Ways to Make Your Home More Sustainable

There are many ways to make your home more sustainable this spring and summer. You can remodel using eco-friendly materials and appliances, grow native plants, cook more food at home, cool your home without using the AC all the time, and upgrade appliances. Below are some ways to make these changes.

Remodel Using Eco-Friendly Options

Did you know that over 10 million kitchens are remodeled every year? When you decide to remodel your kitchen, look for Energy Star appliances rated for saving water and energy. Use sustainable materials for your cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes. Wood, stone, and tile are all materials that are natural and recyclable. Use wood materials free of toxic materials in your home. Install low-flow faucets in your sinks because they reduce water usage by about 30%. Paint your walls with paint and finishes that are low in VOC or harmful chemicals. These paints are safer for your whole family. Visit antique stores and salvage shops near you to find furniture, accessories, outdoor fixtures, crafts, and art you can put in your home.

Choose Native Plants To Grow in Your Garden

Native plants grow best and adapt to your geographic area better than other plants. They are often easy to care for and you can find them at your local garden center. You can purchase native flowers, vegetables, and herbs already growing and transplant them into your garden. Native plants will attract birds, butterflies, bees, and local wildlife. These plants provide food for local wildlife to help them survive. Finding out about native plants means visiting your local garden center or clubs to learn what is grown locally. These plants will save you money and are usually easier to maintain.

Make More Food Products at Home

Start by buying a sheet pan and parchment paper to cook more fresh vegetables for your meals. Wash and cut the carrots, potatoes, squash, peppers, cabbage, add olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven. Roast at 350 or higher for 20 to 30 minutes. The vegetables should be soft and slightly browned and you can roast them individually or mix them. Learn to saute greens, spinach, swiss chard, or cabbage. Look for recipes and follow instructions. Rice is easy to make in the microwave and is a great side dish with meats, seafood, stir fry, and stews. Learn to use beans in chili and soup recipes. They add protein, vitamins, and nutrients to meals. Try whole wheat or gluten-free pasta they have more nutrition than white pasta.

Prepare more food at home and skip frozen and prepared dinners. Over the last 7,000 years, people have fermented plants and grains to make alcohol. Learn to make healthier meals and cut down on alcohol, as too much is bad for your health. Other easy recipes to prepare at home are pasta dishes, homemade salad dressings, sandwiches, eggs, salads, and sauces. Start with simple recipes with fewer ingredients when learning to cook new dishes.

How to Cool Your Home Without AC

You might want to cut down on using your air conditioner and find ways to cool your house without it. Place box fans in the windows to run at night or a ceiling fan to make your air conditioner more efficient. Many evenings you will find the ceiling fan cools the room enough so you do not need air conditioning. Use cotton or bamboo sheets that breathe and do not trap heat and moisture. Open the window and slider door in the late evening and let some cool air come in. Shut shutters, blinds, and shades during the day to keep heat and the sun out. Wear comfortable lightweight clothing at home; shorts, tee shirts, and comfortable shoes. Try taking a cold bath or shower before going to bed. Cook meals outside on the grill or prepare early in the morning when it is cooler.

Update Older Appliances and Features

Did you know that 85% of the homes in the US were built before 1980 and need improvement and updates? Start slowly to replace old appliances with new models one at a time. Look for Energy Star appliances that save money on water and electricity. Buy a smaller-sized refrigerator or a dishwasher that saves on water when you wash dishes. Buy sustainable products for flooring or wood paneling or even recycled materials that can be reused. Install low-flow faucets and a shower head to save on water use or use LED lightbulbs to save energy. Paint your cabinets or stain them instead of installing new ones.

Finding ways to make your home more eco-friendly and sustainable will improve your health and make it more comfortable to live in.

5 Reasons You Should Start a Gardening Club In Your Community

Green living is increasingly becoming more popular and more important in many communities. With so many people turning toward green energy and greener lifestyles, you might be considering how you can positively impact your community with these improvements. Gardening clubs are one way of implementing this eco-friendly change, and there are many reasons to look into starting one for your community. Here are the five most considerable benefits you should think about.

