Tag Archives: Environmentally

Environmentally Friendly Construction Materials

The use of environment-friendly construction materials is becoming more popular these days. Partly, because of the louder calls for sustainable living; and largely, because of the immediate need to improve earth’s health. The acceleration of environmental problems such as resource depletion and climate change has strong association with the real estate industry – specifically with new construction.

If you are buying a new home, you could already be thinking of purchasing one that is more conscious of the environment. Here are some of the construction materials that befriend nature, deserving your attention of probable choices for the house you are going to buy.

Lime

This material has been used in buildings since the ancient times probably dating back to some 5000 years ago. Evidences point to its usage because of its resilient, durable, and water resistant properties. Contrary to modern coatings, lime in its original state which is calcium carbonate, has the ability to release the moisture from the surfaces – rather than trap it. This material has been rediscovered by construction engineers and applied today as one of the eco-friendly materials in green home sand buildings.

Cob or Mud

Have you ever read history books with sections dealing with houses made of mud or clay? These houses are called cob homes. Many of them are located in Asia and in some parts of Africa and Europe. Cob made use of clay-based soil, water and straw – mixing them together until desired thickness and ladling them into the stone foundation trodding them into place. Modern construction got inspiration from this and basically employs the same materials and principles. But with the use of mud loaves, the cob can get thicker to up to 300 to 500 mm. Rubble trenches, earth bags, and rammed tyres can be used as cheap foundations.

Flax and hemp

These materials are eyed as natural alternatives to expensive insulation materials like fiberglass, mineral wool, and multi-foils. Flax and hemp are natural plant fibers which are made available to the construction industry in batts and rolls. These plant fibers contain borates which have fungi and pest-killing properties along with its fire-retardant capabilities. To bind them together, starch is added. The eco-friendly property of these materials relies on their low embodied energy.

These are just some of the environment-friendly materials which you may want to consider for use on your new construction house. For other eco-friendly construction materials, you can talk to your local real estate agent who has the freshest information about green building and green real estate.

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – An Environmentally Friendly Way to Clean Your House

Most of us never realise that our homes are extremely polluted, and it is we who pollute them. It is the trivial routine choices that we make which a go a long way in keeping a home healthy and safe. Our choice of washing liquids is one of them. It is worthwhile to switch to tile cleaners as the normal traditional cleaners release harmful and toxic chemical compounds into the air and it is this air that you and your family is going to inhale.

However, just switching to a healthier and more eco friendly cleaner does not ensure that your home will be less polluted. There are a bunch of tips that you must follow to make your home pollution free. You must try and use as little of the cleaning substance as is possible. Even the best of such products do pollute the environment, even though the extent of damage might be very less. Also, they utilise a lot of natural resources in their manufacture and packaging. And they don’t come cheap either, so using them in small quantity is going to go well with your pocket too.

One of the simplest ways to switch to a more eco friendly and less expensive cleaning schedule is by using microfiber cloths. Normally used to clean lenses and electronics, they are not easily available in stores. But if you can get hold of them, they are an excellent investment. They have many advantages over normal cleaning equipment. The two major ones being that they don’t need any soap or detergent, just water can be used to clean things with these cloths. Secondly, they last for as long as a few months, sometimes even years.

Their intricate woven structure is designed in a manner that the small nodules are spread all over the surface of the material to be cleaned. This structure closely resembles that of soap lather, which is why these cloths can clean filth and grime just with water. Generally, solid surfaces can be cleaned without using a cleaner, but if something is extremely dirty or if you want it to be antiseptically clean, you can use a little mild cleaning substance. It might not make a lot of difference, but psychologically it will make you feel more comfortable and safe.

The best part about them is that their inbuilt structure ensures that they last for a long period of time. It makes more sense economically to buy a few of these and be relieved for months together. Then you don’t have to bother about getting towels, sponges and other cleaning cloths. If the microfiber cloth become dirty, all you have to do is wash itin a washing machine.

It’s high time that you give up your sponges and dusters and switch to eco friendly and convenient to use microfiber cloths.

House Moving, the Environmentally Friendly Way

House moving may not always be the most eco-friendly affair. Moving out of a home requires a significant amount of resources, supplies and not to mention, time. If we are not careful, the entire process can leave a huge mess of non-recyclable material (particularly if you have a habit of storing non-essentials in the house) and generate harmful emissions, all of which is not environmentally friendly. Fortunately with a little effort and planning, even when moving, we can still do our part to save the earth. If you’re planning to relocate soon, here are some tips to help minimize the eco-damage associated with moving.

Plan For a Single Trip

Automobiles release a large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and a moving truck contributes to these emissions. It gets worse if you have to make multiple trips when relocating. You can minimize these emissions by planning for a single trip and one of the ways to do this is to rent a large-enough vehicle. A smaller vehicle may have to do several trips and that would contribute a large amount of emissions. Look for a vehicle that will fit everything you need to move so that you only make one trip.

Donate or Sell What You Don’t Need

Bulky items such as furniture and old electronics you don’t want anymore only add weight and take up space in the moving truck. The heavier the truck is the more emissions it releases and the more fuel it uses. Hence, you may instead wish to donate some of these items or get rid of them in a garage sale. Alternatively, you can also sell them online. Sites like eBay are great for this purpose.

By selling or donating your unwanted items, you will free up more space in the truck and also minimize fuel consumption. The unwanted items will also be put into good use in another home rather than wastefully dumped.

Use Green, Biodegradable and Recycled Packing Supplies

Not all packing supplies are recyclable. Hence to move the eco-friendly way, make an effort to use green moving supplies where possible.

Rather than using new cardboard boxes, use recycled ones. Instead of Styrofoam peanuts, lay your hands on green packing peanuts and don’t forget to choose biodegradable packing tape. But don’t stop here. You may also consider using old newspapers or linen to wrap up delicate items or use packaging from old purchases. Doing so will have an added benefit of helping you minimize moving costs. In addition, non-disposable containers are terrific when used for a green move; instead of using just traditional cardboard moving boxes, try using plastic containers, clean trash cans and plastic bins.

Packing Breakables For a Move

Instead of bubble wrap, shredded newspaper and linen can be used as an alternative to wrap breakables and paintings. Just wrap your fragile items with linen or newspaper, tape it down with green packing tape and you’ll save a ton on bubble wrap. More importantly, you won’t have to throw anything away when you get to your new home. It’s a simple solution that works for your benefit and for the environment.

Hire a green moving company

Lots of moving companies advertise green business practices and they make excellent contractors for an eco-friendly move. Some green movers use low-emission vehicles and recycled supplies which help cut down on toxic emissions while other movers power their offices using renewable energy. Green companies make it a point to reduce the effects of toxic waste and facilitate house moving the eco-friendly way.

Other Little Things to Consider

If you are cleaning up the old place after the move, use environmentally friendly cleaning products or insist that your hire cleaners use them.

In you new home, find all opportunities to install and use only energy saving gadgets. For example, use LED lighting instead of incandescent bulbs or dc motor energy saving ceiling fans instead of the traditional ac motor powered ones. Above all, get rid of the habit of buying things on impulse only to dump them a few years later.

Do the above and you would have done your part in ensuring that your house moving process is as eco-friendly as possible.