Eco-Friendly Home Tips from the Living Green Tour

atch this video as we take you behind the scenes at the Living Green Tour traveling exhibition, sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens and Green Works, for a look at some great eco-friendly ideas and products for your home, including:

    • Improve Indoor Air Quality: Use low or no VOC paints, cleaners, and other products in your home. Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to provide proper ventilation.
    • Save Energy: Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. Buy energy efficient appliances that carry the Energy Star logo.
    • Conserve Water: Replace old toilets, showerheads, and faucets, and appliances with water saving models.
    • Eco-Friendly Products: Buy products made from recycled materials or renewable resources, such as bamboo and soybeans.
  • Recycle: Use dedicated recycling bins for paper, plastic, metal, and glass to recycle household trash. Reuse furniture and other items, rather than throwing them away.

Danny Lipford: This week Today’s Homeowner is on the road in Los Angeles to dig us some great new ways to make your home more environmentally friendly. Stick around while we check out a special exhibit at the LA Home Show that features tons of ideas to make it easier for you to live green.

Los Angeles, like many cities across the country, has its share of home shows. What a great place to send time looking around all the hundreds of booths and getting some ideas of how to improve your home.

Well, the home show that is setting up right now inside the Los Angeles convention center is one that is showcasing a ton of new green products to allow you to live a greener lifestyle, plus they have a very special feature inside we are about to show you.

It is called the Better Homes and Gardens and Green Works Living Green Tour. As the name implies, this program is designed to educate people about making their lives and homes more environmentally friendly.

The stop here in LA is the 6th of a 15th city tour and in each stop along the way, Steve Whittle, the host of the tour helps people discover how to make their lives a bit greener.

Steve, I know you have been traveling around with the living green tour for several weeks, a lot of different cities. How is everything working out?

Steve Whittle: It’s been going really well. I’m getting a little confused with San Fran, San Diego, Las this, Las that; but the response from the public, the quality of the questions, it’s been absolutely amazing.

Danny Lipford: Well that’s good and it’s amazing how big the whole green thing is and the displays that you have here, I can see outside all of the exterior finishes, doors, windows and so forth. But, what’s taking place inside?

Steve Whittle: We frame the conversation on how to live green by two variables: how much is it going to cost you, and how much time is it going to take to do whatever that activity is. So we talk inside about, we give you tips on how to live green today. It’s a habit that costs you nothing that you can do immediately.

And how to live green tomorrow, which is activities that will cost you for say under $100 bucks that you can do over the course of the next month or so. And then lastly how to live green in the future, those things that you need to budget for and you do over the course of the next four or five years.

Danny Lipford: That’s a great way to kind of exhibit everything and explain all of that information. I know you are also real busy, your booths about to fill up here. You got a lot to do on the inside.

Steve Whittle: I’ve got about 15 seconds until I have to give my talk, so I will catch you in a little while.

Danny Lipford: Okay, sounds good.

Steve Whittle: So you can have a unit for your bathroom, a unit for your kitchen.

Danny Lipford: While Steve finishes up educating everybody over in the laundry room, I want to share with you something here in the kitchen area. One of the most important aspects of living green is improving your indoor air quality.

Now, that starts with proper ventilation in your home both in the kitchen, as well as your bathroom, because these are the two rooms that have the most moisture content. So, getting rid of that moisture will reduce the chance of mold and mildew forming and will make it easier for you to heat and cool your home.

Another thing that proper ventilation will allow you to do is to rid your home of VOCs, volatile organic compounds. You have probably heard that term quite a bit lately. And what that basically is, is an outgassing of different materials that may have been used to build your home. That might be caulk, might be adhesives, some types of floors really admit a lot of VOCs. Countertops, even paint can create a problem with the harmful fumes in your house.

Now, you’d be surprised, how many harmful fumes and VOC’s that are contained right here in all the household cleaners you have tucked away under that kitchen sink. So anytime you are building or remodeling, think about using materials that have low or no VOC’s. You can also do that when you are buying cleaners.

Today consumers are interested in taking small steps to live a more natural lifestyle, including using natural cleaners. However, they have found many natural cleaners were expensive, available only in specialty stores, and often did not work quite as well as traditional cleaners.

