When you begin a construction project or renovate or even just redecorate, use green building materials to benefit not only the environment but the health of its inhabitants.
According to [GreenBuilding.com](http://GreenBuilding.com), “Green building is a design and construction process that promotes the economic health and well-being of your family, the community and the environment. A smart step towards personal economic rewards, Green Building also has positive social and environmental ramifications that assert your commitment to the future and the way we live for years to come.” GreenBuilding.com also has a fact list of the environmental and personal harms that come from traditional building practices, including:
+ Older toilets use 3.7-7 gallons per flush
+ Dishwashers use 8-14 gallons per cycle
+ Top-loading washers use 45 gallons/load
+ A dripping faucet waste 15-21 gallons per day
+ US water users withdraw enough water to fill a line of Olympic-size swimming pools reaching around the world EVERY DAY (300 billion gallons)
+ Although our planet is 71 percent water, humans depend on a mere .65 percent of the water for survival – much of which is polluted.
+ About a quarter of the nation’s largest industrial plants and water treatment facilities are in serious violation of pollution standards at any one time.
+ An estimated 7 million Americans are made sick annually by contaminated tap water; in some rare cases this results in death.
**Indoor Air Quality:**
+ US EPA ranks indoor air pollution among top five environmental risks. Unhealthy air is found in up to 30% of new and renovated buildings
+ W.H.O. reports that indoor air pollution causes 14 times more deaths than outdoor air pollution (2.8 million lives)
+ Of hundreds of EPA-regulated chemicals, only ozone and sulfur dioxide are more prevalent outdoor than indoors
+ 20 percent of all housing in the US has too much lead dust or chippings (causes kidney and red blood cell damage, impairs mental and physical development, may increase high blood pressure)
+ Although the US is home to only 4.5 percent of the global population, it is responsible for over 15 percent of the world’s consumption of wood.
+ In the US, pesticides poison 110,000 people each year. More than one-third of calls to animal poison control centers result from pets exposed to pesticides.
+ The volatile organic compounds (including pesticides) found indoors are believe to cause 3,000 cases of cancer a year in the US.
+ According to the New York State Attorney General’s office, 95 percent of the pesticides used on residential lawns are considered probable carcinogens by the EPA
+ 2,4-D–a component of Agent Orange–is used in about 1,500 lawn care products
By following Green Building practices, like those set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which can be found at [www.usgbc.org/LEED/](www.usgbc.org/LEED/) you can reduce much of the energy waste and avoid the health and environmental contaminants of traditional building.
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