Friday, January 29, 2010

Central Manifold System

I just had to share this with everyone, since I really felt that it has and will revolutionize the industry. For our new home in Pinecrest, we will be installing what the industry calls Central Manifold Water Distribution. The best explanation I can give you is this: Imagine a circuit breaker, but for water.

Each connecting line which feeds water to a fixture is controled by a single turn key which can be individually opened or closed. These lines feed water through PEX  pipes which allow for mind boggling pressure spikes and no leak connections at each end. With the use of the plastic pipes and the plastic connectors, welding is a thing of the past and leaks are 99.9% obliterated. A single family home can be fully furbished in a day...yes a day! And guarantee no leaks. There are a few companies out there that offer this system. The one we decided to go with is Viega, a German company that manufactures everything right here in the US. Their direct website to the system is this one
If you wish to learn more about this system, I will attach a few helpful sites that show videos and explain better how everything works.,2617,HPRO_20151_4538091,00.html,2595,HPRO_20196_55073,00.html?c=485&videoid=66987

I truly feel that all of South Florida must introduce this system in new homes in a matter of years...let us pray that plumbers don't shy away and learn to install them  and more GC's learn to design them.

Interesting approach

I know it almost looks as though I had died from looking at my last post date, but I've been extremely busy pushing for the new "hopefully" LEED certified house in Pinecrest. So please, forgive me for that!
I came across a small company in Miami called b-type design, which uses laser cutting to create rather different and interesting marketing material, from business cards to coasters. The interesting part about all this, is that they don't use ink for their creations. Everything is burned (which I admit doesn't exactly make it green, but lets be is better!) Even though printer ink is not toxic, it can still release toxic chemicals into the environment if not disposed of properly, aside from the fact that the cartridge itself is 100% plastic.This is a reason to dispose of cartridges properly and recycle when possible. Having said this, doing away with cartridges does help in one department and using recycled media even more so.
So, in just the green aspects of it, I wanted to share, but also being the design freak that I am...I think they have some cool stuff in there as well! Their website is:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tisk, tisk...

I was scheduled to take part in a LEED Core Strategies and Concepts workshop, taking place at MDC North Caompus on October 26th. As luck would have it (or lack there of!) the course was cancelled due to low sign up numbers. This course was described as such:

The workshop provides essential knowledge of sustainable building concepts that are fundamental to all LEED Rating Systems. It begins with an introduction to the benefits and integrative approach to green building, and a brief background on the U.S. Green Building Council and LEED, including basics of the building certification process. The core of the workshop presents LEED intents and concepts at the credit category level – across building types and rating systems – touching on strategies, synergies, and specific examples that are reinforced by real project cases. Key LEED metrics and LEED referenced standards are addressed throughout the workshop. Interactive activities within the course keep you engaged and reinforce what you’ve learned. 

This was a 300 level course, vital to start getting those much needed points for those of us that don't want to remain simply Legacy LEED AP's. I understand it was not a cheap workshop, but still it was practically the only thing being offered in the vicinity of the state of Florida . In all honesty I believe that the USGBC traps you with many credit criteria and those all important "sponsor products" that make the $150 Reference Guides oh, so accessible! But still, I was quite excited about this course and was unpleasantly surprised about its cancellation. At any rate, this continues to prove my point that Miami still doesn't want to get on the horse...or should I start calling it bandwagon instead?

Monday, September 28, 2009

A little extra something...

Something happened last Friday that added to my looking glass theory. 
I signed up for a Home Photovoltaic System design course at Miami-Dade College North Campus and decided that the next step would definitely have to be to take the advanced course for the same class in order to take it to the next level. To my surprise (or lack thereof), the course is only offered at Broward Community College.  The direct reason for this is unknown to me, and to be honest, I do not wish to look into it too much. The fact of the matter is, us South Floridians have to make that hour and a half hike all the way to Broward county to get a 7 credit hour course. Let me make sure my SunPass is fully replenished!
Also during the course, I realized something very interesting and helpful for the Blog. I was unaware that Gainesville was one of the first cities to adopt a Feed-in Tariff method, where your home's energy is sold back to the grid at $0.32 per Kwh.
Since I myself did not now the terminology and difference between Net Metering and Feed-in Tariffs I will put their relevant definitions here, courtesy of the Ontario Power Authority:

Net metering: Under net-metering, you are paid for the excess electricity that you produce. This means that the power produced from your renewable energy project is consumed on site and if there is any left over, you receive payments for it. 
Feed-in Tariff: Under FIT or microFIT, you are paid for all of the power that your project produced at a rate fixed by the OPA (a rate much higher than what you would receive for excess energy under net-metering). The OPA will sign a contract with you to guarantee that the OPA will pay you for all the power you produce over 20 years. Your utility will continue to charge you for all the power that you consume.

