Everyday Green Home
About this podcast
The Everyday Green Home Podcast helps you GET the value of green: for you, your family and your community. Whether its green homes, green living or the people who make it happen, join Marla Esser Cloos to learn how green and sustainability practices and products work for you.
About this podcast
The Everyday Green Home Podcast helps you GET the value of green: for you, your family and your community. Whether its green homes, green living or the people who make it happen, join Marla Esser Cloos to learn how green and sustainability practices and products work for you.
Everyday Green Home
Intelligent Real Estate with Kari Klaus of RealtySage
Have you ever wondered how to go about finding a home that has everything you value? It is vital to have a home that supports your lifestyle, and finding the right one can be pretty hard. Now, more than ever, after spending a year indoors, we have learned to value having a comfortable home with all the features we need. My husband and I wanted an energy-efficient home, and we wanted it to have a back porch for us to sit on. We also wanted a home that would help us support the family health issues we were dealing with at the time. Even though I am in the industry, I had no clue how to find that home. I am Marla, the Green Home Coach, and in today’s podcast, I will introduce you to my friend, Kari Klaus, who is doing some great work in the area of green real estate. Listen in to learn more about how to find a home that has everything you want, and need. Real estate is fluctuating The real estate market is hot for sellers right now because there are still some very interesting potential fluctuations coming out of the pandemic with people working from home. Change-agents There is a huge opportunity right now for those in real estate to be change agents. Any home can become a greener home Any home, even an older one, can become a greener home by up-leveling the lighting, systems, and appliances. RealtySage Many years ago, Kari bought a home in Arlington, Virginia. It was old and quaint but super outdated and energy inefficient. Although she renovated and updated all the appliances and electrics, she knew she would have problems marketing the property on some major sites because they do not emphasize or educate buyers about the green features of the home, like solar. That means that sellers may not get their return on investment if the buyers do not understand what is in it. People need to see the houses on the internet to know what they look like and understand how much was invested in making them comfortable and energy-efficient. That is what they do at RealtySage. RealtySage Pro People also need experts who can help explain everything. That is where the second part, RealtySage Pro, comes in. RealtySage Pro connects buyers and sellers to experience a knowledgeable real estate agent who understands all the features and systems of the home. The value in green homes There is value in green homes that often gets overlooked. A big investment A home is one of the most important and expensive things in which we invest. Buying a house sight unseen can be a problem for people when they do not have all the information upfront. Trends California has mandated zero energy-performance homes and solar. That trend will continue until it becomes the norm. A learning curve Consumers need to know where their houses land on the green and smart technology scale. They also need to learn about the different codes and certifications, what they stand for, and what they mean. Solar Consumers can potentially save hundreds of dollars in energy costs from having solar on their properties. Millennials Millennials are making an impact on our society right now. They are currently the largest group of home buyers. Millennials love automated homes with smart technology, and they also love living close to where they work. The big unknown The post-pandemic remote work situation is the big unknown that could transform real estate significantly. An exciting time It is an interesting and exciting time right now with lots of potential opportunities. With so many people working from home, many commercial office buildings could convert in the future to become apartments and condos. Have a home that supports you Think about what is important to you. Think about having a home that supports your comfort, health, and well-being. Then, take action to make that happen. RealtySage Pro has a massive database RealtySage Pro has a database of almost 150,000 real estate agents across the country to help match sellers with the right buyers. Their agents understand the value of off-grid properties and help sellers to market that. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Learn how to make your home healthier for you and our world in my Love Your Everyday Green Home Intelligent Real Estate Search with RealtySage Get matched with a RealtySage PRO Sage Score Work with Marla to prep for buying or selling a home Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency® Home Performance Counts "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
How to Talk with Kids About Climate Change
Climate change is becoming part of many everyday conversations and many of our children may have questions – spoken or unspoken – about climate change and how it may impact them. How do you talk with them about climate change? Both my kids are grown and work in an industry that focuses on sustainability, so we have some pretty interesting conversations. Tony does not have any kids, so the conversations he has are geared more towards an adult point of view and tend to be more on the academic side. Even though Tony and I live in very different worlds and do not always see eye to eye, we feel our different outlooks bring a balanced perspective to our conversations. Today, we will be talking about our kids collectively as a society. Not an easy decision Many people are having a tough time deciding whether or not it is a good idea to start a family today, with all the political strife, the climate crisis, and everything else that is going on in the world. Yet, many generations of people have most likely been having the same conversation over the ages. Because as Tony points out, society and civilization were always built on strife. A rough year The past year has been rough for the kids. Tony feels bad for them because they have lost out on so much in the classroom, on the sports ground, and especially in their social development. He feels that losing their connections can end up slowing their development. Screen time Pre-COVID, our kids, as a society, spent a lot of time in front of screens. Right now, with online learning, kids are getting even more screen time. That makes one wonder what the effects some of the things they are getting exposed to will have on their physical health, mental health, and social development. Humans are impacting the world I found the topic of climate change interesting during the pandemic lockdown because, in many parts of the world, the natural environment cleared up very quickly. That was, in many cases, an indication that humans are impacting the world in which we live. So, I hope we can figure out how to do this and learn to live in symbiosis with the natural world a little better. Emissions We drive many more miles today than we did in the 1980s. Yet, we have fewer emissions today because technology has improved. Even though we are unlikely to stop emissions entirely, there are things that we can do to lessen the impact. Internal combustion engines Many manufacturers have pledged that after a certain date, they will no longer manufacture internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles If we are going to be driving many more electric vehicles in the future, we need to figure out how to fill the need for electricity without creating any unintended negative consequences. Break the silence We need to lose the fear of upsetting the conversation, break the silence, and start talking about the things that impact climate change. That goes for adults as well as kids. Talking to young adults and kids When having a conversation with younger adults or children, focus on maintaining a positive attitude about everything. Be transparent with them. Give them all the facts and present issues as challenges rather than problems. Teach them to give each other grace. Help them face their fears, give hope, and show them how to take action when necessary. Mindset We have to get out of a problem-based mindset and start teaching kids more of a solution-based mindset. Outdoors Get the kids to spend time outside on sunny days to connect with nature and become familiar with the bright and cheerful outdoor environment. Positive experiences Watch your language, and give children as many positive messages and experiences as possible. The more positive experiences they have, the more equipped they are to handle any doom and gloom situations. Take a hike Encourage your kids to go hiking with you. You can encourage them to pick up trash along the way. Cleaning up the environment will teach them how to take action while also giving them a positive experience. The health of the planet Teach your kids that their health is tied to the health of the planet. Teach them not to waste, and let them know that recycling is vital. Explain to them that what we do in our homes affects not only them but the whole world, too. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Learn how to make your home healthier for you and our world in my private Facebook group Love Your Everyday Green Home Kid's Bamboo Telescope for exploring outside How to Talk with Kids about the Climate Crisis - Shelton Group How to talk honestly to kids about climate change — and still give them hope How To Talk To Kids About Climate Change - NPR Project Learning Tree Activities for Families "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
Maintain Your Way to a Better Home with Tina Gleisner
Taking the time to do regular home maintenance adds up to a greener lifestyle. By doing a little more research every time you need to replace, repair, redecorate, remodel, or renovate, you can make a difference. All of that is a part of maintenance, which is super important around our homes. Maintaining your home is one of the greenest things that you can do. Maintenance preserves the life of things, so the more routine maintenance you do around the home, the longer things will last. And the longer things last, the fewer things end up in the trash or the recycling bin. I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach, and today, I would like to talk to you about spring maintenance. My friend, Tina Gleisner, from Home Tips for Women, is my maintenance go-to. She collaborated with me on the chapter about maintenance in my book, Living Green Effortlessly- Simple Choices for a Better Home. For today, I pulled an episode out of the archives where Tina and I talk about spring maintenance. Tina knows how to rock out maintenance with her three-tiered approach, so be sure to listen in today and get ready for some super home maintenance! Enjoy the episode! The most important point The most important point to remember about taking care of your home is that you are the chief home organizer. That means that you do not have to do everything yourself. Your number one priority is to see that all the important things get done. Critical jobs Some critical jobs need to get done in a home that we do not have the tools or the experience to do. So we should not even attempt to do these things. Spring maintenance The focus of this podcast is on spring maintenance because spring is a great time to do several things outside of your home. Many of those things will require the assistance of an expert. Organizing your checklist It is always best to start by inspecting things around your home. Then, make a list of all the things that need to be maintained or repaired. Planning Planning what you intend to do and who you will hire to help you can minimize the costs of your ongoing home maintenance and repairs in the long run. Checking the roof If you are uncomfortable on a ladder or if there is a chance that you could fall, do not go up onto the roof yourself. To check your roof, stand back and take some photos of it with your phone. Then, go to your computer and blow the pics up to see all the details. You can save them so that you can use them again the next year to see if anything on the roof has changed. New roofs If you do some spot-checking every year, for the first ten years, without actually going up there, that will be sufficient for most new roofs. If you live on the coast or in an area with harsh weather all the time, your roof will not last as long as it would in an inland area with mild weather. National Women In Roofing An organization called National Women In Roofing will help you better understand all the different classes of roof shingles, explain what your roofing insurance will and will not cover, and answer any questions that you might have. Hidden damage If you need a new roof, it is never a good idea to put a second layer of roofing shingles on top of what you already have because there may be hidden damage to the plywood underneath the shingles. A tip for recycling old roof shingles Many communities have a Roof to Roads program where they recycle asphalt shingles to use for building roads. So, if you are removing an old roof, look into recycling the old shingles. Protecting the wood