Sustainable Decking Solutions

April 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Green Building 

Building sustainable decking solutions tends to be a large challenge, because it means trying to get the materials involved in the decking to do what they are not naturally meant to do, including lasting for many years without requiring a great deal of maintenance. Most of the methods that are commonly used to accomplish the maintenance required by decking are actually rather harmful to the environment and therefore are not solutions at all. Even some apparently ecologically sound materials cannot hold up under scrutiny. On the other hand, some solutions that appear to be destructive to the environment can provide a much more sustainable solution.

As far as sustainable decking solution goes, natural wood decking comes with advantages that you will not find with any other decking materials. Wood is non toxic, and is extremely strong considering how light it is in weight. Wood is also easy to work and has a beautiful appearance. Wood is a completely renewable resource as long as it is managed intelligently, and wood can be produced with a comparatively small input of fossil fuels, especially if the wood products are brought it from local forest sources. Wood is also easily reused and recycled, and it can biodegrade easily without creating any pollutant byproducts.

The one problem that is associated with wood deckling springs from one of its advantages. The natural biodegradable nature of the wood is to return to the soil where it comes from, because of weather, mold, bacteria and insect activity. In order to delay these effects from occurring, it is vital to use wood products that have rot resistance in them naturally. Some of these wood products include native redwoods and cedars, and imported tropical hardwoods such as ipe or ironwood and teak.

Wood that is naturally rot resistant can be really wonderful, but these woods are more difficult to find and have become more expensive as a result. This fact forces people to search for alternatives that are most cost effective, such as decking options that are constructed from softwoods that are less rot resistant and cheaper, but that are pressure treated using chemicals as a means of inhibiting the decay. The depth of the treatment is what determines the degree that the wood can be rot resistant. The decking materials can retain the same strength as natural wood and can be finished with a variety of different stains and other treatments that inhibit decay and add to the natural beauty of the wood.

In the past, standard wood preservatives were Pentachlorophenol, Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) and Creosote, but these are all extremely toxic and poisonous treatments. These chemicals are beginning to see replacement by Copper Azone (CA) and Amine Copper Quat (ACQ) which are far safer results but still far from being truly benign.

Green Pet Care

April 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Green Pets 

Many pet consumers are happy to see that there are a variety of new green pet care products becoming available on the market today, as many consumers turn their eyes towards ways to “go green” and have a positive impact on the environment. While it may be difficult to understand why pet care products may be harmful to the environment, as green pet care products are developed and distributed, it is becoming more and more clear just how many different ways we can adapt green living techniques into our lives, no matter how large or how small they are.

The pet care industry brought in more than $41.2 billion dollars worth of purchases in 2007, and this was a steep rise up over the $38.5 billion dollars of 2006. In 2008, the number is expected to rise to more than $43 million dollars. With an industry that is growing as quickly as this one, there really should not be any surprise that people are looking for ways to create a green pet care industry.

Now that more green pet care products are being offered, many pet care consumers and pet owners are paying much greater attention to the different products and services that they purchase. Because of this reason, an increasing number of pet care supply companies are paying even more attention to the products and services that they develop and sell, in addition to how they are marketing their business.

Green pet care products are now quite easy to come by, as they come in a variety of different applications including organic pet foods and organic pet treats, pet toys constructed from recycled materials, leashes and collars that are crafted from hemp instead of nylon, shampoos and other grooming products that are all natural and chemical free, biodegradable bags for pet waste, biodegradable kitty litter and small animal bedding, and even litter pans crafted from paper so that they break down naturally.

The green pet care trend is one that is gaining significantly in popularity, especially as more and more specialty retailers begin to offer unique and exciting green and organic pet care products. Well known food brands are creating organic, natural versions of their food products. Vital pet care products like grooming and restraining products are now being developed in chemical free, natural and bio degradable substances. Not only are these eco-friendly and biodegradable pet care products better for the environment, but they also tend to be better for the pet as well which means that there are two exceptional reasons to see what green pet care can do for you.

The increased awareness of the impact that pets can have on our environment is making it easier for natural and eco friendly green pet care products to become accepted widely, which is helping pet care product manufacturers create the green pet care products that green-hungry consumers are looking for. Many people are looking for as many possible ways for them to live a lifestyle that is “greener” and one exceptional way to do this is through the adoption of green pet care products and processes.

Eco Friendly Paint

April 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Green Home 

If you are looking for a way to make your home beautiful, or to restore its former beauty, there are a number of options to consider, one of which is to add a splash of color through the use of paint. There are hundreds of different paint choices available to you, but unfortunately not all of them have your best interest in mind. Are you looking for paint that is healthy, eco friendly and dependable at the same time? Keep some things in mind so that you know what sets eco paints apart from other paints available on the market.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, the concentration of pollutants that can be found within your home is actually a great deal higher than what is going to be found outside, primarily because of the lack of ventilation that you will find in your home compared to the ease of air circulation found outside. If your home does not have proper ventilation, then airborne chemicals from the products that you use within your home can collect inside, and they can actually cause a lot of harm to your body if you are not careful.

Some of the symptoms associated with long term exposure to this polluted air may include fatigue, dizziness, asthma, cancer, headaches and heart disease. The contamination cannot necessarily be attributed to a single source, but two chemicals that play an important role in the accumulation of these toxins are paint, and paint related chemicals as well.

Volatile organic compounds are a category of pollutants that are potentially carcinogenic and carbon-based in nature. These VOCs may include pesticides, cleaning chemicals, paint chemicals and formaldehyde for example. Due to the environmental regulations that are passing in recent years, and an increase in the demand by consumers, many paint companies are working to develop new house paint products that emit either little VOCs or no VOCs all together. This is most commonly received by creating water based paint products in place of petroleum based paint products. In order to pass as a Low VOC, environmentally friendly or “green” paint product, the paint must meet stringent EPA standards with a maximum gram count of volatile compounds per liter. Looking for a green seal on potentially low VOC paint products will let you know which have the lowest VOC content.

Ultra low VOC paint products are normally referred to as zero-VOC or no-VOC, and while these paints can sometimes cost more than traditional paint products, they are worth the investment if it means using environmentally friendly paint products in your home in order to decrease the risk of releasing harmful chemicals and pollutants into the air that you breathe. These products should contain no formaldehyde, no ammonia and no acetone. These are all petroleum compounds that can adversely affect the quality of the air inside your home.

There are options available to you for environmentally friendly indoor paint, so if you are thinking about adding a splash of color to your home or apartment, opt for the environmentally friendly option and avoid the risk of polluting the air that you breathe.