The Living Series: Living Green

It’s not easy being green. -Kermit

Well, Kermit, we’ve come a long way!  I spend so much time working to create homes that are beautiful, but with that comes a responsibility to honor and protect the resources used to create those homes. Many vendors and suppliers are introducing new products that are conscious of our environment, increase energy efficiency and conserve our natural resources. They have made my job easier, but we have to educate and implement the technology.  This is the first installation of The Living Series and will focus on green living in our homes.  It’s just a simple checklist to spark the thought process.

Think Small

  • Bigger is not always better.  Large homes with unused spaces naturally require more energy and resources.
  • Create multi-functional rooms.
  • Develop plans that maximize livability (think function for every nook and cranny).


  • Install compact fluorescent bulbs in lighting that is used most often.
  • Install motion detectors.

Energy Efficiency

  • Install programmable thermostats.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate air.
  • Install weather stripping to seal windows and doors.
  • Install tankless water heaters.
  • As an added bonus, the recently introduced stimulus package includes a 30% tax credit for new windows and doors that increase energy efficiency.  Be careful, as the guidelines are specific (click here for details).

Water Conservation

  • Install low-flow plumbing, especially shower faucets (technology is so great you won’t even notice the difference).
  • Install dual flush or low flush commodes.
  • Pay attention to appliance efficiency, especially dishwashers and clothes washers.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth (call me lazy, but this is my biggest challenge).

Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)

  • Choose paints and sealants with low VOCs.
  • Huge advances have been made in carpeting technology; choose one that emits low VOCs and creates a healthy home for your family.

Use Local Materials & Natural Resources

  • Instead of importing materials from far-away places (and wasting energy getting it to the job site), use materials that are readily available locally.
  • Consider easily renewable natural materials, including cork and bamboo.
  • Recycle and reuse by giving new life to old materials and furnishings.


  • Use drought tolerant plants.
  • Control sprinkler systems to only operate when necessary (it makes me crazy to see sprinklers operating in the rain).

Interior Furnishings

  • At a recent ASID meeting we had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by the Sustainable Furnishings Council.  They are a great organization that focuses on green products in home furnishings.  Check them out.

If we all make a few small changes in our habits and educate ourselves on the available green products, we will ensure a better world for our children and grandchildren.

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