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5 Techy Ways to Make Your Home more Eco-Friendly

5 Techy Ways to Make Your Home more Eco-Friendly

In 1957, a study on earth’s climate conducted by scientist Roger Revelle discovered a frightening ecological phenomenon with the potential to disrupt the world’s climate, animal and plant life as we know it. By 1970, further scientific research had begun to validate these findings. They showed that human activities and the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere had sparked rapid changes such as droughts and famine in Africa, the Ukraine, and India.

This phenomenon was termed ‘global warming’ and the rapid changes it fostered in the twentieth century forced the international community to come up with several solutions to tackle the amount of fossil fuels burned by implementing the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. As admirable as this agreement is, it is also important to note that the task of stabilizing the earth’s ecosystems falls on our collective shoulders and each of us has a part to play in tackling global warming. Here are 5 technological revolutions you can apply in making your home more eco-friendly.

1. Start by Shrinking Your Carbon Profile

The first step in shrinking the amount of carbon dioxide your home produces is to identify the errant products or items that need to go. These products range from your cooling and heating conditioning systems to the food your family consumes. The next step is replacing these items with energy-efficient alternatives. The mobile app GoodGuide has been developed to provide you with a simple means of calculating the energy efficiency levels of the items you buy in your local market. The GoodGuide app has helped many people find eco-friendly products while they shop through taking a photo of an item’s barcode, then instantly providing information on how green the item is through a science-based rating.

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2. Light up with Energy Efficient Bulbs

The traditional incandescent 60-watt bulbs used in most homes uses up 0.84 kilowatts per day if used for 14 hours. If you calculate its monetary cost, you will discover that it costs about $30 per year to run. Unlike the incandescent bulb, an energy efficient bulb—either the Light Emitting Diode (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)—uses 25 to 85 percent less energy than the incandescent bulb. These technologically advanced options drastically reduce your energy consumption in the long run.

    3. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances

    Have you heard of the Energy Star label? In short, the Energy Star label is an initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency that helps manufacturers meet energy efficiency standards. It is quite similar to the ‘Quality Control’ pass but it focuses on pin-pointing energy-efficient products. Products with the Energy Star label are certified to be eco-friendly. An example is the Goal Zero recharging kit, which is a great product that reduces dependency on power outlets through its unique use of solar energy.

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      4. Power Your Home with Renewable Energy

      Incorporating renewable energy sources as a solution to tackling energy wastage problems is not anything new, but its low usage rate by homeowners is quite troubling. Currently, multiple tax breaks and tax credits have been earmarked to serve as incentive for residents of both domestic and commercial building structures to adopt renewable energy policies. The tech community has also played a part in tackling these usage issues. The Green-e Energy project is currently making it quite easy for everyone to seek renewable energy sources.

      Through the Green-e Energy project, you to locate and patronize utility companies that generate at least 50% of their energy from green sources by simply conducting a quick online search. Conversely, the Wind Farm Locator app provides another option for locating wind projects, checking out their installed capacity, and taking advantage of the clean energy they offer.

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        5. Clean with Eco-friendly Cleaning Products

        On average, 60 percent of the cleaning products and agents used domestically are harmful to both your personal health and the earth’s environment. In 2000, the US Poison Control Center stated that cleaning agents contribute 10 percent of all toxic exposures the department processed. This means that a large portion of the soaps, detergents, sprays, and disinfectants we use are not eco-friendly. To tackle this, some tech solutions have already been developed which do away with the harmful toxins which are the by-products of cleaning agents. Sanitary Tech products such as eco-resh, which makes use of UV rays, smart sensors, and apps for remote access are also used.

        The responsibility of fighting global warming falls on all of us, and with eco-friendly domestic items, we can leave a better planet for generations to come.

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        Featured photo credit: creativeart / Freepik via freepik.com

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        Last Updated on October 23, 2018

        Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

        Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

        My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

        Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

        The Neural Knitwork Project

        In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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        While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

        The knitting and neural connection

        The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

        More mental health benefits from knitting

        Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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        “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

        Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

        Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

        She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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        “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

        The dopamine effect on our happiness

        Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

        There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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        “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

        If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

        Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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