Eco Home

How to Create an Environmentally Friendly Outdoor Living Space for Your Family

Designing an outdoor living space will provide you and your family with a natural sanctuary where you can spend quality time together and escape the burdens of technology. This is a great opportunity for you to go green, reduce your household’s ecological footprint and create a healthy and sustainable environment where you won’t be exposed to harmful toxins. Here are several ideas that can help you create an eco-friendly oasis of serenity and tranquillity.

Pick sustainable materials

Depending on the type of outdoor space you want to design, you have plenty of options when it comes to building materials. If you want to add a wooden deck, you can use reclaimed wood, bamboo or cork, all of which are eco-friendly and stylish.
Other sustainable materials include natural stone, brick, recycled plastic, rubber and permeable concrete that you can use for paving your outdoor sanctuary. These eco-friendly hardscape options come in a variety of shapes, colours and textures, so you can easily find a design that fits the general style of your home.

Repurpose and reuse

Instead of spending a fortune on new outdoor furniture and decoration, you should reinvent your old items and give them a new purpose. For example, if you have several old chairs collecting dust in the attic, you can give them a makeover and transform them into a lovely outdoor bench. Your new bench needs some comfy cushions? You can upholster your old ones with eco-friendly fabrics in just a few easy steps. Take a look around your house and see whether you can use what you already have to design a stylish and peaceful outdoor living area. Not only will you protect the environment and increase your savings, but you’ll also add an authentic character to your outdoor haven.

Go for energy-saving lighting

Every outdoor sanctuary needs appropriate lighting that will create an intimate and romantic atmosphere. Since regular incandescent lights have a short lifespan, consume a lot of energy and emit carbon dioxide, you should consider installing eco-friendly lighting options. You can go with LED string lights and place them in the bushes or trees for a subtler vibe. Of course, going solar is the eco-friendliest lighting alternative for your outdoor living area. You can use solar lighting to line your walkway or illuminate your lounge area. Since it gives out a warm, natural glow, this type of lighting is perfect for creating a pleasant and enjoyable ambiance.

Embrace nature

An outdoor sanctuary isn’t complete without nature itself, so make room for plenty of flowers, shrubs and trees. Not only will plants transform your outdoor space into a natural oasis, but they will also increase the air quality, minimising the levels of possible air pollutants. However, when choosing plants for your backyard haven, you should stick to native species to reduce the negative effects of transportation on the environment and lower your bills by reducing your water consumption (plants native to your region typically require less water).
To make your outdoor space even greener, you can choose pollinator-friendly plants that will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Shade your outdoor haven

Not only will excessive sun exposure affect the durability of your outdoor furniture and upholstery, but it can also cause serious health problems due to UV radiation. Therefore, it’s vital that your outdoor living space has plenty of shade that will protect your and your family’s health. While curtains and privacy screens might keep you away from the scorching sun, café blinds provide a more comprehensive protection. These blinds will protect you and your outdoor space both from sun exposure and unfavourable weather conditions, ensuring the durability of your furniture. By opting for a café blind manufactured in Sydney, you’ll be able to enjoy a lovely view even during the rainy or windy days. On the other hand, you’ll be able to soak in the sunlight without having to break into a sweat on a hot day.

In just a few easy green steps, you can design a lovely, healthy and eco-friendly outdoor sanctuary for you and your family.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - July 22, 2017 at 7:05 am

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7 Ways to Make Your Home a Healthier Environment to Live In

Your living space can greatly affect both your physical and mental health, so it’s important that you create a healthy and pleasant environment where you’ll feel energised and at peace. You might not even be aware of all the hidden toxins lurking in your home, posing a threat to your health. Thus, it’s of the utmost importance that you eliminate all possible hazards and create your personal oasis of health, peace and tranquillity.

