Looking to make your mornings greener? Try these 7 tips for a sustainable morning routine

May 17, 2019 by  
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We all have our favorite ways to start the day, but how eco-friendly is your morning routine? You might be surprised to learn that most people waste a lot of energy and resources in the first few hours they are awake. Luckily, you can make your mornings more eco-friendly with a few easy steps. From drinking a more sustainable cup of coffee to saving on water, here are seven ways you can go green in the mornings. Sustainable Coffee A hot cup of coffee has become the staple of many morning routines. In fact, many people rely on the caffeine boost to help jumpstart their day. If coffee is something you cannot live without, there are ways in which you can make it more sustainable . A great idea is to start brewing your favorite beans in a thermal carafe. This will help keep the coffee warm for longer periods, which cuts down on the need to brew more later in the day. You should also consider investing in an efficient travel mug instead of disposable cups, even when you fill up at your local coffee shop. If you drink coffee on a regular basis, ditching the waste can really add up over time. You can also purchase coffee in bulk whenever possible. This will help cut down on packaging and is easier on your budget. Related: These are the best tips to help you establish an eco-friendly laundry routine Enjoy Some Sunlight Syncing your day with the sun is a great way to become more eco-friendly in the mornings. By getting up when the sun rises every morning, you are more likely to go to bed when the sun goes down. This allows you to use less energy at night because you are not relying on lights deep into the night. This, of course, is only applicable if you have a daytime work schedule and can easily adjust your mornings and evenings. If you do wake up with the sun, take advantage of the warmth by opening up the blinds and trapping the energy inside. Save Water It does not take much to waste water in the mornings, especially when it comes to showering. A lot of people wander off while they wait for the shower to warm up, which can waste significant amounts of water over time. Instead, stay close to the shower and jump right in as soon as the water is hot. If the water takes a bit to reach a desired temperature you can consider lowering the temperature of your water heater, as this will help save energy and is better for your skin. Healthy Breakfast Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, so why not make it as healthy as possible? One way to eat healthier in the mornings is to go vegan or vegetarian. Sub out meat products with fruit and veggies, tofu or even cereal. When shopping for the perfect breakfast ingredients, consider choosing items that are completely organic. Non-organic food is bad for the environment and not as healthy as organic products. You can also find great deals on organic food and should not have to break your budget to eat healthier. Switch Up Your Commute If you live within a reasonable distance from your job, consider walking or riding a bike a few days every week. Walking or biking to your place of employment will get your daily workout out of the way and make you more alert throughout the morning. This also helps cut down on vehicle emissions and traffic, which are two of the biggest concerns for cities around the world. You can also consider carpooling with your co-workers to help curb harmful emissions . If you are looking to buy a new vehicle, take a look at an eco-friendly option, such as a hybrid or a small car. These vehicles are much better for the environment and can generate considerable gas savings on an annual basis, both of which will make your eco-friendly morning routine complete. Eco-Friendly Bathroom Bathroom products are one of the worst offenders to the environment . Not only do they contribute to the growing problem of plastic waste, but they are packed with harmful chemicals that eventually find their way into our water sources. You can help curb some of these issues by choosing products that are eco-friendly. The only downside is that these products tend to be a little more expensive than their counterparts. But considering how many of these chemicals are linked to poor health, you will probably save on medical bills down the road. Related: 8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly Reusable Living One of the easiest ways to go green in the mornings is to reuse whatever you can. From coffee mugs to water containers, having something you can reuse on a daily basis can really cut down on excess waste. Reusing containers can also save you a few bucks every month. If you pack your own lunch to work, you should also consider investing in a reusable lunchbox or bag and avoid single-use plastics . It may be tempting to throw everything in a grocery bag, but these types of plastics are terrible for the environment and are filling up landfills at an alarming rate. Via Livegreen Recyclebank , The Fun Times Guide Images via Shutterstock

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Looking to make your mornings greener? Try these 7 tips for a sustainable morning routine

Many electric utilities are struggling — will more go bankrupt?

May 16, 2019 by  
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With the energy marketplace and climate change affecting the foundation of the industry, traditional utilities are facing trouble.

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Many electric utilities are struggling — will more go bankrupt?

