Cool ways to skip the air conditioning and still keep your home chill

June 17, 2019 by  
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Summer is right around the corner, and the rising temperatures in many areas have already arrived. As the searing summer months approach and drag on, finding ways to keep your house cool will make you more comfortable. Chilling out without the use of energy-thirsty air conditioning will not only save you money but is good for the planet, too. For thousands of years, humans found ways to stay cool, even in the hottest climates, without the use of AC. Take a card from that playbook to keep your home comfortable without relying on energy-intensive resources by incorporating the ideas below. Related: A modern home in India stays naturally cool without AC Open the windows Creating a cross-breeze is one of the most effective ways to cool a home. Many resorts and vacation homes in tropical areas rely on this technique instead of installing AC for a good reason — it works. The key to effective breeze cooling is figuring out which direction the wind blows. In some areas, it’s fairly consistent, commonly coming from the same direction during the same times each day (most often in the afternoon). Open up windows during that “window” of breeze to encourage the flow through your home. Also take advantage of cooler nighttime and early morning temperatures. Leave screened windows open to allow the cool air to come inside. Then, trap it by shutting windows on each side of the house as the sun hits it, i.e. the east side in the morning and the west side in the afternoon. Rely on the blinds When your windows are closed, also close off heat absorption by closing the blinds. For windows that are in direct sunlight for a good portion of the day, consider installing shutters or rolling blinds on the outside of the window as well. If you don’t want to block out the light entirely, install window film that is made to insulate against heat while letting light into the room. Blackout the light The most effective way to keep the sun from injecting blistering heat into a room is to keep it dark. Completely close off rooms when they are not being used. If you don’t mind being left in the dark, install blackout curtains, which effectively block the heat from entering the room through the window. Become a fan of fans Both ceiling fans and box fans are effective in cooling a space without cranking up the energy bill. For ceiling fans, make sure they are rotating in a counterclockwise direction during the warm months. Most ceiling fans have a switch near the top that changes the direction in which the blades rotate. This is so that the fan pushes cooler air downward during the summer. Reverse the blades during the winter, which pulls cool air up toward the ceiling to keep the living space warmer. Box and other fans help keep the air flowing throughout the space for a cooling effect. To create cooler air, place a container of ice directly in front of the fan. The air from the fan will bounce off the ice and direct the cool air across the room. Insulate against the heat With all of this talk about the importance of air flow, it seems counter-intuitive to mention insulation . However, keeping hot air from entering your space prevents from having to then cool it. Just like with cold air during the winter, evaluate any place that hot air may seep in. Close the damper in your fireplace. Feel around your doors and windows for airflow, and install weatherstripping as needed. Grab a package of insulation foam for your light switches and outlets. Related: 7 eco-friendly insulation alternatives for a green home Turn off appliances Even during the sizzling days of summer, you need to eat and do laundry , but appliances in the home generate a lot of heat and compromise your success in the battle against a hot house. Plan ahead to avoid turning on appliances as much as possible. Dust off that slow cooker book and cook dinner without turning on the stove. Also enjoy some summer grilling that takes the hot cooking outdoors. Better yet, on very hot days, go with a cold sandwich or salad and avoid cooking altogether. You can also keep the clothes dryer from heating up your space by hanging clothes to dry or only running it at night after the temperature drops. Even the dishwasher sends out heat, so wash dishes by hand and allow them to air dry in the warm space, or run the dishwasher without the final dry cycle that produces heat. Give your refrigerator a bit of a break. It works hard during hot weather, so keep up maintenance by cleaning the vent in the front and the coils in the back. Keep food away from the edges inside the fridge, so air can flow freely. Get shade from plants Keeping the home cool on the inside starts on the outside. Your landscape design can have a huge impact on the temperature inside your house. Plan ahead by placing trees where they will block intense sun rays during the height of the season. Put shrubs and vines on south- and west-facing walls to help insulate against the heat. Stop unwanted heat gain with awnings For a long-term, albeit less natural, approach, build permanent awnings or invest in retractable awnings over corridors, decks and windows. This will also make enjoying the outdoors on super hot days a little easier! Images via Shutterstock

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Cool ways to skip the air conditioning and still keep your home chill

