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Found 31 results

  1. Now more than ever is the right time to go green at home. You probably heard the news: 2014 was the hottest year on record. If each one of us does not make some sort of effort to reduce our carbon footprint the results for our children and grandchildren will be disastrous. Huge tidal waves. Droughts. An increasingly un-livable planet. I mean, let’s face it; the Mars One mission to colonize Mars is not feasible. What we need is short-term, simple steps to help us continue doing what we love on Planet Earth. Here are some steps we can take right now: 1. Buy Energy-Efficient Light-bulbs The production of incandescent, inefficient bulbs has been phased out, so really at this point you don’t have a choice. Instead of waiting for your old light-bulbs to die or break, seize the moment to replace every incandescent bulb in your home with an energy-efficient alternative. There are several options available. The primary debate revolves around which is a better choice, LED or CFL. LED bulbs cost more at the outset, but they don’t contain mercury like CFL’s do, and they last longer. On average, a 15 watt CFL will cost $1.20 a year to power and will last 10,000 hours, while a 12 watt LED costs $1.00/year and will last 25,000 hours. Don’t want to leave the house because you’re too busy optimizing it for energy-efficiency? You can order either kind of bulb here. 2. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies The temptation is to simply buy the standard, inexpensive supplies that “get the job done.” But the factories that make these supplies are part of the problem—they consume lots of fossil fuels and they don’t pay their employees enough for them to go green. Also, disposing containers generates more waste. Instead, take advantage of common, inexpensive goods. Lemon has acidic and antibacterial traits. You can mix lemon juice with salt to make a great sink-cleaner, or just soak the faucet in lemon juice and let it sit to loosen mineral deposits; to get rid of stains on garments, rub fresh-cut lemons on the stain and leave the clothing to soak in warm water for a couple of hours, then wash. Try using baking soda on counter-tops and in toilets; mix with vinegar for an especially strong cleaner. Try putting together some home-made laundry detergent: use one bar of shaved, organic bar-soap, a cup of borax, and a cup of washing soda. Stir for 5 minutes or so and put it to work! 3. Greenify and Optimize Wash Cycles A good green practice is to wash whole loads, whether they’re loads of laundry or dishes. And use cold water when you can. About 90% of energy consumption from washing is a result of how much electricity it takes to heat the water. Air-dry your dishes and, if you have the space, hang your laundry out to dry on a clothes-line. If you’re going to ignore the earlier advice and buy laundry detergent (we only have so much time!), buy it in bulk and find the brand(s) with minimal packaging. Same goes for dishwasher detergent. If you’re buying detergents, make an effort to purchase products manufactured locally or find the ones manufactured closest to your home. 4. Head Towards the Light Yes it makes sense to buy energy-efficient light-bulbs, but you should take advantage of natural light whenever possible. Use light-colored wall-paints to reflect natural light better in any room with windows. Avoid turning on lights in your home whenever you can and turn them off whenever you leave the room. Put your favorite reading-recliner and your office-desk beneath windows. 5. Minimize Appliance Power-usage Plug appliances into a power strip, and when you’re not using them, turn the power strip off. Or, just unplug appliances when you’re not using them. When you’re buying appliances, consider buying from companies that partner with Energy Star to offer rebates, a list of which you can find here. Take advantage of your computer’s power-saving mode, and, if you’d like a free way to analyze your computer’s power usage, download Miscrosoft’s Joulemeter. These are just some of the ways you can easily go green at home. Do you have any other suggestions, tips or tricks for greening the home-space?
