Tag Archives: Friendly

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.

Green Homes – Green Home Building For Eco Friendly Living

Green homes are houses that are kinder to the planet. They use lesser energy, produce less waste, and are a healthier environment for the people inside. Green homes come out of a philosophy of being more eco-friendly to the environment. They save on electricity, find ways to cut down on carbon-waste and general energy consumption. Green homes can put money in your pocket, and give you the peace of mind you are doing your bit to help sustain our planet.

Energy

Most of us would to make the world a little “greener” by reducing our home energy consumption. There has been improvement in building techniques and materials over the last couple of decades, which means that homes are becoming more energy efficient. Do you dream of a house with no carbon emissions and zero-net-energy use? This can be achieved with a strategy that includes alternative energy sources, and conscientious fabrication methods and standards. We can channel in green energy into our homes without breaking the bank. There are DIY home energy programs that cost thousands of dollars but there are also DIY Solar and wind turbine schemes that will only cost a few hundred dollars, and that can be implemented without great technical skills. You can reach your goal of a Zero Energy Home, and it maybe just a couple of steps away…

Design: Living Green Designer Homes

When we think of eco friendly homes, or sustainable homes, we probably have an image of an odd-looking place? Too many panels and windmills all over it, maybe half buried on a hill, or too high tech for our budget? That may have been the case once but it’s now possible to design a home that is beautiful, and will give you a degree of independence from both present and future water and energy cost increases and shortages There is evidence of a growing concern about environmental and design issues. There is information available from government from which you can learn about design of green buildings for energy conservation. Good modern design standards readily integrate sustainable features such as rainwater collection, alternative power sources, grey water recycling, solar hot water and water efficient landscaping.

Sustainability

In December 2006, The Code for Sustainable Homes was introduced as a voluntary code in the UK and by May 2008 has become a national standard. It rates the key elements of design and construction which impact upon sustainability and efficiency. It is used by architects, builders and consumers alike in helping them plan and design new homes. The code awards new homes a star rating from 1 to 6, based on their performance against 9 sustainability criteria which assess the overall environmental impact. These are model green home building guidelines!

Building regulations require at least One Star. Six Stars reflects exemplary sustainability.The sustainability criteria by which new homes are measured are:

Energy and CO2 Emissions

Water H20 & Surface Water Run-off

Materials

Waste

Pollution

Health and Well-Being

Management of the environmental impacts of the construction and operation

Ecology

The key is to achieve sustainability without compromising either design or quality. The Code introduces minimum standards for energy and environmental factors affecting the sustainability of a home, and the rating takes into account different elements of sustainability. These include energy, transport, pollution, materials, land use and ecology and health and well-being. The UK Government has set the industry a target of delivering zero-carbon homes by 2016.

The aim of sustainable homes is to deliver real improvements in key areas such as carbon dioxide emissions and water use.

Carbon

Carbon reduction is high on the political agenda of all nations, yet there is a clear struggle for governments to come to terms with the measures that must be taken to achieve the reduction goals that our best science tells us is needed. Much can be achieved by action at the household level that can drastically reduce the enormity of the tasks that faces governments looking at the problems on a macro scale. Motivation for the changes that are needed is key, as it is in anything great but difficult that we strive for. One ‘carrot’ in the budget for households is the direct benefit of reduced energy bills achieved by making an effort to reduce their own carbon pollution. In the UK, London Green Homes service uniquely offers a free telephone advice service, a website and a paid-for green service to provide a free tailor-made package of carbon saving lifestyle improvements. The service has great flexibility, offering Londoners advice on a broad range of actions to reduce carbon emissions from lifestyle changes; and explains how best to save money on energy bills. It is the UK’s first one-stop-shop for information on how to make homes more carbon efficient.