and checking for wood-rot If you can catch a problem early, it could save you a lot of money and effort in the future. So check the wood around your windows and doors, and any decking or other wooden trim around the house, for signs of wood rot that might be starting. If you find anything, it can quite easily be sanded and painted to protect the wood and prevent any deterioration. The two biggest problem areas The two biggest problem areas for wood-rot are the window-sills if the water does not roll off them fast enough, and the vertical piece of wood directly under the exterior doors. The longer the problem remains, the more the repair is likely to cost. Wood rot Tina has an article on her website that goes into the different levels and costs of wood-rot on window frames. She also has a series on her website about all the areas of wood rot in a home. Roof flashing The flashing on the roof usually gets made of thin material, like galvanized steel. It is there to direct water away from the critical roof areas. Spring home-maintenance Doing outside home maintenance in the springtime is vital because you will start spending a lot more time outside at that time of the year. Two main things need to get done in the springtime. Find and deal with any damage that may have occurred during the winter. Look out for the safety of your family while they are spending time outside. That includes checking the walkways, decks, hand-rails, and outside lighting. Tina’s spring check-list Tina has a checklist available on her website to give you many different ways to look for potential problems in your home. Some things to look out for: Concrete is porous, and it sucks water up, so keep a lookout for any rising damp. Push gently on the wood around your doors and windows with your fingers to check for sponginess. That would indicate that there is some wood-rot going on there. If you find any wood-rot, you will need to do something about it quickly. Check to see if the weather-stripping around your windows and doors requires replacing. Check if any of the screens for your windows or doors are torn and need to get replaced. Check your garden hoses and check that the irrigation system is working well. Ensure that your air condition system is working well and that your fans turn in the right direction. Remember that a clean home is easier to maintain. It helps everything to work more efficiently and last longer. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Learn how to make your home healthier for you and our world in my Love Your Everyday Green Home Curated collection for you Spring Home Maintenance Checklist Home Tips for Women (PDF Download) Better Hose Bibs - Use This to Replace Outdoor Hose Bibs "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
Human Made Climate Change - a climate series with Tony
Climate change is a big topic! We hear a lot about it lately in the news, in newspapers, and in people’s conversations. Climate change is something that we all need to talk about, and many questions are surrounding it. People often get lectured about the things they are doing wrong in the world today. So, we would like to use this series to open people up to the idea of having conversations so that we can all work together to find solutions. I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach, and my favorite co-host, Tony Pratte, is joining me today for another episode in our series on climate change. In this episode, we talk about human-made climate change. We will talk specifically about the choices that we can make, as humans, to fight the whole people-driven part of climate change. Tony and I want to help you, the listeners, climb into the details of climate change. We want to encourage you to think about things differently, and we would like to help you dive deeper into the issues that matter and consider a perspective that you might not have thought of before. Everything has become politicized There has been a lot of discourse and disagreement around climate change, and like everything else, the topic of climate change has become politicized. Grace I come from two things - people and grace. I come from caring about everyone, including the people I know and those I don’t. In the past, people have forgiven me for the wrong things I believed in or what I did wrong. That helped me to understand how important it is to give grace to everyone else. Talking about things Tony and I have honest conversations. Although we often disagree about things, we always agree to talk about them. You have to be able to discuss every issue from both sides because that is the only way you will ever find the truth. 600,000,000 Years of Climate Change Climate change is a fact. It is real. Some things have been going on for 600,000,000 years that cause the heating and cooling of the earth naturally. Tony has a chart that he stares at every time we talk about climate change. The name of the chart is 600,000,000 Years of Climate Change. Climate change impacts our lives Climate change impacts every area of our lives. That includes our food, livelihood, social injustice, the buildings we live and work in, and our transportation. It all matters! Yet, we have run amuck! We have made decisions that are not in our best interests in the long term because there are many unintended consequences to those decisions. There is a winner and a loser When someone is doing what they can to maximize their quality of life, there is always a negative externality that is causing someone else to have less. Everything is balanced If you look at the physical rules of our universe, everything is balanced. That could be happening with human-induced climate change. Human impacts on the environment A National Geographic article highlights that humans impact the physical in many ways. Those include overpopulation, pollution, and deforestation. Those kinds of changes have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water. Air quality The air quality improved in many urban centers across the planet during the pandemic. The quality of our lives We need to consider what we are willing to accept for the quality of our lives. Social cost There is often a social cost to the recycling of things, which is not accounted for. A growing movement There’s a growing movement to buy products from companies that support your values and do things that are in line with you or better. More and more companies are telling us about what they are doing to be accountable for their actions. A better quality of life Some people are willing to spend a little more to buy what they need for a better quality of life that has less impact on the environment. An impact Almost every activity we engage in to improve our quality of life has an impact that can be negative on our or someone else’s quality of life. Plastic water bottles are made from oil Not many people know that plastic water bottles are made from oil. Understanding the processes We need to learn and get to understand the processes of how things are made and done. It is difficult and takes work, but we need to do it. Things you can do Don’t get overwhelmed. Understand what products are made from what. Recycle. Use your common sense. Avoid single-use plastics. Research the companies you want to support. Encourage companies that are not doing things right to do things better. Create change Your voice is worth using. Use it. Say something to create change. Or you can vote with your pocketbook by not buying something. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Learn how to make your home healthier for you and our world in my Love Your Everyday Green Home FB Group! Products made from petroleum Climate explained: how much of climate change is natural? How much is man-made? Global Warming Overview (requires an email address to read) Teaching Essential Principle Six Human activities are impacting the climate system "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
Flushing Trees Down the Toilet with co-host, Tony Pratte
Here, in the United States, we use more toilet paper per capita than in any other country on the face of the earth. Although things are different in other parts of the world, in our society, we view toilet paper as a necessity because that is how we were trained in our culture, in our economy, and in our lives. Toilet paper was the first thing everyone stocked up on at the start of the pandemic. It is something that we know we need to use, but we think we have no replacement for it. I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach! Today, Tony Pratte, my occasional co-host, joins me on the show once again for another conversation in our series about climate change. Today, Tony and I are talking toilet paper! In this episode, we explain what goes into the toilet paper that we are literally flushing down the toilet. We also discuss what you can use as alternatives and why that matters. Looking at our country as a whole When we look at our country as a whole, we are the most prosperous country with the largest economy. Yet, we are very wasteful. Use this, not that I got a flyer from my local natural grocery store explaining what we should and should not use. They list many different items, from laundry detergent, to grocery bags to weed killer, and they even list toothbrushes. Alternatives to single-use products There are many alternatives for us to use rather than single-use products, where we tend to be the most wasteful. Most of us do not think of toilet paper in that category, however. Flushing forests We are literally flushing forests down the toilet so that we can use something a little softer to wipe ourselves. Recycled materials I have used recycled toilet paper for several years now because I feel that any time I can use a recycled material rather than virgin material, it is a good thing. It takes far less energy, water, and chemicals to make something from a recycled product, and you are also expanding the life of that product. Wood pulp All paper gets made from wood pulp. Different kinds of wood pulp get used in making the various types of paper. Wood mills Wood mills have tons of scrap lying all over. One would assume that those scrap bits of wood get used for making paper, but that is not what happens. Making toilet paper Toilet paper is not only made from leftover bits and pieces of wood, but shockingly, 44% of the wood pulp used to make toilet paper comes from clear-cut native virgin-growth forests. Planting trees Although many of those involved with forestry claim to plant a tree every time they cut one down, it will take many years for those trees to reach their full forest height. Those trees often get planted within a monoculture instead of in a diverse setting with active microbiomes like a forest. Everything in nature works in systems, including forests. So, when forests get ripped out for our convenience, there is a long-term pay-off. Using recycled paper for toilet paper Many of the resources used to make paper could get offset by using recycled paper to make toilet paper. FSC certified forests Forests that are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified have been deemed to be sustainable and sustainably managed. Toilet paper made from virgin wood Paper made from virgin wood has longer fibers which give it a lot more life. Every time paper or wood gets recycled, the fibers become shorter. So it makes a lot of sense to use recycled paper to make toilet paper because it will get flushed down the toilet. Sewage plants Often, sewage plants make fertilizer from the sludge. Bamboo Paper made from bamboo feels more like paper made from wood with longer fibers. So toilet paper made from bamboo will feel more comfortable to use. You need to know that the bamboo was responsibly sourced, however. Consumers As consumers, we tend to have a lot more power than we comprehend. We can use that power to vote with our pocketbooks and choose the products that we use with care. Learning about alternatives Learn more and talk to people about what you have learned. We can all help each other by sharing what we have learned about alternative ways to do things. Overall impact We need to understand that with every change of materials, there is an overall impact that we need to factor in. An ecosystem The whole globe is a massive system made up of smaller ecosystems. When one of them gets knocked out of balance, the system looks to correct and find balance. But that takes time. Tearing down forests Forests are massive carbon dioxide storage facilities and they play a huge role in balancing the climate of the natural world. All of that gets negatively affected when we tear the forests down. The habitats of many species of animals, birds, and insects get destroyed. Some indigenous people depend on forests for their livelihood. The natural world supports us The natural world matters. Your health, and that of your family and friends, is highly dependent on the health of the planet. So, we need to remember that the earth supports us and take care of it. You can make a start, one roll of toilet paper at a time! Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Book - Toilet Paper on page 72 The Issue with Tissue Toilet Paper on my shop I'm giving Who Gives a Crap bamboo TP a go. Want to try it, too? Toilet Paper Debate video Report Exposes How Sustainable 26 Major Toilet Paper Brands Are — Check Out the Winners and the Losers "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
Climate Change with Tony Pratte: What's All the Fuss About?
