My personal transformation to becoming more environmentally conscious happened suddenly and, I must admit, by accident.
I moved into one of the leading green apartment buildings in the country, the Solaire, in New York City. At the time, I chose this location not so much because it was a green building but because of its location. But then something happened when I moved in—my health had improved dramatically within weeks.
For one thing, my allergies—which I’d suffered from throughout my entire life—simply disappeared. I was taking three prescription drugs a day when I moved in; within six weeks, I had pretty much stopped needing them. My son Jack’s mild asthma symptoms disappeared completely; he hasn’t had an asthma attack since we moved in. We’ve also started to sleep longer and more soundly.And so I started paying attention to how the building was affecting our health. What was so different about this building that made us feel better? Why was it that a building that was designed to be environmentally friendly could improve our health? The answers to my questions turned out to be rather simple. The building has a 24-hour air-quality monitoring system with an advanced central air-filtration system. There's a central water-filtration system for the entire building, too. And the materials and paints used have little or to no VOCs, so they won't off-gas into the indoor environment.
A rendering of the Solaire, where author David Bach lives.
Within weeks, I had made even more changes: My cleaning products at home are now all green. So is the dry cleaner we use. I gave up my gas-guzzing SUV. I began to realize that I wasn't spending more money to make these changes. I was actually saving money by going green.
That's right, I said saving money. Did you know that the average U.S. household shells out roughly $600 a year on 40 pounds of chemical cleaning supplies? Yet for $20, you can replace every cleaning product in your house with a safer, non-toxic, biodegradable homemade version using common ingredients like baking soda, club soda, vinegar and salt! (Check out Detox Your Home: Assemble a Green Cleaning Kit to find out how.)
Though I’m still in a period of transformation, I have become green-conscious. And it’s changing not only my life but also that that of my son. And it all started by just doing one green thing.