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    Feb 10th, 2017

    Eco-Friendly Wood Flooring for Your Home

    In today’s home construction many designers, contractors, and homeowners are opting for more sustainable materials in an effort to better protect our environment. With this in mind, there are many more options available now that is considered eco-friendly floors. Some of these are new concepts and some have been around for ages. Let’s explore what is available and what makes these flooring products environmentally friendly.

    Bamboo
    For some time now bamboo has steadily been gaining in popularity as a desirable flooring choice. Unlike forested trees, bamboo is a very fast growing grass, considered an invasive weed in some areas because of how quickly it matures and takes over a landscape if not controlled. One way to control it is to harvest mature stalks and use it as finished surfaces in home construction. It behaves similarly to hardwood as a flooring surface, and comes in planks or boards. It has varied grains and can be stained and sealed and is a very durable material.

    Concrete
    Concrete has been around for thousands of years in various forms and is a versatile building material. It is extremely strong and resistant to staining after it has been sealed. While it has an industrial aesthetic, it is extremely practical, insect resistant, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic. It is best installed in slab-on-grade construction. Today’s concrete can have pigments or aggregates added to offer a variety of colors and textures. Once down, it should last for several decades and is so easy to clean and maintain. Another cool benefit of concrete is that you can easily embed radiant floor heating systems into it, reducing the exposure to dust from ducted air.

    Salvaged Wood
    Also known as reclaimed lumber, salvaged wood flooring is wood that has been removed from older homes and barns to be reused in newer construction. The beauty of this flooring option is that it protects our forests from being overly harvested. Salvaged wood can look really nice in a traditional home or cottage and provides a rustic look. The planks are generally wider and stronger than today’s floorboards, as they were likely cut from old growth timbers.

    Linoleum
    Linoleum is not to be confused with vinyl flooring. Linoleum is a hypoallergenic product that is linseed oil based with other natural materials mixed into it, many of them recycled or by-product content, such as saw dust. The color options are also endless. Linoleum feels soft underfoot and is kind to things that are dropped on it. Linoleum is easy to clean and requires very little maintenance and is available in both tiles and sheets for easy installation.

    Cork
    Cork is another product that has been around for a very long time. It has mostly been used as wine bottle corks (hence the name), as insulation behind brick veneer, and as a sound deadening wall surface material. It is mainly harvested from the cork oak trees grown in Spain and Portugal. The advantage to using cork is that the trees will grow new bark, making it a renewable resource. It can be finished similarly to wood with a variety of stain colors and low VOC sealers.

    There are so many flooring options available that are considered “green” these days. As well as being environmentally friendly, they are healthier options for your home and family. If you have your heart set on classic hardwood floors, make sure you choose wood that is sourced from an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified producer.

    Guest post by MacDonald Hardwoods, a Denver-based hardwood flooring company with over 30 years of experience. MacWoods can help with choosing floor species that works for your home, from oak to bamboo to pine flooring and more.

    Posted in Living Green | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    May 4th, 2016

    Everyday Ways To Conserve Energy At Home

    eco-friendly

    In an ideal world, we’d all have the budget to afford the renovations to make our homes completely eco-friendly—a solar panel setup, energy-efficient replacements for all home appliances, and more, but for many of us, that is simply not an option. Does that mean we should just give up in our quest to have an eco-friendly home? Definitely not! By making these smaller-scale changes, you will be making your contribution to the welfare of our planet, while being easy on your wallet!

    Water Heater

    Water Heater

    The Department of Energy reports that almost 17 percent of a home’s energy use is accredited to the water heater alone. Although hot water is a luxury virtually all of us are unwilling to part with, there are ways we can make our energy-sucking water heater more efficient. First, turn the temperature up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The more moderate of a temperature that your water heater has to maintain, the less energy that will be used. Conserving water whenever possible by turning off the tap while scrubbing dishes or washing your hair translates to gallons of savings every year. Similarly, taking shorter showers using a low-flow showerhead can save upwards of 14 gallons of water per shower. And to really “green” your spring and summer lawn, try using a rain barrel or drip irrigation system. And finally, wrap your poorly insulated water heater in an insulation blanket to help retain as much heat inside the unit as possible.

