As we have become more concerned with reducing our carbon footprint, an increasing number of companies have started to provide eco-friendly alternatives. These environmentally friendly alternatives now cover many different areas of life, one of which is furniture. Some of the furniture that is produced across the world, even to this day, contains harmful chemicals which can have adverse long term effects on people’s health and on the environment. Most eco-friendly furniture is made from completely renewable materials that are not harmful to the environment or the people using them. As technology improves and designers become more daring and creative, eco-friendly furniture not only looks good, but is also highly functional and long-lasting. Below are some of our favourite reasons for choosing eco-friendly furniture:
Consumption Trends Have Changed
In the past few decades, the world population has increased at an incredibly fast pace. In addition to this, the standard of living has increased in many countries, as has demand for consumer goods. This increased demand for goods has economic benefits. However, it has caused significant problems to our environment. As the world demands more products, valuable forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Forests don’t just provide habitat to a diverse range of wildlife, they also remove carbon dioxide from the air, and replace it with oxygen. As awareness of this issue has increased, so has the demand for reducing our carbon footprint by using eco-friendly products.
Some Furniture Contains Toxic Chemical
There are a number of toxic chemicals, some of which are carcinogens, which have been used in the production of furniture. Flame retardants are chemicals which reduce the spread of fire. However, some of these chemicals are toxic. Next time you are buying furniture you can ask if your furniture is free from PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), TCEP and TDCPP (Chlorinated Tris). Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) are used to make furniture and other materials stain resistant, and are widely used in products containing Teflon. Some types of furniture are put together using Formaldehyde-based glues. This chemical is very toxic to humans and animals, and should be avoided wherever possible. If these chemicals are present in your home, they can have an adverse effect on your health and the health of everyone living with you.
PVC and Vinyl
As well as being used extensively in many everyday items including flooring, shower curtains and food containers, PVC is also widely used in furniture manufacturing. It is therefore likely that PVC is present in many products that are currently in your home. Vinyl is another common material that is used in furniture, and almost always contain PVC. The production and disposal of products that contain PVC also causes damage to the environment. If you are concerned about the environment it is a good idea to avoid PVC and look at alternatives, of which there are an increasing number.
When we talk about recycled furniture, we’re not talking about removing an old couch from a skip! Recycled furniture is formed out of previously used materials including wood and metal. There is a large market for “antique” furniture that has been previously used. Additionally, a growing number of companies are now refurbishing old pieces of furniture and selling them on. If you are a fan of the antique and retro furniture market, there’ll be a great little piece of furniture out there for you!
Furniture Made from Renewable Resources
You can still be kind to the environment if you buy a brand new piece of furniture. Natural furniture is made from renewable materials, including wood. Although it might sound contradictory to use wood whilst being eco-friendly, there is a growing number of sustainable sources of wood. For example, some companies plant a new tree for every one that they cut down. Although trees take a number of years to grow to their full size, at least they are being replaced. Bamboo is another very popular option because it is a strong material and grows back very quickly. A third, less well-known option is hemp furniture.
Benefits of Using Eco-Friendly Furniture
As well as reducing your carbon footprint, there are a number of other significant benefits to using furniture which is friendly to the environment. If you remove furniture from your house that contains toxic chemicals and replace it with eco-friendly furniture, you will improve the quality of the air for all of your family. When considering buying a new piece of furniture, it is always good to find out about the manufacturing process and whether the furniture has been made by a company who is as keen as you to reduce its carbon footprint. Some people think that all eco-friendly products are very costly, but this is not always the case. You can pick up a great looking piece of furniture that will last you for many years at a very competitive price. Today it is easy to reduce your carbon footprint by using eco-friendly furniture and improve the air quality in your home by opting for furniture that is free of any toxic chemicals. There is a vast range of eco-friendly furniture available that will suit almost all tastes and budgets. Whether you are looking for designer chairs or kitchen tables, there is something out there for you. It is very important that you consider durability in your purchase decision, so hopefully you can have a lovely piece of furniture that lasts for many years!
Author Bio Rob works with http://metrofurniture.co.uk/ and is a keen design enthusiast. He enjoys researching and writing about sustainable living and is currently on a mission to be more eco-friendly and reduce his carbon footprint.
