GREEN-TECH Homes

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High tech meets low ecological impact in the home of tomorrow.

Going GREENGreen causes and high-tech advancements seem to go hand-in-hand these days. In the following pages, we look at some technological advancements designed to ensure that the home of tomorrow will exist on a clean planet.

Going GREEN

Going green is a rapidly growing worldwide movement that is making a profound impact on the furniture and home building industries. Homeowners are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment and are beginning to request eco-friendly homes and products. With more green homes being built all over the country, furniture and home accessory manufacturers are going green too.

FURNITURE

Furniture manufacturers have realized that the green movement is rising in popularity and not going away any time soon. Companies have hopped on the bandwagon to accommodate requests to use more eco-friendly materials and products. The market is seeing an increase in companies that create high quality and aesthetically appealing green products to their lines to meet the demands of consumers.

Foamex, for example, is a company that produces cushioning for bedding, furniture and carpets. Recently, the company released a new product called “Reflex Natural” that contains plant-based renewable raw materials, while still guaranteeing comfort and durability. It was created using an emission-free manufacturing process to produce high quality foam and feature organic halogen-free fire retardants.

New eco-friendly companies, products and practices for your home.Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it has to be unattractive and uncomfortable! You can easily find attractive, stylish and trendy eco-friendly furniture that will fit right into your home.

South Cone is a furniture manufacturer that uses sustainable, harvested wood to produce appealing furniture to fit anyone’s needs. They use wood from forests that are strictly managed. South Cone “ensures a steady supply of lumber without undermining the natural ability of rainforests to remain healthy and bountiful over time.” They produce a little bit of everything from dining room tables and chairs to entertainment armoires and pool tables in numerous styles and finishes.

Upholstered furniture is now available with organic and eco-friendly fabrics. A company called Furnature began its eco-friendly line in the 1990’s and offers chemical-free, non-toxic organically made fabric covered furniture. Your entire home can be furnished with eco-friendly furniture because Furnature offers a variety of chairs, sofas, loveseats, and even recliners. No synthetic glues or dyes are used during fabrication.

Check out www.branchhome.com for everything from cork chaise lounges to the “Nap” pounce tree. Keep the entire household safe and healthy! Don’t forget your pets! The “Nap” cat tree is handmade from corrugated cardboard and other recycled content and uses nontoxic adhesives and paint, ensuring the safety of your cat. Its modern look is much more appealing than your typical carpet-covered cat perch. The Cortica chaise lounge by Daniel Michalik is sleek and innovative. Made from pure cork, this relaxing chaise is cool, modern and healthy using non-toxic adhesives.

Bamboo, a renewable resource, has gained popularity in the home for its eco-friendliness and chic look. Above, the professional and regular kitchen carts from Totally Bamboo.Bamboo and cork are materials that are being incorporated into home accent pieces such as coffee tables and chairs. Check out Ecodesignz latest bamboo pedestal table. Its sleek and polished design is home healthy, durable and appealing. Bamboo is a sustainable material making it a perfect addition to any green home. Bamboo is the perfect sustainable product because it grows very fast, renews itself by growing from an existing root and prevents erosion! Ecodesignz has thought of everything!

With life being hectic, organization is a must in most homes, so a bamboo chest is the perfect storage solution, or check out the two drawer cabinet perfect for your bamboo clothes! Fill up your drawers and closets with bamboo clothing available on www.bambooclothes.com. They have everything from boxer shorts to shawls. Made from Spun Bamboo®, it’s super soft, breathable, appealing and good for the environment, too!

Go green throughout your entire home from the bedroom to the kitchen. Textile companies are acting on the increasing demand for eco-friendly products. Bring a little green to the bedroom with luxurious organic bedding. High thread count organic cotton bedding is produced without the use of the normal chemicals and harsh bleaches that many companies use in the process of making fabric. Switch out your old towels for 100% organically-grown cotton towels that are durable and plush.

Looking for eco-friendly bedding, kitchen supplies and more? Check out www.greenhome.com, the Green Home Environmental store. They have everything for your home including bedding, kitchen accessories, furniture and more.

BUILDING A GREEN HOME OR REMODELING AN EXISTING HOME

Building an eco-friendly green home is becoming a popular request by homeowners who care about the environment for themselves and future generations. A green home is environmentally friendly, energy efficient and provides a healthy space for families. Homeowners are looking for homes that will cut down on energy costs while helping to conserve energy at the same time. Building a green home can cut energy costs by up to 50%.

The addition of solar panels, such as the ones pictured above, can reportedly help ease your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint immensely.Components of a green home, such as the heating and cooling systems, can be made to minimize harmful emissions in the air. Overall, green homes and commercial buildings promise to cut down on energy costs, requiring less maintenance and repair providing a healthier environment compared to other homes.

Turning an existing home into a green home can take time and money, but it’s getting easier to be green! It can be a longterm process, but here are a few ways to get started.

HOW TO GO GREEN

Replace old appliances with energy efficient appliances. For example, an energy efficient tankless water heater can save you up to $100 a year on your utility bill.

