How to make your own paint in 5 easy steps

paint

Traditional paints usually contain high level of benzene, leading to increased levels of this toxic gas in indoor air. Continuous exposure to benzene can have devastating effects on our body (detailed at the end of this article) that is why we should do all we can to limit our exposure to it.

In the previous article click here we discussed some ways to reduce high levels of benzene by using specific plants that can absorb it from the air. Today we will talk about how to reduce benzene levels from the start by creating a home made paint from non-toxic ingredients that you can find in your cupboards. However, this paint will only work for bare wood, plaster, terracotta and clay, and it will not cover emulsion or other paints, so don’t make too much of it in the beginning.

You will need:

2 tbsps artist powder pigment

1 tbsp of bicarbonate soda

6 tbsps hot water

4 tbsp quark (can bee found in the cheese section in the supermarkets)

Beeswax polish to seal the surface

First you will have to prepare your pigment one day before you make the paint. Place the pigment in a bowl and mix it with just enough water to obtain a runny paste with the consistency of a single cream. Leave this overnight to stand.

The second day, dissolve the bicarbonate in the 6 tbsps of hot water.

Place the quark into a large jam jar, then stir in the cooled mixture of bicarbonate and water.

Finally add the pigment and stir until it is well combined with the quark binder.

Leave for an hour and then stir again before using.

When you paint, leave each coat to dry for a few hours before adding another layer on top. It will require several days before it is fully dry, and after this time you can sill it of with a beeswax polish. (How to prepare this in the next post)

Benzene affects humans by causing cells not to work correctly. For example, it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells. The seriousness of poisoning caused by benzene depends on the amount, route, and length of time of exposure, as well as the age and preexisting medical condition of the exposed person.

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp

GreenUp – Climate change stops with you!

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Picture © Liz Orfao / Attribution-ShareAlike / 2007-01-07 05:40:23

Since more than 90% of new year resolutions are forgotten by 15th of January we decided to announce our own agenda for 2015 after this date.

Last year was the hottest year on record so the main goal for this year is to take massive action in preventing 2015 from being even worse. If you want to find out more about global warming you can check out the article ‘Global warning!

You are probably wondering how do we plan to do that?

Focusing like always on this site on what can we improve in our life and our home that can impact climate in a positive way. And this year the main problems we want to address are reducing carbon emissions by using energy more efficiently and increasing carbon storage with the help of easy to grow plants.

As this is a super important task we need all the help we can get. So if you are a green enthusiast, you are full of energy and ideas and you can spare half an hour of your time that can be dedicated to saving our planet write us your ideas at reconstructromania@gmail.com and join us on the journey of improving the world starting with ourselves and our home. All ideas are welcomed so be confident and send us an email.

For the GreenUp part of the project we will focus on creating step by step easy to follow brochures, focusing on 2 main directions:

-GreenUp your Apartment:

*Green walls

*Growing food indoor

*Sustainable and automated irrigation

*Regrow plants from food waste.

-GreenUp your House and Garden:

*Plant a small forest anywhere

*Maximize your space and food production

*Sustainable irrigation

*Green roofs

If you have any information about these topics or any other ideas join our project by contacting reconstructromania@gmail.com . As we would like to get to know you better please send us also a few lines about your passions and what drives you to improve.

At the end of the article you will find some links for inspiration.

Have a green year.

F.M.B.

http://www.diyncrafts.com/5350/home/40-genius-space-savvy-small-garden-ideas-solution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_wall

https://reconstructromania.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/the-green-roof/

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/happier-houseplants-how-to-keep-indoor-plants-healthy-apartment-therapys-home-remedies-217100

 

A new way of building: 3D printing

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It is the start of a new year and hopefully it will be the one that will bring a revolution in the way we build houses.

For ages the house or shelter has been at the heart of human life, being one of the most basic needs we have, together with food and love. But still right now in our country and many other places around the world there are many people that leave in slumps which are the breeding ground for disease, violence, and poverty.

But thank to some inspiring people solution are being found to provide amazing houses that are affordable for everyone..

