Green House Girl 1: The Complexity of Green Living

| 10/14/2008 4:38:25 PM

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This week: I enter the Show House for the first time and learn that hair clip + hard hat = beauty disaster.

When my college friend Robyn Griggs Lawrence asked me if I wanted to blog about Natural Home’s Show House in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn—right around the corner from my apartment in Park Slope—I said sure. “This’ll be easy money,” I thought to myself. “I know a lot about the environment. I recycle. I painted my apartment with water-based paint. Cha-ching!”

I soon learned that “green building” is more complex than I’d ever imagined. My first dose of reality came while I was reading through back issues of Natural Home to brief myself on the Show House. “Photovoltaic panels will provide electricity,” I read. Photovoltaic panels? I quickly consulted Wikipedia. “Photovoltaics is a solar-powered technology that uses solar cells to convert light into electricity,” said Wiki. Well, that seemed clear enough. I read on.

 “The house will be using materials such as low-VOC water-based....” VOC? I consulted Wiki again, and found that VOC stands for “volatile organic compounds.” 

“They’ve laid the groundwork for the HVAC systems....” I Wikied “HVAC,” only to learn that it’s the acronym for heat/ventilation/air conditioning, as everyone else on the planet apparently knows. (Hey, I’m a renter. My “V” is opening windows.)

The next day, armed with my new greenish wisdom, I headed over to the Show House to meet up with Robyn et al. I haven’t had a car for 20 years (I’m “green,” I tell you! Green!), so I turned on my iPod, cranked up “Car Wash,” and boogied over using my environmentally correct two feet. Fifteen minutes later, I spied a corner building encased in scaffolding. Robyn was standing outside talking to a cute guy in a hard hat, whom I later learned was construction supervisor Dave Moreno of Greenstreet. (I asked, and no, he isn’t related to Academy-Award-winning actress Rita Moreno. He had never even heard of Rita Moreno. I guess she isn’t “green.”)