WHAT DEGREE OF GREEN ARE YOU
By Andrew Pace, Safe Building Solutions
Green was just a simple color. Now, it’s a status symbol. In my opinion, green is not something you make, buy or grow. Green is a way of life.
It’s important to educate consumers one by one about the many virtues of green building materials.
The first customer comes in and says she’s been on this earth for 50 plus years and all that time; she has been a burden to the earth. Therefore, she asks us to consult with her on how she can completely remodel her hose using reclaimed and recycled materials. Not one product can be new: they all have to be given a new life.
The next customer comes in and asks if we can help build a home with the least carbon foot print . In this situation, we would determine the location of the home and provide sources of natural products or reclaimed materials, that are both energy and resource efficient and re available from a 200 mile radius of the project.
Finally the third customer coming in with her Autistic child and asks us to build a home that is free of our gassing and toxic materials that could harm her son. For her and her family, I would suggest a many products as possible that have a credible track record with consumers who are chemically sensitive or have allergies and asthma.
Three completely different situations, but all can be considered green. Neither customer is right or wrong in their need and beliefs. We must alter our approach to provide what each wants. The one issue that seems to override all is the issue of human health concerns. Everyone I consult with wants the healthiest home possible. Sustainability, energy savings, global climate change, etc, all come in second to the issue of human health.
In your efforts to be a green consumer, there is no magic potion or silver bullet, and there are definitely no perfect green products. Recycled content to lifecycle costs: human health concerns to the social justice aspect of the manufacturers’ labor practices. These are all important factors to determine what home improvements products you should purchase. Your own person a Degree of Green is based on your values, your specific needs and of course, your desire to tread lightly.
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