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green home

Wood, Ceramics, Porcelain and More – Finding your Floor

150 150 Nisha Muire

Finding the perfect flooring for your home can be a fun project. There are just so many choices and styles from which to choose that it is possible to find the perfect flooring for your needs and tastes. Depending on your budget and the rooms that need new flooring, there is an option that will suit you perfectly. Here we will look at some the options available.

Hardwood floors were the basic flooring commonly found in most homes. Today it is considered a luxury finish that must be requested. Wood floors give rooms a warm, rich look and feel. However, despite their recent cachet and increased cost, if you want wood flooring, there are a number of options from engineered varieties to the solid kind. Engineered hardwood is less expensive than pure hardwood and is easier to install but cannot be refinished as many times. True hardwoods last long as they can be refinished several times before needing to be replaced. Given their potential for getting scratched, wood flooring is best in low-traffic areas. Currently, the trend is to install wood in kitchens, although if you opt for this, then you have to be sure to coat it in a very strong barrier to prevent it from getting damaged from any water/moisture. You can read more about wood flooring over here //bit.ly/1IY5CTG.

Bamboo is a low-cost and highly sustainable form of hardwood that is a very good option if you want the warmth of wood but also want a smaller footprint. It is excellent in any room and highly versatile. You can read about bamboo flooring over here //bit.ly/1cgj9Yq.

Cork flooring is soft underfoot and a natural product with a low environmental impact. It can be used in virtually any room of your home. Cork is highly resilient and “springs back” into shape, which makes it ideal in high traffic areas of your home – although it also means that heavy furniture can leave small indentations if left in one spot for a long time.

Vinyl and Linoleum
Many people tend to blur the lines between vinyl and linoleum flooring. While they might be considered the same thing, they are definitely not. From the Armstrong Flooring website:

“Linoleum is made from natural components like linseed oil, tree resin, wood and cork flours, limestone, and pigments. It even comes with a jute backing. Its ingredients provide it with that unique scent…

Vinyl is manufactured using vinyl, felt, fiberglass and dyes.”

The one thing they both have in common is that they are both very resistant, long-lasting and inexpensive.

If you want to read more about their difference and similarities, you can do so over here //bit.ly/1AvR2Qr.

Tiles are extremely versatile and come in so many varieties that choosing can be difficult. From ceramics to porcelaines to granite and marble, all options are terrific choices and provide tough, attractive surfaces for your high traffic and high moisture areas. Some homes even have tiles in principal rooms – although in colder climates heating tiles can be difficult. There’s a good look at tiles over here //bit.ly/1F8oR5I.

Laminate flooring has the look and beauty of hardwoods without the cost and maintenance. The easy-to-install, rugged cousin of hardwood flooring is perfect for high traffic areas and for households with young children and pets.

Carpeting is still a popular choice for many people given its comfort level and the softness and beauty it gives to a room. However, it does require a high degree of maintenance to keep it clean and dust-free. HGTV takes a good look at the pros and cons of carpeting over here //bit.ly/1KkHLuS.

Your home’s flooring will have to last a long time and withstand a fair amount of abuse, so making the right decision for your family’s needs is crucial to ensuring enjoyment and satisfaction for years to come.

Water Saving Features for your Green Toronto Home

150 150 Nisha Muire

We tend to believe that water flows in abundance and, in our homes, we generally use more than necessary given the seemingly endless supply. However, with drought affecting many communities globally and water pollution on the rise, more communities are installing water meters to charge residents for their water consumption. In the following article we will cover strategies for keeping your water consumption down.

Water is one of those elements that can easily contribute to the greening of your home. There are some very simple ways that can you cut down on the amount of water that you use. Among the easier ways to lower your water consumption are:

– Don’t let water run when brushing your teeth or soaping up your hands
– Wash vegetables in a bowl, then use the water for your houseplants
– Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge to cool – it eliminates having to run the water to get it cold
– Only do laundry or run the dishwasher when you have a full load
– Don’t flush tissues down the toilet – either compost them or throw them away

If you are more serious about water conservation, then here is a list of things you can change around your home:

– Install low-flush toilets
– Install optimized-flow shower heads
– Install a tankless hot water heater
– Install flow restrictors on all taps

Doing a little maintenance is also necessary to make sure that the water in your home is being used efficiently.

– Change old washers in your taps to prevent leaks
– Protect pipes from freezing in cold weather – it might require adding insulation to exterior walls
– Fix any leaks that you currently have

For those of you who are interested in doing even more to save water, here are some more advanced ideas.

– Collect rainwater to use in watering the garden and washing cars/patio furniture
– Install a water treatment system to reuse wastewater for non-potable applications

There are many things we can do to green up our homes – cutting down on our water consumption is one of the easiest.

