Green Living Room Tips

Published in Green Living Tips, Household tips on 22nd May 2011

The living room is an important area where many activities like entertaining guests, watching television programs take place in your household. Hence it is important that it takes place in a conducive environment. Below are some tips for you to consider and build your green living room. 

Flooring and carpets

Select natural materials with safe finishing

Flooring material like solid wood, linoleum; organic cotton or wool for carpets are good choices for your flooring! For hardwood floors, choose water-based finishes like waterborne urethanes that contain lower VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like those offered by Bona; a Canadian company specialising in wooden floor maintenance or Ikea that uses recycled wood chips in their timber.

Purchase textile and leather products made from green materials

Select textile products with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) logo. The GOTS certifies the usage of organic fibres in the entire manufacturing process; initial processing of textiles, manufacturing, until licensing and labelling of the product.

Textile items with the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 and Made in Green labels should also be considered. These certification show that every component like the thread, button and has been tested for harmful substances to ensure that they are not harmful to human health. For the Standard 100, tests are conducted by independent Oeko-Tex® partner institutes based on an extensive list of regulated and non-regulated substances possibly harmful to human health. The individual detection limits for each substance often exceed national and international requirements. These limits are updated at least once annually based on new scientific knowledge or statutory requirements.

The “Made in Green” certification involve tests carried out on textiles and leather goods that meet the criteria set in “Standard 100” for textile items or “Leather 100“, and “Sustainable Textile & Leather Production” (STeP). Leather 100 involves the certification of leather products from all stages of production, except for articles manufactured from exotic or protected animals like crocodiles, snakes and armadillos. Textile or non-textile components of the leather articles are certified using the criteria set in Standard 100. The STeP certification system uses a set of 6 individual modules like environmental management, social responsibilities to analyse and assess production conditions in a company.

So support and buy products with these labels to support certified companies and encourage others to get certified. These products are readily available online for purchase on online portals like Amazon, Home Depot or purchased directly from companies like MetaWear for clothing and Avocado for bedding items.

Choose sustainable furniture with eco-friendly finishing

Vernicia fordiiGreen products like furniture made of solid wood from sustainable sources or timber farms with nontoxic finishing like tung oil[1] and formaldehyde free sealant are both safe and durable. They are perfect for your green living room. Tung oil is obtained by pressing the seeds from the nut of the tung tree. Tung oil are used by the Chinese for centuries as a finish for protecting and enhancing the natural beauty and grain of timber. Purchase your tung oil finishing here !

Some companies that made and sell furniture from timber sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified forests include Simbly and Medley.

bamboo plant

Furniture made from other materials

Steel and aluminum are very recyclable. Hence it is highly attractive as a material for making furniture like those offered by Fermob. One other material worth considering is bamboo. Bamboo as a material is strong with a rapid growth cycle of 3 to 5 years old; making it ideal for making sustainable furniture and as a building material[2] . High-quality wood for construction are affected by deforestation and requires a long time to regrow. Cultivation of bamboo also requires minimal materials as it grows naturally in the forest and can also be cultivated in plantations. 

Lighting for your rooms

Replace the old incandescent style bulbs in your living room or other areas of your house with either CFLs[5] (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs) or LEDs[6] (Light Emitting Diodes). CFLs require 75% lesser electric power and a 10 times longer lifespan. However, CFLs contain mercury vapor that is hazardous. Used CFL lamps require special disposal systems or have to be recycled. This is the reason why there is a shift in production focus by major companies like General Electric from CFLs to LEDs[3].
led lightLEDs has a higher light production efficiency of 90%, compared to incandescent light bulbs. Coupled with declining costs in manufacturing and installation for LEDs, its usage as a lighting source is a far more attractive and eco-friendly option[4]. LED light is generated by passing an electric current through a microchip. The heat generated is absorbed into a heat sink and dissipated into the environment. The management of the generated heat is crucial in ensuring a longer effective lifespan of the LED. 

Choose Energy-star certified light bulbs[7] as they use up to 90% less energy and lasts 15 times longer than standard bulbs. This is equivalent to about 50 USD savings in electricity costs. These bulbs are also tested for their quality and efficiency by accredited labs and certified by a third party. 

References

  1. ^Ciesla., C.M. (2002). Non-Wood Forest Products 15. Non-Wood Forest Products from Temperate Broad-Leaved Trees. FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS. Chapter 7. http://www.fao.org/3/y4351e/y4351e0b.htm#bm11 (last accessed 28th February 2021)
  2. ^Nurdiah., E.S. (2016). The Potential of Bamboo as Building Material in Organic Shaped Buildings. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences. 216:30-38.
  3. ^Spector.,  J. (2016). https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-04/general-electric-will-stop-producing-compact-fluorescent-lamps-to-focus-on-leds (last accessed 28th February 2021)
  4. ^https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200311005424/en/LED-Market-2020-2024-Declining-Manufacturing-Cost-of-LED-to-Boost-the-Market-Growth-Technavio (last accessed 28th February 2021)
  5. ^https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_cfls (last accessed 28th February 2021)
  6. ^https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_led_bulbs (last accessed 28th February 2021)
  7. ^https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs (last accessed 28th February 2021)