Earth911 Conscious-Shopping Guide: Best Solar Panels

May 14, 2019 by  
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Technological advances have transformed the solar energy industry in recent … The post Earth911 Conscious-Shopping Guide: Best Solar Panels appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Conscious-Shopping Guide: Best Solar Panels

Earth911 Conscious-Shopping Guide: Best Solar Panels

May 14, 2019 by  
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Earth911 Conscious-Shopping Guide: Best Solar Panels

These are the best tips to help you establish an eco-friendly laundry routine

May 13, 2019 by  
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The earth is a fragile place, a bit more so with each day that humans contribute to chemicals in the waste stream and overconsumption of resources. While it may seem like a benign daily activity, doing laundry traditionally pours toxins such as microplastics into the water stream and drinks up valuable freshwater in the process. Since it is an activity we all do, and one we aren’t able to overlook (no one likes smelly clothes), there is a great opportunity to reduce the cumulative impact that laundry has on the environment . Here are some ways you can lower your laundry footprint by adopting sustainable practices. Laundry accumulation The best way to keep your laundry practices “clean” is to not wash clothes when it’s not necessary. Overwashing clothing wears down the fibers, which is bad both for your clothing and the environment, especially those materials that shed microplastics into the waste stream. Limit your laundry accumulation by re-wearing clothing. For example, jeans can handle several wearings before washing. Also, rehang and reuse bathroom towels a few times rather than washing them daily. Avoid washing items just because they have laid on the ground or are wrinkled. Related: Cora Ball emulates natural filtering of coral to remove toxic microfibers from your washing machine Prewash Instead of reaching for the chemical-laden prewash from the store, go old school with a more natural option. Laundry bars, like Dr. Bronners, remove stains without adding unnatural ingredients into the water supply. Simply keep it near the washing machine and rub it on stains to pretreat. Also avoid the prewash setting that requires more water and energy . If you have a tough stain try soaking it with a stain remover before washing. Dish soap may also do the job. Detergent options Commercial laundry detergents are loaded with nasty chemicals that run down the drain into the rivers and eventually make their way out to sea . While many might think these chemicals are completely removed with water treatments, the truth is not all are. However, fabrics will come clean without all the mainstream added toxins— so select your detergent with this in mind. For store-bought convenience, look for natural ingredients and read labels carefully. If you have the time to spare, try making your own laundry detergent. There are recipes all over the internet. Once you find your supplies, it is quick and easy to make and you can make enough to last months at a time. Fabric softener/dryer sheet options Clothes dryers rank high on the energy consumption scale, but they also add to waste with dryer sheets and chemicals from liquid fabric softeners. Clean up your act with homemade liquid detergent using a combination of 1/8 cup food-grade glycerin, two cups of water and two cups of white vinegar. Use about 1/4 cup per load. Also soften your fabrics and shorten drying time with wool dryer balls in each load. Alternately, you can make a liquid fabric softener that goes into the dryer instead of the washing machine. Just moisten a rag with the mixture and dry with your load of clothing. You can reuse the same rag endlessly without dryer sheet waste . Water usage As mentioned, the best way to reduce water usage is to avoid unnecessary washing. Also, skip the prewash and select the best cycle for the task at hand. For example, override the extra rinse for whites and choose a lower soil level for regular washings. If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, select one with an energy star rating for low water and electrical consumption. Cold water It requires energy to heat water around the house, so save it for the shower. Your clothes will do just fine when washed in cold water and your pocketbook will thank you too. Line dry Another winning way to lower the electric bill is to skip the dryer all together. Instead, set up a clothesline and hang items to dry when the weather allows. If you don’t like the rough feel of sun-dried clothes, toss them in the dryer for a few minutes then take the clothes out. Trap the microplastics In the environmental realm, microplastics are making headlines around the globe. It’s said that they are found in nearly all tested fish, which means we’re literally eating our clothes . Because microplastics are minute, they are not filtered out at the the water treatment plant and instead travel right through to the ocean. There are now products, like the Cora Ball, designed to throw in your washer as a filter to capture the microplastics in your laundry. Newer washing machines are expected to have microplastics filters built in so keep an eye out for those to hit the market. Related: Cora Ball emulates natural filtering of coral to remove toxic microfibers from your washing machine The dry cleaner Dry cleaning is a chemical process, and therefore a foe of the environment. Avoid dry cleaning as much as possible by washing at home and being conscious of the fabrics you buy at the store. Doing laundry has become such a part of our daily routines that we might not notice how often we are tossing our barely worn clothes in the washer. It’s never too late to begin an eco-friendly lifestyle and incorporate new approaches to our routines. Follow these helpful tips and significantly reduce your environmental impact. Images via Shutterstock

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These are the best tips to help you establish an eco-friendly laundry routine

