"Green Building" is a broad term used to describe the design and construction of sustainable and environmentally conscious buildings.

The driving force behind this is to lower our negative impact on the environment and, at the same time, make the buildings we live and work in safer and healthier for us.

According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) statistics,`buildings are responsible for all of the following:

  • 39% of US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions

  • 70% of US electricity consumption

  • 15 trillion gallons of water consumption

Even though there is still some controversy over the effect of greenhouse gases on the environment, the last two statistics are very important for those of us living in urban areas experiencing continuous growth, especially the American Southwest. With our population expansion, aging water and electrical infrastructure, and shrinking landfills, designing and constructing green and sustainable buildings makes practical sense from a utilitarian perspective.

In fact, USGBC data shows that green buildings use 36% less energy, require fewer raw materials, and divert less waste to our landfills. Furthermore, the "increased" cost of green building is only one or two percent more expensive than a conventional building. This minute difference exemplifies the tangible and long-term benefits of sustainable design, primarily due to the fact that green buildings conserve water and electricity. Thus, while they are more expensive to build, green structures will save money by conserving more energy over time.

Another push towards the green build movement is by local governments. More and more municipalities are adopting the USGBC LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines for new and renovated buildings. In 2006, at the USGBC Greenbuild expo, the Mayor of Denver challenged other major cities to see who can have the most LEED® certified green buildings. They are accomplishing this by offering tax breaks to private corporations and mandating sustainable construction for city-financed projects.

This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of sustainable projects built by LEED® Certified general contractors. However, this growth has not come without challenges. Currently, the following issues are restricting the number of green projects being built:

  • Increased demand for green products has lead to long lead times

  • New and unspecified materials are labeled “green” products which are not necessarily certified

  • Building officials are struggling with a steep learning curve on how to evaluate these new products and sustainable building techniques

Despite these difficulties, the USGBC, sustainability advocates, and green building construction management firms are meeting to overcome these challenges.

The LEED® process is constantly under review and continues to adopt the latest codes and products. This includes Standard 189, a new minimum standard for green building. The USGBC is currently developing LEED® 3.0 and working with national code writers to include new products and techniques.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has even rolled out a new initiative called "Sustainability 2030," which at its roots, is looking to design all buildings by the year 2030 as carbon neutral. The USGBC has even initiated the Green Advantage Builders Certification for contractors to certify their knowledge in green building techniques.

So what does green building mean at the end of the day? It's simple yet profound: Do the right thing for you, the environment, and the next generation. While most companies are concerned with their bottom line, they ought to embrace the idea that energy and water conservation, green building, and the use of "green materials" in construction stands to increase their savings over time while positioning them as a leader in environmental stewardship.

According to the USGBC, we spend 90% of our time indoors. Due to this fact, scientists have identified an increase in allergies, asthma, absenteeism from school, and even work. There have been numerous studies done on post occupancy productivity levels, which have increased within "green" built facilities. Not only does green adaptation result in less sick days taken, but also shows an increase in productivity, job satisfaction, and in the case of schools, better grades.

So, as we positively affect the environment around us with sustainable green construction, we eventually create better health for ourselves.

About the Author:

Matthew Hancock is a LEED® accredited professional, a Green Advantage Certified Builder and a member of the Dallas chapter of the USGBC. He is a project manager for the Dallas office of Adolfson and Peterson Construction and a proponent of the sustainable and green building movements.

Adolfson & Peterson Construction is a 61-year-old company with offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; and Dallas, Texas (AIA Dallas Chapter 2007 Contractor of the Year). Adolfson & Peterson is currently ranked 72 on the Engineering News-Record Top 400 General Contractors list. Services provided are construction management, design/build, general contracting, LEED® construction capability, Green Advantage® certified personnel, facilities maintenance, Building Information Modeling, and long-term care to various public and private clients.

Interested in learning more about the green building trend? A couple of good resources are the USGBC and the Adolfson & Peterson library of resources on green construction management.

Article Source: - Trends in Green Building and Sustainable Construction


A recent report produced by the Brundtland Commission (formally the World Commission on Environment and Development) provides an excellent definition of what sustainable development is. The UK Government’s Sustainable Development Strategy, published by the DETR also defined it, and that definition can be found online.

However, these definitions need to be acted on and not just thought up. The idea is after all very simple to understand so here is a breakdown of what these definition might mean to you:

Sustainable development starts with the theory that the most sustainable aim for all is a better quality of life, not only today, but for generations to come.

To achieve this, sustainable development is about achieving economic growth, in the form of higher living standards. It is definitely not about scrimping and not buying things, or punishing ourselves for enjoying the use of the world's resources now.

But it is about protecting and enhancing the environment we live in, not just for its own sake but for our own enlightened self interest, because a damaged environment would quite soon begin to hold back economic growth and lead to a lower the quality of life.

To be truly sustainable, history shows us that things only work in the long term if we all make sure that economic and environmental benefits are freely available to the whole society and not just to the privileged few.

Sustainability is compatible with all the major faiths and can be supported by all. Therefore there should be no excuses for not meeting your objectives. It is commonly accepted that sustainable development must encompass four broad objectives;

  • Social progress which recognizes the needs of everyone.
  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources
  • Maintaining stable levels of economic growth and employment.

One of the most important areas of sustainability for society to act on is the disposal of waste. Nothing else, other than fossil fuel energy over-use causing climate change, and war, has the potential to do so much accumulating damage.

Unsustainable waste management poisons watercourses and underground water, leaves litter around everywhere that harms our wildlife, encourages rats and vermin, pollutes the air with odors and unhealthy aerosols and can render vast areas of land damaged or largely unusable.

About the Author:

Peter Barbour has been involved in the waste industry for many years and has worked for many companies in the waste business. More info here Waste responsibility.. Visit How Sustainable Waste Management Can Be Achieved.

