Green Living

Queen of Green

Eco expert Sara Snow has a mission: to show families that saving energy is fun and easy.

Queen of Green
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Were you ever self-conscious about the way your family lived?
No. We ate some foods that were different from other kids' families, but we didn't feel deprived or weird. Our parents made us feel like we were part of something great.

How do you carry on the tradition now that you're an adult?
My husband Ryan and I generate only about half a bag of garbage per week. Our cleaning products are all natural, and we buy almost all organic food. We use cloth napkins, buy recycled toilet paper and paper towels, carry reusable bags,and drink tap water from reusable bottles. At dinner and parties, we serve Biodynamic wine and beer.

Do you still grow your own food?
We grow tomatoes and tons of herbs like basil, sage, chives, and mint. We also grow chamomile and echinacea.

How do you keep energy use down?
We plug our appliances into power strips and turn them off when we're not using them to avoid standby electricity use. In winter, we have an automatic thermostat that turns off at night, and during the day, we usually keep the temperature at 65 degrees. We have an energy-efficient dryer, but I usually hang my clothes on a rack or around the house to dry. We chose our house because it's close to things like the bank and grocery store, so we run errands by walking or riding bikes. For longer trips we drive our Prius.

How do you stay green when traveling?
I take public transportation whenever possible, and try to book direct flights (most of the fuel on a flight is used during takeoff and landing, so extra stops waste a lot of energy). I carry a refillable water canteen, and always ask room service not to change my sheets and towels or vacuum.

How do you encourage people to take on more eco habits?
I let them know they don't have to start doing everything at once. Small steps help. Once they realize how much of what we live off comes directly from the earth, it feels easier and more rewarding to change habits.

What are some changes you've helped families make?
I help them decide which foods to buy organic: If they eat a lot of apples or drink a lot of milk, for example, these should be organic. Then I help people find a farmers' market or a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in their area so they can buy fresh local fruits and vegetables.

Any others?
We'll narrow down their biggest energy offenders such as taking long showers, letting the water run while they brush their teeth, running the dishwasher whether it's full or not, or driving cars that are unnecessarily big. Then I'll help them figure out easy ways to pull back—like keeping a timer in the shower or turning off their car if it's going to idle for more than a minute.

How will families know they're making a difference?
They'll see some immediate results, like reduced electric and water bills. If they recycle and compost, they'll have much less garbage. As for the big picture, you have to have faith and know that if everyone's doing a little something, and some people are doing a lot of something, it will all add up to meaningful change.