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Deciding Between Renovating Your Home or Moving: Factors to Consider

April 30, 2024
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Deciding between renovating your home or moving presents a significant challenge for many homeowners. This decision impacts your living environment but also your financial situation and emotional well-being. As you contemplate this choice, consider aspects such as home organization and decor, which play a role in how we perceive our living spaces. Making an informed decision requires understanding both the practicalities and the deeper connections we have with our homes.

Start With Evaluating Your Needs

So, you’re at a crossroads, thinking about renovating your home or moving. It’s essential to start by assessing what you truly need from your living space. Do you crave more room for a growing family, or are you looking to downsize and simplify? Your current home might lack essential features that no amount of remodeling can fix, such as a convenient location or a suitable layout. On the other hand, a renovation might offer the perfect opportunity to tailor your home to your exact needs without the hassle of relocating.

man using a laptop

Financial Considerations

Talking about finances, the cost is often the most significant factor when deciding whether to renovate or move. Renovations can vary widely in price, depending on the scope and quality of work. However, remember to factor in the hidden costs, like temporary housing if your home becomes uninhabitable during major works. Similarly, moving involves expenses beyond just the price of the new house – think stamp duty, legal fees, and agent commissions.

It’s also worth considering how each choice affects your home’s value. While renovations can significantly increase value, the right move can also secure a property that appreciates faster over time. Sometimes, the investment in crucial maintenance tasks for your current home, such as updating the electrical system or fixing the roof, can boost its value and livability, tipping the scales in favor of renovating.

Space and Location

Next, consider how both options impact your desired space and location. You might love your current neighborhood, with its familiar faces and favorite spots. Renovating allows you to stay put, avoiding the disruption of moving to a new area. Yet, if your needs have outgrown what your current location can offer, moving might be the only way to get that extra bedroom or closer proximity to work. It’s a tough call between the comfort of the known and the potential of the new.

The Emotional Factor

Don’t underestimate the emotional connection you have with your home. For many, a house isn’t just a building; it’s where memories are made. The thought of leaving behind a beloved home can be heartbreaking, making renovating an appealing option. However, the excitement of creating new memories in a different place might outweigh the sadness of leaving the old one behind. This emotional journey is deeply personal, and what feels right for one person might not for another.

Time and Convenience When Considering Renovating Your Home or Moving

When you weigh the options of renovating your home or moving, time and convenience play crucial roles.

  1. Renovations can stretch over months or even a year, depending on the project’s scale. This duration tests your patience but also disrupts daily life. Living in a construction zone means dealing with noise, dust, and often, the inconvenience of not being able to use parts of your home.
  2. Moving, on the other hand, typically involves a shorter period of disruption. However, it includes the time-consuming tasks of house hunting, packing, and settling into a new neighborhood. Plus, there’s the effort of transferring services and possibly changing schools, which adds to the to-do list.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

Also, when thinking about transforming your home through renovation, remember that legal and regulatory hurdles can impact your plans. Depending on where you live, you might need permits for structural changes, electrical work, or even outdoor landscaping. Navigating these requirements adds another layer of complexity to the renovation process.

In contrast, moving doesn’t usually come with these types of regulatory concerns, unless you’re moving into a home that also needs significant work. It’s essential to research and understand these legal aspects before making a decision, as they can affect both your timeline and budget.

Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

Today, many homeowners prioritize sustainability and energy efficiency. Renovating your home offers a golden opportunity to integrate green technologies and materials. For instance, you could install solar panels, upgrade to energy-efficient windows, or use sustainable materials for your chic interior decor. These changes reduce your environmental footprint but can also lower utility bills.

Choosing to move gives you the chance to select a home that’s already designed with energy efficiency in mind. However, finding such a home might require more research and potentially a higher initial investment.

Market Trends

Furthermore, it’s smart to consider current market trends when deciding between renovating your home or moving. In a seller’s market, you might get a great price for your current home, making moving a more attractive option. But if it’s a buyer’s market, you might find your dream home at a bargain, even if it means needing to invest in some updates.

What Should You Do Next If You Decide to Stay And Renovate?

If you opt for renovation, start by setting a clear budget to guide your project. Contacting professionals, such as architects and contractors, is crucial for expert advice and to ensure your plans are feasible. Assess the need for permits and consider the timeline for your project. It’s also wise to plan for temporary living arrangements if the renovation is extensive. Preparing well ensures a smoother renovation process, allowing you to focus on creating your dream home.

What Step Is Next If You Want To Move?

Deciding to move requires a different set of preparations. Begin by organizing and packing your belongings, making sure to sort out necessary documents early. Hiring a reliable moving company is key to a smooth transition. Professional Movers Canada offers an experienced team of packers and movers, ensuring your move is hassle-free. Whether you need secure storage units or a convenient way to relocate, turning to this company adds credibility and peace of mind to your moving process, letting you enjoy the journey to your new home.

renovating your home or moving

So, Are You Renovating Your Home or Moving?

