BuildingGreen has been in my secret toolkit for many years and it is the first place I turn when needing information on a green material. Looking for a “green” cabinet manufacturer? Well, BuildingGreen lists 74 articles and product listings for you to review, as well as a detailed discussion of the issues in cabinet manufacturing, including formaldehyde and wood species. Think of it as the Consumer Reports of Green Building. Their unbiased (and often surprising) reviews don’t play any favorites or have blind faith in any company.
While Alex and his staff are inundated with new product information, he continues to be surprised with new innovations in materials. He is particularly excited to see the West Coast Green innovation pipeline.
When asked for a wish list of products he’d like to see, Alex immediately asked for an alternative to polystyrene (you may know it by the brand name Styrofoam™). This oil-based product raises many concerns over the chemicals, flame retardants and the blowing agents used to install polystyrene. He is currently obsessed with finding below-grade insulation alternatives to polystyrene, and has been featuring some on his weekly blog.
Fly ash is the powdery soot byproduct from coal-fired electric power plants. Since the burning of coal provides up to 85% of our electricity (depending on where you live), a great deal of this waste product is produced. Some 71 million tons of fly ash were produced last year, resulting in 71 tons of mercury byproduct.
Depending upon the use of the concrete, fly ash can be substituted for 20%-50% of the Portland Cement in the concrete mix. There have been reports of some people using as high as 70% fly ash substitution.
Officially, BuildingGreen no longer considers the use of fly ash in products to be beneficial unless it offsets greenhouse gas emissions.
Portland Cement, the key ingredient in the mixing of concrete, is one of the most carbon intensive industries. The processing and heating of the cement are responsible for 8%-12% of all carbon emissions. Since concrete is a required part of virtually every building, a substitute like fly ash could go a long way to cut carbon emissions.
This entry was posted on Monday, September 13th, 2010 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Green. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.