1. Advocate for More Sustainability

Sustainable practices have been gaining steam in recent decades, and today recycling and eco-living have become a main practice throughout the nation. More than 69% of all steel — over 80 million tons — is recycled every year, and in 2018 three million tons of plastic were also recycled. While remembering to reuse and recycle materials is important, this can also correspond to gardening and composting. By being able to grow your own community produce and compost acceptable food items for fertilizer, you can further cut down on the waste produced by your area. These sustainable practices can help make your community much greener and more eco-friendly over time.

2. Make Your Community a Better Place to Live

A community gardening club can also help build a stronger sense of community while creating lasting relationships among neighbors. With everyone working together and growing produce to share, you can make a more welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that gets people invested and involved in the area. This sense of community is something that many places lack, and by being proactive and creating a way for people to interact meaningfully, you can help build your community up.

3. Work Alongside Local Small Businesses

With over 400 million entrepreneurs worldwide, it’s important to look around your area and see who can help support your goals. Local small businesses shouldn’t be overlooked when building your community gardening club, especially those that sell the resources you need. Even businesses that don’t sell gardening supplies could help sponsor or promote local farmer’s markets that you might hold once your gardening club kicks off. This can be a great way to draw in folks from other communities who then might go on to create their own gardening club. Often you might find that you have more produce than your community needs, and hosting a public sale advertised by local businesses is a great way to spread the love.

4. Produce Healthy Food and Beautiful Green Scenery

A local garden green space is capable of producing both food and a gorgeous piece of scenery. In places where concrete and pavement may be the norm, it’s refreshing to break that mold with beautiful greenery. This neighborhood beautification can also help increase the value of the neighborhood overall, which benefits all of the homeowners in the area. Green spaces like this can also create a productive place for kids to play and learn about gardening at the same time!

5. A Local Garden Can Help You Meet Like-Minded Neighbors

Lastly, starting a community gardening club can be a great way to meet local folks who value green living as much as you do. You may be surprised at all the people in your neighborhood that you will be able to draw in and create meaningful relationships with. To help get the word out, you can consider creating posters to place in mailboxes and local shops. You may even want to create a unique domain webpage to help further get the word out. However, nearly 900,000 domains are registered every week, so make sure yours stands out so locals can easily find you.

A local gardening club has many benefits, and if you’re looking for a great way to bring your neighborhood together, this is one of the best ways possible. Not only does it benefit you, but it can benefit your community and the environment as a whole.

How Close Are You To Having An Eco-Friendly Home?

An eco-friendly home can exist in many forms, depending on where you are in the world and how you’re currently managing your household. After all, it can seem a little expensive to go as green as possible, and when you’ve already got solar panels installed on the roof, how much further do you need to go? 

Well, there’s always another, small change you can make to keep your home the cozy and eco-friendly place it needs to be. We all have to do our bit to help the planet, and it’s often a lot more accessible to do so than you might think. And because of this fact, here are a few questions to ask about the green factor in your home right now. 

Are You Reducing Waste?

Waste is something every single house out there produces, but often enough, we produce too much. And if you’re constantly using paper and plastics within your home, you’re going to be contributing to this major tonnage. 

You want as many reusable things as possible; straws, bags, bottles, clothes, etc., and you’ll want to recycle more than you’ll want to contribute to landfill. Old furniture and electronics are two of the main reasons why garbage tips struggle to cope, so try to dispose of them at second hand shops, or see if there’s a local (or brand sponsored) recycling campaign for such items available. 

Are You Cutting Down on Your Bills?

Your bills are very much indicative of how much energy, gas, and water you’re using month by month. And because of this, it’s a good idea to work on cutting them down as far as you can. Using less means paying less, and when it comes to energy savings that have a positive impact on the planet around you, there’s plenty you can do. 

For example, you could work with a renewable only supplier, which’ll help to keep your carbon footprint down. You can also install LED bulbs in any lights around the home, which can also cut down your bill, and you can even try using a water tank to keep your home’s plumbing flushing through in a renewable manner too. 

Are You Growing Your Own Food?

Finally, if you’re someone who has ample space in their garden, or even just a couple of window boxes to make use of, you can try your hand at growing your own food. It’s a lot easier than you’ve been led to believe!

