Moving into the Evergreen: Green Living

Originally Published in the Winter Park Home Magazine: Issue 3, 2009

Now that the house is complete and we’re ready to move in, the furniture and interior furnishings have begun to arrive.  We have been considering the interiors since the design phase of the Evergreen.  The interiors of the home are what we feel, see and smell everyday so making sure they are green is just as important as creating an energy efficient home–it is a way of life.  We found that hiring a good interior designer was the key to our success at the Evergreen.  Rob Turner, of CRT Studio helped with all of the interior design aspects from the concrete stain to the furniture, bedding and draperies.

One of the most important aspects of the interior design is the furniture that is designed or selected for the home.  Whenever possible, used and reclaimed furniture is recommended; either of these options is preferable to buying new.  When purchasing new furniture is required or desired, it is important that a sustainable option made from FSC certified woods, rapidly renewable woods, organic products and natural fibers be used.  For instance, in the family room of the Evergreen, fabrics were selected that were more sustainable.  In addition, the frames of the couch and club chairs were made from FSC certified wood and the interior filling and cushions were made from soy based products.  By using organic and natural products, you are able to reduce the off-gassing of unwanted chemicals into the livings space and create a healthier living environment.

The window treatments are another area where using organic and natural fabrics help to reduce the off-gassing of chemicals in the home.  Also, by using local manufacturing, one is able to reduce the overall carbon footprint of buying new products.  For the window shutters, we utilized a local craftsman and low-voc paints.  In addition to the drapes, linens in the home are also made from organic cotton, bamboo or other sustainable and natural fibers.

Art in the home is an area of green living that might be overlooked.  It is a great way to support local artists and be creative about the use of recycled materials for art.  In the Evergreen we acquired art from local artists, salvage yards, local studios, and we were also able to create our own art with scrap metals, glass bottles and other products.  Art in the home allows homeowners to give a custom character and feel to the space that really helps to define it.

By starting with a home that is efficient, free of unwanted chemicals and uses better air filters, our living environment is a great place to begin our goal of green living.  Anyone in Winter Park can try some low-cost green living techniques though.  Some of the ideas that we are implementing in the Evergreen include, reducing waste in the home by recycling and composting, purchasing recycled paper products, using environmentally friendly cleaning products and growing our own vegetables and herbs.  Green living now encompasses many aspects of our everyday lives and we encourage everyone in Winter Park to adopt any ideas that are feasible for your family.

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