Sustainability Made Simple: Home tips for sustainable living

By Kate Gaertner and Amy Hall
For the Hollywood Star News

Homes, especially those of the “large” variety, demand lots of materials to build them and lots of stuff to fill them. Most of those materials used in new construction and those in renovations are brand-new, virgin-sourced and hot off the manufacturing floor. But they don’t have to be. Big homes require a large land footprint in square footage and acres, land that once held trees, grass, and topsoil. They also require more energy to heat and cool, and by necessity, things to fill them up and make them homey, cozy, comfortable, and well, yours.

Millennials have embraced a smart way of living large:  occupying and buying smaller homes with tighter footprints that are efficient, require less energy and material inputs, and maximally serve their lifestyle needs. Whether you are a Millennial, part of Generation X or a Baby Boomer, smaller homes can provide comfort and affordability, efficiency and safety and accommodate a life to be lived and less to be maintained.

Three Home Sustainability Tips

1. TACKLE A REMODEL USING EXISTING MATERIALS: Remodeling is the updating or adding to an existing structure, often a process requiring new materials. Instead, consider a remodel using reclaimed, reused, and refurbished materials to give your home a distinctive feel. At the ReBuilding Center they passionately extol the value of reuse, provide access to affordable building materials and teach home repair and building skills to new and current homeowners. The upside? Less building materials to the landfill.

2. DOWNSIZE AND RECYCLE WHAT YOU NO LONGER NEED:  Smaller homes fundamentally have a reduced carbon footprint and with the typical U.S. household equaling 2.53 occupants, small is just right. When downsizing you can recycle much of your surplus at Environmentally Conscious Recycling. ECR is a full-service material recovery facility delivering cost-efficient, environmentally conscious dry waste recycling products and services to commercial, industrial and residential customers. It offers practical recycling solutions to make it easy for individuals to reduce waste and protect the environment while saving money through smart recycling.

3. DONATE YOUR UNWANTED FURNITURE WHILE BROWSING FOR A NEW NIFTY KEEPER: The Community Warehouse in Northeast Portland takes a known concept in food delivery and applies it to furniture and household goods. It calls itself the “furniture bank” of Oregon, spreading comfort and dignity across the state. How does a furniture bank work? In short, Community Warehouse collects donated furniture, mattresses and kitchenware and works with social service agencies to get those goods into the hands of those who need them most. The organization’s tagline makes you feel good just saying it: “The stuff you no longer need becomes the solution for a family in need.” The extra bonus?  You can further support the organization’s mission by picking up something old and of value to you at the company’s estate store.

Rose City Park Climate Communications Expert Amy Hall and Sustainability Consultant Kate Gaertner write this monthly column with ideas that neighbors can implement to live more sustainable lives and combat climate change. Hall is co-founder of THRIVE creative, and also works at TripleWin Advisory, a corporate sustainability consultancy founded by Gaertner. Gaertner is the author of the book “Planting a Seed: Three simple steps to sustainable living,” available for pre-order at

Check Also

5 Aspects To Make your mind up In advance of Using the services of Roofing Contractors

No matter of, regardless of whether you might be a household or industrial creating owner …

furnace maintenance