Going Green – Construction, Which the Environment Loves!

Sustainable building, green building, green construction or simply “going green” is a concept about Eco-friendly construction. It involves the application of practices and technologies that are environmental friendly, right from the construction, to occupancy, maintenance, renovation and finally demolition. This concept first started rising in the ’70s when concerns regarding harmful impacts of construction industry on environment, and its resources, started growing.

Although no international agreement is available regarding carbon reduction and Eco-friendly construction, there are organizations present that are working for the sustainability of natural resources, toxic reduction, recycling, waste reduction and application of energy efficient practices etc, such as EPA in the US. The EPA requires the construction industry to design and build buildings with Eco-friendly materials and methods. This is not the only reason why construction industry has started following green trends. Many environmental-concerned companies and individuals have started emphasizing on green building, when doing a new construction or renovation project in their homes, commercial properties or work places. This is a very good sign because it educates and encourages the construction industry to work towards developing new sustainable building techniques. The need of going green gets more imminent as a recent study shows that the Ozone layer had depleted by 40%, which is alarming.

The basic principles of sustainable building in new construction projects and retrofitted properties include:

· Efficient use of land, water, energy and other resources.
· Improving the health of everyone living in a building.
· Providing clean environment to increase employees’ performance.
· Reducing pollution and other waste emission in the environment.
· Educating public about the need and merits of green building.
· Using local materials and manpower so as to avoid transportation cost of these brought from other towns and areas.

Not only it is important to derive methods for going green, it is equally important to use the present resources in an intelligent and efficient way.

Water Efficiency:

Two-third of the Earth consists of water, not all of it readily usable. It takes a lot of work and energy to make water usable which means there’s a shortage of water and therefore, we need to use it efficiently. A popular way of maintaining the quality of water and reducing its usage is to use dual plumbing system, which recycles the water with every flush of the toilet. Low-flow showerheads and low-flush toilets can also increase water efficiency during the life cycle of a building.

Energy Efficiency:

There are a lot of ways to use energy efficiently. Few simple methods are to use light paint colors on the exterior and interior of the building. The exterior light colors will reflect sun-rays and as a result the interior of the building will remain cool reducing the need of air conditioners and such. Interior light colors will also help reflect the natural light, which will reduce the cost and need of electric lighting. Modern insulation systems can also be installed in walls and floors to use the energy efficiently. Building can be designed with passive solar building ways that uses windows and walls to help shade the property in summers and provide natural light in the winters. Other ways to use energy efficiently are solar power, hydropower and wind power etc.

Material Efficiency:

Using material that are recyclable and re-usable is an important part of sustainable building. It involves using natural materials such as straw bale, clay and bamboo for the construction or renovation of the building.

Waste Reduction:

Compost bins are a great way to reduce waste emission by the occupants or work force in a building. Waste reduction can also be achieved by recycling the waste into fertilizers. Use of water instead of paper towels can also reduce waste going in the landfills. Some highly sophisticated waste reduction techniques can also be applied, but they may be a little costly.

We only have planet Earth to live on. We don’t have any other place to go. We need to keep earth and our environment safe and healthy, and Earth’s natural resources sufficient for our generations to come. We’ve already harmed the Earth enough. Now is the time to go green.

Buying Furniture: Use a Website or Home Furniture Showroom?

When buying furniture, many people are undecided whether to buy from a home furniture showroom or from a website. The feeling is generally that online is easier and also more convenient, but that buying from a showroom or mall store is safer. Are they right or not?

Unfortunately there is no distinct answer to this question, because those marketing using each of the above options claim they are the best and safest. There is little evidence either way regarding the security of your payment details. There have been problems with leaked details online, and with credit card cloning offline, so quite frankly you are best to ignore that aspect.

The vast majority have no problems using either method, and it comes down to which is best for you. Is it more convenient to buy online? Sure it is! Is it best to by online? That is your decision to make, but with furniture one thing is clear – you have a far better choice online, but you get a better view of your furniture in a mall store or home furniture showroom before you pay for it.

