Ways to Stay Warm and Green This Winter

staying warm in winter

Isn’t it crazy how quickly time has flown by already this season? Almost all of the big holidays have come and gone, and winter sure is showing its colors already with its crazy amounts of snow and ice. While we are all used to winter’s chill and know some basic ways to keep warm throughout it, why not think outside of the box and opt for some creative, eco-friendly ways to cozy up this winter? Luckily, you don’t have to, because we already have! Here are a few ways to stay warm, and green, this winter!

Turning Down the Thermostat at Night

 We know that turning down the thermostat during the winter sounds like a miserable idea, especially as the temperature drops outside, but hear us out: what if you only turned it down at night? Knocking down the temperature inside, even by a few degrees, is immensely helpful for the environment, as there is less energy used and wasted. Plus, it is much easier to stay warm at night, as it is closer to bedtime, and you have the opportunity to throw on some cozy, thick pajamas and curl up in a warm blanket to beat the chilly temps. Throw in a tasty cup of hot chocolate or tea, and your evenings will be the epitome of winter comfort!

Keep Your Toes Snuggled in Slippers

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 This may seem incredibly basic, but a good pair of slippers can go a long way when staying cozy this winter. Often, we notice that our hands and feet are the first ones to feel the freezing temps. So, why not invest in some incredibly soft and warm slippers? It’ll keep your hands from reaching for the thermostat, which the planet will thank you for when there’s less energy being wasted, and your feet will have some cute new accessories!

Work it Out!  

 Just because the temperatures have dropped outside and it’s easier to curl up on the couch and crank up the heat than make motivate yourself work out, doesn’t mean that you should do that all of the time! Working out is actually an excellent way to stay warm, as you will naturally raise your body temperature while breaking a sweat! It also works to boost your self-esteem and happiness with its natural release of endorphins, and keeps you healthy. Note: you don’t even have to work out outside. If you want to avoid the snow, and stay cozy inside, more power to you! It’ll keep your hands off of the thermostat, and conserve energy. Good for you, and good for the planet? We’re all about it!

Switch Your Home’s Insulation

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 Many people overlook the importance and correlation of keeping a home warm and having proper insulation. Often, we think that our home holds all heating/cooling that we want because of the temperatures we set on our thermostats. Unfortunately, that is false, as a lot of heating/cooling are lost to thermal bridging in the walls, due to not having enough thermal resistance (r-value). When you lose your heating/cooling to thermal bridging, you are wasting energy, due to continuously running the thermostat and not maintaining it in the home. Luckily, our company provides plenty of insulation solutions that focus on being eco-friendly, reducing energy waste, and increasing energy savings for clients that purchase our products. With our products in place, you can turn your thermostat down and still feel the warmth of your heater kept within your house. It saves you some money, and works towards saving the planet by conserving energy.

Our most cost-effective insulation solution is our PlastiSpan Insulation. With an r-value of 3.9/inch, it can be applied as continuous insulation over walls, roofs, and foundations to increase your home’s total r-value.

Another great product that we suggest is our EnerSpan Insulation. It packs a punch with a much higher r-value, due to being manufactured with a graphite-enhanced raw material that reduces radiation heat transfer. This can be used for exterior insulation sheathing, foundations, and under slab insulation.

If you’re looking to build a home or completely demo your home for a remodel, the best product that we suggest using is actually an insulation system called Advantage ICF. This system consists of two layers of EPS insulation that are connected with web connectors. Once put into place, concrete is poured between the two layers, creating a monolithic wall of uniform thickness that provides superior energy efficiency to your home, while also adding resale value to it!

A Green Mind is a Happy Mind: How Being Eco-Friendly is Good for Your Mental Health

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With all of the necessary climate change talk that has been occurring around the world, people everywhere are getting anxious about what could potentially happen to our planet. Even children around the globe are experiencing the emotional distress caused by the predicted outcomes of global warming, which only adds more mental exhaustion to their families. However, amidst these terrifying times, people are starting to advocate for the planet more, and doing their part to make the world a cleaner, greener place. In turn, this is also easing the minds of many people, as doing eco-friendly acts of service can have an amazing impact on the mind. Here are a few reasons on how working towards a stable climate and clean planet can be great for your mental health.

