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5 Questions for: HGTV’s green guy Carter Oosterhouse

The P.R. guy asked me if I could include a photo of Carter in this post. And I'm like, are you kidding? That's the whole point of the post!Los Angeles resident Carter Oosterhouse is the “green face” of HGTV. He’s a former “Trading Spaces” star and the host of “Carter Can” (which introduces a green element into every episode). Carter is launching a new design show for the network called “Red, Hot & Green.” Plus, Carter is hosting HGTV’s Green Home Giveaway special on April 22.

Here are 5 Questions 4 Carter:

1. How did you get interested in green living?

When I was growing up in Michigan, my mom and dad were very big into nutrition and wellness. They really instilled the value of taking care of oneself. Naturally, this translated into a respect for the environment. My parents were “green” before it was the thing to do or even called that.

2. How have you gone green in your own home?

I’ve done simple things like weatherproofing, as well as using low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints. I’ve also turned the yard into a hardscape and brought in plants indigenous to the area.

3. Why are some people resistant to green building?

I think it’s hard for people to accept something that they don’t completely understand. Since using green products is not something that’s fully developed, people can be a little apprehensive about jumping on the bandwagon. I get it. Going all green at one time is a bit daunting and perhaps not very practical. My message on “Carter Can” to people is it’s OK to go one step at a time – do whatever works for them. It’s a lifestyle.

4. What’s the first thing someone should do to go green at home?

The first thing that people should do is to seal up their home with weather stripping, use no or low VOC paints. Also they can save on energy costs simply by using CFL’s and Energy Star appliances.

5. What is your new show, “Red, Hot & Green,” going to be about?

Premiering in June on HGTV, “Red, Hot & Green” is bringing in amazing design that people will be attracted to, but green materials will be the foundation of our renovation. Our whole idea is not to scare people away, but show them that you don’t have to sacrifice beautiful design when using green products.

5 Comments on 5 Questions for: HGTV’s green guy Carter Oosterhouse

  1. richard schumacher // April 6, 2008 at 1:26 pm // Reply

    Green, green, green,… all we have to do to be green is pay for it. If you live in a single-family house and want to do something meaningful and immediate, arrange for 100% wind power from your electric utility. Then install electric water heaters and heat pumps.

  2. Oh please. I spend 20 hours a week working on the Environmental Justice movement, which is entirely geared towards a new environmental policy which elevates lower income people out of dependence and poverty, so spare me your assaults until you do more than me, ok?
    First of all, there are already 5 million articles, shows, books and PSAs about weather stripping and CFL bulbs, so my comment stands. Anyone who wants to know about these things already knows. Anyone who wants to change is already changing. What is lacking is VISION. While people pat themselves on the back for changing one lightbulb, glaciers are melting and the utilities are making big moves to perpetuate total dependence on themselves in a “Renewable” energy market.
    This is terrible for all people, but especially lower-income people, because they will be hit hardest when the true costs of fossil fuels are no longer externalized and start to be included in the price of consumption. This socialization of costs and privatization of profits has been happening for 100 years, so if you think I am demanding “instant gratification,” guess again. We don’t have another 100 years to watch TV about caulking and complain about people who are working for change.
    Net Zero building is largely about being thoughtful and working with the earth instead of against it. Sure, technology is part of it, but why is your government spending billions on a Mars Rover instead of on assisting us in building well? Could it be that Builder Lobbies and Big Energy Lobbies own them, and prefer a model of expensive, wasteful overconsumption rather than conservation and smart, efficient, sustainable use of our resources? Hmmmm. I wonder.
    So, by diverting the resources we are already wasting by subsidizing Big Energy and Crappy Building, and Egotistical Technology, we could EASILY have more than enough resources to turn our whole infrastructure into Net Zero. Using life-cycle calculations (which contrary to my angry friend, Mr. Tuchel, is a long-term economic analysis), it turns out that Net Zero building is cheaper, not more expensive, than crap building and over-consumption.
    This is all a question of political will. Please look beyond the propaganda you have been fed about all the reasons why we need to “stay the course” in the worlds of building, energy and over-consumption, and you will see that there is plenty of money, knowledge, and capacity to change the system for the better. Instead of yelling at people like me who are dedicating their life to fight for affordable, clean and accessible systems for all, why not contact your legislators and demand policies which lead all of us towards energy independence and sustainability?

  3. Harold Tuchel // April 6, 2008 at 8:33 am // Reply

    Get real…netzero my foot….look at all the mortgage defaults….do you think any middle class taxpayer can afford 25% more for a home on a 30 year mortgage..
    Many people are struggling just to stay put….so steps have to be more gradual.
    Are you willing to pick up the energy costs for lower income people if energy jumps 1/3 because of demands for ecologically friendly energy NOW? It’s infantile and so AMERICAN to think everything can be solved NOW! It has to be incremental and at a reaasonable pace so people can adjust and afford!

  4. I really hope he won’t emphasize “net zero” homes.
    A “net zero” home often requires very expensive technology for the final few percent. The financial requirements may put off many viewers who will think it too difficult. Emphasizing a spectrum of steps from very easy and inexpensive to those that require substantial capital commitments is the way to go.
    Most homeowners would be best served by taking many thoughtful small steps that cumulatively reduce energy consumption dramatically. With all the money they save, they can then invest over time in further greening at home. They can also more cost effectively purchase RECs or pool money with others to reduce carbon. Less smug appeal, but more effective.
    This show doesn’t need more green puratanism. It needs practical advice for millions of people.
    If a family with three children making $40k/yr can reduce their energy consumption by 50% they shouldn’t be made to feel inferior before some righteous elite.

  5. I sincerely hope that he will feature only “net zero” energy homes. The gradual approach is so 1995. Time to do something meaningful, instead of lip service and self-congratulations for tiny changes…

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