Landscaping for Fire Resistance

September 17, 2018 by  
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Landscaping for Fire Resistance

Gardening With Goats

September 11, 2018 by  
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10 money-saving tips for a green home

September 7, 2018 by  
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With more and more people becoming mindful about the environment, there has never been a better time to make your home greener . Not only does making your house more sustainable contribute to a better world, but it also puts money back into your pocket. Here are 10 ways in which you can turn your home into an environmentally friendly space. 1. Save Water We usually think about sustainability in terms of energy savings, but being environmentally minded also means taking a closer look at water consumption. There are plenty of ways you can save water around the house, and some of the methods require no investment on your part. For example, avoid running tap water while you are brushing your teeth, and only do laundry and run the dishwasher when you have a full load. Beyond changing your daily routines, you can drastically cut down on water consumption by investing in a low-flow shower head. These energy-efficient shower heads can save around 160,000 liters every year, depending on the size of your family. You should also check your home for any leaks, including running toilets and leaky faucets. Not only do these waste water, but they can also drive up your monthly water bill. 2. Choose Green Lighting Eco-friendly light bulbs are nothing new, but they have only recently started trending with homeowners. Nowadays, companies offer a slew of energy-efficient light bulbs, so finding the right match for your home is easier than ever. These bulbs use less electricity but are just as bright as their traditional counterparts. They also have longer life spans, which means you will spend less money on replacements. If you opt for smart lighting, you can program your lights to further optimize their energy consumption. Smart lights can be programmed to switch on and off automatically whenever you are close to the house. 3. Harness Solar Power Investing in solar power is one of the best ways you can make your home greener. Solar panels are made from photovoltaic materials and use sunlight as an energy source. The electricity generated by the solar panels can be used to power multiple devices in your house, from lighting to appliances — and it is all provided free from the sun. While the initial investment is high, you can earn back your money in energy savings. It’s also important to keep in mind that you are helping the environment by depending less on traditional energy sources. Related: A brighter energy — the practicalities of solar power 4. Set a Smart Thermostat Heating your home takes a lot of energy. Why not maximize that energy by installing a smart thermostat? These devices are easy to program and maximize the use of your home’s HVAC system. You can even program them to turn on and off during certain times of the day. For example, a smart thermostat can start warming up the house right before you come home and lower the temperature when nobody is around. This helps save energy by running your furnace more efficiently than ever, which ultimately saves you money. 5. Close the Gaps Caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows wear down over time. When those seals break down, spaces open up and allow outside air to come inside. This makes your HVAC system run harder to heat and cool your home throughout the year, consuming more energy. You can seal up those pesky gaps with new weather stripping around doors and windows. These foam strips are easy to install and can save you hundreds in your energy bill every year. 6. Recycle Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can make your home more eco-friendly. Some cities will even pick up your recycled goods with the regular trash. The key is to remember to recycle while you are throwing things away. To help facilitate this, install recycling stations in at least two parts of your home. You might even find free recycling bins from your local waste management center, making it easy to start recycling. If you already recycle, take things to the next level by creating a compost pile for food scraps. Not only are you saving these materials from the landfill, but you can use the compost for your garden next year. 7. Check Insulation A correctly insulated attic is important in regulating the temperature of your home. If your attic is not adequately insulated, air will escape through the roof and make your HVAC system run harder. Installing new insulation in your attic is not cheap at first, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Some locations will even give you tax rebates for insulation, so double-check the codes in your area before installing. You can also consider adding an attic fan to your home, which can help circulate air in hot and cold weather. 8. Collect Rainwater Collecting rainwater is a great way to take advantage of what nature provides. A good thunderstorm can provide upward of 300 gallons of water, all of which can be stored in water barrels. You can use the stored water for gardening or drinking during the dry seasons. This helps save on the amount of water you consume every month and puts money back in your pocket. It also prevents rainwater from washing pollutants down your city’s sewer system and ultimately dumping them into larger water sources. Be sure to check your city codes for regulations on rainwater collection. 9. Fix Water Heaters A water heater uses a lot of energy to provide hot water throughout the home. You can increase the efficiency of older units by wrapping them in insulation. You can also turn down the heater a couple of degrees to save energy. But if your water heater is in need of a replacement, consider buying a tankless one. These units only work when you need hot water and run off electricity, making them a perfect option if you have solar panels installed. Their lifespan is also considerably longer than traditional water heaters, which means less waste for the landfill. 10. Avoid VOCs Volatile organic compounds ( VOCs ) are terrible for the environment and bad for your health. These compounds, which are common in cleaning products and house paints, can irritate respiratory systems, cause nausea, headaches and other health issues. Avoid these products by opting for low-VOC or zero-VOC cleaning chemicals and household paints, which are becoming more common around the country. Images via Joe Shlabotnik , Haley Neal , Michael Coghlan , Barb Howe ,  Roger Mommaerts , Lindalnpijn , Achim Hering , Tony Webster , Yoann Siloine , Dmitri Popov , Spencer Means