  • Install natural flooring.
  • Choose non-toxic and chemical free materials, paints and sealants.
  • Use energy efficient lighting. Replace standard light bulbs with Energy Star compact fluorescent bulbs, for example.
  • Use recycled roof materials and shingles.
  • Install solar lighting, even if it’s just to the outside of your home. Conserve and save money at the same time!
  • Reduce your hot water heater to 120 degrees. This prevents burns and saves money.
  • Run cold water laundry washes.
  • Use non-toxic cleaners.
  • Unplug appliances that are not in use.

Almost every square inch of your home can be healthier, safer and more energy efficient. Builders and building supply companies are answering consumer’s demands by offering green products to help with remodeling or building an environmentally friendly home.

Pavers create a pervious surface that, unlike asphalt or concrete, allows water to seep into the ground at the site. This eliminates runoff and keeps pollutants out of area waterways. As part of a demonstration of the Lowcountry Paver Permeable Pavement test pad, The Bluffton Township Fire Department sprayed 2,000 gallons of water onto a 12’ x 18’ section of pavers. An entire truckload of water was filtered through the ground in 18 minutes. More than 40 local architects, engineers, Township managers and developers attended the demonstration. (Photo courtesy Lowcountry Paver).It may be difficult to think about, but there are toxic chemicals throughout most homes. Chemicals can be found in our carpets, floors, fabrics and even in the walls, putting our families in danger. Safecoat Flat Zero paint is a low toxic paint that contains almost no odor and is available in a variety of colors. Safecoat paint may help to increase the level of good air in the home, creating a safer environment. The inside of your walls contain insulation, which helps to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. CertainTeed, for example, offers an insulation that contains no formaldehyde or chemicals that might cause the growth of mildew or fungus. From the outside to the inside, a green home is made with recycled materials and sustainable products. The roof over your head can be more eco-friendly by using recycled shingles made from recycled metals, sawdust, recycled plastic, rubber and even tires. These roofs have a long life, lasting up to 50 years. Heavier than standard shingles, they can be recycled again after their usefulness as a roof expires. Regular asphalt shingles only last around 20 years, contain toxic chemicals and evaporate under the heat of the sun, releasing chemicals into the air.

Outdoors, permeable pavers have become quite the hot trend. Why? According to experts, permeable pavement allows rain water to be managed the way nature intended. Prior to development – installation of roads, parking lots, homes, patio’s, etc. – rain water hit open areas, such as fields, forests, etc., and was filtered through the ground where it became purified and then recharged our water source, or the aquifer. Today, in areas covered by impervious surfaces, such as concrete, the rain water hits these areas, washes off pollutants, such as oil, rubber, and other chemicals, and washes them into our rivers.

So the polluted fresh water, which should filter through the ground to recharge the aquifer, enters the river, instead, carrying pollutants along. Experts state that this process also dilutes the amount of salt in our rivers and raises the river’s water temperature, which also has an adverse effect on the eco-system. The more impervious surfaces we create, the faster we pollute the rivers and deplete our aquifer.

Another important thing to remember is the difference between permeable and pervious. Permeable, such as some pavers available in the Lowcountry, means it allows water to go between voids. Pervious means it allows water to go through the surface.

The Town of Bluffton, for example, recently passed an ordinance requiring 50% of all parking lots and 100% of all over-flow parking lots to be composed of permeable materials. (For more information, please contact Jennifer Bibb at (843) 706-4580).

Green technology in the home isn’t just about improving the environment; it’s also about improving your health. The Beam Central Vacuum System, pictured at right, helps homeowners purify the air in their homes by removing harmful contaminants from carpeting.A kitchen can become a green kitchen by simply throwing out toxic cleaning products and replacing them with green cleaning products. But if you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, think about using recycled materials throughout the kitchen. Icestone countertops are made from recycled glass and concrete but are as strong as granite. It’s 99.5% inorganic, which makes it eco-friendly and fire retardant, and can be used as a decorative backsplash in bathrooms or even on walls. It can be used in numerous areas of the home, making it a true green product. For kitchen cabinets, recycled or reclaimed wood can be used and lasts 50 years or more. Thinking of using tile but looking for a more earth-friendlyproduct? Non-slip rubber tiles by GreenFloors are made of 90% post consumer waste from recycled tires and work well for outdoor areas or wet and damp places.

Many homeowners who are building a green home choose to use bamboo or cork instead of carpet. Carpet can release toxic fumes into the air due to the chemical treatments it goes through when being processed.

Carpets are inviting for dust mites and other allergens that can cause asthma especially in children. While most carpet lasts about 10 years, cork or bamboo flooring can last a lifetime. Bamboo flooring is a renewable material that is available in a variety of colors and can give your home a modern or even tropical look. With its durability, many homeowners are choosing bamboo which also helps to increase the value of a home.

Cork flooring can create a warm look and is a good option because it’s durable, comfortable and anti-microbial. Linoleum flooring is a staple in many kitchens and bathrooms due to its durability and functionality, but it’s not exactly eco-friendly. A green alternative is Marmoleum Natural Linoleum made with natural materials such as linseed oil, wood flour, rosin, jute and limestone. It’s available in an abundance of colors, plus emits no harmful VOC’s into the air.

Choosing only a few of these green remodeling ideas can improve your indoor air quality, increase the value of your home and cut down on utility bills. You’re also doing your part by conserving our natural resources every time you use a green product.

There are numerous Web sites and resources available on the Internet to help you go green. Going green at home isn’t just about using eco-friendly products and materials; it’s a lifestyle change.