THE BLOG
02/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Is Your Home As Green As It Can Be?

What better way to embrace the New Year than by going green at home? We want to start 2009 off with an eco-bang, and so we're launching a new Green Home Contest. Low Impact Living and Joie de Vivre Hotels challenge you to make your home as green as you can! We're going to reward the greenest home of all with a luxurious 3-night stay at the very environmentally-friendly Hotel Carlton in San Francisco. More on the hotel and the prize in a minute!

Low Impact Living will identify the single family home (and its proud owners) that has the lowest Low Impact Living Index (calculated using our Household Environmental Impact Calculator), and we're going to share with you what that family has done to get there. Don't worry if you haven't done big projects like installing solar panels or a wind turbine - as the calculator shows, many of the best green home projects are simple and inexpensive. We'll show you how to identify projects to make your home more eco-friendly. The contest will close on February 15, 2009. So you have time to make green changes!

What you have to do to enter

1. Visit our Household Environmental Impact Calculator and calculate your base LILI (Low Impact Living Index). It will only take you five-ten minutes to use the calculator and create your account.
2. Once you have entered all of your base inputs, move on to the "select projects" page of the calculator. Make sure you only check projects that you've finished (or will finish by February 15th) before you log out.
3. Make sure that you log out or save your profile before leaving - if you just move on to another web site without logging out, your inputs could be lost.
4. If you've already created an account through our calculator, then you need to return and, log in again. We've added some new features recently, and they won't work unless you refresh your account.
5. The calculator isn't all-encompassing yet, so there may be projects that you've done that don't show up. If this is true, send us an email at contest@lowimpactliving.com describing what you've done. Low Impact Living staffers will review your efforts and award up to a 5% additional deduction for compelling projects.

How we'll select the winner

The contest closes on February 15, 2009, and we will announce the winner on March 1. This will give us time to check with the finalists to make sure that they've completed all of their checked projects. (Past entrants to our green home contests are not eligible.)

If you are a finalist (in our top 10 lowest LILI scores), we may ask you to verify that your projects are actually completed, via photos or receipts / invoices for work performed. We'll also ask for your address (not to be published!) so that we can verify entered information about your home. If you are a winner, then you have to be willing to let us share your projects and process with everyone via our blog, and to provide us with the photos and project descriptions necessary to do that. You'll become a green star overnight!

What you could win!

The greenest homeowner will receive three nights at Hotel Carlton in San Francisco. The Hotel Carlton is a member of the Joie de Vivre chain of hotels, which is deeply committed to making sustainability part of its core business operations. In fact, their mission is to "adhere to the strictest environmental standards, engage in sustainable practices and maintain an impeccable quality of guest experience." The JDV Hotels environmental program includes hotel-wide recycling programs, composting, use of renewable energy, use of recycled paper products, energy-efficient lighting and much more. To learn more about Joie de Vivre's commitment to sustainability, click here.

So, good luck, and get to greening!