Breathe Easier in a Home Furnished with Eco- Kind Materials

Do you find when you walk the beaches, you wonder,

“How is what we’re doing impacting the health of this fragile little ecosystem, the natural beauty of this world?”

When we bought a 10 year old 2-1/2 story Colonial in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2002, we began remodeling design with the environment in mind. Because of the nation’s growing awareness of green building, however, this project has been easier than the ecologically minded attempts we made in the 1980’s: there are an abundance of products available today (2013).

Even in the last 2 years it seems people are really starting to listen, manufacturers finally get it. Magazine articles and books on the subject, and eco- friendly products are flooding the market. Homeowners are in a good position to become educated, and more interest means prices are coming down, too. It no longer costs more to be green. Not to mention, you feel good knowing you’ve done something healthy for the environment and for your own living experience.

 

12 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME: THE GREEN WAY

I.            Plantation shutters painted with low- VOC paint won’t emit toxins and collect less dust and allergens than draperies. Fabrics, carpeting and foams often have flame retardants prior to 2005 that consist of PBDE’s, which off- gas as they age and are found to create thyroid disruption, permanent learning and memory impairment, behavioral changes and liver damage.

II.            House plants improve air quality. They consume CO2 and replace with Oxygen when exposed to light (photosynthesis), and are a natural air cleaning system.

III.            Use natural fabrics to cover custom made cushions filled with cotton and wool rather than polyester or foam, to reduce PBDE’s.

IV.            A fireplace mantel and built- ins should be made from solid wood rather than plywood and particle board, which typically contain formaldehyde that can off- gas(emit toxins).

V.            All wool carpet is made without harsh dyes, formaldehyde, or other chemicals, and is biodegradable. The carpet’s jute backing and natural rubber adhesive are also environmentally responsible.

VI.            Fiber- optic and LED lighting use very little energy while providing excellent illumination.

VII.            A new wood floor finished with a water- based urethane instead of high- VOC compounds.

VIII.            Existing wood cabinets can be retained and painted with low- VOC paint, or purchase environmentally responsible wood cabinetry from manufacturers who are approved with the KCMA environmental stewardship program.

IX.            Top your cabinets with a natural stone/granite slab finished with a non- toxic sealer.

X.            Interior windows and wide entry openings allow light to pass between rooms, a technique known as day lighting.

XI.            Use organic cotton filled cushions for your sofa.

XII.            A luxurious master bedroom with green design can be posh, with organic cotton bedding and recycled antique chests of drawers, instead of purchasing new wood furniture.

Heated stone floor tiles, porcelain (ground quartz and clay) tiles are excellent natural products for bathroom and kitchen tile projects.  Porcelain is low- maintenance material as it is non- porous and less prone to bacteria growth, easy to clean and extremely durable and hard material. Porcelain comes in an abundant varieties of designs and styles today, visit your local tile boutique and be surprised at the number of choices that are available! On the other hand, stone can be more involved in upkeep if you don’t properly seal it when first installed. We often use an enhancer mix with professional sealant and a minimum of 2 coats after installation, to provide the stone protection from stains for many years to come.

picasso travertine stone

picasso travertine stone