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Building a Home that is Green and Stylish

By Lauren Busser Direct from the Designers™' Editorial Director

October is Energy Awareness month and if you are starting a new home building project, that means it is time to start thinking green. If you are building a home this season, consider building your home with green products. There are lots of products on the market right now that are good for the environment and don't sacrifice quality, style or comfort.

Owens Corning's® Ecotouch® Insulation with Purefiber® Technology is a formaldehyde-free insulation that is made from natural materials and is certified to contain, at minimum 58% recycled glass content. EcoTouch® also has sustainable attributes that have been verified by third parties including the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® FOR HOMES, the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standard, and the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Owns Corning EcoTouch Insulation

Adequate Insulation

One of the keys to energy efficiency is insulation. By making sure that your home has enough insulation from the ground floor to the attic, you will not only save money on your heating bills but you will also be more comfortable in your new home.

When it comes to environmentally friendly insulation, you can look to Owens Corning® EcoTouch® insulation, which is made from 99% natural materials and at least 58% from recycled materials. With a construction that relies on natural and recycled materials, not only will your home be energy efficient but it will also decrease its impact on the environment.

Don't be afraid of the idea of a cork floor. This Mora cork flooring from Lumber Liquidators® is a stylish alternative to hardwood that is environmentally friendly.

Lumber Liquidators Mora Cork Flooring

Green Flooring

After insulating your walls you might be wondering what you can use for green materials inside your home. There are plenty of solutions there as well, including your floors and paint. Each type of flooring has green solutions; from carpet to hardwood, bamboo, and even cork.

One of the greenest flooring options is a cork floor. Cork flooring is not only stylish, but also ‘green’ in that it’s made from the bark of mature trees, and is only harvested once every nine years. It is also soft underfoot and naturally water resistant, making it the perfect choice for kitchens and baths.

Benjamin Moore's® Natura® No-VOC paint makes this boys bedroom lively while keeping it's environmental impact low.

Benjamin Moore Natura No-Voc Paint

Paints and Primers

Paint is another area that has plenty of green solutions. Many major paint providers carry what are known as no-VOC paints. No-VOC paints are solvent free and contain no volatile organic compounds. ‘Low’ VOC paints have been on the market since the 1980s, but in 2006 paint suppliers started introducing no-VOC paints as well. A good example is Benjamin Moore’s® Natura®. Benjamin Moore® calls Natura® ‘Green Without Compromise’ as it is odorless, contains no-VOCs, and comes in an unlimited color selection.

Use water efficiently with the TOTO® Neorest® 700H Dual Flush Toilet, 1.0 & 0.8 GPF toilet. This elegant one-piece unit offers ecologically-minded luxury.

TOTO Neorest 700H Dual Flush Toilet, 1.0 & 0.8 GPF

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Not only can your home be green, but there are plenty of ways to keep your lifestyle green as well. Naturally everyone looks to save some money on their energy bill, and to that end you can use ENERGY STAR® labeled appliances whenever possible in your kitchen, bath, laundry or wherever there’s a need for a large appliance. You can reap further savings by using light dimmers. Installing a dimmer automatically reduces energy consumption by 4 to 9% and can be adjusted for more.

Simply installing a dimmer can help you save on your electric bill. The Lutron® Maestro® Dimmer and Switch can be installed in a variety of locations and the unique fade-to-off feature gives you 10 to 60 seconds to leave the room.

Lutron Maestro Dimmer and Switch

And Don't Forget Lighting

You can make the most of your dimmers by installing a light control system such as Lutron HomeWorks®. A lighting system such as HomeWorks coordinates dimmers using programmable timers to control the amount of artificial light in relation to natural light, throughout the day and evening. Lutron’s HomeWorks system can be set up to adjust for daylight savings time and special holiday or weekend lighting needs. And it can be integrated into security and audiovisual systems for added home protection.

IceStone® Recycled Glass and Concrete Surfaces are durable and unique. Their palette of colors allows you to be as subtle or as bold as you want. Not only are you getting a beautiful and durable product but you get the added benefit of a product made in the USA.

IceStone Bathroom

Finishes

Not only can your home be energy efficient but many of your fixtures and finishes can be manufactured in a way that's energy efficient too. For example, consider a recycled glass counter top from IceStone®. Their recycled glass and concrete composite counter tops give you many design options, ranging from bold contrasts to subtle finishes. The best part about IceStone® is that every countertop is manufactured in their Brookyln factory which is day-lit and recycles 97% of the facility's waste.

You can also find tiles that are made from recycled materials, such as those manufactured by Fireclay Tile. Their recycled glass tiles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making it easy for you to get the look you want.

Get a beautiful contemporary backsplash with recycled glass tiles from Fireclay Tile. Fireclay tiles are made in California by local artisans with 70% recycled content. Pictured here is the turquoise ogee tile.

Fireclay Tile Contemporary Ogee Backsplash

Anytime is a good time to consider going green, so as you start building your new home please consider using as many environmentally friendly materials as you can. All the little things add up, and when you are out in the yard overlooking your grass, flowers and other beautiful plantings you can be satisfied to know that you did your part to help keep our environment as clean as possible.

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