Livingreen has challenged Santa Barbara residents to support sustainability by offering green alternatives since 1999. Founder, co-owner, and manager Ellen Strickland carefully chooses building materials and home furnishing products that are not only sustainable themselves, but sustainably manufactured and transported. Susan Lafond, employee of the Santa Barbara branch, explains that, while companies such as Home Depot might offer energy efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives, “who knows where they’re produced and how.” Strickland also looks for healthier substitutes for chemically toxic and sometimes dangerous household items such as paints, wood finishes, cleaning products, and even water bottles. So for those of us who are ready to make a change or two for sustainability, here are a few product suggestions from Livingreen:
• Paint: “For people who want to be nice green people,” says Lafond, the paints that Livingreen offers are one of the “easiest ways for people to make changes.” The lines of paint carried are low- or zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds), non-toxic, and excellent choices for the chemically sensitive. “Sixty percent of the air we breathe is off-gassing from surfaces around us,” explained Strickland, so an affordable way to make our homes just a little healthier and better for the environment is to slap on a new coat of paint. livingreen.com –
• Latex Rubber Mattresses: Livingreen carries two brands of latex mattresses that are organic, free of VOCs, petrochemicals, flame retardants, chemical dyes, pesticides, and bleach. These hypoallergenic and nontoxic beds seem expensive up front, but are just “22 cents per person, per night,” if two people share a queen bed for 20 years, said Lafond. “That’s less than a cup of coffee,” she pointed out, and it’s certainly a small price to pay for eight healthy and guilt-free hours per day. livingreen.com – naturalbedding
• Energy Efficient Light Bulbs: A painless way to save both money and energy is to replace standard light bulbs with energy efficient ones. Livingreen carries two sorts of bulbs which conserve energy: LEDs and CFLs. LEDs, in addition to being efficient, are also mercury free unlike standard fluorescent bulbs and CFLs. livingreen.com – bulbs
• Klean Kanteens: “A simple way of making a change is switching out your waterbottle,” said Strickland. The Klean Kanteens that Livingreen offers are durable, lightweight, non-leaching, and toxin-free unlike many plastic water bottles. Hopefully by using a Klean Kanteen, one can avoid the costs of purchasing bottled water on a regular basis, stop generating the waste of disposable water bottles, and reap the health benefits of using non-plastic containers. Livingreen is also expecting a line of phenol-free baby bottles that will allow parents to replace potentially dangerous plastic bottles (especially when used in the microwave) with a healthy and sustainable alternative. livingreen.com – waterbottles
Shop for these and other sustainable items at livingreen.com or visit their stores in Santa Barbara (218 Helena Ave.; 966-1319) and Montecito (1275 Coast Village Rd.; 565-4103).