August 5th, 2009
With summer in full swing, it might be time for some new ideas for entertainment. New green ideas, of course! Whether it’s catching a movie in a theater powered by solar power or hosting a barbecue using (gulp) reusable plates and utensils, check out our suggestions on how to close out summer with a (green) bang.
Popularity: 4% [?]
July 19th, 2009
As much as we all like to look pretty, there are a few things about going to the local beauty parlor (as my Grandma used to call it) that aren’t quite so lovely. Before heading to your next appointment, consider this: what price are you willing to pay for beauty?
If you color your hair, you may want to consider going au naturale for your health. It’s long been rumored that hair dye causes cancer, and the science seems to support some cause for concern. Apparently, the more dye you use – particularly in darker colors – the higher your risk of bladder cancer. Eeks! Your chances of contracting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may go up as well.
The likely culprit? A known human carcinogen called 4-ABP, has been found as a by-product in many permanent hair dyes.
To reduce your risk, switch to plant-based formulas, like those available from Aveda or EcoColors. You can also try semi-permanent or temporary dyes, as they contain much less of the cancer-causing chemical. Ask your salon about these options, but if they can’t help, look for one that understands your concerns.
While you’re investigating new products and salons, why not ask about their environmental practices? Salons use a lot of resources like water and energy, so water-saving practices and energy efficient appliances can have a big eco-impact. And, like any business, they should recycle and use green cleaning products.
If you think about it, it does seem a little weird to pay someone to paint your toenails and fingernails. Of course, pros can do such a better job than us mere mortals, that sometimes it’s worth it. By now we all know about the precautions that nail salons should take in regards to cleanliness, but what about their impact on the environment, and your health?
As soon as you enter some nail salons, it hits you. That smell. It can be so strong, you wonder how people work in it all day long. Don’t accept that as a part of the job – it’s actually a sign of improper ventilation. Look for a salon that has fresh air moving through and doesn’t feel stuffy.
That smell is also telling you that there are a lot of chemicals in the air. Do you really want those chemicals painted onto your nails? I mean, the technicians actually wear masks to protect themselves!
Traditional nail polishes and removers contain some pretty harsh chemicals, like phthalates and formaldehyde. Look for salons that use products that are free of those nasty ingredients, and are made from plant or water-based sources instead. Or, do a little research, buy your own polish and remover, and take it to the salon with you. Though it can be fun to pick from all the colors available at the salon, taking your own ensures that you know what’s going on your nails. Plus, it allows for home touch-ups!
Reconsider your idea of beauty to include your health – it will keep you looking good, for life!
Popularity: 3% [?]
July 17th, 2009
Like to cook? So do we! Want to make sure that you’re not poisoning your entire family? Us, too! It’s such a small world…
When most people think of “green” in the kitchen, they often think of the big things, like an eco-friendly remodel with Terrazzo countertops and bamboo floors. Or, maybe we look towards energy efficiency with Energy Star-rated appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
But, there are actually many small ways that we can improve the eco-impact of our kitchens, and many of them bring rewards via fewer toxins. (more…)
Popularity: 6% [?]
July 13th, 2009
Want to get a first hand glimpse of a net-zero energy home that generates all its necessary power from renewable energy? You may get a chance if you live in one of the areas that the Living Zero Home Tour is traveling through. Starting just a week ago in Chicago, the Living Zero Home Tour is showcasing a net-zero energy home featuring energy efficient appliances and building technologies. The home will continue to travel through November so you can experience and see for yourself how energy efficient technologies are integrated and how they can easily lower monthly utility bills as well as your reduce environmental impact. (more…)
Popularity: 7% [?]
July 10th, 2009
Not a fan of those isolated eco-mansions that require driving to get anywhere? Sure, a LEED-certified building’s nice — but not if that means you’ll be cut off from the community around you by your car-dependency, relegating you to a daily driving habit that’s hardly eco-friendly.
That isolation and carbon-intensive lifestyle’s exactly what a new website — Estately — aspires to help you avoid. Estately’s a website that mashes up real estate listings with eco-lifestyle aspirations for the walking, cycling, public transit-taking environmentalist.
Click on a listing and a Walkscore automatically pops up, showing you how amenable that neighborhood is to a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle. In fact, if only a pedestrian paradise of a neighborhood will do, you can even refine your search to only give you listings with a certain walkscore.
Public transit fans get their own dues too. Know a rail or bus line that’ll drop you off right in front of your office? You can plug in that line number into the search to find all the listings within a quarter mile to 2 miles from the route! This application isn’t yet perfect — a quick search for properties near my neighborhood Big Blue Bus line turned up no results, despite the fact that some nearby houses are definitely on the market — but works for most bus lines. Above are just some of the listings that are near Los Angeles’ Metro #33 bus line!
Of course, Estately has all the other info any home hunter would want, like listing details and histories for each property, an easy-to-use mortgage calculator, and an online showing scheduler. The website also makes great use of Google Maps mashups, showing you at a glance what schools, parks, places of interest, and transportation options are near the property.
Last but not least, LEED-certification enthusiasts can still search for “Leed” or “energy efficient” in the search boxes to seek out properties that come with must-have eco-properties. So head over to Estately to start your eco house hunt — in your new walkable neighborhood-to-be!
Screenshots via Estately
Popularity: 6% [?]