Clean and Green – 6 Ways to Get the Kids Thinking About the Environment

Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, or for something as simple as wanting to cut down the cost of your bills, getting your children to think more about the environment can have a number of positive effects, including helping your children value that which they have. However, some people can take it too far and try to be environmentally friendly in every single aspect of their lives. Simply put, you don’t need to live in a mud hut to be environmentally friendly. We’ve listed 6 ways in which you can help to get the kids thinking more about the importance of the environment, and what they can do to help. Continue reading “Clean and Green – 6 Ways to Get the Kids Thinking About the Environment”

Keeping up with…Your New Year’s Resolutions

What did you set for your New Year’s Resolutions? Ours are always to be kinder to the environment, use and waste less and always try and be conscious of our environmental impact. How many of you kept to your resolutions? New research suggest that 38% of Brits have already abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions. Luckily for us it’s easy to keep up with our resolutions, they are ingrained in or way of life. Continue reading “Keeping up with…Your New Year’s Resolutions”

Seven Safety Precautions to Prepare Your Home for a London Winter

Living in London is exciting and special. It is an amazing city that offers something for everyone, and attracts millions of tourists every year. If you’re a proud resident of London, you also know that living here presents a few challenges – namely, being able to handle the London winters. Winters here can get bitter cold, and one of the main areas that need attention are your plumbing pipes. Having them burst in the middle of winter is no fun, but there are steps you can take to increase the likelihood that this will not happen. Continue reading “Seven Safety Precautions to Prepare Your Home for a London Winter”

The Pros and Cons of Common Bathtub Materials

Choosing the shape, style, and size of your bathtub is important, but don’t forget to consider the advantages and disadvantages which come with each type of material. Your decision will impact everything from the ease of installation to how simple the tub is to keep clean, so make sure you take the time to think about your options. Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of Common Bathtub Materials”

Winter’s coming – 4 ways to heat your home in an environmentally friendly way

As the nights draw in and the days are getting cooler, there is a real sense that autumn is already here and winter is just around the corner. Thoughts switch from sunbathing and which pair of shorts to wear across to turning the heating on and digging out jumpers from the bottom of the wardrobe.

Continue reading “Winter’s coming – 4 ways to heat your home in an environmentally friendly way”

Eco-Friendly Techniques That Will Transform Your Home

From time to time, the house needs updating. Just like their owners, the interior of the home can get old and dated! Trying to renovate and upgrade a house is hard enough, but trying to do it without harming the Earth is incredibly difficult. If you are reading this blog, you probably think along the same lines as us and believe we have a duty to look after the planet. Of course, it is easier to take the short-term solution, but where does that leave us in the future?

So, here are a couple of eco-friendly renovation tips for the home. Hopefully, your home will look spectacular and not damage the Earth in the process.

Buy Reclaimed Goods

Everyone wants the newest and shiniest materials in their homes. The problem with new and shiny is the fact that you have to cut down trees at the rate of demand. And, with millions of homes across the world, the demand is high. Not only is reclaimed wood and furniture good for the environment, but it also looks good, too. Just because it is old doesn’t mean it is useless!

Wood_flooring_made_of_hickory_wood

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Build Your Own

If you have the materials to hand, you can build your own furniture and reduce the demand to destroy the world’s rainforests. How is cutting down a tree for your home any different to what manufacturers do, though? The difference, apart from lowering the supply, is that you can replant after you have used it and put another in its place. Plus, you can extract the wood without harming the Earth, such as burning the ground and soil. Logging companies say they do everything in their power to help the planet, but the evidence suggests differently.

Use Low Impact Building Materials

Some materials are better for the planet than others. One such material is adhesives or glue, and one you should consider using if you are building furniture. Adhesives don’t contain carcinogenic or toxic materials that get into the air and damage the environment. A substance such as glue is essential if you are putting together pieces of material, so you are going to want a lot of the stuff. Bulk adhesives are good for the bank balance as well as the environment. When you buy in bulk, you save a lot of money because it works out at a discounted price. Also, you can store adhesives for the next renovation project.

