Tag Archives: Green

Go Green With Environmentally Friendly Eco Toilets

People are slowly starting to realize that the world is not as it was 75, 50 or even 20 years ago. The grass is not quite as green as it once was. The water is not as sweet and pure as it was then.

With the addition of chemicals to almost every thing that we consume today, many people’s immune systems have become weak, and their ability to fight off germs has been compromised. With droughts becoming more and more frequent, everyone should begin to think of the environment, and how it affects us all.

One way to conserve water, help improve soil regeneration, and produce a biodegradable fuel, is to start using eco toilets. There are many different types of eco toilets. Two of these are the incinerating toilet and the compost toilet.

In the incinerating toilet, waste is burned up. No water is needed, and there is no smell. The remaining ash is simply thrown away with your other trash. This process does not produce any useful product.

Composting toilets compact the solid waste. The liquids and solids are separated to allow for decomposition in an efficient and natural manner. The composted solids may be used as fertilizer.

A squat toilet is basically a hole in the floor, over which you squat to do your business. The process is quite sanitary, since you do not need to touch the toilet in order to use it. And it is also quite easy to keep it sanitary.

There are several websites where you can get more information about these environmentally-friendly toilets:

1) EHow.com – Just search this site for “environmentally friendly toilets”. There are several articles that will explain what an eco toilet is, how it operates, its economical value, its impact on the environment, and how easy it is to install.

2) SexyGreenHouse.com – Despite the humorous name, this site discusses how past and present administrations are pushing us toward more environmental consciousness. While the eco toilet is not the solution to all of the environmental issues it will certainly be a step in the right direction.

Eco toilets help reduce germs, and convert waste into an alternate fuel. Little or no water is used in this process, depending on the type of toilet. And the good part is that by installing an eco toilet, you are helping to lead this country in the right environmental direction.

What Is a Green Home?

It doesn’t matter if you are a new home buyer or somebody looking to rent a green home, there are a few things that you should look for to make sure you are indeed getting a green house, The latest trend in the market today seems to be products which are energy efficient. Sustainable living is in fashion and this not only applies to a green building, but also with many things we use in our lives today. So the next big question is if you are in the market to buy a green home, how do you know it fulfills the necessary criteria to become an eco-friendly home? The following are some pointers to find a truly modern home.

Environmentally sustainable homes should not be too large in size. Obviously, a large home, say a 6000 square foot home will take more energy to live in, compared to a smaller 1500 or 2500 square foot home. Therefore, always go for smaller size if possible. However, even a large green house will leave behind a smaller carbon foot print compared to an ordinary or conventional home. Our American green architects are now capable of designing practically any size green building you need.

The next important part is the design of the house. It should be placed in such a way so that it takes advantage of the elements surrounding the house, for example sunlight. If the windows are designed and placed in a certain way, it will better be able to take advantage of outside light, which will help bring down energy consumption. This is because the dependency on electrical lights will go down. Another name for this is passive solar design.

Next we come to building materials. Materials used to make an home should be as environmentally friendly as possible. This includes renewable resources such as strawboard and bamboo. If wood is going to be used then it should be approved by the Forest Stewardship Council . This is to ensure that only cultivated woods such as pine or teak are being used. Materials that contain volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as sealants and paints should not be used.

Last but not least, location, location and location. The location of the house is almost as important as the house itself. This means not choosing environmentally sensitive locations such as wetlands, habitats where endangered species may be living and farmland.

Going green is all the rage whether in Hollywood or in the rural countryside. This is something that the environmentally conscious individual should take on, if for nothing else the benefits this sort of home profers to the environment.

Tips For Finding Green Housing

Every day in the news we hear something about the environment. It might be scientists discussing climate change, or an animal care expert discussing habitat loss. Sometimes it’s something as simple as people wanting to know what they can do. When you’re looking for a home, you might have thought about buying a green house. Here are some tips to consider to help you find a green house.

One of the main things to consider is where the house is located. Part of being green is cutting back on your carbon footprint. Is your house close to shopping, schools, and work? If not, you’re spending a lot on fossil fuels getting to where you need to be.

