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green building materials

A Benefit with a Foundation for the Future

Foundations are not like kitchens. People don’t leave a house that is for sale saying “Wow, did you see that foundation, how cool was that!” It is the quiet things however, that can have a major impact. The new concrete on either side of the embedded beam is fly ash concrete. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal fired power plants. It is used to replace some of the cement in concrete.

“For every ton of cement manufactured, about 6.5 million BTUs of energy are consumed…(and) about one ton of carbon dioxide is released. Replacing that ton of cement with fly ash would save enough electricity to power the average American home for 24 days, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions equal to two months use of an automobile.” (source?)

“Experts estimate that cement production contributes to about 7% of carbon dioxide emissions from human sources. If all the fly ash generated each year were used in producing concrete, the reduction of carbon dioxide released because of decreased cement production would be equivalent to eliminating 25 percent of the world’s vehicles” (source)>


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“The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international organization that brings people together to find solutions which promote responsible stewardship of the world’s forests.”

The FSC follows wood from the forest to the mill to the dealer. When you use FSC wood you can be assured that no ecosystems were wiped out making that 2X4.

Another type of FSC Certified product: reclaimed wood. This is tropical hardwood packing crate material used in global industrial shipping that has been re-milled by TerraMai. Wood that would have previously been thrown out has many uses. In our case, we used it to build a beautiful deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Paralam Beam – Funky Looking but Necessary

Holding up the roof is a 16 inch think 20 foot long Paralam Beam.It is and engineered piece of wood – a lot of smaller diameter strips of wood mashed together with glue to make one giant, ultra strong beam. There are many benefits to using one of these: reducing demand for big solid beams decreases the pressure to cut down old growth forests; Engineered lumber uses wood fiber more efficiently than conventional lumber; and it prevents big beautiful old growth trees from being chopped down.