Evolution, Not Revolution!

Homeowners have a desire to tear down every part of their home when they are renovating. It is like you cannot do a proper job without tearing down walls and smashing in the floors. Granted, some smashing and tearing is needed to transform your home. But, you don’t need to tear down every structure in your property and throw it away. Recycle what materials you can when you start the renovation process. If there is a piece of wood or furniture you are discarding, check it for important materials. Again, you can save a lot of cash as well as the environment with this method.

In the end, your home will stand as a reminder that it can look good and help the planet, too.

 

The Many Benefits of Green Roofing

Going green has finally hit the trending wave, as most people are now considering the benefits of trying to play nicely with mother nature. It probably has more to do with the fact that the overall atmosphere of the planet has become quite alarming, than the majority of the population having a sudden epiphany.

Continue reading “The Many Benefits of Green Roofing”

Will a well-maintained boiler cut your energy household usage?

Most people are looking for ways to keep their household costs down, but few realise that ensuring regular maintenance of household appliances is one way to achieve this. A well-maintained boiler can cut the cost of your energy bill and help the planet at the same time.

Continue reading “Will a well-maintained boiler cut your energy household usage?”

The Essential Green Home Checklist For People Moving This Summer

Do you plan to move house during the next couple of months? Would you like to ensure that your new property is as environmentally-friendly as possible? Then you need to start working soon to ensure you have covered all the basics. At the end of the day, the chances of your new property using green alternatives to traditional methods are pretty slim. So, you will want to make lots of changes before you finally move into the property. That could put your moving day back a couple of weeks, but it will be worth it in the end. We haven’t published a complete checklist, and so you will need to use some common sense too.

  • Did you get solar panels?

The first thing you will need to do is purchase solar panels for your new property. That is the best way to harness the sun’s energy and use the least amount of fossil fuel possible. There are lots of government-run schemes at the moment that allow you to get hold of them very cheaply. Just make sure you pay for a property survey first to ensure the roof is in good enough condition to handle the weight. If the surveyors find any issues, you might have to install them in the back garden. Either that or you will need to pay for renovations to the roof.

  • Did you install digital heat controls?

 

The best thing about digital heating monitors is that you can see how much you are using each and every day. You can also set the heating to come on and go off at specific times. Anyone who feels passionate about protecting the planet will make sure they are installed in the new property before they move. The devices don’t cost a lot of money to purchase, and you can get them online from many different websites. You can also get full digital controls for the entire property. They will let you know how much power each plug socket is using. Having that information at hand should make it easier for you to reduce consumption.

  • Did you swap to wooden doors?

 

We all know there are certain dangers when your home uses UPVC doors. Around 80% of properties currently have them, and that is something that needs to change. The process of making UPVC is harmful to the environment, and the materials are not sustainable. If you haven’t already, you should remove them from your property and replace them with traditional alternatives. You might end up paying a little more for wooden doors, but at least you can buy them from green companies. Just make sure you ask the supplier only to provide you with items that have been reclaimed or recycled.

If you manage to tick all those points off your list, you should be in the best position to move into a truly green home. There are lots of other changes you can make to the property in the future, but that should be enough to keep you satisfied on moving day. When all’s said and done, new environmentally-friendly ideas are popping up all the time. So, you just need to keep your finger on the pulse.

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Nick Rice

How To Promote Green Living Effectively On the Web

You made the decision to go green. You and your whole family did. You’ve got more environmentally conscious cleaners. Organic food. You promote sustainable practices. You feel good about it! And so you decide to promote the things that you’ve learned and the products that you appreciate in a website.

Continue reading “How To Promote Green Living Effectively On the Web”

How To Make Your Bathroom More Eco Friendly: Everything You Need To Know

Perhaps you are a new eco-warrior or maybe you have wanted to make your bathroom more eco-friendly for a while, but just haven’t had the time. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are here and want to change your lifestyle and make part of your home – your bathroom, more eco-friendly.

