Purpose: To Design and Build a BirdHouse for the 3rd Annual BirdHouse Social (8.20.11) silent auction with Architecture for Humanity Atlanta Chapter, in order to raise funds for AFHA projects while showing support and commitment to humanitarian design in Atlanta and beyond.

Find Materials.
One of my personal design challenges of this project was to find and use 100% ReClaimed Materials.  There is a never ending stream of items, labeled as garbage or waste that are constantly gathered and taken to the landfill.  One aim of this project was to find the materials that are still usable, and recycle them back into the construction “material stream”, and divert their trip to the Landfill.
This was a tough challenge.  As I found out.  I looked for the right salvaged materials for weeks and weeks. I wanted some solid wood furniture that wasn’t stained on both sides.  I found some old solid wood cabinets near the dumpster,grabbed them up, and put them in my truck.
I continued to look for discarded and reclaimed items.  I found a small bed frame, and disassembled the hardware connections and brackets for use on my Sustainable BirdHouse.  I also went to Goodwill, and purchased some reclaimed porcelain butter dishes to use as the rainwater catchment birdbath.
Challenge + Concept = Design Solution
Challenge 1.  Build from Reclaimed Materials.
     Solution: Use ReClaimed Cabinets to make up the Nesting-Box, a Microwave outer casing composes the Roof,  
     Hardware from  an old Bed Frame holds everything together.  Birdbath Dish is salvaged from thrift shop.
Challenge 2.  Create a Functional, Useful, Purpose Driven Design.
     Solution:  Make an ideal Nesting Box size, with Hinge Door for easy cleanout, and Luxury BirdBath on side.
Challenge 3.  Create a Safe / Non-Toxic Habitat.
     Solution:  Use the Non-Stained/Painted raw wood surfaces on Interior.  Do Not use any extra stains or adhesives.
Challenge 4.  Create something Aesthetically Crafted.
     Solution:  Find inspiration by the wisdom & stealth of the Owl.
Challenge 5. Create a  Sustainable Design.
     Solution:  Implement a RainWater Catchment BirdBath, Solar Passive Roof Heating, 
     made of Biodegradable Materials.
Challenge 6.  Abide by Designed-for-Disassembly (DFD) principles.
     Solution:  Follow Designed to be disassembled general guidelines; attach with mechanical fasteners only,
     no glue or adhesives,  and use only a raw material palette that can safely be Upcycled for future use, or,
     at the end of the materials useful lifespan,  
     because  it is bio-degrade the material is able to safely return to the (soils of the) earth.


“Owl Creation” Designer Birdhouse for the “Architecture for Humanity Atlanta Chapter” Birdhouse Social 2011 at StudioPlex.
Designer: Andrew Telker of TelkerDesign
Theme: RainWaterCatchment / ReClaimed Materials / Design-for-Disassembly
Client:  Eastern Screech Owl
Size:   9.5” x 9.5” x 1’-8”
Once I have a solid concept sketch, and I know what materials I am working with, I immediately go into Google SketchUp and begin the conceptualization process  by drafting out the parts and possible configurations in 3D.  I work with the precision accuracy of the computer to see exactly how things will go together, down to the nuts and bolts.  I find it very useful to work out problems in digital land before beginning construction.  Sometimes, when I get stuck on an idea, style, or engineering feature, it helps that I take a break, and come back at the project with a renewed perspective and fresh attitude.  You can see from the image (left) that the design process is an evolution process, and each decision leads to the final outcome. 

Notice, there are about 20 model changes or evolutionary design decisions that led to a more refined concept.  Working everything out in 3D, allowed me to maximize material efficiency, and create a project that is more sophisticated than 2D Plans would have allowed.


Design Solution:

ABOVE, Check-Out the 3D Digital Model composed with Google SketchUp software of the Sustainable BirdHouse.  You can click on the image above and rotate 360 degrees around the model, and you can also visit the Google 3D WareHouse and Download the Model as a 3D SketchUp File — cool stuff!