Ultimately, whether renovating your home or moving is the right choice depends on a complex interplay of factors unique to each homeowner. It requires a careful balance of practical considerations, financial implications, and personal preferences. By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate all aspects of each option, you can make a decision that best suits your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Remember, whether you choose to transform your current space or embark on a new adventure in a different home, the goal is to create a living environment where you and your family can thrive.

Architectural Innovations in Eco-conscious Home Building

April 22, 2024
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The blueprint of a home is more than just a structural plan; it’s the heart of architectural design. This critical aspect not only lays the foundation for the physical structure but also shapes the aesthetic appeal and functionality of a home. Innovative architectural designs have the power to make a house stand out, attract attention, and create a comfortable living environment.

Immerse yourself in the world of unique floor plans, innovative use of materials, and captivating design elements that define modern homes. The collaboration with architects or designers can transform your ideas into a cohesive, functional design that aligns with your vision and lifestyle.

Remember, architecture influences how we feel in our living spaces. The finest ideas are worthless if they don’t resonate with the end-users. So, let’s explore how innovative concepts in the residential building sector are merging functionality and aesthetics to create truly remarkable modern homes.

Architectural Innovations in Home Building

Architectural novelties in constructing residences encompass unique material utilization, captivating design elements, and distinct floor plans. These features offer an innovative edge marked by impressive aesthetics and functional proficiency. Moreover, architects leverage modern principles and recent trends to create designs aligned with individual desires.

Two major influences over creation involve local climatic and cultural factors shaping the residence’s design. Astute architects harmoniously blend purpose and beauty, resulting in a striking symbiosis that benefits the users. Notably, the choice of windows shows a perfect example of a region’s climate and culture-inspired innovation. For instance, in warmer climes, architects incorporate smaller windows into the design. This aspect highlights the fact that the beauty of architectural innovation lies in striking a balance between design and the requirements of the environment.

To explore how reflective bubble insulation can enhance energy efficiency and comfort in modern homes, click here.

Areas of Innovation in Home Building

Interestingly, technological leaps fortify two primary aspects in home construction: material usage and construction techniques. For instance, bio-concrete, packed with bacteria that spring to life when water pervades a crack, excretes calcite that significantly heals the crevice. Additionally, the advent of Transparent aluminium, crafted out of aluminium oxynitride (AION), ushers in a potent revolution. Despite being as sturdy as steel, it exhibits characteristics akin to glass, augmenting the structural strength without compromising aesthetic appeal. I firmly believe that such advancements not only transform the industry’s landscape but also prepare it for any unforeseen future shifts.

The Future of Home Building: Promising Architectural Innovations

Influenced by the swift advancements in technology, the future of home building holds a multitude of exciting opportunities. Self-healing concrete, a development working wonders in taking longevity up a notch, offers promising prospects. Adding years to a building’s life, this technology fosters time and financial efficiency. Furthermore, transparent aluminum, a remarkable innovation, presents unparalleled strength and aesthetic appeal. A considerable investment of 5.38 billion in construction technology has been recorded in 2022, showcasing the industry’s commitment to innovation. This tells us one thing for certain: the home building sector elevates itself, time and again, by adopting cutting-edge technologies, situating architectural progress at the forefront. Hence, the future appears bright, packed with astonishing architectural innovations, revamping the home building landscape.

architectural innovations
Image by freepik

Breaking Barriers: Case Studies of Architectural Innovation in Home Building

In the expanding realm of architectural innovation, two standout breakthroughs command attention. First, the introduction of self-healing concrete, a scientific wonder, ignited a revolution in the construction industry. On contact with water, bacteria in the concrete activate, secrete calcite, and mend a crack, enhancing the durability and lifespan of buildings. Second, the use of transparent aluminium, a novel product described as a bulletproof state of matter. Almost as robust as steel, but resembling glass, this material is made from aluminium oxynitride (AION) and crafted using laser technology. These innovative technologies in the construction field pave the way towards a more sustainable future for home building.

Conclusion: Reflecting on Architectural Innovations and Their Impact on Home Building

Architectural innovations are revolutionizing home building. Unique materials and design elements, coupled with eco-friendly features, are reshaping our living spaces. Innovations like self-healing concrete and transparent aluminum aren’t just novel ideas, they’re game-changers.

These advancements are more than just technological feats. They’re testament to a shift towards sustainability in construction. With these innovations, homes are becoming more resilient while reducing their environmental footprint. This isn’t just about building better homes, it’s about building a better future.

