I recently completed a continuing education course in which the subject matter was green homes. Real estate agents in Hawaii are required to take a certain number of hours of continuing education each year in order to retain our licenses and I tend to chose classes that are interesting to me or something that will help fill a gap in knowledge or otherwise help me in an area where I am not an expert.
Most of the subject matter in the green homes course was not new to me as we have been aware of our carbon footprint and ways we can reduce it and save energy for years. It was an excellent refresher however and really got me thinking about how we can apply green principals not only to our homes, but to our lives and lifestyles.
For the home, most islanders have done away with the standard incandescent lightbulbs and replaced them with much more efficient and long lasting compact florescent or LED bulbs. The compact florescent bulbs we use for our outdoor lights consume just 13 watts compared to the 60 watt bulb that is called for. This means we can run 4 lights for less than we could run 1 using the standard incandescent bulb.
Many island homes also have solar water heaters and it is required for all homes built after 2010. We’ve never once used electric to heat our water (though it is available) and we have a never ending supply of very hot water courtesy of the sun. We recently bought a LED flat screen TV for the master bedroom that uses less energy than a single incandescent light bulb and buying Energy Star rated appliances makes sense for both the environment and your wallet.
Interested in taking it a bit further? There are many ways that we can apply green concepts to our everyday lives.
A common phrase that you may have encountered is “reduce, reuse and recycle”. It really does describe the mindset for reducing your carbon footprint and living a greener lifestyle. Some simple things that everyone can do are:
- Buy and use cloth shopping bags. We keep them in the trunk so they are always handy and we even travel with them. They are also handy for carrying things to the beach!
- Everyone should be recycling. Hawaii makes recycling of number 1, 2 and 5 plastics, glass, aluminum and paper products SO easy to do.
- Buy and use a reusable water bottle. I drink a lot of water and mine is always with me.
Today there are so many products available for “green minded” individuals that want to do all that they can to reduce their impact upon our plant, and our beautiful islands and ocean. All it takes is a little bit of research, like a simple Google search.
For example, most major footwear manufacturers are now offering products with various degrees of recycled materials or green manufacturing methods and there are many companies have made green footwear all that they do. Billabong is producing board shorts made from recycled polyester and plastic water bottles. Moss Research is shaping and producing totally green and completely recyclable surfboards… and they are stronger than the alternative which are really kind of an environmental nightmare.
If you are looking for an island home that is is efficient and green let me know. I can help you identify home features that will use less energy, protect our island ‘aina and save you money. Happy Earth Day and Aloha!