Green Building, Efficient Cars, and Other Ways We Can Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard about climate change and the affect it is having on our planet. If you have not heard about it, let me fill you in. Basically, all the harmful chemicals that are used in making our clothing, food, products and other items we use daily, are going into the natural environment and polluting our planet. On top of that, all the harmful chemicals and toxins that are being emitted into the atmosphere are already being sent up into the atmosphere and creating a hole in our ozone, which is allowing excess heat to hit the planet. The heat is causing a lot of change to our ecosystems, and causing damage like the melting of our polar caps. In turn, this flooding cause by the increase water from the melted ice is causing danger to our communities and messing with the weather patterns. Changes in the temperature of our oceans are causing changes in our weather pattern, which in turn is creating more hurricanes, tornadoes, and tropical storms.

Basically, we have a lot to worry about, and not everyone is on board with fixing the problem. In fact, there are even people who are debating whether or not all of this information is true or not. The worst thing about it, is that some of these people who are literally doubting science, are big important people. They are people with authority, people in politics, and people who hold the power to either create change, or stand in the way of it. Due to all of these factors, it is super important for us to do everything we can as individuals to help create whatever change we possibly can in order to reverse the affects and save our planet.

Green Building

Green building has become very trendy thanks to a few laws and tax breaks created to give some guidelines to how we expand our growing communities around the world. The idea behind green building is that you use certain materials or practices that are organic, have been made without destroying ecosystems, or maybe help to reduce the amount of energy used within a building. Solar panels, insulated materials and windows, other sources of renewable energy and water conservation are all big parts of this industry. Most places will now give you some kind of tax break if you utilize green building practices during the construction and design of your home.

Efficient Cars

Another really big factor in your carbon footprint is your mode of transportation. If you are one of the lucky ones who live in a city with great public transportation, then you are probably contributing less. However, if you have a car, chances are that it is emitting a lot of pollution into the atmosphere and guzzling our precious gas. No matter what type of car you have, visit Autozone to by the best products in order to make your car run as efficiently as possible in hopes of reducing the amount of pollution it is emitting.

Which Make The Best Homes? Wood or Brick

Building or buying a house is a huge decision, and one that weighs heavily on the person doing the purchasing. What if you make the wrong choice? What if there are some serious problems you didn’t catch during the initial inspection? What if you miss something and tragedy happens?

There are ways to limit those nasty surprises, and one is to consider from the beginning what your home is made out of. The materials that go into construction will dictate how long your house lasts, costs and frequency of repairs, and the stress you are forced to deal with moving forward.

Two popular materials known for their sturdiness are wood and brick. But which one is actually better? Let’s take a look.

The Benefits Of Wood

Wood is often praised for its overall look. You can create a rustic, natural setting using logs. No one would deny how gorgeous wooden houses look both on the inside and the out. Plus the colors and grains of the lumber are warm and inviting, which is a great feeling to have about your house.

But there is more to it than that. Wood is more eco friendly than most materials. It can be made through recycled lumber and wood panels, which help to lower the impact on the environment. Stains, seals and other chemicals that were once dangerous for the ecosystem surrounding the house have become much more environmentally safe.

Wood is also very sturdy and easy to replace. If a log cracks you can replace or fix it with minimal work, as opposed to many other materials. It is less likely to have problems if properly maintained, and so this is a primary reason for many people choosing wood over different options.

The Benefits Of Brick

Brick is another good looking material, ahead of concrete, sheetrock or plastic siding in the appearance category. You can select different colored bricks, which is a pro for those who want something a little different from the norm.

As far as sturdiness goes, it is hard to beat the brutal efficiency of bricks. After all, there is a reason it is used in the story of the three little pigs. On the downside, when it is damaged it is difficult to fix or replace brick. You may also need a bricklayer to perform those repairs, as removing one brick may cause some damage to the overall structure of the siding and lead to problems later on.

The quality of materials may be more likely to be compromised. You can look at wood and get a good idea of whether it is a stable, healthy piece of lumber. Bricks can be harder to gauge.

