Winning Eco-Solutions for Our Homes

Globally, builders, developers, and professional remodelers of family homes are offering more green options than ever before.

Interestingly, the start of this growth can be traced back a decade, to 2009, when the global recession in the residential construction market was at a very low ebb. One conceivable explanation researchers have found is that builders started to use the advantages of green building to attract buyers at a time when the market was exceptionally sluggish.

According to a SmartMarket report by the Massachusetts-based McGraw Hill Construction company, that discusses the growth of green multi- and single-family homes in a “recovering market,” the three primary triggers were:

  1. Continued increases in energy costs.
  2. Changes in code ordinances and building regulations including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Code Council (ICC) 700 National Green Building Standard which is approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
  3. Increasing availability and affordability of “green” products.

Additionally, various government and utility incentives placed an important role too. Unfortunately, many of these have been, or are being, phased out.

Statistics provided in the report show a phenomenal increase in green building projects. While builders that undertake very few (less than 16%) single-family home projects decreased progressively from 63% in 2011, 38% in 2013, 23% in 2015, to an anticipated 16% in 2018, those boasting that more than 90% of their projects were green rose from 12% in 2011 to 19% in 2013, 24% in 2015, to a projected 38% in 2018. The figures were similar for multi-family projects: from 69% in 2011, 46% two years later, to a consistent 21% from 2015-2018. Not as many boasted that more than 90% of their projects were green though a similar trend is evident. While there were only 6% in 2011 and 2013, this increased to 9% in 2015 and was expected to double to 18% in 2018.

Similarly, those firms undertaking remodeling projects, of which at least 90% of which were green increased from 7% in 2011 to 25% in 2018. Those admitting that less than 16% of their remodeling projects were green decreased from 70% in 2011 to 21% in 2018.

So what do builders and remodelers do to make homes green?

Eco-Solutions for Family Homes

Around 95% of builders and remodelers regard energy-efficiency as the most important element of green homes. Other important green practices that provide eco-friendly solutions include:

  • Durability of materials
  • Water efficiency that incorporates more water conservation products and practices
  • The use of materials that emit low volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Improved quality of indoor air
  • Management and reduction of construction waste and a focus on material conservation and recycling
  • Eco-friendly site planning and development with a focus on environmental sensitivity

The motivation for opting for eco-solutions varies, with the promise of long-term utility cost savings remaining the most powerful argument for going green. Operating efficiency is also a priority, followed by a belief that quality construction, along with durability and the need for reduced maintenance, is associated with so-called green features. Homeowners also consider high performance and sustainability important and, to a lesser extent, the fact that an eco-friendly home will have a reduced environmental impact.

Professionals play an important role in terms of identifying which green products, practices, and features are best for purpose and location. This includes builders, architects, and those providing engineering solutions in Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Moscow, or whichever city you live in or are near to.

Green Products, Practices, and Features

There are so many ways to ensure that our homes are eco-friendly. These are some of the winning solutions for new homes and renovations:

  • Ensure your house is energy-efficient in every possible way
    Switch to high-efficiency water heater and heating, air-conditioning, and cooling (HVAC) systems that are correctly sized and properly installed. Make sure all lighting and appliances are energy efficient. Insulation should exceed code minimums and windows should exceed code-mandated performance. Opt for above-code energy programs and passive solar design.
  • Do everything possible to conserve materials and resources
    While there are different priorities for new homes versus those being renovated, there is definite value in using more durable materials as well as recycled products or materials that are easily recycled. This is particularly true for homes that are being remodeled. The use of prefabricated components and engineered wood is gaining significant attention and interest as is the use of lumber that is certified to have been sustainably harvested.
  • Put systems in place that will enable you to conserve water
    The ability to conserve water comes from installing appliances and fixtures that are designed for this purpose. Efficient plumbing techniques also help a great deal. Look for WaterSense labels and harvest rainwater if you can.
  • Aim for the very best indoor environmental quality possible
    There are many products and practices that will improve the indoor environmental quality of your home from filtration and air-cleaning systems and low-VOC materials (including paint, synthetic fibers, wood finishing products, and cabinetry that contains formaldehyde) to systems that increase moisture control and ventilation. A company that offers mechanical engineering services in Chicago or wherever you live will be able to assist with the latter.

