As the heart of the home, the kitchen is a space where many homeowners are deciding to incorporate green elements. Since there are a variety of details involved in a kitchen, homeowners have the opportunity to make eco-friendly choices in a variety of areas.
The countertops in a kitchen play a very large role in the space, and a recent post on Twitter linked to an article that discussed ways for homeowners to get creative with kitchen countertop materials. The article discussed laminate, natural stone and ceramic tile as options for homeowners. But there are several other kitchen countertop materials that are both attractive and eco-friendly that homeowners should know about.
- Concrete countertops can be made from recycled aggregate. They are extremely durable, can be dyed to almost any color imaginable and can be formed into custom shapes.
- Terrazzo countertops are a long-lasting green option, with a lifespan of over 40 years. These are also knows as recycled glass countertops, made of crushed stone and glass.
- Wood or butcher block countertops that are salvaged or left untreated are another environmentally friendly option for the kitchen.
Regardless of the style of your kitchen remodeling project, green countertop options are available.
To incorporate other eco-friendly elements, consider low VOC paint, replacement windows or energy efficient lighting.
Building green homes and facilities is supported by more than 15,000 organizations nationwide that are all a part of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC and its members are focused on promoting the construction of structures that are built and operated in environmentally responsible ways, contribute to minimizing operation expenses, and are healthy places to live and work. The USGBC supports the efforts and financial success of the U.S. market’s green building products and services through a variety of programs which provide critical resources and education for successful green building projects.
Programs provided by the USGBC include Chapter Programs which allows individual communities to draw on the resources and education of a USGBC chapter in their area; education in the form of courses on green design, construction, and operation; an Emerging Green Builders program that offers education and resources in green building techniques future builders; and perhaps the most influential program is the execution of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
The LEED rating system is one that when adhered to ensures that a facility has been built to the highest standards possible with regard to sustainable buildings. There are five main areas for the LEED rating criteria: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Developed by USGBC, the LEED certification is actually through a third-party who provides the tools and resources necessary for all involved in green facility projects from lending to design to construction to landscape and the owners and operators.
The intention and goal of the LEED rating system is to advance the development and implementation of green building practices on a global scale and offers criteria and resources that can be used in homes, neighborhoods, schools, commercial facilities, and more. It is through the combined efforts of the USGBC, their affiliate programs, and eco-aware developers, owners, and operators that sustainable building practices will continue to succeed in construction projects on every level.
By: Joe Lederman
As citizens of this planet, we have an inherited obligation to care and nurture the world we live in. For a significant portion of the 20th century, the construction and building industry was plagued with many harmful materials that not only poses many risks for home owners and workers, but for the environment. Living in the 21st century, we are in the midst of moving towards a green paradigm, away from health damaging materials. With a growing amount of education and resources in environmentally sustainable products, many states in the United States are leading the switch towards living GREEN!
When embarking on the path to home ownership or home remodeling, there are many things that need to be considered and additional responsibilities that will be required. Highly regarded throughout the 20th century, asbestos was considered the pinnacle of building materials, posing many intrinsic qualities that manufacturers loved. It’s fire resistant, durable and versatile components made it sought out by many industries. Asbestos was used in industrial products such as insulation, piping, roofing and flooring products.
Many public facilities, homes and buildings built before 1980 may still be harboring asbestos and other hazardous materials. If any of these are suspected, experts will almost always advise to leave it un-disturbed as this can damage it, releasing its fibers airborne. If it is determined that asbestos should be removed, leave it un-disturbed until a licensed contractor can safely remove the material. There are now many green alternatives that not only replace the need for asbestos, but can reduce annual energy costs.
There are many green, eco-friendly materials that replace the need for asbestos and can reduce energy costs annually.
Although most asbestos material does not pose a risk, consistent exposure can lead to lung ailments such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. With a latency period lasting 20 to 50 years and no mesothelioma cure, it accounts for three percent of cancer diagnoses in the U.S. Mesothelioma treatments have varied affects on patients and many variables can affect patient prognosis.
GO GREEN: Breathe Easy, Live Simply
The United States Green Building Council is a non for profit organization working to make homes, buildings and facilities go green within a generation. Green building can and must be available to all people. This will lead to a better quality of life not only for the country, but around the world. Many are unaware that eco-friendly materials can reduce annual energy costs by 25 percent. The United States Green Building Council also conducted a study which estimated a new savings of $50-$65 per square foot for positively constructed green buildings. As education and technology of green sustainable practices increase, the numbers will continue to rise.
Many cities in the U.S. have established lumberyards that can re-store where recycled building materials are available. Instead of using old practices such as mal treated wood for interior walls, it can be constructed from concrete or steel, reducing the amount of risks associated with asbestos and obsolete methods of insulation. These healthy alternatives to asbestos include the use of lcynene foam, cotton fiber and cellulose. Made from recycled batted material, cotton fiber is becoming a prominent form of insulation, containing the same fireproof qualities that once made asbestos the most sought after building substance.
Living in a world where environmental sustainability is a vital concern to the future of mankind, it is important to take note of the consequences of improper building materials and environmental degradation. These asbestos alternatives allow for a healthy, safe home, free of health deteriorating materials.
Mesothelioma Cancer Center
The “Going Green” phase in home construction has many people confused about what “green manufacturing” really means. Many individuals, companies and organizations are struggling to find the balance between renewable, sustainable, recyclable, LEED certified, NAHB Green Program, Energy Star, energy efficient, net zero, carbon foot print, certified products, low VOC, air quality and a myriad of other green words.
So what is the ultimate goal trying to be achieved? Are we aspiring to save the environment, buy cleaner and healthier products, create personal energy efficiency, live sustainable lives, recycle more trash? Special interest groups want to push their agenda within the green communities and business are trying to gain some profit from the emphasis being put on this topic so finding the proper information is important for balancing our lives in a green world.
Similar to the health and wellness industry that one day says this vitamin is drastically important and then next month it is not, living green is in this phase today. Do some research and understand what “being green” really means. “Going green” is here to stay and needs to be in the minds of every person on this globe if a change is really going to take place.
What is “Green”?
Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Study the basics of what makes a product green, then study the product and make sure it fits the proper criteria. Many companies use the Green catch phase to help promote their product but when looking into the product they are not so green. Many will use recycled products in the manufacturing process but this recycled amount may be very low. Some vinyl products claiming to be green may only have 10% – 15% recycled base in their product. Where as another with a similar product may have 40% – 50% recycled base. Which product has taken “green manufacturing” seriously and which is just using it as a marketing scheme?
Look for green certified products and then read as much as possible about the product. Compare several similar products and see which has made the most effort in “Being Green”.