It's been a while since my last post (sorry - lots of cold and flu time) but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything green! Right now we are in the middle of renovating our spare bedroom/my creation space and I am trying to do it as green as possible. This blog entry will cover insulation and paint.
1. The first thing we did was actually drywall that hole I blogged about earlier - the one I had temporarily plugged with cardboard and duct tape. I got some great advice from my local Home Hardware guys and followed some instructional videos I found on Youtube and it wasn't so hard! So there was one draft taken care of - but there were many more! This room is in the basement and shares a wall with the garage, one with the outside, and one with the space under a staircase. ALSO it has a drop ceiling with beams that leave airy gaps to the outside walls. So we bought some of that pink panther insulation (PINK FIBERGLASS - Min. 70% recycled glass content, made in Canada, Ecotouch certified) and stuffed any gaps above the ceiling tiles. The last area of air seepage (for now) was the electrical outlets and switches. I was going to use some of that expanding insulation to fill in those spaces but was worried about electrical conductivity as well as mess. Instead I was able to place foam panels between the hole and the cover plate before I screwed it back on. Easy!
2. Another green area of improvement is the paint we used to lighten the room. My brother had extra paint left over from his home renovations so I was able to use product that was already in existence. BONUS - it was a zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint so I was being kind to the environment AND my respiratory system. VOC's are solvents that get released into the air as paint dries. Not only can they cause health reactions (dizziness, headaches etc.) but they are also carcinogens. VOC's also contribute to the formation of ground level ozone and particulate mater, which form smog. They are ONE of the things in paint that makes it hazardous waste. Currently a lot of paints out there advertise that they are low VOC or VOC free - but read the fine print. Many state that only the BASE is VOC free - but once the pigments are added - all bets are off.