Sustainable, Cost-Neutral Green Building

When you first think about a green building, what probably comes to mind is “energy-efficiency”.  However, green building is more than that.  Finding more efficient uses for construction materials are also important, for the environment and your wallet.
Re-used, Recycled, Cost Neutral
Cost neutral describes a change that neither increases nor decreases the cost of the process being changed.  In relation to green building, using recycled materials and content would be a cost-neutral (or even cost-savings) change.  The amount of recycled content can be increased significantly, without an increase in overall cost of materials.
There are three levels of recycled content:
•    Standard practice – using the most likely materials with the most common availability
•    Good practice – the recycled content is higher than standard and readily available
•    Best practice – using the highest recycled content available on the market
Increasing Overall Recycled Content
Raising the amount of recycled content in your green building project isn’t as hard as it may sound at first.  Besides reusing demolition waste, you can also substitute the materials you normally use with alternative products.The substituted products should be produced with a higher amount of recycled materials, such as waste glass or pulverized fuel ash.  These products are available everywhere, and those that aren’t can be found through the manufacturers.  Common products with high-recycled inputs can include bricks, boards, flooring, concrete products, blocks and more.Green building is not just about energy-efficiency or resource conservation.  It’s about using the materials at hand instead of creating more, as well.  By using products with recycled content, or materials recycled from demolition, you not only save on construction costs, but you also help save the environment.  It’s a win-win situation, and it doesn’t get better than that.

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