In my many hours of research I began to notice that anything and everything could be found on the web. So being an architect and someone who likes to learn I decided to combine the two and design a home from the ground up and going green doing it.
Our first step of construction is the foundation. After searching hours and hours I came across the following list of suggestions on going green that will help you to increase energy efficiency, reduce your environmental impact, and create a healthier home.
Green Suggestions for an Environmentally Friendly & Energy-Efficient Foundation
So, just what are your options when it comes to going green with foundations, retaining walls, and waterproofing? Here's a list of suggestions on going green that will help you to increase energy efficiency, reduce your environmental impact, and create a healthier home.
Use Concrete that Contains Recycled Waste—The bad news is that cement production is a major source of world carbon dioxide emissions. The good news is that as much as 50 percent of the Portland cement added to concrete can be replaced by recycled waste materials, including fly ash from coal fired power plants, rice hull ash, and ground blast furnace slag. Even better, these additives can increase the strength, water resistance, and durability of the concrete (though they will slow drying times).
Insulate Your Foundation Using Rigid Insulated Concrete Forms or Rigid Foam Insulation—Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are innovative interlocking rigid foam blocks and panels that hold concrete in place during the curing process, and serve as an extra layer of insulation for your foundation once things have dried. If you don't use ICFs, consider adding a 2-inch layer of rigid closed cell foam insulation to the exterior of your foundation before you backfill.
Use Environmentally Friendly Building Products—Many products associated with foundation construction, such as petroleum based form-release agents and damp proofing materials, can release harmful VOCs into the air and lead to soil and groundwater contamination. Use environmentally friendly, biodegradable options instead.
Reuse Form Boards or Use Metal Forms—Form boards often consist of larger, solid lumber harvested from old growth trees that are discarded after a single use. Use reusable metal forms instead, or save old form boards for use on future projects.
Use Recycled Concrete for Backfill and Retaining Walls—There is a lot of old concrete out there that can be broken into blocks and used to build retaining walls or crushed to provide backfill and facilitate good drainage. You'll save money over buying more expensive materials, and save some useful "waste" from ending up in the landfill.
Install Non-vented Crawlspaces & Insulate Crawlspace Areas—Since crawlspaces are uninhabited, outdoor ventilation isn't really necessary. Unventilated crawlspaces will stay cooler in the summer, and drier in the winter when moisture buildup can be a problem. Furthermore, consider insulating your crawlspace walls and applying a layer of polyethylene sheeting to the floor and walls to keep moisture levels down.