Passive houses are still very niche. There are currently over 60,000 passive houses in the world with 20,000 of those based in Germany. This infographic from Half Price takes you through the growth of passive houses and looks to clear up some myths that may stop people from looking to build a passive house. For example, many people point to the fact that the walls are a bit thicker, and while this is true, passive houses allow you to sit by windows and sliding doors all through winter. In a regular house, these areas are often avoided during winter as they’re too cold.
At present, passive houses are still more expensive but prices are coming down all the time. For example, they are around 8% more expensive in Germany but do check with local authorities in your area about if they offer support to people who want to build passive houses.
Of course, the savings from lower energy bills will add up over time but it’s understandable why people aren’t willing to pay more for them as present. Hopefully at some point in the very near future, the prices will be more in line with what we can afford. Find out more in the infographic
Good air quality in your home is one of the major factors that contribute to the overall health of all family members and it can be easily improved in various ways. Essentially, it comes down to keeping the bad influences out and the good ones in throughout the entire home, from the attic to the basement and crawl spaces.
Main causes of poor indoor air quality are mold, particulates and chemicals. The latter two are released by furniture, household cleaners and building materials, and are known to be causes of allergies, respiratory problems, headaches and even severe organ damage in extreme cases. Mold is another widespread contributor to allergies and asthma. It thrives in moist environments and spreads quickly, especially in homes that are designed to seal in heat or cold air and regulate indoor temperature. Mold grows quickly in an environment without natural airflow.
Here are several eco-friendly and cost-effective ways to improve your indoor air quality.
Limited sources of pollution
The quickest solution is to adopt the habit of regularly cleaning your house. Dust and dirt accumulate daily on all surfaces and the particulates that they contain are the ones that trigger allergies and weaken the immune system. By keeping your home clean, you will help reduce the presence of irritants and allergens.
Another important factor is to be more eco-conscious when it comes to cleaning. Give up the harsh and abrasive cleaners and cut back on chemicals. A lot of chemicals linger in the air long after the cleaning has been done. Nowadays, there are many natural alternatives available instead of bleach and ammonia-based cleaning products.
The final pollutant that you can easily limit or completely eliminate is cigarette smoke. Tobacco smoke is known to contain more than 200 cancer-related toxins, including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. It contributes significantly to pneumonia, asthma and infections of the lower respiratory system, especially in children.
Improved ventilation and humidity control
Poor ventilation also leads to high accumulation of harmful particles in the air and it prevents the natural airflow in the house. The result is a high level of humidity that enables mold growth and increases the concentration of air pollutants. This means that all family members spend a lot of their time exposed to harmful influences as they go about their daily lives eating, sleeping, watching TV or working around the house. Therefore, whenever the weather allows it, open your windows to let the fresh air in and stuffy, stagnant air out.
If your budget allows it, invest into a good humidity control system that will help a great deal in regulating humidity levels in your home, especially if you opt for a house-wide system. This will include those most sensitive areas of your home, such as the attic, basement and bathrooms, and it’ll make your home more comfortable with clean air, as well less prone to mold and other airborne toxins.
One more option that you can go for is an air purification system that will mechanically purify your indoor air. However, if this investment proves too much for you, there are simpler solutions. Try using aromatherapy. Its benefits are not just a beautiful scent that permeates the house, but it’s also been proven to reduce stress and improve mood. And more importantly, essential oils, such as lemon, peppermint and tea tree, have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
In addition to essential oils, another way to kill air pathogens is to install a high-quality UV lamp that can be very effective in fighting viruses and bacteria, maintaining infection control and keeping your water hygiene at the highest level.
As the last resource, consider adding plants that are known air purifiers, such as the peace lily. They act as natural air filters and help eliminate harmful toxins in addition to producing oxygen.
These eco-friendly tips will help you breathe more easily and improve your indoor quality without having to live in a bubble or spending heaps of money. Knowing the enormous health benefits of clean indoor air, it’s clearly worth the effort.
