Posts Tagged ‘Green Living Ideas’
No one likes to do housework. But what if you could find ways to clean your house quicker, easier, cheaper, safer, all without using nasty chemical cleaners? This green cleaning guide can help.
Typical household cleaners create a toxic environment for yourself, your kids, your pets and the rest of your family. That’s not to mention the toxic waste water that goes down the drain, contaminating public water supplies.
Your pets and children depend on you to provide a safe and clean environment. Green cleaning is a responsible choice for helping reduce toxic chemical exposure for those you love and for our environment.
But…maybe you are worried that making your own cleaning supplies will be too much trouble or that natural cleaning products may not work as effectively. Well, you can relax. Green cleaning can be easy and effective and it can save you a lot of money.
To get started with green cleaning in your home, you will need to know how to:
- Make your own green cleaning potions that work better than store-bought chemicals!
- Determine which cleaning solutions get the best results for which cleaning jobs!
- Get a few simple natural cleaning ingredients, most of which you probably already have
- Learn how you can save space and money by throwing away all those store-bought bottles and replace them with the three or four safe green cleaning products that your homes really need.
By putting your green cleaning plan into action, you will be pleased to be able to create a non-toxic environment for your kids, your pets and the rest of your family.
Are you concerned about nonstick cookware safety? Some of the most popular cookware on the market today could be leaching toxic fumes, called PFC’s into your food, making you sick. In fact, it’s possible that the cookware you’re using right now to prepare healthy foods for you and your family could be downright dangerous. Finding safe nonstick cookware is essential to your family’s safety!
If you use non stick pans, the Environmental Working Group gives these user guidelines.
- Never preheat a nonstick frying pan at high heat — an empty pan can rapidly reach high temperatures.
- Heat your nonstick pans at the lowest temperature possible to cook food safely.
- Don’t put nonstick cookware in an oven hotter than 500 degrees.
- Use an exhaust fan over the stove when cooking.
- Keep pet birds out of the kitchen — the fumes from an overheated pan can kill a bird in seconds.
- Skip the self-cleaning function on your oven. It cleans by heating to high temperatures, which can release toxic fumes from non-stick interior oven parts.
- Use only eco friendly cookware in your kitchen.
PFCs are ubiquitous — both in and out of the kitchen. They are widely used as water, stain and grease repellents for food wrap, carpeting, furniture, and clothing. They keep food from sticking to pots and pans, repel stains on furniture and rugs, and make the rain roll off raincoats. If you want to avoid PFCs in more places than your cookware, download the EWG’s PFC Guide to reduce your exposures further.
How to Use Air Conditioning Efficiently
If you are looking for ways to save energy you need to find ways to reduce your air conditioning costs by cooling your home as economically as possible. To do this, you must learn how to use your air conditioner wisely and also learn how you can utilize additional methods of cooling your home.
One of the most important ways to reduce your energy cost is to only run your air conditioner when you really need it.
->Keep your air conditioner turned off or at least to a higher setting, when you are not going to be home. Most air conditioners can make rooms comfortably cool within a half an hour. If you have a window air conditioner, you may want to get an air conditioner timer, which is available at most hardware stores.
->For central air conditioning units, you should install a programmable thermostat so you can program the temperature to adjust to a comfortable range before you arrive home. You can also adjust the setting to be a few degrees warmer at night and use fans to help you keep cool while you sleep.
Set Thermostat to Reduce Air Conditioning Costs
->The next most important thing is to set your air conditioning thermostat for the highest room temperature that you find acceptable. You should feel cool during the summer when your room temperature is about 78°. If you can remain reasonably comfortable at a slightly higher temperature, then by all means set it slightly higher.
->If the outdoor temperature soars to an extremely high mark, it is wise to make your home no more than 15° cooler inside. That means that if it’s 95° outside, you would still find relief at 80° indoors. For guidance on using air conditioners which do not have numerical thermostats, keep a thermometer on the wall of your room and read the temperature level frequently to make the proper adjustments.