1. 3D Printer
At The University of Southern California, Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis has built a 3D printer that can build a house in 24 hours. It does this with a nozzle that spreads out concrete replicating a home based on a computer pattern.
This is an astonishing discovery. Not only it will make the construction industry cheaper, but it will also make it more transparent and more flexible, removing the limits of traditional box shape houses.The machine can be used also to incorporate plumbing, electricity, hitting and reinforcements into the walls of the building, and because it allows complex shapes to be built we can use geometry to further reduce the quantity of materials required while increasing the overall strength of the structure. And above all this, it is fully automatic so no qualified personnel is required to use it.

http://www.contourcrafting.org/

http://econ.st/1mRPuYi

2. Open source house
Another great approach to affordable houses is developed by architect Alastair Parvin from www.wikihouse.cc .This is basically an opened source construction set, where you can find printable patterns for building houses out of plywood. By using large scale cutters and computer design this houses can be constructed by almost everyone with very little cost.

3. Paper houses
Shigeru Ban is maybe one of the pioneers of easy to built structures out of cheap material. He is focusing on building shelters from paper especially for emergency situations. His designs and techniques of building are surprising and inspiring and could be a great solution also for areas in our country deeply affected by floods.

4. Self healing asphalt
And to close with an optimistic view of a future where pot holes will be a thing of the past I would like to share some thoughts about self healing asphalt developed by Erik Schlangen. The name speaks for itself and the discovery it’s amazing because with only a minor increase in initial building cost you can substantially increase the service life of the road. The system uses in its mixture metal fibers which when heated “heal” the cracks in the road.

For more info and videos regarding this topics check the links at the bottom of the page.

The future looks bright let’s all help turn this vision into reality.

The choice is always yours.

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Top Pro’s and Con’s of Modular Houses

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picture from www.archinspire.org/

  Modular houses are buildings that consist of multiple sections called modules. The modules can be 6 dimension boxes or wall panels constructed in advance at a remote facility, usually in standard sections that can be easily transported and assembled.

What are the advantages of a modular house?

  • Speed of construction, a modular home can be completed on site, depending on size and complexity, in 10 up to 20 days.
  • High quality. Because the modules are constructed in a controlled environment the common faults that appear on site due to poor execution are avoided.
  • Environmentally friendly due to low waste and optimum use of resources. The factory process consumes less materials and, due to controlled procurement produces less waste than a traditional construction site.
  • Provide a healthier living environment. Because modular houses are built in a controlled environment,  the risk of mold, mildew, rust, and sun damage that can often lead to human respiratory problems, is eliminated.
  • Flexibility is another great feature of modular houses. They can be extended or relocated with ease. When a modular house is relocated the amount of energy used is approximately 3% of the energy that is required to manufacture a new equivalent modular building.

Although the list of advantages is long there are also some disadvantages.

  • Constructed area. Because of transport restrictions the size of the modules can be small affecting the overall size of the rooms.
  • Aesthetics: prefabricated identical units may be viewed as less aesthetically pleasing and less desirable, but now most of the factories that produce modular homes have also design departments that use computer aided design (CAD) programs to draw plans to your specifications or to modify one of their standard plans so almost any home can be made as a modular one.

Modular homes are eco-friendly, fast to build and very flexible. They have to follow the same laws and requirements as normal constructions and have the same taxes and insurance costs as a normal house.

The modular house might be cheaper and faster to built but the value of the property is at the same level as the one of a normal house so if you want to move soon in a new house it might take less to construct a prefabricated building then searching true the real estate pages for a good offer.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Best regards,

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Small actions that can lead to HUGE energy savings

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In the E.U. around 26% of the total energy is consumed by private households. So if you apply some small changes to your home you can really make an impact in the overall energy consumption.

You can start making your house more eco-friendly by following this simple tips:

Change your light bulbs with new high efficient ones. This can lead to a saving of up to 30% in your electricity bill.

Turn down your thermostat with 1 degree. You won’t be able to tell the difference and you will see a saving at the end of the month. The recommended habitat temperature is 20-21 degrees Celsius.

Buy A+ rating appliances in order to save electricity and instead of leaving them on stand-by try turning them off when you leave the house. This will not only save you money but provide more quality to your lifestyle.

Improve the building shell (air sealing) and insulation of your building. Proper insulation plays a very important role in energy-saving and CO2 emissions.. A well-insulated home is also easier to sell because lower utility costs are an attractive selling point for buyers. Where does the heat go? 35% is lost true walls, 25% through windows, 25% through the roof and15% through the floor.

Go for solar heating instead of wood, gas, or coal boilers. This will protect the environment and after the initial investment the cost for heating will be close to zero.

