Category Archives: air quality

18 Eco-Friendly Home Projects to Complete in 2018


Do you have any home improvement projects on the radar in 2018? Why not make them eco-friendly? Eco-friendly or environmentally friendly are those products that claim reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment. Environmentally conscious updates to your living space can save you money and help preserve the environment.

With just couple of days left for new year to set in, let’s start this new year with some easy and eco-friendly projects that have minimum impact on the environment. Here are 18 eco-conscious home improvement ideas for 2018.

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1. Start Composting

Instead of tossing organic waste into the trash, start a compost pile in your backyard. The EPA estimates nearly 25 percent of the waste dumped into landfills each year could have been composted. Additionally, composting improves soil quality and decreases erosion.

Composting also helps deter pests in your garden. You’ll save cash on pesticide costs, increase your produce yield and grow healthier, more organic food for your family.

2. Give Your Kitchen a Facelift

Are you in the market for a new kitchen? Instead of trashing your old cabinetry and drawers, try re-purposing them and changing their layout. Refinishing old cabinetry and changing out fixtures, knobs and handles is an environmentally friendly way to get a new look without breaking the bank.

3. Upgrade Your Flooring

New flooring can brighten and completely change the look of a room. Make your new choice eco-conscious by choosing linoleum over vinyl. Vinyl flooring can emit VOCs over time, which can degrade indoor air quality and lead to respiratory illnesses. Choose linoleum flooring instead. Linoleum is nontoxic and won’t leach noxious gases.

4. Repaint Your Home With No- to Low-VOC Paint

A fresh coat of paint can make any room look cleaner and more open. While color is important, so is paint quality. Choose a paint brand that won’t emit VOCs, or at the very least, emits them in low concentrations. Standard paints often release toxic VOCs, similar to vinyl flooring. You’ll improve your indoor air quality and your health.

5. Switch to Geothermal Heating

Geothermal systems use the Earth’s stable ground temperature to maintain a comfortable climate in your home. A pump sends liquid 300 feet beneath the Earth’s surface and returns it to a geothermal heater, which then distributes the temperate liquid through the flooring in your home. In the hot summer months, heat is drawn from the air and deposited back into the Earth.

On average, geothermal systems use 80 percent less energy compared to traditional heating systems. Additionally, they don’t require fossil fuels to operate. It’ll take approximately 10 years before your geothermal investment pays off.

6. Purchase Used Furniture

Consignment shops, antique stores and garage sales often offer excellent deals on high-quality, gently used furniture. Purchasing preowned furniture limits the amount of waste that may make it into landfills and usually costs less than newer options.

7. Add Larger Windows

Are you looking for a more drastic change? Add larger windows to your home or change their layout. Optimizing the natural light that enters your home can help lower your energy bill by reducing heating and lighting costs. Larger windows will also help improve air circulation throughout the year, which can help improve indoor air quality.

8. Install Solar Panels

The cost of installing a solar energy system is on the decline, thanks to technological improvements and solar energy becoming a more mainstream option. Additionally, many state governments, in addition to the federal government, offer tax incentives for homeowners interested in converting to solar energy.

Before you make the jump, have an expert or industry professional analyze your home to determine whether it’s suitable for solar panels. Factors to consider include your local climate, the slope of your roof and tree cover.

9. Reinsulate Your Home

New insulation won’t change the overall look of your home, but it will change the overall feel. Insulation degrades over time, leading to gaps in coverage. Poor insulation will allow air to escape from your home and can dramatically increase your heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

Some insulation can last up to 100 years, but leaking roofs, punctures, animals and other factors can drastically reduce this timeline. Review your home’s history and energy bills to determine if your home can benefit from new insulation.

10. Perform an Energy Audit

Hire an energy professional to perform an energy audit in your home to determine where you can make the most impact. Energy auditors review your home to see where you may be losing energy and provide recommendations on where to make the most impact. Energy auditors can help homeowners can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on their energy bill.

11. Invest in Energy Star Appliances

Appliances account for up to 30 percent of home energy usage. Switching the appliances in your home to those with the Energy Star label can save you money on your energy bill and help preserve the environment.

The government backs Energy Star appliances and guarantees they will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operate more efficiently compared to non-Energy Star competitors. When shopping for replacements, check to see whether an appliance has the government-certified Energy Star label.

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12. Do a Little Spring Cleaning

Set aside time to dig through the attic, your closet and the other areas in your home where you’ve been storing unused or unwanted items. Instead of throwing things directly into the trash, donate them to a local thrift store or hold a garage sale to earn some extra cash. Repurposing unwanted items helps keep them out of landfills.

