Global Warming

How to Explain Global Warming to Children

There are indisputable facts, and there are embellished facts for children. Many adults don’t know how to talk about global warming with young children. When words are lacking, then the right gestures must be passed on because they often explain better than words.

After years of neglect and opulence, we are living in a world of transition where ecology is now taking an important place. Our children will be the first generation to suffer the consequences of our actions. As such, they need to know and understand what global warming is and what it does. Here is how to talk to them about the ecological emergency.

Don’t scare them, but make them understand the magnitude of things.

Global Warming

Are they aware of the current situation? How do they live it?

Fires are blazing all over the planet; drought is getting more intense every summer, storms are becoming more and more numerous, icebergs are melting in plain sight… Children see it and suffer from it too.

Talking about the end of the world or the extinction of the human race does not make sense. Indeed, to make a child panic will only frighten him and probably make him do nothing. On the contrary, it is essential to explain that there are simple steps to take. The ones you already practice in your daily life, for example. Please explain why you sort your waste, why there is so much plastic in the ocean, why it is crucial to avoid single-use plastic, etc.

Books to help parents find the right words

Some parents think that children are too young to understand the importance of global warming. On the contrary, they will be the first to be concerned and must understand the situation’s stakes very early on.

Far from demonizing things, global warming is explained with accurate and straightforward words. Hearing about disasters all the time can also quickly worry children in a wrong way. Positive communication is the key. They respond better to a message, even if it is disturbing, when explained with plenty of solutions.

How do you do this?

Tell a story. Ideally, this is the best way to capture their attention and help them put together the puzzle between real life and fiction. For example, you can start by explaining to children the importance of ecosystems. The fact that even though they are different, they work together to create a real balance.

Global Warming

Older kids tend to take it to the next level by directly asking the question, “What is global warming? “. To illustrate, tell them that the Earth is sick and has a fever. So is he when he is in the same situation. The planet has a temperature, so it is scorching; this is called global warming.

It’s a safe bet that the next question will be “Why?” Again, the answer is to explain that it’s mostly our fault because our lives generate too many greenhouse gases. You won’t have to do a monologue. Children understand very well and often lead the questioning. You have to find stories and metaphors to picture things in their minds.

Reassure children, but make them aware that their behaviour is important.

After painting a rather bleak picture of the situation, it’s time to explain that they have a role to play in remedying this and healing the planet.

They also need to be reassured that adults and children worldwide are working together to make things better and protect the planet. There are things we can do on our own and things that need to be done on a more significant level.

Drawings to express their feelings

Many children express their thoughts and feelings through drawings. It is therefore essential to let them express themselves through this medium.

Remember to set a good example.

Children adore their parents and often take them as an example. In this sense, show them the model to become a superhero of the planet. Sort, compost, limit car trips, pick up paper from the ground, buy less plastic, etc.

5 Ecological Inventions That Could Save the Planet (Part 2)

5 Ecological Inventions That Could Save the Planet (Part 2)

Faced with the cataclysm announced in Part 1 about the death of our planet, some people decided to work at their level to save the world. They were ecological inventions, innovative and eco-friendly products, good initiatives, etc. The hummingbird effect brought by Pierre Rabhi touches more and more citizens around the world. Here are some initiatives to follow closely, support, or adopt to give a little air to the planet.

1. 100% green boats for maritime transport

The idea comes from the Dutch company Port-Liner who was proposing to make maritime transport greener. To do this, it has developed some 15 electric cargo ships powered by solar and wind energy. Called “Tesla ships“, they are already being used in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Antwerp.

The EU has financed a large part of the project, and if the effects are conclusive, this boat could replace the most obsolete cargo ships of various fleets. The performance is promising; on average, this type of green transport could also replace more than 20,000 trucks!

2. Even greener and more sustainable bikes

Ecological Inventions

Bernice Dapaah is a Ghanaian entrepreneur. To meet the needs of her country, she has developed bamboo bicycles, 100% natural, ecological and recyclable. Faced with the growing poverty in Ghana, she wanted to allow everyone a minimum of mobility. But that’s not all. The price of these bamboo bicycles is much lower than those imported. In the end, local activity is favored, and the ecological impact is reduced. 

Awarded many times for her initiative, Bernice Dapaah also encourages the improvement of air quality. Indeed, bamboo generates 30% more oxygen than trees. Moreover, it grows without pesticides.

