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It’s hard to pick out any single part of your home as the most significant or important when it comes to reducing carbon footprint, but roofing is definitely high on the list. The design, materials and condition of your roof are all decisive factors in determining its impact on your overall energy efficiency. Whether you are choosing a roof for a new home or just looking at ways to replace your current one, you should always consider efficiency alongside installation cost, maintenance needs and aesthetics. Insulate to Cut Waste One of the most important ways that roofing can mitigate environmental impact is by conserving indoor air temperature. Shielding the home from the hot or cold weather outside with solid layers of insulation significantly reduces heating and air conditioning energy use. Homes in climates with the potential for extreme seasonal temperatures may also benefit from specially designed roofing materials that further insulate the structure. Reduce Sunlight Absorption Homes that have significant sunlight exposure, particularly large or taller buildings, can absorb vast amounts of heat throughout each day. The color of the roof materials plays a significant role in determining how much heat is retained, so owners should consider using white or another bright color to reflect more natural heat away from the structure. Consider Solar Panels You don’t need to decide on solar panels during initial roof installation, but interest in this option may warrant making some design modifications to better accommodate panels in the future. Adding solar panels to your home may not supply all of your energy needs, but they can start chipping away at monthly energy expenses and reduce your carbon footprint almost immediately. Modern panels are durable, affordable and reliable in many types of climates, so they are an option every homeowner should think about. Choose Sustainable Materials How roofing influences your home’s operating efficiency isn’t the only factor to consider when evaluating environmental impact. The production of materials and design of roofing components also impacts the environment, which prompts some homeowners to prioritize a sustainable manufacturing process. Metal roofs typically have a low carbon footprint and can be recycled or repurposed when discarded. Understanding all of the ways that a home increases carbon footprint can take a long time, so it’s a goal best approached in achievable steps. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make meaningful changes that have a tangible impact on energy efficiency and domestic environmental responsibility.
LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogContrary to what many people believe, making a home eco-friendly doesn’t need to be a time-consuming or expensive process. The average homeowner could actually save quite a bit of money over the years by going green. Here is a look at three simple steps that you can take to make your household as eco-friendly as possible. Cut out the Single-Use Products Single-use plastic products are incredibly bad for the environment, and you might be using dozens of those items every single day without even realizing it. One of the easiest ways to limit your impact on the environment is to remove most of the single-use products from your home. Some of the worst offenders include straws, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, paper coffee cups, single-use water bottles, and plastic bags. While many of those items can be recycled, the recycling process isn’t completely efficient, and some of the materials will never be used again. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs Swapping out your light bulbs might not seem like a significant upgrade, but this simple project could end up saving you a few hundred dollars per year. Older CFL bulbs tend to be very inefficient because much of the energy is turned into heat instead of light. LED bulbs, on the other hand, turn almost all of the electricity into visible light. Replacing all of the older CFL bulbs in your home with LED bulbs is going to have a major impact on your monthly energy bills. You might also want to invest in “smart” LED bulbs that can be controlled with an app. With a single tap of your smartphone screen, you will be able to turn off or dim all of your lights. Install Solar Panels The solar market is growing at an astonishing rate, and more homeowners are investing in solar panel installation every year. From the moment that your solar system is connected, you are going to notice a drop in your energy bills. Depending on where you live and what type of system you have installed, you might even be able to sell excess electricity back to your energy company. These systems have become quite advanced over the last few years, and they work perfectly in most climates. To help homeowners cover the upfront costs, many states offer financing programs to those who connect their solar systems to the electrical grid. In addition to these three tips, you should also make sure that your family sticks to eco-friendly habits around your home. That includes limiting the length of your showers, turning off the lights when you leave a room, and unplugging any electronic devices that aren’t being used.