The climate is changing. Yet, the term “global warming” often gets misunderstood. It all seems to be happening much more visibly and much more intensely lately, which indicates that something is actually going on. In today’s episode, Tony and I discuss how to speak to others about controversial subjects, why we need to see the bigger picture, and we also talk about the importance of coexisting in the best way possible in this beautiful world of ours. I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach! I am back today with another conversation in our series on climate change. Tony Pratte, my sometimes guest, sometimes co-host, is joining me on the show today. In the last podcast that Tony and I did together, we started a conversation about the emotions that arise in people when climate change, or what I more accurately refer to as “the climate crisis”, comes up. Ground rules In our last conversation, Tony and I set the ground rules for how we, as human beings, can talk about the issue of the current climate crisis. We spoke about how we can still manage to have that conversation even if we do not see eye to eye. We discussed compassion, grace, trust, and transparency, all of which are qualities that most of us would like to have in our lives anyway because they will serve us well in any situation. The Golden Rule The Golden Rule for having any controversial conversation is to treat people the same way you would want to get treated. Honoring yourself Many of us tend to think we need to be altruistic and always take care of everybody else. Honoring yourself and your health, wellness, and wellbeing is also very important, so remember yourself, too, when having those conversations. Challenges We have some big challenges right now in our society. Many of us do not feel that we can change things, even though some know that is not the truth. The big picture Everything we do and all of our decisions ultimately ties to the big picture and little steps can lead to big changes. So, we need to know what to do and to whom we need to listen. Communication channels The vast number of communication channels that we have today, with all their different points of view, make it hard for us to know who to listen to and what to believe. New possibilities Many people fail to question things. There is a tiny group of people, however, who are willing to take action and challenge the currently accepted narratives. They are willing to be the bridge-builders to open up new possibilities and share new information. Things are changing We are currently seeing impacts that we have never seen before in our lifetime. The climate is changing rapidly and many people desperately need food, medicine, and employment. We need to find a way to supply all of those things without disrupting our precious planet. The way we are living The way we live is impacting the earth faster than it can react positively for us. What will happen to us? The pandemic has shown us that the earth will be able to correct itself and keep on going. So, the question is, what will happen to us? Time Our concept of time is not the same as how time relates to the earth. The earth works in cycles that can last for millions of years. We, as humans, tend to relate to time in terms of the length of our lifetime, so we do not know what the earth can handle. What we know We know that a different lifestyle exists relating to three billion people living on the planet versus ten billion people. We need to start thinking about how our lifestyle is impacting the earth. A new way to live We need to find other ways for so many of us to live on the planet and maintain a similar lifestyle without harming anyone else or the environment. Solar panels Ten square miles of solar panels in the New Mexico desert could power the entire USA commercially. There are some trade-offs to that, however, in terms of resources, so we need to find a way to balance things out. A goal We need to look at everyone on the planet as stakeholders and find a way to put our problem in front of us rather than putting it between us. To help improve things for as many people as possible without taking anything away from others, we need to develop accountability and take responsibility. Tony's goal Tony's goal is to have today's conversation influence someone else. And for that person to have a similar conversation with their friends. And then for those friends to have the same kind of conversation with some other people. And so on. If that happens, we may eventually be able to see some positive changes. Also, a conversion from a problem mindset to a solution mindset. Coexisting In many ways, the climate crisis reflects many of the things going on in the world today. There are things that we need to figure out to coexist in the best way possible in this beautiful world of ours. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home @greenhomecoach on Instagram and Facebook Global Weirding with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on YouTube Matt Ridley's "A Lukewarmer's Ten Tests" (PDF Download) "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
How to Be Pollinator-Friendly with Laryssa Kwoczak, Beekeeper
Today, I am doing something a little different. Laryssa Kwoczak, my guest, is also a podcaster, so today, I am her guest, too. We will be releasing this podcast on her platform as well as on mine. Listen in to our fascinating conversation to learn more about Laryssa, why bees are such an important part of our world, what you need to know before attracting bees to your garden, and so much more. Did I mention resources? We’ll have plenty of those for you, too. About Laryssa Laryssa lives in Hawaii. She has been keeping bees for about ten years. She used to work for a commercial apiary where she was teaching people about bees. The Buzz About Bees When she stopped doing that, she started doing her podcast called The Buzz About Bees. Laryssa created her podcast to dive a bit deeper into the hive and what bees do, and what the beekeeper does. She tries to make her podcast as friendly to non-beekeepers as possible. Why bees are so important Bees are important because they make honey, plus they pollinate foods like nuts, fruit, and vegetables, and flowers. They are an integral part of our world, and they are fascinating creatures. Bees are also food for birds, and they help the soil. Honey Honey has antibacterial properties. It gets used in bandaging for burn victims because it helps pull the moisture out. Never goes bad Honey is the only food that never goes bad. Planting for honey bees Honey bees have an action called flower fidelity, so they like to fill their sacks with just one kind of nectar for months at a time. So, when you are planting for bees, it is good to have more than one plant of one variety to encourage the bees by making it worth their while to stop by. One of the best pollinators The pollen sticks to the fuzzy bodies of the bees. Then they go to the next flower of the same variety, spread the pollen, and pollinate it. That is why honey bees are one of the best pollinators. Lots of everything Different things attract different pollinators. So, have lots of everything! Herbs are great to plant if you want to attract pollinators to your garden. Natural practices It is healthier for everything in your garden if you use natural practices and trust that the bees know what they are doing. Attracting bees Before you try to attract bees to your garden, make it a healthy environment for them by not using harsh chemicals, like weed killers that could kill them. Do not spray any weed killers, even natural ones, in the garden during the daytime when the bees are around. Sunset is the best time to spray. But it is best not to spray at all because some weeds are food for bees. Planting for the bees Planting some bee-friendly flowers is a great way to attract bees to your garden. Planting flowers like tulips, or goldenrod, that come up in the early spring or late fall is best because that's when the bees are desperate for food. Butterflies are amazing Butterflies can sniff out their host plant from over a mile away. If you plant something that attracts a certain kind of butterfly, there is a chance that they live in your area that they will find it. Great places to go for resources The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a great place to go for resources. You can also post your garden on that site. There is also Xerces.org, where you can go to your state, and it will tell you what to plant for native pollinators, as well as honey bees. Finding more pollinator-friendly places Laryssa encourages people not just to think about their yard, but also to get involved with their homeowner's association and to talk with their neighbors to find places in the neighborhood that can be made more pollinator-friendly. Potted plants If you are not interested in pulling weeds or dealing with unwanted pests, potted plants are also great for attracting bees. Don’t be afraid You do not have to be afraid of having bees in your garden because bees are unlikely to sting. Honey bees will die if they sting you. Creating a green environment around your home Many different practices will support you in working with nature and help you create a pollinator-friendly environment around your home. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Curated for your yard and garden The Buzz About Bees Podcast Pollinator-Friendly Native Plant Lists Million Pollinator Garden Challenge ID plants Bees in My Backyard videos "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
Teach Talk: Green Interiors
Our homes have now become everything for us! That means that we have been a lot harder on them now than we were before, pre-pandemic. But we have also learned a lot more about our homes because we are spending so much more time in them lately. I have worked from home for years, so I have made sure that my home serves me well. As a result, I have a slightly different perspective, and I’ve learned many different things over the years. My goal is to share what I have learned with you through my Facebook group, Love Your Everyday Green Home, through teachings from my book, Living Green Effortlessly, and also through the people I meet. 2020 was the year of the grand experiment for many of us! Now that we know that we are free to experiment, we can become more intentional with whatever we decide to do in our homes. You don’t have to do it all. Just pick a few of the things I suggest, and go try them out. Today, I will focus on the interior of our homes. It is important to have a comfortable home with beautiful spaces that serve your health and wellness. Your home should provide you with the kind of spaces that you want to be in. Our pre-loved sofa We recently bought a second-hand recliner sofa. Although we knew it was unlikely to be our forever sofa, we needed a space to be comfortable together. Our pre-loved recliner sofa was a perfect fit for us! Using pre-loved, or second-hand furniture Using pre-loved furniture makes it very easy to make short-term, intentional decisions for a specific need. When something we bought second-hand is no longer useful to us, we can put it back into the marketplace for pre-loved furniture and pass it on to someone else. Off-gassing and older furniture One of the advantages of buying older furniture is that it has had time to off-gas any chemicals or toxins that could be in the fabrics or the wood. New furnishings With new furnishings, you want to do some research to look out for what you are buying. There is a group called Sustainable Furnishings Council. It has a list of companies that adhere to a set of practices in the manufacture of furniture to ensure they meet the sustainability levels. Things to watch out for You need to watch out for the materials used in furnishings, rugs, soft goods, and window treatments for their potential to off-gas. It is always best to use natural products whenever possible. A list of go-to’s Having a list of go-to’s for what works well in your home will be helpful for you. Look for products that are sustainable, renewable, or more chemically responsible whenever possible. Paint Choose safer paint, preferably with no or low VOCs. Wallpaper When choosing wallpaper, you need to consider what is in it and ensure that you select a safe and healthy option for the people living in your home. Floor coverings You need to select carpets and flooring products that are safe and healthy for the people living in your home. Carpets and long-shag rugs tend to be dust-traps, so they are not the best option for people with allergies. Try to choose materials and products made from either renewable materials or recycled content. Choose materials that can eventually get recycled to keep them out of the landfills. Ceilings and walls Ceilings are usually covered with paint. Ceilings and walls influence the way that the light plays in your home. Light is an important part of health and wellness. Consider that when choosing a color for the walls and ceilings in your home. Light-colored ceilings and walls help to magnify the light. Heat Having dark-colored floors and walls is great for holding the heat in your home during the colder months. Cabinetry Pay attention to your cabinetry. Formaldehyde is a chemical that you want to steer clear of. It is still in some products, especially those made from pressed wood. Bathrooms and kitchens As you fine-tune, remodel, or rebuild your kitchen and bathroom, you need to be specific and intentional about the choices you make. Your choice of tiles, walls, and flooring needs to support your health and your comfort. Plumbing fixtures Choose plumbing fixtures that will require little maintenance, last a long time, and optimize the use of the water coming into your home most effectively. Pay attention to the toilet. You might want to upgrade an older toilet to a new one that flushes better and saves you lots of water. Moisture You want to keep your kitchen and bathrooms dry. Make sure that nothing you choose for your kitchen and bathrooms mitigates moisture. Soft surfaces You want your soft surfaces to be as comfortable and cozy as possible. Use great fabrics that will be safe and healthy to have in your home. Green Labels Green labels will help you make better choices for the things you use in your home. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Curated collection for you What Goes IN Your Home: What To Think About, What to Look For, What to Choose The Stuff our Homes Are Made of – Resources and Materials A Place to Dream, Design, and Discover with Sheridan Foster of Elemental Green Green Interiors "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