3. Raw earth bricks instead of concrete

Construction is a highly polluting field. Sometimes, degrowth is a good thing, especially when we use renewable, natural, and robust materials. In the south of France, in Albi, Etienne Gay manufactures raw earth bricks designed by a unique machine in the world.

Not only are raw earth bricks excellent thermal and sound insulators, but they are also recyclable! Low cost, high tech, it is an ancestral building material that could give a little oxygen to the world of construction.

4. Clean up the oceans

Many projects to remove plastic from the oceans are in the experimental phase. But the Lady Landfill Skyscraper, proposed by a Serbian company in 2011, remains one of the most impressive.

It was to implant a recycling center in the ocean. It would be immersed up to 30 m deep to suck up the waste. They would be stored in reserves provided for this purpose before being recycled on the upper level of the building. This would have been a closed-loop project as the remains would have been transformed into energy to run the building. 

Note: In 2021, I tried but could not get any updates on this project. Did it ever take form? If you have the information, please don’t forget to share it in the comment section below.

5. “Making” drinking water

Ecological Inventions

Faced with the drought and the lack of water that threatens to strike humanity, the Italian artist and architect Arturo Vittori has designed a unique solution in the world. The Warka Water allows capturing the humidity of the air to transform it into water. Per day, each structure can then recover nearly 100L of water. It is a real feat to bring water to the most deserted regions of the world.

Warka Water was installed in Ethiopia, Haiti, Cameroon, and Togo. Arturo Vittori did not stop there and proposed other innovative projects in the same countries, namely the Warka Tower, the Warka Garden, etc.

6. Urban farms

To fight against deforestation, urban farms could well see the light of day on a large scale. These are large towers in which the production of fruits and vegetables would be installed. Such an innovation would allow continuous production while preserving forests and bringing food directly to city dwellers, limiting transportation.

The company Refarmed launched in 2016 in Denmark, already offers this type of concept on the roofs of some shopping malls to resell the crops directly in the store! 

How did you find this post? Don’t forget to leave us your comments and share this article.

5 Ecological Inventions That Could Save the Planet (Part 1)

Specialists constantly sound the alarm that our planet is dying, mainly because of human activity. Governments seem to remain deaf to the alarmist discourse of scientists. However, some good ideas are emerging and could give the planet some respite. 

First, let’s look at the current state of the planet.

It is no secret that the ecological state of the Earth is extremely worrying for the future. Humanity seems to be at a turning point in its existence. A turning point that it is having trouble getting into and whose outcome seems inevitably disastrous. Here are some extremely striking figures about the current ecological situation of the planet:

– Every 20 minutes on Earth, an animal or plant species disappears

– A quarter of all animal and plant species could disappear within 50 years because of human activity

– Global warming is increasing, to the point that the world’s largest glaciers are melting

– Many underwater species are dying, and their corpses reveal stomachs filled with plastic

– Endangered animals are still being trafficked

– Big companies are dumping polluted water into rivers

– Air pollution kills nearly 9 million people every year

– Water sources (lakes, rivers, etc.) are drying up fast

– Forests are disappearing to make way for fields of crops or commercial, residential, hotel, etc. 

And the list of casualties is still long… However, there is also good news. This post looks at 5 futuristic inventions that could well change our lives. 

1. Bicycle paths made of recycled plastic

This initiative was born in the Netherlands. The Dutch are known to appreciate the bicycle and use it mostly as a means of transportation. It is composed of no less than 500,000 bottle caps and thus allows cyclists to circulate easily. The plastic corks, although in nature, do not risk polluting or suffocating any animal.

2. Ecological cell phones, yes: it exists!

Again the work of a Dutch company, Fairphone offers cell phones whose components are all from responsible sources. They can be repaired when they are broken or no longer work and are fully recyclable. 

3. Autonomous buildings

SolarEdge is probably the most successful when it comes to autonomy. Their solar panels have provided enough energy to run computers, smartphones, lights, and electric vehicles. Equipped with thousands of sensors that measure live temperature variations and movements, energy consumption is adapted according to a building’s activity. Moreover, these solar panels consume far less energy than a corporate building of the same size.

In another example, the Galapagos Islands replaced their airport on Baltra Island with a 100% green building. It is made only of recycled or reused materials to maintain harmony with the archipelago’s environment—solar panels and giant wind turbines power this airport. There is no air-conditioning and no windows.  