So which is best? Neither! You need to think about the benefits and drawbacks of each method of purchasing furniture and try to eliminate the negative aspects of each while combining their strengths or benefits. Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each, while keeping in mind that the weakness of one will likely be a strength of the other.

Buying Furniture Online

Large Choice of Manufacturers: The main advantage of buying furniture online is that you can visit a large number of online furniture store websites in a morning. You can check out Sherrill Furniture for a good selection of upholstered chairs and sofas, Simply Amish for some mission or Shaker furniture for your kitchen, Southwood Furniture for a selection of beautiful reproduction furniture and L. & J.G. Stickley Furniture for beautiful living room and dining room furniture.

Made in America: These are just some examples of American furniture manufacturers that offer products that are 100% made in the USA. So another advantage of buying online is that if you are patriotic, you can find the truly American companies where every item is made in America. Try that in your local shopping mall, and you will struggle to find products that are made in the USA by American craftsmen and women using sustainable American wood.

Online Room Planners: Several furniture outlets or dealers offer design services or online room planners for your use. In fact, you can often rely on finding a room planner on the website of a manufacturer. After entering the dimensions of your room, you get a scale model of it and you can add similarly scaled thumbnails of your furniture choices to add to it by the click of a button. That way you can see how your furniture choices fit into your rooms.

Easy Ordering: Some online furniture stores allow you to order and pay online. We are assuming here that online and offline payment methods are equally secure, which they generally are. However, sometimes it is too easy to order online with a credit card, and you can easily overspend

Buying from a Home Furniture Showroom

See Your Furniture Live: By far the biggest advantage of buying furniture from a mall store or furniture showroom is that you see what you are paying for. It might look great on your computer, but how does it look in the flesh? Is the color truly what you want, and is the wood grained the way you want it?

Ease of Operation: These recliners and lift chairs sound marvelous, but how do they actually work? Is that recliner easy to operate with your arthritic hands? Is that lift chair gentle or will it shoot you out into the room on your hands and knees when you want to stand up? It is important that you understand how your choice of motion furniture operates, and that it is suitable for you or your elderly relative.

Ask the Right Questions: When buying furniture you will likely have a few questions to ask. How do you do that online? Have you ever tried to get a quick answer online? They do not exist! One of the strengths of buying from a home furniture showroom is that you can ask the questions you want to ask, and you get an instant answer.

Conclusions

Our conclusion is that you can use the benefits of each of these methods. You can select your furniture line from the websites of your favorite manufacturers – or even better, select a reputable local dealer and check out all the suppliers it offers. A good dealer will offer products from good American furniture manufacturers such as those mentioned above.

Make your choices online, giving yourself some options or alternatives then visit the home furniture showroom of the dealer concerned. Check out the items you have selected live, and if they seem fine, pay for them. You get the benefit of online selection and offline live viewing and payment security!

The Dos and Don'ts of Using Craigslist to Buy Home Furniture

Are you looking for good deals on home furniture? If so, you should visit the online classified website Craigslist.org. You will find lots of good deals, but what should or shouldn’t you do when shopping?

DO use a Craigslist search machine. These are desktop applications that you download and install on your computer. They make searching Craigslist easy. Not only can you search multiple categories at once, but multiple locations too. You can choose from statewide, nationwide, and multi-city searching. Since home furniture is pretty large, your best bet is to search nearby communities that you can drive too. Still, a Craigslist search machine allows you to perform one search for all locations you choose, unlike Craigslist.

DON’T rush to make a buying decision, but also don’t wait too longer either. Over the years, Craigslist has skyrocketed in popularity. Good deals on the website don’t last long. Since you want to get a good deal on an item, like a used couch, make your decision quickly. If you wait even just an extra day, someone else may come along and snatch up the good deal.

DO search for home furniture daily. As previously stated, Craigslist.org has increased in popularity over the years. For that reason, more people turn to it to sell their unwanted goods and to make extra money. They do so often. Each day, a new seller may upload a home furniture item, like a bed, dresser, or entire bedroom set. As mentioned above, good deals don’t last long. Not only do you want to act quickly when you find something that you like, but you also want to search the website often. Do this whether you search directly from Craigslist.org or if you use a Craigslist search machine.

