Building An Eco-Friendly Home: The Exterior Upgrades & Features

When creating your vision of a green home, your thoughts jump straight to LED lights, roof insulation, and water-saving toilets. However, it’s not all about the upgrades made inside the four walls. In truth, upgrades to the property’s exterior and external spaces can be equally telling. 

You can complete many of the transformations without impacting your home life during the work. So, it makes sense to prioritize these projects at the start of the eco-friendly overhaul. Here are the best solutions available.

Adding Solar Panels

Roof solar panels are arguably the most obvious move towards a greener home. While they are a significant investment, their impact on your utility bills as well as the environment is huge. By seeking the best solar energy companies available, the investment will pay for itself in the long run. In addition to cutting your need to use energy from the network, it is often possible to sell harvested energy back to the grid.

The roof panels make a significant statement about your intentions to lead an eco-friendly life. Strangely, this can give you the motivation to make further upgrades. This makes them the perfect starting point.

Improving Your Garden Space

Your backyard is an area that should naturally embrace eco-friendly vibes. However, you can take the impacts to a whole new level with a few simple upgrades. An eco-friendly lawn supported with the right choice of plants will put you on the path to success. Meanwhile, creating a compost heap can further support your bid for a greener home. Growing fruits and vegetables is another step that many homeowners enjoy.

The great thing about garden upgrades is that they encourage you to spend more time outside too. This in itself can point you towards an eco-friendly future.

Fixing Doors & Windows

Even the smallest faults relating to your doors and windows can lead to lost insulation. Even when the damage does not threaten the safety or security of the property, you should make a change. A double glazing specialist can install the right features to keep the heat in. It can also boost soundproofing elements while also protecting the home. In most cases, the upgrades provide a positive ROI while the projects rarely require planning permission.

If nothing else, returning home to see new windows and doors will enhance your love of the home. In truth, this should be more than enough motivation to make the upgrade.

Use Upcycled & Recycled Items

One of the best ways to boost your eco-efficiency is to reuse old items. Old pallets can be turned into garden furniture and decorations. Meanwhile, buying used materials to revamp the home’s siding, guttering, and front yard may be possible too. It’s important to ensure that all items are in great condition. Still, there’s nothing wrong with making a financial saving that also saves the planet. At the same time, you can sell your unwanted goods to claw back some funds.

One person’s junk is another’s treasure. Moreover, the old goods and upcycled items can provide a unique vibe that turns your home into the envy of your neighbors. The fact that the property becomes greener in the process is merely a bonus.

New Tech is Helping Us Eat Better and Cleaner

When it comes to healthy eating, there are many obstacles that can often reduce your possibility of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially since obesity is becoming a worldwide pandemic. However, the world of tech—particularly the Internet of Things can help you eat cleaner and create useful habits for living a healthier life.

IoT devices can help you create clean eating habits. This gadget lights up to let you know that you are eating too quickly and that you need to slow down, which makes you feel satisfied with smaller portions. If you are set on eating cleaner and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, here are more IoT tools that can help you out.

SmartPlate

If you have trouble keeping track of the amount of food you eat, try the SmartPlate. By simply taking photos of your food, this gadget instantly inspects whatever you are eating and helps keep track of your food diary automatically. In case you are overeating, SmartPlate will warn you via its app to reduce your portions. 

Range

When cooking, especially meat, it is important to ensure the interior of the food reaches a temperature that is sufficient enough to destroy pathogens that may lead to foodborne illnesses. The range thermometer does more than just taking temperatures. This gadget can provide ideal temperature variations for your food, allowing you to know how hot your food should be. You can even put it in the oven when cooking; and most interesting of them all, this gadget can send you alerts and updates over the internet, letting you know how well cooked your steak is. 

Sippo

Drinking enough water per day is key if you want to stay healthy. Water helps in flushing out toxins, prevent snacking, and generally make you feel better. The problem is that drinking water is more of a chore to most people as they would rather have a glass of wine at dinner rather than drink a glass of water. 

