• Toyota Prius | $21,275
• Toyota Corolla | $14,585
The Toyota Prius lives up to its reputation as a planet-protecting purchase in gas savings and emissions reduction. It is much greener than its relatively green cousin, the Corolla, with better mileage (the Prius gets 50-plus miles per gallon, the Corolla 3O-something) and far fewer greenhouse emissions. The car’s so green, it’d be possible to forget that driving a Prius actually uses a dwindling resource and contributes to air pollution. It also takes the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gas, in energy use and pollution, to build a Prius. So until it’s been driven 50,000 miles, driving a new Prius is about like driving an old Corolla.
• Sun Frost RF-16 Refrigerator | $2,626
• Kenmore Top Freezer Refrigerator | $949
Refrigerators are the biggest energy users among household appliances. Any fridge bearing the Energy Star logo is going to be a big improvement, but the Sun Frost is the most efficient, eco-friendly one on the market. Equally important, from a green point of view, the chemicals that most of them use as refrigerants contribute to the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion. In 1992, Greenpeace launched a worldwide program called Greenfreeze to get rid of deadly CFCs. It has been a huge success in Northern Europe, where Greenfreeze technology can be found in 70 percent of the refrigerators sold.
• Small New Green Dwelling | $190,516 ($106/sq. foot)
•Big New Non-Green Dwelling | $360,400 ($106/square foot)
Building a green home starts with site selection—it should be near enough to a downtown, and close to bike paths. Importantly, a green home is smaller—requiring fewer materials to build and less energy to heat and cool. The house pictured above left is nestled into a hillside and sheathed in state-of-the-art insulation (much of it made from recycled denim). It is situated to receive passive solar heat and abundant natural light. It has an active solar water heater (the hot water is piped through tubing under the floors in winter). This energy use makes a green home cozy and ethically correct.