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Building Green: From Small Sheds To Big Buildings
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Everyone is trying their best to be more conscious of the choices that they make, from the kind of car that they drive, to the clothing that they wear and the food that they eat. Building can be a major undertaking as well as a major expense so it should be reasonable to assume that all building should be as green as possible.

Building green can be as simple as using solar panels during a renovation or remodel or using re-purposed or sustainable materials when building from the ground up. Re-purposing materials can be not only a green choice but a very valid economic one as well. Imagine taking down an old barn on your property and reusing some of the materials for other uses.

Making sure that renewable or sustainable materials are used during the building process is very important- these materials are less toxic and harmful to the planet at large and to the people that will come in close contact with them on a frequent basis. Bamboo is one of the new and favored materials for a lot of reasons, as is straw bales. Recycled paper, compressed and molded to look like logs or bricks is also a good option and keeps paper from being dumped into a local landfill.

No matter what the size of your project is, try to use as much of the green concept as you can, from the materials being used to the method of building. Make sure that you do not negate all of the “green” by overusing power tools or potentially harmful items when a simpler, safer tool can be used instead. When building larger projects, consider working with a green architect or at least one that is open to greener suggestions.

The power and/or heating source of a home project can be where one of the biggest expenses comes in. Consider installing solar panels to draw power for at least a portion of your home’s energy use. Make sure that other items that you look at make the best of your energy, regardless of the source and do not splurge on items that are harmful or expensive to use and maintain.

Good Eco-friendly flooring choices include: bamboo, cork and slate. All have their own advantages and disadvantages so explore all options thoroughly before committing to a choice. Consider a room’s use before a decision is made- for example, different flooring options work for different rooms. Carpeting and rugs should be made from safe, chemical free materials, and the option of recycled material rugs should be considered in this area as well.

One very good example of this concept is doormats that are made from recycled and leftover flip-flop materials. Durable, absorbent and easy to keep clean, these are also very cushioning and make good mats to stand on for long periods as well. They are bright and colorful and keep these scraps from being dumped. Everyone benefits, including the planet.


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