Posted on February 8, 2012
Please welcome today’s guest poster, Izzy.
Everybody needs to do their bit when it comes to protecting the environment, and there are so many ways you can make a difference. Your home should be the first place to start when it comes to lowering your carbon footprint, and there are a number of simple ways you can create a green home with minimum effort. Equipping your home with things like an all-natural bed or an open log fire is a great start. Buying only organic food to stock your kitchen is also a move in the right direction. But to really make your home as eco-friendly as it can possibly be, there are a number of steps you should try to take. Read more…
Posted on January 18, 2012
Please welcome today’s guest poster, Edward.
A clean home is a healthy home. As common sense a statement as you’ll get — doubly so, when one remembers that much of the ill-health of the past came from dirty homes and unsanitary practices. But to get our homes clean these days seems to require rather a lot of specialized cleaning products — so much so that just opening the cleaning cupboard can be something of a health hazard.
And when you start thinking about all of the various chemicals being sprayed in your house daily, it does add up to quite a cocktail. Is all of that chemical soup, released in your own personal environment, really healthy for you?
The EPA certainly doesn’t think so. In its discussion on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it noted that inside the average U.S. home are up to five times as many of these nasty compounds than are present outside. And one of the main sources of VOCs is manufactured cleaning products. With VOCs being fingered for problems relating to nausea, headaches, eye/respiratory tract irritation, and even cancer, maybe a healthy home should really start with natural cleaning.
And using natural cleaning products is a surprisingly easy, and refreshingly cheap, option — just check out this list of the top six natural cleaning tips for your home. Read more…
Posted on January 17, 2012
If you live in the city like me, there are eco-friendly options for your safety better than this dog- although probably not as cute!
Wanting to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself from basics you need. You just have to find alternative means that accomplish what you need while still being sustainable for the environment. Some people spend a fortune on home security systems that use up a lot of energy and aren’t efficient at all. You can go to online resources like protectyourhome.com for eco-friendly information that are easily affordable options – and I have a few green options to share too!
I have family in the south that lives out in the country. Here in the city, our homes are separated from our neighbors by a few feet. In the country where my family lives, huge fields separate the neighbors. There is a lot of space and there aren’t many people who travel the country roads. They never owned a security system to protect their home, but they always kept a few dogs in the yard. These dogs were friendly with us—and the pigs and chickens my grandparents kept—but whenever a stranger pulled up they let us know. My grandfather liked dogs but he kept them more for protection than as pets. They stayed outside and kept stray dogs and strangers from entering the yard. When it comes to green security nothing is more eco-friendly than that! But I live in Chicago, and I understand that in certain areas you will need a lot more than a dog to provide security.
Harness the sun’s energy
Vivint is one company that has jumped on the green bandwagon and is attempting to create a new system that will save money and use less energy. Their idea is a bit more radical than others because it requires a drastic change that is definitely beneficial, although many people still don’t have the capabilities to do it yet. They are focusing on homes with solar powered panels that use the sun’s energy to power home appliances. They install panels into the home that allows users to track how much energy certain appliances are using. They are also extending that feature to smartphones so people can track their status while on the go.
Recycle when you upgrade
ADT security systems are a good choice for security systems because they reuse parts of outdated devices to produce the newer models. Each system has minerals inside of it that can be taken out and put to use along with metals that are difficult to break down and would only increase waste if they were thrown away. ADT has implemented smartphone usage into their system too. Users can turn lights off and on and save energy while they are away from home. The thermostat can be controlled via the phone too—giving users control of their home while on the move.
There are many ways to protect yourself and your family while still looking out for the environment and conserving energy. Each day people are working on new ways make these systems even more efficient and eco-friendly too. Do you have any tips or ideas to add that I didn’t mention?
Posted on January 12, 2012
Please welcome today’s guest poster, Teresa Dahl.
Image credit: nashville.gov
I don’t know about you, but my family is constantly outside. We do everything outside — from having dinner on our patio to washing our cars on the driveway. We practically live outside.
It’s pretty rare that we’ll ever pay attention to what we’re washing down the gutters, but then I realized that if that stuff doesn’t come from a storm drain, it probably doesn’t belong there ultimately.