DON’T forget to ask the seller questions. If you need a cheap coach or another piece of home furniture, you may get excited when you see a nice looking item posted on the website with a cheap price. First, it is important to make sure the item is really worth it. A used couch for $15 sounds nice, but not if that used couch as been sitting outside in the rain for the last week. It is also important to inquire about stains and other types of wear and tear. To get the best deal on home furniture, you must ensure that you are getting a quality item. Unfortunately, pictures and seller descriptions can be deceiving.

Creating A Bathroom Wall Design

Whether you are making a new bathroom or remodeling the existing one, a good wall design should be one of your top priorities. Deciding what materials to be used for your bathroom walls is not an easy task though. You have lots of materials to choose from and virtually endless possibilities of design and pattern combination. The question now is: where to start?

Start by knowing your options for wall design. Tile has long been a popular choice for bathroom wall. It can be made of marble, limestone, vinyl, ceramic porcelain, granite, terrazzo, terra cotta, slate, stone, and glass among others. Take note of the advantages and disadvantages of each and the different effects each type of tile creates to your bathroom.

For example, terra cotta tile achieves a wall that looks weathered and rustic. It is also said to last for lifetime.

Marble tiles, like any other stone tiles must be sealed and require frequent cleaning. But marbles create a unique look when installed on specific areas of the wall.

Glass tiles are best if used as decorative accent but are often expensive and difficult to install.

Vinyl tiles are affordable compared to stone, porcelain, or ceramic. It is easy to install and easy to replace. However, vinyl tiles create several seams that can breed mold, mildew and bacteria. Aesthetic wise, vinyl tiles are not your best option.

Granite is often used as kitchen countertops but it is also good for bathroom wall accent especially if you want highlight a particular wall. Granite is durable and can last for a very long time.

Terrazzo tiles give unique beauty, elegance and longevity. However, it is quite expensive to use as wall design.

Concrete is another option you can take. The material is cheap but installation is not for the do-it-yourself. Concrete can be painted with different colors of your choice to match the mood you want to attain to your design.

Choose one or two materials above as the main wall and blend one or two more. The key is blending the right textures, color tones, and shades. For example, you can use natural stones such as marble, granite and limestone together. Glass with marble and limestone can also work.

There is nothing worst than a bathroom with 4 empty walls. Create a wall design according to your preference.

Premium Home Furniture

The utility of premium home furniture

You can get premium home furniture at a fraction of the cost that you can expect. Such furniture will go well with ceramic garden pots because they are made from good quality materials that tend to last a long time. You should also consider the relative merits of developing your own brand of fashion within the home so that you have something that is bespoke and targeted towards fulfilling your needs. When we work with the classical pots we are looking for something that is both manageable but also effective in terms of storing some of the decorative items that we have on board. The choices are really open to you to select the right product for the right price.

The contemporary pots are normally handmade but the increased commercialization of the market has meant that they are now produced on a factory basis. This has advantages for the manufacturer because they can fully realize the economies of scale. However the quality tends to suffer and you do not get the feeling that they are individual items that say something about the owner. Rather you are dealing with the bog standard stuff that is not particularly inspiring apart from those that lead really vacuous lives. You might have to pay some money in order to get the handmade modern pots. Some people feel that this is a price that they are willing to pay in order to get good quality.

This is not to say that all the modern accessories that are made in the factory are of a poor quality. In fact there are many examples of these items that are made to a very high standard so that you do not have to worry about the quality of the output that is going out there. It all depends on the context and the way that you deal with the requirements that come into the system. The people that can make an impact are the ones that are carrying the torch for the good quality stuff. Therefore they are willing to make that extra payment if it means that they get a good outcome from whatever they are doing. That is how to deal with modern products.

