Continued from The Green Standards for Home Interiors: Part 2

Low Chemical Emissions

Indoor air pollution is an issue which received attention by the World Health Organization (WHO). A lot of people in the real estate industry are also taking a serious look at this issue, and came up with industrial tests for products related to the chemical emissions guidelines. In response to this, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute was founded to improve indoor air quality and to reduce chemical exposure.

There are several different categories of certifications when it comes to GREENGUARD, and some institutions such as Green Label tries to emulate it when it comes to low chemical emissions. However, GREENGUARD certification for indoor air quality is more extensive than Green Label could offer, because it includes tests especially on volatile organic compound (VOC), formaldehyde, aldehyde, and phthalate.

GREENGUARD has a special category for chemical emissions, which is specifically created based on the criteria of a child’s body, called the GREENGUARD Children & Schools CertifiedSM. This category takes into consideration our children’s body size, metabolism and breathing rate as some of the factors, so the permissible chemical emission level is lower than the normal certification.  Any small amount of chemical emissions, inhaled in the child’s body, can have a greater impact than the same amount entering our adult human body. Hence, products which are certified for this is a better guarantee of safer indoor air quality compared to other less specific certifications available, especially in places where children spend significant amount of time.

Many people are still ignorant about these certifications, and many people are confused. A lot of property players are merely tagging on the idea of putting up a “Green” logo just to satisfy the craze of being “Green”, as a market trend just to be qualified for more businesses. They may tap on our ignorance of the significance of the tests just to get into our pockets, but we should learn and not be deluded by the “Green” logo. There are meanings behind the different certifications and it will be helpful to learn about them.

GREEN certified products

Many types of products can be certified green. Some of the more common types of building products certified for being “Green” are paints, decorative laminates and even carpets. It is very common to see manufacturers getting Green Label for low chemical emissions instead of GREENGUARD, and there are few products which carry the sustainable raw material claims such as “made from sustainable fibers” from Green Label due to the strict criteria of requiring the basics of supplies with FSC certifications.

However, it does not mean that there are no such products available in the market. If we learn the significance of these certificates well enough, manufacturers of products especially for our interior decorations will learn that they can no longer tap into our ignorance of these industrial standards. Remember, whether you’re looking a house for sale or an apartment for rent, it is our consumer rights to get the best for our homes and children.