Devices such as smart water bottles and sippo cups help track your water intake and even send reminders to your phone probing you to drink up. These devices will also give you reports on the amount of water you’ve drunk at the end of the day, and how much more you have to drink to meet your daily or weekly intake. 

Calorie Counters

Calorie counters can help you make precise changes to your diet, for instance eating fewer carbs or more protein. This is helpful if you are trying to lose, gain, or even add weight. You first start by providing your present weight, body type, and how much weight you plan to lose. The app will then tell you the number of calories you can take, and if you record it on the app, it can help keep you on track. 

IoT is slowly invading homes across the globe, with more and more people yearning for a smarter abode. But, while having smart doorbells and automatic light bulbs is a nice luxury, people are asking if IoT devices can do more than just providing a luxurious home. And, the answer is yes, IoT is here to make our lives easier, and this includes a healthy diet.  

Designing an Eco-Friendly Lawn

When we think of our lawn, we automatically assume it’s eco-friendly, right? Anything that’s, well, outside, must be! But the truth is, not all lawns are eco-friendly. Many of them have components that are decidedly not good for the environment. 

If you want a beautiful lawn that is every bit as environmentally-friendly as it is eye-catching, read on to find out more. We’ve got a few tips to turn that gorgeous front yard into something you can feel good about. 

Alternative Lawns/Natural Grasses and More

Not all grass or sod is created equal. If you want a true eco-friendly lawn, you want to use a sod and grass that is all natural. These include regionally native sods, and sods/grass that have not been treated with harmful chemicals. These can include some beautiful options, including zoysia grass sod or buffalo grass, and many others. 

In addition to being better for the environment and local nature, using an all-natural regional grass can actually benefit you in other ways. For instance, you won’t have to mow as often, as natural grasses take longer to grow and won’t overrun your lawn. 

Flowers and More

Who doesn’t want to plant beautiful flowers in their lawn/garden? The great news is that you can have a lush, bountiful garden all while remaining kind to the environment, and it’s much easier than you think. There are many alternatives to chemical fertilizers and plant food; it’s just a matter of choosing your favorite options. 

Just as with planting grass, if you plant seasonal, regional flowers you’ll be helping the environment as well as creating a beautiful, colorful garden. After all, plants tend to grow best in the regions they are native to. Do some research and find out which plants are native to your region, grow some from seed, or visit a local plant store to buy some seedlings. 

Landscaping and Maintenance

While you can’t completely avoid using your gas mower or other things like weed eaters and the like on occasion, you can reduce the amount you use them by following the above advice, planting regional and native plants, and doing what you can to keep them trimmed and managed manually. By using all-natural plant products (fertilizers, plant food, bug repellants and so on), you’ll be helping out the planet while still maintaining your garden beautifully. 

There are many great brands of products on the market that can be bought at your local plant store, retail outlet or online, and you can find lots of DIY tutorials on how to manage an environmentally sound garden. 

Veggies and Fruits

Most of the advice above applies to food gardens, too. Lots of sustainable products are on the market to assist you, no matter whether you’re growing a few potted tomatoes or an entire vegetable garden with pumpkins, corn and squash. Natural products work wonderfully as do man-made deterrents and more. An all-natural vegetable garden is a thing of beauty that will be a welcome addition to any nice yard. Best og all, you’ve got yummy food to eat afterward.

What You Smell Could Be Just As Important As What You Eat

Diet and exercise have long been staples of health and wellbeing. But both of these concepts are very much products of the twentieth century. They emerge from the idea that the body is a machine, similar to a car. And food and physical activity are like the engine oil that keeps the entire thing running. 

Now, though, we’re learning stuff about the human body that suggests that health and wellbeing are more than purely mechanical – they’re both sensory and environmental. 

Take pollution, for instance. Not only does it contain particles that harm the lungs. It also smells terrible – and that in itself could have adverse, knock-on effects on our long-term health. 

The idea that smell could influence health outcomes seems a little strange. But when you review the science, it paints an exciting picture. 

We know, for instance, that organic essential oils like lavender can help people to relax and unwind. Something about the fragrance appears to eliminate anxiety and helps them feel better about themselves. 

