Cost-Efficient Ways to make your Home more Eco-Friendly [Infographic]

Originally Published on Huffington Post

Let’s face it: Reducing your home’s negative impact on the planet will likely require a huge amount of work.

But solar panels and temperature-regulating walls aren’t the only ways to help your household adopt more eco-friendly practices. There are a ton of easy — and fun — ways to conserve energy.

Luckily for us, UK-based magazine Good To Be Home has some clever ideas on other ways to do it.


10 Reasons to Drink Tap Water

If This Doesn’t Convince You to Stop Drinking Bottled Water, Nothing Will

There are many reasons to skip bottled water and head straight to the tap. We have summed what we thought were the top 10 in one simple infographic. If this doesn’t convince you, maybe nothing will.

Be sure to pass this along to those who might not be quite convinced that tap water is the way to. Link to the full size infographic as a downloadable PDF.

It’s not just the dishwasher that’s using water in your lab! A study and tips from the Green Labs Program at the University of Queensland, Australia (@uqnewsonline)

Hello again and a happy Friday to everyone! It’s the end of another week and I’ll continue here our series on Green Labs. This time we’ll have a look at the other side of the world, i.e. at the Green Labs Program at the University of Queensland in Australia. It’s part of a larger initiative of the university promoting “sustainability across all aspects of learning, discovery, engagement and operations” and features a nice collection of Green Labs Fact Sheets, which contain lots of tips for running a lab more environment friendly. Especially one of them caught my attention and that’s the fact sheet on water consumption.

Let’s assume that you haven’t read the UQ’s fact sheet yet (or just pretend that’s still the case) and imagine that you’re asked, “where in the laboratory do you use water?”. Of course, there are the activities, which everyone does: washing you hands, cleaning lab equipment, using water to dilute or prepare solutions. That’s what came to my mind. Now looking at the UQ’s study (see picture below), this does indeed account for 25% of the water consumption. But would you have guessed that the air conditioning system uses much more water, i.e. 42%?!? Well, I guess the fact that Brisbane has a humid subtropical climate might contribute to that and it might look different for universities with a more moderate climate. And even if one might not be able to do much about it (in this case, it’s up to the Property & Facilities Division … unless you can adjust the air conditioning in your room? If someone’s working at the UQ and could comment on this, please do so!), it’s good to be aware of this.

Water Efficient Labs
Image from: The University of Queensland (Green Labs Program)

And one can definitely try to do something about the remaining 68%, i.e. the use of water for sanitary purposes and for the usual lab processes. For example, when you clean the labware, run the dishwasher only once it’s fully loaded or don’t let the tap water run all the time. Or at least not at full throttle – usually a reduced flow rate is still more than enough. Look at the example given in the fact sheet, where a test with reduced flow rates for autoclaves indicated a possible reduction of 62%, which translates into savings per autoclave of over $2,000 a year. Not bad at all, isn’t it?

Also, some of your cooling lab equipment might work with much less water. Again, the fact sheet give a nice example here: instead of letting the water run through the cooling apparatus just once, it’s possible to circulate it a few times before the water becomes to hot and goes down the drain.

Besides all the helpful tips, this fact sheet taught me that there might be some equipment using water that I wasn’t even aware of. And awareness is the first step, isn’t it? So, let’s be more aware about when and where we’re using water. And then let’s take the next step and take actions to reduce our water consumption!

University of Queensland Australia

DIY: Tap/Faucet Extension

A while ago I noticed the faucet of the bath had a leak. After calling the plumber I used a juice carton box with some thread hanging from the faucet, but since the dropping was quite often (and the carton didn’t have enough capacity for the water), I remembered that while surfing for green inspiration and eco tips, found a website where there was an idea on how to reuse a shampoo bottle to extend the faucet and since my tap is very close to the wall the bucket doesn’t really fit. so with this method I could properly place a bucket underneath so that the water can be stored there and then be reused to flush the toilette or something while the plumber comes and properly fixes the leaking. The tutorial I mentioned originally is to extend the faucet so that kids can reach the water to wash their hands, which is also very convenient!

I found it so satisfactory and great how a big issue (because I noticed there were 10L of water a day wasted with that leaking, 10L!!!) had such an easy temporary solution (I write it in bold because the ideal solution is to fix properly the leaking wherever you find it). So, here are the steps of this super idea. I practically followed the steps from Cheerios & Lattes tutorial:

I hope you find this idea useful and inspiring!