Looking into this a little bit, Germany and Spain have been big shakers in this department. You can find a bit more in Wikipedia (duh!)  and what States have adopted these measures and for how much: 

This is a good sign for Florida, let's just pray it catches on like a Solar Power H1N1.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


This blog has been a long time coming, but taking into consideration being fresh out of school (architecture, mind you!), in a recession and a city with few architecture firms, I’ve had to hustle the past months just to stay afloat. But as is the case with most things in our lives, nothing lasts forever and things are slowly picking up, hence, I’ve been having some leftover time here and there to start putting something together.
I have to come clean a little prematurely: This is my first blog, so I will try to keep things very informal…as well as infernal. That’s just a little joke (Thank you, Toby). At any rate, I truly hope I don’t hit any nerves, hurt any feelings or create hostile situations in my blog. I’m not looking to replace Perez Hilton in his old home town, so I sincerely apologize beforehand if something doesn’t sound too kosher. Having said this, I must warn the present audience that political and in some instances cultural issues will arise during the discussion. This is by no means a masked coalition or political offensive. It is simply a well known fact that the tentacles of politics have spread a long way across the board and have eventually struck the environmental key and simply surrounded it and made it practically its own.
I would also like to add that I will try to use as many graphics as possible in order to make certain points clearer or simply better presentable.
So it begins…


Ever since I became a LEED AP for New Construction, I’ve been surfing the web to find out just how Green the State of Florida is and what is being done to catch up to more developed states such as California, New York and Oregon. I watched Gov. Crist’s convention back in 2007 when Gov. Schwarzenegger was the keynote speaker. I admit I was in a way relieved that Florida’s governor was indeed paying attention to the problem. Something needs to get started, not only done, but started. And where should we start? Here are some stats that I hope will make up your mind:

- "In North America, the building industry accounts for about 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 35 to 40 percent of ozone depletion, 20 to 30 percent of municipal solid waste, vast quantities of natural resource consumption, and dramatic loss of open space each year. The construction of the average house generates 2.5 tons of waste including wood, drywall, masonry, plastic and foam, fiberglass and other materials" -

I believe architecture should be at the forefront of this new change. And it has been doing so at a slow and steady pace. Although I must admit there are PLENTY of kinks and wrinkles that still need to be ironed out, such as start-up prices, but that will hopefully be included in a future post.
So architects and engineers are the flag carriers of this change. The way we build and the way our buildings work are the crucial part of this equation. But now back to Florida.

We at Eurohabitat have been planning our next project for quite some time now, a very modern-style, single family residence in the Village of Pinecrest, which will at least reach LEED Silver certification. In our search for the right personnel to get on board I have noticed something that has quite simply baffled me. There seems to be a mysterious invisible line that runs close to the Ft. Lauderdale area which almost signals “This is where the green revolution ends”. A magic looking glass alla Alice in Wonderland. I will attach a little diagram I made to better explain what I´m talking about.

Taking demographics into consideration, it would seem intuitive to presume that South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami as a whole) would have the most amount of Green oriented workforce (MEP contractors, architects, GC´s, etc) and yet, this isn´t the case. As a matter of fact the complete opposite occurs. Each LEED symbol on the graph represent a Green oriented “service provider” that I have been able to get in contact with. Most of them, or to be more precise, the more veteran and experienced ones seem to reside north of our little imaginary line. Sarasota, Cocoa Beach, Bonita Springs, Sarasota, Tampa…all of them included in the graph, but to find one that lives in Kendall or Coral Gables is somewhat difficult. I feel that an architectural project deserves to have its personnel close to the job site, not 150 miles away. And meetings should take place once a week if not more often, and not once a month.

So in wrapping up, Florida as a whole should get a move on in the Green movement, but South Florida? Maybe a warp drive would help us catch up with the rest of the country? At any rate, South Florida please wake up! This is for all of us…

At the end of every post I would like to add a few web pages and articles that, don´t necessarily blow my hair off since I have none left, but at least my socks. The first one is a graphic version of the old 2.2 version of the LEED NC exam (3.0 coming soon!) and with which ironically I came in contact with AFTER I passed my test. Thank you, Murphy…always by my side.

The second is an article that I find interesting, even though I don´t agree with everything. Simply felt like sharing…Enjoy!