Are you a Material Girl? We all are to some degree, if nothing else, because our lifestyles include stuff. Stuff is our material items, in our homes and personal lives. We have stuff to make us more comfortable and stuff for convenience. Stuff to wear. Stuff to cook with, eat with and even stuff to clean with. Stuff to keep our stuff in. Too often we forget that all that stuff may have consequences beyond their intended purpose.
What are Resources?
Stuff is made from resources. These resources may be in the form of a material, like wood or concrete. Or these resources may be in the form of a manufactured item such as a light fixture or flooring tile. Resources may be imported or local, natural or man-made, and a host of other choices. With resources, “it’s not just what you use, it’s also how you use it”. Using available resources efficiently and effectively when making choices for our homes is important. It is also a great strategy when redecorating, remodeling or building a home. Besides, having a plan for resources and materials creates an “ingredients list” for what we are creating in the recipe for our new or upgraded project, room or home. This plan also helps to keep our project on track and help more easily work through any needed obstacles or changes.
In the “olden days” houses and the stuff in them were made of whatever was around. With modern transportation and distribution systems, now we can choose materials and items from around the world with the click of a few buttons. These resources are a key part of the construction of the home and worth paying attention to.
Using Resources Wisely
Using resources wisely is a key practice of green building and includes practices ranging from optimizing use of resources (such as wood for framing) to choosing durable materials that will stand the test of time and offer lower maintenance.
There are many opportunities to optimize the resources used and to plan carefully upfront when choosing upgrades for, remodeling or building your home. Often decisions to save resources for budgetary reasons help by using less of that material or resource which results in a greener home from a resource use perspective. Many builders, especially production or volume builders have begun to manufacture components of the house in a separate location from the building site, as a way to streamline their business and cut down materials costs. The separate assembly process saves the builder planning time and money, while usually delivering a more consistent and high-quality outcome than an on-site alternative. These manufactured assemblies also are constructed out of the elements and result in less waste. It’s no big surprise that using manufactured assemblies is also a green practice. Component manufacturing for house construction may also be one way to help offset the current skilled labor shortage seen in many areas of the country.
The Goal of Green Building
The goal of a green building is to build to last a minimum of 50 years, so choosing materials that are durable (last a long time) and do their job with lower maintenance is key. For a home to last a long time, we need to follow basic, simple maintenance routines to preserve the life of the components and materials we choose. Keeping water and moisture at bay preserves our structures by preventing water damage and mold. And water is the number one problem with homes and buildings and causes a host of issues to both the occupants of the home and the structure itself. Pest control is another way to prevent damage and one of many examples of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Simple common-sense practices like covering wood and materials to protect them from rain can prevent all kinds of issues later when the house is completed. I’ve heard countless stories about someone in a home having allergies or other issues and learning there is mold and mildew in the home.
The whole idea of resources doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it’s just being smart about what is being built and making choices, and trade-offs according to the priorities and values of the you, the homeowner and the remodel or build team.
Carpet, flooring, fabrics, cabinetry, countertops and more comprise the resources in our houses. Think of using local resources, recycled and/or renewable materials or even salvaged parts. Products that can be recycled later are a great choice too. Local or regionally appropriate resources usually function better in the local climate too.
There are 3rd party independent certifications to validate what a product or process says it does or offers. The certifications can save a lot of research and time, just ensure they are a 3rd party independent certification.
The home industry does not always do a good job sharing with our homeowners and home buyers what goes into their homes. Through this podcast we hope to encourage people to ask the questions about their homes and the resources in it.
Have a great story about your home pro – designer, remodeler or builder – experience or the stuff that makes up your home? Share it in the comments section below!
To learn more about the simple choices you can make about the resources in your home, read more and listen to the podcast The Stuff our Homes Are Made of – Resources and Materials
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Thank you and have a blessed day.