Debra's List Debra Lynn Dadd

Green Building

Green building is an ever-growing field, with much information and many opinions. Since there are other sites that focus on this topic in depth, this section has links to those other sites, along with links for products that are commonly used in home remodeling and do-it-yourself projects. This section contains products for building construction. Paints, flooring, and other finish materials are under Interior Decorating.

See Debra's Green Bathroom Remodel

My husband Larry and I did it ourselves--we completely remodeled our bathroom using nontoxic and natural materials and green building principles.

Visit the photo gallery of our green bathroom...

Our bathroom is featured as a case study in the new Regreen Guidelines for sustainable residential improvement projects, created by a partnership of The American Society of Interior Designers' Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council.


Green Homes for Sale
A place for people to find and sell healthy and green homes, plus resource lists of green/healthy developers, builders, real estate profesionals, and some building products. While these homes are not inexpensive, many may be safe for individuals who are chemically sensitive. Others have environmental benefits. Even if you're not in the market, it's interesting to see all the different homes...

Building Concerns
Regional directories (currently for Northern and Southern California, Mountain States, and Florida/Georgia) that include listings for Architects/Designers, Engineers, Environmental Consultants, Indoor Environmental Quality, Interior Designers, Landscape Designers/Permaculturists, Local Initiatives/Incentives, Regional Manufacturers Materials. Renewable Energy/Efficiency, Resource Recovery/Reuse and more.

Building Green
A huge amount of information on green building and green building products, compiled and commented on by people who know this field. Their free-access GreenSpec directory contains entries to "more that 1,800 environmentally-preferable building products with descriptions, manufacturer information and links to additional resources." All listings are screened and written by their experienced staff. Also take a look at their article "What Makes A Product Green?" . They also publish a the well-regarded Environmental Building News and have much more information on their site. This site is pretty nuts-and-bolts, geared more to professional architects and builders, and gives more information that you may need or want to know as a homeowner, but it is a great resource for anyone interested in green building.

Cool Roofs Rating Council
Cool roofs reflect and emit heat back to the atmosphere, thereby reducing energy costs, and increasing roof longevity and occupant comfort. By reducing enery use, cool roofs reduct the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. In addition, cool roofs help mitigate Urban Heat Island Effect and reduce smog formation. This website rates various roofing products for their "solar reflectance" (the fraction of solar energy that is reflected by the roof) and "thermal emittance" (the relative ability of the roof surface to radiate absorbed heat) and guides you through choosing the cool roof that is right for your home.

Green Building Pages
A sustainable building materials database and design tool for the environmentally and socially responsible designer, builder and client. Has useful databases of products and green building resources, plus information on sustainable design and case studies. Has a sustainability review section for each product.

This site is dedicated to making it easier for consumers to choose green building and remodeling products. Click on "product dirctory" and you'll find essays on choosing green products and lists of links to the most popular green products of that type. The site is targeted for Northern California resources, but is worth visiting regardless of where you live.

LEED - Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Green Building Rating System®
"A voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Members of the U.S. Green Building Council representing all segments of the building industry developed LEED and continue to contribute to its evolution." The LEED program is more for professionals than consumers, but I've included it here because they are developing standards for certifying individual homes, and you may hear about "LEED standards." Here you can find out more about what they are.

Oikos Green Building Source
A complete resource for green building, including product listings, bookstore, classified ads, and an extensive library of informative articles. Product searches are organized for professionals, but easy to use for homeowners. Product catagories include doors, and windows, sitework, concrete, masonry, metals, thermal-moisture, specialties, equipment, mechanical, electrical, and special construction.

Santa Monica Green Building Program
An excellent introduction to green building concepts and materials, compiled by the City of Santa Monica, California. This site is written for commercial buildings, but homeowners can get ideas, too.

Greenpeace International PVC Alternatives Database
Database of pvc-free construction products.


