Building Green: Products from Nature Point, our 2008 Idea Home
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Classy and eclectic furniture
We mixed finishes and furniture styles to create the design of our Idea Home. It was easy with Harden's style collections, diverse upholstery choices and wide array of custom finishes. The company's handcrafted, SFI-certified (Sustainable Forestry Initiative), built-right-here-in-the-U.S.A. furniture was the right choice for our green home (315/245-1000; harden.com).
See a room-by-room slide show of our Nature Point Idea Home
Organization is a top priority for most of us. Hidden storage allows us to put our things in order and keep our homes looking beautiful. The ClosetMaid Selectives line adds custom organization in the closets throughout our home. In the three-car garage, we lined the back wall with Dimensions cabinetry and shelving designed to organize this space (800/874-0008; closetmaid.com).
Efficient window coverings
We used several window coverings to improve the heating/cooling efficiency of our home. Architella double honeycomb shades deliver one of the highest heat-loss prevention percentages in the industry. Pirouettes offer "daylight" for electricity savings, while Screen Shades are PVC-free and recyclable (800/274-2985; hunterdouglas.com).
An important element in our home's exterior design is the green and sustainable James Hardie fiber cement shingle siding. ColorPlus technology offers a 15-year warranty for its baked-on paint color. The products resists rotting or cracking and damage from rain, hail, and flying debris, making it perfect for the Midwest (888/542-7343; jameshardie.com).
With the average family using more than 300 gallons of water a day, smart plumbing choices are critical for long-term water conservation. Kohler's water-saving showerheads and faucets with low-flow aerators deliver an impressive 30 percent water savings. Dual-flush toilets save thousands of gallons of water as well (800/456-4537; kohler.com).
KraftMaid's semi-custom cabinetry that looks like fine furniture made it a pleasure to design storage in various rooms. KraftMaid has received Environmental Stewardship Certification from its industry peers for green practices, including use of recycled, sustainable and low formaldehyde-emitting materials. With a wide variety of wood species, door styles, finishes, hardware, glass options, interior storage choices and more, this company was the logical choice (800/571-1990; kraftmaid.com).
Made by Vetrazzo, the home's counters (except for the kitchen's granite) are made out of repurposed discarded glass from windshields, bottles, traffic lights, stemware and plate glass windows. The material offers a new, energy-saving market for recycled glass and creates unique-looking countertops (510/234-5550; vetrazzo.com).
Windows for all climates
The windows we installed in our show home exceed the National Fenestration Rating Council requirements and meet Energy Star guidelines in all U.S. climate zones. Marvin windows are designed to perform for many years, but when disassembled, the major components are easily recycled (888/537-7828; marvin.com).
High-quality plants and shrubs
Proven Winners, a leading brand of high-quality flowering plants and shrubs in North America, was our first choice for this home's gardens. The company's knowledge and expertise of what grows best in the Midwest, what's hardy and what wouldn't require as much watering proved invaluable for our conservation efforts in the garden (877/865-5818; provenwinners.com).
We chose Premium Plus paints from Behr because they are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), meaning they're generally odor-free and latex/water-based, so they don't release pollutants from chemical solvents into the air. A wide range of colors allowed us to choose nature-influenced tones for our environmentally friendly home (800/854-0133; behr.com).
Protecting metal surfaces
Known for its protective qualities on any metal surface, Rust-Oleum paints were an obvious pick for decorative ironwork on our Idea Home. We chose Professional High Performance Protective Outdoor Enamel because it is a heavy-duty paint that retains colors against the elements and is corrosion resistant (800/323-3584; rustoleum.com).
Garage floor camouflage
We wanted to make our garage more livable, organized and even attractive. Rust-Oleum's EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating is a showroom-quality surface that protects against gasoline, antifreeze, motor oil, salt and more. Mix-in Flakes camouflage loose dirt, and an Anti-Slip additive enhances safety (800/323-3584; rustoleum.com).
Front door beauty
Protecting the beauty of our mahogany front door was a two-step process with Rust-Oleum Varathane products. First we sealed the wood with a Sanding Sealer. Then we applied Premium Spar Urethane sealer because it provides maximum UV protection to guard against sun damage. Expansion or contraction because of weather won't affect the finish (800/323-3584; rustoleum.com).
Our home's hardware is a small but important detail. Schlage handle-sets, levers and knobs in brushed nickel tones add distinctive design flair throughout the home, complementing its contemporary, eclectic style. A keypad entry lock/deadbolt provides convenient, personalized and changeable security for peace of mind (800/847-1864; schlage.com).
Durable and permeable pavers
The Environmental paver collection is all-weather durable and ecofriendly. Pavers are designed to allow water to permeate and directly enter the ground, reducing the negative effects of runoff on the local watershed. Plus, the pavers add natural texture to landscape areas that will look great and be green at the same time (877/235-4273; belgardfall.com).