A Greener Bathroom

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The materials and finishes you choose for your interior have a big impact on the air quality inside your home. Another important consideration when making selections is the amount of energy required to transport the materials from where they are created to your region.

When remodeling your bathroom, consider picking easy-to-clean, low-maintenance and durable materials that are made locally from recycled materials. Weigh the pros and cons of different possibilities.

Take into account the distance from which the material would travel before determining whether to purchase it. For example, marble, slate and natural stone are natural products and, because of that, they do not release toxic chemicals into the air, or off-gas. However, some homeowners choose not to employ them because they are quarried from the earth, a destructive process that includes blasting, cutting or digging a hole in the ground. Transporting marble or stone from as far away as Italy or Brazil and slate from India leads to the release of many fossil fuels into the atmosphere and has a negative effect upon the environment.

For cabinets and substrates under countertops, consider choosing formaldehyde-free wood and low-volatile organic compound (VOC) materials. Steer clear of chipboard, exterior-grade plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). For cabinetry, consider going with certified wood products from sustainable sources. These include maples, rather than exotic lumber from locations such as rainforests. Cabinet finishes should have the lowest VOC content possible.

When making remodeling decisions for your bathroom, remember that selecting greener materials and finishes can help protect the environment—both outside and inside your home.

Gwen Biasi,
Director of Marketing and Communications for NARI
(NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE REMODELING INDUSTRY)

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