Landscape for Beauty AND Comfort
We are talking about landscaping today! Many of us are trying to figure out ways to make our homes look more appealing and feel more comfortable. The pandemic gave us the ideal opportunity to experiment with different ways to improve things in and around our houses. Some of what I will be sharing with you today is about how to take those experiments a little bit further. I, for one, have been having a whole lot of fun discovering what I can do in my yard. And what I can grow there! One of the things that I have come to recognize from the green living space is that a set of actions can give you all kinds of unintended benefits. Landscaping is one of those. You may be landscaping for beauty to create a colorful garden space outside of your home. Many of us are trying to figure out ways to create edible gardens, but we have not always thought about the idea of landscaping for comfort. Stay tuned to find out more! Using plants in strategic areas You can use plants in specific areas around your house to form insulation spaces, dead spaces, to provide windbreaks, and to strategically shield your home and yard from the elements. Oklahoma Driving around in the countryside of Oklahoma, I started noticing that there were windbreaks all over the place! You can use the same principle around your home. A hand out for you I have added a link for a handout that takes you through the step of how to think about landscaping not only for beauty but also for your comfort. It all starts with understanding the energy flows It all starts with understanding the energy flow that comes in and out of your building and how that works with the sun. The key generator The sun is the key generator of energy on our planet. So how your home is oriented on the land is the very first thing you need to look at. Using the sunlight You want to take advantage of the way the sun is positioned on your house to bring in warmth on the colder winter days. Positioning How your house is positioned allows you to take advantage of the sunlight through your windows by warming up the walls. The foundation of your house Your house was built on a foundation. That foundation is often a source of leakage. So you can have foundation plantings around the edge of the house. Be sure that the plantings are an appropriate space from the foundation to insulate without encroaching on the structure itself. Nurseries and landscape people can help you with the plantings that will specifically operate and grow the best in your region. Shade trees Shade trees are one of the best investments you can make for your land. Shade trees are a huge advantage because they will provide shade for the very sunny windows in the summer and they will lose their leaves in the winter to let the sunlight in when you need it most. Hardscape You can use shade trees to shade the hardscape like patios and driveways. You can also use shade trees to shade the concrete in and around your home. Note: Shade trees take a long time to grow, so now is the best time to get started with them. Plantings Use plantings for exterior shading when your shade trees are not yet big enough to provide the shade. You can also use trellises, arbors, awnings, or even solar screens on the outside. Shrubs and trees You can plant shrubs and trees in key locations to shield your home from the prevailing winds. Local nurseries Local nurseries will be more than happy to help you with a plan to make your landscape beautiful and help you experience more comfort in your home and yard. Resources Many resources are available to help you find the best plants to use, and where to plant them. Many universities have extension programs which are a great resource. Water Think about how the water is running off on your property and how you are using it. Consider getting some rain barrels. Rainwater is soft and better for your plants than city water. Native plants Consider using some native plants in your garden. Native plants require a lot fewer resources in terms of water, pest control, and fertilizer to thrive. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Landscape Guide EGH for your Garden Landscaping for Beauty, Energy Efficiency, and Home Comfort with Tony Pratte Sustainable Solutions For Water and Landscape On Your Home Site Green Landscaping with Native Plants Frisella's All Around The Yard Podcast "This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself."
Climate Change: Where to Start? with Tony Pratte
I’m Marla, on the Everyday Green Home Podcast. I am excited to have Tony Pratte joining me on the show today! Tony and I are good friends. We have known each other and worked together for many years. He used to be a regular co-host on this podcast back when it was called The Green Gab. Today, we will be talking about a big, hot topic. We will be discussing the climate crisis, also called climate change or global warming. Our intention for this podcast is to set up some basics around that topic and to look at some of the key points to follow. We hope to give you a baseline for having this conversation in your life and generate some thinking that might be different from the way you used to think. Tony and I are not in full agreement on all aspects of this topic. However, we both feel that it is important for us, as a society, to learn how to agree to disagree about certain things, to allow us to have these conversations. We will base our conversation primarily on three things: emotions, transparency and trust, and politics. Positive conflict is a powerful tool Tony is an expert in team development. He knows that team building involves understanding conflict and knowing that positive conflict is a powerful tool. It is a tool to unlock creative energies, and those creative energies can always lead to creative problem-solving. A solution-based mindset Tony points out that although most people have a problem-based mindset, true leaders understand that you need to have a solution-based mindset to overcome any problem. So, you need to identify the problem and then discuss the solutions. Framing the conversation To frame the conversation as we go forward, we need to bear in mind that we should always aim to do no harm. A complicated issue Many people feel uncomfortable having the conversation we are having today about global warming because we are dealing with a complicated issue. It is a passionate discussion, and it runs to the emotions. None of us want to think we are bad people or that we are wrong. Dealing with emotions with grace Our word for 2020 was grace. We need to be able to both give and receive grace. Grace can be a good baseline to help us get through the emotions that arise when we talk about difficult topics like the one we are discussing today. Taking action We need to take action, regardless of our beliefs and emotions. We need to figure out how to find solutions. This conversation Sharpening our listening skills becomes vital for the conversation about climate change and global warming. You have to be able to handle another person’s emotions on this topic with grace. Our biases are very strong things, so you need to fully understand what the other person is saying and validate their opinions, whether you agree with them or not, to move forward. Compassion Developing your compassion will help you to discuss this emotive topic with grace. Transparency and trust Transparency engenders trust. Currently, we live in a society and in a time of a constant information cycle. We have a class of leaders in politics, business, and thought who cannot wrap their heads around the current 24/7 information cycle because everything they do can get found somewhere. As a result, they need to be concerned about anything that they might be hiding. Money Money is influencing the topic of climate change on all sides. The motivation is to keep the conversation narrow and as simple as possible. Because when the conversation takes its true and complicated form, it becomes hard to influence others. Influence For Tony, talking about transparency and trust comes down to the fact that people are trying to influence others based on power and money. Products Most of us always trusted the people who provide the products that we buy. Now, we are discovering that there are skeletons in the closet, and there are words in the lists of ingredients on the products that mean something quite different from what those words truly mean. That adds to the element of distrust. Cognitive bias When people realize that they cannot trust someone, they revert to their cognitive bias and develop a stronger emotional connection to that bias. Well-paid spin doctors Tony believes that in politics, there is a legion of well-paid spin doctors who are there to keep discussions binary. So for today’s topic, you either believe in climate change and that it is real and dangerous, or you are a climate deny-er, and you think it is all a hoax. Constituents As constituents, we have the power to pay more attention to those for whom we are voting. We need to question We should not allow politicians to frame an argument in one way or another. That is ultimately our personal choice, so we need to start questioning everything. To truly understand To truly understand what goes on, you have to listen actively, have both eyes open, and leave any preconceived judgment, cognitive bias, or politics at the door. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Follow @greenhomecoach on Instagram Like Green Home Coach on Facebook Global Weirding with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on YouTube Matt Ridley - A Lukewarmer’s Ten Tests (PDF) Compassion Center @Emory University
Cleaning for Better Health
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach. Right now, health and wellness are everything, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to help you explore some things around your home that you may be able to do a little differently. We are all spending much more time at home lately. That means that we are putting a lot more wear and tear on our homes than we did before, so you may be cleaning things up, changing things around in your house, or even redecorating. Today, I will be focusing on the health and wellness aspect of cleaning your home. I will be walking you through the process of how you can clean because how you clean matters. Cleaning impacts various aspects of your home The way we think about our homes is changing. Today, I heard that healthy is the new green, and that resonated with me because cleaning your home is one of the ways you can impact the health and wellness of everyone living in it. Cleaning also helps with the maintenance side of your home. The way you clean matters The way that you clean makes a difference. You want to use something that truly works without requiring any extra work on your part, and you also want to use something that will not contain harmful chemicals that could harm your health and wellness or on that of your family or your pets. Choices There are many choices that you can make in the non-toxic, chemical-free space. And many subscription services are coming up in that space. Step one The first thing you need to do is to remove all the debris and dust. I never use paper towels unless there is something very nasty to be removed, like pet mess. I use microfiber cloths because they work well, and after using them, I can simply throw them in the wash. Polishing I follow up by polishing stainless steel appliances, glass items, and mirrors with all-natural linen or a cotton tea towel. Shabby Chick Shabby Chick is a woman-owned company in Oklahoma. At Shabby Chick, all their products are natural, and they list the ingredients on the back, so you know what is in each product. They make an all-purpose cleaner and a stainless steel and glass cleaner. You can order them online. Better life Better Life Cleaning Products was founded in St. Louis, and they also make natural cleaning products. Cleaning floors We vacuum once in a while to remove the dust. Then we use washable mops to clean our floors. The mops were made by Bona, which also makes other natural cleaning products. Specialty tools You can use some specialty tools with microfiber cloths to clean things like blinds and