The folks at Clorox have been working on natural cleaners for years, but wanted to get it just right. What they came up with was Green Works line of natural cleaners, available even in your everyday grocery stores.

This brand includes five different cleaning products that use plant based ingredients from coconuts and lemons. These cleaners are all formulated to be biodegradable and non-allergenic. Plus, the packaging is all recyclable. That means you can clean almost any surface in your home with natural cleaners that get the job done.

Choosing the right flooring, like they have done here from the Living Green Tour, will also help you lower the VOCs in your home. Another great idea, very easy to improve your indoor air quality, just buy a few more plants. Allen has another one for you.

Allen Lyle: Another way to clean the air in your home is with an air filter. Most of you are familiar with this. We want to talk about this but why are we outside? Because I have a special helper with me today.

Hi, Ava. I want to tell people why they should not buy one of these. Let’s look at this. Will you pour some sand on this for me? Pour that down. All right watch this. Look down there. Look at all the sand falling through. You see? Wow, you know what, these things only stop about 10-15% of any airborne pollutants, which means you’re breathing everything else in.

Oh goodness, when you think about up to two gallons of air you breathe in every minute. Everybody, spend a little extra money and don’t buy these little 99 cent filters, get one that’s got some carbon or HEPA filter, or one that has electrostatically charged fibers. Believe me, you will be breathing a breath of fresh air if you do.

Hey, while Ava and I build a little bit of a sand castle, why don’t you check out this week’s Simple Solution?

Joe Truini: Low voltage landscaping lighting is a great way to improve the night time curb appeal of your home. But, there is one problem. These fixtures tend to flicker and go out, even when the bulb is good. Like that’s what’s happen here with this fixture here and let me show you why.

Inside the fixture itself, are metal contacts and over time they can get corroded and rusted and they prevent the electrical contact from lighting up the bulb. First thing you need to do is unplug the system form the transformer so there is no power going to the fixture.

Then take an emery board, just a common emery board you would use to file your nails, and in this case I had to trim the end with scissors so it would fit inside the fixture. Put it in there and just use it like a little piece of sandpaper to clean the corrosion from inside the metal contacts.

Then, take some automotive ignition sealer and spray a little bit right inside and replace the bulb. What the automotive ignition sealer will do is seal out the moisture and prevent corrosion form coming back. Now if you do this at least once a year, you should not have any other problems.

Danny Lipford: This week we are at the Los Angeles home show and we’re right in the middle of this incredible booth it’s called the Better Homes and Gardens and Green Works Living Green Tour. It’s been traveling all over the country educating homeowners on the latest in green trends.

And when you are faced with having to buy a few appliances around your home make sure they carry the Energy Star ratings. Especially if you are having to buy a washing machine or dryer because these can use a lot of your energy dollars. But by ensuring that they have the Energy Star rating, you’ll know you are getting a very energy efficient appliance.

But you know there are a lot of things you can do around your home that won’t cost you any money but can save you a lot of money, such as wash your clothes in cold water as much as you can, and also air dry your laundry as much as you can. Because if you are able to use your dryer less, you are going to save some of those energy dollars.

Now another thing that uses a lot of those energy dollars around you home is heating your water. That’s why a lot of consumers are finding out how energy efficient a tankless water heater can be.

Allen Lyle: Did you know that for every energy dollar you spend on your home, a full 25% of it goes to heating water? So it just makes sense for you to try to find some way to reduce that cost, right?

A tankless water heater that gives you hot water on demand is the best solution. These have been around for several years and of course the biggest complaint is that they cost about three times as much as the conventional heater. But they are still worth the cost because of the money you are going to save in heating water.

To better illustrate it, with a conventional water it is like trying to heat this glass of water with all of these candles. And to keep the water hot, the candles have to keep burning, or you’re continuing to pay for energy.

With a tankless, however, and don’t try this at home; the energy is expended only when you need it. And look at this, almost instantly you have that hot water, it’s on demand, and when you are done, you are not using energy.

Danny Lipford: I just love the simple tips that allow you to live green. Like this one. Did you know that you can save up to eight gallons of water a day if you turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth?