Mind your lighting

When it comes to lighting, there are two aspects you need to keep in mind. First, regular incandescent lights, apart from being extremely inefficient, emit carbon dioxide, so it’s advisable that you switch to a green alternative, like LEDs or CFLs. The second important factor you need to be mindful of is light pollution because it can disturb your sleep patterns. Therefore, you should block off the light during the night to ensure that you get quality sleep.

Increase your indoor air quality

Indoor air pollution is a serious issue that can cause numerous health problems, including nausea, headaches, eye irritation, lung issues, heart problems, etc. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that you eliminate all airborne pollutants and allergens that might be endangering your health. Although plants will purify your air to some extent, pairing them with air purifiers is a much safer choice. Browse through reliable air purifier ratings to find a high-quality one that will ensure the highest quality of your indoor air. This way, you’ll get a state-of-the-art purifier that will minimise the risk of air pollution in your home.

Introduce a healthy diet

Creating a healthy environment for you and your family doesn’t mean just eliminating pollutants, but also implementing healthy habits and a proper and balanced diet. Get rid of all unhealthy foods and sugary drinks and fill your fridge with veggies and fruit. Snacks, meals and treats can all be healthy and free of additives.

Eliminate allergens

Your home is probably fraught with allergens hidden deep inside fibres, so it’s essential that you clean your house meticulously on a regular basis. You should add exterior doormats to reduce the number of allergens brought from the outside. Clean your surfaces and floors with a damp cloth or mop, eliminate clutter and check your home for mould and mildew. If possible, remove all area rugs and carpets because they are home to numerous hidden toxins and allergens.

Use toxin-free candles

Candles are always a beautiful addition to a home because they create a lovely and intimate ambiance. However, regular candles are typically petroleum-based and emit harmful chemicals that may cause health problems, including allergic reactions, asthma and even cancer. Fortunately, you can switch to soy or beeswax candles which are completely healthy. This way, you can create a romantic atmosphere without worrying about your health.

Purify your water

Although drinking filtered water is good, there might still be residues of contaminants, including lead, pesticides and chlorine that can endanger your health. Thus, you should install an efficient water-purifying system that will ensure the safety of your drinking water. There’s a variety of different solutions, so you can easily find the one that meets your needs depending on your budget.

Welcome nature into your home

Introducing houseplants as stylish additions will completely transform your living space. Not only will they elevate your home’s décor – after all, plants are wonderful natural accessories – but they will also make your home much healthier and enjoyable. By purifying your indoor air from harmful toxins and emitting more oxygen, plants will boost your mood, enhance your focus and make you feel more satisfied with your home. Consequently, you living space will feel more open and airy which will bring the feelings of positivity and happiness.

Creating a healthy environment is essential for your and your family’s well-being. In just a few easy steps, you can create your personal haven that exudes harmony, serenity and tranquillity.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - July 22, 2017 at 6:50 am

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Energy-efficient homes under the spotlight

How energy-efficient is your home? The following report has been compiled by cost-effective secondary glazing suppliers The Plastic People and could see you finding many ways to make your property greener — saving money in the process.

Key insights from English Housing Survey: Energy Efficiency of English Housing

The English Housing Survey is a nationwide survey which looks at people’s housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing in England.

Here’s an analysis of the key findings of the most recent English Housing Survey: Energy Efficiency of English Housing (using statistics gathered in 2012):

  • The following is the mean SAP (standing for Standard Assessment Procedure) rating for all dwellings in England, whereby a rating of 1 on a scale of 1-100 means poor energy efficiency (and thus high costs) and a rating of 100 is a completely energy-efficient dwelling (and zero net energy costs per year as a result):
Type of dwelling Sample size Mean SAP
Small terraced 1,323 58.6
Medium/large terraced 2,356 58.8
Semi-detached 2,985 56.9
Detached 1,506 55.9
Bungalow 1,189 54.6
Converted flat 476 53.7
Purpose-built, low-rise flat 2,550 66.7
Purpose-built, high-rise flat 378 68.0

 

