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
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Green home building is no longer just a trend. More than half of all U.S. builders report implementing green construction in a significant percentage of their new homes. It is projected that by 2020 more than 51 percent of builders expect at least 60 percent of their new homes to qualify as green. Eco-friendly home building is rapidly approaching the tipping point toward being mainstream. The following infographic shows eco-friendly building features.
The many benefits of a sauna provide great motivation for having one built into your home. Saunas relieve stress, relax muscles, flush toxins, and cleanse the skin. Additionally, they can be a great way to start or end your day. What is even better is that there are steps that can be taken to build an environmentally friendly sauna bath. The key to building such a sauna is to maximize energy efficiency. This will minimize the eco-print left by your sauna. The foundation will be laid by how the sauna is built. Which heater is selected and proper maintenance will also ensure that your sauna is environmentally friendly for years to come!
Building The Sauna
How the sauna is built is the first key to an environmentally friendly sauna bath. This includes insulation, ventilation, materials, and the size of the sauna. The higher quality of insulation used, the less energy output that will be required to heat the sauna. This will also keep your home in good condition. Good ventilation will keep the sauna itself, especially any wood work, in better condition. The ventilation will also provide sauna bathers with fresh air that breathes easy. Done correctly, a good ventilation system will maximize energy efficiency.
It is worth taking a little time to discuss the materials used to build the sauna. There are different wood species and other materials that can be used in your sauna. Stones have the tendency to hold more heat so they can be a great way to maximize energy efficiency. Not only should you pay attention to moisture resistance, heating properties, and other qualities, but the materials also play a significant role in how your sauna looks. Enjoy the process of selecting great looking materials for your new sauna!
Lastly, consider the size of the sauna. The more people that may use the sauna at once will require a larger sauna. The larger the sauna the more space that will be required and the larger the space the more energy that will be required to heat the sauna. All these factors should be considered while building an environmentally friendly sauna.
The next key to an eco-friendly sauna is the heater. First, the decision must be made between an electric heater or fire. Which one will fit your sauna needs better and which one would you enjoy more? Next, the size of your heater will be crucial to heating your space and meeting the necessary energy output. Also, depending on what materials you chose to build your sauna could influence how much energy the heater needs to put out. Lastly, be sure that the heater will be able to handle its workload well. For example, if you intend to use the sauna often be sure the heater can always be ready to be used for bathing.
When actually taking a sauna bath it will be more efficient if more than one person baths at the same time. This way the heater is not left on as people cycle through the sauna. Be sure to keep the heat at a reasonable level not only for health and safety reasons but also to keep energy use in check. If you build a sauna with a window be sure to keep it closed while the sauna is running, otherwise the heat will escape requiring more energy to heat the sauna. Finally, if you use wood in your sauna be sure that the wood dries properly after each bath. This will extend the life of the wood. It is usually not necessary to keep the heater on after the bath. The after-heat from the bath is usually enough to dry the wood and the room.
Keep in mind what it will take maintain your sauna to maximize energy efficiency. If wood is used in the sauna, oils will be needed to take care of the wood. If stones were placed in the sauna, the stones may need to be rearranged periodically as they tend to settle over time. Also, be sure to read about how to take care of your heater. Does anything need replaced periodically? When does the heater need to be replaced? These tasks and questions should be taken care of to ensure a long life for your sauna and continued energy efficiency to maximize your enjoyment with the sauna while minimizing its impact on the environment.
A Green Sauna
Saunas can be great ways to relax and take care of your body. There are even ways to minimize its effect on the wonderful world we live in. By building the sauna efficiently, selecting an appropriate heater, and with good maintenance, you can make sure that your sauna will last and provide a great accessory to your home!
This article was written by Sam Socorro from Steam And Shower UK. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.
More than 150 chemicals found in your home are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and physiological disorders. A majority of these chemicals are used in everyday bathroom cleaning. There are many DIY “recipes” that combine natural household ingredients to create a natural cleaning solution. For example you can combine a grapefruit and salt to create a tub cleaner. The following slideshow displays different recipes and methods for cleaning your bathroom without using harmful chemicals. Try these methods to help clean your house without harming your health or the environment.