->Be sure to only cool the parts of your home that you are using. Close off doors to rooms that are not in use. Keep doors to basements and second floor rooms closed as well. Close blinds and curtains to reduce radiant heat that comes in through windows. Consider using window energy films, which are designed to block heat gain from the outside summer sun. Energy Film™ is easy to install and can help you save 12-18% on annual energy costs
How to Take Care of Your Air Conditioner
->Be sure to remove and wash filters at least once a month in room air conditioning units. Other filters must be discarded and replaced by new ones. The most important time to replace a your filters is at the beginning of the air conditioning season. The condenser coils and fins can become dirty and clogged. After 18 months of operation, an air conditioner can lose from 10 to 27 percent of its efficiency because the condenser gets dirty. Follow the instructions in your owners manual for taking care of your air conditioner. For whole house units, an annual checkup by a service technician is highly recommended.
->Place window air conditioning units in a central location in a wall in a room (the middle instead of a corner window). If possible, choose a shady- or north side- of your home or apartment.
->Keep blinds and drapes closed on the sunny side of the house. Avoid putting furniture, drapes or curtains where they would block circulation of air in front of the air conditioner. Unnecessary lights waste electricity, add heat to the room and make the air conditioner’s job harder.
->You can also reduce your cooling costs by using fans throughout your home to keep the cool air circulating. Ceiling fans can also be very helpful. In hot weather, the fan’s direction of rotation should be set so that air is blown downward (Usually counter-clockwise. The blades should lead with the up turned side as they spin).
->Provided the ceiling fan is properly sized for the room in which it is operating, the efficiency of the moving air can actually exceed that of an the air conditioning unit. Therefore, for peak efficiency, you can set your air conditioner at the lower fan setting and let the ceiling fan do the work of circulating the air.
These are just some of the ways you can save energy and reduce air conditioning costs. Adding insulation, weatherstripping and energy efficient windows are other concerns you may need to consider. Everything you do to save energy will also help you have a greener home which is good for the environment!
Here are seven more hot weather energy savers!
1. Set air-conditioning thermostats no lower that 78°. The 78° temperature is considered to be reasonably comfortable and energy efficient temperature. One authority estimates that if this setting raises the temperature 6° (78° vs 72°), then your home cooling costs should drop around 47%.
If everyone in the United States would raise their cooling thermostats 6° during the summer, the nation would save more than the equivalent of 36 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, or 25 of the Nation’s total electricity consumption for a year.
2. Use a programmable thermostat. Set it to a higher temperature for when you will not be at home. You can also set it a few degrees higher at night and use fans to help you keep cool!
3. Run the air conditioner only on really hot days and set the fan speed on high. In very humid weather, set the fan at low speed to provide less cooling but more moisture removal. Clean or replace air conditioner filters at least once a month. Turning the fan will require more energy if the filter is dirty.
4. If you can confine your living spaces to fewer rooms, close off the rooms that are not being occupied. If those rooms are not going to be used for several hours, turn off the AC to those rooms temporarily.
5. Buy the cooling equipment with the smallest capacity to do the job. More cooling power than necessary is inefficient and more costly. Energy-efficient ratios (EER’s) for most air-conditioning units should be available from dealers, and some window units are labeled to show the EER ( the higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner). If you don’t see a label on the unit, ask the dealer for information.
6. Make sure you have you cooling equipment serviced at least once a year and make sure filters are kept clean.
7. Learn more about efficient home weatherization and energy saving products that can help you make even a bigger reduction in your home energy bills each month.
One example would be to install Radiant Barriers in your attic, which will address radiation (Electromagnetic) heat transfer, the single most efficient type of heat transfer, by reflecting that radiation away from the radiant barrier. A typical home will loose heat in the winter and gain heat in the summer and the majority of that heat is radiant heat, so stopping radiant heat transfer in both the winter and summer months is one very effective way to reduce your energy cost.
These seven hot weather or warm climate energy saving tips should help you reduce your monthly home energy bills.
