9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

February 18, 2019 by  
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Adding plants to your living space is an easy way to add beauty and character to your home. But aesthetics aren’t the only benefit of indoor gardening as houseplants can make your home’s air healthier  and also make you happier . No to mention, you can easily grow useful plants and herbs that work great for healthy cooking and as natural medicines . Even if you weren’t born with a green thumb or have a tiny space to work with, there are ways to go green with your decor. If you choose the right plants and get creative, your indoor garden will thrive. Here are nine ways to add more plant life to your home. Use the Windows For many indoor plants , sunlight is essential. So, placing your plants near windows is a no-brainer. A Beautiful Mess suggests a DIY ledge for the kitchen window to set up your herb garden or hang an over-the-window plant shelf in your living room or bedroom. Instead of hanging a curtain for privacy, you can create a “ plant shelfie ” and group a bunch of plants together or use a large sturdy tension rods to hang plants at the top of the window. Custom shelves around or under the window —  or added to the ledge— also work well, too. Wire Grid Jazz up a plain wall with a wire grid and S-hooks to display houseplants . You don’t need a ton of space for this idea, and it makes it easy to hang gardening essentials like scissors and a watering can. You can find wire grids in different shapes and sizes, and some also have mountable shelves. Kitchen Garden A window in your kitchen is an excellent place to grow an indoor herb garden , however, that’s not an option for everyone. You can still make it happen by hanging small planters on your cabinets .  Also, if you have the counter space,  you can create a small garden for succulents with a two-tier fruit basket and some fabric scraps. Related: How to grow 10 foods from kitchen scraps Pegboard Like the wire shelves, a pegboard is also a great idea for small spaces. They work well in any room, no matter how big or small. You can even use a peg board as a headboard . The great thing about pegboards is that you can use hooks, baskets and shelves to create the look you want. You can also add a pop of color with a few tiny potted plants or cover the board entirely. Ceiling Hangers Speaking of macrame, it has made a major comeback recently, which means you can easily find macrame plant hangers to hang from the ceiling. They are great to hang near windows, or you can use ceiling hangers in unexpected places like in the bathroom or over a dining table . When you live in a small space, ceiling hangers are a fantastic option. You won’t give up any shelf, floor or wall space, and they add a fun, unexpected layer to the decor . Wall Art Turn plants into pieces of living art by adding them to string art or macrame wall hangings . You can find tons of affordable options on sites like Etsy that can quickly turn plants and flowers into artwork. Plants and flowers nestled into different designs look great. Air plants are a great option for wall art because they are super easy to take care of. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Bookshelves and Picture Ledges If you have built-in shelves in your living room, bedroom or kitchen, don’t let the high shelves go to waste just because they are out of reach. Add some plants that drape down to add some green to your space. Trailing plants are very popular and they are low-maintenance. If you have the option of adding something to the wall, pictures ledges are perfect for displaying plants indoors because the small lip on the edge will keep them from falling. Picture ledges are usually cheaper than traditional shelves. Just make sure you choose ledges that are wide enough. Carts If there is a small, dull space in your home that needs some love, you can add some plants with a rolling cart . If you live in an apartment and can’t add shelves, grids or peg boards to the wall, a rolling cart is the perfect option for creating a mini- jungle . Or, if you have some dead space in a large room, the cart doesn’t even have to go up against the wall. Plant Corner If you have an empty corner that needs some attention, consider filling it with plants of different shapes and sizes. Place different pots (of various shapes and sizes) in the corner to create a plant corner. You can incorporate your plant cart into the area for some added height. Images via Shutterstock

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Sleep in this restored WWII air control tower full of historic charm

