Why Choose Green Building Products?

By Heather Curless, Owner GREENER STOCK

The term “green building materials” means different things to different people. To many it means constructing or remodeling buildings to be energy efficient by increasing insulation, sealing air leaks, and upgrading mechanical equipment, appliances, and lighting. This is a great first step in creating sustainable buildings. But did you know that many traditional building materials, especially interior finishes, can actually be detrimental to the interior air quality in these new, tightly sealed buildings?

Many traditional building materials contain toxins such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and urea formaldehyde. These are used in insulation, paints, sealants, laminated wood products, flooring, and cabinetry. The chemicals “off-gas” during their lifespan creating odorous and sometimes hazardous interior environments. People exposed to VOCs and urea formaldehyde may suffer throat and eye irritation, nausea, wheezing, coughing, and other allergic reactions. Those with asthma may be at a greater risk of attacks when exposed. The negative impacts are exacerbated when materials containing these chemicals are combined with a building that has been tightly sealed to reduce its energy consumption. Unlike in older buildings, the gasses emitted from the VOCs and urea formaldehyde have nowhere to escape.

I’m not advocating against making energy efficient upgrades. In fact, the upgrades are imperative. In addition to the efficiency upgrades, there are many interior finish alternatives that are simple and affordable to implement in any new construction or remodeling project. One solution is to incorporate building products and interior finishes that limit the use of these hazardous chemicals. There are many low and no VOC paints and sealants on the market. The finishes perform as well if not better than traditional paints and sealants. The paints can be tinted to match any color. Additionally, when shopping for insulation, furniture, cabinetry, and other laminated wood products, look for products labeled as “No Added Urea Formaldehyde” (NAUF).

These are some of my favorite low VOC/NAUF products:
-UltraTouch Natural Cotton Batt Insulation (www.bondedlogic.com): With this insulation, blue jeans have an afterlife. Its insulating value is equivalent to fiberglass but with no added urea formaldehyde and no skin irritation.
-EarthPaint (www.earthpaint.biz): These paints and sealers are low VOC, non-toxic, and naturally derived. The paint is self-priming even on raw drywall.
-Marmoleum (www.themarmoleumstore.com): Linoleum is making a comeback with Marmoleum. But this isn’t your grandmother’s floor. It comes in a floating floor and glue-down options in a variety of modern colors. Because it is made from all natural materials such as linseed oil, wood flour, and rosin, it is naturally anti-static earning it the Allergy and Asthma Friendly certification mark from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
-Plyboo (www.plyboo.com): Smith and Fong are leaders in the industry offering FSC certified bamboo flooring and plywood.
-Kirei (www.kireiusa.com): These are some of the most interesting agri-fiber products I have seen ranging from sheet materials made from sorghum straw (sugarcane) to wall tiles made from coconut shells!
-Torzo Surfaces (www.torzosurfaces.com): If you are not satisfied with Kirei board on your walls, now you can use it as a counter top. Torzo creates durable surfaces out of mundane items such as OSB, MDF, wheatboard, sunflower seed board, and Kirei board. A must see!

Many thanks to Heather for the information – visit Greenerstock’s website for store and product information, www.greenerstock.com

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April 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm 1 comment

Green Homes DO Have Added Value!

Check out the latest from USA today:

Green homes sell for more and faster than other homes

Just what we’ve been waiting to hear!  Jami and I have been trying to get the attention of area appraisers in this regard – the industry’s understanding of the value of energy efficiency, indoor air quality and environmentally responsible building materials has been dragging well behind consumer interest. 

We’ll say it again – green, that over-used and much-abused word, is here to stay.  Let us know what you think, and we’ll keep you posted on great examples of Return on Investment scenarios for eco-upgrades adding value in the local housing market.

