Cheers for Eco Friendly Diwali

With Diwali the time has come for get-together and parties. There are various things that need to be done during Diwali like cleaning of the house, decoration, yummy sweets, puja etc. We are going to do all these things again this Diwali with lots of zeal and excitement but why not do these in as Eco-friendly manner as possible.

With time, the manner of celebrating Diwali has changed a lot. Though the essence is still the same but the focus has shifted from lighting the whole world with diyas to more of bursting crackers and artificial illumination. As Diwali also signifies New Year in the Hindu religion, let us also make a new start by celebrating Eco-friendly Diwali.

Whatever thoughts I am going to share here are just simple things that we can do and celebrate the festival without polluting the environment.

To start with, the soul of Diwali is to have light everywhere. Instead of using artificial illumination which works with electricity, use traditional diyas which not only saves electrical energy but also add to the beauty of your house. The light produced by lots of diyas together is simply unmatchable.

The most exciting part of Diwali especially for kids and young people is bursting of crackers. Now a days Eco-friendly fire crackers are available which are made from recyclable paper and non-toxic materials. They produce sounds which are under the decibel limit prescribed by the Pollution Board. It will save the aged people and small kids from the irritation of blasting sounds produced by bombs etc.

Diwali is also a time for cleaning, painting and decorating the house. Use Eco-friendly paints which are readily available in the market and are good for both the environment as well as for our health. For decoration purpose do not use things made from plastic. Instead use fresh flowers, make rangolis, use colourful lamps and beautiful decoration items made from clay. I am sure you will prefer this type of decoration more than the one you have been doing in the recent past.

Diwali is also a time for sharing lots of gifts. Try not to waste paper in wrapping these gift items, instead use colourful cloth or jute bags for gifting purpose.

So, this Diwali let us give a gift to our nature also by celebrating this full of light festival in the manner which is favourable to the environment. Happy Diwali to all!

Eco-Friendly Ways to Brighten Your Home

The 21st century has definitely seen a rise in the level of awareness regarding environmental conservation and sustainability. From efficient waste disposal to water conservation, everybody is looking for ways to make sure that the earth stays green.

But, if you are still wondering if switching off the lights when not in use is enough on your part, then think again. There are more things that you can do to not only reduce your electricity bills, but also save energy.

Here are some eco-friendly ways to brighten your home. With these tips, you can give your house a completely fresh and vibrant appeal, while at the same time reduce energy consumption significantly.

First of all, ditch those old tungsten coil bulbs. The rusty 70s look is not what you want to welcome your guests to. Prefer lighting up your living room with calm lights using LED bulbs. These are not just energy efficient, but also last reasonably longer than the traditional bulbs or CFLs. And the best part is, these go with everything! You can install them on the walls or ceiling, or give a creative touch to your living room with chandeliers.

Eco-friendly Ways to Brighten Your Living Room

These days, LED lamps have also become quite popular as living room accessories. These lamps provide great lighting and perfectly complement the furniture and décor of your living room. Lamps with bright shades go well for an elegant seating area, whereas bright colors blend seamlessly in more upbeat and colorful settings.

Another smart idea to save electricity in your living room is to install glass and mirror items. Such artifacts and accessories refract or reflect light, making the room look brighter and even more spacious than before. Having small lights at separate spots will help you reduce the consumption and get the perfect ambiance for all occasions.

Eco-friendly Ways to Brighten Your Bedroom

The lighting in the bedroom needs to be moderate, to give a cozy and relaxing environment. If you have a large window in your bedroom, consider only 2 or 3 LED bulbs so that you can regulate the brightness during night time. If you want more light during the daytime, then ceiling mount LED would be a great choice.

If you like to read at night, you can have a bedside tabletop or wall mount LED lamp. The table or lamp serves as extra shelf space to keep your books and other small items. Again, these serve as excellent décor accessories as well. If you think that LED lights could be too bright for your bedroom, then you can always choose dimmable LEDs that can create a much more subtle and relaxing ambiance.

Eco-friendly Ways to Brighten Your Study Room

Lighting is a crucial element of a study room or home office. If you spend considerable hours every day in your study or home office, then prefer wall or ceiling mount LEDs instead of the CFLs or tungsten bulbs. If you need lighting only on the desk area, install the bulb right above it or on the wall to the left or right.

The benefits of installing LEDs are many. Choose them to reduce the electricity consumption at your home and to create a bright space. Be smart and help in saving the planet.

A House You Can Skate In

How would you like to have a house you can skate in? What if every surface of the house was a skateable surface, even the bed? Can you imagine how cool it would be to skate around from one room of your house to the other or to invite your friends over? It’s better than having your own skatepark in your backyard. While it sounds like a kid’s dream or something you’d see in a movie, for one man, this house is actually a reality.