Enertia Building Sytems
A truly innovative and natural approach to building, while still keeping the style of a conventional home. With this unusual method solid wood walls replace siding, framing, insulation, and paneling, creating an "envelope" air flow and access channel around the building just inside the walls. This creates a miniature biosphere in which the house to "floats" between the cycles of night and day, and between the seasons. Natural materials and natural forces are used to create a comfortable environment without the use of fuel or electricity. "Once completed, even before you move in, these new homes come alive with a natural atmospheric cycle, like the Earth, on which they are based. A built-in "biosphere," in gradual but constant motion, draws energy from the sun, and geothermal stability from the ground, creating a temperate climate that buffers the primary living space." The website sells kits to build these homes, made of solid wood.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores
Habitat for Humanity brings families and communities in need together with volunteers and resources to build affordable, healthy, sustainable housing. The program enables families to build their own homes, with assistance and training. "Habitat's Environmental Initiative promotes cost-effective, best-practice construction methods to its U.S. affiliates, raising awareness of the environmental impacts of house building. As a result, partner families may enjoy healthier, more energy-efficient and durable housing at the lowest possible cost. Over time the initiative has been integrated into Habitat's standard education and training activities, so that affiliates are encouraged to be good house builders and good stewards of natural resources."

To finance their work in part, they operate "ReStore" home improvement centers across America that sell high quality used and surplus construction and home improvement products of all types. Indoor and outdoor lighting, home appliances, doors, windows, cabinets, counter tops, tiles, and more are sold at substantial savings. Most are donated by building supply stores, contractors, demolition crews and individuals like you. Proceeds help fund the construction of Habitat houses within the local community. My husband and I went to visit our local ReStore and found a good selection of doors (including a $50 front door exactly the same as one we had purchased at a salvage yard for $100 and was selling for $200 at a home improvement warehouse), marble bathroom tiles, some great salvage windows, and a lot more. It's worth a visit.

See their pages on Materials Conservation and their Energy Bulletins.

International Institute for Bau-Biologie and Ecology
Bau-biologie is a movement from Germany about creating living spaces that are in alignment with nature--the biology of healthy buildings. It includes having clean air and water, and mitigating exposure to electromagnetic fields, and goes much deeper. This site is the USA center for information and products for the practice of Bau-biologie, and sells a self-study course on the subject.

Environmental Construction Outfitters (ECO)
Has been offering products related to safer, healthier, and environmentally responsible building products and systems for over 15 years. They consult with architects, designers, developers, and homeowner to help them find the best products for their specific needs and applications. While all items they sell are not listed on their site, you can contact them directly to help you choose safe, more ecological alternatives for almost every product you'll need for home construction.

Green Building Supply
Natural and nontoxic building materials sold by a knowledgeable staff with almost two decades of experience. All products meet the following criteria: 1) Non-toxic and safe 2) Renewable, recycled, or upcycled 3) Energy efficient and Energy Star compliant 4) Meet or exceed US or European environmental standards 5) Good reputation in the industry 6) Personally tested by our company. Descriptions are exceptional, there are MSDS sheets on the contents of most products, and guidelines to help with installation.

Green Home Outfitters
A "green building and home improvement center" that carries such interesting items as solvent-free clay paints, board made from sorghum and wheatstraw, and cotton insulation. Products include paints, finishes, sealants, adhesives, grouts, thinsets, caulks, flooring, roofing, cements, clays, plasters, alternative wood products, alternative building systems, insulation, ductwork, air filters, water filters, cleaning products, insect control, lighting, organic bedding, shower curtains and wall and window coverings.

A comprehensive resource for energy efficient, non-toxic, recycled, reclaimed, naturally resourced and biodegradable building materials and methods. You'll find ceiling tiles, insulation, tile & stone, wallboard, windows, wood, and more. Also lists architects and architectural consultants, building diagnostics consultants, contractors/remodelers, designers, green materials consultants and installers. They've been in this business since 1988, so they are well-experienced. The founder started GreenSage after personal experience with MCS. Affiliations include IIDA, AIA, USGBC, and AIA's Committee on the Environment.

