The Ultimate Houseplant Cheat Sheet

The quality of the air we breathe every day is so important to our overall health. This infographic from Capital Garden Services takes you through the health implications of indoor air pollution and takes you through the best plants for each room. Research has shown that indoor air pollution can increase our risk of stroke by 34% so it really is worth taking the time to read through the infographic and finding the perfect plants for your home.

Sometimes, people buy plants and are a bit unsure of how to take care of them. They might put them in the wrong room or water them too much or too little. For example, many plants, such as the Chinese evergreen and the English ivy, require much less water in winter so it’s important to keep things like this in mind.

Also, some plants need less sun than others. For example, the Snake Plant is a great addition to the bedroom and it needs minimal direct sunlight. Find out more in the infographic.

The-Ultimate-Houseplant-Cheat-Sheet-Infographic

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

There are lots of reasons to remodel, renovate, or update your home. You might do so in order to eventually put your residence up for sale or you might do so in order to create a more livable place for you and yours. But one common motivation these days is the desire to be more energy efficient to reduce the end-of-month energy bill. If this strikes a chord with you, getting aboard the green movement bandwagon can bring about tangible results. So read on for effective home improvements that will allow you to live green, save money, and improve home value.

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

ATTIC INSULATION

While it’s not exactly the most exciting home improvement measure, adequate attic insulation will help you to keep down your heating costs during the cold weather months. If you live in an older residence, chances are that your attic does not have enough insulation…and it’s possible that it actually has no insulation at all. Have it checked and get enough insulation in your attic. This could potentially save you hundreds of bucks during the cold weather season. While you’re at it, ensure that your walls also have enough insulation.

KITCHEN

When it comes to your kitchen, there are lots of things you can do to make this popular space more energy efficient as well as eco-friendly. Depending on how extensive the remodeling, you can swap your cabinets for options that have the stamp of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council. Wood and wood products with such certification are obtained employing responsible forest management efforts, and they’re made with glues that don’t have formaldehyde. You can also get green countertops that are made from recycled or sustainable products and that are manufactured courtesy of eco-friendly methods. Among other options, you can also upgrade your kitchen with energy efficient equipment like a new fridge, freezer, or dishwasher. And don’t forget to get fluorescent lighting, which employs much less energy versus incandescent lighting.

GARDEN

While a garden might not seem to fit the theme, what better demonstrates that you’re really committed to the green movement than would developing and maintaining a wonderful garden? A garden will give your home more curb appeal in the event that you put it up for sale, make your residence a more inviting place for your family and guests to congregate, and reflect on the outside of your home what you’re hoping to accomplish on the inside of your home. Gardening is, as some put it, a lifestyle. So it’s best to do it right to get the best results.

garden

WINDOWS

According to one source, the average cost to install over 10 windows is $14,504; the average cost to replace between five and 10 windows is $4,917; and the average cost to replace under five windows is $2,219. Of course, there are various factors that come into play to determine how much it will cost. Another source notes that a typical home that opts for windows with the Energy Star rating can save between $126 and $465 annually when changing their single-pane windows. How can you tell if you need new windows? If you live in an older house, you might notice that your windows are drafty. It’s not difficult to determine if this is the case. All you’ll need to do is hold your hand up around the windows to determine if you can feel air. Should you feel air, you can save money by replacing your windows. Over time, the savings on your heating and cooling bills will exceed what you paid to buy and install your windows.

These are just a few effective home improvements you can make if you want to be part of the green movement. So live green, save money, and increase the valuation of your residence.

 

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Redecorating your house is never easy, especially if you’re trying to do something special with it. Cosmetic changes are always appreciated, but what if you could make a bigger difference with a simple home makeover? Namely, what if you could help your environment become healthier and greener by using specific techniques and materials during your renovation process? In case you’re looking for ways to make your old house greener and save some energy and money in the process, here are a few tips that might come in handy.

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Insulation, Insulation, Insulation

The absolutely best way to ensure that your house is energy-efficient, eco-friendly and environmentally safe is by getting proper insulation. You don’t have to do much and spend a small fortune, but a well-thought-out plan can do wonders for your house’s sustainability and efficiency.

