KU associate professor’s green commitment extends to home renovation

Last winter Simran Sethi planted roots in Lawrence, purchasing an 84-year-old diamond in the rough on the east side of town. As home renovations continue, the Messenger of Green is walking the walk.

Widely recognized as the face and voice of green media, Sethi, who rubs green thumbs with everyone from Al Gore to Oprah Winfrey, is also an associate professor at the KU journalism school, where she teaches courses on sustainability and environmental communication.

Sethi’s home search criteria wasn’t much different than that of most first-time homebuyers.

“I wanted something useful, functional and beautiful, and it had to have great flow,” she says.

With home ownership and extensive renovations came the challenge of practicing what she preached. When Sethi moved in, so did her priorities. Low-flow, dual-flush toilets were installed, a new energy-efficient furnace was added, and the bathtub was redone instead of replaced.

Sethi proves that going green doesn’t have to come at the expense of style.

Repurposing became more than a blog buzzword for Sethi as she refaced solid wood kitchen cabinetry, refinished wood floors, restored the sparkle to original light fixtures and converted personal treasures into furniture.

But even the Queen of Green learned a few lessons from practical experience.

“I never considered how hard it would be to find the right shade of white or make decisions about the ergonomics of drawer pulls,” she says.

“Home and Away” premieres at 6:30 p.m. today on Sunflower Broadband channel 6 and replays throughout the week.