Finding and Buying a Green Home

About ten years ago we were considering solar panels for our home, but found the price a bit prohibitive for our budget at the time. Looking back, we should have figured out a way to do it. Now being green is so much more expensive.

The good news is because of the current economy housing prices have dropped significantly so purchasing a home that is already green or finding a less expensive home and making green renovations is definitely an option.

If you are thinking of buying a new home and want to take steps to ensure the home you buy is eco-friendly, here are some things to look for as you shop.

Location is an Important Green Consideration

Actually, whenever you purchase a home experts will remind you that location is an important factor in your decision, because while you can change the look of your home, it’s a lot more difficult to change the location. So make sure you put location high on your list when shopping for a green home.

Specifically consider how the home is set on the property in order to take advantage of the sun all year round. If it’s an older home, look for vegetation that offers shade (properly placed trees that protect rooms from the hot summer sun) and noise abatement. Look at the lot for things such as rainwater runoff and possible rodent infestation from nearby fields.

Another green consideration is the home’s location to retail, schools and public transportation. Being able to walk or ride a bus or train to work, school or shopping not only helps the environment, it may reduce your home insurance rates.

Make Sure the Home Was Built Green

While many people think of LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) certification when it comes to commercial buildings, there is actually a LEED for homes, too.

While the certification process for homes is extensive, some of the things required include the use of products which are locally produced (this means extracted, processed and manufactured within 500 miles of the home), fitting the home with ENERGY STAR® lights and a programmable thermostat, and using water resistant flooring in the entryway, kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room and spa areas – no carpeting.

You should also be sure the home is properly insulated (i.e. insulation with the appropriate R-factor, a measure of heat loss) and that there is weather-stripping on all doors and windows. And speaking of windows, while they are great for the natural light they offer, look for eco-friendly, energy-efficient windows that are NRFC rated (National Fenestration Rating Council).

Finally, make sure the home was built with a good plumbing system. An ENERGY STAR ® tankless water heater which eliminates the need for a 40-gallon hot water tank and heats the water immediately (no wait time), plus you’ll want low flow toilets, showerheads and faucets. And check to see if there is a graywater (also spelled greywater) disposal and recycling system for reuse of irrigation and laundry water.

Select Green Flooring, Appliances and Landscaping

If you’re moving into a new home, you may have the opportunity to select many of your own amenities such as flooring, appliances and landscaping.

When we were recently shopping for new flooring for the dining room, they steered us toward bamboo and cork because they are natural, non-toxic, and durable. They are also quite beautiful. In addition to reclaimed wood, linoleum, and stone tile, they are considered the top eco-friendly flooring choices.

As for appliances, keep the ENERGY STAR ® label in mind for your refrigerator, ceiling fans, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer.

On the outside of your home, look for non-invasive, drought-tolerant, native plants with low irrigation needs. Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil and plant trees along sidewalks, patios and driveways to offer shade. Also consider landscaping which discourages invasive species to minimize demand for synthetic chemicals.

There are a lot of ways to make your home more eco-friendly and these are just a few of the things to mull over as you look for you new green home.…

Green Life After Death

Many of us do our best to live an environmentally green lifestyle, making changes in our routines that include everything from adjusting the thermostat to putting bricks in our toilet tanks. But what about continuing that green commitment into our deaths and even beyond? The preparation of our bodies and subsequent rituals upon our deaths can be environmentally destructive. From carcinogenic embalming fluids to hardwood caskets, following traditional funeral and burial protocols take their toll on the environmental health of those we leave behind. We do have options, however, that allow us to leave this world in the same manner we occupied it – eternally green.

Embalming – One of the major components in traditional embalming fluid is formaldehyde, which is a proven carcinogen. A study released in 2009 by the National Cancer Institute reported a link between exposure to formaldehyde and a higher incidence of death from myeloid leukemia. There are eco-friendly options for embalming, however, including one substance that is formulated from nontoxic and biodegradable essential oils. In addition, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), no US state actually requires embalming. So unless a body is being transported in between states or on an airplane, it may not even be necessary.

