5 Eco-Friendly Home and Remodeling Tips for 2014

A healthy interest and commitment to ecological concerns can be best realised at home.  The thinking behind a sensible green home makeover should be to modify and remodel, rather than to attempt a complete restructuring program. A remodeling can be done in a logical manner that makes the most of tried and tested techniques of both money and energy-saving procedures. Here are five of the best ways to create an eco-friendly home.

5. Recycle

When undertaking a large scale home renovation it can be tempting to take an ‘out with the old and in with the new’ approach to remodeling. From both an ecological and financial point of view, this method of simply throwing things away should be avoided at all costs! The key idea here should be to recycle. Home residents should aim to reuse items themselves wherever possible and if not, to take them to a registered charity or ecological group. The dumping of perfectly recyclable electronic items can cause highly toxic waste. This can be easily avoided through the use of eco-companies that can collect and recycle items. Customers may even be able to sell them their old phones, TVs and computers as an extra cash incentive.

4. Sensible insulation

A logical and well thought out attitude to home insulation should be taken by everyone about to remodel their home. Practical methods of keeping the heat in and the cold out can offer drastically reduced energy bills as well as a greater degree of comfort in the home. As well as using high quality insulation materials on widow and door openings, a certain amount of common sense can make a great amount of difference too. Check for drafts and seal them off wherever they appear. This can soon make a home more efficient and can save both money and heat.

3. Eco-friendly home heating

A correctly balanced and green method of heating lies at the heart of every home. An energy efficient method of keeping interiors warm is important not only for comfort but also for the confidence provided by the knowledge of taking the greenest option. Companies such as Dimplex Canada can be a great way to do this. Their range of easy to manage floor and wall heaters can offer the most advanced forms of economical and proficient heating sources.

2. Full energy audit

A complete energy audit is an absolute essential for everyone looking to enjoy an ecologically healthier home. This form of assessment should be realistically completed before anything else, so that the residents know exactly what kind of a remodelling task they have in front of them. The ability to see a complete breakdown of exactly where and how energy is being used throughout the home can point the way to making the best savings. It has been estimated that a great degree of carbon emissions can be effectively cut through the use of regular audits to inform the remodelling process. Energy efficiency should also be central in the minds of anyone installing new electronic equipment. This is especially true of refrigerators, a notorious energy drainer.

1. Buy reclaimed and re-owned

Rather than spending money on brand new items for a remodeling, why not make use of reclaimed and re-owned items? This can have a positive effect on both a bank balance and the world in general. As one of the simplest ways to take a green approach it is one of the simplest, and potentially the most effective.

 

Author Bio,

Jeremy Thompson is a freelance writer from Toronto, Ontario. Most of his article cover environmental issues and what can be done to make the world more sustainable.

Eight Earth Day Eco-Efforts

earthdaystampIn 1970, the first Earth Day motivated and energized people to take action and think differently about life on the planet. Earth Day itself is about educating, celebrating, and becoming engaged in ways in which we can improve and reduce our impact on the environment around us. Fortunately, the good behaviors of Earth Day have been increasing and spreading for 39 years and things like recycling have become second nature.

As more and more individuals, communities, schools, businesses, and governments become involved in the types of things Earth Day encourages, there is an ever-growing opportunity to make a difference today, tomorrow, and every day. Use Earth Day to jump start even more eco-friendly behaviors in your lifestyle. Need help getting started? Here are eight easy ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your impact on Mother Earth:

 

  1. Recycle

    No matter where you are, you have an opportunity to recycle used items rather than throw everything in the trash. Instead of sending all your waste to landfills, pick up recycling bins from your local distributor and start sorting. If you’re lucky, your recycling center won’t require you to pre-sort your items, but all you need is one corner in the kitchen, garage, or outside to place a bin or bag where you toss your recyclables. From cleaning containers to food containers, cereal boxes to paper napkins, and junk mail, much of what comes into the home can go out of the home in the recycling bin rather than the trash can. In addition to “standard” recycling, e-waste now also has recycling solutions. Trashing cell phones, computers, and other electronics contributes highly toxic substances into soil and groundwater, but with today’s recycling programs, old electronics can be safely repurposed.

