Making a change usually starts with access to information. When you're gearing toward minimal environmental impact, especially in the home, there are many resources out there to help you. The web is a great place to find it, particularly when you know where to look. Start with the following five resources geared toward quick-and-easy projects, like finding VOC-free paint, to more elaborate endeavors, like buying a new green home.
Get a head start on your low-impact lifestyle by calculating your environmental footprint. Low Impact Living has an environmental impact calculator to help you measure your carbon footprint and compare it to residents across the country. If you want to better understand how your score adds up, the website breaks down the implications of resource consumption in relation to waste production. This applies to the process of heating and running your household. Once you've gotten this far, there's more. Use the information on the website to help green specific areas of your home, from the kitchen to the lawn.
Many homeowners want to transition to green products but don't know where to find them. Green Seal is a good place to start. Products that have earned the Green Seal mark are environmentally responsible throughout their entire lifecycle. The website lists manufacturers who've passed science-based environmental testing standards. In addition, Green Seal publishes Green Reports on common questions and concerns regarding carpet, floor care, CFLs, air conditioning, and more.
If you're moving and want to find a home that reflects your environmental commitment, Listed Green is a multiple listing service (MLS) exclusively for green homes and properties. Unlike other MLS services, Listed Green is accessible to the public, and all of the prescreened homes listed have qualities such as low-VOC interior paint, efficient heating and cooling equipment, solar panel installations, water conservation equipment, etc. Also, the company itself is a sustainable business that does everything from utilizing solar power to donating to Global Green USA.
Green Building Pages
This online tool is designed for the socially responsible consumer. You'll find many of the offerings mentioned above on the Green Building Pages, including links to over 400 green businesses and resources. One difference is you can hunt for green remodeling products using a search feature that helps you find manufacturers and distributors by location. Also, there's an entire section devoted to sustainable design, complete with a design checklist and case studies.
The Green Home Guide
An online publication of the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Home Guide's got all the goodies on LEED for Homes, including links to the new REGREEN program, green building incentives, and the certification ranking systems. More than that, the website includes lots of information revolving around green living, including a guide for green renovation, living green, and what makes a green home.