Renewable energy surpasses coal for the first time in U.S. history

May 6, 2019 by  
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This April, for the first time in U.S. history, the renewable energy sector is expected to have generated more total electricity than coal. According to an initial report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, this achievement is partially because of increased investment and awareness, but might also be due to seasonal changes in electricity consumption. “Five years ago, this never would have been close to happening,” Dennis Wamstead, research analyst at IEEFA, said in the report. “The transition that’s going on in the electric sector in the United States has been phenomenal.” Americans demand more renewable energy According to the IEEFA report, there has been increased investment in the wind and solar field, making the technology less expensive and more widely accessible. Increased awareness about climate change and the role of carbon emissions has also led local governments, businesses and residents to demand renewable energy policies and services. Related: Coal prices continue to rise, becoming more costly than solar and wind alternatives Renewable energy sources include hydro, geothermal , solar, wind and biomass energy, although solar and wind are the two sectors that have seen the most rapid upsurge. In fact, even major power companies are turning to renewable energy. Power giant Xcel Energy shut down 25 percent of its coal plants and plans to deliver zero-carbon electricity by 2050. Coal still reigns in the summertime Although this record-breaking achievement is exciting, energy experts also said that it could be partially explained by seasonal electricity demands. Many companies temporarily shut down coal plants for seasonal maintenance in the springtime, when electricity demands are lowest. There is also an abundance of wind and hydro energy during that time. However, once people start turning on their air conditioners around June, electricity production is expected to be dominated by coal and natural gas again. Despite the current federal government’s attempts to boost the coal industry, coal consumption has been steadily declining. In 2016, natural gas surpassed coal as America’s biggest source of electricity, with coal contributing 27 percent of electricity and natural gas contributing 35 percent. Although it is cleaner than coal, natural gas is still a fossil fuel and therefore contributes to climate change. The report also predicts that renewable energy will outshine coal in May, and going forward will sporadically compete with coal on a monthly basis. However, coal and natural gas are expected to dominate annual consumption patterns for several more years. + IEEFA Via CNN Images via   Zak Zak and Jeff Hitchcock

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Renewable energy surpasses coal for the first time in U.S. history

Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

May 6, 2019 by  
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Delft-based architectural firm cepezed has completed the Netherlands’ first self-sufficient bus station in the southern city of Tilburg. Designed to generate all of its own energy, the new transit facility features a massive solar panel -topped awning that provides shade and gives the bus station its modern and sculptural appearance. The Tilburg bus station was completed as part of the large-scale revitalization of the city’s public transit hub and offers easy access to the neighboring train station and bicycle parking in the railway zone. The new bus station at the west side of the Tilburg train station was designed to prioritize user comfort and safety. To that end, the architects topped the structure with a spacious awning that not only fully covers the bus platforms but also part of the buses, so travelers can be protected from the rain while boarding and deboarding. The steel-framed awning is fitted with lights and covered with ETFE-foil so as to let in filtered sunlight during the day and illuminate the space at night. For inclusivity, the station is equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps and handrails with braille signing. As a symbol of smart development, the station adopts a contemporary and minimalist design with highly efficient detailing. Built of steel plates and strips, the thin columns that support the large awning also contain water drainage and electric cabling. The S.O.S. button and intercom have also been integrated into one of the columns. In addition to the raised black concrete sitting edges, the architects included backed seating made with strip steel with heating. Related: Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments Solar panels spanning 2,691 square feet top the awning and power all of the bus station’s needs, from the lighting and digital information signs to the staff canteen and public transport service point. Certain solar-powered lights are triggered by energy-saving motion sensors integrated into the steel edge of the awning. For greater sustainability, the architects ensured the longevity of the structure with a low-maintenance material palette and minimized the edges and corners to reduce costs and resources for cleaning. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

Architects revamp a 100-year-old warehouse into a dreamy off-grid refuge in Ibiza

May 6, 2019 by  
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Dutch design firm  The Nieuw has just given a breathtaking makeover to an abandoned warehouse sitting among the natural hills overlooking northern Ibiza. Working in collaboration with Ibiza Interiors , the architects gutted the interior of the 100-year-old warehouse before converting it into a solar-powered,  off-grid refuge with a vibrant contemporary design — complete with a yoga platform on the roof. Located in a remote hillside overlooking the island’s beautiful views, the 861-square-foot Campo Loft guesthouse was designed to blend in with the its picturesque Mediterranean setting. Using the landscape as inspiration for the design, the architects set out to create an “industrial open living space on the field,” which would take shape as a stunning two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow that runs completely on solar power. Related: Serene off-grid tiny home sits tucked away in a Hawaiian rainforest Despite the desire to turn the old workshop and storage warehouse into a modern guest home, the design team worked hard to retain any of the building’s original features. The original walls and parts of the roof were kept, while the large steel-framed windows and openings are new. Throughout the compact structure, traditional Ibizan building styles and materials were incorporated: concrete floors, mud-plastered stone walls and “sabina beams” made out of trees that grow on the island. From the outside, the home is a humble structure with an all-white facade that pays homage to the traditional, local style; however, the exterior conceals a stunningly contemporary interior design . At the heart of the home is a stone fireplace surrounded by glazed openings on either side. Modern furnishings were used sparsely, enhanced by large pieces of artwork. While the two bedrooms are tucked into the north side of the home, separated by a massive bathroom with a large soaking tub, the home’s social area is on the private terrace, which provides stunning views. Surrounded by fruit trees and a vegetable garden, the house even has a yoga platform on its roof for residents to get bendy while soaking up the sun. The design is also 100 percent self-sustaining. The main functions such as hot water, floor heating and electricity are all generated by solar power . Water from a private well is used for drinking and bathing. Additionally, the house has multiple passive features such as natural air ventilation and natural light to create a stable temperature year-round. + The Nieuw + Ibiza Interiors Via Dwell Photography by On A Hazy Morning via The Nieuw

