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Tip#

Keep the outdoors outside
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Up to two-thirds of dust and particulates in houses is tracked in on shoes. The dust contains everything from soil and pesticides to abrasive sand, mold, road grime and bacteria. Once these particulates are inside the home, they can be difficult to get rid of.
Benefit By minimizing the amount of contaminants tracked inside,
occupants will have a cleaner home with fewer pollutants, less dirt, and less exposure to potential health hazards..

Application Provide permanent walk-off mats and shoe storage

at home entrances. For entryways, avoid carpet, and specify easily cleaned flooring with a hard surface, such as hardwood, bamboo, ceramic tile or natural linoleum. Provide features near entryways for removal and storage of outerwear and shoes, such as tiled surface and benches for removing shoes, or a mudroom..
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 773

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is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

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Use low VOCs
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Most paint, wood finishes, and oil-based adhesives and caulks “offgas,” releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), major air pollutants and respiratory irritants. The offgassing can continue for months.
Benefit Low and zero-VOC products reduce pollution and the

potential for harmful health impacts, while providing performance similar to traditional products.

Application Paint with low- or zero-VOCs is available from most

major manufacturers. Low-VOC paints contain less than 150 grams per liter (gpl) of VOCs for nonflat finishes, and 50 gpl or less for flat finishes. Paints that contain less than 5 gpl of VOCs are classified as zero-VOC. Use low-VOC products (70 gpl or less) in place of standard adhesives and caulks for all interior applications. Water-based, low-VOC wood finishes (with VOC concentrations of 150 gpl or less) can be used in most applications where oil-based finishes are typically used. If oil-based wood finishes must be used, they should be applied off-site or left to offgas for three to four weeks prior to occupancy.
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 972

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

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all things being eco

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Tip#

Use outside-vented range hoods
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Kitchens produce a lot of moisture that can cause mold growth if not properly ventilated. Gas ovens and cooktops produce carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants. Additionally, cooking food produces odors and particulates.
Benefit Excessive moisture resulting from poor ventilation is

one of the main causes of mold in buildings. Venting range hoods to the exterior reduces the amount of moisture inside the home, and helps prevent adverse health effects from combustion gases and cooking emissions.

Application Exhaust kitchen hoods to the outside. Use range hoods
that are quiet (less than 4 to 5 sones*), so that home occupants will be more likely to use them. Make sure to purchase hoods that are not overpowered, which could lead to depressurization and potentially dangerous backdrafting of fireplaces.
*A sone is a measurement of perceived loudness, scaled for human hearing Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 845

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

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all things being eco

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Tip#

Install lighting controls

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Lighting controls use sensors and timers to turn lights off in unused areas or during times when lighting is not needed.

The traditional on/off switch has long been the lighting control of choice in homes. For rooms with two entrances, three-way switches make it more convenient to turn off lights when leaving the room. However, even with convenient light switch locations, lights are often left on when rooms are unoccupied.

Benefit Lighting controls reduce energy use by having the lights

on for shorter periods of time. The options for lighting control include technologies that sense movement, temperature, or time of day to switch lights on or off.

Application Install lighting controls either at specific locations or

as a whole house system. Lighting controls are especially applicable for exterior uses and are not recommended for use in bathrooms with showers, unless the exhaust fan remains active for at least 20 minutes to remove moisture.
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 886

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

blueegg
all things being eco

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Tip#

Repair leaky duct joints

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For an average home, leaky ducts can waste hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling each year. In fact, leaky ductwork often accounts for 10 to 30 percent of total energy costs. While the increase in energy costs is significant, protecting health and safety is of equal importance.

Leaks in the joints between ductwork allow conditioned air to escape into attics and basements. Mastic maintains a seal for decades, while duct tape loses its effectiveness in 3-5 years.

Benefit Leaky air ducts can cause negative pressure in the house,

which can allow carbon monoxide from gas water heaters and furnaces or mold spores from basements, attics and crawl spaces into the home. Well-sealed ductwork also keeps the house more comfortable.

Application Install mastic at every metal duct joint and around
the bends in elbows. It is important for all ducts to be sealed.
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 806

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

blueegg
all things being eco

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Tip#

Use renewable flooring materials
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Bamboo, cork and natural linoleum flooring are appealing green alternatives to hardwood flooring.

