Cork, commonly known for its use as a wine bottle stopper, is also a fantastic green building material. Cork is made from the outer bark of the cork oak tree which can be found in the Mediterranean region. A typical tree produces several hundred kilograms of cork at each harvesting and will survive for many generations. Cork is harvested on a sustainable basis. Unlike other trees, stripping the cork bark from the tree does not harm the tree, in fact a cork oak tree can be safely harvested 20 times during its life cycle. This rapidly renewable resources makes cork an ideal sustainable building material.
In celebration of each Mighty House anniversary we make a donation to an outstanding non-profit in the area. We like to give back to this community which has given so much to us. There are so many organizations doing such great work it makes it very difficult to choose. In celebration of our 6th year in business we have chosen to donate to Homestead Community Land Trust.
Homestead’s mission is to empower individuals, stabilize families, and strengthen neighborhoods by creating and preserving affordable home ownership opportunities for low to modest-income homebuyers in the Seattle area. Through this program individuals and families are able to achieve homeownership and stay in their community – ever increasingly areas they may have otherwise been forced to leave due to rent increases. Homeownership helps to increase financial stability for these families because their resources are no longer tied up in commuting, paying high rent, or relocating frequently. And unlike the traditional housing market, homes purchased through Homestead remain affordable for every new buyer even when the previous owner decides to sell. Each dollar spent on a Homestead home is a lifetime investment towards sustainable homeownership and community stability. What is not to love about that! Learn more here.
This year’s West Seattle Summer Fest was a warm one! Although it was a bit too hot, we were grateful that it didn’t rain, as well as for the ability to connect with all our neighbors in West Seattle and beyond. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say “hi!”
While temperatures reached into the low 90’s, Laura braved the GreenLife Stage to share information about “Building with Reclaimed Materials” (co-presented with Second Use Building Materials) and “Smart Home Maintenance.”
If you didn’t get a chance to catch Laura’s presentation on Smart Home Maintenance at the West Seattle Summer Fest, here are her tips. Enjoy
PS – We are always looking for ways to spread the good word about sustainable building and living. Please let us know if you you are involved with a community group that would appreciate hearing some tips on the topic.
Mighty House’s Tips for Smart Home Maintenance
- Keep it Local by actively seeking products that are ideally manufactured locally and sold by a locally owned business.
- No- or Low-VOC Paints are produced with less harmful chemicals and won’t make you or your family sick. Any manufacturer can color match these days, allowing quality to be your guide.
- Flooring such as bamboo, cork, FSC or reclaimed hardwoods, marmoleum (a non-toxic sheet material) and tile are easier to keep clean and don’t allow for build-up of toxins. If you must have carpet, use a super-dense, natural wool carpet.
- Reduce Energy Consumption using Energy Star® certified appliances to save you money in the long-term through reduced energy use, and often in the short-term as well through rebates via city, state, and federal programs. Use “smart” powerstrips with master controls. Put a hot water timer on your hot water tanks. Install solar!
- Use Water Sense® certified fixtures which reduce water consumption without compromising water pressure. It’s functional, good for the planet, and your pocketbook.
- Salvaged Building Materials are sustainable, cost-effective, and unique solutions to home improvement! Your friends and family will ooh and ahh when they learn the story of your salvaged materials.
- Batten Down the Hatches with insulation and air sealant. Don’t forget above your can lights and behind exterior wall outlets.
- Abide by the Three R’s: Reduce your consumption. Reuse what you can. Recycle the rest.
- Educate Yourself and Make Mindful Decisions by using our methodology.•Is it healthy? •Is it eco-friendly? •Is it financially smart? •Is it functional? •Is it unique?
- Clean Green – homemade cleaning solutions create a healthy living space and save money.
- All-purpose Cleaner — 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar, 4 drops of essential oil (optional), a drop of dish soap. It’s a great window cleaner! (You will need to use it 2-3 times before it will cut through the wax build-up from commercial products, after which you can stop using the dish soap).
- Soft-Scrub — 1 c. baking soda, 1/4 c. liquid castile soap, 2 tsp. vegetable glycerin (as a preservative), 2-4 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, or rosemary (optional). mix and store in a sealed glass jar.
- Natural Disinfectant Spray — 1 c. distilled water, 1/2 c. vinegar, , 2-4 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, or rosemary.
- Relevant websites: • lung.org/healthy-air/home/resources/cleaning-supplies.html• ewg.org/research/greener-school-cleaning-supplies
Looking for ideas on how to use salvaged materials? We are regularly inspired by our friend and co-hort Sheena’s blog. A self proclaimed “Salvage Warrior Princess”, she is also a thoughtful and outstanding designer, whose salvaged design consultation services are available through Second Use Building Materials.
Fall rainstorms can bring lots of rain, falling leaves and other debris. Those leaves can clog our local storm drains, making it difficult for standing water to be carried away from our homes.
One way you can help is by bringing a small rake or broom on your neighborhood walks. By brushing the leaves and debris away from the drain, you can help prevent flooding in your neighborhood. If you can, put them in a nearby yard waste bin, but if you can’t, even a little pile on the right of way is better than a flood!
If a small sweep into the yard waste bin isn’t enough to clear your drains, call the experts at Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800.