Summer Reading: Dig Into The Roots of Environmental Nonfiction

June 5, 2019 by  
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Half a century ago, we didn’t know the full impact … The post Summer Reading: Dig Into The Roots of Environmental Nonfiction appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Summer Reading: Dig Into The Roots of Environmental Nonfiction

This incredible tiny house resort in the Catskills is the place to be this summer

June 4, 2019 by  
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If you’re feeling the need for a little R&R this summer, look no further than this fabulous tiny home resort in upper-state New York. Tucked into the dense woodlands of the Catskills, A Tiny House Resort features nine gorgeous tiny homes , including a renovated Airstream. Not only are the accommodations incredibly charming, but guests can enjoy a heated swimming pool, wellness center, arts and crafts workshops, and even goat yoga. Tucked in the woodlands, with a 1/2 mile of creek frontage and an onsite waterfall. A Tiny House Resort is truly an incredible space. Each of the adorable tiny homes , which range from 100 to 400 square feet, have different layouts, but all include kitchens, full bathrooms and comfortable beds. They also come with open-air decks with barbecue grills to enjoy al fresco dining and socializing. Additionally, there are a few onsite fire pits so that guests can truly immerse themselves in the outdoors, day and night. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills In addition to the tiny home accommodations , guests can enjoy any number of activities. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby, and adventurers can also enjoy free kayaks and rafts to enjoy exploring the adjacent river. For those looking for a little culinary cleanse, the resort even has its own veggie garden and hen house for collecting fresh eggs. For a little luxury, stressed-out city dwellers can relax with an invigorating massage in the open-air wellness center and spa, or a leisurely bath in the hot soaking tub. Budding artists and DIYers will love the arts and crafts center which is located in a renovated Airstream . Finally, for those who’d like to get bendy in nature, there’s also outdoor yoga— including the ever-popular goat yoga. + A Tiny House Resort Via Tiny House Blog Images via A Tiny House Resort

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This incredible tiny house resort in the Catskills is the place to be this summer

3 Simple Earth-Friendly Summer Recipes

May 30, 2019 by  
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The Challenge of E-Waste: Why Right to Repair Matters

May 30, 2019 by  
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The Challenge of E-Waste: Why Right to Repair Matters

Little Caesars debuts vegan sausage

May 23, 2019 by  
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Vegetarians have finally pushed Little Caesars past its tipping point. After years of clamoring for better vegetarian and vegan pizza options, Little Caesars is now offering a plant-based sausage, or impossible meat, made by California-based Impossible Foods . This is the first time a national pizza chain has offered a vegan meat substitute. Before vegans get too excited, note that initially only three markets will feature the faux sausage: Fort Myers, Florida, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Yakima, Washington. However, the new Impossible Supreme Pizza will still not be 100 percent vegan as it’s topped with dairy cheese. Little Caesars is not the first place most vegans would look for a meal. But as demand for plant-based products grow, even meat-heavy restaurants are taking notice. Last year sales in plant-based products increased 17 percent, compared with a 2 percent overall growth rate in the grocer sector, according to Nielson. “It’s here to stay,” said Little Caesars CEO David Scrivano. Impossible Foods’ vegan sausage is made from similar ingredients to their burgers, such as legume hemoglobin derived from soy. According to the company website, “Although heme has been consumed every day for hundreds of thousands of years, Impossible Foods discovered that it’s what makes meat taste like meat. We make the Impossible Burger using heme from soy plants — identical to the heme from animals — which is what gives it its uniquely meaty flavor.” Even meat eaters might want to try the pizza made with this impossible meat. According to Medical News Today , a recent study showed that eating red meat even occasionally could shorten your life. Red and processed meat consumption has been linked to diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer. So the less meat you eat, the better for you, and the better for animals. Impossible Foods reports that more than 7,000 restaurants now offer their products, including such traditionally vegan-unfriendly chains as White Castle, Burger King and Red Robin.  The company is increasing its production capacity at its Oakland, California manufacturing plant. This summer a second production line will double its output. Via CNBC Image via Michael Rivera

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Little Caesars debuts vegan sausage

How to Cut Your Summer Energy Bills

May 22, 2019 by  
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We Earthlings: We’re in — Let’s Cut Our Water Use

May 22, 2019 by  
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New York Botanical Garden’s new artist residencies connect people with plants