And, if you install a low-flow showerhead, you can save up to 12 gallons of water per shower. Now, if you’ve ever tried taking a shower where you had one of the older versions of low-flow showerheads? It wasn’t much of a shower. But technology has improved that and you can really have a pleasant shower experience with some of the newer models.

Now, speaking of newer models, one fixture in the house that has kindof undergone quite a change over the years is the old toilet. The new high efficiency toilets use at least 60% less water than the older models. You know we have shared with you all kinds of green tips so far, but there is a lot more here.

In addition to the two water saving plumbing fixtures you have already seen, Kohler has also equipped this exhibit with a low-flow kitchen faucet to improve efficiency in the busiest room in the house. On top of that, literally, the backsplashes and the countertops are made from recycled glass, so fewer new materials are used.

Just like the washer and dryer we looked at earlier, the Bosch kitchen appliances are also Energy Star models, so this room is equally efficient. Even the cabinets in this kitchen are earth friendly, because they are made from bamboo plywood—one of the planets most sustainable wood materials.

We talked about choosing the right flooring. Well, for this family room that also meant bamboo, finished in a rich dark tone. The wall coverings are made from natural sea grass and even the furniture has a green pedigree. The Natural LEE line uses sustainable wood frames, water based finishes, natural and organic fabrics, and soy based cushions.

This exhibit is literally overflowing with great ideas, products and materials to make your home more green. And speaking of that, this week’s Best New Product may help make your garden a little greener.

Emilie Barta: Whenever you are improving the curb appeal of your home, you can pretty much plan on using a wheelbarrow to haul around your heavy items. But don’t you agree that working with heavy items is a lot easier when you don’t actually have to lift them?

OK, I know it is not the most profound statement I have ever made, but you agree with me, right? Plus, it is great reason to show you this week’s Best New Product. The Vigoro four-wheel Dumping Cart. Think about this, when you use a wheelbarrow, you still have to lift the handles to dump it, which can be hard on your back no matter what shape you are in.

Well, this cart eliminates that backache with a simple pull of a lever. This Vigoro Dumping Cart is easy to pull, hard to tip over, and it will haul and dump 300 pounds per load.

Now, if there is one drawback, it’s the fact that you have to do a little assembly work before you can use it. But for just a few bucks more than this $60 dollar retail price, you can have your home center put it together for you. That means you can roll it out the door and put it to work as soon as you get home.

Danny Lipford: This week Today’s Homeowner is in Los Angeles at the LA home show having a blast touring a very elaborate exhibit called the Better Homes and Gardens Green Works Living Green Tour. Now, throughout the exhibit are great ways to adopt a greener lifestyle and examples of why it just makes sense.

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to save our natural resources, and it is even easier when you are setup like this. Now, these are rolling bins that will accept all of the recyclables that you may have around your home and you can just throw them right in here, and push them right away. You have one for glass, one for aluminum and steel, one for paper, as well as one for all the plastics that you may need.

But what’s cool around the booth are little fact sheets that will tell you why it makes sense. Like this one: Recycled glass can become food containers, tiles, landscaping pebbles, and road surfacing, and even countertops. The countertops are made completely of recycled glass that would have landed in the landfills.

Now, there is another aspect of green living called repurposing or reusing and it is just a little bit different than recycling.

Samantha Ashhadi: The great thing about repurposing is giving an old item a new life. And, for example, over here we have an old door and some sawhorses that we turned into a desk. And right here, this used to be an old baby station, actually.

And just by a few new add ons, we turned it into an entertainment center. And right here, we have some old pipes, and some shelves, and as you can see it is a bookshelf. So just by repurposing instead of throwing the things away, you can pretty much find a new purpose for it and it’s great.

Allen Lyle: If you want to incorporate green ideas in your home, make them fun. We are going to recycle newspapers a the fun way and I have recruited some volunteers to do that.

All right gang, are you ready to do this? Here’s how we are going to make it fun. Everyone’s got a job, and everyone has to have a different name. It’s not going to be Ben, Caleb, and Lilly Marie. You have the string, you are going to be String Cheese. All right, you have to snip, so you will be Captain Cutaway. All right, and then you are Bundle O’Nerves. How’s that?