Whether you want to help reduce your energy usage or save yourself some money, you have come to the right place.

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Photo from Flickr

Updating your bathroom and transforming it into a more eco-friendly space doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be done for little to no cost at all, all you need to do is follow these tips:

Use your bathroom fan

Using your fan might sound like a drain on your household energy, but if you want to prevent mold growing in your bathroom, this is a must. Instead of just turning your fan on for a few minutes after your shower and then turning it off. Turn your fan on before you get in the shower and leave it running afterwards.

If the idea of using your fan more doesn’t appeal to you, due to the increased energy usage, you could open a window instead. It may not work as well, but leaving a window open for half an hour after your shower, should do the trick.

Turn down your hot water

Did you know that your water heater could be using as much as 20 percent of your home’s energy? That’s a crazy amount.

Most water heater manufacturers preset water heaters to heat water to around 140 degrees, which is way too hot. To save energy, reset your water heater to 10 degrees lower – 130 degrees, and you can save five percent on your annual energy costs.

If you water heater is old, then it might be a good idea to consider replacing it with a newer, more eco-friendly model. By swapping your old water heater for an eco-friendly alternative, you could reduce your energy usage, and save money on bills.

Install water saving taps

Believe it or not, many baths, showers, and sinks have taps on them that waste a lot of water. Each year in the US, thousands of gallons of water is wasted because most homes don’t have water saving taps installed.

The next time you want to replace your bathroom taps, have a look online, on tapwarehouse.com, for water saving taps. Or, if your taps are fairly new, you can buy devices that fit onto your taps instead.

Install a flush with two setting.

Instead of having just one flush setting, install a flush that has a setting for number ones and number twos. That way when the toilet is used for number ones, a smaller amount of water can be used to flush them away. Instead of wasting water.

It’s surprising how easily you can make your home more eco-friendly, all it takes is a few small changes.

 

Eco Home Products

The plight of the environment and rising concerns about climate change feature increasingly in the public conscience today. On first consideration, it may seem there is little any individual can do to affect change for the better. In truth, everyone can make a difference. By actively considering the eco-friendly credentials of products in and around the home, it is possible to effectively contribute to the future wellbeing of the environment, reducing air and water pollution and reversing the damage done by greenhouse gasses. Eco-friendly home choices often lead to improved health and a lower proportion of the household budget being spent on fuel. There are some simple ways to start living a greener lifestyle outlined below.

Bamboo

bamboo

Bamboo is increasingly being used to fashion all sorts of products, from furniture and flooring to kitchen implements. Bamboo has far greater sustainability than most materials, either synthetic or natural. Wood from bamboo plants can be harvested every three to five years, and patches of bamboo produce 35% more oxygen than the same area of trees. Bamboo is also typically grown without the use of fertilisers or pesticides.

Solar

Using electricity produced from solar energy sources will help avert an energy crisis and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Contrary to what many believe – solar technology is effective even given the UK’s notoriously disastrous summers. All that is required to generate power is ordinary daylight, though much more power is produced on sunny days.

A good idea is a solar oven. These devices are for outside use and they use the sun’s direct energy to cook or heat up food and drink. Heat settings can be adjusted so food cooks quickly or so that the solar oven operates as a slow cooker. It is possible to purchase myriad shelves and attachments enabling roasting, stewing, grilling or frying of food. Using these in the UK will be confined to the summer months.

Food

Home-grown food is bursting with freshness and health giving properties. For storage, Abeego wrap is a superb eco alternative to cling-film or Tupperware. Made from natural products known for their preservative properties, Abeego wrap allows food to be kept incredibly fresh. Made from hemp, jojoba oil, organic cotton and covered with a beeswax coating – Abeego is both fluid and air resistant. The wrap is reusable – easily washed with cool soapy water – and can be composted when it is no longer effective.

www.biome.com.au
www.biome.com.au

Water

Rainwater harvesting is the collection of rainwater in large butts, which can then be utilised for exterior or non-drinking purposes. With an approved water filtration system, harmful bacteria and chemicals can be removed making rainwater safe to drink.

