Greenbuild Expo 2008: Innovative Ideas for Your Home
By: Danny Lipford
The 2008 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, was held in Boston with over 28,000 eco-enthusiasts from 85 countries attending.
The trade show featured many innovative energy saving and environmentally friendly products for your home.
Owens Corning fiberglass insulation made from recycled glass.
Even though Owens Corning fiberglass insulation could already be considered a green product since it reduces energy consumption, it is now even greener still, with at least 40% recycled glass used in the manufacturing process. Not only does this make Owens Corning one of the largest users of recycled glass in the world, but the change shaved 13% off the energy needed to make their products.
To make sure that items—like CFLs, batteries, and electronics—that contain harmful chemicals are disposed of properly, Waste Management offers Recycling Kits that include prepaid mailers to allow you to safely and properly dispose of hazardous materials.
Kirei Coco Tiles
Over the last five years, Kirei has been a leader in eco-friendly building products made from natural, sustainable materials such as wheat, sorghum, and bamboo. Their latest products are decorative mosaic tiles and panels made from the husks of coconuts. Coco tiles and panels can be used for everything from cabinetry to art work to wall coverings.
Natural Plaster Walls
Natural clay plasters made by American Clay add a unique look to interior walls. The plaster is made from natural clay and pigments mixed with recycled aggregates. It is available in three different textures along with dozens of colors. American Clay wall plaster is nontoxic, contains no volatile organic compounds, is mold and fade resistant, easy to repair, and makes a great DIY project.
Solar hot water heating systems from Velux are a great way to save energy in your home while reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. The energy saved will pay for the system in three to seven years, and installation can qualify for a federal tax credit. The rooftop unit uses the same spacing as traditional skylights, which makes it easier to gain approval from homeowner associations.
Kyocera is one of the world’s largest suppliers of solar energy products, and their new MyGen Utility Interactive Residential Systems use photovoltaic cells to supply power to your home then feed any excess electricity back into the power grid. Five different sized kits are available to fit your individual needs, and each comes with all the components necessary to hook them up.
Verve wireless wall switch.
To make the most of the electricity you use, you might want to consider installing LED light fixtures from Eclipse Lighting. They use 80% – 90% less electricity than standard lights and are available in many decorator styles and colors.
To control the lights in your home, check out the Whole House Lighting Control System from Verve. The system uses a central controller in conjunction with switches that generate their own electricity when flipped, allowing them to operate without the need for wires or batteries.
AuraLast® treated wood from JELD-WEN Windows & Doors
Making wood products that last longer is still another way to go green. To accomplish this, the wood used in JELD-WEN Windows and Doors is treated with the preservative AuraLast® to provide protection from decay, water saturation, and termites that is guaranteed for 20 years. Efforts like these, along with their promotion of sustainable woods, earned JELD-WEN the Sustainable Forestry Initiative President’s Award.
Conserving water is another important aspect of green living. To reduce your water use, you might want to consider installing a Rainwater Harvesting System from Bushman.
Reducing the amount of water used was on display from Kohler as well. Their booth featured everything from low-flow showerheads and faucets to water saving toilets that can save up to 22,000 gallons of water a year.
Green Design Winners
The 2008 winners of the School of the Future student design competition were on hand at Greenbuild to give a presentation of their plans for an environmentally friendly school that they designed using Autodesk Revit Architecture software. Students Hallie Hallman, Alex Kashtan, Allyson McCarthy, and Emily Powers from Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School in Connecticut spent four months working on the project with their teacher, Jennifer Caffrey. The school they proposed incorporates numerous alternative energy and green building ideas into the overall design. To learn more about their award winning project, visit the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School website.
(L-R) Alex Kashtan, Hallie Hallman, Emily Powers, and Allyson McCarthy
Green Info Websites
To find out more about going green, visit the Your Green Home section of our website.
For even more green building information and reviews of eco-friendly products, check out the Rate It Green and Green Building Advisor websites. Both sites contain a wealth of information on ways to make your home more energy efficient, along with hundreds of reviews of green products and companies.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Natural Rust Remover
Removing rust from tools doesn’t have to involve tedious sanding or caustic chemicals. A more eco-friendly solution is to soak rusty tools in a solution of 1 part molasses to 9 parts water for several days to two weeks (leave the lid off to prevent the build-up of gases). The molasses attacks the rust and holds it in suspension. Once the rust has been removed, take the items out, wipe them off, and run over them with a wire brush to make them as good as new.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
GreenFiber Cellulose Insulation
Not only can insulation reduce your energy bills, but GreenFiber cellulose insulation is made from 85% recycled material that takes 10% less energy to make. It can be blown or damp sprayed into walls, floors, and attics. The natural fibers are treated with a nontoxic chemical for flame resistance and are guaranteed for the life of your home. GreenFiber insulation is available at The Home Depot stores.
Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Organic Household Cleaners
One way to reduce potentially harmful chemicals and VOCs in your home is to replace household chemical cleaners with natural organic ones such as vinegar and lemon juice. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water and use it to clean, deodorize, and disinfect your home. Lemon juice works great for dissolving soap scum and water deposits in bathrooms, and it can also be mixed with baking soda to make an effective cleaning paste. To make a natural scrub brush, sprinkle baking soda on half a cut lemon, hold it by the rind, and use it to scrub away dirt and grime.
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