  2. Reuse

    The best way to integrate good reuse practices into your lifestyle is to modify your purchase habits so that you are buying durable products with long life spans. Choose items that can be reused rather than trashed or that can be repurposed for other uses. Instead of buying paper plates and napkins and plastic serving ware, pull out your own plates, silverware, and cloth napkins for the next party. If you’re headed on a road trip, take a mug from your cabinet to use at the coffee shop instead of their paper or Styrofoam cups. Opportunities to reuse items you already have also inspire a bit of creativity-who said you can’t use a glass spaghetti sauce jar for your goldfish?

  3. Reduce

    Reducing is the practice of minimizing the amount of “stuff” that you use and throw away in order to avoid making waste in the first place. If you carry reusable grocery bags with you to the store, you are by default reducing the amount of bags you might have otherwise used. If you carpool to the gym, work, or the store with a friend or neighbor, you are reducing the amount of carbon generated by multiple cars. If you rely on natural light to fill your room (so long as you can see), you reduce the amount of electricity you are generating. Like many other eco-friendly habits, reducing must first start with making the choice. In this case, we must decide to use less as often as we can.

  4. Freecycle

    Do you have a mattress, TV, or bike that you no longer need or want? If selling on eBay is not up your alley and all you want is to move your goods to a new home rather than the landfill, Freecycle is an international, non-profit, web-based solution. The Freecycle Network has over 4,700 groups with over 6 million members and all you have to do is join your local Freecycle Yahoo Group and you can post, share, give, and receive products for free and save them from going to the landfill.

  5. Go Paperless

    While there are many reasons for maintaining a “paper trail,” much of what used to be done on literal paper that kills trees and takes up space on desks, in drawers, and in files can all be done electronically. From note taking to letter writing to bill paying to shopping, you can save trees and reduce trash by choosing to do as much as possible online. There are many options for electronically paying bills and when you can shop online, why do you need to receive the catalogue? When paper does come into play, be sure to first use it for scrap paper before tossing and when it’s time to toss, recycle it.

  6. Buy Local

    The closer the food, products, and services you buy are to your home, the less they have to travel to get to you; and less travel means less energy expended on the overall production of that item. Buying local also eliminates the need for a “middle man” and is an investment in your local resources as well as the environment. Try your local farmer’s market as a starting point for buying local and get to know where your food is coming from.

  7. Be Energy Efficient

    From the home to work to school, there are many ways to reduce the amount of energy you use that you can implement wherever you are. Turn off lights when you’re not in the room. Unplug items that are finished charging. Use CFL bulbs in place of the incandescent, energy-consuming alternatives. Make sure your appliances are in good working order to reduce energy drain. Insulate your home and replace drafty windows and doors to improve the heating and cooling of your home or office.

  8. Conserve Water

    It’s reported that a family of four uses up to 400 gallons of water a day. By making a few simple changes in routine, we can help conserve water for future generations. Little changes make a big difference: turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth; only run a full dishwasher; repair leaky faucets and toilets; and choose products that meet water-efficiency programs.

Choose Your Green Products Wisely

Green ProductsThe “Going Green” phase in home construction has many people confused about what “green manufacturing” really means. Many individuals, companies and organizations are struggling to find the balance between renewable, sustainable, recyclable, LEED certified, NAHB Green Program, Energy Star, energy efficient, net zero, carbon foot print, certified products, low VOC, air quality and a myriad of other green words.

So what is the ultimate goal trying to be achieved? Are we aspiring to save the environment, buy cleaner and healthier products, create personal energy efficiency,  live sustainable lives, recycle more trash? Special interest groups want to push their agenda within the green communities and business are trying to gain some profit from the emphasis being put on this topic so finding the proper information is important for balancing our lives in a green world.

Similar to the health and wellness industry that one day says this vitamin is drastically important and then next month it is not, living green is in this phase today. Do some research and understand what “being green” really means. “Going green” is here to stay and needs to be in the minds of every person on this globe if a change is really going to take place.

What is “Green”?

Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Study the basics of what makes a product green, then study the product and make sure it fits the proper criteria. Many companies use the Green catch phase to help promote their product but when looking into the product they are not so green. Many will use recycled products in the manufacturing process but this recycled amount may be very low. Some vinyl products claiming to be green may only have 10% – 15% recycled base in their product. Where as another with a similar product may have 40% – 50% recycled base. Which product has taken “green manufacturing” seriously and which is just using it as a marketing scheme?

Look for green certified products and then read as much as possible about the product. Compare several similar products and see which has made the most effort in “Being Green”.