Archive for the 'Eco-friendly' Category
By Deb Villeneuve
Filed under: 2013 Trends,Accessories,Botanicals,Carbon footprint,Composting,Curb Appeal,Decor,Dry garden,Eco-friendly,Ecological,Environmental,Focal Point,Garden Tips,Green thumb,Green Tips,Guest post,Horticulture,Landscape Design,Landscaping,Rainwater Collection System,Recreation,Vegetation
Another helpful guest post from Grace Bailey
The eco-friendly garden is not something that exists only in the magazines or on TV. It is so easy to have one, especially when you are starting from the beginning, probably after you have moved to a new house.
If once you have grown a garden, you are aware of the main principles and the needs of the plants, so it will be easy for you to understand, that the eco-friendly style will not harm your future plant growing in any way.So if you are inpatient to start creating your new garden, here is what to keep in mind, when you want to do it both beautiful and harmless for the environment and your health.
The protection of the planet is mostly connected with the wise organizing and usage of the sources. Besides the power of the soil, the flowers need much water to grow and to live. So be sure you have found the best way to collect and use water, as you not only count on the pipes of the house
Here is what you can do to make this aspect better for the environment. First try to install gallons to collect rain water if your garden is so big and you can put them in a way they do not make it look ugly or it is not uncomfortable for you to work there. Try to pick the flowers very carefully. You can combine some that need less water with those which have to have it daily. Having only some of the second type will increase your costs and will not be good for the environment. It is also essential to have plants that can live best with the conditions of your garden. Otherwise you will put too many efforts to changing the type of the soil, watering and others.
To keep it rational you have to make groups of flowers with similar needs of sun and water. Thus you will organize the water supply better and will take care of them easier.
As you organize your garden do not underestimate the influence of the compost. Choose only an organic one that will let you retain a great quantity of water in the soil, which is very good for the plants. It will also reduce the water that evaporates from the ground, so be sure you will only have benefits of the use of this compost. Mulch will also fight the weeds and help with the nutrition of the soil for your garden. Read more tips on eco living and cleaning by visiting http://www.cleanershouse.co.uk/house-cleaning/EC4-home-cleaners-temple.html
By Deb Villeneuve
A guest post by Grace Bailey
Living in a dirty or untidy house can really get you down in the dumps, without you even realizing it’s your living environment causing the unhappiness.
Cleaning on a regular basis is the best way to not only keep your house in pristine condition but also give you a bit of a physical and mental workout. It is very easy to allow cleaning chores to build, especially if you work long hours. Spending just a few hours every week can really make a huge impact on how presentable your house appears.
Have a cleaning schedule, this will help you keep track of what jobs you’ve completed and what jobs still need doing. Without this process, you may find yourself getting bogged down with ever mounting chores. Having them all laid out in front of you in black and white can assist you manage them and make the whole experience less stressful.
There are always common jobs most people will undertake, these are things like washing up, washing clothes, vacuuming and light dusting. This is fine until you realize most of the other pieces of furniture or carpets or ornaments are getting very grimy. It is a lot harder to clean something once it has months of dirt and dust covering it. If you are a smoker, smooth surfaces can become sticky and coated with fine tar grease and fabrics can absorb unpleasant odors.
When people describe their living conditions as chaotic, they generally mean there are many different items cluttering up their personal space. Having more possessions to make a house pretty is all well and good but it can mean there is more tidying and cleaning to be done. Whenever you use something around your house and get it out from its usual storage place, try to put it back as soon as you are finished with. The more items you forget to put away, the larger the tidying process will be once you decide to undertake it. Spending a couple of minutes storing an item after use can reduce the amount of stress further down the line.
On the market today you will find hundreds of different cleaning products, all offering something better than the last. It can be difficult to decide on what is the best product for your cleaning task. Don’t always assume that the most expensive it the obvious choice, shop around and ask store vendors their opinion on their products. Most vendors will be honest and steer you in the direction of the product which has received good feedback from previous customers. The internet is a good place to find bundle packs for all your cleaning needs at very competitive prices.
Most cleaning product will contain some kind of main ingredient that is responsible for the actual cleaning. For this reason, it is possible to make your own cleaning product using a mixture of water and bleach, or water and bicarbonated soda or baking soda. They help kill bacteria, clean surfaces and remove stains and bad odors Be very careful to follow all manufacturers’ guidelines when diluting products.
