Green Interiors

New Products to Green Your Home
by Pamela Portwood

The rise of environmental consciousness worldwide has inspired people in all fields to design novel, eco-friendly and healthy products. Here are seven of the best, new design products for the home available for 2009. I have seen or used some of them and read about others.

Caroma Profile Smart Dual Flush Toilet. Bizarre though it sounds, the Smart Toilet has a sink built into the top of the toilet tank so that when you flush the toilet, fresh water flows through the sink faucet, and then the gray water from the sink drains into the toilet tank for flushing. The unit is due on the American market this summer and should be available at selected local bath and plumbing retailers. A friend of mine who used a similar sink/toilet combo in Japan says they're easy to use and wonderful water savers.

SimpleFlush. Continuing in the toilet line, this after-market product from Brondell will convert a standard, single-flush toilet into a dual-flush toilet that cuts water usage in half. Although the SimpleFlush does not save as much water as a new, dual-flush toilet, it will allow you to conserve water and re-purpose, rather than replace, your old toilet at a bargain price. The SimpleFlush is scheduled for release in May and should be available at selected local bath and plumbing retailers.

Alkemi. This countertop material features flakes of recycled, post-industrial aluminum alloy imbedded in polyester resin to create a captivating, shimmering surface. Two finishes and multiple colors offer different looks in brilliant and neutral colors. Its recycled content is certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Alkemi is available locally at Originate.

Freshaire Choice. Many major paint brands have been certified as "no-VOC" or "zero-VOC," but the certification only covers the white paint base. So when the colorant is added, hazardous volatile organic compounds are added back into the paint. Freshaire Choice has been certified by Greenguard as being VOC-free in both the base and colorant. Freshaire Choice is only available in 65 colors although they are nice colors.

O Ecotextiles. Standard processing and dyeing of fabrics create chemical cocktails of toxins and carcinogens like heavy metals and formaldehyde that can permeate the fabric and pollute the environment. O Ecotextiles fabrics not only meet either the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) for organic fabrics or the Oeko-Tex 100 certification for low levels of harmful substances, but they're beautiful. Made of cotton, linen, viscose, bamboo, hemp and silk, these soft, supple fabrics also are available in colors, using low-impact dyes. They are pricey fabrics and are available through local interior designers.

Plyboo Pure. There is a lot of bamboo flooring on the market, but Plyboo Pure from Smith & Fong is the first to obtain Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for using a responsibly managed bamboo forest. Unlike other manufacturers, Plyboo Pure does not include hazardous urea-formaldehyde. Also, its glues and finishes release low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Plyboo products are available locally at Originate (www.originatenbm.com).

Kirei Coco Tiles. Kirei Coco Tiles are brought to you by the manufacturer that makes sorghum panels with fascinating patterns. Coco Tiles feature woven strips or patterns made from recycled coconuts. They can be used for many things but seem well suited to wall panels and look rather like wallpaper in 3D. The tiles use low-VOC resins, and the backing is FSC certified. Kirei products are available locally at Originate.

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Article is reprinted courtesy of The New Southwest (formerly Tucson Green Times).


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