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10 money-saving tips for a green home

This sustainable dog house has a green roof and solar-powered fan to keep cool

September 7, 2018 by  
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Green design has touched every aspect of our world, and now even our little furry friends can play their part in living a sustainable lifestyle. Californian firm  Studio Schicketanz has designed a sustainable dog house made with eco-friendly materials that boasts some pretty incredible features. The timber canine cottage has a side green-carpeted ramp that leads up to the green roof , which is installed with a motion-activated water faucet and irrigation system. The architects created the dreamy dog house to be both functional and sustainable. The design was inspired by the firm’s focus on creating “landscape, architecture and interior design with a focused emphasis on livability.” Related: Y-town recycled old refrigerator into a dog house for adopted pup The main volume of the dog house is a traditional box shape with a slightly slanted roof. Inside, the sleeping space is equipped with a built-in floor drain for easy cleaning. Additionally, there is a solar-powered fan that keeps the canines cool during the day. Doggies can also keep an eye on any visitors thanks to tiny peekaboo windows on either side of the home. On the exterior, a hidden compartment stores toys, treats and additional accessories. A green-covered ramp leads up to the green roof, which was integrated into the design to encourage dogs to enjoy some fresh air from the comfort of their own personal space. Adding to the dog’s comfort is a motion-activated water spout on the roof to keep the precious pooches well-hydrated while they people watch from above. To reduce water waste , the drinking fountain is connected to an irrigation system. Related: How to build a green dog house The eco-friendly dog shelter will be on display at the Carmel Canine Cottages Competition from September 11 through September 15. After the event, the structure will be auctioned off, with all funds going to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). + Studio Schicketanz Via Apartment Therapy Images via Studio Schicketanz

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This sustainable dog house has a green roof and solar-powered fan to keep cool

Nativars and Heavy Lifters in the Garden

August 20, 2018 by  
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Nativars and Heavy Lifters in the Garden

Earth911 Podcast, August 20, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

August 20, 2018 by  
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Earth911 Podcast, August 20, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

Earth911 Podcast, August 16, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

August 17, 2018 by  
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Earth911 Podcast, August 16, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

