Thursday, 20 December 2012

Holiday Message 2012

Warm Season’s Greetings by fireside with champagne and evergreen trees from Wo-Built & PeapodLife
Image Montage by Wo-Built: Warm Season’s Greetings by fireside with champagne
and evergreen trees from Wo-Built and PeapodLife Building EcoSystems and Technology
Image Credit: MS Office ClipArt: Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings from all of us at Wo-Built, Inc.

As we close out another year, we pause to remember everyone who made 2012 such an exciting and prosperous year for Wo-Built.

We worked on some fabulous projects and took major strides forward in our new strategic initiative, PeapodLife Building EcoSystems and Technology.

This year wasn’t without its challenges, but with the help, guidance, patronage and support of our Partners, Clients, Investors, Friends and Family, we came through stronger, wiser, and better prepared for the challenges ahead. Thank you one and all.

If 2012 was any indication, there will be many more people watching and wishing us success, if for no other reason than our social, environmental and economic mission is one they too believe in.

As we head into the New Year, we do so with a renewed sense of passion and commitment to the future of our Company, and all who stand beside and behind us. We will not let you down.

It is therefore with warm hearts that we wish one and all a Very Happy Festive Season and blessings for a prosperous and peaceful New Year.

From all of us to all of you, may you be happy; may you be joyful; may you be at peace.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
and the Entire Wo-Built & PeapodLife Team

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Building an Addition – Treat Yourself to a True Professional

Make sure Your Contractor isn’t Naughty but Nice. 
Use our List and Check it Twice!, collage by
Image Collage by Wo-Built: Make sure Your Contractor isn’t Naughty but Nice.;
Use our List and Check it Twice! @wobuilt
Images Credit: MS Office ClipArt: Contractor Pointing, Santa with Christmas List.
Five Things that make a Contractor not Naughty but Nice

Building an addition is no joke. Whether it’s a single-dwelling home, multi-story apartment building, small office, business, or any building at all—no matter where or what it’s being used for—needs the keen eye, sound advice, and proven track record of a professional contractor.

Five things a True Professional Contractor Offers:
  • 1. Experience.
  • 2. References.
  • 3. Consultation.
  • 4. Execution.
  • 5. Integrity.

1. Experience. The contractor should have worked on comparable new builds, additions or major renovations, and be able to explain why their experience is relevant (be weary if all you can get out of a contractor are unsubstantiated claims like “oh sure, we can do that,” and “no problem”).

2. References. The contractor should willingly offer you names and numbers of past clients. Use them. Remember that industry accreditations don’t mean too much these days: contractors pay to get them.

3. Consultation. The right contractor will have a roster of designers, architects, engineers and other professionals on-hand or standing by to look at your project, offer important guidance, advice and related expertise.

4. Execution. The best contractors will give you a realistic estimate and project plan — including contingency plans and built-in cushions for inevitable cost-overruns — and have licensed and accredited tradespeople on-site and performing key tasks. They also visit the site regularly.

5. Integrity. It’s no cliché: the best contractors are nice, not naughty. Integrity makes the difference between an enjoyable and exciting building experience and a potential nightmare. It’s the quality which gives the other four items in this list real teeth.

Stuff happens during renovations of homes: all sorts of problems are discovered behind walls, under floorboards, in the attic, etc. Any contractor who fails to acknowledge these possibilities or does not account for them in their estimate are misquoting on your project. It’s a red flag, plain and simple.

Integrity is so key, because a half-baked contractor, will likely cut corners, fudge inspections, use “cheap” (read: unqualified) labour, and dozens of other tricks and tactics to maximize their profits while appearing to come in “on time and on budget.”

More likely, they will spring unforeseen challenges, problems, regulations, etc. on you, holding you over a barrel with a half-finished project, and start bleeding you dry with unforeseen and unplanned for extra expenses, at the end of the day delivering a sub-par result. But at what price?

Today in Paloma, Italy, four people paid the ultimate price—with their lives.