First, start with an energy audit – do it on your own or let a professional determine what needs to be done. Then, get in touch with a reliable contractor who will install insulation on your exterior walls and spice up your house with a new coat of paint. Finally, think about indoor insulation that will only improve all your hard work.

Doors and Windows

Once you’ve insulated your house, it’s time to pay attention to details. What many people don’t know is that the biggest portion of energy is lost through windows and doors, simply because they’re outdated and in need of replacement.

The easiest way to go is by weatherstripping using rubber, plastic, foam or silicone. Although this sounds complicated, it’s actually quite easy – it’s just a matter of locating and sealing loose parts of your doors and windows so that the air can’t pass through. That way, you’ll practically seal your home from the inside and prevent leaks, thus saving energy by having more control over your indoor temperature. Alternatively, you can install double glazed windows that may be expensive, but are highly effective and save you lots of money in the long run.

Doors and Windows

Solar Panels

Now, if you want to achieve an even better synergy of architecture and green approach to life, take solar panels into serious consideration. These will make your house more aesthetically appealing and instantaneously turn it into the talk of the neighborhood. Additionally, as a great alternative source of creating and preserving energy, they’ll do wonders for your bills. Of course, you don’t have to go all in and cover your entire roof with solar panels, but adding a few might do the trick.

When choosing how to install solar panels, it’s probably better to consult a professional instead of trying to deal with them on your own. If you want to get the best results, they have to be installed properly – not to mention that you simply must pick the best solar panels you can find. Additionally, by choosing only the best brands and service, you can make sure that you will enjoy your panels for a long time.

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Ceiling Fans

When it comes to interior decorating, there’s nothing more unique than a ceiling fan. After being very popular in the mid-20th century, these are making a huge comeback today. Their vintage look makes them perfect for people who want to introduce class into their homes and aren’t afraid to experiment. Further, these things will effectively and cheaply lower the temperature of any room during summer, especially if you have high ceilings. Once installed – you can probably handle this by yourself – these fans will work almost for free for years and years to come. Ultimately, these are also useful when it comes to heating your house in winter. By applying slight adjustments, they can rotate in a different manner and circulate hot air from the ceiling downwards.

Other Ideas

Some of the other ways to ensure that your house is the greenest in your street include equipping all your light fixtures with LED light bulbs, adjusting your water heater, insulating your attic and basement and updating your heating system. Finally, you could plant a tree or two in your front and backyard and enjoy the comfortable shade they’ll provide you with during summer.

Update Your Home This Spring with These Eco-Friendly Options

Update Your Home This Spring with These Eco-Friendly Options

It can be hard to think of spring while in the depths of winter. However, this has been one of the warmer winters in recent years, depending on where you live. However, the colder it gets, the closer we are to spring! Spring is a classic time to clean and update your home because everyone is sick of being cooped up all winter and you can finally get outside and play. If you’re interested in making your home more environmentally friendly, then this spring is the perfect time to do it.

Give Your Windows a Perk

Bringing natural light in is always a welcome relief from winter, but it can also put a hurting on your climate control. Replacing the windows in one room, each year, lets you update them slowly so you don’t have to shell out the money all at once. Double paned windows allow for the best insulation, but they are more expensive at a minimum of $500 each. In order to get the full benefit, all windows would have to be replaced. A cheaper option is to upgrade the insulation around your windows, but that requires regular upkeep.

home improvement new windows

Paint Your Roof

Greece is well-known for their stark, white homes. There’s actually a very good reason for that. The white helps to keep the home cooler, which is a necessity around the equator. You can achieve the same thing by painting your roof either white or another light color. However, it’s likely that you would have to repaint it frequently, about once a year. If that idea doesn’t agree with you, it’s also a good place for a garden or solar panels!

Update Your Insulation

A properly insulated home is your best defense again wasting extra energy to remain comfortable. Take a look at your home, and see what’s lacking. Insulation in the attic and basement is often neglected, even though it’s vital to keep your home’s heating and cooling costs under control. Putting in new insulation isn’t even that expensive. If you shop around and are willing to put in the work, it’s even something you might be able to DIY, if you get some advice.

Update Your Insulation

Replace Old and Damaged Goods

Old drafty doors need to go. If unchecked, they can be a constant drain on your energy usage. This actually applies to a lot more than just your front and back doors, as well. Garage doors are rarely replaced when they need to be. Damaged siding or roof tiles also need to be replaced before they cause more damage. Doing a thorough, yearly inspection of your home’s exterior can give you the chance to fix problems before they become serious. Plus, a new garage door can do a world of good for improving your curb appeal. That update can pay for its self, as do many other green updates.

Pack Your Home with Green

Pack Your Home with Green

House plants are good for a variety of reasons. They tend to be good for your spirits, they help keep the air clean, they provide a visual reminder of warmer weather and they can help your home be a bit eco-friendlier. In addition to filtering out a wide variety of potentially damaging chemicals from the air, they also pack your home with humidity. Heating and air conditioning both tend to suck that right out of the house!

Update Your Floors

Most classic flooring isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. A little updating can make a big difference in it. This is a slightly more expensive option, but floors take a lot of wear and tear. They all need to be replaced at some point. Bamboo is a beautiful, sustainable option but it’s also pricy. It’s hard enough to last a lifetime, cutting down on the environmental impact of another replacement.

However, if it’s not in your price range, or you don’t like the look, then cork is another green option. It’s much cheaper, incredibly simple to harvest, it lasts a very long time and it has an unusual texture. It’s great for kids and keeps the floor warm during the winter.

Update Your Home This Spring

Take it Outside

Since these are tips for spring, it only makes sense to remember the landscape. Native plants are wonderful, and provide a simple way to keep your lawn healthy with minimal work. You can also look into drip irrigation, composting, rainwater harvesting, and growing your own garden. Leave as many plants and trees as you can, especially if they provide protection to your home. Bushes provide an extra layer of insulation, and lots of plants allow for the wildlife to have food and cover. With humans encroaching on their land everywhere, they need it!

If you plan to spend a hefty chunk or just a bit, there are a ton of options to make your home greener. Pick a small one to start, and progress on to larger endeavors. With all the savings you’ll get from updating your home, you’ll be able to make bigger changes!

Kacey-MyaKacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

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Building A Home? 4 Tips To Reduce Your Construction Carbon Footprint

Building A Home 4 Tips To Reduce Your Construction Carbon Footprint

You might be surprised to hear just how much waste is produced during the construction process. Even for a smaller home, your construction crew could potentially release a huge volume of toxins into the air and contaminate the local environment. If you are getting ready to break ground, then take a look at these four tips for reducing your carbon footprint during construction.

Focus On The Location

Determining the location of your new home is probably the most important step in this process. While building deep within a city is not always ideal, those who buy property far off the beaten path will drastically increase the amount of fuel it takes to transport supplies. Whenever possible, you want to build on a piece of property that is relatively close to the materials you need. You should also research local water sources to make sure that your construction will not contaminate creeks, rivers, and underground aquifers.

Consider Recycled Materials

Not only are recycled materials very trendy right now, but they are also much better for the environment. Many construction companies and contractors sell their leftovers at just a fraction of their original price, and you will be saving those materials from going to the dump. When buying these supplies, you should double-check to see if they have been manufactured with any toxic chemicals. Materials such as construction-grade lumber and pipes are often treated with hazardous compounds to increase their longevity.

Green Insulation

Insulating your new home is one of the best ways to reduce your energy consumption, but you don’t need to stop there. Many older insulation pads and rolls are made with petroleum-based chemicals, and they can wreak havoc on the local environment during the installation process. Modern polymer sprays, like those offered at SPRAY FOAM DISTRIBUTORS, provide homeowners with the same amount of insulation, but they are produced with sustainable materials that will not release additional toxins into the air.