Amicus Green Building Center
"A 'one stop shop' for all your green building needs." No-VOC paints and stains, natural and FSC-certified flooring, modular and natural carpets, recycled countertops, sinks and fixtures made from recycled metals, cabinets, tiles, and more.

Built It Green
Though this website is oriented to the needs of the San Francisco Bay Area, it contians much general information on green building that is useful anywhere. Their free downloadable Green Building Guidelines are an excellent place to start if you are designing new construction or a remodel, and the AccessGreen Directory is full of green building products.

City of Seattle Green Home Remodeling Guides
Free, easy-to-use downloadable guides to various aspects of green remodeling, including Remodel Overview, Bath & Laundry, Kitchen, Painting, Landscape Materials, Roofing, Hiring a Pro, and Salvage & Reuse. These books are simple, user-friendly, and full of photos. Designed for homeowners.

Earthcraft House
A project of the Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Earthcraft House is "a green building program that serves as a blueprint for healthy, comfortable homes that reduce utility bills and protect the environment." While not available online, they do have extensive planning documents that can serve to give you ideas for your own green building project.

Environmental Home Center
One of the internet's most complete resources for green building materials that are health and resource efficient. Their product list includes arsenic-free pressure treated lumber, decking & fencing, recycled glass pavers, reclaimed redwood shingles, plywood & fiberboards, straw-board panels, insulation (including cotton insulation), recycled-glass tiles, cork flooring, natural linoleum, hardwood flooring, natural fiber and recycled carpeting and carpet pads, countertops, cabinets, paints and primers, wood finishes, strippers, wallcoverings, caulks, sealers, adhesives, and more. In addition to their products, they also have on-line buying guides to help you choose which of their products is right for you. And if they don't have what you are looking for, they promise to help you find it.

My Green Cottage
Build an affordable custom green home by modifying readymade plans to suit your needs. Local Healthy Home consultants are there to help.


Titebond II Premium Wood Glue
An odorless wood glue suitable for laying floors and other wood projects. Passes the ANSI Type II water-resistance testing and is FDA approved for indirect food contact (cutting boards). Available at Home Depot and various online sources.


"Exquisite work of art" countertop material made of about 85% repurposed glass (including glass that cannot be recycled elsewhere). "The largest proportion of glass comes from curbside recycling programs. Other glass comes from post industrial usage, windows, dinnerware, stemware, automotive windshields, stained glass, laboratory glass, reclaimed glass from building demolition, and other unusual sources such as decommissioned traffic lights." Because of the unique nature of the glass used, every piece has its own history. They track that history and provide a Certificate of Transformation that tells you exactly where the glass came from. "Workers are paid a living wage... no labor was exploited."

An countertop material made from "a Forest Stewardship Council-certified 50/50 blend of bamboo fiber, a rapidly renewable resource, and recycled wood fiber salvaged from demolition sites. These materials are bound together by a water-based resin formula that is both petroleum-free and VOC-free."

A VOC-free "durable surface" material made from recycled glass and concrete. It is strong like granite, not as porous as marble and heat-resistant like stone. Ideal for countertops but can also be used for backsplashes, bathrooms, vanities, bathroom dividers, shower surrounds and bathtubs, tabletops, interior walls, and commercial flooring applications. Comes in 24 standard colors or any custom color.


Liberty Valley Doors
Beautiful handcrafted entry and interior doors made from "rediscovered wood...Seasoned lumber--better than new--unlike anything else you can get today. Each aged piece of lumber features deep beautiful colors and character that can only be achieved with time. Every door is different, every door unique...quality lumber from buildings destined for landfills...Most materials are from recycled Douglas Fir beams, joists and timbers." Choose from classic styles or have doors custom-made to your specifications.

Green Homes for Sale

Sustainable ABC
An information web site "devoted to exploring the relationship between ecology and sustainability, and how we can apply these values to our daily lives. It is our goal to nourish and strengthen ecologically oriented design, construction and lifestyle choices." Here you'll find resources that range from lists of building products and green builders to books on green building and sustainability and green homes for sale.

