The New ecobee Smart Thermostat

ecobee: A Smart (Canadian!) Thermostat

We’ve all done it.

Left the heat on, I mean.

You head out for the weekend, and then you realize: craaaaaap. I’ve left the heat cranked. (Hey, it was a cold winter!) Heating a completely empty house. $$$ pretty much flying out the air exchanger, not to mention using unnecessary fossil fuels. And the same applies to the air conditioning in the summer. Mmm, delicious power grid failure. Wait, what?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to adjust heating or cooling when you weren’t home? (more…)

Honest.com – Great Holiday Sales!

Honest.com Hand SoapThere’s so much out there for the Holidays, but it’s really important to me to give something that people will love.  Otherwise, it’s wasteful, and waste is a drag. Plus, knowing that your loved one is enjoying your gift is just the greatest feeling.   The best way to ensure you’re giving something someone else will love? Knowing you already love it yourself.

 

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EcoFriendly Spring Cleaning

Yeah, you’ve got salt and grit in every corner of the house.  The static electricity from the lack of humidity means that there is dust on ev.er.y.thing. And the air is as stale as the box of All Bran at the back of the cupboard. It’s time to get the house shipshape for spring! Now, ecochick is gonna go ahead and assume you know the basics on how to clean – so this post is all about a few handy tips that will make your Spring Cleaning easier and eco-friendlier. Ready? Set! Goooooooo!

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Spring Cleaning Series: Store Your Winter Clothes!

Closet1sqSoon, very soon, you will be able to take your bulky winter coat and put it where you won’t have to even LOOK at it for six months. Your boots will be banished, your sweaters hidden from sight, and as for those itchy long johns, you can pretend they don’t exist. At least, till next winter. And next winter will, sadly, come. BUT WE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF THAT. Instead, let’s make it a Thing: The Ceremonial Storing Of The Winter. (more…)

I swear it’s gonna be Spring soon….

The calendar says so. Look.

calendar

This has been a very long, very cold, very snowy winter. And in your house, you now have several…. ISSUES.  The bottom of the hall closet is covered with dirt and salt. All your winter coats are covered with a filmy greyish-white dust. The air is stale and staticky.  It’s time for a Spring Cleaning, and here comes a series of posts to help you with just that – for everything from sorting and storing your seasonal wardrobes to refreshing your soul. Look for the full series!

1. Store Your Winter Clothes (AKA Banish the Boots!) Friday, March 21

2. Ecofriendly Spring Cleaning Tuesday, March 25

3. Spring Clean Your Soul – Coming Thursday, April 3

Can’t wait to see what you think!

 

 

Ecofriendly Fall Gardening

Yeah, it’s August 25. I know, I know. For those of us who are Summer Lovers, it’s high time to mourn. For me, while I do love summer, I also love fall. Crisp evenings, cozy sweaters, finally putting my feet back in to socks and shoes and not worrying about the condition of my toenails.

But did you know your backyard could use a little work too? There are plenty of ecofriendly ways to prime your yard for winter and have it looking its best for next spring.

Fall is a great time to add to your compost pile, as it will decompose all winter. Learn more about great composting practices at Go Organic Gardening.

Organic Gardening has a great Fall Cleanup Guide including how and when to mulch, and what to make sure you don’t miss on the cleanup.

There’s plenty you can do to your lawn to make it look its best come spring – all outlined at The Organic Gardener.

Check the Farmers’ Almanac for weather predictions to plan your gardening and yard work time, as well as figuring out what jobs you should be doing in the garden in August and September.

But most of all – enjoy your garden. Fresh air, outside, helping the planet – there’s nothing better.  

Green Works cleaning products: Giveaway!

Congratulations Lara who said”

Lara said… the wipes sound great. I love cleaning wipes but feel guilty about using them too much! “

You’re getting the wipes!

So, I’ll be honest here. ecochick is very eco-friendly when it comes to cleaning. VERY eco-friendly. Because basically, I don’t do any. They are considering naming the underside of my sofa a preserved habitat for dust bunnies. Ha. So when I received some Clorox Green Works cleaners in the mail – specifically the Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes and the All Purpose Cleaner, I kind of went, great! I’ll try those out! Sometime. Sure. Then time passed. A lot of time, frankly. But the moment eventually came when I had to make the place look presentable. Something about “children” and “crawling” and “floors” and “gah”. So I broke these cleaners out to give them a spin.

I’ll be honest: I’m naturally skeptical about a lot of “natural” cleaning products. There’s so much greenwashing out there, and many product claims are vague. What does “natural” even mean?  So the first thing I did was check out the label. These products did have some questionable contents – they said they contained things like “preservative” (which preservative?) and “silicon antifoaming agent” (oh dear.)  But, a couple of significant things jumped out at me.