You also should plan for a home that takes advantage of natural light where possible, so you can keep your electricity bill down. A green home will have landscaping that blots out the hot summer sun. The plants then lose their leaves in the winter to let in the winter light.

You should also find a home that has the ability to create cross-drafts to be able to take advantage of the cool night air. Few things are more refreshing after a hot day than that lovely evening breeze.

Choose a smaller home when you can. You’ll save resources since there is not as much material to go into construction. Plus, you’ll not have to heat as much in the winter or cool as much in the summer. This also means you should consider the floor plan. Does a two-story make sense, or should you go with a one-story ranch instead?

One of the current trends is the micro-home. These tiny houses are often smaller than most apartments, but they are still fully featured. Talk about cost savings! Many furniture makers are now crafting multi-purpose creations to go into these micro-homes, too.

You should also consider the types of construction materials used, like how solid the insulation is. The batting type of insulation with a high R rating is your best bet. Windows that are double pane are less likely to overheat a house in summer. Take a look for any deals on solar panels, and if your energy company gives rebates. Some customers can even sell excess energy back to the power company. Check around doors and windows for any leaks or drafts, too.

Should you decide to do any upgrades on the house, be sure to look for a green contractor. Explain that you would love to see as many materials recycled as possible. Your contractor can also help find natural wood instead of particleboard cabinets. He or she can also be creative in repurposing materials like countertops.

If you have the ability to find a green real estate agent, this person is more likely to be familiar with the home features you want. He or she will know the green builders and be able to guide you to a good green home.

You might think a green home is trendy, and won’t have any resale value down the road. In actuality, as more and more people become aware of the need to be green, they’ll only become more popular.

Green Living in Adobe House – The Benefits of Living in a Green Adobe House

On a visit to Tucson in 2003, an old high school friend of mine, Daniel Snyder of Westwind Solar Electric, introduced me to the designer and builder Tom Wuelpern.  As the award winning owner of Rammed Earth Development, Wuelpern has built many an adobe house in the Tucson area.

Wuelpern lives and works in the Barrio Santa Rosa district of central Tucson and the 800 block of Meyer Avenue has been a principle focus of his creativity.  Here he’s built homes that complement the vintage adobes of that historic district.  When he first arrived there wasn’t a single house left on that stretch of Meyer Avenue so Wuelpern had to live out of a trailer while building his first home.  He says the neighborhood was “a little rough” and that occasionally he’d sit out in front of the trailer “with a gun over my knees.”

Things have changed since those early days when people said that Wuelpern was crazy to build in a “slum.”  Now the original residents share the Barrio Santa Rosa with, artists, architects, symphony musicians, and many other creative types attracted by the rustic character of the adobe house.

Adobe construction was first brought to the southwest by the early Spanish settlers who were originally introduced to it by the Moors from North Africa.

One old adobe after another crowds the Barrio’s dusty avenues, many of them painted in vibrant colors which scintillate in the desert heat.  The Barrio Santa Rosa really has the feel of a traditional Mexican town.

I, being a “creative type”, was enchanted by all of this and when Wuelpern offered me the opportunity to have some input on the adobe house that he was about to build, I had to say “yes.”

And it has been a treat to get to know the pleasures of a small Green adobe house. 

The walls are 18 inches thick and the floor is poured concrete with a radiant heating system embedded in it.  I chose recycled blue jeans insulation which is as effective as fiberglass for temperature but even better for sound, and more green and ecological so that it will never present any hazard to the environment or to anyone’s health.

I get a snug feeling just thinking about my adobe abode.

The paint on the interior walls is uniquely appropriate because it is a non-toxic clay paint composed of earth pigments sourced from the desert landscape itself.  All other interior paints are Non-VOC, so they do not pollute the interior space of the house.  I am always struck by the yucky smell of toxic chemicals emanating from the paint, carpeting, and other components of newly built or remodeled conventional buildings.  It’s the first thing I notice and there is none of that in this Green Living, ecological, adobe house.

