100 episodes

The Everyday Green Home Podcast helps you GET the value of green: for you, your family and your community. Whether its green homes, green living or the people who make it happen, join Marla Esser Cloos to learn how green and sustainability practices and products work for you.

Everyday Green Home Marla Esser Cloos

    • Leisure
    • 4.6 • 11 Ratings

The Everyday Green Home Podcast helps you GET the value of green: for you, your family and your community. Whether its green homes, green living or the people who make it happen, join Marla Esser Cloos to learn how green and sustainability practices and products work for you.

    Wicked Problems - Transportation and How It Affects Us with Tony Pratte

    Wicked Problems - Transportation and How It Affects Us with Tony Pratte

    Wicked problems are significant issues with no single, straightforward answer, and they are everywhere!
    Transportation is a wicked problem that touches every aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not. It affects what we have on our dinner tables, the clothes we wear, and everything we have inside our homes. It even affects where we work, how we get there, and how we spend our vacations. Yet, we tend to take it for granted.
    I'm Marla, the Green Home Coach, coming to you live from Shock City Studios in St. Louis, Missouri. I am delighted to have my occasional co-host, Tony Pratte, join me today to discuss the wicked problems surrounding transportation. 
    The transportation system is undeniably complex and multifaceted. I invite you to listen in as we journey through the evolving world of our transportation system and explore the wicked problems it presents. 
    Impact of COVID-19 
    The absence of commuters and students traveling to school during the pandemic highlighted a significant shift in how we perceive transportation. I found it eye-opening to see the streets resembling quiet Sunday mornings when it used to be rush hour.
    Electric Cars and Infrastructure
    A noticeable change after the pandemic has been the proliferation of electric cars, even in states like Oklahoma, traditionally associated with fossil fuels. The increasing presence of electric vehicles is encouraging. But we must recognize that the infrastructure to support them is evolving, and supply chains for materials like copper and lithium must grow exponentially to meet the 2035 EV goals. 
    Mining
    Mining, especially overseas, raises concerns about environmental and ethical practices. Those considerations are essential as we make the shift to electric transportation.
    Transparency in the Supply Chain
    Many pieces get hidden from the average consumer within the supply chain for energy and transportation. With both gasoline for cars and the materials used in the batteries of electric vehicles, transparency remains a challenge. We need better labeling and reporting to know where our products come from, because that awareness allows us to make informed choices, not only for environmental reasons but also to support ethical and responsible sourcing.
    Public Transportation
    The lack of robust public transportation networks, especially in the Midwest and Southeastern United States, forces many to rely on personal vehicles. However, expanding and improving public transportation could significantly reduce congestion, pollution, and the need for massive parking lots in urban areas. Achieving a well-balanced transportation system that combines individual and public options remains a challenge yet to be overcome.
    Walkable Cities
    The issues with transportation issue also extend to city planning and the use of land. Deciding whether we want to continue sacrificing valuable space for parking lots or promote walkable cities that will reduce our reliance on cars is a balancing act, and the choices we make today will have consequences for future generations. This complexity highlights the need for thoughtful, integrated solutions, considering the environment, society, and economics.
    Maintaining Existing Infrastructure
    We often rush into building new infrastructure before adequately maintaining existing systems. We must prioritize maintenance and repair to ensure the longevity of our transportation networks and reduce costs and environmental impact in the long run. In essence, addressing the wicked problem of transportation requires a multifaceted approach, incorporating sustainability, ethical considerations, and urban planning for a better future.
    Maintenance in Transportation
    Maintenance for transportation still tends to get overlooked in the planning process, leaving far-reaching implications. It is easier to secure funds for capital budgets than to get funding for ongoing operational expenses. Capital expenditures ha

