Eco-Friendly Products

Published July 20, 2012

It seems everywhere you look these days, consumers are finding more ways to eat healthy, exercise and choose healthier products in their day-to-day life. One popular trend is to opt for more eco-friendly building products for renovations and residential construction. This is a fast growing trend that is quickly gaining popularity and for good reason.

Eco-friendly products are becoming more widely available on the market today and the prices are much more reasonable. It used to be that consumers were interested in trying these materials but high prices tended to deter them away.

Today, eco-friendly building materials are reasonably priced and come in many varieties of products for home renovations and other uses.

Flooring and paint have traditionally been major contributors of indoor air pollution as they “off gas” for many years. For businesses such as the Bellevue Health clinic on Bellevue Avenue in West Vancouver, eco-friendly building products were the way to go. Owner,  Dr. Sara  Kinnon strongly believes that these products are equally aesthetically pleasing as the mainstream materials and yet they offer a clean environment for her patients. The clinic provides a hypoallergenic and eco-friendly sustainable environment for everyone. A healthy patient will lead to a healthy individual. Businesses such as this clinic believe that using these products means they are living up to their mission of social and environmental responsibility.

Bamboo flooring is one example of an eco-friendly building material that is gaining momentum in the decorating market. This flooring is a hardwood  made from bamboo stalks. Because it is a fast growing plant, bamboo is a sustainable flooring alternative to wood that has been known to take up to 100 years or more to replace. According to the National Hardwood Flooring Association (NHFA), natural bamboo flooring is 10% firmer than red oak hardwood.  Available in a wide selection of colours, this alternative is a natural and wise choice. Cost is in the $2.65/ square foot level.

If wood is not really what you are looking for, then perhaps you may be interested in Marmoleum. This material is an all-natural hypoallergenic flooring that is similar to linoleum. The difference ends in marmoleum’s ability to be completely biodegradable with no toxic off gassing. Basically, it is made from linseed oil, pine resins, wood flour, flax, ground limestone and pigments. It is anti-bacterial in nature so it provides a cleaner alternative and is protective against such organisms as Salmonella Typhimurium and Staphylococcus Aureus. The flooring is a healthy alternative for those suffering from allergies, as it is a negative environment for dust mites. The anti-static properties of the floor make it easier to clean because it is not easy for dust to adhere to the surface.

Marmoleum is extremely durable and becomes more so with age. Material cost: $3.30/square foot.

Other organic options include “tile pebbles” and lead-free paint. Most of these materials are available at your local paint and tile stores here on the North Shore so it’s best to call first before making the trek.

As it has been said many times before, we must practice what we preach and each do our part to live green. Eco-friendly products are not as cost prohibitive as you may think and in the end, how can you put a price on preventing illness and disease?