Integrating environmental stewardship principles, or "green
practices," into everyday activities at the workplace is easy. The key
is to understand what green means, and the myriad of green solutions
readily available and simple to implement.
What is green? Any building or setting that is ecologically
friendly in the following areas:
When coal and other fossil fuels are burned to generate
electricity, the resultant waste is greenhouse gases (such as carbon
dioxide), acid rain, and air pollution, which can negatively affect
the atmospheric blanket necessary for humankind's ability to live on
earth. Becoming responsible for one's own "carbon footprint" relates
to the amount of emissions a given person or business is responsible
for. According to the EPA, industrial and commercial energy use
actually accounts for nearly 30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas
- Lot Design, Preparation and Development
- Natural Resource Efficiency
- Energy Efficiency
- Water Efficiency
- Indoor Air Quality
- Sustainability Ability to Withstand Natural Disasters
- Ease of Maintenance and Operation
- Minimum Global Impact
To become "more green," a business can start with a desire to
create an organization of environmentally responsible employees and
citizens that share a common goal of ensuring that green practices
become a part of the organization's culture, thinking and
decision-making. This would include all departmental operations and
activities helping to:
- Save money via energy efficiency, water efficiency, lowering
insurance premiums and taking advantage of government tax breaks as
well as government/utility company "green programs"
- Prevent pollution
- Conserve precious natural resources
- Reduce waste via recycling and myriad technologies
- Improve health (approximately 65% of our time is spent indoors)
- Mitigate catastrophe from natural disaster
Although a business can certainly set up their own green practices,
foster a cultural change in the workplace, regularly gather and share
ideas and best practices internally and externally, and even establish
measurable performance indicators for their own green practices, there
are a few simple steps any business can follow:
1. Walk, bike, carpool in a fuel-efficient vehicle or use public
transportation to and from work
2. In company relocation packages, encourage new employees to choose a
home within a 30-minute walk, bike or transit ride from work
3. Turn off lights/electronics/appliances, as it applies, when you
leave the room
4. Print materials double-sided with vegetable based inks
5. Save ink or toner by using the "fast draft" option found in most
word processing programs
6. Recycle/refill used toner cartridges
7. Reduce the amount of paper you use
8. Choose reusable messenger envelopes and re-label file folders or
fold them in the reverse direction
9. Choose office supplies utilizing recycled content and buy them in
bulk to minimize packaging waste
10. Buy refillable mechanical pencils and ballpoint pens and choose
non-toxic pens and markers
11. Choose less toxic or rechargeable batteries and dispose of spent
12. Use reusable mugs for water and beverages
13. Use reusable plates for lunch
14. Throw your discarded food items in a composting bin that can
produce fertile soil in two weeks
15. Don't use the toilet as a trash receptacle
16. Install restrictive aerators on bathroom and kitchen sinks
17. Turn off hot water access in bathrooms, and possibly kitchens
18. Choose appliances that are designed to use less energy, less water
and that can significantly avoid carbon dioxide emissions
19. Consider buying an all-in-one fax/copier/printer/scanner instead
of four separate machines
20. Choose toilets and faucets that are designed to use less water and
install inexpensive leak detection devices. A leaking toilet can use
an average of 200 gallons of water per day
21. Consider installing a greywater reuse system to save 1/3 water
22. Replace chemical pesticides on the lawn with non-toxic alternatives and "go native" with all plants to reduce fertilizer, pesticides and extra water
23. Production and processing of meat is disproportionately taxing to earth's water and land resources so try to choose one day a week to eat meat-free meals at the office
24. Try to eat food from local farmers to minimize the distance between field-to-table
25. Eating organic and saying no to genetically modified food is
safer for people and the environment
26. Donate old furniture and buy recycled furniture or refurbish old furniture
27. Learn about green practices and share the knowledge with family and friends
28. And last but not least, if building a new office building or
renovating, follow one or more of the mainstream green building
guidelines that can be found at www.fsge.net/guidelines.html.
