Green Building Materials and Products

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Home improvements using green building materials cover the same territory as any other home improvements such as kitchen renovations, decks, or insulation for energy efficiency. The difference is in the materials and products, non-toxic wall and floor finishes, flooring made from renewable resources such as bamboo, and recycled wood or plastic lumber.

Using green building materials for home improvements conserves energy and natural resources and they are safer for the environment and human health. Green building products are just as durable as any other building material and in many cases comparably priced.

Using green building materials for home improvements is starting to go mainstream as many of the larger home centers now carry environmentally friendly building materials and products. There are also a number of smaller home centers that specialize in environmentally friendly building materials and products as well.

Here are some common green building materials and products:

1. Flooring
Environmentally friendly flooring materials include bamboo, cork, recycled hardwood flooring, hardwoods grown using sustainable building practices, linoleum made without petroleum-based resources, and recycled leather tiles.

2. Paints and Stains
There are both non-toxic and low-toxic paints and stains available for homeowners. Suitable for walls, floors, and anywhere else you would use a paint or stain, they are made without volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

3. Insulation
There are several eco-friendly types of insulation including cellulose made from 80% post-consumer recycled paper, cotton batting made 85% recycled materials, primarily denim, and eco-friendly fiberglass made with recycled glass and contain low-emissions of formaldehyde.

4. Decks and Fences
Eco-friendly pressure treated lumber differs from traditional pressure treated lumber in that the preservative copper azole, a combination of a food approved fungicide and trace amounts of copper is far less toxic than copper chromium arsenate traditionally used, which contains heavy metals and is extremely toxic. Recycled lumber or plastic lumber, are two other viable options for building decks and fences.

5. Carpets
Area rugs and carpets made from wool and natural fibers including seagrass or grass, wool, bamboo, coir, sisal, a combination of jute wool and natural fibers, hemp, and split bamboo. Recycled carpet tiles are also available.

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