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it's easy being green
by Katy Purviance on 03/23/08 @ 10:14:44 am
Categories: Products, Articles | 395 words | 1708 views

Need some easy ways to green up your remodel? I just came across these suggestions from Allen B. Bunting in my latest issue of Coastal Living.

Recycled Carpet and Flooring
• Billions of pounds of carpet end up in landfills each year, but several carpet companies strive to limit this impact by creating new products from recycled carpet fibers. FLOR, a company that specializes in residential carpet tiles, has instituted an R&R (return and recycle) Program. Homeowners can arrange to have old tiles picked up and shipped back to the plant for recycling.

• Carpet giant Shaw Industries, Inc. has made advancements through its Shaw Green Edge initiative and its products. Those include carpet cushions certified by The Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label air-quality testing and labeling program, both recycled and recyclable carpet and carpet tiles, and sustainably harvested hardwoods.

Mohawk offers options that include laminate flooring made of 75 percent pre-consumer recycled content, and everSTRAND carpet made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. The company also sells designer doormats made from recycled tires.

• If carpet’s not your style, don’t forget that wood floors can be recycled, too. Reclaimed wood flooring adds character and an aged look to interiors that new materials can’t match. Old Grain, a company specializing in reclaimed wood, assists contractors and homeowners in selection and installation.

Recycled-content Countertops
• Cradle to Cradle Silver-certified IceStone uses post-consumer recycled glass to create glass-and-concrete surfaces in a variety of colors at prices comparable to high-quality granite.

Renewed Materials LLC produces a modern eco-friendly look with Alkemi, made from 60 percent post-industrial scrap aluminum. This creates countertops that function like solid surfaces but look like art.

• For a natural-looking option that won’t off-gas, look to Richlite. The company specializes in high-quality paper-composite surfaces that are stain- and heat-resistant.

Low-VOC Paints and Finishes
• Many paints contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), potentially harmful air pollutants. Limit your exposure with low-VOC options, such as the Ayurveda Essence collection by AFM Safecoat.

Sherwin-Williams’ Harmony primers and flat, eggshell, and semigloss paints claim to be no-VOC, low-odor, and mildew-resistant, which is vital in coastal climates.

• Glossy finishes generally contain higher VOC levels. If your project requires a high-gloss paint, consider American Pride Interior Waterborne High-Gloss Enamel.

• Low-VOC alternatives are also available for exterior jobs. Check out Opera Paints Silicon Quarzo or American Pride Exterior Low Lustre.

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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