There are two major reasons why people decide to go with a green lifestyle. The first one is the fact that they want to cut down on their utility expenses and make their home cheaper for long-term upkeep. The second one is the altruistic idea of doing something good for their planet. Needless to say, both of these reasons can be quite persuasive and are definitely positive.
Still, your reason for going green may significantly influence the way in which you decide to do so. For instance, those who are primarily concerned about the planet might put an emphasis on the environmental impact of your home. We are talking about things like the construction materials it was made from and the kind of waste that your home produces. On the other hand, those who are eco-minded, yet a bit more budget-oriented need to put the energy-efficiency of their home as a paramount.
1. Start with the insulation
The first thing you need to do in order to make your home more energy-efficient is – to insulate the walls, the roof and the attic. The price of such a project varies from A) the material that you intend to use for insulation and B) whether or not there is a government grant. Sometimes, we are talking about things like tax deductions or monetary incentives, while the situations where the government provides you with the insulation materials are as common.
2. Doors and windows replacement
One more thing you should know about the insulation is that it doesn’t end with your walls. You also need to pay a close attention to your exterior doors and windows. Replacing a traditional single-pane window with a double- or triple-glazing one can reduce the amount of heat that leaves your home by as much as 40-60 percent. Needless to say, this will allow you to warm up your home in the winter with much less energy spent, as well as to cool it down with the AC in the summer much easier.
3. Exterior maintenance
Keep in mind, however, that a proper maintenance of your home’s exterior also plays a huge part in its energy efficiency. A thing as simple as a regular gutter cleaning can have a major impact on the overall integrity of your home’s exterior. This is due to the fact that clogged gutters may cause in roof and wood fascia damage, as well as damage to walls, windows and doors. In the previous two sections, we went to lengths to describe a part that each of these elements plays in energy-conservation within your home. Due to the fact that gutter cleaning takes a lot of time and even skill, more and more people are turning towards hiring professionals to do this in their stead.
4. LED light bulbs
One of the most widely known ways of saving money on power lies in replacing all your standard light bulbs with LED ones. The advantage that this creates is that it allows you to generate the same amount of light with only one-quarter of the power invested. For instance, a 10 W LED bulb creates a 600 lm strong light. In order to get the same intensity of light, you would have to go with a 40 W incandescent bulb instead.
5. Exploit natural light
Another way to cut down your power spending is to try to take advantage of natural light as much as possible. If you are just planning a construction of your home, make sure your living room is oriented so that it gets as much daylight as possible. Furthermore, use mirrors and reflective paint in order to maximize the effect.
6. One step further
Finally, those who aren’t scared to invest some serious money into this project might even consider the installation of solar panels in order to make their home self-sustainable. At very least, you could install a solar-powered water heater and get a much better short-term ROI (it can pay itself off in as little as 2 years). In the end, you could also switch some of your old, power-hungry appliances for the low-power new ones.
By following these six simple steps, you can make your home significantly greener and your utility bill much smaller. Of course, seeing as how you will have to invest in order to get there, it might take a while until you get your money back and actually start saving. Still, each of the above-listed improvements also adds to the resale value of your home, which means that not a single dollar you put towards going green will ever go to waste.
Saving water in the home is simple when you know how, and there are many different ways to do just that in bathroom. From turning taps off when they are not in use to making your own cleaning spray, it comes down to a lot of awareness and a little action. With that in mind, let’s check out some of the best ways you can save water in your bathroom.
There are a number of ways to save water through changing how you use your bath. For one, make sure the taps aren’t leaking – that can lead to a lot of wasted water over a long period of time. Also, rather than fill the bath all the way and then waste some in the over spill, just half fill it and add a little more when you’re in. The idea of sharing a bath is a big no-no for some, but if you’re happy to do so it’s a great way of saving and can be a nice thing to do too.
Turn Off The Tap
All too often we leave the tap running. When we’re washing our face, brushing our teeth or even just wiping out the basin. In fact, there are plenty of ways you might never even have thought of to save money and the environment by not constantly running water. For example, cleaning your beauty tools. If you’re wondering how to clean a hairbrush whilst saving water, this is a great tip. Don’t just run it under the tap whilst you clean it, use a cup full of water when scrubbing and only turn the tap on to rinse when you’re finishing off.
