Green Business Bureau Blog
Windows play an important role in how desirable your home is to renters. For starters, they’re an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to energy efficiency. In a survey done by Realtor.com, nearly 85 percent of respondents said they want to live in or own a eco-friendly home, and nearly 68 percent would pay more for an eco-friendly home. Windows also create interesting visual elements and add character to a space, making the property more appealing. Make some eco-friendly updates to the windows on your property, and you’ll attract more renters who are willing to spend a bit more on rent.
Curb Appeal & Your Entryway
Grab their attention from the moment they pull up with some interesting design choices. Make sure to work with the natural architecture of your home; for example, if you have a Victorian home, install stained glass windows. For a classic look, install white wood shutters on the exterior. For modern design, install a front door with glass paneling that allows natural light to come through. Techniques like adding grids of windows that are visible from the street will give the exterior a face-lift while opening up the interior of the home. You can also install sidelights on both sides of your front door to add visual interest.
Let the Light In
Sunlight adds cheer to a home, and exposure to sunlight is proven to help restore people’s mental and physical health. Choose window treatments that allow the sun to stream in and give people a sense of warmth associated with light and sunshine. Doing so makes a space feel airy, comfortable and relaxed. Cellular blinds are a great option for any windows; different styles will block out, trap in or filter light that comes into space.
Northern exposure windows seldom see the sun, so you will want to use a few design tips to keep the space feeling open, light and fresh. Use light and neutral paint colors, like creams, yellows and whites to make a room feel open and large. Adding plants and bright pops of color will look great on a neutral background. Plants also make air quality better and help to bring nature indoors.
Southern and western exposure windows receive the most sunlight and can add a lot of light and heat to a room. East and west-facing windows receive more sunlight during summer months, and south-facing windows are ideal for solar heat during winter months.
Approximately one-third of a home’s total heat loss occurs through windows and doors, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defenses Council. Luckily, you can use window treatments to help regulate the temperature in the home. When it’s hot out, cover windows on the south, east and west sides of the house, as they receive the most sunlight. When it’s cold, leave shades and blinds open on sunny days and keep them closed at night. You can purchase custom window treatments that will help keep the heat in and the cold out. Just make sure to think about the weight of the materials you buy and be mindful of the way they block or filter light. Window treatments should balance out the room and add color, texture and character, bit detract from it.
Lighting is not the first thing that you notice when you go to work, but it surely has a huge influence, not only on the office, but also on the environment. Adding a little a green touch to the working place should be of high priority. Changing the lighting bulb is not the only way to bring change to your office. You can make improvements in terms of the kind of fixtures and power sources you use. Don’t underestimate the powerful impact of eco–friendly habits.
The Green Bulb
Let’s start with the basics. Replace the standard incandescent bulbs with their fluorescent alternatives. They come in different colours and sizes and can be easily incorporated in your office interior. Fluorescent bulbs, also, make sense in economical terms. They save energy and have a longer lifespan. Although, you will need to spend a little bit more upfront, the investment will repay. You can take advantage of the online clearance of online stores and warehouses. If these reasons are not enough, the eco – friendly devices are safer because they emit less heat. In this way your office space will be easier to cool during the summer.
The fluorescent bulbs are good, but the LEDs (light emitting diodes) are even better. Their clever technology makes them extremely efficient, reducing the energy consumption by almost 90% percent. A LED light bulb has a long life and lights up faster than its counterparts. Currently they are considered expensive, but they are starting to gain popularity on the market and become more and more affordable. Again you can check on the internet for any seasonal clearance.
What about the materials?
The light may be the most important feature, but it should not be the only one you should consider when buying a bulb. Pick lamps and fixtures with eco – friendly characteristics. For instance, they are made out of recycled, reused or natural materials such as metal, glass plastic or wood and cloth.
If you are using fluorescent lamps, keep in mind that they cannot be simply put in the trash. As most of the bulbs they have small quantity of mercury. Instead, you should turn to your local recycling facility or check what options are available in your area. If you are performing a clearance by removing your old lighting fixtures, you can hire a professional clearance company. Pick one that incorporates green practices. The rubbish removal is your responsibility and you should have an eco – friendly approach. The good news is that for what is known LEDs don’t contain mercury. This doesn’t mean that you are free to have reckless approach.
They are the perfect way to control the lightning at your office. If you or your co – workers are caught in their job and forget to turn – off the lights, this is the perfect solution. Dimmers can be adjusted in order to bring as much light as you need.
Buy Green Power
You can promote the green lifestyle at your office by buying green energy. It will cost you a couple of dollars more, but in this way you will support renewable sources.
Natural light is still the greenest way to handle your indoor lightning. The sun provides you with healthier full – spectrum light for free. Keep the blinds. Big windows and skylights will let the natural light penetrate the office. This will save energy and will create a soothing office atmosphere.
Initiate a “green revolution” at your office, starting from your lights!
