Tag Archives: materials

#USGBC Is at it again with this awesome interactive and innovative website they just launched to promote the global initiatives being discovered and improved around the world. GBIG


Green Building Information Gateway http://ow.ly/fYHml #healthyhomes

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Sustainable Green Building Materials from CalRecycle


Green Building Materials

Introduction

The concept of sustainable building incorporates and integrates a variety of strategies during the design, construction and operation of building projects. The use of green building materials and products represents one important strategy in the design of a building.

Green building materials offer specific benefits to the building owner and building occupants:

  • Reduced maintenance/replacement costs over the life of the building.
  • Energy conservation.
  • Improved occupant health and productivity.
  • Lower costs associated with changing space configurations.
  • Greater design flexibility.

Building and construction activities worldwide consume 3 billion tons of raw materials each year or 40 percent of total global use (Roodman and Lenssen, 1995). Using green building materials and products promotes conservation of dwindling nonrenewable resources internationally. In addition, integrating green building materials into building projects can help reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction, transport, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of these building industry source materials.

What is a green building product or material?

Green building materials are composed of renewable, rather than nonrenewable resources. Green materials are environmentally responsible because impacts are considered over the life of the product (Spiegel and Meadows, 1999). Depending upon project-specific goals, an assessment of green materials may involve an evaluation of one or more of the criteria listed below.

Green building material/product selection criteria

This information was based on Lynn Froeschle’s article, “Environmental Assessment and Specification of Green Building Materials” (Adobe PDF, 1.4 MB), in the October 1999 issue of The Construction Specifier, a publication for members of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). Selection criteria similar to what is presented below was also used for the East End Project as identified in the Review of Construction Projects Using Sustainable Materials.

Overall material/product selection criteria:

Resource Efficiency can be accomplished by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria:

  • Recycled Content: Products with identifiable recycled content, including postindustrial content with a preference for postconsumer content.
  • Natural, plentiful or renewable: Materials harvested from sustainably managed sources and preferably have an independent certification (e.g., certified wood) and are certified by an independent third party.
  • Resource efficient manufacturing process:Products manufactured with resource-efficient processes including reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste (recycled, recyclable and or source reduced product packaging), and reducing greenhouse gases.
  • Locally available: Building materials, components, and systems found locally or regionally saving energy and resources in transportation to the project site.
  • Salvaged, refurbished, or remanufactured: Includes saving a material from disposal and renovating, repairing, restoring, or generally improving the appearance, performance, quality, functionality, or value of a product.
  • Reusable or recyclable:Select materials that can be easily dismantled and reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.
  • Recycled or recyclable product packaging: Products enclosed in recycled content or recyclable packaging.
  • Durable: Materials that are longer lasting or are comparable to conventional products with long life expectancies.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is enhanced by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria:

  • Low or non-toxic: Materials that emit few or no carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, or irritants as demonstrated by the manufacturer through appropriate testing.
  • Minimal chemical emissions: Products that have minimal emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Products that also maximize resource and energy efficiency while reducing chemical emissions.
  • Low-VOC assembly: Materials installed with minimal VOC-producing compounds, or no-VOC mechanical attachment methods and minimal hazards.
  • Moistureresistant:Products and systems that resist moisture or inhibit the growth of biological contaminants in buildings.
  • Healthfully maintained: Materials, components, and systems that require only simple, non-toxic, or low-VOC methods of cleaning.
  • Systems or equipment: Products that promote healthy IAQ by identifying indoor air pollutants or enhancing the air quality.

Energy Efficiency can be maximized by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria:

  • Materials, components, and systems that help reduce energy consumption in buildings and facilities. (See Green Building Basics for more information.)

Water Conservation can be obtained by utilizing materials and systems that meet the following criteria:

  • Products and systems that help reduce water consumption in buildings and conserve water in landscaped areas. (See Green Building Basics for more information.)

Affordability can be considered when building product life-cycle costs are comparable to conventional materials or as a whole, are within a project-defined percentage of the overall budget. (See Environmental and Economic Assessment Tools for links to resources.)

Three basic steps of product selection

Product selection can begin after the establishment of project-specific environmental goals. The environmental assessment process for building products involves three basic steps. (Froeschle, 1999)

1. Research. This step involves gathering all technical information to be evaluated, including manufacturers’ information such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) test data, product warranties, source material characteristics, recycled content data, environmental statements, and durability information. In addition, this step may involve researching other environmental issues, building codes, government regulations, building industry articles, model green building product specifications, and other sources of product data. Research helps identify the full range of the project’s building material options.

2. Evaluation. This step involves confirmation of the technical information, as well as filling in information gaps. For example, the evaluator may request product certifications from manufacturers to help sort out possible exaggerated environmental product claims. Evaluation and assessment is relatively simple when comparing similar types of building materials using the environmental criteria. For example, a recycled content assessment between various manufacturers of medium density fiberboard is a relatively straightforward “apples to apples” comparison. However, the evaluation process is more complex when comparing different products with the same function. Then it may become necessary to process both descriptive and quantitative forms of data.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is an evaluation of the relative “greenness” of building materials and products. LCA addresses the impacts of a product through all of its life stages. Although rather simple in principle, this approach has been difficult and expensive in actual practice (although that appears to be changing).