    • 29 min
    How to Pay for Better Homes with Kerry Langley and HomeBuck$

    How to Pay for Better Homes with Kerry Langley and HomeBuck$

    It is hard to talk about how our homes impact our health, well-being, and climate when so many people still struggle to afford the cost of buying their own homes.
    Today, I bring you a solution cultivated by Kerry Langley, an industry colleague I have known for quite some time. 
    I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach, and I invite you to lean in and pay attention as you discover how his financial modeling tools and software can help you unlock the doors to a brighter financial future and lead you to the home you deserve!
    I am so excited to have Kerry share his insights today! They will allow you to approach your housing journey with a fresh perspective and attain outcomes you may never have thought possible.
    Getting to know Kerry 
    Kerry Langley is a financial math enthusiast. With a career spanning 38 years in mortgage banking, he used to cater to millionaires with complex financial dealings. However, the 2008 recession took him from thriving to struggling and led him to re-evaluate his approach. After talking to a friend who worked at Merrill Lynch, he felt inspired to explore opportunities that could benefit a broader audience. So he transitioned to high-performance homes and green buildings, even though he had limited knowledge about green and energy-efficient concepts. 
    Making Green Living Financially Accessible
    Kerry began a mission to make sustainable, green living financially accessible. He partnered with various organizations to create EarthCraft House, a certification program promoting green homes. That endeavor led to the development of his green mortgage software, Home Bucks, to help consumers identify ways to improve their homes, enhance energy efficiency, and reduce the total cost of ownership.
    Creating Home Bucks
    Even though he lacked experience in software development, Kerry still embarked on developing a software tool. The result was a groundbreaking tool called TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), which he later trademarked under the name Home Bucks. This innovative tool aims to empower consumers to live in homes that may seem out of their budget range by optimizing financial aspects. 
    Making Green Choices affordable 
    Through Home Bucks, Kerry demonstrated how buyers could incorporate items like solar panels into their mortgage, lower their interest rates, and ultimately reduce their total cost of ownership without straining their initial budget. His practical approach dismantled the misconception that sustainable living was financially out of reach and reinforced the idea that green choices could, in fact, be affordable.
    The EarthCraft House Certification Program 
    After being approached by the Atlanta Home Builders Association and the Southface Institute, Kerry partnered with them to develop a green mortgage and got involved with the EarthCraft House certification program. 
    Enhancing Energy Efficiency
    Kerry's approach to green homes includes the integration of solar panels, improvements in insulation, installation of energy-efficient appliances, and upgrades to windows. He aims to demonstrate that achieving sustainability and energy efficiency does not necessarily come with a higher price tag. 
    Addressing Misconceptions About Green Homes
    One of the challenges Kerry encounters is the prevailing misconception that green homes are expensive and unattainable. Through his meticulous financial modeling and calculations, he debunks that myth. 
    Creating Long-Term Wealth
    Kerry helps his clients make informed decisions about their homes, which is their most significant investment. He firmly believes that with careful consideration and a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects, individuals can build long-term, multi-generational wealth through homeownership. His approach also involves smart financial planning.
    The Importance of Thoughtful Home Buying
    Kerry emphasizes the importance of thoughtful consideration when buying a home. He points out

    • 31 min
    ESG - Building Real Value or Political Lightning Rod with Tony Pratte

    ESG - Building Real Value or Political Lightning Rod with Tony Pratte

    In a world of evolving priorities and rapidly changing investment landscapes, three letters have ignited discussions that resonate far beyond the financial realm: ESG. Environmental, Social, and Governance is a trifecta of influence shaping how businesses get scrutinized, evaluated, and ultimately endorsed. 
    ESG has grown into a juggernaut of consideration, designed ostensibly to gauge a company's commitment to the planet, its people, and its principles. However, as the spotlight has intensified, so have the debates surrounding its genuine impact. 
    I'm Marla, the Green Home Coach, here to guide you in navigating the labyrinth of ESG with fresh insight and an open mind! I am delighted to have Tony Pratte of the Sound Room, join me to share his viewpoint as we discuss ESG and unravel its meaning.
    The Meaning and Impact of ESG 
    ESG is not just a buzzword but a framework that evaluates how a company performs in areas beyond financial metrics. ESG is a lens through which companies get scrutinized for their environmental practices, social responsibility, and corporate governance. It is significant for investors seeking to align their portfolios with ethical and sustainable values. However, much complexity and subjectivity are still involved in measuring those factors accurately.
    Navigating the Challenges 
    The challenges inherent in implementing ESG criteria include the potential pitfall of greenwashing, where companies manipulate or exaggerate their ESG efforts to appear more environmentally and socially conscious than they are. The lack of standardized reporting and varying interpretations of ESG metrics can make it difficult for investors to make informed decisions. Furthermore, the skepticism that ESG can evoke makes one wonder whether some corporations genuinely embrace these principles or are merely jumping on the bandwagon.
    Balancing Profit and Purpose 
    Balancing profit with purpose is a central theme when addressing the tension between financial success and ESG commitments because companies can indeed be both financially successful and socially responsible, and companies with strong ESG practices often have a competitive edge, attracting consumers, investors, and even talented employees who align with their values. 
    A Paradigm Shift in Business
    ESG considerations drive companies to adopt sustainable practices, create social impact, and enhance governance structures. There are many real-world examples of companies embracing ESG principles and reaping benefits like reputation, customer loyalty, and innovation. ESG has catalyzed a shift towards purpose-driven business models, redefining success beyond monetary gains.
    ESG on a Personal Level
    Individuals can contribute to the ESG movement in their personal lives with conscious consumption, ethical investment choices, and supporting companies aligned with their values. Education and awareness are essential to inform consumers because informed consumers can drive demand for responsible products and services. We need to understand that ESG is not solely a corporate endeavor. It is a collective effort that begins with small, intentional actions.
    A Call to Embrace the Potential of ESG
    The potential of ESG is crucial for positive change. Despite its complexities and controversies, ESG allows for a more sustainable and equitable future. So it is essential to engage with ESG discussions, ask critical questions, and support companies genuinely committed to making a difference. 
    Diverse Board Composition and Qualifications
    When examining the composition of a company board concerning ESG, some instances prompt the consideration of whether the lack of banking expertise could impact board decisions. That raises questions about the percentage of board members with banking experience and the potential implications for decision-making.
    Risk Management and Consequences
    Tony points out a scenario where poor risk management led to t