There is little doubt that the challenges of finding appropriate eco-solutions for your home will be easier if you work with a professional, there is certainly a lot that each and every one of us can do ourselves. It simply requires commitment.

About the author

Michael Tobias is the founder and principal of New York Engineers, an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America. He leads a team of 30+ mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers from the company headquarters in New York City, and has led more than 1,000 projects in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, and California, as well as Singapore and Malaysia. He is passionate about sustainability and renewable energy.

Things You Must Avoid Doing When You Hire a Moving Company

Moving to a new house or office can be a tiring thing to do and for many people, getting a moving company to help with this comes in handy. Once you decide that you do not want to do the moving by yourself, identifying and hiring a moving company is the next critical decision you need to make. There are many moving companies on the internet. However, finding the right company to handle this important task for you can be a challenging task. To ensure that you find a moving company like brisbaneremovalists.com.au, here are the things you need to avoid once you embark on hiring a moving company:

Not sourcing for quotes from different moving companies

When hiring a moving company, you need to request for quotations from three or more different moving companies irrespective of where you are moving from. Failing to do this could mean paying more for a service that could have cost you more. When you have quotations from different moving companies, you will be able to compare costs and get an idea of the different experiences and benefits that each company offers. You also need to research each of the companies that have submitted quotations. With this information, you will be better equipped to hire a trustworthy and reputable moving company so that you avoid potential problems during the moving process.

Considering cost more than other factors

When hiring a moving company, it is not guaranteed that the company that quotes the least price will do a great job. Rather than focusing on how much a company will charge for the job, it is advisable to research the company thoroughly. It is important to note that where a moving company that presents a very low quote compared to others, that may be an indicator of the low quality of service that the company offers. Also, rogue companies may also attempt to lure customers by quoting very low prices, offering special offers and free services to entice people.

In addition to price and company experience, you also need to consider how far you will be moving. Ideally, local moving takes a day to complete and a small moving company that has a good reputation can get that done at a reasonable cost. On the other hand, long-distance moving is likely to take more than a day and will be more costly. For this, you’ll need to engage a larger moving company that has a good reputation. As such, be clear on the kind of move you will be making as well as the kind of moving company you need.

Not asking moving companies the right questions

The process of hiring a moving company is not easy. As such, there are many things you need to clarify with moving companies that you are considering to ensure you find the most reliable one and that your items will be handled safely.

 Ideally, a good moving company needs to provide you with all the details you need about the task and as experts in the profession, be able to address your questions even before you ask them. Even when they do this, you need to prepare your own questions to engage them because your moving will be unique in some way. You may also use those questions to gauge how transparent and thorough a moving company is with you. This will help you weed out rogue movers as many will avoid responding to specific questions and will tend to be ambiguous about issues such as insurance, moving fees and other critical details that you will need to know.

Not inviting the moving company to visit your house before you hire them

When asking moving companies to provide you with a quotation, you need to have them visit your house so they can see everything that needs to be moved. This way, they will be in a position to give you an accurate quotation. The visit is also important because it enables you to ensure that their quote matches the inventory of items that they move. In addition, consider developing your own household inventory before the moving company makes its own estimates. Such an inventory will give the movers a picture of all the items they will be moving and also enable you to have a discussion on items that need special handling with the moving company.

Not asking about extra fees that moving companies might charge

Before you hire a moving company, you need to find out whether there are any additional costs that could apply during the moving process. Such costs could be related to moving items up or down the stairs, not having a parking space near the house and item packing fees. To ensure that you do not get surprise fees, ensure that you find out from the moving company what other charges you will be responsible for.