Cleaning products

Chemical cleaning products can be extremely harmful both to human health and the environment. Natural products are the best way to ensure safety when using cleaning products. White vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda can be used to clean a multitude of substances or stains from surfaces and materials. If the convenience and extra power of commercial cleaners is essential – products made from natural plant based ingredients that carry no toxic or corrosive markings are the best to use.

Furniture

When furnishing a home, reclaimed wood and bamboo are stunning natural materials with fantastic eco credentials. An eco range of contemporary furniture is available, giving a charming rustic-chic feel to any room. For those with a creative bent – upcycling seems a fad that is set to stay. Wooden pallets can be used to form bases for beds or sofas, and old crates or barrels make fantastic coffee tables. Sheets and clothing can be turned into furniture covers. With a little creativity – so many disused items can be turned to beautiful or practical new uses.

This article features a small sample of eco-friendly ideas for the home. Preserving the environment is everyone’s responsibility and taking action to do so can also improve health and be good for the family budget.

How Changing Your Windows Can Help the Environment

Since 1970, energy used to heat Britain’s homes has increased by 20%. While the switch to central heating has brought great improvements in the carbon efficiency, and new buildings regulations has meant more homes now have full insulation and more energy efficient fixtures, this has not accounted for the new dependence on electrical appliances that govern modern life. One of the easiest ways you can improve the efficiency of your home is to invest in energy efficient windows.

Continue reading “How Changing Your Windows Can Help the Environment”

How To Do These Common Home Renovations The Eco-Friendly Way

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Image from Flickr.com

By making smart home renovation choices, you will reduce your carbon footprint. This applies to all alterations, big and small. From putting up a new lighting fixture to renovating an entire room. Environmentally friendly renovations may not always be the easiest, but they are the kindest to the earth, and we think that makes it worth the effort. So, if you are planning one or more home improvement projects this year, follow these tips to ensure the changes you make are considerate of our environment.

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Image from Flickr.com

 

  1. Flooring

 

Before you start your renovations, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the materials available to you and which are the most sustainable. Synthetic materials, such as plastic, continue to leave harmful imprints on the environment. Although more expensive, wood is a far more sustainable material for home renovations. Of all the building materials, it has the lowest energy consumption and C02 emission. So, choosing hardwood flooring is much more environmentally friendly than plastic.

  1. Lighting

We have to change our light bulbs on a fairly regular basis, so this is one small renovation we can all take part in. It is estimated that artificial lighting makes up around 15 percent of the average energy bill. However, this can be reduced significantly by choosing LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs. LED lighting requires much less power to operate and is a much more sustainable way to light your home by artificial means.

Improving the amount of natural light in your home should also be a priority when renovating. Avoid making changes that obstruct windows and block the sunlight. If you are redecorating a room, consider adding a mirror opposite your windows in order to reflect light into the room, making it feel brighter and larger.

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Image from Flickr.com

  1. Paint

Eco-friendly paint is the only way to go and luckily there are many products now available to meet the growing demand for these products. You should be looking out for low or zero VOC paints. These products contain no, or very low levels, of chemicals that evaporate into the air while the paint is drying out. And just because they don’t contain these chemicals does not mean they aren’t as effective as conventional products. Eco-friendly paints are available in a wide array of colours. Just ask at your local DIY retailer for these products or have a look online.

  1. Unwanted appliances or materials

When it comes to any waste from your renovations, always think reduce, reuse and recycle. In fact, this is a good mantra to incorporate into your everyday lives. Although you may not want that old work surface anymore, it could come in use for someone else, so don’t contribute to the landfill problem by throwing it out. Ask around if anyone could make use of your unwanted items for their own renovations and if not, take them to your local recycling depot.

