Carol St. Amand Romer, owner of A New Beginning, an Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Day Spa in Bethel, CT, is committed to the environment. In fact, “staying environmentally aware” is one of the bullet points in her mission statement. Offering Aveda products and services was a given, but she went a step further in order to decrease her ecological footprint, from using low-VOC paint on the walls to choosing cork floors, a “green” alternative to traditional flooring. Research shows that indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air, and according to the EPA, paints and finishes are the number one culprit because they release low-level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. For Romer, low-VOC paint was a no-brainer, but that was just the beginning (pun intended). Choosing cork flooring made sense because the cork is manufactured from the bark of cork oak trees that grow in the Mediterranean. It’s not only harvested by hand to ensure the health of the individual trees, but the bark actually grows back, ready to be harvested again in the next nine years. What’s more, the texture becomes smoother with every harvest. To demonstrate her commitment to the environment, Romer shares her “environmental vocabulary” with her clients and online. Here are some of the highlights.
1. Eco-friendly shelving is made of recycled aluminum and wheat board, which is created from wheat straw, a rapidly renewable resource—no out-gassing solvents, such as urea formaldehyde are added during the manufacturing process.
2. Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs have several advantages over incandescent light bulbs: They last from 8 to 10 times longer, use about 75 percent less energy, and produce 90 percent less heat while delivering more light per watt. Replacing one incandescent light bulb with an energy saving CFL bulb reduced carbon monoxide emission to the atmosphere by 1,000 pounds.
3. We used reclaimed lumber from old buildings to make furniture and cabinets. The benefit to the planet is that good pieces that would otherwise be destroyed are taken and repurposed for greener living and preservation.
4. Our carpet is made from recycled soda bottles. For the record, 40 two-liter bottles are recycled per square yard of carpeting.