It is important to share out household tasks, unless the other household members are too young or old or physically unable, there is no reason why they shouldn’t help. Even if someone is out all hours of the day at work, by doing small jobs when they get home, they can still contribute to the tidying process and ease the stress of others. Get your children involved as early as possible, getting an older child to start helping all of a sudden can be a tricky task but if you teach them as they are growing up to tidy up after themselves, they will grow up more independent and happy to help out.
By Deb Villeneuve
I hope that you enjoy this guest post, which is full of “green” tips that can be useful when it comes time to move into your new home, from Grace Bailey
The utilization of used boxes can be something you’re doing for a variety of reasons, ranging from a love for eco-friendly ideals to purely economic reasons. This is where the used boxes come into the picture, a perfect choice for these times as they are reusable and easy to find. Here are some tips you can use when you work with them:
Where to find used boxes ?
One of your best bets is to try out the local retail stores. They usually have a nice range of good-quality boxes, often used to move heavy items. The best way to go about this is to talk to their manager if you can obtain boxes from them. Some store chains have policies in place limiting the number of boxes one can receive that way. In some other cases they’d be more than happy to provide you with boxes with no trouble attached. Wine stores on the other hand are also a great source of free moving boxes. They are great for books and since most of what they have there already has cell dividers you can use them for bottles, glasses and other breakables.
You can also obtain boxes through the use of bulletin boards, whether its online or offline. You can find their physical variety on laundromats, grocery stores, rec centers and telephone poles among other places. Online bulletin boards may vary from country to country, but each one will likely have an equivalent to Craig’s List or similar websites. You never know what you’ll get as in many of these cases people will gladly give away packing materials they can no longer keep around their homes. It is an excellent way to deal with this through a system of honest trade.
Is it alright to move with used boxes?
It would be wise to test out the durability of the boxes you have before you move. There should be no weak spots no matter where your boxes come from. Products may sometimes leak and this can quickly destroy the bottom of a box. Make sure you don’t stuff them too full so they can handle the weight.
What to do if you can’t find use boxes
You can talk to your friends, family or coworkers to lend you some plastic tote bins. They can do the same job, plus you can usually stack them inside one another. They are easy to use and you’ll have a chance to return them once you’re done with the move.
Will my moving company provide boxes?
Usually not, unless you buy them from the company itself. They will offer you a very nice choice of boxes that are even part of whole kits, but this will extremely rarely be part of the package. Some moving companies offer plastic bins for rent as part of their business, a nature-friendly way of utilizng reusable packing materials.
What can you do with the boxes after the move?
There is much you can do, for example following the same steps others are using when you obtained your boxes. You can put an ad on an online or offline bulletin board, offering the boxes for free. Alternately you can donate the boxes to non-profit organizations in your vicinity such as food banks or charities that deal with donations abroad.
Grace is an author keen on green living, home decoration and innovative design. Currently, she works on a behalf of Bow moving company in the UK
By Vivian Martin
Looking to wrap up your Christmas gifts with a bit of nostalgia? Using kraft paper tied up with strings may be just the ticket. Easily recycled and easy to personalize, it is a charming and eco-friendly option for wrapping your Christmas gifts.
We’ve been collecting some images on a Pinterest Board with examples… Just a few:
Top a package with a bit of greenery and pine cones
Let out your inner artist with patterns created with liquid paper and a Sharpie!
Dress up your kraft paper packages with stamps and gingham ribbon for country charm!
I like how these small bands of graphic paper pop against the brown. A little paper goes a long way!
For more ideas, check out our Pinterest board and just to get you totally in the mood, let Julie Andrews take you down memory lane!
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!
Happy wrapping and Merry Christmas!!!
By Vivian Martin
In a similar vein, the daily ritual of bathing or showering should be special, taking place in a pleasurable and healthy environment that boosts our well-being. Consider surrounding yourself with one of these handsome and eco-conscious finishes.
Find eco-friendly inspiration (and beauty) in the following slideshow!
By Vivian Martin
Sure, we’re called the “water planet,” but remarkably little of the blue stuff — less than 1 percent — is available to us as potential drinking water. The rest is tied up in saltwater, ice caps and other less-accessible sources. That scarcity isn’t obvious to most of us in the industrialized world, where water is cheap and easy to find, but there are a billion others who aren’t as lucky. And our time of easy water may be waning too, with the U.S. Government Accountability Office predicting water shortages in 36 states by 2013.
Being water wise can cut your utility bills, reduce the need for costly investments in water treatment and delivery systems, and contribute to a more sustainable water future. The bathroom is the place to start since it’s the water hog in your home, accounting for more than half of the indoor water you use. Check out these water-wise plumbing fixtures that don’t compromise style or function.