4. Biodegradable tableware

Biotrem is a Polish company offering dishes made of natural wheat bran. It is therefore biodegradable and edible! It takes only 30 days to degrade if it is thrown away in nature. The plates, bowls, and cutlery are perfectly waterproof and solid. They are even microwave-safe.

The company produces 15 million biodegradable products each year, a real opportunity to reduce single-use plastic. 

Respect the planet and support it. It’s the best footprint you can leave on this planet. Please read part 2, which covers 5 more ecological inventions that could save the world.

Don’t forget to leave us your comments and share this article. Also, do not hesitate to request a topic of your particular interest. We promise to respond without delay and revert with as much information to help you save the planet.

You Will Never Believe: Common Daily Habits That Are Killing the Environment

Many claim that it takes only three weeks for a person to form a habit. But the problem is that there are many daily human activities that are slowly, slowly destroying the environment. If you want to know what these activities are, read the article below!

 

#1. Commuting

Steering Wheel, Car, Mercedes-Benz

Buying a car and commuting to work by car is now a trend, especially since now vehicles have become surprisingly affordable. For example, there are around 273.6 million motor vehicles in the United States alone. But, what people don’t realize is that when gasoline is burned, hazardous substances are released into the atmosphere and it is the precious environment that pays the price of these fumes. And, imagine if there are at least 200 employees in a company, how many greenhouse gases are being generated when these employees are driving their cars to work.

Now, I am not asking you to walk or cycle to work every day (especially if it concerns long distances), but what you can do is to take public transport or to carpool with your colleagues.

#2. Improper Disposal of Batteries and Ink

Battery, Recycling, Energy, Batteries, Rechargeable

When your life is taken up by work, family problems and even the Covid-19 pandemic, you don’t give much, if not any, importance to the disposal of batteries and ink. But, what happens if household batteries are not disposed of properly?

Well, as household batteries have traces of mercury and some other toxic chemicals, they can affect both wildlife and aquatic life if they are released into the ecosystems.

However, did you know that ink cartridges can have a more toxic impact on the environment? When they are disposed of incorrectly, they can poison the soil they enter with chemicals and these chemicals accumulate in animals (through a process called biomagnification). And, of course, when these substances are passed through the food chain, they can also end up causing harm to human beings.

#3. Throwing Food as Waste

Why farmers are throwing away food amid rising demand for food

In some countries, such as China, Russia, Thailand and the Philippines, it is a formal and cultural courtesy not to eat everything on your plate. Instead, if you empty your plate completely during a meal, it would mean that you are still hungry and were not given enough food. However, throwing food is not recommended at all. And no, I am not saying that only because there are many unfortunate people who cannot have access to this basic necessity (even though that’s entirely true).

Throwing food is not a good idea because many forests are cleared and emissions are produced in the process of cultivation, transportation, and processing.

In addition, if waste food is not disposed of properly, it can increase organic matter in waterways and other aquatic environments and thus stimulate algae growth.

#4.Boiling Water With Electrical Appliances

File:Water boiler.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Do you often boil water in the kitchen for your morning cup of coffee or use electric heating for hot showers? If so, let me tell you that these are extremely inefficient. Why? Well, the amount of energy required to boil water with electricity makes it one of makes it one of the most costly methods as compared to gas. And, since most of the electricity is produced by coal and diesel engines, using a boiler or a simple coffee maker can have a big toll on the environment.

#5. Washing One’s Face

15 Easy Rules for Washing Your Face the Right Way

Ok, let’s get this straight: I am neither blaming you for washing your face nor am I asking you not to wash it at all.

According to researchers, face washes that most people tend to use consist mainly of plastic exfoliating micro-beads, which pose as a serious environmental problem. These beads are dangerous to the marine life as they are not usually filtered during sewage treatment as they are too small. But once they are released into water bodies, they are swallowed by aquatic animals and as a result, these swallowed beads can poison their organs and damage their gills.

Do you know some other activities that can affect the environment? If yes, please share them with us in the comment section below!

 

 

More Simple Steps to Make Your Office Eco-Friendly

We might be making some minor changes in our everyday lives to be more eco-friendly, but we cannot just turn a blind eye to the damage that offices are inflicting on the environment. So, below you will find some simple steps that can help your business to be more sustainable.