Article Source: - How Sustainable Waste Management Can be Achieved


The green movement has seen a considerable evolution since the early 70s. In those halcyon days of the Peace Movement, Vietnam War and the winding down of counter culture, building green was in its infancy. Open a brochure of green home designs from the 70s and probably what stared out at you were structures shaped like anthills or cave dwellings. You wondered at the sanity of it all.

The concept of living with the nature, environmentally friendly initiatives was very much a part then, but was the preserve of some people. That has changed to green buildings being built by large construction companies with considerable support from the government. A trendy concept of the 70s has now transformed into an official mascot of many a nations.

In the 70s there was no real professional effort at building green homes. Designs mimicked natural designs of indigenous people without really trying to incorporate the wishes and aspirations of modern day living. There was no concerted effort at scientifically arriving at green home designs. Modern day avatars of green home designs follow a rigid certification code in many counties in the world. In the US, The Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) is an initiative that sets standards for green home designs. The same standards have been incorporated by some countries while others have evolved their own. In the 70s, green home designs tended to concentrate on stand alone projects. Present day evolution looks at green home designs as a full fledged eco system. Now, factors such as recycling, indigenous practices, environment and architecture are examined holistically.

An important role in the evolution of green home design has been brought by Science. In the 70s powerful computers were not available. Computer Aided Designs (CAD) with wind flow computations and solar capture calculations make designing green homes far more efficient than the 70s. Even greening of construction materials has received an impetus thanks to advances in science. Nature friendly, recycled products, made possible by advances in science are regularly used by construction companies. A typical example is of fly ash, a waste product which can as well be used in mixed cement with same qualities. As our environmental challenges increase and more and more countries recognize that it is our responsibility to conserve our resources, building green homes has become an internationally recognized initiative. Thus green home designs have traveled from a niche specialization in the 70s to the mainstream of the construction business today.

Renewable & Alternative Energy Resources:

Find more information about green home building, visit


Even in a down market, Canadians recognize the long-term, cost-saving value of building a home with sustainable materials. Survey findings show that over the next five years, the green building market in North America is expected to double with up to 20% of us insisting on the use of sustainable materials.

“A green home uses less energy, water and natural resources,” says Todd Blyth at Nudura, the manufacturer of insulated concrete forms. “It creates less waste and is healthier and more comfortable for the occupants. Equally important benefits include lower energy bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. As a result, the net cost of owning a sustainable home is comparable to cost of a conventional one.”

When talking to your builder, ask for materials and systems that meet established green criteria. Such building materials are identifiable if they're rated by LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design organization. LEED encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices. It provides a third-party certification program, setting an international benchmark for the construction and operation of high performance sustainable buildings.

“Concrete is a good place to begin,” says Blyth, referring to the Nudura building system. “Concrete walls, are far superior in performance than the old wood frame method. A home that begins its construction with efficient, pre-assembled, interlocking concrete blocks will deliver significant, on-going benefits to your lifestyle, to the environment, to your operating costs, and to the overall re-sale value of the house.”

Nudura forms, can be ordered in a variety of sizes and shapes so that home can be built to any design. As importantly, concrete walls eliminate the risk of mold growth and allergens, so common with wood. This concrete system provides a superior sound barrier and is resistant to thermal bridging, where outside cold travels easily through walls to create uncomfortable cold spots, drafts, and mustiness. It is also reported that concrete walls like these are up to nine times stronger, far more fire resistant, sound resistant, and will reduce energy costs up to 70 percent. More information is available online at
- News Canada

For more information on GTA Condos and Houses - Buying and Sellings Tips
Please visit:

About the Author:

Rakesh Pabbi is Mississauga Real Estate Agent and offers services to Buy, Sell and Rent property, apartments, homes and condos in Mississauga, real estate investing Mississauga, Brampton and GTA area. He provides Customize Home Search, Free Home Evaluation, Buyer Seller Incentives, Mortgage Info & First time buyer advice. Rakesh holds an Engineering degree in Electronics and Tele-Communications from India and have more than 12 yrs of experience in Information Technology field. Real estate is a competitive market where technology now plays an integral role. To be successful, whether in purchasing or selling your home, it is necessary to take full advantage of technological advancements. As an individual with technology background who is capable of utilizing these technical tools, Rakesh Pabbi- Mississauga Real Estate Agent can provides you a greater service. Languages Spoken: English, Hindi, Punjabi.

Rakesh Pabbi, Sales Representative
Homelife Superstars Real Estate Ltd; Brokerage
2565 Steeles Ave E, Unit 11, Brampton ON L6T 4L6

Article Source: - Green homes improve the quality of life


Sustainability has become a key consideration of manufacturing in recent times - with the intended effect being that anything we make or build, not have a deleterious effect on the health of the planet. Indeed, sustainability is about using resources our in a healthy and environmentally friendly manner and in such a way that provide for the long term needs of our community. Sustainable home building pursues two broad themes: construction using environmentally friendly materials and the most efficient use of energy that is possible.

It should first be pointed out that there is much greater scope for sustainability when building new houses than there is when simply doing a green remodel of an existing dwelling - but that is not to say that there aren't things that any of us can do, irrespective of where we live. Buying more energy efficient appliances, using water conserving showerheads, using aerators in sink faucets and revamping insulation are all within the reach of any home owner. All of these measures save money in the long run by cutting down on our energy and water bills, and because they're utilizing less energy, they're also measures that will see that we're not unduly adding to the planet's stock of greenhouse gases.

Of course, if we're building a house from scratch then we have much greater scope to ensure its sustainability. The two areas that a prospective builder needs to concentrate on when building a sustainable home is energy efficiency and using sustainable harvested eco-friendly materials.

There are a few key areas that we can focus on when building an energy efficient house. The most abundant and cost free energy source we have is sunlight and a good passive solar design will ensure that our house is capturing enough sunlight to be absorbed by the surrounding thermal mass, which will then release heat back into the room when the sun goes down. The utility of this design is dependent on also having good insulation. The sun can also be used to generate a large portion (if not all) of our heating and electricity needs. By placing solar panels on the roof we can convert sunlight into electricity to heat water and power domestic appliances. Advances in solar technology are rapidly seeing solar power become a more cost effective way of generating power. These measures will all be complemented by making sure that all your electrical appliances are energy efficient.

