Author Archives: Joel Bittle

Home Construction’s Dirty Secret: 8,000 lbs of Waste Per 2,000 Square Foot House

How carelessness on the job site leads to overflowing landfills, with tips on how to reduce construction waste If you feel like you are doing your part for the environment by taking your box of recycling to the curb, consider how much went to waste in the construction of your house.  According to the National…

How the Recession Means More Green Buildings (and Why That’s Good for the Economy)

Can a bad economy save the planet? Let’s be honest, construction companies and home builders are facing terrible times.  New building construction has ground to a halt and the subprime mortgage fiasco resulted in plummeting home values, leaving many builders with homes that were worth less than the cost of construction.   The longer the…

Kitchen Cabinet Industry Going Green

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association’s Environmental Stewardship Program (KCMA-ESP) encourages cabinet manufacturers to go green in all aspects of cabinet production, from smart harvesting to a healthier final product. If cabinet manufacturers built simply to qualify for LEED credits, they could use recycled materials or no formaldehyde in their final product, but cause enormous environmental…

Eco Timber Offers Comprehensive Online Green Flooring Guide

Can your hardwood floors contribute to global warming?  Which hardwoods are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council?  Are some types of bamboo greener than others?  Eco Timber’s Eco-Friendly Flooring Guide is a valuable source for information on sustainable hardwood flooring and a must read for any green builder.  The Richmond, California based company has promoted…

Can a Modern Green Home Be Built for $100K?

Follow Philly’s Postgreen as they attempt to build a modern green home for $100,000. Just over a year ago, Philadelphia developer Postgreen undertook an ambitious project, to build a modern green home for $100,000.  Not only are they seeking to shatter the myth that green homes are unaffordable, but they are documenting every step on…

A Rational Discussion on Radon in Granite Countertops

This post is a follow-up to The Fight Over Radon in Granite Countertops Heats Up, which will provide some background information on the granite/radon issue. With the legion of both deniers and alarmists out there attempting to monopolize the discussion over the safety of granite countertops, it is difficult to find unbiased information.  Peruse the…

Hansgrohe to Bring Simple, Compact Grey Water System to U.S.

Already a leader in water and energy conservation in bathroom fixtures, Hansgrohe is preparing to bring to the United States the Pontos Aquacycle grey water system.  Currently available in Europe, the Pontos Aquacycle is a compact and efficient way to convert bath and shower water into clean, filtered water for use in toilets, washing machines,…

The Costs of Not Building Green

Despite the narrowing gap in cost between green building and traditional “to-code” building, most builders and home buyers still perceive the green option to be significantly more expensive.  The reality is that due to increased builder education and an influx of affordable green building products, a building can be built green within the same budget…

Build Your Ultimate Green Kitchen

A few weeks ago I offered my thoughts on green kitchens on a budget.  Today, I want to focus on making your new kitchen as green as possible, without regard for cost.  Remember, often the greenest options is to keep your current kitchen; many choose to repaint their cabinets with non-VOC paint or to tackle…

Green Builders, Inc. Bringing Green Homes to the Masses

Austin, Texas builder Clark Wilson has been in the homebuilding industry for over twenty five years, serving as president of Doyle Wilson Homebuilder, Inc. and then as CEO of Clark Wilson Homes, Inc. before retiring in 2002. Eager to get back into home building and aware of the growing demand for green homes, Mr. Wilson…

Programmable Thermostats Save Money and Energy – EPA Shows You How

As part of their year-long “Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR” campaign, EPA has launched a website to help you save money and and energy with your programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat properly programmed and used can reduce 1,847 lbs of green house gas emissions a year. According to the EPA, maximizing household energy…

Touchless Faucets for the Home?

Seemingly relegated to airport and stadium bathrooms, touchless faucets are starting to make their way into homes, with plumbing manufacturers moving to offer more design options.  It’s an idea that may seem strange at first, but touchless faucets are actually quite practical, especially for a children’s bathroom.  They are clearly beneficial in that they limit the…

It’s Time to Rethink Tub Sizes

As I mentioned in my KBIS Report, I was struck by the sizes of bathtubs on display at this year’s kitchen and bath trade show. Though green was king thoughout most of the convention, companies that pitch themselves as catering to a luxury market seem to be sending the message that if you have enough…

Earth Day Movie Premiere: The Greening of Southie

On Tuesday, April 22, the Sundance Channel will present as part of their The Green series “The Greening of Southie,” a documentary on the construction of Boston’s first green residential building, the Macallan, which is seeking a LEED gold rating. If the idea of watching a documentary on the construction of a condo building doesn’t…

KBIS Report: It’s Getting Green in Here

As I walked around last year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas, I asked where I could find the green products. I was encouraged to put on my walking shoes and make the trek to a minor hall where I found about twenty square feet devoted to five or six products that left…

USGBC and ASID Launch REGREEN: Green Remodeling Guidelines

Under the FAQs for LEED for Homes is a question on whether the US Green Building Council has a LEED program for remodeling. The response is that they are “in active consideration.” It seems they’ve done more than just consider. Last month at the Interiors 08 conference in New Orleans, the American Society of Interior…

Green Counter Culture

If you attended the Greenbuild conference in Chicago last November, you would have been hard pressed to find a green cabinet manufacturer among the exhibitors – but you couldn’t turn around without bumping into a new type of green countertop. They nearly outnumbered the waterless urinals. Over the past couple of decades, countertops have evolved…

Ban on Garbage Disposals? Really?

In a move that had many residents bewildered, the Raleigh, North Carolina, city council voted to ban garbage disposals in all new construction and to prohibit residents from replacing broken garbage disposals. The ordinance, which took effect this week, has its roots in over 100 large sewage spillovers in the last three years within the…