GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted
Building Science

Healthy Child Healthy World, Part 3

Top ten products used in the Healthy Home 2010—which you can tour at Greenbuild 2010 next week

Image 1 of 2
Image Credit: Nick Novelli, Novelli PhotoDesign
Image Credit: Nick Novelli, Novelli PhotoDesign Image Credit: Nick Novelli, Novelli PhotoDesign

Greenbuild kicks off next week with lots of anticipation and excitement. If you are going to be in Chicago, please take the opportunity to visit the Healthy Home 2010 for a CEU and a tour of a beautiful, healthy, green home. Hop on the bus and receive CEU credits from Cambria and Benjamin Moore during your ride to and from the home.

Tuesday’s tour will feature a presentation by Penny Bonda, the founding chair of LEED for Commercial Interiors, ASID’s Sustainable Design Council, and one of the key developers of REGREEN, the USGBC/ASID green residential remodeling program. The home is located in Palatine, Ill., approximately 20 miles from McCormick Place West. Transportation will be provided with pick-up and drop-off at McCormick if you RSVP as follows: Email [email protected] to catch the bus out to the house on either Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, from 10:30 am–1:30 pm or Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010, from 10:30 am–1:30 pm.

Now on to HH10 Part 3, where we explore the top ten products used that support healthy indoor air quality. I asked the project team leaders, Jill Salisbury and Victoria Di Iorio, for their choices, and they said “…it was very difficult to come up with a short list of our favorites because there are so many great products in the home.”

Here’s their top ten, along with my summary of the products:

  • 1. Bonded Logic Ultra Touch Insulation

    UltraTouch is made from 85% renewable cotton from post-consumer recycled fibers. This product passed the CHPS Section 01350 Emission Test for low VOC content, including no chemical irritants such as formaldehyde, asbestos, or fiberglass. It meets ASTM testing standards as a Class-A insulation by using boric acid for fire and smoke ratings.

  • 2. Holiday Kitchens Cabinetry

    In the kitchen, the cabinetry has no added urea formaldehyde and uses low-VOC paints and stains; plus, it is manufactured in Wisconsin. The cabinet boxes are CARB 1 compliant, and all the adhesives are formaldehyde free.

  • 3. el: Environmental Language for Custom Millwork and Furniture

    Environmental Language is GreenSpec listed and has been reviewed and scored by EcoScoreCard. In the master bedroom, the table uses a reclaimed granite top; palmwood, a by-product of the coconut industry, for the body; along with locally harvested walnut from a sustainably managed forest; and a natural lacquer finish. The chair frames are FSC-certified wood with a natural lacquer that is zero-VOC, derived from tree sap with no added urea formaldehyde. The fabric is organic.

    In the family room, the Chicago-made cabinetry uses FSC-certified cores and natural lacquer derived from tree sap. Reused bronze pulls offer a polished accent complemented by a Cambria quartz top. For the mantel, the team used reclaimed locally harvested black walnut from an urban forest in Chicago with an FSC core material and zero-VOC natural lacquer derived from tree sap.

  • 4. American Clay

    In the nursery, the walls are earthen-based clay with post-industrial aggregates crushed into sand and pigments. The product has zero-VOCs, and the finished walls are durable and exhibit no off-gassing, supporting a healthy indoor air quality. Plus, American Clay is shipped dry. Just add water and celebrate that the lighter shipping weight uses less fuel for less of a carbon footprint.

  • 5. Colonial Bronze Antimicrobial Cabinet Hardware

    In the kitchen, Colonial Bronze hardware is antimicrobial, stamping out germs and more than likely eliminating the need for chemical cleaners.

  • 6. Cambria Quartz Surfaces

    In the kitchen, the quartz countertops from Cambria are GREENGUARD and NSF certified. As the finished surface is nonporous, additional sealers are not needed, eliminating the potential use of topical chemicals. A radon-free surface material, Cambria is ISO 9001:2000 registered and ISO #17025 accredited for indoor air quality. Cambria natural quartz surfaces have zero emissions. For more information, check out Cambria Green.

  • 7. Kohler Kitchen and Bath Products

    Kohler is used throughout the kitchen and baths, as it is certified by EPA WaterSense.

  • 8. Hartmann & Forbes Window Coverings

    In the master bedroom, the shade fabric is made of 100% natural fibers that are sustainably grown and harvested. Hartmann & Forbes is GREENGUARD certified and GreenSpec listed for being rapidly renewable, reducing heating and cooling loads, and incorporating minimally processed, natural materials. Plus, H&F takes back and recycles used shades.

  • 9. O Ecotextiles

    In the kitchen, the Quilcene River Otter fabric is made from organic materials and all-natural dyes. O Ecotextiles is also GreenSpec listed, making the Top Ten Green Products list in 2008. One of the company’s mills is wind powered and completely carbon neutral. Plus, the baseline production requirements set a high standard, eliminating the use of halogenated solvents or any organic solvent containing benzene; chlorine compounds such as TCP, PCP and sodium hypochlorite; heavy metal dyestuffs including antimony, arsenic, lead, chromium, copper and mercury or AZO colorants; PBDEs or BFRs; formaldehyde; dieldrin and brominated or chlorinated compounds.

