Simple Ways to Transform Your Condo Into an Eco-Friendly Space

Global warming and climate change have been at the forefront of news headlines nowadays. This brings to attention the need to protect the environment. When it comes to going green, every step matters and you can do your share with through your condominium unit.

Whether you own a condo unit for personal use or as an investment, you should think about how to transform your space and make it green.  Get started with basic maintenance care when you read this post. Then, incorporate 8 lifestyle changes and remodeling tips listed below to reduce your carbon footprint and make your condo unit eco-friendly.

Parquet wood floors are back in vogue

1. Switch to LED Lights

This is one of the simplest changes that you can adopt into condo living. LED lights are the new standard for modern and eco-friendly lighting at home. If you are still using incandescent and fluorescent lights or lamps, you need to consider getting new LED lights.

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are more energy-efficient and can last up to 20 years. They are, therefore, a good option to use for condo lighting if you want to minimize your carbon footprint. They are also practical since LED lights are affordable and last a long time, giving more value to your money.

2. Install Eco-Friendly Air Conditioners

The traditional air conditioners are notorious for consuming large amounts of energy that also hike up utility bills. If you want to save on power and optimize cooling within your home, it is best to find eco-friendly air conditioners. It can help you save up to 90% off your current energy bill.

But it is not just your air conditioner that you should consider replacing with eco-friendly ones. Make sure you choose other energy-efficient appliances, too.

3. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Going organic when it comes to your diet is one of the best ways to develop an eco-friendly practice at home. But when you cannot fully commit to altering your diet, it is best to start with the products you use. For example, you can switch to green cleaning products. This will not only benefit the environment but anyone living in your condo as well.

When you use natural cleaning products, you are exposed to fewer amounts of harsh chemicals. The fewer chemicals you use, the less harmful it is to your health. Also, if you have small kids, the use of chemical cleaning products should be a no-no!

The best part is that natural cleaning products are often less expensive than chemical-based ones. If you are not sure which to choose, research on brands that manufacture or specialize in natural cleaning products.

4. Furnish Your Condo with Reclaimed Materials

Have you inherited antiques from your grandparents? Do you have any unused furniture lying around? Instead of opting for new furniture items and accessories to decorate your home with, it is best to opt for those made of reclaimed materials instead. This will help reduce the waste dumped in landfills and maximize the shelf life of these materials. The use of antiques and old furnishings can also add an interesting decorative flair to your home.

Reclaimed wood materials are one of the most common recyclable materials that are used for home and interior decorating. You can repaint them to make them look brand new and fit into your interior décor theme.

5. Spruce Up Space with Plants

The addition of plants to your condo is a great way to enhance its aesthetic appeal. At the same time, add color and vibrancy to interior space. But there is also an eco-friendly benefit to incorporating plants as decoration–it improves indoor air quality.

Some of the plants that act as an air purifier are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Areca Palm
  • Elephant Ear Philodendron
  • Lady Palm
  • Bamboo or Reed Palm
  • Rubber Plant
  • English Ivy

Before you move into your condo, get one or more of these plants for a healthy home for you and your family.

6. Be Eco-Conscious in Your Choice of Kitchen Sink

If you need to renovate your kitchen, make sure to choose eco-friendly sinks.  As the most important part of your kitchen, choose stainless steel or kitchen sinks that are made from copper recycled materials. This will add a modern look while making it eco-friendly. Sinks made of renewable materials are also great options.

Pair it with low-flow faucets to conserve water easily. Another alternative is to install a low-flow aerator with existing taps. This will significantly reduce the flow rate of 4 gallons per minute to just 0.5 gallons. That’s a huge volume of water saved.

7. Invest in a Smart Home System

A smart home might seem like an expensive investment. But when you live in a condo, you will find cheaper systems that will make your life more efficient and eco-friendly, too. A smart home system will adjust the control of various appliances and equipment, such as lighting, heating, and cooling.

With the system in place, control of indoor temperature, lighting, and the like are automated. By adjusting to the optimal level, you won’t waste energy heating or cooling your home. It also helps to ensure that no unused light is turned on (as it automatically turns the light off when you leave a room).

This is a simple step that you can take to transform your condo into an eco-friendly space. While the one-time investment might be big, it can help you save more in the long run (in terms of lower energy bills).

8. Repaint Furniture, Not Replace Them

This is another simple step that you can do if you want to promote sustainability in your condo unit. Does any piece of furniture look old? Is your cabinetry looking a little dated? Don’t throw them away just yet to get new ones!

