Tips for Creating an Eco-Friendly Interior

Outdoor pollution is a grave menace that looms over our society, but we must not overlook that people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. In our beloved homes, we are surrounded by products and systems that impact the environment, our health, and our finances. The good news is that the green solutions have come into the spotlight, breathing new life into the world of interior design. We are moving past wasteful habits and reshaping our consumer mindsets. So, keep an eye on things you bring in your home and make good use of incredible green tools that lie at your disposal.

The best of both worlds

Upfront costs of implementing green tech may seem intimidating, but you do not have to invest in everything at once. Besides, if consider how environmentally friendly products perform over a long haul, the picture looks much different. Namely, the beauty of environmentally friendly solutions is that they benefit both the natural habitat and your budget: They lower the carbon footprint, and at the same time, they prevent energy waste. It also helps that there are also some inexpensive additions that can double as décor pieces, such as plants.

By the power of smart tech

Note that smart home technology poses an invaluable tool in facilitating the domestic transformation. It empowers you to manipulate the environment with a tap of the finger or voice commands. Programmable thermostats are some of the most popular products in the market as they allow homeowners to optimize the setting of a heater and trim utility expenses. Likewise, using other smart, cutting-edge solutions, you have a chance to control heating, cooling, lighting, and other systems even when away from home.

Same rules apply

Furthermore, to make the most of the green technology, strive to utilize Energy Star-rated appliances. They look great serving as centerpieces and improve the quality of one’s life. Focus on the biggest energy devourers first, such as refrigerators. Next, turn your attention to other systems, replace electricity-sucking light bulbs with LED ones. Yes, they are more expensive, but in the long run, they pay off for themselves many times over. Of course, do not forget to maximize the amount of natural lighting, which comes for free and brings great health benefits.

Free of pollutants

This brings us to the point that neglecting suitability can also impede the health and well-being of you and other inhabitants. Believe it or not, the concentration of some pollutants is two to five times higher indoors than in the outdoor environment. Take the example of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can still be found in products such as paints. They cause allergic reactions and other health issues and increase the pollution in your home.  So, opt for paints that are free of VOCs always be vigilant when repainting and sprucing up your space.

Clear the air and water

Do not stop at that, and make an effort to enhance the indoor air quality with purifiers and filters. There are innovations like UV-Guard products that inactivate bacteria, spores, and pathogens in your water, as well. Know that the choice of furniture has a crucial role to play, as some pieces can be contaminated with detrimental flame retardant chemicals. You do not even have to compromise on the visual appeal of your home- modern green design is a stunning blend of prime functionality and swell aesthetics.

Boosting the insulation

The envelope of the building is the first and the last line of defense against energy loss, most notably the unwanted leak of hot and cold air. Hence, homeowners need to consider ways of boosting the insulation with eco-friendly and organic materials. It is highly advisable to pay special attention to areas around doors and windows that are often the weakest link. See if you can invest in double or triple glazing or weather-strip the windows. Add rugs to avoid heat loss through the floorboards and make the most of other natural fabrics and décor piece like curtains.

The green shift

Winds of change are sweeping across the interior landscape and are changing its face. It is time to re-envision living environments in the light of superior concept, the sustainable design. So, opt for natural materials, energy-conserving appliances, and green systems. Play it smart and you will be able to reap great benefits, financial and otherwise. Just remember that no amount of technology can make up for the lack of sound habits and actions.  Assemble a space that matches your personal taste, speaks to your persona, and echoes what you believe in.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 23, 2017 at 8:25 am

Categories: Eco Home   Tags:

Enhance Sustainability of Your Home with Green Roofs and Walls

Switching to a sustainable lifestyle will help you create a healthy and green home for your family, while simultaneously protecting the environment. Green home upgrades will not only make your home more enjoyable, but also reduce its ecological footprint and increase its value. While smaller updates like introducing recycling or reducing your water and energy consumption are a great way to start, major upgrades can bring about greater and more significant changes. Thus, if you want to enhance your home’s sustainability, you should go a step further and make your walls and roof greener.