Getting in Touch with Nature at Your Own Home 

Being able to spend some time in the open and enjoy nature is one of the most special feelings in the world. But if you do that in the comfort of your own home, it’s even better! If you’re one of those lucky people who live in a home that’s surrounded by a front and back yard, you simply have to make the most of it. Therefore, here are some of the best ways to get in touch with nature at your own home. 

Spice up your porch

Some people have a problem spending quality time in their front yard because they feel that everyone who passes by is able to see them. But if you design and build a great porch, you could be spending all your free time here – alone or with other people. You and your family could start having your meals there, or you could have a cup of coffee with your friends. Ultimately, you can even take a nap here or enjoy your books, but the most important thing is that you’ll be spending more time in the open than ever. 

Fix your deck

If you’re not a fan of letting random passers-by see you in your private moments, you can always introduce a totally different idea. Making the most of your backyard and giving your deck a brand new life is always a great choice. You don’t have to hide in your living room all summer long but instead, enjoy the outside area. From boosting your motivation to helping you discover a new hangout place, you’ll certainly get in touch with the nature around you. Instead of being stuck in dark, gloomy, improperly illuminated and poorly ventilated spaces, you’ll be surrounded by trees, fresh air, and lots of sunshine, which is great for your health, both mental and physical.

Regulate the exposure

Speaking of sunshine, you have to remember that not just any amount will do, no matter how amazing and healthy this is. Too much sunshine might harm you, especially if you’re living in a hot region with lots of sunny days on a yearly level. That’s why people living in places like Australia, for instance, might look into those handy shade sails that don’t just make your home more visually appealing but also help you connect to nature in a more meaningful way. Being able to spend time protected against too much sunshine will help you fall in love with your outdoor space again and again, and that’s always great.

Add more plants

In case you can’t or don’t want to spend time outside, you can always do the same in the comfort of your own home. Instead of going out, you could bring nature in, and turn your home into an oasis you can enjoy every day of the week. You just need to find some of the most durable house plants and incorporate them into every corner of your home. These will purify your indoor air, give your home a more natural look, boost your motivation, help you wake up in the morning, and turn into the focal points of your indoor space. You could also combine these with some eco-friendly décor, and take the green potential of your home to a much higher level.

As you can see, getting in touch with nature at your own home isn’t as hard or challenging as people generally think. It’s all about finding the right ideas and figuring out a way to make them work in your own space. And if you manage to do so, you too could start enjoying nature straight away!

Move Your Garden for Following Winter!

Being a fan of flowers and plants is a great thing, and that’s a hobby that can make you happy all year long. Still, lots of gardeners have a problem once the winter comes – most of their delicate plants and flowers don’t react well to low temperatures, and that’s why they have to do something about it. Reacting on time and moving your plants before it’s too cold is the only way to save them and avoid a disaster. If you too are thinking about doing that as well, here are a few tips that might help you.

Start on time

As mentioned before, moving your plants on time is the only way to keep them safe, but when is the right time to do so. Different people have different schedules, but if you want to listen to the experts, you have to know that they suggest doing so before the outdoor temperature drops below 45° F. Since temperature varies from one place to the next, you should keep track of the temperature at your home every single day and react as soon as it drops below 45° F. But, if you prefer having tropical plants, you might consider moving them even before, just to make sure they survive the cold weather.

Find the right place inside your home

Winter garden

Moving your plants in your home is a simple and easy task, but it needs to be done carefully and delicately. What’s even more important is to find the right spot for your plants. What most people do is move them into their bedrooms and living rooms, because these are the biggest rooms in their homes. However, bigger isn’t always better, and that means your living room might not be good enough for your plants. You need space that has lots of light, which is particularly vital in the winter, as well as the proper level of humidity that should help your plants live through the cold days. This means you may have to move your plants to your hallway, your dining room, your study, or even your kitchen, so keep an open mind.