In addition to benefiting our health by not out gassing toxins the natural paint allows the thick adobe walls to breathe because it doesn’t form an impermeable skin between the interior air and the walls.  These walls can then act as a temperature and humidity reservoir for the house which stabilizes the in door climate through out the day.

Adobe is not a very efficient insulating material so an adobe house is not the best choice for regions with harsh winters but it is an excellent choice for the desert where it gets very hot during the day and can be very cold at night.  This is because adobe has a good “thermal mass,” which means that as the suns heat is absorbed by the exterior walls it gradually penetrates through the wall to warm the interior during the night.  By the next morning the cold night air has cooled the wall contributing, in turn, to cooler interior temperatures during the day. This allows me to cut back on the air conditioning and the heating. 

Since adobe is essentially an inert material, the “toxic” content of the structure is hugely reduced.  This makes adobe construction, when feasible, a very attractive Green Living alternative.  Adobe construction is a reasonable way to achieve sustainable living spaces appropriate for us and the environment.

This is a very comfortable Green Living and ecological adobe house.  It is a beautiful residence which places no demand or burden upon its occupants; it feels neutral and enriches the spirit with its light and benevolent character.

Evolution of Green Real Estate Properties

The ideologies of the buyers in the real estate industry have been drastically changed over the years. All they need is eco-friendly or environmental properties with required facilities. Some of the environment friendly features are:

Use of renewable energy sources

The current trend in the market is demand for eco-friendly properties. Use of solar energy in water heating appliances, air conditioners and inverters can attract many buyers. This kind of energy sources can reduce their E-bills.

Rainwater collectors

Rainwater harvesting is effective way of storing rainwater for domestic usage. By using this method in our home, a large scale of water scarcity can be reduced.

Use of wooden furniture’s

Consumers are considering organic materials like wood and bamboo to be used in interior furniture. Plywood made from wood chips and window treatment, which include bamboo shades are some of the organic designs evolving in the green properties. Wooden furniture can add warmth, richness, comfort and finesse to the household area.

Natural landscaping

It is one of the important factors for the green real estate property. Properties, which have native plants and trees growing in and around the surroundings, have much demand among the consumers. A property, which has artificial grass lawns, requires lot of water to be supplied whereas native plants and trees require only seasonal rainfall to grow. Plenty of water can be saved by having natural growing trees and plants.

Eco-friendly interior insulations

Interior insulation in home is necessary as it affects the room temperature. Use of eco-friendly insulations with wooden chips, cotton, small broken pieces of stones and rocks, newspapers, cellulose insulation can reduce the noise and green house gas emission. Natural insulations have a low embodied energy and are fully disposable/recyclable at the end of their life.

Due to the increased demand in green real estate, many firms have started to promote their properties as eco-friendly homes. Buyers are showing more interest in having energy efficient products and systems in properties. Many financial institutions and private sector firms are investing huge money in green real estate predicting its demand in the future. According to government policies, investors who are investing in this sector pay fewer taxes compared to commercial sector investing. Green building construction has become increasingly popular and construction of such buildings has been a great challenge in long run. A green building is setting up new avenues in sector and increases the talent among the architects, environmentalists and suppliers.

Small Green Homes

A small home can pack a super-sized punch when it comes to reducing a house’s environmental footprint. Energy-efficient, sustainable homes tend to be smaller homes, which inherently have less square footage inside and less acreage outside. The inside costs less to heat, cool and light, leading to less energy consumption, and a minimal-sized lawn-if any-needs minimal maintenance, reducing emissions and contributing to a much healthier environment. But there’s more to a “green home” than meets the eye.

A green home does not need to look as if it was built for the year 2100. In fact, many green homes look, from the outside, like other homes going up in new subdivisions. But on the inside and some unseen places on the outside, these abodes are unusual. Features such as rainwater capturing systems, a roof designed for solar installation, carpeting made of recycled materials, and wind power are just a few ways that a house is built with the environment in mind.