Consideration should also be given to how water will be used in your home. Using low water capacity toilets and flow restricted shower heads are practices that are now actually quite common. This theme can be extended by diverting gray water from clothes washing and bathing facilities to watering plants, and by catching rain water from roofs for use inside the house. Concentrating your landscaping on indigenous drought tolerant plants can also save you an enormous amount of water.

A green builder will also ensure that he is only building with sustainable materials - ideally ones that have been certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)- an independent 3rd party non-biased ratings agency that certifies materials as being sustainable or not; as well using non-toxic paint and finishing products.

About the Author:

For more information on sustainable home building go to

Article Source: - Sustainable Home Building - Constructing A Greener Environment

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The 11th Hour - Environmental Video Documentary


"Environmental documentary 11th HOUR resides at the polar opposite of escapist summer fare its mission to firmly confront viewers about the indelible human footprint that humans have left on this planet and the catastrophic effects of environmental neglect and abuse. Produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and ably directed by Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Peterson the documentary doesn't get much fancier than talking heads news footage and the occasional animated illustration but its message is potent and delivered effectively.The first hour of the film is essentially a horror story recounting the myriad sins perpetrated against the environment (pollution deforestation over-mining resources) the reasons behind it (corporate greed faulty public policy bad leadership ignorance) and what it means for the human race. Thankfully the last third of the movie tilts the mood upward with a spirited discussion of solutions offered by a crack team of scientists designers and thinkers. Stirring visions of alternate energy sources diversified transportation enlightened governmental agendas sustainable homes and cities and most importantly more conscious consumer choices leave viewers with the palpable feeling that change is both necessary and possible. If the "eleventh hour" for our planet is drawing near this admirable film points confidently towards a new dawn."

With great enthusiasm you have now decided to build your green home. What are steps required to commence your green home construction? Well, for starters there are some basic questions, which need to be asked when planning green home construction. These basic questions are where do you want to build your dream 'green' home? What are the green resources locally available to you? What are the green designs suitable for your dream house? Who else is interested? Is there a suitable architect available? Can my authorities help me? The solutions to these concerns will clarify the way forward for building your green home.

The designs required for construction of green homes will depend largely on the geographical location you choose. If it were in the mountains, a different type of approach would be required, say to a house in the plains or the deserts or by the seaside.

The green resources available locally will come next in your checklist for your green home construction. Your choice would have to be sensible, even though plentiful organic resources are available. For example, choosing to cut down those trees which are plentiful instead of the rare long living variety which are much more difficult to replace. Using products made from material recycled from city's landfill is an option and could be your contribution to national resource conservation.

The dictates of weather will also decide what sort of green design you would want to incorporate. For example, sloping traditional roofs with runnels would be appropriate in wet weather climate rather than flat topped log cabins, which are more suitable for the mountains. Straw bale and compressed earth blocks are more appropriate for 'green' home constructions in warmer regions.

Involving other people is a positive way to ensure the viability of green home construction. Remember, a community effort is always better than 'going at it alone'. Safety in terms of finances as well as conservation of resources. For instance, common swimming pool, common solar panel grid, common water harvesting projects and common recycling plants can easily be shared by a community wishing to build green homes. Novices cannot indulge in green home construction. Get yourself a good architect with proven track record who knows all the pros and cons of green home construction. It would be his ken to advise you on the best tax benefits from the government, the best designs to incorporate and the best resources to use for best use of your money. That should be your mantra for constructing a green home.

Renewable & Alternative Energy Resources:

Find more information regarding green home building, visit


Eco friendly furniture
refinishing helps to reduce our demands on the environment by preserving furniture created long ago, and prevents cutting down and wasting trees growing today. It also helps us to improve our homes with updated fine quality pieces of furniture that might otherwise be overlooked, and clog our waste dumps and landfills. Fine, old trees were cut down in decades or centuries past, and utilized in the production of furniture that is eventually in need of maintenance, not discarding. Old furniture finishes, especially twentieth century finishes including lacquer, turn dark, translucent, and finally semi-opaque, hiding the beauty of the wood beneath. An old finish is then susceptible to whitish heat and humidity marks, becomes brittle and scratches easily. If a new, natural wood finish strikes you as unappealing, then a vibrant, more contemporary colored lacquer finish may be applied instead. Perhaps a glossy bright yellow, orange, or blue is more what you have in mind for your old, tired looking Danish modern furniture ?

If you prefer a natural wood finish, keep in mind that beauty is skin deep, the damages are just to the finish, and you will start over when the finish is removed. If the old finish is removed using Eco friendly furniture refinishing techniques, then a new finish applied, the furniture can display the original beauty of the wood when it was created, with an antique patina that is irreplaceable. The quality and species of wood available and used then was generally better than what is available today.

Whether colored lacquer or natural wood finish is more attractive to you, there is little comparison between craftsmanship of yesterday with today’s shoddy manufacturing. Old furniture you find that was made more than twenty years ago, will outlast just about anything made today.

Eco friendly furniture refinishing is about more than just preserving old furniture, and not wasting resources to produce new flake board, melamine, laminate, or MDF and their waste products in the production of new furniture. Critical to Eco friendly furniture refinishing involves the use of less toxic strippers and removers to take off the old finish, prior to applying a new finish. Over the past fifteen years or so, removers have been developed to strip off old finishes, that are not lye based, or methylene chloride based. These modern, environmentally improved furniture removers include N Methyl-2 Pyrrolidone, or NMP, and other enzymatic removers that facilitate the removal of finishes without such toxic or ozone damaging chemicals as the older generation of furniture finish removers. Other Eco friendly furniture refinishing removers include the use of ceramic or quartz emitter infrared lamps to remove paint and heavily built up finishes, leaving no toxic remover waste or organic solvent to evaporate into the atmosphere at all.