the tops of your ceiling fans. After using them, the microfiber cloths can go into the wash. Getting rid of dirt and debris You want to get the dirt and debris off the floors, countertops, bathroom surfaces, faucets, ledges, window sills, blinds, ceiling fans, lamps, and light bulbs. DIY Many people make their own cleaning products out of cleaning vinegar. There are many recipes online for making different cleaning formulas, using vinegar, lemons, and baking soda. Baking soda Baking soda is abrasive, so it also makes a great scrubby powder to put in with any of your cleaners. And you can sprinkle some baking soda onto your rugs to freshen them up. Sanitizing and disinfecting It is best to use an EPA-registered disinfectant. Go to the EPA website to look for registered products. We found two different cleaning products that work similarly. One is Force of Nature, which is an appliance that rearranges the molecules in water, vinegar, and salt, to make a safe cleaner that also disinfects and sanitizes. The other one is the Tersano iClean, which uses technology to electrolyze the water to create a safe disinfecting and sanitizing agent on the spot, out of tap water. Preventative measures We have several doormats, both indoors and outdoors, to capture the dirt and keep it out of the house, so we don’t have to clean as much. Cleaner air You also capture a lot of dirt in the filter for your heating and cooling unit, so you should clean it regularly. A MERV 13 filter will make for even better filtering if your cooling unit can handle it. I use a Green Screen air filter, which works on a different system from the pleated filters. You can also get HEPA filters with air purifiers to clean the air in your home. Plants Having lots of plants in your home also helps to clean some of the chemical toxins and pollutants out of the air. A schedule It helps if you can create a schedule where you spend just a few minutes each day doing some quick cleanup tasks so that you don’t have to do as much when you do a full house clean. Then you can have weekly tasks like mopping and cleaning the bathroom. You can do a deep clean once a month. Simplifying and decluttering Simplifying things, and decluttering, means that there will be fewer things for you to have to clean. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Everyday Green Home Cleaning Collection Green Your Cleaning Dusting your Home Gift of No Touch Home Home Tips for Women More Home Tips for Women
Building (or Renovating to Achieve) a Certified Green Home
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach, and I’m back today with Chapter 7, the final chapter of my book, Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home. On today’s episode, you’re going to learn what a Certified Green Home is and the various reasons why you might want to consider one. Whether you dream big or dream small, there’s something out there for everyone, as you’ll soon find out. Listen in - I think you will hear about some things you can put into action. I thank you for joining in and learning about how to make simple choices for your better home! Turning your dreams into goals Many people have never thought about the possibility of turning their dreams into goals and creating a certified green home for themselves. Money, time, and effort Most of us spend a large amount of money, time, and effort on our homes because they mean a lot to us. An ideal green home Ideally, a dream green home would be off the grid, with no mortgage or electric bill. The water would come from a well, but it would still have every modern luxury. That is do-able, but you would need a plan. Energy-efficient homes There are energy-efficient homes in every part of the country, so you could take a look at them to inspire you. A road map You could work with any builder, as long as you have a road map and know what you want. You have to set your priorities, and you need to understand how to accomplish your goals and dreams. A certified green home Having a certified green home means that your home has a third-party, independent verification. Having a third-party to inspect everything means that there is someone always looking over the process, the materials, and the selections, to make sure they meet the criteria set forth by that specific plan. Higher quality Third-party certification goes hand-in-hand with quality. So, it is usually consistent for green homes that are certified and use energy-efficient programs to be of higher quality. Energy Star There is an energy-efficient home certification under Energy Star. So, new homes can be certified under Energy Star for energy-efficiency only. The products inside the house can also be Energy Star certified. There are also other energy-efficiency programs and ratings that you may run into. Green home certification The green home certification programs are much more holistic. They include all the different parts of the home, and they take a lot of other things, above and beyond energy-efficiency, into account as well. There are national, as well as numerous regional, and local green home certification programs. The benefits of a green-certified home One of the benefits of a green-certified home is the health and safety of you and everyone else living in that home. Another benefit is that the resale value of your home tends to be better, and green-certified houses tend to sell faster. All the certification programs give you, as the homeowner and inhabitant of the home, the peace of mind and reassurance that your home has that third-party stamp of approval that stays with that home, and that can be very important if you ever decide to sell the house. Comfort We all want to be comfortable, especially in our homes. Cost savings There are many ongoing and long-term cost savings to be had from green-certified homes. Those could be the operating costs, the maintenance costs, and the insurance costs. Planning is key when building an affordable green home Like every other home, green homes come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from basic to high-end luxury. Some of the specifics that you follow in the building process are what make it a green home. Sustainable planning is key when building a green home because making changes down the line can create a domino-effect of throwing things off. Goals When doing your planning, you need to know what the goals of your planning process are. So, you need to design your home with the end in mind, incorporate sustainable or green and energy-efficient design-building and materials, and you need to reduce the operating, utility, and maintenance costs. Materials For a green-certified home, you need to use longer-lasting materials and have lower maintenance and recyclable and renewable contents. Some things to think about You have to think in a balanced and holistic way about your home, so you need to consider the categories of selections, products, materials, and processes used to build a home that meets the green homes certification program. You need to think about the materials you use, the indoor environmental quality, the education and documentation, and the energy and water-efficiency of the home. You also need to choose your community, and where you want your home to be situated. Paying for your home Incentives and rebates are available in the different states. There are many green and energy-efficient loans available. Green insurance, warranties, and energy guarantees may also be available for your home. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home My curated collection for you eBook – Certifying a Green Home Helping Builders Build Green Green Home Certification Program I work with the most: NGBS Green NAHB Sustainability Kit High-Performance Homes Videos
Maintain and Document So You Can Rely on Your Home
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach, and I’m back to discuss Chapter 6 of my book, Living Green Effortlessly- Simple Choices for a Better Home. I hope you will find some helpful information to help you make simple choices for your better home because that is what this podcast is all about. Today, we'll dig into understanding the components and the systems in our homes and how to get information about how to take care of them, repair them, and replace them. I want to help you to learn how to take the power of living healthier and more comfortably in your home. A home that serves us There are so many things that we all need to do to serve our homes. What we want is a home that serves us, and works to supports us. One of the main premises behind green and greener homes is having a home that supports us and makes our lives easier and better. A better home Everything about green, sustainability, eco-friendly, and high performance boils down to a better home for you to live in with your family, friends, and anyone else who lives in your home with you, including your furry friends. User manuals We all need our user manuals. The average home in the US has a minimum of 75 systems and components that are relied on daily. Each of those systems and components has a manual. When you bring something new into your home When you get a manual for something new that you bring into your home, I suggest that you write down, on the manual, the serial number of the item, the purchase date, the purchase price, and the place you purchased it from. Then file the manual away in an easily accessible place. If you do not have a manual If you do not have a manual for something in your home, you can search the internet to find one. When you find it, bookmark it to have easy access to it whenever you need it. There are even special sites for old manuals. You can try searching for old user manuals. Why user manuals matter User manuals usually tell you how to maintain an item, take care of it, and clean it. They also provide repair and warranty information about the item. They often have a contact number, website, or email for the company that makes the product. A running list You need to have a running list of all the items that need a routine inspection and/or maintenance, and having a system to remind you to go through that list regularly, as part of your household chores, is a great idea. Heating and cooling You need to change the filter of your heating and cooling system regularly. By doing that, you will impact the efficiency of how that heating and cooling unit runs. It will also make the air in your home better so that you breathe better. You also need to check your outdoor heating and cooling unit regularly and also get it serviced regularly. Check your roof Check your roof by taking a picture of it with your smartphone, and zoom in. You should check your roof regularly if you live in an area prone to hail or wind damage. Also, remember to check the gutters and the downspouts. Once a year walk-around Once a year, do a more thorough walk-around. You can look at the outside of your doors and windows, check the weather-stripping, and see if any caulking needs to be replaced. Garage doors You need to check your garage doors and the remote opening system regularly. One of the greenest and most sustainable things that you can do One of the greenest and most sustainable things that you can do in your home is to make sure that everything in it continues to work and last. That requires basic maintenance, so you need to keep an eye on things. A tip for your winter maintenance Do your winter maintenance while the weather is still warm. And make some space to store your outdoor items like your patio and garden furniture during the winter. Seasonal checklists My friend, Tina Gleisner, had a handyman business, and she shared some great ideas for my book. She suggests that you make things easier for yourself by dividing your home maintenance into four seasonal checklists. Winter home maintenance Winter home maintenance happens indoors. You can find and repair the minor, annoying things you try to ignore for the rest of the year. Spring home maintenance Spring home maintenance gets you outdoors to find and repair any storm damage and prepare your yard for the growing season. Summer home maintenance Summer home maintenance is about outdoor safety, living spaces, and landscaping projects. Home maintenance priorities In all four seasons, your priorities are the safety of those inside your home, water damage inside and outside, and energy-efficiency. Tips for your checklists Pick the items on your list that you want to do yourself and find reliable home professionals to do the rest. Find an experienced homeowner or professional to help you check your home once or twice until you know what to look out for. A three-part ongoing process Maintaining a home is a three-part ongoing process: inspect, maintain, and update. Write things down You need to write things down and keep records of what you have done because that will make things simpler for you and save you a lot of grief and bother down the road. It will also help you when you want to sell your house. A home recovery plan After a disaster, your priority is safety. Once everything is safe, you can focus on recovery. Having a home recovery plan before you need it will help you get things back on track sooner after a disaster. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home My curated collection for you HomeNav Navigating Home Maintenance Without Driving Yourself Crazy Home Maintenance Checklists with Tina Gleisner This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself.
