Green building products
Sustainable “Green” building encompasses practices which promote energy savings, the efficient use of resources and materials, sensitive site design, and healthy interior environments. The use of leading-edge technology and contemporary design has brought green building to the forefront of the building industry. Your average building center is now stocking these Green products for your home.
VOCs, volatile organic compounds, were used to bind paint in the past. Also, lead was used and mercury was often added as a mildew agent. Water based latexes still use VOCs though in reduced amounts these compounds are released from the paint for months afterwards.
Today there are low and no VOC types of paint at competitive prices emitting up to 16 times less of the dangerous compounds. Rodda, Glidden, Benjamin Moore and Olympic offer these no or low VOC versions. All are Green Seal approved. And Kelly Moore offers E-coat a low VOC paint that is half recycled paint for about $7.50 a gallon.
Floors and trim
Deforestation is clearly bad for trees, and for all animals and all plants in a forest. Further, carbon dioxide that is NOT processed by the trees due to their cutting is greater than all the human produced carbon dioxide put into the air via fossil fuels.
There are many wood products today certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). There is also wood from cycled sources. There are good alternatives to wood that are sustainable include bamboo, palm and eucalyptus.
Home Depot and Lowes carry FSC approved wood, Smith and Fong produces plywood bamboo and Duraplam, Weyerhauser offers Lytpus, a Brazilian eucalyptus hybrid
The best material for siding is cedar but it comes from old growth forests. There are FSC products and siding made from reclaimed lumber. Wood look-a-likes include recycled wood fiber board and fiber cement siding made with recovered fly ash.
Temple-Inland’s Endura made with wood fiber is certified by Scientific Certification Systems. CertainTeed has fiber cement siding with fly ash. Highland Craftsman makes rustic siding from discarded bark of the trees used in furniture production.
CCA, chromated copper arsenic, was used to be used in pressure treated decking to protect it from insects and decay. In 2003 CCA was banned from the residential use by the EPA.
Today are there many products that will do the job and not poison anyone. There is decking made from a composite of recycled plastic and wood. There new kinds of pressure treatment process using borates and sodium silicate which are safe and nontoxic. There are also tropical hardwoods that are naturally insect resistant which the FSC approves.
The Plastic Lumber Yard, Renew Resources and Trex offer composite decking. Wood Treatment Products and TimberSil both offer a pressure treated decking.
Carpet is a big problem. Billions of pounds of it make it into landfills.
Carpet gives off-gases of chemicals after installation and its backing is made of PVC, polypropylene or SB latex. The carpet fibers themselves are made from petroleum.
The green answer to carpet is to use area rugs, or to buy carpets with fibers made from PET plastic bottles or even recycled carpet.
Corn based fibers are now appearing on the market. And carpets are now on the market made of jute or hemp which are very strong…but make sure they aren’t treated with mothproofing pesticides.
Look for the Carpet and Rug Institutes Green Label to find carpets that emit low VOCs.
Companies to check out for recycled materials include Milliken and Shaw. Mohawk’s SmartStrand is made of corn fiber. Flor makes carpet tiles with recycled backings.
Colin Campbell has Nature’s Carpet, a natural wool carpet with no moth chemicals and a backing of natural jute.
Most shingles are asphalt made from petroleum. 11 million tons of landfill each year is crammed with shingles.
There are many alternatives to asphalt shingles — recycled plastic, plastic-wood composites, recycled aluminum and copper, slate, clay tiles, and cedar too.
There are recycling programs by localities for old shingles; they are melted into asphalt for roadways.
Companies that produce alternatives include Alluvium Construction with its recycled slate and tile; Eco-Shake which offers good simulations of wood shake from vinyl and wood fiber; Eco-Star’s and its Majestic Slate Tile made of recycled rubber and plastics; and Classic Metal Roofing Systems and its aluminum roofing which is 98% recycled.
More green building products
Please go to www.buildinggreen.com
Below is a list of the site’s product categories:
Decking (75 Articles, 47 listings)
Outdoor Structures (43 Articles, 112 listings)
Foundations, Footers, and Slabs (32 Articles, 108 listings)
Structural Systems & Components (109 Articles, 214 listings)
Sheathing (28 Articles, 20 listings)
Exterior Finish & Trim (30 Articles, 24 listings)
Roofing (38 Articles, 76 listings)
Windows (17 Articles, 77 listings)
Doors (3 Articles, 14 listings)
Insulation (91 Articles, 151 listings)
Flooring & Floorcoverings (126 Articles, 180 listings)
Interior Finish & Trim (91 Articles, 127 listings)
Paints & Coatings (33 Articles, 90 listings)
Caulks & Adhesives (2 Articles, 17 listings)
Mechanical Systems/HVAC (67 Articles, 159 listings)
Plumbing (86 Articles, 167 listings)
Lighting (46 Articles, 78 listings)
Electrical (41 Articles, 72 listings)
Appliances (26 Articles, 45 listings)
Furniture & Furnishings (55 Articles, 107 listings)
Renewable Energy (29 Articles, 78 listings)
Miscellaneous (93 Articles, 83 listings)
Distributors & Retailers (19 Articles, 85 listings)