• Reduce framing material requirements by adopting new, more efficient details.
    Reduce framing material requirements by adopting new, more efficient details.

No. 1: Wasted Resources

If I have learned one thing in this tightening economy, it’s that I don’t need as much stuff as I thought I did. I don’t need to make as many trips to the store, and I don’t need to leave the lights on when I go out. As we become more and more aware of our growing impact on this great planet, we are realizing that it’s time to stop and reconsider every action.

Our industry uses so much stuff to create places to live. We can and should be more efficient with what and how we use these resources. Start with a look at what your crew is throwing into the Dumpster. A lot of the lumber scraps you’re paying to dispose could be used for blocking, cripples, header blocks, and draft stopping. It’s a waste of materials and a waste of money to have it hauled away.

We can be more green, more profitable, and more effective by using less. Use advanced framing techniques that require less lumber, increase insulation levels, and lower energy costs. We can design our buildings to better use 4x8 sheet stock by recalculating roof pitches, window placement, and room sizes. If carpet comes in standard-width rolls, designing a room that size means fewer cutoffs and less site waste.

This is easier than it sounds. Take a few extra minutes with your designer, suppliers, and trades to calculate and specify what you really need. If it’s easier to just send more, they often do, and these excess materials get discarded or are poorly used.

Imagine the cumulative impact this could have on an entire housing development: fewer materials consumed, less energy consumed. It’s about the energy, folks. We must use less.

President of LaLiberteOnline and a principal of Building Knowledge Inc., Mark LaLiberte is a highly regarded green building consultant who helps builders nationwide understand and apply proper building science construction principles to improve their homes. www.buildingknowledge.com; www.laliberteonline.com.