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7 Eco-Friendly Tips for When You’re Out of Town

You finally have a chance to do something kind for the planet. Before you leave town, be sure you take the time to make your home more eco-friendly. It will save you money on your power bill and it will give you a chance to conserve for the planet. 

Forget About Air 

Be sure to turn off your thermostat before you leave town. You waste electricity by trying to heat or cool a home when nobody is home. Also, turn out your pilot light on those gas furnaces, but be sure you know how to safely relight it when you get home. 

If you are worried a hard freeze will damage your plumbing, simply turn your furnace down as low as it will go and close the vents to the rooms that don’t need heat. ... read more

Reducing Energy Wastage

reduce energy wasteToday we have a guest blog post from our friends at Everest.  These tips will help you to stop wasting energy and reduce your monthly bills!
While it is true to say that home energy use has actually declined in over the last few decades, the cost of household bills has soared. In fact the cost of these bills is up from £960-£1030.
And, with spring barely rearing its head so far, the recent cold snaps have undoubtedly resulted in an increase in energy use in the home. Did you know there are things that we can do to reduce energy wastage in order to save on utility costs? 
Here are some suggestions from leading home improvements specialists Everest:
A clean chimney is an energy efficient one.  
Sweeping the chimney of soot and debris will ensure your fire burns safely and efficiently – and this will help you to save on fuel.... read more

Signs of Spring: Varieties of Japanese Flowering Cherry Trees

One of the most breathtaking signs that spring has sprung are the flourishing cherry blossoms. Differing from the fruit-bearing cherry trees that most of us are familiar with, ornamental cherry trees, like the Japanese Flowering Cherry are cherished for their beautiful pink or white blossoms. They are usually in full bloom in late March and early April.

Like snowflakes, no two flowering seasons are ever alike. Cherry trees blossom every year, but they might not produce the same amount of flowers as in years past– which depends on the type of winter we have.... read more

Reducing The Environmental Impact Of Waste Plastic

Following my recent Keen For Green article about the efforts being made in Europe to cut down on energy consumption, I thought for my next article it would be interesting to look at the issue of recycling – and specifically, the recycling of plastic. This is a huge issue because here in the UK it has been estimated that five million tonnes of plastic are consumed each year – with 4.5 million tonnes entering the waste stream annually.

In early March the European Commission launched a Green Paper on plastics, looking at plastics disposal and recycling across the whole of the European Union. It discussed the fact that approximately half of all plastic ends up in landfill – which in terms of energy is the equivalent of 12 million tonnes of crude oil being buried each year.

The paper also drew attention to the big problem of single-use plastic carrier bags – in just one year in the UK, 2010, it was estimated that 200 plastic bags were used per person. This has led to radical proposals, including a total ban on plastic bags across the whole of Europe. Italy has in fact already implemented such a policy, having banned non-biodegradable plastic bags on 1st January 2011.... read more

Green Home Organizing Tips

Green organization is a way of improving and ordering your home through the use of organic or natural materials. It consists of replacing toxic chemicals, hazardous dyes and non-natural materials we use in our home as decoration and more. Its goal is to promote a better, cleaner home which keeps our environment clean as well as healthy. 

You can stick to three major principles when it comes to green home organizing. Eco-friendly techniques include the reusing, recycling and reducing of all you can work with. Keeping these in mind can greatly help you in making your home safer and better. Staying true to these three principles allows you to lessen your impact on nature, being responsible for your energy waste and habits. ... read more

April is Earth Month!

Green Goes Simple: Conservation at Home

Go Green for Earth Month

By Elizabeth Dwoskin for Green Goes Simple

There’s nothing more precious to parents than their kids -- nothing more important than making sure they are as healthy and as safe as possible. Earth Month is the perfect time for parents to put their kids first by making small, easy changes that protect the health of both their little ones and the earth.

While parents can’t control every aspect of their kid’s lives -- though most wish they could -- there is one place where they can take full charge: the home. And these days, lots of parents are looking for green solutions to make their homes more sustainable. Don’t you wish that you had someone to just whisper in your ear, giving you quick and easy green tips every time you needed them?

Enter Janelle Sorensen, chief communications officer for Healthy Child Healthy World. For 20 years, this nonprofit group has been all about giving families the tools they need to create cleaner, greener and safer homes. Sorensen gave us some easy suggestions that you can use to start greening your home -- and saving money -- right away.... read more

Make Your Yard Beautiful the Ecofriendly Way

Having a beautiful yard does not mean that you have to sacrifice the environment. There are many ways to keep up your yard and garden without resorting to pesticides and fertilizers that can harm the Earth. Here are a few tips for ecofriendly gardening:

  1. Choose Native Plants – Choosing native plants for your yard is good in many respects. For one it reduces your need to water as those plants are already familiar with the natural weather systems in your area. It also helps to encourage wildlife like birds and butterflies to visit your yard. Native plants provide an important part of the ecology in your area and do not take over like artificially introduced plants can.... read more

Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home with a Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit can be used to identify any potential weaknesses with your homes energy efficiency. You can pinpoint the most wasteful parts of your home and set your energy saving priorities and with the right upgrades you could save somewhere in the region of 5% - 30% each year on your energy bill.

Air Leaks

You can begin by checking for gaps between the baseboard or edge of the flooring and at junctures of the walls and ceiling, pipes and wires, electrical outlets, door and window frames and any external areas where two different building materials meet.

Although this manual method of searching for drafts is effective, the best means of detecting air leaks is to use a blower door test which assesses how air tight a home is. The blower door test uses a powerful fan to depressurise the home by removing the air from inside and lowering the internal air pressure. Any unsealed cracks are then exposed as the higher external air pressure filters back into the home.... read more

Energy In The UK - How We’re Trying Use Less

As a regular English reader of Keen For Green I’m able to keep up to date with the latest energy news from the US – and I thought it might be interesting for my friends “over the pond” to hear about the situation here in the UK.

The issue of energy is clearly one of the biggest challenges faced by humankind, and in the UK we’re acutely aware of the need to address the issues of overconsumption, and high carbon emissions. The European Union has set out a “practical guide to a prosperous low carbon Europe” known as the Roadmap 2050 project, whilst the British government has also implemented a range of policies designed to increase energy efficiency - including the introduction of smart meters, the Green Deal, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme and Climate Change Agreements.... read more

Green Road Trip Travel Tips for Your Dog

Although all dogs don't love riding in the car, most will be good sports about it with some TLC and training. Some people medicate pets with sedatives for long journeys. If you travel a lot this can become problematic. Over time your pet might develop a dependency on medication for travel or suffer from side effects. There are much better ways to get the pup excited (and then calm) about riding in the car.

Ease Anxiety Naturally

Well-known dog whisperer Cesar Millan says that dog owners have the power to calm their dogs with their voices, attitudes and body language. If you are calm and pleasant, your dog will be too. If your dog is prone to anxiety and you plan to take a long trip, natural products that use herbs like ginger and lavender ease tension. They work the same way a warm, herbal-infused cup of tea eases human stress. One product, Travel Calm, is a spray mist that sells for about $12 at pet health food stores, and can reduce restlessness and nausea.... read more