As well as these common home improvements, there are also smart choices you can make when conducting a more specialised renovation. Do your research before making any changes, to ensure you are doing it the eco-friendly way.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found this post helpful.

Wonderful Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Living in the modern world and trying to preserve it at the same time is difficult. There’s so much we rely on daily that can be harmful to the environment, such as cars. But while there are times you can’t avoid harming the environment it’s important to try to preserve it in other areas.

The good news is that in your home life it’s possible to be a little more environmentally friendly. There are steps you can take to be greener at home and help the planet in the process. Here are some wonderful ways you can make your home more eco-friendly.

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Image Source

Solar Power

Using solar power is one of the best ways to make your home more eco-friendly. You can do this by putting solar panels up on the roof of your home. By doing this, you’ll ensure that you use the solar energy from the sun to power your home. By trapping the sun’s rays in the solar panels, they’re stored and then used in the home. So anytime you need to use energy such as turning on a light or powering your television it’s used through solar energy. This cuts down on your energy bills as well as being better for the environment. Solar panels can be expensive to install, but the long-term savings make it well worth it. You might also get an incentive payment from the government at the end of each year for using solar panels.

Change Lights

Believe it or not changing the lights in your home can help you make it more eco-friendly. You will find that you can replace your current lights with high-quality Ecosave Led Lights. These will reduce your lighting bills by quite a significant amount each year. These kind of lights can use up to ninety percent less energy than ordinary bulbs, and they last so much longer. You’ll also find that as well as saving money your bulbs will need less maintenance and fewer replacements.

Recycle

One of the most popular ways to maintain a green, eco-friendly home is to make sure you recycle. Nowadays more people are concerned with recycling than ever before. And plans ensure people always have the option to recycle. Recycling bins are provided by local councils, and a lot more of us are conscious of protecting the environment. There are so many different materials you can recycle nowadays that your rubbish output can be minimal. Glass, plastic and metal are all prime candidates for the recycle bin. As well as the obvious bits of paper and cardboard. You should have bottle banks and such in your local area that you can use if you don’t have a recycling bin.

Use a Water Butt

If you want to go the whole hog, don’t just stop at solar power, think about getting a tank or water butt for the garden. This will trap rainwater ensuring that it doesn’t go to waste. You can then link this to the pipes in your home giving you free water for as long as the tank is full. This will cut down on your water bills and mean you’re using less energy. For the perfect eco-balance, you should try to get solar powers and a water tank. You will notice a big difference and end up saving a considerable amount of money.

Upcycling Tips to Decorate Your Home

There are many fabulous home décor applications for upcycling, and it doesn’t always have to be about saving the environment, or penny pinching to offset rising housing costs like home insurance.

Those serious about preserving the environment, creating healthier living spaces, living more sustainable and money wise, have found upcycling not just smart, but a lot of fun too. Not everyone has to live in a shipping container home, or forego all modern conveniences to do their part and flex their creative side. However, it has just become common sense to look for ways to upcycle, before the waste involved in sending things to be recycled.

So what are some items you can have fun with upcycling, and turning into useful and decorative objects at home?

  1. Cans & Jars

One of the most common items that get tossed in the rubbish or take up room in the recycle bin are glass jars and tin cans. Instead turn your glass jars into fun and useful items such as romantic bathroom, patio or garden lighting, desktop and kitchen utensil organizers, and even planters. Paint and punch holes in cans to make decorative hanging planters, birdfeeders, lamps, and more.

jam jar vase

  1. Upcycled Clothing

Few think of repurposing clothing, yet with the emotional ties and amazing memories they represent, upcycling just makes sense. With so many upcycling ideas for clothing there is no more pressure to cave into giving up those faded retro t-shirts or Christmas sweaters. Turn worn clothing into throw pillows, furniture covers, and even wall art by folding them over frames or putting them in your empty frames. How about turning your old festival gear or wooly sweaters into a quilt or blanket for reminiscing on cold nights?

framed t shirt

  1. Corks

Find yourself tossing out corks galore? Stop. There are many highly useful and money saving ways to upcycle your corks. Save them up and put them together as desktop protectors, hot mats for the kitchen, pin boards on the walls, safe flooring for young ones, and maybe even entry mats.

