Sustainable Home, Sustainable Future

Sustainability is defined in World Book Encyclopedia* as "the ability of an activity or way of life to continue over the long term without exhausting resources, damaging the environment, or harming people." In other words, all those "eco-friendly" tips for your home - recycling, composting, growing food and herbs in your garden, installing solar panels, etc. - help create a more sustainable living environment.

Santa Clara County's Office of Sustainability, opens a new window provides a number of articles and links to resources for community members interested in learning about sustainability and upgrading their homes. It's a great place to get started going green around the house. Not just with recycling, but also lights and electricity use, water, landscaping, and more.

And sustainability certainly isn't limited to residential buildings! Owners and builders of commercial buildings, such as small offices, can find even more resources for energy efficiency with the Integrated Systems Packages, opens a new window developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). These free downloads are designed for eco-friendly and cost-saving renovations for whole and partial building, and include resources such as template specifications, applicability guides, functional test protocols, and more.

What kind of renovations are considered "sustainable"? Here are a few cost-effective and energy-efficient additions to contemplate for your home.

  • Solar panels: Power your home or building without fossil-fuel and lower your electricity bill.
  • LED lights: These lightbulbs tends to last longer and generate less heat.
  • Skylights and sun tunnels/solar tubes: Brighten up the room with natural light! Some sun tunnels may also have a solar-charged option for lighting after the sun goes down.
  • Heat pumps: Reduce your carbon footprint and electricity bill by using thermal energy generated from the outside environment.

Look up reviews for solar panels, heat pumps, and more in Consumer Reports to determine what works in your home and budget! Consumer Reports publications are available for free when you sign in with your library card and PIN; search articles from 1991 to present in the library's online archive or read the digital magazine in Flipster. You can also find evaluations and ratings for local services with the Bay Area Checkbook, available for in-library use only on library computers and (SCCL) Wi-Fi.

*Chertow, Marian, and David Nemerson. "Sustainability." World Book Advanced, World Book, 2022, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.