So, as we move forward, let’s embrace these innovations. They’re not just transforming our homes, they’re transforming our world. And that’s an architectural revolution worth being a part of.

How to Make Your Long-Distance Move More Eco-Friendly

October 18, 2022
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Moving is often unavoidable. 

A new job, a family emergency, or just the itch to travel could prompt you to start loading up a U-Haul with your worldly possessions. If you’re relocating, you probably want it to be over as soon and painlessly as possible. As you rush around to pack up your belongings and double-check everything, it’s easy to lose sight of how your relocation impacts the natural world.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are by transportation. Transportation has been the largest contributor to global carbon dioxide emissions since 1990. And if you’re moving to a state like Idaho, which has some of the most populated areas in the country, according to a 2019 State of the Air report, you’d want to be more careful about minimizing this impact.

Here are some ways you can make your move more eco-friendly.

Prefer Self Storage over Commercial Warehouse Storage

If you have some additional items you can’t find space for, we recommend using self-storage facilities to store them to make your move more eco-friendly. 

When you compare several aspects of self-storage with commercial warehouse services, it’s easier to understand the logic behind this advice. First, in a commercial setup, warehouses store the equipment of hundreds of customers in a controlled environment and consequently produce environmental pollution from lighting, heating, and cooling. Therefore, a commercial warehouse means more toxic gas emissions and a bigger carbon footprint. 

Self-storage, on the other hand, is a personalized storage space and thus has a smaller carbon footprint. You can easily find several storage options depending on anywhere you’re moving. 

So if you’re moving to Idaho and are going to be a Rathdrum resident, you can check out Rathdrum self storage. This facility provides all-out 24/7 security to your self-storage with digital access gates. It gives you the luxury of storing your belongings at your convenience and in an eco-friendly way. 

Opt for Backloading Moving Service

With a backloading moving service, you can share the moving truck with other customers and pay for the space you need. It is not only a cost-effective way of moving your stuff, but you can also help the environment by saving the number of trips from your state to another and therefore play your part in reducing carbon footprints. 

Adopt Eco-Friendly Ways of Packing Household Items

Paper and cardboard are among the main packaging waste material amounting to an average of over 82 million tons of municipal solid waste each year

Here are some packing materials and packing tips to decrease your packing expense and make your move greener and more sustainable:

  • Personal Containers

Instead of wasting your plastic and cardboard containers, it’s best to utilize them for packing your stuff. Pack as much of your stuff as possible in personal suitcases, plastic bins, grocery bags, and storage boxes. When you hire a professional moving company, they can easily transport filled drawers and cabinets, so try to fill up your dresser drawers with lighter, non-fragile items. You can also store boxes you have received throughout the year and use them for packing.

  • Recycled Moving Supplies

Using recycled material for packing is your first step towards a green move. Corrugated boxes and crates are the best alternatives to cardboard boxes. They are made from recycled material, are tougher, more durable, and cost-effective. Moving companies that offer green moves usually utilize corrugated boxes and crates to pack all types of items, regardless of weight and size. Corrugated boxes are not only less expensive than cardboard and plastics, but they also help you save fresh resources.

  • Towels and Cotton Sheets

To make your move greener, you can replace bubble wraps and Styrofoam sheets with your quilts, towels, old clothes, and cotton sheets to wrap your fragile items. Quilts and towels are best at absorbing shocks without costing you extra money.

  • Leverage Used Packing Material

Instead of purchasing new cardboard boxes, try to collect used ones wherever possible. For example, you can check out your local grocery stores or friends for spare boxes or purchase defective boxes from a local packaging manufacturer or supplier. In addition, try to find people giving away free moving boxes in your area.

Declutter and Donate

A long-distance move is a perfect time to eliminate all the extra stuff and reduce the number of boxes and packing materials you require. Fewer boxes mean less effort to pack and unpack your household items. Make a list of things you haven’t used in a while or worn-out items that you need to throw away. Donate unused clothing, accessories, furniture, and household items to a charity. If you have any items left even after decluttering and donating, think of ways to recycle them for other purposes. You can also check your area for eco-friendly recycling units to give away unused items. 

Sort Throwaway Items 

Before you get rid of the unused items, it’s best to sort them according to the type of material. For example, put paper-based materials, plastics, glassware, tin, and fabric in separate boxes before handing them over to the purge bin service or local recycling unit. Although recycling units are not always eco-friendly, you can minimize energy use by pre-sorting the materials instead of passing them through the electronic-belt sorting process. 