#1. Encourage Employees to Change Their Commute

Car, Traffic, Man, Hurry

Suppose there are 150 employees in a company. Now, imagine the significant amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere when all these employees drive their vehicles to the office.

As a responsible employer, you can provide some great incentives to encourage your workers to either carpool, walk, ride their bikes or take public transit instead. For example, why don’t you organize a contest out of commuting and offer monthly rewards such as a cash prize for the employee who uses public transportation the most? And, trust me, this small change will have a certain impact on the environment.

#2. Adapt Your Dress Code

Meeting, Team, Workplace, Group

What does the office dress code have to do with the environment?

Let me explain: Wearing a suit with a shirt, a jacket and a tie during a scorching summer is not only uncomfortable and unpleasant, but it is also not very sustainable as you would most probably out on the AC.

This is why it is recommended for the management to be more flexible on the dress code and allow the employees to adopt a more climate-adapted dress code.

#3. Telecommuting: It’s Green and Better for You

Woman, Laptop, Office, Workspace

I think we have heard it enough, but teleworking is good! (Besides, with the current Covid-19 pandemic, I don’t think we have any other choice)

Teleworking, also known as telecommuting, is when employees work from home, using their internet, emails and telephones. And, this process has several advantages, including:

  • Reduce real estate costs
  • Decrease employee recruitment and training costs
  • Lowers personal costs
  • Saves times
  • Allows a better management of private life also
  • And, the most important one is that it benefits the environment (it avoids moving and fewer cars on the highway means a safer and healthier environment).

#4. Try Team-Building Events

Team Building - Ashorne Hill

When it comes to team-building events, there are more than just going to a lush restaurant and having a nice meal with colleagues. Instead, you can opt for these ideas:

  • Organize a tree-planting event
  • Have fun with environmentally theme board games
  • Organize a minimal waste competition
  • Litter picking activity
  • Outdoor activities

#5. Create Monthly “Green Challenges”

What Is Rewilding? Here's How It Can Help Sustainable Tourism | The Dope

“Monthly team challenges can be a fun way of combining competition and going green.”

-Andrew McCrea, a green team community events chair at Weber Shandwick

An interesting method to reduce waste in a fun way and to bring your teams together to participate in the sustainable activities is to make use of challenges. And, nothing motivates employees like an enticing prize.

Here are exciting eco-friendly challenges that you can try out:

  • Who will print the least in one month?
  • Which team can spend a month without using any plastic eating utensils?
  • Which department can recycle the most in one month?

Now, the winners of these challenges can be rewarded with a free dinner at a restaurant of their choosing, coffee gift cards, an extra day of paid time off, or a week’s worth of free lunches (believe me, this will surely attract all the foodies in the office). That sounds really great, isn’t it?

#6. Invest in a Bottleless Water Dispenser

Best Water Dispenser for Your Office or Home Use | Archute

Nowadays, many smart water coolers are available on the market that can help you to significantly lower the need for plastic bottles or cans in the office.

#7. Use Microfiber Cloths Instead of Paper Towels

Blue, Cleaning, Cloth, Kevlar, Lens, Microfiber

Tell me honestly, what is the go-to method for cleaning up a chili spill? I would say a few paper towels. They are quick, convenient and inexpensive. However, did you know that paper towels represent a big waste of forest resources?

So, it is better to opt for some eco-friendly alternatives such as some microfiber cleaning cloths.

Remember that every change you are implementing in your organization, it will benefit not only the environment but also your company. If you have some more green suggestions, why don’t you share them with us in the comment section below?

 

Simple Steps to Make Your Office More Eco-Friendly

Nowadays, many companies are focusing on corporate social responsibility and investing in green practices. If you also want to become a responsible business owner and make your office more environmentally friendly, this article will be of great help to you.

#1. Create a “Green Team”

Norco Green Team | Norco's Green Team | Norco Bicycles | Flickr

 

Employees engaging one another is more effective than memos from the top.”

– Andrew McCrea

 

One effective way of raising awareness and getting your employees engaged about green practices is by organizing a sustainability team for your office. Rather than getting orders from the top, the team will be better positioned to educate the staff through informational lunch-and-learn sessions.

