After being gone for almost a week (two days for work in Bacolod and four days for vacation in Camiguin), I’m now like a crazy person trying to catch up on work. I don’t even know where to start! It’s that stressful day after a fun vacation…
While I finish my scheduled posts for the week, let me share with you this lecture from our friend and former professor Arch. Nicolo del Castillo on how green design is closely related to culture and climate. This is probably his Cliff’s Notes version of the “Designing with Nature” course under the masters program of UP College of Architecture. Hope this will serve as an eye-opener to all of you. df
Tags: conscious living, green design, tropical design
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Now on its 26th year, Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE), an annual competition of Metrobank Foundation Inc., has been giving recognition to up and coming Filipinos in the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture and interior design.
For the past years, MADE highlighted environmental design as the theme for both the architecture and interior design categories to inspire and raise awareness on how environmental issues could be addressed in design. I am proud to say that two of the past winners in the interior design category are our friends from college—April Frigillana (2008 Grand Prize) and Pauline Cuevas (2009 Special Prize).
April’s design entitled “Nature’s Links” (top and above) integrated creative recycling, reusing, and repurposing in her design. Read more about her design here.
On the other hand, Pauline’s “Cool Chic” concept took a fresh approach on sustainable design. Apart from featuring green design strategies, she also made an effort to make her design (below) look and feel young, hip and current to make it more relevant and appealing to the younger generation. “I want to bestow a fresh and young feel to the [interiors], hence the use of lively colors. Sustainable design doesn’t have to be boring,” she explains. More on here design here.
Apparently, one of this year’s winners in the ID category also happens to be a good friend! Will be sharing his winning design tomorrow. -ardel
*images via metrobank foundation inc.
Tags: environment-friendly, green design, interior design, made, space matters
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Have you seen UP Diliman lately?
I was there yesterday to enroll for my penalty course (booo!) and I saw how a few days of rain transformed the school grounds from being dry and brown (because of El Nino) to becoming fresh and green once again. Plus, thanks to the many fire trees in the campus, this is also the time of the year when UP is colored in a vibrant shade of orange! I remember reading a blog which likened the orange fire trees of UP to the pink cherry blossoms of Japan. Interesting comparison… I don’t mean to exaggerate, but driving and walking around the school yesterday was such a joy.
If there’s anything I love the most about my school, it would b the abundance of trees–the canopy of acacia trees around the academic oval, the narra trees and their fragrant flowers during summer, and the bright and colorful fire trees.
Apart from making a place fresh, cool and pretty, trees, especially in the urban setting, provide more important benefits. Studies show that the presence of green spaces provide restorative experiences, stress reduction, better worker attitude and well-being, reduced domestic conflict, less school aggression and conflict, and better learning abilities. These are the reasons why parks, gardens and other green spaces should be included in any community. Click HERE to read more on the benefits of urban nature.
Tags: conscious living, fire trees, green, green design, green spaces, nature, universityof the philippines, up diliman
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[photo via tigris777: hardy bougainvillea remains pretty amidst the el nino dry spell]
Here in the Philippines, we are knee deep in el niño season. Water has not just become a precious commodity, but an expensive one too. While we are being advised to conserve water in our everyday use, we (designers, builders, and future homeowners) can take this further and reflect it in the designs of our homes and buildings.
1. HOLD OFF ON THOSE WATER FEATURES
Pools and ponds can definitely add charm to a place. Having a personal swimming pool in your home is certainly a luxury. However, these water-features are resource consuming. The volume may not be huge, but the water still needs to be changed regularly. Plus, they are not as easy to maintain. I’ve seen many a grotto with a dry, dusty and neglected pond. Also, if not designed properly, water-features can add humidity especially during high temperatures, making the air stuffier than normal.
2. PLANT A HARDY GARDEN
One of the biggest sources of water consumption is watering the plants and lawn. To reduce the amount of water spent while retaining that garden, plant hardy species that require minimal watering (ie. Carabao grass over Bermuda grass). Do not be restricted with cacti. Ornamental plants such as bromeliads, draecena, bougainvillea (above), hibiscus (gumamela), sanseviera, and yucca are equally drought-resistant.