Recycle Packing Materials and Supplies after the Move is Complete

For an eco-friendly move, you need to keep the environment in mind through the whole process – from packing to moving and unpacking. Once your stuff is delivered to the destinated location, it’s time to adopt eco-friendly ways of recycling the packing materials and supplies. Recycle all the disposable materials or give them away for free to friends, acquaintances, or neighbors who need these packing materials. Avoid disposing of boxes, plastic materials, or non-environmental-friendly materials like bubble wraps, plastic sheets, packing peanuts, or Styrofoam balls. Instead, take them to the nearest recycling unit or give them away. 

Final Thoughts

Every action we take in our daily lives directly impacts the environment. With the climate change crisis soaring, we must adapt to eco-friendly ways in all areas of life, including long-distance moves. The tips mentioned above will help you plan an eco-friendly long-distance move and play your part in minimizing your carbon footprint.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Solar Power

October 17, 2022
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Inflation is a global phenomenon. People from around the world are finding it more and more difficult to manage routine expenditures. Countries that rely exclusively on traditional energy sources like fossil fuels, water, and nuclear for power production have increased electricity costs exorbitantly for domestic and commercial consumers. Owing to high prices and the economic situation, the demand for energy alternatives like solar panels has considerably increased at every level; be it domestic or commercial.  

Cost saving is just one benefit of solar energy. Read on further and understand why solar energy is the best way forward. 

Renewable Energy Solution 

Solar energy is one of the most sustainable forms of power generated by sunlight. Solar panel installation not only supports the lowering of carbon emissions but also reduces the aftermath of global warming, such as acid rain, soil erosions, and environmental pollution. 

Solar panels convert sunlight into renewable energy without emitting greenhouse gases; carbon-di-oxide, poisonous monoxides, nitrogen, sulfur, etc., hence not causing any damaging environmental effects.

Solar Panels = Money Savers

Solar PV panels are super money savers! Users only need to incur an initial cost that pays back within three to four years. This excellent saving capability with an exceptional ROI coupled with a clean power supply drives large populations around the globe to shift to solar power. 

The primary advantage of going solar is 50% reduced electricity bills, and if there is a connected battery backup, users will get 100% relief in power bills and become more energy-independent. 

Another benefit is feed-in-tariff or net metering that enables solar power users to return the excess energy to the public power grid and receive government compensation for that clean power addition generated by their solar panels.

Low maintenance

Another remarkable advantage of diverting to solar power is that installed solar panels do not need much maintenance. Many solar PV systems come with 10 to 25 years of warranty, which ensures their durability and efficient flat design. As solar panels do not have any portable parts, they do not wear and tear as well. Only the inverter requires replacement after 10 to 15 years. 

Solar energy is a constantly evolving technology, and the latest solar panel systems are more efficient than previous ones. These systems now do not lose efficiency after dirt build-up or other environmental factors.

Increase Property Value 

Solar energy is the future, and due to global warming and associated factors, people are shifting to eco-friendly energy alternatives. Nowadays, masses of the population prefer to update their property with solar power as property value is a significant factor for real estate investors and homeowners. Solar panel installation is the most practical way for all property owners to get 10x or more profits on their investments. Several real estate companies vouch that people are paying 20% to 50% more for solar power properties than traditional power sources.  

Government Support

Many developed countries that exclusively relied on fossil fuel power, like Australia, are now shifting to solar energy. Australian governance facilitates its people to install solar panels by offering rebates and feed-in-power incentives. For domestic homeowners, Australia offers STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificates) as a part of their renewable energy target to decrease the concentration of greenhouse gases in the power sector.

Solar Power is Sustainable

In the current geo-political uncertainty, aggressive environmental factors, and scarcity of fossil fuels, solar power is the best sustainable option as a clean energy alternative. Solar power is evolving technology, as it is getting better and more efficient with time. Such enduring power options empower people to become energy-independent and generate inexpensive, eco-friendly, and renewable power from the sun.  

Solar Power Is a Pocket-Friendly Option

In the previous five years, the installation price of a solar PV system has decreased by 50%, thanks to public sector support, rebate offer, and incentives. Thus, all these factors make solar power an economical option for upcoming years and pledge to stay an inexpensive alternative for domestic and commercial sectors around the globe.

Final Thoughts

Annually, fossil fuel energy users pay thousands of dollars in electricity bills. On the contrary, solar-generated power reduces this cost as soon as PV systems get installed. Now is the right time to shift to solar power for long-term savings, as it is a free and renewable energy source. 

Solar panels also significantly increase property resale value because most real estate investors understand the worth of pre-installed PV systems as they save initial installation costs. With the increasing demand for solar power worldwide, the sector also creates numerous job opportunities for diverse workers. Solar PV systems diversify traditional electricity grids, offer more efficient energy and help the domestic and commercial sectors to employ optimal electricity solutions.

Every decade has something that sets it aside from others, and as we’re evolving, so are our homes. The beginning of a new decade symbolizes the start of new trends, and 2020 is a time when we wave goodbye to some of the 2010s trends and turn on a new leaf in terms of interior design and decor.