    • 29 min
    Becoming a B Corp and OK Sustainability Summit with Traci of Plenty Mercantile

    Becoming a B Corp and OK Sustainability Summit with Traci of Plenty Mercantile

    In a world increasingly driven by the pursuit of sustainability and community well-being, the rise of B Corps is emerging as a beacon of hope for a more conscious and responsible business approach.
    I was recently captivated by a charming shop called Plenty Mercantile, nestled in the heart of Automobile Alley in Oklahoma City. It is a delightful store that embodies the principles of sustainability and ethical entrepreneurship, and I was thrilled to meet Traci Walton, one of the owners!
    I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach! Today, I invite you to join me in exploring the incredible achievements of Plenty Mercantile and learn how they charted their course toward becoming a B Corp. 
    So, fasten your seatbelts for a heart-warming and inspiring tale of entrepreneurship, sustainability, and the pursuit of a better world!
    The Origin of Plenty Mercantile
    Plenty Mercantile came into being due to Traci and her daughter Brittany's passion for sustainability and desire to bring sustainable practices to mainstream retail. Traci was raised by her Native American grandmother, who instilled the values of respecting the environment, which further influenced their vision for the shop. The idea to create a store resembling their home and promoting sustainability took root, and they embarked on their journey of starting Plenty Mercantile in 2012.
    Becoming a Leader in Sustainability in Oklahoma City
    Plenty Mercantile has played a pioneering role in promoting sustainability in Oklahoma City. They aim to create a safe and welcoming space for customers to shop while making informed choices to support sustainable practices.
    Becoming a B Corp
    A B Corp certification is a voluntary designation for businesses and organizations committed to positively impacting people, the planet, and profitability. Traci explains that they aspired to become a B Corp from the start, aligning their business practices with sustainability on every level. However, achieving the B Corp certification was challenging. After years of following the B Corp structure and seeking improvement, they finally enlisted the help of a consultant, which proved to be a game-changer in guiding them toward their B Corp certification.
    The Importance of B Corp Certification
    The significance of a B Corp certification goes way beyond just marketing a company as sustainable. It involves a deep dive into financials, governance, impact, and various aspects of business operations, providing third-party verification of their sustainable practices. 
    The Power of Making Sustainable Choices
    Sustainability does not necessarily mean higher costs. It means there are cost-effective and sustainable alternatives available in the market. Making sustainability choices sends powerful messages through purchasing power and contributes to long-term positive change.
    People-Centric Sustainability
    Sustainability is people-centric because it focuses on how sustainable choices positively impact individuals, their health, and future generations. Considering the health implications of products and practices is crucial for everyone- especially those who are cancer survivors!
    Building a Sustainable and Equitable Business
    Sustainability is integral to the business values of Plenty Mercantile, and it gets reflected in every aspect of their operations. Traci points out that sustainability extends beyond the products they carry in the store. It also encompasses how they treat their employees, community engagement, and overall business practices. 
    Encouraging Others to Pursue Sustainability
    Traci aims to inspire others to pursue sustainability and B Corp certification. Sustainability is a journey that requires continuous effort and improvement, and she hopes to see more businesses in Oklahoma and beyond adopting sustainable practices and becoming B Corps because it will positively impact communities, the environment, and future generations.
    Celebrating Sustainable Produc

