How your home affects your well-being
Love that new home smell? You might not after you read this. Many of the materials used in home building today contain chemicals that off-gas slowly over time, polluting the air inside your home. While you may associate the smell of these chemicals with a fresh, clean start, you’re actually inhaling toxins that could negatively affect your health.
According to the Canadian Lung Association, Canadians spend 90% of their time indoors – a critical reason to carefully consider the materials you’re using in your new home or renovation. As a designer with a passion for all things green, I am constantly on the look out for new ways to incorporate eco-friendly materials into my designs. I seek out the latest and greatest products to ensure the health of my clients is being protected. Here are my top 5 tips for keeping your indoor air clean and safe.
1. Look for the CARB Certified Logo
The pressed wood used in kitchen cabinets can release formaldehyde, a proven carcinogen that can cause illness and irritation. To avoid materials that emit formaldehyde, make sure you’re purchasing cabinetry that is certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB is a clean air agency that tests the chemical emissions of building materials. It’s not enough for companies to simply call a product “eco-friendly”. Green product claims must be backed by environmental certifications and a manufacturer should be able to provide you with this information.
2. Check the Indoor Air Certifications
The flooring in your home can be a prime suspect for chemical off-gassing. Speak to your flooring provider about indoor air certifications. Beyond the CARB certification, there are other organizations that measure the VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions of flooring products.
3. Choose Quartz over Granite
Many people are not aware that granite countertops can contain radon, a radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium contained within the rock. A better alternative for countertops is quartz. Many quartz countertop products, such as those produced by Cambria Quartz, are GreenGuard certified. This means they contain low emissions and are safe for indoor air. An added bonus: quartz is twice as strong as granite and is virtually maintenance-free.
4. Look for VOC-free Paint
The chemicals in indoor paint can continue to off-gas long after the paint fumes have dissipated. But a fresh coat of paint doesn’t have to mean indoor air pollution. There are several paint products on the market today that contain low or zero VOC’s. Look for VOC-free latex paints or paints made from natural ingredients like soy or clay. And don’t worry, you won’t have to sacrifice colour or durability. With a wide range of eco-friendly paints on the market, there are plenty of options.
5. Forgo Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
While wall-to-wall carpeting was once a status symbol, it is now being recognized as a huge contributor to poor air quality in homes. Carpeting can reek havoc on those with allergies, harboring bacteria, dust and pet hair. And it can also contain an abundance of chemicals that slowly off-gas into your home. By choosing CARB certified hardwood flooring instead of carpeting, you’ll have a cleaner and emissions-free home.
Contact Nordell Homes to learn more about how to build a healthy, eco-friendly home so that you, and your family can breathe easier.