By JIM CARLTON
The following is an excerpt from
At least one green building technology costs less right out of the gate: concrete countertops. Inspired by "Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath," a book by designer Fu-Tung Cheng of Berkeley, Calif., builders around the U.S. have taken to making countertops by mixing their own concrete on a home site. The technique is considered both greener and cheaper because the concrete doesn't have to be shipped like the more prevalent granite counters, says Mr. Chandler, who began building them last year. According to online calculators, it costs around $1,100 to make 50 square feet of concrete countertop, compared with $2,000 for granite. But the do-it-yourself approach has its drawbacks. "The challenge is getting the right training for your crew," Mr. Chandler says. "You have to know how to reinforce steel in the right way. It's not intuitive."