Natural or Recycled- Use water-based finishes made from natural glues.
Raw Materials Acquisition- Recyclability and recycling of materials is
essential and provisions should be made for the reuse of all products by the
Raw Materials Processing and Manufacturing- Avoid using laminates that
require high amount of embodied energy to build and create a potential environmental
desecration through the chemical production, and transportation of them. Criteria
for materials should be set to conserve resources. Questions such as: Is it
needed? Is there a substitute with lower mass and/or lower embodied energy?
Product Distribution- Use laminates that have been manufactured
locally in an "sustaining" manner, to avoid environmental impacts of
transportation. It reduces the embodied energy use because materials do not need to
be transported over long distances; it helps support local economies; it ensures
climatically appropriate solutions for that region; and it expresses the culture of the
No / Low Emissions- Look for products that do not pollute
the air inside the building, or at least produce less pollution than conventional
products. Toxicity of materials should be carefully reviewed to protect indoor air
quality and the employees from suffering from off-gassing effects. Consult all MSDS
sheets in order to determine presence of harmful chemicals in products, paying particular
attention to exposure limits and known medical hazards.
Disposal & Renewability- Attempts should be made to use recyclable
or biodegradable materials.
Case Studies to Research:
-The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings
-Primer on Sustainable Building
Rocky Mountain Institute
-The Green Pages: The Contract Interior Designer's Guide to Environmentally
Responsible Products and Materials.
Kim Nadel, C.I.D. & Andrew Fuston, Co-Authors
399 4th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215
-Interior Concerns Resource Guide
131 W. Blithedale, Mill Valley, CA 94941
-Sourcebook for Sustainable Design
Boston Society of Architects
52 Broad St., Boston, MA. 02109