Tag Archives: green materials

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…

New Construction Materials… That Self-Repair?

Opening up a new field of design for construction technology, the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is envisioning futuristic materials that repair themselves. After recently launching the Engineered Living Materials (ELM) program, DARPA’s goal is to create a whole new class of construction materials. Imagine engineering living cellular systems into the…

On The Smaller Side Of Houses, Meet GreenPod

A recent visit to treehugger has provided us with a great resource for the smaller side of the housing spectrum: GreenPod. It appears modular and prefab homes are finally gaining some mainstream traction, states treehugger author Kimberley Mok. For people interested in getting an eco-friendly home relatively quick, going prefab can be an easier route with less headaches….

Pig Manure Bioadhesive Produces Alternative To Asphalt Paving

A newly discovered pig manure bioadhesive has been developed by civil engineer Ellie Fini and a team at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Turns out the oils in swine manure are similar to petroleum, but are too low-grade for gasoline and perfect for asphalt. First, just to be clear, the asphalt created with this…

Reversible Concrete Allows for Easy Removal

Yes, you read the title correctly – reversible concrete! It seems like an oxymoron – concrete is known for its stability and strength, and its permanence. Well, not anymore! Last October at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Self-Assembly Lab at MIT and Gramazio Kohler Research of ETH Zurich showed off a process that might finally one-up…

Reasons To Choose Natural Slate For Sustainable Building

As far as materials go, there is nothing quite like natural slate. It is beautiful, graceful, and long-lasting. Spanish slates, in fact, have traditionally been regarded as one of the best materials for roofing and cladding. According to geology.com, slate is a fine-grained, foliated metamorphic rock.  Used since Roman times, natural slate is remarkably durable, fire resistant,…

Analyzing Exterior Deck Options

When asked what is a highly desired feature outside of the house, a good number of people will first select an exterior deck or porch. Here’s why: if done well, it makes an inviting place to visit with family or friends to enjoy summer cookouts, or simply as a great place to sit back, relax,…

Kebony Transforms Traditional Norwegian Home

Kebony house

Kebony, an environmentally safe manufactured wood product, has been used to transform a traditional Norwegian home and bring it to Passive House standards.

13 Redwood Refinishing Tips

Refinishing redwood decking

Redwood is a wonderful material for outdoor structures like decks and fences, but not everyone is in love with its gray, weathered look.  Refinishing redwood is actually quite easy and can be done by novices and professionals alike. Cleaning The first step, of course, is to remove any debris from the structure.  This can be…

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

R-value of building insulation

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…

New Insulated Concrete Blocks Made From Recycled Styrofoam

BluBloc insulated concrete forms

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%…

Flooring May Contain High Levels of Formaldehyde

Cali Bamboo Flooring

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…

Green Materials Report – Redwood

Redwood deck

This post is part of the Green Materials Report series.  GBE is providing information on various building materials and what makes them green.  Each post focuses on one material.  We will be looking at the ingredients in the material, how it is used, what makes it green, and any green product certifications that it has earned.  We…

Green Materials Report – Wall Coverings

Bark House Poplar Bark Panels

This post is part of the Green Materials Report series.  GBE is providing information on various building materials and what makes them green.  Each post focuses on one material.  We will be looking at the ingredients in the material, how it is used, what makes it green, and any green product certifications that it has earned.  We…

Which Is More Green – SFI or FSC Lumber?

The two main sustainable forestry certification programs (Sustainable Forestry Initiative, SFI, and Forest Stewardship Council, FSC) have been fighting for years to determine which is better.  SFI has struggled to gain a foothold in the industry, and has been working to be approved by the US Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating system.  In an…

Waxed Cardboard Insulation Comes From Produce Boxes

Students at Portland State University have developed a new insulation material made from shredded waxed cardboard produce boxes.  The insulation helps local grocery stores sustainably dispose of the boxes and could provide low-cost energy savings. PSU assistant architecture professor Margarette Leite heard that many local grocery stores were looking for a way to sustainably dispose…

Green Materials Report – Low VOC Paint

low voc paint

This post is part of the Green Materials Report series.  GBE is providing information on various building materials and what makes them green.  Each post focuses on one material.  We will be looking at the ingredients in the material, how it is used, what makes it green, and any green product certifications that it has earned.  We…