OK, let’s do this. Let’s get some string and we are going to take about two pieces six feet long. Keep going, keep going, keep going. Where are you Captain Cutaway? Boom, right there for me. There you go. All right, we’ve already got another one cut there. Allright Bundle O’Nerves. One down, one over here.

Here’s what we are doing. We want to make transporting it to the curb easy so we are using a little red wagon. Using the twine on the bottom so that you can already have it ready to tie up—there you go. Bring the string over, tie it in two directions. Once it is done, it is in the wagon, it’s bundled up, it’s ready to take to the curb. Piece of cake and everybody has fun.

Danny Lipford: Green has been quite a buzz word over the last few years, and one of the strongest building trends I’ve seen in my 30 years. But homeowners still flock to these type of home shows to find out just a little bit more.

Melanie Martin: I’ve seen a lot of really neat things, a lot of sustainable things like wood cabinetry, soybean furniture, tankless water heaters, the low flow faucets and fixtures. Actually, I like the triple pane windows because they cut down on heating and cooling costs, and then also the noise reduction. And you can also get the curtains and things to go inside the window.

Brad Davis: I came here to look specifically for things that are good for the home, green for the home, the new technology. Being a contractor myself, I am extremely interested in a lot of this stuff, most people are. People are turning towards it. There can be an awful lot of money savings and it’s just simply good for the environment and those that will come after us.

George Harvey: I love showers. Long showers and going through the green house that was one of the first things. The water restrictor thing, and it’s maybe my last vice that probably I am not going to give up. I am all for as much as we can, obviously, to save the environment. I am not sure that we are all going about it in the right way. But I love to see what’s coming down the pipe that’s for sure.

Sherilyn Correa: The bamboo flooring is cool. I have never realized there is cork flooring as well, and the benefits of that. And preventing trees from getting destroyed and what not. That is real interesting for me.

Danny Lipford: It’s obvious from those comments that homeowners are more tuned into their homes than ever before. It’s also apparent with the great questions we get from you, our viewers.

Lisa: Danny, I am afraid I might have lead paint in my home. How can I make sure, and what can I do about it?

Danny Lipford: Even though the EPA banned the use of lead based paints in 1978, any older home still has the possibility of containing some lead paint. Now, not just on the inside of your home, but the soil in and around the home can also contain some lead dust from exterior paint.

Now, children are more prone to lead poising, because they you know often put their hands or other objects in their mouth and these objects can have a little lead dust on them. Now lead poising can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, even headaches.

Now, you can purchase very simple tests from your local home center to see if you have lead paint in your home. Now if you find some, you’ll want to make sure you hire a trained professional to remove the paint and you probably need to plan on spending a few days away from your home while they take care of it.

Danny Lipford: This week we have been on the road following the Better Homes and Gardens and Green Works Living Green Tour, and it’s been a very busy trip. This 2,500-square-feet exhibit is packed with great ways to live green.

Whether you are building a new home, remodeling one, or just trying to reduce the environmental impact of the one you live in, there is something here for everyone. From earth friendly tips that cost absolutely nothing to great new products that can help make the green lifestyle much more attainable.

Well, Steve, I’ll have to say there is more useful information in this booth than just about any booth I have ever seen. I am sure the response has been great.

Steve Whittle: It absolutely has Danny, and you saying that makes me know that we have accomplished our mission. Now we just have to do that in nine more cities.

Danny Lipford: I know it must be quite a task to make it all around. If the tour does not make it to your town, you can go to our website at and find out all the great information that we learned this week. And, we are glad you have been able to be with us. Hey, let’s see what else is around here.

Steve Whittle: Absolutely.

Danny Lipford: This house has a great view, but the owners need a room to enjoy it from. Next week a sunroom addition.


  1. A few weeks ago, Danny had a homemade recipe for removing wallpaper. I’ve spent 2 hours trying to find the correct episode on this websit but was unable to find it. Is there any way to obtain this information or the correct episode? It would be greatly appreciated!!

    Oh by the way, I love his show. He thorougly explains things but in laymans language that we can understand.


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