Environmental

A US survey has shown that 87% of home buyers want to know how their homes rate in terms of environmental performance in order to make an informed decision when moving house. Further, 84% would pay an average 2% more for an eco-friendly home. Environmentally friendly homes are no longer a luxury reserved only for the richest Americans. Environmental concerns, dependence on foreign oil, water shortages, vanishing species, are all factors in an increasing the awareness of the call for us to be better stewards of the earth and its resources.

In this environmentally aware world, we are hearing more about green homes, eco friendly living and sustainable homes. Green homes that are designed to be energy efficient, use environmentally friendly and healthy materials and conserver water are becoming the standard. In addition to new building standards, there are simple environmentally friendly, DIY projects that will help curb energy costs, and improve your homes value.

Space is still the most important consideration for home buyers, but environmental considerations and use of eco-friendly materials are very high on the list of priorities. Architectural firms today are often committed to developing creative yet environmentally sustainable components of space for the betterment of lifestyle and family in a way that supports responsible stewardship of the environment and natural resources. Green living and building, with an emphasis on health, energy efficiency and environmental conservation, has never been more relevant than it is today. As time goes on, there will be more attention given to advocating for socially just and environmentally-minded rebuilding solutions. Home-building imposes very significant environmental and social costs at all levels. Impacts of new home construction include:

quarrying to provide basic raw construction materials like aggregates,

water consumption, and the widespread use of toxic

chemicals in building materials.

Conclusion

Green homes can put money in your pocket, they don’t need to be thought of as an expensive way to do what’s demanded of us for the environment. Sustainable homes give you peace of mind from knowing that you are doing everything you can to help sustain the planet. Sustainable homes don’t have to be unattractive anymore, and unsuitable for residential architecture. Green homes are better for the environment because they use less energy, less water, and have a lower impact on the environment

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.

Eco Friendly Property in Spain

“Go Green” – “ECO friendly” – “save the planet” – “Global Warming”. All words we are very familiar with unless you have lived on the moon for the past 5 years or so. Now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and offering green products and services. But how green are they and is it just a token gesture to be popular? We have been researching the possibilities of building eco friendly and economical green villas in Spain after I inadvertently made the mistake of asking my wife how she would like her new house built. “Eco friendly” she replied.

Those two words began a journey of thousands of miles across Europe and countless hours researching the web to find out how “eco friendly” I could build her dream home. Initially I found that an eco friendly home was just a cave house…I didn’t fancy living in or building a cave house, or they had thicker lagging on pipes or they offered solar water heaters…BIG DEAL, I expected that as standard, in fact it is law in Spain now to have alternative water heating supply, one company even classed a home as eco friendly because the heating had a thermostat.

Two years later and after securing the sole rights to build with a German quality ICF system we are beginning our first two new eco friendly villas in Spain for clients and have several scheduled to begin next year. The interest has been amazing; unfortunately this means my wife’s dream home has been put on hold for a while but our business and our attitude to all things green is being transformed. We are offering geothermal heating systems, solar power, grey water systems, water saving systems inside and outside the home, wind turbines, appliance advice, lighting systems I never knew existed and even waterless toilets (the jury is still out on that one with me) all this to make our eco friendly villas in Spain as economically friendly as we can. The fantastic thing about the Eco friendly build systems is the speed and insulating values they offer. A traditional styled villa of a 100m2 villa can be erected within 10 days! Saving weeks of labour charges thus bringing the cost of these new eco friendly properties on par or even cheaper than traditional block and beam villas. The insulation values are amazing and they even have fantastic sound insulation (great if you have noisy teenagers like us).

When we first introduced this system to an architect he looked blankly at the proposal and smiled that smile you see in Spain when you know they think you are mad and after experiencing this manic suppressed grin over a lengthy period of time with a lot of old – maybe not old but my age – OK old Architects! We finally came across a young enthusiastic architect who believed and embraced the system as we did. We drew up a set of plans and submitted them to the local town hall and put the project forward to the bank for a valuation. The town hall was thrilled with the idea and the bank valued the project over 40% higher than we charged the client! Now this could have a lot to do with the fact that we are inexpensive builders but the manager did tell us they are valuing homes with eco friendly factors higher than traditional homes.

