Greening Your Home


| November / December 2007

Going Green Around The House

  • Buy local

Whether you opt for reclaimed materials from the local reuse center or new supplies, look for the closest source. Shipping sucks the green out of building materials. “The biggest environmental impact in construction is transportation of the materials,” says Brad Guy, president of the Building Materials Reuse Association. “It’s not even the manufacture; it’s moving stuff around.” Bamboo may be the trendy wood substitute, but if it’s shipped from China, you’re greener going to a nearby sawmill or finding a local source for reclaimed wood.

  • Stay dry

“Where there is water inside the house, there is danger, because that’s where we have the most mold,” says David Johnston, co-author of Green from the Ground Up (Taunton, April 2008). The vast majority of water in the basement comes from the perimeter of the house, so get outside, make sure downspouts direct rain away from the foundation, and toss dirt on any low-lying areas where rainwater might collect. Inside, if you’re redoing a bathroom, Johnston recommends a sprayed-in insulation, whether it’s foam or cellu­lose. Then, once it’s sealed tight, be sure the bathroom is properly ventilated.

  • Skip the carpet

Old carpeting, asserts Johnston, can be four times heavier than when it’s installed. That’s how much dirt and dust accumulate when you lay a giant dust mop on your floor. Moreover, conventional wall-to-wall can contain as many as 100 chemicals that are released over a three- to five-year period. Worse still, carpeting soaks up other nearby chemicals (arsenic from a pressure-treated deck, formaldehyde from cheap cabinets, pesticide from the neighbor’s lawn) and slowly re-releases them back into the air. “Conventional carpeting in a green home is an oxymoron,” Johnston says. Stick to area rugs that you can easily clean.



 

Going Green In The Kitchen