Garbett Homes has seen a momentous shift in the features that buyers want in a new home.
Before the Great Recession, people wanted big homes with huge yards and luxury features, said Rene Oehlerking, Garbett’s marketing director. Today “people are looking for smaller, more energy-efficient homes that can lower their utility bills,” he said. “It’s a complete change.”
Garbett, which added solar systems as a feature in many of its homes in 2009 and geothermal heating and cooling in 2010, was among more than 100 businesses showcased at the ninth annual Live Green SLC! Festival at the main Salt Lake City Library.
The event has grown in popularity as a way for businesses of all sizes to showcase environmentally friendly products and services.
More consumers these days are interested in being more “green,” but the recession has made it more difficult for many eco-friendly businesses as financially stressed consumers traded down to cheaper alternatives.
Like other small-business owners at the Live Green festival, however, Alonzo Thayn, owner of Wasatch Natural lawn care and pest control, said business has really picked up in recent months — a sign he hopes is a trickle-down effect now that Utah’s economy is finally on the mend.
“It’s easier to convince people of the benefits of doing things organically now,” he said.
The Live Green event is produced by the ReDirect Guide, a publisher of directories highlighting businesses that provide eco-friendly products and services and presented in partnership with eBay’s Green Team, an initiative by the online auctioneer to promote business practices that are easy on the environment.
The event attracted an estimated 5,000 people. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community,” said Alaina Caudillo, member advocate for the ReDirect Guide.
For those interested in being more green, the event demonstrated the diversity of products and services available.
Momentum Recycling LLC, for example, recycles “green” waste for grocers Harmons and Whole Foods and local restaurants. Green waste is biodegradable waste such as expired produce or flowers. Instead of ending up in the landfill, green waste is made into compost. The company has been part of the Live Green festival for the past three years as a way to educate the public about the array of recycling services available, said Momentum Recycling principal Kate Whitbeck.
For Kenyon Organics in Salt Lake City, participating in the festival each year helps get the word out about growing vegetables and other plants organically and the benefits of using seeds and gardening products without chemicals.
“We’ll sell a lot of plants while we’re here,” said Allison Conover, who was selling lettuce, spinach and other plants for the organic nursery Saturday. “But more importantly, we’ll get the word out about everything the company can do.”
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O The ReDirect Guide publishes directories of eco-friendly businesses in the Salt Lake City metro area. Go to redirectguide.com for more information.