check out our “green lifestlyle modules” page

davidi just created a new tab on the website called “green“. yes groundbreaking news, right? and original too. i created and put together 5 green lifestyle modules several months ago but had them hidden under the services tab until i could figure out what to do with them. so i had my web designer create a new tab called “green” and when you scroll over it, it turns green. again groundbreaking. you can click on each module or icon and find out more information about each module.

the 5 green lifestyle modules are designed to provide information for homeowners interested in building green. they were also put together because it’s important that we look at the building as a whole, as a living breathing thing. i’ll also be rolling out some videos in the near future explaining the green lifestlye modules in further detail.

i hope you enjoy the information!

yogis anonymous . a cool new yoga studio

yogis anonymous new spacei just returned from visiting my friends’, dorian cheah & ally hamilton’s, new yoga studio in santa monica called yogis anonymous. i had been helping them out with the design for the last couple of months and construction is just about completed. the space was previously a hair salon and my friends transformed it into a cool, green yoga studio. dorian and ally selected an environmentally friendly pre-finished bamboo floor made by smith & fong called plyboo. this floor is formaldehyde free as well as FSC certified. they also specified a no-VOC paint by dunn edwards.

yogis anonymous is a new kind of studio. rather than utilizing the standard method that involves the participant purchasing individual classes or a series of classes, yogis anonymous functions on the premise of a donation system. participants pay what they are most comfortable with. i think this will create much more of a community environment at the studio. with already over 1300 fans on their facebook fan page, i’d say the strategy is working, considering they haven’t even opened their doors yet. they will be having a big launch party this saturday evening for anyone in the los angeles area, details can be found on their fan page.

they are also putting on a “human logo contest” and accepting entries for interpretations of couples performing their interpretation of their new logo. my wife came up with the idea of entering our boys, so we created our own entry. yes it is photoshopped (getting two boys to do that pose at the SAME TIME is impossible when they are 1 and 3 years old) but they each did perform the pose and yes, jake did do a headstand, albeit with the help of wendy’s hand that is photoshopped out of the pic.

if your in santa monica, be sure to check out the studio. ally hamilton is well known in the yoga community and she has put together a powerhouse lineup of super-duper yoga instructors. makes me want to get back into yoga…

yogis anonymous
yogis anonymous logo
yoga pose
jake & remy do the YA logo

cool product of the month: caroma waterless urinal and dual flush toilet

watersense_logo_colorthis month’s COOL product is actually one company, two products. the company is caroma and the products are their waterless urinal and dual flush toilet. caroma is an australian company that has been dealing with drought issues for years and they are genuinely committed to the environment and helping the world conserve resources, namely water. you can click to read their eco-statement. you can also review several tutorial videos on their website as well.

i recently installed both the waterless urinal and the dual flush toilets in the westbourne project. H2Zero_2the waterless urinal is coroma’s h2 zero model and it really is a waterless urinal. it has a “bio-seal”, a one way air-tight valve to seal the cartridge from the drainage system. it also includes a special tool that allows for hands free periodic replacement of the bio-seal. the manufacturer suggests replacement every 9-12 months. this is a great product and it will save the homeowners 4800 gallons of water a year.

the dual flush toilet is coroma’s caravelle and gives you the option of 2 types of flushes. flush #1 uses .8 gallons and flush #2 will use 1.6, a normal amount for a low flush toilet. Caravelle-One-Piece-mdfrom my understanding, a homeowner would be using flush #1 a majority of the time, so there would be substantial water savings there as well. when i combine the waterless urinal and dual dlush toilets installed in the westbourne project, the homeowners would be saving more than 7000 gallons of water per year. now, that may not seem like a lot, but water is a precious resource and every little bit helps. i’d say saving 7000 gallons a water a year without really doing anything different, is a good thing.

i’m going to be on the level with you here. you wouldn’t necessarily install these products to save money. because water is so cheap (that’s another topic) the return on investment is many years. the caravelle sells for about $750 per toilet versus $100 for a home depot toilet and $500-$600 for a nicer one piece low flow toilet. the waterless urinal will cost about $750 and the bio seal kit will cost about $115 once every twelve months. BUT, these are not  products you purchase and install to save money. you buy them to save a very precious, finite resource…fresh water.  a little bit can go along way. if a family of 4 can save 15,000 gallons of water per year,  imagine what that would mean if a these were installed in every home in your neighborhood. assuming 100 houses, that would be 1.5 million gallons of water saved per year. 1000 homes could save 15 million gallons of water. now that, is pretty COOL.

energy audit: a look at your electric bill

my electric bill
my electric bill

let’s talk about your electric bill. an average size home in america consumes between 600 to 900 kWh per month. this will obviously vary depending on what part of the country you live in (and what is considered average), but it’s a good starting point. let’s break that down even further because i believe when we have an understanding we can relate to, we’re more apt to make small changes that can have big impacts, both on the environment and in your wallet.

i’m going to work with the 600 kWh usage per month and use that as a basis for our understanding. if we divide 600 kWh by # days in a month, 30, that would mean we are consuming 20 kWh of electricity per day. let’s assume we’re paying .14 cents per kilowatt hour (the rate will vary by area but generally will be between .10 and .14) so we’re spending $2.80 per day on electricity for our home. that will give us a bill of about $84 per month. if you’re consuming 900 kWh per month, your bill will more likely be $126 per month.

one note: make sure you read your electric bill correctly. it will be either based on one month or two months, just make sure you know which one and adjust your figures accordingly.

SO, you’re now looking at your electric bill and you say, “oh yeah, i see, my bill is about $100 per month and that fits within the average so that must mean i’m doing good and can keep doing what i’ve been doing all along.”  does this sound like you? let me clear up one thing here, AVERAGE DOES NOT EQUAL GOOD. just because everyone else in the country is averaging $100 a month electric bill, doesn’t mean you should too. there are simple ways to get that down. and we’ve all heard them, turn off lights when not in the room, replace bulbs with compact flourescents (which i’m not a fan of, that’s another article), run the air conditioner set at 78, to name a few.  even if you knock it down $10 a month, you’ll save $120 per year.

let’s put all of this in perspective. i live with my wife and two young boys in a modest, 1 story 1500 s.f. older home. we moved in this past january and i’ve been looking at our bills since we moved in. our power is supplied by los angeles department of water and power. we get a bill from them every two months and it covers solid resources fee, water servce, and energy service (electric). our electric bill averages about 650 kWh per billing cycle, that’s for two months. SO we are consuming 325 kWh per month, well below the national average. we aren’t doing anything special either. we have a mixture of incadescent bulbs and compact flourescents. the most important thing we do is to not leave lights on around the house and turn off lights when we leave the room. we also haven’t run the air conditioner yet and rely on opening doors and windows instead. i’m sure at some point we will turn it on this summer, which may push us into the 400+ Kwh range, but we’ll see. one important note here is that our stove, dryer (electric dryers do cost more to operate than gas dryers), and furnace are heated via natural gas.

assuming you pulled out your electric bill for this exercise, you should have been able to locate how much you are using per month, then how much you use per day, and finally how much you are spending on electricity per day. just having an understanding of this will prove beneficial to you. i have found that once we have an understanding of something, we tend to pay better attention to it. the less we understand something, the more likely we will pay less attention or ignore it altogether. did i mention my wife is a psychotherapist?