The definition of green design is so broad today that one may find it difficult to navigate. When one asks for "Green Design," the question arises as in, "Which Green do you mean?"
The term, "Green," used in the context of today's ecology, as in a low carbon footprint, is simply stating that we wish to preserve our resources and maintain our lives in a way with the lowest impact on the environment. While manufacturers, designers, and homeowners define "Green" differently, the four main categories of green are:
Green as in, "I wish to use the least resources possible and have the lowest carbon footprint." An example of sustainability would be to purchase a countertop made of recycled glass that was shipped less than 500 miles.
Green as in, "My health and the health of others are key issues for me, and I wish to use less chemicals in my home and in my surroundings." An example of green for health would be to use non-toxic low or no VOC paints in the home.
Green as in, "I wish to use the least amount of fuel and save money." An example of efficiency would be to add more insulation to your home and to switch to fluorescent light bulbs.
Green as in, "If I buy a product, I will purchase the best quality I can afford so I don't need to replace it so soon. An example of durability would be to purchase plywood cabinets and plan on keeping them for the life of the home.
I am familiar with all four types of Green Design and have used them in my own home. We all can find ways to lower the impact on the environment while enjoying the "creature comforts" we have learned to love. Due to a family injury, my family was forced to build a house using no carpet, no particleboard, and no petrochemicals that would adversely affect a loved one. The design is created in a way that we are able to shower when we come into the home to minimize the amount of airborne toxins in our home. Yes, it did cost more than a standard house, but I feel my entire family is living in a healthier environment. I am proud to say that since 2001, we are maintaining a low impact lifestyle, and we are living proof that green living is possible without giving up much of our own "creature comforts." Feel free to call me to ask questions on how you can make your home, not only energy efficient, but greener and safer for your family.