“Farm to walls” building insulation made from sheep’s wool. Made of 100% wool (with a small amount of natural boric acid added as an insect repellant). Their wool is sourced in New Zealand where sheep roam pastoral lands and eat grass in serene settings. It is blended and washed there before being shipped to their manufacturing facility in Nevada where they make both loose-fill and batt form insulation.
Natural wool for wall insulation, treated with the natural mineral boron to repel mice, moths, mildew and insects. They also make WEKA, “a wool-based building insulation incorporating a sheep wool and lime which allows the panels to be installed as a semirigid insulation on top of existing dry walls to retrofit homes.”
Insulation (and acoustical padding products) made from 100% cotton recycled blue jeans. Insulation products include batts, radient barriers, and blown-in cellulose insulation. "All of our insulation products are Class-A fire rated, safe for the environment, contain no harmful chemicals or irritants, and do not pose off gassing or VOC concerns…requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products…patented proprietary process treats each individual fiber with a boron-based fire retardant. This treatment not only acts as a superior fire retardant, but also impedes the growth of fungus and mold."
“Exquisite work of art” countertop material made of about 85% repurposed glass (including glass that cannot be recycled elsewhere). “The largest proportion of glass comes from curbside recycling programs. Other glass comes from post industrial usage, windows, dinnerware, stemware, automotive windshields, stained glass, laboratory glass, reclaimed glass from building demolition, and other unusual sources such as decommissioned traffic lights.” Because of the unique nature of the glass used, every piece has its own history. They track that history and provide a Certificate of Transformation that tells you exactly where the glass came from. “Workers are paid a living wage… no labor was exploited.”b
An excellent introduction to green building concepts and materials, compiled by the City of Santa Monica, California. This site is written for commercial buildings, but homeowners can get ideas, too.
Formaldehyde-free (yes, zero formaldehyde) decorative hardwood plywood. Can be used for high-end cabinetry, furniture, and architectural millwork.
A complete resource for green building, including product listings, bookstore, classified ads, and an extensive library of informative articles. Product searches are organized for professionals, but easy to use for homeowners. Product catagories include doors, and windows, sitework, concrete, masonry, metals, thermal-moisture, specialties, equipment, mechanical, electrical, and special construction.
Beautiful handcrafted entry and interior doors made from "rediscovered wood…Seasoned lumber–better than new–unlike anything else you can get today. Each aged piece of lumber features deep beautiful colors and character that can only be achieved with time. Every door is different, every door unique…quality lumber from buildings destined for landfills…Most materials are from recycled Douglas Fir beams, joists and timbers." Choose from classic styles or have doors custom-made to your specifications.
"A voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Members of the U.S. Green Building Council representing all segments of the building industry developed LEED and continue to contribute to its evolution." The LEED program is more for professionals than consumers, but I've included it here because they are developing standards for certifying individual homes, and you may hear about "LEED standards." Here you can find out more about what they are.
A VOC-free “durable surface” material made from recycled glass and concrete. It is strong like granite, not as porous as marble and heat-resistant like stone. Ideal for countertops but can also be used for backsplashes, bathrooms, vanities, bathroom dividers, shower surrounds and bathtubs, tabletops, interior walls, and commercial flooring applications. Comes in 24 standard colors or any custom color.
Habitat for Humanity brings families and communities in need together with volunteers and resources to build affordable, healthy, sustainable housing. The program enables families to build their own homes, with assistance and training. "Habitat's Environmental Initiative promotes cost-effective, best-practice construction methods to its U.S. affiliates, raising awareness of the environmental impacts of house building. As a result, partner families may enjoy healthier, more energy-efficient and durable housing at the lowest possible cost. Over time the initiative has been integrated into Habitat's standard education and training activities, so that affiliates are encouraged to be good house builders and good stewards of natural resources."
To finance their work in part, they operate "ReStore" home improvement centers across America that sell high quality used and surplus construction and home improvement products of all types. Indoor and outdoor lighting, home appliances, doors, windows, cabinets, counter tops, tiles, and more are sold at substantial savings. Most are donated by building supply stores, contractors, demolition crews and individuals like you. Proceeds help fund the construction of Habitat houses within the local community. My husband and I went to visit our local ReStore and found a good selection of doors (including a $50 front door exactly the same as one we had purchased at a salvage yard for $100 and was selling for $200 at a home improvement warehouse), marble bathroom tiles, some great salvage windows, and a lot more. It's worth a visit.
