Green Construction 
Introduction

Many of the resources we rely on are becoming increasingly scarce. Ecosystems are struggling, landfills are nearing capacity, and our quality of life is at risk. The problems can appear massive, while our attempts to make a difference can seem minuscule. But every positive step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

Green construction is the philosophy and practice of using products and methods that promote environmental care and optimal living, through a commitment to natural resource conservation, energy efficiency, and better indoor air quality.
Or to put it another way, green construction is about stewardship, common sense, environmental responsibility, economic value, and creating a healthy and sustainable world for today and tomorrow. Above and Beyond Construction looks for every opportunity, large or small, to apply green practices to our projects.
Did You Know?
  • That 95% of our nation’s old growth trees have already been harvested?
  • The current generation of people on earth have used 14 generation's worth of resources?
  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that air in our homes can be up to 10% more polluted than outdoor air?
  • The New England Journal of Medicine notes that 40% of children will develop respiratory disease, due in part to chemicals in their homes, many of which come from the offgassing of building materials?
  • The amount of energy lost through un-insulated homes in the U.S. each year is equivalent to the amount of fuel delivered annually through the Alaskan Pipeline? (Department of Interior, 2000)
  • You can save as much as 10% on your energy bill simply by sealing all the air leaks in your home, and as much as 65% by installing efficient windows, appliances, lighting and other energy saving products.

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Greening a Construction Project

There are many ways to make a construction project green:  from architectural design to foundation to finish construction. While some green materials are more expensive than their non-green counterparts, the over-all economic, environmental and health benefits often outweigh the cost differential in time, if not immediately. 

Even when clients are not particularly green conscious, they can still feel good about their project because of the green practices Above and Beyond Construction often does routinely, such as:

  • Sorting and recycling demolition debris
  • Salvaging, reusing or recycling rough and finish materials
  • Using engineered lumber for framing and sheet goods
  • Installing energy efficient appliances, heating units, etc.
  • Installing water heater jackets and pipe insulation
  • Installing low-e windows
  • Upgrading wall and ceiling insulation beyond requirements
  • Using Low/No-Voc paints and adhesives
  • Sealing exposed particle board and MDF, when possible
  • Minimizing disruption to plants and trees at job sites
  • Using OSB for subfloors and sheathing
  • Surpassing Title 24 energy requirements, whenever possible

Other green practices or products are determined by the project and the client's interest and budget. Examples include:

  • The use of recycled flyash in concrete foundations
  • The use of FSC Certified Wood (Forest Stewardship Council) for any interior and exterior lumber
  • The use of sustainable decking materials
  • The installation of tankless water heaters
  • The installation of high efficiency ceiling fans
  • The installation of fluorescent recessed lighting
  • The installation of radiant floor heating
  • The installation of low flow toilets, faucets and shower heads
  • The installation of light tubes or skylights
  • The installation of rapidly renewable, salvaged or recycled finish materials for flooring,
    counters, cabinetry, etc.
  • The installation of solar water heating and/or photovoltaic systems
For websites on more ways and the benefits of making a construction project green, visit our Helpful Links page

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Thinking Green

For some, the issues of conservation, environmental care and healthful living are part of their day to day awareness and decision making.  For others, the issues are important, but not at the forefront of their minds. Yet, no one can deny that these issues are critical and relevant to each of us.

Thus, anyone wanting to grow in their commitment toward thinking green may want to consider the following:

  • Start with green practices that have an immediate benefit.  For example, green choices that net a financial savings may help move good intentions into action with a pay-off factor. Green meeting green, so to speak.   For websites with green practices that save money, visit our Helpful Links page.
     
  • Develop a green mindset.  The famous phrase reduce, reuse and recycle can be helpful as a guide.  Reducing is better than reusing, and reusing is better than recycling.  From time to time, do an inventory of your practices to see if there are ways you can be more efficient with the three R's.

  • Start where you are and feel good about any progress.  Once a person catches a green vision toward a healthy and sustainable tomorrow, all of the non-green practices we do daily can become a bit discouraging or overwhelming.  In those times, it helps to remember that every great journey is marked by one step at a time. 

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