Request LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program is designed to exhaustively test new buildings to ensure that meet the strictest standards for sustainable construction. In order for your home to be certified, a third-party inspector will need to follow every step of the construction process starting on the very first day. In addition to being better for the environment, this certification could significantly increase the value of your home as well.

Green building methods are going to promote biodiversity while protecting the local ecosystems. Many of these alterations will also provide you with long-term savings to keep your energy consumption and utility bills as low as possible over the years.

Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Want a more eco-friendly home? The bathroom is a great place to start. It may be the smallest room in the house, but per square foot it offers more opportunity for positive impact than any other area in your home.

Between fans, hair dryers and other electric devices, lighting and water heating, the bathroom is a hot spot for energy use. Plus, it’s where the lion’s share of household water consumption takes place.

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to create a more eco-friendly bathroom. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.   Choose a Low-Flow Toilet

The average household flushes 27 percent of the water it uses down the toilet, making this fixture by far the largest water consumer in your home. Choosing a WaterSense labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water you flush by 20-60 percent.

2.   Install Water-Saving Fixtures

Replace standard bathroom faucets and aerators with high-efficiency ones. Today’s high-efficiency models work great, and they can save you up to 700 gallons per year. Consider also installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead. If your shower water consumption is anywhere near average, it can save you $70 per year in utility costs!

3.   Weatherize Your Bathroom

A drafty bathroom is uncomfortable and will cause you to turn up the heat and prolong your showers. Nip that cycle in the bud with some simple weatherization. If your bathroom has an exterior window, use caulk to seal around it. Also, seal any cracks in the woodwork, around your tub or shower, and around fans, vents and plumbing penetrations.

4.   Insulate Your Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes is an easy one-hour home improvement project nearly anyone can do. It can raise your domestic hot water temperatures by up to 4 degrees. That means you can set your water heater temperature lower, which saves energy! You also will run less water because it will not take as long for hot water to reach your tap.

5.   Switch to LED Lighting

You need good lighting in the bathroom. It’s also a place where you’re likely to turn the lights on and off frequently. If you haven’t yet made the switch to LEDs, this is the place to start. LED bulbs offer high-quality light and are the most energy-efficient lighting option available. They are also the most durable type of bulb, which is good news if you hate messing with your bathroom light fixtures. And, unlike CFLs, LED bulbs are unaffected by frequent switching on and off.

6.   Choose Eco-Friendly Bathroom Materials

Next time you remodel or outfit your bathroom, pay attention to what goes into it. From bathroom cabinets to toilet paper to towels to cleaning supplies and body care items, today’s market offers many recycled, organic and other environmentally friendly options from which to choose. Not only will you be helping the planet, but selecting eco-friendly items is usually healthier for you and your family, too.

7.   Take Clean Air Action

High humidity in such a small space can lead to mold growth and other indoor air quality issues in the bathroom. Clear the air by installing a high-efficiency exhaust fan. Green Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroomplants can also help keep your bathroom air clean. And, next time you paint your bathroom, choose zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to avoid off-gassing fumes.

Greening up your bathroom doesn’t have to be a major endeavor, and it needn’t be expensive. Nearly all of these ideas are easy for the average homeowner to do. Most are quite inexpensive. If you do them one at a time you will hardly notice the difference in your family budget — but you’ll definitely notice the utility savings and enjoy increased comfort in your bathroom!

Author bio: Erica Garland is Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom and has 15 years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. Modern Bathroom sells a variety of products you would need for any bathroom renovation project. With such a large selection of contemporary bathroom vanities, sinks, toilets and bathtubs for sale, Modern Bathroom is sure to have the perfect piece to give your bathroom an updated look.    

 

 

Top Ways to Make Your Home Eco-friendly and Save Money

When it comes to eco-friendly living, a lot of people think that it involves spending more money on fancy products or letting go of the comfort and convenience they are accustomed to. However, the reality could not be more far from true. In fact, some small changes to the way you live can help you go green and put some extra cash in your wallet too! For example, simple eco-friendly habits like remembering to completely unplug your appliances when they are not in use and waiting to use a dishwasher until you have a full load can bring you huge savings on your utility bills. To know more such easy ways to create an eco-friendly home, please check out the below infographic from the Roofing Outlet.
Ecofriendly home infographic

Upcycling Your Rug – Infographic

Creating something new out of something old or unwanted, referred to as Creative Reuse or Upcycling continues to gain popularity as people become more aware of unnecessary waste and the impact the waste has on the environment.