Burial Vessels – The UCS reports that, ” Caskets, grave liners, and vaults in U.S. cemeteries use more than 30 million board feet of hardwood, 100,000 tons of steel, and 1.6 million tons of concrete each year.” Green alternatives include sustainable soft woods, or even biodegradable cardboard. You will need to shop around for an accommodating cemetery, however, as many have their own requirements, including some that are mandated by state law.

Cremation – The process used in traditional cremation produces significant amounts of carbon dioxide, and with about one-third of Americans choosing this option, that’s a lot of greenhouse gas. A more environmentally-friendly option is called resomation. This process “uses water, heat, pressure, and potassium hydroxide to decompose bodies; the bones that remain are processed into a fine powder.”

The Eternal Gift of Green – If cremation is your decision, you may want to take the ultimate green step and consider having your cremated remains mixed with concrete and fashioned into part of a memorial reef to provide valuable habitat for hundreds of aquatic species of both flora and fauna. Family members can even be involved in the casting of the reef, and choose their loved one’s final resting place from a list of reefs in progress. See Eternal Reefs for more details.


“Formaldehyde: Understanding the Newest Study On Cancer and Exposure in Funeral Service,” National Funeral Directors Association

“FAQs and Fictions,” Green Burial Council

“When It’s Time to Leave, Go Green,” Union of Concerned Scientists

“The Memorial Reef Process,” Eternal Reefs…

Five of the World’s Most Unusual, Eco-Friendly Home Furnishings

With all this talk about taking care of the Earth, and learning to efficiently use the world’s resources, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some inventions that are little known to the rest of the world. There are plenty of us who religiously and meticulously separate our waste materials. But it seems that there are organizations who are taking the “green” movement a little bit farther than the average consumer. In my quest for life’s most interesting conversation pieces, I lucked up on a several different mind-blowing home decorating options (most of which are made of recycleable materials). Mind you, each and every one of these are fully-functional, and in most cases, some of the most beautiful pieces of home art you’ll ever find…


  1. A FIREPLACE IN YOUR TABLE – Those not fortunate enough to have a cozy spot in the house for gathering around a toasty fire are finally in luck. Schulte Design is marketing a line of furniture called “Fire Furniture”, with one of the more popular pieces being a small coffee table which has a fireplace integrated into the center of its structure. In case you’re worried about pollutants, do not be. The fire is created with a liquid that is emission and smoke free.
  2. BOOKSHELF…OR COFFIN? – The Shelves for Life, which made their debut at the [Re]Design 06 exhibition in London, are perhaps the most functional bookshelves ever invented. After you’re finished using the shelves to hold your most precious literary items, you can use them to hold your most recently deceased. Yes, the contemporary, multi-slat shelves can be dismantled and re-assembled into a fully functioning coffin.
  3. THE KITCHEN CHAIR– I know what you’re thinking. There isn’t any thing strange about a chair being in the kitchen. But what about a chair that actually doubles as a kitchen? Vestal Design has developed a home décor solution for those with extremely limited space. The DoubleSpace Kitchenette is essentially a chair which can be flipped over (via an internal swivel mechanism) and used as a fully functioning stove.

    The “kitchenette” contains a countertop and two stove burners. It was also designed with a safety feature which will not allow the stove to be operable when the unit is used as a chair. Furthermore, the device is mobile, and can be rolled around at your leisure. Under the assumption that one will never cook and sit at the same time, this unit was developed to conserve both space and energy.

  4. DINING ROOM IN A BOX– This isn’t a reference to a bucket of chicken, or any variation of “boxable” fast food. The MealBox, created by Igland Design is actually a complete dining room set which fits neatly into a cube measuring almost a 1 ½ feet high.

    The furniture itself consists of several jigsaw puzzle-like slats which fit snugly together to form a low coffee table or mini-dining table. The six “chairs” are simply stackable seats which closely resemble foot stools covered in “tush-sensitive” Neoprene rubber seating. This dining room can be taken literally anywhere.

  5. AN IV FOR YOUR HOUSEPLANTS – Green thumb? What’s that? Everyone who has attempted to grow houseplants and failed understands that these lovely greenies need water, sunlight, and lots of happy conversation. Sometimes, we forget to supply the first ingredient.