Likewise, people in high-pressure industries have taken to keeping rosemary diffusers by their desks. The Mediterranean herb appears to aid in things like memory and concentration, improving cognitive performance. 

The scent of orange and lemon can also be beneficial, reducing inflammation throughout the body and counteracting the consequences of metabolic syndrome. 

So what’s going on here? 

Researchers are interested in the idea that our olfactory experience – what we smell – could have serious knock-on effects for health and longevity – as well as the environment. 

Pollution Is A Problem

Pollution, especially diesel fumes and agricultural waste, smells bad. And now, there’s evidence that this affects our stress response, just like seeing or feeling something unpleasant. 

The fact that it has real effects is interesting. It could be an explanatory factor in why people who live in rural locations tend to live longer than city dwellers. It might not just be the effects of carcinogenic compounds on their lungs. It might also have something to do with how it makes them feel. 

The idea that feelings can influence health is strange. But researchers have found that it plays a role in practically every population they study. People who live in close communities with plenty of social support seem to live longer than those who don’t. Our thoughts, it would seem, translate into physical processes that encourage survival. 

There’s also a chemical story here. 

Researchers believe, for instance, that rosemary is health-promoting because it contains compounds that tell our body’s defenses to activate cell maintenance from the inside out. Smelling those compounds could be doing the same thing as eating them, providing the necessary signal that our bodies need to repair themselves. 

Whatever is going on, being surrounded by pleasant smells should be a top priority. It is eco-friendly, and a way to improve your wellbeing without damaging the environment. You can also experiment with the types of smells that work for you, depending on your needs. You could even make a cocktail of scents from different products. 

Grow Your Own Organic Greens This Summer

What could be more eco-friendly than growing your own veggies and herbs? Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s a great way to get back in touch with nature and gain some perspective. Why not plant some greens this summer? You could start a herb garden as well and add a little flair to your cooking. With everybody stuck at home, what better way to unwind than with a healthy new hobby? Here are some examples of perfect greens that you can plant at home. 

Salad Greens

Homegrown organic salad leaves are way better than the ones you buy in the store. Liven up your mealtimes with these easy-to-grow leaves. You can opt for individual varieties, or create a fun mix. Try a combination of lettuce, mustard, kale, and rocket. You can buy all the seeds online.  

  • Lettuce
    Lettuce likes balanced soil, not too soggy or compact. Plant them on the east side of the building so they get a perfect combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. You should be able to harvest them in just 21 days. 
  • Rocket
    For the rocket and smaller leaves sow the rocket seeds very thinly, in shallow holes about 6-10 inches apart. Water and keep the soil moist. Make sure they get some shade during the day, so place the pot in a cooler area of your garden. 

Green Beans

These are a versatile ingredient in curries, salads, and stews. They also work as a great side dish to go with just about anything. Green beans take about 60 days. Keep the seeds 10-16 inches apart and look out for their bushy plants to come into flower. Once pods start appearing it’s a good idea to pick them as this encourages new pods to form. Alternatively, you could also try learning how to grow your own mung beans

Herb Garden

Whereas summer is an ideal time, some herbs are seasonal. There a few important things to remember when growing herbs. You’ll need to be careful with the type of soil you have, and the positioning of the plant relating to sunlight. With a bit of online advice, you’ll be an expert in no time. 

  • Basil
    With a scent that carries you all the way to the Mediterranean, basil is a must this summer. It does best in hotter months but will die out in the winter so get planting now. 
  • Mint
    This one takes care of itself. Mint tends to flourish in any garden and is ideal if you’re looking for low maintenance options.  It’s mostly a culinary herb. It goes great with lamb and adds an aromatic touch to grills, moussaka, and Greek-style stews. 
  • Rosemary
    There are plenty of lovely ways to cook with fresh rosemary. The best part is it’s easy to grow as well. Order one plant online and soon enough you’ll have a robust, gorgeous smelling hedge. 

With all these wonderful additions to your garden this year, you’ll never miss shopping in the supermarket again.