Tag Archives: ecological

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A Beautiful Eco-Friendly Kitchen

It’s wrong to say that aesthetics and durability don’t go hand in hand. On the contrary! A green kitchen exudes warmth and cheerfulness, otherwise difficult to obtain. Here is an example.

Imagine a large floor made of natural linoleum, ceramic, wood, concrete or natural stone, like slate or terracotta. Just above are the cabinets made of solid wood, bamboo or wheat board panels. And plenty of natural sunlight is streaming through the windows.

Did you wince when reading the words linoleum and bamboo? You see, times have changed. Today’s linoleum is sold in many different colours and contemporary designs and bamboo comes in many various shades. Take some time to shop around.

The sink is in natural stone or stainless steel. The base of the kitchen island is made of wood, while the countertops of ceramic, waxed concrete, stainless steel or any other material imitating stone. On the wall, copper pans are hanging.

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Note that all the surfaces in the kitchen are made of durable, hygienic and easy to maintain materials. Three of the criteria that largely exemplify a green kitchen. Continue reading

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Ceramic passes the test

Ceramic is as old as the world. It has been manufactured and used for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans were crazy about it. Ceramic is found in every corner of the world.

Clay is the first material used to manufacture ceramic. It is baked at very high temperatures. Clay is abundant in nature, even if manufacturers have been using it for ages. From this aspect, ceramic is definitely an ecological material.

On top of that, ceramic is extremely durable once it is placed on the floor or walls. It can last for almost half a century. And it requires little maintenance, which in itself is a distinguishing feature of a sustainable material.

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The surface of ceramic is often vitreous, which means that there is no risk of toxic substances spreading in the air of a home. Even better: more and more manufacturers are resorting to recycled material, such as glass, to manufacture ceramic.

Is ceramic ecological. Not quite. Continue reading

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Carpets, rugs and comfort

The beauty and richness of carpets and rugs is undeniable. They are a fountain of colours, styles, designs and textures. They can give a room its decorative momentum.

Carpets and rugs have been getting bad press for a few years (read the Green carpets and rugs article), which explains their decline, but that doesn’t affect their role as creator of ambiance. The sumptuous lofts of Chelsea in London or Manhattan in New York do not deprive themselves of carpets.

Walls with neutral colours allow carpets and rugs filled with flamboyant designs to become the centre of attraction, since these textiles have the ability to define the style of a bedroom, a living room or any kind of sitting room. For example, sparkling colours will blend with the warm woodwork of a room, creating a sumptuous decor.

On the contrary, a plain carpet or rug allows you to decorate a room any way you like. Sometimes designs and colours of a carpet or large rug are found elsewhere in the room: bed cover, curtains, a throw rug on a crate, creating an effect of continuity. If everything is rather plain, you get an atmosphere tinted with great intimacy. Continue reading

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Glass, the material of the future

The future doesn’t just belong to ecomaterial. Glass is the shining example.

Initially, i.e. many centuries ago, glass was not very transparent or resistant. Scientific progress allowed glass to gain in transparency and strength. That is why the manufacturing of glass requires a great deal of energy because the transformation temperature is high. It emits CO2, heavy metals and polluting gases in industrial quantities.

Glass is far behind wood, stone, earth or straw in terms of ecological materials. However, it is far ahead of the pet peeves of ecologists: PVC, aluminium and even steel. Continue reading

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Durable and strong

The expression “invest in stone” used to mean to invest in construction and real estate. Why? Because real estate is a strong and durable sector. Like stone.

Is there a more natural, more resistant, more sustainable and stronger material than stone? It’s practically eternal. Not surprising that it is among the materials of choice in this era of green living.

Stone is abundant in nature. It is recyclable, waterproof, porous and requires little maintenance, which keeps it far away from numerous chemical products. It filters pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide, the main gas behind the greenhouse effect. Another important asset: it’s fire-resistant.

Stone reduces energy consumption in a house by storing the heat for redistribution as needed. It is a natural heat regulator, since it combats temperature variations. In Quebec, however, this ecological advantage is lesser because insulation separates the exterior stone wall from the interior. But lesser does not mean nil. A stone floor exposed to the rays of the sun in winter will slow this ecological loss.

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Elsewhere in the world, in certain mountainous regions, crushed stone is piled around foundations of homes to deal with the violent winds and extreme winter temperatures. These crushed stones heat the inside in winter and cool it off in summer.

Stone is not perfect. Its mining, at times its transformation and shipping result in a considerable energy expense, given the weight and mass of the material. These operations release a good dose of carbon dioxide into the air. Therefore, it’s preferable that the stone be mined in the region itself. The shorter the journey, the more the material becomes ecological. Fortunately, Quebec has numerous quarries, including the granite and marble quarries in the Mégantic region, and slate in Saint-Marc-du-Long, the largest quarry in North America according to Wikipedia.

 

References:

French Wikipedia article on slate
Habitat sain et écologique, Ginette Dupuy, Les éditions Quebecor, 2011, 295 pages

Guide de la maison verte, Michel Durand, Les éditions La Presse, 2008, 339 pages

 

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