Living on our planet today, we have a responsibility to tomorrows’ generations. Preserving our heritage and the environment is something all can appreciate. The vintage antique, or designer furniture we admire from the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s, including Eames, mid century modern, space age, op art or pop art is often available in local thrift shops, or from eBay, from yard sales, or flea markets. Often, you need look no further than in your own homes to find candidates for refinishing. Open your imagination to wider refinishing possibilities for such handsomely designed furniture, and you will be helping yourself, our society, and the environment for a brighter tomorrow.

Renewable & Alternative Energy Resources:

Olek Lejbzon & Co. takes care of all your furniture refinishing , restoration and re upholstery needs ranging from a single kitchen chair requiring re caning to refinishing, reupholstering, and repairing all of the furniture. For more information please visit: Eco Friendly Furniture Refinishing


Green designs
or sustainable designs are often used in place of each other. They are complementary terms and usually cover all aspects of building green. Confusion however exists in the exact meaning of the term sustainable design. Sustainable design means a design which is more or less self sufficient like a self actuating biosphere.

The important aspects of sustainable design is that the design places the least load on the environment, is able to regenerate most of the resources required for its sustenance and helps improve our way of living. To translate that into practical measures, it involves designing buildings or townships in a holistic fashion utilizing the elements of nature such as sunlight and wind intelligently. These include the use of solar arrays and natural air to reduce consumption of electricity and polluting air conditioners which produce CFCs. A sustainable design looks at conserving water by harvesting rain water. Recycling of water used for bathing for the kitchen garden is yet another aspect. It looks at converting organic waste products into manure for use in the buildings kitchen garden.

A range of initiatives such as sharing a common swimming pool, common rainwater harvesting plant, solar panels all add up to the conservation aspects in a sustainable design. Car-pooling can also be considered as part of sustainable design as it helps conserve natural resources. Locally used material which can be replenished are encouraged in a sustainable design. So if repairs are required of the building, material need not be hauled over long distances but be utilized from around the environment. Converting all these ideas into practice requires government help. Thus there are sustainable design standards which have evolved. The most common sustainable design standard is the LEED standard adopted by USA and some other countries in the world. The scientists too have chipped in by providing life cycle calculations for sustainable designs in the field of architecture and building green infrastructure projects.

These life cycle calculations include life cycle energy analysis and use of modern technology to complement the sustainability of the designs. These include inventing better solar panels, better interface with indigenous building practices with modern equipment and optimum utilization of powerful computing available to arrive at simulations for a truly sustainable design. Sustainable designs strive to achieve the holism expressed in the Greek concept of Gaea or living earth, where everyone is in perfect harmony with the nature.

Renewable & Alternative Energy Resources:

For more on green design, goto


After scratching ones brain for too many hours what one needs is peace and comfort. That can be gained where there is solace. And best place one can get peace and relaxation is in nature. In the lap of nature one can spend time in full happiness. Planting a garden or planting trees at home is needed. But in this new era houses are not so big that one can have a garden at home. In this instance, the best option is a terrace garden. A beautiful terrace garden with flowers at the top and a sitting place is a relaxing and enjoyable way to rebuild one's mind.

After coming home tired men can sit at their terrace garden and can enjoy sip of tea during the early morning or as the sun sets in the evening. Making a terrace garden is not such hard work. Gardening on your terrace can be great for enjoying time with your family, friends or just a place to hang out with yourself. Plants, grass, trees are always pleasing to the eye and refreshing. There is rarely an individual who does not enjoy a green environment. Where there are more plants more people will posses good health. Plants in natural settings help in keeping the mind and soul of a man happy and good. Nature is always kind and teaches us to be calm and patient. Wordsworth once said “Nature is man’s best friend.”

Using green building techniques in your home garden consists of a layout i.e. grass, shrubs, plants, trees, patio, fountains, decks and maybe a few solar lights, and possibly a water body. Vegetables grown within your terrace will be a good source of pride for you too. Even fruits can also be grown in certain climates. A well balanced terrace garden will make use of green building material, like bamboo. A list of good plants for a nice garden include different types of palms, money plants, a few flowering plants, sunflowers in containers and herb plants, like basil and rosemary. Exotic rose plants, preferably white and yellow ones, for they add touch of glamor. Vegetables, especially tomatoes, curry leaves, green chillies, lady finger, cauliflower, cabbage. Peas and green beans are good climbers and if placed nicely amidst other plants really make a fantastic look. Bonsai plants are also a good choice or plants with colored leaves.

One can also have lily or lotus plant in a terracotta pot or two, add cane, wrought iron, wicker or wooden benches, with floor cushions around, perfect place to unwind, relax or even throw a small party with friends. A garden implies beautiful flowers swaying all around in the gentle breeze. The green foliage peeping in between the bright colored flowers gives you a tranquil feeling that freshens your mind and soul. It includes Aloe Vera, Asparagus, Bamboos Vulgarism, Cardamom, Carioca Papaya, Hibiscus, Manjishta, Marigold, Mulberry, Jasmine, salad leaves, red roses, tulip, with green lawn at the center.

Green building and green gardens help keep the pollution away and imparts fresh air. The air which is important for all. Even if there is no time for walking one can always stroll in their garden, as walking on green carpet keeps one in general good health and is good for the eyes. For making terrace garden natural stone or concrete is good. One can also use granite and marble. There should proper drainage system. One reason the lowest layer in every garden should be bricks. Nature is always kind and it teaches human also to be kind and loving.

