Top 5 Green Flooring Options for Your Home

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If you’re an environment-conscious homeowner, consider using one of the following green flooring options for your next remodeling project. Eco-friendly floors are aesthetically appealing as well as environmentally responsible. Green flooring adds character to your home and, in many cases, can even help save you money over the alternatives.

The top 5 options for green flooring include:
• Cork
• Laminate
• Reclaimed Wood
• Bamboo
• Wool Carpet …

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Save Energy – and Money – with a Cool Roof

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Whether you’re replacing an old roof or choosing roofing for a new house, make energy efficiency a priority.

Discussions about improving home energy efficiency usually revolve around topics like insulation, air sealing, replacement windows and high-efficiency HVAC equipment. But roof shingles and other roofing materials also deserve attention in the energy-saving plan for a house or other building.

On a bright summer day, the temperature of a dark asphalt shingle roof can easily reach 150 degrees. This heat moves into the attic and into a home’s living space, making rooms uncomfortably hot while also placing extreme demands on the air conditioning system….

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Home Builders and Remodelers Are Greener Than Ever

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According to a recent report released by McGraw-Hill, 33% of home builders are committed to going green by 2016. Similarly, 34% of home remodelers have claimed that they plan to implement eco-friendly practices by 2016. Just last year, only 17% of home builders and 15% of home remodelers expressed interest in developing strategies to increase the energy efficiency and decrease the carbon footprint of homes….

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Build or Remodel with Energy Savings in Mind

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Spring is just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, and the home-building season is fast approaching. If you’re considering a major remodel or are building your dream home, there are some significant sustainable-building techniques that you can integrate into the structure to conserve energy and save long-term costs. The upfront cost of these improvements may be quite a sticker shock, as many are quite expensive to initiate; yet, the long-term savings can be substantial.

Each of these construction techniques requires substantial planning before incorporating into your overall plans. Be sure to check your library or work with a builder you trust to determine which works best for your existing home or building site, as well as your local climate.

Cool roofs use materials that reflect sunlight and absorb less heat as compared to standard roofing materials. While standard roofs can reach temperatures upwards of 150 degrees, a cool roof generally runs about 50 degrees less. This not only extends the life of the roof, but lessens the need for air conditioning, ultimately lowering energy costs. It is important to note, however, that cool roofs are not appropriate for all climates….

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Build or Remodel Your Home with Eco-Friendly Products

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If you’re lucky enough to have the time and money to build your own home (or more likely, have it built by others), then there’s absolutely no reason you can’t get the greenest house in existence, thanks to building companies that specialize in just this sort of construction.

But just because the rest of us are relegated to purchasing previously lived-in structures (or even new but already fully constructed homes) that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part for the environment when we do upgrades.

So whether you’re interested in building a green home from scratch, or you’re looking to renovate the home you already own in a way that is in keeping with your environmental sensibilities, there are a ton of ecofriendly products to help you meet your goals on the home front….

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Striving for Sustainable Design

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Eco-friendly, or “green,” design options are better for everyone involved, from the builders and painters to the people who use the completed structure. The new norm is sustainable design, and “green is the new black” in building and decorating homes, offices, and other buildings.

The primary purpose of sustainable design, according to Wikipedia, is to “eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design.” Sustainable design includes green building materials, paint/stain, flooring, counter tops, furniture, hardware/fixtures, lighting, and even decorative accents.

It may sound easy, then, to choose sustainable products and materials when you are building, renovating, or improving a home. Yet, there’s still much to learn in this relatively new field, and the importance of doing things right is overwhelmingly obvious. After all, the more resources we use right now without acknowledging the necessity of sustainability, the less we will have to work with later….

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What’s Your Steel IQ?

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When artist Alli ReauVeau talks about steel, the medium on which she paints, she gets passionate. And one look at the gorgeous artworks she creates convinces us that steel is a perfect “canvas,” indeed. But there’s much more about steel that ReauVeau admires from a construction and architectural viewpoint — and she knows whereof she speaks.

ReauVeau is co-owner, along with her husband, Alan Bendawald, of Steel IQ™, suppliers of an environmentally friendly construction product called Bare Naked Steel™. ReauVeau serves as Education Specialist for the company, sharing the message that Bare Naked Steel is the best steel for construction, for architectural design, and for the planet….

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Rebuilding after Disaster – Greensburg Becomes a Green Town

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On Friday, May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado cut a two-mile-wide swath of absolute destruction through Greensburg, Kansas. This was the largest tornado in recorded history, and it reduced Greensburg to rubble. Eleven people were killed in Greensburg that evening, while 22 other tornados swirled violently across the state. Every building in Greensburg was damaged or destroyed.

Under such dire circumstances, it would have been easy for the townspeople to give up and walk away. But that’s exactly the opposite of what happened. …

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Michael Roberts – Creating a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Bottom Line

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Michael Roberts is a futurist, an environmentalist, and a capitalist – inclinations that he feels all work in perfect synergy. “I’m looking for where the business opportunities are going to be in the future. If we take the position that we can create quality of life without destroying the planet, there’s money to be made doing that.” He firmly believes in a healthy environment and a healthy bottom line. “My daddy worked for the post office for 39 years. We weren’t rich, we weren’t poor. We just didn’t have any money. Well, you can accomplish a lot more with capital than just by work alone.”

Roberts and his brother, Steven, his partner in an estimated $500 million business empire that encompasses real estate, hotels, broadcast, telecom, entertainment, publishing, and aviation holdings, have always been eco-conscious. “We started out building green before anyone knew what LEED was. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Sustainable building was reputed to be more far more expensive than typical construction practices. In our experience, it only added about five percent to our cost, and now, as people become more ecologically conscious, they’re seeking our properties out. ‘Green’ brings another form of green,” he says…

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Middle School Students to Design Affordable Housing in Future City Competition

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WASHINGTON DC, June 2009 – Designing affordable housing for those most in need is enormously complicated. But how to do it while adhering to LEED recognized green building standards, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and a low carbon footprint?

That’s the challenge for Chicagoland middle schoolers [and students around the nation] as they prepare for National Engineers Week Foundation’s 2009-10 Future City® Competition…

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Donovan Rypkema on “Sustainability, Smart Growth and Historic Preservation”

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Now and then, I run across an article so worthy of reading that I’m compelled to share it with friends — no matter that it was written some time ago. The article that follows is excerpted from a presentation by Donovan Rypkema, called “Sustainability, Smart Growth and Historic Preservation.” Rypkema gave this speech in 2007, to an audience at the Historic Districts Council Annual Conference, held in New York City.
You may be familiar with Rypkema’s speech, as it has circulated somewhat on the Internet. It was new to me until recently, however, and I am pleased to have Mr. Ripkema’s permission to share it with readers of Blue Planet Green Living. If you’ve never read it, be prepared to rethink some of the cherished notions of “green building.” And if you have read it before, consider reading it again. I learn more each time I do…

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Green Festival in Chicago May 16, 17

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If you’ll be in Illinois this weekend, head on over to Navy Pier to attend Chicago’s third annual Green Festival, May 16 and 17. Billed as the “original green consumer living event,” the weekend will provide “a vision of a cleaner, more efficient future for American businesses, homes, and lifestyles.”…

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Green Carpenter “Turns Liabilities into Assets”

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“If you’re building a LEED-certified house in Iowa, but you fly the bamboo flooring in from California or China, that’s not green,” says carpenter Roger Gwinnup. “On the other hand” he points out, “you can pull up the oak flooring in an old house that’s being torn down, then drive across town and nail it in place in another house. That’s greener.

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