Better Homes and Gardens BH&G Sustainable Home 2021

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United States
Meredith Operations Corporation
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
earth friendly

Few things in life bring me as much joy as getting out in nature—feeling my feet carry me down a forest path, along a racing river, up a snow-capped mountain. It deepens my appreciation for this world we live in. It makes me want to protect it, to keep it wild and beautiful for the generations to come. Standing next to a raging waterfall or at the foot of a mighty mountain, though, can also make a person feel pretty insignificant. Who am I in the grand scheme of things? How can tiny little me make any kind of difference in the great big battle to save our beloved planet? I don’t think I’m alone in asking these questions. Eco-friendly living is such a mammoth topic. Sometimes it feels too huge, too…

5 min
what is sustainability, anyway?

Sustainable Living. We know we should do it. But it seems like such a big, intimidating thing. What exactly is sustainable living, anyway? Well, first, here’s what it’s not. It’s not about spending big bucks on green products. Sometimes it’s not about spending money at all. It’s not about recycling more. And it’s not about honing Little House on the Prairie butter-churning and sock-darning skills—unless, of course, you want to. Living green looks a little different to everyone, but simply put, it’s mindfully choosing everyday actions to better care for others and the Earth, ensuring that future generations will have a healthy planet to live on too. The good news is that you don’t need to green your life all at once. The key is to start with an awareness, then choose…

10 min
make a difference

FASHION Choose less, but choose well. Consider clothing made from renewable fibers including wool, linen, organic cotton, silk, and hemp. At the very least, don’t buy into fast fashion that pushes cheap clothes at great expense to the planet or nonbiodegradable synthetics like polyesters and nylon that are literally made from coal and crude oil. “We’re preconditioned to wash clothes after every wear, which wastes a lot of water and energy,” says Elizabeth Cline, author of The Conscious Closet. “The easiest sustainable thing you can do is wash as needed, not just because you threw it on a pile on the floor and now it’s wrinkled.” You can always spot-clean between washes. Skip the energy-sucking tumble dryer if you have the time and space to gently air-dry instead. Line-dried clothes…

5 min
counting to zero

It’s a Lifestyle. Bea Johnson puts a glass jar for her cheese on the deli counter, avoiding eye contact as she orders. “The key is to act like this is perfectly normal and you’ve been doing this your whole life,” she says. A pioneer of the zero-waste lifestyle devoted to preventing trash, Bea consistently grocery-shops with a kit of reusables: glass jars for wet foods, cloth bags for bulk items, and totes for produce. The occasional produce sticker goes into her family’s yearly household “trash bin”—a quart jar that wows in contrast to the 4.4 pounds of garbage tossed on average by an individual American every single day. But it wasn’t always so. Find Your Starting Point. For Bea, the journey from a 3,000-square-foot suburban San Francisco home with all the trappings and “a mountain…

9 min
mppgreen genes

Sustainable living pulses through David Stitt’s DNA. His father, Orlo, one of green building’s pioneers, began researching cold-climate passive solar greenhouses in the ’70s, then applied what he learned to building his first energy-planned custom home—for his family. David was right by his side. “Building sustainable homes has been our family business for 43 years,” says David, now CEO of The Stitt Group, based in Rogers, Arkansas. “Our clients are forward thinkers—they defy the conventional approach to building and demand energy-efficient, environmentally responsible homes. We believe that energy independence and a clean, healthy environment begin at home.” That, of course, includes David and wife Karen’s own home, a welcoming ranch with a walkout lower level tucked in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. In addition to passive solar design, it includes a wealth…

7 min
always sunny

Funny business—it’s house rules at Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson’s place. The couple have built careers, indeed a franchise, with the irreverent sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But one thing is no joke to the California couple: an eco-friendly lifestyle that looks forward for their two children and generations beyond. “Sustainability was a consideration in every decision we made about this house,” interior designer Kishani Perera says. A longtime advocate of nontoxic interiors, she found a kindred spirit in Kaitlin. “It’s a huge part of who she is,” Perera says. “Kaitlin cared about sustainability before it was trendy. Working with her was easy—we have the same guiding principles in life. We share the belief that organic, natural, and toxin-free living is the right thing to do for the planet and for…