We just completed an addition on our house last spring, so my husband and I both got pretty familiar with living in the midst of a construction site. This was no small project – we knocked down walls, moved windows, and added two bedrooms and a bathroom. One thing that really struck me during the project was all of the waste. I mean, there were piles of it! We salvaged what we could, but at the end they still hauled off a lot of trash that was landfill-bound. The other thing that stood out to me was how much stricter construction codes were about energy efficiency now. The rooms we added to the back of the house are noticeably cooler in summer and warmer in winter than the front, which was built in the 20's and remodeled in the 90's.
In researching this article, my first thought was that I wish I'd had this assignment a year ago! I learned so much about options to make the construction process greener, from reducing waste on-site to lower impact materials that we could have asked for in our home addition. Really, my knowledge about green building at that time was limited to things like zero VOC paint and formaldehyde-free insulation. That's only the tip of the green building iceberg!
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