For more information visit

Sustainable Living Articles @


Marbles are natural products being used in home construction. You can find several uses of marbles during construction of different sections of a home. The reason lies in several benefits of using marbles. Some well-known benefits already discussed earlier are:

  1. Stunning look and feel,
  2. Easy and effective cleaning, and
  3. Relevance of marbles in interior decoration

Apart from these general benefits, there are several other hidden benefits of using marbles. That was the main reason behind use of marbles even in ancient architecture. Several monuments and palaces are built by using different kinds of exclusive marbles and other natural stones. Our ancestors and expert architects of past were familiar with those hidden features of marbles, and using them in making magnificent architectural heritage of today. The best example of a marble monument is The Taj, one of the wonders of medieval era. The monument illustrates the best use of marbles and one can witness the best artisan work, excellent carving and moldings of natural stone.

Durability – The Most Important Aspect of All Natural Stones

One of the major attributes of all natural marble products and other natural stones like granite and limestone is their durability. You can be assured of the long life of natural stones being used in your home construction. The use of marbles along with other natural stones itself guarantees the long life of your house.

Heat Resistance – Another Attribute of Natural Stones

Mostly all natural stones are among the best heat resistant materials. Marbles and granites are the best heat resistant materials on earth. The use of marbles and granite in your home ensures better and uniform temperature inside your house. You can easily experience during summers that buildings with maximum use of marbles are generally cooler than buildings built without use of marbles. Whereas in winters, generally room temperature of a marble walled room is greater than a normal walled rooms. Therefore, use of marbles inside your home ensures natural air-conditioning to some extent.

Fire Resistance – Another Reason behind Increasing Use of Natural Stones

Mostly natural stones are igneous rocks. Granite is the best example of one such igneous rock. These are fire resistant making it ideal for use in home and office construction. Although it can increase the overall budget, but more and more use of marbles ensures less damage during fire incidents. This attributes also make it an ideal material for use in marble fireplaces.

Above described attributes are main reasons behind excessive use of beige marble products in home flooring, granite counters in construction of kitchens and bathrooms, and engineered quartz stone products in all around home construction.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions, bid on your projects, or schedule an appointment to learn more about us. Visit us at:

Sustainable Living Articles @


If you're remodeling your home, or building your dream home from scratch (lucky you!), installing a brand new floor might be on your list. There are many materials to choose from, each with different pros, cons, and looks. If you are trying to live green (make environmentally friendly remodeling choices), you may want to consider an eco-friendly flooring material. There are quite a few options out there, so let's take a look:

  • Cork Flooring:

You're familiar with the cork you find stopping up wine bottles, of course, but you may never have walked on a cork floor. It's the same material, just formed into tiles or planks and stuck down on the sub-floor. Since it is lightweight, installation is fairly painless.

Cork is considered eco-friendly because it's harvested from sustainable resources. It comes from the bark of the cork oak tree (which can be collected without harming the tree itself).

Cork's unique look makes it a fun floor choice, but there are practical reasons for choosing it as well. It acts as an insulator, absorbing sound and softening impacts (for instance, if you lay cork in the kitchen, a dropped dish probably won't break). It's also an easier material to stand on for long periods than floors made from ceramic tiles, stone, etc.

  • Reclaimed Hardwood Floors:

If you love the look of hardwoods (who doesn't?) but can't reconcile yourself to having trees cut down just so you can get a new living room floor, there may still be a way for you to get the floor of your dreams. Think reclaimed wood.

Reclaimed hardwood floors are made with timbers recycled from old structures, such as dilapidated barns, schoolhouses, libraries, etc. There are a number of companies who buy the wood that would otherwise end up in a junkyard and refinish it to create planks suitable for residential floors. So basically you can a new hardwood floor without any new trees being cut down.

If you're wondering if these reused boards are structurally sound, they are. In fact, many people tout them as superior to the planks made from today's trees. The wood used in these older buildings came from old-growth forests, from older first generation trees; on the other hand, today's hardwood floors are made from wood harvested from tree farms, where the trees never truly reach maturity before being cut down.

Have a floor made from reclaimed wood and you'll be getting quality, character, and history in one swoop.

  • Bamboo Flooring:

Bamboo is another flooring material that is catching on in popularity. It is considered eco-friendly because bamboo is a fast-growing grass, rather than a tree, and farms can grow a shoot to maturity in just a few years.

Though bamboo is somewhat similar to hardwood floors, it has a distinct look, and some people prefer that uniqueness to hardwoods. It is a sturdy, durable material and will last just as long as wood. Though there aren't as many varieties as there are species of wood, different finishes can create different looks for you to choose from.

The three flooring materials we have discussed—bamboo, hardwoods, and cork--are all considered eco-friendly. As an added bonus, they are all relatively easy to maintain. No vacuum cleaner required here! They are also good choices for allergy sufferers. With bamboo, hardwoods, and cork, there is no place for pet dander, pollens, mold, mildew, dust, etc. to hide. Compare this to the nooks and crannies you get with carpets, and you'll see why more and more people are choosing these other materials.

TC Thorn writes articles on home improvement and flooring. You can read more on hardwood floors at her site.

Sustainable Living Articles @


Sustainable building is a concept which is fast catching up with urban dwellers. The concepts involved in sustainable building or construction primarily reflect the principals of sustainable development i.e. environmental protection, economic development, and social development, in design, building, maintenance and occupation of buildings. These buildings are designed and constructed keeping in mind the environmental standards.

Sustainable buildings will help minimize energy requirements and help reduce water consumption, use materials which are of low environmental impact e.g. low embodied energy and resource efficient, reduce wastage, conserve and enhance the natural environment and safeguard human health and well-being too.

While constructing a green home building, you must keep in mind certain factors:

Environmental factors: It is advisable to give due consideration to conservation and enhancement of the site ecology or biodiversity.

Look into how much energy is consumed: If suitable measures are taken to minimize energy consumption, high levels of insulation are adopted, it can help minimize energy consumption. Maximizing daylight and using energy efficient lighting and appliances can also help achieve the goals.

Transportation facilities: If the site of construction is nearby, it can help minimize the expenses. One should give due consideration to transport routes, proximity to amenities and places of work, space for home working also.

Water consumption: The quantity of water consumed, reusing rainwater, water efficient appliances, minimizing and attenuating surface water run-off to prevent flooding and pollution can all help save water.