On another note… our new website will be up and running very soon!  Keep a lookout…

March 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

Stealthy Green in Delhi Township

 

Maybe a new catchphrase in the making?  Stealthy Green – environmentalism that blends into the vernacular of a particular neighborhood without screaming “I’m different, look at me!” Walking past this ranch home nestled in the hills of Delhi Township, the native-species landscaping might catch your eye (well, okay, so it’s winter… things are a little brown, but it has gorgeous perennials.  Check out the springtime photos on the link below), but its modern-era brick exterior otherwise blends into the architectural flow of the neighborhood.  Behind the thoughtful landscaping and inviting front porch, however, are environmentally minded updates extending way beyond what meets the eye. 

The owners have taken great steps to make it as efficient as possible in their years of ownership, adding a 165-gallon rainwater catchment system with a controlled overflow into an elevated rain garden in back , offering easy access to water exterior plants and the yard full of gardens and little grass to maintain.  Perennial beds are stocked with native, drought-tolerant species and summertime boasts a varied harvest of organic vegetables.

There are new low-flow water fixtures in the totally renovated full bathroom off the finished lower-level; no-VOC paint, timer-controlled exhaust fan and a new hybrid Bryant HVAC system with Puron and a 5-year warranty.  The house boasts updated electric (wired/cabled throughout), outodoor motion sensor lights and CFL’s in every socket. 

Other efficient and valuable peace-of-mind updates include full window replacement in 2000 with efficient insulated vinyl windows carrying a lifetime warranty;  the roof was installed in 1999 with a 25-year warranty; there are glass block windows in the finished basement – as well as a full-walkout with french doors for added natural light (and no steps to get out to the patio and back yard!).  The entire house is very well maintained with an amazing (and I mean amazing)  retro kitchen that the right buyers will find very, very cool.

With 3 bedrooms upstairs, a finished walk-out lower level and great outdoor patio space, this house is a fantastic package with surprising spaces, at an amazing price.  The owners tell us their energy bills average about $150/month, even running a full-time home office.  Call for a tour!  Check out the link:  5087 Grosse Pointe Dr. 

January 29, 2010 at 9:23 pm Leave a comment

Groupons!!!

Economy of scale – what a green concept!  Save on a huge array of things with this fast growing, deal-finding web service.  The power of buying in bulk, online, saving a ton of $ – and with zero packaging!!!

Here’s how Groupon is making the magic happen (get ready, this may be too simple for some to digest):

How It Works

  1. Each day we feature something cool to do at an unbeatable price.
  2. You only get it if enough people join that day… so invite your friends!
  3. Check back the next day for another awesome Groupon!

Check out their Cincinnati website:  http://www.groupon.com/cincinnati/

January 27, 2010 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

First Annual Green Homes Summit!

You CANNOT miss this one!  The Cincinnati Chapter of the US Green Building Council is proud to announce its first annual Green Homes Summit on October 20th, 2009 from noon to 9 p.m.  Hosted at the Savannah Center in West Chester, the Residential Green Building Committee chose the site for its proximity to both Dayton and Cincinnati, in addition to Savannah’s commitment to sustainable building and low-waste event planning.

Please visit the AIA Cincinnati website to register for this momentous event, offering 9 seminars (CEU’s available) ranging from introductory topics on green building and energy efficiency to technical presentation of sustainable materials.  Following the seminars there will be a large panel discussion including representatives from Metropolitan Sewer District, Cincinnati and Montgomery Planning Departments, the Home Builder’s Association and AIA, addressing current restrictions to green building and plans underway to revise building code and city ordinances to promote sustainable initiatives.  The day will be rounded out with the AIA/COTE/CORA annual dinner with keynote speaker John Connell, Architect, Artist, Animator, Author.  For more information, contact Libby Hunter at lhunter@comey.com or 513-260-9632.  Seminar registration and seating at the dinner is limited; the green trade show is free and open to the public noon to 9 p.m.Green Homes Summit  Full image of flier here!  Register now – space is filling up fast!!!

October 10, 2009 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

Celebrate Another Northside Redevelopment Success!