13. Greenify Your Living Space

Houseplants can help improve indoor air quality by reducing carbon dioxide and absorbing airborne toxins, including benzene and formaldehyde. Not all plants are created equal, however. Spider plants, snake plants and rubber trees are among some of the easiest plants to grow with the best indoor air quality benefits.

14. Switch to Energy-Efficient Windows

Poorly sealed or aging windows can decrease your energy efficiency dramatically. Consider investing in a more energy-efficient option to improve your home’s overall comfort and reduce your energy costs.

If new windows aren’t in your budget, try repairing or updating your existing ones. Improving the caulking around window seals, installing storm windows and adding treatments can also help reduce your overall energy consumption.

15. Install a Low-Flow Toilet

Low-flow toilets use 25 to 50 percent of the water used by conventional toilets per flush. Over one year, the average family of four can save up to 22,000 gallons of water, which translates to nearly $100 in savings on your annual water bill.

A variety of options exist depending on your budget and the type of toilet you’re looking for. Some systems recycle greywater from your sink, leading to further water conservation and even lower water bills.

16. Update Your Landscaping

Adding native plants to your yard can provide additional habitat for local wildlife and reduce your water bill. Local plants are better suited to your environment and won’t require the same amount of water or fertilizer to flourish.

Excess fertilizers can wash off plants and soil in heavy rain events and into local waterbodies. The excess chemicals are harmful to marine life and can lead to an overabundance of algae and other plants, which reduces oxygen levels in the water.

17. Invest in Rain Barrels

Rain barrels capture excess stormwater from your rooftop for future use. They are relatively inexpensive to install and provide a free source of water for use on your lawn or garden.

Additionally, rain barrels prevent excess rainwater from contributing to stormwater runoff. Water flows faster over hard surfaces and can lead to more instances of flooding.

18. Install a Rain Garden

Properly installed rain gardens act as small wetlands. They reduce excess stormwater runoff while the plants neutralize pollutants in the water. When stormwater runoff flows over hard surfaces, it picks up pollutants from oil and gas spills and fertilizers. Rain gardens prevent these contaminants from making their way into water bodies.

With a little effort, you can reduce your family’s carbon footprint and make your 2018 a little bit greener.

Image credit: pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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15 Good Reasons You Need an Air Purifier For Your Home


At home is where most of us find our greatest peace and perhaps the most relaxing. It helps us to wind down a hectic day and even enjoy most of our beloved amenities such as sleep, chat with family and friends, and entertainment. However, as we spend time indoors, we usually overlook air quality. In other words, air quality in our homes is equally important as we enjoy our day to day indoor amenities.

Many times, indoor air contains tiny microbe sized items that can have numerous and diverse effects on our health once inhaled into the body. These range from allergy related problems or flu among other serious health conditions. With modern technological developments, however, it’s been possible to use an air purifier to clean out the air we breathe when indoors. For this reason, you need an air purifier and here, we take a look at 15 good reasons you need to get one for your home.

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1. Allergies

For those who suffer from allergies, it is a debilitating condition that is triggered by the slightest exposure to dust or impurities in the air, especially if the allergens are airborne. Allergens such as pollen can cause a lot of discomfort particularly to those who are susceptible.

As such, an air purifier ensures the home environment is free of impurities allowing you a safe haven against the constant barrage of allergies. Air purifiers also help when the allergies are lethal due to hypersensitivity as they act not only to provide comfort, but also to provide protection.

2. Pets

Although keeping your pets clean helps reduce the risk associated with their shedding hair and dead cells, the problem of dander still comes up as it is very hard to maintain constant grooming of pets. Dander can cause reactions from people who have allergies.

It can also slowly build up within the lungs of those who keep the company of pets which can develop into major issues later on. With air purifiers, you’ll be able to sift out all these dangerous particles and ensure long term safety your families while at the same time enjoying the company of your pet(s).

3. You live in an area where construction is ongoing

Areas near construction sites usually have a lot of dust in the air due to the action of construction workers and the tools that constantly disturb the ground. Dust can become a severe irritant by causing problems such as watering of eyes and sinus issues. It can also lead to dust allergies. Besides, the presence of the tiny dust particles in your home from nearby construction sites is associated with problems such as pulmonary complications and emphysema disease.

What’s more, the abrasive nature of sand particles can have physical damage on the lungs and the mucus membranes that line the respiratory system over time. This can lead to complications in breathing and even infections. By having an air purifier, you can get rid of most of these particles as long as maintenance is frequent and the filters are changed regularly.

