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Eco-homes as trophy homes

Green is SO everywhere these days. (Makes me proud that, as our ed in chief points out in her June editor's note, DL has championed green issues since its founding in 1985; we're not just jumping on the trend. Though I'm not complaining that eco is finally on people's screens!) Today's NY Times has an interesting article on eco-homes as the new trophy homes: everyone wants to be seen as green in their new home. But a couple of things bugged me about this article:

1. They don't point out that the greenest home is usually one that's already built. Resources that get poured into building a new home, no matter how green, are still resources that weren't used before. I have friends building a new home, smaller than their current house but still new, "to reduce their carbon footprint" ... hm, sort of misses the point for me.

2. This has nothing to do with the building issue, but a couple of comments in the article made me wince. Namely: ..."Their goal was to show that something energy-conscious 'doesn’t have to look as if you got it off the bottom shelf of a health-food store.'" Ouch! Then an additional twist of the knife: “It doesn’t have to smell like hemp,” she said. Double-ouch! Is that still the mainstream impression of "health food stores"?? Has this person never been inside a modern health food store and seen how beautiful they are? And what's her thing against hemp? Has she even tried a hemp-food product lately? Hemp smells (and tastes) great! I have to say, I resent this kind of witticism at the expense of health food stores, who are at the forefront of giving people the real tools to live green.

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