The sleek, built-in look of shutters makes them a sophisticated choice for any home. Whether you want exterior shutters for their appearance, or interior plantation shutters for privacy and shade, choosing an environmentally friendly option may be at the top of your priority list. Fortunately, shutters can be the green choice if you shop carefully.
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Vinyl and plastic shutters have become ubiquitous, in large part because of their lower cost and low maintenance needs. Unfortunately, the production of vinyl results in chemical and air pollution, and there are no easy green options if you ever want to get rid of and dispose of the shutters.
Wooden shutters are a better option from an eco-friendly standpoint, but you still want to make sure the shutters are harvested sustainably. For example, Elizabeth shutters are made from basswood that is sustainably harvested in the United States, which means there are also less travel and fuel costs associated with their production.
One benefit of vinyl shutters is that you can use them in moist or humid climates, or in high moisture rooms, like the bathroom. Wood is more prone to rot or warping in moist areas. A proper finish can help alleviate these concerns. Usually an acrylic lacquer is used because it seals and waterproofs the wood without the need for constant repainting.
Unfortunately, lacquer produces volatile organic chemicals (VOC), which lead to pollution during production and as they off-gas during application. Your options are to find wood shutters that use a less durable water-based finish, or verify that the shutter manufacturer is taking steps to mitigate the pollution. There are companies, like Elizabeth, that are taking these steps so that wood can remain a viable and easy to maintain option for the green home.
If the lacquer issue is still a problem, you can opt for unfinished shutters, and then stain or paint them with your eco-friendly treatment of choice. Keep in mind, this will increase the necessary maintenance on the shutters. You will need to inspect them annually and refinish them if you notice any signs of wear on the paint or stain.
A beautiful, environmentally friendly home may require more research than one that isn't, but you don't need to limit yourself to boring or inefficient curtains or blinds. By opting for green wood shutters, you are making a choice that will last the life of your home, yet still fit in with your evolving décor tastes as the years pass.