Think outside the box

Speaking of areas where you can move your plants, you should take outdoor areas into consideration as well. These may not seem like the perfect choice at first, but actually, make a lot of sense in the long run. Places like decks, patios, and porches might look much better and more visually appealing if they’re full of plants and flowers, so you need to remember that too. You should also consider looking into those amazing sheds that can be quite versatile as well. Since they come in different shapes and sizes, you’ll soon realize why the best solution are sheds that aren’t just protective, but also durable, so your plants and flowers will be protected all winter long.

Keep taking care of your plants

Garden of Morning Calm

Taking care of your plants in the winter is the only way for you to save them, but if you move them in, you’ll have to adjust your maintenance schedule. Luckily, there are a few methods that should prove to be just enough, so be sure to explore these first. Start by adjusting your watering routine and water your plants less frequently. However, you should try to improve the humidity in your home because that’s more important than watering. Finally, adjust your indoor temperature and make sure your living space is full of natural sunlight too.

Moving your plants in before the winter might take some time and energy, but if you do everything right, you’ll be able to continue enjoying your plants in the spring as well – and that’s something all homeowners want!

 

Make Your Home Cozy for the Rainy Fall!

Even though going out with your family and spending time in the open is great, that’s sometimes simply not an option. As soon as the fall arrives, the weather isn’t as fine as before, and you can’t spend that much time in the open anymore. That’s when you have to move indoors and spend more time at home, but you need to make your home cozy first. If that’s something you’d like to do as well, here are a few ideas you should consider.

Declutter everything first

40+ Cozy Living Rooms You’ll Want To Hibernate In This Winter

Before creating new space for your family, you need to make sure there’s enough space for everyone. The only way to do that – unless you want to move into a new home, of course – is by decluttering every inch of your home. Remove everything you don’t need, and leave only the things that are absolutely necessary. Start by decluttering your living room, for instance, because this is where you’re probably going to be spending the most time in the fall. That way, you’ll have more space for your family, and you can do anything from organizing a movie night to hanging out with your guests.

Install some new lighting

It doesn’t matter if you love watching movies or not – your living room needs to be properly illuminated if you want to be able to spend time there. There are lots of ideas you can look into, from simple floor lamps to vintage chandeliers, and the only thing you have to do is find the right balance. Most families prefer having one main source of light in the middle of their living room – that’s usually a chandelier – and a few smaller sources that are scattered all over the place. You can do whatever you want with this setup and organize it any way you want, but think about turning the lights off as well. Doing that in a matter of seconds is vital, especially when you’re getting ready to watch a movie with your family. Still, whatever idea you go for, don’t forget to use LED light bulbs that aren’t just eco-friendly and sustainable, but also look better than your traditional bulbs.

Create a home theater

Home Theatre Finished Basement

Watching TV is one of the best ways for you and your family to spend quality time together during the fall. That’s why you should consider creating a home theater in your living room or your spare bedroom. Doing this might seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually quite easy. Start by getting a new TV and looking into professional TV installation options. Those amazing TV wall mounts will give your home theater a new look and give you more space than you’ve ever had, which is why this is such a cool idea. In addition to that, consider adding some new furniture that’s cozy and durable, as well as a minibar where you can keep your favorite drinks and food.

Create a schedule

Having a big family is amazing, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world when it comes to spending time together in front of the TV. Different members of your family may have different preferences, and this means you’ll have to come up with a certain schedule. This is particularly important if you have kids – after all, your kids shouldn’t watch too much TV in the first place – so doing this as soon as possible is a must.

Making your home cozy and comfortable for the fall is easier than most people think, and it’s all about a few simple ideas. All of these go a long way, so start with them and figure out how to incorporate them into your home as well.

How to Design an Eco-Friendly Backyard Kitchen

Are you looking to create an amazing backyard kitchen but worrying about the environmental impacts? Maybe you’ve heard horror stories about the carbon footprint created by an outdoor garden. For example, this article compares a family BBQ to a 90-mile car journey!

