How Much Does it Cost to Build Green? We’re under $170.

One of the big questions we are encountering while building the Green Life Smart Life house is how much will it cost. As per Joe’s earlier post, the house that garnered LEED Platinum certification in Minnesota costs $869 sq/ft. We’re going for a more real world approach. Right now, with nearly all estimates and budgets in place, GLSL is hovering right around $170 sq/ft. As we move through the project we will provide updated budgets so homeowners can undertsand what the cost of green looks like.

KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

Cradle-to-Grave – is that product you want to buy really green?

In trying to find environmentally preferable products that meet the standards of LEED. One of my priorites in this project is find “green” products that meet the cradle to grave lifecycle assessment.

Cradle-to-grave is the full Life Cycle Assessment from manufacture (‘cradle’) to use phase and disposal phase (‘grave’).

Cradle-to-gate is an assessment of a product life cycle from manufacture (‘cradle’) to the factory gate (i.e., before it is transported to the consumer). The use phase and disposal phase of the product are usually omitted. Cradle-to-gate assessments are sometimes the basis for environmental product declarations (EPD).

Cradle-to-cradle is a specific kind of cradle-to-grave assessment, where the end-of-life disposal step for the product is a recycling process. From the recycling process originate new, identical products (e.g., glass bottles from collected glass bottles), or different products (e.g., glass wool insulation from collected glass bottles).

Gate-to-Gate is a partial LCA looking at only one value-added process in the entire production chain.

My researching led me to Green Seal. According to their website,  ” Founded in 1989, Green Seal provides science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent, and essential in an increasingly educated and competitive marketplace. Our industry knowledge and standards help manufacturers, purchasers, and end users alike make responsible choices that positively impact business behavior and improve quality of life.”

I’m most impressed with Greenguard “The mission of GREENGUARDEnvironmental Institute (GEI) is to improve public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air.  In accordance with that mission, GEI currently has three third-party certification programs.” They have Greenguard for Indoor Air Quality, Greenguard for schools and Greenguard for new construction. We’ve been using the latter for the materials for Green Life Smart Life and it has helped keep our time efficient and our information accurate.

Other ones I’ve come across include Green2Green is a free resource that allows building professionals to compare green building products side-by-side on basic characteristics, environmental attributes and performance.

None of then do something the others do so you need information from multiple places. When you look at manufacturer data sheets, their way of rating their products has become about telling you how many points you can get by using one product in house. I found a door at GreenBuild that could get me 6 points.

I need to go to take a green shower.

KDL | follow my nightly ramblings on Twitter: newscaster

Abby’s Blog Post: Kids Helping the Earth Post 7

After a long Thanksgiving Day, I was putting Abby to bed last night and we got to talking about Christmas. Admittedly, to my children, the passing of turkey day marks the onslaught of Santa’s arrival. I had to laugh at Abby’s suggestion on how she could help the us have a “greener” holiday season.

“I could give my old toys (the ones I don’t really play with, but not my favorite toys) to kids who dont’ have toys and then I could get new ones, like the princess tent I want. That would be recycling.”

Yes Abby, it would, but this one kind of misses the mark.

I suggested maybe we could have Santa’s elves make us some earth friendly toys or get us things we really need. She suggested, “Like the Arctic igloo blow up tent?”

Well yes, I suppose in some place that would contitute housing and thus a “need”.

I’m not sure if this concept is going to compute.

posted by KDL on behalf of Abby age 5

Three cheers for little Rhodey…

To many Thanksgiving is more than family, food, and football, it means travel. Rhode Islanders can feel a little better about jumping into their cars to see loved ones, or while dreaming green in a turkey-induced state of coma.

New York Times reports that Environmentalists Cheer RI Court Decision as the Ocean State is now the third state, behind VT and CA, to win a federal case against several automakers, including DaimlerChrysler and General Motors. Federal court Judge Torres wil uphold the state’s right to seek stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards than those set forth by the US government. Though this ruling has no immediate impact on the automakers, it is the first stance for RI (and third country-wide) to demand higher government standards to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future. Many environmentalists are hopeful that President-elect Obama will provide greater support the states’ efforts to raise standards; efforts that have been thwarted by the Bush administrations’ processes by requiring a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency. Hopefully it will pass before Abby has her license!

Another interesting note regarding the impending bailout plan of automakers, is that several other environmental groups are urging Congress to make one of the conditions of the government’s bailout of the automakers be that they drop lawsuits such as these.

RI environmentalists, cheer!

Make Black Friday Green

As you drag yourself out of bed at the break of dawn today to join the masses looking to snag a great holiday deal, why not do it a little more eco-friendly?

Reusable shopping bags aren’t just for groceries —  load them up with holiday gifts!

The Get Hip Get Green reusable bag from Green Loop is not only a friend to the environment, it’s cute enough to double as a gift! (At one for $6 or 5 for $25, why not get one for all your friends?) Each bag is made from recycled polypropylene plastic and is 100% recyclable, plus each sale translates into a donation to the children’s environmental group “The Green Ambassadors”. 


Posted by Molly | MollyatCaster on Twitter

Green Gift Idea: Recycled Iggle-wear

My favorite kind of recycled clothing is the cool stuff I’ve always found at thrift shops (I guess I’ve been a little “green” all of my life!). But here’s a twist for those looking for a less musty experience: clothing made partially or wholly of recycled materials. Maybe it’s a marketing scam, maybe it isn’t (the stuff sure is pricey, relatively speaking), but my beloved Philadelphia Eagles are offering four items as part of a “Go Green” line. 06-813_front1The T-shirts are made of 69% Pre-Consumer Recycled Cotton. One pair of socks is made of 100% recycled plastic bottles, while the other is “Hypoallergenic, natural fiber, and bio-degradable. 75% cotton.” 1057-01_31And for the amateur arborist in your life, you can even plant a tree in the Eagles Forest!

Now if only we Iggle phans could recycle Andy Reid’s stale playbook and personnel philosophies, we’d be onto something.

Posted by: Joe Paone

The Green Twinkie: Nutrition Labels on Green Goods

We need nutrition labels on green packaged goods. Just like the food we eat – I can read a label and know its filled with sugar, sodium, fat, protein and fiber; why can’t I know the same facts about a green house or a chair or can of paint. I should be able to look at it an see if it saves me energy costs, what its lifecycle rating is, what its IAQ VOCs are, what its recycled content is, what land was ravaged to make it so green, and if  a third part certified it. When I look at the label I may decided it has a bad lifecycle but it saves me $80 a year on my electric bill and I am ok with that. At least I had the information to decide to buy. I’ve read the label on a twinkie. I have still eaten a twinkie. But I did so when I was empowered with knowledge.

Yes, twinkie knowledge is empowerment to ingest or pass it up; I believe that green labels owe us the same respect.

Photos courtesy of Michelle Kaufmann designs Picture Courtesy of Michelle Kauffman Designs

KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster