Green Housing

In the House

Furniture and Furnishings
Beds and bedding
  • Choose a mattress of either 100 percent pure natural latex or a natural latex core with organic cotton and wool.  Natural latex is simply rubber, from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis).  It does not contain petrochemicals and is naturally hypoallergenic, antimicrobial and resistant to dust mites.
  • Bamboo is a sustainable choice for a bed frame (instead of wood), or buy a used bed frame, or one constructed of reclaimed wood or metal.
  • A box spring is not necessary, particularly if you use a bed frame.
  • Some good choices for bedding are organic cotton or hemp/cotton sheets and pillowcases; down pillows and comforters; and pillows stuffed with shredded natural latex or buckwheat and seed fibers like kapok or flax.  Make sure the materials are certified organic, not just labeled “natural”.
Furniture
  • Try to avoid upholstered furniture that is stain resistant, as it is likely that the stain resistant treatment contains formaldehyde.
  • Inexpensive particleboard furniture is usually treated with formaldehyde and may contain toxic glues.
  • Buy used furniture, or furniture made from bamboo or reclaimed wood or metal.
Floors, Walls, Ceilings, Doors and Windows
Floors
  • Standard floor carpeting often contains glues, dyes, and chemical treatments that can off-gas (chemicals are released in the air).  Use organic cotton, wool, sisal or hemp rugs instead.
  • If installing new flooring, consider ceramic tiles, cork or bamboo flooring instead of wood floors.
  • When refinishing existing wood floors, use no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) finishes and stains.
Walls and Ceilings
  • Use non-oil based interior latex, low or no-VOC paint.
  • If you decide to use wallpaper, ask for natural, nontoxic or no-VOC wallpaper paste.  Never use vinyl wallpaper.
Doors and Windows
  • Poorly insulated doors and windows allow heated or cooled air to escape, so seal or caulk any leaks.
Lighting
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy and last up to ten times longer than incandescent.  They also generate less heat.
  • Turn lights off when leaving a room.