While some trends are expected to evolve over the next year (think white kitchens and feature walls) new trends such as handmade goods and bold hues are expected to take over our living quarters. Here, we’re rounding up the most notable 2020 interior design and decor trends set to completely transform your home we’ll be seeing as we enter the next decade.

Neutral colours

A new take on neutrals

In 2020, the accent will be more on the warm neutral tones. Usually reserved for the background, neutrals are expected to be brought to the fore, with earthy tones like grays, beiges, off-whites, and ochres serving as a subdued, yet powerful connection with nature.

Tinted neutrals such as neo mint, a pastel green shade, are another trend expected to hit it big when it comes to 2020 interior design trends. Aside from incorporating the it colour of 2020 into your home (accent pieces are your safe bet), you should also try out a dusky peach, soft corals, slate lavender, terra cotta, golden yellows and updated versions of millennial pinks.

Sustainable interior design

Sustainable harmony

The interior design trends for 2020 represent a mixture of influences, two of the most notable ones being Japanese and Nordic. Natural materials like rattan and cane are staples that stand at the core of Japanese design style, and we can expect this trend of relying on natural elements for designing minimalist interiors to continue in 2020. Scandinavian influences are reflected in the use of organic shapes and sustainable materials such as undyed yarns, plush fabrics, natural wood, and terracotta earthenware.

The thoughtful, pared-back selection of decor items and furnishings will help create a space for relaxation and infuse the interiors with the elements from the great outdoors, resulting in a sustainable and harmonious living environment.

Authentic detailing

Accent on authenticity

In the next decade, we’re expecting to see homes being treated as a tool for self-expression, with an accent on authenticity and uniqueness. Interiors will be treated as blank canvases which we can use to tell our story, be it through colours, furniture, artwork, handmade items, or DIY projects.

The tendency towards creating spaces that capture the personality of the homeowners will prevail over the styled interiors they’d usually see when flipping through magazines. This trend will have many looking for ways to express their individuality without necessarily reaching for one-of-a-kind items but rather designing with their own preferences in mind, regardless of whether they’re on-trend or not. 

Colours and geometry

A bold blend of geometry and colours

For those of us who’d rather their interiors have a brighter, edgier vibe and forego the au naturel, all-neutral trend, 2020 has something for us as well. Stripes, circles, and rectangles are certain to spruce up flat and bland interiors, while the fusion of bold hues like dusky neutrals and tropical pastels with traditional hues will enhance the visual interest of the interior.

Vintage furniture design will be juxtaposed with contemporary pieces for a unique flair, while the Art Deco elements will bring a breath of fresh air while also infusing the interiors with a dose of sophistication.

From embracing the concept of sustainability to discovering new ways of interpreting minimalism and neutral hues, we’ll be seeing a shift in the ways we approach interior home design. 2020 will be all about individuality, and by the looks of it, there’s something for everybody, whether you take a liking to bold, edgy hues or prefer something a bit more subdued. Give these four trends a crack to give your home a decadal style makeover.

You’ve probably noticed the rising popularity of topics dealing with sustainable homes, ways to achieve that sustainability, and reasons why you should make your home green. The truth is, the consequences of global warming are already visible, and they are getting worse every year. Our effect on the environment is still too negative, and even though there are efforts to reduce that effect, it’s still not enough. With that in mind, here are some of the main reasons why having an eco-friendly home is more important than ever before.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Energy savings

One of the most important qualities of eco-friendly homes is the fact that they consume less energy. This is beneficial because it both protects the environment and saves you some money. There are many different ways in which you can make your home consume less energy. For example, by insulating your home well, you’d use less energy on cooling and heating your home.
Or, you could opt for energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen which do cost a bit more initially. However, this is one of the most important eco-friendly kitchen tips you should take into account since these appliances can save you a lot of money in the long run. Finally, some eco-friendly homes have their own source of renewable energy, like wind turbines or solar panels, so you’d be paying for less energy in general.

