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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renovate

May 23, 2014 02:46PM ● By Kevin Jotkus

Photo by Green Living Designs

Green living is here to stay; no longer a trend, but a mainstream lifestyle that saves energy, reduces waste and minimizes negative effects on the Earth. It also means that we opt for a sustainable and renewable way of living, which is based on three concepts: reducing, reusing and recycling. In fact, perhaps the best step a family can take to start living a greener lifestyle is to learn as much as possible about these concepts and their impact.

When it comes to our homes, there are some basic steps we can take to live a little more sustainably. First, make sure that the products we use every day are locally manufactured using sustainable technologies, without harsh chemicals and preferably including recycled materials. When we educate ourselves about where products originate and how they are made, we can make more efficient and greener choices.

We can also improve the interior spaces of our homes to save energy and money by installing more efficient appliances and lighting, as well as dual-flush toilets and water-conserving faucets and showerheads. LED light bulbs are very energy-efficient, and their cost has reduced drastically in the past year.

Homeowners that are starting remodeling projects and making additions this summer can make them more cost-effective and sustainable by using recycled materials and some careful planning. To save money in the long run and reduce future waste, build new construction to last, with classic styling and design.

When remodeling, it’s a smart idea to select formaldehyde-free cabinets and recycled porcelain tile and countertops. The latest trend is a beautiful five-by-10-inch porcelain tile made with 100 percent natural materials, including quarts, clay, kaolin, feldspar, silica and natural coloring agents that is ideal for bathroom and kitchen projects. It is considered safe for the home because it contains no sealants, waxes, epoxies or manmade binders. This tile is designed to last a lifetime, won’t scratch and is extremely flexible and durable.

The number of green products and technologies is growing every day, and the variety now seen in the eco-friendly finishing materials is inspiring and encouraging. Many of the products used for renovation projects are of high quality and beautifully designed. Different variations are available, from traditional to ultra-modern, to fit any interior decor. By choosing green products, we get a chemical-free environment, durable surfaces and stylish and beautiful interior spaces.

Let’s be more environmentally conscious and consider green products and finishes for our next renovation, and contribute to bettering the quality of our environment. We can take one more step closer to a green living lifestyle and a sustainable future. We need to think about how all our decisions effect our homes and the planet overall.

Kevin Jotkus is the president of Globus Construction/Green Living Designs, which offers design and installation of sustainable building and finishing materials, located at 1930 First St., in Highland Park. For more information, call 847-681-0126 or visit