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Maintaining the indoor fresh air is as important as house cleaning. Sometimes achieving a pleasant and cosy aroma is a challenge. No matter the amount of cleaning, there are factors that are beyond your control, making the smell of your home simply unbearable. Some commercial air deodorizers have very strong odour that can cause allergic reactions or may trigger asthma symptoms. You should no longer worry about this because you have nature’s power at your side. Create your own air freshener with completely organic materials that will effectively get rid of the annoying smell. You have plenty of options; so let’s get started!
Why Go Green?
The typical products that can be found on the market hold a sufficient risk. They contain poisonous chemicals like phthalates and Dichlorobenzene that can affect the central nervous system. Aside from that, these products are quite ineffective, as they don’t really neutralize the odor. But they surely affect negatively your respiratory system.
Types of Odors
The bad smells have different sources thus they differ in their nature. The odors can be alkaline, acid and a combination of the two. The smell produced by the human and animal waste is alkaline and can be removed and properly cleaned with acid like lemon juice and vinegar. On the contrary, body fluids odors are easily neutralized with baking soda. Another option is hiring professional house cleaning service.
Healthy and Eco – friendly Solutions
Eliminate the nasty smell with your own solutions that hold zero risk for your health. Mix a strong air freshener by using ½ cup of vinegar, 1 ½ cups of water and 15 drops of essential oil. Pour it in a diffuser bottle and spray it directly over the desired area. The efficiency of the solution depends on the vinegar’s concentration. Remember, enhance the amount of vinegar, you should do the same with the essential oil. This is a suitable solution for alkaline odors. Fight the smells with acid nature by dissolving eco-friendly cleaning detergents such as two tablespoons of baking soda or borax in hot water. Add your proffered essential oil and shake the bottle.
If you don’t need to get rid of any particular odor and you simply want a nice indoor aroma, use natural products like fruits. Stick a couple of cloves in an orange or other citrus and create your own pomander balls. On the other hand, nothing combats odors like coffee. Mix it with cinnamon and let it sit in open air. Your home will smell like a coffee shop.
Reduce the Air Pollution
Air fresheners only mask the smell, without taking care of the source. Thus they are temporary solution. You need to check the quality of the indoor air. Probably, you won’t be able to undertake any major steps overnight. You can mitigate the hazards by getting houseplants that serve as natural air purifiers. Pick greenery with big green leaves like peace lily and dracaena. Make your home a non – smoking area. Inspect the filters of you ventilation system. They are ideal dust trap and the main culprits for the indoor air pollution. Clean or change the air filters regularly. In a long run, you can buy an air purifier.
Cleaning is one of the most important jobs around your home. It guarantees that your rooms are sanitized and that the environment is safe for your health, as well as your mood. Regular cleaning routines should be adopted in order to make cleaning less of a chore and more effective. It can be bothersome and tiring, but also dangerous if you are not careful what you use.
A good number of cleaning solutions on the market can be quite bad for human health. A lot of those are toxic, can contribute to respiratory diseases, cause skin irritations and much worse conditions, none of which are desirable. Possible side effects like these sound scary, but fact is that certain ingredients can be indeed quite hazardous. It is a good idea to avoid such cleaning solutions, when possible, especially when there is an alternative – natural cleaners.
These are very effective at domestic cleaning, and come with the added bonus of having no negative side effects. Most popular among them are:
- Lemons and lemon juice – the acid component in this citrus fruit can do wonders in removing rust stains and dirt. It can also dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits in your bathroom and kitchen areas, plus you can mix it with some salt to make a really effective scouring paste. Lemon juice can be used for countertops to disinfect and deodorize them, as well as provide overall assistance in the kitchen – washing dishes for example. Lemon juice can also create hardwood polish, when coupled with olive oil. This natural cleaning solution can help you in sanitizing the trash bin area. Simply cut a lemon in half and run it through the disposal to clean it and give a great smell. Lemon can also enhance the whiteness of your clothes, as it serves as a natural bleach ingredient.
- Vinegar – one of the most powerful all-purpose natural cleaners you can ever have in your home. Just mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and you are ready to clean and sanitize your entire house. It will work wonders in the bathroom – use it on the bathtub, sink, countertops, and showerheads. Besides that, vinegar can clean windows and even floors, unless they are wood or marble, which can be harmed by it. Vinegar counters mold, mildew and bacteria, all of which can be harmful for human health. You can use the same cleaning solution for your dishwasher and coffeemaker.
- Baking soda – it can be used for scrubbing surfaces, instead of other non-abrasive cleaning solutions. It can clean concrete surfaces, like your garage for example. We have all had problems cleaning oil and grease spills. Well, baking soda is a nice solution. It can also help in removing stains from teacups and mugs, as well as clean utensils
Do consider any of the above cleaning solutions for your home, for they are truly harmless and can get the cleaning job done. They are cheaper, easy to make and, considering health comes first, are definitely an option.
