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Byline: Emily Henry, Staff Writer

The Living Green Home -- a traveling 2,500-square-foot model of an environmentally friendly house -- has rolled into the Los Angeles Convention Center for the weekend.

Recycled-glass wall tiles sparkle above the bamboo surfaces in the kitchen, and everything is bathed in the energy-efficient light of fluorescent bulbs. Even the dish towels are made from organic cotton.

As part of the 32nd annual Home Remodeling and Decorating Show and Eco-Expo, the Living Green Home exhibit is designed to inspire homeowners to make greener choices.

But this interactive "green house" is more than a showroom for the environmentally aware renovator.

"Anyone strolling through the show will walk into our exhibit and walk out with an idea of something they can do immediately," said host and renovation expert Steven J. Whittle.

From the refrigerator note scrawled in childlike handwriting to the labels printed on the food storage containers, hints and tips are scattered around the home's four eco-sensitive rooms. Visitors relaxing

on the soy-based couch or testing the new line of plant-based cleaning products also will be learninghow to conserve.

According to Whittle -- who was recruited for the tour after his gallant makeover efforts as co-host of the HGTV show "Save My Bath" -- simple, inexpensive changes can make a big difference.

"A do-it-yourselfer with very modest skills can go throughout the house and do simple maintenance things," said Whittle. Fixing holes in the roof or walls can conserve energy, he said, as can fitting new devices to old appliances.

"Installing a low-flow aerator on your shower head can reduce the amount of water you use by 20 to 30 percent," said Whittle.

Aerators produce a steady flow using less water by mixing air into the stream. They can be attached to faucets and shower heads and are a feature of the Living Green Home.

Other gadgetry in the exhibit ranges from light bulbs to sun screens, highlighting the idea that simple science can be a quick solution to energy- sucking devices such as air conditioners.

"Keeping it icebox-chilly isn't necessary," said Whittle. "Do the simple things -- make sure your windows and doors are tightly sealed. Insulation puts up a barrier between an area that is warmer and an area that is cooler."

Since the Living Green Tour began in February, the exhibit has visited five cities, with 15 more stops on the schedule.

Every city has its own conservation problems. In California, record temperatures and the first declared drought in 17 years have left Los Angeles looking more dry-brown than green. And Los Angeles-area residents already are being asked to find ways to reduce water use.

The exhibition house is dappled with short-term tips such as turning the water off while shaving and repairing leaky faucets, as well as long-term investments that can help locals conserve water without sweating it.

Using a natural desert landscape when designing or renovating a house, for example, is becoming an important practice in Southern California.

"I'm a big fan of xeriscaping," said Whittle. "Landscape using low-water plants as opposed to having the green lawn and a picket fence."

But the simplest motivation may be to pay attention to the water bill.

"If you are aware of how much you're paying for your water, then you might think about taking a shorter shower," said Whittle. "If we were all to decrease our consumption by 1 percent, that would have a significant effect nationwide."

Making the transition from wasteful to efficient could lead to savings on more than just the water and power bill. In the long term, it could bring gas and food prices down, too.

"It all goes back to the supply-and-demand equation," said Whittle. "Any action that we take to decrease the demand or increase the supply will lower prices."

The Living Green Tour was born from a monthly section of Better Homes and Gardens magazine dedicated to living green and helping the publication's 7 million-strong audience make greener choices day to day, from fashion to the groceries.

"We all have to make choices," said Whittle. "The more people who demand that there are recycled-content paper towels, the more recycled paper towels there are going to be."

Emily Henry (310) 540-5511, Ext. 380;


>When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

>Where: Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles.

>Admission: $7.75, $5 for seniors, free for children 12 and under.

>Information: (818) 557-2950,


The Living Green Home at the Los Angeles Convention Center is displaying a range of green gadgetry that can help homeowners begin reducing energy consumption immediately. Basic versions are reasonably priced, easy to install and can be found at most hardware outlets.


It never forgets to turn down the heat at night. (Starting at $35.)


Placed outside the window, these screens block up to 90 percent of the sun's rays. (Starting at $45.)


A faucet or shower-head aerator uses less water by mixing air with the stream. (Starting at $5.)


Bamboo is considered a renewable resource because it can be grown within three years, whereas oak takes more than 100 years to mature. (Starting at $1.99 per square foot.)


Lasting up to 10 years, an LED light bulb costs around 80 cents a year in electricity for 12 hours of light a day. (Starting at $35.)


5 photos, box


(1 -- color) Try recycled-glass tiles in the kitchen.

(2 -- color) Try LED light bulbs and soy-based furniture.

(3 -- color) Try low-flow aerators in the bathroom.

(4 -- color) Try plant-based cleaning products around the home.

(5) Every room in the house is bathed in the energy-efficient light of fluorescent bulbs.


>G-I-Y: GREEN IT YOURSELF (see text)
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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 28, 2008

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