May 10, 2019 by  
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Despite its irrefutable success — founded in 1891 and now receiving one million visitors a year — the New York Botanical Garden’s staff tirelessly finds innovative ways to stimulate visitors’ connection to nature. This year, it launched a new artist residency program, inviting internationally acclaimed visual artist Michele Oka Doner and sought-after composer Angélica Negrón to be the first participants. “People come to nature in different ways,” Barbara Corcoran, NYBG’s vice president for continuing and public education, told Inhabitat. “Some people come to the garden and they’re very observant, they really see the plants, they read the labels, and they have quite a good knowledge. They’re gardeners themselves or they’re naturalists.” Others might need extra help connecting. “ Music and art are two ways to do that,” she said. Carrie Rebora Barratt, who became CEO and president of the garden in 2018, came up with the residency idea. Her training as an art historian and museum administrator and her previous position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art had shown her the value of artist residencies. Michele Oka Doner Love of nature fuels Michele Oka Doner’s five decades of artwork. This is apparent as soon as you walk into her SoHo studio. “It’s like a treasure trove of nature,” Corcoran said. “She’s a collector of natural objects and archaeological finds like fossils and little bird skulls, like dozens of them, and old stone tools and shells and nature books. So this is like a laboratory. When you go there, you really get to see what she’s all about.” Doner’s past works include “A Walk on the Beach,” composed of 9,000 bronze starfish, sand dollars, coral and other sea-inspired sculptures embedded in the concourse at Miami International Airport. Her installation at the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory in Munich includes 400 shamanistic sculptures . She’s still developing her ideas for the site-specific work she’ll create at the New York Botanical Garden . Related: Second Nature transforms abandoned fishing nets into 3D-printed seashells and bowls On June 12, Doner will give a free talk at the garden called “Ecstatic Nutrition: The Trees of My Life” about three trees that greatly influenced her. “It kicks off our Wellness Wednesdays, which we have through the summer,” Corcoran said.  “Michele is a close observer of nature and a fine storyteller. She has this kind of enchantment with the natural world and its sacredness, and it really comes across. I think it will be very inspiring to hear her talk.” Angélica Negrón Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón is a classically trained violinist who is well-known for her electronic music. Much of her work includes nontraditional instruments, such as toys, music boxes and electrodes hooked up to vegetables. A YouTube video shows Negrón in a market, lining up vegetables on a shelf to gauge their aesthetic as well as musical potential.  “I try to find vegetables or fruits that match the textures of the songs. I do love cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, vegetables that have kind of design element. I call it a vegetable synth,” she said in the video. “I try to coordinate it so it all looks like part of the same instrument.” Corcoran said that both artists are interested in science and technology. Negrón has met with a New York Botanical Garden scientist and horticulturalist to learn more about tree communication. “ Trees communicate largely through their roots,” Corcoran said. “That’s all very fascinating to her.” Negrón has already performed twice at the garden, delighting the public with her vegetable synth. “She assigns each vegetable with a different note,” Corcoran explained. “And then when she touches them, the water in those fruits and plants and vegetables conduct the electricity that creates the notes. By tapping different vegetables, she creates a musical piece.” She also adds in acoustic and electronic instruments and found sounds for a result Corcoran describes as “soothing and mesmerizing.” Negrón’s residency will culminate in November with a world-premiere performance in the Thain Family Forest. “We’ll have several choruses here,” Corcoran said. “So it’s a mix of live choral music with sounds that are coming from the trees. I think that’s going to be a real artistic happening that you wouldn’t want to miss if you’re in New York in the fall. Plus, it’s in the old growth forest at a beautiful time of year.” Visiting the garden The New York Botanical Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday year-round, plus occasional holiday Mondays. In addition to leisurely strolling and soaking up the beauty, there’s always something going on. Activities range from the extremely practical — learning to repot orchids — to something as celebratory as the Brazil-themed World Pride Night in June. The botanical garden is a vital center for plant research. Its herbarium contains 7.8 million specimens, and it employs about 200 PhD-level scientists and support staff who travel the world to collect plants and bring them back for study. But most of all, it’s a place where busy urbanites can spend time in nature . “It’s a real oasis for people,” Corcoran said. “And I think now more than ever, people need that.” + New York Botanical Garden Images via NYBG and Ben Hider / NYBG

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Stop the Summer Reading Slide With Eco-Themed Kids’ Books

May 10, 2019 by  
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