If you remember, one of the goals/challenges of the project is to embrace the  D.F.D. principals, so special care was taken in the design to avoid using chemicals, stains, or adhesives that were not already introduced in the previous materials-lifespan.  The structural panels and accessories are attached with mechanical connections, and the completed unit is easily assembled and disassembled.

On the left is an exploded diagram of the Sustainable BirdHouse, each part was modeled and fitted in 3D for conflict resolution and to provide detailed construction plans.  Finite details were added, notice how the interior is purposely an untreated/unstained raw wood (non-toxic) surface.  Like a tailored suit, each piece was measured, well thought, and intended to make a thoughtful and well crafted product.  FYI – Dimensioned Detailed Plans available, email: andrew@telkerdesign.com 

*This Project was also Featured in the August 2011 Issue of SketchUp-Ur-Space SketchUp Magazine*

Once the project was designed with Google SketchUp 3D Digital Modeling software, I added some lighting/material effects with VRAY render and took a photo of a nearby tree, and then compiled the layers with Adobe Photoshop for this Conceptual Digital Visualization of an Eastern Screech Owl flying into his new home, with young family waiting his arrival.  Yes, [Healthy Smart Sustainable] Design and Visualization is what I do BEST!


Disassemble ReClaimed / Salvaged Materials

DeConstruct Cabinets, Microwave, & Bed Frame

There was a lot of work to be done in preparing the salvaged items for ReUse.  I worked on disassembling the Cabinets first.  The Cabinets were made of solid wood construction, so they were perfect candidates for ReUse!  Here (in the photo to the right) I am stripping off the Plywood on the back-side, and then I continue to pry apart the frame with a hammer and pry-bar.

ReUsing salvaged items is an extremely important theme in this project.  I tried to minimize waste, and maximize material efficiency and usage.  It was a tough challenge to work with ReClaimed Items, because I never knew what I would or wouldn’t find.  The materials I did find were limited, so I was very careful to disassemble them without causing damage. 

I have posted 3 videos.  In the first video, I am further disassembling the Cabinets.  Notice how I pry off the 2″  oak frame that is nailed to the face.  Removing this allows the rest of the frame to be easily taken apart.  Watching this video, you get a REAL sense of how quickly these things can come apart. As this video plays, you can hear me discuss the Overall Design / Build process, and I also narrate as I continue to work.  By the end of this video, you will see a pile of 1″x12″ boards that have been ReClaimed from the Salvaged Cabinets and are almost ready to use on a Sustainable BirdHouse.

In the Second Video (middle), I am using a Table-Saw to mill the cabinets boards into useful planks for the Sustainable BirdHouse.

In the Third Video (bottom), I cut the outer steel casing off of a microwave (salvaged) with the intended purpose of using it as the roof.


After I had cut the outer steel casing off the microwave, I took a small hammer and block of wood and beat the sheet metal somewhat flat.  The steel microwave casing was perfect for the roof.  Once the sheet metal was prepared, I took it to Dixie Duct & Fabrication in Roswell Georgia, where Mike the shop foreman bent the metal from the microwave to a 166 degree angle (180-14).  He put a nice clean professional bend in the metal, and it looked great.  It was the architectural touch the Sustainable BirdHouse needed.

When I got back home from my visit to Dixie Duct, I continued where I left off.  I proceed to mill the pieces to the Design specifications that I laid out with Google SketchUp.  Everything went together so much easier with 3D BluePrints.  Creating a 3D Digital Model of the project before even starting fabrication helped me avoid making any vital mistakes with my limited resources.

I used the table saw to mill planks.  Then I measured for the entry hole and used a scroll saw to cut the planks as marked.  Then, I drilled holes in the planks, and fit them with a socket set screw, which is put in place with a ratchet, and then the screw is then tightened or loosened into the threaded connection with a hex key.
I salvaged the socket set screw from a bed frame, and was lucky enough to find 8, in order to connect the Sustainable BirdHouse for easy assemble / disassemble purposes (& D.F.D.)  It was a neat design, and I was extremely excited that it worked perfectly.   
When it was ALL cut, screwed, assembled, and adjusted — I was extremely happy, and now ready for the BirdHouse Social.
The Sustainable BirdHouse is a project that showcases my design beliefs and passion for healthy design on every level, and I was thrilled to be able to participate with AFHA while creating a safe home for one of Mother Natures’ creatures: the Eastern Screech Owl.

