Alternative Building Materials
Foundations
Wall and Roof Systems
Framing Materials
Roofing Materials
Siding Materials
Insulation Materials and Radiant Heat
Doors, Windows and Trim
Interior Products
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Decking
Outdoor Products
Building to Help the Environment
About the Author
 
Abbreviations
Organizations
Who to Contact
 
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As you drive down the road, what do you see as you look around your community? Do you see new buildings and homes going up, old structures being restored, and others coming down? Have you ever wondered what could be done to save some of these buildings from destruction? And what about new construction – have you noticed anything new or unusual about building procedures or the types of materials used?

Personally, I'm always interested in seeing what kind of construction is going on. After all, that's my business. But at the same time I really hate to see structures torn down. It particularly bothers me when a builder's high-quality workmanship is wiped out in the blink of an eye. I guess you'd call that progress – here today, gone tomorrow. But the other side of the coin is that an enormous volume of valuable resources – the materials manufactured and used for these structures (which still have plenty of life) – are destroyed, discarded, dumped into landfills or, as is the case in my area, sent to a waste-to-energy plant. Why are we so eager to wipe out and destroy our past? Is it really "progress" or is it that we simply haven't taken the time to understand the dramatic impact such actions have on the quality of life in and around our communities? There are alternatives to everything we do in life. The decisions we make today will affect someone tomorrow or even a few years down the road. That's why it's important to try to make choices that won't have a negative impact in the future. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to make those choices. As a builder and/or remodeler, you need to ask yourself if what you're choosing to do will improve rather than harm your community. You can make a difference!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not preaching against progress. But I do firmly believe that the small stuff we take for granted often has the biggest impact on our lives. So if we can move a building to a new location and save it for someone else to use, that's also a form of progress. If we can refurbish or rebuild it using conventional materials or some of the alternative materials that are mentioned in this book, that's even better. That's a kind of progress that's not destructive. It doesn't promote waste. If everyone throughout the world worked toward the goal of nondestructive progress, just think of the impact it would have on our quality of life! Think of the resources we could save!

 

Introduction:
Making Choices
 
Why Use Alternative Materials?
Can You Save Money or Time?
Do They Meet Building Codes?
Will Your Customer Benefit from These Products?
Selling Alternative Materials
Reusing Materials
Looking into the Future
 
Contact an Organization
from this chapter


Other references on Alternative Building Materials:

2009 Home Builder's Jobsite Codes

2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Carpentry in Commercial Construction

The JLC Guide to Production Carpentry

Planning Drain Waste & Vent Systems, Revised


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