Knowing about the products going into your home can help you understand the consequences to your budget and environment.
I have written about this resource for Houstonians on another occasion, but maybe a description of the center would help. I had heard that the exhibit had been updated, so I thought that it would be a good time to go back. There never seemed to be a moment to stop to take a look. I had a doctor’s appointment for my daughter, which went faster than expected, so I took my girls to the Building Department to see the center. The Green Building Resource Center is in the same building where you would go for your building permits, 3300 Main.
First, this is an office, so it is not the model of a kid friendly place, but I had no problems. They did enjoy the center, and my older daughter is convinced that we can put in a pool with a solar pump. The dreams of four year olds is hard to sway. Also, if you are not taking the light rail, it is easier to drive on Travis to reach the center.
The center reminds me of a classroom for home inspectors or construction managers. You have a good many items with information to examine, so that you can become familiar with them. If you are curious about sustainable building, but you are beginning to learn, this space is not set-up in an exhibit form like a science museum, so you may be discouraged. If you take the time at each area, you will find that you can learn a good deal. Everything is packed into the area. There are a wealth of fact sheets, and you can ask questions of the staff (you cannot bring your plans for review, only questions). There are displays which demonstrate the effectiveness of different products. Touching the different window types will show you the amount of heat that can be transferred. I liked the exhibit showing the attic and surface temperatures of the various roof covering materials. I feel that homeowners have to understand the consequences of their choices, and several displays did go into these choices. A few exhibits appear to be nothing more than an information display from a manufacturer- what you may find in a hardware store or home center. However, many of these products are not always the easiest to find, so you do discover what to look for.
If you are a home inspector in Houston or involved in construction in any way, then you need take a look at this resource. For those who are curious about improving their homes, spend time here, take notes, and pick up data and fact sheets. Any resource that can help us make smart building decisions should be part of our plan before we build.