If you have any other ideas to improve the energy efficiency your comments are always welcomed.

With best regards,

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Insulation

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  Proper insulation plays a very important role in energy-saving and CO2 emissions especially when we see winters getting colder every year.  A well-insulated home is also easier to sell because lower utility costs are an attractive selling point for buyers.
   More air pockets between the outside and inside of your home translates into less money loss on heating and warmer homes . That is why materials that trap allot of air inside them like polystyrene or wool are good insulators.  Against radiant heat loss, mostlly responsible for heat losses true windows and walls, an efficient barrier is aluminium foil which reflects most of the heat back into the room.
   Where does the heat go? 35% is lost true walls, 25% through windows, 25% through the roof and 15% through the floor.
   Windows
   Eco-windows improve the environment through energy efficiency. Double or triple glazing windows and doors provide an outstanding barrier against heat and noise loss. Eco-windows and doors use natural paint and therefore don’t consume additional harmful materials or generate associated waste.
     Adding another layer of air between the room and the window is always a good idea if you want to improve there efficiency during the winter. Bellow you can find two easy to follow examples on how to upgrade your windows with easy to find materials.


   Roof  
   For the roof one of the best insulation is mineral wool. Because it’s composed of many fibers this is not only a good thermal insulation but is also a very good barrier against noise. Also an anti-water foil and an aluminium foil are a good addition to any roof insulation.
  A green roof can also provide a very good insulation, additional to food and a posh gathering place inside a crowded city, and it is highly recommended for flat roofs.
   Floor
    Proper floor insulation is equally important.  Rolls of insulation are an easy method to install insulation in floors. The rolls are made of fiberglass, mineral wool and natural fibers and are designed to fit the standard spacing between studs and joists. This method is suitable for do-it-yourself projects.
    Another way is to use reflective systems made of aluminum foils with such materials as plastic film, cardboard or polyethylene bubbles as backing. Reflective systems are well-suited for floors because they are designed to reduce downward heat loss. Reflective systems are easy to install.
   Walls
    From the traditional materials, used for wall’s insulation, mineral wool, in my opinion, is better than polystyrene because in addition to thermal insulation it’s also a barrier for noise. Polystyrene which is the most popular wall insulation in Romania unfortunately losses up to 70 % of its insulation properties when its wet.
    A few eco-friendly insulation materials for walls are:
    1. Straws and clay (cheap, highly efficient and 100% recyclable)
    2. Cellulose made from recycled paper (very good insulation because of it’s fiber structure and high resistance to humidity)
    3. Sheep wool specially modified to be fireproof. ( wool was approved in UE as a building material in 2003). Shredded clothes can have a similar effect as wool for insulating your home.
    4. Reflective systems made of aluminum foils also improve the efficiency of an insulation system by reducing the radiant heat loss.
   A lot of people have been disappointed after insulating their building, having thought their house would suddenly become warmer, which it won’t. Basically, what insulation does is impede temperature change. So just bear in mind, insulating the building will help your house stay warm, but it won’t warm it.
   Which insulation fits best to your house ? Your ideas and comments are always welcomed.
With best regards,
F.M.B.
reconstructromania@gmail.com

The basics of a green building

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A green building is constructed using eco-friendly processes and is resource-efficient throughout it’s life cycle.

The main objectives of a green building are:

-reducing pollution

-efficiently usage of energy and water

-recycling

In Romania the interest for energy efficient buildings is increasing do to higher cost for gas,electricity and water.

The Romanian government supports individuals that want to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings with “Casa Verde” program.

The maximum grants paid by these program are:

-6.000 RON (approx. 1.200 EUR) for solar panels.

-8.000 RON (approx. 1800 EUR) for heat pumps.

-6.000 RON (approx. 1200 EUR) for thermal power plant that use pellets, wood chips, and all kinds of bio-mass.

Also Romania in accordance with European Union laws has committed true the “Energy strategy 2007-2020” to increase the share of renewable energy in the total energy consumption to 35% in 2015 and  38% in 2020.

In order to achieve this goals Romania adopted the green certificate support scheme presented in Law nr. 220/2008 modified by Law 139/2010 and approved by the European Commission.

The future looks green in Romania and hopefully buildings will be to.

Any questions or ideas related to this topic are welcomed.

Best regards,

F.M.B.