    Lighting

    Lighting

    Although more expensive than traditional light bulbs, you can save hundreds of kilowatt hours a year by switching to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) or LED bulbs in all your interior light fixtures. Make sure that you are using the right size wattage for your lamps and ceiling fans to ensure that no excess energy is wasted. If you notice that you use particular lights at specific times of day, opt for setting them on a timer so that you never forget to turn them back off. Don’t forget about any lighting outside your home, too! Switching to solar-powered or motion-detector lighting for any exterior light fixtures makes them both convenient and efficient when combined with exterior-grade CFLs. If every American chose to swap out their top five most-used light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR-approved products, the country would see a yearly energy savings of nearly 8 billion dollars!

    Electronics

    Electronics and Appliances

    Most electronics and appliances pull energy continuously whenever they are plugged in, regardless of whether they are turned on. To begin conserving this energy, unplug all available electronics, including chargers, when they are not in use. For items that are used frequently, use a powerstrip with an on/off switch to make energy savings that much simpler. Don’t forget your large appliances like your washer and dryer, as well! Even better, forget the dryer altogether and use the most natural clothes dryer around—the sun!

    By making a few simple and inexpensive changes in your home, you can begin to conserve energy and save money today!

     

     

    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Mar 4th, 2015

    Is the Tiny House Movement for you?

    Tiny House Movement

    Anyone who’s ever lived in a New York City Studio apartment can say they’ve lived in a tiny house. I was one of them and I can tell you it’s doable. But once you’ve lived in a larger space it is really hard to downsize. But people are doing it. Why? Some people taking part of the tiny house movement are mortgage free and living off the grid with few bills to pay. If they have a tiny house on wheels, they pack up the house and take it on the road.

    I’m amazed at how nice some of these tiny houses are. Beautifully designed, compact tiny houses that take your breath away. I love watching the TV show called Tiny House Nation. It’s addicting. The tiny house ideas they come up with are ingenious, murphy beds, wine barrels for tubs, kitchen islands that house the family dog and the best storage ideas ever. I know from experience when you live in a small space you need smart storage.

    How to build a tiny house

    If you’re adventurous you can build your own tiny house. Tiny house plans can be found online for free or you can purchase plans. One of the best houses I’ve seen is at tinyhousebuild.com. You can purchase plans and a step-by-step DVD series to build the tiny house. Watch the video and let me know if you agree, it’s a great house.

    So I’m thinking after watching this video that I need to go minimal. It probably wont ever happen, but I love the idea of it. In this busy world we all live in we all have too much stress and too much stuff. We CAN take a lesson from tiny house living without going tiny. But I would consider it for a vacation home, absolutely.

    Posted in Living Green, Trends | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Oct 26th, 2011

    Make your walls beautiful without paint or wallpaper.

    Are you renting a house or apartment and forced to live with white walls? You don’t have to anymore. The hottest, newest product for wall art are decals. They are removable graphics that let you be creative. Some are even MOVEABLE!

    Wall DecalsMy favorite site for wall decals is Blik. Blik was the brain child of Scott Flora, an architect, and Jerinne Neils, a food writer. While trying to decide what to do with their own walls they came up with this brilliant idea. The application of their product is perfect for any home or business space. I love the flexibility. Change your mind, no problem. This is perfect for a child’s room. The walls can be changed as they get older. Bringing them from infancy to teenage years easily.

    Blik’s newest product is the pattern wall tile. You can create a feature wall, an accent over the bed, cover closet doors, or well you name it… we can go on and on. The tiles are self-adhesive and can be repositioned and moved easily. These self-adhesive fabric tiles are eco-friendly, non-toxic and free of both PVC and phthalates.

    So there are no longer excuses for you to live with white walls. Get creative and have fun.

