What exactly does “green living” entail and how does homeowner and consumer education help? An article on EcoBuildingPulse.com “Americans Have Trouble Being Green” talks about Americans consider themselves to be environmentally conscious yet what we actually DO about it tells a different story.
As the podcast notes were being pulled together, this great little excerpt showed up from PBS Kids (of all places). Love the part about saving ourselves!
- Clean air to breathe
- Clean water to drink
- Safe, healthy food to eat
- Safe, healthy places to live
- Energy to run the places where we live, learn, play and work
Homeowner education helps consumers – homeowner and residents – learn how to live greener, through learning to “drive” their home better and how to optimize it. This works in existing homes and is even more important for those living in a home that was just built or renovated.
So what matters to each of us personally is what drives our actions and our behaviors. For me (Marla) it started with chemical sensitivity in one of my children. This started my quest to better understand the trade-offs in buying choices we make and figure out what to do about it.
One can start by choosing companies that are doing something about sustainability and green and are walking their talk. Just looking for this information gives you an idea of how important it is to the company. Look for sustainability or green information on their web site or in their literature. This can be a first step in a buying decision – does the company that makes or sells the product run the business in a way that is in line with your personal priorities and choices.
Reading labels is often a great place to start too. Just like reading food labels tells us what is in the food, product labels can tell us where it is made, what is in it etc. Green certification labels are a great shortcut as long as they are a 3rd party independent certification, rather than a self-certification. And there a good number of them to cover many of the purchases we make. See a starter list below in the Resources section.
Cleaning products are a great place to start your own green living. There are so many toxic chemicals in many household cleaners, fragrances and other products. There are many options available – from local natural soaps found at a farmers’ market to regional or local producers or to “big name” manufacturers’ less-toxic line of cleaners. You can even make your own.
There are many ways to be green and sustainable and choosing a product or material that meets your personal priorities is key. Sellers and service providers should be asking questions about your needs and priorities to recommend a solution that is going to fit your individual wants and needs best.
When replacing fixtures or appliances or doing a complete remodel, simply choose better options – water saving, energy saving, etc. For instance, ceiling fans with Energy Star lights, tiles made of recycled content, and adhesives and paints with low or no VOCs (the chemicals that off-gas and cause issues). It all adds up to “Incremental Green” – making informed choices and having a plan when need to repair, maintain or replace.
The 3 Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – give us a good model to live by, especially when you apply them to your home.
Reduce – simply waste less of anything you can – water, energy and stuff. Reducing comes in 2 flavors – Behavior – turn water off when brushing teeth. Conservation – Install low flow faucet. Combining conservation and efficiency makes for an even bigger impact. It will help your water bill too!
Reuse – give items a second chance by buying gently used. Restore from Habitat for Humanity offers tons of gently used home fixtures and components. If you are tearing down an existing home, call Habitat (or commercial business in some communities) and they will deconstruct and use materials in their store. Raises money, keeps stuff out of the landfill and you get a tax deduction too.
Recycle – many think this is the easiest R, yet we easily can fall into the trap of justifying buying disposable stuff and recycling, rather than choosing something reusable. Little steps add up! And remember reduce first, then reuse and recycle.
For more information about Green Living and homeowner education, check out www.GreenHomeCoach.com.
Resources about Green Living and Homeowner Education on today’s podcast
Article reference “Americans Have Trouble Being Green” http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/news/americans-have-trouble-being-green_s
10 Ways to make your home healthier, more efficient and durable https://www.greenhomecoach.com/ and click “Get the List”
Green Home Coach Resources https://www.greenhomecoach.com/resources/
Energy Star https://www.energystar.gov/
SFI – Sustainable Forestry Institute https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/
FSC – Forest Stewardship Council https://us.fsc.org/en-us
Carpet Rug Institute Green Label Plus https://www.carpet-rug.org/CRI-Testing-Programs/Green-Label-Plus.aspx
PBS Kids Green Living http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/family/greenliving/
Every week on iTunes and The Green Gab Podcast, get the gab with us as we share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life! Get in on the gab for why green matters – to you, your family and friends and your community.
I’d love to speak at your next event – for ideas check out my speaking information. Thank you and have a blessed day.
Get in on the gab for why green matters – to you, your family and friends and your community.