From Dean Dowd on February 20, 2008 in Green Remodeling
Welcome to our first official Green Wednesday. Everyday should be lived in harmony with the environment, but we’ve chosen this one to dedicate our green remodeling posts. There’s a lot going on in the remodeling world, and as we try to keep you abreast of everything from decking options to kitchen trends, Green Wednesday will help ensure our eco-friendly focus doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. This week, we’ll talk a bit out Green Seal. You may have heard about Green Seal certification in passing, but what is the organization all about and how can it help you through a remodel?
Many homeowners realize there are a growing number of sustainable options available to create and maintain a beautiful home. In previous posts, such as Five Earth-Friendly, Natural Flooring Options, we discussed bamboo, salvaged wood, and other alternative flooring options, giving additional advice to use healthy adhesives. In Green Your Closet we suggested 100% recyclable hangars and reused paneling while posing caution about potential fumes emitted by cleaning products. As you look for low-VOC glue or a non-toxic cleaning product, this is where Green Seal can help. The non-profit provides a list of floor care, household cleaner, and other manufacturers that pass science-based environmental testing standards, including links to their websites to simplify your search.
Green Seal lists its certification process for each category. Take cleaners. You can spare yourself the trouble of reading labels and looking up ingredients because Green Seal already makes sure that the following apply to the household cleaners on their list:
- The undiluted product doesnt contain any lead, carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins.
- The undiluted product doesnt contain ozone-depleting compounds.
- The undiluted product isnt corrosive to the skin or eye.
- When used, the product is not toxic to aquatic life.
- When used, the products substances dont contribute significantly to the production of photochemical smog, tropospheric ozone, or poor indoor-air quality.
- The primary package is recyclable.
Now, say you plan to paint your home and want to use environmentally friendly paint. The manufacturers on Green Seals list are guaranteed to use limited VOC concentrations. In addition, those whove earned Class A certification carry paints which have been formulated without VOCs altogether. Green Seal-certified painting products include the Horizon Interior line provided by Cloverdale Paint, the HealthyHues Interior Latex line provided by HealthyHome.com, and Benjamin Moores EcoSpec Interior line.
If you plan to install new windows, the glazed exterior doors and windows certified by Green Seal have a maximum u-value set at .36, while skylights have a maximum u-value of .44. (Remember, the lower the u-value, the higher the energy efficiency.) Certified windows and doors also have maximum air leakage quantities and the product frames and sashes are not formulated with heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, or mercury. Because Green Seal looks at the entire life cycle of a product, a quarter of the material used to package the windows must consist of post-consumer material.
In addition to finding products, you can read up on numerous aspects of home remodeling through Green Seals Choose Green Reports. These 6 to 12 page reports are easy to digest, covering relevant subjects such as carpet, CFLs, floor care, air conditioning, and office supplies. The report on carpet, for instance, includes industry facts, information on how carpet is made, sources of toxics, and a green carpet checklist. Its no wonder LEED standards site numerous Green Seal Environmental Standards frequently to rate environmentally and socially responsible buildings.
Green Seal certifies the remodeling products and we certify the contractors. In screening for professionalism and quality craftsmanship, we request a minimum of 10 references and proof of current license and insurance. Get free quotes from qualifed painters and window installers today.