    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Aug 8th, 2011

    Say No To Chemical Detergents

    By Vineet U Ghai

    Mother Nature is crying for help. We have used and abused our resources, and now we are giving them a slow death with chemical pollutants. But you can begin to make a difference. In many ways and one of the ways is just by changing the way you launder, can help in reducing pollution levels.

    The environment is changing and degrading fast, everyday each of us are adding to the increasing pollution. Even when we are cleaning our clothes, we are polluting the air/land and water around us. How? Through the detergents that we use. Yes, these chemical detergents, that are readily available in every store, are nothing but one of agents of severe pollution.

    say no to chemicalsThey are made of harmful chemicals, that make the product non biodegradable. Some common anti environmental ingredients that you will find in detergents are: linear alkylbenzenesulfonate or LAS, and nonylphenoxyethoxylate or NPE, synthetic smell. Some other harmful ingredients of a chemical laundry detergent are:

    EDTA
    DEA
    SLS or SLES
    1-4 Dioxane
    Ammonia
    Glycol ether
    CA 65
    SARA title III
    Phosphates
    Formaldehyde
    Alcohol
    Butyl

    These chemicals are highly toxic and can cause severe harm to your health as well as pollute the environment. They can cause severe rashes and allergies on your skin, not to mention the way they attack the fibers of your clothes. Have you ever wondered why do you need fabric softeners? The answer lies in the massive chemical treatment the clothes receive in every washing in such chemical detergents.

    So, what to do now? The right way is to Go Green. Stop buying such chemical products, and switch to more eco friendly options. A natural or an eco friendly detergent is plant-based, has the pH neutral, is and 100% biodegradable. Moreover, they come in ultra concentrated formulas which mean you use less and it lasts longer. They contain no dyes, and have no or little smell. You have to do the washing everyday, then why not switch to a green option, right now, so that tomorrow, your home doesn’t add to the local pollution level! If you are thinking, is eco friendly detergent, the rel=nofollow [http://www.time2gonatural.com/]best laundry detergent then you are right. As they really help in reducing the negative impact on the environment. Every major change begins locally, and in this case, it can start from your home. Make a difference by giving up on the chemical detergents, do not be misled by their claims of a ‘clean wash’. They are dirtying the environment and the planet with their toxins. The minute they flow out of your house’s drain, they start polluting the water body ahead, and don’t ever stop, as they are not biodegradable.

    What you can do is, to choose a laundry product that is safe for your clothes, your skin and also does not pollute the water downstream. The next time you go to the store, make sure to explore the natural, eco friendly and green options available. Be aware, and read the ingredients’ list in the back of the product. So not buy anything with NPE or Chlorine. Look for natural products made with vegetable oils. A little positive effort from your end can set off a chain of betterment, that will prevent the Planet from degenerating so fast. Remember, every little bit helps.

    Go Green with natural soaps and soap nuts, as they also make great eco friendly laundry products. They are non-toxic and biodegradable, and do not harm the environment at all.

    The writer is a consultant with Time 2 Go Natural. She recommends you strongly to buy soap nuts for a healthier environment, as it’s everybody’s responsibility.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Vineet_U_Ghai

    http://EzineArticles.com/?Say-No-To-Chemical-Detergents&id=6461308

    Posted in Living Green | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Dec 8th, 2010

    Turn every day trash into holiday gold

    11

    It’s almost impossible to decorate your home for the holidays without spending tons of money. On almost any given day we find ourselves grabbing an extra ornament, buying a new wreath or spending enough on a menorah to feed the family for a week. As the penny pinching mother of two girls I know how tricky living on a budget can be (especially during the season of treats, toys and tinsel), but you can find small ways to live large… without spending large.

    * Make Your Own: It might sound cliche, but making your own ornaments and wreaths is one of the best ways to decorate your home without going over budget. But if you aren’t a crafty person, help your home look festive by adding small amounts of baby’s breathe flowers, candy canes or pine cones wear needed. Try spray painting pine cones in beautiful colors (a fun activity for the kids) and filling small baskets or bowls to create a simplistic center piece.