Being Outside is Good for Your Health

Anybody remember their parents yelling at them to spend more time outside, and that television was going to rot their brains? Well, we can’t speak for the whole “brain rotting” idea, but we can definitely vouch for the amazing benefits of spending time outside in nature! Admiring the beauty that our planet offers can be a very rewarding mental experience in and of itself, and adding to that by planting more trees, cleaning up litter, or any other great “green” act is sure to ease your mind and enhance your emotional well-being.

You Are What You Eat

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We are always going to advocate for eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, but we definitely suggest being picky about where you get said produce, as its origin can depict how beneficial it will be for your body, your mental health, and the planet. Often times, produce that is available in chain grocery stores have to be shipped in from other locations, which burns fossil fuels and contributes to CO2 emissions. Plus, the produce may not be organic, and therefore exposed to pesticides before harvested. However, shopping for organic, locally grown produce is a great alternative that will properly nourish your body, keep the atmosphere a bit cleaner, and give you the peace of mind knowing that you are doing something amazing for yourself and the planet.

Finding Your Purpose for the Planet

A lot of existential crises occur when one cannot find what their meaning or sole purpose in life is. Add environmental grief to that, and your mental health is bound to take a toll. However, working together with your community to work towards a sustainable, healthy planet can bring a huge sense of meaning, purpose, and connection with those who are working beside you. Existential and environmental crisis averted!

Peace of Mind with Proper Insulation 

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Sometimes, the greatest place to start with doing eco-friendly work is right in your own home. Did you know that your insulation is essential in saving you money on your energy usage? A lot of insulation products lose heating and cooling through, crushing, or simply loss of R-value over time, costing a lot of wasted energy and money. Plasti-Fab offers numerous, sustainable, eco-friendly insulation solutions that will not just give you a comfortable and healthy home, but also help ease your worry about the environment. Being “sustainable from the start,” our company ensures that its products are sustainable by focusing on sustainable and environmental controls during manufacturing. You can feel great about implementing products like PlastiSpan, DuroFoam, or EnerSpan into your walls, as they provide exceptional thermal resistance to properly conserve energy and keep your energy bills low. It’s an all-around win for your mental health, your home, and the planet.

Fall Decorating Gone Green

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At last, autumn is finally here again! The temps are finally cooling down, the leaves are changing colors, and the scents of cinnamon apple and pumpkin spice are starting to linger everywhere. All of these beautiful sights and smells are getting people excited to begin decorating their homes and making them more festive to match the season. Unfortunately, that often means that they are going out and buying new décor, mainly plastic, which adds to our planet’s current waste problems. However, having and making eco-friendly fall décor is easier than you would think! Here are three ways that you can opt out of buying plastic decorations and substituting them for “green” ones, which will eliminate waste and potentially save you some cash!

Fall Wreathes

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 Have you seen any beautiful fall wreathes on display at your local shops? Luckily, those are easy to replicate without spending any cash, or wasting any paper/plastic! All you need are long, thin branches from a bush or vine, and some wire to hold it together. You will have to curve each piece with your hands, and then attach them together round and round with wire. Eventually, you will have a circular, full wreathe that you can take some creative liberties with. Maybe hot glue some acorns, pinecones, or beautiful leaves from outside! You will have a fun, unique piece that you can take pride in creating, and feel good knowing that you are not contributing to the planet’s waste overflow!

Festive Table Décor

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Sure, every festive fall table needs some beautiful table runners and settings, but what about the other adornments? Instead of going out and buying fake, plastic pumpkins, gourds, pinecones, and leaves, opt for the real thing! Especially during fall, it is super easy to fine pinecones, acorns, and leaves right outside. If you want to use these to decorate other parts of your home to make it more festive, have at it!

