Friday, August 24, 2012

Green Concrete

Nature is a strong survivor.   Think how it could flourish, if we gave it a helping hand.

When I was growing up in the countryside, most projects were the do-it-yourself variety.  My grandfather had a workshop and he was frequently found there along with a flock of grandchildren.  We watched as he cut new fence posts,  repaired a wobbly table leg or built a wooden form for concrete steps.  Concrete projects were not that frequent, but they certainly were a favorite.   It was fun to see the concrete being mixed and poured, but we all waited for the moment when we would be allowed  to write our initials in the setting cement.  

Back in those days, there was no talk of green living, although the frugal lifestyle incorporated the principles of reuse and repair. My grandmother patiently unraveled the yarn in a worn sweater, saving the good parts to knit a vest, scarf or mittens. When an old shed had to be torn down, my grandfather saved every good piece of wood and hardware to be used in future projects like those concrete forms. Children who got a bit too mischievous, were given the task of straightening used nails. I’m not sure that those were actually reused, but a prominently placed can of them served as an effective deterrent to misbehavior. I don’t think the term “home improvement store” had yet been coined, but trips to the hardware store or lumber yard were rare.

There are obviously not enough old sheds to recycle into today’s high rise buildings or subdivision homes, so I got curious about the term “green building”. The US Green Building Council has a steering committee called LEED (Leadership in Energy And Environmental Design) that has developed rating systems for building design and construction. The standards encompass both new and used buildings and range from residential homes to schools to commercial structures.

One such LEED rated business is Durisol. Durisol builds insulated concrete forms called ICF blocks from recycled, clean waste wood. Besides using wood fiber that would otherwise be discarded, these unique forms contain no foam or polystyrene. You can’t get much greener than that. I’m sure my Grandpa would approve. Do you suppose Durisol would let me put my initials in some of their blocks?

1 comment :

  1. The only nails I was allowed to build things with until I was 10 years old were ones I had straightened!