February 15, 2019 by  
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A unique Airbnb listing in Scotland is inviting guests to stay at an amazing restored WWII air traffic control tower. Located in the Scottish Highlands area of Tain, the HMS OWL Air Control Tower dates back to the second world war, when it was used as an airbase for planes coming in and out of the country. Now, the tower has been renovated into a vibrant guesthouse with design features that pay homage to its military past. The old air tower is located in Tain, a former WWII air base that sits adjacent to the North Coast 500 Scenic Route. The former military structure was bought by Justin Hooper and Charlotte Seddon, who converted it into their family home. The family lives on the first three floors, but the top floor of the building is available for rent starting around $100 per night. Related: Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower The five-year renovation process was extensive, but the couple went to extreme lengths to retain the military character of the building. To blend the tower into the expansive grassy landscape, Justin and Charlotte painted the exterior a jet black. They also left the original steel-framed Crittal windows that let in optimal natural light into the property. On the interior, large concrete pillars and exposed brickwork gives the living atmosphere a chic,  industrial feel. Large leather sofas and chairs, along with a wood-burning stove, make the living space extra warm and inviting. The top floor’s  unique guest room sleeps up to two people in a comfortable king-sized bed and beautiful en suite. The room has plenty of large windows to let in natural light as well as to offer the stunning views of the Scottish countryside. + HMS OWL Air Control Tower Via Curbed Images via HMS OWL Air Control Tower

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Sleep in this restored WWII air control tower full of historic charm

Earth911 Podcast, Jan. 25, 2019: EarthEasy.com’s Greg Seaman Talks off-the-Grid Living

January 25, 2019 by  
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Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining

December 24, 2018 by  
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One of the best advantages to building a tiny home is the ability to custom design the space. When Chattanooga-based tiny home builders  Wind River Tiny Homes were approached by a couple with a strong love of outdoor hobbies, they knew that design had to reflect their active lifestyle. The result is a 650-square-foot house that includes several unique features such as a large garage door that opens up to an outdoor deck, a vertical green wall  and a battery charger for their training bikes. The exterior of the tiny home  is clad in Eastern cedar siding with light blue wood panels and corrugated metal. The aesthetic is fresh and modern, giving the tiny home just as much charm as any larger, more conventional home design. Related: Tiny homes made of concrete pipes could be the next big thing in micro housing The interior of the home, however, is where the design really shines. According to the team from Wind River Tiny Homes, the couple wanted a home that was no more than 600 square feet. In the end, the home measures a total of 650 square feet thanks to space-efficient measures such as putting the bathroom under the stairwell. Additionally, the homeowners wanted to have a space for entertaining. Accordingly, the designers installed a custom glass garage door that leads out to a 150 square feet deck. This unique feature not only floods the interior with natural light , but allows ample space for entertaining. Using mainly locally-sourced and reclaimed materials , the tiny home team custom designed the living space for the couple’s love of all things sporty. The living space was equipped with ample storage for sporting equipment such as space for the couple’s paddle boards, a carport with a pulley system for lifting kayaks off the car and a battery charger for their training bikes. The design team also used a number of reclaimed materials in the interior accents. In one corner of the living space, a beautiful Shou Sugi Ban barn door slides open to reveal a wall of reclaimed tongue-and-groove wainscoting that was reclaimed from an old elk lodge building in Chattanooga. Further into the living space, a fully-equipped kitchen features a bar made out of of the same reclaimed wood. The kitchen’s custom concrete counter top features inlaid bike gears on the bar’s countertop, another nod to the couple’s love of biking. In addition to the unique custom attributes, the home is also equipped with a number of energy-efficient features . The deck lighting is powered by solar power  and LED lighting is used throughout the home. A smart thermostat provides the home with a comfortable temperature year round, all while saving energy in the process. + Wind River Tiny Homes Via Dwell Images via Wind River Tiny Homes

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Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining

Can the Digital World Encourage Healthy Living?

November 15, 2018 by  
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Can the Digital World Encourage Healthy Living?

Can the Digital World Encourage Healthy Living?

November 15, 2018 by  
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Earth911 Quiz #37: The Greenest Shopping Options

November 15, 2018 by  
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Earth911 Quiz #37: The Greenest Shopping Options

Earth911 Quiz #37: The Greenest Shopping Options

November 15, 2018 by  
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Earth911 Quiz #37: The Greenest Shopping Options

