We’re trying to simplify that consumer landscape for people. Rather than looking for this label and that label, asking if this certification means something or if this company is really doing something, we give just simple rules for trying to buy sustainable products.What’s the second panel about?The second panel is the "Dollars and Cents of Greening Your Home." I’m talking to Bill Baldwin of Hartman/Baldwin who has restored a lot of homes. They also did a remodel of a Greene & Greene Arts and Crafts bungalow. Not only was it beautiful, but it earned a Green Point rating, which is a California system for energy efficiency. The second part will cover all the tax breaks that people can get right now.How did you choose Bill Baldwin for the second panel?Well, when we think of green building, we often think of new buildings and fancy technology, but you can take a home from the early 1900s, not change the look of it at all, and have it perform well on energy efficiency.So, for people who can’t come to the panels, what simple advice can you give them that they can do in the next two or three days?If you’re really someone trying to buy sustainable products, really think about sustainability. Ask yourself, "Do I really need to buy something new to achieve my goal? Do I really need to buy that reusable bamboo, knife, fork and spoon set? Or, could I just wash the plastic fork I got with my takeout and use that again?"
It’s not sexy, but real sustainability stuff is not sexy. It’s reusing stuff, buying things that can be fixed and cleaned. For me, a white sofa is not sustainable because I won’t ever be able to maintain it. Look at sustainability not from a new or technological point of view, but also taking into consideration timeless aesthetic, materials and value.
Carren Jao is an arts, architecture and design writer from Manila, Philippines now based in Los Angeles. She’s written for local and international publications like Bluprint, Contemporary Art Philippines, Angeleno and the Architect’s Newspaper. She relishes exploring new cities by walking its streets, taking public transportation and listening to its residents’ stories. Find out what else she’s up to at http://carrenjao.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @ccjao.