3. INSTALL WATER-SAVING TOILET FIXTURES
There are toilet fixtures in the market today that promote water-conversation. Self-closing faucets at sinks are heavily favored in commercial spaces (like malls) today. Furthermore, waterless urinals are prevalent in male washrooms. There are shower heads that have adjustable settings for water-saving. Water closets have dual-flush systems that consume water depending on the person’s use.
4. HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE RESOURCE
Why not tap the rain as alternative source of water? Install a rainwater collection system. Not your usual water-barrel-under-the-downspout (though that would be a simple and affordable way), modern systems nowadays collect rainwater from roofs and run-offs from the grounds and collect the water into underground cisterns. The collected water then passes through a filtering system to make it drinkable (potable), or use as is (non-potable) for watering the plants, cleaning the car and flushing the toilets.
Why not recycle what you already used? Set up a wastewater recycling system. Waste water or greywater from bath, laundry and kitchen sinks (not from water closets please) are collected, filtered and re-used for non-potable sources. –green guide
Tags: conscious living, eco-friendly, el nino, green, green design, philippines, tropical design, water conservation
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I was impressed that Cebu’s furniture industry is actively developing materials, processes and designs that are sustainable. Most of their furniture pieces and accessories now rely on the use of indigenous materials. Because indigenous materials like buri, rattan, abaca, and coconut shells are locally available, more abundant, easily harvested and processed with less energy, they are much more sustainable than wood.
[Photo above, from left: Mantid Bench in rattan, leather and metal from Obra Cebuana. Sunny Day Cocktail Table in rattan, leather & metal from Obra Cebuana. Palwa Occasional Chair in palwa (cocnut fronds) & rattan from APY Cane. Floor lamps and pendant lamps in curled/bent rattan & metal from Accessoria Inc.]
Now, Cebu designers are already exploring the use of forest wastes such as twigs and branches as materials for furniture production. Two examples are Kenneth Cobonpue’s Kris Kros screen (also used for the interiors of Z Bar, to be featured later this week) that uses small bamboo twigs on metal frame, and Naturescast’s furniture and accessories (above) that use cast pulp made of recycled paper and forest wastes (branches and leaves).
[Photo above, from left: Loom Floor Lamp using recycled foil textile (for the shade) from Hacienda Crafts Company. Chaise Lounge in rattan, steel & reused textiles from Pacific Traders. Floor & Table Lamps using camera film on metal frame from Detalia Aurora.]
The industry is also looking into developing recycled materials for furniture and accessories. Hacienda Crafts Company is making woven textiles using shredded foil wrappers and bags of potato chips and other snacks. Such fabrics can be used for lighting (above) and accessories .
These efforts do not only make Cebu’s furniture industry a model of a green and sustainable industry, but they also contribute in making their designs stand out internationally. This just proves that it is possible to be green without sacrificing on beauty and quality.
Tags: accessoria, cebu furniture, cebunext, conscious living, detalia aurora, furniture, green, green design, green products, hacienda crafts, indigenous materials, kenneth cobonpue, naturecast, obra cebuana, pacific traders, philippine design
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Ana and I just got back yesterday morning from our weekend in Cebu. It was tiring but every minute was well worth it. While we’re still working on the photos and the articles, we’ll give you first a preview of our trip. Too bad Lilli Beth and Green Guide were not able to join us because of work and their theses.
Our two-day trip started with a very early 4:15am flight to the Cebu. Good thing our hotel had vacant rooms and checked us in immediately when we arrived. We were still able to grab a good three hours of sleep before we hit the furniture show.
Day 1, Friday, was spent going around the CebuNext Furniture Show at the Waterfront Hotel. We ooohed and aaahed over the impressive furnishings from Cebu’s top furniture and lighting companies. We even got to meet some famous designers like Kenneth Cobonpue, Vito Selma and Clayton Tugonon. Talk about being star struck! Read all about our feature on the CebuNext show tomorrow.