  2. While most people believe that thinking green has to do something with things that are far away geographically, a constantly growing part of the general populace is starting to realize that this just isn’t true. I mean, we have all noticed how the weather is changing year in, year out, and more and more information about lost species, eco catastrophes, our general disregard for the environment, and how this impacts our daily lives keep emerging. This naturally leads people to reevaluate the state in which their homes are, and this is the most logical place to start. Still, a lot of people do not do the necessary research when they attempt to make their home greener. We are here to help you get your facts straight. Choosing the Right Materials The importance of this is two-fold! First of all, some materials that are generally used by construction teams are not good for human health as well as the environment. The prime example of this are paints, adhesives and other things that contain a high level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Materials containing VOCs cause air pollution, smog and can be quite destructive for human health. This isn’t the only example of poor material choice when it comes green construction and you should research them before you start the project. It is also a very good to use recycled material wherever possible. A lot of people perceive getting recycled construction materials as going to the junkyard to scavenge through the waste. This is very far from the truth. Recycled materials come with proper specification and you can always contact manufacturers if you need to make any further inquiries. Getting Professional Help While you might have the best intentions at heart, you might not be qualified enough to come up with and lead a green renovation project all by yourself. This is why you should rely on professional help in order to get things done properly. You need to ensure that you builders are properly licensed to handle this kind of work, and that they adhere to proper procedures that minimize the damage done to the immediate and global environment. Being that Green building has grown to be somewhat a trend (and about time it did), there will be a lot of contractors out there who will claim that they can pull off the whole thing, but I wouldn’t go that far without a licensing confirmation. Managing Waste and Pollution What’s tricky about green construction is that you need to make sure that the end result, as well as the process, is green and safe. It just doesn’t make sense to have one without the other. Before you start, you should consult your builders about the right amount of material you should order, and when to order. Excess material is usually the material wasted, and this is something you are attempting to avoid by going Green, right? Throughout the entire thing, you need to ensure that you reuse all the materials that can be reused. You should also separate the waste properly, and take it to the right recycling and/or disposal locations. This is a complex matter, and if you really want to build green, you need to get into the thick of things, and act from a position of knowledge. Energy Efficiency This is where planning really gets into the forefront and shines. Logistics, electricity management, the choice of appliances and so on, are all very important aspects of being energy efficient during construction. This requires a team of builders that are aware of these issues, and capable of following the rules of the best practices proposed by the authorities in your area. Don’t let all of these things discourage you. Sure, they require more effort, but ultimately, building Green is something that saves you money. The Green philosophy is about being economical with resources, and this is something that you need to keep in mind. There are tons of factors to consider, but the benefits are more than apparent. Cheaper construction, faster construction, a clean site and building as an end result, along with a cleaner and healthier environment - what more could you ask for?
  3. Energy consumption is a constant state of existence for all living beings. From the leaves of a tree converting sunlight into chemical fuel to human super cities consuming coal, hydroelectric discharge, or nuclear power to fuel their massive electrical grids – energy consumption happens as a day to day process in all walks of life. There are green alternatives available, however, that can greatly reduce the impact this consumption has on the environment - especially on a per home basis. Here are 4 green alternatives to common household systems: Solar Energy When considering green alternatives, one of the first things that should come to mind is solar energy. On average, the Earth receives an astonishing 174 Petawatts of incoming solar radiation per day. There are two distinct types of solar energy you can choose from: Active Solar – This system uses panels known as solar collectors and is the more recognizable of the two when discussing solar power. These collectors usually mount on rooftops in a southward facing orientation. The heat generated from these panels can be used to warm living spaces or water supplies. Passive Solar – Material usage such as thermal mass stone and concrete can serve to absorb heat during peak sun hours and released the stored heat into the home during nighttime hours. Also, large plate glass south-facing windows can provide heat during colder months. Geothermal Heating & Cooling This system involves circulating water through underground pipes beneath the home. The water is naturally heated or cooled based on the temperature of the Earth during summer or winter months. This is called a closed loop system, but another alternative would be an open-loop system that makes use of a well. Natural Gas When available, natural gas is always an efficient alternative to electricity, heating oils, and even propane. Natural gas, according to recent Department of Energy estimates, costs approximately 68 percent less than the cost of electricity per British thermal unit (Btu). Plumbing Alternatives By installing more environmentally friendly plumbing units from Imagine Plumbing & Appliance Ltd, an enormous amount of water energy can be conserved. Here are just a few examples of quick plumbing fixes to help lower energy costs: Low-Flush Toilets – Lowers the water usage from 3.5 to 5 gallons for conventional toilets to 1.6 gallons or less. Low-Flow Showerheads – Lowers the water usage from 4.5 gallons per minute for standard heads to 2.5 gallons per minute. Faucet Aerators – Reduces the water used by faucets by as much as 60 percent while still maintaining strong flow cycles per use. In a progressive approach to thwart the negative implications of human energy consumption on the environment, today more than ever, “greener” alternatives are being researched. These green alternatives involve methods of energy production that are environmentally friendly while striving to remain cost effective.
