Thanks for posting lots of green advice and questions on my previous post about Why Green Matters. To help you in your quest to go green indoors, I’ve dug up some answers:
Carmen asks: When remodeling a kitchen or bathroom does the use of natural stone such as granite help you to go green? Can granite be considered since it does not give off gases inside the home environment?
Answer: Granite is a non-renewable resource, so using it in your home is actually an example of not going green. Green options include recycled quartz or glass countertops. It’s true that granite doesn’t off-gas, but these other counter materials won’t either and you’ll get an equally stunning look without all the maintenance of granite.
HGTV Green Home kitchen with manmade quartz countertops and walnut veneer plank floors
Kathaleen asks: Any ideas on a safe and green flooring alternative to carpet?
Answer: Absolutely! Bamboo flooring, cork flooring (very soft and safe for children), linoleum and reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood are all great alternatives. I especially love Shaw Floors. We used them in the HGTV Green Home because their products are absolutely gorgeous — and green!
sf asks: A friend informed me that the compact fluorescent light bulbs have mercury in them.
1. Is this true?
2. If so, how are we to dispose of the bulbs and the mercury if and when they ever stop working?
Answer: Lighting is one of the most important things to consider in a room design. Unfortunately, yes CFLs do contain mercury. The common argument about mercury in CFLs is that we’re solving one problem (wasting energy) with another (introducing harmful chemical into the home). Carter Oosterhouse and I spoke about this on the podcast (coming soon!), and he pointed out that Sylvania, an Energy Star certified company, is working on creating CFL models with less mercury.
To recycle CFLs, you can use Sylvania’s RecyclePaks that ship through U.S. mail to the company’s recycling center. Or, take them to your local hazardous waste recycling center. Don’t put them in the trash, because they’ll break before reaching the landfill, and expose workers and our groundwater to the neurotoxin.
Commenter mcgyver adds: “If you should break a CFL in your house… clean it up with rubber gloves and a dustpan. Do not vacuum as it can ruin your vacuum and spread fine particles of mercury into the air.”
Terri asks: I do as much as I can but I as well would like more ideas that I can implement into my own home that would help me to go green. I do the CFL and have already saved $20 on my bill,etc.
Answer: Part of being green is having better air quality at home, so one easy solution is to always paint or stain with no- or low-VOC products.Other quick solutions include bamboo or organic cotton bedding, burning soy candles, buying decor locally and refurbishing or recycling furniture rather than buying new. These design tricks were all used by Linda Woodrum, interior designer of the HGTV Green Home.
Have anything to add? Help others keep going green by posting in the comments.