Our local environmentally friendly interior design store is going out of business. Three people have responded to me and said, “Oh, they are just too expensive, particularly in these days.” This is always, without fail, accompanied with that little “know it all” smile; I know you know the one.
After 35 years of being with an environmentally GREEN architectural firm, I can tell you without a doubt this is not true. It is the local, little guy who is doing the green work that is too expensive for us to lose.
We are replacing our 20 years old professional range, which has no replaceable/fixable parts available any more. We have taken 3 months to work out all the details, to find a truly energy efficient, fuel efficient range, with replaceable/fixable parts and will last over 15 years. It took a great deal of research and only one brief visit to a big box store to know we would not be purchasing anything that they have to offer.
Yes, they appear to be cheaper and they are all standard sized. But not one of them has good enough energy efficiency ratings for our house. They pollute the inside environment at unhealthy levels when is use even with their star ratings. Every 5 years the company stops making replaceable/fixable parts – one would need to purchase a whole new range about every 7 years. And we do just that and expect that to be the way.
“No one fixes these things anymore!”
One of the nicest parts of IT Girl’s apartment is her 1947 O’Keefe and Merritt Gas range. Still working with amazing efficiency – people are hunting for these workhorses all the time they are so good.
A local small appliance retailer has been working with us for the past 3 months. He assisted us in finding the range that we eventually chose and which met our standards and goals. This range will not be in a landfill or appliance recycling center within 7 years and we will not be living with parts of a range that do not function properly. It was not made in China from materials we shipped there. We have found 5 local construction workers who know how to work with an environmentally friendly home. Each has found a way to create greener standards for their own homes. We all have done our research and our homework.
These local people form a network and they are willing to come back until everything is working right. These are all people who are dedicated to making the environment healthy and being wise in how they spend their money. We will continue to share our knowledge and expertise, because we not only want to get the best deal, we want to keep our world healthy and friendly for those next generations. When stores go under which are dedicated to helping us do the research and stay healthy – this is a tremendous loss to a community. It can cost us all.
In the process, we have found a company just 60 miles away that recycles materials into the most efficient, beautiful, useful kitchen countertop material we have ever seen – and their factory employs a large number of people and it meets our environmental standards. Now I know it is not a slab of Brazilian granite, polished and formed in India and then shipped here to be installed – and yet it has a healthier lifespan and tremendous beauty.
In most cases, I think we will pay more upfront for the product, and if we add in the health and environmental cost then I think that choice will prove to be the more cost effective.
None of the individuals who judged us about our purchases from our local store had ever been inside the store, it just looked too expensive.
I think we need to change our thinking and not be so thoughtless.
Have you experienced having to make long term decisions on a budget and yet still getting exactly what you want? Do you know the health risks of your appliances? How deep do you dive when researching for something needed?
If you purchase anything from Amazon or from Powell’s, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.