In terms of the pumpkins and gourds, you can make a fun trip down to a local farmer’s market and pick out some real ones for the table! These pumpkins and gourds can also be used to decorate other parts of the home, and can be painted to your liking! When the season is over, they can be put into compost bins, which will give them right back to Earth. Your home will smell and look more authentically like fall, without compromising your eco-friendly nature!

Foam Leaves and Pumpkins

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If you like being super crafty, we have the perfect project idea for you! By using our PlastiSpan® EPS foam, you can cut out different shapes, and decorate them to your liking. Leaves, pumpkins, and acorns are all common ideas that come to mind, but please feel free to use your imagination! This would be a fun project to do with kids, and then you can proudly adorn your home with your new, cute, eco-friendly decorations!

Green Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

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Does this summer seem exceptionally hot to you guys, or is it just us? All throughout the long winter, we were practically begging for a little warmth. Now that the relief of spring has passed and the sweltering summer heat has kicked into high gear, people are looking for any type of cool comfort. For our eco-friendly warriors out there, staying green while beating the heat is an even bigger challenge. Never fear though! Here are a couple of easy ways to stay cool this summer while still being kind to the environment!

Use Curtains to Cool Your Home

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Have you ever noticed just how hot it gets in your home when the bright light is shining through your windows all day long? Before reaching to crank up the thermostat to cool down your house, consider using some curtains to combat the heat. Using dark curtains during the day to keep out the light will naturally cool your home, and wastes zero energy!

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If you absolutely feel the need to blast the air conditioning, don’t worry: you’re not alone. It’s an instant relief, and cools the whole house rather than just one room like a fan would. To do the environmentally responsible thing, consider switching your current air conditioner out for with one that has a higher EER rating. It will be more energy-efficient, so it will conserve more energy than traditional ones. You can feel cool with no guilt!

Cool Your Body with Cold Food and Drinks

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 If you feel like getting creative and making some fun summer treats, crafting cold snacks and beverages is a great way to beat the heat this summer! This hot weather is a great excuse to eat lots of frozen yogurt, smoothies, ice cream, and popsicles. If you want to have a fun activity to do with kids, you can make your own fruit popsicles and smoothies. Consider it a bonus if you use organic, locally grown fruits!

Upgrade Your Insulation

 Few people know this, but there are energy-efficient insulation options that will maintain the cooling in your home, lower your utility bills, and conserve energy! If you think your home is losing a lot of  that conditioned air, consider upgrading your insulation with our EPS foam insulation products. DuroFoam is a great start, as it is a wall insulation that boasts a high R-value. The high R-value means that it has high thermal resistance, which maintains the heating/cooling you want in your home and doesn’t lose it in the walls like many insulations do. For something with an even higher R-value per inch, EnerSpan Insulation is another great choice. It’s made of Neopor, which is a graphite-enhanced material that reduces radiation heat transfer. It can be used in your foundation, exterior insulating sheathing, and under slab!

Using just these few tips can help you beat the heat and enjoy your home regardless of what mother nature has in store.

 

Earth Day: A Day to Give Our Planet the TLC it Deserves

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Earth Day: an annual, secular holiday that gives society the opportunity to reflect on our beautiful planet in all its glory, its current state, the damage we’ve invoked upon it, and how we can redeem ourselves to protect the environment. The awareness that this holiday brings every year is astonishing. For a day, everyone takes a moment from their chaotic, busy lives to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. They take time to truly admire and cherish the refreshing greenery, vast oceans, and breathtaking mountains that Mother Nature has gifted us. For one singular day, Earth is showered in all of the love and admiration it deserves.

While we wish that everyone treated every day like Earth Day, we can still appreciate the awareness and education that this day brings every year. Celebrating Earth Day is something that should be taken seriously, and done in such a way that the environment will be made better by your celebration. There are many easy, fun ways to give the planet a little TLC. Here are a couple of ideas that can help restore the environment, while also educating us on its current condition.

