eco bridge

Environmental Construction Products and Trends

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Trends in sustainable and environmentally friendly construction continue to inch towards the mainstream, with new products being introduced almost daily that are more cost effective and efficient than ever. Here are some products and trends in environmental construction:

Walls

Use of alternative building materials, including reclaimed woods, recycled metals and non toxic materials are making homes more green from the inside out. Even insulation is becoming more green, with wider usage of a mixture of recycled cotton and denim materials instead of toxic and dangerous to install traditional insulation.

Flooring

There’s a wide range of environmentally friendly flooring options. From concrete to stones, recycled metals, recycled tiles, recycled glass, reclaimed woods, sustainable woods, bamboo, cork and even more environmentally friendly linoleums.

Paints and Finishes

There is now a large amount of paints and stains available for your interiors, including walls, floors, bathrooms, staircases and all your surfaces. These new products are either non-toxic or use much less toxic chemicals, making the eco-friendly choice also the most healthy choice for environmentally sensitive people. In addition, these less toxic paints and finishes are much easier to dispose of.

Carpeting

Traditional new carpeting uses a lot of chemicals to produce. In addition, the installation of new carpeting will typically fill the indoor air in your home with what are called “VOC’s” or volatile organic compounds. These compounds include chemical carcinogens like benzenes and even formaldehyde. That new carpet smell is actually a cocktail of chemicals you are breathing. These chemicals can take several years to dissipate from your indoor air. By using eco-friendly carpeting, you are eliminating or severely decreasing the amount of chemicals you are bringing into your home. Also, the materials used in eco-friendly carpeting are typically recycled or sustainable. Most carpets need padding and these too can be loaded with chemicals. Instead, homeowners can choose new environmentally friendly carpet padding that is made from recycled cotton.

Cabinetry and Countertops

Even kitchen and bathroom cabinetry and countertops can be eco-friendly. New cabinet options include cabinets made from completely sustainable woods using non-toxic finishes. For countertops, new non-toxic composite materials including quartz and recycled glass chips are available. Even the glue used to adhere the cabinets to the countertop can be an eco-friendly water based glue product.

Whether you are building a new home, remodeling or simply performing some upgrades, you won’t want to ignore the many eco-friendly options.

soundproofing material

How Soundproofing Material Works

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Sound vibrations are transmitted through the air, causing problems with noise entering and exiting your home studio. Many materials used in home construction, such as wood and drywall, are conductors of sound. Blocking out these sound waves is the purpose of a soundproof room. This is usually done for a home music studio.

For the highest quality, most complete soundproofing, you should hire a professional. The cost of a professional can be prohibitive for many people. You can construct a soundproof room in your home with a little knowledge and the right soundproofing material.

How Soundproofing Material Works

Soundproofing material works by interrupting sound vibrations. This isolation must be complete, or you are wasting your time. One hole in the material will ruin the effect. Sound waves can travel through the smallest hole or gap in the material.

Fiberglass is the material preferred by many professionals. Lead barriers are often used in professional studios. These need to be installed by someone knowledgeable in both the material and the principles of sound waves. This understanding makes the professional the best choice if you want the job done as thoroughly as possible.

Sound Absorbing Techniques

Sound absorbing and soundproofing materials work differently. Each product has different purposes and the two are not interchangeable.

Acoustical foam is sometimes used by professionals and often used by the do it yourself person. This is not used for soundproofing, but for absorbing the sounds within the studio. Not all foam is created equal and these materials are rated for fire safety. The ratings are listed as class A, B, or C. Fatal fires have resulted from use of inferior materials. The class A material is the most expensive, but is the most fireproof. Your safety is worth the additional expense. When using foam, make sure there is a clear path out of the room in the event of a fire. Fire resistant materials release toxic fumes in a fire, which will kill you faster than the flames.

The purpose of soundproofing material is to reduce the sound waves being transmitted into your studio from the outside. This is generally done through material in the walls, ceiling, floors and windows of the studio. Most materials are rated for the number of decibels the sound is reduced. For the materials to be effective, they must be installed correctly without holes or gaps.

Using and Installing Soundproofing Materials

A double wall is the ideal sound barrier that can be built by the do it yourself handyman. When building a second wall, it’s important to use floor insulation. This prevents the sound waves from being transmitted between the two walls via the flooring. Flooring carries acoustical energy and once the vibrations start, it can be nearly impossible to stop them. Thick carpeting is used because it absorbs these vibrations. There is no sound when walking on thick carpet.

To be effective, don’t just nail sheets of drywall to the existing wall surface. Sound will travel through the wall to the drywall. You need to create two completely independent wall sections. Make sure the studs aren’t directly across from each other. For best results, studs should be staggered across the length of the wall. A concrete surface at the bottom of the wall helps prevent sound from reaching the other wall and ultimately, your room.

The space in between is filled with sound proof material. Insulation can be used and is usually sprayed or blown into the area between the sections. You could also use foam insulating material or wool. Be sure to leave several inches of space between the two walls for absorbing the noise adequately.

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