Please join us in celebrating the Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation’s latest two success stories, 1422 and 1425 Chase Ave.  We will be hosting a Grand Opening with both houses open to the community on Thursday, October 8, 2009 from 5-7 pm. 1425 Chase

CNCURC (“Cin-kurk” for you newbies) is making huge strides in their mission to eradicate blighted housing in this area of Northside, improving homeownership rates and raising property values.  Adding to their commitment to urban renewal, energy efficiency and affordability, CNCURC is now bringing accessibility to their repertoire.  Proudly presenting their first accessible home, 1425 Chase, CNCURC’s skilled team has masterfully brought this property back to life, preserving the original charm of the home while making modifications to provide accessibility1422 Chase for a disabled buyer.  1 bedroom, 1 bath, single-floor living, 1425 has original pine floors, IKEA kitchen, energy star appliances  and icynene insulation.  It will be listed on the MLS later this week.

Also complete and offered for sale, 1422 Chase is an artfully restored Italianate 3 bedroom, 2 bath beauty, situated close to CNCURC’s LEED homes, and easy walking distance to the Entertainment District.  Open space for entertaining, high ceilings, new oak flooring, third floor master bedroom, IKEA kitchen and modern fixtures throughout, this home also has off-street parking in back off Mad Anthony.  $167,000. 

We will be rolling out the green carpet for these two homes on the 8th, all are most welcome to come and tour the homes.  Drinks and refreshments will be served.  Please join us in applauding CNCURC in their success!  For more information, call Libby Hunter, 513-260-9632 or lhunter@comey.com.

See you there!

October 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

Ohio Treasurer of State’s “Green Listening Tour”

Ohio Treasurer of State  Kevin Boyce has announced the Treasury will kick off a nine-city “Green Listening Tour” through September and October, with a stop in Cincinnati on Wednesday, September 30.

The tour follows the Treasury’s launch of ECO-Link Energy Conservation for Ohioans,  a program designed to help consumers save money, conserve energy and stimulate the economy by providing new green jobs.

“The Ohio Treasury wants to do its part to help Ohio emerge as a leader in the new green economy,” said Treasurer Boyce.  “The listening  tour provides a platform for Ohio residents to share innovative ideas about ways they are making their homes and businesses more energy efficient and solicit input on the ECO-Link Program.”

Join us at Cincinnati State’s ATLC Auditorium on Wednesday, Septemeber 30th from 5:30-7:30.  Parking in the Central Parkway Garage on campus will be free to all attending.

Panelists include:

  • Libby Hunter, EcoBroker, Comey & Shepherd Realtors
  • Janice Urbanik, Cincinnati Workforce
  • Larry Fiest, Cincinnati State
  • Ralph Wells, Cincinnati State
  • Scott Hawken, NextEra Energy
  • Andy Holzhauser, Cincinnati Energy Alliance
  • Quinten Harris, Ohio Department of Development

September 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm Leave a comment

LEED Accountability

The US Green Building Council announced last week that it is going to begin collecting post-certification energy data from all the buildings it certifies, following independent and in-house research showing that as much as a quarter of LEED-certified buildings are underperforming on energy usage. 

Follow the link to Sunday’s New York Times article below and let us know your thoughts.  Should LEED-certified homes be held accountable for energy use and other qualifying features going forward from the date of certification in order to hang onto their LEED certificate?  It’s a conversation we’re having in the Residential Green Building Committee of our local USGBC chapter.   We’d like to hear your thoughts as well.   Read on:

Some Buildings Not Living up to Green Label, NYT 8/30/09

September 1, 2009 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment

Northside Urban Farm (and its for sale)!

How does your garden grow?

