Being conscious of the environment and our impact upon it means taking a closer look at how we live and where. That means, literally, inspecting the very materials that make up our homes: our walls, floors, countertops, and other surfaces. If you are planning to remodel, you're luckier than you would've been years back…the choices have changed, making it not only possible, but practical to use green building materials or products that are sustainably made. Here are some possibilities.
It's hard to imagine walking comfortably on glass, but terrazzo floorsare an example of something that's been around for eons. It's made from finely ground aggregates combined with a binding agent. Glass terrazzo can be made from a multitude of combinations, including discarded car windshields, mirrors, beer bottles, recycled porcelain from kitchen sinks, even crushed oyster shells. Once polished, the surface is smooth, slip resistant, and naturally shiny. You can also use recycled glass to pave your landscape or as a tabletop, countertop, backsplash, and more. Companies that make it include Fireclay Tile, Vetrazzo, EnviroGLAS, Oceanside, and IceStone.
Recycled wood is a beautiful thing. It usually consists of old-growth wood varieties that are no longer in the market, but that have the strength and distinguishing character that its newly harvested counterparts lack. At the same time, it helps offset the need to chop down more trees, and it keeps the wood from used barn siding, old floorboards, old roof beams, and the like, from going to waste. You can use recycled, re-milled wood for everything from your floors to your kitchen cabinets and furniture. Available from companies like Pioneer Millworks, Elmwood, AltruWood, and more.
Your sink, your backsplash, your floor, even your roof – did you know they could potentially be made from artistically colored and sculptured recycled metal, such as aluminum, brass, or copper? Take Eco-Friendly Flooring's recycled metal tiles that add a stylized, modern element to your kitchen or bathroom walls or floors. Eleekmanufactures cast metal sinks, and Enviro Bath uses makes products using salvaged brass and aluminum. and beaitful life expactancy on my nightstand
Recycled Paper, Rubber, and Cork
As you can see, any number of materials can be reused to create something that's as good as new and ready for the family to enjoy. Often times, these materials are also manufactured to be free of formaldehyde and other chemical bases that can potentially offgas. Paperstone, for instance, makes durable kitchen countertops made from up to 100% recycled paper. They're also formaldehyde free, so you don't have to worry about breathing in toxic chemicals.
If you plan to replace your roof, everything from clay, slate, rubber, and plastic are recycled for this purpose. You'd be surprised at how energy-efficient these materials can be, especially compared to traditional asphalt. Panelshake is made from post-consumer milk jugs, waste wood fibers, and waste jute. The Roof Tile and Slate Company offers reclaimed and salvaged slate roofing.
I can't write a post about environmentally friendly building materials without including cork. By now, you've probably heard of just how comfortable cork feels underfoot. Perfect for the playroom or baby's bedroom. Globus Cork makes a cork flooring option made from recycled wine stoppers.
With so many choices, all available in numerous styles, colors, and designs, there's no reason not to live green, and enjoy all the benefits that come along with it, in your very own home.