An important tool in the effort to live “greener” is in the selection of products that we make. Green products are available for just about any daily need, and the ways they are green are many and varied. They are energy or water efficient; they use healthy non-toxic materials; they are made from recycled or renewable sources; they make current products you use more efficient or more durable; and they are recyclable or biodegradable.
Green Product Basics
Green Product Selection Checklist:
- Manufacture Commitment to Sustainability – is there a written environmental policy in place and easy to find in the product literature or on their web site?
- Product Composition – What are the raw materials used to create this product and where do they come from?
- Examine Other Aspects of the Product – How much energy does it use? Does the product release VOC’s? How is the product packaged and transported?
- Examine Strategies for Disposal – Is the product durable? Biodegradable? Recyclable? Can it be made into something else? Can the product be returned to its manufacturer at the end of its useful life?
We use our expertise to improve your indoor air quality – educating and guiding you through the process of selecting safe furnishings and finishes for your home.
Green Product Details:
Definition of VOC: Volatile Organic Compound. These are chemicals that off-gas into the air -some of which have harmful long-term health effects.
Upholstery: Go organic. Standard upholstered goods are made from polyurethane foam wrapped in Dacron. Both materials are man-made and petroleum-based and often treated with flame-retardant chemicals to reduce combustibility. These chemicals have been linked to a wide range of health problems including impaired fertility and IQ and developmental problems with children.
Wood Furniture: Solid wood furniture such as walnut, teak, oak, and maple are held together by basic wood joinery techniques, stronger bond and requiring less adhesives, which are the main culprits in harmful VOC emissions. Avoid furniture made of MDF or particleboard, which is made from compressed shavings or sawdust and held together by synthetic resins, binders and glue. One ingredient found in these adhesives is formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory issues, nausea, and severe allergic reactions.
Rugs: Choose natural fibers such as wool, cotton , or jute. Wool is naturally fire retardant, absorbs moisture and captures dust or pollen reducing allergens in the air. Synthetic rugs are often made from nylon, acetate, or polyester. These man-made fibers are highly flammable and are often treated with synthetic chemicals to reduce flammability, increasing off-gassing in your home. Sensitivity to these off-gasses can cause headaches, dizziness, or nausea.
Paint: Choose zero-VOC or low-VOC paints. We like Farrow and Ball Paints or Benjamin Moore’s Natura line. Both offer a wide range of colors.
Countertops: Three of our favorite sustainable and durable options for a kitchen or bathroom counter include Quartz Countertops, Stainless Steel and Bamboo. Quartz is either low or no VOC emissions and because it is naturally nonporous, it prevents the growth of surface molds without being treated with harmful chemicals. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable. It’s resistance to rust and heat making it a low maintenance option. Stainless steel is also non-porous, preventing germs to harbor. Bamboo countertops are heat resistant and easy to maintain.