Age of dwelling Sample size Mean SAP
Pre 1919 2,109 50.3
1919-44 1,936 54.7
1945-64 3,044 58.8
1965-80 2,904 60.1
1981-90 1,096 62.5
Post 1990 1,674 69.3

 

  • The following is the mean SAP rating for all dwellings in England, when certain heating and insulation characteristics are taken into account:
Heating & insulation characteristic Sample size Mean SAP
Central heating 11,482 59.2
Storage heating 972 59.0
Fixed room heating 309 33.9
Standard boiler (i.e. floor or wall variety) 2,683 54.2
Back boiler (i.e. to fire or stove) 584 49.4
Combination heater 2,057 57.7
Condensing heater 1,377 63.0
Condensing-combination heater 4,397 63.4
Gas-fired system 10,672 59.6
Oil-fired system 367 49.4
Solid fuel-fired system 91 31.5
Electrical system 1,246 52.9
No loft insulation 231 40.4
Loft insulation of less than 100mm 1,409 54.0
Loft insulation of between 100 and 150mm 2,220 56.5
Loft insulation of 150mm or more 5,712 60.1
Cavity insulated walls 5,415 63.7
Post-1990 walls with no CWI evidence 636 66.0
Cavity uninsulated walls 2,965 56.0

 

Key recommendations from the Energy Performance Certificate

All would-be buyers or tenants will receive an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is a guide which illustrates how efficiently a home uses energy and the cost of running it.

They are also recommendations found on each EPC which details how to make a property more energy efficient. Advice includes:

  • Increasing loft insulation to 270mm. While the indicative cost may be between £100 and £350, the typical savings per year can be up to £47 once installed.
  • Fitting cavity wall insulation around the home. While the indicative cost may be between £500 and £1,500, the typical savings per year can be up to £179 once installed.
  • Draught proof your home. While the indicative cost may be between £80 and £120, the typical savings per year can be up to £29 once the improvement has been made.
  • Use low energy lighting units for all fixed outlets around a home. While this can typically cost £50, the typical savings per year can work out at up to £43.
  • Replace the home’s current boiler with a new condensing boiler. While the indicative cost may be between £2,200 and £3,000, the typical savings per year can be up to £339 once the replacement has been made.

Key insights from Sustainable Homes’ Touching The Voids report

In the summer of 2016, UK-GBC member Sustainable Homes released its Touching The Voids report. The study focused on the potential for more energy-efficient homes to be able to provide cost savings and increased income in unexpected areas like rent arrears and reduced voids, where properties lie empty.

Here’s the standout findings from the report:

  • As homes become more energy efficient, they become void for a shorter length of time. This statement is backed up from this analysis of more than 30,000 properties between June 2013 and June 2015:

 

SAP rating Average number of void days
34 and under 80.7
35-39 76.0
40-44 69.9
45-49 69.8
50-54 59.8
55-59 56.3
60-64 55.7
65-69 53.2
70-74 54.5
75-79 55.3
80-84 48.8
85 and above 31.2

 

  • Landlords whose housing stock had an average SAP of between 66 and 68 typically had a void operational cost of between £200 and £400 per home managed. In contrast, landlords whose housing stock had an average SAP of between 73 and 75 typically had a void operational cost of between £50 and £150 per home managed.

A look at an American homeowner’s perspective on the value of a green home report

What are our attitudes to energy-efficient homes like compared to our neighbours from across the Atlantic Ocean? The Homeowner’s Perspective: The Value of a Green Home report, which was put together in 2013 by GuildQuality, North America’s leading provider of customer satisfaction surveying for the building industry, aims to find out.