I’m Marla, The Green Home Coach. Thank you for joining me on the journey of learning about your home, and discovering how you can make some simple choices to make it an even better, greener home. Today, we will be covering Chapter 5 of my book, Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home. Chapter 5 is about landscaping. Your home sits on the land, it interacts with that land, the land supports your home, and the landscaping is the crux of that. Your enjoyment, recreation, and even food might be a part of the land that surrounds your home. Often, when we think of landscape, we think of curb appeal. There are many different things that can come into play with that, and that is what we will be covering today. Health, wellness, safety, and comfort For most of the people I talk to, their health, wellness, safety, and comfort are of utmost importance. Often, our homes are not providing that. I would like to help you find how you can do that in your own home. I’d like to help you find the things in your home that may not be working in your best interest, and I also want to help you to create a home that you enjoy, that supports you and the people that live there, and that gives you a great sense of peace, peace of mind, and wellbeing. Little things that we can do There are so many little things that we can do in our homes that will add up to a greener home, and I want you to live life to the fullest in your home. Many ways to do things There are many different ways to do things. Some of the ways that can be the most supportive of our health and wellbeing are often simple or have been around for a long time. Your home and that landscape surrounding it Your home and that landscape around it can even support each other in energy conservation. So, you can use the landscape surrounding your home to make your home more energy-efficient. Plants You can have plants planted at the proper distance around your foundation to help insulate the foundation and the bottom part of your home. Trees You can plant taller trees on one side of your house to be a wind-break. You can use trees or shrubs for shade. They will also lower the temperature in your home by several degrees. Hardscape The hardscape is the hard surfaces that surround the home. They can be concrete patios, driveways, or a flagstone or gravel patio. Dark concrete will absorb the heat, so it is a good option for colder climates. Lighter surfaces like light concrete will reflect the heat and help to keep the surface and the areas surrounding it cool. Permeable materials Permeable materials, like stone patios, or gravel, will allow the rainwater to go through them. It will then go down into the ground and the water table. Water Water is powerful, so you need to know how to manage the water around your house most effectively. Stormwater is the biggest consideration for the outside of our homes. If you have a lot of water running off of your property, into the street, and down to the watershed system, it will carry away whatever you put onto your yard, your garden, and around your house. Chemical fertilizers or pesticides If you have used chemical fertilizers or pesticides, it will all get washed down to the watershed, so it is always best to use as few of those substances as possible. Chemicals genetically alter or kill fish and other aquatic creatures and plants that form part of the closed water system on earth. To keep more water on your property To keep more water on your property, you can either use rain barrels or rain gardens. Sprinkler systems There are ways to install sprinkler systems so that they are more water-efficient. Some of that is in the settings. Some of it is in the choice of sprinkler-heads, and some of it is adding a rain sensor so that the sprinkler does not go off when it rains. Smart irrigation systems Designing or upgrading your water irrigation system to be smart can make a big difference. WaterSense WaterSense is a third-party, independent certification program that helps identify water-conserving and water-efficient fixtures and installations. If you do not need irrigation If you do not need irrigation, you could install a drip system or soaker hoses. Having a beautiful lawn and garden There are eco-friendly and bird and human-friendly ways to make your lawn and garden grow without any chemicals. The cost of using chemicals is very steep for the earth, so it is always better to do without them, whenever possible. Native plants Choose native plants that work in harmony with nature, thrive in your area of the country, require little water and maintenance, attract wildlife, and help control invasive species. Native plants do not need chemicals, fertilizer, or water, so they save you water, time, and money. With native plants, you do not have to spend a lot of time working in the garden. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Landscaping for Energy Efficiency and more EGH for your Garden Grow Inside Grow Outside More on Landscaping This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself.
5 Myths of Green Homes with Madison Hopkins
Today, I’m sharing a podcast that I recorded with Madison Hopkins for her podcast, the Modern Ways Eco-Friendly Homes Podcast. Madison is quite the go-getter! She is also a real estate agent with Moving With Madison in the Denver area. In this episode, Madison and I talk about the 5 Myths of Green Homes. It is a guide that I put out, and it is available on my website. We dive into the five myths of green homes. We talk about green means in the home environment, when it comes to living in an environmentally friendly way and living healthier, safer, and more comfortably, with more durability and less maintenance. Living in a green home is vital for having a healthier and more comfortable living experience. And the term “green” describes the products and the practices necessary for making our homes both healthier and more comfortable. Be sure to listen in to hear my conversation with Madison about the 5 Myths of Green Homes. The people to who the guide is aimed The 5 Myths of Green Homes guide are aimed at those who work with homeowners and home dwellers, like builders, designers, and real estate agents. People who live in rented homes I would like to remind those of you who live in rented or leased homes that there is still a lot you can do, even if you do not own the property in which you live. People who live in apartments Those of you who live in apartments can switch to wind energy, and you can also compost. Those are two easy things that you can do to create a greener home. City-wide sponsored composting In Denver, there is city-wide sponsored composting available from the Denver gov when there is a single-family home. There are also private companies that supply compost in the Denver area. Renewable energy Many utility companies offer an option for you to have either a part of or all of your electric bill filled by renewable energy. That is a way for us to contribute, as individuals, to our utilities having more renewable energy. The 5 Myths of Green Homes Myth 1: Green only matters to certain clients, like millennials Myth 2: No one is asking for green homes Myth 3: Green is expensive Myth 4: Solar panels are the hallmark of a green home Myth 5: Green is just the latest trend Those are the five common myths about green homes. We will discuss each of those in a little more detail. Myth 1 - Green only matters to certain clients, like millennials It’s not just millennials. Everyone needs to be cared for. Many people look to the younger generations for where things are going because that’s mostly where trends start. And then those trends move up the demographics, from the people to older people. So, even though there has been lots of action and vocalizing from millennials around green and sustainable living, we still need to understand what is important to everyone in each demographic. For example, a retired couple, or a mom with a young baby that crawls around need to find the specific features in the homes they are looking for, building, or remodeling. Things to look out for For cabinets, look for the green label and avoid formaldehyde. For floors, go for natural products that are produced in a chemically responsible way or those made from recycled materials. Or possibly even a combination of those. If you have allergies, avoid carpets as far as possible because they are a trap for the dirt and dust in your home. Myth 2 - No one is asking for green homes People are asking for energy efficiency, and many people assume that green is energy-efficient. It is important to ask questions, but many people don’t know what to ask for when it comes to green homes. That is why Madison and her real estate team tell people about what they can do to make their homes greener. There are grocery stores or isles in grocery stores dedicated to products with a lot fewer chemicals. Myth 3 - Green is expensive Doing the practices and using the products in a home that will help it become green certified can cost a little more. The cost is typically only between three and five percent more than that of a code-built house, and some fixtures in green homes use much less energy. So the operating costs will remain the same, year after year. Myth 4 - Solar panels are the hallmark of a green home Before fitting the solar panels, every solar installer that I know personally will have the home undergo an energy analysis and tighten it up before they size the solar panels. After that, a large solar panel might not be necessary. Newer solar panels are more efficient than the older ones, and they also cost significantly less than they did ten years ago. Myth 5 - Green is just the latest trend Green has been around for decades. When the National Association of Homebuilders took an official position on green homes, it was all the proof I needed to debunk that myth. National Green Building Standard For the last ten years, I have been teaching around a green building standard called the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (I call it the NGBS for short) endorsed by the National Association of Home Builders. It provides a framework of categories to follow for homes that are getting built or remodeled. The NGBS teaches people how to keep their homes serving them. The five categories of the National Green Building Standard are: Where the home is situated Efficiencies in resources Energy and water Indoor environmental quality Behavioral - for homeowner education and documentation (How to live in your home and operate it to keep it green) Green and sustainability I’d like to caution you that “green” and “sustainability” are catch-all terms that could mean different things to different people. These words encompass safer things that make your home more comfortable and durable and require less maintenance. Different people want different things out of their homes, and green and sustainable practices are almost always the route to get them. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Download: 5 Myths of Green Homes Curated collection for you Work with Me How a Green Home Saves You Money
What Goes IN Your Home: What To Think About, What to Look For, What to Choose