Driving can have a hugely negative impact on your carbon footprint, and while we all strive to reduce our personal drain on the environment, there are some things we struggle to do without. While you work toward a world that lives in harmony with earth, there are some things you can do to reduce your car’s carbon footprint. Share a Car Most families have more than one car, and more often than not, each car is intended for the transportation of one person at a time. Getting rid of one car and sharing the other can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. If life with one car is not doable right now, try to carpool as much as possible and save the other car for emergencies only. Trade Up Trade in your gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient green vehicle. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll be saving money on gas as well. Check out the EPA’s site on green vehicles to help you make the best choice for your family. Drive More Sensibly The better you drive, the less gas you waste. Instead of hitting the gas, accelerate slowly and maintain a steady speed. That also includes not driving faster than you need to. These simple tips can improve your gas mileage by 33%, not to mention make the road safer for you and others. Maintenance Proper maintenance can also improve your carbon footprint. Simple acts like getting an engine tune up from a company like Natrad can keep your car running smoothly and keep it from emitting more CO2 than it should. Take it a step further and replace all of your filters at least once a year. Air Up Airing up your tires and keeping them inflated to the proper level can increase your fuel efficiency and save over 400 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Roll Down the Windows Instead of cranking up the air, roll down the windows. Not only will this reduce your fuel consumption, but it will increase your happy mood. A little fresh air and vitamin D does good for the mind and body. So many people live by the idea that, if we can never reduce our carbon footprint to a completely sustainable level, we shouldn’t bother trying. While it may be true that some pollution is inevitable, it is also true that we can make a difference and lessen the global impact one step at a time—and the first step is making eco-friendly choices in your own home.
Smartphones and portable digital assistants play a significant role in our daily lives, in the fulfillment of our businesses, communications, and entertainment needs. However, these gadgets carry some negative impacts on our beloved planet. By frequently charging our mobile devices, we are vehemently exhausting our non-renewable energy. The moment we upgrade to the latest trendy tech pieces, our existing handsets will just contribute to the proliferation of electronic wastes on our landfills. As part of our environmental awareness, the best option we have is to opt for greener devices. If not 100% ecological, at least it’s made up of non-toxic substances, complies with the international energy standards, and biodegradable packaging. For this entry, we’ll give you the indicators that a smartphone is not eco-friendly. Low Quality Battery Life If your smartphone doesn't last a day of operation despite of moderate usage, it isn't a green gadget. By using this type of phone, you’ll be spending more electricity on a day-to-day basis. But, since mobile devices these days are feature-packed, it’s not really surprising if you need to recharge your juice more than twice a day, with continuous voice calling, web browsing, and music playback. According to Verizon, at least your phone should include an “energy-efficient charger that knows when the phone is fully charged and automatically reduces the draw of electricity.” Contains Toxic Materials Nature-inspired cellular phones doesn't have harmful elements inside. It shouldn't have mercury, PVCs (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants). These substances when released to the environment upon disposal becomes contaminants. PVCs are commonly found in plastic phones, since it’s the element used to create cheap mobile casing. BFRs, on the other hand, are agents used to inhibit fire production caused by gadget overheating. Check your mobile documentation if they used toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, and polybrominated biphenyls as these are harmful elements not only to the environment but also to the user. Doesn't Have A Biodegradable Packaging A mobile device that comes with a 100% biodegradable packaging is a green one. If your phone comes with a plastic packaging, its company doesn't have a green initiative. These containers when not recycled, will just add up to the pile of non-biodegradable garbage in landfills. It takes them thousands of years to decompose. On the other hand, paper boxes decay faster upon disposal, and doesn't bring any further harm to our planet. Doesn’t Comply With International Energy Standards Greenpeace released a greener electronics guide, which states that all items should comply with the international energy standards. These items were approved since they don’t emit too much greenhouse gas and proven to be power-efficient. They also have minimum levels of radiation. If your phone’s documentation or packaging doesn't boast of an Energy Star Logo, then it’s because the gadget didn't comply with the requirements provided by the firm. Shorter Product Warranty A nature-inspired product should last for a long period of time and this is an important criterion that you should consider when purchasing any electronic device. Gadgets that have a longer product warranty have longer life span, since it doesn’t break easily, which means less reason to change a device. In opposite, products with shorter cycle are usually made of cheaper materials such as plastic that cannot be sent to recycling facilities to create a new one. These are some of the pointers that you should seriously consider when purchasing a mobile device, as part of your environmental awareness. Electronic wastes, according to a 2013 EPA report, have predominantly reached an alarming rate of almost 2.4 million tons in the United States alone. By owning a green product, in a small way, we are battling against the deterioration of our beloved Earth. What other criteria should we look for in a green smartphone? ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sookie Lioncourt is a British tech writer who is fascinated on technological innovations. She is a self-confessed environmental advocate. Some of her influences are Al Gore and Greenpeace. She loves covering green initiatives of various companies. Follow her on Twitter and connect with Sookie via LinkedIn