Image: "Firefighters clear rubble after two buildings collapsed overnight, in Palermo, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012…Survivors said a top floor had been added illegally onto one of the buildings recently." 
(AP Photo/Francesco Baiamonte, Lapresse) 

If this is not reason enough to think twice before cutting corners on your next building project (starting by choosing the smooth-talking contractor with the “too good to be true” quote), maybe Wikipedia’s partial “List of structural failures and collapses” might help.

Don’t let history repeat itself on your next building project. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind. Get a professional contractor to do the work right the first time.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Build a Better Lifestyle: Start Sprouting

Build a Better Lifestyle: Start Sprouting, collage by
Image Collage by Wo-Built: Build a Better Lifestyle: Start Sprouting:
Three Tablespoons Baby Mung Beans in Sprout Grower, 0 hrs to 36 hrs
Images Source:

Tony Hornick's Sprouter: Two tray container with a wired-mesh stand to spread seeds. Cover is a dome shaped to provide condensation. The bottom tray is for the water and for stand to rest.

Sprouts have been called nature’s healthiest food. Why? Sprouts are alive.

"Sprouts are said to be rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals, as these are necessary for a germinating plant to grow."
~ Sprouting Cathy Nesbitt talks about Tony Hornick’s Sprout Grower
"As a bonus Cathy (from Cathy's Crawly Composters shows us her friend Tony Hornick's Sprout Grower. This is a simple item that germinates sprouts from seeds. These sprouts contain multi-vitamins as they are pure concentrated nutrition..."
Published by tdotgardner84 on Aug 10, 2012

Four Steps to Sprouting with Tony Hornick's Sprout Grower:
  • 1. Planting
  • 2. Watering
  • 3. Weeding (not really)
  • 4. Harvesting
See a complete step by step process on Tony’s Fast and Easy Sprout Grower website.

And what does all this have to do with PeapodLife? In the event that someone would ever have to survive only on what they were capable of growing in their own home, the addition of sprouts to their PeapodLife Building EcoSystem would provide vital energy, vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Of course, like any nutritional choice, it’s best to consume sprouts in moderation. And, like any agricultural or food preparation process, it is important to learn the correct technique to avoid the potential risks of over-consumption or inappropriate preparation and storage. For instance, sprouting in jars is not recommended, and potentially toxic. The best option is to purchase a dedicated sprouting device. PeapodLife recommends Tony Hornick’s Sprout Grower because it is inexpensive, easy to use, and its customers are always eager to give positive testimonials to better health and a lifestyle with regular use.

Building better nutrition begins in the home; and sprouting is the perfect companion to PeapodLife.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Why Go Green with Plants?

Indoor Landscapes: Interior Plants, Office Landscaping, image montage by wobuilt.comImage Montage by Wo-Built: Indoor Landscapes
Image Credits: Travels with Zen-Aida +
Plantscape - Interior Plant Service, Indoor Office Landscaping

The Benefits of Indoor Garden Living Spaces

I have rediscovered my love for plants, or shall I say, my passion for making my home and office overflow with plants.

They seem to be multiplying (each time I go to the local garden center some seems to find themselves in my cart on the way out); they are on desks, tables, window sills, hanging from the ceiling etc.

Frankly they are starting to be in the way of everyone, but somehow we all accommodate the plants. So they are shifted about a bit, the work space is adjusted, the mountain of paper is redistributed around the plants and what does it matter that the floor is being utilized to the maximum.

Everyone loves being around the plants, they bring life into the space, especially at this time of year. The cold, grey and dreary time, the winter time, the short day time. The blooming Christmas cactus is a real treat to look at. We like our medicinal Aloe Vera plant, we do not just have ornamental plants, such as our Revolutions Croton (love the decorative curly leaves).

So what you say, they have a lot of plants. Why write this in a post? Quite frankly, who cares?

We all should care. Studies have shown that plants are beneficial to our moods. There is even a term for this: the biophilia hypothesis. According to Wikipedia the hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Biophilia means the love of life or living systems and was popularized by Harvard University myrmecologist and conservationist E.O. Wilson.

The need for connections with living systems is deeply rooted in our nature. As we have lost the day to day interaction with plants (we spend most of our time in enclosed buildings), it is becoming very important that nature is brought back into buildings. We have a solution in our PeapodLife concept.

We have written several articles about the PeapodLife concept and how it is beneficial for the indoor environment and we would like to invite you to review previous articles:

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Masdar City – the Sustainable Community

Image Montage by Wo-Built: Masdar City Master Plan & Actual Masdar Institute Building in Masdar City
Images Credit/Source: Masdar - A Mubadala Company: Masdar City Image Downloads

Masdar City – the Sustainable Community is not just for Dreamers anymore.
Sadly, it’s just not for Torontonians yet either.

Let’s face it, Canadians are safe. We don’t like rocking the boat—at home or abroad—and we certainly don’t make a big deal about being the first, the best, the most, etc. Sure, we may like it when by some fortuitous accident we find ourselves on top or ahead of the curve, but we generally don’t hunger for it like some other places in the world — notaboy our neighbours to the South. And certainly, if Research in Motion (RIM) or Nortel are any indication, we are absolutely terrible at maintaining our technological edge, if ever we do acquire it.

It’s unfortunate that residents of Canada, Torontonians for instance, are nowhere nearer to living in a truly sustainable community. No, that accolade goes to Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates. A project whose mission is:
"To advance renewable energy and sustainable technologies through education, research and development, investment, commercialization and adaptation."
Source: Masdar - A Mubadala Company: About Us

The following Masdar City promotional video says it all.

Masdar City is the world's first sustainable city - it's taking shape in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Uploaded by Hayes Thompson on Jan 18, 2010

A List of Masdar City Values reads like the philosophy of PeapodLife Building EcoSystems & Technology:
  1. Agility – The ability to switch from one technology to another but retain a sound footing based on a balance of best value and state of the art know-how.
  2. Commercial Viability – To ensure the widespread adoption of any sustainability technologies, they must be made commercially viable. While some environmentalists may be anti-capitalist, we feel rewarding investors for investing in people, planet and profits is a perfectly acceptable strategy for building a better world built on social, environmental, economic values (SEE-V).
  3. Sustainability – There is simply no point in embarking on a new system or course of action unless we consider all known factors—and best guesses as to what lies down the road—to ensure it will perform as needed for decades to come.
  4. Grounded in Reality – Dreaming is for bedtime, science fiction and video games. Doing is for those able to ground their imagination in the roots of what is achievable today: financially, technologically, socially, environmentally, et al. Deep down we are all dreamers, but the key to being a successful dreamer is remembering Lao Tzu’s wisdom: “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

So do these values translate to Canada? PeapodLife says: absolutely! As for the “vast distances” we have to travel in this country, Masdar is incorporating two ultra-modern, ultra-high-tech approaches to transit, both imported from Europe: Personal Rapid Transit for in-town personalized subterranean transport, and the Superbus (from the Netherlands), for high-speed transport between cities.

Superbus, a new clean energy public transport vehicle, visited Masdar city in Abu Dhabi.
Uploaded by Masdar VideosChannel on Apr 21, 2011

It’s such a shame that Canada has seven important factors in common with UAE, but not the political will nor entrepreneurial drive to pursue our own version of Masdar.

The seven characteristics Canada and UAE have in common are as follows:
  1. Canada and UAE are wealthy countries with oil revenues.
  2. Canada and UAE with climatic extremes (cold and hot).
  3. Canada and UAE have lots of available development land.
  4. Canada and UAE seem to share a fundamental concern for the environment and long-term sustainability.
  5. Canada and UAE are in close proximity (and economic relationship) with economic superpowers.
  6. Canada and UAE are known around the world as a “land of possibility / opportunity”
  7. Canada and UAE are both cosmopolitan nations; active destinations for both tourism and investment.

But whereas UAE is looking to the future and the impending oil crisis—and with a project like Masdar City is moving preemptively to reinvent itself for the new energy economy—what is Canada doing? Attracting direct foreign investment to develop a wealth of as-yet unexploited natural resources. For shame!

Well, we at Wo-Built and PeapodLife won’t stand for it. It may be an uphill battle ahead, but we are ready to bring our vision for sustainable buildings and indoor ecosystems to Canada and the world, and join the likes of Masdar City and others trying to not just dream or talk, but act.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build