The greenest of the green are residential homes built to be certified to the highest standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Conforming to the standards provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program, LEED has long been used for commercial and government buildings, but home certification is a relatively new phenomenon. One way that a green home is defined is its rating as being at least 40 percent more energy efficient than standard-code homes.

For the pure sake of building cost, smaller homes are the most likely to be built as “green” homes. Many of the systems that are constructed as eco-friendly are not cheap, and the fewer solar panels and the smaller self-sustaining heating and cooling systems equate to a smaller build-out budget. The elements that make a home a green home have dropped in cost over the past several years, but constructing a basic LEED-certified house still runs about $3,500 more than it would cost to build a regular house. The highest-level LEED-certified home costs about $29,000 more. The smaller the home, the less expensive the process. The same concept applies to existing-home renovations or “greening up” an older home.

One example of a company that successfully merges the concepts of “green” and “small” is seen with Tumbleweed Tiny House Company founded by Jay Shafer. Shafer started building small homes out of his concern about the impact a larger house has on the environment. More than 10 years later, these “tiny” portable homes not only minimize square footage, but the green homes are fully insulated with double-pane windows and an adequate heater.

More and more homebuilders are greening the American Dream. It is suggested to verify a builder’s credentials by asking for their ANSI-approved ICC-700-2008 National Green Building Standard certification (see http://www.nahbgreen.org for more information). Check out these builders online:

Atlas Home Contractors, atlashomecontractorsinc.com
BPC Green Builders, bpcgreenbuilders.com
Castalia Homes, castaliahomes.com
Dominion Homes, dominionhomes.com
Grady O Grady, gradyogrady.com
Integrity Builders, homesbyintegrity.com
Jurenka Custom Homes, jurenka.com
Ondra Home Building, ondrahomebuilding.com
RC Green Builders, rcgreenbuildersaz.com
Summit Custom Homes, summitcustomhomeskc.com
Zero Energy, zeroenergyllc.com

6 Green House Considerations

Because of the many environmental concerns, threats and considerations, many buyers, as well as homeowners, today, have become more – and – more concerned with various factors, often referred to as green real estate. There are many considerations, and variations, as well as degrees of greening individuals are interested in. Some (however a minority) are real environmentalists, and want their home, to exhibit their concern and attention, to this very important issue. Others merely want to proceed in a somewhat balanced manner, and want to include reasonable green characteristics. This article will be a basic one, and discuss, in general terms, 6 considerations, regarding making your home, a greener one.

1. Windows and doors: Obviously, energy conservation is a major environmental concern. We often speak about a business’ carbon footprint, but, obviously, certain houses are far more energy – efficient than others. When were your windows replaced and/ or upgraded, and are they efficient? Do they keep out most of the cold, in the winter, and minimize the amount of heat, which enters in the hottest weather? What materials are your windows and doors, made of? Do your doors leak? Begin by having someone do an energy inspection, and see if you are losing much heat, because of inefficiencies. Doors can often be made more efficient, by having them re – hung, and putting a properly installed, sweep, on the bottom of the door. How much money, and energy are you wasting?

2. Solar, geo – thermal, etc: Some houses are candidates for solar panels, while others are not! What direction does your roof face? Are there any large trees blocking your roof? How many hours a day, of sun, does your roof, experience? Have you had your home examined, to discover whether you might be a good candidate for geo – thermal? This often requires a combination and evaluation of your property, pitch, location, and layout.

3. Energy – efficient burners/ boilers, and air conditioners: When was the last energy efficiency evaluation, you had performed? How old is your burner/ boiler, and is it efficient? What type of air conditioning do you use, and what it the Energy Efficiency Rating?

4. Roof: Light – colored roofs reflect heat, while darker ones, absorb it. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense, that warmer climates should use lighter ones, and colder ones, darker? What is the material being used? Is it efficient, effective and safe? How old is the roof?

5. Insulation: What is the rating of your insulation, and how well insulated, is the house? Have the walls (especially outside ones) checked, for efficiency? Older houses tend not to have updated insulation, or may contain less than the safest materials. An ounce of prevention, makes lots of sense!

