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Frontlines of Climate Change: Deforestation

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 30, 2014 12:27:10 PM

Ever since plants and fungi colonized the land 500 million years ago, forests have provided essential habitat for countless living creatures. For humans, forests initially represented shelter, sustenance, and protection. The moment we discovered that we could make fire, the value of forests transformed. When we learned how to clear forests to cultivate crops and feed our livestock, their value proposition changed again.

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Roofs Should Balance Environmental Concerns and Practical Risks

Posted by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley

Mar 10, 2014 11:02:00 AM

When builders raise the roof these days, they choose from many more options than just 20 years ago.

Formerly, they selected among unsustainable, impact-resistant asphalt tiles, wood shake roofs vulnerable to fires, and energy intensive tile roofs. Now, however, they have the ability to choose sustainability and durability—all at the same time.

Practical building weighs both green responsibility and risk. Just as some extremely durable roofing materials aren't eco-friendly, some "eco-roofs" present impractical risk. Risk matters, both to the buyer and to his or her home insurance provider. Premiums are based in large part on the amount of risk posed by a home. The roof is one of the key components—wind and hail damage, usually to roofs, is the most common home insurance claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

That's why, when searching for green building solutions for a client, you should focus on impact-resistant roofing materials with a UL 2218 class 3 or 4. They'll provide durability for the house while fulfilling your environmental responsibility.  

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Are We Using the “Right” Building Product? Part II

Posted by Mike Collignon

Oct 22, 2013 2:17:00 PM

Is “Greenwashing” Dead?

Often, salespeople will only provide standard marketing materials or point to their Web site as a source of their information, which won’t have any readily available documentation to back up their claims.

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Are We Using the “Right” Building Products and Materials?

Posted by Mike Collignon

Aug 26, 2013 2:28:00 PM

In the past 10 years or so, green building product availability and technology has increased along with the revision of energy efficiency codes. Unfortunately, there seems to be a disconnect in the coordination of available information for specifiers, code authors and code officials. This disconnect becomes more apparent when conflicts arise between unique building code requirements and energy code requirements. Add to the above a project attempting to meet green certification and a designer or builder may end up spending precious time and fees researching all of the variables.

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Another Man's Treasure

Posted by Ron Jones

Oct 1, 2012 12:38:00 PM

IN A PREVIOUS LIFE, and in a younger man’s clothes, I had a chance to observe the world through a slightly different lens, one which frequently illuminated the simple truth that the value people place on something can vary greatly from one person to the next.

For example, my buddies and I would often buy deep-fried vegetable slices and other goodies from the carts of Asian street vendors who prepared their offerings in pots of boiling oil over red hot chunks of charcoal. We figured that if nothing else, the process was going to kill anything that might pose an immediate threat to our health, and besides, all the locals ate it, and the stuff was darned tasty.
What we also noticed at the time was that the treats were served up in sheets of paper rolled into cone shapes that made them easy to handle, and soaked up the excess oil as a bonus. The other really interesting observation was that the paper came from unexpected sources—such as
discarded maintenance manuals for U.S. fighter jets, mostly F-4s. At the time we found it humorous, and actually admired the resourcefulness of the street merchants.

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