After all, when given the right conditions to grow in, plants can mostly take care of themselves. And seeing as vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, peas, and leafy greens will shoot up with just a bit of soil, you’ve got the chance of pulling in a fine harvest once the summer rolls around. 

An eco-friendly home doesn’t have to be perfect, but you’ll certainly have to try and make some green changes. So, cut down on your bills, try your hand at gardening, and throw less away.

Tips For Lowering Your Home’s Energy and Water Usage

Your home’s energy bill continues to rise to the degree of you exploring green living options. How can you make your home more energy-efficient without paying thousands for upgrades? Consider these tips for lowering your home’s energy and water usage.

Get Regular HVAC Maintenance

Your home’s efficiency begins with proper maintenance, which is critical to improving airflow throughout the home. Simply replacing your air filters every three to six months can reduce the air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

It is also a good idea to have your HVAC system evaluated by a professional at least once per year. A certified specialist can give you a complete health report that tells you which components need to be changed. A report will also tell you how long you have until you need to replace the system entirely.

Make Improvements Outdoors

An energy-efficient roof is a great way to promote green living in your home. A green roof absorbs the heat from the sun to keep the residence warm during the winter months. Green roofs also help deflect excess sunlight that could lead to hotter days indoors during the summer months.

You may also consider using solar lighting outdoors. This option is affordable and can be controlled with motion sensors, which extend the lifetime of the system.

Solar panels are a great way to reduce energy costs as well. Many who choose solar paneling find themselves saving hundreds, or even thousands, on electric bills. It is even estimated that consumers and businesses can save as much as $20,000 per year on utility bills by going with solar panels.

Consider A Low Flow Toilet

Did you know that flushing the toilet is responsible for about 38% of your home’s water usage? Your water bill rises to even higher amounts if, like many families in the United States, you have more than one bathroom in the home.

Converting existing toilets to low-flow lavatories can save anywhere from two to five gallons per flush. You may also consider replacing your shower head while also fixing leaking faucets to further reduce your water bill.

Adjust Your Furniture

Placing your sofa underneath the vent is a good idea when you plan to watch television for hours. You may find yourself in a dilemma, however, when you move about your home while enjoying air conditioning or heat.

Rearranging your furniture is a good way to improve airflow and help lower your electric bill. You are more inclined to change the temperature on your thermostat when you feel like the home is not getting enough circulation. The reality, however, is that your sofa is probably consuming more energy by being in the direct path of the air.

Consider moving your big furniture items away from the vents. It may even be a good idea to leave the area in the path of vents open completely, so the air has full reign to flow through the home.

Consider Renovations With Good ROIs

The majority of Americans, about 61%, will choose to renovate a home instead of moving out entirely. Choosing improvements that contribute to better energy efficiency is a great way to tackle the problem of high electric bills.

Consider replacing single-pane windows with double or triple-pane windows. This improvement keeps the air flowing from the HVAC system inside the home.

Also, make certain to insulate your living space and the home’s attic with durable weather stripping. Sealing openings with caulk is also a great way to insulate for better energy efficiency.

Green living works to save the planet and money on your utility bills. Use these tips to make your home more efficient.

Living Sustainably and Healthily with Your Garden

Many people would attest to the many benefits gardening has on one’s mental and physical health. There is no denying the peace that comes with being able to nurture a plant from its earliest days up until it’s time for harvesting. Gardening also comes in various shapes and forms; it can merely be a hobby you like to invest some time in after a stressful day at the office, or it can even be a means of putting food on the table. Growing your own vegetable garden can offer a means of providing food for your family and saving on costs while doing so, as well as stir up a passion for producing fresh products and doing your part for the environment.

If you would like to cultivate your own vegetable garden but aren’t sure where to start, try doing some research on what fruits and vegetables you can start off with that require minimal space and offer substantial produce – this can kick-start your gardening journey and also provide you with significant rewards within a short period of time. Gardening may also motivate you even further to help lessen the effects we humans have on the environment. There are also many health benefits associated with gardening that make it even more worthwhile, providing a win-win situation for you and your outdoor sanctuary. Have a look down below at some of these health benefits that explain why gardening is a must for any person looking to live a healthy and positive life.

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