Oak as an ethical construction material really is quite hard to beat. Having absorbed Carbon Dioxide throughout its life, an oak tree has already repaid its debt to the environment before it is felled. In addition to this, oak has a longevity many other materials cannot match, making it one of the first choices for builders and furniture makers. Some oak trees do not begin making seed, in the form of acorns, until they are fifty years old, while no oak tree will become productive in this way until at least twenty years of age.
Most American and European Oak furniture is made from long-term sustainable supplies of oak. Good producers of oak furniture will have an environmental policy covering the sourcing and manufacture of their products, and these policies will normally have consideration for the replanting of oak trees. Indeed, in Britain, the Forestry Commission reports that there is a small increase each year in the hectares of forestry covered by oak trees. This is despite oak being one of the most popular solid-wood choices for furniture making in the UK.
Where does environmentally Friendly Oak Come From?
Oak can come from any country where trees grow, but environment-friendly wood is likely to have certification from The Forest Stewardship Council, an organisation which has as its mission statement the aspiration of “Promoting the responsible management of forests worldwide.” One of the programs they pursue is the idea of the “Chain of Custody.” This means that in the European Union, the USA, Australia and most developed countries, wood is sourced legally, from suppliers who have signed up
to a process of environmental protection mirrored in their home country’s legislation. Founded in 1990 in California, the FSC aims to “credibly identify well-managed forests as the sources of responsibly produced wood products.” The reach of this organisation covers most of the oak wood that goes to make up European and Western homes, so ask your supplier of living room, bedroom and kitchen furniture and flooring about FSC certification on the items you buy.
Recycled Oak and Oak Products
If you are in the market for oak furniture for your home, but you want to minimise the impact you make on the planet’s resources, one excellent strategy is to recycle oak boards, or even better, recycle or upcycle existing oak furniture. Oak furniture looks better and better with age, and having received a bruise or a knock does not diminish its beauty. Just be sure you are buying solid oak, by checking that the top and bottom of your furniture is of a similar grain and consistency, and that edging or veneer has not been added. Also look for the distinctive open grain pattern of solid oak. Oak is the chosen material for furniture items which are high-use, such as tables and cupboards. Its durability and strength as a material for making furniture make it the perfect choice for an environment-conscious consumer.
Stephen O writes on environmental and green issues, promoting sustainable resources when possible.
Green furniture pertains to furniture manufactured from sustainable materials which provide durability and are ecologically friendly. These pieces are typically created with a minimal impact on the environment. The sustainable materials have low or no toxicity levels and are often custom-made to the specifications of a customer.
The public awareness of the environment dictates the current trend of furniture manufacturing with recycled or reclaimed materials. By reusing the old lumber, decorative pieces and hardware, the furniture builders are able to avoid the pollution and unnecessary deforestations of various regions around the globe. The noticeable impact has been recorded in the increased production of furniture made from recycled products. Old materials provide a unique look and are often chosen by people with a distinctive taste for character furnishings. In addition to wood, metal-based components are used in combination with other recycled materials to create exclusive pieces for various purposes.
The term is often applied to furniture made from natural resources, such as bamboo, hemp and wood, harvested in eco-friendly manner. The environment savvy furniture manufacturing companies use the latest techniques to alleviate any impact on wildlife and provide durable and long-lasting furniture. Due to its sturdiness and beautiful look, bamboo has become one of the most preferred building materials within the past few decades. The flexibility and abundance of bamboo allows the manufacturers to produce furniture, floors and wall designs with a distinctive appearance.
Refurbishing Vintage Pieces
Older furniture can be re-purposed and re-finished for a new look and feel. Old furniture is typically handcrafted and made from solid wood. After many years of use, some of the pieces become unattractive and may need a face lift to complete the existing décor of a home or office. Refurbishing is significantly less costly and makes a positive difference on the environment. Vintage pieces combined with rustic accents add to the overall feeling of the room and prevent unnecessary trash collections and landfill overloads.
Low-toxicity Vintage Furniture
Most mass-produced furniture is treated with toxic paints, lacquers or other finishing products which are harmful to the environment. New furniture of this type produces gas compounds known to be harmful to people and pets. Buying vintage furniture assures the safety of the inhabitants of the home as typically any gases have already dissipated over a period of many years. Buying green furniture ensures that the pieces were treated with organic substances such as natural wood finishes and are safe to use.
