Posted by Kelsey Ness on January 4, 2012
Companies are making it easier than ever for Americans to embrace the concept of sustainability and energy conservation. The selection of products and services has never been greater – and it just keeps expanding!
One of the newest initiatives is Zero Energy America, a project focused on using eco-friendly materials and new building techniques to design Zero Energy Homes. A Zero Energy Home is one in which the net average energy consumption, and carbon dioxide emission, are both zero over the course of a year.
In the U.S. and Europe, our homes account for about 40 percent of the total national energy consumption. But even if an entirely new, energy efficient home is not in your future this year, there’s another way you can become part of the solution. The next time you’re in the market for future, shop for pieces that contribute to a zero-energy lifestyle.
Here is a checklist to help you determine if that furniture you’ve been considering is also good for the environment:
1. Is it made of wood? Ask if the wood is sustainably harvested for domestic, replenished forests. Or, look for reclaimed wood, bamboo or other environmentally safe materials. Products made with Smart Wood certifies that you are supporting a global effort for responsible forest management.
2. Is it made with leather? Ask if the tanning chemicals used are either biodegradable or recycled?
3. Is the furniture upholstered or does it have foam cushions? Look for the green and white hang tag indicating that the foam is made with BiOH® polyols. Traditional foam and carpet cushion ingredients are made from petroleum-based chemicals. BiOH polyols are made from a renewable resource – soybean oil. Manufacturing BiOH polyols requires 60% less non-renewable energy and results in less global warming emissions than manufacturing the petroleum polyols we replace. Additionally, for every one million lbs of BiOH polyols used, over 2200 barrels of crude oil are saved.
4. Where is it made? Furniture made in America cuts energy consumption and emissions associated with transportation.
Start by shopping at retailers that carry products made with BiOH polyols. You can also find great furniture options by entering “green furniture” or “eco-friendly furniture” in your search engine.