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Washington Area Residents Take Green Living to the Extreme, Perturbing Families

Video
A green-living expert from Eco-Coach, Inc., gives a room-by-room home audit to teach a home owner how to improve energy efficiency and living habits. Video by Fan Bu/washingtonpost.com

In Gina Faber's house, it was the SpaghettiOs.

"It seems like every time [my daughter] and my husband go grocery shopping, a can of SpaghettiOs makes it into the bag," said Faber, 42, of Loudoun's Round Hill area. She tries to get most of her food from local farms and her own garden. There is no room in that diet for something like Chef Boyardee.

"I would want to make that myself, with ingredients that I trust," she said. But she does let them eat it.

Occasionally, though, extreme eco-friendliness runs into even stiffer opposition. As in: divorce.

Grant Moher, a family law attorney in Fairfax County, said the case is at least four years old. He represented a husband who had been married for about a decade and had no children. The husband wanted to move to Arizona and live in the desert in a trailer, with only an experimental kind of air conditioner to keep cool.

His wife was with him until the experimental air conditioner, Moher said. Then she wasn't with him at all.

Near Leesburg, Ann and Will Stewart are making their green-and-greener marriage work. She said yes to some of his ideas: turning off most lights, turning down the heat and using a herd of sheep as a low-emissions mower. But she said no to canning her own food and hand-grinding her own flour.

And, a few times, she has learned it's best to say nothing at all. One recent day, her hybrid's readout showed 42 mpg -- not terrible, but he could do better. And, if he saw a number like this, he might tell her how.

Again.

"Here we go," she said, demonstrating how to find the right button on the touch screen. "Reset, zero!"


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