Rick Benedict of Beachside Lighting shows off some of the company’s light fixtures, which are designed to be both environmentally friendly and durable in tropical environments.
Virgin Islands residents are well aware that “environmentally friendly” and “durable” rarely go hand in hand when it comes to building products, especially considering the harsh heat, humidity and salty air that such products must endure over their lifetime.
As part of the Island Green Building Association’s mission to provide advice on environmentally sustainable development on St. John, the non-profit group featured presentations by two companies at its Wednesday evening, March 9, meeting, whose products are both incredibly durable, environmentally friendly and low-maintenance to boot.
“The way we build and the products we use have such a great impact both locally and globally,” said IGBA development director Karen Vahling.
The evening’s first presentation was by Hawaii-based Beachside Lighting’s Rick Benedict, who displayed several of the company’s outdoor light fixtures, many of which use energy efficient LED light bulbs.
“LEDs give a lot of punch for not much wattage, and they’re not in a landfill two to three years after you buy them because they last a long time,” said Benedict.
The LEDs are not permanent parts of Beachside Lighting’s light fixtures, and can easily be replaced if needed, Benedict added. Beachside Lighting’s fixtures are made of copper and brass, materials that are ideal for tropical environments.
The company also offers outdoor lighting that meets Florida Fish and Wildlife standards for turtle nesting areas. The amber LEDs in these fixtures don’t disorient turtles coming up on to the beach to nest.
JC Rentschler of Decks and Docks discusses the company’s composite and other alternative outdoor decking materials.
The second presentation of the evening was by Decks and Docks’ JC Rentschler, who discussed several different composite and other alternative outdoor decking materials offered by the company.
Moisture Shield, the most competitively priced product of its kind in the Virgin Islands, according to Rentschler, is made up of recycled grocery bags, milk jugs and wood fiber.
“No trees are cut down to make Moisture Shield,” said Rentschler. “The wood fiber is a byproduct of cabinet makers that would otherwise end up in a burner or landfill.”
Each 12-foot-by-12-foot deck constructed with Moisture Shield effectively reduces greenhouse gases by the equivalent of taking 54,000 passenger vehicles off the road, according to Rentschler.
“It’s 100 percent resistant to moisture, and the Everglades National Park uses it exclusively,” he said. “It cuts like wood, it doesn’t expand or contract and it’s skid resistant.”
Rentschler also discussed Evolve, a decking material made by Renew Plastics from 100 percent recycled milk jugs.
“It doesn’t stain, won’t fade more than seven percent of its color over its lifetime, and it can be made into any length needed,” he said. “Virtually no maintenance is required.”
Trimax, another decking product distributed by Rentschler’s company, is a structural lumber used by several parks and recreation organizations in Florida for boat docks, playgrounds, fencing and more.
Beachside Lighting is represented locally by Rosie Nichols, who can be reached at 642-8981, and Decks and Docks is represented locally by Jeff Bleyer of General Builders Supply, who can be reached at 954-687-2182.