The University of California, Berkeley -- already home to the nation's first eco-friendly dorm room -- has expanded its "green" footprint this year with a two-bedroom apartment that showcases sustainable living.
"We want to show people that it's possible and just make it easy to live a sustainable life," said Desirae Early, a UC Berkeley environmental economics and policy major who sits on the Green Room Committee that put the Green Apartment together.
Everything in the apartment in the Channing Bowditch student complex conforms to a green lifestyle. All of the appliances are stamped with the Energy Star seal of approval, meaning they're certified as energy-efficient. The room has been stocked with environmentally friendly products, from shampoo and soap to cloth napkins and natural- fiber bed linens.
Travis Zack, 20, one of four UC Berkeley undergraduates who call the apartment home, said he hopes it the dwelling can show others how easy it is to go green. Little efforts, such as turning off the tap when you're brushing your teeth, can make a big difference, he said.
"It's really something simple that doesn't take much time or effort or money, which is another big stereotype -- that it's more expensive to buy green, but really it's not," said Zack, a junior studying physics.
Zack and roommates Jonathan Hu, Tim Edgar and Edward Chen opened their apartment door Tuesday for a media tour to show off their efforts. They buy organic food when possible, recycling everything they can, and serve as ad hoc spokesmen for the benefits of green.
"It's really easy, and it's not time consuming," Zack said. "It's just a state of mind more than anything else. It doesn't take a huge lifestyle change."