  • 10. Miele Induction Cooktop and Steam Oven

    The kitchen’s Miele electric cooktop and steam oven are both Energy Star appliances. Instead of a microwave, the team used a steam oven, which is a healthier alternative, eliminating radioactive waves.

Jill and Victoria summed it up with two parting comments: More than 80,000 chemicals, most of which did not exist 50 years ago, are registered for use in commerce in the United States, and approximately 700 new ones are introduced every year. No-VOC content or low-VOC content is not a reliable predictor of a product’s potential to off-gas, or emit VOCs.

As responsible design professionals, it’s vital that we vet products by tracking down Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from manufacturers in order to analyze ingredients, especially hazardous chemicals. When dealing with manufacturers, work hard to avoid chemicals listed in Perkin+Wills Precautionary List and the Red List from Version 2.0 of the Living Building Challenge. And for in-depth analysis, go directly to the Healthy Building Network and its Pharos Project, which provides a framework for evaluating building materials and chemicals, merging the use and study of a product’s impact on human health and the environment.

Thank you, HH10, for providing us with insight, observations, and a beautiful home—demonstrating that a healthy, green home is not only a possibility but a reality.

See you in Chicago next week!


  1. Jeff | | #1

    Antimicrobial hardware
    I would just like to mention how novel I think the idea of antimicrobial hardware is. Great innovations are simple and fill a need or solve a problem. Antimicrobial hardware does just that by adding an ionic silver coating to door hardware or any other place such as keyboards where bacteria and fungus is common. Ionic silver effectively starves bacteria making it harder for them to reproduce. This not only makes the surface more sanitary, but also eliminates the need for poisonous chemical cleaners. I think this innovation would be especially useful when applied to other kitchen fixtures such as sinks and sink hardware. It is well documented that the kitchen sink is the most bacteria-ridden place in the home, even more so than the toilet. Does anyone know if there are products like that available? Also, what is the price difference of an antimicrobial fixture versus a regular one?

  2. Steve El | | #2

    Only green anti-bacterial cleaning product is water
    I'll respectfully and strenuously disagree about widespread use of "anti-bacterial" products being a good thing. I don't even think it is a neutral thing.

    First there is extra inputs for manufacturing, and I presume extra waste-products upon disposal.

    Second, none of these "improvements" do squat for viruses. Only bacteria. We can not cure viral infections, and our ability to cure bacterial infections is 100% dependent on the bacteria in question being susceptible to our treatments, BUT as we invent technology to attack bacteria 24/7 (instead of just when something happens) we teach the little buggers how to ignore our responses and they turn into super bugs.

    Third, if you have a minor virus or bacterial infection, that's what immune systems are for. If you have a MAJOR one.... (a) better hope its not viral since we can't cure any viral infections and (b) if its bacterial you better hope the bacteria isn't one of the ones we have taught to ignore our treatments.

    Fourth.... just wash your hand with regular soap and water, properly cook your food, and don't pick your nose (or as I tell my kid if you do anyway, then lick it off your finger and eat it, belch if you like, but make certain you wash your hands.)

    Anti-bacterial gizmos just teach the little buggers how to make our lives harder down the road, then we have the added inputs and disposal costs to contend with, and after the bugs have evolved the gizmos no longer give us any incremental advantage, so why bother teaching them how to be super bugs for a temporary and false sense of medical security?


    My other impression from the article was that I am uncertain the title necessarily follows... healthy child, healthy world. That is only true if the world will still be healthy after EVERY SINGLE child on the world has the same standard of living. If this gizmo approach to consumer lifestyles is so green, my question is whether anyone at the conference/trade show will be asking the question "can earth sustainably provide this lifestyle to EVERY child on the planet".

    Steve El

  3. YhM8HrsKWT | | #3

    Antimicrobial Copper alloy hardware an effective germ fighter
    Another option to consider is hardware made from antimicrobial copper alloys, such as bronze. The results of scientific research and testing of antimicrobial copper alloys is very compelling: it indicates that this material continuously kills harmful bacteria, never wears out and is safe.

    Antimicrobial Copper is the only solid surface material registered by the U.S. EPA to continuously kill specific bacteria that pose a threat to human health. No other touch surface, including silver-containing coatings, has this kind of registration.

    Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper alloys kill more than 99.9 percent of these bacteria within two hours of exposure: MRSA, Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7.

    It’s believed that copper kills harmful bacteria through a multi-faceted approach. This multi-target effect makes it extremely unlikely for bacteria to “learn” to resist copper. And while it does not replace hand washing and good hygiene, antimicrobial copper alloys are an effective weapon in the fight against the bacteria that cause these deadly infections.

    Bronze hardware made with antimicrobial copper exhibits these same bacteria fighting capabilities, and is a beautiful, enduring material that’s made from recycled scrap metal.

    Dave Jaffe, deniseSiegelbronze

Log in or create an account to post a comment.



Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |