Super Savers: The True Cost of Green Construction Materials

Staff

4 Min Quiz

What makes a building green?

A green building is environmentally responsible and doesn't hog resources. It's designed to use energy, water and other resources efficiently; protect the health of those living or working inside it; and reduce waste, pollution and environmental degradation.

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When considering the cost of going green, can you simply compare one building material to another?

Sometimes yes, you can simply compare the cost of green windows to the traditionally used ones. But other times, you can't. For example: Maybe that pricier green insulation means you can install a smaller, cheaper heating/cooling system, resulting in an overall savings.

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Using high-quality salvaged materials in your building project is green and can save money. What are some of the best salvaged materials to incorporate?

Look for doors, cabinets, glass and metal to salvage and reuse, as they offer some of the best savings and retain their quality.

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When looking for green building materials, you need to be wary of greenwashing. What is that?

Greenwashing is the practice of misleading consumers about a product's environmental benefits or a company's environmental practices. When selecting building materials, make sure you or your builder know which products are legitimately green.

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What percentage of green do-it-yourself building/construction products have honest labels?

According to a 2010 study by TerraChoice, 31.7 percent of DIY building/construction products carried legitimate eco-labels, an increase from previous years. Unfortunately, the percentage of legitimate eco-labels for all other products, such as household cleaners, declined.

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What are two of the most credible certifications that construction materials can carry?

If a construction material carries an EcoLogo, Energy Star, GREENGUARD or UL Environment label, it's trustworthy.

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Straw-bale construction is very inexpensive. Bales are made from the leftover stems of harvested grains. Which grain type creates most bales used in straw-bale construction?

Originated in Nebraska in the 1880s, straw-bale construction today mainly uses leftover rice stems.

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You shouldn't choose a window simply by its cost or efficiency rating. Why?

No one window is suitable for every location. A fixed-pane window is inexpensive and airtight, for example, but it's designed for rooms where you want more sunlight, but not ventilation.

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What are the pros of installing recycled shingles?

Recycled shingles are among the most popular roofing products. Made from recycled waste materials (plastic, rubber, wood fiber), they often carry 50-year warranties, and some have fire ratings that can lower your insurance premiums.

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Does it really save money to lower your home's temperature on cold winter nights?

There's a common misconception that if you lower your home's temperature for several hours, your furnace has to work so hard to warm the air that it negates any energy savings you'd achieved in the first place. But the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, lowering your home's temperature in the winter always saves money.

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About This Quiz

Sure, you'll save energy and money when you go green, but how much do you know about what it costs to make the switch? Test your knowledge and take our Super Savers: The True Cost of Green Construction Materials quiz!

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