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Six Green Building Materials To Consider Using In Your New Home

by Erik Evans

"Green building" is a commonly used term these days, but just what does it mean? Generally, "green building" refers to using materials that are produced through methods that cause less harm to the environment than their conventional counterparts. Fewer petroleum products, less water and fewer toxic compounds may be used in their production, and fewer waste products are generated. There are a wide array of green building products from which to choose, ranging from reclaimed wood from demolished structures, to insulation made from recycled cotton. If you're building a new home and hoping to do so as sustainably as possible, consider including one or more of these common green building products in your design.

Drywall Made from Recycled Materials

It's rather easy to find drywall made from recycled paper products in most home improvement stores. it performs as well as conventional drywall, and once it's covered in plaster or paint, no one will ever know the difference. Some companies even use post-industrial gypsum produced by coal-burning power plants in their drywall. This puts the material to good use rather than just letting it pile up in a landfill.

Recycled Glass Tile

Glass does not break down in a landfill, so it's important to find uses for discarded glass. One of these uses is in the manufacture of glass tile. Ideal for everything from kitchen backsplashes to shower stalls, recycled glass tile is incredibly beautiful and comes in a wide array of colors. It's sure to become a talking point among guests. You can inform them all that it's a sustainable material and encourage them to use it in their home designs, too.

Bamboo Flooring

Consider choosing bamboo flooring over traditional hardwood. Bamboo can be regrown much more quickly than hardwood, so chopping down a bamboo forest has minimal environmental impact. Bamboo is also incredibly durable, so it will last longer than a hardwood floor, meaning less waste is generated. Resistant to mildew and water, bamboo is easy to clean and does not require you to use chemical cleaners and waxes like hardwood floors often do.

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

If you prefer the look of a traditional wooden floor but don't want to feel guilty for knocking down a forest to have one made, consider using reclaimed wood flooring for your home. Reclaimed wood flooring is boards that have been removed from a floor of an old home, and re-finished to be placed in a new home. Reclaimed wooden flooring materials come in as many varieties as you can imagine. More worn boards are a good choice for industrial-style or coastal homes, while those with smoother finishes are ideal for traditional, clean-cut designs.

Recycled Aluminum Countertops

This material might sound pretty strange at first, but once you see how inventive they look, recycled aluminum countertops are sure to make your list of preferred green materials. They're made from shaved pieces of aluminum, obtained from old cans, that are embedded in a resin. The resin comes in many colors, so you're bound to find a recycled aluminum countertop that coordinates with your kitchen or bath color scheme.

Recycled Cotton Insulation

Blown-in insulation is an excellent choice for many homes, since it fills spaces between walls more completely than batts of insulation. As the material packs down over the years, you can simply add more insulation on top of it. Why choose insulation made from new cotton when you can do the planet a favor and use recycled cotton instead?

When building a new home, you have many decisions to make. One decision you won't regret is the decision to use as many sustainably produced and recycled materials as possible. In doing so, you'll be helping to preserve the planet for future generations. For other ideas, click here for more information.