Author Archive | Jennie

Eco-Friendly Ways to Successfully Cool Your Home

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you might enjoy staying cool and comfortable in your home during the warmer months of the year, you may also be concerned about cooling your home in a way that’s sustainable and friendly for the environment. Explore a few tips for making your cooling experience eco-friendly and just as effective as traditional methods.

Invest in Quality Insulation and Sealing

Some of the best and most effective cooling methods don’t even involve your air conditioner. Take out some time to have a professional technician who specializes in air conditioning repairs inspect your current insulation to see if it’s doing its job and whether you need to consider investing in an upgrade. Different types of insulation and sealing include thermal envelopes and heat shields.

Boost Your Home’s Ventilation

Making sure air can easily flow through your home is also essential to keeping cool and overall energy efficiency. Specifically, you’ll want to keep your home’s windows, shades and doors closed up until it’s cool out, otherwise, you’ll only have hot air blowing through your home’s interior. Additionally, bear in mind that ceiling fans cool people, not rooms, which means you should only have your fans on when someone is in the room. On a related note, when your fans are on, they should spin counter-clockwise to draw hot air up into the ceiling.

Close Your Shades and Blinds

No matter how great the inside of your home looks while drenched in sunlight, it comes at the cost of heating up your interior, which means your air conditioner is working harder than necessary. To help combat feeling as if you’re living in a sauna, close up your blinds and shades against direct sunlight and the heat waves that comes with it. If you’re someone who thrives on sunshine, you can leave your blinds and shades partially closed to direct sunlight.

Cook at Night or in the Early Morning

Operating your oven or stove during the day cranks up the heat in your home, which makes your air conditioner crank up its efforts to keep your home at the same temperature. Rather than feel as if you’re making a sacrifice by not using the oven, you can instead start eating more raw vegetables and fruits, which your body is sure to thank you for. Opt for fruits like watermelon that contain a lot of water to help you keep cool.

Lower Your Overall Cooling Load

Ways to make the most of passive cooling include:

  • Add or upgrade the sealing around your home’s windows and doors.

  • Use low-E glazing to your windows.

  • Make sure you have proper and sufficient insulation in your attic.

  • Invest in a whole-house fan, which can decrease your use of your air conditioner as well as your overall energy consumption.

  • Consider installing a radiant barrier in your attic ducts.

These methods are sure to pay off in the long run.

Sleep With a Buckwheat Pillow

If you’re like most people, you probably like sleeping in a cool room. Blankets and sheets are comfortable while sleeping, but they can raise your body temperature. Rather than crank up the air conditioner, invest in a buckwheat pillow, which is naturally cooler than standard pillows and won’t keep you tossing and turning during the night, which impacts the overall quality of your sleep.

Turn Up Your Unit Temperature

You can still remain comfortable even if your unit is set at a higher temperature. For every degree you set your unit above 72 degrees, you can save anywhere from one to three percent energy. Try it and see if you notice a difference in your comfort levels.

With the right information, you can do your part to save the environment through more efficient cooling methods. Put these tips to good use and see what a difference they make and how good it feels to practice sustainability.

New: Stonyfield Organic Fruit Snacks!

Stonyfield Gummies 2

What kiddo doesn’t love fruit snacks? Now, you can feel happy about giving your kids this sweet treat. Stonyfield’s new organic fruit snacks are made using real fruit and vegetable juice and are free from artificial flavors, preservatives and GMOs. And they are shaped like cows too!

We excited to receive a delivery of the fruit snacks and we loved both the strawberry and mixed berry! They taste great and have a great consistency too!

Wouldn’t these treats be fun to add to your Halloween party goody bags? I think they would be a hit!

 

This post was written in partnership with Stonyfield – all opinions are my own.

7 Green Tips for Reducing Your Carbon Footprint this Autumn

fall

Today is the first day of fall! Hooray! Now that the days are getting shorter and cooler, it’s a great time to give your home and car an energy audit. Nothing is worse than finding out in at the beginning of winter that your home’s heating system is faulty, or the tread on your tires isn’t ready for snow. So spend the next few weekends taking a closer look at your home and vehicle to make sure that they both are ready for those cold, winter months ahead. Get started by reading on for 7 tips to prepare for colder weather while reducing your carbon footprint.

