Making decisions for construction materials requires environmental responsibility: Demand sustainable products from suppliers and conserve the material that is used. Tips for achieving these goals are below:

  • Try to use recycled materials. If this is not possible, make every effort to use sustainable materials such as bamboo, homastote, non-PVC materials, natural textiles, or reclaimed materials.
  • Make efforts to source products locally to eliminate the need for harmful emissions from airlines and trucks. Trucks will have to bring materials and products in from a location, so, if possible, ask that all deliveries are made with biodiesel trucks.
  • For all wood purchases, use Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) or Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) certified woods. Do not purchase wood that is labeled Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) certified.
  • Utilize green material such as cork flooring, homastote walls, sisal area rugs, and salvaged wood where possible.
  • Use water-based – instead of solvent-based – paints to minimize toxic emissions. Water-soluble latex paints typically contain fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs are chemical compounds that harm the environment and humans), generate fewer odors, and will eliminate the need to use paint thinners to clean surfaces.
  • If paint removal is required use plant based paint strippers.
  • If adhesives are needed, make sure they are low VOC.
  • Avoid toxic materials. Certain building materials should be avoided to the greatest extent possible, including PVC (polyvinyl chloride or "vinyl"), materials containing phthalate plasticizers, materials containing brominated-flame retardants, and arsenic or chromium-containing preservative-treated wood.

For more details on Materials and Set, please read Chapter 4 of EMA's Green Seal Guidelines.

For more information on EMA, please visit:

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