In our post, we’re looking at a backyard kitchen, and how you can make one that is both fun and eco-friendly.

Collect Water

You can’t use rainwater for everything in your outdoor kitchen, but it is environmentally friendly to collect water and use it where possible.

For instance, if you’ve chosen an outdoor pavilion as the setting for your backyard kitchen, you could use the rainwater to wash this down or clean the floor if it gets muddy.

This water shouldn’t be used for cooking. However, you can also use it to help with the next tip.

Use Your Garden to Produce

backyard-img-2

 

You can produce fruit and vegetables from your garden. This has lots of benefits, one of which is the fact that it is more eco-friendly. You can ensure that pesticides aren’t used on your produce.

Also, you can avoid the environmental impacts of food having to be shipped from other places. If you buy food from the supermarket, it could even come from abroad. The shipping impact can be huge. Many companies aren’t worried about the environmental impact, they just worry about the bottom line and if they are making a profit.

If you can grow the same produce at home you can do your bit in protest to the shipping, which can be Co2 heavy. Sadly, relying on the supermarkets and their providers to be eco-friendly is not an option.

Also, you will then have the opportunity to share. This is another way to be environmentally friendly. Why don’t you and your friends all grow something different and share with one another? This way you have variety and you’re staying eco-friendly.

Another great thing about creating products in your garden is the chance to experiment. You can find out what grows in your local area and then grow fruit, veg, and herbs which can be a part of your cooking experiments. The fact that the veggies or herbs can be right next to your cooking space in your backyard kitchen can make using this product even more convenient.

Natural Gas Grills and Solar Cooking

You may have heard that a charcoal BBQ or smoker, or even an electric grill is pretty bad for the environment. This is 100% correct. This study shows that both propane and charcoal BBQs emit CO2 comparable to car journeys.

Of course, some people argue that you can’t beat the flavor of smoked or grilled food, and you shouldn’t always deprive yourself. However, there are some great alternatives out there.

For example, a natural gas grill is the most environmentally friendly way to have a traditional BBQ.

However, you can go for a method even more eco-friendly.

Many people are turning to solar cooking. This technology embraces the sun’s rays to cook your food in an outdoor space, often over a long period of time. A parabolic cooker can get all the way up to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C) so you can bake or “fry” food.

Solar Power Wherever Possible

As well as solar cooking, you can embrace solar power for the other aspects of your backyard kitchen. Why not install some solar lights around it? This can be a great way to avoid using electricity which can be bad for your carbon footprint.

There are more solar lights available than ever before and you can get string lights among other designs. You shouldn’t be stuck for choice when looking for solar lighting.

In addition, you can install solar generators that can be used to power appliances. You may have thought blenders and food processors were for indoor kitchens, but with a generator providing power outside you could even make a smoothie in your backyard using just solar power to run your blender.

Make Compost from Your Kitchen

You can complete the eco-friendly circle by making your own compost. Your backyard kitchen can incorporate a compost bin and any leftovers and waste which is suitable for composting can be put into the bin.

Include a compost starter and over time you will end up with compost that you can use for your plants, flowers, or vegetable patch. Obviously, you should keep this away from food prep areas as it can be smelly and a little unpleasant.

Repurpose Materials

When building your outdoor kitchen you should be aware of the environmental impact of this, too. If the actual building of the kitchen is not eco-friendly then the benefits of your outdoor kitchen may have been outweighed.

A surprising amount of materials can be salvaged. Chairs can be upcycled, wood can be taken from salvage yards to create tables. There are many ways you can build your outdoor kitchen without having to use materials that are a drain on the environment. Steer clear of plastics, especially single-use plastics.

Repurposing can be a fun project as well as being good for the environment.

Conclusion

Have you enjoyed our guide to creating an eco-friendly backyard garden? Are you inspired to do your own outdoor cooking? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Eco-Friendly Preps for Upcoming Fall and Winter

With the fall just started, there’s still time to get your home ready for the winter. Although green is already giving way to yellow and auburn, it doesn’t mean we should give up green practices throughout the seasons. whichever project you choose to do from the list below, make sure to do it sustainably.

