Tag Archives | eco friendly

5 Tips For an Eco-Friendly Home

Making your home more eco-friendly can mean adding a modular addition, reducing water usage, using sustainable materials, buying Energy Star appliances, or finding ways to save energy with electronics. Below we give you some tips on eco-friendly tips and practices.

Go Modular With A New Home or Addition

Modular homes are built in factories and the materials stored in the warehouses, eliminate weather-related problems. Custom-built modular homes and additions have many designs and builders work with customers to find the best one. They have many home designs and plans to choose from. A modular home can be built in a third of the time it takes to construct other types of homes. Modular homes also reduce energy consumption by 67%, no matter what the climate is like. Modular homes have less heat loss due to tighter construction and sealants used.

When you buy a modular home, you will need to own property to put it on. You can choose eco-friendly materials to use in the design and construction. The styles of homes are Cape Cod, green home, contemporary, colonial, ranch, and tiny house. Modular home additions can be a good way to add on an addition to your home. It can be attached to the side of your home and create an additional living space, a new kitchen, or other rooms. A modular addition can be placed on top of a one-story house to make it two-story.

Before building a modular addition find out the zoning laws in your state. Modular additions can be apartments, rooms, sheds, garages, studios, or guest houses. Modular homes and addition are environmentally friendly, save on utilities, and the construction timeline is shorter.

Focus on Water Usage

Conserve water at home by fixing any leaky pipes or faucets because you can lose hundreds of gallons this way. Install low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads that reduce the amount of water used. Traditional toilets use about 28% of water in your home or condo. Other models that use less water are pressure-assisted or dual flush toilets. Run the dishwasher only when it is full, and consider washing some dishes by hand. Install instant hot water heaters in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. These small devices supply hot water when needed, and reduce water usage from 27 to 50%. Water the lawn and garden with a hose or watering can. Consider using drip irrigation for larger yards or soaker hoses to reduce water use.

Look For Items Made Out of Eco-Friendly Materials

Powder coatings are environmentally friendly finishes used on surfaces inside and outside your home. They can be used on doors, windows, handles, doorknobs, appliances, walls, and wood. This type of coating is safer than some paints that emit harmful chemicals. It is a tough and durable coating and environmentally friendly. It can be recycled, and it complies with environmental standards. Powder coatings have low VOC emissions and are free of solvents.

When installing flooring use eco-friendly materials bamboo, cork, or reclaimed wood. Hire contractors that use recycled materials or salvaged items when building made of glass, stone, wood, steel, and metals. Salvaged wood planks can be used for flooring in the home, recycled tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms, and some consumers insulate with sheep’s wool soybean foam spay. Recycled materials reduce waste and make use of eco-friendly materials.

Opt For Replacing Appliances With Energy Star Rated Brands

Energy Star appliances are certified by the US Department of Energy and use 10 to 50% less energy. This means you will save on electricity and water use lowering your monthly bills. Refrigerators use the most electricity of all home appliances. Buying a new Energy Star refrigerator will help reduce the electric bill by about 20%. Many of these appliances have rebates and tax credits for purchasing them. Some utility companies offer savings for using these appliances. They make dishwashers, air conditioning, washer, dyers, and water heaters with this label.

Make Sure You Have Energy Saving Measures In Place

Electronics use tons of energy, computers, TV, cell phone, and home entertainment systems. Use power strips for TVs and computers and turn them off when not in use. Consider having a time limit for watching TV or using the computer. Unplug electronics as they still use power when plugged in. After charging your cell phone, unplug it and turn it off at times. Customize power options on your computer, most Windows computers have this option. Look for electronic equipment with the Energy Star label. In 2019, there were many data breaches that exposed over 4 billion records of private information. Investing in software that protects your computer and electronics is a reasonable investment. Most programs are safe and reasonably priced.

With these tips, your home will be much more eco-friendly. An eco-friendly home isn’t just good for the environment, but it can also save you money in the long run.

9 Eco-Friendly Family Activities To Do This Spring

As the spring season approaches, it’s easy to start thinking about the warm weather and longer daylight hours, but it’s important to also think about the earth. Earth day falls on April 22nd each year, but it’s important to think about how to be eco-friendly year-round. Below are a few ideas of how to keep your family entertained and environmentally conscious this spring.

Make Recycled Crafts

Making fun crafts can be a great way to spend time together and make something fun. To add an eco-friendly spin to crafting, challenge your kids to create something that is entirely made up of recycled or reused materials. Depending on their age, you can give them a handful of materials to choose from, or you can let them loose to find things in your home and yard that are going to be discarded that they can use to make something new. This can help them develop their creativity as well as see that new things don’t have to be made up entirely of new materials.

Garden Together

Gardening is a great family activity that is also very eco-friendly. As the ground thaws in the spring, it’s a great time to get outside and get started on your gardening for the year. Your kids can help you with many gardening tasks, just make sure to take into account their age and ability levels when you’re asking them for help with different tasks. Plant some fruits and vegetables to be a little extra eco-friendly!

