Environmentally friendly countertops
Many households and consumers are moving towards more sustainable green living and this includes using eco friendly and recyclable materials in their building projects.
Many of these new eco friendly building materials can help reduce green house gas emissions, are made using renewable or alternative energy sources and are made from various recycled materials and renewable resources.
Eco friendly countertops are an easy way to introduce these green building practices into any new design, construction project or renovation.
There is a wide variety of environmentally friendly options available on the market for countertops and new products and ideas for materials are arriving daily, making the choice to add eco friendly building materials even easier for the average person. We have done lots of research on the subject and below we hope to introduce you to your green building options
Environmental Impact of Environmentally Friendly Countertops
When deciding on which environmentally friendly countertop option is right for you, it is important to consider the materials that go into the construction of your countertop surface. The predominant aggregates used in eco friendly countertops manufacture tends to be recycled materials such as recycled glass, recycled aluminum scrap, recycled porcelain, reclaimed hardwoods & bamboo and recycled paper product countertops. These aggregates are sourced from post consumer and industrial waste and are mixed with various bonding agents such as cement, polyester resins or water soluble adhesives.
Once you've decided on the surface that best fits your needs, you need to consider the manufacture of the surface itself. Many of the manufacturers have green philosophies which include the use of natural lighting in their plant operations, ensuring that the materials sourced have the highest level of recycled content available (some recycled glass countertops have 100% recycled post consumer content), are locally sourced, usually within 50 miles, to reduce carbon emissions and if using hardwoods or bamboo, ensure that the source is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified, ensuring renewable and sustainable materials are used.
A final consideration when choosing environmentally friendly countertops, especially for new projects and developments, is whether the materials chosen help qualify for LEED points. (The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED ) is a third party certification program, nationally accepted as the benchmark guideline for all new green home projects including, construction, design and performance. This validation assures that the buildings and major remodels following this program do exactly as they were designed to do which is to be green through the use of proper materials, air qualities, energy efficiencies and locally produced supplies. Examples of these points include recycled materials, locally sourced materials and innovation in design.
Health Impact of Environmentally Friendly Countertops
Choosing an eco-friendly countertop not only helps with conservation of natural resources and reductions in global warming, it also drastically helps improve indoor air quality in the home and can reduce the harmful effects of sick building syndrome. Most of these environmentally friendly countertop surfaces have little to no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions. This results in little to no off gassing. Many of the varnishes, stains and sealants used are water soluble, non toxic and are made from natural bee and carnauba waxes. VOC hazards can occur though during the installation process as crystalline silica dust from concrete and liquid sealants can be harmful if inhaled. It is important to use certified respirators and a well ventilated area for any cutting and manufacture. Many of these countertop surfaces are made with phenolic and polyester resins, making them extremely durable, heat resistant and food safe. In the case of the recycled aluminum countertop surfaces, they are treated with a non toxic powder coating to ensure that they meet food safety preparation standards.
The Sexy Green Home Opinion:
There are several excellent options available for consumers and green builders alike that are both ecological and sexy. We like environmentally friendly countertop products so much that we have dedicated an entire category to them. You can find information on recycled aluminum, recycled glass countertops, recycled paper solid surfaces and renewable bamboo and reclaimed hardwoods. We have compiled a list of manufacturers as well that can help you get your green building done right.