4 minute read

The Green Home Coach

BY MARLA ESSER CLOOS

MARLA ESSER CLOOS, NAHB Master Certified Green Professional, and LEED AP, is the principal of Green Home Coach where she uses her “superpowers” to help home professionals and inhabitants to discover and create better homes for healthier, more comfortable lives. Making simple swaps to green and sustainable choices helps create better homes – a bit at a time in existing homes or all at once for new and remodeled homes. Find more at GreenHomeCoach.com and @greenhomecoach on FB and IG.

Incremental Green:

MAINTAINING, REPLACING AND UPGRADING YOUR WAY TO A BETTER HOME

After a year of being in our homes more than ever during the pandemic, we’ve noticed more things in and around our homes that we would like to change, repair, or upgrade. With a bit of “incremental green” mindset, you can make your home even better, one step at a time. The concept of incremental green is making mindful choices about products and habit as you care for, maintain, and remodel your home. With every choice, we can make our homes healthier, safer and/or more comfortable. So, incremental green… For healthier, safer, more comfortable living in our homes. For homes that support us more than we support them – through durability, less maintenance and less to do to keep them running smoothly. For homes that look great and perform well. “The whole idea of green can be done one choice at a time” is basically what my book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home, is about. It really is the everyday simple choices - like what kind of cleaners to use, repairing the lamp rather than throwing it out, and choosing a ceiling fan to help cool off without turning the thermostat down. These simple changes can affect people’s quality of life and the environment for decades to come.

GREEN CERTIFICATIONS

Let’s go back to the ceiling fan example. A ceiling fan is a great addition to your home for the comfort and energy-saving benefits it brings. Running a ceiling fan in the room you are in can make you feel up to 7 degrees cooler in summer! In the winter, running your ceiling fan in reverse helps to recirculate warm air trapped at the ceiling of your room for even more comfort and savings. Before running out to the local big box hardware or appliance store and making a quick decision based on convenience and price, take a few minutes to first determine your priorities. What’s really most important - price, space issues like room size and ceiling height, a favorite brand, a certain style? Do certain choices affect the comfort, health and wellness of your household? What is the impact the purchase might have on your community and the environment?

ENERGY STAR

A good place to start is looking for ceiling fans with an ENERGY STAR certification. My #1 tip for making decisions for a better home is to look for certification labels that let you know the product has been approved by an independent, third-party, tested certification system. The ENERGY STAR certification label, the energy efficiency “seal of approval” is likely the most recognized green and energy-efficiency certification. ENERGY STAR labeled products are certified to use less energy and run more efficiently. You can find the ENERGY STAR certification on everything from windows, insulation, and appliances to electronics, computers, and light bulbs. And ceiling fans! It’s an easy choice which provides an extra level of assurance that what you’re buying will perform well and is built to last, providing more bang for the buck. There are certifications for water, wood and paper, carpets, rugs, floors, low toxin, chemical emissions and more. My book and my website have more information. As you look at maintenance, replacements, and upgrades in and around your home, there are many areas to consider – bath and kitchen fixtures: lighting and light bulbs: flooring, rugs and carpets; paint; yard and garden and more. Beginning with a basic set of values and priorities helps builds a template from which every project can then be approached. From painting one wall in a bathroom to replacing the washing machine or purchasing a new area rug for the hallway, if you know your priorities you can make better decisions. My personal priorities center around health and wellness – ours personally and our larger world’s. That means looking for products that last a long time with little maintenance (less work and less in landfills) and products with fewer synthetic additives like fragrances and other toxins. My list is longer, but these are where I start. I love working with people to discover simple swaps in your own home that meet your own priorities. Start on your list of priorities and be ready for your next maintenance, replacement or upgrading project for your better home.