Green Design

Sustainable Design Video SeriesYou've decided you are "going green." Good for you! Whether you are considering remodeling or planning your dream house, taking a green approach will provide many benefits, now and for years to come.

Green design encompasses many elements of the home, such as lighting, appliances, flooring, upholstery, fixtures, furniture, wallcoverings or paint, and more. You will have many decisions to make. A good place to start is with a list of your reasons for choosing green. Do you want to . . .

  • Save on energy costs?
  • Make your home more healthy?
  • Stretch your remodeling dollar?
  • Create to a more environmentally-friendly home?

Whatever your reasons, today you have many options available to help you reach your goals.

If Your Goal is to. . . You Can. . .
Reduce energy use:
  • Purchase EnergyStar™ rated appliances.
  • Replace incandescent lighting with fluorescent lighting.
  • Use timers to make the most efficient use of heating, cooling and lighting systems.
Conserve water:
  • Repair leaky fixtures.
  • Install low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets.
  • Collect rain and runoff water for watering plants.
Minimize waste:
  • Provide for storage and processing of recyclables.
  • Install filtration systems to eliminate the need for bottled water.
  • Recycle packing and shipping materials from any newly purchased items.
Repurpose furnishings or materials:
  • Reuse materials, such as brick, stone, glass, tile or metal, in new and interesting ways.
  • Safely treat old wood and use for accents.
  • Refinish and/or reupholster old furniture instead of buying new.
Eliminate toxins and harmful particles or fibers:
  • Choose carpeting, rugs, window treatments and other textiles made from natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, that are untreated and free of toxins, such as pesticides or chemical cleaners.
  • Use slow-VOC water-based paints, finishes and sealants. Some milk-based paints are available, also.
  • Select solid woods, when possible, for furniture or cabinetry, rather than pressed woods or composites that may contain formaldehyde or other chemicals that may be toxic.
Use only natural, rapidly renewable products and materials:
  • Look for wall coverings that are made of paper or natural fiber, rather than synthetic materials, and printed with natural inks.
  • Ask for flooring products made from rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo or linoleum.
Contribute to a sustainable environment and economy:
  • Consider the "lifecycle" of furnishings and accessories before purchasing: Are they made of materials that can be reused or recycled when the item eventually wears out or is no longer needed?
  • Purchase from local suppliers, to minimize transportation of materials and products.