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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eco-Friendly Design

I have finished my project for my Contemporary Residential Design Course. Our assignment was to select materials, finishes, and furnishings for a cottage using eco-friendly products. There is so much information about "green" and what it means and who is doing it, but I realized that almost all my research brought me to the macro impact to our environment, but I found scant documentation about the micro environment. What about the effect of toxic compounds in our own personal environment - our home? How about a new catch phrase - "eco-digs" - the place where one resides with the purist materials possible. So many people suffer from allergies, headaches and general aches and pains. They don't even realize their micro environment is the cause.

Happily I found MANY products that are friendly to our personal space. Products that are made with natural ingredients. Here is how I specified the products for this eco-dig.

Wallcoverings: Formaldehyde-free paper from managed sustainable forests. Printed with water-based inks and coatings. Installed with wheat, cellulose, or starch based adhesives.

Paint: Zero VOC based containing no ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, or crystalline silica.

Flooring: Marmoleum flooring is made up of linseed oil, rosins, and wood flour, calendered into a natural jute backing. It has bactericidal properties; prevention of household mites; and anti-static properties.

Wood Flooring: Plantation-grown eucalyptus from sustainable, managed and PEFC-certified forests. It is a smooth and refined grain wood more durable than oak.

Carpet: Flor Carpet Tiles are made with renewable and recycled content and are recyclable. Content is corn, recycled water bottles and natural fibers like wool. The great thing about tiles is that when you have a problem you just remove one square, not the whole room.

Kitchen Cabinets: Crystal Cabinets Green Quest is constructed with plywood and particle board which is made with a patented soy-based resin and no added urea-formaldehyde.

Furnishings: Viesso furniture is made with natural elements like jute webbing and cotton seat decks.

And lastly - why not used furniture? My sofa selection comes from Consignment Plus Home Furnishings in Walnut Creek and re-upholstered with a 100% wool chenille.

Hope you like my eco-digs.