Did You Know?
Building & Remodeling Facts
- Conventional building construction and operation consumes large quantities of wood, water, metals, fossil fuels and other natural resources. Even though the majority of the materials used to build a home are put to good use, vast quantities of resources are wasted. In fact, building an average 2,000 square feet house produces about 7,000 pounds of waste.
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Center for Sustainable Development, buildings consume 40% of the world’s total energy, 25% of its wood harvest and 16% of its water. Compared to traditional construction, a green built home takes some of this pressure off the environment.
- Building-related construction and demolition (C&D) debris totals approximately 136 million tons per year, accounting for nearly 60 percent of total non-industrial waste generation in the U.S. (1996)
- On average, Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, yet indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 -5 times higher, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, than outdoor levels, according to the EPA.
- Sources of indoor air pollution may include: combustion sources; building materials and furnishings; household cleaning, maintenance, personal care, or hobby products; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution.
- A report in the New England Journal of Medicine states that 40% of children will develop respiratory disease, in part due to the chemicals in their homes. A common source of indoor air pollution is the off-gassing of chemicals found in many building materials.
Submitted by: Michael Dawson (email@example.com) Challenge I constantly try to find ways to make our home more energy efficient, but the benefits of these changes aren’t easily measured. There’s a large information gap between incremental improvements and the monthly arrival of the electricity bill. I wanted to know: how can I track the effects of [...]
Submitted By: Steve Richard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge I think we installed our first CFL light bulbs in the spring of 2006. I recall putting my first bulbs on a couple lamps and a few outdoor lights. That was a good start, but I didn’t feel particularly confident about what to do next. I was full of [...]
Submitted By: Louise Clark (LouiseClark@comcast.net) Challenge I had a simple goal: to upgrade my 52 year old house so that it would burn no fossil fuels. This might sound a little overwhelming, but fortunately I have an engineer son who was willing to tackle the challenge for me. Our home feels a little like a [...]
Submitted By: Steve Richard (email@example.com) Challenge Recently we remodeled one of our bathrooms. The first step as in any remodel was to remove all of the existing cabinets, sinks, tub, tile, and other fixtures. We put everything that we removed out on our driveway and I wondered how to best get rid of it. We [...]
Submitted By: Kim Curiel (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge What sustainable flooring to choose for our new home. Solution Details We looked into cork but didn’t feel confident about its durability. We tried reclaiming some hardwood from a house that was being demolished, but ended up far short of what we needed for our house. We’d looked at [...]
Written by Sustainable Lafayette based on an interview with Louise McMenamin (Louisejohns@mac.com) who is one of the owners. The ABsolute Center is a popular yoga and Pilates studio in Lafayette, across the street from Trader Joes. The Center was started by three women who had worked together at Oakwood Athletic Club—Katie Santos, Louise McMenamin, and [...]
Written by Sustainable Lafayette, based on interviews with Fred Brill (Superintendent), Stephanie Teichman (School Board), and Bruce Wodhams (Principal of Springhill Elementary). Challenge Back in February 2007, a couple of Springhill parents (including Leon Lee) had the simple urge to “leave some sort of legacy”. They thought that figuring out how to get solar panels [...]