It aint exactly hugging a tree. But it's pretty darn close.
While solar, wind and hybrid technology typically get most of the attention for going green, using reclaimed lumber and construction materials is one green trend that tree huggers still will appreciate.
And apparently, it's a trend that's growing.
Scott Gillespie, principal designer for Tahoe City-based design firm Sandbox Studios, has seen a significant uptick in the demand for reclaimed materials like lumber among his clients.
In the past two years, the percentage of the firm's projects that use reclaimed materials jumped from about 10 percent to 15 percent to 50 percent, Gillespie said.
'A lot of people like the aesthetics of it,' he said. 'They also like the fact that there's a
story behind it - we've used reclaimed wood from things like railroad trestles to an old water tank. Then, there's the socially redeeming value from preserving our natural resources.'
With the increased focus on environmentally friendly building practices, reclaimed materials are starting to get more attention.
Think of it as another form of recycling, said Colten Mellows, Montana Reclaimed Lumber's sales representative for the Reno-Tahoe area.
The Montana-based reclaimed lumber supplier also has operations in Colorado and Arizona.
'Reclaimed lumber is a sustainable material,' Mellows said. 'It cuts down on your carbon footprint and the need to chop down forests and trees. So, it's very eco-friendly.' It's one reason why reclaimed materials are a good way to meet environmentally sustainable building standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Mellows said.
The standards - typically used to earn what's known as LEED points - were developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The LEED system uses measures like use of sustainable materials, rainwater capture systems and renewable energy technology such as solar panels to certify a green home or building.
Others are taking the concept one step further. DiggersList.com, for example, has made a business out of getting excess building material out of the hands of do-it-yourselfers and construction companies and into the hands of other DIYers or companies looking for materials. For sellers who can't find a buyer, the site also helps them donate the materials to groups such as Habitat for Humanity.