Find Ways to Save Electricity

There are many ways to use less electricity in your daily life, but if you work as a family to brainstorm ways to use less electricity, it can stick better in your kids’ minds. There are 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines for electricity in the United State’s electrical grid, and taking some of the stress off of that system can help it work more effectively and save energy. Something as simple as unplugging a device once you’re done using it or making sure that you turn the lights off when you’re the last one to leave the room can help save a lot of electricity over time. Figure out some specific ways that your family can decrease your electricity usage to make sure that you can actually cut back in your daily lives.

Bike Around Your Town

Once the weather is warm enough, start taking weekly bike rides to explore your town and the surrounding areas. It’s a great way to have fun family bonding time without worrying about polluting the environment. You can find new places that you might not have noticed if you were driving around your town, get some good exercise, and bond as a family. That makes bike riding one of the best eco-friendly spring activities for your family.

Cut Back on Your Water Usage

Similarly to saving electricity, talk as a family about ways that you can use less water. Only 1% of the water on earth is suitable for drinking, and while we can take that for granted in developed countries, it’s important to think about conservation. Some easy ways to cut back on your water usage include taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face, and using a dishwasher instead of washing your dishes by hand. Ask your kids what they think they can do and try to achieve those water-saving efforts together.

Do a Park Clean-Up

Litter is a big problem everywhere, but especially in the places that see a lot of foot traffic, like popular parks or walking paths. Every time that you go to a place like that, challenge everyone in your family to pick up a certain number of pieces of litter. If you’re worried about what’s on the litter, you can pack gloves to use to pick up the litter as well as hand sanitizer. Over time, your family will be responsible for picking up a lot of litter and making the earth a little bit cleaner of a place.

Exercise Outside

When the weather starts getting nicer, it can be easy to want to spend every moment possible soaking in the outdoors. It’s a great opportunity to encourage some healthy habits with your kids by finding new ways to get moving outdoors. Depending on the size of your family, you can arrange games like soccer or basketball, or you can try for more solitary forms of exercise, like yoga. 28% of Americans have tried yoga at some point, and doing yoga outside is a great way to soak in the good weather and take care of your body at the same time. Getting outside to enjoy the weather while also getting out some energy and helping your body is a great way to spend the spring.

Go on a Flower Hunt

A flower hunt is a great way to spend time outdoors and keep your family entertained. Next time you’re at a park, challenge everyone to find as many different types of flowers as they can. If you can, have everyone take pictures of their flowers instead of picking them so that you aren’t disrupting nature too much. After you’ve found as many flowers as you can, go home and do some research to find out what kind of flowers they are.

Play in the Rain

Spring means a lot of rain in many climates, and playing in the rain can be a very fun activity. You don’t want to get sick from spending time out in the rain, so make sure that you’re being smart about it and properly layering up in raincoats and boots, and not spending too long outside. Once you’re done, dry off and warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate or tea and watch a movie to get the full rainy day experience.

Being eco-friendly and bonding with your family can go hand in hand with these springtime activities. Teaching your kids about the importance of being eco-friendly is a great way to help prepare them to have eco-friendly habits as they grow up.

Simple Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly This Winter

With the cold winter weather here, you’re probably doing everything you can to keep the inside of your home warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, the winter months often mean an increase in energy consumption. So how can you go green this winter without feeling like you’re living in an igloo? Here are a few tips to help you be more energy-efficient during the winter months.

Unfortunately, the Department of Energy shows that about 56% of the energy used in U.S. homes is for heating and cooling. But the good news is that you don’t have to completely shut off your heat to save some energy. Turning down the thermostat even a degree or two can make a big difference in energy consumption. Getting a programmable thermostat can allow you to have the heat turn down when you’re asleep or not at home so you won’t even notice the difference. And you can always snuggle up in more blankets if you get too cold.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering your heat use is ensuring your home is properly insulated. If there is a lack of insulation or even cracks or drafts around windows and doors, you could be losing a lot of heat in your home. And when this heat is lost, your HVAC system has to work harder to replace it, using more energy. So consider installing weather stripping around windows and doors and sealing entry points for outside lines with proper insulation to avoid losing heat in your home.

With the winter days being shorter and darker, you probably have more lights on in your home than normal. This is another great opportunity for going green — did you know that LED lights use only 15% of the energy that a standard halogen light uses? Not only that, but LEDs offer up to 85% more light output too. So by switching out your halogen bulbs for LEDs, you’ll be reducing your energy consumption and getting more light in your home.

And lastly, consider going green when it comes to your diet as well. When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, consider buying in-season options. While today’s modern world allows us to have access to fruits and vegetables all year no matter the season, out of season produce has to be shipped from far away. This uses tons of fuel, which is something you can help reduce. So try to make an effort to buy produce that is in season throughout the winter months.

Being more eco-friendly this winter doesn’t have to be difficult. So keep these simple tips in mind for a greener winter.

Helping Holidays: 4 Green Gifts That Give Back

 

The holidays are all about celebrating acts of giving, making it the perfect opportunity to make your gift giving smarter this season. There are so many amazing businesses out there that give back when you purchase one of their products. These companies are tied to doing good somewhere in the world every time a purchase is made. Read on for my 4 favorite gifts that give back – and if you hurry you can still get these goodies by Christmas.

