True Blue Farmgirl
Posted - Aug 16 2013 : 1:33:25 PM
Since I don't have a local MJF chapter, I'm going to share what I learned about "green" decorating and building techniques so I can move up to the intermediate level Make It Easy - Build It Green badge.
- You hear a lot about VOC's when researching green building. "VOC" stands for "volatile organic compound." In lay(wo)man's terms, VOC's are the odors that come off things, and odors are actually molecules of gasses that come off the object and float through the air. New car aroma? VOC. The vinyl smell of a new plastic shower curtain? VOC. Fresh paint? VOC!
- Some VOC's can be harmless, like the scent of flowers or certain plants. However, lots of VOC's are dangerous to health and environment...some so much that they are regulated by law (anthropogenic VOC's). When buying building materials, finish materials, or furniture, check for VOC's.
- A drafty (in moderation) house can be a good thing! Resist the urge to over-insulate your home to keep good ventilation. In a too-tightly sealed home, there is no way for VOC's or other harmful chemicals to escape or clean air to enter, so you're basically sticking a plastic sack of dangerous chemicals over your head and breathing through it 24 hours a day.
- The Forest Stewardship Council offers certifications for building materials, finishing materials, and furniture. Keep an eye out for the certification when buying new stuff.
- Did you know linoleum is made of natural materials? I sure didn't! I would've guessed it was terrible for the environment, but it's not. Reclaimed wood, bamboo, pure rubber, and linoleum (NOT vinyl!) are actually great green floor coverings.
- When painting, look for low or no VOC latex paint, or better yet, opt for plant or milk-based paint.
- When furniture shopping, cotton, hemp, ramie, silk, wool, and linen are the most eco-friendly, but you have to check to make sure they aren't treated with any special chemicals (i.e. stain resistant fabric is treated with VOC compounds).
- My favorite and most common sense tip is to use fair-trade art, junktiqued finds, garage sale and fleamarket treasures, and salvage yards to decorate and outfit your home!