Despite the fact that we are now living in the 21st century, aerogel insulation seems like a material out of science-fiction. It is the lightest solid known, although by volume it is 99% air. It is breathable, but it doesn't absorb water. It is incredibly strong for its weight. But most importantly, it is a fantastic insulator.
InFuez, Inc., the maker of Fuez solid slab surfaces, is being mentioned more and more these days (first noticed in the Portland SIPs House). Fuez is made of low-carbon cement, curbside recycled glass, and a natural aggregate in a facility that’s 100% wind powered in Portland. Fuez can contribute to up to 5 LEED credits and can be used as tiles, flooring, or countertops. It’s a handsome product and pricing is competitive with, if not more affordable than, traditional stones and other recycled content products.
If you like bamboo, you may be interested in this new bamboo subway tile from Anchor Bay Tile. Available in autumn blush, chestnut, ebony, and natural (see below), the three-by-six inch tile is made in the USA with bamboo that's harvested at maturity between 5.5 to 6 years. Anchor Bay Tile uses bamboo that qualifies for SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certification and claims the tiles work well in dry applications for both residential and commercial projects.
When searching for a green exterior cladding material, you may consider a corrugated, recycled, or composite material. But if you're really looking to wear environmentalism on your sleeve, natural bark is gaining popularity these days. The best bark shingles can last 75 years and contain no chemicals. Recently, Nan Chase, co-author of Bark House Style, recently contributed an interesting article to The Christian Science Monitor about using bark shingles on her new home in Asheville, North Carolina.
At the end of each year, Environmental Design + Construction magazine reviews products mentioned in its New+Notable and Products Focus sections. The magazine next examines these products for the fifteen that received the most reader requests. ED+C's 2009 Top Products contains a number of entries designed to save water or manage water. You've probably seen some of these products already, whether on BuildingGreen's Top-10 Green Building Products list or in our green materials archives. If not, check these out: