Green Living News

How To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

Committing to greener living isn’t an easy task but you can start reducing your carbon footprint and lower the cost of your electricity bill by making some eco-friendly changes to your home which you can start implementing straight away.

The eco-friendly home infographic by Roofing Outlet comes in a handy room-by-room design to help guide you through the littlest and biggest changes you can make in each room of your house. We should all be aware of the problems and the negative impact which we’re causing to the environment and should be aiming to reduce the carbon footprint on this earth. Quite often though, it’s knowing where to start and it can become quite overwhelming when deciding to make greener lifestyle changes, which is why it’s best to either focus on one room at a time, or just pick one key change from each room to start off with.

From washing your clothes at 30 degrees and using energy efficient light bulbs, to buying food locally and choosing second-hand furniture, let’s start making a difference today!

However, The Green Living Guy suggests LED bulbs vs CFL. 

10 common recycling mistakes Americans make

Did you know that Americans create 254 million tons of waste each year, and that $7 billion worth of that waste is recyclable material which ends up in landfills because of improper disposal? Do you remember when we were told not to recycle the caps to plastic bottles? Many people still think it’s not good to do that, yet, it’s actually one of the most common recycling mistakes we make nowadays.

There are many things we can do to better our recycling efforts, and one of the first steps to doing something better is to understand what you’re doing incorrectly. 

Check out the Common Mistakes People Make When Recycling infographic here:


Grocer Program Shows 32 Percent Lift in Sales with Sustainability Ratings
NEW YORK, September 13, 2016 – HowGood, an independent research organization and the best source of information on the food we eat, today announced a new program in which select HowGood certified brands will now be able to display their HowGood BEST rating directly on packaging. The new program, aptly named HowGood Certified, goes beyond the typical shelf tag rating system (next to the price), making it even easier for consumers to identify authentic brands they can trust, and in turn, support an overall better food system. The program spans a number of categories: coffee, dairy, eggs, superfoods, and more, and includes brands like Trickling Springs Creamery, Ethical Bean Coffee, Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, Big Island Bees, and Solana Gold Organics, among others. 

best organic howgood

“Getting the HowGood BEST rating directly on the package and into the hands of consumers has been our vision since day one,” said Alexander Gillett, CEO of HowGood. “While we still offer our more traditional shelf tag system, which has a proven lift in sales among grocers, the next evolution of HowGood will allow brands to educate buyers on why these ratings matter. Smart, ethical brands understand the need for consumers to know how their food is being made and what impact it has.”

With this new program, HowGood supports brands with better practices by helping consumers find them more easily, which in turn will create a better food system. A new website dedicated to offering more in-depth information on the brands allows consumers to understand how the brand is bettering the food system. For brands, it offers another way to share their story around what makes them sustainable, including how they earned a BEST rating from HowGood, based on the following criteria:

· Better sourcing and processing standards
· More wholesome ingredients
· Humane treatment of animals
· Fair policies for workers

“Not only will this help better the food system, but it will disrupt the norm with information and transparency, while also allowing consumers to differentiate between brands,” said Joe Miller, Director of Marketing for Trickling Springs Creamery. “Being part of the HowGood Certified Program means wider access to existing and potential customers as well as a place to share our story.”

To date, HowGood’s grocer program shows an average lift in sales of 32% for BEST rated products when the rating system is on the shelf. Over the past nine years, HowGood has developed the world’s largest database of sustainable food ratings, including an in-store rating system that identifies industry leaders in the food system. HowGood is currently the only company that rigorously researches the goodness of food products based on multiple metrics and highlights those ratings for consumers at the point of purchase. With over 70 industry-specific indicators per food item, from ingredient sourcing to labor practices, the organization has rated over 170,000 products.

The in-store ratings can be found on the shelves of hundreds of stores across 26 states and are also accessible via iTunes and Google Play.

Source: HowGood

Mirabella Homes “LEED” to Huge Savings for Home Buyers

BRADENTON, Fla., Sept. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Linda Lawrence was stunned when she opened her first month’s electric bill. It was $40.67. Unheard of in Florida.

“I keep my thermostat at 77 degrees,” she said, “And it actually feels chilly.”

