Green Actions –2017 Encouraged Us To Act on Green and Sustainability

Increasingly, how a company conducts their business is an important factor in choosing to buy their product or service

By MARLA ESSER CLOOS

Green actions are the pebble in the “pebble in the pond” story – impacting so many things far reaching from the first splash into the pond. Our green actions impact the health and well-being of ourselves, our environment, and more importantly, the people and communities around us. Green embodies making mindful choices, using what we have wisely and, most of all…common sense.

Green actions mean walking your talk – living up to what you say is important to you and taking actions in line with it. Walking your talk is important for companies and organizations, as well as individuals. Increasingly, how a company conducts their business is an important factor in choosing whether or not to buy their product or service. Research shows this is even more the case with Millennials.

Suzanne Shelton on Sustainable America In an interview, Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group centered on what actions we each can take to address our concern, or even anxiety, about climate change. Many who faithfully take lots of green actions – using reusable bags, hybrid cars and gardening – have also done little to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. “It’s your home,” said Susanne. “Fix your home. It’s the best thing to do to be a great human being and make a difference.”

The best message right now is “let’s not waste resources.” Why would you buy a home that leaks like sieve and wastes energy? We need to find ways to help people in all homes, especially existing homes, build better habits which will lead to making better big decisions. While it is still uncommon to learn of upgrade and renovation programs during the home buying process, they are out there, and we are seeing systemic changes in that regard. “Don’t be afraid; the way forward is through sustainability. It’s through green, efficient homes and green or more efficient products across the board. Let’s create a better more energy responsible, sustainable America.”

Kerry Langley on the Total Cost of Ownership of a Home

Kerry Langley thought a house was just a house, and to make a house “better” one added hardwood, granite countertops and so on. And then Kerry learned “a high-performance home is a home where all of the components that impact the performance of a home are combined holistically for a combination which makes the most sense (sic for the performance outcome).” This definition made sense.

“If you can make that much of a difference changing the performance of a house by looking at it holistically, why is not the solution to look at the financial side holistically.” Kerry created a program which took into consideration every component impacting the finances of owning a house. The traditional “purchase price, mortgage payment, and down payment” conversation was replaced with Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), optimizing the performance and mortgage structure. With this holistic financial approach, it’s easy to identify the benefits to the homebuyer or resident, the builder and the real estate entity. Yet nothing happens until it is put in front of someone and they take action!

St. Louis Green Business Challenge – organizations taking green action

The St. Louis Green Business Challenge is a joint program of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Started in 2010, the program has worked with over 150 businesses and organizations in the St. Louis metropolitan area to adopt sustainable business practices – green action – in their daily operations. Participants also have opportunities to inspire and inform their employees about green actions they can take outside of the workplace. The Challenge is creating a core group of people who are sharing best practices and are growing together.

Green Teams are a key part of the Challenge. As newer, younger employees expect companies to do good in the community and to have more of a public purpose than just making money, a Green Team offers this connection. Green Teams are a great way to get younger people engaged and have social giveback.

The stories shared here are just a glimpse into the many people working to inspire green action through our individual and collective actions. I believe that all of us want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. But it’s hard to figure out what to do – what green actions to take – without causing major upheaval in our modern lifestyles. So, find a few things you can do and do them. Share them. Teach others.

By taking action in your home and life, you take control. You impart change.

Marla Esser Cloos, Green Home Coach is an NAHB Master Certified Green Professional, LEED AP and Missouri Certified Women Business Enterprise. Marla founded and co-hosts the Green Gab Podcast. She is the author of Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better Home from NAHB Builder Books. She may be reached at marla@greenhomecoach.com.