First, the Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes are just that: biodegradable. They are made from 100% wood based fibers, and can be chucked in the composter instead of the landfill. Right there, these wipes have a huge advantage over many others that are made from polyester or other petroleum based products and cannot be composted. So while a throwaway wipe is not the best choice, for those times when it’s necessary, a compostable one is the best option.

Another bonus is the container for the wipes is made from at least 25% post-consumer recycled plastic, which is a really excellent start.

Meanwhile, the All-Purpose Cleaner carries a really significant badge:  The United States Environmental Protection Agency Design For The Environment badge, recognized for Safer Chemistry.  From the website:

When you see the DfE logo on a product it means that the DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that—based on currently available information, EPA predictive models, and expert judgment—the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.

There’s another upside to these products: the smell. Many “regular” cleaning products basically leave me with a headache, with their hectically overscented smells. These don’t. They smell real, natural and light.

And in my experience, they work. They work well. Surprisingly well, especially around this place which generally needs a fair amount of effort to get it cleaned up.

Interested in trying them out?  Well, you’re in luck. First, if you go to the Green Works website, you can get a coupon for $1 off the compostable cleaning wipes by signing up for their newsletter (not sure how long that promotion’s going to be on). Or, if you care to try your luck, ecochick’s giving away a containter of natural biodegradable cleaning wipes and a bottle of all-purpose cleaner, whoop!  Just leave me a comment stating which of the cleaners you’d like to try out by Tuesday, April 27. Don’t forget to leave me a way to contact you! Giveaway will be done at random and recipients of the giveaway will be contacted by email. Canadian addresses only please. Good luck!

Home Depot Holiday Light Exchange, November 7-8!

Do you still have some old incandescent light strings hanging around? Want to get some snazzy new energy efficient LED lights? Then grab your old lights this weekend and head to your local Home Depot for The Eco Options Holiday Light Exchange, Saturday November 7th and Sunday November 8th from 10am to 5pm (Hours may vary by store).

Last year, they collected over 163,000 incandescent strings, equating to a reduction of 2,380,156 kWh (enough electricity to power 213 homes for one year!) and 718 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

For each old incandescent holiday light string you bring to any Home Depot on November 7th and 8th between 10AM – 5PM (where open), you will receive an instant rebate coupon for 50% off of up to 5 new strings of energy efficient Seasonal L.E.D. lights.

You’ll save energy and money this holiday season and you can rest assured that your old holiday lights will be responsibly recycled. Home Depot’s recyclers are able to recycle up to 80% of each holiday light string brought in. From their website: The old holiday light strings will be put through a wire chopping system and through air, gravity and sensory sorting all components will be separated. All copper and copper alloys will be sent for re-melt to copper and brass mills and all plastic, glass and any other waste will be sent for reprocessing resulting in new insulators for electrical wiring, plastic injection molding and in some cases, road fill and base. Did you know that seasonal L.E.D. lights:

  • Are 95% more energy efficient than incandescent holiday lights
  • Will save you money!
  • Last seven times longer (about twenty years)
  • Do not heat up and are extremely durable making them a safer option for holiday lights

Let us help you make your holiday season this year a green one.

Head to your local Home Depot this weekend and take advantage of this great deal!

Benjamin Moore Natura: Gorgeous Paint, No VOCs!

In the neverending quest to actually get this joint in shape prior to ecobaby making an appearance, we’ve been anxiously comparing paint chips, wondering what the best colour is – and once we figured that out, we also had to decide on the right paint. Luckily, one google search brought us to Benjamin Moore Natura. This Award-winning product is one of the few “no-VOC” paints available on the market – not only looking at VOCs, but also at all volatile compounds in the paint that would affect indoor air quality. Both the paint and the tint emit lower total volatile compounds than any other national zero-VOC product in Canada.

What does this mean in a practical sense? Well, low- and no-VOC paint tends to dry a bit quicker than many other paints, so it’s a consideration when you’re applying it. But other than that it works just like “regular” latex paint, with one big difference: The smell is far lower. Even after just having applied two coats, a room painted with Natura has as much paint smell as a room painted a week ago with regular paint. Which is great when you’ve got paranoid pregnant people around!

In Primer, Flat, Eggshell and Semi-Gloss and able to be tinted to any colour in the Benjamin Moore Collection, Natura is an easy choice to make for eco-friendly home designers. Check out Benjamin Moore’s Website for retailers.

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