Town & Country: Eco-Advice
Town & Country (July 2009)
Title - ECO Advice
Author: Sara Bliss
If you're interested in living a greener life at home without giving up your current digs, consider hiring one of a new and fast-growing breed of environmental advisers called eco-consultants. Such experts make house calls and counsel you on steps to take; when a client is ready to act, they recommend specific eco-smart products and local providers to do everything from installing solar panels to putting in a tankless water heater. Moves like these aren't just smart; they can also save you money - a concern in these tumultuous times.
For those new to the concept of sustainable living, Green Irene (greenirene.com), now in forty-six states, is a perfect first step. A ninety-minute consultation ($99) addresses eleven areas, including air quality, lighting and waste management.
Urbanites might prefer a local service that specializes in the needs of city dwellers, like New York City's Deep Green Living; a two-hour home visit ($500) teaches clients how to recycle with less hassle, adopt sustainable energy sources, conserve water, reduce their dependence on cars and choose toxin-free products for home cleaning, skin care and more.
Anyone looking to cut costs will benefit from the aptly named, nationwide firm Green and Save (greenandsave.com). Founder Charlie Szoradi promises that "within the first hour we can save a client at least $500 annually." His "return on investment" charts track savings on many basic eco-upgrades. A two-hour visit (about $295) covers 100 areas. Some recommendations pay off right away (investing $115 in a programmable thermostat can save you as much as $80 a year), while others, like replacing single-pane-windows with Energy Star-rated versions that decrease solar-heat transfer, take longer to deliver.
But such changes make perfect sense at a time when living responsibly, both financially and environmentally, benefits everyone.