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From our beautiful buildings Downtown, to new construction lofts just outside of the city, to the three-bedroom houses on the suburban streets, Pittsburgh has long been a part of a movement that sees greener grass on the other side, and it’s becoming easier and easier to reap the benefits of a more eco-friendly, energy conscious home. There are tons of ways to tune up your Tudor and eco-fy your estate. Not only will it give you the satisfaction of giving back to the environment, it will also save you money in the long run.
Of course, sacrificing quality is not an option. Luckily, one of the benefits to upgrading your home to include greener innovations is that it’s an upgrade in quality as well. And, these changes don’t stop inside the home, either. There are even alternative types of landscaping that can contribute to a more efficient surrounding.
For instance, Eisler Landscapes’ rain gardens, which are designed to steady the flow of water being absorbed through a unique type of soil, can be landscaped anywhere from your front yard to outside of office buildings. This innovative type of gardening has been proven to help prevent sewer overflows and flooding. Residentially, these gardens must be located 10  feet away from the foundation of the house and are made using a specific type of engineering. Eric French, of Eisler Lanscapes, says that the movement towards greener pastures is a steady one. “We are already on the curve,” he says, “This is going to be the future.” French says that recently, the Federal government mandated that any new Federal projects be completed using green infrastructure, proving the increasing national, and even global, awareness. quote Home Green Home
Another set of projects that Eisler Landscapes has been working on for quite some time is installing green roofs. These roofs, which are generally done atop tall buildings, or in more commercial, urban settings, can also be built into new construction apartments and contribute to curbing sewer overflow, and flooding. This isn’t just planting a garden on the rooftop, though. This specifically engineered process involves many layers of material, slowing water flow, and actually doubling or tripling the life of the roof.
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GREEN AND SIMPLE - Pete Schoonmaker and his team use sustainable processes and materials in the making of a variety of woodwork. Many of their projects are kitchen work, but they also do case pieces, vanities, and more.

Many of the benefits associated with these green roofs are environmental. As far as storm litigation from a normal roof, rainwater is filtered through a gutter and drain system. With a green roof, water is captured after the first inch of rain, thus slowing the flow, making for a gradual dispersing of water. Also, green roofs are proven to be cooler by 40 to 50 degrees compared to the standard roof of an industrial building. Typically, a rooftop can reach temperatures up to 170 degrees, but the average temperature of one of Eisler’s green roofs is between 100 and 120 degrees. Depending on the building size, this can save cooling costs up to 30 percent. Rounding out the benefits is the fact that these roofs create a habitat for wildlife and insects.
Coming from a more domestic angle, giving back to Mother Earth can be as simple as choosing a sustainable company, that uses sustainable materials, to do remodeling within your home. Pete Schoonmaker of Simple Green Cabinets and Viking Woodwork, uses only plywood, made with all-green cores that are No Added Urea Formaldehyde (NAUF) certified, which basically means that at the end of its life cycle, the material can be buried in your backyard with no harm to the environment. The eco-conscious qualities of Schoonmaker’s company don’t end there. His company is sustainable and efficient from start to finish, donating sawdust to urban gardeners, and during any staining and finishing projects, they avoid exposing any toxins to the atmosphere. Simple Green Cabinets produces a number of products, including cabinetry, and products for kitchens and vanities, and Schoonmaker and his staff pride themselves on a one-on-one relationship with their customer, which is why every project starts with a “Woodwork 101” class in their South Side shop. “It’s really easy,” Schoonmaker says. “By design, we’re sustainable. We don’t throw things away; we don’t waste time, money, or

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materials. We try to be as efficient as possible in our operating. It just makes a lot of sense.” No matter the size of the project, Schoonmaker and Simple Green Cabinets promise it will be done quickly, efficiently, and in the greenest possible way.
Businesses similar to Schoonmaker’s show the dual benefits to working in a sustainable fashion. Not only are there environmental benefits, but costs are also cut in the long run. Patio Enclosures takes advantage of this duality as well. Bill Goddard, Vice President of Retail Operations at Patio Enclosures, knows that his customers are becoming very conscious of their impact on the environment. “They’re thinking about green products, and we have had the eco-friendly mentality even before it became stylish,” he says. “The benefits are twofold. You always want to relate it with a good feeling, but there’s value to the customers too. We get value added out of [being green] so our prices can stay competitive.”
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COMFY, COZY - Patio Enclosures uses Green materials and manufacturing, making a sun room that not only saves you money, but keeps your room at a comfortable temperature.

