Saturday, February 16, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

Well here we are; officially mid-way through winter. How’s that list of indoor projects going? As you continue to contemplate the to-do list, take a minute to consider how the products that you use affect the quality of life that you and your family enjoy.

If you’re not yet familiar with the term “indoor air quality,” you soon will be. Indoor air quality is one of the cornerstones supporting the U.S. Green Building Council’s, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (
LEED) guidelines for high-performance, healthy buildings and homes. In short, good indoor air quality promotes healthy and comfortable living by providing clean, unpolluted air for you and your family to breath.

So does this mean that the air that you breathe indoors at home and at work is polluted? Yes. In fact, a number of studies have shown that the air quality in poorly designed buildings is actually more polluted than the air outside in major cities.

What does any of this have to do with your winter projects? Well, everything. Are you planning to paint or stain? Build an addition or remodel? If so, use Low or Zero VOC products and building materials, cabinetry and trim that do not contain Urea-Formaldehyde.

VOC’s, or
Volatile Organic Compounds, are chemical compounds found in a variety of products that off-gas and pollute the air. Paints, stains, carpets and vinyl shower curtains are some of the usual suspects inside your home. Formaldehyde is used as an adhesive in the manufacture of a variety of pressed and composite wood products.

The good news is that many manufacturers now recognize the offenses of VOC’s and formaldehyde and produce green product lines. These chemicals are, of course, just the tip of the indoor air quality iceberg but bypassing them while completing your project list this winter is an effective way to start improving the health of you and your family.

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