Posts Tagged ‘green design’

Vertical Gardens!

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

It is hard to imagine having a lush garden when you live in a small urban space, which is the case for many city dwellers. I have run into this situation many times, being a renter it is hard to find a condo with enough outdoor space to create a botanical oasis. I read a article recently discussing a new trend in landscape design “Vertical Gardens”. I was immediately fascinated by the idea! Why not add some life into my otherwise white and bare balcony walls? French botanist Patrick Blanc came up with the idea for a vertical garden in the late 1980s as a way for cities to go “green” using existing space. Most of a city’s horizontal space is taken up by roads, sidewalks and buildings. Vertical space however is commonly left unused. When installed on exterior walls, these vertical gardens sometimes can reduce the heat that a building absorbs. Blanc has run gardens up the sides of malls, parking garages, museums, schools and of course homes. So how does it work? Plants are rooted in a layer of felt that is stapled to a waterproof PVC plastic sheet. The felt and the PVC sheets are attached to a metal frame that hangs on a wall or stands on its own. If all of this seems a bit too complex, there are also modular systems & kits available to make installation easy. There is a great company called ELT Easy Green that specializes in these kits. The kits allow you to install plants in angled plastic trays that are mounted directly on a wall or in a frame. Instead of felt, plants are rooted in dirt or another growth medium. Each panel is 12 inches by 12 inches and can be used on its own or with a few other panels. The best part? ELT’s do-it-yourself kit costs $69.00! Plant selection depends on your location, be sure to pick something that can create a textured design and requires little maintenance. Regular maintenance includes watering (supplemented with fertilizer) and trimming the plants. Can’t wait to get started on my own Vertical Garden! Here are some images I found of Vertical Gardens that have inspired me:

CaixaForum Museum, Madrid

AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical, Sweden

Lifewall Tile by Ceracasa

Vertical Succulent Garden

Vertical Garden in Frame

Joe Fortes Restaurant, Vancouver

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Innovative and Green Tile Choices

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Living green and using Eco products is about making choices.  And when it comes to the look of your home it should be about choices that are easy on your mind and your eyes.  At Design For Less we are always striving to find great products with eco-consciousness in mind.  That is why in the past year we have added the Leather tiles, the Kirei boards, and the Coconut tiles.  Our spa glass also has recycled content and our Stainless Steel tiles are made with 100% recycled material.  Green, DIY, and unique what more can you ask for.

Here are the environmental details on the Kirei Boards, Coconut tiles, and the Leather tiles…

Kirei Board and Coconut Tiles
The newest additions to Design For Less, the Kirei Boards and Coconut tiles are extremely innovative and by far the most environmentally conscious product we carry.  Strong, lightweight, and durable wood like materials, the Kirei Board is made from the rapidly renewing sorghum plant and the Coconut tiles are made from the husks of coconuts.

After the edible parts of the sorghum plant and the coconut have been harvested the remaining waste is usually discarded into a landfill or burned, creating landfill waste and air pollution.  The Kirei boards and Coconut tiles use this waste to create beautiful and unique tiles, reducing these harmful processes.

Kirei Board and Coconut Tiles

Kirei Board and Coconut Tiles

The Kirei Board and Coconut tiles also ease deforestation by acting as a creative substitute to wood, and giving rural farmers a new source of revenue from previously unused waste material.

These tiles also have low VOC emission. Because they utilize low-or no-added urea formaldehyde adhesives, the Kirei board and Coconut tiles can help reduce ambient formaldehyde emissions often found in new construction. The tiles meet California’s stringent new CARB air quality standards, as well as qualifying for LEED points for Low Emitting Materials.

While the US Green Building Council LEED program for Green Building does not certify materials, Kirei Board and Kirei Coco Tiles can help your projects gain credit toward LEED Certification under the following LEED Credits:

Kirei Board LEED credits
Materials and Resources – Credit 4.1/4.2  – Recycled Content
Indoor Environmental Quality – Credit 4.1 Low-emitting adhesives and sealants
Materials and Resources – Credit 6 – Rapidly Renewable Resources

Coconut Tiles LEED credits
Materials and Resources – Credit 4.1/4.2 – Recycled Content
Materials and Resources – Credit 6 – Rapidly Renewable Resources

That’s a lot of information to take in about one tile!  But it makes it that much better when you know what your tile is and where it is coming from.  You can feel good about your choice and create something original and beautiful.  Kirei Board and Coconut Tiles can be used in a variety of applications and creativity is the key to making this innovative material stand out.  It has been used for backsplashes, tables in both homes and commercial locations.   Stunning and sturdy cabinetry, headboards, and bathroom vanities have also been created.

How would you use it?  View all the Kirei Board and Coconut Tile options here.

Leather Tiles

If luxurious texture is more your style then the leather tiles are your go green choice.  Made from either rapidly sustainable materials or pre/post consumer materials and with a commitment to “high design, highly ecological and renewable products” you will be wondering why you can’t do your whole house in leather.

Leather Tile Installations

Leather Tile Installations

The leather tiles are made in a process similar to recycled paper – it is pulped and bonded again together. Here is a step by step process.

Step One – Real leather scraps are collected from furniture, shoes, and other factories.
Step Two – Stones grinds the leather to shreds. The process is similar to what tree fibers go through for paper-making.
Step Three – The leather pieces and water are mixed with natural binding materials and other ingredients. The majority of the binding product includes natural rubber tapped from rubber trees in a process akin to retrieving maple-sap.  And from the rapidly renewable trees specie Acacia, acacia wood bark which has natural binding properties.

Here is a breakdown of the materials and LEED Credits…

Post-Industrial Recycled Leather (65%)
Renewable natural rubber
Natural fillers and binding agents
Excellent Air Quality
Low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)
Certified “none detected”-ISO 14814-Wather Method
Low Volatile Organic Compound Adhesive Option for installation
Cordova Leather Wall Tiles use Greenguard® certified leather

Leather Tile LEED Credits
Materials and Resources – Credits 4.1/ 4.2 Recycled (Recycled Content)
Indoor Environmental Quality – Credits 4.1 / 4.3 (Low emission adhesives and materials – Recycled)
Rapidly Renewable Re-sourse Material – Credits 6 (Rapidly renewable construction material)
Innovation and Design – Possibly a special credit given for use of innovative material.

Learn more about the leather tiles in our blog post here.

The Leather Tiles, the Kirei Board, and the Coconut tiles can make you feel good about what you choose to put in your home, with your conscience, your innovative design taste or both!.

As always we are here to help so if you have any questions please feel free to call (1-888-848-4537) or email us (

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