Hollywood A-lister Brad Pitt once said it best that by working with the natural systems, we can create buildings and spaces that mutually coexist. Having a home office that fits this lofty idea of a greener outlook is the definition of going green.
Transform your space into a functional and healthy environment, while avoiding the dreaded sick building syndrome. It will benefit the world in and around your home, thereby allowing your commercially convenient office to mutually coexist with nature.
1. Greening Your Air
For individuals wishing to improve their work environment, one of the main concerns is the air quality. Breathing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassed from flooring, paint, and furniture can be hazardous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a wealth of studies focused on indoor environmental quality with a focus on toxins in the air from VOCs and their effects on health.
When redecorating your space, consult with the nonprofit organization Greenguard to find furniture, paint, and carpeting that is certified as safe for interior air quality. A few of the home office furniture brands recognized by Greenguard include Keilhauer, Herman Miller, and Knoll. You should also block out external toxins by insulating your room well. Insulation will also cut out energy loss as an added green benefit with a greener outlook. Additionally, sun shades are beneficial for blocking harmful UV rays, as well as for minimizing VOCs that seep through glass panels of windows.
2. Finding Eco-Friendly Furniture
In order to avoid VOCs in your office furniture, avoid the economical choice of particle board as this material is high in VOCs. Opt for quality furniture to ensure your pieces last for many years to come, thereby avoiding the harvesting and processing of additional materials. If possible, choose furniture made from organic and untreated materials, such as untreated reclaimed wood that has been sustainably harvested.
Furniture designers and manufacturers use the tool to get new insights into the environmental impact of their products. Using Footprint Calculator you will obtain insights into the CO2 footprint of furniture from production to the door of the customer.
You can also check out some of these luxury condos that come furnished with an eco-friendly green home office.
Research your purchases with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This organization has a product database where you can search by FSC code to determine if the product is certified to be sustainable and to have a documented chain of control.
3. Greener Outlook of Your Fabrics
Fabric furnishings and upholstery, including cushions and pillows, should be made from organic, untreated natural fibers, such as cotton.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cotton grown using convention methods of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides make up 35 to 40 of all of these toxins used around the globe, even though cotton makes up 6 to 10 percent of the economy’s crops. By going green and choosing organic cotton from certified providers, you are reducing these chemicals from being released in the waterways, soil, and air.
4. Carpeting Your Space
Carpet and its accompanying adhesives can contain a wide range of VOCs. However, with good ventilation, you can reduce the VOC emissions to a very low level within 72 hours of installation, according to the EPA. When purchasing carpet choose sources that contain recycled content, are free of toxic dyes, and are labeled as low in VOCs. If you can find sustainable carpets made from all-natural fibers, such as wool, that is a top pick.
The Carpet and Rug Institute has a program called Green Label/Green Label Plus that lists manufacturers who have met their certification standards for low emissions of VOCs. Also, the EPA offers the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing resource page for purchasing carpets that meet green standards.
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5. Supplying Your Greener Outlook of Your Office
Another way to reduce environmental waste while furnishing your space is to borrow and buy used. Look for secondhand items on Craigslist and FreeSharing, where you can often find like-new items for free.
Borrow books, style guides and reference materials from your local library. Instead of paying for subscriptions, utilize the newspapers and trade magazines available at libraries. Check to see if you have access through your local library to make interlibrary loans via WorldCat, to further reduce the number of paper products that are stashed in your office.