  4. It isn't really necessary to have a green thumb to create green landscaping or to make your renovations more eco-friendly. Landscaping is partly an art and a science. The basic steps to green landscaping are to plan ahead and choose landscapes that endure and also add an eco-friendly element to the final result. Green Landscaping The fundamentals of green landscaping are fairly simple. Start with a complete review of the existing soil, soil moisture, climate and types of plants preferred. If there are a lot of obstructions like tree stumps and large, exposed roots, consider a digging service like Kamloops Septic Service that specializes in hydro excavations. The use of pressurized water to remove roots and rocks is an eco-friendly way of outdoor renovating. The water is clean, safe and won't add chemicals to the local drainage systems. Once all of this debris is removed, review the design of the green landscape plan. Protection from the Elements If the home or building is located in a windy area, it may be necessary to create a wind break using a fence of evergreens, Russian olive shrubs or privet hedges. With this kind of natural wind break you can help reduce soil erosion and water loss as well as create a natural privacy barrier. Consider the Foliage Choose plants that are compatible with the soil. Not all plants like sandy soil, just as not all plants do well in dark loam. When planting wild flowers, trees or shrubs, check with the regulatory compliance authority before planting takes place. Certain types of wild plants may be protected from extinction. Others grow in their natural environment without much encouragement if the soil is compatible. Making Interior Renovations More Eco-Friendly When making renovations inside a home or building, check all of the tags and labels to insure they meet standard environmental compliance. This applies to roofing, flooring and insulating materials. Most paints and wallpapers today are manufactured according to eco-friendly regulations. When renovating or replacing fixtures and piping, check the ratings for these as well. Many of these can be recycled when it's time to replace them. Keep a careful watch on how to recycle older pipes, sheet rock and exterior shingles and roofing materials. When renovating an outdoor driveway, consult with installers to ask if materials like asphalt or cement can be replaced with natural, eco-friendly pavers or stones. The secret to green landscaping is to understand the compatibility between nature's ecological balance and personal choice of plantings that marry perfectly. With the wealth of eco-friendly materials for renovations, it's now possible to go green indoors and out. Most homeowners and building owners enjoy less expense with green landscaping and eco-friendly renovations.
  5. With the rising cost and limited supply of nonrenewable energy sources, many businesses are looking elsewhere to power their buildings. Some companies reduce their carbon footprint by using solar panels; others use windmills to provide their energy needs. Some are turning to more unique and modern energy savers. A busy train station in Stockholm, for example, converts body heat into warm water that is then used to heat a nearby building. This saves them 25 percent on energy costs. Going green, however, isn't just for companies any longer. Consumers like you can take part in the action, cutting energy costs down in the process. Go green with these five modern ideas. Charge Your Devices Using The Sun If you're like the rest of us, you've got a million devices attached to you at once. Problems arise when you're out for an extended period of time and any one of them dies. Solar powered chargers offer a unique way to keep you connected, from cases to covers to water-resistant USB chargers. Some come directly built into the case, while others are mini stand-alone panels. Their use could not be simpler: Find a sunny area, plug in the charger if necessary, face the small solar panel skyward, and let the sun go to work. They are perfect for people who live in a sunny area with little cloud cover. Because of the way they produce electricity, solar cells emit no emissions, waste, or byproducts. Go Hydro If you live near an abundantly-flowing water resource like a river, a microhydropower system may be a good option. Hydroelectric power provides an economic source of energy by converting flowing water into electricity. Run-of-the-river systems, the most common type, have three components that convert water to electricity--a pipeline that delivers the water, a waterwheel that transforms the water into rotational energy, and a generator that converts this energy to electricity. Microhydropower systems are an especially viable option for people who use solar power, providing energy in the winter months when the sun is not readily available. These systems can generate up to 100 kilowatts of energy, providing well more than enough for your home. Tankless Water Heaters Rule Unlike the traditional water heaters that heat water in advance and store it until it is used, tankless heaters heat it on demand. No more running out of hot water in the shower! Some even offer temperature adjustments, convenient for those who are in danger of scalding themselves, such as the elderly or those with nerve damage in the hands. While tankless water heaters are