1. Warby Parker Glasses
Eben and I both wear glasses and love the stylish, affordable frames from Warby Parker. For every pair of glasses that you buy, a pair is donated to a person in need. If you don’t wear glasses, that is alright – Warby Parker also offers fantastic sunglasses.

+ Warby Parker  

2. Feed Bags
I have been familiar with FEED Bags for a very long time – I remember first seeing them in Whole Foods back when we lived in Georgia! FEED Bags come in a huge selection of styles and sizes and with each purchase a portion of the proceeds go towards feeding the children of the world.

+ FEED Projects

3. TOMS Shoes
Most likely you are already familiar with TOMS shoes – for every pair you purchase a pair is donated to a child in need. With a great selection of shoes for everyone on your list, TOMS is the perfect holiday gift!

+ TOMS

4. Bogo Brush
Every year I stick a toothbrush in the holiday stocking – this year I will be stuffing a brush from Bogo Brush! Bogo Brush is another company that donates a product to a child in need – in this case, an eco-friendly toothbrush made from waste – because a healthy smile is a happy smile.

+ BOGO BRUSH

Do you have a favorite gift to give that gives back too?

How You Can Make Your Coffee Use More Sustainable

Coffee is an ancient art. In the 16th century, it was being grown in places like Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. As far back as the 1600s, iced coffee and cold brew were being made in Japan; by the 1800s, Algeria also produced iced coffee and cold brew. In the 17th century, coffee finally made its way to Europe as well.

These days, coffee is everywhere and comes in many forms. But that is part of the problem. In modern times, we’ve become more aware of the impact of our disposable coffee cups, as well as the impact of certain planting and harvesting techniques for the coffee itself.

For those with an eye for sustainability, here are six tips to help make your morning coffee more environmentally-friendly.

1. Be Picky

Consider shaking up your routine by looking into coffee alternatives. Did you know 35% of people miss discovering a business because they don’t see their sign? It’s sort of the same with coffee. We can miss alternatives or more sustainable options simply because we’re not reading labels carefully.

Next time you are at the grocery store to buy coffee, take an extra minute to read the signs right before you. A lot of producers will include labels that indicate their coffee is produced more sustainably.

Look for indicative phrases like fair trade, rainforest alliance, organic, and bird-friendly. These are all certifications based on different criteria. For example, fair trade coffee tries to ensure growers and producers are treated fairly and helps protect land and waterways near where the coffee is grown. Decide what is important to you and find the labels that match that.

2. Find Local Sources

If you can get your coffee locally, that is always going to be a big step towards sustainability. The more your coffee has to travel to get to you, the more pollution and waste is involved in producing it.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to find local growers, independent farms, and regional roasters who can make you the perfect cup. As a bonus, you’ll be helping out a local small business.

3. Make Your Own At Home

Going out for coffee is always going to produce more waste than brewing at home, even if you’re buying coffee from a small local cafe. Brewing your own coffee at home is one of the best ways to reduce waste and it should save you some money too.

When making your own coffee at home, stay away from disposable, one-time-use cups. Instead, use a fair trade brew that you can scoop out of a bag. Those one-time-use cups are convenient, but incredibly wasteful.

And while you’re making coffee at home, use a mug! Invest in a great coffee mug that you can use every morning. By doing this, you will not only be reducing the waste from the coffee, but also from the disposable cups you tend to get at coffee shops.

4. Compost the Waste

One last tip for brewing at home: Compost. Tea leaves and coffee grounds are excellent compost. Coffee is actually a superb fertilizer because of the nitrogen content.

By composting leaves and grounds, you will keep waste out of landfills. You can even spread used coffee grounds directly on your garden if you don’t have a way to compost.

5. Reuse Your Filter

While you’re making your coffee at home, find ways to minimize your waste. You can not only reuse your mug and avoid single-use cups, but you can also get a reusable filter to cut down on wasteful paper filters.

Those paper filters aren’t just bad because they fill up landfills; they also sometimes contain things like dioxins that can get into watersheds. Reusable filters are much better for the environment.

However, if you do need to use paper filters, search for ones that are “total chlorine-free” or “processed chlorine-free.” This indicates that they won’t be full of dangerous dioxins that can get into water systems.

6. Tell a Friend

You don’t need to do this alone! Get a friend to go with you for your morning coffee run at a local restaurant or cafe. You could even buy mugs, reusable filters, and more sustainable and environmentally-friendly coffee together.

As you continue trying to change your coffee drinking habits, having a friend to commiserate with can be a huge help. Talk about the best brands or cafes you’ve found, what your long-term goals are, and tips you discover along the way. Sharing the experience can make it more like a fun challenge and less like a burden. You could even try some composting tips together.

A Better Routine for Everyone

No matter how you choose to go about having a more sustainable morning routine, even small changes can end up making a big difference. Don’t be afraid to start small before working on larger lifestyle changes to increase your positive impact.