Kitchen and bath countertops used 650 pounds of recycled glass.
Construction recycling. We did not meet our goal of a “zero-waste” job site, but came very close. All metal, plastic, glass, cardboard, and paper waste was recycled. All untreated lumber and drywall scraps (the largest element by volume) were ground up and plowed into the soil. Ceramic tile scraps were broken and used as aggregate in the earthen rain garden dams. What ended up in the landfill was treated lumber and plywood scraps, Styrofoam packing, and some cork flooring scraps.
Recycled content. We attempted to use recycled or reused content throughout the house. The bathroom and sunroom tile floors were built from Habitat for Humanity ReStore recycled tile. The wood heater’s granite hearth and backdrop are a mosaic of counter scraps diverted from the landfill through an afternoon of Dumpster diving. The kitchen and bathroom concrete countertops used 650 pounds of recycled glass bottle pieces. The shop’s passive solar heating wall uses perforated aluminum sheets from a local demolition project.
No- or low VOC finishes. Excellent indoor air quality was a crucial requirement, as was the sustainability of materials. To ensure no off-gassing of formaldehyde or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), we built all our own cabinets using solid hardwood and certified “no added formaldehyde” (NAF) plywood. All are finished with water-based dye, shellac, and soy urethane. Interior doors are solid core and NAF-rated. The concrete floor is finished with water-based stain and polyurethane. The cork flooring is solid cork, with no engineered wood core, and attached with a zero-VOC glue. All interior paint and wood dyes are also zero-VOC.