Green Fever

Green Fever
September 9, 2008, 12:00 pm
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I am conducting an study on the “Green Fever” that is sweeping the nation.   I will be specifically researching Residential home construction and new products and techniques being used in their construction.

Now, this will not be yet another soap box presentation about how ‘we need to go green,’ but rather investigating how much of this green phenomenon is hype, a craze, a fad, a fever…  When I first came up with the initial idea it was Spring 2008.  It seemed like over the summer all these new green products and ideas popped up like weeds in a garden.  When I began my study, “Going Green” was no longer on the cutting edge… at lest not AS cutting edge as it was.  It seems now that every company and every product we use now has a green counterpart.

Through my investigation I will delve into how much this “Green Fever” is about a different kind of green…

I will continue to post information as I gather it to help inform you about new products and trends.  My ultimate goal- to help you make the right decisions about new products and ignore a fancy new sticker on the same old package…  follow along


Incandescent Versus Compact Fluorescents
September 23, 2008, 2:08 pm
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Standard bulbs are rapidly being replaced by Compact Fluorescent (CF) bulbs.  This is one of the easiest and cheapest way to ‘go green.’  While CF’s are much more expensive, their pay back is great and nearly instant.  CF’s are ~$5 a bulb as compared to a pack of typical incandescent bulbs costing approximately the same.  However the CF’s use 75% less energy over their lifetime- which is up to 10x longer than the life of a standard bulb.  Over the course of a CF’s life, a single bulb can save upwards of $30 in energy costs.  So as you can see, the higher up front cost more than pays for itself in costs.  Also this is a long term investment, as the new CF’s will only need to be replaced every 5-10+ years (or much longer).

The only draw back (other than cost which we already established, pays for itself within a few electrical bills), is that the bulbs still contain hazardous chemicals.  However, this is nothing new as standard bulbs have also always contained these chemicals.  These chemicals are not of a major concern, they are in trace form and injuries from light bulbs are most commonly a result of a broken bulb (cuts) and not from inhalation or exposure to the internal chemicals.  Basically the chemical hazard is negligible.

Low VOC Paint
September 16, 2008, 4:41 pm
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Paint is the finishing touch of most all new home building and remodeling.  We all know that paint can make or break a room.  Most of us think about color and color only, some may think about texture, consistency, pigment saturation, etc; but most just think color, plain and simple.  Lets explore another common aspect of painting, the smell…

If you’ve every painted a room in your house, you know that it gets stinky- fast.  As soon as you pop the lid of the paint bucket, the room is quickly permeated by an oh so lovely odor, mainly cause by something called VOC’s.

Basically VOC’s smell, and are what make you lightheaded (if not painting with proper ventilation), and make the room smell like fresh paint for up to a week after the paint is actually dry.  The VOC’s can even cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals who may have an allergy or sensitivity to some of the compounds.

Fortunately this product comparison is easy, no really hidden things to look at like in bamboo versus domestic hardwood flooring (but remember domestic bamboo is on the rise so don’t forget to check out those options!).  Low and No VOC paints are now widely commercially available from major retailers like Sherwin Williams and others.

I know from personal experience that their new ProGreen line (under commercial or industrial product, there is home use version too) is great.  Upon selecting it to test out on a major renovation project that I managed, the first concern was overall performance as well as performance to cost ratio.  First, the ProGreen paint performs just as well as its ‘normal VOC’ counterpart ProMar.  Durability, color, drying time- all equal.  As for odor, the ProGreen line had a strong paint smell for a few minutes upon opening the can and applying it to surfaces, but within 10-15 minutes, all ‘new paint smell’ was gone.  By the time the paint was totally dry, there was absolutely no evidence of fresh paint other than a nice fresh appearance.

Apples to Apples- Sherwin Williams ProGreen 200 Latex Semi-Gloss vs. Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 Latex Semi-Gloss, Green wins, hands down.  At negligible increases in costs (especially on the commercial scale, we’re talking $1-2 per gallon increase over the ProMar), this new paint is great.  This product also works great for commercial or office settings where the office can’t shut down for a week due to paint smell and off gassing.  I suggest using this product to anyone who mentions renovations or painting in general, especially those with a sensitive nose or small children that they do not want exposed to the harsh chemicals found in ‘normal’ paint.

Bamboo Update
September 11, 2008, 4:33 pm
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I recieved a link about bamboo growing domestically here in the US.  It does in fact apear to be on the rise, which is a good thing.

Tons of information is availible here.

If you’re planning on remodeling or expanding your current home, or building a new structure from scratch, I strongly urge you to purse the use of domestically grown bamboo for materials (remember anything from flooring to countertops to framing to furniture can be made from bamboo)

just to make things a little more clear…
September 9, 2008, 5:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I just wanted to clear up that I’m not anti-green.  I’m not anti much at all.  I’m all for making the right choices and not getting sucked into marketing.  I’m also all for commercial companies competing with each other to come out with the latest technology (auto and energy production) that is also environmentally friendly, sustainable, and well- Green.

Here is a great example of trying to do the right thing but missing the mark.

Bamboo flooring versus Domestic hardwood flooring (such as oak)



Oak is a domestic hardwood, aka it is grown and harvested in North America.  A quick google search turns up an average cost of $3-$5 per square foot.  Its grown, milled, finished, and sold here in the US and abroad.

Bamboo is considered an exotic, foreign “wood” (it’s actually grass).  Grown Primarily in Asia, it is a fast growing plant with crop turn around being far faster than that of a full grown Oak tree.  Just as durable as many more expensive exotic hardwoods, and in some cases stronger, and coming in at just over $1 to around $3 a square foot, it seems like the great “green choice” to make.

Reality- The bamboo has to be grown, harvested, dried, cut and milled, packaged and shipped over to us in the US from Asia, the boats used get far from the millage of a new hybrid car if you catch my drift…  When the boats arrive they unload onto trucks to ship it nation wide.  So in the process of actually GETTING the more renewable, sustainable product over here for use, we actually USE more of our limited supply of fossil fuels.

Take home message- Just becasue soemthing is labeld as more environmentally friendly doesn’t always mean its IS.  Now if substantial bamboo crops were started here in the US for domestic use… it would be a totally different story.