Eco on Display: Greenguard Nursery Decorated with Indoor Air in Mind

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greenguardnursery1

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I go to the extreme when I create my Green Rooms in a Box, insisting that every item included has some eco-friendly qualities whenever I can help it. Apparently, I’m not the only one who goes to these lengths to create green rooms.

At the ABC Kids Expo, the Greenguard Environmental Institute debuted a nursery decorated only with products certified by the organization as having minimal effect on indoor air quality. I know it’s just a trade show booth, but isn’t the result gorgeous? Click on the images to see larger versions.

The room with decorated with products from the following companies:

  • Flooring: Anderson Hardwood Floors
  • Furniture: QCollection Junior, Rubbermaid, Stanley Furniture, Teknion, Bernhardt Design and Herman Miller
  • Mattress: Naturepedic
  • Paints & Coatings: AkzoNobel and Sherwin Williams
  • Textiles: Knoll
  • Window Treatments: Eclipse Shutters

I told you guys I have babies on the brain. This. Does. Not. Help. :)

Have an eco-friendly finished room design you want to share? Submit photos of the finished room along with some details about what makes the room eco-friendly for a chance to be featured at Green Your Decor. Feel free to pass the word along to anyone you know who might have a room to share!

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3 comments… add one

  • Williamson November 2, 2009, 8:08 am

    When kidstoday online ran a story on the Greenguard nursery, this was one of the comments:

    “Chemical toxicity, indoor air quality, and children’s health are serious issues. The overt marketing of misleading claims by Greenguard to uninformed audiences is frightening and unfortunately works against their stated intentions to improve human health.

    1. Greenguard claims to be a non-profit; however they share a headquarters and personnel with Air Quality Sciences (AQS), a for-profit testing business owned by Dr. Marilyn Black. Greenguard requires manufacturers to conduct all testing with their for-profit laboratory. This is an obvious conflict of interest, with an unstated focus on profit.

    2. Greenguard requirements only address chemicals emitted into air. They do not address toxic content. Much of children’s exposure is oral and dermal (through skin).

    3. Greenguard/AQS does not publish all details of their requirements and testing methods. There is no independent review or oversight of the technical validity of their requirements. Worse, they imply their “standards” for VOC emissions are approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which is not true. AQS/Greenguard personnel have full and complete control over the proprietary Greenguard requirements, which they invent and change at will.

    4. Greenguard/AQS includes requirements for phthalates, a semi-volatile family of compounds that appear to be endocrine disruptors — these are the focus of much research and concern. Danish and US research indicates phthalates are showing up in dust, and are not emitted by materials the same way volatile compounds are (volatiles emit faster). Yet, Greenguard uses testing intended for volatiles, which has not been shown to be effective when detecting phthalate exposure. An assurance from Greenguard about phthalates is therefore very misleading.

    5. The concentration of a contaminant (amount present in a lungful of air) depends on how much clean air is supplied in a space. Greenguard/AQS uses limits for contaminants based on commercial office and school classroom ventilation rates, which usually have much more clean air supplied. Greenguard does not publish the ventilation conditions for certifying children’s furniture for homes and bedrooms. Therefore users have no way to know if the products exceed the stated limits in their own homes.

    Why would an organization focused solely on improving public health do these things? As an educated parent I am very concerned.”

    It is important to look past the beauty on the surface and ask questions beyond the marketing claims.

    Here is another post:

    http://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/clarification-regarding-greenguard-certification/

  • Eoghan November 2, 2009, 11:19 am

    Looks really nice!

  • David Truchard December 8, 2009, 11:21 am

    Some of the criticism against Greenguard stated by the previous post seems unfounded and based on half-truths in an attempt to twist them into “damning evidence” against a program that is doing good things for consumers. Anonymous attacks like this always smell fishy.
    I like Greenguard , even though I too have my issues with many of the ways in which they conduct their business. They are not looking for consensus and they are very aggressive when dealing with standards they perceive as less stringent than theirs. They also are not afraid to take on industry and in the process may make it harder for many manufacturers to join their program. Greenguard put indoor air quality on the map for many architects and home owners and made it an issue in the market place and thus a problem for many industries. Just 10 years ago, you couldn’t find low emitting furniture or paint anywhere. Greenguard is putting pressure on manufacturers and industry to do the right thing and clean up their products.
    Regarding the previous posters “facts:”
    1. Greenguard is in fact a non-profit corporation (look it up), which was founded by Dr. Marilyn Black, who is one of the leading experts in the field of chemical emissions and indoor air quality. Greenguard may only use one lab, but they have their laboratory guidelines available on their website, so any lab should be able to apply (http://www.greenguard.org/Default.aspx?tabid=114 ). I’m guessing there are just not very many laboratories out there that do this kind of thing.
    Regarding the profit motive, most laboratories that perform commercial product testing are for profit (Intertek, Eurofins, SGS, etc.) and even some organizations that certify environmental claims follow a profit model (SCS, UL Environment, etc.). That by itself does not imply a conflict of interest. However, if the laboratory or the certifier stands to profit from the sale of the very products it certifies, a conflict of interest exists. Neither GREENGUARD, Air Quality Sciences, Scientific Certification Systems, UL Environment, USGBC, or Greenseal profit from the sale of products they certify, that’s why they are called 3rd parties. For comparison, the trade groups and manufacturers do profit and therefore should not be in the certification business.
    2. This is true, but no secret as Greenguard itself only talks about indoor air quality in all the communication I’ve seen and CEU’s I’ve attended. Greenguard does only cover chemicals emitted into air and not content. I’m no doctor, but I doubt the statement that most of children’s exposure is oral and dermal (through skin), given the amount of chemicals in our environment and the amount of air that goes through our lungs every day.
    3. As far as I can tell, all the Greenguard requirements and testing methods are on their website (http://www.greenguard.org/Default.aspx?tabid=134 ). Also, most of their criteria and methods seem to be based on published and reviewed standards (ASTM, CA DHS, Blue Angel, etc.). I personally am much more comfortable with a 3rd party such as Greenguard combining the most stringent elements of many established standards into theirs than having industry setting standards through a “consensus” process, which is nothing more than lowest common denominator. There’s a reason why true leadership standards are not consensus based. Look what’s happening with LEED now that industry has taken over the committees: everything is moving towards industry “consensus” standards.
    4. This one I agree with. Phthalates should not be measured like VOCs, but rather as content. I have no clue, why Greenguard added this requirement to their standard. Makes no sense to me. They should take it out or change this to a “no-phthalates” content requirement.
    5. This point is also a valid one, but I still don’t agree with the conclusion. To my knowledge, there are no indoor air quality modeling standards for homes available today and there may never be any. It is almost impossible to quantify the average home in Texas, let alone in the US. Therefore, the existing office and class room standards seem to be the best available option. What’s the alternative? The same polluting stuff we put into our homes now or products with outlandish unverified claims like “formaldehyde free” or non-toxic? I’d rather use products that were certified to existing standards in my home than products that have not been tested at all.
    While I agree that Greenguard has some room for improvement and the previous poster hit on some of them, I do think they are doing the right thing and are far from being the “sinister, profit driven marketing machine” the previous poster made them out to be. Given their overly-stringent testing requirements (every 3 months!!!) and chemical criteria that cover virtually everything that evaporates from a product, I definitely try to use Greenguard certified products as much as possible where my kids and my home are concerned.

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