Don’t Wait And Waste
No one likes hopping in a cold shower, so that’s why most of us let it run until it reaches a comfortable temperature. However, over the course of year that wastes an amazing amount of water. No one’s saying hop under freezing water! But you can catch it instead. Place a bucket underneath and use that water elsewhere, possibly for watering plants or cleaning.
Make Your Own Cleaning Solution
One of the best ways of saving water whilst cleaning your bathroom is to avoid using water where you can. How do I do that? you might be asking. It’s simple really; instead of using copious amounts of water to scrub and wipe down, make your own cleaning solution and fill a spray bottle with it. Rather than filling a sink and using half of the water from that, you’ll be using a fine mist which will be much more economical and environmentally friendly.
As you can see, there are many ways to save water in the bathroom. We’ve looked at a handful of obvious and not so obvious options – we’ve even looked at how to clean a hairbrush and save water – so now you can start to implement a more mindful (and less wasteful) approach. You won’t just be helping the environment; you might just knock a few pounds off your water bill too.
From lavender to lemongrass, rosemary to aloe vera, plants can do wonders for our wellbeing, emotion and the environment around us. We’ve looked at our favourite outdoor and indoor plants renowned for improving both our health and our homes.
Flymo explains all, with some top-tips on how to grow these twelve plants for yourself, with a little bit of folklore on each for good measure. For example, Native Americans call aloe vera “The Wand of Heaven.” – did you know that?
12 plants that improve your house and home
Fridges and freezers account for a large proportion of home power usage; after all, they are always on. However, there are ways to save on the electricity output if you have a little knowledge and a solid plan. With that, not only will you be cutting down on your bills, you’ll also be saving energy to help the environment. Let’s check out some of the best energy-saving tips for fridges and freezers, from learning how to defrost a freezer quickly to discovering where to best place your appliances.
Keep It Full
One of the main ways of overworking and wasting energy courtesy of your fridge and freezer is empty space. Every time the door is opened your fridge or freezer has to work hard to replace the cold air that flows out. If you keep your freezer two thirds full less air can get out and therefore less energy is leaked. When you’re getting low you can replace big gaps with water bottles or anything else that fills gaping spaces. Coming back to the door opening, don’t leave it open unnecessarily!
The key here is to make sure that there’s airflow around your appliances. Keep things off the top and, if you can, try to maintain a little room round the sides and back. In addition to that, avoid sitting your fridge and freezer next to the cooker or in a position where it’ll get direct sunlight. You don’t want it to have to work extra hard to combat the heat.
Control The Temperature
Keeping things at a certain temperature definitely helps efficiency and makes food last longer – that’s a double save on wastage! Your fridge should be between 3-5 degrees with freezers operating best at -18 degrees. Keep a check on the gauges, don’t put food in whilst it’s still hot and maintain the equipment to ensure optimum temperatures.
This is probably the most important tip. If you let your fridge or freezer run down into a state of disrepair you are going to lose on a number of fronts. Food and drink won’t last as long, you’ll be paying for the extra electricity required as your appliance fights to work properly, and you’ll have to replace it much quicker than you would if it was looked after. A poor conditioned appliance can be a huge drain on energy, so follow these 3 steps to be more efficient and less wasteful:
- Clean the condenser. This will either be underneath or behind your appliance and is the engine. Dust and grime can easily build up here and if not monitored can cause big problems in temperature control and overall efficiency.
- Check the seals. If these become too worn or worse, split, the door will not close properly. That will mean that air can leak out and a lot of energy will be used to try to keep things cold.
- Avoid ice build up. Keep an eye on things and regularly check to see if a lot of frost has built up. If your freezer doesn’t defrost automatically you can easily learn how to defrost a freezer yourself.
Doing your bit for the environment really isn’t that much hard work and the less you make your fridge or freezer work the more eco friendly it is. From keeping your appliance nice and full to knowing how to defrost a freezer, it’s easy to save energy. Put these simple steps into practice and not only will you be playing your environmental part; you may just see a decrease in your electricity bill too.