Many companies, for example, produce quality solar systems that can help you generate your own energy and thus, not be as affected by the utility rate increases that might happen in the future. Moreover, solar systems are not hard to maintain, so the only thing that requires a bit more work is installing them properly – but there are professionals who can help you with that. It’s really one of the best ways to bring your home to the future. So, if you’re serious about doing your part in the preservation of the environment, using solar power is the way to go.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Environmental impact

Due to the fact that eco-friendly houses use less energy, they also release less harmful gasses that affect the environment. Next, by using sustainable materials when building your home, you’re not using anything that would take nature a long time to replace, as most of such materials are actually recycled. Additionally, by installing water-saving fixtures, for example, you are using less water, which is becoming a scarce resource as well. Also, most newer models of appliances and fixtures have energy-saving features, which can again help preserve the environment. Finally, if you adjust your habits to the home you have and recycle your waste – paper, plastic, metal, etc. – you would add to the preservation of the environment as well. You can also opt for using public transport or riding a bike on a sunny day – there would be fewer cars on the streets, and riding a bike is better for your health too.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Health benefits

Building an eco-friendly home is not great just for the environment and your wallet but for your health as well. For example, eco-friendly materials don’t have any harmful chemicals in them, which naturally means that they are safer. Moreover, building companies that use eco-friendly building techniques also avoid using harmful plastics, paints, and other environmental pollutants that could harm your health too. Many of them usually contain carcinogens, so they are definitely something you want to avoid. Additionally, your indoor environment, in general, can affect your health, so everything from lighting to the quality of air matters. For example, comfortable temperatures – due to good insulation and quality heating appliances – can affect your mood and make you less prone to infections and illnesses. Next, clean air due to the good ventilation system and no harmful emissions can help you de-stress and reduce depression. Moreover, a good ventilation system can also reduce symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Also, good insulation, clean air, and proper heating/cooling of your home can all reduce the humidity inside your home, which can prevent respiratory problems. Finally, saving energy on lighting during the day – by letting in more natural light – can again affect your mood and boost your energy levels.

Making your home eco-friendly has more than a few benefits. It can help you save money on utility bills, and it can reduce your carbon footprint. Moreover, eco-friendly materials, building techniques, and home environment can all affect your health. All in all, preserving the environment is more important today than ever before, and doing so can only improve your lifestyle. So, if you’re considering building a new home, buying one, or remodeling the one you have, you should definitely think about going green.

 

You’ve probably noticed this topic popping up a lot recently, and for a good reason. With all the consequences of global warming that we’re already experiencing, reducing our negative influence on nature is more important than ever before. Of course, there are many ways to do it – some simple, some a bit more demanding, but the best place to start is at your own home. With that in mind, here are a few ways to make your home more energy efficient.

Insulate your home

For starters, you want to make sure your home is well insulated. Otherwise, you’d be letting out a lot of heat through the walls and windows during winter, and it would take a lot more energy to keep it cool during summer. In other words, your utility bills would be much higher than necessary due to using more energy to keep your home’s temperature at a comfortable level. There are many different insulating techniques, some of which you can even do on your own, like putting up thicker curtains during winter. Also, if you have an attic and/or basement, don’t forget to insulate them as well, as a lot of warm and cool air can escape through the roof and floor.

Install quality windows and doors

window

A lot of heat and cool air can escape through windows and doors, especially if they are older types, as some of them are not very energy efficient. This is why you should invest in better quality ones. For example, you can find good double glazed windows, and be sure that no air, hot or cool, would escape through them. The same goes for doors. Even though wood is the most typical material for doors due to its price, convenience, and cozy appearance, it’s a very poor insulator. There are many better options on the market, so do your research before you choose. Finally, you can always do some weatherstripping and tinting of your windows as well.  

Choose better lighting

home lighting

Most of the typical light bulbs that you see are incandescent, which means that they emit light because they are hot. This also means that while using them, you are inevitably heating up your room, which is probably the last thing you want to do in summer. It’s one of the reasons why, even though they are fairly cheap, they actually cost you a lot more in the long run. With that in mind, you should consider switching to either LED lights of fluorescent lights. They cost a bit more initially, but they last a lot longer, and they don’t emit any heat, so it’s a small investment that would pay off in time.

Replace old appliances

If you want to make your home more energy efficient, you should also consider replacing your old kitchen appliances. Look for those with the Energy Star logo on them, as they are made to use a lot less energy than the standard appliances. Also, just like the above-mentioned lighting, these appliances do cost a bit more, but again, they would pay off in the long run through your utility bills. You can find lists of essential energy efficient products for your home online. 

Think about solar panels

solar panels

If you want to go the extra mile, you can harness the sun and create your own electricity by installing solar panels. It can greatly reduce your bills, and it can come in handy in case of a power outage. You can install them on your rooftop, or you can install the whole system in a sunny area of your backyard. They aren’t that difficult to maintain, but they do require regular maintenance if you want them to last longer. All in all, they aren’t for everybody, but if you’re determined in your preservation of nature, solar panels are something to consider.

Install a smart meter

Installing smart meters is a great way to track your energy usage. They are easy to install and use, and they can give you a good idea of how much energy you’re using and how you can cut on that use. Also, since a smart meter would send the readings directly to your energy supplier, there would be no need for any manual meter readings. Also, your supplier would know exactly how much you need to pay instead of sending you estimated bills. Finally, it would also be easier for you to change your energy supplier for whatever reason. All in all, it would allow you much more control over your energy usage.

