Les (tenacious_snail) wrote in green_homes,

LEED Certification, some musings

Recently, my employer was LEED-certified "gold" for our main office and "platinum" for a newer satellite office. The platinum certification is the first one given to a building used by people in my employer's industry. Information on LEED. I'd seen that various things that I'm using in my house generate LEED credits, but hadn't realized how special the certification is. My employer had no Halloween celebration and isn't expecting to have bonuses, but we had a celebration for the LEED certification (with really yummy organic cheeses and fair trade chocolates). This would be yet another reason I'm glad to work here. (Those of you on my LJ also know that my employer got a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index.)

This also got me to thinking about how we choose our products and decide that something is worth the money or effort of the green choice. Some things, like double-pane low-E windows are a no brainer, in that they make the house more comfortable and cost less to operate-- immediate benefits to me that, say, sustainably harvested lumber isn't.

When I installed my plyboo kitchen counters, I went to a lot of effort to find a product to seal them that wasn't a petroleum product. I ended up with Citrus-Shield, a paste wax made with carnuaba, beeswax and citrus. I had to get it shipped directly to me, after driving to two stores that said they carried comparable products, but didn't. Applying it was difficult, which led to a drive to a car parts store to get a rotary buffer to buff it out. And doing THAT lead to using electricity. Sigh. And I wasn't happy and it made unattractive white rings, etc.

I decided to take most of the wax off with steel wool, and applied a bit of mineral oil (aka butcher block oil, which is a petroleum product). In five minutes, my counters looked gorgeous. And I suspect I used WAY more petrochemicals trying to use the non-petrochemical paste wax.

What can I do/could I have done to make a better choice? How do I know when something is going to be more effort and more cost than the benefit? What am I missing or overlooking here?
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