Information Source: The Kansas Energy Saving Handbook for Homeowners
by James W. Morrison
Disclaimer: Results of applying these energy saving tips may vary according to unforeseen existing variables. No claims are intended or implied.
What does it mean to be an eco-parent? Well, have you ever heard the phrase, “children learn by our actions, not by our words?” When it comes to many issues, this is very true. Children emulate what they see! If you want your children to grow up to be environmentally conscious and responsible adults, show them what that looks like at home. Show them what it means to be eco-friendly.
Here are ten ways to become an eco-parent.
1. Buy organic when possible
In this instance, it is important to also discuss with your children why you buy organic. Make them part of the shopping process by having them find items on your grocery list. Take them to the farmer’s market with your or join a CSA (community sustained agriculture) program and have them come with you when you visit the farm. Share with your children your thoughts on why to buy organic produce and then follow through with your actions.
This is such a small thing but it has a huge impact. If your community waste management program offers a recycling program, then getting your children involved is easy. Have them recycle paper, clean out plastic containers and help with the recycling system in your home. If you don’t have the convenience of curbside recycling, it is a bit more of a process, but children can still get involved and it can become a family routine.
3. Get the kids involved in green cleaning
Most cleaning products from the store contain chemicals and fragrances (including phlalates) that can harm your health. If you are going to get your children involved in cleaning and caring for the home, then they are all going to be exposed to these nasty chemicals. Natural cleaners are a safer option for the whole family and for your community. Purchase environmentally safe cleaners, or just make your own homemade cleaners at home. You probably have many of the items that you will need already on hand, such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Learn more with this ultimate guide to speedy green cleaning at home.
4. Walk, ride your bike or take public transportation
Demonstrate to your children the value of conserving resources by practicing good eco-friendly habits. It will also encourage healthy physical activity. Take them on nature walks, visiting wildlife preservation’s and learning about animals and their habitats. Spending time together as a family will also foster better family relationships.
5. Use reusable products whenever possible
One very simple way to accomplish this is to use reusable shopping bags. Children are great for helping you remember to bring them along when you head to the store!
6. Teach them about conservation
Show your children how to avoid wasting water, electricity and other resources used every day at home. Even young children can learn to turn off the light switch and water faucet or shut a door to a room that does not need to be heated.
7. Plant an organic garden
Children of all ages love digging their hands in the dirt and growing things. Let them choose what they want to grow, help them cultivate it and teach them about planting and growing their own fruits and vegetables. Plant an organic garden to encourage children to eat healthier foods too!
8. Breastfeed infants
Breastfeeding isn’t just better for a child’s health, it eliminates the need to manufacture and distribute formula. And when your other children see you breastfeeding their sibling, they begin to develop an appreciation for its practicality and that it is the most natural way of feeding a baby.
9. Teach children to appreciate the world
Visiting other places helps children develop an appreciation and an awareness for the world outside their immediate surroundings. By sharing different experiences together with your children, you can help them develop healthy attitudes about our world and how they can help to keep it beautiful and green!
10. Buy used instead of new
Clothing, furniture and even kitchen appliances can all be purchased used. This keeps them out of the landfills and it saves money and resources manufacturing and distributing these items. Children and adults can enjoy a day shopping at garage sales or thrift shops. Having your own garage sale is a great way for children to learn about recycling their unused items as well.
By following these ten tips, you will be on your way to becoming an eco-parent! You will be showing your family the importance of adopting the important environmentally friendly practices that make sense for you and your family. Your children will grow up knowing that you thought it was important to conserve and hopefully they’ll adopt the same philosophy!
Are you concerned that green living in your home could be too uncomfortable or costly? This site will show you how living green doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive!
I will show you simple ways to green up your home one step at a time!
You will learn how to:
- Save on home energy costs
- Rid your home of dangerous chemicals
- Find safe and effective personal care products
- Create a healthier home environment
- Reduce your carbon footprint on our planet
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