One tool that uses the LCA methodology is BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) software. It allows users to balance the environmental and economic performance of building products. The software was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Building and Fire Research Laboratory and can be downloaded free on their Web site.

3. Selection. This step often involves the use of an evaluation matrix for scoring the project-specific environmental criteria. The total score of each product evaluation will indicate the product with the highest environmental attributes. Individual criteria included in the rating system can be weighted to accommodate project-specific goals and objectives.

Source: Green Building Materials: Sustainable Building.

References

  1. Lynn M. Froeschle, “Environmental Assessment and Specification of Green Building Materials,” The Construction Specifier, October 1999, p. 53. (Back)
  2. D.M. Roodman and N. Lenssen, A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns are Transforming Construction, Worldwatch Paper 124, Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C., March 1995, p. 5. (Back)
  3. Ross Spiegel and Dru Meadows, Green Building Materials: A Guide to Product Selection and Specification, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1999. (Back)

Buildings: Global Consumption and Sustainability


I wanted to share these thoughts I wrote one night a few months ago when  the thoughts and data which were floating around in my head came together which is the primary purpose for my putting all this new energy into this blog and this career. It is more than a job, It is a mission:

Buildings: Global Consumption & Sustainability

When I was born there were 3 billion people on the earth. When I turned 40 there were 6 billion people on the earth. When my daughters turns 40 there will be over 12 billion people on the earth.

“If undeveloped countries consumed at the same rate as the US, four complete planets the size of the Earth would be required. Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.”

At the current rate of population growth and human consumption at some point there is no debate the earth will not be able to supply the resources necessary to meet societies needs and our current rate of consumption.

At this inevitable rate of growth the time to act is now before it’s too late. If we continue to build homes that demand the current resources to build, maintain and operate our homes and commercial spaces the point on the graph where these two points meet will likely be in my lifetime but in most cases in my daughter’s lifetime and I cannot as a responsible parent and as a steward of the planet allow this to happen.

Building Science Digests

The construction and operation of buildings consumes over a third of the world’s energy consumption, and 40% of all the mined resources. Striving to make buildings more sustainable, while saving construction and operating costs and improving health and occupant well being is not only possible and practical, it should be the goal of the building industry. Achieving this goal requires an awareness of the problem and the skills to design, specify, construct, and operate buildings in a manner that is often quite different from current standard approaches. This digest will review the challenge of sustainability, discuss methods of assessing green buildings, and recommend a process by which more sustainable buildings can be delivered.

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-005-green-building-and-sustainability/

Consumption by the United States

In the United States:

Reducing consumption without reducing use is a costly delusion. If undeveloped countries consumed at the same rate as the US, four complete planets the size of the Earth would be required.

Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.

On average, one American consumes as much energy as

2 Japanese

6 Mexicans

13 Chinese

31 Indians

128 Bangladeshis

307 Tanzanians

370 Ethiopians

The population is projected to increase by nearly 130 million people – the equivalent of adding another four states the size of California – by the year 2050.

Forty percent of births are unintended.

Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day – that’s roughly 200 billion more than needed – enough to feed 80 million people.

Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily.

The average American generates 52 tons of garbage by age 75.

The average individual daily consumption of water is 159 gallons, while more than half the world’s population lives on 25 gallons.

Fifty percent of the wetlands, 90% of the northwestern old-growth forests, and 99% of the tall-grass prairie have been destroyed in the last 200 years.

Eighty percent of the corn grown and 95% of the oats are fed to livestock.

Fifty-six percent of available farmland is used for beef production.

Every day an estimated nine square miles of rural land are lost to development.

There are more shopping malls than high schools.

Other Facts:

250 million people have died of hunger-related causes in the past quarter-century — roughly 10 million each year.

700 to 800 million people, perhaps even as many as a billion, don’t get enough food to support normal daily activities

Africa now produces 27% less food per capita than in 1964.

1.7 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and by the year 2000, the number of urban dwellers without access to safe water and sanitation services is expected to grow by 80%.

0.1% of pesticides applied to crops reaches the pest, the rest poisons the ecosystem.

Each year 25 million people are poisoned by pesticides in less developed countries, and over 20,000 die.

One-third of the world’s fish catch and more than one-third of the world’s total grain output is fed to livestock.

It takes an average of 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat in modern Western farming systems. It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef.

Each person in the industrialized world uses as much commercial energy as 10 people in the developing world.

source: Paul Ehrlich and the Population Bomb / PBS

To our Healthy Homes. It is more than just a fleeting thought or idea. It is a mission.

Five Sustainable Building Materials that Could Transform Construction | This Big City


current mainstream building methods are unsustainable

Current mainstream building methods are unsustainable. At the current rate of resource consumption to construct our built environment we will not be able to sustain the path without depleting our natural resources. The alternative is called sustainable building. A building that can be built and rebuilt continuously over and over gain without depleting the natural resources available to build it. Simple concept. Here are a few materials that may help the building industry get on the right path to a sustainable design/build objective. via Five Sustainable Building Materials that Could Transform Construction | This Big City.

 

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