01/21/2008 at 01:00 AM EST
Showing off the London home she renovated to make more eco-friendly, the singer explains why it is easy to be green
At KT Tunstall's London flat, most every item—from her vintage clothes to her guitars—has had a former life. "I love whiskey, and Talisker [a Scottish whiskey maker] read I was a fan," says the Scottish native, 32. "So they had a guitar made for me out of old whiskey barrels. My eco-guitar!" It's only natural for Tunstall, best known for her hit "Suddenly I See," to want a green home. At 17, she lived on a Vermont commune with a boyfriend and his mother, who built a home out of used logs. "Having new stuff was really uncool," she recalls. With the success of her first album and the recent release of her second, Drastic Fantastic, the singer could afford a McMansion, but she and drummer boyfriend Luke Bullen decided instead to refurbish their flat using solvent-free paint, recycled radiators, energy-efficient appliances and sheep's wool as insulation (which keeps homes cooler so there's less need for air conditioning). Except for the $27,600 solar panels, the eco-friendly features cost the same "as what you'd normally pay," she says. "I'm not out to preach, but global warming is the most important issue in our lives. It's not about changing the way you live in a radical way. Even small changes can make a difference."