Mark Baker, having 35 years of construction experience, is the President of Mark Baker, LLC, the builder of Florida's Showcase Green Envirohome (FSGE), a Near Zero Energy Home that will be a "live" residential touring facility with "proof of performance" monitoring data showcasing many innovative technologies applicable to both residential as well as commercial needs. FSGE via one year of scheduled walkthroughs will demonstrate the state-of-the-art building choices and practices available. For more information you can contact Mark Baker at www.fsge.net.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Protecting Treasures From
Tough Loss To Take
- By Ben Baird, Channel 13 News
A fire destroys an Indian Harbor Beach storage facility and takes countless heirlooms and treasures with it.
However, one family devastated by the fire said their new home might've protected their stuff better than the storage site.
The Indialantic family is building a nearly fire-proof house. Its walls are so resistant that a 2,500 degree blowtorch would take nearly a half hour to burn a one inch hole. There are also special coatings on insulation and wood framing that help reduce the fire risk.
The family building the house says they believe the new construction techniques could have stopped a similar fire from spreading.
"The firemen couldn't go in there because it was an all-metal building," said builder Mark Baker. "All they could do was sit there and wait. With a panel building like this, they could've gone in there and saved a lot of people's stuff."
The house in Indialantic is being built as a showcase of new building techniques. In addition to being fire resistant, it's also hurricane proof and environmentally friendly.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Couple Find It's Easy Building 'Green'
Envirohome Energy Efficient
- By Jim Waymer, Florida Today
Black mold inspired a green passion in Mark Baker and his
wife, Nonnie Chrystal.
Their vision began with a microburst from Hurricane Frances
that tore off the roof from Baker's mother's Indialantic home.
The storm provided fertile ground for mold -- and an
opportunity for Baker and Chrystal.
Baker had the know-how. Chrystal, the idea.
They're building Florida's Showcase Envirohome on the
footprint of the original 1967 house Baker's mother bought in
1970 for about $27,750.
By January, the couple -- and Baker's mother, Betty Baker
Farley, 74 -- plan to move into what they hope will be among
the most energy efficient homes in Florida, America, maybe
even the world.
They plan to spare the power grid by using next-to-no
energy and preserve the Indian River Lagoon by allowing close
to zero rainwater to run off their lot.
They'll be raising the "green bar" by drawing about 70
percent of their energy from the sun, using paints that emit fewer
toxic fumes and largely relying on recycled materials.
"It was never ever about the money: nickel-and-diming every
doorjamb," Chrystal said.
The Indialantic couple drummed up 40 sponsors and are using
his mother's insurance claim to pay for the project, which so far has
cost about $200,000.
They envision many firsts: an all DC solar air conditioner,
a vertical wind generator that promises a tenth the cost of solar and
five times the output.
And they hope to be water- neutral as well as
carbon-neutral, using a soil-covered cement board section of roof
planted with daisies, honeysuckle and mustard plants. The "green,
living" roof will drain into a whole-house graywater system that
reuses shower and clothes washer water to sprinkle the lawn and flush
The stormwater system, designed by University of Central
Florida's Stormwater Management Academy, will capture close to 90
percent of the rainfall. It's a concept the couple and their UCF
helpers hope catches on in drought-prone Florida.
"You keep more water in the ground. The droughts would be
less severe," said Marty Wanielista, professor of engineering and
director of the stormwater academy at UCF.
The family will roll their two cars up a driveway of
recycled rubber product called Flexi-Pave, which allows water to
trickle into the ground.
After construction is complete, UCF expects to offer a year
of tours to school groups. Baker and Chrystal want to prove green
building concepts work. They'll install monitoring systems to track
energy efficiency in the 3,500-square-foot home.
"We're going to be a science experiment for a year," Baker
said. "We didn't want to build it and have everyone forget about it.
"Everybody can retrofit in some way, shape or form. Green
building is just smarter."
It's stronger, too, Baker insists.
He's using structural insulated panels that keep the house
cooler and interlock to withstand 175 mph winds.
"It makes it monolithic. It's all one piece," Baker said.
The frame is a blue-tinged, termite-proof wood that's free
of volatile carbon-based compounds. The decking will be recycled
plastic. All the steel is recycled, too, including 90 percent of the
Their home adds to a recent wave of green building.
