Tag Archives | home and garden

Is It Time To Revamp Your HVAC System?

 

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.
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When you own a home, you have to provide your family with a place to live their greatest moments. The home must be warm and cozy and have an eco-friendly design with high-performance features. The good news is that making upgrades to your home can offer potential savings and create energy-efficient options.

For example, a homeowner can choose between adding insulation to their house or move towards an updated HVAC system. If you’re looking for a way to feel better about your home and conserve energy, then you’ve come to the right place.

Upgrade Your HVAC System To Help Reduce Energy Cost

Deciding to upgrade your heating and cooling system can help you reduce cost and make the home energy efficient. Here are a few options:

Ice-powered Air Conditioning Unit

This unit works by making sure that the water is frozen in a tank overnight. By using electrical energy during the night versus the daytime, a homeowner can have enough cooling during the day and reduce costs for peak hours.

Thermal Air Conditioning Units

These units are different and new to technology, but should take off in the next few years. The systems are supplemented with natural gas and solar energy. They provide more cooling capabilities than the traditional AC units and eliminate electricity costs.

 Heat Pumps

Dual heat pumps provide a great option for comfort. They are a combination of a gas furnace and an electric heat pump. When it gets cold outside, the gas heater will take over until the temperature rises above 35 degrees. Even though the cost is very expensive, purchasing the system itself can last for several years.

Floor Heating

This type of heating will give you the opportunity to experience warmth from the ground up. It will offer you radiant heat versus hot air heating throughout your home. However, it is very important to have the proper amount of insulation in your home so that you can increase energy efficiency by 30%.

Ductless

The majority of homes will have a hidden maze of ductwork underneath. If a particular ductless system is used to deliver conditioned air, then it will typically increase energy efficiency by 40% versus central heating.

However, you may have come across a few homes that are considered “smart homes.” These homes make it easy to move into and can be very convenient. They offer already automated appliances with technological advancements.

For example, you can leave your home and never have to worry about turning off your heating or cooling system. If you forget, then you can make a quick adjustment with your mobile device through an app.

A few other high-tech features would include scroll compressors, variable speed motors, smart control sensors, and dual heat exchangers. However, be advised that it doesn’t matter what system you use if your insulation system is faulty.

Sometimes insulation upgrades are a necessity. It can have a significant impact on your energy cost. By replacing your insulation or increasing it in your home, you will be able to reduce your energy bills. Remember, older homes sometimes lack the proper insulation, interfering with efficiency and savings.

Every type of insulation is different.

Spray foam – You can choose a spray foam type of insulation. The foam will seal gaps in leaks by hardening into a solid.

Fiberglass batts – If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, then you can choose fiberglass batts. They are a cheap type of insulation that can be stapled. When it is installed correctly, it can offer a quick fix.

Reflective barriers -Reflective barriers are usually found in the attic. They are used to reduce heat and cold and offer barriers that reflect the sun rays. This option is only available for homes that are generally in the sun a lot. You could choose this option, but make sure to speak to a representative for more guidance.

The cost of installation can vary depending on the size of your home and the design. An average attic cost can range from $400 to $1800. However, this small investment is a great price to pay if you are concerned about saving energy and reducing costs on your home.

You can also check with your state tax department to see if there are any rebates available for insulation upgrades. However, federal tax credits expired a few years ago. You may still be able to check with your local districts to determine if there are any incentives.

Healthy Habits for Green Kids Start at Home

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As parents, the most important lessons we can impress upon our kids are the sorts of healthy habits that will stick with them throughout life, especially once they’re off on their own for the first time. Healthy lifelong habits can include eating well and exercising, but also extend to things like keeping their living space clean and following good hygiene practices. Today I want to talk about the latter, as no parent wants to see their kid end up as a stereotypically smelly, unkempt teenager!

Of course, kids have to be given freedom to explore their identities and express themselves creatively with their clothing and hair choices. I think it’s only natural for kids developing their sense of self to explore those avenues. But good hygiene is simpler than that, and important for everyone. Teaching kids to maintain healthy habits and take good care of their bodies starts at home, and is something the mister and I have tried to approach in a positive way.

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Personal hygiene is also an area fraught with marketing campaigns (some of which rely on shaming tactics or other nasty approaches to selling their products) surrounding the products we supposedly need to use in order to keep clean. Many of these are full of synthetic scents, untested ingredients, or are otherwise not very eco-friendly, being tested on animals or produced in unsustainable ways. So even our choices of hygiene products can be a big influence on our kids, and what they choose to use in the future. One of my favorite brands of natural personal hygiene products is Tom’s of Maine, who never use artificial colors, flavors, fragrances, preservatives, or animal testing.