Green roofs

Having a sustainable roof can make your home more comfortable and enhance your way of living. If you’re building your house from scratch, you should start by investing in high-rated roof materials, such as metal or slate, because they represent a long-term and recyclable solution.

However, when you think of a green roof, the first thing that comes to mind is the obvious, literal one – a roof covered with vegetation. In practice, this usually means having a garden on your roof. Although this might seem like an unusual solution, it actually comes with a fair share of benefits. Namely, a roof covered with vegetation will provide your home with an additional layer of insulation and can extend the durability of your roof. In addition, plants will absorb, reduce and filter rainwater runoff, improve your home’s sound insulation and eliminate a range of airborne pollutants. Furthermore, with such a wonderful green haven on your own roof, you’ll have your own oasis of peace where you can escape your everyday worries and simply relax.

Since this is quite an architectural endeavour, you should seek professional help when designing your roof garden. When it comes to your options, you can choose between permanent green roofs – intensive and extensive, and non-permanent trays that you can place on your roof.

Green walls

Not only will green walls help you increase your home’s sustainability, but they will also bring a sense of freshness and make your space both stylish and enjoyable. Opting for a lovely vertical garden is a perfect solution if you don’t have a lot of available space. What is so great about this stylish green update is the fact that it can be installed both on your internal and external walls, as well as freestanding ones. This way, you can have a peaceful garden both in your home and outside depending on your needs and style.

Green walls covered with vertical gardens offer plenty of benefits, including high-end aesthetics and a relaxed, natural vibe. These gardens will improve your home’s heat insulation, while simultaneously reducing noise pollution. Of course, the most obvious benefit is the increased air quality owing to plants’ functioning as natural air purifiers. Your vertical garden will purify your indoor air from airborne pollutants and emit more oxygen, which will make your home both healthy and comfortable.

Designing a green wall can be quite a fun project for those who have some experience in the field, but keep in mind that this is a project that requires at least some level of skill. After choosing a wall for your vertical garden and building a frame, you’ll need to install an irrigation system and then pick and arrange your plants.

As for your options, you can choose from different styles and experiment with the arrangement of plants. Green walls can range from simple DIY gardens to sophisticated high-end installations. When deciding on a specific style and type of installation, make sure to consider the size of your wall because it can greatly influence the plant species you choose for your green wall.

Green roofs and walls have surged in popularity, becoming a standard feature of modern buildings and homes. Not only will these lovely high and vertical gardens elevate your home’s design, but they will also boost its sustainability and increase your quality of living.


Author’s Bio

Derek Lotts is an Advisory Editor at Smooth Decorator  and writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and everything related to home improvement. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 23, 2017 at 8:20 am

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10 Things You Absolutely Need in Your New Green Home

In love with the idea of a Green Home but don't know where to start? The good folks at We Love Costa Rica suggest 10 of the hottest trends to realize the Green Home of your dreams. Want to save money while saving the environment? It tells you which upgrades are the most cost effective and which will be gaining in popularity in the coming years.

Incorporating eco-friendly designs into a new home or upgrading your existing home is easier than ever thanks to new energy-saving improvements that can add to your home's value. Check out these 10 Hot Trends and get your Green on!

10 Things You Absolutely Need in Your New Green Home

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 23, 2017 at 8:06 am

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Eco-Friendly Vehicles That Won’t Break the Bank

For a lot of people, shopping for a new car brings two major things to mind. First, how can I be eco-friendly and reduce my personal carbon footprint? And secondly, how can I do that without breaking the bank? The truth is, the real key to lower costs and lower emissions rests not with the sticker price or the model specs. The answer to both of these concerns is tucked away in a vehicle’s gas mileage capabilities.

Facts and figures pertaining to fuel economy are publicly available  thanks to the  EPA. 

A quick looklook at this information will confirm something you may have already guessed: Hybrid and Electric vehicles consume less fuel than other vehicles by a pretty wide margin. However, at the current time these vehicles are known to carry a hefty price tag, so many shoppers are looking for other ways to save on money and gas.

