Easy Ways to Live More Eco-Friendly

Everyone agrees that being more eco-friendly is a great goal, but is anyone really doing anything about it? You may be put off by the thought of composting, separating recyclables into a variety of bins, or buying new appliances that are more energy-efficient. While these are all good for the environment, there are several other steps that you can take that don’t require a lot of effort or money. 

Eat More Veggies, Less Meat

Along with the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less meat can aid the environment. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 26 percent of the Earth’s ice-free land is used to raise livestock, while 33 percent of croplands are used to grow food for livestock. Every year, we lose more forest land needed to grow crops to feed an increasing amount of livestock. Add in the methane produced by large amounts of animals, and it’s easy to understand why meat-eaters are being encouraged to lower their intake.

Borrow, Don’t Buy

Instead of buying new, try borrowing books, music, and movies from libraries; most keep a variety of each on hand. Shop for clothes at thrift stores, which often receive unused, overstocked items in mint condition. Start a tool collective with neighbors, and you’ll all save money; instead of buying a ladder that you use twice a year, borrow it.

Learn About Appliances

 We all love the convenience of appliances, and it’s unlikely anyone would go back to washing clothes by hand. Here are a few tips to make appliance use more energy efficient.

  • Washing machines: Use cold water whenever possible. This simple change will save you up to 90 percent on energy costs incurred by this machine.
  • Water heater: Set the temperature lower. Do you really need water set at 140 degrees? Drop it to 120; you won’t even notice the difference.
  • Dishwasher: Wash only full loads and use the timer to delay washing until after midnight; you’ll save on peak energy costs and reduce the strain on your city’s peak energy use times.
  • Clothes dryer: On nice days, hang your wash outside to line dry and soak up that sweet smell of fresh air; on rainy days, hang it inside.
  • Oven: Find ways to use your energy-hogging oven less. Use a pressure cooker, microwave or toaster oven instead. 

If you do find yourself in the market for new appliances, look for Energy Star appliances that are more efficient. Keep in mind that a front-loading washing machine uses less energy than a top-loading one. 

Go Paperless 

Digital technology has helped cut down on the amount of paper we use, but it has by no means conquered it. According to the EPA, making paper from recycled paper requires less energy, about 60 percent of the amount used to make paper from wood pulp. Manufacture of one ton of computer or office paper from recycled paper saves 3,000-4,000 kilowatt hours. Recycling one ton of paper also saves 15-17 mature trees. This does require a little effort to separate papers from trash, but it’s an easy step requiring only one separate bin.

Water Conservation 

There are several simple ways to save water.

  • Ban plastic bottles: Only 20 percent of plastic water bottles get recycled; the rest end up in the landfill. Use tap water and a reusable water bottle instead.
  • Showering: Use a low-flow showerhead, which uses 25-60 less water. Use a bucket to capture unused water from the showerhead and use it to water plants.
  • Turn the tap off: Be mindful of wasting water by leaving it running while you wash your face and brush your teeth. 

Water is one of our most precious commodities. Capturing water otherwise lost through evaporation is the goal of the Cadiz Water Project in Southern California. This project aims to create a new, sustainable water source, one of several innovative worldwide conservation efforts.

Save Electricity

Some of these tips you may have heard before, but they bear repeating, including this one that your parents tried to drum into you: Turn off lights when you leave a room. Opt for longer-lasting and energy-saving light bulbs, specifically compact fluorescent lights or CFLs. They use about one-fourth the energy of a regular bulb and last up to 10 times longer. 

Another way to save is to unplug your electronics when not in use. Even if they’re not turned on and active, they are still using some energy, which can add up when you realize how many electrical products you leave plugged in around the house. 

Most of these simple steps require little effort on your part; the hard part is changing your habits. Try to incorporate them one by one, so you don’t feel overwhelmed and give up. Remind yourself which habit you’re trying to learn, or break, by posting sticky-notes by the light switch, the faucet, or wherever appropriate and remove them once you’ve mastered the habit. 

Benefits to a Green Home

More and more people are beginning to understand the connection between the way we build our homes and Earth’s well-being. Today, we are aware of the impact it has on the environment, human health and the economy. Green and eco-friendly building is not just a passing developmental trend and a fashion statement. It is a necessity in these and future times if we want to improve the quality of our lives and protect natural resources and biodiversity.

