Archive for the 'Green Tips' 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 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 the past the house with the biggest brightest display was coveted as ‘best’. Just think of Sparky Griswald’s quest in Christmas Vacation. Times have changed but your enjoyment of the season does not have to. You can enjoy all of the holiday cheer without increasing the load on your local power company or your wallet.
Do you know how effective LED lights are?
Indoor LED lights for tree and decoration
LED (Light Emitting Diode) Christmas lights use up to 95% less energy than their large traditional counterparts and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost a fraction of their incandescent alternatives plus if one of the LED bulbs burn out, the rest of the strand will stay lit.
Power Savings on outdoor lights
Similar to the lower energy use of indoor LED lights, you have all of the energy savings on outdoor lights or, even better yet, consider the new solar LED outdoor light options that are now available.
Finally, what to do with your old incandescent light strings?
Many retailers have special trade-in promotions to convert to LED lighting or your local recycle depot may help divert your defunct lights from the landfill.
That’s all for me for now… Now I must string a few more lights to catch up with the Griswalds next door…
By Vivian Martin
How much do our buildings really contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? The answers may be surprising.
Over 50% of all GHGs in the U.S. come from our homes and businesses, and over 40% of the country’s energy consumption goes toward powering those structures. Contrast that with the 28% of energy consumption for cars and other transportation, and it’s clear that our homes are expending energy resources at an unacceptable rate.
So what’s greener? Building a new house or renovating an old one? Both are worthy endeavors, but with many existing homes using twice as much energy as they should, home improvement edges out new construction.
However, that’s not the only reason it’s greener to upgrade your existing home. New homes need new infrastructure, including roads, sewage lines, electrical lines and street lighting – all entailing more expenditures of energy. In addition, new homes require the production of new materials, while materials from existing homes are generally recyclable.
What’s greener for your pocketbook? The answer may be both. Homes with a significant number of green features can sell for up to 30% more than traditional homes – either for new or existing homes. In today’s down-turned housing market, green technology gives you a substantial advantage.
For homeowners planning to stay in their homes, the return on investment period is getting shorter, with many recouping costs in as little as three years. In their book, Green$ense for the Home: Rating the Real Payoff from 50 Green Home Projects, architect Eric Freed and Kevin Daum found that 45 out of the 50 retrofitting projects that they examined saved money in energy costs.
To discover which renovations bring the most savings, read the entire article from Calfinder…
Each Thursday, we will feature a blog entry about energy efficient new homes, covering a range of topics from building innovations to ratings systems to “score” your home’s efficiency. Subscribe to the DrummondHousePlans blog to make sure you get the latest news on how to make your new or renovated home energy efficient.
By Vivian Martin
For us, hornets and spiders fall into the same category. This is because these bugs, while they can look somewhat creepy and intimidating, are actually beneficial. Both hornets and spiders devour flies, mosquitoes and other pesky insects. The white faced hornet, for example, loves to eat caterpillars and tomato worms, so it is a great natural defender for your vegetable garden.
But here’s the thing with hornets: while we know they’re beneficial, we don’t necessarily want them hanging around while we are trying to entertain on the patio or in the backyard. They do have stingers, and getting stung by a hornet is no laughing matter. We don’t want to kill the hornets – we just want to repel them away from our outdoor entertaining area and to another part of the yard. Read the full article for natural ways to keep these beneficial insects from crashing your picnic!
By Vivian Martin
Many of us spend countless hours, dollars and patience on a perfectly kept lawn. Watering needs can be high, fertilizing can get costly and mowing and weed whipping can take anywhere from minutes to hours, depending on the size of the yard. Of course, you may be lucky enough to have a landscaping company do the laborious work for you, but that’s not to say that a lush lawn of green is your only option for a beautiful yard. From bricks to gravel and even meadows, there are various alternatives to the traditional grass-filled landscape. Read along to see for yourself.
By Vivian Martin
“The population is growing, but the water supply is not,” says Bill Hoffman, a coordinator for the City of Austin Water Conservation Program, in Texas. That’s why people around the country are turning to the centuries-old practice of collecting rain as an alternative source of water.