Many companies offer eco-friendly furniture that does not create any hazard to the environment. The most efficient way to find these pieces is to find a local distributor who specializes in green furniture. Although most large chains now carry many environmentally-friendly lines, the small local retailer can offer a choice of unique designs at affordable prices. You can even have your pieces custom designed and built and have complete control over the materials as well as the manufacturing process. Earth-friendly options allow the consumers to make wise choices about the décor of their home and help with sustaining healthy environment.
Eric builds custom wooden furniture at CambiumWorks. His stylish furniture pieces lend beauty and character to his clients’ homes.
Recycled Cardboard Furniture image courtesy of Flickr.
This infograph is all about eco friendly practices in furniture manufacturing. A tree used for manufacture takes between 20-30 years to be replaced by a new one which is why many companies are now looking to work only within sustainable forests or use reclaimed and recycled wood in production. Another way to help protect the environment and cut costs is by using material that is sourced within a 500 mile radius of the craftsmen who will work on it.
By looking to make more durable pieces, manufacturers are again working in a more environmentally friendly way and their products are more beautiful.The use of synthetic silk or leather is another way producers are looking to improve practices by banning animal cruelty.
This concern for the environment extends to the use of harmful chemicals; eco friendly companies use furniture finishes that have low VOCs. Small pieces of wood are also used rather than thrown away, with many of them going on to be used in kids' toys.
Guest Post contributed by Natural Mat – Natural Anti -Allergy Matresses
A few years ago, people at cleaning companies realised they could sell more of their products by scaring mothers, and set about convincing us that the only way to protect our babies was to buy their products to kill every germ in our homes, and never let any dirt near our children. Dirt became the enemy, to be avoided at all costs.
Recently though some common sense has started to prevail. People have become conscious of the rise of conditions such as asthma, and the link seems to be with our overly clean houses. Some dirt is good for building up a child's resistance. And more than that, it's surely better to be a relaxed parent than one who freaks out at the thought of their baby eating food off their own high chair? When I was a first time parent I certainly had more important things to worry about, and keeping my home spotless was quite low down on my list of priorities!
Obviously, though, even the most relaxed of us want to clean and keep our house nice. A lot of the natural materials and items in our homes need to be looked after, for example wooden furniture needs to be cleaned to keep the surface in good condition and stop stains. It can be difficult though when the products marketed so heavily to parents are generally full of chemicals and not exactly conducive to natural living.
Luckily, it is actually easier than you might think to avoid chemical cleaners. For general cleaning, citrus is your best friend. Lemon or orange juice or another citrus juice are great at removing stains and acting as a natural disinfectant, and they give a lovely fruity aroma. Mix with a little water and watch the magic. For tough grease and stains hot water and steam will give the mixture a boost.
For wooden furniture, adding olive oil and essential oils into the citrus/water mix creates a perfect solution which cares for the surface of your wood, keeping it well moistened and protected, without having to use the toxic and harsh smelling wood polishes.
You can buy eco friendly detergents and cleaners, but they can often be a little more expensive than the cheap chemically ones. It's worth investing in a couple of key products though for items that your own creations won't clean. For example, a stain on a sofa might need something a little bit more effective than lemon juice.
Some people try to prevent marks by spraying furniture with a stain resistant chemical like Teflon. These products can be really toxic though – bad for the environment, your furniture and you and your child. If you want to go for a more natural option for your family, look for options which don't contain fluorochemicals or PTFE resin.
In general when buying pre-prepared cleaning products, avoid:
• synthetic fragrances
• petroleum distillates
For reclaimed furniture ideas visit the furniture market.
Whether you are trying to save money or care enough about the earth to recycle the things that you have, reusing your old furniture is a great way to get the look that you want and accomplish your goal. Instead of throwing out old furniture or putting it in a garage sale, use the tips below to discover ways that you can reuse your old furniture. What will you transform your old furniture into?
Make planter boxes out of wooden furniture. Instead of getting rid of an old swing that no longer serves its purpose, find a new purpose for it by creating planter boxes for your yard. This is just one of the many things that you can do with old wooden furniture.
