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Moreland Architecture
Moreland Architecture

Welcome to the Official Moreland Architecture and Sustainable Design (MA+SD) Blog

For all those interested in Architecture and Design, and in particular Sustainable Architecture and Design, this blog is for you.  The intent is to further the public understanding of what good architecture is and how it can and should provide positive impact at both micro and macro scales.  As MA+SD is based in South Florida there will be a distinct sub-tropical slant to the conversation, but all regions are welcomed and encouraged to engage.  Post topics will vary from owner and renter questions to architectural and sustainable best practices to low and high tech solutions to efficiency concerns.  Feel free to ask anything and everything.  The response will be as thorough as possible, drawing from nearly 20 years of education and experience.  A select few questions will be posted along with the answers within this blog.  Here’s hoping to hear from you soon.

Wed, August 1 2012 » Best Practices, Commercial, General, MA+SD, Residential » 4 Comments

Efficient Lighting, Simplified

This article from the Summer 2013 issue of Eco Home magazine is one of the best, most concise summaries of the current state of residential lighting options.  It mentions the new Cree A19 bulb, two of which I recently purchased from Home Depot to see if they are for real. Cree continues to be a leader in the LED lighting category, and by releasing the A19 at this price point, they have made LED very accessible to a broader homeowner market. With a 10 year warranty and rated life well beyond that, these Cree LEDs can pay for themselves by not having to replace them every year or two.  Add to that the fact that they use 16-25% of the electricity of a regular incandescent, the money saved can add up quickly.  May advice is to buy a few at first just to test for yourself.  Then you can replace the old incandescent A19s as they burn out.  As technology improves LED costs are decreasing.

Please feel free to read and leave comments for our discussion.

EcoHome Magazine Efficient Lighting Article


Mon, August 5 2013 » Best Practices, Energy Efficiency, MA+SD, Residential » No Comments

Passive Solar Design

Sustainable, earth-friendly buildings are often thought of as only for those with extra money to toss around.  This does not have to be the case.  High-tech solutions such as solar photovoltaic panels and specialty high efficiency lighting can certainly drive up costs, but low-tech concepts need not.  If done well, they can actually save money.  One such low-tech concept is passive solar design which encourages the thoughtful orientation of windows, doors, skylights, roofs and roof overhangs.

Passive solar design is very specific to local climate.  It is often worthwhile to take cues from vernacular buildings of the region, those structures which were built prior to contemporary conveniences such as air conditioning and reliable electric lighting.  Then, even more than now, it was critical to balance the need to keep direct sunlight from warming the interior of the building in the summer while allowing enough indirect sunlight to perform visual tasks indoors.  Northern climates could strike a balance between blocking the high angle direct sun in the summer and allowing the lower angle warming sun in the winter. Sub-tropical climates such as Florida could forego warming in the winter, but would try to maximize natural wind for cooling air circulation.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, north-facing windows are key to allowing indirect light in while keeping direct light out.  Roof overhangs on the south side can be carefully designed to block direct sunlight from windows until a specific time of year when the warmth of direct sunlight could be desired.  East and West windows, due to the low morning and afternoon sun, will benefit more from vertical louvers, but overhangs can also help to a certain extent.

Contrary to popular belief, the warmest part of the day is typically not noon.  Even though the sun’s direct rays are hottest at noon, the ambient air temperature experiences a lag time in warming up.  Depending on weather patterns, the highest temperatures are usually reached between 1 and 4pm.  With this in mind, the most critical building facade for passive solar design in a hot climate is the one that faces west.

One approach to passive solar design in South Florida is to orient the building and arrange the interior rooms and functions so that so-called “back of house” programs (closets, mechanical rooms, laundry rooms, etc.) are located at the west facade.  Since these spaces need few to no windows, one can save money by excluding unnecessary windows and at the same time reduce direct solar heat gain.  Through careful consideration, sustainable design can actually save money and energy at the same time.

Fri, August 17 2012 » Best Practices, Commercial, Energy Efficiency, General, Residential » 4 Comments

Miami Herald Article

Feature Project
Feature Project
more info >>
Moreland on Trapp
Location: Miami, FL
Project Status: Design Development
Project Type: Single Family LEED home - Projected LEED Platinum
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