Singapore, the City in a Garden, sets an example for a green planet

August 15, 2018 by  
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Singapore has transformed itself from a hub of pollution to an environmental dream-city in the past 50 years. From afar, the country’s landscape looks like any other modern city with abounding skyscrapers etched into its skyline. On the inside however, a green heart has grown at the center of the city, spreading into the minds of its people and up the walls of its buildings. This heart was initiated by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew — often called ‘Chief Gardener’ — who pushed his imperative of a clean and green Singapore until it became reality. In the 1960s, raw sewage loaded already-polluted canals of the city-state with so much waste that they poured sludge-like  waters into the Singapore River and surrounding areas. “In the 1960s, Singapore was like any other developing country – dirty and polluted, lacking proper sanitation and facing high unemployment,” Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources for Singapore, explained in his recent address to the Global Environment Outlook 6 (GEO6) . “These challenges were particularly acute, given our constraints as a small island state with limited resources; we did not even have enough drinking water.” These problems encouraged rapid industrialization to help improve living conditions for the citizens of Singapore, but the widespread urbanization only aggravated the environmental concerns. Related: A rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapore’s Marina One Yew saw the decay as “a blighted urban jungle of concrete [that] destroys the human spirit.” He believed that “we need the greenery of nature to lift our spirits,” hence planting the first tree of many in 1963 to inspire a generation of eco-warriors into action. This has become The Singapore Story  of the ‘Biophilic City in a Garden.’ The incredible journey began with this small deed, shortly before Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. Now, the city sits at the center of architectural innovation and technological design and has become a green global powerhouse. “We merely wanted to rise above the region we found ourselves in,” Lim Liang Jim, group director of the  National Biodiversity Centre at the National Parks Board, said in an interview with UN Environment . “Lee Kuan Yew had a plan. Keep us clean. Keep us green.” The generation that pioneered this change understood that if Singapore became “a nice place to live, then people will come and invest. Then we moved up,” Jim explained. But the movement was not solely economic or aesthetic in nature. The small self-governing city-state was urged to clean up the region by Singaporeans who wanted to stay on their land. These residents launched a strenuous 30-year campaign, cleaning up pollution and creating agencies where there were none to support their cause. This lead to the inception of the National Parks Board, which decided there should be greenery and plant life everywhere people looked. The board rejected the idea of being confined to a concrete jungle and instead constructed a sustainable model for any city to follow. Part of the ongoing changes involves educating students from an early age on the importance of environmental awareness, protection and advocacy. “We are going back to history, to ensure that we build from the ground up and ensure that the youth of Singapore don’t take our 50 years of history for granted,” said Lim, who believes that history can be easily forgotten by the minds of young Singaporeans who only know the smell of fresh air and the sights of lush greenery. “[Environmentalism] has to be something that is driven by the grassroots movement, it has to become in a sense political. You can’t easily turn a nature reserve into buildings, it would require some reasoned discussion with the public. We have to make sure that the younger generation appreciates our nature and biodiversity and do not take them for granted.” Related: Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for “plastic binge” awareness This is Singapore’s mission in preserving the achievements it has made while ensuring the future of its vision as an environmental champion. It believes that its citizens are entrusted a with stewardship that makes caring for common spaces second-nature. The residents built this new Singapore from the ground up, adding innovative features like the SGBioAtlas , which allows members of the public to become ‘citizen scientists’ by uploading photos of plants or animals and to the National Biodiversity Centre’s central database. Other ongoing projects include urban planning and zoning as well as policy changes and public awareness campaigns focused on a smaller carbon footprint and zero waste, among other goals. With its visionary leadership, Singapore’s long-term plan includes a phase of sustainable development found in its Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 , which underlines improvement in sectors that include all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through 2030. “Our approach has been to build a livable and sustainable city through pragmatic policy-making based on sound economic principles and science; a focus on long-term planning and effective implementation; and the ability to mobilize popular support for the common good,” Zulkifli said. Singapore has set the standard for a clean and green future worldwide, and it looks absolutely inviting. + The Singapore Story Via UN Environment Images via Joan Campderrós-i-Canas ( 1 , 2 ), Jaafar Alnasser and Jo Sau

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Singapore, the City in a Garden, sets an example for a green planet

This groovy ‘Sculpture Home’ in California can be yours for just $1.4 million

August 2, 2018 by  
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If you’re in the market for an extraordinary home just steps away from the Pacific Ocean, this unique modernist home can be yours for a cool $1.4 million . The curvaceous monolithic dwelling, which was designed by a landscape architect in 1969, is a truly unique space. With its continuous flowing curves that wind from the exterior to the interior and various periscope-like lookouts, the home’s design gives off a quirky yet tranquil atmosphere. Located between Monterrey and Santa Cruz and just steps away from the beach, the home has a striking modernist style and all-white facade, enhanced with various periscope-like lookouts that jut out from different angles around the structure. A 5,000-square-foot garden oasis,  landscaped with winding paths and drought-resistant plants, only adds to the home’s allure. Related: Unique asymmetrical home in the Netherlands takes a novel approach to sustainability The interior space continues with a whimsical but sophisticated design that makes its 700 square feet seem much larger. The compact space exhibits expert craftsmanship throughout, from its smooth concrete floors and handmade glass tiles to the eye-catching stainless steel and glass staircase that leads to the bedroom.  The interior design is minimalist, with carefully-chosen furnishings that open up the space. The round living area has an abundance of windows and a curved seating and dining area with a gas chimney serving as the centerpiece. The living space is flooded with natural light thanks to the home’s many windows and glass doors. Upstairs, the bedroom is a quiet space with a private pod-like deck – a prime spot for enjoying beautiful sea views. Adjacent is a spa-inspired bathroom with a 54-inch round soaking tub that overlooks the garden. + Sculpture Home Photography by Brent Black

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This groovy ‘Sculpture Home’ in California can be yours for just $1.4 million

The Gas-Powered Garden: Just Say No

July 17, 2018 by  
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The Gas-Powered Garden: Just Say No

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