6. Materials: Are you using safe, sustainable materials, in your house? This is generally more relevant, in newer houses, or extensions, but if you are concerned with the environment, you should consider the sustainability, safety and impacts of your home!

There are numerous environmental considerations. Whether you are truly committed to the environment, or merely want to be responsible, and save money (and be safer), it makes sense to think green!

Features You Must Look For When Buying Green Real Estate

The eco-friendly features of green real estate are what make green properties so interesting for the investors and buyers. A simple house with green features can help the homeowner save lots of money by cutting down the need of many resources. For instance, the power saving green features can substantially bring down the electricity bills. Likewise, water saving attributes can ensure reduced water bills and so on. So, next time when you begin hunting for a suitable green property, do look for these green features.

* The property must be properly insulated with recyclable materials. This would make sure that the house does not undergo extreme temperature fluctuations due to the outside climatic conditions. Besides, windows are known to be one of the major culprits here, as they cause transfer of heat and thus, lead to high heating and cooling bills. So, look for a house with double-pane windows with great insulating properties.

* An environment friendly furnace is another feature of green real estate that would allow you to easily and cost-effectively heat the property. Make sure it has an efficient thermostat.

* If a solar water heater is installed in the property, then you can be fully assured of getting hot water throughout the year without spending much. Usually, solar panels last for fifteen to twenty years. To get the most out of them, it is important to clean and maintain them regularly. Also, make sure that they have been installed in a place where they can receive unobstructed sunlight.

* Green properties generally have water saving bathroom fixtures, such as low flow shower heads, water cisterns and faucets. So, see to it that the property you choose has water efficient features. If the house is located in any drought prone place, then you should also make sure that it has a good sized water storage tank or device.

* There should be a backyard, where you can create a nice kitchen garden of your own. Growing vegetables and herbs at home is a great step towards a green lifestyle. Considering this fact, even the architects and builders today design houses with enough space for the kitchen garden.

With growing awareness about environment safety, most people now look for green features when buying real estate. This not only helps them play their role towards the nature, but also enhances the appeal, as well as value, of their property. Though, green homes and offices are usually more cost effective than traditional buildings, there are a few features, like installation of solar panels, wind turbines etc, that may require high set up costs. However, all these features offer many long term benefits in the form of better health and reduced utility bills. So, it does not matter even if one has to pay more for these additional green features. So, look for all these features when purchasing real estate and you are sure to enjoy a great deal.

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.

Green House and Its Requirements – Its Relevance For the Environment

When you look around seriously for a green house, among many features, the surroundings of your dream house should be a primary concern. The other aspect, as important as the primary concern, is the features which are essential for the less consumption of energy and fuel on a day to day basis.

The proposed home is located at such a place where everything essential for normal living is available easily. Then it can be classified as a green home rather than a home which is located far away and you have to drive around a lot for trivial things. A house requiring so much travel can not be considered as green home even if the ambiance of the atmosphere is too environmental friendly. This is because of the simple reason that you will be expending more time and money than necessary for fuel expenses.

Many people dream of self sufficiency for a green home. Self sufficiency means producing enough food for a normal family from a well maintained garden, solar energy panels or a wind/water mill within the compound.

Both the above conditions proposed have a common point. They do not need the support of the local grid fully or partially. An apparent contribution towards the environment is evident, that is they are not part of high consumption of energy.

If your search has landed you in a place where you are not in a well placed location and instead have many facilities for self sufficiency then, your concentration should be on a well designed home. The designing has to be made in such a way that the place is cool in summer and warm in winter, with the bare minimum need for air conditioning and heating.

With this type of environmentally healthy design along with the use of certified energy content appliances, you will contribute significantly towards energy saving. But for many, the initial investment is prohibitive and this will pay off handsomely in the near future.

The acquiring of a green home is not the only avenue for helping the environment. We have to insist for the products which cause less damage to the environment during production. Additionally, we can stick to the use of products which are bio degradable for cleaning purposes etc.

We will be significantly contributing to the well being of the environment. So be a part of the elite who are hell bent on creating a healthy environment for self and future generations.