Green Living

By Katherine Pioli

Changing one’s environmental habits on the home front gets easier as speciality stores with skilled employees lead the way; national chains are hopping on the "green supplies" bandwagon, too. We look at Green Building Center, Earth Goods and Home Depot.

Whether building a new home, remodeling the kitchen orjust changing a light bulb, these actions involve opportunities to make more orless environmentally conscious choices. Some consumers are still wary."Cost or inconvenience are often cited as reasons to not change one’s[environmental] habits," explains Thom Benedict, owner of Earth GoodsGeneral Store in Salt Lake.


Increased options, however, are making those reasonsoutdated, as "green" independent stores with knowledgeable staffsforge the way and national chains jump on the bandwagon. Here’s a look at threeoptions in Salt Lake City:


Green Building Center: At this store everything meetshigh environmental standards. Ashley Patterson, a LEED-accredited professional,opened the store in 2003. Since then, she has cultivated an exemplary group ofemployees who really know their stuff. GBC carries "green"insulation, flooring from renewable sources, and eco-safe sealers and solvents.You’ll find clay paints, countertops, bedding, books, and solar cookers.They’ll even help with design, consulting and installation of your solar powersystem.


More than a store, the Green Building Center puts itselfforward as a valuable informational and educational resource and communitycenter. The Center hosts workshops, the next of which (on April 26) willfeature a demonstration and discussion on natural, homemade cleaning products.The Center also organizes an annual Green Homes Tour of Salt Lake. The nexttour will be in September. Applications are being accepted until May for housesexemplifying green standards to be included in the tour.


1952 East 2700 South tel. 484-6278.


Earth Goods General Store: Think about the general storesin old movies and television shows. They were owned by a friendly townspersonand frequented by all the neighbors. They were the original convenience store,close to home and stocked with daily-use items that always seem to run out whenmost needed. Though it will not help homebuilders, Salt Lake’s Earth GoodsGeneral Store offers all of the things needed in a house, plus the comfort andconvenience, with a little earth-friendly twist. The small store carries asurprisingly abundant stock of natural household cleaners and bathroomproducts. A small section of the store provides office workers and studentswith necessary supplies. The store carries shoes made from recycled materialand light, comfortable organic cotton t-shirts for the hot summer days to come.


1249 South 900 East tel. 831-4032.


Home Depot: Home Depot customers now can find almost allthey need right where they have always shopped. Home Depot categorizes theireco-options into five groups: sustainable forestry, energy efficient, healthyhome, clean air and water conservation. Home Depot sells products with a highpercentage of recycled materials as well as products certified by the ForestStewardship Council as coming from sustainably, responsibly managed forests. Areview of Home Depot by "Ecological Home Ideas" verifies that thestore does carry quite a number of eco-appliances from programmable thermostatsto sprinklers. Unfortunately, the review also found that not all of theeco-options are indicated as such, leaving the responsibility of findingeco-products up to inquiring customers. A further related downside weencountered: Employee ignorance when it comes to green products.




This article was originally published on April 1, 2008.