Resources for the Washington DC area




Web Sites to Help You Live a Greener Lifestyle





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It's getting very confusing trying to figure out what is a green product these days. There's a lot of "green washing" going on. That's when companies try to trick the consumer into thinking their products are good for the environment, when in fact, they aren't.

So, what are we to do. Well, there are a few online resources that can help, at least a little bit. It's best to think of them as starting points, they do your own research to narrow your choices and learn more.

Some companies are really good at providing responses to questions about things like the energy use of a product. Other companies might not directly answer your question, and they might lose a sale as a result.

Here's a few sites that might be helpful: CNET has begun measuring power use of some products like TVs and computer monitors. This information is really hard to find otherwise, so it's a real gold mine for these product categories. This is program of the federal government. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's not too helpful. Where it really shines is on home appliances. Products like refrigerators and clothes washers are listed in charts showing the amount of electricity products would use in a year. In some categories, the most efficient products use as little as 1/3 the electricity of popular competitors. In some cases, you don't have to pay a big premium for more efficient models. One problem with this system is that stores usually don't have the big yellow Energy Guide labels in about half of the floor models. So it really makes sense to use the Energy Star website before you go to the store. Sales people generally seem uninformed about which of their models are the most efficient. So you might want to call a store first and tell the sales person that you are looking for only the most efficient products. Hopefully, the sales people will do some checking and call you back. has a nice, simple way to help you figure out what's the best computer equipment for you. Products are given Gold, Silver or Bronze ratings based on 29 criteria. EPEAT is a program of the Green Electronics Council, which is non-profit.

Gaiam is a retailer from Boulder, Colorado that's been around since 1988. They are good for organic clothing and bedding, yoga supplies, and smaller energy efficient devices.

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics looks at the amount of toxic materials used in electronic products and the companies' policies.

Greenzer This is a well laid out site, with lots of product categories. It looks like their main goal is to get you to buy stuff through them, but they do point out the criteria that applies to  a given category. And they cover a lot of product categories.

In the DC area, two specialty stores are Amicus Green and Eco-Green Lliving. Both have building and home improvement related products like paint, bamboo flooring and the like.
























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