Most experts agree that going green should involve a combination of green products and green behavior. With this unified effort, homeowners can expect the biggest gains for their wallet and for the environment. For those who are just starting to make the transition into green living, we wanted to find out which change will have a more significant impact.
Of course, changing your behavior is more cost effective. Anyone can save money if they simply use less water. But we are creatures of habit and of comfort. Sometimes it’s easier to lean on technologies that curb our energy use while we maintain our normal behavior. To find out where green rookies should start, we turned to our green experts.
Our green experts have come out in full force to help us make a decision on this polarizing issue.
What's More Important: Green Products or Green Behavior?
Is it more important to make sure lights are shut off when not in use or to make sure that you are using LEDs instead of incandescents?
Can a quicker shower make a bigger difference than a low flow shower head?
Are some appliances more important to update while others are more important to use correctly?
"When I meet with clients, the first question I ask is not “How much are you willing to spend?” Instead it’s “How much are you willing to CHANGE?” All the green gadgets in the world are not going to do much without the equivalent and appropriate change of behavior to accompany it.
A good example is someone who wanted to reduce their water use. They committed to replacing all the faucets to low flowing ones, to dual toilets and more importantly, to better water use in the garden – including adding rain water tanks. These were all reasonable and affordable options that should have provided immediate “payback” to both their water usage bills and to the environment.
As I do with all clients, I left them with an audit sheet to monitor both use and costs. The result? Nothing. They were so frustrated by the new equipment and the adjustments they needed to make that they ended up using more water. Lesson there: Without needed behavior change the material changes are less important." read more
"Green products can do a lot to protect the environment, but some green products can be cost-prohibitive to many people. Changes in behavior, on the other hand, usually cost nothing and can even save money through reduced water and utility bills. For this reason, I say start with educating people to change their behavior. Then, encourage them to take the next step towards purchasing green products as they experience the benefits to the environment and to their pocketbooks." read more
"Behavior is more important because products listed as “green”, which are not installed correctly, are often more wasteful than standard products. Public opinion will take a step backwards if “green” products fail as did the ULFTs (Ultra Low Flow Toilets) did in the early 90′s, causing a black eye in water saving toilets. Responsibility is a state of mind, not a product, just as a ray of sunshine is wasted unless captured. It is behavior that is in the way, not products. Green is as Green does." read more
"Green behavior is more important than green products. There are so many options to reuse or re-purpose products that consumption should be the last resort, even if it is green.
Many green actions are learned behavior. By turning off the lights and faucets, locking the windows for better energy efficiency, reducing paper consumption by altering your computer settings or not printing at all, you can help reduce your energy impact. All of these options are low/no cost items that reduce your footprint without buying anything." read more
"In plumbing, green products alone really can make an impact on your water usage. Making green retrofits, installing sink aerators, green shower heads and toilets will reduce a home’s water usage.
At Roto-Rooter, we are strong believers in the idea that homeowners can go green without changing daily behaviors. Green plumbing installations are a one-time, no hassle action that will help save water day after day. The one other exception, being that it is not a necessarily a product, is fixing leaks. Leaks are one of the biggest sources of wasted water in homes. Luckily, this is also a one-time fix, requiring no change in daily behavior for the homeowner." read more