Recover old furniture and make it like new. While getting a new sofa may seem like the an easier idea, recovering old furniture can save your money and also allow you to create a one of a kind custom look for your furniture.
Weatherize your indoor furniture and use it as outdoor furniture. Some indoor furniture such as wooden chairs can work perfectly in an outdoor setting. Find ways to weatherize your indoor furniture and use it in your garden space.
Donate your old furniture to charity. Old furniture can be donated to charity for a good cause. Perhaps there is a family in need who can use your old furniture.
Turn and old dresser into a bathroom vanity. An old dresser than has seen better days can be transformed into a beautiful bathroom vanity. If you vintage is more of your style, there are several ways that you can reuse an old dresser.
Use old furniture non traditional ways. Think outside of the box and find ways to use old furniture in non traditional ways.
Turn an old table into an outdoor picnic table. An example of using old furniture in non traditional ways is to take an old indoor coffee table and turn it into a small outdoor picnic table by adding longer legs and a bench seating to the table.
An old dresser can be a perfect kitchen island if you need the space. A piece of butcher block added to an old dresser makes the perfect addition to any kitchen. If you are low are space, create a truly unique kitchen island from old furniture.
A dining room buffet can be transformed into a baby changing table. A baby changing station is a necessity for a new baby’s room. Don’t throw out that old buffet! Add cushion and fabric to the top to create your very own changing table.
Spray paint old lamps and buy new lamps shades for a new addition to your space. Spray paint can transform anything! Paint old lamps to make them new.
Salvage a coffee table with broken legs by finding creative ways to add new ones. Old books glues together can make the perfect legs for a coffee table. What unique ways can you think of to stabilize a coffee table that needs new legs?
Add a mosaic to surfaces that are badly scratched. A table top can be transformed by creating a mosaic from smooth round rocks. The sky is the limit when finding ways to transform a table top into something new and interesting.
Paint everything! Paint can make anything new! There is paint available for both wooden and plastic furniture. Give your furniture a new paint job.
Make outdoor furniture indoor furniture. Just as you can bring your indoor furniture out, consider bringing your outdoor furniture in! New cushion on wicker furniture can create the perfect seating in a sun room. A small wicker set can also make the perfect addition to a breakfast area that needs a creative touch.
Refuse to throw anything away.If you have the mindset of keeping everything you own, there are many ways that you can transform you old furniture into a new creation. Refuse to throw away anything and find new and interesting ways to use your old furniture.
Use the helpful tips above to help you reuse your old furniture. This will save you money and also help you to have a more positive impact on the environment.
This article is contributed by http://www.juterugshop.com/ . Visit their website for eco-friendly natural fiber rugs for your home.
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Just like your main building, your granny flat and outdoor rooms can also be environmentally friendly. All you need to do is use the right materials and be smart about the design, and your home addition will be eco-friendly and beautiful. Here are some great tips you must check out before you start your building.
No matter the materials and efficiency of fixtures, if you have a large addition to your property, you will leave a bigger footprint. A larger outdoor room will require more turf to be destroyed and paved, while a large granny flat will require more materials, stronger cooling and heating and more electricity. Unless you need all that extra space, keep things small and compact.
If you want to ensure minimum energy gets wasted during your granny flat cooling and heating process, your property has to be well insulated. How much insulation you need will greatly depend on your climate, and the proximity of trees and other buildings that might provide shade during the summer and some protection from the wind during winter. In most cases, the R-value ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 for your ceilings is a good choice, both in cold and warm climates. The best way to insulate walls is to use both thermal and acoustic insulation that will make your granny flat a peaceful and pleasant place.
Positioning of the property
Location is one of the most important things if you want to be green. For instance, if you want to reduce energy consumption in the granny flat, you have to have an adequately positioned space. If the building is surrounded by trees, this might mean the interior will be better protected from direct scorching sunlight in the summer. Additionally, when winter comes, naked branches will allow the sunlight to pass all the way to your windows and provide you with extra warmth. You should also think through the position of your outdoor room. If your location is well shaded and protected from the elements, you won’t need much cover to keep the space pleasant all year round.
