Eco-Options to Consider for Your HomeBy Lou Manfredini
If you are remodeling or building a new home, chances are you’re considering some type of green element or option. Some facts about what is green: First, all that lumber used to build your home is a renewable resource. In fact, there is the same amount of forestland in North America now as there was 100 years ago. Most of the wood used in construction is grown in managed forests; it’s a crop that gets harvested about every 30 years. So you can rest assured that you are not harming Mother Nature at all.
There is a lot of interest in bamboo products, and while bamboo does grow quickly, it is not all the same. If you are considering flooring, cabinets or trim made from bamboo you need to make sure it was allowed to grow for at least five years. While you hear a lot about bamboo being cut at 30 days, the density and strength of that material is, in my opinion, not worth the investment. There are several makers of bamboo products that allow it to age and cultivate from managed bamboo farms.
Technology is also changing what’s available for our homes. A few years ago, Marvin put together some demonstration wood windows at the International Builder’s Show in Orlando with a product called Sage glass. This glass is basically a polarized pane that will darken as the sun hits it to cut down dramatically on the heat gain in your home. It is a terrific choice for southern exposures or your entire home.
Keeping on the topic of the sun, you can now install solar roofing tiles that can generate a good portion of the electricity your home needs. These tiles are also the actual roofing material so you do not have to see the large panels that are typically associated with solar technology. An average installation of this type of roofing tile will generate enough power for a 2,000-square-foot home. The cost is about $30,000, but in many states you can receive up to a 50 percent tax credit.
And then there is the wind. Introduced just 6 months ago, there is now a 6-foot diameter wind turbine that can be placed inconspicuously on or near your home that can generate power in less than a 2-mile-an-hour wind. A turbine installed is about $5,000 and the same 50 percent tax credit may apply. Do some research; speak with your architect and builder about their suggestions to green up your home. Each little step will help us all.
Photo courtesy of Vaxomatic on Flickr