At a time when the global economy is producing more food and making a greater profit than at any time in history, one could be forgiven for thinking that the issue of feeding the global population is yesterday’s news. However, both in the UK and across the world, we are wasting more food than ever before.
This has a huge financial cost and an even greater implication for humans, animals and the planet itself.
- The UK wastes the equivalent of 1.3 billion meals every year
- YET, 590,000 people in the UK used food banks in 2016/17
- £10 billion worth of food thrown away by households each year
- BUT, 60% of people believe they never waste food
A little goes a long way when it comes to cutting down on food waste. In This infographic we take a closer look at some of the shocking statistics around food wastage. A stark reminder of the cost to our pockets, our population and our planet.
Green building projects are gaining traction worldwide and shifting the residential and commercial landscape. They are a breath of fresh air that promises to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency. At the same time, we have the chance to improve the quality of life, save money, and preserve our health. The higher green performance standards are in place and building codes are getting tighter. So, it is a small surprise that there is a burgeoning demand for green products, cost-effective components, and cutting-edge systems, and that supply has no intention of lagging behind.
Solar continues to rise
As green engineering advances by leaps and bounds, solar adoption is on the roll across the globe. In the wake of this surge and the rising environmental awareness, the solar tech is getting more affordable and efficient. We no longer have to rely on clunky panels to tap into renewable energy. Companies like Tesla have presented novelty solar shingles, micro-grids, and photovoltaic cells that can be integrated into windows, plastic sheets, and other lightweight, cheap surfaces. Some countries have already managed to supplement much of their power needs and others are on their way to do so.
Proliferation of passive design
This type of innovative design aims to reduce the need for heating, cooling, and electrical lighting. Namely, advanced techniques are used to ensure a maximum amount of daylight as well as to minimize unwanted heat gains and losses. The building is well-insulated in the winter and shaded in the summer. An orientation of the home plays a crucial role and the same goes for critical components such as green roofs, soil systems, and plants. The principles of passive design are also applied to numerous structures in order to create zero-energy buildings that operate solely on self-produced renewable energy.
Green retrofits and remodelling
Renovation projects account for a great amount of spending on green products and natural resources. It is estimated that smart improvements allow homeowners to recoup the initial investment in less than 5 years. What is more, properties that implement green systems tend to achieve a 20% increase in the value. Some of the most common upgrades are in the areas of electrical, thermal, and mechanical systems as well as moisture protection. Resilient proof buildings, in particular, show much promise, with their natural lighting and toxins-free indoor climate.
Widespread usage of sustainable materials
Green materials are integrated with construction practices and lay the groundwork for a greener way of life. Reclaimed wood and recyclable steel dominate the green market, but efforts have been made to turn even materials like the concrete into green staples. After all, it is still the world's most used building material and now we have discovered that solutions like self-healing concrete are viable. Apart from recyclability, bio-degradability, and non-toxicity, the sturdiness and maintenance are still in focus, and products from TDK Formwork and other forward-looking businesses successfully blend them together.
Water consumption is one of the major expenditures in most homes and besides, the transparent liquid of life is becoming a scarce resource. To enable the adequate supply for future generations, we have to protect and conserve water in our buildings. This can be pulled off by optimizing the treatment and transport systems on site. Various water-saving features are utilized to pump, head, store, and collect clean water with the minimum input of energy. That way, it is possible to decrease water use by 35% and further improvements will raise the bar even more.
The green path into future
Green buildings are transforming the way we live and work, fuelling the necessity for various eco-friendly technologies and products. We spend most of our lives inside and it is only natural to be concerned about the way buildings affect our health and well-being as well as natural habitat. The population is scrutinizing the impact of the building sector, awareness is spreading, and global environmental problems bring us together. The marvels of technology and prowess of engineering have joined forces and the future is looking greener for everyone on the blue planet.
