SUSTAINABLE HOME ENVIRONMENTS
Much of the energy, water, and products we use are consumed in our households. This is also the place where we are exposed to many toxic chemicals in cleaners and detergents. Your home is the quickest and easiest area in your life to start making more sustainable and less toxic. You may want to start by doing an audit to determine where you can save energy and water as well as reduce the amount of products you buy for your house.
Your first step can be to take the and determine how large your housing footprint is. The footprint is very dependent on the size of your house, which you not be able to do much about. But, take a few minutes to browse over the links below and find out what you can do, like: install flourescent light bulbs, low flow tolets and showerheads, insulating your windows, and using non-toxic and recycled products.
Real Goods’ vision is multi-faceted. Since their inception in 1978, they have tried to change the way America does business by espousing the traditional values of integrity, honesty, friendliness, wise resource use, and ingenuity. Since thier business began by serving the needs of rural homesteaders in what was called the “back-to-the-land movement” in the late 1970’s, the Company has always strived to find and deliver appropriate technologies to its customers.
Recognizing that the world’s dependence upon fossil fuels has invariably led to the degradation of our atmosphere and environment, they have strived to demonstrate the need and practicality for renewable energy technologies that are clean, cost-effective, and non-polluting. They are an information company that recognizes that “knowledge is our most important product.” They have observed and are greatly encouraged to see the landscape of consciousness rapidly changing in the world at the dawn of the 21st Century where the values of healthy living, clean air, clean water, minimization of resources, and energy efficiency are integral to the new paradigm. They strive to maintain innovation, friendliness, integrity, and most of all authenticity which values walking our talk and shunning the hyperbole and disingenuity that has become commonplace in American business.
Gaiam was created as a lifestyle company with the vision that, given a choice, people would choose a lifestyle that is healthy and life enhancing, for themselves, their families and the Earth. The Gaiam lifestyle is a vote for individual health as well as the future sustainability of the the Earth’s resources. Gaiam strives to provide customers with alternatives to traditional products by offering natural, eco-friendly or healthy versions that compare with the style, quality and price of conventional products.
They also have a very helpful learning center about way to make your lifestyle more sustainable:http://www.gaiam.com/retail/gai_content/learn/gai_learnHome.asp
100 ways to escape affluenza
Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life.
PBS has produced a wonderful website that accompanies their one hour documentary titled Affluenza. The website helps people ‘escape’ affluenza in their home and hearth and work, as well as provide methods to deal with kids, money, shopping, food and transportation. They also have a great affluenza quiz.
Eco-Conscious House Hunting
There are enough factors to consider when looking for a new home that it might seem overwhelming to add environmental impact to your checklist. However, the type of home you live in is one of the most important decisions you can make as a consumer.
Making an environmentally conscious housing decision will not only help reduce our consumption of energy and natural resources, but will also lower your maintenance and energy bills. In addition, some mortgage lenders and financial service companies such as Fannie Mae have recognized the importance of a home’s environmental impact and offer mortgage benefits to buyers of energy-efficient houses.
Indoor Air Quality
Mold, radon, ventilation are all factors, as is second-hand smoke, which can make children suffer serious health risks. Learn about Smoke-Free Homes from the EPA.
Home Energy Checkup from Alliance to Save Energy
A guide to saving money and increasing comfort in your home while reducing energy use and pollution at the same time! You can select from among 14 kinds of energy efficiency choices, see how much money and pollution you can save, find out where to get energy efficient products, and get tips on how to act on your choices.
U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Use Webpage
The first step to taking a whole-house energy efficiency approach is to find out which parts of your house use the most energy. A home energy audit will show you where these are and suggest the most effective measures for reducing your energy costs. You can conduct a simple home energy audit yourself, you can contact your local utility, or you can call an independent energy auditor for a more comprehensive examination.