We spent Friday night with two friends, photographer Ian Santos and architect Chito Basit, who both happened to be in Cebu as well. After dinner in Ayala Terraces (which very much resembles Greenbelt 3) we went to the highly recommended Z Bar at The Tinder Box along Archbishop Reyes Ave. in Banilad. The bar’s interiors were designed by Kenneth Cobonpue. To call it beautiful or interesting would be an understatement. Again, special thanks to Ian and Chito for being our photographer and “sponsors” that night, hehe!
Day 2 started early with a cab drive to Mactan Island to visit BE Resort (formerly known as Microtel, Mactan). Maybe because of her lack of sleep, Ana almost forgot her camera! Along the way, we got a glimpse of Sharngri-la Mactan’s lush driveway and uber private Abaca Boutique Resort’s gated front.
It was like a breath of fresh air when we finally arrived at the white, bright, and colorful place of BE Resort. Unfortunately our tight schedule only allowed us to stay around two hours to shoot a couple of the resort’s areas.
In the afternoon, we made a quick visit to Kenneth Cobonpue’s inspiring showroom. We almost missed the place because we were looking for a showroom with a ”Cobonpue” or a “Hive” signage. We didn’t expect that the site was actually an unassuming place which also includes the designer’s workshop/factory.
Our last stop, but definitely not the least, was the house of Ted Gonzales, uncle of Zina, a good friend of mine from UP Interior Design. His passion for architecture, interior design and art produced a lovely place which he and his parents call home.
This week is not enough to feature everything about our trip. So, we will be dedicating the next two weeks for all the design goodness that we have encountered in Cebu starting tomorrow with our feature on the 2010 CebuNext Furniture Show.
Tags: ayala terraces, aziza bar, cebu, cebunext, furniture, furniture store, green, green design, green products, hive, interior design, kenneth cobonpue, mesa restaurant, ted gonzales, z bar
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Halogen and incandescent lamps are probably the most flattering to use for interior spaces. They’re also equally flattering for people because they complement most skin tones. The problem is that they consume a lot of energy (30-50W per bulb). Although there are already warm white (yellowish) CFLs, they don’t have the same kind of “light quality”. The light coming from CFLs still looks “flat”. Probably it has something to do with differences in their light spectrum and light intensity. Not sure. On top of that, halogen lamps are just too hot (because of the high wattage) and they don’t last long.
Late last year, I was so happy to find out that Luxen, one of my favorite lamp stores in Ortigas Home Depot, started to carry LED lamps (LEDO brand from Australia) that were meant to replace the conventional halogen lamps and other accent lighting fixtures.
For 3W directional lamp, it produces light equal to a 30W halogen minus the high temperature. They are also dimmable and come in different types for different applications. Plus, they are projected to last for 25 years! They just come with a hefty price tag: P3,000 per 3W LED directional. However, in the long run it will save you more money compared to the cheaper halogen lamps that consume more energy and has a shorter lifespan.
I already tried the LED directional lamps in one project, and personally, I’m pleased with the results:
Now, here’s a better news. There’s a new LED bulb from Pharox that is designed to replace our conventional CFL bulbs for general lighting. Take note, CFLs are supposed to be phased out in 10 years. Although CFLs are relatively lower in energy consumption, the mercury content in the bulbs makes them hazardous to people and to the environment especially during their disposal.
Unfortunately, the Pharox LED bulbs are only available in 110V (so it will still require a ballast), can only fit an E26 base (we typically use an E27 base) and cost $49.95 for the 6W bulb (roughly P2,300.00). Hopefully they’ll come up with bulbs that can fit our local specs.
To know more about Pharox and the advantages of LED bulbs visit www.mypharox.com.
Tags: conscious living, green, green design, green products, interior design, lamps, led, ledo, lighting, pharox
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It’s March already! This means Ana and I are off to Cebu soon!
