All posts by Frankie Wallace

3 ways to create a more eco-friendly home

Making the choice to live more sustainably is both responsible and rewarding. Of course, while it  might be easy to change some small daily habits, tackling the task of making your home more eco-friendly can seem pretty intimidating—especially if you don’t have the right tricks up your sleeve. Luckily, taking on one smaller project at a time is a great way to slowly but surely get your home into tip-top, eco-friendly shape.

1. Warm up with Mother Nature.

During colder months, your fireplace is likely your safe haven, providing warmth and the perfect lighting for a good reading session. However, most fireplaces are outdated and can be hard on the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has several recommendations for making your fireplace more eco-friendly and efficient.

They suggest being particular with the wood (and pellets) you burn, making sure it’s dry or seasoned. It’s also important to weatherize your place by sealing and insulating cracks and crevices in your home, which can reduce your overall heating needs (and your monthly bill). They also suggest upgrading to a more eco-friendly, wood-burning fireplace that boasts the following benefits:

  • 50 percent more energy efficient
  • Saves you money, time, and other resources
  • Uses 1/3 less wood fuel
  • Reduces creosote build-up and chimney fire risks
  • Reduces wood smoke pollution, including carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon
  • Can prevent fireplace-related health issues linked to cancer, asthma, and other serious conditions

2. Look down.

Floors go through a lot, what with being stepped and stomped and stood on day after day—which is why they inevitably end up (desperately) needing a facelift. So next time you’re considering what to do with your old floors, think about going a more eco-friendly route!

Some floor experts suggest the nail-down option for installing hardwood or bamboo floors: “This is the traditional method of installing hardwood or bamboo flooring, and it’s also the most economical method you can choose. The catch is that over a period of several years, the nails can loosen due to natural seasonal expansion and contraction from fluctuating humidity levels and result in a ‘squeaky’ floor.”

Other options include the glue-down method (which is the most stable method of installation but also the most expensive and labor-intensive) and the floating method (which works a lot like a puzzle). So if squeaky floors don’t bother you too much, then definitely take the more eco-friendly route. Plus, squeaky floors are a perfect opportunity to start working on your haunted house for Halloween.

3. The next green generation.

If upgrades aren’t in the budget right now, there are still (free) ways to be more eco-friendly in your home. One cheap way is to simply teach your kids the importance of conserving energy and other resources. While you might already have a few house rules in place (such as turning off the lights when you leave a room) teaching kids why it’s important to be more conscious of the environment can help them grow into crucial protectors of Mother Nature.

A good place to start is by simply explaining energy efficiency. Sitting down to explain what energy is, where it comes from, how we use, and why it’s important to limit its use can help kids understand their role within the environment. It can also lead to better habits around the house, as we tend to make better decisions when we understand their importance. Get creative with stories, experiments, or even crafts. However you get your kids involved, just do it! The earth will surely thank you.

Going green can seem intimidating at first, especially within your home. However, with a few simple changes and upgrades, you can take your home to the next green level, saving resources, energy, and money. Some upgrades can be costly and require some saving up, but ultimately making those sacrifices now can lead to a better, greener future. Good luck!

 

AUTHOR: FRANKIE WALLACE

Frankie Wallace contributes to a wide variety of blogs and writes about many different topics, including politics and environmental protection. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate of the University of Montana. 

Moving into a new home with a disability

Moving out of your home and into a brand new one is already a daunting task, but coupled with a disability, it can be even more challenging. Keeping yourself organized and focused is essential for anyone undertaking a big move. But for those who have accessibility concerns, frustrations are bound to happen during the moving process.

There are many skills you can learn, however, to make a more accessible and stress-free environment for you or your loved one with a disability. Your disability doesn’t have to hold you back from accomplishing your moving goals, and these tips will help you do so.

Making your new home accessible

If you or a loved one is disabled, it’s a number one priority to make sure the house you’re moving into is accessible and includes the right assistive technology. Conducting a home assessment is helpful in confirming a house is right for you. These are questions you should be asking when looking at houses to move into:

  • Are the doorways wide enough so wheelchairs can go through them?
  • Are doors easy enough to open for those with low grip strength?
  • Can ramps be installed at this house?

Home organization is helpful for everyone. But for families with disabilities, keeping your home organized is vitally important. To better accommodate your new home for wheelchair users, consider purchasing accessible kitchen and bathroom appliances so daily tasks can be stress-free. Lowering the height of appliances such as ovens and sinks helps those in wheelchairs go about their day easier and without a hassle.

There are many ways to make your home a more accessible environment for someone with a disability, but here are a few tips:

  • For those who are hearing-impaired, installing carpet in your new home can help make sounds not echo as much as they would on a hardwood floor.
  • Closing doors and attaching tennis balls to chairs can reduce background noise and make it easier for those with hearing loss to understand clearly what’s being said to them.
  • For blind and visually impaired individuals, reducing the amount of clutter in your home is helpful for them to be able to navigate safely and efficiently. Using different textures in your home’s rooms can help low-sighted people figure out which room is which easier.

Planning ahead

For many families, lots of travel is required during a move. But traveling with a disability can be extremely challenging. If you’re flying to a new destination, a level of planning is required to make sure the airport is wheelchair accessible and your mobility devices won’t become damaged by airline workers. When booking your flight, make sure you have an aisle seat so you can travel comfortably without having to climb over the person next to you.

If you’re travelling to a new city or state, you’ll have to plan ahead to make sure your disability benefits and services are still available. If you use a local disability service, plan ahead to see if this service can be used in your new hometown. Contacting your housing authority or city government can help in determining what disability benefits and services are available to you.

If you have a child with a disability and are moving to a new area, it’s important to find a school that’s right for them and their disability needs. Finding an inclusive classroom for your child can surround them with positivity and support. Whereas a special education classroom separates students with disabilities from others, an inclusive classroom creates a learning environment in which students with disabilities work alongside all kinds of different students, have more opportunities to interact with students, and are given the same access to lesson plans. According to research by Concordia University, there are several benefits to having an inclusive classroom, including “better communication skills, improved social skills and more friendships.”

Find the best moving company

When you’re all packed up and ready to move, you’ll need to find the right moving company with the capability to handle all of your needs. Some moving companies may help you unpack and have experience working with movers with disabilities. If you have movers helping you unpack, make sure present you’re present with them and keep an eye on important belongings so they’re not misplaced.

Checking reviews online can help you find the right moving company for your needs. Make sure they’ve handled customers with disabilities and have a good track record doing so. If you’re willing to spend a little extra cash, you can hire someone to pack for you, which can eliminate the stress and hassle that comes along with it. These individuals are professionally trained to make sure items are packed safely and securely so they won’t break or become lost in the move.

Moving into a new house can be scary, especially for those with disabilities. But having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful mover. By planning ahead and keeping yourself on track, you’ll be settled into your new home in no time!

Frankie Wallace is a freelance blogger who contributes to a variety of blogs online. Wallace is a recent graduate from the University of Montana and resides in Boise, Idaho.