From the Images on to the right, you can see the attention to detail on the finished Sustainable BirdHouse.

Notice the Hinge Door (for easy cleanout) on the left side of the nesting-box, and the ReClaimed porcelain Birdbath with RainWater Catchment rainchain on the right side.  This was a super-fun project!




Charity Auction & Social Event

It’s true, hardwork does pay off!   We made it! BIG thanks to all the folks who contributed their time and to all our Sponsors who made the 3rd Annual BirdHouse Social on 8/20/11 an amazing success !!! 

On that afternoon, the “Owl Creation”, Designed and Built by Andrew Telker was auctioned off to help support the projects of the Architecture for Humanity Atlanta [AFHA] organization.
The BirdHouse Social is the signature fundraising event for Architecture for Humanity Atlanta [AFHA], that showcases creative birdhouse and bat box designs imagined by some of Atlanta’s most creative personalities. The outdoor courtyard at Studioplex played host to this magical evening combining music, interpretive bird dance and fanciful birdhouse displays.  Designing a birdhouse for auction, shows support and commitment to humanitarian design in Atlanta and beyond.  Visit: http://afhatlanta.org/blog /birdhouse-social/

Remember, you can READ this and other ECO-BLOGS at: http://andrewtelker.blogspot.com/2011/08/project-sustainable-birdhouse-designed.html

MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Power is Ours to make the Changes in the World we wish to see!

Follow the @PlaneteerAlert on Twitter — #TPIY







Adopt-A-Stream Water-Quality Monitoring

On August 11, 2011, in Atlanta, Chapters, Uncategorized, by AndrewTelker

Adopt-A-Stream Water-Quality Chemical Monitoring

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon testing water samples gathered from the Chattahoochee River at the City of Roswell GA Chattahoochee River Park on Azela Drive.  As part of the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) program, and serving as a volunteer Water Quality Chemical Monitor, I was excited to run some basic tests, examine the results, and provide some Data regarding the water quality of our local treasure:  The Chattahoochee River.

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) is housed in the NonPoint Source Program in the Water Protection Branch of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The program is funded by a Section 319(h) Grant. The goals of Georgia Adopt-A-Stream are to (1) increase public awareness of the State’s nonpoint source pollution and water quality issues, (2) provide citizens with the tools and training to evaluate and protect their local waterways, (3) encourage partnerships between citizens and their local government, and (4) collect quality baseline water quality data.
To accomplish these goals, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream encourages individuals and communities to monitor and/or improve sections of streams, wetlands, lakes or estuaries. Manuals, training, and technical support are provided through Georgia EPD, Adopt-A-Stream Regional Training Centers and more than 50 established Community/Watershed Adopt-A-Stream organizers.
If volunteers wish to learn more about their adopted body of water, they are encouraged to conduct biological or chemical monitoring. The Biological and Chemical Stream Monitoring manual guides volunteers through the monitoring process. Free workshops are provided at regular intervals in the Atlanta region and as needed in other areas of the State. These workshops are listed in our bimonthly newsletter and our website. Volunteers can monitor their waterways without attending a workshop, but those who attend and pass a QA/QC test will then be considered quality data collectors under the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Quality Assurance Plan. QA/QC data is posted on the Adopt-A-Stream database. 
WHAT – Water Quality Chemical Monitoring Test:
     •The basic tests are pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and conductivity
     •Advanced tests include phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, and alkalinity
     •Oxygen is needed for respiration
     •Temperature is directly related to biological activity
     •pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of the water
     •Phosphates and nitrates are nutrients that cause algal blooms when present in excess
     •Once a month
Here are images of me, performing a Water Quality Chemical Monitoring Test on 7.29.11:
Well, first, I headed down to the Dock on the Chattahoochee River, prepared my work station. First I opened my KIT, and reviewed the content within. 

Next, I gathered a Water Sample of the River, consulted my notes, and began the PH levels test.  The water looked realitively clear.  You can see the fog start to roll off the river.  I also took temperateure measurements of the Air & Water (not shown here). 

