5 Dangerous & Pervasive Green Myths

By Gail Groswold-Elwyn, President of Rethink Renovations

1) Going green, building green, living green is so expensive.

Not anymore. Five years ago eco-friendly products and services were priced higher than traditional products and services. However, as demand for these products grew, the pricing lowered and is now competitive. In addition, government tax incentives for green building or remodeling have significantly leveled the playing field.

2) A green lifestyle is hard to maintain.

People think that green technologies and products are inherently more difficult (read: frustrating) to operate/use. They hesitate to install high-efficiency or geothermal systems because of unfamiliarity. While it is true that a learning curve does exist, green technology installers have also been trained to educate users about the day-to-day operation and simple maintenance of the technology. On the other end of the spectrum, green products are often so simple they can be made at home. White vinegar and lemon juice is the perfect all-purpose green cleaning agent, and baking soda is a perfect all-natural odor absorber—no training needed.

3) Green structures look weird, plus eco-friendly housing is just a fad.

Green construction and remodeling have been around since settlers chose to orient their homes toward the sun to maximize light and heat exposure, and the first city planners built residential structures near main street so occupants could walk to essential places. Green building is about the more efficient use of time, money, materials, and resources. It is a way to make spaces more functional and appealing. Good green remodelers know to respect the character of the home or the neighborhood—in almost all cases, you would not be able to tell a green home from a traditional home.

4) The green lifestyle is so overwhelming: you have to commit so much time and energy to it.

Many people think that going green is an all-or-nothing proposition. The truth is, going green is a process and can only be done little by little. Start by taking your own shopping bags to the grocery store. The next time you need a new furnace or water heater, consider replacing it with a more efficient model. Instead of thinking about redoing your entire house, commit to using nontoxic finishes and paints. Little by little, green choices will become automatic.

5) It doesn’t matter one way or the other if I adopt green practices.

According to a survey conducted by The Nature Conservancy, 29 percent of Americans believe that adopting greener lifestyles won’t make a difference to the environment. This is incorrect: every effort makes a difference, especially since more than 40 percent of all the energy created in this country goes to the creation and running of man-made structures.