Bamboo is a fast-growing grass that can be harvested in three to five years. Cork is harvested from the outer bark of the cork oak tree; the tree regenerates its bark within about 10 years. Natural linoleum is manufactured primarily from renewable materials such as cork, wood flour and linseed oil

Benefit Rapidly renewable flooring materials are attractive, durable,
and low-toxic; they perform well and reduce pressure to harvest old-growth forests. Bamboo is as durable as most hardwoods; cork and linoleum are naturally fire and moisture resistant as well as sound absorbent.

Application Use these rapidly renewable flooring materials in place
of conventional hardwood, carpet or vinyl flooring. Cork can also be used as underlayment for hard-surfaced flooring to reduce impact noise between rooms.

Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 852

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

blueegg
all things being eco

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Tip#

Use cellulose insulation

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Cellulose is a highly effective insulation made from 100% newspaper. It does not contain formaldehyde, which is common in many fiberglass insulations.

Spray cellulose wall insulation is mixed with low-toxic binders to adhere to stud and joist cavity surfaces. Dry-blown or loose-fill cellulose is treated with borates, natural materials that enhance fire and insect resistance.

Benefit Spray insulation completely fills cavities and penetrations,

thus reducing air infiltration. The binder in the insulation also reduces air movement within wall cavities, reducing moisture intrusion and flame spread. Used correctly, cellulose insulation makes a home quieter, more comfortable and more energy-efficient.

Application Cellulose installation is primarily intended for new

construction or total “gut” renovation, where existing wall surfaces have been removed to the studs. It can also be used for retrofitting walls that have no insulation. For ceilings, spread loose cellulose over ceiling joists or blow into tight cavities to increase ceiling R-value.
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 988

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

blueegg
all things being eco

TM

Tip#

Incorporate recycled fly ash in concrete
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Fly ash is a byproduct of coal burning power plants and can be an inexpensive substitute for a portion of portland cement used in concrete.

Currently, cement production contributes to about 7 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from human sources. If all the fly ash generated each year were used in producing concrete, the reduction of carbon dioxide released would be equivalent to eliminating 25 percent of the world’s vehicles.

Benefit Fly ash increases the strength and durability of concrete.

Using fly ash also reduces the amount of cement needed, thereby decreasing the overall environmental impacts of cement production. It also recycles what would otherwise go into a landfill.

Application Typically, 15-50% of cement can be replaced with

fly ash in residential concrete mixes; however, it must be cured longer than standard concrete.
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 798

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

blueegg
all things being eco

TM

Tip#

Make the most of rainwater

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Today, the average U.S. household uses 146,000 gallons of water per year; up to 50% of that is used for landscaping during summer months.

Harvest rainwater by channeling it through gutters and downspouts to an above-ground cistern or underground gravel dry well. The stored water can then be used for landscape irrigation.

Benefit Water catchment reduces the need to use treated, drinkable
water for watering of lawns and gardens. By capturing water on a 1500 square foot roof, a family could reduce their water bill by 50 percent and save 43,000 gallons of water yearly.

Application Install wherever there is guttered roof runoff and room

for the cistern. Rainwater harvesting is equally appropriate for new construction, renovations, or as an easy upgrade to an existing home.
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 740

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

blueegg
all things being eco

TM

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Replace toilets with low flow models

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By the year 2050, a scarcity of fresh water is projected to become a major limiting factor for healthy, livable communities. Water conservation techniques play an important role in ensuring a continuing water supply.

New toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush compared with old toilets that require 5-7 gallons per flush.

Benefit It is estimated that low flow toilets alone can save up
to 22,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four.

Application Whenever possible, replace existing toilets with

new 1.6-gallon models. New technologies reduce the need for the “double flush” that plagued the first generation of low-flow toilets.
Source: Marin County Community Development Agency, Home Remodeling and Green Building Guidelines. 618

GreenBuildingBlocks.com
is the largest online resource for residential green building and remodeling, featuring more than 1,500 enviro-friendly products, a national directory of 3,000 green building professionals, case studies, how-tos, and much more.

Green Building Blocks is a Blue Egg company

blueegg
all things being eco

TM