What does “eco-friendly” mean?

The term “eco-friendly” literally means “not environmentally harmful” according to Merriam-Webster, and its first known use was in 1989; although the term “environmentally friendly” is older, dating back to 1971. Most commonly used when referring to products that contribute to green living and other sustainable practices, eco-friendly products also prevent pollution in the land, air and water. 

What practices are environmentally friendly?

Eco-friendly also refers to the practices that make someone more conscious about how he or she absorbs natural resources. Daily habits including using less water, gas and electricity are common examples of ways that anyone can contribute to a greener environment.

For example, keeping lights off during the day when there’s plenty of natural sunlight, or turning off the thermostat when it’s cool outside, are ways to cut energy costs and develop a “green thumb”. They key to make more of the natural resources you have by using less or being mindful of how you consume them. Businesses can also institute similar practices by employing recycle and waste-reduction programs, or using sustainable building materials, such as solar-thermal cladding or bioplastics made from discarded shrimp shells.

Which features make up a “green” house?

Organic ingredients, materials that grow without toxic pesticides or herbicides or products made from recycled products containing glass, wood, metal or plastic are some of the most common types of eco features. Biodegradable products break down through natural decomposition making it less harmful to the ecosystem, and recycled products just make environmental common sense. Why throw out something you can repurpose into something else for a lot less than it would usually cost you?

Other features include wind power systems, low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient lighting, and veggie-based insulation, like paint made from soy or carpeting made from corn, as seen in the Inhabitat infographic below:

How can construction of these properties be eco-friendly? 

The types of materials that you use for constructing a property isn’t the only way to be environmentally conscious. Methods such as using software for paperless estimating instead of paper statements lets you scale back on printed materials, especially when you have to make adjustments and/or write up new quotes. Other options that make a construction site more green include technologies such as the Halo Light, which has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides 12 hours of power, so you use less electricity on site. 

So if you haven’t adopted a green thumb, consider the ways you can. And next time you’re planning on building property, contemplate this: does it make good eco-friendly and economic sense to “go green”? If so, then build it (with your ecosystem in mind).

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