Sustainability: Are You Doing Your Part?

Sustainability: Are You Doing Your Part?

Sustainability: Are You Doing Your Part? 150 150 Patrick Stewart Properties

As we launch into our next blog, we wanted to set the scene for our readers and ourselves on what it means to be sustainable.  The word has become overused and often its actual meaning gets lost in the shuffle.  So, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, sustainable is:

of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. 

In 2008 Palm Springs implemented a sustainability program focused on the idea that our earth (and our city) is a resource and we should make sure that we are using it in such a way that it is not depleted or permanently damaged.  A full commission meets monthly to develop and implement programs designed to give back to the environment.  These programs include large efforts such as the non-motorized transportation plan and the Palm Springs Sustainability Celebration, and also programs that can help make each one of us better stewards to our planet, including grants for edible landscaping, shredding and waste disposal opportunities, farmers market promotion and free energy and water saving kits to name just a few.

Each one of us can take a cue from the City of Palm Springs and make changes that, over time, can have a huge impact.  And what better place to start than in our own homes, the center of our daily lives?  A prime example of sustainability at home can be found in one of our current listed properties in Smoke Tree Ranch.  Featured on’s “Buy a LEED-certified Home,” this property has everything from high efficiency water heaters to a bank of solar panels that generates enough power to make it a net zero energy home to a roof tiled with Eco-Shake shingles made from recycled tires.

Of course, we understand that moving to a new home or employing all of these tactics at your current residence is probably not feasible, but this Silver LEED-certified home can serve as a reminder and a model for sustainable living.

Some things you can consider now or the next time a home upgrade is in order:

  • Landscaping- start a compost pile; xeriscape your yard with drought-tolerant plant varieties; and plant deciduous shade trees around your home to help with air conditioning bills
  • Reuse and recyclerepair broken tools and furniture instead of throwing them away; store baggies, paper and plastic bags, envelopes and file folders for more than one use; use both sides of printer paper for printing drafts and archival documents
  • Reduce- avoid buying paper plates and cups; choose compact fluorescents over regular incandescent light bulbs; fix leaky pipes; install or upgrade weather stripping on windows; and install low-flow toilets and shower heads
  • Make wise consumer choices- use rechargeable batteries; buy paper products made with recycled content or, better yet, lose the paper towels and use a washable cloth; use biodegradable trash bags and cups that are made of corn and dissolve over time; install energy saver appliances, such as front-loading washers and dryers and efficient dishwashers
  • Stay clean (really)- most natural cleaners on the market these days still have synthetic fragrances that end up in our water supply, instead use white vinegar which is capable of killing mold and bacteria, baking soda for deodorizing, and lemon juice and sodium borate, aka borax, for scrubbing walls and floors