Find and seal leaks

Utility cut-throughs for pipes, chimney gaps, and recessed ceiling lights, are often a source of leaks that reduce the effectiveness of your heating system. You can either hire a licensed technician to perform an energy audit for your home or learn how to detect leaks yourself. Add caulk and weather-stripping to critical gaps, especially around draughty window and door frames.

Shut your fireplace chimney

Ironically, even an essential heating element like a chimney can be a source of heat loss. Even though a crackling fire in the fireplace warms your house, the chimney can act as a natural funnel that sucks heat out of your house. To prevent this, make sure the fireplace damper is closed any time you’re not making a fire, and also make sure the damper fits well. Remind your family members to keep doors and windows to the outside closed at all times, and keep the doors throughout the house closed so that an open window on the far end can’t suck out heated air from the entire house.

Have your furnace inspected

Even if your furnace is working fine, it might not be operating at its top efficiency. A defunct blower fan or a clogged burner can cause unnecessary overloads, where the furnace uses more energy and gives of more carbon than it needs for the same heat output. Prevent this by having your furnace inspected, and if needed, serviced at the first sign of the cool season. The service technician can clean all your burners, tighten the connections, and lubricate the moving parts. At the same time, they will check your air filters, as clogged filters block heat flow, causing your unit to work double time.

Upgrade insulation

In many cases, it’s not the insufficient heat that is the problem but the heat that escapes. Due to laws of thermodynamics, heat is always looking for ways to escape to the cooler environment, which means you should improve the insulation to keep it inside. While insulating the attic should be your first step, you shouldn’t ignore the house siding either. While this project might seem overwhelming, with a mobile scaffolding rental, everything can be done within a week. To make your insulation upgrade sustainable, consider environmentally friendly materials such as cellulose, wood wool, or cork.

Save energy with holiday lighting

Although holiday lights don’t have a high power-rating, they keep flickering day and night throughout the season, easily adding up to your electricity bill which is already ‘loaded’ with increased consumption. Make your fairy lights more sustainable by choosing a LED version. While incandescent bulbs release up to 90% of their energy as wasted heat, LEDs emit very little heat, so they yield the same light intensity with a much smaller wattage.

Install smart thermostat

A smart thermostat can potentially save you hundreds a year on energy costs by automatically lowering and raising your home temperature while you’re away. Unlike traditional thermostats that maintain the temperature on pre-set times, smart models can learn your preferences and self-adjust accordingly, so no energy is wasted on heating while there’s no one at home. Many of them have connectivity features, as well, so you can control their operation with a smartphone even when you’re away.

When the outside temperature begins to fall, these tips and tricks can help you avoid cranking up the heat each day. While these preparations are necessary to keep your home comfortable in the most uncomfortable days, they’re also essential for lowering your home’s carbon footprint in the heating season.

Make Your Home More Stress-Free!

No matter where you live, the nature of the modern lifestyle makes stress pretty much unavoidable. There are many things that can stress us out, from our jobs to family problems, and unfortunately, most of us can’t exactly go on vacation whenever we feel like we need it. However, what we can do is turn our own home into a relaxing sanctuary that can help us relieve some stress the moment we come home from work. So, if you’re having trouble managing your stress levels, here’s what you can do to make your home more soothing.

Get rid of the mess

Our living room 3

Mess on the outside can easily lead to mess on the inside, so try to keep your home neat and well organized. This means that you should do some de-cluttering every once in a while and get rid of everything you no longer need. Moreover, every item in your home should have its spot – and be kept in it when you’re not using it. This includes everything from remotes and toys to dirty clothes and shoes. Needless to say, if you have a family, everybody should do their part in keeping the home clean, as cleaning after others can only add more stress to your life.