Lawrence was the first to buy a villa in Mirabella, a new development near the Gulf beaches, Sarasota/Bradenton, and the IMG sports community.

leed homes

Marshall Gobuty is Mirabella’s developer. “I’m terribly concerned about global warming and what it will mean for the Florida’s future,” he said. “I’m building the most energy-efficient homes in the United States. The houses are designed to save water as well as electricity. Building materials are recycled. “All this adds only about five per cent to the cost of these homes,” Gobuty says, “And they have everything it takes for LEED certification.”

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the U.S. Green Building Council’s way to measure five design categories aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of new homes, while increasing the living qualities of those homes at the same time. The five ways in which certified homes are measured are:

leed home florida
Sustainable sites
: this emphasizes the vital relationships among buildings, ecosystems, and ecosystem services.

Water efficiency
, which is based on an “efficiency first” approach to water conservation.

Energy and atmosphere, focusing on energy use reduction and energy-efficient design.

Materials and resources, which supports a life-cycle approach that improves performance and promotes resource efficiency.

Indoor environmental quality for air quality and comfort.

Of the 647,800 single-family homes build in the United States in 2014, less than one per cent met LEED standards. The percentage meeting those criteria on the Gulf Coast of Florida was even smaller, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Mirabella’s LEED certified homes use nearly 40 percent less energy than what is used in a typical home. They feature Energy Star appliances manufactured by companies including GE, Carrier, Argos, Shaw and Atrium.
Plumbing features include EPA WaterSense faucets, toilets, showers and irrigation controllers, which help reduce water consumption significantly — with no reduction in overall performance.

Homes are inspected for quality control during each phase of the building process. Synergy Building Corp., the lead builder of Mirabella, insures that almost all construction waste is recycled.

Peggy Christ, who is with the Governing Council of a USGBC branch in Southwest Florida, said the biggest benefit that people get when buying a LEED certified home is a healthier home with less maintenance.

“These are the most energy-efficient homes in the country,” Christ said. “It’s a win-win situation for the buyer and what they’ve done is just phenomenal.”

New LEED homes also offer a spray foam insulation that provides a barrier up to 50 percent tighter and more effective against moisture and allergens. High-end vinyl windows help keep cool air indoors and drastically reduce bleaching of floors and furniture – which in turn help drive energy costs further down.

Clarence Jones owned a home on nearby Anna Maria Island before relocating to similar-sized house in Mirabella. He has been saving nearly $200 a month on his electric bill. Jones credits that to the insulation that was installed when his home was built earlier this year.

“During the summer my electric bill would have been over $250, but the highest it’s been here in Mirabella is $60,” Jones said. “The temperatures in my house and in my attic are rarely more than 10 degrees apart — and an attic in Florida can be 150 degrees in the middle of the summer.”

All of these energy-friendly features recently helped Mirabella win three prestigious Aurora Awards. Mirabella was tops in Green Construction categories “Green Construction,” “Water-Wise Home” and “Energy Efficient Home.”

In addition to the Aurora Awards, Mirabella just earned LEED Platinum level certification. That is the highest level of certification a home can maintain and the only one that’s earned that level in the state of Florida, according to Christ.

Mirabella’s villa homes start at $270,880 and average around 1,500 square feet of living space. Comparable homes on Florida’s Gulf Coast that lack the environmentally-friendly features of a LEED certified home start in the low to mid-$300,000’s.

Christ said that today’s homebuyers – particularly retirees on a fixed income – are looking for long-term savings on energy costs. This is particularly true in Florida, where air conditioning systems run year-round. 

“LEED Platinum certified homes are exceedingly rare, particularly in this price range,” Christ said. “These homes should be worth 10 to 15 percent more than they are because of the way they help you save on energy costs. They’ll also have high resale value.”

Mirabella promotes an active adult lifestyle featuring first-class amenities that include gated entry with 24-hour security cameras, large clubhouse, heated swimming pool and spa, fenced-in dog park, pickle-ball courts, a modern fitness center, and an outdoor kitchen and barbecue area.

There are also several events each week that are aimed at bringing the community together. Marc Dillworth, who resides in Mirabella with wife Melea, says the couple has gotten to know a lot of their neighbors through the social gatherings.

“We came from a single-family home where you were on your own,” Marc Dillworth said. “People are kind of isolated, but here it’s more of a community feeling and this is what we want in this phase of our lives. It’s a lot of fun and we’re very happy.”
Gobuty said he’s leaving the door open for another LEED-based development in the future.

“I’ve learned to never say never, and anything is possible,” he said. “What I have learned from the Mirabella Florida development is that being environmentally sound, sustainable and friendly to the Earth is a crucial component as the buyers we attract are willing to pay a little bit more for something a whole lot better. That means instead of being just a part of any next development, it would be at the center of it.”

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Green Non-Toxic Office Cleaning

Everyone loves a clean and tidy office space; not only does it promote a higher degree of productivity, it also helps to keep things like dust and bacteria in check. That said, how many of us are taking our pristine desktops, counters, and bathrooms for granted? For that matter, how many of us have ever stopped and wondered whether or not the products that are being used on a daily or weekly basis to disinfect everything from the office furniture to the executive boardrooms aren’t actually doing more harm than good? 

While off the shelf cleaners do in fact deliver on their promise of producing a dazzling shine and a lemony scent (for the most part anyway), many of the chemicals found in such products have been linked to conditions ranging from skin and eye irritation, eczema, hives and, on a more serious note, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Doing away with scheduled cleanings isn’t an option – so the question becomes, how should you go about cleaning your office space in an efficient, and most importantly, safe manner?

First and Foremost, Be Part of the Green Movement

If your company is viewed as ‘green’ – meaning that it uses (or produces) eco-friendly products or furnishings, it should extend this philosophy to envelop the cleaning products that are used as part of their day-to-day cleaning regimen. After all, it’s somewhat hypocritical to claim on one hand that your firm is conscientious of the environment if the other hand is busily scrubbing every surface with harmful, (and in many ways toxic) cleaners.

Now, you could always go the route a of developing a proprietary blend of lemon juice, water, and baking soda to avoid the harmful effects listed above, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination to play chemist, there are a number of eco-friendly cleaning products available on the market that are just as effective as their harsh, chemical-laden counterparts. 

Things to Look for

When choosing a cleaning product, there are a number of things to consider. To name just a few, your new cleaning product should include some of the following characteristics:

green seal
Bottle and cleaning solution should both be derived from renewable, plant-based sources to limit environmental impact

Look for products that have been tested by an independent third party, validating both its eco-friendliness and its propensity for eliminating filth and grime

The most effective green cleaning products contain a high level of non-toxic active ingredients. You should attempt to select one that is both biodegradable and hypoallergenic to prevent irritating even the most sensitive friendly office furnitute

Reduce environmental impact before the office even gets dirty with the purchase of environmentally friendly furniture.

Consider avoiding anti-bacterial soaps. It is now widely known that antibacterial soaps are no more effective at preventing common afflictions like the seasonal cold or flu (in fact both are viruses). Overusing antibacterial products can create resistant strains of bacteria, and contributes to the development of allergies & asthma.

Create a Spotless Work Environment Using Steam

Where practical, using steam to clean your office’s various surfaces is an ideal way to avoid chemical cleaners altogether without sacrificing cleaning power – after all, steam consist of one solitary ingredient: water. Many companies and homeowners use steam to clean everything from carpets to bathroom floors, confident in the knowledge that there are no adverse effects whatsoever.

Look for a Cleaning Company that Shares Your Vision

There’s a common misconception out there that third party janitorial services avoid using eco-friendly cleaning products because they limit their ability to maximize profits. Contrary to this belief, eco-products are priced competitively with conventional products and some cleaning services have gone so far as to carve themselves a niche by only using eco-friendly cleaning products. If the company you use doesn’t offer these products, insist on it. Otherwise, rest easy knowing that there is no shortage of companies out there that will.

Eco-Products: Send a Message to Your Staff

Much in the same vein of encouraging your employees to use an ergonomic office chair or keyboard to promote their physical well-being, letting them know that the company uses environmentally friendly and health conscious cleaning supplies exclusively will go a long way in showing just how much you value them. As an employer, showing your workforce they are valued can help to build company loyalty, reduce employee turnover, and foster a positive work environment.