    * It’s Ornamental: Consider buying a large container of cheap, basic ornaments (the simple, shiny kind in a universal color) and dotting them throughout your house. Fill up an empty candle holder, arrange them around a centerpiece or vase, or add them in a bunches on top of cabinets or windowsills with candles throughout…voila!

    * Get Wrapping: If all else fails, use an affordable holiday ribbon to wrap the staircase banister, dining room chairs or small throw pillows (as if you’re tying a holiday bow on a present). And remember to turn of your Christmas tree or seasonal lights during the day to save electricity (you’ll thank yourself later!)

    Bailey Vincent Clark is the founder of Makeover Momma.com: helping busy, budgeted women feel fit, fashionable and fabulous after kids. In addition to hosting Makeover Momma TV weekly and working as the “New Mom” voice for Walmart.com, she is a full time mother of two girls in small town Virginia.

    © Photo Courtesy of Etsy.com

    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by makeovermomma

    Feb 10th, 2010

    Flor is an eco-friendly option for your floors.

    florYou’ve probably seen Flor Carpet tiles on one of the many interior design television shows. They are a great flooring solution if you have children, live in an apartment or your just looking for a product that is customizable and encourages your creativity. You can create a unique design of your own by mixing and matching tiles. They are easy to clean and for the stubborn stains just replace the tile. Quick to install, easy to clean and eco-friendly, what more could you want?

    Get samples or a catalog at http://www.flor.com

    Tags: ,
    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas, Trends | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Jan 12th, 2010

    Quartz countertops: A cleaner, safer countertop

    silestoneWe recently remodeled our kitchen and originally planned on a granite countertop. But then I saw the Silestone® Quartz countertops and I was sold. I wasn’t aware of the Microban® antimicrobial protection at the time, I just loved the look. I chose a dark green that looks like it has bits of glass in it. It reminded me of terrazzo floors which were big in South Florida in the 1950’s.

    The microban protection inhibits the growth of microbes such as odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew, making it easier to clean and stay clean. Silestone is GREENGUARD certified for low emitting interior building materials and perfect when building a green kitchen.

    Silestone’s unique manufacturing process of built-in Microban® antimicrobial product protection, NSF Certification and GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification make Silestone® Quartz a Cleaner, Greener surface to use in all of your design projects.

    Silestone has been used on Extreme Makeover Home Edition and in the HGTV Dream Home. Candace Olson of Divine Design is a spokesperson in the television commercials and uses Silestone frequently on her HGTV show.

    I’m happy with my decision.

    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Jan 12th, 2010

    How to Save Money With the Help of a Plumber and Green Plumbing Methods

    by Andrew Stratton

    Looking to cut back on the household bills while doing something that’s good for the planet and generations to come? The solution to this problem is easier than you may think.

    By simply hiring a plumber to install “green plumbing” methods in your home, you can significantly cut down on your monthly payments to the Water Company and electric company, while doing something good for the environment at the same time.

    As you may already know, earth’s inhabitants are consuming the fresh water supply at an alarming rate. In the United States alone, 6.8 billion gallons of water are wasted daily just by flushing toilets. Another statistic shows that over half of our states anticipate fresh water shortages in the next 10 years as a result of such waste.

    Believe it or not green plumbing methods have a direct impact on our environment and the long-term health of our planet. One of the first ways green plumbing impacts the environment is in the area of water conservation.

    However, a green plumber can work his plumbing magic to significantly reduce the amount of waste coming from our homes in the form of toilet flushing, leaky taps or high flow fixtures.

    For example, a plumber may install a high efficiency toilet to help cut back on the amount of water used throughout the day. Similarly, a good plumber can also install systems to harvest rainwater for toilet flushing and other tasks to avoid using the fresh water supply at all.

    Faucets with a ‘low flow’ or front loader washing machines can also be installed to reduce the daily water intake from the household.

    And while the reduction of water will help conserve our precious resources, it also helps to reduce the monthly water bill as well. Furthermore, some states are even offering cash back rebates for homeowners that purchase and install these high efficiency products that reduce waste.

    Again, a good plumber who is knowledgeable in the area of green plumbing can direct the homeowner to these rebates and other bonus for installing eco-friendly products in the home.

