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Greener Design for the Average Home

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Feel overwhelmed by the choices in home improvement products, especially those claiming to be “green”? Ever wonder if anyone but the wealthiest folks can afford the latest environmentally friendly products?

Small businesses are popping up to serve this need for average people with limited budgets who want value-priced green choices. One example is the (n)Habit supply + design store now housed alongside local artists in the old May Hosiery Mill in Nashville.  Just two and a half years ago, Rachel and Edward Martin returned from their architecture careers out West to live closer to family and start one of their own.  In recent months they relocated the business from a small house to their current warehouse-style location.

Recycled Glass Countertop Samples

The Martins have tackled the challenges of eco-conscious design on a a budget for themselves, and they’ve already vetted hundreds of products.  They look for products that are good for people and our environment, using recycled items when possible and looking for ways to conserve energy.  Their showroom displays recycled glass countertops, colorful glass tiles, and   paints and lacquers free of volatile organic compounds. They sell high efficiency, clean-burning wood stoves, modern light bulbs and recycled denim insulation. They look for products made from renewables like cork or bamboo, as well as wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to be selectively harvested from sustainably managed forests.

Recycled Denim Insulation
(n)Habit strives to find home products with recycled content and those made within 500 miles of Nashville when possible.  I asked Rachel Martin why we should care where or how our building products are sourced. Martin replied, “There are so many great reasons.  If we continue to use our resources at the rate we’re going, our children may face a situation where there isn’t enough to go around, or nothing was done during our lifetimes to make sure that didn’t happen.”  Martin is also concerned about the home environment being healthy for our children today.
High-Efficiency Wood Stoves
Martin stresses that for those of us on a budget, professional design help on the front end can maximize use of space.  This, in addition to a little guidance from someone who can sort through the greenwashing, can help the average homeowner get real value in a new construction or home improvement project.
Rain Collection Cubes

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