Category Archives: Home Improvement

Green Bathroom Design for long-term functionality.

Designing a bathroom, and going green? You can save a lot of money in the long run by designing a bathroom for long-term functionality. A well-designed bathroom will result in fewer repairs and replacements. It will also keep your energy and water bills low, with the advent of new earth-friendly bathroom materials technology.

Let’s start with the most important part of the bathroom: the toilet.

Older toilets can waste literally thousands of gallons per year. At five gallons per flush, you’re literally flushing your money down the drain. A high-efficiency toilet will use just over a gallon per flush. The even newer model of toilet, the dual-flush model, uses even less.

Faucets and shower heads are also now designed in low-flow models, saving even more water, and money. If your appliances were installed before 1994, chances are they are not a low-flow design.

Leaky Faucet


How else can you design a green bathroom, other than the obvious water-saving appliances?

And How about saving energy on heat?

Invest in a solar-powered water heater. It’s a green solution that is getting more affordable to install, now that the technology behind solar powered appliances has continued to develop. Another design idea for a shower stall is to install a waste-heat recovery system. The system uses the water that goes down the drain to preheat the shower water itself.

The shower stall itself is a water-saving part of the bathroom, when you compare it to a bathtub. Using a separate shower stall, even a traditional one, limits baths and saves seven times the amount of energy.
Look at your typical bathroom cabinet, usually under your sink. It’s probably made of particleboard, which contains formaldehyde. Go with bamboo instead, which is a rapidly renewable natural source, and makes beautiful cabinetry.

What about the vanity top itself? Recycled glass countertops are sparkly, easy to clean, and can be continuously used throughout the bathroom on the walls as well, with recycled glass tiles.

You don’t have to be entirely new-fangled though – traditional ceramic and porcelain tiles are still OK.

What do Hybrid Cars and Metal Roofing have in common?

Is there ever any sort of healthy co-existence between making money and preserving our environment? It is true that everybody always cares about money, but it does not mean that the environment has to suffer. Oftentimes, unfortunately it seems to be the case, but it does not have to be that way. One is not mutually exclusive of the other.

My point of contention is that we can combine the economic prosperity with the betterment of our environment. – This is where some real green living awareness on an individual level can make a difference.

Allow me to illustrate my point with two examples that are very concurrent and relevant to understanding the current state of affairs in the U.S and learning from the mistakes of the not so distant past.

Death of the electric vehicle or GM kills the electric vehicle… Why?

Whose fault was it that GM was to0 busy worrying about the price of its stock, and making money by producing fuel hungry cars and SUVs, and suing the state of California, while Toyota and Honda were developing energy efficient hybrids vehicles.

And what happened when the electric vehicle program, although expensive at the time proved to be a success? What did GM do? They decided to kill the electric vehicle program altogether, although there were many people willing to buy those electric cars in the state of California. That was wrong on the part of GM, and displays a clear lock of corporate social responsibility. Not to mention, their greed and obsession with price of the stock is responsible for the current state of affairs of auto-making industry in the U.S today. I am not even going to mention their current stock situation, and the governmental bailouts that we are paying for?


So was it excessive corporate greed, lack of foresight, or a little bit of both?

Now GM is losing all the money because of its greed and lack of foresight, in the past. Toyota and Honda on the other hand, are ripping the benefits for investing and building the hybrid vehicles. Toyota and Honda are making money, but also helping the environment by propagating the idea of clean air, ultra low emissions, reduced carbon footprint, low fuel consumption and energy efficiency. It is a win win example of money working to better the environment.

Connection between Crude oil, Environment and, Surprisingly, Roofs over our heads

It is not just about ultra low emission cars. In fact, it is about something as mundane as residential building materials that go into the houses we live in. For instance, asphalt shingle roofs are petroleum based products that are heavily marketed by money hungry asphalt shingle roofing manufacturers. Asphalt shingle roof averages a lifespan of only 17 years, then comes the inevitable demise when it gets torn off and dumped into our landfills.

So what is the alternative you may ask, or is there any alternative? Yes there is, and it has been here all along!

Using the types of roofing materials that are environmentally friendly. Tamko, a heavy weight asphalt shingles roofing manufacturer, has made a switch by buying out Metal Works, a specialty manufacturer of steel shingles roofing, which is an energy efficient and environmentally safe building material. Metal roofing is fully recyclable, and lasts three times as long as asphalt shingle roofs.

Certainteed roofing, another heavy weight of the roofing industry, on the other hand keeps pushing its line of asphalt shingle roofing products despite the fact that they are bad for the environment. And who is there to rebuke them? Who is doing public education and spreading sustainable building awareness?

The U.S green building council is a not-profit body committed to sustainable building design and green construction practices, but how come their scope of influence is limited to mostly commercial construction? Why do we not hear more about it? What about EPA, and Energy Star? Why aren’t they doing public education campaigns to influence the corporate giants? Somebody has to do it. A lot of it is about awareness, and PR pressures, so spread the awareness and understanding, really. Can you do your part? Sure can, do not buy asphalt shingle roofs, nor fuel hungry SUVs. Think green and act upon it!  Somebody’s quote comes to mind here… Yes we can! …. So can we really?

Author Bio

Join Aleksandr Biyevetskiy and follow his latest posts!

Kitchen Remodel Ideas and Designs

Does your old kitchen desperately need a facelift? If so, do you have any idea where to begin? If you are a busy professional, and going a do it yourself route is not exactly your idea of dealing with the project, then consider consulting a professional kitchen remodeling contractor to help you with all the elements of kitchen design, material sourcing, and the actual remodeling work in your kitchen.


Elements of the Kitchen Design


If your kitchen is spacious enough, and you do not already have a kitchen island in the middle of your kitchen, then you may consider getting a new kitchen island installed provided that it is within your remodeling budget. Your options with a new kitchen island are wooden, and granite counter-tops. Either one can be beautifully integrated with the rest of your kitchen design. It will cost you more to get a granite kitchen island top, but it will surely last you longer than a wooded one. The choice is yours! Also keep in mind that if you would like to use your kitchen island as a table then overhangs have to be long enough to make room for you and your family members when seating around your kitchen island like you would around a bar.


Should you get a kitchen hood installed?

If you do not already have a new kitchen hood installed over your cook top, you will definitely want to get one installed in order to keep your ceilings clean, your kitchen dry and free of excessive/unwanted cooking smells.

Lighting

If you are interested in a “modern look”, then consider getting recessed or track lighting installed in your kitchen. You may also consider installing pendant lights if you would like a add a touch of classy exuberance to your kitchen. Be sure to take a good look at several different designs and styles to find what you really like. You may also want to visit a kitchen, and lighting showrooms to get a better sense of what you like, and then work with your remodeling specialist to integrate the things you like into your new kitchen design.


Walls and Floors

You may choose to have wooden, or tile floors installed in your kitchen. Discuss your kitchen floor options with your home remodeling contractor to identify a flooring option that will best integrate with the rest of your home, and suit your wants and needs. You may not need to do much in terms of your walls, aside from getting some tiles installed in your kitchen sink backslash area. The rest of the space will probably be covered by your kitchen cabinets. Refer to the pictures above to get a better idea as to why the color and style of your kitchen cabinets is what determines your general perception of space and feel in your kitchen.