Affordability: If it is proving very expensive, the cost of ownership can be minimized.

This can also help curb down the degradation of the environment to a large extent. The choices made now will influence the quality of life of the next generation. This can also enhance the look of the house. Sustainable building is not only eco friendly but also less expensive. Usage of natural, non-industrial materials, will also improve the energy equation when building.

Following certain green home building guidelines can help construct an environment friendly building. Apart from houses, architecture and design firms, construction and development, hospitality, and other service providers too have incorporated these guidelines. Such buildings are environment friendly. As compared to commercial sector, the residential sector has lagged behind.

Going in for such houses will help save a substantial amount of money too. Since, the products used for construction of houses are natural, they will be less expensive. You can make your contribution by opting for eco friendly houses. Looking online for information on construction of such houses can help get the required details about green home building. One can get all the required information about sustainable architecture and natural building.

About the Author:

Sadhna D, Expert author, Platinum status. Green building advice and tips: Green Home Building Guidelines

Free guide or assistance on Eco Homes: Eco Homes for Sale

Article Source: - Sustainable Building Environment Friendly Dwelling!


"A Yurt is a portable structure much like those used by nomadic tribes in Mongolia over 2000 years ago. The domed, tent-like structure sits on top of a portable wooden frame to create an efficient shelter that is environmentally friendly.

Despite their rustic appearance, today's Yurts are quite high tech. Bubble wrap insulation developed by NASA provides warmth in winter and a cool feel in the summer. Seams are electronically welded using radio waves, which give the roof amazing strength and durability. Sturdy fir rafters and steel rivets support the cone-shaped top with a domed skylight at the apex. This overhead view and abundant natural light give the yurt an open, airy feel.

A Yurt offers people an experience close to nature. You can hear the wind, see the snow, enjoy the outdoors, but it's comfortable and warm when you're inside."

- Source

Graphic Art Source - How Yurts Work (


In a consumer driven society we are frequently confronted with life style decisions that can impact on our environment and one of the largest decisions that any of us will make is the kind of house that we choose to live in. The twin fangs of global warming and rising energy costs has seen in a shift in emphasis in recent years away from "environment be damned, show me the plasma!" to looking at ways in which we can live in greater harmony with our surroundings. As such "sustainability" has become a guiding principle in all manner of decision making.

Sustainability is about using resources in an environmentally friendly and healthy manner that provide for the long term needs of the community. A sustainable home will emphasize two broad themes: it will be constructed of and furnished with environmentally sound materials and it will utilize energy as efficiently as possible. Sustainable houses seek to be an extension of their environment rather than an imposition, or more importantly a drain on it.

A person wishing to live in a sustainable house is going to be faced with one of two choices: building a sustainable house from scratch or retro-fitting their existing home to make it more green.

There are things that all of us can do, regardless from which materials our home is built, to live more greenly. These measures are largely centered around more efficient use of energy and water. By utilizing energy efficient technologies, expertise, and common sense, homeowners can dramatically cut their home energy costs and the pollution associated with energy use and production. The first place to begin is with electrical appliances. If you need to purchase a new refrigerator, washer, dryer, air conditioner, or other large power consuming item, then do your research to find the most energy efficient option. By the same token if you have old heating and/or air conditioning equipment, you might want to look at replacing them. The energy savings will see that they will be paid for in a few years. You can also save energy and money by using efficient lighting. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a good option for homes where lights are on for a few hours a day. They can reduce energy usage by as much as 80 percent and go for years without replacement.

The way we conduct ourselves around the house will also have an impact on energy and water usage. Simple measures such as taking re-usable bags when we go shopping, having shorter showers, switching appliances off at the power point whenever possible, starting a compost heap and installing or topping up ceiling insulation will all have a positive impact on the environment and go some way to helping us live more sustainably.

For those who are looking to build houses from scratch however, there is even greater scope to adhere to the tenets of sustainability. A house that is being designed with sustainability in mind can make use of solar power for heating and electricity, as well as the sun (via skylights and sun pipes) for natural daylighting. Greywater systems can be installed to ensure the most efficient use of water, and the house can be constructed with non-toxic and sustainably harvested materials.

About the Author:

For more information on
sustainable home design go to

Article Source: - Sustainable Houses - The Things We Can All Do To Live A Little Greener


Documentary about sustainability, sustainable development, and green building architecture for cities and communities.

~ 52 Minutes

Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A do-it-Ourselves Guide

Recent generations have probably never given much thought to a simple device called the composting toilet, and most, no doubt, would prefer not to linger long on the subject. But composting toilets have long been used throughout human history. They have a much longer history than the common plumbing and sewage systems that we have all become accustomed to using in our modern civilization.

Those in the Western world are generally surprised to learn that even today there are many kinds of composting toilets available on the market. They come in varieties that are designed to accommodate varying cultures, customs and climates in different parts of the globe. The different kinds of composting toilet units also vary considerably in pricing as well.

The bottom line is that composting toilets are simply devices that facilitate the composting process of human feces and this practice can be said to be as old as the hills. It is nothing more and nothing less than Mother Nature's way of recycling human waste components, just as it does with the waste of other living beings on the planet, and reintegrating it with the soil as part of the cycle of life.

Contrary to common opinions on the matter, or perhaps based on unpleasant experiences, composting toilets can be very hygienic, very clean and do not smell when operated correctly. They also help to save enormous amounts of water and in many areas of the world this is extremely important. In fact, in a global community where it is becoming more important to conserve water, these toilets could benefit everyone if used more widely.

For instance, consider a typical American family that uses a flush toilet. It has been estimated that a family of four can flush about 100,000 liters of water each year, just to deal with their human feces.

And, this water goes into the sewage system which has the potential to contaminate ground water sources. But, compostable toilets actually protect both surface and ground water supplies from this kind of contamination.