4. Asthma or other respiratory complications

While air purifiers can help prevent some complications, they can also be used to manage others. Asthma and other respiratory complications tend to be aggravated by microbes and other particulates in the atmosphere. It leads to increased problems for those who are asthmatic and thus, it is imperative to install purifiers.

The reason for this is that air purifiers clean the air in a room thereby allowing those who suffer from asthmatic related complications to manage their conditions better. If you are asthmatic or suffer from other pulmonary complications, it’s high time you get yourself an air purifier.

5. You suffer from an autoimmune disease

Autoimmune diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis spring up not because of any pathogens or particles, but from the body attacking its own cells. This can be devastating because the sufferer is more susceptible to attacks from other opportunistic pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Here is where an air purifier becomes handy. By sifting out probable disease causing pathogens and reducing the number particles that can cause irritation to your immune system, it becomes easier to manage complications.

6. Reducing exposure to secondary smoke and heavy traffic/industrial emissions

Emission from secondary cigarette smoke, heavy traffic and industrial facilities is capable of causing diseases ranging from bronchitis to tumors that can lead to cancer. The particles in the emission can equally irritate the lungs and nasal passageways.

However, with an air purifier in your home, you can get rid of particulates from emissions thereby reducing the ill effects it causes. Also, having a purifier in room separate from a smoker’s room can reduce the likelihood of the non-smoker from second hand smoke.

7. Your house has suffered water damage

Buildings built with stone and untreated wood can encourage the growth of mould on the event it suffers water damage. Black mould (Stachybotrys) in particular is dangerous if inhaled as the spores can cause serious allergic reactions. On top of this, the mould can produce mycotoxins which can disturb human health as it causes nausea.

Sometimes the mould grows in regions where it cannot be identified, for instance, beneath the floorboards or in the walls of the building. They then produce spores that can get into your home via the ventilation system. The installation of a purifier is an effective technique of reducing exposure to mould.

8. Smells/ Odours

Smells and odors can come from a variety of places due to various reasons. The effects of the smell can range from benign to nausea inducing variety. It is a problem mostly in houses that are old and neglected for a long time or those that have suffered damage like fires and flooding.

In such cases, the smell of smoke and wood rot is usually present in the air inside the building. An air purifier in your home has the ability to filter the air and get rid of nauseating odours allowing you to live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

9. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity occurs due to an individual’s long exposure to chemicals present in indoor air. An example is sensitivity to turpentine and its odor which is normally used as a paint thinner. You may also be overly sensitive to common household smells like that of bleach, sprays and detergents that reduce the quality of life indoors or even trigger pulmonary irritation. With an indoor air purifier, you can improve indoor air quality because it filters such chemicals from the air which allows you to live a quality life when at home.

10. Living quarters connected to a garage

When your room is next to the garage, complication can arise because of constant exposure to car fumes and exhaust as well as dust brought in by the car. The resulting complications can range from irritation of the airways and nasal passages to bronchitis. It is therefore necessary to acquire an air purifier if your living quarters is connected to a garagefor you to avoid the associated health problems.

11. Pregnancy

If you are a pregnant woman, you arehighly susceptible to complications originating from the inhalation of microbes and foreign particles in the air at home. Medics even argue that it can put the life of your unborn child at risk. A good example is the microbe Toxoplasma gondii which is hosted in cats and can be inhaled by a pregnant woman.

Once the microbe is in the body, it causes developmental complications in the foetus that may result in stillbirth. However, with the use of an air purifier, you are able to avoid such an incidence because some purifiers sifts out microbes as small as the Toxoplasma thus reducing the risks of exposure.

12. Small children

Children are extremely susceptible to diseases owing to their weakly developed immune systems. By having an air purifier within your household, it is possible to ensure the children are more protected from air borne diseases or conditions brought about by respiratory complications.

13. Chemical storage within your home

If you live in a home where there are a lot of chemical products, it is prudent to invest in an air purifier to protect your health in the long-term. Such chemicals including paints, sprays, solvents, bleaches or oils can make you prone to complications as a result of constant exposure, especially if they produce vapours.

14. You have a home office

What most people fail to notice about computers is that they also produce fumes and dust as they run the fans keeping them cool. Furthermore, you need a home office just has good indoor air quality. It is therefore important to get an air purifier to protect yourself from air impurities for you to be productive in your home office.

15. You’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle

While all the above reasons have merit, wanting a purifier for the sake of a healthier lifestyle is a fulfilling choice. Studies have shown that air purifiers have the ability to augment healthy living. You’ll always be in good health by breathing in fresh and purified air.

Image credit: philips

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)