Jun 19, 2013 4:00 PM  PST

GreenPointers: Structural Improvement Materials

GreenPoint Rated

Energy Efficiency Mortgages (EEMs)
Help Home Buyers

The real estate crash that started in 2008 made many lenders wary of risk. Borrowers looking for a mortgage must have dependable income and good credit to qualify for a loan. Energy efficient mortgages allow people to borrow significant amounts of money in exchange for buying eco-friendly homes.

Energy efficient mortgage is the name for the most common type of green mortgage. The mortgages are offered to homeowners whose homes consume less power and are compliant with sustainable building practices including solar power, use of recycled materials and others.

Read the article

Find Green Building Professionals

The Certified Green Professionals Directory includes all Build It Green certified green building professionals in one easy to find place. You can find professionals such as:

Search the Directory

Want to Get Rated?

A remodel can be a daunting process, especially if you want to make sure it's done in an environmentally friendly way. GreenPoint Rated provides you with resources and professionals that can help you keep track of all the details so that you can simply enjoy your healthy, green home.

Learn more

GreenPoint rated on Facebook GreenPoint Rated on Twitter GreenPoint rated on Facebook    

Join Build It Green's network to get tips on GreenPoint Rated and more.

Structural Improvement Materials

Our series of GreenPointers provides helpful tips for a healthier,
greener home in a variety of topics. Today's topic is Structural
Improvement Materials
Green Pointers

Harvesting and extracting natural resources used to make construction materials takes its toll on the environment. You can minimize your impact while improving the strength and performance of your structure by choosing greener materials when building an addition to your home. For example, engineered lumber can replace many types of solid-sawn lumber; it is sometimes slightly more expensive, but is typically more dimensionally stable, straighter, lighter and stronger.

Here are a few recommendations when choosing green building materials for your next addition.

Step 1


  Solid-sawn lumber in dimensions of 2×10 inches and greater typically comes from old-growth forests or large diameter trees. For a more environmentally friendly option, use engineered lumber products. Engineered lumber is manufactured from the wood of small-diameter, fast-growing plantation trees. These common building products include glued laminated timber (glulam), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), laminated strand lumber (LSL), parallel strand lumber (PSL), wood I-joists, wood floor trusses, finger-jointed studs and oriented strand board (OSB).

Reducing demand for large dimensional lumber decreases pressure to harvest old-growth or large-diameter trees. Also, engineered lumber uses wood fiber more efficiently than conventional lumber. Most engineered wood products are straighter and stronger than solid-sawn equivalents, eliminating crooked walls and reducing material waste.

Make sure that engineered lumber is called out on your project's structural building plans.

Step 2


  Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification assures that the forest from which the wood was harvested is managed in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible manner. FSC is the only lumber verification rating that maintains chain-of-custody certification throughout the cutting, milling and final delivery of products, thus ensuring that the end product originated from a certified sustainably managed forest.

Use FSC-certified solid wood framing, engineered lumber, oriented strand board and plywood.

Step 3


  Flyash is a byproduct of coal-burning power plants. It is typically landfilled, but can be an inexpensive and quality substitute for a portion of the portland cement in concrete. Slag, a byproduct of the steel industry, may also be used like flyash to replace some of the cement.

Flyash and slag improve the performance of concrete by increasing strength, reducing permeability and reducing corrosion of reinforcing steel. Using flyash or slag also reduces the amount of cement and water needed, thereby decreasing the overall environmental impacts of cement production and water sourcing. Cement production is energy intensive; it accounts for more than 6% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

Up to 50% of cement can be replaced with flyash or slag in many residential concrete mixes. However, high-volume flyash or slag mixes (35% replacement or more) may require longer cure times and different finishing techniques than standard concrete. Consult a structural engineer or concrete contractor for information.

Step 3


  During construction, save money and material by storing scrap ends and other small pieces in well-organized piles (builders call these "cut piles"). Reuse the materials instead of throwing them away. Properly cover and store reusable materials so that they are not damaged by the weather. Materials that can be readily reused include wood studs, sheathing, joists, drywall, siding, piping, metal products, roofing and even fiberglass insulation.

Learn more about materials and practices for
structural improvements.

Visit our website to learn more:
Green Remodeling | Ask an expert | Gallery | Get Rated

For additional information on this article, please contact:
(510) 590-3360
Source: Build It Green  

Tendenci™ User Home © 2004 Tendenci™ software by Schipul - "The Web Marketing Company" | www.schipul.com