Breathe life into it

Research has shown that plants can be very beneficial to your mental well-being, so make sure to decorate your home with greenery. If you’re not that skilled in taking care of plants, you can opt for some that don’t require much maintenance, or you can get some quality air purifiers. On the other hand, if you happen to love nature and have enough time to dedicate to maintenance, you can go the extra mile and build a green wall in your home. It’s a perfect way to introduce that calming Zen spirit into your home and purify the air around you.

Choose the right neighborhood

Neighbourhood foliage

Now, if you happen to be in the process of buying a new home, a good way to make sure it’s as stress-free as it can be is to choose the right neighborhood. After all, the people around you will inevitably affect your life, and the amenities around your home can make a difference in your daily schedule. So, if the place that interests you is in the Land Down Under, consider some of the great house and land packages Austral, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Do some maintenance

Most of us have that one thing that we’ve been putting off for too long, whether it’s repainting the walls or fixing some piece of electronics. And, every time we pass by it or happen to need it, we get that boost of stress, knowing that we should fix it – yet, leaving it for another day. So, look around your home, and fix everything that needs to be fixed. By doing so, you’re bound to feel much more comfortable in your home.

Let there be light

The lighting can greatly affect your mood, so try to adjust it to your needs. During the day, you should let in as much natural light as you can, since it would boost your energy levels and help you focus. As for the artificial lighting, you can use string lights in your bathroom and bedroom to create a more romantic and subtle atmosphere.

Even though you might not be able to avoid stress completely, there are ways to manage it. One of the best places to start is your own home, so pay attention to your home design. If you keep your home clean, organized, well-lit, and spiced up with some plants, you’re bound to feel much better in it.

Sustainable Home Storage: Smart Solutions

Different people have different ideas of what a perfect home should consist of and look like. However, the thing that probably everyone will agree on is that it needs to have enough storage space. Simply put, unless you have enough storage solutions is your home, you won’t have a place for all of your things. And if that’s the case, your home can easily become cluttered and messy.

That being said, smart and sustainable storage solutions are where it’s at if your home is lacking proper storage. There are numerous ways you can create enough storage in your home seamlessly, with the help of just some easy tricks. Here are some ideas.

First, declutter everything

The fact is that all of us probably own too many things and a good portion of those things we simply don’t end up using. Therefore, before you start implementing new storage solutions in your home, make sure you declutter the already existing ones. Take everything out of your closets, get things off of your shelves and empty out your cabinets. Group everything in the middle of the room and Kondo every pile, room by room. Once you have all the things sorted into a “throw-away”, “donate” and “keep” pile, you can start returning the things from the “keep” pile into your existing storage. Organizing everything will be much easier once you have more room and fewer things to organize.

Focus on sustainable materials

When looking to implement any type of new storage solutions in your home, be it drawer dividers, closet inserts or shelving units, make sure you go with sustainable materials. Plastic, even though it is widely available and may seem like the most practical solution is not quite the best option. Not only will it last significantly shorter, but it is also pretty detrimental for the environment in general. That is why you should consider wooden, glass and even metal containers and solutions instead. Instead of storing your food in tupperware, look for mason jars and other glass or stainless-steel containers that will serve the same purpose. Wooden crates and metal baskets are also excellent solutions for storing produce, or they can even work as wardrobe fillers.

Think big

Furthermore, if you’ve decluttered your home but you still have a lot of things left, consider adding some big storage solutions so that you have enough room to store all of your belongings. This storage solution doesn’t have to be placed in your home per se, rather you can install it in your garage or even basement. Here, think in terms of industrial shelving solutions as they are sturdy and offer enough room for storing various items. This way, you’ll create more storage options in your home without actually compromising its current style or functionality. The best part about this type of shelving is that it is customizable in terms of size and height, so you can easily find the right fit for a space of any size. Also, make sure you go with sustainable materials as well, as they offer better support and greater durability.