The benefits of building green homes are numerous and experts usually divide them into three different categories: environmental, economic and social. Let’s see how these green strategies maximise economic, environmental and social performance.

Environmental benefits
Are you aware of the fact that buildings are responsible for approximately 40 percent of carbon emissions? Unlike renewable energy sources (wind and solar power for example), the production of fossil fuel electricity is releasing pollutants, contributing to global warming and numerous issues that accompany it.

As green homes are built with less embodied energy, less greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. It would be possible to prevent further environmental damage if only more builders and homeowners opted for sustainable building. Using alternative sources of energy and saving water is easy with additions such as solar panels and rainwater tanks.

Green homes are also responsible for reducing waste as sustainable building is focused on reusing materials and deconstruction, instead of demolition and construction from the start. Finally, green homes are built to last. Increasing durability by using construction materials that last results in reducing a significant amount of waste over time.

Economic benefits
Most people are mistaken thinking that sustainable building must be expensive. The truth is that green homes don’t necessarily have to be more expensive than regular ones. Even if there are some additional costs, future savings are tenfold.

Green design provides energy efficiency that leads to tangible reductions in operation costs. Therefore, there is no need to worry about additional project costs – reductions in monthly water and energy bills should make up for the investment.

People who are thinking of selling their property in the future should seriously consider green building. A study carried out by The Earth Advantage Institute shows that sustainability-certified homes sell for up to 30 percent more than their regular counterparts. The resale value of property is increased due to lower overall operating costs, reduced energy needs and easy maintenance.

Social benefits
Increased health and comfort represent the social benefits of green homes. This is not surprising as green builders use natural and non-toxic materials and products in construction such as formaldehyde-free flooring and carpeting. Healthy air ventilation, natural lighting, stable temperature and insulation play an important part in occupants’ health and all these factors increase human productivity and well-being.

How can our health be affected by poor indoor conditions? Sick building syndrome is a range of various health problems that can occur because of indoor toxins. Occupants can suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems, allergies, headaches, rashes, nausea, etc. If you’re experiencing these conditions, you should think about removing toxins from your living environment and introducing healthy ventilation.
More pleasing aesthetic qualities and improved overall quality of life are other social benefits we can get from switching to green building.

Building a green home
How can you make your home green? Energy efficiency is maybe the most important characteristic of a green home. Some of them feature rainwater tanks and other additions that reduce the consumption of water from the regular water supply. Installing solar panels provides homes with clean energy and they further reduce operational costs.

Sustainable building also involves using recycled and recyclable materials in construction. Builders are turning to traditional and proven methods. Recycled stone, straw bale, rammed earth and mud brick, new forms of concrete (with less embodied energy), FSC-certified timber, bamboo – those are the materials that are used in green building today.

There is no real green design without smart home positioning and high-quality insulation. We have already mentioned good air ventilation, natural lighting and a steady, comfortable temperature, all of which contribute to the occupants’ well-being and productivity. This is most easily achieved with the help of spatial zoning, orientation, ventilation, shading, glazing, using thermal mass and appropriate insulation.

Various countries offer different tax incentives and rebates to home buyers of green homes. Also, the number of builders who are able to provide you with a true and certified eco-home is on the rise. Home buyers, builders and the government – they all see the benefits of sustainable building and welcome green homes as the best option for our future. Have these facts in mind the next time you’re looking to buy or build a home and opt for a solution that will benefit both you and the environment!Various countries offer different tax incentives and rebates to home buyers of green homes. Also, the number of builders who are able to provide you with a true and certified eco-home is on the rise. Home buyers, builders and the government – they all see the benefits of sustainable building and welcome green homes as the best option for our future. Have these facts in mind the next time you’re looking to buy or build a home and opt for a solution that will benefit both you and the environment!IMG_2378.JPG

Experts Share their Secrets to an Eco Friendly Lifestyle

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.

Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin! That’s why the team at EmPower Solar decided to speak with a panel of eco-friendly experts on their personal practices. You can see their best advice here.

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.  Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin!

