Greener Product – a green building resource

One of the most challenging things about working on a LEED or other green building project can be sourcing materials and specifying products that will not only gain points in a certification program but also represent the level of sustainability desired.  If there are limited LEED experts in a given area, that challenge only grows for builders, architects, homeowners and contractors.  That’s why when I first stumbled across Greener Product, I thought it was a perfect solution for these resource problems.   Greener Product’s online provides architects, builders and the public a quick and easy online platform for searching and evaluating “green” products according to the Internationally recognized United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

The database can search by location and determine if the product meets the 500 miles radius requirement that LEED often provides for products used in a project. It will also give the user a checklist of the products in each search, letting them know if the product has recycled content, low VOCs, certified wood and if it’s rapidly renewable.  Maybe one of the most useful features, Greener Product shows the number of points that can be achieved by using a product.

From the Greener Product website:

Greener Product, LLC identified this problem and over the past year has developed a “game changing” web based platform designed specifically for LEED AP’s, architects and builders to identify green building products. This free service platform allows for the building specifiers to quickly search for green building products and then once identified evaluate those product against the LEED standards.

The online service is a platform for manufacturers to “tell their green story” directly to the largest group of American building specifiers. The products are registered on the Greener Product, LLC web site and presented to the LEED community for final consideration. Then the products are evaluated (against the LEED standards) and  the information is prepared in a report supported by copies of independent 3rd party certificates (FSC, CARB, Greenguard, Blue Angel, etc), laboratory testing reports, product environmental attributes, LEED credit and inserted into a comprehensive report ready for submission into the architects project file.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

Environmentally Responsible Windows Feature Recycled Materials and with SmartSun Glass Offer Energy Efficiency

The Andersen 100 Series WIndowf features environmentally responsible and third-party-certified construction, economical price, and energy-saving performance.

Recycled content is an important component in the construction of 100 Series products.  The overall amount of recycled content is certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) and ranges from a minimum of 18% – 24% pre-consumer recycled glass and wood fiber content based on the National Fenestration Rating Council-rated standard window size in single-hung, casement, awning, picture and gliding window styles.

Andersen achieves this by manufacturing the 100 Series from the company’s patented Fibrex® material.  Fibrex material is a highly sustainable structural composite that blends the best attributes of sawdust and polymer – much of it reclaimed directly from Andersen’s manufacturing plant operations. It combines the strength and stability of wood with the low-maintenance features of vinyl.  Independent testing has found that Fibrex material has a low thermal expansion and contraction rate, is resistant to rotting and termites, and retains its rigidity and stability in high temperatures.

Andersen 100 Series products also have received SCS Indoor Advantage™ Gold certification for indoor air quality.  This level of certification meets North America’s strictest indoor air emission criteria, namely the California Section 01350 Specification, the strictest emission standard in the U.S.

“There’s a lot of engineering that goes into Andersen products and you really notice it in our new 100 Series windows and patio doors,” said Blaine Verdoorn, marketing manager at Andersen.   “This product line is tailored to the likes and needs of builders in the West, and we know they and their customers will appreciate its sustainable design.”

Andersen 100 Series windows feature a clean, contemporary design and are available in single-hung, gliding, casement, awning and specialty fixed styles in more than 1,200 sizes and can be specified in more than 20,000 combinations.  There are four exterior color options available: White, Sandtone, Terratone®, and Cocoa Bean.  All have matte finishes and white interiors.

There are 48 glass options including the new Andersen SmartSun™ Low-E glass, standard Low-E glass, dual-pane and specialty glass.  Finelight™ grilles-between-the-glass are available, with a sculpted profile and duplex color capability, so the interior and exterior colors match those of the window.

Windows with SmartSun glass can also help homeowners save money with a tax credit.  As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009, the legislation allows for significant federal tax credits for “qualified energy efficient improvements,” which includes windows, doors and skylights.  Just visit our website at to find a link to the tax credit information. Or, visit the Energy Star Web site for more information,

Builders and architects will appreciate that 100 Series windows can help earn up to 17 LEED points in the Energy & Atmosphere category, up to 13 LEED points in the Materials & Resources category, and up to 15 LEED points in the Indoor Environmental Quality category.  Andersen® 100 Series windows meet ENERGY STAR® qualifications in all climate zones.

