When homeowners think of taking on a major kitchen, bath or whole home renovation they may not be considering the impact that this may have on their health, the community and our environment. In 2010, I set out for William Standen Co. to be a green design and renovation company. At this time, none of the clients coming through our doors that were surveyed particularly cared about green products. Nevertheless I knew the importance of specifying healthy products.
Today, green is gaining much more recognition, yet not many people are specifically asking for such products. Here are 3 products you need to know about and why it’s important that they’re green.
According to the Canadian Lung Association website and Cdc.gov furniture and cabinetry containing formaldehyde through components such as particleboard and glues, can contribute to illness.
A cabinet can off-gas for 30 days, or years depending on how it’s made. The paint or stain used, the glues in the particleboard or plywood, adhesives on edge banding and more can contain chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals can cause a sore throat, nosebleeds, allergy like symptoms and more. People with asthma or bronchitis are especially at risk.
What’s worse than these products being installed into people’s homes is that the people making the products in manufacturing facilities may also be exposed.
When choosing cabinetry, ensure that it is CARB 2 compliant and certified by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s association for environmental stewardship. If a manufacturer tells you their product is eco-friendly, it should be backed up with these certifications.
Carpet and Flooring:
Several years ago, new carpet was installed into my own bedroom. I would wake up with a sore throat daily. I experienced all sorts of allergy like symptoms for months and only after waking from the night and being in this bedroom. This sparked me to deeply research carpet and the chemicals that can off-gas for 30 days, or several years. In addition to the chemicals, carpet can also harbor dust mists and other allergens. These can not only pose a risk to humans, but also to pets.
Here are some of the chemicals that can be found in new carpet:
Benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, acetone and a host of other carcinogens. Most of these have been associated with eye and respiratory problems. Carpets may have contain flame retardants and stain protectors that can affect your health.
If you must install carpet in your home, ask about the dyes used to obtain the colour and look for vegetable based dyes. William Standen Co. carries a line of area rugs that use vegetable dyes are dried in the sun and do not contribute to the many health concerns that typical carpet may.
It is frightening how many chemicals, solvents, flame-retardants and VOC’s that can be found in new mattresses, memory foam or traditional spring. When thinking of adding a new mattress to your home, choose an Essentia mattress, available in Sarnia exclusively at William Standen Co. It is currently the worlds only natural memory foam mattress that does not contain all of the nasty chemicals of a traditional mattress. I swear by this mattress and it dramatically improved my own allergies.
This might be the most common green item on the market that many homeowners are aware of, and use. Choose a low VOC or zero VOC wall paint such as Farrow and Ball clay based paint, or Benjamin Moore Natura.
Remember, there are a lot of components that go into a renovation project, and you’ll need to consider more than just the wall paint for toxic off-gassing.
To learn more and see upcoming GREEN home courses, click here.