How to remodel for a green home

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If you're planning some home remodeling, why not consider ideas for going green at home? Patty Kim from the Green Guide shows simple but significant green home remodeling tips to improve your personal environment and help the planet, too.

How to remodel for a green home If you’re getting ready to renovate your house, why not “green” your renovation? A green home is a healthy for you and the environment. Here are some helpful green home remodeling ideas from Patty Kim.
  • Vinyl flooring is the first area to consider for green renovations. It’s easy to clean, but made with polyvinyl chloride, which releases phthalates--chemicals that bind with household dust and can contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems in children.
  • A good green flooring alternative is cork tiles, made from easily replenished wood. They snap into place and are installed without glues. Cork is also a natural thermal insulator that cuts the energy used to heat your home.
  • Recycled flooring options for green remodeling include tiles from Terra Green Classic. They’re made with over 50 percent recycled glass.
  • Marmoleum is linoleum made from renewable resources. Like cork tiles, marmoleum comes in tiles that click together and don’t need glue to stay down. Marmoleum also comes in sheets, which can be installed with less toxic, or low VOC glues.
  • One of the best tips for going green in your home is to avoid VOCs whenever possible. Volatile Organic Chemicals or VOCs have been linked to numerous health problems; most synthetic carpets are installed with glues containing VOC’s.
  • For carpeting, consider FLOR brand tiles. FLOR tiles are made using recycled materials, come in many colors, and are held in place with stickers with low VOC glue.
  • The best green alternative for flooring renovations is wood flooring with area rugs made from natural grasses such as jute and sisal, or natural fibers like hemp, wool or organic cotton.
  • If you are going with wood floors in your remodeling you might consider using fast-growing bamboo or finding reclaimed or recycled wood flooring.
  • Wall paint is full of chemicals, including carcinogens and neurotoxins like benzene, formaldehyde, kerosene, toluene and xylene. Exposure to these gases can worsen asthma, cause headaches, nausea, respiratory damage, nerve, liver and kidney damage.
  • Try looking for no-VOC paints from manufacturers like AFM Safecoat for your green renovation; even Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams sell low-VOC paints now.
  • For areas of your home with low humidity you can use Old Fashioned Milk Paint, actually made with milk.
Transcript Hi, I’m Patty Kim from the Green Guide for howdini.com. Making a few changes around your house? Why not "green" your renovation? A green home is a healthy home, for you and the environment.
But where to start? Come on inside, and I'll show you.

Let's start with the floors. Vinyl flooring is common in high traffic areas. While vinyl is easy to clean, it's made with polyvinyl chloride which releases thalates--chemicals that bind with household dust and can contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems in children.

Greener alternatives include Cork tiles, made from easily replenished wood. Cork trees grow in just 8 or 9 years. Cork tiles easily snap into place and are installed without glues.

Cork is also a natural thermal insulator that helps cut back on the energy used to heat your home.

Recycled flooring options include these tiles from Terra Green Classic. They’re made with over 50 percent recycled glass.

Marmoleum is a linoleum made from renewable resources. Like cork tiles, marmoleum comes in tiles that click together and don’t need glue to stay down. Marmoleum also comes in sheets which can be installed with less toxic, or low VOC glues. Volatile Organic Chemicals or VOCs can have been linked to numerous health problems.

VOC’s can be also be problem in the bedroom or wherever you are using wall to wall carpeting – most synthetic carpets are installed with glues containing vocs.

If you really want carpeting, consider FLOR brand tiles.
They’re made using recycled materials, and they’re held in place with stickers with low VOC glue. And just like carpeting, they come in so many different colors.

The greenest alternative is wood flooring with area rugs made from natural grasses such as jute and syesal, or natural fibers like hemp, wool or organic cotton.

And if you’re putting in a new wood floor, think about using fast growing bamboo. Bamboo trees grows to full size in just 5 years.
Another option is to find reclaimed or recycled wood flooring

Now, what about those walls? We all know fresh paint smells of chemicals.. did you know those chemicals include carcinogens and neurotoxins like benzene, formaldehyde, kerosene, toluene and xylene?

Exposure to these gases can worsen asthma, cause headaches, nausea, respiratory damage, nerve, liver and kidney damage.

The better way to go is to look for NO VOC paints from manufacturers like AFM Safecoat. Even Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams sell low-VOC paints now. Or for areas that don’t see a lot of humidity, you can try Old Fashioned Milk Paint, actually made with milk.

Good luck with your renovation. I’m Patty Kim from the Green Guide for howdini.com.
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  • Patty Kim

    Patty Kim Correspondent, National Geographic's The Green Guide Patty Kim is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist. She is served as a host and anchor for National Geographic as well as reporting for the PBS television program “Nova Science Now.” more about this expert »

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