As a charter member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Andersen has designed the 100 Series product line to last and reduce future waste streams.  Fibrex® material is durable, long-lasting and can be reclaimed to make new windows, and the products are protected by minimal packaging to help reduce cardboard usage, jobsite waste, and shipping costs.  Andersen also is committed to using only wood from sources certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative or similar organizations.

Real FSC Wood Decking is Green and Good for 50 Years

accoya-wood1The wood for our FSC deck was milled this week and we started the front porch installation while Titan Woods was in town to make sure everything with the project went as smoothly as possible.

Accoya® wood by Titan Wood is a proven “new wood species” that is made only from FSC-certified sustainably sourced wood. Once the sustainable wood is harvested, it undergoes an acetylation process that alters its actual cell structure by transforming free hydroxyl groups into acetyl groups. Because this “modified” wood absorbs 80 percent less water than does conventional wood, the wood is substantially more stable, lasts much longer and requires far less maintenance. Additionally, the acetylation process makes the wood indigestible to fungi and pests, which don’t even recognize it as a food source. The use of Accoya wood will help the project gain half of a LEED-H point in the category of Materials & Resources, exterior decking and contribute to the overall percentage of FSC wood used in the home.

Locally-owned Liberty Cedar is milling the wood decking. They will be dressing this to a normal deck board profile (dressed 4 sides with eased edges) for use with tiger claws, rather than slotted for use with Eb-tys, in order for us to have a hidden fastener system, which is way better for little toes and overall style.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

Stackable, Packable, Livable- Innovation in recycled housing

Awhile back I posted a blog about some really awesome eco-friendly homes. Well this list from MSN also has some pretty sweet recycled digs so I thought I would give you all a heads up. All of the homes on this list are made from shipping containers. Architects and designers are using the sturdy boxes in new and innovative ways to create beautiful and comfortable homes for people. The list includes full fledged homes with numerous rooms, stair cases, pools, the works; as well as office complexes, relief shelters, movable/packable homes and condos. My favorite on the list is in Amsterdam, where a complex of containers houses 1000 students. Going to URI, I hear about how hard it is to find places to live on campus all the time, and how crummy the dorms can be. The students who live in this cube complex each get a bathroom, balcony, kitchen, bedroom, study room, central heating, high speed Internet, plenty of sunlight, and bike parking. The article also describes them as “well insulated, surprisingly quiet and comfortable”. keetwonenConsidering the cut in costs to build the complex, I’m sure rent is less expensive than the average on campus apartment.Using the shipping containers not only frees up some dump space, but also cuts down on labor costs and material costs. They are mold, termite and fire resistant. And since we are running out of room to spread out, maybe these new designs can help us stack up. Check out MSN for a look at some real beauties in the shipping container housing market!

Posted by: Ashley (intern)

Green Building Perspectives: H-P Products, Inc.

h-p-products-logoContinuing with our Green Building Perspective series, this week Amy Wesely, Floorcare Marketing Manger of H-P Products, did us the honor of answering some questions about green building and the market.

H-P Products manufacturers the central vacuum systems VACUFLO and Dirt Devil. Even before the term “green” was just a color, central vacuums have been aiding in helping homeowners create a healthy indoor air quality. Numerous studies have shown that installing a central vacuum system can reduce the amount of allergens within the home by a significant amount. Central vacuum systems are such an important part of the home, that installing one can get you points in both the LEED and NAHB Green rating systems.

What do you think of the Green Life Smart Life Project?
The Green Life Smart Life Project provides an in-depth look at the ins and outs of building a Green Certified Home. Currently, I believe consumers like the idea of building a green home, but the “how to” can be a barrier. GLSL provides a valuable, first-person perspective that’s highly valuable to those who in the trenches, or are about to enter them. Simple things like how to recycle job site waste, decisions about energy sources… for example, solar would seem the most green, but you might reconsider that assumption based on GLSL Blog 1/18/09.

The GLSL Project provides resources and alternatives for homeowners and builders working towards these green standards.  Real-life decisions and products are highlighted from a green home-owner’s perspective.  

What interested H-P Products in the GLSL project?
H-P became interested in the project because we are a supplier of Dirt Devil and VACUFLO Central Vacuum Systems, which are a no-brainer for any green home. With a central vacuum, 100 percent of vacuumed dirt is removed from the living area; odors or dust are never recirculated throughout the home, as they are with portable vacuums. The improved indoor air quality central vacuums provide is recognized by both the LEED-H and NAHB Green standards, so we were happy to work with Kim and Joe on this project. Our Dirt Devil Central vacuum qualifies their home for one LEED-H Point in the indoor air quality section of the standard.