These kinds of toilets are most often constructed with two separate chambers which facilitates operation and also ease of construction. The two chambers of the composting toilet are used alternately. Once full, the one chamber is closed and allowed to decompose while the other fills.

When fully decomposed, the contents are removed and the chamber is ready to be filled again. Each of the chambers has a separate opening that allows for the removing of the mature compost which is non-odorous and which can be used in organic farming practices.

Composting toilets work very well in settings for a family home, and they have even been successfully utilized for larger facilities as well. In the case of use for schools and other public buildings, the compostable toilets are built in a cluster.

However, the experts say that it is important to be sure that communities that use this type of waste recycling are well-educated, trained and motivated to use them properly.

About the Author:

A free audio gift awaits you at our portal site, where you can enrich your knowldege further about composting toilets. Your comment is much appreciated at our recycling blog.

Article Source: - Composting Toilets As A Means To Resolve Water Concerns

Graphic Art Source - How Composting Toilets Work (

Sustainable Housing Design Store:
The Composting Toilet System Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems

The way we humans are currently living isn't going to be sustainable for long. This is a fact that were becoming more and more aware of every day. And so green home design, formerly a small market, is spreading steadily over the world. Some experts predict that green home design will soon make up a huge slice of the real estate industry.

In the United States, homes create 38% of the total carbon emissions. Especially if we want to stop global warming, building our homes with green home designs will have a significant effect on the future. If you're looking to incorporate a bit of green home design, there are a hundred small things you can do to green-up your home. But for those into truly lowering their homes impact on the environment, there are four basic green home design rules to follow.

  • Rule 1 in Green Home Design: Go Small

There's something gloriously attractive about large, mansion-like homes. But large homes use up an incredible amount of energy for heating and cooling-- and this energy generally comes from nasty fossil fuels that muck up our environment. These homes also require more resources for building and create more waste as a result. So if you're looking to incorporate green home design in your building plans, build small.

  • Green Home Design Rule 2: Incorporate Passive Solar Design

Passive solar cooling and heating is one of the most important elements of green home design. The relatively simple concept behind passive solar design is to design a home according to the climate. In warmer climates, homes are designed to absorb less heat. In colder areas, design is used to reduce the amount of heat lost. To do this, green home design is incorporated into the orientation of the building, the location of the windows, the flooring (stone is best), and other elements of the home to reduce the amount of energy wasted.

  • Rule 3 in Green Home Design: Recycle and Reuse Materials

Unfortunately, almost all the materials you use in your home will harm the environment, either during manufacturing or transportation to your home. The use of renewable or recycled materials which are manufactured locally helps to reduce the damage building can have on the environment. Use recycled materials, such as recycled insulation and lumber composites, or quickly-renewable products, such as bamboo flooring, in your green home design.

  • Green Home Design Rule 4: Optimize your Heating and Cooling

Heat and AC systems are the most energy-consuming elements in almost any home. And even though the thought of the hot summer months might make an oversized air conditioning system sound pretty tempting, this kind of cooling is as anti-green home design as you can get. Large AC systems overcool the air, and tend to cycle on and off too frequently. This constant on-and-off cycle gives large AC systems a short lifespan, making them create extra waste along with using up extra fuel.

Renewable And Alternative Energy Resources:

Find more information regarding building a green home, click


Green architecture is a concept of designing buildings in a manner that reduces the adverse effect of construction on the people and the environment. Green architecture includes conservation and efficient use of natural resources as also the use of indigenous and recycled material to optimizing the finances. Very simply put, it is the optimum way to get a Better Bang for the Buck. Did you ever wonder why those mud-caked, thatched roofed old houses remained so cool during summers? The answer lies in the advantageous use of local produce and the environment by the indigenous people in building those houses. Modern Green Architecture aims at identifying such indigenous practices and incorporating them into contemporary architectural designs. Optimal use of sunlight and natural wind flow pattern are an integral part of Green Architecture. Green Architectural designs use energy saving devices such as fluorescent lights and solar heaters to make them more energy efficient. Structural designs incorporate concepts such as on site energy generation of wind, biomass and water.

A holistic green designed building looks at all aspects of living like a self-sustaining ecosystem. An example of a self sustaining ecosystem could be waste water recycled for gardens as well as organic wastes generated converted into manure in on-site compost pits. Green Architecture aims to reduce the use of synthetic materials. Toxic fumes generated by aging synthetic paints are a health hazard. Formaldehyde, a component of some synthetic building insulation material is a carcinogen with known health side effects. Green Architecture reduces the use of such material so as to create healthier environment. Green initiatives require concerted national and international effort.

A US effort in setting standards for design and construction practices which have least negative impact on environment and people is exemplified by the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED). The LEED standard gives different weights to factors such as sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources and indoor environmental quality. Based on the weights, certification points are calculated which are graded as Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The highest certification level offered by LEED is Platinum. Canada, India and Israel have adapted the US LEED model for some of their Green Architecture projects. Other countries use their own standards for Green Architecture. Some of the countries adopting own standards for Green Architecture are Australia, France, Germany, Japan , Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and UK.

The serious environmental conditions facing the world requires a sustained effort by the building industry to make a difference. Such an effort can be initiated through Green Architecture as the standard approach for all construction.

Renewable And Alternative Energy Resources:

Information related to sustainable design, go to

Why are so many people now building green? Each day, it seems we learn more and more about how we negatively affect our environment-- and our whole planet. Nobody likes to believe that their home and their lifestyle does real damage to the planet. After all, we just want to support our families and have a high quality of life, right?

But our homes do harm the planet. Because of this, its important for homeowners and builders to be knowledgeable about building green (or "sustainable design").

Building green refers to the concept of designing and constructing long-term sustainable buildings that have the lowest possible negative impact on the environment. To do this, green builders must be efficient in the use of resources and use fewer environmentally harmful processes and building materials than traditional builders. How well does green building work? USGBC has published data to confirm that building green uses 35% less energy, far fewer non-renewable materials, and less landfill space for waste. Almost as important, building green makes for both safer and healthier offices and homes.

