Everywhere you turn, people are talking about “green.” Maybe it’s because Earth Day was Tuesday, but I’m noticing it even more lately, which I why I’m so excited about our new green-themed issue of Log Home Design
. In fact, I got the chance to interview the granddaddy of all environmentalists, Ed Begley, Jr.
, for our “Chat” department. And, no—I still haven’t recovered from my case of starstruck-itis.
But, like Ed, while I’m psyched about all of the recent attention on eco-responsibility, being green is more than a fad to me. I’ve been playing the role of an environmentalist since I was in middle school, when I organized my first fund-raising drive to save the rainforests!
And yet it’s tough, too. Like most people, I don’t have the unlimited resources to only buy 100-percent recycled goods or build a completely environmentally friendly house. It can be discouraging at times, but I keep telling myself that every little thing I do makes a difference. So I drive my hybrid car; carry reusable grocery bags; install compact fluorescent lights; limit and re-use water bottles; and put in weather-stripping and honeycomb blinds on my doors and windows to reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
It’s the little things that count, right? But yet I dream big, too. One day I hope to be able to “greenovate” my home, from the floor to the ceiling. Photovoltaic panels on the roof, gray water capabilities to water my garden with discarded water from the house—my imagination knows no bounds. And to get you in the mood for your own green dreams, here are my top five favorite eco-friendly products. I don't have them yet, but hopefully one day I will!
5. Mr. Bamboo SimplyGreen™ Cabinets
You can use these 100-percent Bamboo cabinets in your bathroom or kitchen. They’re available in two door styles and two finishes. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that is naturally sustainable, making it very eco-friendly. Plus, unlike cabinets made with particleboard (which can contain urea formaldehyde, a chemical that can lower indoor air quality), bamboo is low-VOC.
4. Forbo Marmoleum Linoleum Flooring
I know; I know. Linoleum isn’t the sexiest flooring choice around. But it really does have a load of benefits: It’s completely natural, made of linseed oil, rosins, wood flour, jute and ecologically responsible pigments. Plus, it’s warm underfoot, anti-static, low-maintenance and great for allergy sufferers, like me.
3. GROHE WaterCare Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
OK, true confession time: I love me a nice, long hot shower. To keep my guilt at bay, I’d install these fixtures to reduce water consumption up to 30 percent. Plus, there are 15 different WaterCare faucets, so you’ll be able to find one to fit your style.
2. Pella Designer Series Windows
Windows are notorious energy black holes, accounting for up to 30 percent of a home’s heat loss. With triple-paned glass, low-E coatings (a translucent metallic film that slows down heat transfer) and between-the-glass shades or blinds, these are the most energy efficient windows on the market today. Need I say more?
1. PaperStone Paper Countertops
Made from post-consumer recycled paper, you might not think such a countertop would be durable. But because the paper sheets are bonded together with natural resins under heat and pressure, it’s actually very durable, not to mention scratch-, stain- and heat-resistant. And with no VOCs, it’s a healthy choice for your home, too.