Green Tips for the House

  1. Weatherproof your doors and windows to prevent drought and heat loss.
  2. Consider insulating your walls and attic. Use only eco-friendly insulation materials like cork, sheeps wool or recycled
  3. newspaper.
  4. Install double-glazed windows if your house is not built in an overly wet place.
  5. Install solar panels and/or wind generator on the roof. In some regions (depends on solar activity and wind speed) a household can produce enough energy to be independent from the energy supplier. Also consider solar water heaters on the roof. It usually pays back within 5 years and lets you save several hundred pounds per year on heating bills.
  6. Check if feed-in tariffs are available in your country. There are 60 countries around the world that have introduced feed-in tariffs. It means that you install solar panels on your roof and get paid for the green energy the house generates. Check with your local council for more information.
  7. Raise your air-con thermostat in the summer by just one degree and save 2% on your electricity bill
  8. Lower your heating temperature by one degree in the winter and save 5% on your heating bill.
  9. Don’t use a cooker or a grill to heat the room. It is inefficient and dangerous.
  10. Don’t set your boiler temperature too high. 60 degrees Celsium is sufficient.
  11. Learn how to operate your thermostat or if it’s not too flexible, change to a newer model.
  12. Install the boiler as centrally as possible in your house so that you avoid long underfloor pipes.
  13. The shorter the pipes the quicker the hot water will reach its destination.
  14. Insulate the hot water pipes properly.
  15. During the night lower the temperature in your bedroom by 2 degrees. It is much healthier for your lungs to sleep in a cool (not too cold, though) place. 16 – 17 degrees Celsius is the best for good night sleep.
  16. If shelled corn is readily available in your region, switch to a corn stove. It is a great way of greener and cheaper heating.
  17. If the supply of corn is limited, buy a multifuel stove. You will be able to use shelled corn, wood pellets and self-made pellets in a multifuel stove.
  18. Wait until you have a full load of laundry before operating a washing machine. You will stop wasting water and electricity.
  19. Wait until you have a full load of dishes before operating a dishwasher.
  20. Wash your laundry at lower temperatures. Using the modern washing powders or liquids you can get good result by keeping the temperature to 30 or 40 degrees.
  21. Use only bio-degradable washing powers and liquids.
  22. Try to use concentrated washing liquids. Those involve less packaging and are better for the environment.
  23. If your laundry is not very dirty, use an economy programme on your washing machine.
  24. Never use a tumble dryer. It consumes too much energy and produces poor results. It can even damage certain types of fabric or make them hard to iron. Dry your clothes on a line or on the radiators.
  25. Dry your clothes outside when weather permits. It will help save energy on dehumidifiers.
  26. Don’t overdo with your laundry. If you keep good personal hygiene you don’t really need to change the bed linen and towels more often than once a fortnight.
  27. Buy only appliances with an A+ energy rating. You don’t need to change your washing machine model every year just to please the advertisers. Replace your appliances only when necessary and replace them with A+ machines.
  28. Vacuum the back of your fridge and the intake of your dehumidifier frequently. Thus you’ll make those appliances work more efficiently.
  29. Turn off the light when you leave a room.
  30. Introduce movement sensors on the staircases if necessary. They are dangerous when dark. On the other hand many people have developed a habit of leaving staircase lighting on permanently, which is very bad for the environment.
  31. Collect rainwater in barrels and use to water the garden, flush toilets, wash cars.
  32. Better yet install a professional grey water recycling system and make sure it can also take rainwater in.
  33. Use a broom and a shovel to clean your patio and driveway. In this way you actually remove the dirt instead of just rinsing it into the lawn like you do when you use a hose.
  34. Avoid using lifts and elevators and reduce your carbon footprint. Lifts are consuming a lot of electrical energy because they are run by powerful electrical engines. It is not necessary to use an elevator to travel a couple of storeys. Walking up and down the stairs is healthy and helps to train muscles and keep you fit.
  35. Ask your energy supplier to perform a free home energy audit. Most likely he will start laughing but there’s nothing wrong with trying.
  36. Consider reading Electronic books to save trees. Sustainable energy directly from the source is the clean choice for a green future. Check Solar Powered Portable Readers. Carbon neutral, tree free reading is here. By combining portable readers with solar chargers, you can learn about forests-without contributing to deforestation.
  37. Unsolicited junk mail is bad. However, you can make it a little bit better by opening it and cutting the letters and envelopes in neat pieces and using them for making notes.
  38. Don’t use post-its and other ready-made note-paper bits. Reuse paper for notes and use the bluetac or plasticine if you really need to stick the notes on surfaces. Use a fridge magnet to attach notes to metal surfaces.
  39. If building a new house or substantially rebuilding the old one, use green methods and eco-friendly materials. Although some of them might be more expensive than similar conventional materials, you’ll make a great deal of difference for your health.
  40. Clean or replace the air filter on the air con.
  41. Use recycled glass tiles, VOC-free paints and reused wood when doing up your interior.
  42. If you have some extra time, volunteer to make your neighbourhood cleaner. See if you can get your neighbours to join you for a local clean-up.

