Ways to Make Your Kitchen Green and Eco-Friendly

The kitchen can easily be a person’s favorite place to be; it’s where the magic happens. Delicious foods are created and creativity can go wild. However, with this power come many unwanted consequences that can affect both the environment and your family’s health. Therefore, converting your kitchen into one that is more earth-friendly can help save money, protect the environment, and create foods that are much healthier for the entire family. Taking minor steps early can make this a very easy and doable feat that you can certainly be proud of.

Use Non-Toxic Cookware

Many consumers are afraid of added chemicals in their food and so opt for organic produce. However, this is useless if the cookware you use has chemicals that can potentially leach into the foods you are cooking. That is why it is a good idea to do some research and look for non-toxic, safe cookware. Some cooking ware that is not so safe include those made of aluminum or non-stick materials such as Teflon. To avoid toxic chemical in your cookware, buy those that are made from materials such as stainless steel, cast iron, and ceramic as these are less likely to flake into your food or leach chemicals due to high heat or acidity.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Many old appliances such as microwaves, blenders, and fridges can be both inefficient and waste a lot of electricity in the process. If you notice your appliances are outdated, it may be time to have them replaced with newer, more energy-saving models. Newer models are also being made to be more compact, saving valuable space in the kitchen as well.

Do Away With Toxic Cleaning Agents

Let’s be honest: accidents can and will happen. If you spill something on your countertop or drop food on the floor, try to avoid the regular cleaning agents and instead use what you may already have in your kitchen. Lemon juice and baking soda are great, nontoxic agents that can be used to clean up kitchen stains or countertops (and are also highly inexpensive). When buying cleaning products, always stay away from products that have labels such as: DANGER, TOXIC, or HARMFUL; the FDA requires companies have these labels if ingredients in their products have been tested to cause chronic illnesses.

Keep Waste to a Minimum

If spills do happen, try to do away with paper towels and instead use dish towels. These are reusable, meaning less trips to the store to buy replacement paper towels. Also, avoid styrofoam plates or cups and instead use washable, reusable plates. Though you need to wash these plates and utensils, you will be saving more money in the long run.

Wasting food can also be an inconvenience for many homeowners. That’s why it’s best to make a list of items you need before going to the store and buying only the things you have written down. This can help keep you accountable and prevent the urge to look around the aisles to buy excess food you may not even need.

If you do have left over foods, keeping them contained in glass food containers rather than tin foil or plastic wrap can help reduce waste.

If you do in fact have excess, unusable food, it may be  a good idea to buy a composter; this can turn unused, unwanted  food into fertilizer for any plants you may have.

Grow Your Own Produce

This goes well with having a composter. If you have any space in your backyard, it is worthwhile to grow certain vegetables or fruit that you use often such as squash or tomatoes; this way you can insure your ingredients are fresh. Having a composter can also help turn spoiled produce into fertilizer that can be put straight back into your garden.

Use a Water Filter

Rather than going out and buying packs of water bottles, buying a moderately priced water filter can help save both money and waste that is produced in your kitchen. A good water filter placed on your tap can help eliminate excess minerals or metals and give you tap water a clean, refreshing taste.

Get Foot Pedals for your Sink

Installing sensitive foot pedals to your sink can help save water by allowing you to control the amount of water that flows through the faucet. Since these are hands free, it also helps prevent the spread of germs.

Along with this, make sure that your sink is properly draining water; avoid dumping grease or other food particles down the drain as it can lead to clogs that can impede efficiency. Always ensure that your kitchen pipes are leak free to conserve water.

Final Thoughts

Making your kitchen green can be easily done– and inexpensive at the same time. Buying a composter can help ensure that you keep waste generated from your kitchen at a minimum; also, invest in reusable cleaning products such as dish towels to reduce any unwanted waste.  Ultimately, there are a multitude  of ways of  creating food that is healthy and chemical free, save money on your utility bills, and reduce your carbon footprint substantially.

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How to Choose the Right Solar Panels for You?