Primarily a website geared to finding a local certified "EcoBroker" who understands and specializes in green homes, you'll also find a list of local and national green building programs and a library of articles related to green building. As of this writing there are EcoBrokers in 31 states (even one where I live in the Tampa Bay area in Florida!) and more are being added regularly.

Listed Green
A multiple listing service for green, sustainable, energy-efficient homes and developments worldwide. Find a home or list your home for sale.


BioBased Insulation
Sprayed-in insulation made from soybeans, a renewable resource. Creates a continuous air barrier around your home that blocks outside irritants such as mold, pollen, and other allergens from entering your indoor environment. Contains no harmful and irritating micro fibers or organic dust particulates. "When BioBased Insulation is sprayed into the floors, walls and ceilings, it quickly expands to 100 times its size to fill in every crack, crevice, and void....It insulates your home so well you will actually require a smaller HVAC unit in your home or structure...BioBased Insulation is a thermo set plastic foam that is by its nature inert. BioBased Insulation will not support mold growth and is not a food source for rodents, insects or other vermin."

Joint Compound


Duluth Timber Company
"Logging the Industrial Forest" is their motto -- "All of our materials are salvaged from demolition of industrial structures." They make custom sawn flooring and millwork, so contact them directly to discuss your needs.


Antique Plumbing Association of America
A large selection of fine antique plumbing fixtures and fine plumbing hardware that can be shipped anywhere in the world.


An exterior siding product made from "a Forest Stewardship Council-certified 50/50 blend of bamboo fiber, a rapidly renewable resource, and recycled wood fiber salvaged from demolition sites. These materials are bound together by a water-based resin formula that is both petroleum-free and VOC-free." Offered in 18 different wood grains and 10 matte colors or can be made using a custom grain and color to match any design scheme.


Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors
Made with AuraLast wood--natural pine treated with a water-based solution penetrated throughout the wood to protect from water absorption, termites, and wood decay. No solvents or heavy metals. Because the protection extends from the surface all the way to the core, nail and screw holes won't compromise the wood's integrity, and it will last longer than wood windows treated only with a surface preservative. 20-year warranty.


Timeless Timber
Lumber milled from 100% virgin old-growth wood, salvaged from the depths of the Great Lakes and other US and Canadian waterways. This wood is 300 to 1200 years old and has abundant figuring, tight grain, and unique colors created by the leaching of minerals from the water.

Underwater Timber Salvage
Lumber from underwater salvaged timber, recovered from the waterways of the Pacific Northwest. Most of the logs removed from the rivers have been underwater 150 years or more. The reclaimed logs are often free of natural resins and very durable--many have over sixty growth rings per inch.

Wood World Used and Reusable Lumber Exchange
A looong list of links to businesses that have various types of reuseable lumber available. No information on these sources -- email links only.


PureBond Hardwood Plywoods
Formaldehyde-free (yes, zero formaldehyde) decorative hardwood plywood. Can be used for high-end cabinetry, furniture, and architectural millwork.

Wood Filler

Minwax Stainable Wood Filler
This rating should actually be "less-toxic" as the product still has some toxic chemicals in it, however, it is a latex formula, soap-&-water-cleanup product that has far fewer fumes than standard wood filler. Sold in hardware and home improvement stores wherever Minwax products are sold.

Let the street be as wide as the height of the houses.
--Leonardo Da Vinci

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Really Green

Learn how to tell the difference between products with real environmental and health benefits from those with misleading green hype, in my new book Really Green

Gold Star = gold star
Building products rated earthwise are safe to use and made from materials that are recycled, reclaimed, sustainably-harvested or organically-grown, or otherwise have environmental benefits. Electrical products that are energy-efficient are also earthwise.

Earthwise = earthwise
Building products rated natural are safe to use and made from renewable natural materials that are grown or harvested by conventional means.