Those that do not care about the stylistic elements can go for any sorts of modern items. They are just utilitarian items that have no intrinsic beauty for them. It is not wise to denigrate the choices of individuals because they are the very best judges of what they want and what they need. We can only look to them to see whether those choices are feasible and whether they make sense to us. We cannot go behind and then claim that we are in a position to move them about without the relevant knowledge about their choices of garden furniture or accessories of the highest order. Generally speaking this is an item that is selling very well on the markets because of its tradition and reputation.

Roofing Techniques – Have You Tried These?

There are several roofing techniques you can employ to assure that your project meets quality and code standards. These may apply to new roofs, re-roofing or roof repair. Depending on the task at hand you will employ specific tools and techniques to accomplish your goals.

Some of the decisions you make will have to follow municipal guidelines and laws, while others will be determined by your personal preferences. There a many online resources for the details of how to best implement the processes in protecting the life and functionality of your roof system.

The roofing techniques involved in laying down a new roof follow a fairly standard process. The first layer of your roof system is the sheathing. These are the plywood sheets you can see attached to the rafters in the attic. These provide the foundation upon which the rest of the system is built.

The next layer added is called the underlay. There are a variety of materials used during this technique with the most common being builder’s felt. This second layer is now required in municipal codes and provides added protection from the elements. The valleys, eaves, rakes and protrusions all get an application called flashing. This technique directs water away from these vulnerable spots.

The final step in roofing techniques is laying down the outer covering. These options include many varieties of materials and styles. Choose your contractor based on their experience with your specific choices. This way you are guaranteed that they will know the proper techniques for installation, because all roofing material has its own installation requirements.

If you are re-roofing an asphalt surface, for example, you must check the rake, or sloping edge, to see how many layers are currently on the roof. There are laws governing the number of layers a house is allowed to have.

There are differing roofing techniques for roof repair as well. Once you have identified a problem, you should research the specific recommendations for addressing the concern. Do not let the problem continue as this will result in more serious damage that will be costlier and more time consuming to fix.

If you have noticed a leak inside, go to the attic and search for the exact location of the problem. You can use a screwdriver to check the wood for rot in determining what degree of repair is needed. If you must replace shingles or tiles on the roof, learn the specific techniques for your particular materials…

Importance of Home Furniture

There are plenty of ways of improving your home but one of the simplest is through home furniture. Having new furniture can make all the difference to your home.

For instance, a brand new dining table can alter the whole atmosphere of your dining room and be a major feature for your family and guests to enjoy. Made from a variety of materials such as oak, pine, and glass there are so many different types to choose from nowadays. Stylish dining chairs can also add to the dramatic effect of the dining table, especially high back or leather chairs.

Sideboards can make space by removing clutter from the rest of the room. Lighter sideboards can brighten a room, while darker colors can be a main feature of your living room if it set against a light background of floors and walls.

Coffee tables can also be found in unusual materials, such as hand-crafted, colored steel or glass Coffee Table Aquariums. These can be very unique items of home furniture and can really make a personal statement.

Sofa Suites can come in many colors. Bright ones can really stand out, since most people choose comfort over design. If you can find a unique design as well as comfort then you will have everything. We all spend most of our time in the living room so this one place where we should express our personality and feel comfortable about who we are.

Stylish bedroom furniture can allow your bedroom to express your night-time self. Choose from an endless range of wooden, metal or even leather bed frames. Each of these can make your bedroom express a different side to your personality. Matching wardrobes and dressing tables can all add to your bedroom’s overall style. Units that have a lot of mirrors can make your bedroom appear much bigger than it actually is. Dark units can make a large room full of interesting shadows.

Here are just some of the ways that only a few items of new furniture can add to your home. Home furniture designs will always be changing and can add that extra sparkle of interest so you can get the best of making your home looking unique and part of what makes you who you are.

Cleaning Procedures for Different Wooden Home Furniture

Wood furniture can be painted, polished or oiled. How you clean your furniture depends on the variety of wood it is made up of. For example, some types of wood are lightly lacquered and do not absorb oil, while others like rosewood and teak do not have any finish and can be handled with annual oil application.

