Green Living

August 8, 2008

Green Living   by Cheryl Sandella

Green is the new buzz word and it seems everyone is talking about it these days.  Sandella Custom Homes is doing research on environmentally friendly ways to construct their custom homes.  Soon they will be constructing a spec home that will incorporate green and energy saving features – still creating a luxury home.  When Al and I first moved here to Arizona we were shocked to see that solar energy wasn’t popular since we are considered the “Valley of the Sun”state.  When we inquired we were told it was too expensive and there weren’t too many people promoting it.  However it is starting to gain popularity now. 

I think it is a good idea for us to get educated on the topic.  Let’s take advantage of energy saving producing technology that is available to us and build energy efficient homes. 

I’m going to share some “Green Tips” with you…



Design a large overhang that will shade the house.  We custom build unique trellises that add character to the home while protecting it. 

Adding skylights will bring in natural light, decrease the use for electricity and they look good too.

Separate rooms with glass walls to let natural light pass through

Insulate with Denim

Use Tankless Water Heaters

When selecting flooring look for natural materials such as sisal, jute or sheep’s wool.  For hard surface flooring try bamboo (my personal favorite) or cork.  Bamboo and cork are renewable resources.  There are many new textiles to the market place these days.  You can get a plush carpet made from plastic soda bottles or grasses.  Most of the natural products retain color, resist stains and last longer. 

Use LEED brand paint – most paint and stains contain VOC’s – (volatile organic compounds) that release greenhouse gases, increase smog while reducing indoor air quality.  Use low or no VOC’s when selecting paint. They are also low odor. 

Refrigerators use the most energy in the appliance category and so many people have several.  Speaking for myself I have a big Sub Zero in my kitchen, a side by side in my laundry room and two bar refrigerators.  (there’s even one in the garage but it is turned off).  I feel to help our environment we have to start looking at what we really need.  I certainly will be re-thinking my appliance purchases. Buy Energy Star appliances. 

The best way to light a home is by our natural resource the “Sun”.  I am a big fan of the open space floor plan.  It is the best way to share natural light.  The placement of windows, skylights and openness help with the lighting design plan.  Use fluorescent bulbs wherever you can.  They save money, burn cooler and reduce pollution. 



Arizona is one of the best places for solar energy because of the long hours of natural sunlight we have.  You’ll need at least 6 hours a day of sunlight to produce enough solar energy to make it an advantage point.   Some states have excellent rebate programs that compensate the homeowner.   There are also Federal Tax Credits.  Go to and contact your State Department for more information.

Solar panels (also known as PV or photovoltaic systems) work by converting sunlight into electric energy.  The panels are constructed of solar cells that absorb the sunlight.  There are electrical contacts in the panels that route the sun through a circuit which then produces electrical power. 

Solar panels can produce enough electricity to power your lights, appliances and even keep it hot or cool.  The panels are installed on the side of your home that gets the most sun exposure. 

The cost is determined by the size of your home and how many kilowatt hours used.  Most homes use both solar and traditional utilities.  You will see considerable lower electric bills and it’s amusing to watch your meter spin backwards.  But it will take many years to get back the investment you make to install solar panels.  But will be worth the investment in the long run. 

Solar panels are a good way to conserve energy and resources while being eco-friendly. 

The team at Sandella Custom Homes and Interiors are forward thinking, innovative and ecologically conscious. 

© 2008 Sandella Custom Homes and Interiors LLC.  All rights reserved

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Cheryl Sandella, Interior Designer publishes a monthly eZine called “Bespoke Home”.  If you want Tools, Tips and Guidance to design and build your custom home, be sure to get your complimentary subscription at

About Cheryl: 

Cheryl Sandella, Interior Designer ASID Allied Member, works with her husband and partner of 30 years, Al Sandella, General Contractor.  They own Sandella Custom Homes and Interiors in Fountain Hills Arizona and design and build homes in the valley.  To read more about her go to

Cheryl Sandella

Sandella Custom Homes & Interiors

PO Box 18132

Fountain Hills, AZ  85269

480.836.1543– office

480.816.4233 – Cheryl’s personal line