Air Temp = 27.5C
Water Temp = 20C

I then added 10 drops of the PH wide range indicator, inverted the sample several times to ensure mixing.

Once the solution was mixed, I compared the PH of the gathered sample using the PH indicator comparator box, based on color.  The solution was neutral, as per my evaluation.  PH=7

The Next test I performed was to determine the Dissoloved Oxygen levels in the water sample.
1.  Collect Water
2.  Add reagents 8 drops of Manganous Sulfate Solution & 8 drops of Alkaline Potassium Iodide Azide, cap & invert. 

3.  Add 8 drops of Sulfuric Acid & shake.

*Solution is FIXED
4.  Place 20 mL of Water Sample into Titration tube. 

5.  Fill the titrator with Sodium Thiosulfate.

6.  Add Sodium Thiosulfate from titrator 1 drop at a time.
7.  Remove cap
8.  Add 8 drops of Starch Sodium to titration vial (turns blue).
9.  Continue titrating 1 drop at a time until solution turns clear.
10.  Read titrator to determine Dissolved Oxygen levels.
Dissolved Oxygen results = 7.2 pmm
See YOU at the: NEXT Workshop for Adopt-A-Stream [AUG 18, 6–8pm] – “Bacteria Monitoring” [10495 Woodstock Rd, Roswell, GA] vculbreth@roswe​llgov.com 
Georgia Adopt-A-Stream teams up with government and non-government groups to provide access to technical information and assistance to citizens interested in preserving and restoring the banks and vegetation along their waterways. The AAS network will assist local governments educate citizens about the importance of protecting riparian corridors and provide landowners with the information they need to restore the riparian zone on their property to reduce erosion, improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat with native plantings.
Read this BLOG, and others from Andrew Telker, Steward of our Environment at:
Check Out @PlaneteerAlert on Twitter — #TPIY

Beltline Clean-Up with Architecture for Humanity Atlanta – 06.25.11

On Saturday June 25, 2011, Architecture for Humanity Atlanta Chapter [AFHA] teamed up with the crew from the Center for Sustainable Communities for our Monthly BELTLINE CLEANUP !

Volunteers arrived as the dew was still fresh on the Saturday morning grass.  Folks showed up from all over the Atlanta area to take part in making the Beltline a Beautiful Reality.

We met at the Washington Park Tennis Center, and then headed east to the AFHA adopted section of the beltline.  Gloves, Rakes, Trash Bags were our tools of change, as we began to remove the discarded objects that lined the path.  I think our particular section was an old railroad line, because several people found rail spikes and other rail tie-down iron components.  In addition, it seemed as if this area had been used to dump construction debris for quite some time, so we had to focus our efforts on the removal of plastics and toxic materials in order to keep from getting overwhelmed.  As a team, we decieded that the discarded concrete and wood construction debris could remain for now.

With the help of some charismatic individuals, we collected approximately a dozen bags of garbage.  I stuffed a garden hose and vinal flooring in one bag, and helped as the team continued to make progress in the CleanUp efforts.  Everybody got a bit dirty, but, we felt great when we were done and could look back at our progress for the day.

Huge thanks to Keri Cawley, Steven Shapiro, Darius, Ryan, Kent, Tracy and Garry Harris for your good energy and hardwork — “CleanUp to GreenUp”
To get involved with AFHA, email:  volunteer@afhatlanta.org


“Celebrating WATER Week”

