Glossary of Green Design terms

Are you overwhelmed with all the “green noise” you keep hearing? Green Noise refers to the constant barrage of words, terminology and jargon that reference the environmental movement called the “green” movement. You may have asked yourself “What is a carbon footprint and do I have one?” “What does sustainable mean?” “What the heck is a CFL?” Many of us are confused about what we should and should not do in our everyday lives to make a difference. When it comes to decorating and furnishing our homes there are many things we can do. But first you need to become familiar with the terminology. This glossary should help with some of the most common terms out there.

Biodegradable- a material that breaks down naturally
Carbon footprint-the amount of carbon dioxide a person emits through their habits
Cfl-a compact fluorescent bulb that uses 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs
Environmentally friendly-refers to any product or business that does not harm the environment through waste, emissions etc
Fossil fuel-a natural deposit that can be used for fuel such as oil, coal and natural gas
The word fossil refers to the amount of time it takes to create these deposits
Green-refers to anything that is environmentally friendly be it a building, product or habit
LEED- stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This is the committee that rates and awards those builders and businesses that create an environmentally friendly building or interior.
Organic-anything grown without pesticides (plant) or antibiotics and growth hormones (animal) In home decorating this can refer to products that use fabric such as cotton that has been grown without the use of pesticides
Renewable energy-refers to natural energy sources such as sun and wind that can be converted into another form of energy. For example wind power can be used for electrical needs.
Sustainable forests-a forest that is run in a way that reduces the waste and/or the pollution of the area around it. Also refers to a forest that does not wipe out trees but thins forests in a responsible manner
VOC’s-short for volatile organic compound that can release toxins into the air over time. Low voc paint has become very popular in home decorating as has low voc carpet pad etc.

Few of us have the time or knowledge to devote to saving the environment. But there are things we can do when decorating our homes to help make a difference. Remember the Three R’s of living green: Renew, Reuse, Recycle.
• When buying new furniture look for the seal that indicates the wood came from a certified forest.
• Switch out your old light bulbs for the squiggly looking CFLs.
• Choose organic bedding and household items such as throw pillows, rugs etc.
• Reupholster furniture when possible (renew)
• Reduce use of paper and use cloth napkins, glass dishware etc. (reuse)
• Install cork or bamboo flooring in place of carpet (renew)

Knowing a bit about green design can help you create a healthier home for you and your family while doing your part to save the earth for future generations.

— Diane Haynie

Categories: Green Furniture

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