#1 Keep the Heat Low
As the temperature outside begins to drop, we tend to turn the thermostat up. Before you reach for that dial, try layering with sweaters, thick socks, and extra blankets on the bed. It’ll save energy and heating costs, and you can save the toasty heat for winter.

 #2 Give Your Heating System a Checkup
Before the cold sets in for the rest of the year, have your heating system inspected by a professional to see if any tune-ups are in order, filters need replacing, or if it’s time to exchange your older furnace for an energy efficient model. It’s best to do it now while the weather is still tolerable – having a heater go out in the middle of a freezing December night is no fun!

 #3 Turn Down Your Water Heater
Many water heaters are installed at a default setting of 140 degrees, which can pose a scalding risk and waste energy by heating water much hotter than you’ll need it. Turn your heater down to 120 degrees to save energy and bring the water down to a safer temperature. You can save additional energy by wrapping your water heater in a blanket to keep heat in.

#4 Save Baking for the Cold Days
Fall is a transitional season, so some days feel like summer while some foretell winter’s coming with a bite in the air. If you’re planning to use the oven for cooking your favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, save the recipes that need to cook in it for colder days. Chances are the oven will heat your kitchen enough that the rest of the house will raise a few degrees in temperature, too, and avoiding baking on hot days will prevent you from having to crank the AC.

#5 Check Your Tire Pressure
When the temperature drops, tire pressure lowers and brings fuel efficiency down with it. Check your tires and inflate them to the proper setting. Fall is also the perfect time to have the tread on your tires checked – if you need new tires, get them put on now before you find yourself stuck in the driveway the morning of that first snow storm.

 #6 Check Windows and Doors
Check the weather stripping around your windows for leaks and caulk or replace where necessary. Check for drafts under doors and use a draft snake or replace the threshold if necessary.

#7 Arrange Furniture Warmly
Many older homes have at least one wall that lacks proper insulation, allowing the cold to seep in and taking too long to heat up in the day time to prevent the room from feeling freezing at night. Line up heavy furniture like sofas and armoires or use decorative quilts to help insulate the room.

How does your family reduce its carbon footprint when cold weather rolls around?

 

 

How to Reduce Waste this School Year

How to Reduce Waste this School Year

Back-to-school time is a lot like Christmas—there’s excitement, stress, and a lot of buying. Most parents with school-aged children have spent a small fortune on school supplies and snacks at the beginning of the year only to discover a mountain of barely-used pencils and notebooks at the end of the year—not to mention a car littered with fruit snack wrappers. As parents, we lead by example, and the practices we employ today will rub off on our kids. Here are 4 simple ways to reduce waste this school year and set a green example for your kids.

#1 Avoid Buying in Bulk
Those bulk packages of pens, notebooks, snacks, and juice boxes are tempting, but the truth is that many of these products are sold cheaply in bulk because they’re unhealthy, cheaply made, or don’t follow environmentally-friendly productions standards. Instead, compile a list of everything you need based on all your kids’ school supply sheets and look for supplies that are made from recycled materials or that can be recycled or refilled later. As far as snacks, shopping locally for healthy fruits and veggies and setting aside a couple hours a week to bake a batch of granola or whole grain muffins to send the school will ensure that your kids eat healthy without creating a ton of trash.

#2 Use Resusable Lunchware
The average American family creates 4,320 pieces of unnecessary lunch waste, mostly plastic packaging. That adds up to a lot of trash in the landfills and ocean with a lot of dollars down the toilet. Instead of buying pre-packaged snacks and milks and sending lunches to school in brown bags and plastic baggies, purchase non-toxic, reusable lunch boxes and snack cups for your kids to take lunch to school in and send water and milk in stainless steel bottles. Throw in a cloth napkin and reusable cutlery and you’ll eliminate ALL of the 4,320 pieces of lunch waste your family would normally produce!