By Vivian Martin
This simple system for recovering heat from wastewater makes a lot of sense—especially for families and commercial buildings that produce a lot of hot water.
The unfortunate reality is that even with the most efficient methods of generating hot water, we still lose the vast majority of that heat down the drain. Domestic hot water is a once-through product. I’ve seen estimates that 90% of the heat in hot water is lost down the drain. Dan Cautley, an energy engineer with the Energy Center of Wisconsin, says that drain water “may be one of our largest untapped resources.”
It turns out that we can do something about that. Im the right application, drainline heat exchangers allow a significant portion of the heat from hot water going down the drain to be recovered.
How a drainline heat exchanger works
The process is pretty simple. A special section of copper drainpipe is installed beneath a shower (typically the largest hot water use in a home) or other hot wastewater source. This section of drainpipe has smaller-diameter copper piping wrapped tightly around it. The cold-water supply pipe leading into the water heater is diverted so that it flows through the small-diameter copper pipe.
When hot water is being pulled from the water heater to supply the shower, the water going into the water heater is preheated by the wastewater going down the shower drain. If it’s a tankless—rather than storage—water heater, the incoming water temperature will be higher, so less energy will be required to get it up to the needed delivery temperature—thus saving energy (though the tankless water heater has to be thermostatically controlled and, thus, able to deal with inlet water of varying temperature.
The man who invented the drainwater heater exchanger, Carmine Vasile, called the product a GFX, for “gravity-film exchange,” recognizing that water going down a vertical pipe forms a film that clings to the inner walls of the pipe where the heat can effectively be transferred through the copper to the supply water.
Read full article to learn about different models of drainline heat exchangers…
By Vivian Martin
You truly get what you pay for in regards to leather. High-quality pieces cost more, but their comfort and longevity make them a worthwhile investment. There are ways to save money without sacrificing style. If you’re simply looking for a display piece that won’t get much use, consider bonded leather or leather-look as a lower-cost option. Or consider “leather match”, in which some of the piece (like the back and sides, where physical contact is minimal) is made of dyed vinyl, and front-facing cushions and seats are made of high-quality leather. Research your options to find the best fit for your taste and budget.
TYPES OF LEATHER AND FINISHES
There are multiple types of leather to choose from, each with their own features and benefits. The options below are ranked in order of cost, from the most expensive to the least.
Genuine Leather – Genuine Leather is highly desired for its fashionable look and durable nature. There are several different types of genuine leather available:
- Full Grain leather retains the imperfections of the hide for a more natural look.
- Top Grain is the uppermost part of the hide, which is sanded and finished.
- Semi-Corrected Top Grain is only corrected if there are major imperfections, like deep scratches.
- Corrected Grain leather has all the imperfections removed and an artificial grain is applied.
- Split Grain is the bottom part of the hide. This leather is corrected and embossed with a graining pattern.
- Bycast Leather has embossed polyurethane applied to the surface.
Bonded Leather – A great alternative to genuine leather, bonded leather is made of hide fibres that are joined together with latex and stamped with a grain-like pattern.
Leather Match – Not every part of your furniture will be seen or touched. On leather match pieces, leather is reserved for visible areas, like the cushions and seats. Vinyl is dyed to match the leather and used on the sides and back.
Leather Look – Made without animal products, leather look furniture is just as stylish as cowhide. To achieve the desired aesthetic, polyurethane upholstery is made to look and feel like leather.
LEATHER FINISHES (ANILINE)
“Aniline” refers to the finish of the leather. There are two ways of finishing or colouring leather — through the use of dyes alone, or a combination of dyes and pigments. You can choose between “pure” or “full” aniline, which uses dye only, or semi-aniline, which uses dye and pigments.
Full Aniline – Full aniline (or unfinished) refers to full-grain leather, with few imperfections, that has been coloured only with dye (no pigments), and therefore contains no protective coating. Because no other coating or pigment is used, full aniline leather is superbly soft and supple with rich, penetrating colour. It also develops a rich patina with use. Only the best hides are used for full aniline leather; it is the most desirable, so therefore it is the most expensive. The downside to full aniline leather is that it is easier to stain and UV ray-exposed leather can fade quickly.
