Six changes for a greener home |

Six changes for a greener home

Kim Toms

I’ve made a list of some of my favorite sustainable design elements that will help make your home more environmentally friendly. Some are more involved than others, but any of them will make a difference.

If you currently don’t have a fireplace, or you want to add a fireplace in a bathroom or bedroom, The EcoSmart Fire is great alternative to a gas-burning device. Distributed by Eco-Flame, an Australian innovation and an environmentally friendly open fireplace, it is flue less and does not require any installation or utility connection for fuel supply. This makes it ideal for just about any home environment.

Fueled by a renewable modern energy (denatured alcohol), it burns clean and is virtually maintenance free. Featuring remarkable design flexibility, the simplicity of the EcoSmart burner and the modular nature of its design grants consumers with significant versatility and choice.

For the past 15 years, Benjamin Moore has been manufacturing zero-VOC paint. Their most recent achievement – Natura – is the “greenest they have ever made.” Within 30 minutes of application, it is dry to the touch. Virtually odorless, highly washable, and available in 3,300 colors, you can’t go wrong. Available in Eagle-Vail at Walls and Floors/The Paint Bucket.

Cute and chic, these small recycled aluminum beaded cocktail napkin boxes are the perfect entertaining accessory. Handcrafted in Mexico using reclaimed materials, the holders come with a variety of beautifully sculpted napkin weights including a lobster, golf ball, horse, tennis racket and flag. Less traditional designs like the skull and cross bones appeal to a younger generation. The napkins are even made from recycled paper. Available at the Slifer Designs showroom for $49.

Did you know that one in every four plastic bottles recycled in North America become luxuriously soft new carpet? Made by Mohawk this new recycled carpet is drawing a lot of attention within the green industry and it’s consumers. Mohawk recycles three billion plastic bottles each year, and since 1999, claim to have kept more than one billion pounds of plastic out of landfills.

The bottle cap and the label are also recycled and used to make their carpet cores around which the carpet is wrapped. The actual bottle is used to make the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) carpet fiber. Thirty plastic bottles are used to make one square yard of their everSTRAND carpet, so you do the math to figure out how much it will take to replace your old carpet.

This is perhaps the most fun option in this list: Marmoleum. You become the designer with this product, as there are 100 colors, insets and borders all with endless possibilities. Marmoleum is made with linseed oil, rosins, and wood flour, on a natural jute backing. It is installed with solvent free adhesives, so there is no harmful VOC’s emitted. Dust and dirt will not easily adhere making it a great choice for our dry climate.

Kohler is one of the manufacturers leading the way in the bathroom industry to save water. Their new WaterSense labeled faucets with 1.5 gpm water-saving aerators offer a 45 percent water savings over less efficient 2.75 gpm faucets. For the average household, this can equal over 14,700 gallons of water saved each year and a reduction in monthly water bills as well.

Most Kohler lavatory faucets feature water-saving aerators, so it’s easy to choose the faucet that best expresses your style.

Kohler offers water saving tips on their website, which don’t involve buying anything. My favorite is to use a broom instead of a hose to clean off driveways, steps and sidewalks. Another good one is to use leftover water for houseplants, instead of pouring out a half-empty glass of drinking water.

Leader of the Slifer Designs Green Team, Kim Toms, ASID, LEED AP and project manager, is an aficionado of all sustainable items for the home.

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