Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"Eco-Tecture", the New Face of Green Building

In the New York Times Magazine of May 20th, Nicolai Ouroussoff discusses the great progress that Europe has made in designing and building green buildings. In fact, Europe is way ahead of the United States in commonly requiring and integrating green building elements, such as energy efficiency and sustainability.

As he says "By the mid-90s, all new construction in Europe had to meet basic requirements in energy consumption, and many European architects began to make sustainability a central theme in their work." Most of the green architecture shown does not "look" green at all, but just quietly integrates these elements into the overall functioning and design of the buildings. Examples are the Dessau, Germany headquarters of the environmental agency, with underground pipes that heat and cool the building as well as the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart that has thick concrete walls to store hot and cool air that is drawn into an atrium.

This Magazine issue has several articles that discuss "eco-tecture"- the design movement of green buildings, zero-energy, green cities, and sustainable living.

It is good to see that the concepts of green building and sustainability are finally getting some needed attention.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

When You Want to Take the Sneeze Out of Spring: Steps to Help Reduce Allergies

The spring season is a time of renewal for plants but also a time for allergies for many people. Here are some basic steps you can take, besides consulting your doctor, that may help alleviate your symptoms.

1. Clean up your home: read the earlier post (2/16/07) on basic steps to eliminate allergens in your home.

2. Clean up you bedding: invest in barrier cloth for your mattress and pillows to help reduce dust mites and other allergens from your bedroom. Gaiam (allergen mattess protectors)icon and the Heart of Vermont carry many of these products.
(GAIAM: Get Coupon Deal: 15% off with $50 purchase Coupon Code: AFC5 until May 31st 2007 if you use link on this blog).

3. Eat a healthy diet and take your vitamins.

4. Invest in an air purfier or filter to help filter out allergens in your home. AllerAir has a great line of powerful air purifiers.

5. Add stress reducers to your routine, such as yogaicon and exercise.