Terri is writer who loves to inspire with words. She is also a facilitator of Ecopsychology workshops & wellness retreats and loves being immersed in nature! For more on her work visit www.onelovelivity.com
There are many advancements in building materials that assist in
saving money and energy. Though research on this topic was initially
launched for energy preservation purposes, it also helps in saving money
as well as preserving environment.
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has determined that nearly $40 billion is spent to air
condition buildings in US, which amounts to one-sixth of the total
electricity generated annually. In order to cut down these costs, EPA
has come up with different roof materials and plans.
products should meet two specific conditions namely (1) They must be
reflective, referring to the amount of light energy being reflected away
instead of absorbing and (2) They must have high emissivity, referring
to the quickness of how the absorbed energy is emitted into the
By research, it has been found that light colors
are effective in reduction of peak demand for cool energy in buildings.
Normally, the roof system is the heavily exposed part of a building to
sun and it tends to absorb energy, serving as a large heat sink. Hence
based on the color of the roof and its reflective nature, the
temperature rise within the roofing system can be altered. When the roof
is enveloped by a white reflective material similar to a single ply
membrane, plenum air space temperature lowers to 90ºF unlike 120ºF in
the case of dark-colored roofs.
St John in the US Virgin Islands has a reputation of being a natural paradise with two-thirds of the island being preserved as a National Park. Living in harmony with the environment is critical on such a small island which is only 9 miles long and 3 miles wide. To maintain the beauty of the island and its environmental integrity there is a push for private developers and owners to adopt an ecological approach to living on the island.
This year a comprehensive guide book was produced to advise all on all aspects of green living on the island. The contents of this booklet includes an outline of the native trees and vegetation, an overview of eco-friendly building, recipes to make green household cleaners and insights into the recycling and disposal of solid waste.
There are also a range of insightful tips for those who are new to the island and ways that visitors can minimize their environmental impact whilst on vacation. The booklet was produced by the Unitarian Universalist Church Green Committee and can be easily downloaded from their website.
I recently went to visit some friends who have built a beautiful cob house in the hills of their Caribbean island home. Cob, which refers to a mixture consisting of earth, clay, sand, straw, and water, is an unusual choice for building materials in the Caribbean. Nevertheless Cob should definitely be considered by anyone looking to build a natural and ecological home.
The major benefits of using cob as a building material, is that it is very inexpensive and relatively easy to work with. Infact this family made their dwelling place themselves and all the children were involved in the process. The mixture can be mixed by hand although in larger projects some people opt to use more mechanical mixing tools.