 I spent the afternoon at Cecil B. Wood Water Treatment Plant in Roswell Georgia.  The Water Treatment Plant was commissioned in 1935 at a rated capacity of 300,000 gallons per day. In 1970, the plant was upgraded to produce a rate of 600,000 gallons per day. In 1990, the water plant was upgraded to its present rated capacity of 1.2 million gallons per day.  
I always enjoy learning about water.  This is the second annual tour of the plant, and I was able to attend last year as well.  Keeping up with the local water treatment methods (both uptake & discharge) and locations is vital to understanding the larger picture in Regards to Water Use & Water Conservation.  Today, I toured the Plant with my colleague Tony, and we both were awed as Mike Leonard, Water Operations Manager showcased the latest Water Filtration technology.  The Software and computer monitoring were impressive to say the least.  We also learned that Caustic Soda, Chlorine, Fluoride, Sand, Charcoal, Gravel, and Aeration all played a part in the Filtration process at this Water Uptake & Filtration Plant.  See more pictures of the afternoon here:  MyFacebookPage  Read More about Water Quality Monitoring & Assessment in Georgia.  Read the 2025 Comprehensive Plan & Study regarding the Hydrology, and WaterShed (and Greenspace) in Roswell GA.  Check out the GIS Georgia FLOOD MAP.
Water has always fascinated me.  Where does it come from, where does it go?  How do we clean it?  What does dirty water mean?  How do we maintain a steady supply of healthy drinking water to millions of people daily?
Many people ask the same questions. I seek to find answers.  In my 3.5 years in Fulton County, I have sought to understand the Water Systems, both intake and discharge.  This has led me on a long winding journey of ecological awareness.  Today was another piece.

Years back, and while in Architecture School, I studied intensively Conventional & Unconventional WasteWater Treatment, the Local Aquifer System, and the impact of Modern Development. The Result was a project called the PURE Museum which sought to provide a Holistic Sustainable Solution to these issues, but more importantly, it further embraced and reflected my dedication to a career in GREEN ARCHITECTURE, by respecting and understanding the local ecology & hydrology.
My Journey continues.  An exciting new day is always ahead!                   
Check Out more Sustainable Solutions at www.telkerdesign.com
Most Importantly, remember we all take part, as an individual or team, Keeping Our Planet Clean!
“GO Planet” — #TPIY

World Premiere of Captain Planet Season One on DVD at Renew Social Venture on 4.6.11

Barbara Pyle, Captain Planet, Andrew Telker
World Premiere of Captain Planet DVD Screening on 4.6.11

What an Amazing Night, with so many Local ECO-Voices. Captain Planet and the Planeteers, series creators, and environmental experts came out tonight and rallied the GOOD GREEN Energy of Atlanta as Architecture for Humanity Atlanta, Renew Social Ventures, and the Planeteer Movement proudly hosted:

The World Premiere of Captain Planet Season One on DVD!
The series first-ever official DVD release was debuted with a screening of episode 1, followed by the “Making of Captain Planet BONUS features”. This was a once in a lifetime event, so I couldn’t miss it! Meeting Barbara Pyle, and having an opportunity to work with Architecture for Humanity Atlanta & Renew Social Venture to Host the Event was a REAL Honor.

Steven Shappiro, a fellow colleague of AHFA, started off the show with some good ECO-Insight and then led into a brief introduction of our Honored ECO-Guests. Erin Glynn of the Sierra Club was in attendance, as well as Eco-Builder Robert Soens of Pinnacle Custom Builders. We had several other ECO-Leaders in the community, to many to mention here.

Barbara Pyle spoke about Captain Planet, and the Planeteer Movement. She is such a powerful speaker, and ECO-Motivator. Her words echoed truth, conservation, and activism. I toke some mental notes of course.

Next, We screened Episode 1. A Hero for Earth – Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, summons five teenagers from five different corners of the world to help her in the battle to save the planet. For their first assignment, the Planeteers battle Hoggish Greedly, whose oil rig operation is jeopardizing the coastline. 

Brandon Sutton followed up the Screening with a brief synopsis of the Spirit of the Gulf Coast, a project that developed as a volunteer documentary project that continues to raise awareness of the ongoing impacts of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how the people along the coast demonstrate their resilience in light of adversity.

HUGE thanks to Mark Hubbard at Renew Social Venture for providing the Lounge SUPER SCREEN Sound, seating, and atmosphere in your Venue in Historic Downtown Roswell Georgia. Big ECO-Thanks to Everybody Involved! 
Read this BLOG and other ECO-BLOGS at: http://andrewtelker.blogspot.com/
Follow The Planeteer Movement on Twitter @PlaneteerAlert #TPIY
“The Power Is Yours”   —  “GO Planet”
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