typically more expensive than their counterparts, they are more energy efficient, and pay for themselves relatively quickly. Cut Costs with Modern Insolation A properly insolated home is more comfortable and cheaper to run than one using less quality material, and can also increase air-tightness by 70 percent. First, get an energy audit to see where your leaks are occurring. Properly install your insolation or replace windows, and try to find recycled material that is water-, fire-, and mold-resistant. If you want to know how to make your home more green and save on your next energy bill then you don’t have to look further than the nearest window. New low-e windows can help immensely with heat retention and help cut cost with modern developments. Install a Greywater System A greywater system captures and sterilizes your bath and washing machine water and reuses it for flushing the toilet. Though you must plumb the house in order to install it, the savings make up for the inconvenience. Toilet flushing typically uses 30 percent of your water intake. A greywater system would cut your bill by a third. It's estimated that you'll save around $250 annually. Though solar panels and windmills are often the first things people think of when discussing green energy, they should be far from the last. Try these unique energy-saving ideas and you'll be one step ahead of your neighbors on the energy-efficient bandwagon.
  6. These days we can see a more intense focus on owning and buying products marked as green or environmentally friendly. The popularity of PCs, cars, phones and so on – have been made in such a way that they are energy efficient. It is a good thing that companies are trying to get on to the band wagon but they aren't really getting the whole thing right. Not yet at least. Regardless of this sloppy effort made by large companies and corporations, we can still see a lot of good things that come from environmentally friendly moves made by the general public. If you are thinking about renovating your home and you are just starting to put together your redesign plan, then you might want to consider “greening up” the place a bit. There are tons of reasons to do this and very few valid ones that you can use as an excuse not to do it. An environmentally friendly home is practically a necessity, if you have a newborn in your family or if you are expecting one. Having a green home eliminates a lot of hazards that can harm a baby’s health or the health of a toddler. Going green will also save you money and you will compensate for your investment by reducing your bills significantly. Green homes basically pay for themselves after a while. Energy Conserving energy sources and making sure we spend it rationally helps everybody. Basically, the whole point is to use less energy to resolve all the necessary issues related to energy expenditure around your home. There are more than a few points on which you need to focus in order to make your home energy efficient. Heating – Every family knows that when winter strikes the family budget gets smaller and it is harder to keep everything in line. No matter what type of heating you use, you can’t really say it is cheap. This is why it is important that you prevent energy loss by installing high quality isolation. Electricity – Old appliances like washing machines, water heaters, and old PCs and so on spend more and more energy as time goes one. Also, one of the common energy thieves are old school light bulbs you may be using. Electric devices that have the energy efficient stamp on the package can resolve a lot of issues you may be having and lower your bills. If you have a bit more money to invest, you can even start producing energy in your home. Solar panels are the first thing that comes to mind. Health Depending on the type of material you use, you can run into a lot of problems when it comes to your family’s health. Some materials are hazardous by themselves while others are good breeding places for bacteria and other organic health hazards. If you have children around the house, you need to make sure that any surface they can reach is safe and clean. This also means that it would be smart to avoid chemical house products and switch to green alternatives. It would also be smart to install kitchen and bathroom tiles that do not nurture organic hazards. Mold can be another great problem. If you don’t have good air flow through your home you can run into some major health issues when mold takes its hold over your residence. Mold can also cause structural issues as well as health issues. People with problems with their respiratory system can suffer from humid air a lot more than most people think. They can experience seizures and constant breathing problems. Recycling When redoing their home, most people function under the presumption that they need to buy a lot of new things. This is not the case. You can breathe in new life into your old furniture and use the pieces that are beyond saving for DIY projects. If you have an attic that is full of things you do not use, it would be wise to clean up and donate that which can still have a valid use to charity. Of course, recycling your own thrash goes without saying. I hope I managed to give you a better insight into how you can transform your home into a greener environment. Good luck with your renovating.