Green houses are tighter than regular houses, so indoor air quality can be compromised by products and materials that off gas. Here are a few suggestions:
Paints and stains with high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Generally speaking, oil-based finishes have higher VOC levels than do water-based products.
Carpeting that that does not carry the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label or Green Label Plus.
Exotic hardwoods (mahogany, teak and the like) that is not certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or a like organization.
Old-growth softwoods (Douglas fir, redwood and yellow cedar, for example) that have not been sustainably harvested.
Pressed wood products, such as particleboard, made with urea formaldehyde adhesives.
Windows and doors that do not meet Energy Star guidelines.
Heating and cooling equipment with low energy-efficiency ratings.
At almost every turn, builders and homeowners have choices about the products and materials they buy. Look for durable, nonpolluting products and avoid those that have health, environmental and energy drawbacks.
To learn more, see the GreenSpec Product Guide