It’s probably not something you think about often, but many of
the products we use to build and insulate our homes can be harmful to the environment. If you are building a new home or doing some remodeling, there are plenty of opportunities for you to choose materials that are good for the planet.
Starting at the bottom, there are several options for flooring that are non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and made from recycled or reclaimed sources. Great flooring options include bamboo, cork, marmoleum, or tile, among others.
Bamboo comes in many different shades and is made with no harsh finishes or formaldehyde. Cork has thermal and acoustic qualities, as well as being lightweight, hypoallergenic, and fire and insect resistant. Marmoleum, or natural linoleum, is bio-based, non-toxic, and highly durable. Recycled tile is eco-friendly and requires little maintenance.
As for the walls in your home, there are several options for non-toxic paints and primers, as well as plaster, pigments, grouts, sealers, and even strippers and thinners, that won’t hurt the environment.
As for cabinets and countertops, even those can go green. Cabinets made from plywood that have no added urea-formaldehyde are good for the environment. If you go one step further, use stains or coatings that are green certified. Countertops have little environmental impact when they are created from recycled glass, recycled paper, bamboo, or marmoleum.
Even the cleaners we use in our home can be switched for ones that are better for the planet. Everyday household cleaners are made with less toxins, as well as flooring cleaner, cleaners to get rid of mold and mildew, and even the soap we use on our bodies and hair come in green versions.
While looking and purchasing materials that are less harmful on the environment might cost more in the beginning, they will last longer, and will make better homes.