Stormwater drains are designed to help mitigate some of the problems caused by large storms and constant runoff. These drains channel the water off the streets and other impervious surfaces and send it straight into our waterways (lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water). Unlike wastewater systems, though, this water will not be treated before it reaches those waterways, so any pollutants and trash it picks up along the way will go with it to the end.
Clogged drains are problematic for people’s health, the quality of the environment, and the state of the neighborhood. If stormwater drains aren’t doing their job, the debris and trash will pile up, attracting rats, bugs, and a wide variety of questionable smells. It can also lead to flooding, erosion, and property damage. It’s not hard to keep the drains clear, and there are some simple things that anyone can do. Read more…
Posted on January 10, 2012
The Modern Hubby is quite the beer aficionado and is getting back into brewing his own beer, an old hobby of his. To feed his habit, he purchased a used kegerator (or beer fridge or beer dispenser, or whatever you want to call it) to store our small kegs of beer, which means we’re now powering both a full-sized fridge/freezer unit plus the equivalent of a mini fridge. Not particularly environmentally friendly considering refrigerators use more energy than just about any appliance outside HVACs and water heaters, but the things you do for love, right?
Still, obtaining the kegerator got me curious about how I might make my fridges less of an energy suck outside of buying newer more energy efficient units, which just isn’t in the budget right now. Not to mention, refrigerators are large, unwieldy things that represent a huge chunk of waste if they’re not able to be reused.
Posted on January 4, 2012
Please welcome today’s guest poster, Karen Ho Fatt.
Winter is a time when the sky can get hazy and infused with the heavy smell of smoke from burning leaf piles, controlled burns and, of course, from fireplaces. We all love the warmth and crackling of a wood fire on the patio, but if the fire is not built and tended to properly, it can produce a lot of unhealthy smoke. I have found a number of alternatives to warming up the backyard during winter, which helps to reduce my carbon footprint while still enjoying a great fire. Read more…
Posted on December 22, 2011
Image credit: nifwlseirff
Is December 22 too late for some more green holiday gift-giving/wrapping/entertaining tips? It might be? Well, good, because I actually don’t have any of those for you right now. I do, however, have a cleaning tip. Maybe you’re scrambling to finish your shopping or baking, while also finding the time to bring your house to the bare bottom level of presentable before a gaggle of relatives shows up. Or maybe you’re like me and despite your long to-do list of more pressing matters, you’ll suddenly decide that RIGHT NOW is the time you must remedy a minor annoyance that frankly hasn’t even been terribly detrimental to your life. In my case, that minor annoyance is my shower head.
Posted on December 7, 2011
What do you use to wash your dishes? I used to use a sponge with a scrubby side, but then I realized that’s not very green. Not only do sponges harbor a lot of germs, but you use each sponge for a week or two and then throw it away, which is not good. I switched to a plastic brush for a while, but even though a brush lasts longer than a sponge does, it still gets pretty gross, and you do have to throw it away and replace it after a while. Read more…
Posted on November 24, 2011
One problem with having an older house is that it’s easy to get sloppy about cleaning things like floors and fixtures because you assume they’re about as clean as they’ll get. That might be one reason I haven’t scrubbed my kitchen sink in a while, but another is that hey! It’s a sink! I rinse and clean things IN the sink, so how can the sink itself get dirty?
It can, obviously. I just didn’t notice it either because I assumed it’s always been a sort of dull filmy color or because the lighting in that corner of my kitchen is bad. But on a recent bright and sunny Saturday it became clear to me: my kitchen sink was not supposed to look like that.
Posted on November 23, 2011
Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s time for food, football, and spending time with those you love most — your family. That is, until there are muddy footprints on your carpet and kids running around in circles and screaming and your mother keeps telling you you’re cooking the turkey wrong, all wrong, and DID SOMEONE SERIOUSLY JUST CLOG THE TOILET? HAND OVER THE WINE AND NOBODY GETS HURT.
Ahem. Perhaps your family gatherings are more civilized (in which case, can I trade families with you?) but even if yours makes you feel like the circus has come to town, there are ways to keep yourself calm. One of them is to not let your loved ones drive you to wasteful, Earth-killing behavior. Here are a few ways to be a good host for your family and the planet during the holidays: Read more…