Category Archives: eco-conscious

How Humans Are Saving the Environment in 2018


Feeling slightly blue over reports of extreme weather patterns and rising temperatures? The World Economic Forum reported early this year that weather change tops their list for global risks in 2018. So it’s natural to experience some alarm over the state of the world’s climate.

But along with these alarming reports come remarkable inventions, findings, and movements. Humans in all fields are rising to the challenge to do their part in the fight against climate change.

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Here are some out of the box ways individuals and businesses are doing their part to be eco-conscious citizens.

Better, greener farming techniques

Farmers who are concerned with conservation have largely turned to no till farming as a sustainable and eco-friendly way to farm. Traditionally, farmers have relied on tilling with tractors to prepare the soil for planting season. But tillage can injure both the soil and the environment by exposing the soil to erosion. Businesses like Exapta have created equipment that allows the farmer to puncture the ground and plant seeds.

Allowing the soil to remain undisturbed instead of tilling increases water retention in the soil. This results in less water needed for watering a crop. Additionally, reducing tractor use means less fossil fuels used during a planting season.

Planting a garden and farming are often touted as being a popular way to be eco-friendly that anyone can take up. After all, with a garden, you have vegetables and food produce that does not need to travel thousands of miles to arrive at your kitchen table. But how you go about doing so matters as proven by enterprising eco-conscious farmers.

Vegetarianism to save lives, dollars, and curb CO2 emissions

Surprise! #MeatlessMondays has more substance than its use as a trending Instagram hashtag.

BBC.com reports that a family of 4 consumes and emits more greenhouse gasses from the meat they eat than from driving 2 cars.

We are all likely familiar with the notion that too much red meat in one’s diet could lead to various cardiovascular troubles. And years of research proposes that adopting a vegetarian diet could save us from such illnesses.

But what is coming as a surprise to many is how cultivating livestock for our meat consumption contributes to 14 percent of CO2 emissions. Experts suggest that a vegan diet could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by about 70 percent.

There are food supply problems with the entire world deciding to go vegetarian in one go. But since only 3.2 percent of US adults identify with being vegetarian, there is room for many more individuals to step away from the meat aisle.

A shift in diet to eating more vegetables will not only benefit the environment but it will also have direct health benefits for the individual. Vegetarian diets are high in fiber and low in saturated fat. And therefore have been connected to cancer prevention. Studies of Japanese women who follow meat-based diets showed that those individuals were more likely to develop breast cancer than those who followed the traditional Japanese diet, which is plant based.

The tiny house movement not just for tiny people

Heard of the tiny house movement? The movement has thousands of followers in the US and more around the world. Did you think it was just some advanced expression of minimalism? Think again.

In a study by Oregon’s Dept of Land Quality, research shows that 86 percent of the environmental impact of a house is from energy used. The smaller the house, the less energy is required to heat, cool, illuminate, and keep it running.

Also, building a tiny house uses fewer materials to build. Generally, tiny houses are classified as structures that are between 100 to 400 square feet. A building at this size means less lumber that is cut for creating the abode. Less wood used also means less that requires transportation to the building site.

A smaller space means a limit to the amount of gadgets and appliances that can fit in your tiny house. This equals less energy used on gadgets that require fossil fuels to run. Unrelated to the environment but directly good for individuals is spending more time outdoors. Which likely means increased physical activity. The benefits of being more physically active include lessened risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and various cancers.

Citizen activism is the hope for the future

Is moving into a smaller living space not your cup of tea or not possible in your present circumstances? You can still adopt the mindset while staying in the same place.

Look for ways to reduce your use of electrical appliances. Turn off your heating and cooling system during days with moderate weather. Invest in solar panels if you want to go hard core. An advantage to that is the 30 percent tax credit you get for installing them. Once it’s yours, you get electricity for free and can even sell some back to electricity companies for those months when you’ve made extra.

Often it takes a shift in attitude before individuals, communities, and businesses take that step to implement more eco-friendly solutions into their daily operations. The spark that triggers the shift is one caused by awareness. NGOs and organizations that are bringing environmental issues into the public eye play a vital role in creating that change in the public consciousness.

If you are ready to be a part of the solution, educate yourself on the problems. But do not stop there. Support these organizations through dollar donations, or campaigning on their behalf. Government policy on climate change is key to preventing further risks to our world. And citizen activism is an essential part of making that policy change happen.

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)

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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Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly [Infographic]


Every homeowner should seek to improve the eco-friendliness of their residence and the reasons for this are numerous. The obvious benefit is to the environment, with reduced energy usage and waste output, plus a greater focus on renewable resources. An eco-conscious approach also helps to save money, as lower energy usage means lower utility bills, with the savings accumulating nicely over time. Plus, making a commitment to eco-friendly living often brings a sense of self-satisfaction at doing your bit to help the environment.

If you would like to make your home more eco-friendly, there are numerous ways in which to do it, many of which are very simple and inexpensive to implement. When purchasing light bulbs, choose LED bulbs with a low wattage that will last for much longer than incandescent lights. Also, get into the habit of switching off lights when leaving a room. A lot of energy is wasted from blindly leaving a room lit up when it is unoccupied for several hours.

Another change that’s very easy to enact is to use appliances more efficiently. When doing your laundry, wait until the pile of clothes takes up almost a full load in your washing machine before putting on a wash. Likewise, only use your dishwasher when it is nearly full to the brim with cups, plates, pots and pans. By taking this approach, you’re helping to save both water and energy.

For those who are very dedicated to having an environmentally friendly home, it is well worth considering the installation of solar panels on your roof. This is a great way to allow plenty of natural light to enter your home, cutting back on the need for artificial lighting while also helping to provide heat to your home. Speaking of heat, a lot of it can escape through infrastructural gaps and hollow walls. If you find it difficult to heat your home, it could be worth investing in insulation so that your walls don’t let heat escape so readily. Simple measures such as keeping your curtains drawn at night also help to combat heat loss.

In the infographic below from EZ Living Interiors (http://www.ezlivinginteriors.com/), you can find out many more ways in which you can improve your home’s eco-friendliness, saving yourself money and helping the environment in the process.

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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)