 

The tasks and projects of the team could include:

  • Determining and setting specific green goals that the company wants to achieve. One top priority could be decreasing the monthly energy usage by at least 20 %. And these goals need to be communicated to all the employees.
  • Starting a recycling program.
  • Conducting monthly inspections and checking the power/gas meters and the number of office supplies bought.
  • Scheduling regular meetings so as to evaluate the effectiveness of sustainable projects.
  • Distributing monthly newspapers (both to employees and customers).

#2. Embrace Renewable Energy

Photovoltaic, Photovoltaic System, Solar System

An old excuse for not using solar panels – it’s too expensive. But, this is no longer acceptable. Over the last five years, the cost of buying and even installing solar panels has reduced significantly. Plus, investing in solar energy promises a huge positive financial return in the long run.

 

Now, some more benefits of switching to solar energy are:

  • Solar panels are known to last for a very long period of time (at least more than 25 years).
  • Can drastically reduce your electric bills
  • Increase your property value
  • And, of course, protect the environment

#3. Maximize Natural Light

I'm thinking of upgrading my office | I was walking past thi… | Flickr

Approximately 25 % of the US electricity consumption is used to light office spaces. Relying on natural daylight can not only help to protect the environment, but it can also reduce the cost of your utility bills. And, as per the World Green Building Council, employees working near sunlit places tend to have a 15 % higher productivity rate.

 

Jennifer Walton, an agency principal at H. Hendy Associates, claimed that “Natural light sets the body’s circadian rhythms, which control awakening, falling asleep, synthesizing vitamin D and digestion while indoor light is a major work disruptor.”

#4. Turn off and Unplug Electronics at the End of the Day

Apple, Apple devices, Clean, Computer, Container

Our workdays are sometimes like this:

Sit down in front of the computer with a vague idea of what needs to be done and then you end up spending way too much time on unimportant tasks, get distracted by personal thoughts and have to bear the constant grumbling of your boss. And when it is the end of the day, you are all but ready to bolt out the door. You are either starving, worried about finding out what new mess your kids made while you were away or you are just eager to have some relaxation time. Honestly, we all know that feeling.

However, if you can take only ten additional seconds to unplug everything that will not be used overnight, there will not be any ghoulish spirit haunting the office at night (I am talking about some phantom power). And, if all employees adopt this method, I am sure huge amounts of energy waste will be reduced.

#5. Go Paperless

Writing, Writing, Person, Administrative Formalities

The greenest paper is no paper at all.”

– Vince Digneo, a sustainability strategist

 

Business reports, financial documents or contracts – these printed documents can contribute up to 90 % of office waste in America. This is why Digneo said to go digital whenever possible. With cloud storage services and digital pay stubs, the need for papers or even printers at the office has significantly reduced.

 

How to go paperless:

  • Rather than storing papers in file cabinets, keep digital files on computers and mobile devices.
  • Review digital documents on a screen instead of printing them out.
  • Try to print as little as possible
  • Set up automated payments which will reduce the need for printed checks
  • Ask vendors to provide e-statements and invoices

The list is long and there are many more steps that need to be taken to have a green and eco-friendly office. If you find this article helpful, don’t hesitate to come back for part 2 and you can also share your comments below!

 

Best Ways to Promote Sustainable Tourism

According to the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation, “sustainable tourism refers to a tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

With this definition in mind, let’s review some of the amazing ways to promote sustainable tourism.

#1. Take Non-Stop Flights

Plane, Wing, Flight, Sky, Clouds, Airplane, Travel, Explore

Do you travel a lot by plane? Well, did you know that besides emitting a lot of heat, take-offs and landings cause most of a plane’s carbon emissions?

This is why it is recommended to book a non-stop flight, which will require less amount of fuel and lower the plane’s carbon emissions.

#2. Avoid the Plane Itself

Airplane, Sunset, Silhouette, Clouds, Sky

Ok, this is not always possible, but if you can, I would recommend you to avoid the plane and for example, take the train instead. Traveling by train can not only decrease your carbon footprints, but it can also provide you with the unique chance of experiencing a deeper sense of place.

#3. Travel Responsibly to Less-Visited Destinations

Avenue, Trees, Path, Sunbeams

There are around 195 countries in the world, with more than 4 billion hectares of forest area and around 9 million waterfalls. Despite all these tourist attractions available, statistics show that 80 % of people tend to visit only 20 % of destinations in the world. Can you believe it?

