Category Archives: Green Building

Deck Design – Green Building with Ipe Decking – Part 2

Deck Design of the Week

Green Home in Michigan

Yesterday, you saw the beginning stages of a green building project designed by Danny Forster, host of Build it Bigger & Extreme Engineering on the Discovery Channel. The finished Omena Lake front home is truly spectacular. Two features that are of particular interest are the extended deck / living room area and the eco-roof. In fact, Danny even shows you how eco-roofing is installed. I have to say, I learned a lot about green building and design from Danny. When he explains how they analyzed the wind patterns of the area to position the home in such a way that wind would keep the home cool throughout the day, I was blown away (pun very much intended)!

Here’s Danny giving you an extended tour of the newly completed Green home:

I was also thankful that Danny gave such a clear and concise description of how eco-friendly wood is cultivated and harvested. This is important to note because according to Danny, he used certified FSC wood throughout the home. So, all of the ipe decking you see comes from sustainable forestry practices that have been monitored by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Why did he use FSC Ipe Decking? If you recall, Danny is trying to get as high of a LEED rating as possible. In fact, because of all of the brilliant designs ideas and the eco-friendly products that he used, Danny has told me that the home received LEED Gold status. That’s pretty significant because this home is only one of seven in all of Michigan to receive that level of LEED certification.

We hope that this home inspires you to use green building materials and techniques. Finally, for those that think that green building is expensive, think again. Danny specifically makes the point that building this green home, even with all of its features and eco-friendly wood and materials, cost the same as any home in the area.

Also, thanks to Danny Forster for taking the time to answer my emails and for the information he provided.

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Deck Design – Green Building with Ipe Decking – Part 1

Deck Design of the Week

Green Building in Michigan

Today’s Deck Design of the week is a two-parter. We’re going to look at the before and after phases of building a green home that has some wonderful sustainable and eco-friendly features.

The mind behind this home’s beauty is Danny Forster, host of Extreme Engineering and Build it Bigger on the Discovery Channel. He’s also a Harvard grad and, as evidenced by the lake front home in Michigan, a heck of an architect.

Today, we’re going to see Danny take you through a behind the scenes look at how a Green home is constructed. This Omena Lake front home is also going for either Gold or Platinum LEED certification, so you can tell that there are some serious and revolutionary design and architectural elements being used for this home.

As you can also see, there is no shortage of ipe being used in this home. Danny Forster has used both ipe decking and ipe siding in ways that are, at once beautiful, but also eco-friendly.

Tomorrow, we’ll see the finished product. If you’re planning to build a green home or are curious about LEED for homes, you’ll definitely want to take notes. You’ll also get some wonderful design and energy-saving ideas that are truly unique.

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Wholesale Decking is Available

Ipe decking is such a reliable, durable, and YES, renewable wood material that it is gaining increased notoriety throughout the world. In the United States, this exotic hardwood is being used in a variety of commercial applications. Local cities and municipalities that need commercial decking are even starting to use ipe in eco-friendly parks and bridges. In doing research I have found architects using ipe for both siding and sunscreens.

From hotels, to resorts, to restaurants, to office buildings, there are many commercial decking options available. By far, the one clear cut favorite among architects, designers, and business owners is ipe decking and Brazilian walnut flooring. The main reason for this is because commercial ipe can be both cultivated and harvested from environmentally safe and sound forestry practices. At Advantage Trim & Lumber, offer wholesale decking and are constantly shipping eco-friendly ipe to commercial building projects throughout the United States.

Commercial Decking

With green building gaining increasing popularity, Continue reading

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LEED Requirements & Ipe Wood

There are many different LEED requirements that builders and architects can take advantage of. One particular credit is the MRc7 credit.

If a green building project uses a certain percentage of FSC wood, they can qualify for this LEED credit. If you want to qualify for this LEED credit, your project must have installed at least 50% of FSC wood. An exemplary performance Innovation in Design credit can be attained if you use 95% FSC certified wood.

There are many different kinds of FSC wood available including:

  • FSC Ipe
  • FSC Cumaru
  • FSC Tigerwood
  • FSC Garapa

The great thing about building green and LEED construction projects is that they are extremely creative. The green building revolution is certainly pushing the envelope when it comes to how hardwoods like ipe wood can be utilized. One such example that I recently found was the recently opened Eco Park in the Discovery Green Conservancy project in Houston, Texas. 60% of the wood used throughout the whole park used ipe hardwood. Using ipe hardwood helped the Discovery Green park project earn a Gold level LEED certification.

The designers and planners of Discovery Green chose ipe for the following reasons: Continue reading

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U.S. Postal Service – Uses Ipe Wood for Green Roof Project

Who says the US Government can’t do anything right?

Recently, the United States Postal Service unveiled its new Green Roof for one of its major mail processing facilities. As a New York City native, I can tell you that the building in question is H-U-G-E. This building is so big, that when they decided to promote eco-friendly products as well as promoting energy efficiency, they were creating the largest green roof in all of New York City.

What makes this green building project even worth mentioning? Well, if you haven’t guessed by now, they used ipe wood as part of the green roof project! What’s even better is that they chose FSC ipe!

Once again, this proves that ipe wood is fast becoming a standard hardwood when it comes to green building projects and eco-friendly construction. I’m happy about this because in a tough city like New York, it’s great that they chose the toughest wood possible for such a wonderful project.

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Green Building with Ipe Decking & FSC Wood

There are so many great resources out there to help you build a green deck, or install eco-friendly flooring. Thanks to increased demand and the efforts of governments throughout the world, eco-friendly products are not going to become a fad, but hopefully an industry standard. Obviously, this is important because if the construction industry and the lumber industry fail to recognize that there are only so many resources in the world, they are basically leading to their own demise. After all, there is a point where the damage caused by the old ways of forestry lead to irreparable damage that causes great harm to both our environment and our civilized society. If you think this is just some typical tree-hugger propaganda, think again… Continue reading

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LEED Certification – The Basics of This Green Building Initiative

The LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) was established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide the construction and building industries with a verifiable system to define exactly what a green building is. Using a point system, an eco-friendly building can achieve LEED certification. The more points a green building accumulates, the more prestigious the LEED Certification. If you think all it takes to get LEED Certified is screwing in a couple of compact fluorescent light bulbs, think again.  The USGBC has put in place a set of strict policies and procedures that must be followed. The good news is that there are various ways that a building project can earn LEED certified.

Here are the various LEED Certification levels:

  • LEED Certified – 40-49 points
  • LEED Silver – 50-59 points
  • LEED Gold – 60-79 points
  • LEED Platinum – 80 points & over

The Materials Resource Credit 7 (MRc7) is a great LEED credit to plan for. Continue reading

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