What are the Main Considerations when Building Green?

When building green, the main goal is to maintain a high quality of life while lowering the impact a home has on the environment. Sustainable designers generally consider the following design features when building green:

Energy Efficiency. Energy is the key "green concern". During the building process, a green buildings should incorporate materials and methods which use less energy. They should also be energy efficient in the long run, incorporating design features such as "passive solar design" (which offers thermal protection) and effective insulation.

Many designers who specialize in building green integrate independent, renewable energy in the homes design. Renewable energy (such as solar energy) significantly lowers a buildings impact on the environment.

Home Design. You'd be surprised to know the impact the size, location, and shape of a home can have on making it energy efficient. Simple home shapes (with less outside surface area) are the most common used in building green.

Another common technique used in building green is Optimum Value Engineering, or OVE. This framing method reduces the quantity of wood used to build a home, and it also leaves more room inside the walls for insulation.

Materials with Lower Environmental Impact. Building green means using non-toxic materials which are recycled or sustainably produced. These materials should need less energy to process than traditional building materials.

Long-Term Durability. Quality building materials will need to be replaced less frequently. Using quality materials reduces landfill waste and reduces the need for producing replacements, which has a significant impact on the environment.

Renewable And Alternative Energy Resources:

Find more information related to green design, go by


A well-designed green home construction requires consideration of several factors, which must be incorporated in the initial structuring stages. Using eco-friendly raw materials is an important management measure in the construction of green homes. Cement high on fly ash content could be one of these alternatives. Salvage of reusable material from landfills, such as using re-engineered wood or ancient wooden beams retrieved from old houses are other aspects of using recycled materials. Green features work better when included in the initial construction phase. Installation of a drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler system is one such measure. A rainwater harvesting plant is best effective when installed in the initial design stage. Pathways, drive ways should be made of permeable paving so that rainwater can seep through the soil.

Using Forest Stewardship Council (SFC) certified wood for all wooden fittings in the house is favorable to a green house construction. Green home constructions aim at cleaner indoor environment by making use of no/low formaldehyde interior paints. Harnessing the power of the sun by fitting solar heaters and photovoltaic cells helps reduce electricity consumption and lower bills. It is better to fit light colored roofs than dark colored roofs because they are more reflective and thus reduce buildup of heat inside the house. Light colored roofs do not undergo as much thermal expansion as dark colored roofs and hence last longer.

Green home construction need to also address the inside fittings of the house, both static as well as movable. It is best to use recycled wood furniture for the house interiors. Various companies advertise recycled plastic furniture for the garden. A green initiative gaining popularity is using cork or bamboo flooring instead of the usual hardwood flooring. Avoid using vinyl linoleum, natural linoleum is a better choice. Make sure that the ducting in the house is leak proof. It has been estimated that leaks in ducting cause a loss over 10% of the energy used. Using low volume flush toilets and fitting flow reducers to faucets and shower heads helps cut down 40% of the water volume and nobody will even notice the difference. Use on insulation which does not contain formaldehyde helps prevent sickness. One good material for insulation is cellulose insulation made out of recycled paper.

Double paned windows with low emission are very good green concepts. The advantages of double paned windows are that they help in providing insulation as well as reduction of noise. Insulation can further be enhanced using wooden frames for housing windows. The piping of the house should have a jacket to reduce loss of heat. These guidelines should come in handy if you are planning to build a green home.

Renewable And Alternative Energy Resources:

For more related to green home, go to

Everybody talks about green homes and green design but many a time people forget about their garages. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that an attached garage creates a large amount of in-house pollution and affects the health of the occupants. This happens because the interface between the house and the garage is not properly designed reducing the indoor quality of air. Thus, you may have all the green features incorporated in the house, but if you neglect the garage, those green features come to naught.

Car exhaust contains poisonous gases, which are the primary source of indoor air pollution. It is important to use proper low-formaldehyde sealing agents to ensure that garages do not leak their toxic fumes into the house. Other materials found commonly in garages too give off poisonous vapors. The list includes turpentine oil, benzene used by lawn mowers, cleaning agents, and pesticides used for gardening. Investing in a garage exhaust fan that can suck out noxious air is a good option.

Installing a green roof for your garage is a good green innovation. A green roof can be completely or partially covered by grass, plants or other vegetation. Several US companies offer the services of building a green garage roof. The roof is first waterproofed with Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO), which is an environmentally friendly and recyclable roofing product. On top of the TPO layer, water retention and filter layers are put. Next comes the top most layer, the growing medium, which is a light weight mixture of rock and soil. Drought resistant plants with shallow roots are the ideal choice for this type of roof. The environmental advantages of a green roof are many. Green roofs help reduce noise pollution, filter rainwater and reduce the cost of cooling your house. Respiration of plants helps reduce ambient heat in the surroundings. The plants absorb sunlight and reduce the heat from reaching the roof surface thereby increasing the life of the roof. According to a recent study, a green roofed garage can produce enough oxygen for 25 people and also remove eight kg of pollutants annually. A green thatched garage not only improves aesthetics but also attracts birds, which increases the biodiversity of your area.

Renewable And Alternative Energy Resources:


"An Earthship is a type of passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials. The homes are primarily constructed to work autonomously and are generally made of earth-filled tires, utilising thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own special natural ventilation system. Earthships are generally Off-the-grid homes,minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels.

Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the sun. For example, windows on the sunny side admit light and heat, and the buildings are often horseshoe-shaped to maximize natural light and solar-gain during winter months. Likewise, the thick, dense outer walls provide effective insulation against summer heat.

Internal, non-load-bearing walls are often made of a honeycomb of recycled cans joined by concrete and are referred to as tin can walls. These walls are usually thickly plastered with stucco.

The roof of an Earthship is heavily insulated - often with earth or adobe - for added energy efficiency."

- Source

Earthships Books
Earthship: How to Build Your Own - Volumes 1-3