiency to integrating the inside and the outside and using as many existing native trees as possible. Because comfort is just as important as sustainability, fresh air flows through each Saginaw home while high-tech utilities keep interior temperatures optimal.

“We take a lot of time to think about a finished product before we get going,” Nunzie says. “We think about how will it live? Is it practical? A house needs to fit how you live.”

Their homes are built to not only last a lifetime, but adapt to the changes of a lifetime.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

Often people have wasted space in their homes, rooms they don’t use or a garage that serves as storage, she adds. A home needs to evolve. The living spaces that fit a family’s desire change from when their children are three to when they are 12 to when they are adults returning with a child of their own. Through careful planning, the Saginaw homes change with those families. Every house, for instance, has an elevator so they are accessible throughout a homeowner’s life. Every house is custom, created in deep collaboration with their clients. There are no prefab plans. Each dwelling, each site plan, is unique.

Form follows function, but beauty is not sacrificed. “I need a house that is handsome,” Jim says. “That seems like a strange word, but it sticks.”

Nunzie and Jim know how the inside integrates with the outside. “The relationship between the structure and the land needs to be respectful and symbiotic,” Nunzie says.

The high desert of Bend gets less than five inches of rain a year. So they’re not planting big lawns. They add soil amendments to help the volcanic soil of the city (using woody debris at the site to enrich the soil as well). They favor native plants that won’t send the water meter spinning. They use plants that attract bees and butterflies and other pollinators. “We’re being mindful of the bigger ecosystem,” Nunzie says.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

Their homes cost more, but Jim and Nunzie point to the return on investment whether it’s in the solar array, which will start turning a profit in nine to 14 years, lower energy bills because of the HVAC system, or just the immeasurable value of living within the beauty their artisans create.

What, Nunzie asks, is the value of making an investment today on your return for tomorrow? What is the value of a super-efficient, long-lived home when it comes time to sell? “Part of it is what are we leaving our community?” she says. “Jim and I don’t want to build lesser quality homes, places that will be bulldozed in 50 years.”

“Our houses don’t age,” Jim adds, “and that’s a really, really important feature. It isn’t magic that makes it happen. It’s the dollars and time you’re willing to spend.”

 

From Video conferencing to Emails: Character of a Modern Business is linked to a Greener, Better Tomorrow

Image Source ThinkGreen

Image Source ThinkGreen


“Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
-Leonardo Di Caprio spoke these riveting words during this Oscar accepting at the academy this year. 2015 recorded as the hottest year in the history of the modern world, scientists and experts calling for a united stand of the leading Governments of the world to tackle the problem collectively.


Is Climate Change real?
Irrespective of which side of the argument you are on “Climate change” is indeed a real threat, and there is evidence that the world is facing ramification as a result. The wildfires of Australia or extreme drought conditions in Africa last year have been attributed to climate change. Heatwaves that swept every continent in the world last year is yet another proof that climate change is happening, and there is an impending need to address this problem on a global platform.

heatwaves

Image Source The Guardian

How is Climate Change linked to Business & Industrialization?
The world has evolved from an agrarian based economy to an industrialized one to a more technology-driven one. During the industrial period, energy consumption was the mainstay of the economy. Although this ear brought with it riches and gave rise to a consumerist society, the industrial revolution is often cited as the mean reason for the downward spiral of earth’s relationship with ecology and humans.

A Drive towards Sustainable Business Trends
cop-parisAs the world’s leaders met at 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris to reach a global agreement to reduce climate change, time has also come when entrepreneurial leaders of the world have to think about most sustainable ways to conduct business.

Thankfully, in the modern ear, business owners are more mindful of this and are aware of how business operations can harm the environment. Owing to several small and medium sized enterprises are adhering to norms and work culture that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. For instance, emails to a large extent have eliminated the use of papers in office spaces. Advancement in technology has also enabled businesses to minimize the use of paper as e- documents, e-bills, etc. take precedence.

Even work culture and place of work are undergoing an overhaul to reduce carbon footprints on the planet. There is an increasing drive towards designing eco-friendly buildings and office spaces that focus on water and energy conversation. The design philosophy of these buildings promotes rainwater harvesting, maximum incorporation of natural lighting and use of recycling materials. Green buildings and architecture are gaining popularity and eventually the cost involved in constructing such spaces will come down.

grasscloth_wallpaper

The onslaught of technology has not just driven greater business prospects. It also has allowed businesses to function in a more sustainable way. Modern businesses have no limitations and people work across geographical boundaries in the most efficient manner. Thanks to this advancement, business video conference services like BlueJeans, allows individuals and business associates to connect with one another without a glitch.

bluejeans-network

This method of communication also works well for people who perform professional duties from the comfort of their home. In the coming years, this trend is also expected to catch up. In most major cities in the world, peaks hours of the day which is usually the time when people are getting to or getting off work adds to pollution in the city. If only more and more people work from home rather than commute to work in their cars or public transport, the emission of carbon in the environment can be significantly reduced.

By |September 27th, 2016|Conservation, Corporate, Green Tech, Other Projects, Technology|0 Comments

Another Great Temporary Shelter Design

finishedexrt

The so-called Temporary Shelter was recently constructed in Nepal to offer the displaced a basic, and flexible shelter that can be built by unskilled workers in three days. Like IKEA’s Better Shelter, S House and other such affordable solutions for the poor or those affected by natural or other disasters, Temporary Shelter should go a long away to helping these vulnerable groups in Nepal.

(more…)

By |July 15th, 2015|Affordable|0 Comments

Couple Converts Van into Home for Simple Nomadic Living

van

About two years ago, Canadian couple Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives were stuck in the proverbial rat race, working long hours to make ends meet and be able to support their traditional lifestyle. At one point they asked themselves why they’re doing it though, and their answer involved selling their house, converting a van into a home, and using it to explore the US and Canada in their new house. (more…)

By |June 25th, 2015|Affordable|0 Comments

Mother and Daughter Living in a Tiny Home

ext

Seattle, Washington resident Candice Ding built a tiny home for herself and her elderly mother. She decided to take on the project, after they were not approved for a senior’s apartment. She built the home by hand using a Fencl plan as inspiration.

(more…)

By |April 8th, 2015|Affordable|0 Comments