I’m Marla, The Green Home Coach. I’m back today with another chapter from my book, Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home. I wrote the book to help you and share some of my experiences so that you won’t have to make the same mistakes that I was making. Our homes have a secret life that we may not even know about as a result of all the complexities of our modern lifestyle. You could unknowingly be living in a home that is not in your best interest, and it could be making you sick. We will be covering chapter four of my book today. It talks about some actions that we can take to change some small stuff in our homes. We will be looking at what goes in your home, what you need to think about, what you need to look for, and what you need to choose. Choices Many of the choices you need to make are inside your home. They are the more decorative elements and the fixtures and fittings that you choose. What the things in your house are made up of The things in your house are made out of wood, metal, glass, paint, varnish, glue, and plastic. It can be hard to know which products are made the best, the most efficient, and the most earth and people-friendly. To find out, you can check on various websites online, especially the non-profits that set the standards on sustainable, eco-friendly products. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and toxins You do not want to bring VOCs or toxins into your home if you don’t have to. If you don’t know they are there, however, you might bring them home by mistake. Labels There are now labels that go on building materials and other goods that we buy. Those labels are not yet as standardized as the food labels are, but some good strides are getting made, and there are also a lot of independently tested and verified third-party certifications that can go on those labels. Those certifications are a great short cut to knowing that your product has been tested and certified by someone unrelated to the company. Flooring There are hundreds of choices for flooring, and they all have their pros and cons. You only need to focus on what will work best for you, based on your personal preference, performance, fashion, and lifestyle. You can also take into account the manufacturing methods and the carbon footprint. Types of flooring Wooden floors: You can think of true hardwood flooring as furniture for your floor. When it comes to colors, remember that darker colors show the dirt a lot. Bamboo floors: Bamboo is a grass that grows very fast. It can get harvested every seven years, making it a rapidly renewable resource. However, it takes lots of resources to transport the bamboo from Asia and manufacture it into products. Cork floors: Cork is the bark of the cork tree. It is very resilient and the softest of all the hard surfaces, making it comfortable to walk on. It is a natural insect repellent, and it is mold and mildew resistant. Cork is a fairly rapidly-renewable resource because it can get harvested every nine years. Stone and tile floors: Stone and tile are great choices for asthma and allergy sufferers because they are easy to clean and don’t hold dust and dirt. The issue with stone and tile floors is that they tend to get very cold in cold weather. Local options for flooring Try to find a local option to supply your flooring, if possible. Decisions There are many decisions for you to make when you choose materials to use in your home. Always start with whatever is the most important to you that fits into your budget. From there, consider the pros and cons of all the different options. The three Rs Remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle items whenever possible. By doing that, you will help keep the landfills from getting out of control. Toilet paper Forests get used to manufacture toilet paper. You can get away from using toilet paper made from big trees by using toilet paper made from recycled paper or non-tree toilet paper made from bamboo or hemp. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home Curated collection for you Paint, etc Flooring Green Guard Environmental Working Group
How Can You Be Comfortable and Get the Most for Your Energy Dollars?
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach. Thank you for joining me today for another chapter of my book, Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home. Simplifying has been high on my list right now, and my book can help you make some simple choices for a better outcome! With the help of my book, we will be covering another set of systems and features of your home to help you make the best of them, either as they are or if you plan to upgrade them. In this episode, we will be covering Chapter Three: Energy Efficiencies. How Can You Be Comfortable and Get the Most for Your Energy Dollars? I know that is something we are all trying to do, so be sure to stay tuned for more! Where do you start when you want to start greening your home? You should start with whatever is affecting your comfort right now. If you are cold, some of the systems that come into play are the building envelope, the heating and ventilation system, the windows, the window coverings, and even the ceiling fan. This chapter This chapter is about the systems that make up your home and the resources to help you get the most out of those systems. I hope to open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about your home. Why direction matters in your rooms and with your home The room that I work in is the furthest in the house from the heating and cool air from my air-conditioning unit. That means that I don’t get quite enough warmth in here in the colder months. So I sometimes need to get some additional warmth from a little heater. That shows me that there are some things that I also need to do to improve things in my home! Windows Windows are an important part of our homes. They give us views, warmth, and ventilation. If the sun is shining on your house, use it for heat and light wherever possible. That is where the direction that the front of your home faces, or its orientation, comes into play. The rooms that face north The rooms that face north will get the least amount of natural light. They will be colder and darker, so you need to keep the shades open to bring in as much natural light as possible. Ensure that your north-facing rooms are very well sealed, have good lighting, and use light colors to decorate because they will reflect the light and make the darker areas in your home look lighter and brighter. The east and west windows The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so those windows tend to get a glare. You can shade the windows with blinds or other window coverings to keep things cool in the summer. And a dense, dark floor will soak up some of the heat from the winter sun and release it back into your home to help keep it warm in the colder months. Outside solar screen window covering I found a solar screen window covering. It goes on the outside of the window to take the glare off of my east window. It works very well, and I can still see the beautiful view right through it! South The south side of your home will get the most sun at any time of the year, so you will need to shade as much as you can on the south side of your home in the summertime. Overhangs on your roof will be a solution if you are building or remodeling. Or you could use solar screens, awnings, trees, or trellises with plants growing on them to make some shade for an existing home. Easy to maintain windows It is a good idea to buy the best quality windows that your budget will allow. Easy to maintain has become very important, as well as durability. Be sure to use Energy Star windows when you are replacing or building. You can go to the Energy Star website for more information. Bamboo screens Tightly-woven bamboo screens, placed on the outside of your windows in the summer, can stop up to 75% of the sun's heat from reaching your windows. Windows are important for natural light Let the daylight in through as many of your windows, skylights, and sun tubes as possible. Daylight is the combination of sunlight, light diffused by the earth’s atmosphere, and light reflected from the ground or other surfaces. Remember that the higher the source of light, the deeper into the room it will go. A tip Windows that slide sideways or up and down do not usually seal as well as casement windows. LED Lights LED lights last for a long time, they do not cost a lot, and there are also many different colors to choose from. And LED lights have great dimming capabilities. Heating There are many choices that you can make for your heating system. Any improvement that you make to your heating will save you money. The most important thing is to ensure that you have good insulation and air sealing and your heating and cooling unit has been sized correctly for your home. Air conditioning You can use ceiling fans to keep your air-conditioning needs in check. Thermostats Great, programmable thermostats are available today. So, take advantage of them because they will save you both energy and money. Appliances Buy the most energy-efficient appliances that your budget will allow. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home EGH Window Treatments Thermostats + Energy Efficient Window Treatments Home Depot Eco Options
Your Comfort, Health and Safety: Start Where You Live
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach. Thank you for coming to learn about how you can take advantage of all that I have to share with you to make your home healthier, more comfortable, and safer. This podcast series is about my book, Living Green Effortlessly- Simple Choices for a Better Home. I wrote the book because I understand that making more educated and better choices about our homes can have a big impact on how we live in our homes. By making some simple changes and better choices, we can have far healthier and safer outcomes. This series will incorporate my book, and it will cover the basics of all the systems and features of your home. We will also explain how to make the best of all the features. In each session of the series, we will cover another chapter in the book. We will read some excerpts from the book and the stories that go along with them. Today, we will be covering Chapter Two: Your Comfort, Health, and Safety: Start Where You Live. Stay tuned for more! Between you and the outdoors Between you and the outdoors are the roof, the walls, the windows, the floors, and the doors. Those keep you safe, warm, and comfortable inside your house. The roof and gutters handle the rain and snow and keep you dry. Inside the walls, under the roof, and in the basement ceiling, there is insulation. That acts as a sweater for your home. It keeps the wind out and the heated air inside during the winter. and it keeps the cooled air inside, in the summertime. An envelope of protection No matter what it has been made of, your house surrounds you with an envelope of protection from the elements. Even so, there are still places in that envelope where the outdoor elements can get in, and where the energy that you are paying for can get out. That costs you money, makes you uncomfortably cold in the winter, and too hot in the summer. Sealing and insulating Focus on sealing and insulating the envelope of your house. Our homes are our everything Since Covid, our homes have become our everything. They are where we work, play, cook, gather, relax, and work out. How our home structure supports all these activities is critical to our lives, especially when we are living so much harder in our homes. Doing things differently Now, after spending so much time at home, it would be the time to consider if you have changed the way you think about your home, or if there are any things about it you might want to change or do differently. My aim I aim to help you to find the things you can do to make your home more comfortable, healthier, and support you better. A tight home A tight home is an efficient home. Using quality building materials is necessary to prevent having moisture problems, components wearing out, or pollutants in the air. Finding air leaks It can be hard to find air leaks in your home. You could consider hiring a pro like a home energy assessor or auditor to help you find them, or you may want to go the DIY route to find the leaks and seal them yourself. Materials Your local hardware store will be very happy to assist you in finding the right materials for your particular application. Insulation Insulation works better when the air leaks get plugged. So look out for tiny holes in the insulation of the attic. If you find any, plug them up to help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Air quality A tight building envelope does not allow for any fresh air to enter the home unless you make it happen. Good ventilation Many health problems can get tied to breathing contaminated air. To protect your health, your home needs to have good ventilation. You can achieve that by either opening the windows or with the HVAC system. Anti-allergy filters Getting custom-made anti-allergy Green Screen air filters for your HVAC system is one way for you to start improving the air quality in your home. (The coupon code is greenhomecoach.) You can also add an air purifier and an advanced filtration system if you need to do so. Bathrooms Don’t forget to run the exhaust fans in your bathrooms whenever they get steamy. Or have an automated system put in place. Plants Plants also help to clean the air. NASA put together a list of about ten plants that work well for doing that. Cleaning Dust, which carries germs, is mainly comprised of dead skin cells, so you need to get it out of the house. Vacuuming works best, and the next best way is to use a damp microfiber cloth. Cleaning products You can refer to the Environmental Working Groups list for ranking non-toxic products that you can safely use to clean your home or to find other things that you may need. You can also find recipes on the internet or in books to make DIY cleaning solutions. Simplify, simplify, simplify is my motto. Remember that living a little better and a little greener is easier than you think. Referral Links: My website Green Home Coach Book: Living Green Effortlessly Facebook Group: Love Your Everyday Green Home HVAC Energy Efficiency Green Cleaning Green Screen HVAC Filter - Coupon Code: greenhomecoach Home Depot Eco Options Air Purifying Plants, According to NASA This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself.