Last year, Francois Perrin, an architect in Los Angeles, was approached by Pierre-André Senizergues, a former professional skateboarder and the owner of a sportswear company with an idea to create a house that was completely skateable.

While it sounds like a dream come true for your typical skater fan, the two made this house a reality and it was big news earlier this year in the skate community. Perrin was a longtime fan of skateboarding and decided to take on the unique project.

“I did work on skate parks, but this house was the first time I could merge these two passions,” he said, referring to his love of skateboarding and design.

Everything in the final design of this house can be skated on, even the kitchen counter (metal trim allows for grinding). They called it PAS House, named after the client’s initials and they showed off the design at an exhibition on skate culture at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris in July of this year. A full-scale prototype of the house’s living area was revealed and some skaters were even given the opportunity to try it out for themselves.

An interview at the NY Times revealed a question and answer session with the architect about the project. Mr. Perrin shares things such as what his biggest challenges were as well as how it’s possible to skate on a bed. The house is also fully sustainable so it’s eco-friendly as well.

Archinect has some great photos of the skateboard house if you want to see for yourself. While we might all dream of having a house we can truly skate in, it’s not very practical for the average person. It also comes with a very hefty price tag.

Stylish Eco-Friendly Roofing Materials

Your roof is an important part of your home appearance, durability and maintains the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions such as strong winds, rain, cold, sunlight, heat, snow and sleet. Today, people are also looking at the environment aspect of their home improvements by preferring Eco-friendly materials, which can complicate the process of choosing roofing material even further. Your roofing preferences have great effect on other home aspects such as cooling, heating, durability and maintenance. If you intend to install an Eco-friendly roof on your house you can choose from various materials and colors. The materials have different features, durability and cost enabling you to choose based on your preferences.

Eco-friendly roofing materials that you should use on your home:

Recycled Shingles

These are some of the most popular eco-friendly roofing materials and arguable the greenest. They are created from recycled waste materials like wood fiber, rubber and plastic. A majority of these materials come from clean consumer waste and industrial waste. The recycled shingles have a nice appearance and are very durable. The benefit of using recycled shingles is the reduced waste that goes into landfills thus protecting the environment. Using these shingles also reduces the pollution and energy consumption needed to extract raw materials. As I said before most of these materials are very durable and can last for a span of 50 years or more. You may also find recycled shingles with a good fire rating too which may reduce your home insurance.

Slate tiles

These Eco-friendly roofing materials are popular with people interested in distinct durable roofs with low maintenance. Slate accommodates various roof designs that range from Italianate to Beaux Arts, French and Colonial. The slate is durable but it is very expensive and requires a special installation.

Clay roofing tiles

Clay tiles are equally stylish, durable and easy to keep up with a lifespan of over 50 years. The clay tiles also have excellent fire resistance capability, versatile appearance and good insulation value. Although clay roofing is expensive it is a smart investment. Clay roofing tiles are popular in hot weather climate and do the best in areas that get little precipitation.

Metal Roofing

Metal Eco-friendly roofing materials are on of the best green materials for your home because they are mostly made from recycled materials. They also come in various types ranging from aluminum to copper and steel. They are very durable and lightweight. They also have a high insulation value and they can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.

Wood / Cedar shakes

Wood shingles are also popular Eco-friendly materials with many homeowners due to their excellent insulation ability. Although wood shakes are not fire resistance unless treated with other materials, they have other green benefits such as low maintenance costs, low labor, non-toxicity and durability.

Rubber Roofing

Reinforced rubber shingles created from old steel-belted radial tires are other Eco-friendly materials gaining popularity with homeowners. They come in various colors and textures made from ground slate coating. The benefit of roofing with rubber materials is the long life ability that comes with a 50 years warranty. The warranty is even for hail among other extreme conditions. However, before buying rubber roofing materials it is a good idea to check with your area building department to check whether they are permitted.

Sustainable Houses: The Calm Living House in Melbourne

What is it?

You must have heard of the Sustainable homes that are being built all over Melbourne and have been for a few years now. So, I decided to check out and do some research on the internet about the whole thing. Apparently, there are a large number of sustainable houses and you can make a paid trip to some of this. So I decided to check out one of them – the Calm Living House at Upper Ferntree Gully 3156.

Basically, it was built by the famous owner and builder Anton Engelmayer. The house was built with completely eco-friendly objects and is completely passive, that is, it, in no way, harms the ecosystem or the atmosphere.

Here is what I found out.

What are its features?

The house is a standalone type of architecture. It is 54m square, has six large bedrooms and 2 large bathrooms. Its design is adaptable in nature. It consists of two green walls, three green roofs and one rain garden. The presence of such a green infrastructure is beneficial for the solar panels installed in the house. Therefore, the green makes sure that there is enough energy and electricity for the house to run upon. The flora also acts as a binder of the soil, thus preventing soil erosion and water run off by controlling the flow of water at the steep side.