Let us see how you can clean different types of wood home furniture be it wooden beds, Almira, sofa set or cabinets:

Painted Wood
Excessive rubbing and cleaning can damage the decor, color and finish of furniture. If your wooden beds and other furniture pieces are of painted wood, least care and maintenance is needed for them round the year. You can clean your painted wooden Almira and other furniture regularly with the help of a brush. Wiping occasionally with sponge can help in removing finger marks and smudges. If you feel the need of wax, use of hard paste wax once in a year can serve the purpose.

Oiled Wood
Oiled wood furniture has a soft, warm glow which requires only occasional oil application. For example, if you oil your wooden sofa set once in a year, it will retain the shine for a long time to come. It is important to note that you should never wax an oiled wooden surface. Wax can block the pores making the wood dry and brittle. If there are white spots on your oiled wooden furniture, rub them with tooth paste spread on a soft cloth. You can also use oil and a mild abrasive to rub those white spots. Such abrasives may be pumice, baking soda, salt or ash. The oils that you can use may be cooking oil, olive oil and petroleum jelly.

Polished Wood
Polished wooden furniture pieces are usually finished with wax, lacquer or varnish. Any wood polish can clean a wooden surface quickly. You have to choose the one which is appropriate for the kind of finish done on your wooden furniture. For example, wax in paste form gives a long lasting finish to the furniture, as compared to liquid or spray polish. This kind of finishing is usually recommended for antique wooden pieces.

Always wear cotton gloves while waxing the furniture, as this will not leave any fingerprints on the surface. Sprinkle some corn starch on the recently polished wood surface, and rub it for better gloss. Corn starch absorbs the excess wax or oil from the surface, leaving a glistening wooden surface free from any fingerprints. If there are white spots or rings on your wooden sofa set, you can apply mayonnaise, allow it to sit for around 60 minutes, wipe it off with a cloth and then polish. All these are terrific techniques to keep your wooden furniture glowing like new.

Specialty Wood
Specialty woods can be bamboo, rush, cane, rattan, wicker etc. These woods have natural finish, but some of them may have shellac or varnish coating. You need to vacuum them regularly with a brush attachment.

With all these steps, you can keep your home furniture as shiny as new.

Why Home Furniture Made in America Is Not Only Patriotic to Buy

When you buy home furniture that is Made in America, you are being sensible, not just patriotic. Sure, its good to buy stuff that has been made in your own country, and the ‘Made in America’ push is intended to help give the American economy a big boost (it sure needs it), but often you will find the quality of items made in the USA is just as good, and often better, than their equivalents manufactured elsewhere.

Why buy solid wood furniture made anywhere else when the USA offers such a fabulous range of hardwoods such as American black walnut, maple, American cherry, various oaks, beech and many others? Not just solid wood, but some fabulous veneers cut from the root bole of the American walnut, or with the beautiful burl ash, plane or any wood thinly cut where major branches intersect with the trunk.

It is difficult to beat the beauty of quarter sawn oak with its beautiful flecks and medullary rays, and all of this can be incorporated into solid wood or veneered home furniture made in America. When you purchase such American-made products, yes, you are contributing to the economy of your own country, but you are also buying quality and a product that will last.

Have you even visited an old American house, such as Paul Revere’s house in Boston? If so, did you notice the furniture, particularly in the two rooms upstairs in his house? These pieces are believed to have belonged to his family – all solid as a rock and still as functional today as it was back on that April day in 1775 when he jumped on his horse and made that famous ride.

Solid wood home furniture, made in America using traditional carpentry techniques, and using genuine American hardwood. Furniture crafted by American carpenters and cabinet makers, men and women, who are proud of their work and also innovators who are unafraid to try new techniques and use new methods, such as the Stickley way of use quarter sawn oak for center-posts.

While it is patriotic to buy furniture such as this from American firms such as Stickley, Sherrill, Simply Amish, Southwood and American Craftsman, it also makes sense if you want value for money. Why pay the transport of furniture from China or even Europe when you can get the same or even better quality from home? Every penny you spend on home-built furniture is on the product, not on paying for it to be shipped half way round the world.

