Sustainable Building

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Sustainable building materials can be just as beautiful and functional as they are eco-friendly. As more and more homeowners and builders go green, brick masonry construction is becoming an important player in green building and sustainable home design. This is because bricks are inherently green and result in gorgeous structures that last for generations to come.

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Saving water (and money) is easy with a residential rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater is great for watering all gardens and plants, including edible ones. The two most common home rainwater harvesting systems are rain barrels and cisterns. Rain barrels are easy to install and use and do not require any type of permit. Large cistern systems that hold more than 100 gallons and involve pumps will warrant the help of a professional to obtain the proper permits.

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The concept of sustainability dates back to the 1970s when the energy crisis, uncontrolled pollution and environmentally damaging materials made the world realize we couldn’t depend on fossil fuels forever. Fortunately, new studies have unveiled the benefits of renewable resources, recycling existing materials and adopting sustainable practices to help turn things around, and in industries such as organic architecture, professionals of all stripes are trying to do their part to better the world.

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Bamboo is making a greater appearance in modern home design as conscientious owners and sustainable architects are learning more about this material’s great sustainability factors.

As the fastest growing wood producing plant in the world, bamboo is tougher than steel when it comes to tensile and compression strength. It’s also harder than red oak and maple, and isn’t as susceptible to warping from temperature or humidity as conventional wood products. Add to these factors rapid growth, improved air quality and breathtaking beauty, bamboo is truly a favorite material in sustainable architecture.

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Our earliest ancestors understood the concept of sustainable architecture without realizing there was a name for it. They set up home in savannas, woodlands and caverns that provided the proper amount of natural light, protection from weather extremes and plenty of plants and vegetation to survive and barter. Unfortunately, centuries passed before we began to consider these benefits of biophilic architecture.

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outdoor lighting

An important facet of sustainable architecture is to reduce energy consumption and your carbon footprint. Although it may seem insignificant, something as simple as replacing ordinary incandescent bulbs in your home with Energy Star-rated products can add up to substantial savings on both your energy bills and your home’s carbon footprint.

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The natural charm and warmth of wood has long been recognized by designers and homeowners alike as one of the preeminent material choices for historic homes. Its multicolored tones and subdued textures have often been imitated, but never truly reproduced by other materials, both naturally or man-made.

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Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are semiconductors that emit light when voltage is applied. Although they’ve been around in limited form since the 1960s, it wasn’t until the last decade that they gained in popularity as an energy efficient lighting source. With a high light output and a wide range of colors available, LEDs are now used for both general and targeted lighting.

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An important facet of sustainable architecture includes using building materials that are not harmful to the environment, as well as reusing materials whenever possible. Salvaged wood can be upcycled and used in many applications that meet both of those criteria. Considering the beauty, uniqueness and historical quality of reclaimed wood, you should not overlook its usefulness.

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In an era where energy-efficiency is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, when it comes to lighting a home effectively, modernizing the lighting in an historic preservation can be a challenge for both the homeowner and the architect. In order to protect the integrity of historic preservation in New England, finding a balance between the natural daylight and historic light fixtures with modern upgrades is essential.

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