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Building A Green Home

When building an environment-friendly home, choose materials that are made of recyclable goods such as natural fiber, bamboo, cork, and rattan. These eco-friendly materials can be easily incorporated in furniture, roofing fixtures, walls, floors, and other basic elements of a home design.
Building A Green
Home

With all the hype on environmental awareness, it’s hard to find anything that doesn’t have the least impact on nature. The truth is that everything we do affects the environment in some way; it’s really just a matter of making the least damage. In fact, if you consider environmental impact in everything you do, you’ll barely be able to move. So you can just imagine the trouble of building an environment-friendly house, from floor to ceiling.

But here’s the good news: it’s possible. It can be hard and sometimes costly, but in the long run, it will be more than worth it. Still unconvinced? Here’s a quick guide to help you out.

Flooring

Cork and bamboo are two of the most popular choices in eco-friendly flooring. Both are surprisingly sturdy, despite being “pseudo-woods.” Bamboo, for example, is technically a grass rather than a wood, but the stalks are so hard and dense that they rival even old wood favorites such as cedar and ash.  The main advantage of bamboo is that it is a recyclable, renewable material.  Plain bamboo materials – not the lacquered, varnished or painted ones – do not emit toxic chemicals and so they don’t contribute to the rise of pollutant levels inside the home.  If you must have some color or shine on your bamboo, look for bamboo pieces that used non-toxic, natural waxes and oils as wood finish.

Choosing your carpets well can help reduce pollutant levels in your home.  Get a carpet with natural fibers and little to no chemical treatment. Maintenance will be a bit difficult, but it will be well worth the effort. If your home is too small for a carpet, other options include tile, linoleum and hardwood.

Walls

Instead of rolling out the paint—which releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can harm your health—try using eco-friendly wallpaper. Regular wallpaper is made from vinyl, which is non-biodegradable and a known source of VOCs. Look for wallpapers made from natural fibers or ‘safe’ synthetics, such as nylon and polyester. They last just as long as vinyl wallpapers and come in just as many colors. They are usually colored with vegetable dyes and other organic compounds so you can be sure there’s no harmful leftover even after you’ve thrown them away.

Ceiling

An eco-friendly ceiling should provide good insulation in the winter and excellent cooling in the summer.  Companies now produce ‘green’ ceiling boards made from natural fiber, cement, and quartz sand, which are all highly sustainable and free of health hazards. Each brand has its own properties, but a good ceiling board should be fireproof, water-proof, and asbestos-free (asbestos is a fiber that’s dangerous when inhaled). Most of them also come with a nice textured finish, which is a nice contrast to your smooth walls and floors.

Roofing

Insulation and durability should be the top considerations when choosing eco-friendly roofing.   The best way to achieve this is loft insulation, which involves inserting the insulating material through the joists in your loft. The most common method is blanket insulation, wherein sheets of glass fiber, mineral fiber, or rock fiber are slipped between the joists. Another method is loose fill insulation. This uses loose granules of insulating material instead of sheets.  This works best in small spaces or gaps, but make sure that the loft on which you are going to use loose fiber insulation is not too drafty or exposed to the elements because the fill might blow about when there’s strong wind.

Lighting

Household lighting makes up over 40% of the world’s light pollution—the use of too much artificial light to a point that the night sky is no longer fully visible and animals’ bodily processes are disrupted. Keep your artificial lighting to a minimum by turning off the light in unused rooms and using energy-efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are easily the most eco-friendly options in the market, using up 30% less energy and providing several times the brightness of incandescent bulbs. In the daytime, try not to use artificial light at all; instead, open your window to let in natural light and diffuse it around the room with blinds and mirrors.

Furniture

Look for furniture made from highly sustainable materials, such as bamboo and rattan. These plants grow fast and aren’t in any danger of depletion. Rarer woods such as teak can last a lifetime, but it takes a lot more time and energy to work them into usable furniture. Look for bamboo products ranked ‘premium’, they have lower chemical treatment levels and are less likely to contain indoor pollutants.