By collecting rain from a roof during wet months and storing it in a tank or cistern, homeowners can create an alternative supply that won’t tax the groundwater or jack up the water bill. And because rain doesn’t contain the minerals found n wells or the chlorine in municipal supplies, it’s ideal for watering the lawn, washing the car, doing the laundry, taking a shower—even drinking if it’s properly filtered.
“Rainwater is the purest water you can find,” says Dr. Hari Krishna, president of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA).
By Vivian Martin
As industries shift to accommodate a new market for eco-friendly products, your choices as a consumer are becoming more and more important to the task of creating a greener world. This permeates your schedule day-to-day, including the part where you have to do your laundry.
The laundry room has a lot of potential when it comes to green living. It can be a challenge to find ways to live a green lifestyle, especially if you are on a budget and don’t have the money to lay out for extensive home upgrades. The laundry room is a great place to start thinking green, however, and the tips that follow will help you to make more eco-friendly choices when it comes to doing laundry.
Choose Energy Star Laundry Appliances
While it doesn’t make a lot of sense for you to run out and replace your old energy-sucking washer and dryer pair with a sleek, energy-saving duo, it is a smart move when the time comes. When replacing laundry appliances, look for those that have the Energy Star logo when you’re buying new ones. Energy Star washing machines consume only about 25 gallons of water per load, as compared with an average of 40 gallons for standard top-loading machines. Energy Star dryers also take much less energy than their non-energy saving counterparts.
Choose a Front-Loading Washer
Go even greener by choosing a front-loading washing machine. The front-loading washer operates on a horizontal axis, and this can save both energy and water. The front-loader needs less water to do the same job as a top-loader because the tub rotates, tumbling the clothing inside into the water, as opposed to top-loading machines that must be filled in order to do their job. And the top-loading machine also reduces the amount of energy that is required to dry your clothing, as they spin at a faster rate, which means that the clothes have less water in them when they are finished in the wash.
A front-loading washing machine uses about a third less water and half the energy of a traditional top-loading washing machine. This savings can easily allow the washer to pay for itself within five-six years of purchase, although most top-loaders have a life expectancy of ten years or longer with proper maintenance.
Quick tips for laundry day
As mentioned above, it isn’t a green move to replace an appliance that is still in working order. Why? Because the old appliance has to end up somewhere – and that eventual home is typically an already overburdened landfill. Thus, keeping your appliance for as long as possible is a more earth-friendly option. But you can still follow the tips below to get the most out of your older laundry appliances:
- Wash in cold water. Cold water can be gentler on your clothing, and it can also save up to ninety percent of the cost of doing laundry from an energy perspective.
- Designate a particular day of the week as “laundry day” and do subsequent loads in order to maximize the built-up heat in the dryer.
- Always make sure that you wash full loads. You will be using almost the same energy for a “small” load as for a “large” load.
- Consider line drying clothing when possible. This will not only save energy but is also gentler on most fabrics.
- Keep the lint trap of your dryer cleaned out after each load. This allows for heat to circulate properly within the dryer, and thus improves the dryer’s performance.
Original article: Build Direct Green Blog
FAQ’s about cold water washing from BC Hydro…
ENERGY STAR appliances usually cost more than others. Would I save money if I don’t buy an ENERGY STAR washing machine but I keep it well maintained?
No. It is always a good idea to keep any appliance well maintained for optimum performance, but even so, ENERGY STAR-rated washing machines are so much more efficient than other models – 36% more efficient than government standards – that they generally pay for themselves in just a few years. Think of an appliance as having two prices: the cost to buy it and the cost to run it. The higher cost of running less energy-efficient appliances quickly cancels out the lower purchase price.
If I only wash in cold water, will my clothes still get as clean?
Yes. Clothes can come out just as clean in cold water, even whites. If you have hard water, try adding some borax to your laundry to brighten whites and colours. You can also add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle for fresh bright laundry, or use natural biodegradable, non-chlorinated bleach on your whites if you find they’re not bright enough. Hanging your laundry in the sun to dry it will also act as a brightener. Sunlight is a natural bleaching agent.
What about hard-to-remove stains?
Spot clean stains with a natural spot remover before you launder them. The stains will likely come out readily in cold water and you’ll use less energy. For really tough dirty or oily stains, use the “warm” water setting instead of “hot.” You are still cutting your energy savings in half. Also, use a natural stain remover prior to washing or presoak clothes to help loosen the dirt or oil from the stain.
