This past year has been a real eye-opener for us. We've learned a lot about green design, and a lot about what we've been doing wrong in terms of our effect on the planet. One of the best pieces of advice we received came from furniture designer Jill Salisbury, who told us to start prioritizing what we want to get out of "going green." With so many competing ideas about how to go green, drafting a checklist of our priorities has been a huge help...
The reality is that just living on the planet makes us consumers of resources, and there's always a trade-off no matter how hard we try to be green. CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, recycling produces some pollution, and living without creating any waste is not possible. That doesn't mean we shouldn't use CFLs, recycle, and work towards reducing waste. It just means that we should try to make intelligent choices about the way we live.
Writing for Apartment Therapy, reading green blogs and books, and writing about sustainable design for my other job at an architecture firm, I've had the opportunity to think a lot about green design. I was surprised that after learning more, improving my home's air quality became one of my top priorities. I also decided to try and reuse whenever I could, rather than buying a new product, even if it's green.
To draft your own checklist of green priorities, start by deciding what's important to you in general. Loving your home? Enjoying your job? Eating well? Think about how you can integrate green practices into the things you already value. If your home is important to you, start thinking about green cleaning, reusing furniture, paying attention to indoor air quality, and using energy-efficient systems. Research the best solution to a problem, and act on it. As you learn more, you'll be able to do more towards greening your life.
A Few Resources to Get Started:
• Re-Nest provides daily information greening your home.
• Read Jill Salisbury's take on green design.
• William McDonough's Cradle to Cradle offers sustainable approaches to design that rethink the old industrial models.
Other suggestions on developing a green checklist? Let us know in the comments.