Hello everyone! Today we are talking about two topics I’m very passionate about, recycling water and having a great looking yard! I have always been a bit obsessed on how my garden looks, not only because it’s one of my favorite places to be but also because it’s where me and the family spend most of the time during a family event. For me, having a garden with a great presentation is very important and taking care of it it’s part of the fun. Every season I decorate my garden with something new, I make a few changes and everyone who comes over to my house seems to love it too.
Recently, I have been trying to find a new water fountain to embellish my garden. However, I’m also very keen on doing what is best for the environment. Now more than ever, we as a society must always take our planet’s health into consideration. I want my garden to look, I want it to captivate my family, neighbors, and friends, I want them to have a green space in the city where they feel comfortable, relax and forget about all the urban stress. But I also want to:
- a) recycle the water I use, not only because it’s economically viable but also because water is a key source we must not waste.
- b) use solar power instead of electric current.
With this in mind, I set myself to find a way to embellish my garden in an eco-friendly way! That’s when I found solar outdoor fountains. Eco-friendly water fountains are not a new concept, fortunately it’s turning into a trending option to transform an average garden into an oasis while saving water. These water fountains use recycled rainwater that keeps being reused continuously without the need of taping into external water sources. By using rainwater, we are preserving water and energy. Water conservation is a great way to help preserve the environment while enhancing the beauty of the garden. Keep in mind this water is not suitable for consumption, it’s only for aesthetics. Also, water fountains with recycled rainwater require a bit more maintenance when it comes to cleaning the fountain.
Why spend money on electricity to keep your garden looking good if you can get all the power you need from nature itself? That’s right, we are not just saving water, we are also using solar power to keep the whole system running. These water fountains have a built-in solar panel that converts sunlight into energy. At first, I was worried about the filter, I worried the panel wouldn’t be able to produce enough energy for the filter to operate continuously. I talked to a few experts, and then I got to see for myself, there’s exactly nothing to worry about. The energy generated from the solar power is more than enough to maintain the water circulation and the cleansing. The filter pumps in fresh rainwater, the water is treated and cleansed with oxygen. The clean water is then pumped back into the fountain.
Aesthetics vs Price
There is a big misconception about eco-friendly products. To be completely honest, I was part of that group too. That is until I started doing my own research on the subject. People think eco-friendly products are expensive and don’t have an appealing design. This is completely wrong. In fact, it’s the other way around. After looking everywhere online and on my local shops, I found that solar outdoor water fountains are very affordable. Plus, considering we will be saving money by using rainwater and solar energy.
I have also come to the conclusion I preferred the overall designs of solar water fountains to normal water fountains. Of course, this depends on everyone’s personal taste, however, I’m sure you will be surprised at the designs, especially the most recent products.
Why I Love an Eco-friendly Garden
Because I’m using the tools nature provides me. Planet earth was already beautiful before electricity and tap water were invented. I like to see my garden as an extension of the nature surrounding is. Nowadays, people are so used to the city and pollution they forget having a little bit of green around us, at home, keeps us connected to the earth and makes us a bit less ‘plastic’. Therefore, I use what nature provides me, sun energy and rainwater, to keep my garden beautiful.
What About You?
Let me know what you think. Do you own a solar water fountain? Are you looking to buy one? I would like to know your opinion and suggestions you may have. Me personally, I can’t go back to using electricity and tap water on my fountains and ponds. Now that I know there’s an ecological way to keep my garden beautiful, I feel it’s my obligation to what’s best for our environment, while still feeling good about my garden. Leave a comment, share your opinion. Have a great day!
Urbanization and desire to dwell in the city, close to all amenities have led to the outcome of shrinking houses. The study shows average UK home has almost reduced to half the size it used to be in previous centuries. Builders are opting for creating small living spaces so more and more people can afford and own a house in the capital cities.
Yes, the water stream & the surrounding woods near these abodes are missing but this new age space efficient living is designed so that we can protect our forest areas with minimal invasion to the natural resources.
Here is an Infographic from Flexispace, which divulges some incredibly small homes developed in the bare minimum area as well as the pros & cons of living in the petite homes.