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Construction Innovations

There ARE options for sustainable home construction and remodeling. What's available to you?

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california trucking pollution solutions Steel. Straw. Software.... Creative thinking.

I was reading a construction company's website that made several interesting points about construction innovation.

When you realize that it takes 20 mature trees to construct a 2,000 square-foot house versus 4 junked automobiles, suddenly you realize you can save more than time and money.

When did someone discover that you can make a home out of junked cars? That's innovative construction strategy!

The Charles Eames House, in Pacific Palisades was designed and built in the late 1940s. The house is semi-prefab, and the materials used are steel frame, factory windows, plaster and glass fabricated in panels.

Innovation abounds in construction technolgies and techniques. The construction website has published a wide variety of innovative approaches to construction.

From insulated concrete homes to earth-sheltered houses to steel structures to straw bale construction -- innovation is blossoming. Some of these construction techniques are ancient -- such as rammed earth and thatched roofs. Some are just barely beginning, such as recycled steel panels and structural insulated panels.

Alternative building methods range from earth plaster, straw bale, cordwood, cob to living roofs, and in Southern California we are beginning to see more of these techniques used. As building codes are examined for sustainable flexibility, we will be seeing more. And as architectural and landscape designers cross traditional lines, we'll see environmental and livability design criteria merge.

Some local building codes are more eco-friendly than others, and our research shows that no straw bale houses are currently allowed in the Los Angeles County area -- yet they abound in San Diego and points north, such as the San Francisco region.

Policy changes are made when professionals and financial sources who know the system request changes. There's a great opportunity in Southern California for innovative professionals to step forward and request that policy changes be investigated and implemented. There are prototypes in localities and industy niches. There is a growing demand for alternatives that cost less, emit less pollution, and use fewer natural resources.

There's also a growing appreciation of the esthetics of sustainable design. Less eye candy. More classic, functional design. The green industry is stretching its muscles to accomodate this new design attitude.

Stay tuned...and share your insights into innovative, sustainable construction with your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers...and us!

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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