So there are a few things that make our paint “greener” than similarly branded “Low or Zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds)” Paints.
If you read the third paragraph, technically a paint can be legally be labled zero voc if it contains < 5 grams per liter of VOCS. However our paint is truly Zero VOC..which brings us to the second point 2) We use zero VOC pigments to make the colors, often times paints labeled as Zero-VOC may start out that way, but as you add color pigments, it starts to add VOCs back into the paint. check out this article: http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2011/1/25/Sherwin-Williams-Zero-VOC-Claim-Misleading-Says-BBB/, which discusses this type of situation exactly… 3) Our paints also do not contain phthalates, which are not VOCS but are still linked to hormone disruption, reproductive and neurological damage. These chemicals are usually added to paint to improve flexibility.. 4) our paints are thirt party tested by greenseal certification. 5) We also carry clay and milk paints, which are made from nearly 100% natural materials, not synthetic chemicals like our Zero VOC paints.. Milk paint is made from Cassein (milk protein) and Lime (from Limestone) Clay Paint is made from Water, Clay, Porcelain Clay, Chalk, Alcohol Ester (as a binder), Cellulose, Pigments, Preservative. Flooring: 1) Nearly all of our wood floors are FSC (forest stewardship council certified), which is an independent thirt party certified of sustainable wood products. Many other “green” wood floors are SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certified, which is an industry run certification scheme with much looser rules. http://www.yale.edu/forestcertification/pdfs/auditprograms.pdf The article above articulates the differences very well.. the main ones I would think are important is that the FSC allows for very little clear-cutting, takes native populations into consideration, and does not allow conversion of natural forest to plantation farming (which leads to reduced genetic diverstiy) We also want to make sure that for any wood flooring that is “Engineered or Manufacture” (which means it has a ply-wood like construction), that they are using low-emitting adhesives the bind the layers of wood together. generally engineered wood is considered a greener choice because you can use the lower quality grades of wood for the core and base layers that wouldnt normally be used because of their appearance as a finish layer. 2) Most of our Carpet is wool, which doesnt really have a certification scheme for greenness, but generally the carpets we sell contain completely natural products, including fiber, dyes, and glues (natural latex). The synthetic carpet we sell is a cradle-to-cradle certified (http://www.mbdc.com/images/MBDC%20C2C%20Certified.pdf) 3) we sell natural linoleum, a product that has been around for over 100 years that is made from comletely natural, biodegradable materials. What most people think of as “LinoleuM” is actually vinyl flooring, which is incredibly toxic over the lifetime of the material. 4) we also sell cork and bamboo flooring, currently, no certification exists for cork, and FSC certification for Bamboo is still very new. What we look for in our cork flooring is that it is made with low-emitting finishes and materials (such as fiber board for the core of the flooring) and that it does not have any added anti-bacterial agents. With our bamboo we are mostly looking to insure that it meets strict indoor air quality standards. Countertops: We generally deal in recycled content countertops, including recycled paper, glass, porcelain, and some fly ash content (which is a waste product of coal burning). our countertops carry a number of third party certifications, including FSC (for our recycled paper countertop), SCS (Scientific certifcation systems: which for countertops is verifying reycled content), Cradle-to-Cradle, and green guard. Also part of countertops is the sealers that are used to prevent them from staining, Any pourous surface such as concrete or natural stone requirs a sealer to prevent staining. The sealers we sell are generally low or zero VOC. We choose not to sell natural stones because of the tremendous use of natual resources such as water and energy that are required to mine and transport the stone. Also natural stones such as granite have naturally occuring radioactive Radon. http://www.ehow.com/info_8280108_natural-stone-countertops-ecofriendly.html this is a pretty good website about the issues surrounding natural stone and quartz countertops.