You’ve probably seen Tom’s at your local drug store or grocery, and they’ve been around since the ‘70s. I would bet that they’re the most recognizable brand of natural body products around today, not just relegated to health stores or other specialty retailers. I think Tom’s of Maine is great because they aim to operate sustainably and care for both the environment and the communities we live in.

I would say that three of the most important hygiene habits to build with your kids are the following:

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Brushing Teeth: Keeping teeth and gums in good shape is important to overall health and maintaining good breath. It can also be a task which kids (especially young ones) are more likely to shirk or do a half-hearted job of. Being a good role model by brushing and flossing with your children can go a long way to building good dental hygiene habits. Tom’s makes a wide range of oral care products including all-natural toothpaste that my family loves using.

Washing Up: Whether we’re talking regular hand washing to prevent the spread of germs, washing your face each day to help with teenage skin concerns, or getting active kids into the shower to rinse off sweat and dirt after they’ve been out playing, washing up is a huge part of personal hygiene.

Using Deodorant: This one can be a little more controversial, as depending on how you were raised, you might not think of deodorizing products as a necessity. However, in modern society they’re a pretty prevalent part of personal hygiene, and even if you choose not to use antiperspirants due to health concerns, a simple, natural deodorant is a good choice. Tom’s is probably best known for their extensive line of natural deodorants, for men, women, and children. If you’re looking for a healthy, natural deodorant, I don’t think these ones can be beat. My whole family uses them, and we’ve been really impressed by the quality and effectiveness.

I’d love to hear your tricks for helping your kids develop healthy hygiene habits, or your experiences trying natural body products. Have you successfully swapped your conventional hygiene products for eco-friendlier options? How do you teach your kids about the importance of taking good care of their bodies? Have you tried any Tom’s of Maine products that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

 

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield.  All opinions are always my own.

5 Benefits of Bamboo Bed Sheets

5 Benefits of Bamboo Bed Sheets Note from Sweet Greens: Meggie Haneckow

Bamboo bedding has incredible benefits for you and your family. Below are a few of the benefits that bamboo bed sheets and comforters provide.

1. Environmentally Friendly
Any bedding made from bamboo is environmentally friendly whether its bamboo bed sheets, bamboo comforters, or bamboo duvet covers. Bamboo is a grass that grows back on its own even after it is cut down. This means that it is a naturally renewable resource and using bamboo in textile production reduces our reliance on nonrenewable resources. Any changes that we can make to reduce our reliance on nonrenewable resources helps to protect the environment.

2. Hypoallergenic and Chemical Free
Organic bamboo bedding is naturally hypoallergenic and also chemical free. Truly organic bamboo bedding is never treated with chemicals in any step of its production. Even while it grows, bamboo isn’t treated with chemicals because it doesn’t need pesticides to protect it. During textile product companies avoid using harsh chemicals and dyes so the bamboo can keep all of its beneficial qualities.
The hypoallergenic and chemical free qualities of bamboo bed sheets make them a great option for infants and children. Buying bamboo crib sheets or twin size bamboo sheets can help relieve your children’s allergies so they can breathe easier and sleep through the night.

3. Antibacterial
In addition to being hypoallergenic and chemical free, another benefit of bamboo is that it is naturally antibacterial. This is because bamboo bed sheets and comforters wick excess moisture away from your bed at twice the rate of cotton, the fabric traditionally used in bedding. Less moisture means that bacteria can’t grow as easily as it can in traditional bedding, leaving your bed healthier than ever before.

4. Temperature Regulating
Since bamboo bed sheets and comforters wick moisture away, they reduce the presence of humidity in your bed. As we all know, humidity is the enemy in extreme temperatures. By eliminating humidity, bamboo bed sheets and comforters can keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter since the moisture isn’t aggravating the extreme temperatures.

5. Softer and More Comfortable
Bamboo bed sheets are also surprisingly soft. In fact, organic bamboo bedding is even softer than cotton. The threads of bamboo have almost a plush feel, making them extra soft and cozy. Bamboo bed sheets and comforters wrap you up in a cocoon of luxury and comfort, which makes your bed a haven from the hard-working world.

With all of these benefits, bamboo bed sheets are great addition to any home, which makes them the perfect gift.

