Dreaming in Green

Gay Browne, founder of Greenopia

When my husband and I remodeled our house in Pacific Palisades in 1994, I was determined to make changes to alleviate my lifelong struggle with asthma, and to ensure that my children didn’t also suffer. Inspired by my baubiologist, Mary Codaro, my contractor and I did all I could to eliminate toxins and contaminants in building our first environmentally-friendly house in Pacific Palisades.

We did things like sealing all the plywood in the house because there wasn’t any formaldehyde plywood available (like there is now). We took out all the fiberglass insulation, and used cotton batting that we trucked in from North Carolina -- I arranged the trucking! We sealed the heating and air ducts with heavy tape so that no dust would permeate the ducts. We put in all-new copper tubing, and added water purifiers where the water entered the house to make our water as pure as possible, even adding a triple osmosis feature for all the sinks we used for drinking water.

We used environmentally friendly paints on the walls and no sealant on the floors -- only beeswax on the wood floors. We had electrical "kill switches" in the bedroom areas, so you could cut off the electric currents in the bedroom, alleviating electromagnetic waves and making the bedrooms more inductive to sleep (note: this feeling is like having the electricity going off in a storm. The house is completely quiet).

We put in many other energy saving features that were cutting edge in 1994 -- but many of the things that we did are now standard practice in "green building" today. Visit GreenBuilders.com to learn more about how you can create a more environmentally friendly environment if you are building a home. Another website to check out is GreenHome.com. The folks at Green Home have been very helpful, as well as Eric Corey Freed, who is a green architect in San Francisco. Check out his introduction in the San Francisco edition of Greenopia.

Even though we wanted to build green in every area of the house, the primary area of interest to me in remodeling was the bedroom... You don’t have to remodel your home to improve your bedroom. It’s all about the bed.

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