Going green in the wake of Ike

HOUSTON A storm-damaged home is being brought back to life. The materials and labor are being provided by Rebuilding Together Houston and Reliant Energy employees. Efficiency is being built in as well.

"We've sealed all their cracks, sealed all the holes, sealed around all the windows, which is going to be a major energy savings for this couple," said Reliant volunteer Brenda Allen.

At the Brown Convention Center, energy savings and green building is the focus of the Texas Bioneers Conference, where plenty of green products are on display. The conference was more than a year in the planning, but Hurricane Ike of last month has created a new opportunity to focus on repairing green.

"(With a metal roof), you can not only harvest rain water off of it, but also, you can mount a solar system on it, but also, you reflect the heat with it," explained 'green' architect LaVerne Williams.

All of the wooden fences damaged and discarded present another opportunity, according to a builder at the conference. Homeowners can consider chain link fences or hurricane fencing.

"It allows the wind to blow through," explained Chris Fry of Dovetail Builders. "Steel is made from recycled products. It's more sustainable than wood fencing. It will last much, much longer."

The city of Houston is doing its part by mulching green storm debris. Homeowners can repair and rebuild 'green' too. It doesn't have to be more expensive than the budget or insurance allows.

City Sustainability Director Cris Eugster said, "You know, if you're putting a new roof on, why not ask them to put a ridge vent and some soffett vents to get better ventilation into the roof, versus having them just patch the whole thing over."

If you want more ideas about green building alternatives, the Bioneering Conference continues through Sunday at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

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