Building Green Homes - Page 2
When it comes to interior decorating, ask for water-based finishes instead of petroleum-based stains and paints. The results are just as good, the process is safe, and energy consumption is reduced by not using petroleum.
Also ask for formaldehyde-free adhesives. This is a strong irritant as well as carcinogen.
For the great outdoors, use organic fertilizers, top soil, mulch, organic bug control and disease control products. These are available by the names of Neptune, Captain Jack's, and others. Some are canola- and soybean-oil based rather than petrochemical based.
Install rain barrels to reduce storm water runoff.
For the truly green, install "living walls" that have pouches or rigid structures that house plants on walls on the inside or on the outside of the home. The plants create oxygen and help break down pollutants.
Just as you can get an energy audit, you can get an irrigation system audit as well. An inspector audits water consumption and reconfigures lawn irrigation systems to save water and reduce energy costs.
Last but not least, ask where the building material comes from so that you can support the use of renewable woods from plantation trees that are grown within 500 miles, to reduce the costs of transportation. This is perhaps the biggest challenge as not every construction site is located within 500 miles of a tree plantation, but it won't hurt to find out.