This site is dedicated to making it easier for consumers to choose green building and remodeling products. Click on "product dirctory" and you'll find essays on choosing green products and lists of links to the most popular green products of that type. The site is targeted for Northern California resources, but is worth visiting regardless of where you live.
A comprehensive resource for energy efficient, non-toxic, recycled, reclaimed, naturally resourced and biodegradable building materials and methods. You'll find ceiling tiles,insulation, tile & stone, wallboard, windows, wood, and more. Also lists architects and architectural consultants, building diagnostics consultants, contractors/remodelers, designers, green materials consultants and installers. They've been in this business since 1988, so they are well-experienced. The founder started GreenSage after personal experience with MCS. Affiliations include IIDA, AIA, USGBC, and AIA's Committee on the Environment.
Database of pvc-free construction products.
A sustainable building materials database and design tool for the environmentally and socially responsible designer, builder and client. Has useful databases of products and green building resources, plus information on sustainable design and case studies. Has a sustainability review section for each product.
Natural and nontoxic building materials sold by a knowledgeable staff with almost two decades of experience. All products meet the following criteria: 1) Non-toxic and safe 2) Renewable, recycled, or upcycled 3) Energy efficient and Energy Star compliant 4) Meet or exceed US or European environmental standards 5) Good reputation in the industry 6) Personally tested by our company. Descriptions are exceptional, there are MSDS sheets on the contents of most products, and guidelines.
|Listen to my interview with Joel Hirshberg, Co-founder and President of Green Building Supply|
One of the internet’s most complete resources for green home furnishings that are healthy and resource efficient. Their product list includes recycled-glass tiles, cork flooring, natural linoleum, hardwood flooring, natural fiber and recycled carpeting and carpet pads, countertops, cabinets, paints and primers, wood finishes, strippers, wallcoverings, sealers, and more. In addition to their products, they also have on-line buying guides to help you choose which of their products is right for you. And if they don’t have what you are looking for, they promise to help you find it.
A project of the Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Earthcraft House is "a green building program that serves as a blueprint for healthy, comfortable homes that reduce utility bills and protect the environment." While not available online, they do have extensive planning documents that can serve to give you ideas for your own green building project.
Cool roofs reflect and emit heat back to the atmosphere, thereby reducing energy costs, and increasing roof longevity and occupant comfort. By reducing enery use, cool roofs reduct the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. In addition, cool roofs help mitigate Urban Heat Island Effect and reduce smog formation. This website rates various roofing products for their "solar reflectance" (the fraction of solar energy that is reflected by the roof) and "thermal emittance" (the relative ability of the roof surface to radiate absorbed heat) and guides you through choosing the cool roof that is right for your home.
Free, easy-to-use downloadable guides to various aspects of green remodeling, including Remodel Overview, Bath & Laundry, Kitchen, Painting, Landscape Materials, Roofing, Hiring a Pro, and Salvage & Reuse. These books are simple, user-friendly, and full of photos. Designed for homeowners.
Though this website is oriented to the needs of the San Francisco Bay Area, it contians much general information on green building that is useful anywhere. Their free downloadable Green Building Guidelines are an excellent place to start if you are designing new construction or a remodel, and the AccessGreen Directory is full of green building products.
A huge amount of information on green building and green building products, compiled and commented on by people who know this field. Their free-access GreenSpec directory contains entries to "more that 1,800 environmentally-preferable building products with descriptions, manufacturer information and links to additional resources." All listings are screened and written by their experienced staff. Also take a look at their article "What Makes A Product Green?" . They also publish a the well-regarded Environmental Building News and have much more information on their site. This site is pretty nuts-and-bolts, geared more to professional architects and builders, and gives more information that you may need or want to know as a homeowner, but it is a great resource for anyone interested in green building.
Sprayed-in insulation made from soybeans, a renewable resource. Creates a continuous air barrier around your home that blocks outside irritants such as mold, pollen, and other allergens from entering your indoor environment. Contains no harmful and irritating micro fibers or organic dust particulates. "When BioBased Insulation is sprayed into the floors, walls and ceilings, it quickly expands to 100 times its size to fill in every crack, crevice, and void….It insulates your home so well you will actually require a smaller HVAC unit in your home or structure…BioBased Insulation is a thermo set plastic foam that is by its nature inert. BioBased Insulation will not support mold growth and is not a food source for rodents, insects or other vermin."
"A 'one stop shop' for all your green building needs." No-VOC paints and stains, natural and FSC-certified flooring, modular and natural carpets, recycled countertops, sinks and fixtures made from recycled metals, cabinets, tiles, and more.