What are the eco-friendly sustainable features?

The house has been built with insulated panels. The paint that was used all over the house, is completely non-toxic and therefore, does not emit toxic fumes, which is harmful to the environment as well as the family living in the house.

The entire household runs on solar energy, which is generated by the solar pv grid system installed. This generates electricity as well as heats water. The temperature inside the rooms remains low due to cross ventilation and the presence of ample green trees.

The house is also provided with a drip irrigation water system as well as an edible garden filled with local as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables. Certain water wise plants are also present in the garden and the surrounding. You can even grow chicken in a coup here!

What is the approximate cost of the sustainable home?

Around 150,000 dollars approximately. They provide tours to the house for 25 dollars. That is how I got to visit it!

Eco-Friendly and Green Cleaning Tips For Terrazzo Tile

Terrazzo is a combination of marble chips and cement, and comes in a variety of different colors and designs. It is a versatile and eco-friendly floor choice for a many different reasons-one of the most important being the green cleaning options available to it. Understanding what is safe, and harmful to your terrazzo floor, as well as what is safe for the environment will help you determine the best eco-friendly cleaning choices for your terrazzo floor.

The first thing to consider when practicing eco-friendly terrazzo floor cleaning is the use of commercial cleaners. The most important tip I could give you is to avoid using these cleaners if at all possible, especially if you are not familiar with the product. There are few terrazzo floor cleaning products out there that are eco-friendly, and many of them can also harm your terrazzo if you are not careful. You don’t want to be another horror story retold by the contractors repairing your discolored or damaged terrazzo flooring. Remember that most chemicals are far from eco-friendly and contain chemicals that are harmful-in both the air of your house, as well as in the water you dump into the drain or yard.

The most eco-friendly option for your terrazzo flooring is to have it cleaned and polished professionally. This has a few different benefits. Even if you do decide to use a commercial cleaner, many times it just doesn’t do too much for your terrazzo floor. It may still appear dull or yellowed. Cleaning and polishing will brighten your terrazzo flooring making it look fresh and new. The best part? It is absolutely eco-friendly. Polishing terrazzo requires no chemicals. A contractor will come in with specialized machinery that will strip a very thin layer off the top of your terrazzo floor, exposing a fresh layer that will be much brighter and lively.

Aside from the actual process, polishing terrazzo is also eco-friendly once finished. A cleaned and polished terrazzo floor will improve lighting efficiency because of it’s smooth and lustrous finish. This is particularly important for large areas of terrazzo flooring-such as in warehouses, showrooms, or factories. The only thing better than eco-friendly cleaning is eco-friendly cleaning that saves you money in the long run. In the same vein, a polished terrazzo floor will require minimal maintenance, and will retain its shine for a lifetime.

Terrazzo flooring is unique, versatile, and sophisticated. You can make sure yours is looking its best, in the most eco-friendly way possible.

Eco Friendly Products – A Lifestyle That Leaves Minimal Damage

There exist many good sides to having an eco-friendly way of life. A green approach to life, or a lifestyle that leaves minimal damage to the environment, is rising more popular as the damage caused by neglect is becoming more apparent. With the existence of dead zones rapidly growing in the oceans, along with the mass die offs of coral, endangered species and forests, more and more people are concerned with purchasing eco-friendly goods and altering how they live to fight the problem.

However, there are a few things that you need to remember. Buying and utilizing eco-friendly goods is only the beginning. With such demand for energy, changing how you live so that you do not take up as much electricity from the power grids, is a vital part in helping earth become a sustainable planet for future generations. Energy-Star compliant appliances is only the starting out. Building sustainable homes, or homes that do not cause long-lasting harm to the environment and are green friendly, is an brilliant way to help fight the problem. As many sustainable homes include eco-friendly solutions such as large gardens that produce food for the entire family, this is an excellent substitute towards the stereotyped house.

There are a lot of eco-friendly products on the market, ranging from bleach alternatives to organic hand soaps. When you are seeking to decide how best to help the environment, you should make a list of the various products you frequently use and find which ones can be replaced with eco-friendly choices. Do not expect to save yourself money at first when you make the shift to eco-friendly goods. Until the market for eco-friendly is more expensive than the heavy chemicals that hurt the environment, these goods will not be more commercial than the items you buy in bulk. Being eco-friendly frequently results in higher costs, as many eco-friendly companies are also Fair Trade participants. Fair Trade is costlier, as more of the money of production goes straight to the workers in third world and developing countries.

While many eco-friendly products miss caustics and dangerous chemicals, they should be excluded of the reach of children and pets. Digesting these products can cause health issues. Natural, after all, does not mean non-toxic. eco-friendly is safe for the environment, not necessarily safe for you. That said, many eco-friendly products will not cause lasting harm to humans or pets if accidentally digested.

