It’s not easy being green, but when my husband and I decided to start a business that would provide a spectrum of integrative health options, including Physical Therapy, Yoga, and Yoga Therapy, it became clear that going green was an important consideration. The question became how green could we realistically go with the green ($$$) we had available? After all, it is all about balance.
Why green? Sure, going green is a popular notion these days, but beyond feeling as we were doing the “right” thing, the reasons we considered green options in setting up our business included:
- Providing a healthy environment within our building.
- Limiting our carbon footprint and supporting sustainability.
- Conserving the other green, our $$$ bottom line!
SO, what steps did we take to be greener at Posabilities?
- Heat – One of the biggest decisions we had to make in retrofitting our building was whether to keep the oil burning furnace and accompanying oil tank in the building. I felt very strongly about not having an oil tank in the building due to the potential of fumes that can be irritants to people. After considering all of our options and the associated cost, we settled on a high-efficiency propane furnace. Additionally, as we increased the insulation in the building, we used insulation which is green by being brown. (www.ecobatt.us/sustainability.html). Lastly, we do not run a “hot yoga” studio but keep room temperatures between 74-76 F during yoga classes.
- Flooring – About ⅔ of the building did not have flooring other than the cement slab, so we had many options in this area. Much of the clinic side of the building was already completed with laminate wood flooring, so we matched this flooring in the rest of the clinic rather than tearing up the existing flooring and adding it to the local landfills. In the studio, we immediately ruled out carpet due the chemical fumes that carpets emit, the potential allergens, and difficulty in keeping it clean and healthy over the long haul. In the studio space, we went with hardwood, which is easier to keep clean, and allergen free, is a replenishable natural resource that can last for 100+ years. (woodfloors.org/environmental.aspx). In the lounge, we went with Marmoleum click tiles. These are cork blocked linoleum tiles. Linoleum is natural and is one of greenest floors on the market. It’s bio-based, highly durable, non-toxic, anti-microbial and easy to maintain. (www.forboflooringna.com/Environment/Marmoleum-the-Environment/)
- Paint – Next came the walls. I wanted deep, rich colors, and was very happy when I could find what I wanted in Behr’s zero VOC paints. VOC are volatile organic compounds found in many paints that can emit toxins into the air for years after application. Zero VOC paints are much healthier during application and after.
- Furnishings – Though we did buy a number of new furnishings for the space, where we could we re-purposed furniture that we no longer needed in our home, or that we were able to buy used. We found our check-in desk on Craig’s List (maine.craigslist.org/) and I was pleasantly surprised, when I found out that the seller came from my mother’s home town (8 hours away), and quite possibly was a distant relative! Additionally, we were able to find a truck full of great used furniture at surplus business assets in Sanford. (www.buy-used.net/) Again, we had a great conversation with the owner, who finds new homes for perfectly lovely and high quality office furnishings.
So, as it turns out, being green isn’t really all that hard. We will continue with our intention to be as green as possible by using green cleaning products, using our filtered water cooler – rather than selling water in plastic bottles, and making as many green decisions in our building and business as possible. Please visit the links that I have shared to find ways that you can improve your health in and outside of your home, and limit your footprint!
“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.
You may find her at Facebook.com/posabilities4u, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and Google+.