More homeowners than ever before are retrofitting their homes with solar panels, according to those in the solar industry. Ironically, estate owners who may use as much energy as an entire downtown residential block are reluctant to install solar paneling.

Retailers report that customers are asking more sophisticated questions about environmentally safe home building material. However, they speculate the masses are still deterred because of an exaggerated sense of how much it costs to re-create one’s home in an eco-friendly manner. The average capital investment ranges from five percent more to five percent less than conventional refurbishing, according to Sunshine Caulfield, a sales consultant at LivingGreen.

Certain homeowner groups-one on the Mesa and another in the Veronica Springs area-have earned extra credit for spearheading the Neighborhood Foodshed Project, wherein residents in eight- to ten-block areas collaborate to grow food in their own and their neighbors’ backyards in a sustainable manner, without using a drop of fossil fuel.

On the other hand, homeowners on average are buying too many chemical fertilizers and pesticides, using too many power tools and too much water. According to Owen Dell of the private company County Landscape and Design-who has been practicing sustainable landscaping since 1971 and cohosts Garden Wise Guys with Santa Barbara County Parks landscaper Billy Goodnick-people could grow their entire diet with the water that now runs into the gutters. They could be installing permeable driveways and using French drains to recapture the tons of rainwater that falls onto their rooftops.


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