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.

3 Reasons to Invest in Eco Friendly Properties

Rewarding yourself with a new house? Why not go green and eco-friendly? It has plenty of benefits, 3 of which are discussed below.

Eco-friendly homes use natural materials during construction

There are many choices of eco-friendly construction materials. They range from recycled wood, half-raw and half-recycled, and those made from dirt, straw, and clay. According to experts, materials of these made contribute less to the greenhouse effect. They trap less of harmful gases while allowing for a freer entry of natural light and air in and out of the house.

Overall, environment-friendly homes are known to exhibit better indoor environment quality. Improved lighting conditions, better air quality, and natural thermal conditions are some of the natural benefits one can get when buying eco-homes.

Eco-friendly homes are also health-friendly

The natural materials used in eco-homes are also health-friendly. This is very beneficial to individuals with health conditions like asthma and other respiratory problems. There have been several studies linking the use of eco-friendly materials in home construction. Significant changes on health conditions were exhibited by individuals who are known asthma patients.

Further studies revealed that the more natural materials used in them help facilitate the flow of cleaner air inside homes. They are also less likely to contain plastic by-products which release toxic substances. These substances are generally linked to carcinogens or substances that contribute to the development of cancer cells.

These days, developers are more aware of the health consequences of the materials they are using when constructing properties. Home buyers just need the proper information to educate or at least warn them that eco-friendly homes are by far among the best choices when health conditions are considered.

Environment-friendly homes are energy-efficient

Today’s thrust in construction of properties gives focus on energy-efficiency. It is a known fact that the earth’s natural resources, from which man depends for water and energy, are becoming fastly depleted. In order to contribute to conservation efforts, eco-friendly houses are designed such that they would not largely depend on non-renewable energy sources.

It is now common to see houses being put on sale that are designed with solar panels. With these, energy consumption is likely reduced to about third as compared to dependency on coal or other non-renewable energy sources for electricity.

Do not just think about yourself, think about Mother Earth too! Living in an environment-friendly house can be one of your unconscious contributions towards nature conservation and protection.

What You Need To Know About Eco Friendly Architects

Are you wondering what eco friendly architects do? They design eco friendly houses. These houses are not only environmentally friendly and energy saving, they are also good to look at.

How to Design an Eco Friendly House

You should design a house such that it’s situated in an area where it’s able to take full advantage of light. You should place the house in an area that is protected from the elements that might damage the house. As an architect you need to consider the direction and slope of the roof that will accommodate the solar panels.

To provide shade from intense summer sun you should design the house to have wide eaves to overhang the walls. To shelter the home from storms and chill you should ensure that the walls are thick and have fewer windows.

When planning the house ensure that you evaluate typical runoff, grade and soil type. You should use the roof to collect rainwater. When it comes to landscaping you should use material that is draught-resistant. This to save the water that would be spent on irrigation.

To ensure that there’s plenty of light in the house you should design interior spaces around adjacent terraces or sheltered courtyard. You should also factor day lighting into interior wall placement and windows.

To save on air conditioning you should take advantage of the airflow in the house. If possible you should design the house in such a way that you won’t use the air conditioning.

You should use local materials in order to avoid incurring transportation energy costs. You should aim at getting supplies from sustainable sources such as wood that has been certified by the forest Stewardship council.

If you have to use any other material you should ensure that isn’t made from toxic products. When it comes to insulation you should insulate your house with tech-forward products such as rolls of recycled blue jeans.

The door and windows should be energy efficient. Kitchen appliances, water heaters and bathroom fixtures should also be energy efficient. If your client is planning of having a swimming pool, you should consider a natural outdoor pool.

Conclusion

This is how you should design an eco friendly house. Even though it’s recommended that you use eco friendly products such as recycled products, you shouldn’t use low quality materials. This is to ensure that the house lasts for a long time. Using high quality materials also ensures that the house looks elegant.