Indoor air quality

11 ways to Green Your Indoor air quality

The quality of your indoor air—whether at home or at the office—affects both your health and the environment. The right practices and products can help you breathe easier and cut back on your greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Buy low- or no-VOC latex paint

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    These paints contain little to no VOCs so they do less harm to the environment and allow you to beautify your home without poisoning the air.

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  2. Choose an eco-friendly air freshener

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    Home or car smelling ripe? Don't spray mango delight or hang a paper tree scented like pine forests! Numerous, nontoxic air deodorizers mask odors without posing an environmental risk.

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  3. Choose eco-friendly candles

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    Create that warm, homey glow without fouling your inside air. Sustainable candles made of soy, palm oil, or beeswax not only burn longer but also burn cleaner.

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  4. Use nontoxic, natural bug sprays

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    Chase away bugs at home without clouding your indoor air. These more natural options will reduce your home's overall toxicity while giving you the upper hand in the fight against bugs.

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  5. Choose low-toxin furniture

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    Many pieces, especially those with flame retardants or formaldehyde, release VOCs, making your indoor air less than inviting.

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  6. Buy certified carpets and rugs

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    When you buy carpets or pads that have passed credible eco-certification programs, you're buying from manufacturers that take steps to reduce pollutants and waste.

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  7. Choose plants that purify the indoor air

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    Plants absorb both carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and many species thrive on pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde as well, so use them to clean up your home's air.

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  8. Make your own furniture polish

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    Homemade furniture polish can be made easily with products like lemon juice and vinegar, and reduces the need for commercial varnishes, which typically contain VOCs.

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  9. Store your dry-cleaned clothes in a well-ventilated area

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    Once home, dry-cleaned clothes emit perc, a toxin and possible carcinogen, for the first four or five days. Cut the effects of this chemical by airing out your dry-cleaned clothes.

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  10. Install carpet with low-VOC adhesives

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    Most carpets sold in the US use adhesives to hold the top layer to the underside, and these adhesives are often made with VOC-emitting products.

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  11. Buy an air filter

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    If you're concerned about the air quality in your home, one of these units will help scrub your air clean.

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Comments

10/06/2008
10:49am
om

Anyone know whether there are kits you can buy to test indoor air quality ?

10/08/2008
9:15pm
Rebecca

om, I found a few indoor air quality test kits online: some are for homes, some for offices, some you send to a lab, some you evaluate yourself. Check out http://www.greennest.com/index.php?cPath=70, http://www.pureaircontrols.com/ieqform.html, and http://www.wolfsense.com/ to get started. There are also companies, like http://www.rx4cleanairllc.com/mainpage.html, that you can hire to monitor the air for you. I've not tried any of these yet. Any users have any first hand recommendations?

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