Shades of Green

Greening your home is the ultimate no-brainer—sort of. We all know it’s the right thing to do, and that it’ll save money, too. Doing it can be intimidating, though. What do the various options cost? What are the payback times? What about environmental impacts? What other considerations are there? How do we sort through the welter of information that’s out there? Where do we begin?

A new Web site,, helps to bring order to this chaos. The brainchild of Charlie Szoradi, a Philadelphia-based architect, has separate sections for tuning up your home (“light green”), remodeling various areas (“medium green”), and creating a high-performance residence (“deep green”).

Each section is built around a table that prioritizes the various options. Did you know that if you want to tune up your home, the fastest payback comes from a programmable thermostat? It costs about $115 but it will save you $180 annually. You recoup your investment in about seven months. When you remodel, a solar path and garden lights tops the list (2.1 years to payback). Want to go deep-green? Start with dual flush toilets and smart shingled roofing (6.7 years).

Greening your home is about more than money, of course. It’s also about conserving energy and raw materials, and style and function are important considerations, too. covers all these subjects. For instance, the section on insulated double walls states, “Think of an inefficient house as wearing a flannel shirt, an efficient house with an added sweater, and a high performance house with the shirt, sweater, and a parka. In addition to energy savings, you get better sound protection since the double wall diffuses the sound waves.” Also, the “deep sill and door frame bounce light into the room” and are a “great visual feature.” The website dispenses information concisely and effectively. “It’s a sonnet, not a novel,” says Szoradi. And speaking of visual features, the liberal use of photos works well, too.

Every topic on is buttressed by a list of action items. If you’re considering buying smart or replacement windows, you can calculate the savings for your home, see the J.D. Powers ranking of top window manufacturers, learn about tax credits, and more. “The ‘take action’ section gives people the ability to review a range of what is offered,” Szoradi says. “They also value the opportunity to see what I chose when I renovated my home.” was not born as a business project. Over the years when he was renovating his home, Szoradi did immense amounts of research. When friends suggested that he share what he’d learned, Szoradi decided to build a Web site. “This approach had the least friction. I didn’t have to pitch it to anyone. was a labor of love that turned into lots of nights working at 3 a.m.”

The result is an objective, user-friendly resource that can be a great help to anyone who’s thinking of greening their home. Here’s to love!

By Carl Frankel, Care2 Green Living contributing writer

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Destiny S.
Sherry E.5 years ago

Thank you for the post.

James M.
Past Member 7 years ago

PLUGGREEN.COM I think your website would be a great addition to ours. Let me know if you are intersted.

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Ted Norton
Ted Norton7 years ago

Great to see stories about people making a difference -- that is what Care2 is all about.

Michael Tyson
Michael Tyson7 years ago

I heard Charlie Szoradi speaking on Clear Channel radio on yesterday morning (Sunday); I was very impressed with his recommendations. The radio show hosts of 'Great GREEN Home Show' also seemed impressed and they have a lot of experience as well.

Geri Rice
Geri Rice7 years ago

Great article-Carl. It is inspiring to read about other American families trying to do their part to help the environment. It is even better that they were willing to share their story. I enjoyed how easy to following the information was on the greeandsave website--I didnt feel overwhelmed and left feeling a little more empowered.