Source: Green Home Design

Vegetarian Foods, Powerful Tools for Health

THE WHYS AND HOWS

A vegetarian menu is a powerful and pleasurable way to achieve good health. The vegetarian eating pattern is based on a wide variety of foods that are satisfying, delicious, and healthful. Vegetarians avoid meat, fish, and poultry. Those who include dairy products and eggs in their diets are called lacto-ovo vegetarians. Vegans (pure vegetarians) eat no meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products. While there is a considerable advantage to a lacto-ovo vegetarian pattern, vegan diets are the healthiest of all, reducing risk of a broad range of health concerns.

A HEALTHY HEART

Vegetarians have much lower cholesterol levels than meat-eaters, and heart disease is less common in vegetarians. The reasons are not hard to find. Vegetarian meals are typically low in saturated fat and usually contain little or no cholesterol. Since cholesterol is found only in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, vegans consume a cholesterol-free diet. The type of protein in a vegetarian diet may be another important advantage. Many studies show that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol levels—even if the amount and type of fat in the diet stays the same. Those studies show that a low-fat, vegetarian diet has a clear advantage over other diets.

LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE

An impressive number of studies, dating back to the early 1920s, show that vegetarians have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians. In fact, some studies have shown that adding meat to a vegetarian diet raises blood pressure levels rapidly and significantly. The effects of a vegetarian diet occur in addition to the benefits of reducing the sodium content of the diet. When patients with high blood pressure begin a vegetarian diet, many are able to eliminate the need for medication.

CONTROLLING DIABETES

The latest studies on diabetes show that a vegetarian diet high in complex carbohydrates and fiber (which are found only in plant foods) and low in fat is the best dietary prescription for controlling diabetes. A diet based on vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains, which is also low in fat and sugar, can lower blood sugar levels and often reduce or even eliminate the need for medication. Since individuals with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease, avoiding fat and cholesterol is important, and a vegetarian diet is the best way to do that.

CANCER PREVENTION

A vegetarian diet helps prevent cancer. Studies of vegetarians show that death rates from cancer are only about one-half to three-quarters of those of the general population. Breast cancer rates are dramatically lower in countries where diets are typically plant-based. When people from those countries adopt a Western, meat-based diet, their rates of breast cancer soar. Vegetarians also have significantly lower rates of colon cancer than meat-eaters. Colon cancer is more closely associated with meat consumption than any other dietary factor.

Why do vegetarian diets help protect against cancer? First, they are lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat-based diets. But other factors are important, too. Plants contain other cancer-fighting substances called phytochemicals. For example, vegetarians usually consume more of the plant pigments beta-carotene and lycopene. This might help to explain why they have less lung and prostate cancer.
Also, some studies have suggested that diets that avoid dairy products may reduce the risk of prostate and ovarian cancer. Some of the anti-cancer aspects of a vegetarian diet cannot yet be explained. For example, researchers are not quite sure why vegetarians have more of certain white blood cells, called “natural killer cells,” which are able to seek out and destroy cancer cells.

THE CALCIUM CONNECTION

Vegetarians are less likely to form either kidney stones or gallstones. In addition, vegetarians may also be at lower risk for
osteoporosis because they eat little or no animal protein. A high intake of animal protein encourages the loss of calcium from the bones. Replacing animal products with plant foods reduces the amount of calcium lost. This may help to explain why people who live in countries where the diet is typically plant-based have little osteoporosis, even when calcium intake is lower than that in dairy-consuming countries.

PLANNING VEGETARIAN DIETS

It’s easy to plan vegetarian diets that meet all your nutrient needs. Grains, beans, and vegetables are rich in protein and iron. Green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts are excellent sources of calcium, as are enriched soymilk and fortified juices.
Vitamin D is normally made in the body when sun shines on the skin. People who are dark-skinned or live at northern latitudes have some difficulty producing vitamin D year-round. Vitamin D can easily be obtained from fortified foods.

Some sources are commercial breakfast cereals, soymilk, other supplemental products, and multivitamins. Regular intake of vitamin B12 is important. Good sources include all common multiple vitamins (including vegetarian vitamins), fortified cereals, some brands of nutritional yeast, and fortified soymilk. It is especially important for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers to get enough vitamin B12. When reading food labels, look for the word cyanocobalamin in the ingredient list. This is the form of vitamin B12 that is best absorbed.

Source: Vegetarian Starter Kit