Eco-Friendly Interior Design – A Guide to Creating a Sustainable and Ecological Interior

It is not often realized that the materials used for interior design could be threatening the environment or even your health. It is always a wise option to look out for an eco-friendly interior designer who could bring your ideas to your life at an affordable cost while ensuring the materials used don’t endanger the environment or put you at the risk of respiratory problems and other conditions.

Paint

A host of eco-friendly solutions are in the market if you only look for them. Eco-friendly paint is one, conventional paints and finishes are quite dangerous if scientific reports and investigations by interior designers are to be believed. They are said to release low level toxic emissions long after they have dried on your walls. Paints with Low-Volatile Organic Compounds (Low-VOC and No-VOC) are the solution. You can feel the difference they are free from odor, thanks to the lack of harmful chemicals. Some of these eco-friendly paints are however expensive and may turn those on a budget off. But it is important to remember that it is almost impossible to create 100% non-toxic and non-allergenic paint even though manufacturers claim so. What can be done is to use paints that have a lesser concentration of the harmful elements which is effectively what the Low-VOC and No-VOC paints are.

Wallpaper

For those who would like a bit of vibrancy added to their walls, eco-friendly wallpapers are around. The problem with the regular wallpapers lies in the inks that are used while manufacturing. Eco-friendly wallpapers feature water-based inks; these inks are printed on chlorine-free paper obtained from forests specifically managed for the purpose. Low-VOC adhesive can be used for lightweight and medium weight paper-based wall decorations.

Carpets

Once you are done with the walls it is time to turn your interior design cravings to the floor. The pollution hazard with generally used carpets and flooring is that their installation can fill the indoor air with plenty of VOCs or volatile organic compounds. Included in these VOCs are carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene. You certainly would not want yourself or your loved ones to be inhaling these toxic substances. You ca not escape from it as these compounds could take years to dissipate, long after your flooring has been completed. What’s more, the treatment employed to keep the carpets free from moths, soil and moisture involves toxic chemicals. The carpets themselves could attract toxic substances and VOCs from outside the house. The good news is that eco-friendly interior designs can be employed here as well. There is wide variety of eco-friendly flooring options that include bamboo, cork, recycled metal and glass tiles, linoleum, stones and sustainable and reclaimed woods.

Carpet Tiles

Check out modular carpet tile squares that can used in place of the traditional carpet, these tiles are held to the ground by adhesive dots. They resemble the conventional carpet when all the tiles fall in place together, but are made from totally recycled materials and can be recycled again and again square-by-square. If you’ve dirtied one square by mistake it can be given to be recycled while you get a new tile!

Uses for Bamboo

Bamboo is an excellent option for eco-friendly flooring as well. Interior designers could give you innovative ideas to use bamboo for not only flooring but an array of interior furnishings. Recycled metal tiles available in aluminum as well as brass from dealers are great for the bathroom, kitchen floors and walls. They are often thought of as fashionable interior design statements. Available in polished, matte or rough finish, they can satisfy the decorative tastes of many, especially offering a contrast with wood used elsewhere in the room.

Sustainable and Reclaimed Wood

Sustainable and reclaimed wood are great interior design options and they work for floors as well as furniture. Rapidly disappearing forests have spawned the need for sustainable wood products. These wood products are made with wood from managed forests. The difference between a regular and managed forest is that the latter is never destroyed in one clear sweep (clear-cutting) as is the case with other forests. Only selected trees are removed, leaving behind a variety of different tree species. Each area of forest is then managed and replanted giving a 30 years cycle of regeneration of the forest to be complete before the felling starts again. This system does not deplete the land of its tree cover and it also ensures a constant supply of wood.

Here’s how interior designers can find out if the furniture or wooden accessories they purchase is made from wood from sustainable and managed forests. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal is one of the seals that are reliable, the other being Rainforest Alliance’s “SmartWood”, and the SCS and “Green Seal” labels from Scientific Certification Systems. FSC works globally to ensure responsible use of the forests of the world. The FSC certification only falls on forest managers and manufacturers who have satisfied the highest environmental and social standards in all stages of the wood production cycle, from the forest to the market through the factory. There’s no better way to balance the interests of society, environment and industry.

Beds, bed frames, dressers, nightstands and accessories are all available from sustainable wood certified by the FSC and other organizations, while reclaimed wood products are also around. Reclaimed wood products are made from wood that have previously served in structures and flooring. No fresh tree is cut to create a reclaimed wood product.

And Finally…

If you make the decision to make the environment safer for everyone, there are plenty of options you can try out. Beginning with the floor, you can customize everything from furniture and accessories to flooring and walls. Newer eco-friendly ideas are set to come up in the market as well. Kick-start the eco-friendly revolution!