Growing concerns for the environment has caused many to seek out green solutions, but some of the approaches to being more eco-friendly, such as urinals that pipe pee into the garden for use as fertilizer, simply aren’t all that appealing. What’s really needed is innovative ideas that meet or exceed LEED standards while creating a beautiful 'wow’ factor.
For those working on an apartment building renovation project, the benefits of truly innovative green design include lower project costs, an increased ease of attracting potential tenants, and even the ability to charge higher rents. Read on to learn about a few novel and ecologically sound renovation concepts.
Green Walls and Vertical Gardening
Back in 1938, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois named Stanley Hart White, who just happens to be the brother of famed author E. B. White, created an invention called botanical bricks, which could be used to create plant-covered vertical surfaces of any height. About fifty years later came French botanist Patrick Blanc, who took the idea and modernized it, coming up with the green wall.
Still, it wasn’t until the new millennium that the idea of vertical gardening truly caught on. Of all the green walls and vertical gardens known to be in existence today, a whopping 93 percent of them only date back as far as 2007.
Those who would incorporate vertical gardening into their renovation projects can help to offset society’s carbon footprint. The building’s exterior and interior walls can be covered with beautiful, luscious, even edible plants.
When used as exterior surfaces, green walls reduce smog and produce cleaner air while insulating the building and protecting it from the elements. On the interior, these eco-friendly walls can improve indoor air quality significantly, and can even be used as part of a wastewater system that’s very innovative, making the gardens virtually maintenance-free.
Cork Covered Bathrooms
A significant part of green construction focuses on the type of building material used. Many go the recycling route by using post-consumer products in their renovation designs while others look to materials that are biodegradable and have less of an environmental impact. Then, there’s the option of using pre-owned building materials, and even reclaimed wood, but few have yet learn to consider cork as one of their options.
It’s amazing what can be done with cork. One of the reasons many wouldn’t dare consider it is because the material has a reputation of being soft and breakable. They worry that it would be high maintenance and need frequent replacement, but that’s hardly the case.
Today, cork is becoming more commonly found in bathrooms, but it’s being used only by those on the cutting edge of innovation and who want to make sure they do their part in protecting the environment. Some of the surprising elements that can be made of cork include floor tiles, toilet seats, and even bathroom sinks.
The benefits are that cork is recyclable, fire resistant, and waterproof. Since the extraction of cork does no harm to trees, it’s a very eco-friendly, sustainable material. This is not to mention how attractive it looks. Using cork in the bathrooms of multi level apartments (like these) definitely produces a 'wow’ factor.