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“Green” House: Sustainable Design Solutions


Trends come and go in home design, but one thing that never goes out of style is being eco-friendly. Whether it’s inside or outside, there are a variety of ways to keep your home looking cool while keeping the environment in mind.


INSIDE

It can be exciting to refresh your home’s interior with new furniture and décor; luckily, new and sustainable often go hand in hand. “Sustainability in furniture manufacturing can include using FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) woods, textiles made from responsibly harvested and manufactured fibers, or recycled packaging, and reducing one’s overall carbon footprint in operations and manufacturing,” shares Christin Balzer, owner and principal designer at Haven Studios (haven-studios.com). Furniture purchases often carry a hefty price tag, so choosing companies that align with a vision of protecting our planet goes a long way in making an impact.

Balzer chooses to work directly with companies that produce home goods in a responsible way, including recycled materials. “These are not DIY but can be high-end artistic pieces that discerning homeowners invest their money in. It’s the perfect fusion of sustainability and a circular solution,” she explains. Haven Studios recently installed the chandelier pictured here from sustainable brand Kooij (dirkvanderkooij.com) in a Loomis home. It’s meticulously built from ribbons of molten recycled plastic.


Eco-friendly can be budget-friendly as well. If new purchases aren’t an option, trips to local thrift stores are a simple and great way to purchase small and big home décor items. Plus, you’re often giving back when you spend your dollars at places like Snowline Thrift (snowlinehospice.org/thrift), Roseville Discovery Shop (facebook.com/discoveryshoproseville), and ReNew Boutique (acresofhopeonline.org/renewstores).


For those who are also watching their heating and air conditioning bills, consider investing in a smart thermostat like Google Nest. Smart home devices can learn your habits and set a schedule accordingly to maximize your dollars. The best part is that you can adjust your thermostat from your phone so when you’re on your way home, you’ll be welcomed by a comfortable temperature.


OUTSIDE

Starting at the top, solar panel maintenance is key to getting the most out of your investment. Meghan Stimmler, certified solar sales professional at Solar Hut (solarhut.org), recommends monitoring your solar panels for when they produce power via an app connected to your system. “By doing this, you can set your appliances to run at [optimal] times,” she explains. Additionally, tree maintenance allows panels to soak up the sun the way they are intended to, so be sure to prune any trees close to your house annually. Lastly, cleaning your panels regularly is important. “Luckily, solar panels are angled when installed so most debris will slide right off, but leaves, bird droppings, pollen, fire soot, and even dust can block the sun’s rays from hitting the panel cells so keeping it clean will help improve your solar power generation. Usually a spray from your garden hose will do the trick,” Stimmler says.


Returning to ground-level, consider drought-resistant and native landscaping. The heat we receive during summer can be brutal on heavy and even moderate water-use plants. Although a lush, green yard looks idyllic, there are many plants that create an attractive space while also saving on water and maintenance. California Native Plant Society’s online Calscape tool (calscape.org) is a great resource for figuring out which plants should go in your yard. Type in your address and you’ll discover a variety of plants, from easy maintenance and partial shade, to ground covers and trees.


What’s better than enjoying your sustainable outdoor space on sustainable furniture? Terra Outdoor Living (terraoutdoor.com) carries multiple products that are recycled or reclaimed and is committed to finding eco-friendly materials that meet their standards for durability, according to the company’s creative director, Whitney Critchley. Their Sea Ranch Collection is made from reclaimed teak and brings a streamlined and sleek look to outdoor spaces. For a more traditional look, consider the Woodside Collection that is crafted out of Envirowood, a durable, no–maintenance resin made with post-consumer recycled plastic. If you’re a fan of mid-century design, the ReClips Collection is a perfect “nod to the past while embracing the future,” says Critchley. ReClips seating is crafted from sturdy plastic lamellas made from 97% recycled household trash. Choosing high-quality, eco-conscious furniture for your outdoor space is an investment in not only helping our planet, but in durable pieces that are built to last.


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