Last October, we got a preview of CebuNext over at Manila FAME. We were so impressed by their furniture displays that we wanted to see more. So this weekend, we’ll be flying to Cebu to attend the exhibit. We know that we’re in for loads of design treats!
In the past, Cebu has been the leader in furniture trends:
In the 60′s, the Cebu furniture industry popularized rattan furniture. Its casual and comfortable appeal was so widespread that no American home was without it. When rattan resources struggled in the 70′s (due to the extremely high demand), we stepped in and introduced buri, sourced from the most stately and largest of the Philippine palm trees. Buri’s unique tensile strength made it quite a sought-after material for furniture, and was most often seen in the ubiquitous piece of the period, the woven peacock chair.
In the 80′s, stonecraft, also known as laminated stone, took center stage, while woven cane & iron furnishings took over in the 90′s. In 1997, Cebu revamped the image of one of the oldest exports from the Philippines, abaca, by using it to interpret modern lines and processes. Combining the indigenous abaca with contemporary designs and technology made abaca hip again, giving a fresh, eco-conscious look to every room that had abaca furniture in it.
Such success prepared the world for the outdoor woven furniture trend that also started in Cebu in the year 2000. Since then, Cebu designers and manufacturers have been producing and shipping the most relaxing and most stylish outdoor furniture to top-end destinations all over the world, including trendy boutique hotels, exclusive vacation resorts, and the private homes of the rich and famous.
Key to the success of Cebu’s furniture design and manufacturing industry is their sustainable approach:
Cebu’s furniture designers and manufacturers have been using sustainable materials and methods long before “eco-friendly” and “going green” became buzzwords. from have been the R & D cornerstone of many Cebu-based furniture companies, while nature’s castaways are now being incorporated into contemporary designs.
Naturescast by Nature’s Legacy Home and Garden is at the forefront of such efforts. They use forest wastes such as twigs and leaves in the creation of chairs, vases and other furniture items and décor. They prove that sustainability is an achievable ideal. It can be done.
Other Cebu furniture players participate in the sustainability drive as well, though not all efforts are visible in the furniture pieces themselves. One example is the continued use of traditional, handcrafting methods which reduce potential carbon emissions and the consumption of fossil fuels. Responsible manufacturing processes such as recycling waste water or using water-based finishes are on the list, as are identifying renewable sources of local materials, and the development of technologies and procedures to produce furniture and furnishings that are globally competitive. Tree-planting initiatives by the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF) round out the sustainability drive on an industry-wide level.
Sustainability, Return To Handcraftsmanship, and Individual Design are the three focus areas of CEBUNEXT. Sustainability is the heart of CEBUNEXT, which presents the concept to the world as a necessity, not a novelty, in hopes that world-wide sustainability efforts are not just trends but permanent fixtures that manufacturers, retailers and consumers can begin to take seriously and permanently – as unconscious fixtures in day to day functions as opposed to a conscious effort to ride a trend and profit from it.
Apart from CebuNext, we’ll be visiting a couple of interesting sites in the city. Watch out for our special Cebu features next week!
*Photos and texts via CebuNext
Tags: cebu, cebunext, exhibit, furniture, green design, interior design, sustainable design
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Everyone is talking green and selling green–green fashion, green furnishings, green houseware, green building materials. But are we sure they are ”green” enough?
One of the related concepts of carbon footprint is embodied energy. Another way to determine the greenness of a specific building material or product is to look at its embodied energy index.
Embodied energy is the sum of all the item’s/material’s energies used in processing (from extraction/harvesting of raw materials to manufacturing), packaging, transportation to the site, construction and eventual use, and finally its disposal. Put simply, embodied energy looks at the entire lifecycle of the material and computes how much energy is consumed.