Green Home Architecture

150 150 Nisha Muire

Green architecture are buzzwords that are gaining in strength and credence as more people begin to understand what the craze is about. In the not-too-distant past, people were understandably wary of green home architecture as the eco-friendly buildings produced in that category were not as comfortable or inviting as standard homes. However, big strides have been made in this area and today’s eco-friendly properties are very much the way of the future.

What is Green Architecture? Green architecture really encompasses anything designed for sustainability, durability and efficiency. Usually green home designs include one or more of several elements, such as:

passive envelopes
renewable energy options
water capture features
natural waste water treatment for reuse in non-potable functions
living, reflective or adobe style roofs
repurposing existing materials
using recycled materials
compostable sewage options

The goal of green architecture is to build structures that give off zero emissions and that generate their own energy.

If you are interested in building a green home, then it is very important to hire the right people to help you design it. Hiring an architect or an architectural firm well-versed in eco-friendly design and construction will ensure that you have the proper planning, certification and studies done prior to the actual building of your project.

It is important to have a thorough assessment of your building site to determine the proper placement of your property to maximize passive heating and cooling options, the feasibility of renewable energy sources and the impact of the construction on the environment. Once all of these things have been determined, then a proper eco-friendly design can be proposed and the right materials can be sourced.

Green architecture might cost a little bit more than regular architecture, but costs are improving every year and the savings that you will see from better insulation and a lower footprint will more than compensate for the initial expenses.

It’s Earth Month – A Look at Green Initiatives

150 150 Nisha Muire

April is earth month! The eco-home movement is growing steadily and greater numbers of homeowners are curious about what “green” means, how they can lower their home’s footprint and how they can start down a green path in a manner that will not significantly impact their daily lives.

What does “Green” mean?

The term “green” is typically used to encompass any initiative aimed at reducing waste of any kind and to lowering one’s footprint. Whether it is a reduction in consumer waste, energy expenditure or the use of toxic products in your daily routine, green covers it all.

Where to start

If you aren’t already immersed in green living, from the outside looking in it can seem daunting. A newbie to the eco-movement might wonder where to start when it comes to reducing their waste and energy consumption and to ridding their home of toxic chemicals. Baby steps is really the best way to start. If you begin by changing small things in your routine, then it will be easier to slowly move to the larger items.

The three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The old adage every schoolchild is taught is entirely applicable in this context. Begin your green home makeover by reducing your consumption, reusing what you do have for as long as possible and recycling all the items that can be recycled.

To Reduce Consumption

One of the best ways to reduce your consumption footprint is to buy in bulk or to buy products that are unbundled, thereby reducing the amount of packaging going into your recycling bin or garbage. Making large quantity purchases also cuts down on the number of times you have to drive to the store, further reducing your emissions footprint.


The word is really self-explanatory – reuse everything that can be reused. From clothing, to shoes, to plastic bags, to water – if you can reuse then do so! Here are some ideas:

Use rain barrels to capture rainwater to use when watering the garden or your house plants
Wash, dry and reuse plastic baggies for lunches, snacks or storing items. Better yet, use glass, tin or plastic containers instead.
Buy classic cuts of clothing that won’t go out of style and wear them out – then turn them into something else or give them to the thrift store so that they go on to live some more!


Again here, the sky’s the limit with what you can do to recycle items. Old tires can be turned into attractive flower containers, tin cans make great bird feeders and empty laundry detergent bottles can be turned in sturdy scoopers to use in the garden. Do a simple internet search for “recycling ideas” and you’ll get a plethora of easy and awesome ideas to follow.

On a simpler note, merely getting a large recycling bin and putting all recyclable materials into it for city pick up is the easiest way to recycle. Composting kitchen waste is another great recycling idea.

Energy Efficiency

Ensuring that your home is energy efficient is another way to make a big eco-impact. Here are some ideas for reducing your energy consumption.

– Install programmable thermostats
– Cut down on dishwasher and dryer use by letting dishes and clothes air dry
– Turn lights and small appliances off when not in use
– Shower instead of soaking in a tub
– Stop any leaks around windows and doors – changing them if necessary
– Increase the insulation in your attic
– Open blinds in the winter to warm up your home passively and close blinds in the summer to cool your home passively

Reduce Your Toxic Footprint

Reducing the number of toxins in your home can be as simple as replacing all of your cleaning products with natural products that are chemical free. In fact, making your own using simple vinegar and baking soda is the easiest way to go!

Being green doesn’t mean having to install solar panels on your roof or switching to an electric car – although you can certainly do that as well! As long as you take small steps in the right direction, you will be able to make a positive reduction in your home’s eco-footprint.

To read more about the incentives offered by the Ontario Ministry of Energy click here