Natural = natural

nontoxic = nontoxic
Building products rated nontoxic are relatively safe to use (in comparison to more toxic products), but contain petrochemical ingredients.

fair trade = fair trade

caters to MCS = caters to MCS

associates = associate

Brand Name Product

= Business Sponsor

Preservatives on Wood Windows

Bau-Biologie (Building Biology)

Vernacular Architecture

Lumber Liquidators wood flooring?

Medex MDF for nontoxic cabinets?

Wood flooring??

blown in insulation

Replacing Fiberglass insulation in an unfinished attic

Formaldehyde-Free Fiberglass Insulation

composite decking

Window Pane Repair- best materials for MCSers?

Expanding insulating foam for window installation

Non-Toxic Caulk

Fire caulk

Exterior wood preservative

repairing grout in the shower

DriCore Subflooring

Gym Floor Refinishing

Insulated Concrete Forms - ok for MCS? Other wall material options?

Durisol - MCS friendly building material?

bathroom sealant

new california formaldehyde regs

Bathroom Flooring

Plastic Backsplash Panels

Flooring adhesives

Lumber for remodeling condo

bathroom caulk

Chinese drywall poses potential risks

Getting the low down on Flooring

Solid wood bathroom vanity

This Old House

Wood Floors/stain

Floor adhesives.

fiberglass or steel exterior door

Adverse Reaction to Caulk

Lead Flashing

Shower stalls

AFM Safecoat Caulking Compound

Know of any Yurts without chemically treated sides and top?

non-toxic house swaps

Floor Soundproofing Material


Less toxic expanding foam?

Settling of wall insulation

Marvin Fiberglass Windows

Acrylic Bath Tubs

the best, safest windows?

Joint Compound for Wallboard

Finding Building/Remodeling Advice for MCS

polycarbonate roofing for a greenhouse

toxicity of airport turned into neighborhood

how to make a brand new home that isn't green healthier


Is there safe plywood?

polyester insulation batts

Moving - how safe is the region?

Toxicity of nylon in sink spray hoses?

Interstate Highway and 2" x 4" Metal Studs

Basement Flooding

Non-toxic alternative to silicon spray?

Galvanised Metal

Drying and sealing wood

Spray Foam Insulation

foam insulations

Vinyl Clad Windows

Engineered Stone Countertops

Structural Insulated Panels (SIP)

bathtub sealer

Bathtub resurfacing

very old tub--lead concerns

Safe Windows & Patio Doors

Nontoxic eco trailer home

non-toxic stucco products

Nontoxic Waterproof Caulk

siding options


insulation in wall


An Environmentally Friendly Driveway

How long does vinyl flooring offgas?

Drywall danger?

PVC Plumbing

Safety of Cellulose Insulation

Is Fresh Cut Lumber Toxic?

How do we find a green contractor?

safe insulation?

wood flooring installers in Los Angeles?

non-toxic tile adhesive (Canadian)

How long for refinished wood floors to outgas?

Flooring: Least Expensive and Least Toxic

floor underlayment

Roofing materials

Faux Wood Paneling

Soundproofing Materials

Cedar Dock

Lead in Bathtubs

toxic windows

Forest Stewardship Council-Certified Fence

Green Building Resources

floor underlayment

Crawlspace and Mold

Baking Out Toxic Flooring Adhesive

Particle/Press Board: Will it fully out gas and become safe?

making my own wool insulation

cork flooring

Choosing Between Natural Insulations

Stabilized Cellulose Insulation

Latex Foam Sealant

Safe Caulk and Preprimed Wood

Need Help With Kitchen Reno!

Nontoxic Spackle

Safe tile grout and backerboard

Green Bathtubs

Household Lubricant

Water-based Deck Finish

Safety of ACQ Pressure-Treated Wood

Anything I should do before I move into my brand new home?

Read about toxic chemicals in building and remodeling materials and how to choose safe ones, beginning on page 393

Read about what toxic exposures to look for when you are buying or renting a home, page 413

Copyright ©2007 Debra Lynn Dadd - all rights reserved.
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