Where does H-P Products see green building going in the next five years? 
We believe green building will continue to grow in popularity as consumers get better educated and the demand grows for green-certified homes. Projects like GLSL help educate the public and pave the road to make understanding and building to these standards easier for everyone. We believe green building will become a common building method, as we all want to preserve resources and make responsible decisions in our consumption of those resources. Our government will also play a key role in the consumer green movement by implementing credits like the energy tax credit we have recently seen.

How do you see your business evolving to address green building? 
Central vacuums are inherently green for a couple reasons. In addition to providing better indoor air quality, they also reduce waste. A typical portable vacuum will last one to three years, depending on its quality. When the portable is done, the consumer typically tosses it with his or her weekly garbage and buys a new one. So there are millions of portable vacuums in landfills right now. A residential central vacuum, on the other hand, has a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years.

At our manufacturing facility, we are looking at ways to reduce packaging materials to reduce job waste at each home site. We also actively recycle and reuse packaging and other materials from our production facility.  

What do you think installers need to do or prepare to do to take full advantage of the green movement?
We believe installers need to educate themselves on the green building standards and practices. Awareness and understanding of the specifics in the standards can help integrators better explain the benefits of the green products they offer.

Installers can also look at their own businesses and analyze areas that can have immediate impact, such as recycling packaging materials, using energy-efficient vehicles and energy efficient lighting, reducing paper use, and so on.

Step by Step: Rubbersidewalks Are The New Path

When one thinks of rubber floors, one usually thinks of playgrounds…the soft and spongy mat at the local jungle gym. But what about sidewalks? In the past decade, rubber sidewalks have been growing in popularity due to their clever re-use of tires and protection of trees. Rubbersidewalks Inc., based in California, is the pioneer and leading supplier of alternative sidewalks. Their modular sidewalks consist of ultra-durable, rubber paving tiles (known as pavers) made of 100 percent recycled California tires. Rubbersidewalks are now found in more than 90 cities in North America including hundreds of installations in residential neighborhoods, universities, retirement homes, dsc00327and government facilities.

Dan Joyce, Rubbersidewalks VP Sales and Marketing, told me that the company was formed in 2001 by Lindsay Smith who “rose to the defense of two dozen shade trees in her neighborhood that were scheduled for removal by the County of Los Angeles. The city claimed they were breaking the adjacent concrete sidewalks. “Seeking a solution, Ms. Smith discovered that the City of Santa Monica had conducted experiments with rubberized sidewalk pavers in the late 1990s. While the prototypes were successful, the manufacturer, a sports flooring company, had no intention of mass producing rubber pavers,” he said. “Ms. Smith lobbied the County of Los Angeles to consider the alternate system and successfully gained their attention.” 

Ms. Smith subsequently approached other municipalities within southern California and soon generated enough interest to consider a business venture that could supply rubberized pavers to local municipalities. A $250,000 grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board of Recycled Tire Product was Ms. Smiths’ seed capital to start her business. 

Rubbersidewalks have numerous advantages that are easy to quantify. Trees are first on the list. Unlike concrete, Rubbersidewalks can be lifted for tree root maintenance, then replaced. Tree roots can be trimmed and maintained while roots are still in the “offshoot stage,” protecting the health and lifespan of the tree. And, as the company believes, “every tree matters.” From purifying the air to keeping water from the waste stream to beautifying neighborhoods, trees improve our quality of life.

Waste re-use is another comparable advantage over the status quo. Every year, Californians dispose of 34 million tires-408 million pounds of waste rubber. According to the company, each square foot of Rubbersidewalks uses the rubber of one conventional car tire. Each five square foot paver keeps five tires out of landfills.rubbersidewalks-new-rochelle

In 2007, Michigan State University became the first university client when it installed 720 square feet of rubber sidewalks outside of the Brody Hall Student Center at their East Lansing, Michigan, main campus. Last year, in Hamilton, Ohio, a grant from The Ohio Department of Natural Resources allowed consumers to purchase Rubbersidewalks. While grants of this ilk become more available as the Stimulus and Recovery Act reaches Main Street, “green grants” are a natural evolution for Californians. Ever since the California Recycling Tire Act of 1989, local agencies offered rebates for users of recycled rubber. In fact, the company is promoting its next-gen interlocking pavement, Terrewalks, as an ideal product to include in city funding proposals during the Obama administration.