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Architects revamp a 100-year-old warehouse into a dreamy off-grid refuge in Ibiza

Celebrate mom with these 10 gifts of time this Mother’s Day

May 6, 2019 by  
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Mother’s Day is the time of the year to really show how much you appreciate Mom. You can always go the traditional route and get your mother a nice card and some flowers, or you can make the day more meaningful by spending some quality time with her — not to mention that gifts of time are better for the planet! From attending a cooking class to relaxing at the spa, here are 10 gift ideas that are sure to make Mother’s Day enjoyable for the whole family. Cooking class Let’s be honest, your mom is probably the best cook you know. But why not put her skills to the test by taking a culinary class together? These classes are a great way to bond with your mom while learning how to make a new dish. Cooking classes vary depending on where you live and are typically offered through a college or culinary school. Related: The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce Wine tasting trip Visiting a local vineyard is a great way to relax and try out some local wines . Vineyards usually offer entire day packages that give you a tour of their vineyard and a taste of their best wines. If your mother is a wine enthusiast, she will absolutely love spending a day with some vino — and her loved ones, of course. Painting class You do not have to be the next Picasso to enjoy a painting class. Many places even offer painting classes to take while sipping on your favorite wine, which might just be the best of both worlds. The class will usually charge a flat fee for supplies. All you have to do is show up with a good attitude, and you and Mom will go home with some art for your collections. National Park visit If staying indoors isn’t for you, consider visiting a national park. There are dozens of national parks spread across the United States, and each one offers a unique experience. All it costs for you to explore the great outdoors is an entrance fee and a little bit of time. Depending on your location, some activities you will find include horseback riding, hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife watching  and rafting. Related: Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials If you would like more information about National Parks and where to find them, check out the National Park Service website. Museum pass Museums rotate and add new collections all the time, so if your mom is into art, consider purchasing a day pass at her favorite gallery. You may even find an establishment that offers special tours on Mother’s Day. There are also a wide variety of museums you can check out, including art museums, natural history museums, historic museums and even building tours. Once you are done, take Mom for lunch to talk about the most intriguing things you came across during the trip. Spa day A day at the spa is good anytime of the year. If you have a little extra cash to spend, why not purchase a package for two at your favorite spa? Trust us — your mom will absolutely love it. Some spas will even offer special packages for Mother’s Day, making this gift pretty much a no-brainer. For a more sustainable gift, have a DIY spa day, complete with homemade face masks and lotions. Yoga class It can be very difficult for moms to find time throughout their busy days to relax and meditate. Take away the stresses of the work week by gifting your mom with a  yoga class. You can usually find a studio or two that offer beginning courses, which is a great way to introduce your mom to the practice. If you plan on taking the class with her, we recommend finding one that is designed for families. You could also consider purchasing a monthly membership, just in case your mom wants to return another time or is already an avid yogi. Garden gifts Taking a walk through your local botanical garden is another great way to get outdoors on Mother’s Day. The holiday is set at the perfect time to celebrate the blooming season. If walking through a botanical garden is not an option, you can always bring the plants to her. Starting a small herb or veggie garden for your mother will constantly remind her how much you love and cherish her. The trick is to use plants that are fairly easy to maintain and require little attention to thrive. Some good options include onions, cilantro or thyme. Family photos Mother’s Day is the perfect time to snap a few photos with the entire family, because everyone is usually dressed in their best  for the day anyway. You can hire a professional to take the pictures, or just enlist the help from a family member, friend or neighbor. After the photo session, be sure to have the photos printed and framed for Mom! Homemade brunch One of the ultimate ways to show your mother that you love her is to cook  brunch for her. Invite other members of your family and have everyone contribute one of your mom’s favorite dishes. With a full stomach and loved ones to enjoy, this will be one Mother’s Day your mom won’t soon forget. Images via Shutterstock

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Celebrate mom with these 10 gifts of time this Mother’s Day

Easy DIY Projects to Weatherize Your Home

April 30, 2019 by  
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Heating and cooling account for nearly half of all U.S. … The post Easy DIY Projects to Weatherize Your Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Easy DIY Projects to Weatherize Your Home

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