How to Green Your Home Office

Green Home Office Materials

So, now you're inspired to green up your home office, but it's hard to know where to start. So let's start with decorating. Paint is an inexpensive way to change the look of a space without a huge investment, but most paint fumes will send you running for a respirator or an open window. This is because they contain high amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that produce a smelly gas when they're applied. Paint manufacturers rose to the occasion and created a large selection of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints that are available in a variety of palettes.

If you're looking to replace the flooring in your home office, consider bamboo or cork as sustainable alternatives to traditional hardwoods and carpet. Bamboo is a renewable resource that is recognized as a green material by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). For example, bamboo can be harvested in three years, unlike oak, which takes 120 years to grow to maturity [source: Treehugger]. Bamboo regenerates by itself and requires almost no pesticides or fertilization. Cork flooring is also sustainably harvested, and offers benefits, such as being naturally mold-resistant and extremely durable. Plus, it's biodegradable so it won't live for eternity in a landfill when it's removed.

If your existing flooring is staying put, you can always get a rug made from recycled materials. No longer is woven denim from old jeans your only option. There are beautiful rugs in many different styles and colors that are made from recycled materials such as PVC and PET plastics and recovered scraps from the textile industry. If you wanted to go the extra mile and add social consciousness to your green agenda, you could ensure that your imported, handmade, recycled rug was purchased via fair trade.