Take these furniture manufacturers mentioned above, and add to that list firms such as The Custom Shoppe, Cambridge Mills and Nichols & Stone. Every one of these uses traditional carpentry joints in their construction, such as dovetails for the drawers and mortise and tenon for most of the cabinetry. Dovetails are use for stretchers, where no glue is needed – the joints are strong enough without glue, nails or screws.

When you buy home furniture that is made in America you are not only investing in your country’s financial well being, but also in your home and the enduring quality of the furniture that graces it. You are investing in solid American furniture that you can pass on to your children. You are investing in your own and their future. Why spend your money elsewhere when you can be both patriotic and sensible by purchasing the best quality furniture you can get for your money.

Let’s have a look at some examples. Gustav Stickley made use of quarter sawn oak and its beautiful flecks created by the medullary rays of the natural oak. Leopold Stickley used panels of this oak to show these flecks on all sides of a post, rather than on just the two sides as was possible previously – an example of ingenuity! However, it is the Stickley carpentry that makes their American furniture so strong and enduring.

They use no glue unless essential, but high quality jointing techniques such as dovetailed cross rails that offer strength without glue or screws, pinned tenons on door frames that can never come loose and even pinned miter joints on mirror frames. Others, such as Sherrill and Simply Amish employ similar traditional carpentry techniques – the same methods used by your forebears when all their furniture had to be hand-made!

The standard of workmanship of genuine hardwood furniture made in America by craftsmen and women is obvious. Everything fits, everything works and if it doesn’t then check the label or the stamp on the wood. You will likely find it made outside these shores, because American-made furniture is made to last and to look good – invest in your own country and not in somebody else if you want genuinely high quality home furniture.

Is Cord Wood Construction a Great Green Construction Option?

Modern construction methods are extremely efficient and safe. Many homeowners and renters enjoy the protection from the weather and the hazards that run through nearly every home, with near complete immunity. The most frequent criticism of modern construction that many people have is that the materials and substances that go into creating the modern home are harmful to the environment, and sometimes the occupants.

There are many ways to limit the risk and harm that people can be exposed to with modern construction methods and one is to use ecologically friendly construction means, as called “green construction”. Green construction is essentially the endeavor to use material that will not emit chemicals or substances that are harmful to the environment or life. One of these green construction methods is called “cord wood” construction or stack wall construction.

Cord wood construction is basically using firewood that is cut to a specified dimension as fill for a mortar supported wall. Think of it like this, instead of using bricks, you use wood. Cord wood walls vary in thickness from 8 to about 16 inches depending on the weather conditions prevalent in the area. In colder areas, a thicker wall helps insulate from the cold, but where the cold is not as big a concern your resources can be used in a more frugal manner by making 8 inch walls.

The biggest benefit of building a home out of cord wood construction is the price. Typically a 2000 square foot home can be built out of about 5 cords of firewood, which may cost less than $1000 depending on your location. When placed inside of a frame of post and beam structure the cord wood wall is one of the most beautiful and rustic looking forms of construction in the world.

The second biggest benefit of cord wood construction is that it is something anyone can do with a little effort. It takes time to build a cord wood wall straight and true, but it is not that hard so any novice builder can have a decent home erected safely. Since the mortar takes time to set up and harden you can only go at a certain pace of construction which allows you to rest and plan before getting too far ahead of yourself.

The most important benefit of cord wood construction is that you are creating a home which does not release toxic chemicals into the home environment. Once the mortar is dried the home is done releasing any gases or chemicals, so you do not have to worry about your kids inhaling formaldehyde for 2 years afterward like you do in new construction. Keep in mind that is does take a deliberate effort on your part not to put in any chemicals as well. This can be avoided by choosing to decorate your home with something other than paint and glue down your rugs with a substance that does not emit formaldehyde.

With a little conscious planning and thought you can use green construction techniques to completely prevent a dangerous environment for your loved ones, and yourself.