“Why Terrewalks are ideal for infrastructure funding,” the company believes, because they are an “old fashioned public works project, they directly benefit every person in your community, and offer multiple green and LEED features.”

I hail from coal country, Scranton, Pennsylvania, where winters are serious business. December through March is a blur of snowstorms, de-icing salt, paving trucks, and expletives about the constant need to shovel. So I was curious how non-concrete pavement fared in colder climates. Would they crack or disintegrate under the pressure? Jim Maxwell, Former Commissioner in New Rochelle, New York, said that his Rubbersidewalks have weathered the glacial season: “they have stood up well to the second winter with no discoloration from de-icers or gouging from shovels/equipment.” In the commercial markets, which are mostly new walking surfaces, installation of Rubbersidewalks Products is easier, cleaner, quieter and more cost effective than either poured concrete, or concrete pavers because of reduced labor in handling. The product is lighter weight than concrete pavers and there is no breakage.

img_8280They can withstand an arctic wallop, but do they feel like a trampoline? Or walking on pillows? Dan Joyce said the rubber pavers are just like conventional sidewalks: “Most people think that they are softer, which not the case. There are soft enough to prevent injuries but hard enough to satisfy all ADA requirements. Most people think our products are colorized concrete and don’t believe that they walked on a sidewalk made from recycled materials.”

To get a quote for RubberSidewalks in your city or property, or access a list of certified installers, visit







Posted by: Margot Douaihy

Green Building Perspectives: Accoya® by Titan Wood





We recently announced our latest building partners on the home. This week, our Green Building Perspectives come from one of those new sponsors, Accoya®by Titan Wood. Titan will be outfitting the home with some of the most beautiful FSC certified decking that we have ever seen. The company’s great commitment to sustainability and their determination to provide builder and homeowners alike products that are eco-conscious and aesthetically pleasing.

The folks over at Titan took some time out of thier busy schedules this week to answer a few questions for us.

What do you think of the Green Life Smart Life Project to date? What interested Titan Wood about participating in the project?
Titan Wood has enjoyed being a part of the Green Life Smart Life Project, and we have been very impressed with the progress. Working with the homeowners, Kim and Joe, has been a pleasure as they are very committed to achieving a green home that will be a great model for others to follow. The architect, Laura Krekorian has been very helpful in moving our particular project forward and we appreciate all the dedication from all parties to complete this green home.

We are very excited about being a part of this project because it is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with a dedicated group for a great cause. We are pleased to be associated with others that have a desire to ensure a better environment through the use of green products like our Accoya® wood.

Where does Titan Wood see green building going in the next 5 years? With an ever increasing awareness of the environmental impact of the things we do and the materials we use, the popularity and necessity of green building is set to increase. In fact, a recent McGraw Hill Construction survey revealed that homeowners are willing to pay an average of $18,500 more for homes which make use of green products. Green building is not just a trend; it is quickly becoming the standard.

How is your company evolving to address green building?
The increasing focus on climate change and sustainability has led to a rapidly growing demand for high-performance products which can help combat the effects of global warming. Titan Wood is uniquely positioned to benefit from this change in principles and practices. Wood, such as our Accoya® wood, helps reduce climate change when used in place of other more energy-intensive products such as steel or plastics. In addition, wood building materials sequester carbon for the life of the product, which happens to be 50+ years with Accoya®. Distinguished by 50 year durability, dimensional stability, and reliability, Accoya® wood is produced using an environmentally-friendly process and serves as a true alternative to products which are produced using toxic chemicals or unsustainable resources and is set to become the material of choice for exterior applications.

What challenges do you see Titan Wood facing in the evolution of green building?
There are many unexplored market opportunities for Accoya® wood; in fact, the opportunities are almost endless and limited only by imagination. With that said, however, we, like all products, must compete in an economy where every cent of expenditures will be heavily scrutinized.

Do you think green building will ever dominate your business?
Titan Wood and our parent company Accsys Technologies PLC is proud to be a market-leader in the green building materials sector and strives to continually develop technologies for a better world.

Anything else you would like to add about the green building market or the Green Life Smart Life project?
Green Life Smart Life has done a tremendous job of illustrating that beautiful, inviting, and comfortable homes needn’t be detrimental to the world around us. We are pleased to take part in this project which will surely serve as an educational tool for many years to come.