In the realm of conventional gas run vehicles, not all are created equal. Gas mileage can vary greatly from model and make, and especially by the manufacturing year. Older vehicles tend to use much more gasoline while many newer models can reach fuel efficiencies of above 35 MPG on the highway. For that we can thank federal mandates  which have driven innovation in the auto industry leading to lighter components, better engineering, and other smart technologies.

The Electric Car Guide: Nissan LEAF

While all manufactures seem to be trying to increase fuel efficiency across the board, it also appears that each brand name wants an especially affordable and efficient vehicle on the market. The top six most efficient vehicles for under $20,000 currently on the market are the Honda Fit, Chevy Cruze, Mini Cooper, Toyota Corolla, Ford Fiesta, and Mitsubishi Mirage.

As car nuts will note, this shows us that smaller and more compact vehicles are often better on gasoline consumption. However, for some people driving a big truck is a necessity for their line of work. Luckily, the industry-wide raising of standards has made big changes even in the truck and SUV sectors. Many modern trucks with six or eight cylinders will even cycle down to three or four cylinders respectively while cruising the highway – often without the driver even noticing.

Still, you can take actions to minimize the environmental impact of your truck by reducing wind resistance. This can be done by temporarily removing your tailgate when it’s not needed, or with the addition of a  truck bed cover . Either of these fixes will lower the drag on the rear end of your truck, and improve your gas mileage instantly.

Beyond gas mileage, one enormous automotive environmental impact people tend to forget is the negative effect of  junking old cars . Especially if you own a recently manufactured vehicle, keeping it on the streets will be infinitely better than letting it rot in a landfill or junk yard. And as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking appropriate precautions such as finding some custom fitting floor mats will not only ensure your vehicle will remain in good shape for your own use, but it will make it easier to resell to another loving driver when you need to move on.

Driving a personal vehicle is essential for many Americans. However, burning tons of gasoline and spending piles of money is anything but essential. With smart shopping, full tires, and a couple of light modifications, you might be surprised how far one tank can get you these days.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 23, 2017 at 7:54 am

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The Environmental and Social Implications of Palm Oil Plantations

Whether or not you’ve heard of palm oil, you likely consume it or use it on a regular basis. Since the 1970s the demand for vegetable oil rose dramatically and so began the era of large-scale oil palm plantations. Palm oil is considered one of the most high quality and versatile vegetable oils because it can be separated into distinct oils with different properties. Because of its versatility, palm oil has replaced animal fat and vegetable oils in many of our favorite products. Today, palm oil is used as a cooking oil; a main ingredient in margarine; an ingredient in ice cream, baked goods and ready-to-eat meals; a base for waxes, lipstick, polishes, soaps, shampoos and most liquid detergents; a biofuel; and as an industrial lubricant. But despite its usefulness, the mass production of palm oil has far reaching environmental and social impacts.

The Rise of Palm Oil Production

Palm oil comes from the oil palm tree (Elaeisguineensis) which is native to West Africa. Traditionally, the oil palm tree was cultivated for subsistence and used as a food, fiber and medicine. They were originally grown in traditional small-scale agricultural systems and inter-planted with other perennial and annual crops. The oil palm tree thrives in the tropics of Africa, but since the rise of palm oil plantations it is also found in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the Caribbean. Palm oil cultivation is considered one of the fastest-growing monocrop plantations in these regions.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), most of the palm oil industry’s expansion occurred in Indonesia and Malaysia. In 2000, the world was covered in 9.7 million hectares of palm oil plantations, and these two countries accounted for just over half of the total area. Nigeria had just over 30% of the world’s total plantation area. Since then, the palm oil plantations have continued to expand because of their high yield (per hectare per year) compared to other vegetable oils. Unfortunately, this productivity has also come at a great cost to wildlife and humans.

Cheap Oil That’s Costly to Communities

Companies that make their way into less developed countries to start new plantations can have negative social impacts on local communities. Companies run into problems with local communities when they start to challenge the communities’ rights and livelihood. When tropical forests have been cut down to create or expand plantations, forest-dwelling peoples have been displaced. The appeal for starting palm oil plantations has been in part because of its low production costs compared to other vegetable oils. Costs tend to be lower with palm oil production because of low labor costs within plantations. In the countries where oil palm trees can grow, workers often receive low wages for their labor.

