The Meaning of Green

When I first came to Charlotte a couple of years ago, the green trend had already hit much of the country. Magazines, books, even home makeover shows were dedicated to "going green," and yet Charlotte, it seemed, lagged behind.

Or so I thought.


Last fall I met with Elaine Scott in her Elizabeth Dutch colonial home. As it turned out, the home she shares with her husband and kids was a great example of eco living. After a tedious, yearlong renovation, the home received a Healthy Built Home silver level certification from the North Carolina Solar Center and an Energy Star rating. Green indeed.

My eco epiphany, though, was heightened after meeting with Paige and Hall Johnston, whose contemporary home on Tryon Street above Tic Toc Café boasts eco-friendly materials throughout (p. 48). By incorporating reclaimed lumber, water-saving toilets, and floor tiles made from recycled tires, the Johnstons clearly had green on the mind.

What I’ve learned while scouting homes here is that so many people have done something, even if it’s just one thing, to make their houses environmentally friendly. From the Newnams’ use of reclaimed barnwood (p. 40) to the Heveys’ desire to restore their historic Davidson cottage (p. 60), each homeowner embraced the growing trend of going green—often without even knowing it.

The homes in this issue are certainly just a snapshot of green living in Charlotte. But I want more. I want to see homes restored, not torn down. And those that are built from scratch, furnish them with Energy Star appliances or sustainable products like bamboo flooring. Because while we’ve made great strides, we’re not there yet.

In the meantime, consider this a challenge: how green can you go or have you gone in your home? Let me know at and maybe we can start an ongoing conversation about making this city a more eco-conscious place to live.