Thursday, February 08, 2007

Green with Envy: Go MIO

February is bringing about a ton of stories about eco-friendly home design. Natural Home magazine announced that they are building the first ever "green home" in NYC (converting a 90-year-old brownstone in Brooklyn--my late grandmother, who grew up in Brooklyn, would be amused), the Inquirer lead their Home & Design coverage with a story on putting sod on one's roof, while the New York Times is advocating dirt flooring. Did I mention that House and Garden magazine dedicated their February issue to eco-design?

The surge of coverage both highlights the obvious appeal of eco-friendly design (efficient energy bills, decent design quality and general good karma), but doesn't tend to be forthright about the downfalls (products can be prohibatively expensive, time consuming and, in the case of dirt flooring, requires a bit of education before a homeowner is okay with the idea).

Yes, we want to reduce the environmental impacts of our lifestyle without sacrificing style, but generally the costs scare us off. BusinessWeek summed this up nicely. If faced with deciding to purchase a snazzy new granite countertop versus a very efficient furnace, most of us will pick the countertop.

Eco-friendly MIO Culture, based here in Philadelphia, has a bunch of home decor stuff that is a more realistic alternative to sodding up the roofs and floors. As said before, I'm primarily a big fan of their 3-D wallpaper, specifically for long-ignored entry hallways. But the company earns points for their design consideration, but also for addressing affordability.