#3 Choose Minimally Packaged Products
When possible, buy notebooks and supplies that don’t come in plastic wrappers or extra boxes, which are totally unnecessary. Every piece of non-degradable plastic trash that you throw away ends up in a landfill or adding to the island of trash in the ocean.

#4 Green Your School Commute
A great, easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is by having your kids walk, bike, or ride the bus to school. Walking or biking will give kids a little exercise to boost their energy and sharpness before class and let them enjoy the outdoors at the same time. If safety is a concern where you live, walk or bike your kids to school instead of driving them, or see if another student who already walks to school has a parent who can tag along.

What are some simple ways your family has reduced waste during the school year?

3 Delicious Organic Lunchbox Lunches

Organic Lunches

School just started, however your student may be getting sick of seeing the standard PB&J in her lunchbox (or you’re sick of making it!) I know this happens in our family – Eben will want the same thing for lunch for a few weeks and then all of a sudden as I am packing lunch – he chimes in that he wants something different! If you are struggling for new lunch ideas, it’s time for a box-lunch upgrade! Read on for three new lunchbox standards that your child will be asking for again and again.

#1 Wraps and Burritos
Wraps are a great way to get a few servings of healthy vegetables into your kid’s day. I like to make extra chicken breast at dinner the night before and combine it with cucumbers, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots—you name it!—into a hearty wrap the next day. Make sure to include a healthy fat like avocado and a protein like garbanzo beans or feta cheese so that your student gets a balanced meal. Burritos are one of my all time favorite lunch foods and I haven’t met a kid yet who didn’t like them, too! Create a healthy version by combining black beans and brown rice and a sprinkling of cheese. Send some avocado slices, lettuce, or tomatoes in a separate container and the meal is complete.

#2 Homemade Soup
Hearty, homemade soups and chillis are a great fall and winter lunch to send to school with your kid. The next time you make a big pot for the family, portion some out into jars or Pyrex containers and freeze or store the portions in the fridge. On lunch morning, simply heat up the soup and pack it in a thermos. Add a slice of seedy, whole grain bread and the meal is a winner!

#3 The Re-done Lunchable
Instead of serving your kids the highly-packaged, preservative-laden lunchables that come from the grocery store, create your own using healthy ingredients. Put together whole grain crackers and organic cheese with fruit and nuts or hummus with carrots, celery, pita bread, yogurt (right now – the Stonyfield Petite Creme’s are Eben’s fave!) and almonds for a more filling, much more nutritious alternative.

What are your favorite organic lunches to send to school with your little ones? What’s the new PB&J in your household?

7 Easy Steps to Start Living a Green Lifestyle Today

7 Ways to Start Living a Green Lifestyle Today
Starting to live a green lifestyle can be totally overwhelming – the first thing you think is you have to make a lot of changes all at once. Not true. You can start greening your lifestyle by taking small steps – one at a time. It is about changing your mindset and creating new routines. Once you start to incorporate these small steps into your daily, weekly and monthly routine, it will naturally just become a part of you life. Back to school time is the perfect time to get started, follow my 7 easy steps to living a green lifestyle and work your way through the list.1. Eliminate the Paper
Invest in a nice selection of cloth napkins, washcloths and towels. To keep things simple, we have washcloths that are only used to clean the bathrooms, ones to clean the kitchen and other areas of our home and ones to use in the shower. Each of these are different colors; white for the bathrooms, gray for the kitchen and yellow for the shower – I like to keep the shower washcloths separate from the cleaning ones.

2. Reusable Bag It
Buy a set of five reusable grocery bags and use them. My hands-down favorite reusable bags are Envirosax because they package five large reusable bags inside a pouch. We have a few of these – I keep one in my handbag, the mister keeps one in the front of his car, we have a set that we use in our RV and there is a set stowed in my car – in case the mister takes it to do marketing. This way we always have a set available and there is never a reason to have to choose paper or plastic?

