For any environmentalist it’s of course the ultimate dream, but many people get put off the challenge for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it’s the complexity or the cost, but the reality is that neither need be the case and in fact building an eco friendly house can be both simpler and cheaper than a standard home. In fact there’s more help than ever if you keep an eye out on various lifestyle programs you’re bound to come across some examples. It’s worth checking out all the shows streamed on the various BBC channels which regularly have homes like this, this page demonstrates how to get BBC iPlayer in France but it works from any program.
Of course, when constructing a new building — whether home or office — to prevent the possibility of Sick Building Syndrome, use environmentally friendly building materials in the wood studs, insulation, plywood, roofing, flooring, cabinets, countertops, paints and stains. If you use traditional building materials in the new construction, all of these items have the potential for emitting VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air.
The construction industry worldwide utilizes approximately three billion tons of unprocessed building materials each year, which places a heavy toll on the earth and environment. Therefore, using such building materials not only contributes to the well being of a person but to the well being of the planet. Eco friendly houses can make sense on many levels – both environmentally and economically.
Some of the earth and eco friendly building products being used today are:
- recycled denim
- salvaged building items
Bamboo, unlike forest lumber, is a renewable resource that grows quickly and can be used for a variety of home building items. Bamboo cabinets and countertops, and decks and flooring can be stained. Indoors, bamboo is used in place of traditional hardwood floors. Outdoors, reinforced bamboo is used in place of plywood.
Cork panels make a durable, soft floor. Cork, which is harvested from the bark of a cork tree about once every ten years without damaging the tree, is a renewable resource, making cork panels ideal environmentally friendly building materials.
Recycled denim is used as insulation in lieu of fiberglass, which is considered a health risk if the tiny fibers are breathed in. Cotton, which is a renewable resource, is used as an eco friendly insulation, and is often recycled from old denim cloth.
All types of buildings are destroyed each day to make room for new construction. Reusable lumber, bricks, stones and even cabinets are salvageable building items left after demolition. You might even find that these eco friendly methods actually significantly reduce building costs.
The various oils in soybeans are processed into environmentally friendly paint, finishes, varnishes and stains, as well as grout.
Wool is an excellent natural resource used to make carpets and rugs in a variety of styles, patterns, and colors. Because a sheep can be safely sheered over its lifetime, wool carpets are also considered environmentally friendly building materials.