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Greener and Safer: Some Potential Choices for Interior Materials for Buildings Undergoing Construction or Renovation

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Executive Summary What is good for the environment is not automatically safer for workers, but it should be possible to make choices to that are both “greener” and “safer”. This guide aims to help you to be “greener and safer” by planning ahead – prevention through design by making good choices of materials. Sometimes choices are interconnected and may have multiple benefits. USCDC/NIOSH has piloted a program, in collaboration with OSHA, AIHA, and many others, called “prevention through design” (PtD). The concept of PtD can be defined as: Addressing occupational safety and health needs in the design process to prevent or minimize the work-related hazards and risks associated with the construction, manufacture, use, maintenance, and disposal of facilities, materials, and equipment. Eliminating hazards through planning, organization, and engineering as we take our knowledge about old and new hazards and examine the challenges created by new technologies and adaptations of work activities to perform green jobs. This approach aims to eliminate hazards and control risks “at the source” or as early as possible in the life cycle of items or workplaces. (USCDC/NIOSH) The products discussed below represent some potential choices for interior materials for buildings undergoing construction or renovation with consideration given for the safety and health of the workers using/installing the product and for the workers maintaining the product after installation, as well as for the workers occupying the building (such as indoor air quality concerns.)

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Disclaimer: The listing of a product and/or manufacturer in this guide does not constitute any kind of endorsement by Cornell University or WNYCOSH. Cornell University - ILR and WNYCOSH disclaim any warranties with respect to its services or the information it provides. They is not responsible for consequential or incidental damages arising out of reliance on the information they gathered, and liability is limited to the cost of services provided. In the examples below, product manufacturers are shown as illustrations of product types and to show the availability of a range of green products and choices. To be even greener, some products/types may have local manufacturers or suppliers if the manufacturer listed is not local to your site. The examples shown below are not intended to serve as an exhaustive source of information, but rather as a sampling to encourage a broader review of possibilities and to stimulate new ideas.


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construction; renovation; interior materials; green jobs; environmentally safe


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