Cellulose Insulation – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Made from consumer paper products, cellulose insulation typically contains about 85 percent recycled content. Using this green building material can effectively lower the carbon footprint of your home or business property. Essentially, this is because cellulose insulation is plant cell matter that is still storing the carbon sequestered when it was alive. Responsible management of the US forestry industry has led to a sustainable supply of planted trees, which are a highly renewable resource for both building and paper products. Combining…

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Blocks – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Blocks used for residential and commercial construction employ a wide variety of green building materials in their composition. The most popular and commonly used is the standard hollow concrete block, but there are many variations in shape, weight, and composition. Sand, cement, gravel, and water are the most commonly used elements in blocks, but there is a wide variety in the mix of materials used. This latest article in our series, the ABCs of Green Building Materials, explores the various…

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Aluminum – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Used in a wide variety of ways in the building construction market, aluminum is a very versatile green building material, especially when it’s recycled. Everything from huge external building structures to delicate window blinds can be manufactured from this lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant metal. Doors, windows, and awnings are popular products made from this material, as well as parking canopies, warehouses, and other commercial outbuildings. Solar panels typically rely on low-weight aluminum framing components in solar installations on residential and commercial…

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BluBloc insulated concrete forms

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% cement. Like other ICF products, the “blocks” interlock to form the outside structure of a building. Cement is then poured inside the forms, creating a…

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High-tech Fiberboard Made from Waste Fiber

There’s a new green building material on the market that is light, strong, and flexible, and can be made into just about any shape, including complex molded shapes, without the need for any glues, harmful chemicals, or toxic ingredients. This material, called ECOR, is a high-strength fiberboard made using only water, heat, fiber, and pressure, and takes a low-value product (waste fiber) and turns it into a high-value green building material. At its most basic, ECOR, from Noble Environmental, is…

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Blue Jeans Go Green

Blue Jeans Go Green, Become Building Insulation

Want to donate your old blue jeans to a good cause and help the environment at the same time? Drop them off at J.Crew or Madewell stores now through the December 31, 2014, and they will be sent to their next life as insulation material in a building! Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling drive started in August, and both J.Crew and Madewell retail stores have decided to extend the drive until year-end for J.Crew, and January 31,…

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The Garden Tower Project Start-Up Business

Social media is helping many start-up companies gain followers, earn profit and take off. One company that was featured on Kick Starter and on startup-USA.com is The Green Tower Project. The Green Tower Project is a self-contained vertical garden/composting system. “It’s a Garden, it’s a composter – It’s the Garden Tower! The unique self-contained vertical garden allows anyone to turn their waste kitchen scraps into an abundant organic veggie harvest.” The company is based out of Bloomington, Indiana. The towers…

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Treehouse in Memorial City, Both are More than a Name Suggests

As cities re-develop and re-define themselves in new urban and sustainable ways, mixed-used mini-cities are becoming popular oasises in the midst of traditional metropolitan areas. In Houston, Texas, one of such, ‘city-with-in-a-city’ exists and is called Memorial City. It is 7.6 million SF of a place that intertwines the living, shopping, working and play parts of its population’s lives. Memorial City is, “A privately-held real estate investment, development and management company headquarters.” Part of that headquarters is a 14,700 SF,…

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Fascinating Things about Shipping Container Homes and Offices

Recently, there is a trend of using the steel shipping container to construct residential homes and office spaces. You can find shipping containers for sale in Sydney and around the world. Many prefer using shipping containers as homes, office spaces, commercial spaces, etc. because they are strong, portable, easy to construct, and affordable. The Strongest Box on the Globe Corten steel containers are stronger than traditional steel and are less prone to corrosion. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and…

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Penda’s Unique Creations

In design, when concepts become creations that the world hasn’t seen before, then the job is well done. A young and upcoming firm is Penda and their goal is to create nothing that isn’t unique and thought out. Penda was started in 2012 by Chris Precht and Dayong Sun. Every project that they undertake becomes a work of art that is “custom-made” for that individual project. They specialize in architecture, interiors, industrial and installation. They have created residential spaces, commercial…

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First 3D Printed House

An architecture firm that was founded in 2004 in Amsterdam by Hans Vermeulen, Hedwig Heinsman and Martine de Wit called DUS Architects is in the middle of a 3-year research project that may change the construction industry forever. They are working on building the first 3D-printed house called the 3D Print Canal House. The 3D Print Canal House is an exhibition/museum where visitors pay to interact and see the 3D printing process in action. This is a trial process where…

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San Diego Airport Receives LEED Platinum Certification

NORESCO’s Sustainability Services group guided a Green Build terminal expansion at SDIA (San Diego International Airport), earning it a LEED (Leadership In Energy And Environmental Design) Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC®), which is the highest LEED certification there is. That means that relatively speaking, this is a stupendously energy-efficient structure! NORESCO managed Terminal 2 West during its design and construction phases. This project, which is the airport’s largest upgrade yet, comprises 10 new gates, a 460,000 square-foot…

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Rhino3 Creates Shipping Container Homes starting with a ‘Queen’

A new creation has come to fruition on the plains of Colorado. The first of its kind is called “Zulu Queen” and it is a Corten steel shipping container ‘high cube’ turned home. The designed home emerged from a team of an artist/architect and an outdoor woman/tech guru of Sam Austin and Jan Burton as they created firm Rhino3 (cubed). Their motto is: “Tiny dwellings at the intersection of art and sustainability” These containers were used to import goods to…

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The Economic/Green Philosophy of a Trash Barn

I published this post some time ago but recently discovered the video link was incorrect (MY MISTAKE). It is a story about a great project. When Doug Eichelberger built a barn on his Larkspur, CO ranch out of plastic and paper that wasn’t even fit for the recycling trucks, he was a pioneer in experimentation with alternative building materials. And as important, materials that prove to be cost-effective for use. The architect and sculptor had a fundamental understanding of how…

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Crossville Hits Recycling Program Milestone: 40 Million Pounds of Fired Porcelain Diverted from Landfills to Date

It is encouraging to see companies taking the lead in smart recycling programs. This makes for great Earth Day news reporting. Maintains Net Waste Consumption Through Tile Take-Back Program, TOTO Partnership Officials with domestic tile manufacturer Crossville Inc, have announced that the company has diverted a total of 40 million pounds of fired porcelain since launching its Tile Take-Back program and TOTO USA partnership. These recycling initiatives are based on the company’s proprietary process for recycling fired porcelain products, including…

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Shigeru Ban is Awarded The 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Everyone has their heroes, their role-models, their if-I-could-be-like-anyone-it-would-be persons and I am no different. I wrote about his past accomplishments, including his cardboard cathedral and paper tube relief houses on GBE a couple of years ago and now my career hero was given the ultimate award in architecture this past month. He is Shigeru Ban and the award is the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The award goes to a living architect whose work has contributed to humanity and the built environment.…

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Putting the Scrap Pile to Good Use

I hate to see a scrap pile go to waste when it can be put to good use somewhere else. Saving a pile of wood cutoffs about to be tossed in the trash can This red oak coffee table is an example of what can be done with scrap wood cutoffs from another project. Like many similar projects, the cutoffs were ready for the trash can, then the landfill. Instead, I kept laminating dozens of short pieces out of end…

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