Dangers of Going Green
Reported October 2008
TROY, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Green building is a growing trend across the country. Eco-friendlyhomes are being built with recycled wood, solar panels and energy efficient appliances -- but what ishealthy for the environment could hide a growing problem in its walls.Amanda Keating is glowing about her new green home."I’m really proud to live here, and I like to show off," Keating told Ivanhoe.But before you build green, you need to know that if you don’t build these eco-friendly homes right -- youcould be facing a costly problem."You can very quickly get into mold, rot and corrosion kinds of problems," Roger Morse, a green homeconsultant with Morse Zehnter Associates in Troy, N.Y., told Ivanhoe.Morse says knowing where and how to go green is important."Materials that are recycled, which take in water much easier than natural materials, end up in a placewhere they absorb water," he said.Industrial hygienists who often solve mold problems say the materials most at risk for mold includerecycled wood, oriented strand board and paper. The more recycled it is, the more risk of being damagedby water.Keating’s home is mold free -- since she used protected recycled wood for walls. She also used 40percent more insulation than code, which cost about $5 thousand extra. Keating says her choice is payingoff."I was pleasantly surprised by how much the house was appraised for," Keating said.Building green increased the value of her home by 10 to 15 percent.
Mold's Good Side:
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by accident in London in 1928 when he leftplates of bacteria cultures unwashed in his lab for several weeks. When he returned, he found that moldhad grown on one of the plates, and the bacteria were not growing around it.
Recycling is an excellent concept, but we often waste more energy reprocessing our recyclables than we gain. Furthermore, to date, no one has found a cost-effective means of recycling usedfood containers into new food containers. More efficient processes will bring us closer to the goal of notwasting our resources. Although there is a demand for recycled bottle-grade plastic, the high cost of cleaning post-consumer beverage bottles, strict FDA requirements, and outmoded technology havefavored the use of virgin plastic instead of recycled in the manufacturing of beverage bottles. Instead, mostbeverage bottles collected for recycling are reprocessed into non-food products such as fiber andstrapping.
The American Industrial Hygiene Association contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.