Today’s house plans are created with efficiency and comfort in mind. This modern home efficiency can save you money on your heating and cooling bills, but it can also create problems with indoor air quality. The reasons a home may have poor indoor air quality may include the solvents and materials used in new construction. Many of the materials used in flooring for example can create real health issues in some people prone to respiratory problems. There are green choices in construction materials that will not only help the environment, but help prevent poor indoor air quality.
Air Quality Culprits
The main culprits in poor air quality in homes today are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are released as materials age and degrade. These compounds are found in adhesives, varnishes, formaldehyde, and synthetic flooring materials. If you think of the “new car smell” you enjoy, this is an example of VOCs being released into the air. VOCs can cause serious health problems such as upper respiratory infections, headaches, asthmatic reactions, allergies, and even some forms of cancer.
Linoleum has been a popular choice in flooring for many years. In order to have a green product though you must be sure you choose natural linoleum. Many products labeled linoleum are actually made from vinyl which is a toxic plastic. Natural linoleum is made from a variety of natural materials and tree resin.
Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree and is a very warm and resilient floor covering. It is soft and easy on your feet. It is a great green flooring choice because in order to harvest cork the trees are not harmed. Only the bark is harvested so this material is not only green, but also a renewable resource.
Reclaimed or Salvaged Wood
Reclaimed and salvaged wood is taken from old construction and buildings. It is then cleaned, finished and a great choice for a green flooring material. Reclaimed wood has character and is a warm and inviting choice for floors.
Natural Wool Carpet
Natural wool carpet is another renewable choice for floors. It does not produce the toxic fumes associated with synthetic carpet fibers making it a good choice for anyone with respiratory issues. Natural wool carpeting comes in a wide variety of colors and textures to fit almost any taste.
Tile does not emit fumes, has no fibers, and is a great green choice for flooring. Tile comes in a wide array of textures, colors, and designs. Ceramic tile, quartz, stone tile, and other natural materials add interest and style to any décor.
When choosing your new house plans and materials keep green flooring choices in mind. Green flooring choices will not only help protect the environment, but also protect the health and well-being of your family. With all of the choices in green products today, you can find the right flooring for your tastes and budget.