    In addition to saving on water costs, hiring a green plumber can also help to cut back on a person’s monthly electric bill. Specifically, the plumber can install a solar hot water heater in place of a traditional hot water heater powered by oil or gas heat.

    Now rather than wasting energy when taking a hot shower, running the dishwasher or doing anything else that requires hot water, a solar hot water heater will harvest the energy from the sun, free of charge to the homeowner.

    And as mentioned before, certain states offer rebates to help cover the installation of a solar hot water heater, as it helps to further the states ‘ultimate goal’ of preserving the planet and community in which we live.

    But remember, not all plumbers specialize in green plumbing methods or savvy ways to save money on the heating or electric bill via their services. In that case, be sure to be upfront with the plumber on what you expect out of the job and the long term goals you have for the reduction of your monthly water and energy costs.

    Published At: Isnare Free Articles Directory http://www.isnare.com

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    Posted in Living Green | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Oct 14th, 2009

    Green Living And Your Neighborhood

    Submitted By: Sharon McMillan
    Green living is no longer a vague term known only by environmentalists. One of the ways we know that an important social trend has hit the big time is when major consumer providers adopt the term. Just about every major influencer in our society from Walmart to national broadcasting networks, are using the term to promote products and attract audiences. Green living is a welcome lifestyle that individuals, families and companies are choosing to ensure that the things they do and the products they use have as little an impact on the environment as possible. One of the best ways that you can build this thinking into your lifestyle is to live in a community that subscribes to green living.

    If you are among the population of people who live a green lifestyle as a member of a rural community, you are in a good position. I would suggest, however, that you think about ways you can support a lifestyle movement that seeks to protect rural areas of our country (like your community), by making the more urban areas more livable, sustainable and green. This movement is here and it is strong and it is called new urbanism. New urbanism is a movement affecting areas where most of us live, including those in the suburbs and city centers.

    One of the key threats to our beautiful rural areas and farming communities is the spread of urban development. New urbanism seeks to contain that spread by encouraging the development of communities that can accommodate more people. I’m not talking about increased high rises and ugly housing complexes. I’m referring to the development of lovely and affordable urban houses, town homes and condos/apartments that reflect the beautiful architecture and unique detail of those neighborhoods that were created in America before World War II.

    New urbanism neighborhoods are found in newly built developments and renovated communities both in the suburbs and older city centers. This new mindset has taken almost 20 years to take root in our national psyche. It is at its essence a straightforward, fundamental focus on changing where we live to improve our quality of life. We are tired of choosing or rating successful neighborhoods based on the largeness of the yard or house. Life is much more than that.

    In the new urbanism mind set, quality of life is defined by how our environments affect our emotions and our ability to live a life according to sustainable, healthy values and core life priorities. New urbanists believe that if we can develop more communities that make it is easy to enjoy green living, working and socializing right in our own neighborhood we can make a positive impact on our environments.

    Benefits of New urbanism communities:

    • New urbanism will contribute to less vehicular pollution by making it easier for people to find employment close to where they live or to establish their own businesses at or close to home. New urbanism communities, because of their location near or close to population centers, have the technological and business resources to support entrepreneurs and a wide range of businesses.
    • Communities that subscribe to new urbanism principles attract residents who want to live a green lifestyle so it will make it easier for you or your family to adopt green lifestyle practices.
    • The greenbelts surrounding your city or suburban area will be better protected if new urbanism communities in your region thrive since new urbanism encourages home buyers and renters to choose existing urban centers over new developments on large lots in shrinking rural regions.

    New urbanism provides the structure needed to influence the largest percentage of our populations in North America and around the world.


    About the Author:

    Sharon McMillan is a writer and advocate for the healthy “new urbanist” lifestyle. She’s a suburban mom of two who has developed a career around marketing and promoting healthy productive communities for families and businesses. If you have comments or questions please visit http://www.newurbanmom.com or contact Sharon directly at sharon@newurbanmom.com .

    Article Source: www.iSnare.com

    Posted in Living Green | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan