The VISION House: Q&A with Armstrong VP, Mara Villanueva-Heras
On Earth Day, the VISION House, a new “green” model home exhibit opened at Epcot® at Walt Disney World®. VISION House showcases many environmentally friendly products, like hardwood flooring and cabinets, that visitors can install in their own homes. It’s such an exciting project to be a part of that we decided to ask Mara Villanueva-Heras, VP-Marketing for Residential Floors, about Armstrong’s involvement.
- Why did Armstrong become a sponsor for the VISION House exhibit in Innoventions at Epcot?
Floors are products we live on every day. A floor is a huge component of a room, both from a visual and lifestyle aspect. Armstrong is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Green Builder® Media and Disney to show how typical, accessible products like ours can make an impact. The exhibit demonstrates that anybody can change the world by making positive changes in their own home.
- What is the idea behind the VISION House and why was it planned for Epcot?
The Innoventions attraction at Epcot has been home to new concepts and ideas for a long time. What’s exciting about this, unlike some of the way-off technology shown in previous exhibits, is that the products found inside the VISION House are all available today! The exhibit highlights the very best in green residential design and sustainable living, including high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, whole-home automation systems, and products like hardwood floors and wood cabinets.
- What Armstrong products were installed in the model home exhibit?
A "green" kitchen is becoming a priority for many homeowners, so it’s a focal point of the new VISION House, and that’s where Armstrong products really shine. Hardwood floors are considered sustainable because, with proper forest management, trees are a renewable resource. In fact, because of good forest management, over the last 60 years the number of hardwood trees in the U.S. has more than doubled. Wood floors are beautiful – and extremely durable and long-lasting. Cabinets are a major factor for any home remodel, especially in the kitchen. Today, there are many cabinet choices, but some cabinets can give off volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Armstrong Origins ® cabinets not only look beautiful, but they are low in VOCs because a urea-formaldehyde free, soy-based adhesive is used in the manufacturing process.
- Are you pleased with the exhibit?
Absolutely. You honestly feel like you are invited into someone’s home. On the tour, you’re escorted through the fictional Monteverde family’s house by a family friend (a cast member), who tells us the family’s vision was to create a home that works in harmony with the environment. They point out all the major themes of green building – home automation, water conservation, hardwood floors. Many of us on the tour said we’d love to have some of these products in our homes!
- What was the best part of opening day?
For me, it was the fun, interactive segment that Armstrong put together for kids entitled, “Fun Facts About Trees – ‘Woodn’t You Know.” This segment was part of a special educational series within the exhibit on opening day. Kids were given a sugar maple sapling to plant themselves, as well as crayons and a coloring book about trees.
- Why should visitors check out the VISION House when they go to Epcot?
It’s a different kind of thrill that you get here compared to other exhibits, a mix of fun and education. It’s a very familiar world, and when you leave, you’ll have some practical ideas to put to use when you get back home.
Kim Lefever, Social Media Manager, handles social media for Armstrong. She posts on Armstrong’s residential social channels regularly and responds to questions from consumers on blogs and forums. When she’s not at her keyboard, she is usually found with her nose in a book or tending to the chickens she and her husband are raising.