Soybeans are a rapidly renewable resource, and they are now being utilized in energy-efficient and environmentally friendly home insulation. BioFoam of Arkansas, based in Little Rock, installs soy-based, spray-foam insulation for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. This insulation, made from soybean oil, can save customers 30 to 50 percent on energy costs, and the expanding liquid fills every nook, crack and crevice. This barrier also controls wall cavity moisture problems, reduces dust and increases air quality. Bio-based insulation can be an important component to LEED certification.
Cork is a wonderful product to use thanks to its versatile nature and sustainable harvesting techniques. To make any cork product, the cork oak tree is never cut down. Instead, the bark is harvested from the tree every nine years, leaving the forest undamaged. The tree rapidly grows new bark and is not harmed during the process. Choosing cork flooring is a great way to enhance the sustainability of your home.
Although concrete isn’t new to the building process, insulated concrete forms are. Smart Structures in Little Rock is building residential and commercial properties throughout the state using Eco-Block technology. Eco-Block insulating concrete forms replace wood frames with panels that easily snap together. The space between the panels is then filled with concrete that cures and hardens into a reinforced core with incredible strength. Eco-Blocks dramatically reduce energy costs, utilize recycled materials whenever possible and emit no harmful fumes or gasses. These structures qualify for Energy Star Home rating and energy-efficient mortgages. Thanks to Eco-Blocks, Smart Structures’ homes boast an airtight structure that improves indoor air quality and resists mold growth.
Regular indoor paint gives off toxic fumes, known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These VOCs are responsible for polluting indoor air, which has been found by the Environmental Protection Agency to be five times worse than outdoor air. To easily reduce the level on toxins in your home, purchase low- or zero-VOC paint. Popular brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams both offer this safer paint now.
Bamboo is a grass, and the fasting growing wood-like substance on the planet. Moso bamboo, the variety most often used in flooring and building materials, grows to a height of 50 to 60 feet in only 18 months, and can be harvested after 4 to 6 years of growth. This compares to 30 to 60 years for comparable wood species. There is also no replanting concerns with bamboo due to its own regeneration. Bamboo can be used to build front doors, fencing, flooring, cabinetry and more, thanks to its incredible strength and flexibility and it’s light weight.
Wool and other natural-fibers are a healthy, non-toxic alternative to standard synthetic materials in carpeting and rugs that emit volatile organic compounds. Since wool comes from shearing sheep, it’s naturally renewable and causes no harm to the animals.
LG offers a non-porous, anti-microbial and stain-resistant solid surface that is also earth-friendly. The Eden Collection is created from a minimum of 12-percent pre-consumer recycled material, and it’s certified for recycled content by the Scientific Certification Systems. This product earns credits toward LEED certification, and is available in six colors.