Image from zirconicusso, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sustainability is key. This message is everywhere – your inbox, social media, the news and workplace conversations – but how often does it change behavior? If you’re like many people, you may wonder, “What difference can one person make?” Maybe your actions alone won’t change it all, but the monumental shifts that need to occur won’t happen if we as individuals don’t do our part.
Mother Teresa once wrote, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” And that’s what this situation calls for – some serious ripples.
What Can We As Professionals Do?
As kitchen and bath professionals, we face a similar challenge. How much focus do we put on green initiatives, and will the results make a dent in the global scheme of things? Whether selecting more sustainable product materials, reducing flow rates or designing a greener space, there are many decisions and implications that go along with each of these changes. As our favorite fuzzy frog has been reminding us for decades, it’s not always easy being green, but it is critically important.
Just as one person’s actions create ripples, so do one company’s actions. We have a responsibility as the trendsetters and thought leaders of the industry to set a strong example for our peers, consumers, employees and the future leaders of the world by caring enough to invest the time and resources in creating healthier, more efficient kitchens and bathrooms. The incremental changes we make to our products and designs cause ripples of their own in the minds and behavior of the end user.
The Future Looks Good
The good news is that we are making progress and shifts are happening. In a recent conversation with Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and co-founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and author of the recently released book Greenthink, he shared the following insight: “With regard to sustainability in kitchen and baths, I think that there has been tremendous progress over the past 10 years in particular in electrical, gas and water efficiency, as well as the materials and technologies that develop those product categories.”
Fedrizzi believes that “the future holds even more promise,” and that “along with traditional environmentally focused design goals, we will begin to see a greater emphasis on human health and wellness. The lighting, air and water quality and material selection will be backed up by Health Product Declarations that more and more manufacturers will offer as the market becomes more aware and begins to demand them. Where we live is really the only place we can control – and making that place as healthy as possible will be a goal for most homeowners.”
Being on both sides of the fence – as a professional and a consumer – we have the unique power in our businesses to positively influence the decisions that will improve the health and efficiency of our own home. What greater example to set and what greater gift to be able to give yourself and your loved ones?
So as you think about “being green” in 2016, don’t think of yourself as one person or one company. In the case of sustainability, the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. Our actions and decisions do make ripples and those ripples do make a difference. Commit to making a few changes – no matter how small they may be – that will create a greener environment in your little corner of the world. And with the convergence of our collective ripples, we will see the bigger shifts taking hold.
– Tracy Dacko is the head of marketing for VIGO Industries (www.vigoindustries.com), a kitchen and bath products manufacturer, and a longtime advocate of sustainable practices.