For many builders, green is becoming an important priority. Products that promote our planet’s health are high in demand, because they reduce energy costs and minimize our carbon footprint. Here are a few tips for buying building products that are eco-friendly and have a positive impact on our environment.
1) Use nontoxic, nonhazardous materials. Avoid products that use toxic chemicals or hazardous stains. Is the paint used on the product nontoxic? Is the wood sustainably harvested from a responsibly managed forest? Check for products that offer FSC certified wood and eco-friendly paints and stains.
2) Look for products with sustainable, recyclable content. Can the product be recycled after you’re done using it? How is the product packaged? According to the EPA, packaging is a significant waste problem, accounting for an estimated 23.7% of the volume of landfills. Look for products with reduced packaging or recyclable packaging. Also look for furniture and products made from recycled content, like reclaimed wood or recyclable aluminum. Recycled materials make use of the huge amount of waste we create on our planet.
3) Find agencies that certify green products. You’ll feel more confident that the product you selected is eco-friendly if it is certified. An agency’s goal is to provide certification to help consumers find products that come from a sustainable source.
Energy Star: Energy efficiency guidelines for homes, appliances, cooling systems, building supplies and more.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): Sets standards for responsible forest managements
Green Seal: Labels a variety of eco friendly products
Carbon Footprint: Certifies products made with a neutral carbon footprint. The full produce life cycle is taken into consideration.