Make sure you look at the possibility of repainting or re-facing any furniture or cabinets in your home instead of replacing them with a new one. This is true for appliances or furniture that are still in good working condition.

What steps are you taking to make your condo eco-friendly? Why not give these tips and try and let us know what benefits you gained from doing so?

Sustainable Agriculture with Liquid Organic Fertilizers

Agricultural practices are increasingly leaning towards committing to a sustainable environment. In light of this, organic farming has become acceptable to many farmers. Many are practicing environmental- friendly practices such as using organic liquid fertilizer instead of the synthetic alternative.

The misuse and abuse of synthetic fertilizers is responsible for many of the health problems that humans experience today. It has also contributed to a large extent to the deterioration of the environment.

Organic agriculture has experienced fast growth globally. Organic systems involve the natural management of soil through the following practices:

  • Composts
  • Animal manure
  • Mowed or tilled over crops
  • Application of soil-organic matter

These nourish the soil by steadily releasing nutrients to the crops as the organic matter that has been added to the soil breaks down. The chemical and physical properties of the soil are improved by the exogenous organic matter applied to the soil. This also improves the biological functions of the soil which results in a healthy and wholesome crop free of dangerous disease causing chemicals.

Why Organic Liquid Fertilizer is Sustainable

Organic fertilizer is derived from naturally existing products such as plants and animal manure. This makes it a sustainable product. Waste from animals such as cows, rabbits, fish and chicken is used to make organic fertilizer that provides much-needed nutrition to plants and soil as well.

Naturally occurring vegetation and waste will always be available as it renews itself. Besides, plants can be reused to make fertilizer for the next batch once harvesting is done. Since organic farming takes care of the environment, it is safe to say that vegetation is safe for the long run. Organic fertilizer is also made from human waste such as urine and that is definitely sustainable.

Organic gardeners love to have a bottle of organic fish fertilizer on hand for feed young seedlings. This fertilizer also works well on plants in containers and any crop that may be suffering from ‘malnutrition’.

Why and When to Use Liquid Fertilizers

Seeing as liquid manures act faster than solid organic ones, they are the best option in the following circumstance:

  • For seedlings that have exhausted the nutrients provided by newly sprouted seed. It is especially crucial if the fertilizer you are using is a soil-free seed starting mix. While it helps in damping off, it fails to provide adequate nutrients.
  • When seedlings show signs of not having had enough nutrients. If the color fails to darken after a fertilizer has been added, it is an indication that they have not had a fair share of nutrients.
  • If you have container-grown plants, liquid fertilizers are what your plants yearn for. Container-grown plants depend entirely on the grower for nutrients and moisture. They need to be fed frequently with an organic liquid fertilizer in order to thrive.
  • When you are growing cold-tolerant crops which begin their journey of growth in low soil temperatures. Liquid fertilizers are great for boosting nutrients for such plants since it is difficult to absorb nutrients such as nitrogen in wintry temperatures.

Organic liquid fertilizers are short-acting. Consequently, they are easier to regulate that dry organic ones which are longer-acting. The ease with which liquid fertilizers can be used makes them quite popular and therefore sustainable.

Important Tip

Do not mix too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer into the soil. This is not reversible. The release of nitrogen into the soil increases as the temperature rises. You may consequently end up with huge plants but no production. The best time to apply a short-acting fertilizer is just when it is needed by the crop. Then you have less chances of overdoing the application.

When your plants are well into the season, you can feed them an organic liquid fertilizer to rejuvenate crops such as tomatoes which live long in the ground. Tomatoes are known to awaken with gusto once you give them two feeds of a good organic liquid fertilizer.

Summer Activity! Start an Indoor Garden!

If you’re worried about your kids losing academic skills over the summer, you might be searching for activities to keep them mentally stimulated. You might have already signed up for a summer reading program or researched some fun math activities. However, throwing in some hands-on science activities can also be fun and educational for kids!

bees-garden

Kids learn best when they’re actively engaged in an activity. If you’re looking for a fun hands-on science activity that you can start this summer and continue into the school year, consider growing your own indoor garden!

Benefits

Aside from providing a fun activity, there are additional benefits to starting an indoor garden.