The Drastic Effect of Palm Oil on the Environment

Two of the most serious environmental offenses of palm oil plantations are the large scale conversion of tropical forests and the loss of critical habitats for endangered species. To establish large palm oil plantations, companies have to clear enough space to start planting their monocrop of oil palm trees. Many of the world’s tropical forests have been clear cut to make way for large scale palm oil production. According to research conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Princeton University, they estimated that 55-60% of Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s oil palm expansion that happened between 1990 and 2005 wiped out virgin forests.

Despite their high ecological significance and biodiversity, large areas of forest continue to be cut down. As a result, critical habitats for endangered species such as rhinos, tigers, elephants, and orangutans are compromised and destroyed. Species that once thrived in these tropical forests become displaced and suffer from a lack of food and habitat. Many of the world’s most biodiverse forests are being threatened and destroyed by palm oil plantations. For example, Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem is under threat, even though it’s the last place where rhinos, tigers, elephants, and orangutans co-exist. Not only does this ecosystem consists of rainforests, but includes mountainous terrain and peat swamps.

Other negative impacts of large scale palm oil production include: soil erosion and pollution, water pollution, and contribution to climate change. Palm oil plantations are usually planted in rows up and down hillsides, and since they’re not planted along the contours, erosion becomes an issue. The soil and waterways also become polluted from chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and effluent that comes from the palm oil processing mills. The conversion of biodiverse tropical forests to monocropped plantations reduces the “carbon sink” capacity of the world’s forests. According to WWW, “tropical peatland forests in Indonesia… store more carbon per unit area than any other ecosystem in the world.”

Palm Oil: A Growing Problem

In more ways than once, the deforestation of these tropical ecosystems is harmful to humans and wildlife. Palm oil has received praise for its versatility and low productions costs, but in reality these plantations have many negative impacts on the environment and the communities that rely and live within these diverse forests. Next time you go to the store, hopefully you’ll think twice about buying palm oil. Look carefully at the ingredients of products and opt instead for more sustainable alternatives.


References:

 

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/palm_oil/environmental_impacts/

 

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/the-dilemma-of-palm-oil-and-what-you-can-do

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 23, 2017 at 7:37 am

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The Future of Alternative Fuels

When you’re shopping for new cars these days, you don’t just choose between petrol or diesel especially considering the new push to get rid of Diesel Cars! There are lots of alternative fuels available too. Most dealerships offer a spectrum of alternative fuel motors, including hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered designs.

Check out this Infographic to find out what’s coming in the future of alternative fuels, showing where the automotive is headed!

Future of Fuel

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 18, 2017 at 10:17 am

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Let There Be Natural Light

The best form of energy is natural energy and whenever possible, we should let natural light into our homes. This infographic from Half Price takes you through the many benefits of having natural light in a home and they extend far beyond the energy savings. Even surgery patients whose rooms have a view of trees and nature through windows recover 8.5% faster than those who don’t

There are some tricks you can use in the home to make the most of natural light. For example, if you arrange several smaller mirrors on a wall, you can create a fantastic light effect.

Not only does natural light make you feel happier, it is also kind on your pocket, and there are a wide range of great savings to be had just by tweaking a few things around the house. Find out more in the infographic and make more use of natural light in your home today.

Using Natural Light in the Home

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

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Make your home an energy efficient one

Making your home as energy efficient as possible is a great way of saving money and making a positive contribution to the planet.

There are two main ways in which you can save energy, the best being simply updating both your windows and doors. For example, windows are responsible for a huge 20% of a home’s total heat loss and doors are responsible for 10%. Together, that’s an entire third of your home's energy being wasted.

