Materials

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What Is R-Value and What Does It Mean To You?

What Is R-Value? Simply put, R-value is a measurement of how insulating a building material is, protecting one side from the heat or cold on the other side.  A higher R-value means that a material insulates better than one with a lower value. In order to get an idea of what these values are, here […]

July 1st

New Insulated Concrete Blocks Made From Recycled Styrofoam

A new company in Portland, Oregon is gearing up to manufacture large quantities of the latest product in the ICF (insulated concrete forms) world.  BluBloc offers a twist on standard ICF products – it uses recycled styrofoam instead of manufacturing new for use in the forms. BluBloc is 85% recycled polystyrene foam (styrofoam) and 15% […]

June 23rd

Ferncliff Eco Center Features Unique Sustainable Flooring Options

Something very unique has happened in Arkansas!  The Eco Center at Ferncliff in Little Rock is a volunteer-built straw bale mecca for those looking for sustainable building options.  The floors alone are worthy of an article to themselves! First, a bit of background.  Ferncliff is a summer camp and conference center owned by a nearby […]

May 7th

Lowe’s Offers 3-D Printing Out of Any Material, Including Gold

Lowe’s Innovation Labs is now offering 3-D printing of household hardware items from a Lowe’s-owned Orchard Supply Store in Mountain View, California.  While 3-D printing is becoming more commonplace, it takes a certain knowledge to program a printer to create an item.  With Lowe’s new system, average homeowners are able to design and print their […]

May 5th

Green Alternatives to Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation can help save up to 50% in energy costs, protect a building from moisture intrusion, and provide sound insulation.  In addition, it provides two to three times more insulation that traditional fiberglass. However, according to Environmental Working Group, most common spray polyurethane foam insulation contains methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, or MDI, a synthetic chemical […]

March 24th

Flooring May Contain High Levels of Formaldehyde

In a story that gained national attention last week, it was revealed that certain low-cost Chinese-made laminate flooring products sold by Lumber Liquidators contain a high volume of formaldehyde.  CBS’ 60 Minutes did an investigation and found that the product “may fail to meet health and safety standards, because it contains high levels of formaldehyde, a […]

March 11th

Building Material of the Future – Wood?

No, the headline is not a typo.  Wood is going to places it’s never been before – up!  The T3 project (which stands for “Timber, Technology, and Transit”) in Minnesota will be the tallest wood-framed building in the United States at seven stories.  The 210,000 square foot office building is causing a bit of an […]

March 5th

Net Zero Case Study: Bullitt Center – Green Materials

The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, is one of the most self-sufficient buildings on the planet.  It is net zero energy and, after the water reuse system is approved by city authorities, net zero water.  Net zero means that the building uses the same amount as it creates or generates – it is self-sufficient.  In […]

February 28th

Green Building With Renewable Rice Straw

For every ton of rice that is grown, 500 lbs of rice husks and straw are created. Typically, those husks and straw are burned as waste. But two innovations on opposite sides of the world are changing that. In India, 16-year-old Bisman Deu saw all those rice husks being burned and wondered whether they couldn’t be […]

January 16th