To find the perfect bamboo bed sheets, bamboo comforters, and bamboo duvet covers, shop at Cozy Earth! Cozy Earth has the softest, most environmentally friendly bamboo bedding on the market today. With Cozy Earth bamboo sheets, you can sleep soundly knowing that you have the best bedding in the world.

How to Iron Clothes More Energy Efficiently

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NOTE: This post wasn’t written by me – thank you for supporting the companies that help keep Sweet Greens in business.
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Ironing is a chore, but there are ways you can easily improve the efficiency of this job to make it less of a hassle and to have less of an impact on the environment. A steam iron can be a great investment because it can significantly improve the appearance of clothing and at the same time prolong their longevity. And the longer that we can use our clothing, the less often we have to buy more – making it a better choice for the environment too. For similar useful tips that will make ironing more efficient, including during the washing and drying process, check out the advice below.

Iron Temperature
Once your clothes are washed and dried, it’s important to use the correct iron temperature to efficiently get rid of those creases. The iron temperature you use will depend on the clothing material, for which there are basic temperature guidelines found on the label. Nylon and silk, for example, should be ironed out on a low heat. Medium to high temperatures are reserved for wool, cashmere, mohair, cotton, ramie and linen – the same for polyester, but preferably using a steam iron. Once you know the appropriate temperatures, “organize the garments so that you start with the coolest setting first” to make for a more efficient ironing routine.

Reducing Wrinkles
Before you even start to iron your clothes, there are some steps you can take during the wash and dry stage to minimize wrinkles and, ultimately, improve your ironing efficiency. The first thing to take note of is the guidelines on a garment’s label, which will tell you the best temperature for washing. With synthetic materials, the permanent press feature of your washing machine should be turned on, and the water needs to be warm to hot. Fabrics that only require a light wash can be spun in cold water.

Other Energy Efficient Ironing Tips

•           The preferred type of water to put in your iron for prolonging its life is soft water; hard water contains minerals that will precipitate and, over time, block your iron, making it less efficient.
•           Hang your clothing straight after ironing to prevent new creases from forming.
•           You shouldn’t iron soiled clothing as the stains will be harder to wash out.

See For Yourself
Hopefully these tips will help you improve the efficiency of your ironing and make it less laborious. Tips like using the correct iron temperature to remove creases will certainly make for a more efficient task. As will washing and drying correctly. Give the tips a try and find out for yourself.

Velvetwire’s Powerslayer USB Charger Set Makes a Great Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift + Coupon Code

Sweet Greens Giveaway

Today’s giveaway is a good one! I think that you will find a dozen people on your holiday gift list who would love to receive it. It’s a super eco-friendly product that has a beautiful design too –  a Velvetwire Powerslayer USB Charger Set!

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Technology advancements in the mobile device battery arena have certainly turned from skips into long jumps. Lithium-ion has come to replace the nickel based batteries of yesterday. And while these new lithium-ion batteries are much more efficient and durable, keeping your gadgets and mobile device plugged into a power source for prolonged periods of time can still lead to overheating, which can cause problems that run the gamut from a simple dead battery, to a battery explosion.

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Velvetwire has come out with a product that supplies consumers with the solution to this issue. It’s called the Powerslayer USB Charger. It’s a smart charger enhanced with built in software that automatically detects when the battery you are charging is full, and then stops the flow of electricity. No surplus electrical flow means no heat; and no excess heat means that no batteries go kaboom, which means your electronics will last longer. Hooray!

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Furthermore, the Powerslayer USB Charger standby mode operates at just one-tenth of the standby power of other chargers, surpassing the bar for Energy Star Level V. And because the Powerslayer is compatible with USB rechargeable devices, it will work with smartphones and tablets across the board. In addition, international compatibility, as well as the foldable plug, make the Powerslayer perfect for travel.

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With its aesthetically appealing textured polycarbonate housing and nickel plated brass plug, the Powerslayer is the smart charger that smart design and environmental conscious consumers are looking for. When I received mine, I was immeditely smitten with it’s fantastic looking design complete with my three favorite colors: turquoise, orange and gray! The USB cord which is also turquoise, orange and gray mimicks the bungee cords we use for all of our outdoor activities.

So whether you have a hipster, an adventurer, a design geek, tech junkie, or a modern mom or dad on your holiday gift list – they will all want a Velvetwire Powerslayer Charger Kit! I guarantee it!

Sweet Greens readers can get 20% through Monday, December 1st with the coupon code TURKEY20.

+ Velvetwire Powerslayer Charger Kit
+ $79

Full Disclosure: I received a Velvetwire Powerslayer Charger Kit – however, I am only sharing with you because I love it and think you will too!