Compiled by Barbara Kuntz
EARTH DAY 2017
Go Super-Green this Day and Every Day with Cost-Effective and Environmentally Friendly Products and Services
Saving energy, conserving water, harnessing the sun and wind and leaving the smallest footprint possible with environmentally conscious products and services are all big deals in the long run — and not just for your pocketbook.
Think Mother Earth, specifically Earth Day, this year celebrated April 22 following a campaign of “Environmental & Climate Literacy.” Established in 1970, Earth Day has now reached its current status “as the largest secular observance in the world,” according to the official Earth Day website.
We’re approaching the green celebration with “baby steps” you can start or continue to take, all the way up to bigger strides to consider so when Earth Day 2018 rolls around, you know you’ve made a difference.
Beef up your recycling routine of paper, aluminum, tin and other acceptable materials — like not even letting a plastic straw go into your regular rubbish. I know I pat myself on the back when my recycling volume is more than my refuse volume! Check with the city of Houston or your municipality on proper containers and days for curbside service, as well as holiday arrangements.
Call 311 or visit www.houstontx.gov for more information or visit your municipality’s official website.
Turn your grass, leaves and small yard clippings into ultra-vitamin-rich mulch with a composter. C&D Hardware and Gifts sells a tumbling variety made by gardening giant Miracle-Gro with a 28-gallon chamber capacity. Mixing bars and an aeration system speed up the decomposition process in this heavy-duty container. $65.99
C&D Hardware and Gifts, 314 E. 11th St., 713-861-3551, www.canddhw.com
Capture that magic rain in a water-harvesting barrel from Baytec Containers, suppliers of industrial packaging and equipment. Consider a 50-gallon rain barrel made of FDA-approved plastic in a variety of colors, including oak wood, gray, black, deep green, beige and terra cotta. All barrels come complete with rain-catching openings at top, one faucet and two installed bulkheads. About $120 each
Baytec Containers, 4761 Highway 146, 888-460-3786, www.bayteccontainers.com
Think small, and the results for you and the environment can be big. Vertical gardens save space and grow vegetables, herbs and more just as well as larger green spaces. And there are those important pollinators, too, to keep busy.
The Arbor Gate in Tomball offers an attractive selection of trellises and obelisks in different price ranges to support your vertical garden.
The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, 281-351-8851, www.arborgate.com
Most major home appliance manufacturers offer discounts around this time of year on energy-efficient models. Look for the Energy Star seal of approval, too, for additional promotions. From air purifiers to washers and dryers to dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators, April is a good month to find a deal.
Energy Star, www.energystar.gov
Jon Meier, mechanical engineer and president of Backcountry Containers Inc. in Houston, constructs tiny homes from shipping containers as getaways with rooftop decks and fun, rustic interiors. The company started a year ago building container homes with prices ranging from $25,000 up to $50,000.
“A majority of our customers like to get two containers and open them up to each other to make it feel much bigger,” Meier says. “At the end of the day, we do what the customer wants with respect to layout, size and decoration.”
Backcountry Containers, 281-305-8325, www.backcountrycontainers.com
Integrate solar shingles into your composition-style roofing materials to capture the clean, abundant power of the sun and take control of your utility bills.
“We typically install our solar shingles on southern-facing slopes to maximize the output of the products,” says Jason Brinkmann, president of Brinkmann Quality Roofing Services Inc., mentioning his company uses the new Suntegra line of photovoltaics, or PV systems designed to convert light into electricity.
An average installment runs about $25,000 and delivers some 5,000 watts, with homeowners qualifying for a 30-percent federal tax credit issued the following year.
Brinkmann Quality Roofing Services, 281-480-7663, www.brinkmannquality.com
Imagine owning a home where your energy bill is $0, your water bill is $0 and much of the landscaping is edible, thus cutting back on grocery bills. That’s what LaVerne Williams and team at Environment Associates Architects & Consultants do with their “extraordinary” sustainable building methods — and have been doing so since the company’s founding by Williams in 1975.
“We have one home in the Heights that is 100-percent solar powered, 100-percent rainwater and finished out with the highest air-quality system,” Williams says. “A lot of our clients come to us to design homes with quality of life in mind.”
Williams says his group oversees construction of these super-
eco-friendly structures, earning some of his projects Silver LEED recognition and the highest honor, Platinum LEED certification.
“A lot of what we do is to educate people,” Williams says. “We are an advocate of green building and want to educate others.”
Environment Associates Architects & Consultants, 5828 Langfield Road, 713.528.0000, www.environmentassoc.com
I AM WATERS
Founded by Elena Davis, the I Am Waters Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Houston dedicated to providing fresh, clean bottled water to the homeless through partnerships with shelters, churches and other facilities.
To make a donation, contact I Am Waters Foundation, 3262 Westheimer Road, www.iamwaters.com