With so many places, such as Pinterest, available for inspirational ideas for upcycling here at The Rug Seller we delved into the minds of others, so to speak, and were amazed by the ingenuity of others. The infographic showcases some marvelous ideas for transforming old rugs into wonderful new things.

From fashion accessories to items for your pet and your home, there are so many options and ideas it makes no sense to simply discard an unwanted rug into the rubbish bin when you can make good use of it. Furthermore, reusing it means that it won’t be taken to landfill sites which is a great way to do your bit to help save the planet.

So, if you’re thinking of giving a rug a new lease of life take a look at the infographic below and be inspired to get creative. You’ve nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. Who knows you may even be inspired to think of other items around your home that you can upcycle and re-purpose rather than throw away.
 Upcycling Your Rug Infographic
Upcycling Your Rug Infographic by The Rug Seller

A trend to follow: kitchen inspired by a natural look

According to an AGA Cookshop research, people spend 3 years of their life in the kitchen. Converted to hours, it means you’ll spend 27,156 hours of your precious lifetime sweating over a hot stove. Having this in mind, it’s normal that you feel the urge to turn this part of your home into a comfortable but also practical space. So, if you’re thinking of renovating, consider the natural look as an inspiration. Natural materials, neutral colours, lots of light – those are the trendy kitchen options lately. Besides the fact that they look great, natural kitchens are also affordable, environment-friendly and easily adjusted to every kitchen size. Now that we got you interested, here are a few basic guidelines.

Give greenery the green light

Being in the centre of the spectrum, green is the color of balance. It’s soothing for both the eyes and the soul. Green paint on the kitchen walls or green kitchen cabinets will turn your cookery into a peaceful oasis but why not take a step further, and have a literal green wall inside your house? Choose a wall and cover it partially or completely with greenery. You’ll need a growing medium, such as soil, but the possibilities are endless. You can have the best of both worlds by using the green wall to plant herbs and have home-grown fresh ingredients for your meals every day. Aloe Vera or spider plant makes the great air purifiers so consider that as an option for your green wall.

basil green

As cool as natural stones

Granite, marble, limestone, slate – you name it. Natural stones are a timeless option for home décor. They can be used for everything from countertops to walls and floors, but bear in mind that stones are cold so you might want to avoid putting it on the floor. Consider wooden floors instead, or invest either in underfloor heating or big, cozy rugs made of naturally warm materials such as wool. Marble kitchen countertops or dining tables will bring a dash of elegance into every home. Besides, natural stones are a long-term option for any part of your home due to their endurance and longevity.

stone

Feel the warmth of the wood

Wood is very versatile and a true classic among home décor materials, therefore, always a good idea. Almost any surface in your kitchen can be covered with wood, you just need to choose your colour palette. Another good news is that you can easily get crafty and decorate your kitchen yourself. Invest in a high-quality delta drill press, get a hammer, a tape measure, and other woodworking tools and start tinkering. Choose the timber that matches your desired colour palette and your budget, decide whether you want a glossy or matte finish and you’re good to go. You can opt for affordable woods such as walnut, oak, poplar, or go exotic with cedar, mahogany, and teak – any type of wood will blend perfectly into your natural-inspired kitchen.

kitchen

Let there be (day)light

Nothing says Mother Nature like lots of natural light in your home. Light makes any room look more spacious and it’s proven to be beneficial for relieving stress and enhancing focus. Big windows with curtains made of light materials are the best option for your kitchen, of course, but what if this is not possible in your house or apartment? Consider adding a mirror or two to help create an illusion of a lighter and bigger space, or opt for good artificial lights. Picking the right colour temperature is essential so make sure your lamps are at warm Kelvin temperature (2700k-3500k). Also, opt for LED lamps since they last much longer than traditional light sources and use much less energy. With smart lamp positioning, your kitchen will look much bigger and like it’s naturally lit.

