Decorative papers are printed and/or embossed with color and pattern. Grass or fiber wall coverings are woven and/or stitched. Both are made in rolls and applied to the substrate using an adhesive. Rolls are made in regular widths and are applied side-by-side to cover a desired area.
Many conventional wallpapers and coverings are made of or have a surface treated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylic, polyurethane, or toxic inks, and they are they are adhered to walls with adhesives that are high in VOCs, fungicides, fire retardants, and other toxic ingredients. Only products verified to be nontoxic should be considered.
The modern home is as much about its mechanical systems as its structure. Electrical generation and distribution, water collection and distribution, wastewater removal and treatment, heating, cooling, and ventilation are all key components of any residential construction project. Though in many cases these systems are hidden, their functionality is what makes a modern home so comfortable.
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These systems are also what cost homeowners and the planet so dearly. The ongoing financial and environmental costs of keeping every home serviced with our current methods is not sustainable, and the choices we make today about mechanical systems in buildings will have a huge influence on our collective sustainability and resilience in the future.
A Life Cycle Analysis (discussed in Decoration 3) of buildings show that the “operating energy” used to make our mechanical systems function is by far the largest contributor to a building’s energy footprint. Our mechanical systems dictate our impact on water resources, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.
There are many points along the line between our current energy-intensive practices and the no-energy option of eliminating all mechanical systems. This home design is intended to give an overview of the options that exist and their potential for reducing impacts while maintaining comfort.