Inappropriate humidity levels at home can be bothersome. It is usually a problem during hot and cold months, but there are even more factors that play a role. These may include insulation, plants, lack of ventilation, and more. Maintaining inappropriate humidity levels can lead to a number of problems for the room environment, including furniture, electronics, walls, but can also be detrimental to human health. To avoid this, experts agree that humidity should be best kept between 35-50%, with 45% being the ideal average. Should you face a problem of bad humidity level, definitely look for a solution.
High humidity comes with hot weather. If you have professional domestic cleaning done, but forget to vent your home after that, humidity might increase. The amount of water vapor in the air will be higher, and with it can come allergic reactions. Negative side effects include, but are not limited to: frizzy hair, skin irritations, breathing may be harder and there is a sticky feeling on your skin. When the humidity is high, there might be condensation on windows, causing water to drip down and damage wooden frames. Higher levels of humidity will also contribute great deal to moulds and bacteria, which can cause serious health issues. In order to spare the need for a mould removal cleaning team, you need to solve the issue with one of these solutions:
- Ventilate the room – letting the air circulate in your home is one of the easiest ways to deal with high humidity. Otherwise, air will feel stagnant and the negative effects will worsen.
- Perform a regular cleaning – use professional house cleaner to help you
- Use fans – bathrooms and kitchens often have conditions that increase the humidity. Using exhaust fans can eliminate this problem.
- Change your habits – things like drying clothes indoors, taking extra long hot baths and using the dishwasher less frequently can help reduce humidity levels.
- Have plenty of plants – plants extract their nutrients and water from the air. Several plants in a room can make a big difference.
- Dehumidifier – this is a device that works by filtering the air in the room and removing the water molecules from it. The water is then stored into a tank that should be removed when full.
Low humidity can be just as bad as high. It presents some health problems, such as dry skin, respiratory irritations and dry eyes. It increases the risk of infections, colds and virus health-related problems. Low humidity is often a problem during winter, when a room is heated too much. How to deal with low humidity:
- Put bowls of water – this will naturally increase the humidity levels in rooms that have very dry air.
- Boil water on stoves – this can increase humidity even faster and is more effective.
- Humidifier – devices that emit water vapor inside a room, or entire house, if the device is large-scale. There are many types that you can choose from. But keep in mind some of them may actually lead to some dust problems, so consider some cleaning solutions.
Keep in mind to monitor the humidity levels of your room at all times. This is especially needed in the case where you suffer from respiratory diseases and want to have a healthy environment. Take steps in fixing the problem as it arises. Call cleaning company to help you deal with the problem.
Probably, you are not working alone it the office, so it’s a good idea to involve your coworkers into your green cause.
How can you do that?
First of all, use your communication skills. Explain to your colleagues why recycling is important, encourage them and make them feel good about it. You can put motivation posters next to the recycling bins. You can add useful information on recycling. For example-what can and what can’t be recycled.
Start recycling! First target- paper.
Every office, no matter how big it is, uses a lot of paper. Here are some ways to reduce the amount of used paper.
• Paper has two sides- use both of them. When you’re printing, don’t forget to set the machine to use both sides. This will reduce your consumption.
• You can reuse paper- Once you don’t need an old document any more, you can reuse it as a packing material.
• Reuse the boxes. Don’t throw them, you can use them for shipments or to store office supplies
• Hire professional cleaning company to help you with the organizing and de-cluttering process
• Don’t forget to recycle paper: If you put paper recycle bin next to every printer, it’s more likely to have a success with your mission. Also it’s important to find someone who would take care of the paper after you collect it, they have to bring it to a recycle centre regularly.
• Air dryers vs. paper towels: Try to present the idea of replacing the paper towels with air dryers; it’s going to reduce the waist of paper.
• Try to go paperless- when you have the chance – replace it with e-mails, calls etc.
All the equipment in the office can be greener.
• Choose used furniture.
• Buy second hand equipment (printers, scanners). Of course make sure the machines still work and their quality is good.
• Make sure that you unplugged your computer and all other devices before going to home after work. That’s a really good way to save energy.
Transportation- it’s not something that is happening during the working process but it’s still important.
• Try not to use cars. Walk to work or use a bicycle.
• If you don’t have any other choice and you must drive to work, try to find coworkers who live near your place and offer them to travel together to work.
Electricity – if you make changes in air conditioning and lightening, you can reduce your electricity bill.
• Turn off the lights when you don’t use them and when you leave the office.
• Use fluorescent bulbs instead of regular light bulbs.
• Use wisely the air conditioners- It’s not a big deal to dress wormer instead of using it or make the temperature higher.
Computers – they take a major part in the daily working routine and there are different ways to reduce the energy they use.
• When you leave the office, you should make sure that the computer is unplugged.
• Don’t use screensavers and check for energy plans.
• Use smaller monitors
• Consider using laptops- they use less energy than the desktops.
Little things count. Change your daily routine.
• Drink your coffee, water or tea from reusable cups- forget about plastic and paper cups.
• You should consider using green products for washing your supplies. Vinegar and baking soda are great substitutes of commercial cleaners.
• What can be greener that planting a tree? It could be a great idea for team building.