If you are thinking about making changes in your life as far as your carbon footprint and are also thinking about doing some remodeling, there is good news. You can incorporate both of these lifestyle elements into your home. Eco-friendly remodeling is popular – not only because it is trendy but also because it really does save the environment. And it looks so gorgeous while doing so to boot.
There are many options for flooring that are not just limited to wood flooring. Many individuals prefer carpeting and there are options that exist there as well.
Many homeowners prefer carpets to wood flooring, but because of health issues such as allergies, carpets were not always a good option for those individuals. Now, however, eco-friendly carpeting is something that may be a viable option for all.
Eco-friendly carpeting offers variety and benefits all rolled into one.
* All-natural fibers such as wool or cotton and seagrass * Low toxic backing and covering * No topical chemical treatments * Carpeting dyed with vegetable dye
When thinking of flooring for an eco-friendly home, investigate the many carpeting options available. There are also many carpet treatments that, when topically applied, prevent the escape of outgassing for a certain period of time.
When it comes to sustainable and eco-friendly wood flooring, bamboo really does top the list. Since bamboo is made from a natural plant, the bamboo plant, it is one of the most effective eco-friendly flooring options available.
Bamboo offers the benefit of being a bit more water resistant than typical flooring. While water is still something to watch out for, it is not as much of a worry as for other types of wood flooring. Bamboo is also more stain resistant than some types of traditional wood floorings that are not eco-friendly.
Believe it or not, bamboo is also quite durable. Depending on how it is grown and delivered, bamboo flooring is equally as durable as other types of traditional flooring. Bamboo flooring is also excellent in its maintenance levels. You can easily maintain scratches and scuffs on these types of floors by sanding and staining.
Jute, Sisal, and Wool Throw Rugs
If you already have wood flooring in place and you are looking to throw a good rug on top for decorative purposes, jute, sisal, and wool are excellent choices. Jute comes from the plant family and is similar in kind to a hemp-style rug; however, jute is softer. Sisal is also derived from a plant and the fibers are used to create threads of yarn to make all-natural rugs, for example. Wool, of course, provides extra softness and comfort.
Cork is another alternative for your eco-friendly flooring. Cork is resilient, durable, and easy to maintain. Cork is an excellent choice in that the bark of the cork oak replenishes quickly.
These are just a few options for eco-friendly flooring that will all make a wise choice for your new remodeling project.
When you make the choice to live a green life, you can’t forget to take steps to turn the laundry eco-friendly. This might be one of the easiest areas to go green, but it’s definitely going to require lifestyle changes. But if you follow these tips you can have an eco-friendly laundry room.
1. Water temperature – Just heating the water to wash your laundry uses a lot of energy. But it’s such an easy solution to turn that dial to cold and save on energy. And if you’re concerned that your clothes won’t come clean, you need not worry. As a matter of fact washing in cold will help prevent stains from setting in and will keep colors from bleeding into your other clothes.
2. Full loads only in the wash – Washing large loads will save water and save energy. You use 40 gallons of water whenever you do laundry so if you can do one less load of laundry a week, then you’ll save 10% on your energy and water bills.
3. Upgrade your machines – There are so many energy-efficient laundry machines out there that can save you so much on your energy costs. If you aren’t in the market for new laundry machines, then don’t go out and buy them, but if it’s time for an upgrade get the most energy-efficient one you can afford.
4. Change your laundry detergent – Using natural detergents and stain removers is great for the environment. You can even make your own. They are free of chlorine bleach and synthetic fragrances, are generally made out of plants and are specifically made to perform well in cold water. Read the fine print to make sure you are getting a natural product.
5. Non-chlorine bleach – Chlorine is not good for the environment. Switching to a non-chlorine bleach is simple and it works just as well. A bleach made with peroxide instead of chlorine does the job right and it doesn’t have to be a name brand either. This really adds up to helping the environment and it’s so easy.
6. Say no to dryer sheets – The chemicals in dryer sheets and even fabric softener are not only bad for the environment, but they’re also bad for our skin. To keep that static cling down, either find a eco-friendly dryer sheet, or use a wool dryer ball tossed in the dryer. It will remove that static cling with no chemicals.
7. Hang to dry – You know you love the smell of your clothes when they have been outside drying in the sun. There’s the added bonus of the sun; it’s a natural bleach. If you have a stain in something, spray it with a little lemon juice and hang it to dry and it will help get the stain out. Nothing gets more natural and eco-friendly than that. If you live in a cold climate, have no fear; you can still hang to dry on a drying rack indoors and it will double as a humidifier that way. Put your rack over your heat source and you’ll moisten the air while drying your clothes.
8. Use what you have in your home for cleaning your laundry – Baking soda is a great deodoriser and lemon will help remove stains. Vinegar is a great natural cleaner. Whip up your own detergents for great cleaning products that cost less and help the environment.