For instance, in Venice alone, there are more than 30 million tourists per year and these destinations are the ones suffering from over-tourism. Let me give you some more examples:

  • Great cities like Bruges in Belgium put a stop to its day trips advertising so as to lighten the weekend rush.
  • On the other hand, Paris, Barcelona, Rome and Amsterdam (with some more European cities) are limiting the number of beds available in licensed hotels in order to decrease over-tourism.

The saddest thing is how these beautiful destinations turn into toxic wastelands due to the effects of over-tourism and overconsumption. But one way to fight against this is to travel to less-visited places in the world. Now, I am not asking you to stop visiting the City of Love or the City of Lights, but I encourage you to opt for some off-the-beaten tracks.

 

#4. Research the Accommodations

Hotel, Guest Room, New, Door, Entrance

It is evident that you will make a proper planning of your trip (except if you want to break the monotony of preparing everything, take up a crazy challenge and go to an unknown destination). Therefore, it is essential to do your research and choose a hotel that has high environmental standards and which is certified by a third party like Rainforest Alliance or Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Another way to promote sustainability is by choosing local places to stay.

#5. Support Local Restaurants

Restaurant, Gastronomy, Guest Room, Cutlery

Another easy green tip is to spend some time in local restaurants and food joints. Instead of having several meals at luxurious hotels and ordering from food giants, it is better to support small businesses. And, in this way, you will not only support locally-grown and produced ingredients, but you will also meet locals and try their traditional food.

Moreover, I suggest not choosing all-inclusive package holidays as it means that you will have to pay up-front for your accommodation, food and activities and as a result, it will discourage you from going out to local restaurants.

#6. Walk Where Possible

Legs, Shoes, Walk, Walk, Path, Trail

The most basic way of visiting a new place is to walk around and of course, this can also reduce your carbon footprints. What you can do is to ask tour guides for advice on places that are safe to walk through.

Furthermore, by leaving your vehicle behind and waking, you will not disturb animals in the wild (as they are often rattled by heavy sounds like those generated by motor vehicles).

#7. Travel With Reusables

Range, Coffee To Go, Pfandbecher, Coffee Cups

Perhaps, this is the most easiest and simplest way to go green. So, always remember to pack reusable bags, reusable water bottles, metal straws, a travel mug and so on. Trust me, by adopting this habit, you will discourage the use of plastic items that fill up landfills and cause harm to the environment.

Will you adopt these habits when traveling? Please share your comments.

 

Building Your Home With Natural Materials

Building Your Home With Natural Materials

Summary

    – The natural wood frame

    – The natural roof

    – Natural walls

    – The natural insulation

There are different ways you can consider to build your ecological house:

Natural materials can be used at each stage of the construction, from the frame to the roof, through the walls, and insulation.

The natural wood frame

Wood is an ideal solution for building a solid and environmentally friendly framework. This natural material allows a quick assembly of the framework in a few days and a clean and dry building site.

In addition, wood can be combined with brick, stone, or wood panels according to preference.

We will take care to adopt a local wood species for a reduced cost and a limited grey energy balance.

The natural roof

Roofing requires a high-quality choice of material and installation. Several options exist for a natural and robust roof.

Wood roofing

Shingles, or wood shakes, are back on the scene after having been neglected.

Lightweight, insulating, environmentally friendly, and able to withstand years of use, wood shingles require a budget comparable to that of traditional clay tiles (about $30/m²).

Clay roofing

Terracotta tiles are trendy right now. The most natural, highly baked, and dye-free tiles are the most resistant, as they can last up to two centuries. Light, non-flammable, they are aesthetically pleasing and develop a patina over time.

There are three types of tiles and terra cotta:

    – the canal tile of conical shape,

    – the flat tile,

    – the mechanical tile with a system of grooves allowing the interlocking.

Concrete roofing

Concrete tiles offer an alternative to clay. They are flat for a 45° roof slope, while canal tiles are chosen for low slope roofs (30°). They are solid and provide good insulation.

Natural walls

Several practical options for constructing the house’s walls are possible:

Wooden walls

Wooden panels are frequently used in wood-frame houses. They are durable, good hygrometric regulators, insulating and warm, and ecologically sound.

It is important to choose wood with the FSC label (i.e., from responsibly and sustainably managed forests) and avoid imported exotic woods.

