Clean Air Design: 5 Cool Picks

Can clean air design change the world? Like most artists, designers create objects for our families that reflect social and environmental issues and trends. To solve a health and environmental problem such as air pollution, designers are doing their part in creating homes, clothing, cars and communities that address the crisis.

The Moms Clean Air Force has been chronicling the hazardous connection between where people live and the environmental factors that expose children to pollutants that cause significant health risks, such as lung disease, asthma, lead poisoning, cancer, reproductive impacts, birth defects, and even heart attacks. Air and water are the primary conveyances of pollutants and toxins, but exposure can also occur through contaminated soil during the fracking process.

“Good air quality is key to promoting respiratory health...The main sources of air pollution are area sources (dry cleaners, lawn mowers, etc.), mobile sources (cars, trucks, off-road equipment), and stationary sources (factories, power plants, etc.). These different sources produce different types of pollutants that can cause problems for respiratory health, cardiovascular health, and cancer treatment. Locating sensitive land uses in close proximity to polluting facilities or major roadways can raise health concerns for sensitive populations. Some pollutants tend to have a greater effect over an entire metropolitan area and others drop off fairly quickly away from the source.” ~ Design For Health

5 Clean Air Designs

1. Car Removes 95% of Ozone Toyota has developed a material that can remove 95% of unreacted ozone or ground-level air pollutants from the air when used in an ozone filter. What does this mean? The future car you drive could clean the air instead of polluting it. Read more about this at Inhabitat.

2. Breathing Walls Plants have the ability to do more than just bring a hint of nature into your home. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the photosynthetic process. Researchers found many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and other pollutants. Plants can improve indoor air quality. DIRTT Environmental Solutions created the Breathe Living Wall system for health and energy-savings. The wall lessens the load of ventilation systems, and introduces more healthful plants into living spaces. Read more about this at Top 10 Green Building Products.

3. Clean Air Communities Smart Growth designers and planners are designing communities that include plans for driving less. “With over nine million children in the U.S. suffering from asthma and millions more Americans who die each year due to high levels of air pollution, designing communities in ways that reduce traffic and encourage healthy options like walking and bicycling are crucial.” Read more about this at Smart Growth: Healthy Communities, Healthy People.

4. Buildings Eat Smog Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of America's energy use. Much of this energy comes from coal-fired plants and other dirty sources. Alcoa created EcoClean building panels with a titanium dioxide coating that interacts with sunlight and breaks down nitrogen oxide - the smog-causing compound. The process happens naturally when rain washes off a building. Alcoa claims that 10,000 square feet of coated aluminum would have the air-cleaning effects of 80 trees. Read more about this at Good.

5. Catalytic Clothes Purify Polluted Air OK, this one is my favorite. Catalytic Clothing has created a dress that can purify polluted air through a chemical reaction on the surface of the fabric. They claim the dress can reverse the environmental impact of air pollution!

“Exposure to airborne pollutants presents a risk to human health and also has a detrimental effect on ecosystems and vegetation…The widespread introduction of Catalytic Clothing would dramatically reduce the level of airborne pollutants, thereby improving the quality of life for all members of society.”

Check out this video featuring a model wearing an air purifying dress - background track by Radiohead. Read more about this at The Ecologist.

Can “design thinking” imbue a wide spectrum of solutions to help in the air pollution crusade? You bet. Good clean air design can change the world! Want to join designers as they connect the dots between design, the environment and our health? The Moms Clean Air Force is an innovative community of parents devoted to finding creative solutions to keep our children breathing the clean air they deserve. Please help us design a future for our children free of pollution. Thank you!

Credit: Ben Scott

DIY Gifts For The Eco-Fashionista On Your Holiday List

As I continue to dive into this A-Z Holiday DIY Eco-Gift Guide, I am reminded once again, that I have yin/yang relationship with shopping. I love stylish clothes (reading Vogue since I was 12), and I have been known to love to shop. But, as I filter everything through a green lens and embrace a simpler lifestyle, I am consciously aware of my consumption.

I recently wrote about two exciting things to hit the fashion industry – Zero Waste Fashion and The Common Treads Initiative. It's uplifting to know that some conscientious clothing designers and companies are creating sustainable fashion.

