Choosing greener and healthier building materials for your Home Remodel or Renovation can help improve the health of your home, it's inhabitants and our planet without blowing your budget. We’ll take a look at some simple ways to plan for a more eco-friendly and healthy space like sourcing materials with less toxins, chemicals or reducing the accumulation of dust and moisture.
Insulation Replacing or adding insulation is usually called for with any Home Remodel or Renovation project. Before looking at some healthier insulation options, you’ll want to make sure any vent baffles are unblocked and that there is a sufficient air gap to allow for proper air flow. The type of insulation you ultimately choose should be determined by the environmental conditions and type of application of the area you intend to insulate. Most fiberglass insulation products these days are made from recycled plastic and are a good option for projects on a tighter budget. If you’re wanting you up your insulation game, you may consider some greener alternatives to fiberglass like Mineral wool insulation, Airkrete, Thermo-Hemp and Coconut fiber, which are healthier for the environment and for your indoor air quality. Drywall
Ask your contractor to source a drywall product that has higher amounts of natural gypsum and lower amounts of FGD (or synthetic gypsum). Synthetic gypsum products not only release larger amounts of mercury into the environment during production, they are also less healthy for your home.
For even better indoor air quality, consider using magnesium oxide boards. Some popular brands for magnesium oxide boards are Magnesia Core, Durra Panels, and JetBoard.
The type of paint you choose for your home remodel can have a significant impact on your indoor air quality for years to come.
Generally, paints with a darker tone will produce more VOCs. Choosing paints that have fewer VOCs or that are completely VOC free is a great starting point. You can find paints made with natural materials and dyes as well. Look for “Green Seal Certified Paints" or "Green Guard Certified Paints" while you're at the hardware store. Some popular brands include ECOS Paints, AFM SafeCoat and Auro Organic Paint.
One of the largest components of Home Remodels and Renovations are your flooring. The amount of square footage these new materials will take up can have a tremendous impact on the health of our homes.
You can start with sourcing flooring with fewer amounts of toxins and chemicals. To further plan for better indoor air quality, consider a material that doesn’t trap a lot of dust or moisture. Some of the best options for healthier flooring application include Natural Tile, Natural Wood with zero VOC finish, Bamboo flooring with zero VOC finish, Natural Linoleum and Natural Carpet (low pile).
If adhesives will be used to install your flooring, make sure you’re using up the non-toxic adhesives. Dustless methods of installing your new flooring will help reduce dust while your Home Remodel or Renovation is underway. If at all possible, have your contractor set up their cut station outside or use tools with vacuum attachments.
Materials to avoid
For a healthier home and better indoor air quality, try to avoid the following materials.
Sealants with VOCs, Paints with VOCs, plastic materials, pressed woods (often contain formaldehyde), man made laminates and synthetic carpets.