Tag Archives: 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…

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…

Bamboo – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Bamboo is a truly remarkable green building material. It’s twice as strong as concrete and slightly stronger than steel. It’s also a renewable resource that needs little energy to grow, prevents soil erosion, provides biomass, offers wildlife refuge, and produces a healthy food supply for both wildlife and humans. Offering significant remediation from the effects…

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…

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,…

Carbon Fiber is Architecture’s Lightweight Future

Carbon fiber is a miracle material. It is stronger than steel but weighs 90% less. Anca Trandafirescu and her husband, Glenn Wilcox—both assistant professors of architecture at University of Michigan and principals of Area in Ann Arbor, Mich. have won an award for an impressively strong, 14′ tall design that uses just 30 pounds of carbon…

Cross Laminated Timber Ideal For Urban Buildings

Architect Michael Green of Vancouver is a strong advocate for using engineered wood products like cross laminated timber (CLT) to construct medium to high rise buildings.  His mantra is “The Earth grows our food. The earth can grow our homes. It’s an ethical change that we have to go through.” He says wood sequesters carbon dioxide…

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…

Fiberglass Windows Are More Energy Efficient

For making energy efficient windows, fiberglass composites offer many advantages over wood, aluminum and vinyl. Wood warps and rots over time, allowing air infiltration that undermines the insulating power of the glass. Aluminum conducts heat and cold into the interior of buildings. And vinyl can weaken with age leading to a breakdown in insulating power. Fiberglass…

What Is LEED? – Materials and Resources

This is the sixth post in a series on the LEED green building rating system. The first post provided an Introduction to LEED, the second looked at the Sustainable Sites credit category, the third at the Location and Transportation credits, the fourth at Water Efficiency, and the fifth at the Energy and Atmosphere credits.   Materials and Resources What materials are…

Bamboo, Plastic Bottles Make Eco-Friendly Greenhouse

Hanoi architecture firm 1+1>2, in collaboration with Action For The City, has designed an eco-friendly greenhouse that protects growing plants from the elements, provides a place for farmers to rest and a offers a creative play space for children to learn more about their environment. It also offers a break from the visual sameness of…

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…

6 Building Materials of the Future

These futuristic building materials will change the way we construct buildings in the years to come. 1. Graphene Graphene is a one-atom thick layer of carbon.  It is thin, strong, flexible, conducts electricity, and is virtually transparent.  Researchers won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics for developing graphene.  It’s potential uses include solar cells, touchscreens,…

Hydrodec Receives US Approval for Treatment of PCB-Contaminated Waste Oil

London-based Hydrodec Group plc, the cleantech industrial oil re-refining group, is pleased to announce that the US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has issued Hydrodec with a final permit for the storage and treatment of polychlorinated biphenyl (“PCB”) contaminated used transformer oil in the US.

Possible Material Breakthrough for Thermoelectric Field

Liquid-like materials that may form a foundation for new thermoelectric energy devices have been discovered by researchers from Caltech, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Michigan, and the Chinese Academy of Science’s Shanghai Institute of Ceramics. The scientists have identified a liquid-like compound whose properties give it the potential to be more efficient than traditional thermoelectrics, which convert heat into electricity.

NewWood Manufacturing Offers Diverse Palette of Sustainable Recycled Products

A good line of green composite building products can be found through Elma, WA-based NewWood Manufacturing. The company’s innovative composite panels provide a glowing example of putting waste and scrap to good use. Panels are made using 50 percent recycled plastic and 50 percent recycled wood.

Natural Building 101: How To Make an Earthen or Adobe Floor

When mention of an “earthen floor” is made, one might imagine a dusty, drab dirt floor. Earthen floors are far from this, however; instead they are very elegant, durable, inexpensive, and ecologically sustainable solutions to a typical floor installation. They are varied in construction, but the idea and ingredients are essentially the same across the…

Green Building Tour: Kelly-Woodford Home

<p><img src="/files/images/KWhouse1.jpg" width="234" height="200" alt=" GRID Alternatives" />The first LEED for houses (LEED-H) project in the Northwest to achieve a Silver rating was the 2,000 square foot Kelly-Woodford Home in Parkdale, Oregon. The house was built by the <a href="http://www.neilkelly.com/">Neil Kelly Company</a>, a Portland area builder. The company has been a leader in environmentally oriented construction for a number of years.</p>