Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Sustainable Design: An Intro to the Green Lifestyle

In today’s world where living a green life is all the rage and eco-friendly is labeled on every other product in the store, more and more people are looking for ways to sustain the earth, whether by shopping for groceries at the local farmers market or printing business cards on recycled paper. It’s no surprise that sustainable design has become the norm both professionally and personally. Major companies are joining the bandwagon, marketing products that are not only eco-friendly, but also perform better, saving time and money (think high efficiency washers and dryers). The catch is that consumers can lead the green life they seek while also saving precious money on their utilities. And, some of these products offer tax credits. What more could you ask for?

In a professional setting, especially in marketing and advertising, many clients are opting to print business cards, brochures and other collateral on papers dedicated to the environment. Neenah Paper offers a great line of papers called Neenah Green that promises to make clients feel like they are really making a difference. With papers that are FSC and Green Seal Certified, 100 percent Post Consumer and more, Neenah Green boasts a tagline that speaks volumes—“Effecting Change One Project at a Time”—and will make any client jump for joy if they are at all interested in changing their carbon footprint…even if it’s just something simple like printing business cards on paper that is manufactured without chlorine. Plus, Neenah does all of the hard work by providing a downloadable presentation containing a great list of terms that explains each of their green papers and certifications and how they benefit the earth. Green really has become easy.

Beyond just giving back in the workplace, eco-chicks (and fellows) may also want to fill their homes with locally grown produce, repurposed furniture and ethically-made jewelry. There are plenty of products to satisfy their needs. Knack Studios, a home furnishings design studio based in Greenville, S. C., offers repurposed furniture and found objects restyled to fit in with a modern, urban lifestyle. Barb Blair, founder and owner, has a superior eye for detail and a real talent for seeing an old, and sometimes broken, piece of furniture’s potential. With hours of sanding, painting and gluing, Barb can transform any item into a lovely work of art. In a recent blog post, a beautiful light fixture is pictured. Made of metal, the faint hint of rust and peeled paint pair perfectly with glass teardrops from an old chandelier. Barb reveals in the post that the light is made from reclaimed garden fencing. It doesn’t get much more eco-friendly than that.

Bario-Neal is another company committed to ethical practices. Based in Philadelphia, Bario-Neal makes jewelry that is handcrafted from reclaimed metals, ethically sourced stones and low-impact and environmentally conscious practices. Its jewelry is quaint, simple and often pretty, however, much of what they create has a rustic and industrial flair. From a knotted ring to lace hoop earrings, Bario-Neal is far from flashy, mixing brass with recycled yarn and often using rough diamonds for engagement rings. The best part is its packaging. Jewelry comes in recycled glass bottles and muslin bags, and fine jewelry and engagement rings come in wooden boxes. Imagine opening a package that is 100 percent committed to the earth. What’s more is that one percent of Bario-Neal’s proceeds go to the Association for Responsible Mining.

There are certainly other ways to live green: solar panels, organic foods, buying locally. Your dogs can even wear recycled collars made from old belts. What does living green boil down to? Most of the rave of having an eco-friendly existence isn’t about the label, but about feeling good by helping sustain the earth. I know that when I shopped at my local farmers market, it made me feel great. Consumers are moving in a new direction, and industries are following them, changing the way companies develop and market their products.

What are you doing to live green?