Try these tips for making your studio a greener place:
- Stay close to home. Walk or bike to your studio to reduce carbon emissions.
- Insulate properly. Poorly insulated walls, windows and doors waste tons of energy.
- Reuse a building. Save the resources that go into building a new studio by renovating an existing building.
- Use sun or wind power. Install a solar water heater. Check with your power company about purchasing renewable energy credits, which replace the power you use in your studio with wind-, sun- or water-generated electricity.
- Make the most of natural light. Add a north window, which will provide sufficient natural light all day for working. For nondaylight hours, use energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs (choose 5500K bulbs to simulate natural light) and recycle them properly after they burn out.
- Cover walls with safer paint. Paint studio walls with low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints. Traditional latex gives off harmful gases that lower air quality.
- Avoid vinyl floors. Replace vinyl floors—which release gases that contribute to indoor air pollution—with safer alternatives such as real linoleum (made from natural substances), reclaimed wood or ceramic tile.
- Green your roof. If your roof is flat and can support the weight, consider turning it into a green roof. The vegetation and its root system help to insulate your building, reduce storm water runoff, filter pollutants and will last longer than traditional petroleum-based membrane roofs.
Tamera Lenz Muente of Erlanger, Kentucky, writes about the visual arts for the newspaper CityBeat, which covers news and events in the Cincinnati, Ohio, metropolitan area. She’s also the curatorial assistant and exhibition coordinator for Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art.