eLocal Blog-OffDuring our third Blog-Off, we asked over 50 home improvement experts the following question: does going green limit homeowners?

Our experts talked about the specific limitations of going green and suggested the best ways to spend your money if you want to join the green movement. Interested in what they had to say? We pick our top 5 comments here.

Blog-Off #3 Re-Cap

For our third Blog-Off, we asked a panel of expert interior designers, contractors, and manufacturers to weigh in on the following question:

How do you think going green constrains homeowners in the design/remodeling process? Are there any limitations or sacrifices required? How does cost play into this: do you think homeowners sacrifice hard-earned money by going green? Where is the overlap between being cost effective and going green?

Later this week we will be releasing the 20 best ways to go green on a budget, but, in advance of that, we wanted to give credit where credit is due by highlighting the best comments we received and presenting them with one of five awards: most insightful, most unique, best articulated, most thought-provoking, and best advice.

eLocal Blog-Off #3 Comment Awards

Most Insightful Comment

Mary Kennedy Thompson of Mr. Rooter had the most insightful comment:

“I think going green actually gives homeowners different options rather than constraining them. While it often costs more initially, the long-range savings is a huge consideration…Homeowners wanting to make the first steps toward a “green” friendly household should consider changing their habits. For example, they can encourage their families to reduce the length of showers, turn water off while shaving and brushing their teeth. These changes don’t cost anything, and the savings can be substantial.”

Our experts gave a lot of great advice and tips on going green, but few looked at the more intrinsic ways we can embody the green movement. Mary encourages us to look at the problem of wastefulness from the most fundamental angle—our habits. A lot of environmentally unfriendly practices stem from our day-to-day actions, such as leaving water running, not recycling, etc. Mary acknowledged actionable ways we can be more eco friendly, but she relates it back to our everyday choices.

See the rest of Mary’s comment here.

Most Unique Comment

Larry Dimock from The Circuit Detective and Bruce Irving of renovationadvice.blogspot.com both had a new perspective on the green trend. Larry said:

“Green seems like a fashion, a fad, a bandwagon, and an old-fashioned sales pitch. Snake oil even.”

Bruce had a similar opinion:

“I bring a certain Yankee skepticism to the whole green movement. To reveal my cards, I saw the rising tide of green stuff as mostly a marketing gambit. The real greenness comes from being smart in how you build, not what kind of gadget you buy. So here’s a sampling of my take on the topic: the greenest square foot is the one you don’t build.”

A lot of our experts were quick to point out that they are not a fan of the phrase “going green” because it has a trendy stigma associated with it. Both Larry and Bruce point out how some green proponents have used sustainability as a marketing ploy, detracting from the altruistic intentions of the movement’s forerunners. Bruce says that the real “greenness” comes from building green; that is, making sure the core of your home is green rather than adding a new gadget here and there.

See the rest of Larry’s and Bruce’s comments.

Best Articulated Comment

This award goes to Lynn Schrage of KOHLER:

“One approach to sustainable design is to create an environment that can stand the test of time and continues to function for the family as they progress through different life stages in their home. One may remodel their kitchen or bath once every 10-15 years, so we need to be forward thinking as we plan the space.”

Lynn encapsulated the main theme present in most of the experts’ answers: there are countless ways to go green, but the most important factor is making sure whatever you implement is easy to maintain and has a long shelf life. Homeowners should never go green just for the sake of being trendy, but rather they should ensure the changes they are considering are timeless.

Overall, Lynn’s comment gave a lot of information on ways to go green to get the most out of the investment. You can see the rest of Lynn’s comment here.

Most Thought-Provoking Comment

This award goes to Kelly Fallis from Remote Stylist:

“The term green should seriously be banished; we’re far too into the mixed messaging for society to ever get on the same page. The question remains what is a more appropriate word?”

As mentioned before, a lot of our experts showed ill feelings toward the term “going green.” Kelly first raised this sentiment, challenging her fellow experts to agree upon a more appropriate word. This made us think: what would be a more appropriate word now that “green” has been turned into a marketing fad adopted by trendsetters worldwide? Possible buzz words include eco, sustainability, and responsibility. Though our experts didn’t come to a consensus, one message was clear: homeowners need to look at the green movement separate from its reputation.

See the rest of Kelly’s comment here.

Best Advice

DeAnna Radaj from Bante Design gave the best advice:

“Where is the overlap between being cost effective and going green? It depends on where the consumers VALUES lie…to some, being environmentally friendly in their design (and lifestyle choice) is of HIGH VALUE to them, so the “cost effectiveness” is nullified by the high value they place on being “GREEN.” For homeowners on a smaller budget, installing low-flow faucets & shower heads in the bathroom & kitchen, buying from LOCAL sources (cuts down on transportation costs/emissions), using NO VOC paints/stains/adhesives/carpeting, reducing packing on items purchased (includes groceries, bath/body items…), becoming more educated on label reading, planting a garden/farmers markets, recycle/repurpose when possible…A little can go a long way! Every person implementing just one “eco-friendly/GREEN” practice into their life/home can make a HUGE difference to their health, the local economy and creating a more sustainable planet.”

DeAnna gave a lot of actionable advice for homeowners looking to go green on a smaller budget. From recycling/repurposing to educating yourself, DeAnna touches on a lot of the suggestions our experts made for going green. However, she went above and beyond by reminding homeowners that the cost associated with green living is directly related to what they value. If you are looking to save money, that is going to outweigh some green options. If you value eco living over price, then the options are limitless. Being green will always be a trade off between values and capabilities, so knowing what you value will eliminate sacrifices down the road.

See the rest of DeAnna’s comment here.