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NEWSLETTER ARTICLES From the archives...


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Each year, the green building industry churns out new products that make sustainability an option in nearly every aspect of construction.

Throughout the past few months, the construction industry has seen the rise of exciting and innovative materials including smog-eating tiles, PVC-free carpet tiles, “stones” made from paper and solar panels that take cues from the sun’s location as to when to get rid of accumulating snow or hunker down during gale-force winds.

As the use of fossil fuels continues to affect the globe’s atmosphere, makers of construction materials are looking for innovative ways to keep the harmful effects of smog at bay. BoralPure tiles, a series of smog-eating tiles made by Boral, were the first tiles on the market that can be affixed to residential or commercial buildings to help alleviate the affects of smog. A catalyst, which is embedded in the roof tiles, allows them to reduce nitrogen oxide that’s created by pollution and creates cleaner air for those living or working in and around the buildings.

Other harmful materials can come in the form of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are used largely as stain-repellants in carpets. InterfaceFLOR has created a carpet tile with no PFCs, which keeps the environment from being contaminated and the health of building residents intact.

While some materials, like PFC-free carpet and smog-eating tiles are manufactured from new materials, others, such as PaperStone products, are made from recycled ones. PaperStone is exactly what it sounds like — stone made from paper. Makers of the product use 100 percent recycled paper and press it together in a high-pressure process that creates a stone-like surface. Cabinets, countertops and other products have been made using the same process. PaperStone also manufactures RainStone cladding materials, which can be used on exterior walls.

While solar panels have been used for years, AllEarth Renewables has taken them a step further and made them especially useful for builders in areas with distinct seasonal patterns. The AllSun Trackers wake with the sunrise and immediately tilt northward to get rid of snow or other materials that may have fallen during the night. In extremely windy conditions, they’re built to automatically move themselves into a position that’s parallel to the ground, which keeps them from being uprooted.

Through the use of these products, and others that are constantly making their way into the sustainable building market, construction, architecture, engineering and design firms can be sure they’re environmentally-friendly as well as functional.

BuildingGreen.com; “Top 10 Products for 2012: Our Picks for a Resilient Future.”
Yahoo.com; “Top Five Green Building Materials of 2012.”

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