    • 33 min
    Your Home is Watching You - Smart Homes and AI with Tony Pratte

    Your Home is Watching You - Smart Homes and AI with Tony Pratte

    Artificial intelligence has become the buzzword of the century, permeating news headlines, chat platforms, and even our everyday browsing experiences. Its presence in our lives is undeniable, revolutionizing the world of computing and enhancing human existence in ways we could have only dreamed of! 
    Amidst this AI revolution, another concept has been capturing our collective imagination for years- Smart Homes. 
    I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach! Today, I am excited to delve into the realm of smart and connected homes with a true expert in the field! I have Tony Pratt from the Sound Room joining me in the studio to explain how to tie smart home technology together with AI.
    Tony’s insights will undoubtedly leave you captivated as we embark on an enlightening journey into the world of artificial intelligence and smart homes!
    Artificial intelligence and connected homes
    There are two parts to getting to grips with artificial intelligence and connected homes. The first is getting to understand all the different smart home devices. The second is learning how to tie them all together. (Companies like the Sound Room have the experience to know which features you can use to integrate and interact with your devices.)
    Still a work in progress
    Currently, the integration of artificial intelligence into smart home devices is still a work in progress. While AI has not fully permeated the realm of smart homes yet, it is undoubtedly the direction in which the technology is heading. Soon, AI algorithms will be capable of learning your preferences, such as the desired temperature for your thermostat, by analyzing data from various sources. This includes comparing it with external factors like outdoor temperature, humidity, and wind conditions. Through this correlation of information, AI will enable smart homes to provide a more personalized and optimized living experience.
    Privacy and Data Collection
    There are concerns surrounding data collection and privacy in smart home systems. Tony explains that while some systems collect data, it is kept within the house and not accessible externally. He points out the trade-off between inexpensive devices like Google and Alexa, which mine user data to offer cheaper products, versus systems that prioritize privacy and charge higher prices.
    Artificial Intelligence and Home Automation
    AI is transforming home automation by enabling more advanced data processing and analysis. AI allows systems to understand users' habits and preferences, leading to more personalized and efficient control of devices. Tony highlights the importance of planning and having multiple trigger points in an AI-powered smart home. 
    Challenges in Implementing Smart Home Systems
    There are several challenges in implementing smart home systems, particularly the shortage of computer chips and reduced quality control due to external factors like COVID-19. That has resulted in higher device failure rates, which can impact the user experience.
    Home Automation Start Points and Wifi Networks
    Tony suggests two starting points for home automation: environmental control (lights, locks, thermostats) and entertainment (audio-video systems). He explains that while entertainment systems are more appealing, environmental control is easier to implement initially. He stresses the significance of having a robust wifi network in smart homes, as that forms the backbone for connecting various devices and ensures smooth functioning, especially as AI becomes more integral to home automation.
    Lock and Leave
    By connecting additional devices to their smart home network, homeowners can ensure that all their devices interact seamlessly and respond to voice commands through platforms like Alexa or Google. That integration allows for convenient control over different aspects of the home, such as triggering routines like "good morning" or "good night," as well as indicating when the homeowner is leaving or arriv

    • 32 min
    Home Inspection - Not Just for Real Estate Transactions with Stacey Page

    Home Inspection - Not Just for Real Estate Transactions with Stacey Page

    Do you ever think about home inspection?
    Most people only ever think about home inspection when buying or selling a property. However, the truth is that you will benefit from a proper home inspection because it will allow you to live in a healthier and more comfortable home environment.
    I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach! Today, I’m excited to introduce a remarkable Oklahoma City lady I recently had the pleasure of meeting. Stacey Page is a home inspector who brings a unique perspective to the field. She joins me on the show to discuss the importance of home inspection for our daily lives.
    Becoming a Home Inspector
    Stacey started home inspecting about two years ago, working with her husband in the company he started five years ago. She initially helped with the administrative side of the business, but her passion for homes and woodworking led her to shadow her husband and eventually become a home inspector herself. She did the necessary nine months of training, passed the state test, and has been doing inspections with her husband for two years.
    Women in home inspection
    Stacey believes that many women feel intimidated by home inspection due to the male-dominated construction industry and the perception that women have less knowledge about home maintenance and functioning. However, she emphasizes that women have the capability to learn and can bring a different insight and perspective to the job. 
    Hazards
    Stacey acknowledges that home inspection can be dirty and uncomfortable, with hazards such as spiders and unpleasant environments. However, she assures that there are ways to protect oneself, such as wearing coveralls, booties, and gloves. Despite encountering some dirty and unpleasant situations, Stacey has also inspected immaculate houses.
    Why regular home inspections are important
    Regular home inspections are essential to catch issues early on before they become major problems. Inspections can reveal problems like moisture build-up between window panes, overflowing condensate lines, and active leaks. Those issues can lead to wood rot, termites, mold, and other expensive problems if not caught early enough. Even if a homeowner is already aware of an issue and has attempted to fix it, it is still necessary for inspectors to thoroughly check the area to ensure there are no remaining issues.
    The biggest reason for people to have a home inspection
    The most important reason is the health and safety of your family and having a healthy home. A home is one of the biggest investments in people's lives. Issues can arise with new builds due to contractors cutting corners. Home inspections and maintenance are essential for ensuring the home is safe and efficient. 
    The long-term costs of maintaining a home 
    We must consider the long-term costs of maintaining a home and not just the initial cost. Homeowners need to be educated on how to maintain their homes because small issues, like failing caulking, can lead to larger problems like flooding. 
    The unique thing about Stacey’s company
    One thing that sets Stacey and her husband’s company apart from others is that after something they point out gets repaired, they go back and re-inspect the home for free to check that the job was properly done.
    A wellness check for your home
    Having your home inspected every few years is a bit like going to the doctor for a wellness check.
    Potential issues and safety
    It is essential to address potential issues in a house, such as roof problems, moisture, mold, termites, mildew, and electrical hazards, and to have safety measures such as smoke detectors in place to avoid potentially life-threatening situations.
    A clear understanding
    Stacey’s company aims to provide clients with a clear understanding of the condition of their homes without using scare tactics. They categorize issues into normal, minor, and major, so their clients can prioritize their concerns. The goal is to help