Making the switch from regular standard light bulbs to LEDS could save you a whopping 80% of the energy used per bulb. It’s a simple yet highly effective item to tackle if you are looking to make savings on your utility bills.
Around the home, looking at small ways to save can also help. For example, setting the hot water temperature in your bathroom at 50°C and no higher, as well as using a microwave oven in the kitchen to cook instead of a conventional oven.
With conserving energy now at the forefront of our minds, as consumers we are more eco-conscious than ever. When shopping for a home appliance or looking to upgrade an old one, it is best to look for items that carry the ‘Energy Star’. Products that have this label fall within the top 25% of the most energy efficient appliances that are available to buy.
For a snapshot on how to conserve more energy while at home, see the below infographic produced by NJP Electrical.
Cleaning your living space can sometimes feel like a tedious, time-consuming and exhausting chore, especially when one is running low on energy or works around the clock. In such cases, we often resort to top-shelf products, blinded my the manufacturer's promises they are to clean everything with a single swipe. While effective, these detergents are often harmful to you and the environment. If you're on your way towards a healthier, greener lifestyle, consider making a few necessary changes to your cleaning routine. Here are five tips that will help you start!
Take the Time to Prepare Your Own Detergents
Don't worry, you will not need a Ph.D. degree in chemistry to prep up a natural, eco-friendly cleaning solution that is safe for you to use in your home. Moreover, you will do yourself a favour as using home-made detergents is much cheaper and you are very likely to find all the necessary ingredients in your cupboard.
The ingredients you will need for an all-purpose detergent are a cup of white vinegar, two cups of purified water, eight drops of essential oil and a teaspoon of baking soda. Mix the said ingredients in an old spray bottle and use the detergent to spot-clean your carpeting and disinfect a variety of surfaces in your home.
Use Baking Soda Instead of Bleach
Believe us or not, whitening your laundry without resorting to chlorine bleach is far from impossible. Baking soda is just as effective, yet it is much safer to use in your home. Held in high regard by green cleaning enthusiasts, baking soda effectively softens, whitens and refreshes fabrics.
You can add the soda to your washing machine dispenser along with the regular detergent you use. Half a cup of the powdery substance will do for one batch of laundry. If you are dealing with obstinate stains that are hard to remove, you can use baking soda paste to apply directly on the problematic spot.
Use Microfibre Cloths to Clean Your Windowpanes
When cleaning your windows, it is advisable to steer clear from using harmful specialised detergents. Half a cup of vinegar, a table spoon of Castile soap and water will do just fine. Some people recommend using old newspapers to dry the windows with. This will help “recycle” the old newspapers, yet the ink of the print is likely to leave black trails over the panes and stain your hands.
Instead of using paper towels and newspapers, you can invest in microfibre cloths to dry the windows with. Not only are they reusable, but cutting down valuable trees is not involved in their production. Use them to wipe clean other surfaces in your home as well.
Get Rid of Stale Fridge Odours with Oats and Coffee
Remember the last time you had forgotten a pot of stew in your fridge and the terrible smell lingered on for days? There is an easy, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to rid your fridge of nasty odours.
For instance, you can conveniently place a bowl of oats on one of the shelves and leave it there for a couple of hours. The oats are guaranteed to absorb the unpleasant smell and freshen up your fridge. Ground coffee beans will also do. Activated charcoal, too, is proven to be extremely effective in removing odours from the fridge.
Chase Moths Away with Lavender
You'd be surprised how easy it is to chase away moths, among other harmful insects, from your closet and drawers. A few sprigs of lavender will get the job done. The herb is said to repel moths almost instantaneously. All you have to do is place the springs of lavender in a small cloth sachet and hide it between woollen clothing in your closet. The herb will freshen up your clothes and will keep the annoying moths at bay, preventing them from munching on your expensive cashmere sweater.
