Green Garage Rehab Part II

March 7, 2009
As mentioned in a previous post (Garage Work), a simple residing of the garage has turned into a major save-the-building  proposition.  So far, it looks like the big eco-issue is the pressure treated lumber that needs to be used as the baseplate.  Given that the near demise of the building was caused by moisture and insects, pressure-treated lumber is really necessary. 

It used to be that pressure-treated lumber was infused with Chromated Copper Arsenate.  This contaminated the earth around the lumber with arsenic.  The EPA called a halt to that process, so at least we don’t have to worry about arsenic in the wood.  But other methods of treating the lumber still results in environmental hazards during processing such as heavy metal contamination of water and land.  What is an eco-conscious person to do?

Luckily there are alternatives.  A little research (how long would this have taken before the Internet?) and I have settled on Osmoses MicroPro.  The processing releases 90 – 99% less copper into the environment than typical treated wood processing, and what is released binds with organic material and becomes inert.  And not to be underestimated for i’s importance the wood is available at Menard’s where Howard (carpenter extraordinaire) typically buys his building supplies for my jobs.  (It  or something similar is also be available at Home Depot; Lowe’s website did not indicate any environmentally friendly treated lumber that I could see).

Howard and his son/co-worker purchased the wood I requested, which of course is more expensive than the “regular” treated wood.  Not helpful was the person at the store who told my carpenters that it is just the same as the other treated wood.  The brochure on MicroPro that Menards gave Howard wasn’t helpful either and didn’t mention the environmentally-favorable aspects of the product (although there is a great warranty).  Perhaps there is a brochure for green buyers and a different one for those more interested in it’s use and warranties.  I wonder if environmentally friendly qualities turn-off some purchasers?

Regardless, I am now the proud owner of an east side of a garage with MicroPro sills and lower plywood.  I’m sure there are more issues I need to look into, but for the time being I’m just going to revel in this little bit of greenness.




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