Friday, February 09, 2007

Green Home Improvement: Wooden it be nice...

Wood is one of the most sustainable building materials - non-toxic with a solar-powered 'manufacturing' process and it is easily recyclable. The main thing you need to be careful about is where it comes from and this is made easy because of the well-respected Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation. If your wood has the FSC logo, you can pretty much trust that it is OK.

There are other sources of sustainable wood. The treads on our stairs (right) were made by a local company who get their wood from tree surgeons, so we knew the wood was local and would otherwise go to waste.

Another important issue with wood is preservatives as most are toxic (they have to be to kill rot and fungus). The excellent Greenspec website has some excellent advice on wood preservation, how to avoid it and what the best options are if you must use it.

Lastly, wood boards such as MDF and chipboard are normally manufactured using toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde to bond the wood particles together. These volatile chemicals 'off-gas' during the product's life which affects the indoor air quality and has been linked to sick building syndrome. It is best to avoid these upfront by only using ZF (Zero Formaldehyde) products (eg Medite Ecologique MDF which is ZF and FSC certified), but if you can't source them, then certain houseplants such as spider plants will happily suck up as much of the gases as they can.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home