Here’s the key insights that can be taken from the study:

  • 94 per cent of respondents agreed that they would be likely to recommend a green home to either a friend or family member.
  • 70 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the green features of their home. A further 25 per cent went with agreed when posed with the same query.
  • 90 per cent of respondents gained satisfaction in knowing that they had done the right thing in purchasing a green home.
  • 77 per cent of respondents said that they like to tell other people about the green features of their home.
  • 39 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that owning a green home was important to them when they began their search for a new home. A further 31 per cent went with agreed when posed with the same query.
  • 71 per cent of respondents believed that green homes are of a higher quality overall.
  • 86 per cent of respondents believed that green homes were subjected to lower utility bills than non-green home.
  • 92 per cent of respondents believed that green homes maintained more consistent temperatures than non-green homes.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - July 15, 2017 at 2:38 pm

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How to Use Sustainable Landscaping Materials in Your Naturescape Project

When we talk about sustainable building and design, too often do we forget the outdoors, where it is needed the most. If you’re renovating your garden or backyard, it is important that you use sustainable and non-toxic materials if you want to have clean and healthy water and soil for your green projects, or even production of your own food. This should be an oasis, a place to relax and refuel your inner energy. This should also be a kind of a sanctuary for native wildlife and a place where ecosystem can develop without interference. Naturescaping has never been more relevant. It merges our urban areas with the outdoors, but without harming nature. If you own a beautiful garden or yard, you are one of the few that can make a difference. Learn more about how to naturescape your green spaces by using sustainable landscaping materials.

Repurpose

It is nice that you decided to start with your very own naturescape project, but don’t think too locally. Naturescaping should nurture your sense of being a small, but vital, part of a greater chain of life. Almost everything you do has its consequences. If you throw something away, for example, it will most likely end up in a nearby landfill. So, try and repurpose old items before you recklessly part with them. Remember that old door? With a bit of imagination on your part and a bucket of paint, it could make a great and interesting picnic table. Let your creativity flow.

Buying new materials

Of course, you cannot complete your landscaping project by only using recycled materials. At one point, you’ll have to buy something new. The key here is to know which materials count as sustainable. These should be locally produced, recycled or recyclable, non-toxic and long lasting. It is imperative that you know your materials. Are they coated in toxic paints containing volatile organic compounds which contribute to air and water pollution? Many wood coatings contain arsenic and creosote which can irreversibly harm our ecosystem. Which pesticides and fertilizers are you using? Don’t worry about the alternative materials being too costly. Naturescaping is all about cost-efficiency, functionality and environmentally-sound practices.

Best practices

Aside from using sustainable materials, you should be aware of a set of landscaping practices. These will turn your garden or yard into a self-maintaining ecosystem which is both appealing to the eye and in balance with the local climate and environment. Also, rethink your approach to pest control. You could reduce storm water run-offs by installing permeable paving or by building green roofs and rain gardens. If you think about it, the majority of our urban area is built from impermeable materials that stop the natural water cycle. Then, there is the problem of irrigation. You could reduce the amount of water you use for your green areas by biofiltering the water from your sink and shower and using it as irrigation. You can also use the organic waste from your kitchen as composting material. If you’re interested in starting a naturescaping project, but don´t know how it’s best to hire professionals like those at Robert Plumb. They’ll listen to any personal requests while creating quality, sustainable and beautiful outdoors.

Durability

While it is smart to invest in materials that are resilient and modular, you should also think about how they affect natural habitats. Let nature do its course. It is best to turn to biodegradable materials which will degrade over time, but can still be repurposed. If you’re thinking about investing in plastic containers for your garden, why not go for stoneware or ceramic instead? This is what naturescaping is all about – changing ourselves and our environment for the better, one small step at a time.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - July 11, 2017 at 5:48 am

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Natural Cleaners You Should Be Careful With

There are many advantages to using substances that are found naturally instead of chemically synthesized ones. Firstly they come at a lower cost, if any at all, since most of them are commonly-found household items. They are better for you where your health is concerned, because they are not toxic or poisonous like chemicals, some of them are even put in food. But despite all their advantages they are not a be all end all solution to everything.

