We've always been one for efficiency in the home but to truly streamline—it's time to go green. All the benefits it is said to bring—preserving the planet's resources, creating a cleaner living environment, and saving money—have a near-universal appeal but in a topic this vast, not knowing where to focus is what tends to slow us down.
To tackle the unanswered questions and decipher the nitty-gritty details of green home design, we sent contributing editor and green devotee Jean Nayar into the field. After a year of interviewing leading eco-architects and designers and doing copious amounts of research on government regulations and LEED certification standards, she has found the path to the efficient and earth-conscience home and has mapped it out in our new book . "I looked at green design the way architects look at it," Nayar says, "Starting with the big picture of landscaping and groundwork and moving to the details of interiors, materials in the home, and even cleaning products, to make a primer that gives a good grounding in green design all around."
And if the process still seems overwhelming, "Just start small, and do something simple," says Nayar "and gradually do something green day-by-day or month-by-month." From the tax incentives to the long-term savings of little lifestyle tweaks, the payback of green design is tenfold. So whether you are laying down the groundwork, planning a major renovation, re-decorating a room or just selecting a new set of sheets, check out some of our favorite spaces and smartest tips from Green Living By Design.