One of the greatest pleasures I experience as MNN’s home channel blogger is when I extend a helping green hand, whether it's recommending a low-flow shower head, passing on a few seasonal household cleaning/maintenance tips or, umm, suggesting the best self-sufficient home in which to ride out the next zombie apocalypse. But as we all know, actions often speak louder than words and for those who can afford it, bringing in the “big guns” to shake things up is often necessary when attempting to adhere to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Welcome to the world of green concierge services, a small but growing niche service industry that helps "time-starved consumers manage their lives and to assuage the guilt of those who worry that they are letting the planet down” according to a recent article covering the trend in The New York Times. Try to envision a green concierge as a personal assistant/shopper melded with a sustainability consultant melded with a worldly and wise BFF who doesn't mind cat-sitting while you're out of town.
Leeann Brzozowski, proprietress of QiLiving in Manhattan, recently assisted one of her clients in redecorating an apartment using nontoxic/green products.
Amy Mayfield of Houston's Eco-Modern Concierge runs errands for her time-strapped clients on a Vespa, reusable cloth shopping bag always on-hand. She also provides pet-sitting and plant-watering duties.
Eco-Concierge NYC's Letitia Burrell charges $25 to $50 an hour (or $175 to $3,500 a year) to “make it easy for people to rid their homes of toxins, hire sustainable-cuisine chefs and find organic dry cleaners.”
Carrie Starner-Keenan of San Francisco charges upwards of $75/hour and works primarily with clients who are well-heeled and time-strapped. She tells the NYT: “I’m currently on the way to a client with three homes, one of them a 10,000-square-foot beach house. I’m changing all the pesticides and cleaning products, changing all the light bulbs, setting up systems and manuals for the staff.”
You get the picture.
My question to you: would you ever consider hiring a eco-minded concierge to help you get your green s*** together? And what specifically would you hire one for? From the sounds of it, everything under the sun is pretty much game — I'm guessing they'll help you change a light bulb whether it's an LED or not — which leads me to wonder if the "green" in some of these services is more of a marketing tactic than anything else.
Pauletta Brooks, a Manhattan-based jewelry designer, even hired Eco-Concierge NYC to set up an Etsy storefront. "I was pleased with the help I got,” she tells the NYT, “but I don’t quite get the ‘eco’ part of it. You’re not really saving energy, because you’re just paying someone else to use that energy for you.”
Also on MNN:
- 10 green jobs that are making a difference
- Grad student embarks on ultimate eco-sabbatical, making structures out of plastic soda bottles in Guatemala