3. Make it a Waste-Free Lunch
When you pack your lunch, your spouse’s lunch or your child’s lunchboxes, the idea is to get each lunchbox to be waste-free. When Eben was younger we loved the PlanetBox, it has everything needed to keep his lunch waste-free. Now, that he eats more – we are obsessed with our Wean Green Glass Cubes.

4. Green Clean It
The next time that you do your household-cleaning product shopping, pick up some green cleaners. These products work just as well as the conventional products without the toxic ingredients. Nothing is worse than gagging while cleaning – isn’t house cleaning bad enough by itself. 🙂 Green cleaners are not only great for the health of your family but the health of the environment too. Plus, if you wish you can make the green cleaners yourself.

5. Ditch the Bottled Water
This one is simple – DO NOT purchase bottled water. Instead, get each member of your household a great reusable water bottle – we prefer stainless steel. These are great for beverages on the go! And if you are worried about water quality, then purchase a filter for your kitchen faucet, a filtered water pitcher or a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter.

6. Green your Cup of Joe
Skip the Starbuck’s drive-thru window and brew your own organic coffee at home. It is much more affordable and when you pour yourself a cup or two into your reusable coffee mug, you help the environment too. Instead use that money to make a small environmental donation –  Charitable Donations Canada is a great place to start.

7. Recycling 101
If you aren’t already recycling, what are you waiting for? Most communities offer some type of recycling program, so start there. If you are too lazy to walk the recyclables to the recycling bin in your garage, set up a simple recycling center in your kitchen. Many kitchens have the space to neatly conceal all of your recyclables under a cabinet – I like this option, it would allow you to separate paper, cans, plastics and glass all in one space. Brilliant!

How about you, what easy steps have you taken to live a green lifestyle?
Do you have suggestions for readers who are just starting their green journey?

6 Eco-Friendly Lunchbox Essentials for Green Kids

Now that the kids are back at school – you are probably testing out the new lunchbox. If you are like me, it can be hard to find the perfect lunchbox essentials. We have had a hard time with the lunch bag being too small, containers leaking, water bottles that won’t fit inside the lunchbox and even worse, the lost lunchbox. Over the years, we have fine tuned Eben’s lunchbox and have found 6 essentials that we highly recommend – all of them are eco-friendly too, read on to check them out!

1. Large Reusable Insulated Lunch Bag $35
Over the years we have tried out quite a few eco-friendly lunchboxes, the key is a lunchbox that is insulated and large enough to hold everything including a water bottle. For Eben it also helps if it has a handle to carry it by – since adding another bag to his shoulder isn’t an optimal option. I love this one printed with EAT on the front. Such a fun statement at lunchtime!

2. Hen House Lunchbox Napkins (6) $25
Reusable fabric napkins are a must for the lunchbox – these fabulously designed ones from Hen House Linens add a pop of color and whimsy to the lunchbox. We loves our and have found them to be super durable too.

3. Contigo Reusable Water Bottle $25
I adore Contigo products – I am a huge fan of the reusable water bottles and coffee mugs. These are large enough to hold a sizable lunchbox drink for Eben, keep his drink cold and they don’t leak! They also have a fantastic kids line with insulted food jars perfect for soup or chili on a cool fall day.

4. Island Picnic Reusable Organic Cotton Snack Packs $17
Pretzels and Popcorn and Nuts – oh my! These organic snack packs are the perfect size for packing those back to school treats! I pack Eben a couple of snacks every day and these are perfect for keeping the snacks together!

5. Wean Green Reusable Glass Lunch Cubes $6-12
These are by far my favorite reusable lunch containers, we use them every-single-day. They come in an assortment of sizes that fit perfectly inside a lunchbox, are made from non-leaching glass and the lock seal means no leaks EVER.

6. SwaggerTags $4
Never worry about a lost lunchbox again – Swaggertags are a fantastic way to identify your child’s lunchbox without giving too much information away (you have to open them to see the identification – the outside is customized by you with any photo!) They come in a selection of fun colors too and are guaranteed to not fall off. Perfection!

What is a must have for your child’s lunchbox? I would love to hear – leave your comment below!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...