Why Wood Is Better Than Other Materials

You can look between the two pros above to see why wooden homes are usually considered better. But there are a couple of other reasons. For one thing, lumber is much easier to move, and wooden houses are lightweight while still being strong against the elements. That means you can actually transport it from one location to another if you ever choose to move, without having to sell away the house itself.

The amount of time to construct one of these homes it another reason. Wood takes an average of three months to construct from scratch, or less when using prefab houses. Brick homes can take a year or more, and the cost is much higher thanks to the amount of labor involved. Insulation is easier and cheaper to install on a wooden house, and it is simpler to reseal any leaking areas where water or cold air might be getting in.

What About Maintaining Them?

Maintaining wooden houses is easier than you may think. Every three to five years you will have to apply a new stain and seal to your home, and search for potential problems. Some issues that could occur include cracks or wearing in the wood, blanching from the sun, rot in the logs, infestations of insects, and general wear. The more faithfully to maintain the wood, the more unlikely it will be that these problems creep up.

On average this is a $2500 to $5000 cost, depending on the square footage of your home, and the product selected for the job. When you consider the fact that it will only be done as infrequently as every five years this cost is pretty minimal. Especially given the fact that most people can do it themselves.

Doing some work on the surrounding area is also necessary. Some plants and vines can try to grow into the wood, and so you will want to trim back plants annually. Applying a weed killer or pulling weeds when they first grow is a simple way to make sure this never happens.

All of this isn’t needed for bricks, but it is harder to prevent issues when dealing with materials like concrete. You may also have trouble seeing problems because they occur inside of the bricks themselves, and so cracks that aren’t on the surface, spaces where the bricks have worn, infestations and other risks may not be apparent until they have grown to a much greater level.

Prefab Versus Custom

What kind of wooden house should you be looking into? You have the options of building your own home, buying one that is on the market, or going for a prefab model. A prefab wooden house is one that has already been constructed using different parts, which the contractor then puts together on the land you have purchased.

Prefabs are a great way to get a beautiful house for a fraction of the cost and time. They are similar to metal mobile homes, only they come with the many benefits of having a wood structure. You can get one of these houses for as little as the tens of thousands of dollars; customized models can cost more.

Best Green Home Builder

Today many people are “going green”, which means that they are becoming environmentally friendly in how they live their lives and minimizing the harm done to the earth. When some people decide to build their home from the bottom up, they decide to have a green home builder build their home. This contractor would build their home with low environmental and energy efficiency in mind. To find a green home builder you should talk to the contractors in your area. Some that will travel to your area to build your home but their services will add more expense to the cost of your home.

To ensure that you will have the best green home builder ask them what type of building material they will use. You should also inquire about their disposal methods to make sure they are in compliant with sustainability practices. The materials that they should use are non-toxic when possible, and environmentally friendly. They should also be materials that come from renewable sources, or sustainable material. This can include materials from homes that have been knocked down. This material can include old doors, cabinets, some of the wood to accent the home such as using the material for ceiling beams, and more. They should try to avoid using plastics and choose their wood carefully. You should ask to see examples of the green projects they have completed. Their construction philosophy should focus on green building. It should not just focus on using green techniques as a secondary technique. Make sure that the contract you sign states that it will be constructed from sustainable and green material.

A home builder may tell you that they are using green building techniques but it could be easy for them to start using less environmentally friendly techniques and designs to save money on materials so they can put more money in their pockets. This is why you need to be sure that they are a reputable home builder and have good references as a green construction company. They need to be knowledgeable about green techniques and processes and committed to green construction and design. If you want your new green custom built home to be built using unconventional techniques make sure the home builder can demonstrate they understand the techniques you want and can do them correctly.

Before you choose a green home builder, you should educate yourself on what constitutes a green home and the process to build one. This will help you to determine a good green home builder and to know if they are cutting corners using non-environmentally friendly material. Having a green home can save you money on heating and cooling costs, and if sustainable material is used it can save these materials from being disposed of improperly.