Patio Enclosures’ sunrooms save energy through their aluminum or vinyl frames and glass, which keep heat and cold from transferring through, and through a super spacer, a component located at the edge of the glass that also stops the transfer of heat and cold. The type of glass used plays a large role as well. Each time a new type of glass is introduced, or an older type upgraded, Patio Enclosures will upgrade their glass technology. Because of this, their glass has some of the highest light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratings without having tint. Goddard says that all of these measures are not only to ensure energy efficiency, but also to help create a comfortable temperature within the sunroom.

On the manufacturing side, Patio Enclosures recycles all broken glass, as well as aluminum. “We have a very aggressive recycling program,” Goddard says. They also recently switched from a wet paint process, which emits chemicals, to a powder coat process, which adheres to metal without putting anything into the air.
Rex Glass & Mirror is another local company that takes insulation seriously when it comes to ensuring energy efficiency in the home. Michael Schmitz of Rex Glass & Mirror says that

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HERE COMES THE SUN - From the glass, to the paint, Patio Enclosures’ sunrooms, though all different, are made and installed with an eco-friendly mentality.

upgrading your windows can up to triple your home’s resistance to heat transfer, making for a great step towards an energy efficient home. Many homes have single pane windows, but Schmitz suggests upgrading to double pane (also known as insulated glass units, or IGUs), which are equipped with a pocket of air to insulate against heat transfer. “The ability of the unit to resist heat transfer is known as its R-value, and can be increased with simple upgrades,” Schmitz says.

For an additional $3 to $4 per square foot, you can also upgrade to using Argon gas, increasing the R-value to 2, thus doubling the heat transfer resistance. Want to go even further? Schmitz says you can upgrade to low emissivity, or “Low E,” glass. Low E glass will reflect heat from infrared light and block damaging ultraviolet light, while still allowing visible light to pass through. For $4 to $5 more per square foot, you can upgrade to Low E glass. In the end, upgrading to double pane, argon gas, and Low E glass can end up tripling your home’s resistance to heat transfer.
Whether the focus is indoors, outdoors, or the barrier between, the common theme of energy efficiency not only benefits the environment, but can help lower electric bills as well. The experts at Cardello Lighting note that outdoor lighting comes into play in the energy-saving game as well. Cardello’s LPACK LED Wallpacks and Luminator outdoor lights by RAB Lighting are an energy efficient way to upgrade outdoor lighting. The Wallpacks come in a number of styles and can save homeowners up to 80 percent in energy costs.
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Double pane glass is great first step towards an energy efficient home.

In the movement towards a greener tomorrow, we’ve seen changes happening on a large scale, but it’s clear now that small business and consumers are joining the cause and are becoming increasingly conscious about the products and the processes associated with making home upgrades. These days, it’s not just the product’s efficiency that comes into play, but also the way it was produced. Whether you’re adding a sunroom, redesigning your kitchen, or starting a garden in your yard, there’s a way to do it with the environment in mind, and most likely, a manufacturer that shares that mindset.
Eisler Landscaping, 1031 New Castle Road, Prospect. 724.865.2830.
Simple Green Cabinets, 41 S. 3rd St., South Side. 412.381.5171.
Patio Enclosures, 1200 Saw Mill Run Blvd., Greentree. 412.431.7000.
Rex Glass & Mirror, 108 Kislow Drive, McMurray. 412.921.7777.
Cardello Lighting, 2520 Washington Road, Upper St. Clair. 724.745.1541.
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