"I think there's been a lot of incentive toward green
building programs," said Rob Vieira, director of buildings research at
Florida Solar Energy Center, a sponsor of the project.
The new $27 million Parrish Healthcare Center, a
72,500-square-foot diagnostic treatment center at Port St. John and
Grissom parkways, used green building concepts. The newly renovated
Library West at UCF features waterless urinals and other low-flow
Studies show green buildings increase productivity, reduce
absenteeism and improve performance, according to Bahar Armaghani,
assistant director of an energy-savings program at University of
But Baker and Chrystal just want to show that savings are
possible, particularly in insurance premiums.
"If we don't get 50 percent off, we'll be really
surprised," Chrystal said.
Contact Waymer at 242-3663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, July 11, 2007
Twenty Questions with Mark Baker
- By Tobin Bennison, The Beachside Resident
In addition to being a formidable waterman, a talented
musician, and a loving husband and father, beachside resident Mark
Baker is the President of Mark Baker, LLC, the builder off Florida's
Showcase Green Envirohome (FSGE), a near-zero energy home in
Indialantic. It's being created out of the consumer-driven necessity
to build a 'green' or 'ecologically friendly' home to be resistant to
hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, mold, and termites. Which is
great news, considering the 500% increase in insurance premiums in
natural disaster zones, the dwindling flexibility and coverage of
insurance policies, and rising oil prices.Recently, several major
U.S. utility companies stated they anticipate energy costs to rise
30-35% by 2012, creating urgency to embrace green building. Mayors
from around the world formed a new ecology organization to focus on
green practices because their respective governments are moving too
slowly. And synchronistically, FSGE is perfectly timed for the United
Nations' proclaimed 2008 "International Year of Planet Earth." We
spoke to Mark to find out more about this compelling building
What do you love most about living beachside?
Surfing and playing live music outdoors at beachside
restaurants. But I also enjoy the generally relaxed atmosphere,
friendly people, and the salt air.
How did the idea of building a "green home" come about?
The idea came about mostly because of my wife, Nonnie. She
inspired me to go to a green building seminar after my mother's home
had been completely devastated by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in
2004. Having 35 years of construction experience, I was amazed with
the common sense behind green building concepts. So I decided to
rebuild my mother's house "green," which meant it would be the
strongest, safest and most efficient it could possibly be within an
affordable framework. Not long after that seminar, Nonnie's parents
lost everything after Hurricane Katrina. Both our parents' devastation
only served to further catalyze us to help our loved ones and teach
others about building green. So FSGE was born as a consumer-driven
project -- for the consumer, by the consumer -- to showcase extremely
durable, high-efficiency, health-promoting and affordable green
technologies while simultaneously giving "proof of performance" data
to the public to let them decide the merits of building green. At
FSGE, we plan to show consumers -- kindergarteners through college
students, developers, investors, builders, media, businesses,
organizations and government -- how "affordable and rewardable"
building green can be via one year of scheduled walkthroughs at
FSGE. And FSGE is also the perfect venue for educating the public as a
"live residential touring facility" or "living laboratory" with five
adult occupants to provide test data.
What are the benefits of living in a green home?
"What's in it for me?" or "I don't like change" seems to be
the general consensus of most builders as to why they haven't embraced
green building. However, education is key because when people
understand how they can save money and help the planet at the same
time, then building green becomes a no-brainer and win-win situation
for everyone. The benefits of living in a green home include the
ability to withstand natural disasters, sustainability, and improved
health via improved indoor air quality, mold mitigation strategies,
the use of non-chlorinated swimming pools, replacing chemical
pesticides and fertilizers with non-toxic alternatives, and "going
native" with all plants to reduce fertilizer, pesticides and extra
water. Savings on insurance premiums (and lowered monthly mortgages),
energy bills, water and sewerage bills, and the use of
utility/university/government programs, tax incentives, grants, and
RFP monies are also big benefits. Others advantages include the
conservation of precious natural resources, overall water and energy
efficiency, and ease of maintenance and operations help minimize
Are there any firsts with this project?