    But if you happen to have Vitamin Living‘s I.V. Plant Pot, then you shall fear no more the imminent death of your beloved household plants. This contraption is a real I.V. which continually provides your plant with its necessary nutrients. When the clear I.V. bag goes a bit flat, you’ll know that it’s time to fill up your plant’s water supply once more.

As I combed the internet and browsed various sites, I was amazed at exactly how many different kinds of companies there are which are solely dedicated to providing innovative solutions to space and energy conservation. By taking a closer look at how we use our square footage and energy, it’s possible to discover brand new ways of conserving the earth’s resources.…

Eco-Friendly Homemade Mother’s Day Cards You Can Make

What is more personal on Mother’s Day than a gift you make yourself? Mom won’t miss those flowers when you give her a Pop-Up Bouquet Card. It’s easy to make and allows kids to be creative. Best of all, by using recyclable paper, you’re helping the environment.


The I Love You a Bunch! Mother’s Day Card lets kids have fun drawing with colored markers and getting their hands dirty with purple paint. Made with recyclable card stock, this colorful card is also eco-friendly.

Adults like to make their own Mother’s Day cards too. The Brown Paper Bag Card with colorful ribbon is easy to make. Glitter can be sprinkled on for a more decorative effect.

Pop-up Bouquet Card

Craft Materials

Brightly colored craft paper

Plain White Paper with no lines

Your favorite colored markers


Glue 1. Take a piece of the colored paper and cut a 7 by 4 inch rectangle and a 4 by 1 ½ inch rectangle. Turn the small rectangle so that the short edges face the 
sides. Take a colored marker and draw a flower vase in the center.

2. Draw roses with broad stems and leaves on the white paper. Cut them out and glue the fronts of the leaves and stems to the other side of the vase.

3. When glue is thoroughly dry, crease the vase and bouquet vertically. Take the small rectangle and fold back the short sides, about ½ inch from the edge. 
Next, fold the large rectangle in half, crease, and reopen.

4. Center your bouquet on top of the opened card and glue the side tabs of the small rectangle to the card. Take a brightly colored marker and print a special 
message to mom inside.

I Love You a Bunch Mother’s Day Card

Supplies needed:

Recyclable card stock

Purple paint

Medium size carrot with top removed

Colored Marker 1. Take marker and print out the grape leaf pattern.

2. Draw little smiling faces on each grape.

3. Fold the card in half and write your message to Mom inside.

Brown Paper Bag Card

Supplies needed:

Brown Paper from a grocery bag


Hole Punch

Colored Ribbon

Colored Marker 1. Cut the shape you desire from the brown paper

2. Using a hole punch, make an even number of holes around the edges of card.

3. String Ribbon through the holes

4. Tie the ends in a bow,

5. Write your desired message on the card.


Eco-Friendly Shopping Guide for Beauty and Household Products

With Earth Hour come and gone, it’s time to examine your personal commitment to the earth and climate change.


You can look good, and so can your house, without hurting the environment! This shopping guide will give you a brief list of some of the amazing accessories you can buy made from recycled material. This isn’t your traditional thrift store merchandise: It’s classy, it looks good, and it’s eco-friendly! We’ve also scoured the web for green personal care and beauty products.

Use this eco-friendly shopping list as a spring board and introduction to the many companies that offer great products that are kind to the environment around us.

Eco-friendly accessories for your dining table:

Beautiful, bamboo drink coasters; perfect for your summer glasses of cool, refreshing lemonade! Not only is bamboo a replenish-able natural resource (it is actually a grass and grows fast), but these coasts are also made of organic bamboo! A set of four can be had for only $18.99 online at

Resource Revival’s recycled candle holders are made from old bicycle parts. These are great for any bikers in your family, or for adding a beautiful and classy element to any dinner. A pair of these recycled candle holders can be found at for only $25.

Green, Organic Personal Care and Beauty Products:

A set of four Tashodi soap bars aren’t just cute and heart-shaped. These body soaps are also fair trade and totally green. It will leave your skin feeling clean and soft while being gentle on you and the environment! I love the smell, and you can enjoy it to for only $3 each when you buy four at

Farmaesthetics combines oil of rose with five natural herbs into something they call “Pure Complexion Tonic” which promises to clean and moisturize your skin, all naturally of course! Pick up your bottle of Pure Complexion Tonic at for only $25.