The good news is that this issue is a very easy one to fix. By simply investing in double glazing/triple glazing windows and composite doors you can save your home £100’s each year! By upgrading these you can also add up to 80% of the cost to your home’s value. To find out more on how you can make this change please see the infographic brought to you by www.artwindowsanddoors.co.uk

Home Energy Efficiency

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 18, 2017 at 9:37 am

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Recycling Your Smartphone Into a Dash Camera

Most of us have an old smartphone laying around in a desk drawer somewhere. But did you know that smartphones are one of the biggest sources of tech waste? Millions of usable phones are thrown out every year. One of the best ways to recycle your old phone is by using it as a dash cam every time you go for a ride. It can not only

Hard Facts on Electronic Waste

In the United States alone, 57 million phones are thrown out every year. Nearly 3 of every 4 phones goes directly to a landfill, where toxic substances are released into the environment. Here are a couple more reasons to recycle your smartphone…

• The USA produces 9.4 million tons of e-waste yearly
• The EPA estimates that less than 13% of electronics are recycled
• We’re throwing away valuable materials. In every one million cell phones tossed, we’re losing 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium. If we recycled all of the wasted copper, silver, and gold we throw out, the electronic sector could have a $12 billion capital gain.
• Less than one of three electronic items are recycled safely via the EPA’s “best practices.”

Cell phones are one of the most commonly replaced electronics. Americans usually receive a new phone every year. By simply utilizing your old smartphone after receiving a new one, you’ll help to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment from harmful materials.

Reasons to Use a Dash Cam

While there are many ways to recycle a phone, one of the best options is to use it as a dash camera if you ride a bicycle. Recording your rides is critically important if you’re ever involved in a crash with a motorist. A recorded video bypasses the “he said she said” when discussing the crash with police, and video is always more reliable than witness statements.

Setting Up the Dash Cam

Here’s what you’ll need to equip your cellphone to the handlebar of your bicycle:

• An old smartphone
• A downloaded dash cam app (available on both Android or iPhone)
• 2 pipe clamps
• 1 flat corner brace
• 2 strips of heavy-duty Velcro

Step One: Attach the corner brace to your phone. Apply one strip of Velcro to the back of your old phone, and the second strip to one end of the corner brace.

Trim the excess Velcro from the corner brace. If you’ve purchased heavy-duty Velcro, it shouldn’t have any difficulty holding.

Step Two: Attach the corner brace to the bike. You’ll want to insert the untouched side of the corner side underneath your two pipe clamps to hold the phone up while you ride. First, unscrew the pipe clamps and position them on your handlebar. You’ll usually want this to be pretty close to the center of your handlebar so the video will record as much as possible.

Slide the corner brace underneath the pipe clamps and tighten! If you’re worried about ruining the finish on your handlebars with the pipe clamps, you can put a small piece of inner tube over the area where you’re attaching the clamps.

Step Three: Start the app! You will not need any kind of WiFi or cellular service to run a dash cam app on your smart phone. Just launch the app and head out.

Using a homemade dash cam is not a flawless option. You’ll need to remember to start the app every time you use your bicycle. You’ll also need to remember to take your phone off your bike before locking it up at a bike rack or fence, because it’s possible someone will steal it. Although it’s not perfect, you’ll have a significantly cheaper and more environmentally-friendly way to record your rides than using a GoPro or expensive alternative. If you are involved in a crash with a motorist, a recycled dash cam can be the difference between a simple insurance claim and a year long headache.

 

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 17, 2017 at 6:56 am

Categories: Eco Friendly   Tags: ,

How To Get Rid Of Almost Anything

American homes generate more than 250 million pounds of garbage each year. With the sheer volume of waste being produced, it’s unlikely that all of it is being disposed of properly.

We’ve become better at separating garbage into materials that can be recycled and those that go into landfills, but there’s still a lot of waste that ends up in the wrong places. Why? Because, in many instances, people aren’t aware of what they should do with it.

Waste that is improperly disposed of does more than take up space in landfills. It can create serious health and environmental problems by allowing hazardous materials to enter groundwater and soil.

The following guide from Junk-ITT, details the proper way to dispose of virtually any type of waste generated by the average American household. If you’re not sure whether something should go in the garbage can, the recycling bin or be hauled away by a reputable junk removal service, consult this chart for assistance.

This Waste Disposal Guide was provided by 1-866-JUNK-ITT

How To Get Rid Of Almost Anything

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Posted by Eco Warrior - August 17, 2017 at 6:29 am

Categories: Recycling   Tags:

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