Vinegar – a natural substance used widely from cleaning surfaces to cleaning the inside of espresso machines. While it has found its use in many a kitchen in some other places it is less than ideal. Vinegar is not suitable for cleaning natural stone. The acidity of vinegar may etch the stone surface and ruin it. This effect is not exclusive only to vinegar but to most acidic substances such a lemon juice. Vinegar is less than ideal for cleaning hardwood floors and some metal surfaces because of the aforementioned acidity that may burn beyond the stain and into the matter beneath it.

Baking soda is also a commonly used substance to clean with even by professionals like Finchley Efficient FlatClean . It is a base or alkaline, where as vinegar is acidic, meaning it has the opposite effect. While baking soda is greatly effective in removing stains from carpets and cleaning bathroom surfaces, its use on aluminium as a detergent is not recommended, as it diminishes the unreactive protective oxide layer of this metal. Furthermore continued exposure of bare skin to large amounts of baking soda changes the natural pH level of the skin, destroying its acid layer and disturbing the bacterial composition.

Some natural cleaners also should not be mixed, as they might react in an unpleasant manner. Vinegar and baking soda are on the opposite sides of the pH scale, one is an acid the other – a base, and when mixed in a closed container the vinegar may cause the baking soda to foam, which might lead to an explosion. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are excellent cleaners on their own, but when mixed create peracetic acid, the fumes of which can irritate the eye and skin and cause lung damage. Castile soap when mixed with vinegar causes the castile soap to become unsaponified. While not dangerous this substance accomplishes the exact opposite of the task it was probably meant for. It becomes a nasty paste that just takes more of your time to clean up. To get the full effect of both substances they should be used separately, one after the other.

Many products found in supermarkets are labeled as Green or Natural, but this is done only for marketing purposes. One need only look at the content description to get a real sense of what these products actually are made from. Most of the text you will read will make no sense to you unless you have a background in chemistry. Some natural cleaners have been found to contain cancerogenic substances such as benzene or 1,4 dioxane. The ‘Green’ label on the product may also stem from the possibility that the manufacturer uses biodegradable containers rather than ‘green’ cleaner. In fact the terms ‘Green’ and ‘Natural’ are only used as a marketing tactic and have no basis at all in science. If one wishes to avoid the dangers of synthetic substances and use truly natural cleaners, the prudent decision would be to stick to the classics baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar, where their use is applicable of course.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 20, 2017 at 7:52 am

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Latest cosmetics & toiletries guides from Ethical Consumer

Another five product guides are now live online from Ethical Consumer's special report on the cosmetics and toiletries sector.

Each guide has ratings and rankings of over 25 brands, Best Buy advice and a summary of some of the main ethical issues in the market.

These newly added guides are:

They join the ones that were featured in the last issue of the magazine – make-up, shampoo and toothpaste.

The score cards, Best Buys advice and some of the company information on these guides is currently behind a paywall, so there is no better time to subscribe to access all of their data.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

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How To Make A Hygge Home

Hygge is a design and lifestyle concept from Denmark which is becoming increasingly popular. Associated with pale neutral colour schemes, especially white, Hygge homes focus on happiness and well-being.

n this infographic we take a look at ways to make your home Hygge. It's not difficult to achieve and doesn't cost a fortune, in fact Hygge is not about extravagance and the cost of things. It's about enjoying and sharing experiences with loved ones along with quality, meaningful ‘me' time. Drinking your favourite coffee, wearing relaxing, non-restricting lounge-wear or relaxing in a warm bubble bath are examples of how Hygge lifestyles work.

In the home décor and soft furnishings focus on warmth and cosy comfort. Fluffy statement rugs placed on wooden flooring, cushions with textural elements, such as thick knits, and snugly throws are used in living rooms and bedrooms.

Candles play a huge role in Hygge living. They're used to create a relaxing ambience with their warm soft glow and scents that evoke good memories. Open fires and wood burners are used extensively in Danish décor, so, if you're fortunate enough to have either they're a great place to sit in front of with family and friends.

