Minimize Use of Environmental Hazards

Claudette Reichel  |  6/19/2008 2:46:49 AM

Look for alternatives to materials that can release toxic or environmentally harmful substances. Choose foam insulations, cooling refrigerants and fire suppression systems that are free of CFCs and HCFCs (compounds that can damage the earth’s protective ozone layer). Use synthetic rubber or cement-based damp-proofing products as an alternative to asphalt-based ones. Seek alternatives to solvent-based products. Environmental landscape management practices (native plants, IPM, etc.) reduce the need for pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.

Wood stove: Wood is a renewable resource, but a polluting fuel. If you use wood (or coal) for heat, choose a high efficiency stove with a catalytic combustor or special design to minimize emissions and capture more heat from the wood.

Wood preservatives: CCA treated wood has been phased out of the market for general use (due to concern about potential arsenic exposure). For areas not in contact with the ground or water, borate pressure treated wood and foam products treated with borates are a very low-toxicity alternative that has low corrosiveness, so does not require special hardware. For outdoor uses, ACQ (alkaline copper quaternary), CA (copper azole) pressure-treated wood are available; due to the corrosive property of the copper treatment, double-hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel hardware should be used. Other treatments, namely some organic (metal-free) preservatives for above-ground use and surface-coated products for interior framing, are entering the market and can be effective.

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