  1. Skateboards

For those that have children, and even spouses that refuse to grow up, the pile of old skateboards can stack up quickly. That can add up to a lot of awkward, but memorable scrap, yet precious trees and other resources that shouldn’t be treated frivolously. Instead of constantly tripping over old skateboards or being driven mad by the mess why not explore new ways to upcycle these fun home décor materials? Skateboards can be repurposed as unique shelves, children’s chairs and toddler’s picnic tables, step ladders, and even long lasting sports themed headboards for kids’ rooms.

skateboard shelf

Small Upcycling Projects with Big Results

Saving energy, fuel, waste, and budgets is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the big potential even small upcycling projects can add up.

Offsetting home insurance costs, being able to use more home insurance money for necessities rather than frivolities in the case of disaster, saving to go on holiday, or even finding the surplus to build a new green, completely sustainable home, with lots of fun, memorable, and educational quality moments with family and friends on the road all come as significant perks.

If this sounds like too much work – recycle, offer your items to neighbors who are into upcycling, or save in other ways such as moving your home insurance to Shield Total Insurance.

Tips on Travelling with Your Kids this Christmas

Travelling can be stressful at the best of times, but throw in a couple of children, a hectic festive schedule and the Christmas traffic and it soon becomes a complete nightmare – but it doesn’t have to be. So, round up the kids, pack up the car and follow these top tips for travelling with your kids this Christmas:

Be prepared

No one likes to think the worst, but as the old saying goes: if something can go wrong, it probably will– so always prepare for the worst case scenario. If you’re driving cross-country, make sure you pack some blankets, spare clothes, bottled water, non-perishable food, a fully-charged phone and a torch. In case there are any accidents along the way, it’s also a good idea to take a child-friendly first aid kit, such as those available from Steroplast Healthcare.

packing car

 

Take it easy

It’s all too easy to get swept along in the Christmas rush and try to pack as many things as possible into each trip – but you’ll get far more out of your travels if you plan ahead. Try to take things at a slower pace and be realistic about how much ground you can cover.

The less you feel you have to cram in, the less stressful and more enjoyable the trip will be.

Know your place

If you are travelling with another family, make sure each adult has a their own task or responsibility, such as minding the kids, making sure certain things are packed or taking turns at the wheel. Sharing the load will make the trip far more enjoyable for everyone.

And, if you’re traveling by bus or rail, work out who’s getting on first, who’s getting on last, where everyone is sitting and who is storing the luggage to make sure no-one gets left behind.

Eyes in the back of your head

kids in car

If you’re traveling with kids alone, it may be worthwhile investing in an extra rear-view mirror pointed towards the back seats so you can keep an eye on the kids without having to turn around.

If possible, you may also want to think about bringing along a selection of books, toys or portable game consoles to keep your youngsters entertained while you concentrate on the drive.

Take a break

You will also need to plan regular stop-offs along the way. Children always need plenty of toilet breaks and it’s important to take time to rest and eat, especially if you’re tackling a long journey.

Do the packing for them

Although you might think it’s a nice idea to let the kids pack their own rucksack, particularly if they’re getting a bit older, you should always do the packing for them. Unless you want bags full of teddies, comics and trading cards, you will need to ensure that all the kid’s essentials are ready and waiting for you when you reach your destination.

Sustainable Living – Repair don’t Replace!

We live in a decidedly throwaway culture. When household products are damaged or break, our first instinct is often the toss them out with the trash and find replacement versions. However, this approach is bad news for the environment and it can dent your finances too.

