written by:
February 20, 2009

Last week I attended a sustainability symposium focused on furthering the dialog about living "green." It's a ubiquitous term these days that has become as much a marketing tool as an honest-to-goodness way of being, and many people are disillusioned, distrustful of the label being slapped on just about anything, or intimidated into inaction by the sheer enormity of the global imperative to change our often wasteful ways.

BLOG ace

Moderator (and Ace's "Helpful Hardware Man") Lou Manfredini spoke with panel members Eric Corey Freed, principal of organicARCHITECT, Matt Golden, co-founder and president of Sustainable Spaces, Zem Joaquin, CEO of ecofabulous.com, and Sophie Uliano, author of Gorgeously Green, about the best ways to approach going green.

Here are some tips from the pros that you can do right now, today, to get yourself started. When they talked about these I was struck by how simple they were, and also surprised (and a little embarrassed) at the fact that to spite how basic they are, I have done few of them in my own apartment. If knowledge is power, than acting on that knowledge is, well, super-power. Take this info and harness your power.

For the home:

-Rather than feel overwhelmed by the need to adopt all of the latest green technology to trick out your space into a zero-impact zone, look into an assessment of its current state and potential for retrofitting that will maximize what you’re already working with.

-Fill an empty two-liter soda bottle and stick it in your toilet tank to save a half gallon of water per flush.

-Install an ultra low-flow showerhead, and limit your time getting clean to 5 minutes or less.

-Did you know that in an average home, 40% of all electricity is used to power appliances that are actually turned off? Pull the plug when you’re not using your gadgets and save a bundle.

For your own health:

-Statistics like “60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream” scare the bejeezus out of me, quite frankly (and make contact with the BART seats on my morning commute a bit cringeworthy...). In lieu of retreating into some sort of hyper-hygienic bubble, however, it’s well worth becoming informed about the products you choose to put on your body. Opt for paraben/pthalate /fragrance-free lotions and creams.

-Carry a reusable water bottle without Bisphenol A. It will save you money, and save a few of the 60 million plastic water bottles sent daily to the landfill.

There are a million more ways to go green on a small and large scale, and as such it’s a great idea to sit down and take a look at the choices you’re making, and ways to work within your means. In the frequently grey area of green living, education, conversation, and conscious choices are key.

 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's 2016 Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Rare green AD65 radio from Ecko.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016