If you didn’t think about renovating your kitchen to look more natural earlier, you certainly will now. The good news is that it’s pretty simple – opt for natural materials and neutral colours and your kitchen will get the organic, rustic, all-natural vibe in no time.

Bio: Nicole is a lifestyle blogger passionate about travel, healthy living and interior design. She enjoys sharing her experiences with others. In her free time she loves to design clothes and furniture. You can find her on Twitter and FB

Basic Guide to Green Home Improvements and PACE Financing

green home improvements

If you are one of those people who are concerned about the environment and the effects of humans on the state of the planet, then green home improvements are most probably something you are already seriously considering. Perhaps you even started introducing such solutions to your home.

However, even if you are still somewhat skeptical about how much of an effect humans as a species have on the environment, you should definitely consider green home improvements for a very simple reason.

This reason, of course, is that such improvements can significantly increase the value of your home should you decide or sell it in the future. Even if not, green home improvements can help you save money. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Different Types of Green Home Improvements

Before we get into the whole increased home value thing and the ways in which you can finance these green home improvements, we should say a thing or two about the different choices that you have in front of you.

On the cheaper end of the spectrum, you have solutions such as big ceiling fans which consume only a fraction of the electricity needed to power an A/C system and which are surprisingly effective at cooling down a room. In many countries in the Mediterranean, like Malta for example, most homes do not even have A/C and they employ ceiling fans for all their cooling needs.

Another way to cut down on the amount of energy you spend on your A/C is by installing a programmable thermostat which will allow you to keep your home at the perfect temperature without the need to blast it full on once you come back to a hot or cold home.

There are also plenty of bathroom green improvements that will save you both water and electricity. Conserving water is just as important as reducing the waste of electricity, especially in certain parts of the world. California is probably the most obvious example in the U.S., as a state that is facing a serious water shortage in the very foreseeable future.

Of course, you can always go for the more elaborate and comprehensive green home improvements, such as installing a solar panel system or redoing the insulation on your entire home.

Money Concerns

Different green home improvements will require investments on a different scale. For example, getting a ceiling fan is not going to cost you more than a fine dinner for four at a fancy restaurant. On the other hand, installing solar panels can be quite costly.

One thing to remember here is that, for the most part, green home improvements will save you money on the long run, while also increasing the value of your home, should you wish to sell it. There is a great article on how green improvements increase property value on the Boston Globe website.

Finally, there are also certain ways in which you can make your investment in your green improvements more affordable. One such way is PACE financing.

PACE Financing 101

PACE stands for property assessed clean energy and this type of financing involves the homeowners who wish to install green improvements to their property, the state and local governments which implement PACE programs to help their citizens go green, as well as companies that provide the actual financial means to put these programs through.

This is best explained on a case. We will use Ygrene, one of the country’s few PACE financing companies as an example. Let’s say that you wish to put up a solar panel system on your home, but the initial investment is too pricy. You reach out to Ygrene (or some other company available in your area) and they pay for the whole system. You immediately start saving money on your energy bills and you only start paying them back after a certain amount of time has passed.

Once you start repaying, this becomes part of your property tax and you pay it that way. One thing to point out is that interest rates are tax-deductible, meaning that you are only paying for the principal. If you decide to sell the home, the repayments stay with the home, meaning that you do not keep paying for the improvements you no longer use.

All in all, it makes for a much better way to finance your green home improvements, especially since these programs are usually overseen by state or local governments which prevents shady stuff that often comes with novel financing methods.

Closing Word

The time was never better to start installing green home improvements to your home, especially with financing options like PACE. These improvements will reduce your bills, increase the value of your property and, what may turn out to be the most important factor, these improvements will also help conserve the environment.

AUTHOR: James Burbank has spent too many years in the trade show industry. He usually blogs about business, but from time to time, he likes to do an article on one of his main passions – green living. Check him out on Twitter – @JBurbank2019.

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