What to get an eco-fashionista? Green is the new black. Her commitment to the environment is as strong as her love of a good sale, and she's got the style to back up her ethics. This is an easy gift type to DIY for because there are two things that eco-fashionista's can never have enough totes and hangers. Recycled Sweater Shopping Totes Repurpose sweaters that are either old, torn or no longer fit. Wool sweaters from thrift and secondhand shops can be made into felted functional objects.

What you need:

wool sweaters

chalk for marking



What to do:

1. Here are the directions for felting a sweater.

2. Lay the felted sweater flat. With chalk and ruler, mark line from armhole to armhole, parallel to bottom edge, for top edge of tote.

3. Mark handles as shown above.

4. Cut along chalk lines as indicated, then set aside sleeve and neck sections. Turn right side out, then open and refold so side seams are at center front and back. Topstitch or machine-zigzag bottom edges together, approx ½ inch up from hem.

5. Topstitch single layer of top and handle edges. Fold each handle in half with wrong side together and cut edges even and stitch down.

6. If desired, cut patch pocket from neck section, so curved neck edge is top edge. Center on tote front; topstitch in place along side and bottom edges.

Natural Wire and Branch Hangers

Hangers are long overdo for a fashion makeover. One of my most popular posts addressed the issue of how many hangers end up in our landfills. Read HERE to find the answer to that, and how to make 3 types of natural hangers.

Here is the original Planet Green post.

Bag Photos: Canadian Living

A Book Giveaway!

Now that we are settled into fall, it is the perfect time to induldge in two favorite pastimes: reading and creating things that are reimagined, reused and recycled.

Do you judge a book by its cover? When books come my way to be reviewed, it is the cover design that often grabs me first. So, even before I cracked open P.S.-I Made This…I See It. I Like It. I Make It by Erica Domesek, I was intrigued by the cover. The white cover displays a fashionista-clad model. That’s not so odd since the book is about fashion and DIY. But, what I love about the cover is that the font looks handmade and there are arrows to six DIY projects on the model. When I stopped ogling the cover and dove in, I found not just the cover had style, the whole book was designed minimally, with clear and concise step-by-step instructions for projects that are backed up by visually appealing fashion montages.

CLICK HERE to read more of my review and to find out why Erica says, "Thanks so much, this was one of my favorite reviews I've ever read."

Want to win a copy of P.S. – I Made This…?

I've been chatting online with Erica and she sent me another copy of her book to give away to one lucky econesting reader. Simply, leave a comment on this post (below) and tell us how you've brought a little green into your nest. Comments close 9am EST on Friday, October 22, 2010. A winner will be chosen at random and I will announce it later that day. Sorry, open to US residents only.

Trim The Waste: Zero-Waste Design

Here’s a quick Q&A: 1. Do you eat organic food?

2. Do you bring cloth bags with you when you go shopping?

3. Do you recycle?

4. Do you compost?

5. Do you buy clothes that are made from leftover scraps of fabric?

If you checked the first four in the affirmative, and puzzled over why you are even answering number 5, you’re not alone. The question never even entered my eco-radar either. What's it all about?

“Zero-waste design strives to create clothing patterns that leave not so much as a scrap of fabric on the cutting room floor. This is not some wacky avant-garde exercise; it’s a way to eliminate millions of tons of garbage a year. Apparel industry professionals say that about 15 to 20 percent of the fabric used to produce clothing winds up in the nation’s landfills because it’s cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them.”

Want to find out if zero-waste fashion is coming to a store near you? CLICK HERE FOR MORE

Say “I Do” Sustainably: A-Z Eco-Wedding Guide

My nephew just got married (shown here with his beautiful bride and sisters). My sister-in-law called when he got engaged and in a mother of the groom frenzy, viagra buy asked me to send her everything I knew about creating a more sustainable wedding. Green weddings are not the norm, price and the statistics show that our planet pays a mighty price for wedding extravagance: “There are 2.5 million weddings a year in the United States, with an average of more than 150 guests each.  When you add up all of the stuff that goes into weddings - single-use bleached white dresses, chemically-treated imported flowers, toxic makeup and skin care products, mined gem-based jewelry, individual packets of rice...CLICK HERE FOR MORE