Guerrilla Farmer in Northside

Article in Cincinnati Magazine

Urban farming is on the rise…. and it seems like everyone these days is trying to grow something in their backyard. I’ve gotten small success out of my first attempts at gardening this summer. And I know I’m not alone, the number of homes growing vegetables this year is prediced to jump more than 40% this year compared with just two years ago, according to the National Gardening Association, a non-profit organization for gardening education.   Wow, thats a lot of veggies…

Well, there are some out there who are not new comers to the gardening scene.  One such person is a current client of ours who just to happens to be featured in this months Cincinnati Magazine as the “Northside Guerrilla Farmer.”  Marica Bernstein is a gardening force to be reckoned with.  Marica takes urban gardening and turns it into urban farming.  As you stroll through the garden, you’ll just be amazed at the produce and flowers that abound.  Marica is insistent that it is not very hard to maintain and that the fruits of your labor will be plentiful!  Imagine fresh veggies, herbs and fruits throughout the year… mmm I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Well the good news for those of you looking for a home and wanting a built in farm/garden this lovely Northside property is actually on the market!  Check it out 4223 Leeper St. – Don’t worry Marica isn’t abandoning her love for veggies anytime soon, she’s just moving on to  larger adventures!  If you’re interested in seeing this great home and fantastic garden – give us a call and move in right in time for harvest 🙂

UUrban farming is on the rise…. and it seems like everyone these days is trying to grow something in their backyard. I’ve gotten small success out of my first attempts at gardening this summer. And I know I’m not alone, the number of homes growing vegetables jumped more than 40% this year compared with just two years ago, according to the National Gardening Association, a non-profit organization for gardening education.rban farming is on the rise…. and it seems like everyone these days is trying to grow something in their backyard. I’ve gotten small success out of my first attempts at gardening this summer. And I know I’m not alone, the number of homes growing vegetables jumped more than 40% this year compared with just two years ago, according to the National Gardening Association, a non-profit organization for gardening education.

August 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Clean Energy Conference

Take note of this very worthwhile event – information on how to register below:

EUROPEAN-AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO HOLD CLEAN ENERGY CONFERENCE AND GALA

Ohio Lt. Governor Lee Fisher to Deliver Keynote Speech

CINCINNATI, OH – May 5, 2009 – International, national and regional experts will gather in Cincinnati to present the latest developments in clean energy from both sides of the Atlantic at the European-American Chamber of Commerce (EACC) Conference and Gala on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at the Westin Hotel, 21 East Fifth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. A Tech Expo and Gala Dinner will follow the conference.

The Clean Energy conference, held from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., will present information on public policy and provide international, national and state regulatory updates; detail utility industry response; explain legal and liability issues pertaining to international standardization; and cite technologies and applications. Speakers include Luisa Ragher, Head of Section for Transportation, Energy and Environment, EU Delegation; Sarah Ladislaw, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Dr. Mark Shanahan, Ohio Governor’s Energy Advisor, among others.

A Tech Expo and cocktail networking reception will immediately follow the conference where participants will have the opportunity to meet Tri-State companies promoting their clean energy products and services. The Gala Dinner will round out the evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. where Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher will deliver the keynote.

Admission to the conference is $75 for members, $100 for non-members; admission to the dinner is $110 for members, $125 for non-members; admission to both the conference and dinner is $175 for members, $215 for non-members. To register, please call 513-852-6510.

About The EACC

The European American Chamber of Commerce (EACC) is leading the effort in enhancing business relations & economic development between Europe and companies in the Greater Cincinnati area, through collaboration and education.   The EACC, based in Cincinnati, works in partnership with the EACC, Paris, France, and the EACC,New York.  EACC member companies represent a wide variety of business categories and include companies with US and European headquarters, and Cincinnati area companies doing business or prospective business in Europe.  The EACC includes seven distinct and active committees to serve and provide meaningful outreach to members.   For membership or other information, visit www.europe-cincinnati.com.

May 13, 2009 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

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Who Are We?

Libby Hunter and Jami Stutzman are local Cincinnati Realtors and members of the U.S. Green Building Council who have a passion for sustainable living. Environmental responsibility lies at the core of our business practice - let us show you how we can help with ecologically-minded real estate needs. Please browse our blog, visit our local green vendors' websites and if you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let us show you how green features can make all the difference in your experience!

Contact Us

Jami Stutzman: 513-515-0689
jstutzman@comey.com
Libby Hunter: 513-260-9632
lhunter@comey.com

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