When decorating or remodeling any room of your home, green means using products and materials that include the following characteristics:
Are locally manufactured. Buying products manufactured nearby cuts down on the waste of fuel and the emissions that result from transporting goods long distances, and also supports your local economy.
Conserve natural resources. These include products that are made from rapidly renewable materials generally produced from agricultural crops, such as organic cotton, wool, sisal, cork, and bamboo, and products made from wood derived from certified well-managed forests. Examples include cork and bamboo flooring.
Are salvaged. Some construction and decorating components can be reused or rescued, thus reducing the consumption of new products made from raw materials. Examples include period hardware and millwork.
Contain recycled content. These include products made of materials that have been diverted from the landfill and put into the production of new products. An example is flooring made of reclaimed wood.
Are made to last. Green products dont need frequent replacement. Well-made items constructed from quality materials stay out of landfills and incinerators and save the production costs of replacement products.
Avoid toxic emissions. Green products minimize toxic industrial chemicals and contribute to a healthy home environment. Examples include zero- or low-VOC paints, caulks, and adhesives.
With these criteria in mind, lets start the green nursery makeover with an empty room, then furnish, decorate, and stock it with products that are safe for both the baby and the environment.
Remember, every change you make in the green direction is a positive step. So whether you make one small change or redo the entire room green, youre contributing to the green movement and giving your child a healthier home in which to have her sweet dreams. Its a good feeling knowing you are doing something thats right for your family and the planet and at the same time creating a beautiful living space.
Dr. Alan Greene
Dr. Greene is the author of Raising Baby Green, founder of www.DrGreene.com, chief medical officer of A.D.A.M., chair of The Organic Center, a member of the advisory board of Healthy Child Healthy World and clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University's Packard Children's Hospital.
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