Next time one of your possessions breaks or if you notice that certain items around your home are starting to show signs of wear and tear, try taking a different stance. Rather than getting rid of the items, have a go at getting them fixed. Specialist buildings and contents repair companies like Hometech-UK offer fast and effective services that can restore items to their former selves in no time.

Whether you need to repair a scratched worktop, a damaged flood, a chipped bath or anything else, experts like this are on hand to help.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reducing landfill

Like lots of people, you might not put much thought into what happens to your rubbish when it is taken away on lorries. However, every item that you chuck out has to end up somewhere. Most rubbish ends up in landfill. Indeed, each year the UK disposes of around 57 million tonnes of waste into landfill. It should come as no surprise then that Britain has been dubbed the ‘dustbin of Europe’.

By repairing goods in your property rather than binning them, you can do your bit to cut waste.
rubbish tip

Conserving resources

Of course, it’s not only the problem of landfill that has to be considered. Usually when people throw out household products, these items have to be replaced. In turn, this means using more of the planet’s natural resources. As the global population rises and consumer expectations increase, more and more of the Earth’s finite resources are being used up.

By restoring household items instead of replacing them, you can help to lower pressures on these resources.

Lowering global warming

By lowering demand for new household goods, you can also help to do your bit to reduce global warming. It usually takes far less energy to repair items than it does to replace them. In turn, this helps to drive down emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2 that are contributing to an increase in global temperatures.


Boost your budget
As well as having a clean conscience about the environment, repairing household products rather than replacing them can boost your finances. It is cheaper to fix worktops, floors, bathroom suites and other items than it is to buy brand new versions.

 

A Revolutionary Idea for Redesigning or Decorating Your Home

Decorating and re-furnishing my home has never been my thing. I’m not that great at it, if I’m completely honest. And, if we are being honest, I do feel insanely jealous when I walk into one of my friend’s homes and everything looks beautiful and matched and complementary. Oh, and clean; Phoebe gets her sticky fingers/snot/puke all over everything. It’s like she’s on some sort of infant dirty protest, though she gets fed, bathed and has an endless supply of toys available, so what she’s got to complain about I can’t imagine!

But, I have come across a revolutionary tool for helping in this area. True it’s not going to enhance your ability to sniff out the right curtains that match the right rug that match the right cushions that match the right coffee table etcetera, etcetera, but it does make life a lot easier when it comes to arranging furniture, buying pieces that are the right size and checking your room still works if you have a move-around and the baby isn’t going to get trapped in a metre squared corner between a bookcase, sofa and wall.

The apartment from Big Bag theory! (Steve's uber-geeky fave TV programme)
The apartment from Big Bang Theory! (Steve’s uber-geeky fave TV programme)

And knowing that a piece of furniture will fit into a room is only the beginning! Knowing that you can still get access to electrical sockets, doors and windows is where full planning is really useful. What happens if you buy all of your lovely new furniture and it just doesn’t look right? This is where stress levels can increase and arguments can occur.

You can now spare yourself and your family this stress with the Home by Me software.

My best friend from uni introduced me to it. She and her fiancée have just bought a brand new house (lucky buggers!) and are desperate to get everything Just Right. So, she’s been using this software to plan every room in meticulous detail, and she raves about it! She’s also one of those people who have that sixth sense of knowing what colours schemes will work and what furniture and accessories work well together. Damn her!

It’s incredibly sadistic of me but part of me – a miniscule part, in fact – can’t wait to see how their perfectly designed home fairs when the kids come along! (Cue evil laugh!)

The downstairs floor of our house!
The downstairs floor of our house!

So What is Home By Me?

Basically this software helps you to design whatever room you want to focus on by playing around with the layout of your furniture etcetera, allowing you to choose exactly the right furniture, in the right size, for your room.

What Do I Like About It?

The Home by Me software has a wealth of features which make designing a room or home as easy as possible. After taking some measurements (WARNING: basic numeracy skills required! For an English teacher, that normally isn’t good news, but even I can use a tape measure and do basic adding and subtraction!), you are able to create an accurate plan of your entire home, room by room. The software allows for multi-level plans which means you can easily switch from one floor to another as well as room to room. Great fun!