When building your outdoor room or granny flat, it’s important to use sustainable, repurposed or green materials to make sure your addition has a minimal effect on the environment. Today, there are many green materials you can choose from, so there is practically no excuse. Locally harvested wood can be a good choice since it doesn’t require long transport hours. Additionally, eco-friendly flooring options like sustainable bamboo and cork are also great solutions. When it comes to fabrics, try to opt for carpets made of natural materials like jute, hemp, coir, sisal or wool. Some companies provide completely custom design, so consult with your trusted granny flat builders during the material choosing stage, and they will surely provide you with valuable insight and extra advice.
When equipping your outdoor room or granny flat, your greenest option is to buy recycled or repurposed items. Buying cheap store furniture pieces is not a very green option since these materials usually contain a lot of toxins and waste a lot of energy during their production process. Also, make sure to choose durable materials, especially for your outdoor room that will be exposed to the elements.
Green walls and partitions
If you want to boost “the green” in your granny flat or outdoor room, you might want to invest in some extra greenery. Green walls and partitions will offer you an opportunity to have a lot of plants in your property, even if you lack the square footage. Additionally, green walls offer great shade, provide clean air and extra thermal and acoustic insulation. And, as a cherry on top, they look amazing both indoors and outdoors.
Your granny flat and outdoor room can be very energy-efficient as long as you provide them with Energy Star appliances and proper lighting. For instance, equip the interior with high-quality and efficient fridge and microwave, and concentrate on using LEDs for lighting. These fixtures will look amazing and save you some money along the way. The same goes for water. Install low-flow toilets, showers and faucets that waste a lot less water than your traditional fixtures.
Granny flats or outdoor rooms are a great addition to your home. And if you want to make them green and sustainable, you’ll be doing a lot of good for the planet and future generations.
Despite numerous perks, the problem with the modern world is that it’s closer to extinction that we can realise. By doing lots of things that have a negative impact on our planet, we have jeopardised the future of Mother Earth and everyone living on it, and it’s high time we did something about it. Making a positive change is never easy, but you need to make an example and start with your own personal space before moving onto bigger and better things. Making your home eco-friendly requires quite a lot of time, money and energy, yet you can’t put a price on knowing that you’ve done something good and actually made a considerable difference in your own micro-system. That’s why we all need to turn our houses greener than ever, and here are a few ways to do so.
Reuse, recycle and repurpose
Not that many people know this, but the amount of second-hand materials available to you is extraordinary – just because you’re not using these doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So, if you’re planning to build your own house from scratch, make sure you pack it with second-hand timber, wood, steel and glass. You can also think about using materials made from waste products – newspaper wood, bottle bricks and wine cork panels are just some of the ideas you could look into and make your home greener that way.
Install solar panels
This might be sound a complex and difficult idea at first, but it’s actually one of the most effective ways to elevate the overall sustainability of your house. If you have a spacious roof, be sure to fill it with solar panels that can produce a significant amount of energy and actually power up your kitchen devices or light up your place. Moreover, this is the way to lower your electric bill month after month and actually start saving a huge amount of money you can use for other eco-friendly purposes.
Build a greenhouse
What better way to make your house greener than by building a greenhouse right next to it? If planned, designed and executed properly, your greenhouse can be more beneficial than you’ve ever thought, but be extra careful when doing so this. No matter how handy you are and how small this project seems, you still need to use adequate safety clothing in order to make sure you don’t hurt yourself and endanger your life. Keep in mind that even a small greenhouse has a number of benefits – from making the air around your home much cleaner and more pleasant, to saving you a ton of money on vegetables you would otherwise purchase in a supermarket. This way, your family will always have healthier, more natural and totally safe food in front of them every day of the week, which is quite great in the long run.
Use LED bulbs
This could easily be the oldest trick the book, yet its efficiency and practicality are amazing. Using LED light bulbs instead of regular ones could save you a significant amount of money, but also make your living space healthier and cozier at the same time. The technology of LED bulbs has advanced quite a bit in the past couple of years, and you could easily find a whole range of models that might suit you aesthetically and visually. Finally, these bulbs are among the best ways to show your visitors and guests how eco-friendly and environmentally-aware you are, and that’s always appreciated.