Solar panels are a great investment for any homeowner who wishes to reduce their carbon footprint while saving some extra cash in the long term. With current policies in place in the United States, solar panels are at an all time low cost and there are many benefits such as tax breaks for having solar panels installed. However, the question is: how do you choose the best solar panels for your needs? The following are a few key things to look for when choosing appropriate solar panels besides immediate cost.

The Amount of Power You Need

The more appliances you have in your home, and the more power each appliance uses to function, the bigger or more numerous the solar panels need to be. Depending on whether you will be utilizing only solar power, or using a mix of solar power and gas; you may need to increase the number of solar panels.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, a typical home in 2014 used an average of 911 kWH per month. Standard PV Solar Panels, depending on the size, can give an energy output between 150 watts to 350 watts per panel. Therefore, determine the number and size of panels needed according to your own individual power usage per month.

Location and Portability

To get the maximum amount of energy your solar panels can provide, make sure they are situated on your home in the correct direction. In the United States, the sun follows a southward path and so solar panels should always be facing southward. If your home cannot accommodate southward pointing solar panels, perhaps it is best to buy portable solar panels that can be placed and positioned in whatever manner you wish. The added feature of these portable solar panels is that in case you move to another house, these panels can be taken with you.

The Types of Solar Panels

Not all solar panels are created equally. In today’s market, a majority of solar panels are made of crystalline-silicon; the difference comes into play depending on how well aligned the materials are. The following are  two different silicon alignments/purities that affect both the efficiency and price of a solar panel system:

  1. Monocrystalline Silicon Cells: these cells are the most efficient both in terms of generating electricity and conserving space. On average, these cells have an efficiency rate as high as 20%. However, these also tend to be the most expensive type.
  2. Polycrystalline Silicon Cells: these cost much less, but are not nearly as efficient. They also take up a larger amount of space.

Anything Else?

When choosing the best solar panels for your needs, it is always good to find out two key things: your budget and the amount of electricity you need. Depending on these two things, you can determine both the size and number of panels that suit your monthly needs.

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Making Your Home Heating System Eco-Friendly

Heating is extremely important for any household, but can be a huge part of your monthly bills. The average homeowner believes that homes can only be heated through either gas or electricity. However, due to continual research regarding sustainable, green energy; there are a multitude of green ways to heat your home. Not only can “green heating” help in saving annual heating costs, but it can also help reduce pollution in the long term. The following are green alternatives to typical heating methods and ways to improve heat retention of already existing aspects of your home.

Double-Panned Windows

Older windows, especially ones not fitted properly, result in a lot of excess heat loss, leading to greater heating bills in an attempt to make up for the loss heat. However, installing newer, double-paned windows makes it harder for heat to be lost; many of these double-panned windows are filled with krypton or argon to help keep heat from dissipating through the glass.

Wood Pellet Stoves/Heating

Wood pellet stoves are highly eco-friendly as they typically use renewable materials such as grass and products like sawdust or woodchips. According to the EPA, any emissions that are released are normally negligible; every wood pellet stove under their certification should only release below 4.5 grams of emissions per hour. A single wood pellet stove can also heat up 1500 square with little to no problems. For these heaters to operate, however, they must have an electric source; having an independent energy source for the stove can be useful. Unlike conventional fireplaces, wood pellets have been approved as being the most environmentally friendly.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

These systems take advantage of the fact that the earth is normally warmer than the air that is above ground. Therefore, many coils are buried underground, and the heat stored in the earth is brought to your home through water flow. A separate compressor then uses the energy that is brought through the water and heats your warm according to the temperature set on your thermometer. The great thing about this system is that no emissions are released as a result of this process, and no electricity is needed to power the system.

Though the initial installation can run as high as $20,000, a homeowner’s annual utility bills can be reduced up to 40%, a great investment in the long term.

Solar Heating Systems

These systems utilize solar energy to heat water (or air), which the system then transports throughout your home to keep it nice and warm. If you do not need immediate heat, these systems also store the energy in water that can be released later when needed. Works in a similar fashion as Geothermal heating, but instead uses sunlight to operate the system.

Anything Else?

Installing some of these systems can be a bit costly than traditional methods; however, researchers agree that green energy can save a lot of money on your monthly utility bills. At the same time, your carbon footprint is also decreased, benefitting both your wallet and the planet.

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