9. Hand wash – Skip the washing machine altogether when you can and wash by hand. Wash the least dirty clothes first to use the water longer. Use a large bucket, or if you have a large utility sink you can make quicker work of this process. Sure it’s a pain and uses a lot more physical energy, but ultimately it is a great way to go green washing laundry.
10. Wear clothes longer. You don’t have to wash pants after every wear unless you spilled something on them. Wearing clothes longer means less to wash of course.
Taking these steps to eco-friendly laundry will not only save you money, but will make a difference on your carbon footprint and the environment. Do you have any other eco-friendly laundry tips to add?
For many people, the idea of snowboarding sounds dangerous, like it was only for crazy teenage boys. The idea of skiing down a large hill or mountain sounds scary enough and the idea of doing it with a snowboard sounds too hard to be tried. If these are your thoughts, you should think again. Whether you have been skiing for years or if you have never made it down a winter mountain, snowboarding can be a great way to spend winter days.
If you have been a skier and are thinking of branching out into the world of snowboarding, congratulations. The best advice I can give you is to be patient. Because snowboarding is similar to skiing and yet very different, some people who ski well will find that snowboarding comes naturally and quickly while others will find the learning process grueling and frustrating. Stick with it because eventually the tricks of snowboarding can come to almost anyone.
If you have never been a skier, have no fear. Having a skiing background is not always necessary or even beneficial in learning snowboarding skills. You, a non-ski expert, may actually pick up the techniques of snowboarding much easier than your skier friends. After some time you may find that snowboarding fits you like a glove.
Allow me to offer a couple of words of advice to anyone, ski expert or not, that desires to enter the world of snowboarding. First, do not expect to jump on a board and pick up the skill all on your own. Most people will benefit greatly from taking snowboarding lessons at least to learn the basics of the sport. So do not hesitate to sign yourself up for a lesson or two before you head out to the slopes.
A second and perhaps more important piece of advice is simple: rent. Resist that temptation to run out and buy the latest board and snowboarding gear just to look like a seasoned pro on the slopes. On your first few times out you should rent equipment and take the time to learn what kinds of boards best meet your needs. By renting you can avoid making a costly mistake that will leave you frustrated later.
So, whether you have been skiing for years or not, when winter comes around again make the choice to learn a new skill. Who knows, snowboarding could fast become your favorite source of winter fun.
The race for mega pixels has started and there is no way to stop it. Every few months cameras with more pixels hit the market. The manufacturers want you to dump your old camera and buy the newest and greatest one after all aren’t 10 mega pixels better than just 8? Apparently the answer is not that simple.
As with many other things when it comes to mega pixels more is not necessarily better. There are many considerations when buying a camera and the number of mega pixels is just one of them.
One of the most important things to consider is usage. More mega pixels are good for people who plan to print photos (especially enlargements) or for people who need to zoom in and grab fine details from a big photo. If the main usage of the photos is watching them on your computer screen and maybe printing a few 4X6 prints than 2 megapixels is more than enough (yes! just 2). Most screen resolutions are 1024 X 768 so even when viewing the photo in full screen mode you can only view 1024 X 768 < 1 mega pixels. A 2 mega pixels 4X6 photo print will have a DPI higher than 300 which is more than enough for a good quality print.
If you plan to use your photos for enlargements then a rule of thumb is to be able to print at least 300DPI (dots per inch) resolution. The following is a table for different print sizes and the needed megapixels for such print quality:
Another practical consideration is price and budget:
Usually the more megapixels the more expensive the camera is. Unless your budget is infinite when buying a camera you make a compromise between megapixels and other features. For example is it better to spend money on more megapixels or on better lenses? Or maybe instead of getting the latest number of megapixels get an external flash for low light photography? When buying a camera try to predict what and how you will use it. In many cases a lower megapixels sensor with better a lens will result in a much better photo than a high mega pixels with an inferior lens. Shop around and make sure that you get the best package in terms of mega pixels and other features.
To conclude when shopping for a camera it is best not to be a victim of the mega pixels race. Although it is generally a good thing to have a high number of pixels there are many other factors that influence the quality of the photos taken and the choice of the right camera for you. Lenses, battery life, light sensitivity, sensor technology used, external flash and many other features are not less important as the number of megapixels.
When shopping for a camera make sure that you consider the whole package and not use the number of mega pixels as a “quality” indicator for your buy.
Before taking up scuba diving as a recreational sport, it is important that you get yourself the necessary scuba equipment and gear. There are many options available but if youíre a beginner, itís best to start from the basics such as the mask, fins, snorkel, and weight belt, then move on to advanced sets later.