By Vivian Martin
While green homes often sport all manner of technical solutions to keep them optimized and efficient, the landscaping can have a significant effect on the building and its energy use. Site orientation and landscape can also be powerful tools to control the energy needs of a building. While it’s not practical to reorient most homes, in many cases you can still make improvements by planting trees.
Trees offer numerous benefits beyond their contribution to cooling. If the warming weather has you thinking about landscaping, give some consideration to using trees to boost your home’s comfort through the summer. Spring is prime tree planting season, particularly for more northern latitudes, so now is a good time to consider putting in a new tree or two.
Even with an air conditioned house, it makes sense to plant shade trees in order to reduce the solar gain on the house. Windows, in particular, will benefit greatly from being shaded. But keeping the siding material in shade means less thermal gain to the wall, and that also translates into less demand for cooling and lower energy bills. Shading can also mean that natural cooling with passive ventilation instead of mechanical conditioning can be used more often, which also helps lower energy demand.
Screening and shading a building, particularly its windows, can significantly benefit a home. A single large tree can provide as much as a 9% reduction in cooling demand, according to one study.
Individual results will vary with many factors, but generally speaking, the southwest is the most important orientation to provide shade cover for, since it is afternoon peaks that are typically the hottest part of the day.
There are lots of mechanical systems that can be added to a house to keep it comfortable, and we love seeing new and useful technologies for green buildings. But sometimes it is not the technical solution but just the simple measures that make the most sense. And trees offer another benefit. Unlike many other building improvements that slowly degrade over time, the benefit from a tree will increase over time as the tree matures and increases the good that it does for the house that it shades.
In addition to cooling, trees (particularly evergreens) can also serve as windbreaks to shelter homes in the winter time. But, whether for summer shading or to serve as a windbreak, now is a good time to plant that tree.
Read original article with additional pictures at Jetson Green.
By Vivian Martin
If you’d like your garden to be just a bit “greener” than it normally is, why not try making your own organic compost? Composting is a great way to deal with yard waste, allowing you to put it to good use instead of paying to have it sent to the landfill. As a result, your garden will be healthier and greener, and the environment will be “greener”, too. Plus you’ll have more “green” left in your wallet. If you’ve never tried making compost before, here are some tips to help you get started.
Choosing a Composting Method
There are plenty of ways to make compost, ranging from a simple heap or pile in your backyard to a specially designed composting bin. If you don’t mind waiting between six months and two years to use your compost, you could use a basic enclosed bin. However, composting units designed to allow you to mix and tumble the compost can really reduce composting time. You could also simply create a pile of material in a corner of your yard. If you choose this method, you’ll have to turn the compost occasionally, using a pitch fork, to provide it with proper aeration.
Beginning the Composting Process
Once you’ve selected your preferred method of composting, you’ll want to choose a location for your compost bin or pile. In most cases, a corner area of the yard that is in close proximity to the garden is the best choice. A location that gets some sun will help heat the compost, allowing it to decompose more quickly. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, you might want to build a small shelter over your compost pile to keep it from getting overly wet.
You can improve the quality of your compost as well as reduce the processing time by adding your yard waste materials carefully. Grass clippings can add nitrogen, but you should mix them in with “brown” materials such as dried leaves, straw or small branch clippings to add the necessary carbon. By doing so, your compost will decompose faster with less odor. You can also add shredded newspaper to your compost pile, as well as coffee grounds and kitchen vegetable scraps.
However, you should never add fatty materials such as animal products to your compost bin. Likewise, you should never add pet waste, to avoid unpleasant odors and the possible spread of diseases. If you are starting a new compost pile, you can get the process started right by incorporating some aged manure, blood meal, alfalfa meal, cotton seed meal or compost starter into the mix.
Maintaining and Using Your Compost
As your compost ages, be sure to turn it every couple of weeks in order to keep it well aerated. Don’t pack the composting materials down too tightly, as this will keep it from decomposing properly. When your compost has fully decomposed, you should be left with a dark material that looks and feels a lot like fertile soil.
To use your compost, simply spread it onto the soil and work it in, ideally a couple of weeks before planting. You can also soak finished compost in a bucket of water, creating a nutrient-rich “tea” that you can use to water your garden or household plants.
(Article Source: BuildDirect Blog – Read original article here)