  • Having plants around your house improves your air quality because they aid in air filtration.
  • If you opt for herbs, veggies, or fruits, you can use what you grow in your cooking
  • Plants are aesthetically pleasing
  • A garden will attract birds, bees, butterflies etc.
  • Taking care of plants can provide your child with a sense of responsibility

Gardening options

An indoor garden doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can make it as large or as little as you would like.

A small garden can be as simple as getting a few small pots and placing them in your windowsill. Even watching a single seed grow can provide some good educational talking points. If you opt for this option, you’ll want to make sure you choose a window that gets a good amount of sunlight.

If you want to take your indoor level to the next level, you can invest in an indoor garden box to put near your windows. These are raised boxes specifically designed for indoor gardening. Most gardening stores sell them, or you can build your own. A bonus of building your own is that you can build it at the perfect height for your tiny gardener!

If you have older children who already have a good understanding of gardening basics or if you’re living in a small space, you might want to consider a hydroponic system. Hydroponics involves growing plants using a nutrient-rich solution instead of soil. You can find a number of hydroponic kits to get started available online, or you can build your own system.

What you’ll need

Plants

Decide if you want to grow flowers, fruits, vegetables, or herbs. After you pick what you want to grow, decide if you want seeds or cuttings. Starting with seeds is a great option if you have kids because they’ll get to see the entire life cycle of a plant. Seeds also tend to be less expensive, which can be useful if some of your plants end up not making it.

Containers

You can use almost anything for a container as long as there is proper drainage. You can buy plastic or clay pots meant for gardening. These pots will have drainage holes at the bottom.

For a less expensive option, you can dig through your recycling bin for old milk cartons, butter containers, or egg cartons. Just make sure to punch holes in the bottom of your recycled container for drainage!

Grow lights

If you live in a house or apartment that doesn’t receive a lot of natural sunlight, you’ll either need to invest in plants that don’t need a lot of sunlight or invest in grow lights. Grow lights are a great option because they are specifically designed to provide indoor plants with the light they need. Even if you live in the darkest of homes, a grow light will have you saying “Look at our new indoor garden”!

Growing medium

You’ll, of course, need something for your plants to grow in. If you’re going with the traditional container or the garden box approach, you’ll want to invest in a quality potting mix. If going for the hydroponic approach, you’ll want to choose a medium that works well with your chosen system.

Child-size gardening tools

Your child will enjoy having their own tools to garden with! Invest in shovels, trowels, and watering cans that are the right size for your child.

Connecting it to learning

The best way to connect your new garden to learning is by taking your child’s lead. Children are naturally curious, so wait for your child to ask questions. You and your child can then research the questions together, either on the computer or at the library.

Possible topics you’ll explore together include why do plants need sunlight, what the life cycle of a plant is, and how can you tell if a plant is healthy.

Remember — keep it fun! The whole point of your new indoor garden is to allow your child to explore the world around them. A great indoor learning environment creates happy and healthy kids.

Bring New Life to Your Garden by Making it Bee-friendly

bees-gardenIt is remarkable how resistant humankind has become to working with nature, all too often preferring to dominate and exploit the world around us – a trait which is detrimental to human and non-human life in the long run. Thankfully, more and more people are waking up to the idea that it is the processes and lessons of the natural world, rather than its exploitable properties, which are our most valuable assets.

As the renewable energy movement becomes truly mainstream, everyday people are beginning to turn their backs on the excesses of 19th and 20th century consumption and to instead look forwards and embrace an ecosystem of which we are not the master – but rather just another essential component.

One in way in which you can do so is to take a stand against the decimation of bee populations in a constructive manner – by making your garden a bee-friendly place. Patterns and techniques of crop farming have left the insects in increasingly hostile territory, with bee numbers falling dramatically enough to hit the headlines. But it’s possible even for individuals to make a difference just by the flowers and plants they choose to put in their garden.

Bees are crazy for the kinds of wildflowers that have been torn up by industrial-level farming, and a good variety of local, colorful blooms can brighten your days while providing a delicious stopping point for the stripy critters. Even just allowing your garden to grow naturally – without clamping down on weeds and dandelions – can make it a more inviting environment for the right kinds of insects.

Bees are crazy for wildflowers

Bees are crazy for wildflowers

While it’s okay to use a smattering of non-native plants in your garden, this should always be done in sensitivity to the surrounding area, as unwelcome plant-life can create environmental imbalances. If in doubt, stay local – and consult this new chart from Budget Direct, which lists some of the best choices you can make for the bees in your garden, wherever you are in the world.

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