Environmentally Friendly Women’s Jewelry:

Who said looking pretty had to be costly? For less than $150, you can get a beautiful, handmade bracelet from Trisha Laurel made of recycled material. Even better, these one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces aren’t found everywhere. Get first dibs on it and set a earth-lovin’ beauty trend at

Environmentally Friendly Men’s Accessories:

Guys can look sharp and handsome with some recycled cufflinks. Handmade from, these unique, $40 cufflinks are fashioned from old typewriter keys. Definitely a fashion statement like no other!…

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products: Organic and Nature All-Purpose Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Dish Liquid and More

Eco-friendly cleaning products play a very important role in family and everyday life. The safer the products used in and around your family members, the safer they are in terms of health. By using available eco-friendly cleaning products and the many easy to use natural products available, consumers not only do their part in sustainable living, but also contribute to the well being of those around them. No matter which eco-friendly cleaning products you may use, you are doing your part towards living Green.


There are a wide selection of eco-friendly cleaning products designed to meet the everyday needs of the homemaker from furniture wax to glass cleaners and more. All-purpose cleaners are a bit part of daily life and therefore eco-friendly all purpose cleaners are one of the more popular eco-friendly cleaning products. The Organic and Nature All-Purpose Cleaner is available in either lavender, grapefruit, or unscented. Made from natural essential oils, the cleaner is pleasant and non-toxic while still having the ability for durable cleaning efficiently and effectively. The plant based eco-friendly product is safe to se around children and pets while still getting the job done. The Organic and nature All-Purpose Cleaner retails for $8.99 for 16 fluid ounces.

Finding an eco-friendly bathroom product is particularly difficult for such a tough area. The Organic and Nature Bathroom Cleaner is available in a fresh grapefruit scent with ingredients such as tangerine oil, essential oil blends, lemon oil, grapefruit oil, and orange oil. The eco-friendly product has the ability to remove scum, grease, and tough dirt and grime without having phosphates and other harsh ingredients. Available in grapefruit, lavender, or unscented, the Organic and Nature Bathroom Cleaner retails for $8.99 for 16 fluid ounces.

All households need a basic all purpose dish liquid for miscellaneous clean ups. Organic and Nature Dish Liquid is an eco-friendly cleaning product which is a great choice for all purpose household clean ups. Available in either grapefruit or unscented, the eco-friendly all natural dish liquid has the ability to remove grease and grime, while still being gentle to sensitive skins. This eco-friendly product is made from all natural ingredients such as organic aloe vera gel, natural spring water, and natural surfactants, the 16 fluid ounce eco-friendly Organic and Nature Dish Liquid retails for $8.99.

The Organic and Nature product line offers many other eco-friendly products for the household including; floor cleaner, hand soap, air freshener, plant boost, stain remover, window cleaner and more. For more information on the eco-friendly cleaning products reviewed above, visit the Web site for Shop Blue House, or call 877-276-1180.…

10 Ways to Be More Environmentally Friendly in the Workplace

10 Ways To Be More Environmentally Friendly In The Workplace

Let’s talk about 10 ways to be more environmentally friendly in the workplace. Rest assured, these eco-friendly tips will be very easy to implement and will ultimately help the environment.

1) Recycle as much paper as possible. Depending on the workplace, there is a reasonable chance that a lot of paperwork is generated throughout the course of the day. Don’t throw this into the trash. Instead, shred it and set it aside for recycling.

2) After lunch break, make sure that any recyclable soda cans or water bottles are placed into the recycling bin. There is no need for these items to end up in a landfill.

3) Carpool to work or use public transportation. This cuts down on CO2 emissions released by automobiles and is environmentally friendly.

4) You may want to think about making suggestions at your workplace to cut down on CO2 emissions generated by whatever it is that is being done where you work. These types of eco-friendly suggestions are usually welcomed by most employers because it will help them save money.

5) During the colder part of the year, if such conditions exist where your workplace is located, consider asking management to keep the thermostat set somewhat lower while everybody wears a sweater or jacket. This will reduce energy consumption.


6) See if there might be a way to utilize solar power or wind power to help generate some of the electricity that is used at the workplace.

7) If your workplace happens to be in a corporate park, see if some of your coworkers will volunteer to help you occasionally go around picking up litter. This helps the environment because the materials collected might be recyclable and small animals are prevented from potentially ingesting dangerous substances.

8) Try to reduce the amount of waste that is generated by being more efficient with the use of materials at your workplace.

9) Ask if it might be possible to purchase environmentally friendly office supplies. Any time your workplace is able to utilize different things that are made from recycled materials you are being eco-friendly.

10) Perhaps the best way to be more environmentally friendly in the workplace is to encourage coworkers to all play a role in trying to help the environment. It’s not enough if just one employee tries to do everything — it really needs to be a team effort.

By following this advice, the workplace can be made to be more eco-friendly so as to help the environment while also possibly helping the company save money.

by Chad Peterson…

Aquatic Glassel–An Eco-Friendly Replacement for the Traditional Fireplace or Fire Pit

I recently saw an exciting new product that can be a replacement for the traditional fireplace. It is called Aquatic Glassel, and is a beautiful tumbled sparkling glass that will turn your existing fireplace or outdoor fire pit into a stunning show piece. It looks like fire on ice as the flame dances and flickers without soot, ash or smoke. The glass will not degrade, discolor or produce any by-products, and the company promises that it will last a lifetime. The glass itself radiates heat, providing a constant flow to warm your home. It is far more efficient than other methods because nothing blocks the radiant heat as a screen or glass doors found on more traditional fireplaces are not needed with this type of heat.


Aquatic Glassel was originally produced for the Decorative and Aquarium Industry, but just recently the company has been producing new products for the Fireplace and Hearth Industry as well. Aquatic Glassel is a specially processed tempered glass, not recycled glass. Recycled glass (trash glass) is dangerous as it can crack and pop, causing injury.

The sparkling glass produces exceptional beauty in an outdoor fire pit too. The brilliant reflection of the midday sun causes the glass to sparkle, and in the evening, the glass creates a shimmering reflection of magnificent flames. No screen or glass doors are needed inside or out as there are no popping cinders.

Aquatic Glassel comes in hundreds of elegant colors and allows you to create your own individual look to match the decor of any home whether rustic, eclectic, contemporary or classic or somewhere in between. The tempered, formulated glass pieces are not sharp and can be scooped up with the hand. The transparent colors can be interchanged as desired to accommodate changing furnishings or seasons.

Aquatic Glassel directly replaces gas logs or wood and burns cleaner and more efficiently than other conventional products. The possibilities for combinations are endless. The company claims it is simple to install yourself; is safe for the environment and the touch; and has no cinders or embers or odors. There is no mess and it is pollution free. There is neither chemical treatment nor surface coating on this product, or any chemical by-products generated from using Aquatic Glassel. When the glass bits get dirty or dusty, they can be scooped up and washed with dish detergent and thoroughly rinsed. You can add or mix colors at anytime to create special effects also.

The company that makes this product is called Moderustic, Inc. and is located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. A few undesirable competitors have apparently spawned from this original company but Moderustic, Inc. holds the patent for the Aquatic Glassel products. This sounds like a truly eco-friendly product. This sounds like a truly eco-friendly new product.…

Easy to Be Green

Nowadays, everyone is aware of the need to go green and the steps we need take to reduce our environmental impact. Unfortunately, not many people are taking that step for whatever reason they may have, but the most popular reason is that it is too much work to live green. It is a huge misconception that it takes a lot to go green, in fact it is the complete opposite. Here are three simple steps to get you on the green track.


When you’re cleaning your driveway or porch, don’t use water to remove the dirt. Sweep! Yes, using your water hose is easier and faster to remove dirt and leaves, but remember you’re taking a green approach. Avoid the water hose as well when you’re cleaning your outdoor windows, use an eco-friendly window cleaner instead. If you’re cleaning your gutter, get up there and get dirty. Clean up the gutter with your hands and a scooper, it doesn’t hurt to get a little dirty. Only use your water hose to water your lawn, and don’t overdo it, watering your lawn once every 10 days is good enough. If your city does not have water restrictions, consider applying water restrictions to your home. We all need to reduce the amount of water we waste in a daily basis, plus reducing your water use reduced your water bill.