Turn off appliances
This is another popular method of making your home greener and it’s quite easy too! All you need to do is remember to turn off your computer, printer, kettle and oven after you’ve finished using them instead of leaving them on all night long. Some people even unplug their appliances just to be safe, and the amount of money you can save in a year is definitely worth all the extra effort. Therefore, think about this idea and start turning off your appliances as soon as possible.
Turning down your thermostat, installing double-glazed windows, furnishing with recycled furniture, using eco-friendly wall paint, as well as adding a few plants here and there are a few additional ways to make your home greener than ever, so try these ideas out and start practising them on a regular basis.
Most people think they’re pretty good about recycling. Plenty of people are, but the definition of proper recycling practices has become incredibly limited. It’s all wonderful that you toss your cans, bottles, and paper into the recycling bin, but what about the more substantial stuff that piles up unnoticed?
Home and building renovation/construction is responsible for a great deal of landfill bloat. In fact, one-third of the solid waste in the United State is building debris. You know those massive dumpsters filled to the brim outside of a place being built, remodeled, or worked on? Tons–literally and figuratively–of that waste can be recycled.
When people are renewing the interiors and exteriors of their homes, knowing what can be recycled is essential to responsible debris disposal. Unfortunately, this isn’t the type of recycling that comes to mind immediately upon hearing the word, but more can be recycled than you think. Some states require certain percentages of building debris to be recycled, but sustainable building, disposal, and recycling practices should stretch beyond legal requirement.
Doing the research before a renovation project will open your eyes to the recycling possibilities. Not only is it environmentally responsible, but can also gain you a sizeable tax write-off. As a country, we produce millions of tons of trash annually. Building materials, old appliances, furniture, whatever you’re thinking of getting rid of, fight the temptation to create more garbage. Remember the material “waste” from your project can help other ones be built! Let’s knock trash mountain down a few sizes and start taking recycling beyond paper, plastic, and glass.
View the infographic below for more information.
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Earth kind interior design goes beyond just the materials we choose for our homes. A true green approach is led by low impact production and sustainable, environmentally sound solutions that continue to conserve the world around us. And it’s important to consider the link between eco-friendly interior design concepts with architecture, renewable energy, renewable technologies and more.
From the different ways to power our houses – such as ground source heat pumps or the growth of offshore wind farms – to the choices we make with household waste management, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to designing a green living space. Here are some green design tips to consider for the eco-friendly home:
Work with Natural Sunlight
There is nothing healthier or more beautiful than natural light in the home, and utilising this free source of light will help to reduce your household’s impact on resources. If large windows and the application of glass walls, doors and ceilings hasn’t been considered in the build stage, you can draw in more light with the placement of mirrors and reflective surfaces.
Choose Chemical Free Wall Coverings
For your walls, choose environmentally friendly paint that does not emit harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Natural alternatives to paint include recycled wallpaper, wood panels, cork or ceramic tiles. These options can often be more expensive but when maintained with the right care, they can last for many years to come.
Know Your Wood
Naturally, replacing all plastics with an organic material like wood may seem like an obvious choice when it comes to furniture. But even when it comes to shopping for wood, there are different levels of sustainability to think about. There’s ‘good wood’ and ‘bad wood’ alike.
Opt for wood from sustainably harvested forests, sustainably harvested tree farms or go for reclaimed wooden furniture.
Upcycle Unwanted Furniture
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and that is the art of upcycled furniture. This interior design concept gives new life to unwanted, unused materials. Reducing the problem of waste in landfills and fighting the cycle of demand and production within the mass manufacturing industry.
There are a variety of materials that can be upcycled, including wooden objects, metal or fabric. And you won’t have to search far to find your resources. Old curtains can be re-designed into cushion covers, old wooden crates can be fashioned as storage units, and an old pair of ladders can be transformed into a bookshelf.
Design a Water Wise Home
Indoor plants are a great way of purifying the air and creating a happy, healthy environment for the whole family. But when it comes to indoor and outdoor landscaping, it’s important to build a water wise topography, to help reduce overall household water usage. Choose plants that can tolerate drought and for your garden, select plants that attract wildlife and help to create a safe habitat. A drip-irrigation system should also be used outdoors.