There are many. FSGE plans to implement the world's first
all-DC solar air conditioner. We're working with American Standard to
test its new line of furniture touting zero- or low-VOC water-based
paints, and engineers are working to certify FSGE at very high wind
ratings with the nation's first energy efficient, residential metal
roof from Englert, Inc. to be engineered at a 175 mph rating. FSGE
will have BluWood trusses, which have already been successfully
engineered at 186 mph by Vero Beach's Florida Truss. BluWood offers
zero-VOC protection against mold fungus growth, wood rot, moisture and
termite infestation with a lifetime limited warranty. The home is
being considered by EPA WaterSense (the sister program to EPA Energy
Star) as a national test site for water conservation. FSGE is the
first in Florida to install a county-approved, whole-home greywater
reuse system that uses the water from showers and clothes washers to
flush the toilets, reducing in-home water consumption by about one
third, greatly minimizing septic system requirements. It's the first
residential project in Brevard County to use ICS of Florida's SIP
Panel hurricane technology for its exterior walls, in which the third
party test data for this new construction technology shows superiority
over both stick and frame and concrete block. Not everything is a
first, but many of the technologies we are combining make us a local,
regional, national and global first. More importantly, the spirit
behind what we are doing will increase consumer awareness in a
favorable direction towards building green for themselves.
What were some of the most difficult obstacles in
Construction is still underway, but
since FSGE is a hurricane rebuild with more than 50% reconstruction
from the original structure, we had to abide by the latest Florida
Building Code with a lot more quality time spent with plans examiners
and inspectors. Although one of the benefits of green building is
quicker construction time, when you're dealing with so many new
technologies at one time, you can expect the unexpected. We've
definitely had some interesting logistical as well as engineering
challenges arise due to the newness of these technologies, but nothing
that can't be overcome.
How else does FSGE contribute to the overall "health" of
A green home burns less coal and other fossil fuels than the
average household. Therefore, it produces less greenhouse gases (such
as carbon dioxide), reducing acid rain and air pollution. Also,
improved health is emphasized in many ways through better indoor air
quality, mold mitigation strategies, non-chlorinated swimming pools,
replacement of chemical pesticides and fertilizers with non-toxic
alternatives, "going native" with all plants to reduce fertilizer,
pesticides and extra water, and minimizing waste into the septic
system via greywater reuse systems. These measures positively affect
not only the residents of the green home, but also the quality of
runoff into our lakes, rivers and oceans. Given that the American Lung
Association has determined that around 65% of people's time is spent
indoors, the healthcare profession would serve their patients well by
understanding the impact green building has on one's personal
How difficult is it to maintain a dwelling of this kind?
The premise of any green home is ease of maintenance and
operation. This means that durable, "user friendly" products are
preferred in all of the green building guidelines where possible. An
example is the Trex decking we're using, which is far easier to
maintain than wood decking. On a side note, we also get points for
Trex because it contains almost 100% recycled content, which minimizes
global impact by reducing landfill waste. Every green home comes with
a "user's manual" to help tenants understand the newer technologies
What recommendations do you have for other people who'd
like to construct a green home?
Check out www.fsge.net for proof of performance data
first. When you're ready to construct, you should have someone hold
your hand the first time around. As green building consultants, Nonnie
and I are presently aligning the right players -- such as available
architects and engineers -- who can quickly respond to the interest
FSGE is generating.
What have your neighbors' responses been?
Mostly, "When are you gonna be done?" Seriously, our neighbors
have been great. They're excited and intrigued as the new technologies
Do you foresee this becoming a popular trend?
Given that insurance premiums have escalated to 500% since
Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004, and that some people are having
to move because they can no longer afford their monthly mortgage, FSGE
will drive interest in how to lower insurance premiums by up to 50%,
and will show others how to drastically reduce energy and water
bills. So yes, I foresee this becoming a popular trend.
If you were President for a year, what would you hope to
Obtaining a ridiculous salary and pension package.
What kind of music do you enjoy?
I love most anything live and played by people who really
enjoy what they do.
