The Pacific Ocean lapping at the sand in Redondo Beach.

Green Housing

"Green Housing" is about a lot of things. When one takes a serious look at the question of environmental consciousness, so many different aspects emerge that 'being green' appears almost unmanageable. The questions range from "Paper or plastic?" to "How much formaldehyde is in the off-gassing from that engineered flooring?"

We won't pretend that we can make it simple, but we hope to offer a few hints at making it less complex.

Some things all of us can do that will make a difference:

1) Give serious consideration to upgrades like dual pane windows, offer long term cost savings and reduce our impact on the environment. Dual pane windows provide significant reduction in use of fossil fuels to heat our home, which translates into cost savings and a more 'carbon neutral footprint' for you.

2) At first, instant hot water sounds more like personal gratification than environmental awareness. Quite the opposite is true. Consider that during the eight plus hours you are at the office, on the road, shopping, etc., your conventional water heater is burning fossil fuels about once every 30 minutes to keep the water in the tank hot. All of that natural gas is wasted while you are creating hot water that isn't needed and will only be re-heated thirty minutes later.

3) Fossil fuels are usually the first thought when we're talking about our environment, but water is even more important to us here in Southern California. While we desperately need innovative ways to increase the supply, there are many ways we can conserve. One of the foremost is to replace those thirsty green lawns with native plants which can thrive with considerably less water consumption. Call us for referrals to native gardening experts.

4) Low flow fixtures, ranging from shower heads to toilets, will help cut back on water consumption. Whenever you replace an old fixture, look for a new one that will use less water.

5) Cover your pool and your spa when they're not in use. The amount of water (especially hot water) which is lost to evaporation here in SoCal is astonishing. Not only will you conserve water and lower your water bills, but you'll also save on the cost of heating that water.

6) While we're talking about pools, you might even investigate two more ideas which are environmentally sound changes. First the use of solar water heating to supplement your pool heater. Using the sun will partially satisfy the annual heating requirements, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels to heat the water. Beyond that, look into the use of non-chemical water purification. Eliminate some or all of the clorine used in your pool and reduce the contamination of the environment at the same time you reduce the red eyes and green hair resulting from heavy chlorine use.

7) If your electric bill is regularly high, look into photovoltaics. Solar collector cells are rapidly becoming cost effective, especially given that the utility companies will subtract from your annual bill the value of electricity you feed back into "the grid" from your home system.

Please don't hesitate to send in additional ideas. Carl & Arda It's going to require cooperation to resolve the problems we face.

If you are interested in more knowledge about 'green' there is a list of sites and links to them below. The U. S. Green Building Council is the pre-eminent agency for information and standards of performance for environmentally sensitive buildings. If you know of other sites which would be appropriate, please contact us.