This idyllic 15-acre farmhouse is the worlds second Living Building residence

February 21, 2018 by  
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A picturesque 15-acre farmhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan was just officially crowned the world’s second “Living Building” residence by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). The owners of Burh Becc at Beacon Springs , Tom and Marti Burbeck, spent five years working with a team of 20 designers, engineers, architects and sustainability experts to transform their 2,200 square foot home into an icon of truly sustainable living that gives more than it takes. The beautiful farmhouse, whose design was inspired by traditional Tuscan farmhouses, has a large living space of 2,200 square feet. Additionally, the property has a 2,400 square foot barn and workshop. The farmland had been previously depleted due to years of commodity farming. Following the Living Building criteria, the land was carefully revamped with permaculture farming methods using an integrated system of agriculture, horticulture and ecology, creating a system that will be regenerative for centuries to come. The Burbeck’s not only use these farming methods to grow their own food, but they also provide healthy food for the local community – and for those with limited access to fresh produce. Related: 9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects To create a net-zero energy design , the home is equipped with clean energy generation through a 16.9-kilowatt solar array, which provides electricity to the home and back into the grid. Additionally, a passive solar system works with a very tight thermal envelope and a tall cooling tower to minimize heating and cooling needs. A closed-loop geothermal system provides radiant floor heating during the cold Michigan winters. For water conservation, the home uses a rainwater and snow harvesting system to be water net-positive . A rainwater collection system reroutes to supply 7,500 gallons of in-ground cisterns, used for non-potable water. An on-site well provides potable water at the moment to comply with local building codes, but the home is installed with a future-ready potable rainwater filtration system. After more than three and a half years designing the reformation, 18 months in construction and a year of performance auditing, Burh Becc at Beacon Springs Farm was awarded the Living Building Challenge certification in December 2017. Additionally, the home has been awarded a Platinum LEED Certification. When the Burbecks were asked why they took on such an ambitious project, they explained that it just made sense to their lifestyle. According to Marti Burbeck, “As we looked at the criteria for LBC certification we thought, why not go for it. If our goals include helping to change peoples’ relationship with the environment and to change building philosophies, we should start with our own project, and then become advocates.” Now that they’ve achieved their dream of converting Burh Becc into an icon of sustainability, they’re on their way to becoming advocates. The couple plan to host educational workshops and house tours to educate the community, the building industry, government officials, and anyone who will listen about the benefits of truly sustainable living. + Burh Becc at Beacon Springs + Architectural Resource Via CSR Wire Images via Burh Becc at Beacon Springs

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This idyllic 15-acre farmhouse is the worlds second Living Building residence

World’s first floating wind farm performing better than anticipated

February 21, 2018 by  
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The 30 megawatt Hywind Scotland floating wind farm started operating last fall , and Statoil recently said the farm, a world first, “performed better than expected in its first three full months in production.” The floating farm, a Statoil and Masdar project, has already survived a winter storm, a hurricane , and wave heights of around 27 feet to power around 20,000 households in the United Kingdom . 45 to 60 percent is the “the typical capacity factor for a bottom fixed offshore wind farm” during the winter, according to Statoil. But Hywind Scotland beat that figure with an average of around 65 percent in November, December, and January, the Norwegian power company said. This means the floating wind farm “was producing 65 percent of max theoretical capacity.” Related: The world’s first floating wind farm just switched online That’s a win for the floating power plant , which has already encountered brutal winter weather. Hurricane Ophelia in October saw wind speeds of 80 miles per hour, and Storm Caroline in December saw gusts of 100 miles per hour and waves of around 27 feet. The wind turbines were switched off for safety during the worst winds, Statoil said, but automatically started operating quickly after. According to the company, “A pitch motion controller is integrated with the Hywind turbine’s control system and will adjust the angle of the turbine blades during heavy winds which mitigates excessive motions of the structure.” Statoil senior vice president of offshore wind operations Beate Myking said in the statement, “We have tested the Hywind technology in harsh weather conditions for many years and we know it works. But putting the world’s first floating wind farm into production comes with some excitement. Therefore, it is very encouraging to see how well the turbines have performed so far. Hywind Scotland’s high availability has ensured that the volume of electricity generated is substantially higher than expected.” Statoil New Energy Solutions executive vice president Irene Rummelhoff said they are seeking new opportunities for the technology, and see potential in Europe, Asia, and North America’s west coast. Statoil and Masdar aim to cut the costs of energy from Hywind Scotland down to 40 to 60 Euros per megawatt-hour by 2030 to make it “cost competitive with other renewable energy sources.” + Statoil Images via Øyvind Gravås/Woldcam/Statoil ( 1 , 2 )

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