Organic vs. Non-Organic Basement Finishing Design.

There still seems to be much confusion with the introduction of “green” design and the concept of Organic vs. Non-Organic material. I’m going to do my best to address the majority of the differences.

Firstly: The idea of what “green” design is.

Calling something “Green” is simply a term to designate that “something” as environmentally friendly. This is a very broad and unregulated term. There is currently no committee that looks at everything on the market and labels it as green. The closest we have is the Energy Start qualifier labeled by the EPA.

Sump pumps that don’t use drinking water to pump are considered “green”. Walls that don’t have chemical compounds in them are considered “green.” Floors that are made out of recycled materials (woods, plastics, metals) are considered “green.” If anything “Green” is a marketing term, a buzz word, something to get those environmentally cautious, who’d never normally buy the product, interested in looking at it or potentially purchasing it.

Now, “green” products are, like with anything in the world, broken down into two categories: Organic or Non-Organic.

Organic vs. Non-Organic.

Keep in mind we’re talking HOME IMPROVEMENT, not shopping for food.

Organic is a term to label anything that can be broken down naturally, decomposed by mold, fungus, and eventually rejoin the earth as more dirt.

Non-Organic is a term for objects that cannot be broken down: PVC, Metal, lead, mercury, concrete; I’m sure you get the idea. Basically its object that can’t be broken down and can’t decompose. Think plastics and metals, opposed to wood.

Organic Design/ Green Design

Organic design is the practice of designing with organic materials. Green Design is the designing of objects that won’t impact the environment. Packaging, shipping methods, materials to build, display, construct and maintain the object are all taken into consideration. It’s a fascinating field with many new developments daily.

For the construction industry it’s a fantastic new way of looking at building homes and commercial buildings outside the normal “status quo” box. It’s a “new” marketing concept and therefore has been met with some initial resistance. But seeing as the “green” market is expanding and more people are trying to find ways to lesson their carbon footprint, it’s becoming more and more popular.

Organic Design in Basement Finishing:

Basements are naturally moist environments. The basement itself is subject to moisture in all forms year round that have the potential to becoming a floor or a leak. It’s for this reason alone that many organizations in the Basement Finishing and Basement Waterproofing industry don’t use Organic materials in their designs.

Organic material subjected to a moist environment over long periods of time can harbor the growth of mold, mildew, and therefore lead to an unhealthy household. Organic Design can’t work in a long-term solution to fit and meet your space needs in the basement. But Green Design can.

(past blog post about Organic Construction in Basements)

Many of the products, materials and methods used in basement waterproofing and basement finishing are recycled AND non-organic. These flooring, wall, and ceiling options, as well as many of the vapor barriers and drainage systems are made with recycled materials. This reduces landfill waste yearly and helps provide an environmentally friendly long-term solution.

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