The Eco-Friendly Home

A new crop of green products to make your home--and the world around you-- a healthier place


Neopolitan bamboo flooring. Green is big. It’s trendy. But, as most practitioners of green design will tell you, it also just makes sense. We’ve dug through the wealth of information on green living, talked to the pros and selected just a handful of the ideas out there, from cleaning products to furnishings—plus a few of the local resources that carry them—to help you go green with style.

YOLO Colorhouse makes zero-VOC, Green Seal-certified interior paint. Its Earth’s Color Collection is a grouping of 43 warm hues inspired by nature’s palette. Samples are available as hand-painted, poster-sized swatches. Visit www.yolocolorhouse.com.

Take the green lifestyle on the road with handbags from Ecoist. Its selection ranges from the stylish envelope and clutches bags to messenger bags, plus accessories, all made from recycled materials such as newspapers, candy wrappers, barcodes and movie
billboards. Visit www.ecoist.com.

Neopolitan is the latest solid bamboo offering from Smith & Fong, makers of Plyboo and Durapalm flooring. Its striking two-tone design combines style with durability and sustainability. Visit the Web site www.plyboo.com.

Chic and colorful fabrics and wallpapers from Mod Green Pod make green hip in such fun patterns as Butterfly Jubilee. The fabric is pure organic cotton and silk-screened by hand in the United States. Visit the Web site  www.modgreenpod.com.

GreenFloors in Fairfax became a resource for environmentally friendly flooring products in 1991, and for the past 16 years has been offering homeowners and designers alike sustainable flooring options from carpet tiles to cork and bamboo. The staff is specialists in environmental rating programs such as LEED certification. 3170 Draper Drive, (703) 352-8300 www.greenfloors.com

For an environmentally friendly alternative to cement, acrylic or lime plasters, try American Clay Earth Plaster. Made up of a blend of pure clays and aggregates and colored with non-toxic oxides and pigments, the product also qualifies for LEED certification. Visit www.americanclay.com.

Mio, manufacturers of mod green décor products, allows you to create your own style with Flow 3D Wallpaper. These modular tiles made from 100 percent pre- and post-consumer paper are easy to install, and you can choose among four colors, or paint them yourself, to customize your room. Visit www.mioculture.com.

For several years, Sea Gull Lighting has been honored by the EPA for its commitment to develop, distribute and market environmentally friendly ceiling fans and lighting, such as

their classic brushed-metal Metropolis Chandelier. This year the EPA presented Sea Gull Lighting with the 2007 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award. Visit the Web site www.seagulllighting.com.

Bethesda-based furniture and décor showroom Urban Country recently redesigned its showroom to emphasize green living and several new lines of green furnishings, such as Natural Lee from Lee Industries.
7801 Woodmont Avenue, (301) 654-0500 www.urban-country.com

Fedora is one of Flor’s most popular modular tiles. Made up of 80 percent post-consumer fibers, its smooth, brushed felt-like surface won’t trap dirt like traditional carpets. Available through Apartment Zero in Washington, DC, and Amicus Green Building Supply in Kensington, or visit www.interfaceflor.com.

Named after a British butterfly, the Chequered Skipper fabric from Q Collection is made of 100-percent natural, non-toxic materials and heavy-metal-free dyes. Visit www.qcollection.com.

Lilipad Studio, founded by artist and mother Laura Higdon, is a line of hand-painted tables, chairs and stools (right) in fun colors that are both children and environment-friendly. All pieces are crafted from responsibly forested hardwood and painted with non-toxic, no-VOC paints. Visit www.lilipadstudio.com.

Roche-Bobois has introduced a new collection of eco-sensitive furnishings. The Legend Collection by Christopher Delcourt, which includes this bookcase, is a limited-edition of 250 pieces. Each is crafted from oak harvested from sustainable forests and uses no hardware, glue or stains. Visit the Web site www.roche-bobois.com.

Phillip Jeffries has put its quality touch on grasscloth wallpapers with Extra Fine Arrowroot. Containing twice as much fiber as another grasscloth, arrowroot allows for more consistent coloring and comes in a range of 20 colors. The arrowroot is a renewable, annually harvested material, and the fibers are laminated on fine-quality
recycled backing paper. Visit www.phillipjeffries.com.

Paperstone composite countertops are strong, durable and hygienic. The surfaces are made of post-consumer recycled paper content and bonded with a 100-percent water-based resin system. Visit www.environmentalhomecenter.com.

Amicus Green Building Supply in Kensington offers everything from one-on-one consultations to dozens of environmentally friendly materials. Products include all-natural stains, low-VOC paints, sustainable wood, bamboo and cork flooring, carpets, cabinetry, fixtures, glass tile, and lighting. 4080A Howard Avenue, (301) 571-8590 www.amicusgreen.com

Lifespan treated wood elements from Annapolis-based Fletcher Wood Solutions are FSC-certified pine, pressure treated for durability, with an organic wood preservative to protect against insects, fungi Ecoist newspaper purse.and rot. The company offers a 20-year warranty. Visit  www.lifespanoutdoor.com.


Cleaning Green

There is a wide variety of factors that go into making cleaning supplies “green.” Some are simply low-toxin or are made from all-natural ingredients. Others track their impact on air quality, water quality or whether or not they are biodegradable. A helpful resource is www.ecolabels.org, which breaks products down into their uses, provides information on comparing labels, and on what the EPA requires versus what you actually need to know.

Looking for a heavy-duty cleaner with good roots? Seventh Generation Free & Clear all-purpose cleaner is made from a natural vegetable-based surfactant, is biodegradable, but still cleans and degreases most hard surfaces. Visit www.seventhgen.com.

Requiring only two ounces to clean a full laundry load, ECOS from Earth Friendly Products is a concentrated, color-safe liquid detergent with a built-in soy-based fabric softener. Made from all natural, non-toxic ingredients from replenishable resources. Visit www.ecos.com.

Ecover produces washing and cleaning supplies in an ecological, economic and socially responsible way. Products are made from plant-based ingredients and are completely biodegradable. Visit
www.ecover.com.


On the Bookshelf

World Changing is based on the Web site, www.WorldChanging.com, founded on the premise that “the tools, models, and ideas for building a better future lie all around us.” The book provides ideas on how to live globally, from buying local to understanding green design, clean energy and how to be more socially and ecologically aware. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, New York, 2006; $37.50.

The Earthwise Home Manual is a room-by-room guide to making your home Earth-friendly. Whether you want to brew your own natural cleaning supplies, find safe paint and staining products or need to figure out how to find energy-efficient appliances, it’s all there, and more. Green Home Publishing, Portland, Oregon, 2006; $15.95.

Revised and updated, ecoDesign is an easy-to-use sourcebook listing more than 700 products that are both useful and stylish, but also recycled, recyclable, renewable and energy-efficient. It also includes an extensive reference section. This is the perfect tool for people looking to move into a more eco-friendly lifestyle—in style. Chronicle Books, San Francisco, California, 2006; $35.


Butterfly Jubilee fabric from Mod Green Pod.

Yolo Colorhouse Paint

American Clay wall plasters. Photo by Peter Valli

Flow 3D wallpaper by Mio.

Flor carpet tiles

Chequered Skipper fabric from Q Collection.

A stool by Lilipad Studio.

The Legend Collection shelf from Roche-Bobois.

Phillip Jeffries Extra Fine Arrowroot wallcovering.

World-Changing

Earthwise Home Manual

ecoDesign sourcebook