Brick walls

A noble and natural material, brick has good thermal and sound insulation qualities. It also has good inertia and fire resistance. It is one of the most attractive ecological materials for the quality/price ratio.

Raw earth walls

It is the simplest and most ecological material, along with wood. It is used to build walls or to reinforce the insulation. Indeed, the raw earth is an excellent thermal and phonic insulator. Moreover, it is a perfect thermal regulator throughout the year.

The natural insulation

Insulation is a crucial step in the construction process since the comfort of a home depends mainly on its thermal and sound insulation quality. In this field, many natural and efficient solutions exist.

Cork

This insulating material, which comes from the cork oak tree, offers profound environmental and mechanical qualities. It is lightweight and available in sheets, in bulk, or granules. You can use cork in non-habitable attics, floors, walls, and roofs.

It is moisture resistant, rotproof, self-extinguishing, and stable over time.

Price: about $31/m² for 100 mm thickness.

Wood fiber

Excellent thermal insulation, it is also effective for soundproofing. Perfect for floors, walls, roofs, and partitions, it is available in rigid, semi-rigid, and lose boards.

Wood fiber insulation ages well; it is not very flammable and acts as a hygrometric regulator.

Price: From $15 to $20/m² for 100 mm thickness.

Hemp wool

This natural wool offers superb thermal and phonic insulation qualities for walls, partitions, attics, and roofs. Hemp is naturally rotproof, anti-fungal, and thermo-regulating.

Price: about $15/m².

The flax fiber

The insulation is made from flax fibers too short to be used in the textile industry. It is impregnated with boron salt to resist insects, rodents, molds, and fire. It provides good insulation for attics, roofs, and walls as it is rotproof and resists well to fire.

Price: about $15/m².

Sheep’s wool

It is an excellent thermal and phonic insulator, especially on airborne noises. Sheep’s wool is available in panels, rolls, felt, or in bulk. It is generally reserved for the roof and lost attic. Sheep wool is a little flammable, but in case of fire, it tends to auto-extinct. It is, however, reinforced with a boron salt treatment.

Price: 12 $/m² approximately in 100 mm of thickness.

Duck feathers

The thermal and phonic performances are good. Available in rolls or panels, this insulation is used for non-habitable attics, added ceilings, walls, wood-frame houses, or under floating floors.

Price: between $20 and $25/m².

Cellulose wadding

This insulation is ecological and efficient and has one of the best inertia. It can be found in panels, in bulk or granules, for many uses: lost attics, walls, partitions, floors, construction voids, false ceilings. Lightweight, cellulose wadding effectively prevents thermal bridges.

Price: 20 $/m² for 100 mm thickness. 

I hope this post has given you an idea about the natural materials you can use for construction. How did you find this article? Remember to share your experience in the section below.

The Fundamentals of Eco-Renovation

The Fundamentals of Eco-Renovation

 Summary

 – Eco-renovation: its advantages

 – Characteristics of an eco-renovation

 You want to live in a healthy, comfortable, and ecological house? Have you decided not to remain passive in the face of environmental degradation? Here are some indications to help you understand the basics of eco-renovation.

 Eco-renovation: its advantages

 The eco-renovation consists of adapting an existing construction to create a comfortable and healthy interior space while seeking to reduce its impact on the environment, taking into account

 – the work done (low impact materials, heritage quality,…);

 – the use of the house (heating, water, waste, transportation).

 Determining criteria

 Here are several reasons that can motivate this approach:

 – To adapt the existing to the current comfort requirements.

 – To reduce expenses.

 – To gain independence from the fluctuations of energy costs.

 – To improve comfort (no more “cold walls”, no unwanted air movements,…).

 – Reduce the risks of building degradation (condensation on or in the walls).

 – Create activity in a high-potential field (creation of wealth, non-relocatable jobs…).

 – Anticipate future thermal regulations.

 – Respond to environmental issues:

 ◦ climate change;

 ◦ depletion of resources;

 ◦ risks to health and biodiversity (waste, nuclear accident, oil spill, etc.).

 Investing in the existing rather than building new

 The reasons can be diverse:

 – Safeguarding agricultural land.

 – Preserve and enhance the local heritage.

 – The non-increase of the local authorities’ expenses (networks, waste collection, etc.).

