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Greening the Interior of Your Home

By MARILYN SOLTIS
    There’s luckily no one typical green look anymore. “A lot of sustainable design tends to be more contemporary, but there is a lot more choice in fabrics today,” says Karen Kaplan, owner of New Leaf Interiors. “It’s not all beige and bamboo anymore.”
    Lighting is the first interior issue Kaplan addresses when working on a home, not only for utility and mood, but also for energy savings. “Be concerned about energy consumption,” she says. “Try to use solar tubes and sky lights to avoid the use of electricity. There are a lot more lighting choices available. LED lighting is coming down in price and is great, better than halogen.”
    “Try to buy furniture approved by the Sustainable Furniture Council, and if using exotic species, go for thin veneers instead of solids,” Kaplan says. Unfortunately, as more and more companies provide more “green” products, it has become harder to trace the source of the materials. She fears that some companies are exploiting the green markets and destroying rain forests to supply them. They may also be putting chemicals on the land to cultivate these harvests.
    Bio-based foam products made from soy are now available along with plant-based fibers including soy, corn and bamboo.
    Kaplan advises buying carpeting with a higher recycled content and avoiding nylon or anything made from petroleum products. Wool carpeting is sustainable, but always try to avoid purchasing products made from child labor.   
   
In flooring, reclaimed wood from old buildings may be your best choice. Newer products on the market include Marmoleum, flooring made out of sustainable flax and linseed oil and sawdust. Kaplan says it’s available in great colors and design.

Published: April 06, 2008
Issue: 2008 Spring Green Issue