During the construction documents phase, it's time to provide the final details of design at a level that enables contractors to bid and build the project. During this phase, product and design specifications become "locked in" and are not easily altered. Therefore, decisions during this phase are important in determining whether we can reach the project's sustainability goals, especially if we're committed to using new methods or systems with which a local code official or contractor may not be familiar.

In this phase, we'll have a more intense focus on materials and resources. We'll consider using salvaged or reclaimed materials, perhaps from nearby demolition sites; recycled-content materials, such as fly ash in concrete or countertops made from recycled newsprint; locally sourced materials (instead of, for example, marble quarried in Italy, shipped to India for finishing, then shipped to the United States); bio-based materials such as bamboo, cork, linoleum, wheatboard cabinets, and natural fiber carpets; and sustainably harvested wood.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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