Green in a Box: Is It Worth It?

Weigh the value of your time against DIY green vs. green that’s literally out of the box.

Perhaps, like us, you feel pangs of guilt when you don’t religiously save energy and resources at home. But, hey, sometimes time and money trump your best intentions. You’re still a good person.

So if convenience is your watchword and you want to be a little greener, a Boost Box is an easy solution. We first spotted these boxes on Charles & Hudson, and since then they’ve garnered more attention. Dwell spotlighted them in its latest issue.

You can choose from water-saving or energy-saving boxes that are fixture- (toilet, shower, or windows and doors) or room-specific. Or trick out your entire house with the aptly named whole-home water or whole-home energy box. Prices range from $30 to $190.

Each box contains a few products, plus tips, instructions, and the promise that it will take less than an hour to install what’s inside. You can even assemble your own Boost Box by cherry-picking what you want from other kits.

The products included in the boxes aren’t new-fangled gadgets. You can find most of them at a hardware store. So we decided to see how much it would cost to build your own toilet water-saving kit, which sells for $30 as a Boost Box.

Included in Boost Box





Flapper, $2 to $7. It’s best to buy a flapper for your toilet brand.


Ink to see if there’s a leak in your toilet tank.

Food coloring, $3.


Cold water catcher, a collapsible bucket to catch and reuse cold shower water (before it gets hot) in your garden.

Chances are you have a bucket already. $0.


Latex glove

You probably have one. $0.


Platypus, a plastic bag you fill with water and stow in the toilet tank. It reduces the amount of water needed to fill the tank.

Hot water bottle, $5.


Waterfall, a small, 4-pronged plastic doohickey that diverts water from the bowl to the tank. Why? The bowl and tank fill at the same time, but the bowl fills faster, wasting water until the tank is full.

Its hardware store name is the fill cycle diverter, $3 to $4.


So our little DIY kit would cost $13 to $19, at least $11 less than the premade toilet Boost Box. But that may not be enough of a savings when it comes to your valuable time. A ready-made Boost Box might be the better plug-and-play boost you need to get greener. And getting a package by mail is kind of fun, too.

Would you buy a pre-made box of resource-conserving items or buy them separately?