Things To Consider When Remodeling/Building for a Sustainable and Healthy Environment
Living in Hawaii, surrounded by such astounding natural beauty, has inspired many property owners to keep Mother Nature in mind when building and remodeling their homes and businesses. The trend towards sustainable design in Hawaii is encouraged and supported by the availability of many "green" products and suppliers. Although green design leaves less of an impact on the environment, it may have an impact on your wallet. According to Eco-Home Magazine's Sept. 2012 issue, “Homes labeled Energy Star, LEED for Homes and Green Point Rated sell for 9% more than comparable non-labeled homes.”
Whether you're looking for improved energy and water efficiency, committed to using recycled or sustainable materials for your floor coverings and counter tops, or just want to use less toxic products in general, we say "kudos to you!"
Following are simple guidelines to help you have a more sustainable and healthy home and office.
Use no-VOC paint. VOC = Volatile Organic Compounds: The unhealthy off-gassing from paints, adhesives, etc. For paint follow the Green Seal standard GS 11. Flat:50 g/L; Non-flat: 150 g/L.
For a natural, environmentally friendly finish. A non-toxic alternative to paint, wallpaper, cement, acrylic and gypsum based plasters, use American Clay Earth Plaster.
When adhering Countertops, wood flooring, etc. select low VOC content with an average of <50 g/L.
Use FSC or reclaimed wood or recycled content with no urea-formaldehyde resins.
Select products that meet the Green Label Plus or Green Guard programs. For wood flooring this would include: Recycled content, rapidly renewable or FSC sourced woods.
Recycled content or reclaimed and composite materials with low VOC sealers.
Select high efficiency (low flow) fixtures & fittings:
- Faucets: </= 2.00/gpm to </= 1.5 gpm
- Showers: </= 2.00/gpm to </= 1.75 gpm
- Toilets: </= 1.3/gpm to or dual flush or </= 1.10 gpm
- Energy Star labeled lights using compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED lamping.
- Add Solar Tubes or skylights in dark interior rooms.
- Use motion sensors for exterior lighting.
Select Energy Star labeled refrigerators, ceiling fans, dishwashers and clothes dryers
Find furniture using recycled, rapidly renewable materials, FSC woods or re-purpose existing furnishings.
Find products using rapidly renewal materials. Choose Tencel Plus Lyocell over bamboo fabrics as toxic chemicals are required to render the bamboo into fibers. Pictured right: Knoll Intrigue fabric with renewable materials including wool & cotton.
Resources & Glossary:
- US Green Building Council
- Green Guard: Third party health based certification to help identify healthier products.
- Green Squared Certified Products: “Industry standard for sustainable tile and tile installation products: ceramic & glass tiles, grouts, mortars, etc.”; Interiors & Sources May 2012
- LEED: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
- LEED AP: LEED Accredited Professional: achieved through study and testing.
- Green Label Plus: Carpet & Rug Institute’s Eco-labeling program focusing on emissions to meet CA 01350 (A VOC test for emissions)
- Floorscore: Resilient Floorcovering Institute certification for products that meet CA 01350