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Bigfoot System Footing Forms

The Bigfoot System is a one-piece, lightweight, recycled, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) form for site-forming pier footings… Read more
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  • Using materials recovered from the waste stream typically results in less waste, pollution, and energy use than using virgin materials. From an environmental standpoint, post-consumer is typically considered preferable to pre-consumer recycled content because post-consumer recycled materials are more likely to have been diverted from landfills.

    In some cases, we consider products with recycled content green but with some caveats regarding where they should be used. For example, rubber flooring made from recycled automobile tires should not be used in most fully enclosed indoor spaces due to the likelihood of VOC emissions.

    Recycling can have downsides. For example, some studies show that curbside collection programs and some recycling processes use more energy than they save. Closed-loop recycling is generally preferable to “down-cycling,” in which a lower-grade material is produced—but due to contamination of waste streams and the difficulty of extracting high-value ingredients, down-cycling may be as good as it gets. At times recycling can re-introduce hazardous components. Some products, like copper and aluminum, include a high level of recycled content as a matter of course—which we applaud, but don’t consider justification for listing in GreenSpec. As more complete life-cycle information on recycled materials and processes becomes available, we use that to increase our scrutiny of recycled products.

  • Some products help us use other products or materials more efficiently. For example, drywall clips allow the elimination of corner studs, engineered stair stringers reduce lumber waste, and concrete pigments and polishing systems can turn concrete slabs into attractive finished floors. We also recognize some products, like vacuum plumbing systems, which use less material than their conventional counterparts. Many products with this attribute are fairly unique, so we bring a skeptical eye to manufacturer claims, but not a specific standard.

Brent Ehrlich
Products Editor

The Bigfoot System is a one-piece, lightweight, recycled, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) form for site-forming pier footings. The funnel-shaped form replaces site-built solid-wood footings. The construction tube and the footing pour as one unit. Bigfoot Systems will accept all 6", 8", 10", 12", 14", 16", and 18" cardboard construction tubes. Tubes are attached to the Bigfoot Systems using four screws.

Cement production requires about 6 million Btus per ton of cement produced; most of that energy is used in coal-fired cement kilns, resulting in high carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and sulfur emissions. It’s been calculated that producing a ton of cement releases a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Judicious use of concrete is an important green-building consideration. Concrete pier foundations greatly reduce concrete use compared with full-height frost walls; while most commonly used for decks, outdoor stairs, and the like, they are also used for entire buildings and can be particularly appropriate on ecologically fragile sites.

Products listed here are less resource-intensive than conventional concrete-forming products, permit the construction of foundations using less concrete, or are made from recycled-content materials or plywood certified according to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Concrete construction tubes made from recycled paper, in conjunction with recycled-plastic or fabric footing forms, offer a quick, resource-efficient means of pouring structural piers.

LEED Credits

MRc4: Recycled Content

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