Find Out Where the Materials Used to Build Your Home Really Come From
As global trade continues to sweep the globe, it’s becoming harder to track where goods actually come from. One item may arrive from Asia, only to be doctored here at home and resold. But our interest in supporting the local economy and environmentally-friendly materials has grown; as has our desire to prevent poor working conditions for those abroad. This has resulted in a new, more conscious homebuyer. One who wants to know what is the real made-in tag on their home. It’s a trend I personally welcome, and hope to see a lot more of in the future.
Finding out where the building materials for your home come from can help you:
- Learn whether an item still has a warranty (e.g.: window panes).
- Support local builders, manufacturers and craftspeople.
- Minimize the effect of global trade on vulnerable peoples’.
- Empower yourself and your family by providing choices and alternatives.
DO A LITTLE DIGGING ON YOUR HOME’S MATERIALS
Is it difficult to find out your home’s’ real made-in tag? Absolutely. Or, perhaps I should say: most of the time. While there are local builders who pay excruciating attention to the origin of their materials, more often than not materials come from a variety of sources. Fortunately, it never ceases to amaze me what you can find when you’re prepared to do a little digging. Here are a few jumping off points to get you started.
On home materials such as windowpanes, shelving units, fixtures, appliances and the like, you can usually find information written directly on the object or on a sticker. This information will usually include:
- The manufacturer’s name.
- A code number correlated with a specific manufacturer that was given by a testing agency.
- Model number.
- Serial number.
- “Made in” stamp.
- Phone number and website.
If none of this information is available, you can try the following.
- Contact your builder or building supply store in your area to see if they can help you identify the manufacturer using information you do have. If not, sometimes they can identify the manufacturer based on a picture alone.
- Some window companies have their name embossed onto the lock, if there is one. If not, you can often find the manufacturer name in the lower corner of the glass.
- Another place you might find the manufacturer name is on the label from a testing and approving agency. Typically this is on a gold or silver label affixed to the window frame or appliance. It should have either the manufacturer’s name or a code number. The code number can be correlated with a manufacturer by contacting the appropriate testing agency.
- Ask your neighbour. If their house was built at the same time, they might have some information.
- Check your rebates. If you have a copy of your rebate or energy saving tax incentives, you should find information there.
SOLARCITY AND THE FUTURE OF HOME BUILDING MATERIALS
It would be presumptuous to say that the future is anything other than clean energy. Particularly in forward-thinking west coast cities like Vancouver, the move towards a sustainable building model is being embraced by homeowners. And Tesla’s recent acquisition of SolarCity is here to prove it.
As the #1 full-service provider of solar energy, SolarCity has not only made clean energy appealing–they’ve made it cheap. Their model sees them take clients through everything from the permit process to installation. An additional feature allows each client to see their carbon footprint in real time.
The real made-in tag on your home is about more than cost; it is about the implications each material has on the world around us. Knowing where these materials come from, how they are sourced, and who benefits (or loses) as a result, will allow you to make decisions that are in line with your financial judgement, and your moral meter as well.