If you care about the environment, you should do whatever you can to preserve it. One thing you definitely can do is make your home more sustainable. There are many ways to do so, both affordable and costly (but worth every penny). Therefore, think about the listed suggestions, opt for those that suit you the most, and you’re bound to feel much better about the difference that you’re making.

Guest post by Will Sandford.

Recent gardening trends mostly concentrate on eco-friendliness and experimentation with technology and gardening philosophy, compared to past years where the color of flowers was the main concern. This is due to our rapidly-changing climate that poses a threat to human survival, especially if we keep on wasting resources. So, if you’re interested in becoming more sustainable, here are the most interesting landscaping trends to keep an eye on.

Water conservation

Water conservation has been a buzz subject in the landscaping industry for a few years now, but this season it will be on everyone’s lips. It’s actually more than a trend, but more of a guideline for new garden designers and outdoor architects that will completely change the way landscapes are created. The use of drought-resistant plants, smart irrigation systems and xeriscaping will soon become a norm in every garden.

Planning with climate change in mind

home weather
The climate is getting more and more unpredictable and with it comes the need for more resilient landscaping that can survive these capricious weather patterns. For instance, extreme heat waves that often strike Australia, especially Sydney, can be destructive for many plants, but they can also ruin the garden’s functionality. However, planting greenery and building protective structures with weather in mind can allow people to use their outdoor spaces even during the most extreme conditions. Resilient plants that provide shade combined with pergolas with ceiling fans in the summer and patios with heaters in the winter will allow homeowners to push through the extreme temperatures. Consulting with professionals in landscaping who know the punishing climate of Australia can help many Sydneysiders get the garden of their dreams.

Implementation of tech

Technology is slowly making its way into every aspect of life, outdoor spaces and landscaping included. So, it’s not a surprise that many designers and architects opt for tech implementation in gardens that can help people get more personalized outdoor spaces that require very little care. Traditionally pieces of gardening equipment like lawn mowers and leaf blowers are getting replaced by battery-powered models that create no pollution and have a reduced noise level. Additionally, there are also robotic lawn mowers and smart sprinklers that reduce maintenance time and water waste.

Landscaping design is also getting a tech-up. The use of 3D modeling, mobile apps and drones can help designers create and present their innovative landscaping ideas to clients.

Upcycling

Using salvaged items in the garden design can do a lot of good, both for your space and for your environment. Upcycling helps keep the landfills empty and it enriches your garden with many interesting and “think outside of the box” design and décor solutions. For instance, using old gardening boots as planters or old beer barrels as ponds is a very eco-friendly way to add some interest to your landscaping.  

Sensory gardens

garden
Usually, most of the garden elements are there to impress your eyes only. However, new gardeners and garden owners want to interact with their gardens a bit more. For instance, you can install a giant chess set that will entertain your eyes and mind and keep you moving and touching the pieces. Another way you can awaken the sense of touch is with reflection pools. These small water features will not only provide you with a beautiful visual effect, but also allow you to touch and play with water for a multisensory experience.

Meditation and mindfulness

For many, the hustle and bustle of urban living are becoming unbearable and they are choosing to retreat to their gardens. That’s why mindfulness, meditation and Zen spaces are becoming more prominent in gardens. In order to achieve this sense of tranquility, people choose to utilize mirrors, privacy screens, interesting planting, water features for relaxing sounds and strategically placed seating to help with relaxation and garden immersion. Early birds even choose to place their seating facing east to have a clear sunrise view every morning.

Gardens like these will both improve human interaction with their outdoor spaces AND protect the environment that needs all the help it can get.

Renewable energy is energy that can be gathered from naturally replenished resources. Renewable resources include sunlight, waves, tides, rain and wind, and energy harvested from these resources is important in many areas, including electricity generation, transportation and air and water heating or cooling.

Nowadays, many companies have switched to using renewable energy, mostly solar, to power their businesses. This change has proven to be successful and green building has spread all the way to our homes. Many homeowners are finding new ways of using the same renewable energy in their homes for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is to save some money on bills, but going green and using mainly solar power to run your home has many other benefits as well.

 

Rooftop solar panels

If you are looking for ways to incorporate solar power into your home, solar panels are probably the most obvious method. They are typically installed on your roof, but you can also set them up in your yard. They harvest the sunlight and its energy and further transfer it in the form of electricity throughout your home, satisfying all of your daily needs. Generated watts per square foot will vary, depending on the orientation of the panels and your latitude, but they can generate 10 or more watts per square foot, which is more than enough. Another way to harvest the sunlight through your roof is by installing solar shingles. You can set them up if your current roof needs replacing. Solar shingles are actually solar panels that are mounted on your roof and serve as your roof tiles.

