Updated: Jun 8, 2022
Dear Shanon, What does “Eco-Friendly” living/housing mean?
Eco-friendly, energy-saving, solar, sustainable living—it can get confusing! Every day we’re faced with challenges to be responsible human beings to the earth, and ultimately each other. As we navigate our way through life, from plant-based diets to environmentally friendly homes, the average adult does the basics by filling our red recycle bins, using fewer grocery bags and straws, re-using water bottles, turning off lights, and more. These efforts of course should not go unrecognized! As my mother would say, “little drops fill the bucket,” and each effort we leave on this earth leaves a carbon footprint, good or bad.
But what does it all mean? Of course, this is such a heavy topic to cover in 500 words or less, but let’s break down the basics by going back to the most commonsense place to begin: our roots.
Ancient people (especially in tropical and other climates living in tough environmental conditions mixed with hot days and cold nights) were often faced with making the best use of their structures to survive, under any odd circumstances Mother Nature would provide. Thus, the birth of the Green Home using materials of the earth like adobe and strawbale emerged.
Green Home: A type of house designed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable with a focus on efficient use of energy, water, and building materials.
Eco-Friendly: Not harmful to the environment.
Adobe: Perfect for warm climatic conditions with low humidity. Made with a blend of soil, and water, along with a straw. When the sun sets and the temperature drops, the warm walls continue to transfer the heat to the inner side and are very effective in regulating the inside temperature.
Strawbale: Straw offers an alternative and sustainable means to house our growing population while diminishing our impact on forests. We’re in Oregon-we love our trees! Testing has also shown the insulating performance of strawbale walls to be between R35 and R50, or roughly two to three times the real-life performance of typical frame wall systems. This significantly reduces heating and cooling costs.
Not likely up your alley to go that far back to your roots and go full adobe or strawbale? It’s okay, you can still hone in and stay grounded in the earth by applying three practical methods to your everyday living with the REDUCE-REUSE-RECYCLE approach:
1. REDUCE: Simplify your life. Wow, just saying that feels good. So do it. Have your ultimate goal be ZERO WASTE by reducing your purchases, keeping belongings you only need/use, buying used, making your own, buying what you only need, and of course—sharing with friends.
2. REUSE: Garage sales are a great way to give back while getting a little in return. Now is a great time to also create your compost. You can also refurbish, SHARE, or better yet donate to your favorite charitable organization.
3. RECYCLE: According to Rogue Disposal, materials acceptable in your recycling bin are: Corrugated cardboard, newspapers/inserts, milk jug style containers, and aluminum/tin cans. Also remember do NOT bag your recyclables, just toss them out! And when in doubt, leave it out.
Green homes have become more prevalent as green affordable housing emerges. Homeowners are beginning to upgrade lightbulbs, and thermostats, invest in insulation, solar panels, and natural cleaning products (lemon and vinegar!), and are also learning to cook and use electronics intelligently. Each day we have a responsibility to the earth and each other, to do what we can to be “Eco-Friendly” by adding little drops to our community bucket so we can all continue to live in and love this place we call home.
*Shanon Pewtress is a certified Earth Advantage Broker License #1220-2200
Shanon Pewtress - Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon
Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon
Published Medford Sneak Preview Magazine - November 2018
Shanon holds an MBA in International Business, loves writing in her “At Home with Shanon” column that has been delivered to 47,000+ homes in Medford since 2014, has appeared on the Real Estate Radio Show, and was also featured on A&E TV network’s Real Estate Reality TV show.