We all have things in our home that we just keep for no reason and don’t even use at all. To steer clear of becoming a hoarder, give away what you no longer use and you know someone else can use it for their home. Look around in each room of your home, collect items that you no longer use or don’t need and donate it to your local goodwill or charitable organization. Donate your gently used clothes, electronics, appliances, kitchenware, old cell phones, hardware, photo frames, and any item you no longer want. Someone else can benefit from the items that you have lying around in your home. You’re cleaning out your home and doing a worthy act of thoughtfulness.


If you don’t recycle, get started a.s.a.p.! Develop a small recycling station in your garage, backyard, or kitchen. Start by creating bins and label each bin for its purpose, aluminum, paper, plastics, and cardboards. Don’t throw away your ink cartridges and toners, Office Depot and Office Max offer recycling services for such items. Many of us use our garage for storage instead for its actual purpose of parking our cars, garages are a goldmine when looking for items to recycle. If you have used oil stored in containers and old batteries in your garage, recycle them. Many auto parts stores take in used oil, old batteries, used auto parts and some stores actually give you credit for those items. There’s several organizations and businesses such as, and that give you cash to recycle your old cell phones and electronics. Be less wasteful because it does pay to recycle.

Living green doesn’t take a major change to your life; in fact it gives you structure and organization. We can all benefit from using the three R’s, it saves you money, de-clutters your home and provides less wastes for our landfills. Be active in finding new ways to live green and spread the word.…

How to Make Your Life a Little “Greener”

There are choices you can make every day that will decrease your impact on the environment. Besides being eco-friendly many of these actions also save you time and money, improving your quality of life and putting a little extra green in your pocket. Kermit the Frog is always telling us “it’s not easy being green”, but perhaps he hasn’t considered these simple things you can do every day to make your life a little greener.


Buy Local

Buy food that is in season and grown in your area, requiring less travel time to your table. It is becoming easier to buy local products. Many cities have farmers markets, where local farmers sell their products. Locally owned grocery stores tend to favor local producers. Ask your grocer where they buy their produce, and frequent those that buy locally. Also, use natural ingredients as much as possible rather than processed foods. Besides being healthier, natural or raw ingredients require much less energy to produce than processed foods.

Buy in Bulk

Much of the energy cost of a product is wrapped up in its packaging. Buying gallons rather than quarts, reduces the total amount of packaging required for the same amount of product. This will save you money as well as result in fewer trips to the grocery store. If buying in bulk is not feasible, look for products that use minimal or reusable packaging, achieving the same net result of lower energy costs.

Minimize Personal Vehicle use through Planning

Besides driving to work, you also have to make trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, dry cleaners and bank as well as take your son to baseball practice. Your spouse has his own list of errands to run. Plan your family’s errands ahead of time so that you minimize travel. This not only saves you fuel, but will give you extra time that you can spend with family. Support the businesses that are close to your home. When the weather allows, walk or bike to a nearby restaurant – make the entire experience an outing for the family.

Develop a Sustainable Garden

By choosing the right plants and the right mix of plants you can make the best use out of the natural resources (soil, sunlight, water) in your garden, requiring fewer external inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides. Use native plants. Native plants have adapted to the local conditions (temperature range, amount of rainfall and sunlight) and will not require fertilizer, pesticides, or watering. Use a diverse set of plants that optimize the use of your soil. The right diversity will also attract birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects, creating a sustainable ecosystem. Find a local nursery that specializes in native plants, they often offer services to help in garden design. Spend the time upfront planning out your garden, utilizing a diverse set of native plants, and it will save you countless hours and money in upkeep.

Reduce Energy Consumption in Your Home

You can reduce the energy usage in your home without impacting your comfort. Cooling and heating your home uses a great deal of energy. Why cool or heat the house when you are not home. Buy a programmable thermostat that controls to your comfort level when you are home, but allows it to drift when you are not.

When buying new appliances, look for those with an Energy Star Label, which are designed to minimize energy consumption. Using Energy Star qualified fluorescent light bulbs, particularly in places that are lit most frequently, can save more energy than many of the other recommendations in this article combined.…