For anyone with anything fancy in their home, you can add pillars, casings and bay windows as well as electrical, gas and water points – the sort of stuff you forget to consider in your initial redecorating plans! You can even take into account the position of any radiators, which was where Steve and I fell down when we moved into our first home!

Start with a floor plan and the rest will come!
Start with a floor plan and the rest will come!

After creating your floor plan, it is easy to drag and drop the furniture from the catalogue straight to where you want it. The dropdown menus are really clearly and logically arranged by room – it’s like designing a computer-based doll’s house! The 2 dimensional view shows whether an item will fit where you want it to, whereas the 3 dimensional view shows you how the room will look once finished. Simples!

After furnishing your home on the plans, the summary section shows you the details of your project. The room by room summary gives you all of the specifications of the rooms including floor space and wall dimensions. This information can make decorating and flooring your rooms extra easy as you do not have to measure again. You will also get a summary of the products you’ve selected in a shopping list format, making your purchases easy and hassle free!

 

Would I Recommend It?

Absolutely! Besides making life a heck of a lot easier when it comes to redesigning a home, it’s also heaps of fun, and it makes you think about things that might otherwise not have been considered until it’s too late, like the position of light sockets and radiators etcetera.

It’s totally free, so there’s zero harm in giving it a try!

The Dangers of uPVC Doors

It was at the end of the 1980’s that saw the rise in properties being fitted with uPVC doors and windows. Although this change from traditional wood-based externals doors and windows began with large building developers, today over 85% of domestic properties have uPVC fittings as part of their exterior. The rise in popularity of this unsustainable material was largely down to its promotion as a low-maintenance or no-maintenance material, however this negligible claim is offset by uPVC’s non-environmental production and inability to naturally decompose. This means that both the production and destruction of uPVC results in dangerous chemical emissions that are equally dangerous and hazardous to humans, animals and nature.

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Whilst their original promotion, as a cheap and secure alternative to traditionally expensive wooden products, was somewhat true in regards to uPVC. As of today, competitive prices set by suppliers of classic wooden doors means that there is literally no reason to use this toxic material. For example, Todd Doors produces a selection of high-quality oak front-doors for as low as under £100 pounds. These doors are as sturdy and easy to maintain as their uPVC alternative and now retail at round the same price – you can visit the external doors page here for more information.

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One of Todd Doors’ interesting designs

 

Although uPVC can last up to 35 years, within this time cracks can still form within its surface, these lesions often having algal growth within them. The material can also become brittle along with quickly losing their glossy look and clean appeal. Whilst they can be painted over, which will somewhat correct the superficial damage, uPVC doors are still not as close to maintenance-free as manufacturers would suggest. However, these aesthetic issues aside, it is when these doors are disposed of that the problems really begin for not just the owner but the environment as well.

 

Within the UK, uPVC usually ends up in a landfills or is incinerated. Whilst landfills’s negative effects on the wildlife surrounding them is well publicised, even if the uPVC material is incinerated the contaminated ash released through this process is even more damaging to the ozone layer. Whilst modern incinerators operate within EU restrictions and control, an accidental fire or mismanagement of procedure can cause the release of toxic fumes which are incredibly hazardous to those who breath them in.

 

Timber, on the other hand, when properly maintained, can last over 100 years. Moreover, these economically friendly frames can be easily mended at a low cost. Whilst it cannot be denied that, in order for your wooden door to remain in top condition, it will need to be treated between every 4 to 8 years, it a testament to the durability of this material that many historic homes and classic buildings still have their original doors and windows, centuries after they were built. This durability aside, timber is also easy, and environmentally friendly, to recycle and reuse. This natural material can be easily turned into nature friendly bio-fuel and will effortlessly decompose back into the earth.

This article is provided by Agents of Drive Blog.