Green Specification Guidance

GENERAL

● Include a requirement in specifications that contractors and subs review HomeFree.

● Ask for and prefer products that have a Health Product Declaration (HPD).

● Avoid products marketed as antimicrobial and claiming or implying a health benefit.

FLOORING

● Prefer non-vinyl flooring products.

● When vinyl is used: Specify phthalate-free; avoid post-consumer recycled content.

● For rubber flooring: Avoid post-consumer recycled content (crumb rubber).

● For carpets: Look for products that don’t use fluorinated stain-repellent treatments; specify backings that are vinyl-free and polyurethane-free and do not contain fly ash.

● For ceramic tiles, prefer those made in the USA where most manufacturers have eliminated toxic lead compounds from ceramic tile glazes. Avoid post-consumer recycled content from CRTs (cathode ray tubes) which contain high concentrations of lead.

INTERIOR PAINT

● Prefer paints that meet the Green Seal-11 (GS-11) standard from 2010 or later whenever possible or specify paints known to be free of alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs).

● Specify bases with 10 g/L of VOCs or less and colorants that do not increase the overall VOC content.

● At a minimum, specify paint bases and colorants with a VOC content of 50g/L or less.

● Look for paints that have VOC emission testing and meet the requirements of the CDPH (California Department of Public Health) Standard Method for Testing VOC Emissions (01350).

DRYWALL

● Specify boards made with natural gypsum.

● If possible, avoid pre-consumer recycled content (also known as synthetic gypsum or FGD) to avoid the release of mercury in manufacture.

THERMAL INSULATION

● Specify residential fiber glass batt insulation — it has been reformulated to be free of formaldehyde — or formaldehyde-free mineral wool batts. Unfaced batts are most preferable.

● For blown insulation, prefer cellulose or un-bonded fiber glass.

● Consider alternatives to rigid board insulation whenever possible. If board insulation is required, specify mineral wool boards and look for those that meet the requirements of CDPH Standard Method for Testing VOC Emissions (01350) for residential scenarios. If plastic foam insulation is used, look for those that are halogen-free. Consider upgrading to expanded cork insulation.

● Avoid spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation whenever possible.

● For sealing applications, prefer caulking or sealant tapes to spray foams.

COUNTERTOPS

● Think of countertops as a system of products: the surface itself, an adhesive, and potentially a surface treatment, which may need to be re-applied regularly. Each of these elements have different health concerns.

● Sealant products can introduce hazardous chemicals. Specify countertops that do not need to be sealed after installation, such as engineered stone, cultured marble, or solid surfacing.

● Plastic laminate is not a top countertop choice, but if used, specify that the substrate be made with NAF (No Added Formaldehyde) or ULEF (Ultra Low Emitting Formaldehyde) resins. © Healthy Building Network [June 2018]

CABINETRY & MILLWORK ​+​ DOORS

● Prefer solid wood products over composite.

● When using composite wood, specify materials that are NAF (No Added Formaldehyde) or ULEF (Ultra Low Emitting Formaldehyde) whenever possible.

● Prefer products that are factory-finished.

● For edge-banding, specify products with veneer rather than vinyl.

(Source: https://homefree.healthybuilding.net)

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Passive Temperature Control and Other Sustainable Design Elements to Consider

With a growing interest in green and sustainable home design, there have been a lot of changes in the way people design their homes. A green, sustainable home is made using different design elements and materials, which help to create a more energy-efficient home that minimizes the homeowner’s negative impact on the environment as much as possible.

From the various sustainable design elements to the materials that help make it happen, there are countless ways for homeowners to create a green, sustainable design that is beautiful. Here is a list of some of the most popular sustainable elements and materials for homeowners to keep in mind when building or renovating their home.

Temperature Control

One of the major points of sustainable home design is concerned with temperature control. Everyone wants a home that stays cool during the warmer months and warm during the colder ones. Although the common method people turn to is air conditioning and heating, neither of these is very energy-efficient nor environmentally friendly. Instead, people are now turning to tried-and-tested sustainable alternatives to cooling and heating.

ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) homes are one popular sustainable design element that homeowners are turning to for their homes. These ICF homes are made using an insulated concrete form, which fit together like puzzle pieces to form the shell of a new house, which is insulated inside and out. Due to the way the forms are put together—and are supported with extra concrete and rebar—there are very few cracks, which helps minimize the potential for air leaks, therefore increasing the effectiveness of the insulation overall.

All of this combined means that homeowners who choose ICF homes will be able to save a lot of money on cooling and heating costs, and will not be releasing so many harmful greenhouse gases into the environment.

Additionally, temperature control can see improvement through the sort of siding that homeowners select for their home. While traditional vinyl siding is most common, it is not the best option on the market in terms of protecting your home and helping with insulation needs. Other options, like fiber cement siding and steel log siding not only offer more durability, but they also will work better at helping to insulate a home. Due to the materials and how they are put in place, homeowners can rest assured that there will be very few air leaks, especially when combined with a well-insulated home.

Weatherproofing

Another common element found in sustainable home design includes weatherproofing the home. Weatherproofing helps to ensure further that there are no air leaks in the home, regardless of how well insulated it may be. Furthermore, as the term implies, weatherproofing helps to ensure that the home’s structure is well-protected from potential harm that can from the elements. All-in-all, weatherproofing will help ensure a home can hold up against different types of weather and help save the homeowner energy, money, and resources by covering up any air leaks that may still be present even with insulation.

The best way to weatherproof a home is to invest in and install a high-quality house wrap. House wrap is the layer of material that separates a home’s siding from its overall structure. It uses a perforated polyolefin membrane material, which is wrapped tightly around the entire structure and secured with capped fasteners. Because of the material, house wrap is extremely strong and durable, which helps to ensure it will stay in place and last for a long time.

Additionally, a good house wrap will prevent any air infiltration and easily allow moisture to escape, rather than staying trapped and creating a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Durable Exterior Siding

A third major element of sustainable home design is a good, durable exterior siding. Although vinyl siding is the most known type of exterior home siding, it is not necessarily the most sustainable option available. Similarly, siding options like traditional log siding are also not sustainable nor eco-friendly. Instead, homeowners looking for better, greener siding options that can further increase their home’s sustainability.

One of the most popular sustainable siding options around includes fiber cement siding. Fiber cement siding is a kind of siding resembles the classic wood or vinyl siding, but is made of a much more durable mix of wood pulp and cement. This makes it an option that can stay looking new for years, without warping, fading, or any damage from weather and insects. Because of this durability, homeowners do not have to worry about having to replace pieces over time due to damage, which allows them to save money over time. Additionally, fiber cement siding is a low maintenance option that will add yet another layer of protection to any home, on top of things like house wrap and ICF homes.

Creating a green, sustainable home is not difficult, but it does take a certain level of dedication. Besides choosing the right energy-efficient appliances, homeowners need to ensure that the home’s overall structure is made using sustainable elements and products.

From being aware of temperature control and weatherproofing to finding the perfect exterior siding, there are countless ways to start making a sustainable home. Even if some of these elements go visually unseen, the differences will be seen and felt in the comfort level of the home and the utility bills.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook