Taking care of our planet's natural resources and ensuring a light footprint are factors that encourage today's manufacturers to design and manufacture environmentally friendly products. Let's follow the green way! Here are some tips to tread lightly. It is in everyone's best interest to contribute to a healthier planet.
Search the web for products that are recycled and recyclable. Materials for everything from ceramics to glass and metals are made from recycled resources. Some, such as glass lamps, are even made from byproducts being used. Broken pieces or parts that didn't quite make it to a store are being used to make other products. Product designers are going out of their way to be creative and resourceful while giving the products and edgy and socially responsible presence.
LED lights and light fixtures should be considered the unsung heroes. Most energy exchange occurs as temperatures rise outside or inside the home. Homes that are outfitted with LED lights produce less heat and thus make cooling systems work less.
Insulation is a must for the future. With global warming raising the temperatures, insulation for roofs and walls is more important than ever. Reinforce the walls with materials such as cork, fiberglass or mineral wool with 50% recycled glass. In addition, to mitigate the sun, placing awnings or shutters outside the home's windows prevents overheating of the house in summer and controls the cold in the winter.
Give up the special occasion bath in favor of a shower. Designing bathrooms with just a shower makes sense. Showers use one-fourth the amount of water than filling the tub. Save even more by installing faucets and shower heads fitted with a low-flow, high-efficiency aerator. This should cut your water usage in half.
High-efficiency kitchen, air conditioning and laundry equipment are crucial in a sustainable home. Take, for example, an induction cooktop. These new cooktops only heat where the surface makes contact with your pots and pans. No heat loss is experienced, as when using a standard electric range. Not only does it make for a cooler kitchen; it also helps minimize your electric bill.
Smart washing machines can now distinguish the type of fabric, the weight of the laundry load and even how dirty the load is. They make your laundry a breeze, and they virtually eliminate having to wash any stained garment twice.
Paints and stain with low or no volatile organic compounds are available in most home decorating stores. Paints and varnishes must be free of heavy and abrasive metals, which are replaced by waterborne substances, oils or waxes. Paints made from water and free of odors do not produce harmful emissions for the ozone layer. Wallpapers can be used in an eco-friendly home, but they should be manufactured with cellulose from certified and controlled trees and water-based inks. Your home can be both beautiful and earth-friendly.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.