Embodied energy is also called by different terms: cumulative energy demand, embedded energy, virtual energy or hidden energy. The relation of embodied energy to carbon footprint is through the CO2 byproducts of the energy consumed by the material. Meaning, the more energy used to harvest, manufacture, transport, use, and dispose a product, the more CO2 is being produced.
Therefore, the smaller the embodied energy of the product is, the “greener” it becomes.
Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Photo by Sir Mervs
SOURCES OF ENERGY
The embodied energy of materials is mostly similar from region to region, regardless of where it was manufactured. Although most material production processes are universal, the type of energy utilized may not be the same. A country whose power plants are mostly coal-fueled will have its products having a higher carbon footprint than a country which relies on geothermal or wind power (for example Iceland, which uses mostly geothermal and hydroelectric power) .
IMPORTED VS. LOCAL
Be careful on buying imported products and building materials. Even if the product from another country is green, it may not be the greenest decision to purchase it. Transportation costs will add a significant amount to its embodied energy. Plus, the energy used to process the product may not be from renewable sources. Of course, recycled materials and handmade products have a lower embodied energy. Therefore, make sure that the other stages in the product’s lifecycle saved/will save on energy to compensate for its international shipping. Otherwise, love your own and buy local products! You do not only help the environment, you also help the local economy.
EMBODIED ENERGY INDEX
Most computations for the embodied energy only consider the manufacturing process (starting from the acquisition of raw materials to the finished product ready for shipping).
At the bottom are some values from the Center for Building Performance Research, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand to give you a comparison of the commonly used building materials today. (Unfortunately, we don’t have values yet for our country.)
Hope this will help you make greener choices and purchases next time. -green guide
|Aluminum, virgin||191 MJ/kg|
|Aluminum, recycled||8.1 MJ/kg|
|Concrete hollow block||0.94 MJ/kg|
|Glass, float||15.9 MJ/kg|
|Paint, water-based||88.5 MJ/kg|
|Steel, virgin||32 MJ/kg|
|Steel, recycled||10.1 MJ/kg|
|Timber, softwood, kiln-dried||1.6 MJ/kg|
|Timber , hardwood, kiln-dried||2.0 MJ/kg|
Tags: carbon footprint, conscious living, embodied energy, embodied energy index, green, green architecture, green design, green products, interior design
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One of the difficulties encountered by designers in green design is specifying green building materials. How does one classify a material “green” in the first place? How does one measure the “greenness” of the material? How does one choose one green material over the other?
Luckily, a measuring system was developed to determine the “greenness” of materials – THE CARBON FOOTPRINT.
The carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions of a particular product. For simplicity’s sake, the greenhouse gas most referred to is the carbon dioxide (hence the term – carbon footprint).
To find out the carbon footprint of a particular material, one has to add all the CO2 byproducts emitted during the extracting, harvesting, processing, transportation and installation of the building material. Fortunately, you don’t have to compute for yourselves, as most common building materials have already been derived. These figures can easily be found in the internet.
Next to wood, bamboo is the greener alternative.
One rule of thumb to gauge the amount of carbon footprint of a material is to discern the amount of energy used to process and transport it. The more energy was expended to create it, the higher is its carbon footprint number. That’s why wood is seen more as a greener material than steel. The amount of energy to smelt, shape and form steel is tremendously higher than harvesting wood. (Then of course, we’re talking about cutting trees. But that’s a topic for a different time.)
Also, the more distance the product has to travel from the factory to the site, the higher is its carbon footprint number. Say you found imported floor tiles from Europe that markets itself as green. It does not necessarily make it greener than local floor tiles, because it had to travel so far (and consume more amounts of fuel) to reach your space. Thus, one of the advocacies of green design is using locally produced materials. Most local materials have inherently lower carbon footprint due to their proximity to building sites.
The carbon footprint can also be used to assess one’s lifestyle.
Cascio’s cheeseburger footprint–do you eat green?
This carbon footprint calculator here can compute how much you’re consuming against the world’s average. Check it out and see if you’re really living a green life.
Tags: architecture, carbon footprint, conscious living, green, green design
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