Jill Fehrenbacher

5 Tips to Make Your Home Safe, Green & Healthy from Zem Joaquin

by , 02/17/14

5 Tips to Green Your Home With Zem Joaquin, green home, green design, eco design, ecofabulous, eco-fabulous, sustainable design, green design, green interior design, green interiors

You’ve all heard the tired mantras about changing your lightbulbs and recycling at home in order to save the planet – are you yawning yet? Many consumers think that going green is a gesture of self-sacrifice that often comes at great expense and inconvenience – but nothing could be further from the truth. What many don’t realize is that going green is not really about doing something good “for the planet” but is instead about improving your own quality of life through making your environment safer and healthier. And one of the easiest places to start leading a greener and healthier life is in the home.

No one better epitomizes smart, healthy and stylish green living than Ecofabulous founder and cradle-to-cradle green designer Zem Joaquin. This eco jetsetter and green girl about town is well known for her phenomenal green parties, her insightful analysis of green products over on her site Ecofabulous, and her ability to make eco-friendly lifestyle choices feel glamorous and fun. We recently sat down with Zem to find out more about her gorgeous green home in the beautiful hills of Marin County, CA, and get her personal tips and tricks on how to make your home cleaner, greener and healthier through the power of smart design. Read on to find out about Zem’s secret tips for a green home, including – believe it or not – foot pedals on sinks!

5 Tips to Green Your Home With Zem Joaquin, green home, green design, eco design, ecofabulous, eco-fabulous, sustainable design, green design, green interior design, green interiors

Tip 1 – Install Foot Pedals on Your Sinks

Many people take access to clean drinking water for granted and don’t realize that water conservation is becoming a critical issue — as access to potable water becomes increasingly scarce, even in many parts of the United States. One surprisingly great way to cut back water usage while making your life more convenient (and germ-free) is to install foot pedal valves into your sink systems to control water flow with your feet! Not only can it save you money on your water bill, but it solves the whole soapy hand / turning faucets / teeth brushing conundrum with one elegant design solution – no more having to twiddle faucet knobs with sudsy hands! I chose PedalValve.com for my foot pedals, but if you aren’t quite ready for foot pedals but want an easy one-touch solution, Brizo also makes a great water-saving device called the ‘Smart Touch Faucet’ that I have used in a number of design projects with excellent response.

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21 Comments

  1. Jessie Garcia-Pacheco December 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Love the telephone bench – super cute look. Gonna go check out eBay for a treasure of my own :)

  2. Ving July 13, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Many many quality piotns there.

  3. jazz568 June 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Great tips for a safe home. Wonder LED lights should be considered especially for children’s rooms. CFL is really dangerous if it’s broken inside a home. EPA’s clean-up procedure guide is really scary.

  4. bronwen June 14, 2011 at 3:58 am

    i would like to know about the window dressing (1st pic). what material did you use? and is that a print on there?

  5. Andrea Di Stefano Andreadistmtl May 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for the tips! very simple, accessible and thorough

  6. karenwil April 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Thank you GREENGUARDEnvironmentalInstitute for reminding us that ‘no VOC’ or ‘low VOC’ are also low-emitting” Thanks for the tips on paint.
    Green washing is an increasing issue. There are some advise on Green and how to become LEED certified interior.

  7. GREENGUARDEnvironmental... April 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Great article! It’s so important for people to remember that what’s “green” isn’t always what’s healthy!

    One thing that’s REALLY important (since you mentioned VOCs in paints): not all paints labeled “no VOC” or “low VOC” are also low-emitting. The difference is VOC content vs. VOC emissions. Paint manufacturers can claim “no VOC” or “low VOC” as long as their paints don’t react with sunlight to product ground-level ozone (an OUTDOOR, not indoor, environmental issue), so they may not have been assessed for their impact on human health in indoor spaces.

    That’s why it’s so important to look for a third-party certified paint–one that has been scientifically and independently evaluated for use indoors.

    The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute is a third-party organization that certifies products (including paints, yes) to ensure that they’re low-emitting, healthier options for indoor use. There’s a bunch of information about VOCs, how products off-gas chemicals into the indoor air, and simple steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality at http://www.greenguard.org. We encourage you to check it out!

  8. taraprieto April 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Great ideas…I wish more people knew how easy it is to implement some of these ideas.

  9. karenwil March 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Responding to Knortho’s comment about common sense and green rally. In the IDEAL situation we would always have local renewable materials used for all projects and one day we likely will have too once the resources for depleted.

  10. knortho@yahoo.com March 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Isn’t green rally about common sense? And would it not be better to have a local company tht rebuilds old windows or builds them locally support your blog instead of Marvin?

  11. herman miller santa rosa March 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Smart, healthy and stylish green living can be created in so many ways.
    Trope group have sensible options for helping create workplace business solutions.

    Sofia you can researcher on the web who is local vendor in your area that sells cork flooring.

  12. sofia i March 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Love the article!! I live in Mexico and ecofriendly products are really hard to find. Do you know where I could find cork flooring in Mexico?

    Thanks!

  13. icare_dou March 12, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Indoor air quality is always worse than outdoor air quality. Consequently, the best first step to improving the indoor air quality is simply opening the window.

    There have been significant advances in the past several years, so consumers can now actually test and measure the many pollutants in their own home’s indoor air at affordable prices. For example the Sierra Club used passive formaldehyde badges to discover the FEMA trailers. These are extremely easy to use and at $39 affordable for most. Considering California Air Resource Board found that 98% of the homes they tested exceeded the maximum formaldehyde concentration, the question is how bad is your home’s air. These are available on the Internet with one site being ACSbadges.com/formaldehyde.shtml

  14. Zem Joaquin March 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Yuka, clothing is absolutely the same story. There are many brands of gear that are well intentioned but uninformed. Organic linen and cotton can be great but when you mix them with polyester (recycled or virgin), you make the entire product unusable in the future – meaning they will end up in a grave (AKA; landfill). Natural fibers can go back to the biological system (soil) if not combined and many synthetic or man-made fibers can be reinvented by recycling them if they are not mixed with natural fibers.

  15. Diane Pham Diane Pham March 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    gorgeous and green house! wonderful tips! can’t wait to try out the window treatments!

  16. Jessica Dailey March 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve been on the hunt for new window treatments, and now I know exactly what to look for… Thanks, Zem!

  17. Kestrel Jenkins Kestrel Jenkins March 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I would love to live in Zem’s living room. Gorgeous.

  18. Yuka Yoneda Yuka Yoneda March 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Hey Zem, does what you wrote about monstrous blends go for clothing too?

  19. Jill Fehrenbacher March 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Great tips Zem – I absolutely love the foot pedals idea and am going to try it in my own house as soon as I can!

    Love your use of cork flooring too – fabulous!

  20. Rebecca Paul Rebecca Paul March 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I love this article. These tips are really accessible and easy to understand.

  21. Jasmin Malik Chua March 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Love your kids’ rooms, Zem! What style!

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