What is your favorite book?
"The Illustrated Man" by Ray Bradbury.
What is your favorite film?
Any and all Surf NRG videos by Kevin Welsh.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the
Put them toward college funds for my three children.
What is your ideal travel destination?
Indonesia -- one of the best surfing spots in the world.
What would you order for your last meal?
Papaya with lemon juice or anything else Nonnie would fix me.
What would you like to come back as in your next life?
The President of Disney.
Any words of wisdom?
Everyone can benefit from building green, whether through an
improvement to an existing structure or a new construction project.
There are many steps that can be taken to save money, generate your
own energy, recycle water, improve health, and help the
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Indialantic Home Is Green And
- By Ben Baird, Channel 13 News
Windows Video, June 6, 2007
QuickTime Video, June 6, 2007
cost to own a home seems to go up every time you pay your bills, but
one group in Brevard County said that it is building a house that will
see its bills going down.
13's Ben Baird has that story.
looks like any construction site in any subdivision. But builders say
the house they are building in Indialantic will be among the most
energy-efficient in Florida, and even the world.
means not just better for the environment, but better for the wallet.
The "near-zero" energy home will get about 70-percent of its power from
the sun and the wind. That includes the world's first-ever
solar-powered air conditioner.
first for Florida will be a gray-water recycling system.
actually tying the showers and the washer to the toilets. A lot of
people can save about a third of the water usage by doing this," said
it won't just be a "green" house; it will also be a strong house.
Builders say the walls could withstand up to a 186-mph hurricane.
three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean here we're in hurricane zone
central," Chrystal said.
fact, the house is replacing one destroyed by the 2004 storms.
in addition to the new wall-building technology, the house will have a
new roof system, and a new barrier to prevent water damage.
means more possible savings in insurance costs. But a lot of these
systems are so new they're not really tested, so in addition to being a
home, the dwelling will also be a science experiment.
we're living here, we're going to be monitoring energy and water usage.
So when somebody from Missouri says 'show me,' we can. So, some of the
things that work we'll find out and some of the things that don't work
we'll find out as well," Chrystal said.
home will take several weeks to build. However, because of the advanced
materials involved, it will take less time than traditional
construction. In just one day, builders got up most of the walls on the
May 28, 2007
FSGE Press Release
Mark Baker, LLC Announces its Global Project, Florida's Showcase Green
Envirohome (FSGE), with a Construction Start Date of June 2, 2007
Frances and Jeanne destroyed FSGE’s original structure in 2004,
displacing a single family. FSGE is being rebuilt with leading edge
solar, wind, and other materials technologies as a 3500 s.f. “Near
Zero-Energy Home”. The first-of-its-kind, Affordable & Rewardable™
“green” home and “live” residential touring facility, FSGE via one year
of scheduled walkthroughs will demonstrate the best building choices
and practices available today in order to help consumers, kindergarten
through college students, developers, investors, builders,
environmentalists, media, banks, insurers, healthcare professionals,
businesses, organizations, government, etc. to:
- See monitored “proof of
performance” data from a live test site with 5 adult occupants
- Save money by:
- Drastically reducing
insurance premiums (Florida has increased by up to 500% in the last 2
- Lowering monthly
mortgages via less escrowed insurance
- Significantly lowering
electrical, water and sewerage costs
- Obtaining “green” tax
incentives and monies through existing government/utility company
- Requiring less
maintenance and minimizing construction time
- Improve health (~65% of our
time is spent indoors!)
- Conserve precious natural
- Mitigate, if not eliminate,
potential catastrophe from natural disasters
has partnered with more than 3 dozen public, quasi-public and private
sector entities including the U.S. DOE Building America Project, EPA
Energy Star, Florida Solar Energy Center, Florida Water Star, Florida
Power & Light, Institute For Business & Home Safety, American
Standard, BASF, and more listed on www.FSGE.net. The “grandfather of
green building” and several inventors are involved, also helping FSGE
in its goal to meet or exceed 12 sets of green building guidelines.