Don't go the easy route! Invest in your health by going green in all aspects of your life, cleaning and home maintenance included. We promise you will soon start to reap the benefits and experience a noticeable improvement in your overall well-being.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, household waste in the USA increases more than 25%. So while the holiday season is the most wonderful time of year, it’s also the most wasteful. How can we make a difference? Punchbowl, the gold standard in online invitations, is challenging consumers to #choosedigital this year for their holiday party invitations and greeting cards. Every year, more than 1.6 billion paper invites and cards are printed, mailed and discarded. The environmental impact of this tradition is staggering, and Punchbowl has the stats to prove it. Take a look at the infographic below, which highlights “The Nightmare After Christmas” – the destructive effect that paper production and waste has on the Earth.
Ready to #choosedigital? Download the new state-of-the-art App from Punchbowl from the App Store or Google Play to create, send, and manage gorgeous, FREE digital party invitations. As an added bonus, the company has pledged to donate $1 for every membership purchased, and will make an additional donation when holiday party hosts choose one of these specially-marked online invitations. All donations will go towards reducing wasteful paper production.
Packing away for the winter months is often a laborious task. Wind, rain and snow, weather proofing your boxes should be the first thing on your agenda. As the temperature drops and the rain stars to pour down, your storage is at a higher risk of damage.
There are plenty of eco-friendly ways to prepare your goods for winter storage, being prepared now means that you won’t have to buy new summer clothes and accessories next year and most importantly they won’t be destroyed by damp and dust.
Quality Equals Sustainability
Buying better boxes at first will mean you can keep them for longer and reuse them. As corrugated cardboard boxes are often created with flexible corners, they can be used time and time again. This type of box can be collapsed and put away for next winter.
Make sure that you always purchase your storage boxes from a reputable seller, this will ensure that your goods are kept protected. Big Brown Box recommend heavy duty moving boxes as “boxes that you could pick up from the local supermarket or shop may not be as durable and may be more susceptible to collapsing if they get damp or wet.”
Loose fill chips
Loose fill chips are great for more delicate items that could be prone to breakage. The great news is that loose fill packing chips re one of the eco-friendliest ways of protecting your items while they are packed away. Once you are finished with them, they are 100% biodegradable making them an excellent option for those who are conscious about waste.
Loose fill chips ca also be used to fill boxes of clothing as they are odourless and dust-free. By adding a filler to your emptier boxes, loose fill chips will mould to the items that are inside, keeping them protected if they are moved or bashed.
Just like you would wrap up in the cold, layering is a must for keeping smaller goods safe during the winter months. If you are looking to keep smaller items together then egg cartons and shoeboxes make excellent containers and you are sure to find some lying around your home.
Although these containers are not the most attractive, they are perfect as they won’t be seen in the depth of your cardboard boxes Both egg cartons and shoeboxes can be great for keeping smaller Christmas decorations as well as your summer garden accessories like lanterns and cushion covers.
Cardboard Box Packing Tips
Cardboard packaging is one of the most recycled materials in the world. By recycling cardboard packaging it will have a ripple effect on energy that is used in other resources. If you are conscious about your storage materials Cardboard is one of the best materials to as it can be made from 100% recycled materials.
Perfecting your packing technique is a must if you want to condense how many boxes you are going to use. Using bigger boxes will have a chain reaction on how much filler and cardboard you are using.
Make sure you are also writing the contents of each box on the side of it with a marker pen. It is advised that you write on the sides of the boxes and not on top, as it makes it easier to recognise them once they are stacked together.
Finally, this may seem like common sense, but by putting heavy boxes underneath the lighter boxes, there is less chance that breakable items will get damaged during their time in storage.
There are so many myths and beliefs associated with green living that it becomes hard for a layman to distinguish between what is real and what is just hogwash. And that is why Roofing Outlet put together an infographic showcasing some real, manageable tips that can actually make a difference to the environment and your wallet.
For example, you can reduce your heating bills by up to 10% and save up to £85 a year simply by turning down your thermostat by 1°C. Spending one minute less in the shower every day will shave off another £10 from your utility bills every year.