Green Home Guide offers sound advice for better living

This article was originally published as "On the Home Front" in the May/June issue of USGBC+. Read the original version.

After installing high-efficiency appliances and lighting during renovations of her Eichler home, Elizabeth Milne, a lawyer from Palo Alto, California, was shocked to see her electricity bill actually go up. The culprit? A newly installed instant hot water heater on the sink that immediately provided boiling water—but that also relied on an always-running heating coil that kept the water at a high temperature 24 hours a day.

“I just unplugged it and my utility bill went down,” she says.

Like many, Milne is on a journey to green her home. In addition to installing better appliances, she also repainted the walls with low-VOC paint and replaced the kitchen backsplash with tiles made from recycled glass. But she wants to do more—on a reasonable budget—and has questions about things like graywater reuse, the most environmentally friendly furniture, the life cycle of different products, and the overall impact that different “green” decisions make compared with others.

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