19 Jul Natural and Not
Welcome to Natural Interiors® where everybody will understand “green”
(Note: This article was written in 2010 and remains on our site as part of our history.)
It’s natural to want simple answers. It’s not natural when simple answers get complicated. But that is what is happening today as we consider “green” building and decorating products.
It seems that confusion often takes over. We mistake a “green” product label that certifies low chemical emissions for a label that means that the product is made from recycled or renewable materials. A salesperson tells us bamboo flooring is more stable than wood, so we think it’s immune to water damage. Specialty “green” retailers proclaim that their knowledge is superior to mainstream retailers as both sides compete for their share of the U.S. “green” building products market, which is projected to reach $80 billion by 2013.
No Such Thing as Green
How do we get accurate information? We follow a few natural rules:
One: There is no such thing as a “green” product. All of these products require energy to manufacture. So, when you shop for a “green” product, you are shopping for a product that is better for human health or the health of the planet.
Two: Most of the information needed, including “green” certifications, product contents and track records, is readily available. There are levels of “green,” and you can choose what’s right for you.
Though not always easy to understand, the U.S. Green Building Council, through its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, has given us the guidelines. They cover everything from making our homes and businesses energy efficient to reducing chemical emissions from products in our indoor air to increasing our use of products made from materials that are rapidly renewable.
Take the LEED
On this website every day, Natural Interiors® will break it down.
What does each certification that has been developed to meet LEED standards mean? Which are third-party certifications and which were developed by someone who benefits from the sale of the certified product? Our members recognize that there are a number of second-party certifications validated under LEED, and they provide verification, even if their rules are not always as strict.
A “green” product’s track record is equally important. Our blogs will include comparisons of the different brands on performance and other environmental points such as whether they contain urea formaldehyde.
In our articles, you also will meet a lot of our experts, who have invested their time in understanding “green” products so that they can do a good job for you. They understand that some of us want products that meet the most stringent standards, while the comfort level provided by less-stringent testing will be adequate for others.
The key is knowing the difference. It’s natural. It’s not confusing. Some would just call it common sense.