Interview with Dan Barrick, Monitor Staff
The new year is a great time to redesign and rearrange your home. Aimee Leduc, owner of Lavender and Lotus Interior Design in Concord, which specializes in environmentally-friendly home design, offered some tips on how to make your house look good while also being green.
What are some simple ways people can change their homes to be more in tune with the environment?
It’s astounding to me how many people still do not recycle. And if you’re redesigning your kitchen, you should make sure to make the recycling area as easy to get to as possible. Put it in an accessible cabinet near the garbage, for example. Another easy thing to do is to start paying attention to how you’re using your products. Are you buying water bottles constantly and cycling through plastic?
Also, instead of buying a new piece to decorate a room, you can go to antique or consignment stores. Anything you can reuse or use in a different way is a good change.
What about a remodeling job?
It’s impossible to be 100 percent green, so people need to find out what their priorities are and figure how to make that balance.
With a kitchen renovation, you may not have to tear out all the cabinets and replace them. You can refinish them using low VOC materials. You may want to introduce high-efficiency appliances into your kitchen.
Think about the choices you’re making. For instance, a lot of people see granite countertops as a natural material, but they don’t see the bigger picture, which is the effort to take that granite out of the environment and the causing emissions. As an alternative, there are counterops made out of recycled materials and resin. When you’re done with that product it can be recycled further.
That bamboo is entirely green is another common misconception. People think of it as this fast growing grass, but we don’t harvest it in the U.S. so there’s a cost of bringing it here from China.
If you’re redoing the bathroom, look into some of the new models of toilets that use less water.
Also, you can think about how you can reuse water that would normally go right down the drain. It’s called gray water – water that runs out of the tap when you are waiting for it to get hot or cold. If you collect that water in another receptacle, that could go towards watering your plants, or a lot of different applications.
And if you’re building a new house, think about how you orient the house to take advantage of sunlight so you can cut down on your heating costs.
Lighting is a big area where design can be more environmentally-friendly. The compact fluorescent bulbs on the market are more expensive, but they last a lot longer. And there’s absolutely a difference in quality. All compact fluorescents are not the same.
Aimee Leduc can be reached through her website: [here!]