Hygge isn't solely for inside your home, it embraces the outdoors too. Walks or simple outdoor activities are great for helping to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hygge is forecast to be this biggest trend this year. Find out more on How To Make A Hygge Home by taking a look at the piece below.

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well

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Posted by Eco Warrior - March 27, 2017 at 5:37 pm

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Green Roofing: 6 Ways EPDM Is Raising The Roof For Sustainable Roofing Technologies

Did you know that even your choice of roofing can have a significant impact on the environment? Many of us are aware that 25% of buildings’ heat being lost through uninsulated roofs, and that good insulation makes our homes more energy efficient. However, there’s still a lot more we can do to improve our environmental footprint. For those wanting to take a step forward and invest in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly roofing technology available, EPDM rubber roofing might just be the answer. Here are some of the properties that make EPDM so eco-friendly.

1. Lifespan

EPDM rubber roofs are one of the most durable types of roofing available. They have been proven to last for at least 40 or 50 years and sometimes even longer, if proper maintenance is carried out. Other flat roofing materials such as fibreglass usually last between 20-25 years, and British Standard Mastic Asphalt (one of the most common roofing materials) for at least ten years. EPDM is an especially long-lasting material, meaning your roof will not need replacing as frequently. Therefore, it requires fewer resources, which makes it a more environmentally friendly roofing choice.

2. Environmental impact

The materials used in manufacturing and installing EPDM also have a very low environmental impact. Most importantly, there are no toxic substances released from the rubber material, minimising the impact on the local environment. Importantly, run-off water from the roof will not be harmful to animals and wildlife. This also means there’s the potential for rainwater harvesting from an EPDM roof. This is when surface water on the flat roof can be drained for use in the home. For example, to flush toilets, use in washing machines or drain into water storage tanks used for watering plants. EPDM roofing is particularly suited for rainwater harvesting, as its smooth and flat rubber surface allows for the quick and easy drainage of water. It’s a completely waterproof system when correctly installed, so it doesn’t damage the building structure underneath.

3. Flood Solutions

There’s an additional benefit to EPDM’s suitability, as it can also be used to help manage flood risks. Small amounts of rainwater can actually be stored on EPDM coated roofs and allowed to drain over the course of a few hours. This could help certain parts of the world to cope with intense rainfall, as the volume of water to drain is significantly reduced and staggered over a larger timespan.

4. Green, black and white roof technologies

EPDM is particularly suited to green roof technologies (the growing of vegetation on roofs). EPDM is a popular choice for the membrane that sits underneath the layer of growing vegetation because it’s resilient and completely waterproof.
Green roofs provide a new habitat for plants and animals, help to absorb water and carbon emissions, reduce heat lost through the roof whilst also offering a more natural and aesthetically pleasing surface, especially for very built-up areas.
What’s more, black EPDM can be installed in colder climates, such as the UK, to absorb more heat from the sun. This can help reduce the amount of heating required within the property. Similarly, in hot climates, white EPDM surfaces reflect some of the sun’s heat and actually have a cooling effect on buildings.

5. Recyclability

The rubber material can be reused and recycled after its life as a roof has finished. EPDM recycling technologies have improved drastically in recent years and are no longer holding the construction material back in its environmentally-friendly status. After it has been removed from a roof, it can be ground down into a variety of different sized rubber pieces. It has been estimated that recycling EPDM materials is 30% cheaper than sending the materials to landfill sites. The reprocessed rubber can then be re-installed on another flat roof, or used in paving materials for footpaths and playground surfaces.

6. Solar panel technology

Whilst solar panels can be installed on any roof – whether flat or pitched – this eco-friendly technology is perfect for rubber flat roofs, as their flat gradient makes it easier to install and access the technology. The solar panels do not need to be installed into the flat roof membrane, but can simply be weighted down on the surface with watertight frames or fixed directly onto the flat roof.

As you can see, EPDM is pioneering the way in sustainable roofing. In North America, EPDM is now the leading recycled commercial roof membrane material! It’s the perfect eco-friendly roofing choice for both residential and commercial properties.