The diving mask allows you to see underwater through the glass plate in front. Most diving masks are constructed in such a way that a user can breathe out into the mask. This prevents the ìsqueezeî during the descent caused by pressure. Choose a mask that properly fits your face and forms a seal. Most scuba diving masks come with a rubber or silicone “skirt” that creates a watertight seal with the diver’s face.
There are several types of diving masks such as full face diving masks that allow underwater verbal communication, diving helmets using surface supplied diving equipment etc. Prescription masks are also available for people who wear prescription glasses.
The Fins allow you to move freely underwater and should perfectly fit the feet. It should neither be too tight nor too loose which can hamper swimming capabilities, be very uncomfortable and even dangerous while taking a dive. The snorkel lets you breathe at the surface without raising your head from the water, and should be no lesser than 30 cms in length. The weight belt helps you maintain buoyancy so you should consider getting one if youíre a beginner.
Diving suits like Wetsuits and Drysuits provide thermal insulation and prevent complications such as hypothermia. Remember that water conducts heat 25 times faster than air from the body. So, choose a suit depending on how warm or cold your diving water is going to be.
There are two main types of scuba sets ñ open-circuit and closed-circuit.
Most scuba divers use standard air – 21% Oxygen, 79% Nitrogen ñ for their open-circuit scuba sets, which is much more cost-effective than using mixtures such as heliox and trimix. The open-circuit scuba set (also known as Aqualung) itself is quite simple so is also cheaper and more popular than other types. Basically, the user breathes in from the set and out to waste, with the gas cylinder worn on the back. There are 2- and 3 backpack cylinders open-circuit scuba sets available.
Closed-circuit scuba sets use rebreathers. In this system, exhaled air is reprocessed by the rebreather to make it fit for re-inhalation. This can be very economical for people who need to take long dives. The three types of rebreathers include oxygen, semi-closed circuit and fully-closed circuit rebreathers.
Accessories you should consider:
Regulator and Buoyancy Compensator (BC) ñ The regulator, which carries the air from your cylinder, should be equipped with a gauge and second mouthpiece. The Buoyancy Compensator, such as such as a back-mounted wing or stabilizer jacket, is crucial for neutral buoyancy to control depth.
Dive watch: Electronics like a dive watch comes in quite handy when measuring your time and depth underwater. A dive computer is also available for the same purpose which is more accurate but more expensive.
If you plan to really move head with your scuba diving adventure, consider getting other useful accessories such as underwater light, a surface marker-buoy (SMB), a knife, and a compass etc. Experienced divers, Scuba Dive centers, websites, magazines, etc will all be able to assist you when searching for the right scuba diving equipment and accessories.
Coffee, a drink cherished by many; a drink avoided by others. Tea, its main rival, seems to offer a bounty of better health benefits; a drink for the New Agers and those who want to escape the decadence of the brown, caffeinated drink. The fact stands that tea can only be as beneficial as its preparation, which in some cases may have as much sugar as a can of soda. To understand coffee, one must understand the core value of tea: that the brewed leaf itself is the only healthful component. Everything else is decadence.
To that, the coffee bean itself contains a number of benefits to health. But the culture of coffee, like the tao of tea, contains a lot of excess trimmings. Espresso machines, for example, produce a highly concentrated form of ordinary coffee. And then the all-consuming vice: sugar. Along with cream, sugar waters down the benefits of coffee, where it turns the brew into drinkable candy. But all of this remains unchanged from tea. The bean is the important part.
Caffeine can wreak havoc on the nervous system, but that does not make it synonymous with coffee. Different kinds of coffee (all prepared differently) will yield varied levels of caffeine content. Serving size also comes into play. To those sensitive to caffeine, the obvious alternative can be found in decaffeinated coffee. But such an alternative could downplay the positive affects of the drink. Coffee is rich in the B vitamin niacin; and in recent studies has been shown to have antioxidant-like effects on the body by eliminating free radicals. As a caution, these benefits only arise with a balanced drinking habit. Too much cream and sugar can prove to be detrimental, while too much coffee poses many long-term hazards. While coffee may provide the B vitamin niacin, it in turn restricts the body from other vitamins. And depending on the brew, coffee contains acids that have been linked to stomach ulcers. Symptoms like these may sound off-putting, but they exist only in the long run for an abusive drinker. A daily cup poses no threat to the average person.
And a cup can be prepared several ways. The standard method used by drip machines yield a good amount of caffeine and the filter traps out most of the volatile fatty acids in the bean. The use of a French press, with its lack of a filter, will keep the acids in the brew (though some claim it helps the coffee to taste better). The pressurised water in an espresso will not keep out most of the volatile acids, and it will also increase the caffeine content. All told, for those who refuse to switch to decaffeinated, instant coffee granules contain less caffeine and fatty acids. Compared to their quality cousins, instant coffee should satisfy the balanced drinker. This along with less cream and less sugar, can make for a risk-free casual cup of coffee.