Unfortunately, solar power has a weakness–it works only when the sun is up. However, in order to power your home when the sun is down, you can pay for grid electricity or invest in another type of renewable energy. Nevertheless, solar panels will greatly contribute to decreasing your utility bills and saving energy.

 

Solar water heating

Besides generating electricity, solar power can also heat your home. Many homeowners opt for solar water heaters, which use the sun’s energy to heat the reserve of water. Water heated in such a way is then pumped through your radiators and pipes all the way to your faucets or showerheads. This system is easy to install and it can save you plenty of money and energy since it is cheaper to heat your water this way than with electricity or gas. However, there are many types of solar water heaters and each of them has their advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to conduct a thorough research before you make a decision.

Solar AC

It might sound odd that you can use the sun to cool your home, but it is possible. Solar air conditioning works similarly to solar water heating, but it uses the hot water in AC systems. If summers in your area are too hot to bear, you are bound to spend plenty of energy and money on air conditioning, which only increases the utility bills. However, if you switch to solar AC, you can cut down those bills significantly. By using hot water to actually cool down your home, you will both save money and help the environment. What is more, the hot water that is produced in AC systems can also be used for other purposes. For example, you can harvest that hot water and use it for solar water heating as well, depending on the setup you have.

Climate is drastically changing and that can cause plenty of troubles for the environment and residential building. Due to environmental awareness and higher utility bills, more and more people are choosing to go green and use the renewable energy. Solar power is one of those sources and it can drastically change the functioning of your home as well as bring many benefits to you and to our environment.

 

 

When artist Jorge Bakker came up with an idea to fill an aquarium with floats containing model trees, little did he expect his installation to turn into reality. Trying to raise questions regarding the relationship between nature and people living in cities, Bakker surely couldn’t imagine that his concept would be recognized as something that should actually be given an opportunity to thrive in real life through groundbreaking architectural concepts.

Naturally, such recognition could only have come from people who understand, love and respect nature and who had to learn so much about it before making the most of what it gave them. So, if you find yourself in Rotterdam and see floating trees rooted in buoys next to the Floating Pavilion, another landmark in this Dutch city, it doesn’t mean your mind is playing tricks on you. On the contrary, you’ll be treated with one of the most eye-catching and original installations in this part of the world.

Image Credit - uncubemagazine.com

Water Square

Moving towards the modern city center, you might come across a square tucked in between a 19th-century church and a long linear block containing houses, offices, a theater and two schools. This unused and dull space often used to be flooded, since it rains quite a lot in Rotterdam.

Most other places would have solved this problem differently, but not the local city council. A significant investment was made to convert this square into one of the most interesting and vibrant places in Rotterdam. Namely, three pools were created which fill up with water when it rains, and are then used as sports playgrounds and dancefloors. The Water Square is now one of the most popular attractions among both the locals and tourists.

Floating park, hotel,…

Another fascinating idea related to water and its preservation is the emerging Recycled Park, whose purpose is to use recycled plastic to create litter traps for marine litter, thus preventing it from entering the North Sea. The more plastic is retrieved, the bigger the Park will grow. However, the most important impact is, by all means, the protection of water.

Image credit - inhabitat.com

And it is more than obvious that Rotterdam is not going to stop there. The list of projects being currently developed includes a floating subdivision of houses, a floating dairy farm and a floating hotel, deep down in the harbor, at the Innovation Dock.

Water management

Now, you might wonder how come the citizens of Rotterdam are so keen to manage water so carefully. The answer is pretty simple, actually. With almost two-thirds of their country below the sea level and their own town situated around six meters below the sea level, it’s clear that local authorities have to make the most of the advantages that water provides.

As we have seen, they often have to come up with innovative solutions, such as those for emergency storage during heavy downpours and systems for a delayed discharge of rainwater, which ensures that the city has enough high-quality water even during the driest spells.

That’s why the water storage is omnipresent in Rotterdam, with green roofs doing their part in creating a healthy, sustainable environment. They absorb rainwater, lower the runoff, which in turn leads to less pressure on the sewage system.

For almost a decade now, the City of Rotterdam has been running a subsidy scheme for supporting the installation of green roofs on private residential buildings, so more and more people are using this opportunity to improve their living conditions, help the environment and lower the installation costs.

It’s pretty obvious that Rotterdam has not only turned its potentially most dangerous enemy as a means of improving the quality of life of its citizens but has also made it a tourist attraction. It’s widely accepted that Rotterdam’s example is one of the best in terms of collaboration among key stakeholders and experts. Many have been calling it the “water city of the future” for quite some time now, and rightfully so. The way this city uses water should also help us all in our struggle to deal with the climate changes and the consequences they bring.