Guest post by Waterproof Systems.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - March 25, 2017 at 10:00 am

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The Case for Permeable Paving

Over the years, paving, decking, patios and outside garden improvements of this ilk have become a more and more common component of the home. As driveways have become a must for many around the world, a notable decline of front gardens has been observed. This trend shows no signs of abating and everybody seems to be trying to find a balance between greenery and paving. So, why?

Paving is indisputably a practical and efficient home improvement. The popularity of paving, decking and installing patios should not come as a surprise as it benefits a property in several ways. They’re cleaner looking, require less all-round maintenance, provide easy access to and from the house and can look stunning in the process. But paving isn’t always the right decision and what is in the best interest for your home and the surrounding areas needs to be considered beforehand. There is, however, one outstanding paving system that comes with only positives. Permeable paving is the future and here is why.

Permeable Paving – What is it?

Permeable paving is a paving system designed to enable the passage of water through the surface and out below. It has larger gaps between blocks than traditional block paving so that water does not get clogged and instead finds its way into the soil or a specially constructed sub-base underneath where it is then slowly released.

Permeable paving is otherwise like all other driveway or garden paving systems, it doesn’t sacrifice stability or durability but additionally provides natural drainage which some paving systems do not have. It comes in a range of paving options for whether you want the appearance of traditional paved stone driveway but the pros of permeable paving. Alternatively, you may prefer to keep the green aesthetics of a garden but require the stability of a driveway. Either way, permeable paving is the solution.

A Safe Paving Option – Reducing the Risks of Flooding

10m² Car Park Driveway Plastic Grids Grass and Gravel Porous Paving

Whilst paving can be a wonderful feature, some paving systems prohibit water from soaking up naturally like a traditional lawn. Solid, watertight surfaces are fantastically secure and durable but they instigate water build up due to their impenetrability. This means that water doesn’t drain but instead builds up in surrounding roads and gorges and thereby provoking flash flooding. Existing drainage systems are unable to cope and excess water either builds up around your home or is directed elsewhere potentially damaging a neighbor's home.

Of course, with cars and parking spaces a necessity for many, driveways are an inevitable requirement. A front lawn just sometimes isn’t the most practical option for homeowners around the world. But this isn’t a one or the other situation. Permeable paving offers a paving system that has the benefit of both a driveway and the sustainable permeability of a front lawn.

A Sustainable Paving Option – Environmentally Friendly

Letting excess water drain away naturally to be soaked up by the soil in a controlled manner makes permeable paving by far the most environmentally friendly and sustainable paving choice to the extent that some flood-prone countries now insist on this home improvement.

Homes and areas that are unprepared can be bad for the environment. Rain that gathers doesn’t just present a problem for drainage but it is often being directed back to rivers and streams that are unable to cope with such an excess. Consequently, these streams are damaged and river banks collapse. Even if drains look to be doing a good job, often your drainage system is carrying rainwater towards the sewers which then sometimes overflow into rivers and have the same negative impact.

Urban heat island effect is another problem caused by ill-equipped houses. Local temperatures rise because less water evaporates. All of these problems find their solution in permeable paving. It is environmentally friendly, safer for urban areas and as practical and efficient.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - December 23, 2016 at 10:41 am

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How Does Green Boiler Technology Affect The Environment?

The massive impact of fossil fuel heating systems on the environment continually draws a lot of worldwide attention. Considering that heating is one of the world’s highest energy consumption sources, there is more focus on making positive, sustainable changes to how it is produced. Green boiler technology is fast becoming a great solution for those seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

With the options for green boilers increasing daily, questions are also being raised about their environmental impact. While green boilers are more energy efficient and acceptable as an alternative option for heating, they still contribute to global warming.