How to Select a Green Lodge when Traveling, Part 1

You are a person who puts active thought into eco-practices at home, but what happens when you go on vacation? Do you ever wonder “Where Can I Find a ‘Green’ Hotel or B&B?” or “How Can I Tell the Difference Between an Authentic Eco Lodge and One That Is Not?” or “Is There a Reliable Directory I Can Use?” If you have asked those questions, you’re in good company. But the answers are surprisingly complicated.

Here’s the reality: there is no one universal authority or definitive tool that eco-conscious consumers can turn to for sourcing “green” vacation accommodations.


With hundreds of countries around the world – all with different government agencies, infrastructure, politics, regulations, and living standards – it is a most difficult task to devise a uniform platform.

In a pinch, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that the ecotourism industry is relatively young and evolving quickly. More consumers are demanding “eco-friendly” travel options, so there will be a response in kind from the industry. More information will become available via online directories and useful apps ready to download to your smart phone or tablet.——————————————————————————————————

Costa Rica is a top-ranked destination for “green” vacations. Click here to learn more about a jungle lodge and rafting adventures down the Pacuare River in Costa Rica – https://www.ecotourlinq.com/blog/spotlight-interview-with-rios-tropicales

Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River  Photo credit: Rios Tropicales
Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River Photo credit: Rios Tropicales

What does a green lodge look like? Well the facility can be any number of things – a working ranch or farm, a seaside hotel, a mountain inn, a jungle lodge (on the ground or in the trees), a small village B&B, a desert bunker, a campground, or a dormitory-style hostel. Frequently these accommodations will be located inside or near a national park or possibly a World Heritage Site.
Coming up in Part 2 – Tourism Bureaus and Ecotourism Associations

Guest Writer Bio: Deborah Regen is the publisher of a website directory and blog dedicated to consumer information about ecotourism and sustainable travel. She also sends out a free monthly e-newsletter to subscribers including notices of giveaways. https://www.EcoTourLinQ.com and her email = admin@ecotourlinq.com

Recycle Old Electronics While Purchasing Gifts at Same Time!

Did you know that 25% of all men suffer from “green guilt”, coinciding with the significant increase in E-Waste (used cell phones, old gadgets, old laptops, etc.) we’ve been accumulating? Those are the facts according to a new survey by Call2Recycle®! (Green Guilt is the feeling that they could and should be doing more to help the environment.) 

Father’s Day is right around the corner, so why not help dads get rid of those guilty feelings and remind them to pitch in and help out the environment? If you’re readers receive any new electronics or cell phones as gifts, they can get their dose of green in by recycling those old phones and the used rechargeable batteries from the devices they’ll be replacing. 

With the help of Call2Recycle, the only no-cost rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America, dads can recycle the used rechargeable batteries from their old devices (cell phones, digital cameras, cordless power tools, laptops, etc.) at any of its drop-off locations at community collection sites and retailers nationwide such as Best Buy, RadioShack and The Home Depot.

“Our research shows that more than half of us are holding on to old gadgets in junk drawers and elsewhere rather than recycling them – in part because they don’t know how or where to recycle old technology,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle.  “Keeping electronics and used rechargeable batteries out of the waste stream is vital to the long-term sustainability of our planet.” Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted 70 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from landfills and established a network of 30,000 public collection sites.

Using rechargeable batteries is a simple step toward a greener lifestyle, and Call2Recycle offers up the following tips to assure the family get the most life out of their new rechargeable batteries by reducing how often they need to be replaced.

  • Follow the charging guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Each product has specific batteries charging battery charging times prior to their initial use.
  • Never return a fully-charged battery to the charger for an extra boost – it actually shortens the life of the battery!
  • Do not leave your rechargeable battery in the charger when not charging. Continuous charging can shorten battery life.
  • When they no longer hold a charge and it’s time to replace your battery, be sure to recycle your old one.

Call2Recycle is the nation’s most comprehensive rechargeable battery and cellphone recycling solution, providing a responsible and convenient way to recycle cellphones and rechargeable batteries found in electronic products, such as laptop computers, digital cameras, cordless power tools, two-way radios, mp3 players and camcorders.  There is no charge to drop-off batteries for recycling or be a collection site. For more information and to find local drop-off locations, visit www.call2recycle.org.