According to the Director of Florida’s Hurricane Mitigation Program,
which rewards homeowner-insured Floridians $5000 for strengthening
their roofs, the Governor of Florida may be very interested in FSGE’s
high-efficiency residential prototype and live residential touring
facility given his upcoming global warming campaigns involving green
building solutions. Also, EPA WaterSense, the new, sister program to
EPA Energy Star, as well as the DOE are both considering FSGE as
national test sites for water conservation and a new vertical wind
will showcase such innovations as patented SIP steel-reinforced
exterior walls, a hurricane technology stronger and cheaper than
concrete block—and stick and frame too when considering energy
efficiency; water and energy usage monitoring systems; a global-first
"off grid" all-DC Solar Air Conditioner; a state-of-the-art vertical
wind generator apparently 1/10 the cost of solar and 5 times the
output; and a solar water heater that can produce hot water year-round,
even on a cloudy day.
are working to certify FSGE at 186mph, more stringent than any county
in Florida, the highest being Key West—not Dade—mandated at 155mph.
FSGE will erect its first and second floor SIP walls June 2, June 4,
June 13 with completion by June 14, a less-than-five day timeframe
decidedly shorter than stick and frame or concrete block.
April 8, 2007 ABC News discussed the necessity of “greening cities” and
the reality of the “Carbon Tax” after the 2008 Presidential Election to
make Americans responsible for their own “carbon footprint” yet reward
them for building green. Recently several major U.S. utility companies
stated they anticipate energy costs to rise 30-35% by 2012 creating
urgency to embrace green building. Mayors from around the world formed
a brand new ecology organization to focus on green practices because
their respective governments are moving too slowly. And
synchronistically, FSGE is perfectly timed for the United Nations’
proclaimed 2008 “International Year of Planet Earth”.
Being Smart about Water
How Small Changes at Home Can Create a Big Impact
-- By Charles Monteverdi
in Affluent Magazine: (Affluent is the premier lifestyle publication for South
Florida & beyond, where it is read by more than 236,000 high net
worth individuals and company owners each month – men and women who
drive the nation's most dynamic communities – who have hundreds of
millions of dollars in personal purchasing power while their companies
have billions to spend.)
the concern for conservation and the environment should be on
everyone’s mind today. A glance at the evening news or latest headline
will tell you that the “green movement”—the shift towards environmental
awareness—is a hot topic. The increasing popularity of energy efficient
appliances, recycling, and low-emissions vehicles are a sign of greener
times. Water and energy conservation are attainable and could be the
easiest and most cost-effective steps towards being earth friendly. And
as far as being good to Mother Nature, charity begins in the home.
most people spend more than 65% of their time indoors, the average home
is a hotbed for energy and water overuse. A perfect model of water and
energy conservation is Florida's Showcase Green Envirohome (FSGE™).
This home, located in Indialantic, FL, is being built with leading-edge
solar, wind, and other materials technologies as a “Near Zero-Energy
home will have both water and energy consumption monitoring systems
installed for proof of performance,” said Nonnie Chrystal, vice
president of Mark Baker, LLC and project manager for FSGE. “Our goal is
to formulate our own stringent guidelines in order to reset the “green
bar”, especially as it pertains to improved health, while meeting or
exceeding green building practices standards.”
house was built after the original home was destroyed by two
hurricanes. The resulting black mold from moisture intrusion made the
2,024-square-foot home uninhabitable. Chrystal with her husband Mark
Baker, a licensed home reconstruction expert, researched ways to
rebuild the home using Earth-friendly materials that resist mold and
could withstand harsh beachside conditions and hurricane-force winds.
will employ strict indoor and outdoor water conservation measures and
more than two-dozen green products. All the toilets are
“high-efficiency” (~1.2 gallons per flush), and the dishwashers and
clothes washers in this two-family home consumes approximately 84% less
water than comparable appliances. Including a steam bath generator as
part of a steam/shower provides a spa-like amenity while reducing water
consumption as compared to a tub. Most steam units use less than 2
gallons of water per 30-minute steam session, compared to a typical tub
that uses approximately 36 gallons, yielding a substantial combined
decrease in water usage.
