In 2013, we expect the total market for green building materials to be somewhere around $116 billion. By 2020, that total will be more than $254 billion. The rising use of green building materials in residential properties and continued use of them in commercial properties is part of the reason for this rising expectation. Commercial contractors see these materials in use, as well as the evolving technologies as they become more suitable for homes.
The Palazzo in Las Vegas is a wonderful example of green building materials put in place to conserve water. Outdoor areas that do not have artificial grass use drip irrigation systems. These systems have sensors that keep the hotel from watering their plant life when it does not need water. These systems and other practices like it conserve eight million gallons of water a year for the hotel. Their air-conditioning systems save another 10 million gallons. Because of its green practices, the hotel was recently the “Most Eco Friendly Hotel in America”.
Drip irrigation systems are also being seen in residential lawns. Drier locales benefit the most from this, as they lack the rainfall to sustain grass and other plant life. Another trend is the use of so-called gray water to irrigate gardens. This is the leftover water from laundry and even showers. All of that water would have gone to waste. The resulting savings are quite significant.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is a mantra well known in green industries and homes. It may take some time to catch up, but many businesses are embracing this way of doing business. They reduce their consumption, reuse what they can and recycle what they cannot reuse. The ARIA in Las Vegas has taken about 47% of what would have wound up in landfills and is processing and reusing it. They are even sending food scraps to pig farms.
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The three R’s of the green world are easy to implement at home. Recycle bottles and cans. Reduce your consumption by turning off lights; use gray water from laundry and timing showers. Also, through the process of “up cycling” finding clever uses for old/warn out items is a growing trend. The use plastic bags from grocery stores to organize things around the home are another growing trend. New and innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle are continuing to pop up seemingly daily.
No matter how big businesses get, they can only make so much of a difference. Businesses are begging to truly embrace sustainability. Millions of people visit the strip every year. If a major city in the desert can go green so can we at home. Residences and the people who live in them truly decide if a trend will stick. That is up to new homeowners. Change starts at home, no matter where that change winds up.