Consider multifunctional furniture

Alternatively, if you live in a rather small apartment which only further limits your ability to add proper storage solutions, you may want to consider replacing your current furniture pieces with multifunctional ones. For instance, choose a bed that has a hidden storage compartment underneath and go with bedside tables that have at least three drawers. For the living room, choose a couch that – again – comes with built-in storage and maybe even use a vintage wooden trunk as your coffee table. This way, you will have a place to store your belongings without having to fill your home with various shelves and other types of conventional storage. Finally, you can even get a few rattan baskets and use them as a storage solution. Not only will they provide you with enough room for storing certain items, like throw pillows and covers, but they look very stylish and will have no problem fitting in with your interior.

So, try to replace any plastic storing bins in your home for glass, wooden or metal alternatives and come up with different ways you can store away your belongings in plain sight. Implement furniture pieces that contain hidden storage for some additional storing options and make sure you declutter on a regular basis, to avoid being overwhelmed with items you don’t even use in your day-to-day.

Earth-Friendly Home Plumbing: The Essentials

With so many different ways to go green in your home, home plumbing doesn’t often cross the minds of many homeowners, but it does present an excellent opportunity to be more earth-friendly. The advantages range from lower utility costs long term and reduced energy consumption, to leading a healthier life in a healthier environment.

Obviously, home plumbing covers many aspects, from the water heater, pipes and drainage to toilets, sinks and sewer main, so there are numerous ways to green up your plumbing. After careful analysis, even if it costs more initially, the benefits it brings regarding later savings and impact on the environment and the quality of your life, far outweigh the money, time and effort spent in its realisation.

Costs of green plumbing

The cost of installing green plumbing will differ depending on the type of project you opt for, but in general, hiring a plumber will cost you up to $300. With green plumbing, the initial price may be higher, but thinking long term, your investment will pay off with the cuts in energy and water usage.

Whether you have a green or traditional plumbing system, the costs will rise drastically in cases of emergency and during non-business hours. Knowing this, you shouldn’t wait for things to escalate and minor plumbing issues to turn into catastrophes. Relying on genuine experts, such as this emergency plumber in Sydney, can save your nerves and money by fixing any problem you may have, form leaky taps and toilets, to blocked drainage and various repairs.

Benefit no.1: Lower energy consumption

The first advantage that green plumbing brings is a reduction in your home’s energy consumption. It’s widely known that if there’s even the slightest leak, heat will escape your home and it’s most evident in the piping system. By insulating your pipes, you can prevent the heat loss between your water heater and faucets.

With an on-demand hot water circulation pump that sends the hot water to all your fixtures, you’ll double your savings: there’ll be no heat loss when the hot water sits unused in the pipes and with instant hot water coming as soon as you open the faucets, there’ll be no water waste.

Benefit no.2: A healthier home

Water quality is an essential part of a healthy home and before you start investing in your home green plumbing, it’s wise to find out what kind of water you’re supplying to your home. There are various water purification methods available depending on different water issues so you might want to have professionals test the water in your home before you start.

If there are reasons for your concern regarding the drinking water, you may consider installing a water purification system such as carbon filters in faucets and showerheads that absorb pollutants of a reverse osmosis system on your sink that will ensure clean water for drinking and cooking.

Benefit no.3: A greener environment

Anything you can do to reduce the amount of water your household consumes will contribute to the preservation of the environment. For instance, by installing low-flow showers and faucets, you’ll cut your water usage by 60% and a low-flow toilet that replaces a traditional type of toilet which is the biggest water draw in a home can reduce the water use by five or six times per each flush.

Moreover, faucet flow reducers are easy to install on the end of your faucets and can cut water usage by 40%, whereas installing energy-efficient home appliances such as dishwashers and clothes washers can lower your water consumption by as much as 50%.

In summary, there are many ways to green up your plumbing system but there’s no need to do everything at once. You may want to give a couple of methods a try and see what it gets you. No matter what you choose, you need to know that green plumbing will not only contribute to your healthier living but also to the quality of life of future generations.