 – The conservation of a dynamic of town or neighborhood.

 – The limitation of energy consumption of construction mainly due to the structural work.

 Characteristics of an eco-renovation

 Take the time to design the project.

 Above all, it is a question of taking the time to:

 – Carry out an inventory of the existing: the building system and its specificities, the possible problems of humidity to be solved, the solid points/weak points of the existing (inertia, orientation, the layout of the rooms,…), the patrimonial elements to be protected.

 – Define the objectives of the renovation.

 – Call upon the competent people for:

 ◦ free advice: renovation platform, etc.;

 ◦ the design and management of the construction site.

 Taking energy performance into account

 Given the current comfort requirements and the environmental impact of energy consumption, an eco-renovation must imperatively take into account the energy performance of the house:

 – Aim for the residential green building standards, which appear to be the most relevant to your project.

 – Give priority to insulation, airtightness, efficient ventilation, and summer comfort (inertia, solar protection).

 – Think about renewable energies (solar, wood, especially wood pellets).

 Reduce the environmental impact of the work done

 The manufacture and implementation of materials for your renovation are not neutral from an environmental point of view. To reduce their impact, choose bio-sourced materials (mainly of plant origin) or recycled materials.

 Find the right balance between architectural quality, heritage preservation, quality of use (comfort and low costs), and environmental impact.

 Important: Have an airtightness test performed during the construction and at the end of the work: it is one of the best ways to verify the quality of the implementation.

 Look for quality

 Call on professionals with a proven track record:

 – Ask for references from jobs similar to yours.

 Ensure that the professionals are aware of the stakes of eco-renovation and are trained in the relevant fields.

 Note: in the case of an old building, do not forget to consider the behavior of the wall with humidity (capillary rise, opening to water vapor).

 Do not forget:

 – Air quality: use finishing products with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions, and don’t forget ventilation.

 – Water management, whether it is rainwater or water consumption (use of aerators and water-saving showerheads).

All in all, these were the basics of eco-renovation. Please, feel free to share, comment, and add more ideas from your side.

I Want to Respect the Environment, but How Do I Do It?

I Want to Respect the Environment, but How Do I Do It?

Summary

– Step 1: Know your energy consumption

– Step 2: Innovative and efficient heating systems

– Step 3: Change your behavior by adopting simple gestures

The preservation of the environment and the fight against energy waste have become a priority for everyone. It is even an obligation in the construction sector, especially with the 2012 thermal regulation, which requires all new buildings to be low-energy consumers. Using energy differently is both eco-responsible and good for your wallet.

1. Know your energy consumption

Air pollution and global warming are partly due to greenhouse gas emissions. These are produced by human activity, particularly in the transportation and housing sectors.

By having an energy performance diagnosis of your home carried out by a professional, you can know both your energy consumption and your greenhouse gas emissions. Better informed, you can then, thanks to the advice of the thermic technician, envisage work to reduce your energy bill and adopt an eco-responsible behavior.

When renovating, be careful when choosing the energies that you will use to optimize your bill and integrate the environmental dimension in your decision. This post will provide you advice on this subject.

2. Innovative and efficient heating systems

Advances in heating technology have made it possible to optimize energy consumption, particularly in terms of heating, with:

– the use of thermostats to regulate the temperature and stop heating when it is no longer necessary;

– the appearance of new, more efficient boilers: condensing, hybrid, cogenerators, etc.

Good to know: Replacing a heating system is worthwhile if your home is adequately insulated.

3. Change your behavior by adopting simple gestures

Replacing a heating system, using renewable energies, and insulating your home are the main ways to consume less energy and help preserve the environment.

You can also control your consumption daily in the following ways:

– By lowering the temperature of your heating by 1°C, you reduce your energy consumption by about 7%.

– Have your heating, ventilation, and hot water production equipment checked regularly. If they are dirty, defective, or badly adjusted, they consume a lot of energy and pollute.

– Choose showers over baths, as they consume less water and less energy.

– Have your hot water temperature set to a maximum of 60°C to prevent the appliance from scaling up too much.

– Wash your clothes at 40°C.

– Defrost your freezer regularly. A 3 cm layer of frost increases your refrigerator’s electricity consumption by 30%.

– And, clean your light bulbs regularly, and buy energy-efficient ones

Hope you have liked this post. Please leave your comments in the section below. 

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