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

Amie Nicole Hope St. Amour ,

PRAGMATIC, THOUGHTFUL, EMPOWERING

A free education in all things green that unites people with the pragmatism of visionary Marla Esser Cloos, author of the Benjamin Franklin Award winning reference book "Living Green Effortlessly", and her incredible guests. Marla Esser Cloos decodes the idea of "Living Green" when it can seem indecipherable, daunting, and even exhaustingly patriarchal (not unlike Shakespeare). This podcast addresses and faces existential questions, specifically in moments masked in jocularity, about sustainability and home. Creating better, healthier, thriving stories through our actions (or inactions) can happen each and everyday. Why can't our world be automated and normalized to that effect??

MC1RAmie ,

"YES, AND-" ON WICKED PROBLEMS & TP

Everyday Green Home Podcast at it's best feels like Ask This Old House (I love Ask This Old House) and This Old House, and the podcast seems similarly seeking of inclusion and diversity. Marla (greenhomecoach.com) distinguishes Everyday Green Home Podcast by stressing the importance of expertise in the planning stages in efforts to prevent what Ask This Old House and This Old House address. Tony is at his best when he is critically thinking and using his experience and knowledge to add to the conversation. (If I ran into him now, I'm not sure I wouldn't want to hit him with a 2 X 6. He is best when he is convincing the listeners NOT to do that because they would miss him). Speaking of 2 x6s, I found an example of what I'm trying to say. There was a podcast episode where Tony was talking about how a contractor or someone had changed to 2 X 6s instead of 2 X 4s and there had been increases in costs. Marla suggested talking lumber prices which was interesting (see NPR's "What the Rise and Fall of Lumber Prices Tells Us About the Pandemic Economy"), but instead of saying, "Yes, and-", Tony said it wasn't that at all. He said it was because the builders had to carry more upstairs or something?!?! For the longest time, I thought that whoever suggested that to him was likely non- union, messed up, and having a "joke" on "Harvard". I felt for him, aside from his not actively listening to Marla or taking her generous cue for him to go on a happy tangent into economics or the shortages in the building trades. (There was a great podcast episode about it, too! But I think, unlike Tony, that there is more than enough time to make experts but not enough accessibility. If an 18 yo kid wanted to learn and work in the carpentry union in St. Louis, is it free and easy for them to find resources or to apply themselves to that gainful career path? Or, is it easier to find work in restaurant or retail or carrying 2 x6s upstairs for minimum but immediate pay?) ANYWAY, I recently saw an episode of Ask This Old House and found out that I might have been wrong (I know, shocking... <facetious) about the "joke" on "Harvard" (see the very appropos titled Drilling into Studs for Electrical Wiring/ Tool Lab episode). Could the 2 X 6s (and their increased costs) have been more about the contractor/ builders claiming the need for the ease of winging it while drilling and still likely being up to code in any state?? I love Ask This House because they ask questions, try to help problem- solve, and don't judge people's consumer spending, socio- econnomic status, houses, problems, family, or friends. I think Everyday Green Home Podcast is WICKED BEST when it is trying to be the kind of rising tide that lifts all boats, while also warning of the rising tides.

Ty$-Kube ,

Inspirating

Inspiring and educating podcast. The two hosts have great knowledge and great guests!

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