What Is An Everyday Green Home?
I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach, and I welcome you to the first unit of teaching based on my book, Living Green Effortlessly- Simple Choices for a Better Home. I would like to talk to you about green homes and explain why they are the best homes of all. I’d also like to tell you how easy it is to green your home, and if you want to go all-in and create your own dream green home, we can talk about that too. Are you ready to learn more about green homes and how to have one? Then stay tuned! This series will cover some of the highlights of my book. And it will help you to learn about what you may be able to do in your home. Today, we will be covering Chapter One: What Is An Everyday Green Home? Life happens in your home Your home is your refuge, and it is also the place where life happens. Our homes have a secret life with all the complexity of modern life. We could unknowingly be living in, building, or remodeling a home that is not in our best interest. It may be something big, like old lead paint or mold, new paint, and cabinets that off-gas, or the small stuff, like the leaky toilet, drafty window, or the products you use to clean and sanitize. Having a greener home does not have to be hard or require sacrifice. A green home is not all or nothing. It starts with making smart choices about products and materials as you live in, build, or remodel your home. Just making a different choice - an appliance, plumbing, a lighting fixture, or even paint - can set you on the course to a home that works better for you and yours. With the help of my book, Living Green Effortlessly- Simple Choices for a Better Home, I will cover the basics of the systems and features of your home and explain how to make the best of them. My primary goal in writing this book is to help you improve your comfort, health, and safety in your own home. Choices Our choices, in terms of location, design, materials, and heating and cooling methods, have a direct effect on our health, that of our family, and of the community in which we live. We are all part of the natural system Despite all the modern conveniences, we are all still part of the natural system that creates, sustains, and perpetuates this living earth. Now is the time for us to look at all the systems in our homes to see if they are truly serving our needs as well as the needs of the earth. Going green Going green is not only about energy. It’s about living healthier lives and taking responsibility for all our actions. Common sense Having a green home is about common sense. You want your home to look and feel and perform well. You want to live in comfort and safety, breathe easier, and feel healthier by reducing pollutants, toxins through better airflow systems and quality material choices. You also want to feel comfortable with the temperature by providing a well-sealed and insulated shell with better heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. Save time Save time using materials, fixtures, and finishes that perform better, last longer, and require less maintenance. Save money You will save a lot of money on energy and maintenance costs. A higher selling price for a green home You will get a higher selling price for certified green homes. And as you gain more knowledge, you will start understanding the value of owning a green home more and more, so you can point out all the features to a potential buyer. Our homes are a system of systems Our homes are a system of systems. Understanding how all the systems work together, how they support and depend on each other, and how to care for them and maintain them is crucial to maintaining your health, comfort, and safety in your home. Your home is a system Your home is a system, and so changing one thing will impact others. Home Energy Professionals It’s time to bring in a home energy professional when you want to do a remodel, do something that could impact the systems in your home, get an energy assessment, or have your home evaluated. They will help you understand the priorities and tell you what you can fix to give you the biggest bang for your buck. You will find them through your local utility company. How Well Does Your Home Perform? Adding up all the utility bills will let you know how well your home is performing. Don’t forget the water, sewer, and trash bills! Cutting the waste and being efficient Cutting the waste out of your home, and becoming more efficient with how you use resources and energy, will save you money and allow your resources to go a lot further. Electricity Use your electricity and everything else as wisely as you can. If you only use what you need and no more, you will make sure that there’s enough to go around, and you won’t be wasting a valuable resource. Online energy tools You can go to www.energystar.gov or Building Performance Institute for Homeowners to find out what you need to know and get some tools if you‘re not yet at the point where you need to bring a professional home energy assessor in to help you. Referral Links: Book – Living Green Effortlessly Curated collection for you A Bit of BS (Building Science) about your home Energy Star Savings at Home Building Performance Institute for Homeowners This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself.
Signposts for Better Choices - Green Labels with Tony Pratte
Welcome to another episode of the Everyday Green Home Podcast! This will be my last podcast for the year, and what a year it’s been! When we look back on this past year, my hope is that we are able to see the silver linings that were in amongst all the challenges that we faced in 2020. I’m pulling another great episode from the archives for today’s show. It features my regular guest and co-host, Tony Pratte from The Sound Room, and this podcast will be all about green labels. It’s easier than ever now to have a green household. However, many companies and labels provide misleading information. How do you know if your products are clean? One simple way is to see if it has a green label. So, in this episode, Tony and I discuss what green labels are and why you should care...spoiler alert, the biggest reason you should care is for peace of mind! That is something we all need right now. We also discuss other labels and companies that provide certified clean and sustainable products and how you can integrate them into your home. I know you’re really going to enjoy this show! Green labels, explained Green labels are labels that show third-party certification for a product, an entire assembly, and sometimes even an entire building. The relevance of the third-party is that they are a separate entity saying that the green label is what it’s saying it is. Why we should care about green labels If third-party certifications did not exist, every company could make any claim at all about a product, even if those claims were not true. Greenwashing “Greenwashing” is a term that was coined around ten years ago when everyone started coming out with all these new “green” products. The idea behind greenwashing is that claims were made about products that were not necessarily true, but the manufacturers were wanting to catch a ride on the popularity of all things “green”. Many customers believe that what they read on labels is true, and therefore make purchases based on those claims. The beauty of third-party certifications (“green labels”) is that those certifications actually back up the claims. Regulations around claims The FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, has regulations about what claims are allowed to be made. In addition, the AMA (American Marketing Association) also has rules that prohibit marketers from making claims that are not true. An industry issue A lot of people, including those in the industry, do not understand what the terms mean, they don’t understand the value of those terms, and therefore, they do not know how to talk about them. Instead, the terms are thrown around loosely without understanding the consequences that come behind that. Meaningless words There are a lot of words used in the food and personal care products categories. One word that is meaningless is “natural”. The goal of green labels The goal of green labels is to give the consumer confidence that what they are purchasing is what has been claimed for that product, material, or home. A green label shows that research has already been performed by an independent party so the consumer doesn’t have to do their own research. This gives the consumer peace of mind. Green labels for the home Many of the products that I curate for you in the Everyday Green Home store have these green labels on them! For products that I list that do not have a green label, be assured that I have taken them through the same vetting process that we use in the National Green Building Standard to ensure that those products meet the requirements of what we would use in a green home certification. The reason why all products don’t go through a green certification process The reason is similar to why not everyone goes through the organic certification process: it’s expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, many small family farms choose not to go through this process. However, it’s an instant marketing flag and is often worth the effort. Green and sustainable? The following labels wrap around all the different characteristics we can find in homes: energy-efficiency, water-efficiency, resource-efficiency, toxin-free or lower toxins, and recycled materials. Green home certification Look for the Energy Star label when you are shopping, because Energy Star covers thousands of products, as well as complete home certification. You can be assured that you are getting a product that is at least 20% more energy-efficient than its standard non-certified product. WaterSense is to water what Energy Star is to energy. My simple advice to people I’m working with towards green certification is to choose all WaterSense plumbing fixtures and toilets in your home or building and you’re done! Many people think these products will be a lot more expensive than their non-certified counterparts, but that is not the case. In addition, you get that extra quality bump because you know somebody has taken the time to go through the process of certifying them. Greenguard Many people have not heard of Greenguard, but if you see this label you can be assured that the product has fewer toxins in it and it meets the California rules for air quality. The Greenguard certification now applies to a variety of products. Who doesn't want to breathe easier? The trend for airtight houses New construction houses are becoming more airtight, and if we’re recirculating fresh air into it, we need to be very careful about what is inside our house because we’re locked up inside with it! If you do more on the energy-efficiency side, with a little bit more thought it can also be better for the indoor air quality side. Cradle to cradle certifications This certification is different from the others because it is based on a book based on the same name. It’s an efficient way of using resources. Other green labels There are other green labels out there, and I urge you to pay attention and read labels. Green-labeled products are designed to make your life easier and better. There are green-certified homes, too! Food and personal care products are two more categories in which we’ll be seeing a lot more future certifications. Links: Green As You Go - Paint By Numbers Green Living – Saving Ourselves Green Your Holiday Gift Giving Curated collection for you Did you know if you go through EGH for your Amazon and Home Depot orders, you help EGH? This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I believe in and usually use myself.