Southern Living's 2008 Idea House in North Carolina is more than just a pretty face; it recently earned LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council. The USGBC cited a few key factors that helped the home earn its green cred, and many of them are ideas that could be implemented anywhere, from a rental apartment to a newly built home...
- Native Landscaping: The yard is filled with native plants, which cut down on the amount of water needed to irrigate the yard by 80 percent. Even if you don't have a yard, containers filled with native plants can absorb CO2 and, if you have a deck, attract birds and butterflies.
- Energy-Star Appliances and Lighting: Appliances that carry the government-certified Energy Star label use up to 50 percent less electricity than standard electronics. And we all know that LEDs and CFLs are big energy-savers as well.
- Air Quality: The home regulates air quality with low-VOC paints and a HEPA air filter. Natural fiber textiles like linen and wool minimize off-gassing, as do reclaimed wood furnishings. Other green building practices include a partial green roof, solar-powered water heater, dual-flush toilets, agri-based open-cell foam insulation, and a zoned heating and cooling system. For a virtual tour of the house, click here and here. For the US Green Building Council's project profile (including points given for various green initiatives), click here. >Photos: Laurey Glenn for Southern Living