Different Types of Green Boilers

Today, there are two main types of green boilers used in homes and businesses: biomass boilers and condensing boilers. Each of these operates in completely different ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Biomass Boilers

Biomass boilers operate by burning wood and other renewable organic materials to produce heat. Unlike old wood burning stoves and fireplaces, modern biomass burning stoves are more efficient for water heating needs. There are automatic biomass boilers that control the amount of air and fuel that is used, making them even more efficient. To keep this boiler running, owners will need ample space to store the boiler, along with wood or logs for heating purposes.

Condensing Boilers

Condensing boilers are fuelled by gas or oil. What makes these boilers different, is that they reuse heat from the initial burning process to preheat the water entering the boiler. Heat is recovered from the combustion process as water vapor is condensed into liquid, making the process more efficient. Unlike standard boilers, they come in various sizes that can fit into different locales and only require regular maintenance. Many buildings are switching from old gas boilers to condensing boilers due to their practicality.

Environmental Impact of Biomass Boilers

The burning of wood and other biomass fuels produces carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions (CO2 and NO2). The carbon produced is usually the same amount as what is absorbed by a plant during its entire lifetime. While these emissions may be negligible, a faulty burning process in your boiler or a wrong setup may result in more emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic gases, benzene, and other toxic substances.

Dimplex Cadiz Eco 3 KW Electric Oil Free Radiator with Electronic Climate Control

With proper use of biomass boilers, the ash waste is usually harmless and can be used as compost. Ensuring that green boilers are serviced regularly and operate under the manufacturer's guidelines is crucial, so that emissions remain harmless and the boiler operates at optimal capacity.

Environmental Impact of Condensing Boilers

Considering that heating oil and natural gas from condensing boilers are fossil fuels, they still contribute to environmental pollution. Although the CO2 emissions are most common with gas boilers, a faulty heating system may further produce carbon monoxide and present a major health hazard. For oil boilers, there is potential water contamination with leakages as well as gas emissions. In recent years, heating oil used in green boilers has been blended with other biofuels, like biodiesel, to create a cleaner energy source.

Making the Switch to Green Boiler Technology

There is a lot that goes into deciding what type of boiler is needed in a building. When making a switch, different factors have to be considered, like the size of the boiler, its cost, energy efficiency rating, availability of heating fuel, and its impact on the environment. There is no doubt that green boiler technology saves energy and leaves a smaller environmental footprint than older boilers.

Why Is Green Boiler Technology Better?

Experts in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry (HVAC) have to deal with constantly changing technology. With green technology popularity higher than ever, it's important to understand how new options are changing the industry and why this technology is the better option for heating.

  • Reduced emissions—Green boilers make it easier for HVAC experts to abide by emission guidelines. These boilers are engineered under strict energy efficiency measures to protect both the end user and the environment.
  • Highly efficient—Modern technology used for manufacturing green boilers helps minimize heat loss and improve heat transfer. That ensures that businesses get the most out of their boiler systems.
  • Maximum fuel-cost savings—Green boilers use less fuel to do the same amount of work as old boilers; this is of huge benefit to many businesses. Eco-friendly boilers produce the same power while reducing spending on fuel over the long term.
  • Smart design and innovation—With great improvements in design and engineering, modern boilers are produced smaller in size and developed with green technology in mind. That means less installation space in facilities and streamlined operation.

Is Green Boiler Technology Sustainable?

Just like other sustainable technologies, green boilers will remain a sustainable heating option. As more businesses opt for this technology, ensuring the reliability and efficiency of installed systems is a major priority for HVAC professionals. The boilers have to be regularly inspected and checked at least annually to ensure optimal efficiency.

The HVAC industry has quickly adapted to green technology, leading to the production of more efficient equipment that uses less energy. This is a major step for sustainable energy that helps protect the environment.


Kathleen Williams is an HVAC repair and installation expert and freelance writer from Orange County, CA. She has gained extensive experience and skills offering sustainable heating solutions to households and businesses in the area, working with one of the premier industrial boiler repair companies around.

The Biomass Revolution

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Posted by Eco Warrior - December 23, 2016 at 10:18 am

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