Semi-aniline – Semi-aniline (or finished) leather is of slightly less quality. It is initially coloured using the same dye as full aniline leather, with a top coat of pigment is added. A very small amount of coating or pigment is applied to even out the colour and give better protection from stains and fading. Finished leather may not feature the same softness and suppleness as unfinished leather, but this extra coating of pigment will make it more durable and less susceptible to staining. It’s ideal for large households with children or for anywhere that the leather will be getting a lot of use.
Information source: Sears. Learn about leather care on their site as well!
By Deb Villeneuve
Saving the environment is one thing, but did you know you can also save money by converting to an energy-efficient home? Read our top 10 reasons to go green.
By buying or building an energy- efficient home, you can reap scores of benefits. And most of them–are you paying attention?–have to do with saving you money. Generally speaking, switching to energy efficiency can save you thousands of dollars every single year.
But there are many other reasons to choose one of these progressive homes aside from money. Take a look below for the top ten reasons to buy or build an energy-efficient house.
Energy Efficiency Reason #1 | The Environment
The number one reason, of course, to build or buy an energy-efficient home is the preservation of our natural world. It has been estimated that no less than 16% of greenhouse gases come from houses–a number that can be drastically reduced through the creation of more energy-efficient homes.
Energy Efficiency Reason #2 | Tax Credits
No one likes spending a lot of money. But did you know that there’s a tax credit available for people who live in energy-efficient homes? You can save the environment and your money at the same time!
Energy Efficiency Reason #3 | Resale Value
These days, energy efficiency is what every new home buyer is looking for. By upgrading the design of your house, you can raise its value and be sure you’ll get a lot more back when, or if, you decide to sell.
Energy Efficiency Reason #4 | Low Ownership Cost
Speaking in general, it costs much less to maintain an energy-efficient home than an older, more environmentally-abusive one. If you like to save money wherever you can, think about making the investment in energy efficiency.
Energy Efficiency Reason #5 | Low Building Cost
Construction of energy-efficient homes is much less costly than the building of other structures. Materials are cheaper, plans are more simple, and fewer construction experts are required. Building with energy efficiency in mind is a great way to save money up front.
Energy Efficiency Reason #6 | Low Utility Cost
Heating, cooling, electricity, gas, and water–every one of these utilities can have their monthly bills reduced by upgrading your abode to an energy-efficient design. This can potentially save you thousands of dollars every year.
Energy Efficiency Reason #7 | Less Maintenance
Energy-efficient homes require much less upkeep than older structures. This means you won’t have to call in the handyman, the plumber, or the electrician nearly as often as you would otherwise, thus saving yourself a good deal of money.
Energy Efficiency Reason #8 | Mortgage Incentives
Some banks offer incentives on their mortgage rates for people who live in energy-efficient homes. This is just one of the many, many ways in which you can grow your savings by living in a more efficient home.
Energy Efficiency Reason #9 | Comfort
None of us are big fans of cold breezes, hot rooms, and encroaching moisture. Well, with an energy-efficient house, you can dismiss those things as pests of the past. These houses are simply far more comfortable than their predecessors.
Energy Efficiency Reason #10 | Peaceful
Aside from errant breezes and hot spots, an energy-efficient home also helps prevent those “settling” noises houses usually make. Creaks, groans, shrieks, and squeals may end up being things of the past with the introduction of energy efficiency…unless, of course, your house is haunted.
By Vivian Martin
I grew up in the country where our tradional “row garden” could not only put up preserves for a family of five for an entire year, but also supply most of our city aunts, uncles, and cousins with care packages and provide us with an income from our summer berry picking. As many rural children do, when I grew up I moved to the city but the love of gardening never left me.
More years ago than I care to admit, I was given a copy of the book “The Square Foot Gardener” for Christmas. I was tantalized by the idea of growing a garden in my postage stamp-sized yard. Over the cold winter, I read and re-read this book, preparing for the joys of spring. The essence of the square foot gardening practice is to utilize a grid pattern to grow a garden that uses only about 20% of the space of a “traditional” row garden and yet provides the same yield of produce. With the exception of a slug invasion (the book covers the remedy for that as well), the system worked admirably.
Fast forward to current date and it is time for the sequel to this book – the All New Square Foot Gardening.
The essential theories are the same but the author has added some new ideas and simplified others so that even a gardening novice should be able to achieve spectacular results. Rather than the “100-mile diet”, you can enjoy fresh produce mere steps from your backdoor with relative ease. Really, there is no excuse for anyone anywhere not being able to enjoy fresh produce. There are even suggestions for people with limited mobility.
If you are curious or serious about having fresh food that you can take pride in, this book is an excellent resource. Make sure to let us know how you make out!