50 percent of water is used in outdoor plant irrigation, FSGE will
utilize a landscaping method called xeriscaping that uses native plants
and minimal grass, to dramatically decrease the need for watering.
to the home’s high standards for water and energy conservation and use
of durable, sustainable products, the home is being considered by the
EPA as the first national test site for its soon-to-be Water Sense
Program. Even if you don’t take drastic measures to upgrade your home,
there are simple ways to reduce your water consumption:
changes in the home are a huge step towards water and energy
conservation. Water conservation lowers water bills, energy costs and
sewer charges, and most importantly, it ensures that water, our most
valuable resource, will be available for future generations to come.
more information on Florida's Showcase Green Envirohome, visit:
Monteverdi is the President of Mr. Steam, a subsidiary of
Sussman-Automatic Corporation. After joining the company as chief
engineer in 1975, Monteverdi moved up the ranks to vice president in
1984 and was named president in 1997. A graduate of Hofstra University
with a BSEE degree, Monteverdi is a Licensed Professional Engineer. He
resides in New York. For more information on Mr. Steam, please visit www.mrsteam.com, call (800)-76-STEAM or (718) 937-4500, or
October 6, 2006
New Home Will Feature Earth-Friendly Materials
-- By Shawna S. Kelsch,
for Florida Today Newspaper
color green is one that frequently comes to mind when describing one
aspect of Florida: lush green palm trees; hues of blue-green ocean;
a West Melbourne couple has their way, the word will also find its way
into construction and development vernaculars when describing
earth-friendly (and hurricane-hardy) building practices.
idea came about after Mark Baker, a licensed home reconstruction
expert, and his wife, Nonnie Chrystal, began exploring ways to rebuild
the Indialantic home of Mark's 74-year-old mother, Betty Baker-Farley.
two hurricanes and black mold made her 2,024-square-foot home
uninhabitable, the two began researching ways to rebuild the home using
Earth-friendly materials that resist mold and could withstand harsh
beachside conditions and hurricane-force winds.
research enabled us to meet Mike Myers, considered by many in the
building industry as the 'grandfather' of green building practices,"
said Chrystal, who attended a seminar on green building practices at
which Myers was a keynote speaker.
with Myers, the two discovered a whole new universe of terms and ideas
that could help turn a house from a concrete structure to a "True Green
Building," which affords the homeowner a voice in the consumption of
energy, efficient practices for heating, cooling and protecting a home
against the elements as well as environmental output of materials.
instead of building a solid block building, Baker and Chrystal began
contacting product manufacturers of green building supplies to create a
plan to rebuild the home into a "Near to Zero Energy Home."
building's wood frame package, for example, will consist of Bluwood, a
chemically treated hardwood that protects against mold fungus, rot
fungi and wood-ingesting insects, including Formosan termites.
tenacious termite causes more than $1 billion in damage annually in the
12 or so Southern states where it is found, according to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, said Charles Morando, president of Wood
Smart Solutions in Boca Raton, parent company of Bluwood.
home also will employ two dozen or more other green products, including
solar and vertical wind technology components, Energy Star efficient
appliances and special paints and roofing materials. Monitoring systems
will be installed to track energy efficiency, Chrystal said.
couple's goal is to meet or exceed building practice standards as
outlined in the Building America Project guidelines, as well as the
National Association of Homebuilders, the U.S. Green Building
Coalition's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the Florida
Green Building Commission and others, she said.
whose mold-resistant Bluwood was featured on ABC's "Extreme Home
Makeover/Home Edition" on Oct. 2, is happy to be participating.
excited to help educate the public about our product and about
furthering the initiatives of the Green Building movement," he said.
the Department of Energy is considering the home -- which has been
dubbed Florida's Showcase Green Envirohome -- as a demonstration
project for a new vertical wind technology unit that will generate
power to the house at an estimated one-10th the cost of solar
technology with five times the output.
the home is completed, we'll open it to the public for tours so they
can come see what this is all about and learn how to use these
technologies to help protect the Earth and reduce energy costs," said
Baker, who will handle all the construction himself.