4 Places to Look Locally for Green Inspiration

There are thousands of resources available to help us conserve electricity and water, implement alternative energy, select nontoxic materials, and more. In fact, the myriad of choices can make going green seem fairly complicated. One way to simplify sustainability is to stick with what you know: your local area. In fact, many green advocates would say going local is what going green is truly all about. “By using indigenous products, you get a more interesting space that signifies what’s available in your area,” says Marcia Connors, an interior designer near Boston. “It makes a home that much more special.”
Consider it a grassroots movement at its best — supporting local artists and purchasing materials from your area not only enhances a design, but also the community. Here, Connors suggests some of the ways people can go local to go green.

Find locally grown wood, if at all possible.
Bamboo has been the shining star of the sustainability movement, thanks to its relatively quick reharvest rates. However, if that bamboo happens to come from Asia, the amount of fossil fuels being burned to transport the material may weaken its green profile. If it’s difficult to find flooring in your area to recycle and restore, Connors recommends asking the local lumber yard if it carries products created from indigenous trees. “I also like to ask if the lumber is coming from land that is being reforested,” she adds. “You want to work with a company that really cares about replanting the trees on a cycle.”
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Patronize local artisans. “If your area is known for any kind of particular artwork or culture, it would be worth examining to see if there is a way to incorporate that into a project,” Connors says. For example, she recommends seeking out Native American artisans in the area. “You usually think of that as part of the Southwest, but there were tribes all over the country that have a lot of artists who do beautiful work.” In addition, if you can find local artists who create art out of recycled or salvaged materials, your green quotient skyrockets. A little research into your region’s history and culture — past and current — may yield a wealth of accessories, art and furnishings.

Look into deconstruction or architectural salvage shops. Thanks to the modern green movement, deconstruction companies are more in demand than ever. If a home or another building is being razed to make room for a new structure, deconstruction workers will be called in to carefully disassemble the facility, thus significantly reducing the amount of construction waste heading to the landfill.

Many times, deconstruction companies will sell the items they’ve retained; lumber, windows, stained glass, trim and doors are popular products for sale. Architectural salvage shops operate similarly but are more likely to offer fireplace mantels or unique tiles. “If you can get flooring that comes from a local bank, school or house that’s being demolished, you’ll have something really beautiful because it’s from your area,” Connors notes. “And you will be recycling, reusing and bringing something with character back to its best.”

Peruse garage sales, estate sales, antique stores and flea markets for accessories. A keen eye can find a potential gem amid seemingly unusable items. In fact, restoration is one of the easiest ways to go green while introducing a unique piece into your design. If you plan to refinish furniture, for instance, use an upholsterer in your town — and request that he or she use recycled fabric for the project.

Mohawk Key Contributor to "Extreme Makeover" Going Green

Mohawk Key Contributor to “Extreme Makeover” Going Green

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Atlanta, GA, September 16, 2008–Instead of “move that bus,” it was “move that Mohawk truck!”

In a scene that could have been right out of “Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition,” Brock Built Homes, WSB-TV, Mohawk Industries, and others celebrated the construction of Brock Built’s Going Green “The Green House,” with an open house for participating companies.  Attendees lined up across the street and were treated to their first look at the home when a Mohawk tractor-trailer moved out of the way, revealing the unique charity project.

Going Green “The Green House” features a variety of green and environmentally sound building technologies.  The home was constructed by Brock Built of Atlanta and will be showcased in WSB-TV’s ongoing “Going Green Georgia” series, which shows viewers the things they can do to live a green lifestyle.

The Brock Built “Green House” will be the subject of a WSB-TV (Atlanta’s highest rated station and ABC affiliate) special primetime television program on September 17 (7-8 PM EST).  The TV special will kick off an online auction for the house, with the proceeds going to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  Bidding will begin at $350,000, and bids will be taken online from September 17 through October 3.

Mohawk Industries is a long-time supporter of WSB-TV’s “Going Green Georgia” initiative, sponsoring awards for the “Green Champion of the Week.”  Mohawk contributed SmartStrand® carpet made with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer to “The Green House,” while DalTile, a Mohawk sister company, contributed the ceramic tile.

“We are proud to support Brock Built in this project, and we are continually delighted at the interest in green building that WSB-TV has created with its ‘Going Green Georgia’ program,” said David Duncan, Vice President of Marketing for Mohawk.  “We think it is especially important that this home project is teaching people new ways to protect the environment while raising needed funds for a very important organization.”

Going Green “The Green House” home is now open for tours.  Tours are available on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 until 5pm, and on Saturdays from 11am until 5pm.  For directions to the home, and to learn more about the home auction, visit www.brockbuilt.com or www.wsbtv.com.

To learn more about other Mohawk green programs, visit www.mohawkgreenworks.com.