Plant Trees

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Trees are vital for Earth’s production of oxygen. In their leaves, trees absorb the toxic CO2 that animals and humans breathe out. Along with CO2, the leaves also soak up sunlight, which is then combined with water absorbed at the tree’s roots to create oxygen. The oxygen is then released into the air for Earth’s living beings to breathe in. Unfortunately, deforestation all over the world is removing that source of oxygen for us, and causing an abundance of CO2 to remain in our atmosphere. To honor the environment and help get it back on its feet for Earth Day, why not help the replanting process by planting a tree or two in your yard? You can gain a sense of pride knowing that you are working towards creating a greener earth, while having a beautiful reminder growing right on your property. Just remember to water it once a day for the first two weeks, and then once a week for the rest of the year to help it grow healthy and strong.

Organize a Trash Cleanup

Litter and waste may not seem like much on a small scale, but it can cause a much greater impact than many people understand. Litter that is scattered throughout public places like parks, streets, or even around buildings can potentially enter storm water systems and travel to our freshwater sources (creeks, rivers, ponds, etc.). Even worse, they can travel through rivers to oceans, and cause pollution. The trash left on land can cause the same effect to land-dwellers. On top of this, runoff from litter and polluted water can get into our soils and poison the plants that grow from the soil with toxins. To do your part to reduce this issue, consider organizing a trash cleanup with some friends. It could be at a park, a beach, a river, or any public place that has litter scattered. Be sure to bring gloves, bags, durable shoes, and potentially a trash picker if you have one. The animals in these areas will be preserved, and the environment will be healthier thanks to you.

Bike or Walk Instead of Driving for a Day

As you likely know, a car needs gasoline to power it. When burned, gasoline releases carbon dioxide into the air, which contributes even more to global warming. To keep the air cleaner for a day and honor Earth Day, consider opting to bike or walk. You’ll be doing the planet a favor by eliminating carbon dioxide emissions while also giving yourself some exercise! If biking or walking is too slow for your Earth Day plans, consider at least using public transportation or carpooling to wherever you need to go. You will be burning less CO2 than if you had driven your own car, and that goes a long way.

Turn Off Appliances for the Day

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 In order to power your home’s appliances, you need to use electricity. Electricity is fueled by fossil fuels, which are burned and pollute the environment with CO2 emissions. So, energy conservation is a very important factor to consider when trying to make the planet cleaner and healthier. One great way to do this on Earth Day is to turn off and unplug your home appliances for the day. Less pollution will enter the atmosphere with this simple action, and you will give yourself the opportunity to get out the house and enjoy nature!

Switch Your Home’s Insulation to a Greener Option

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To continue with the topic of energy conservation, heating and cooling in your home require fossil fuels to be burned. The insulation in your home is supposed to retain the heating and cooling that you are burning energy for; however, many insulation products lose heating and cooling to thermal bridging in the walls. In order to increase thermal resistance to conserve energy and retain the heating/cooling you desire to make your home comfortable, consider giving Earth and yourself a gift by switching your insulation. For something cost-effective and basic, we have our PlastiSpan Insulation. With an r-value of 3.75/inch, this EPS foam insulation works to increase thermal resistance, which will retain your desired heating/cooling in your home, lower your utility bills, and conserve energy! To insulate other parts of your home with the same thermal resistance, such as exterior sheathing or your home’s foundation, the product we would recommend is EnerSpan. It does the same job as PlastiSpan, but with an even higher R-value to keep your home more comfortable and conserve more energy!

 

Staying Green While Enjoying Spring

spring

Now that spring has finally sprung, it is safe to assume that everyone wants to flock outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather that has taken way too long to arrive! The long winter has given people plenty of time to inspire and woo those stuck indoors with tantalizing visions of gardens, cookouts, and breathing in the fresh air. Finally, everyone is free to embrace the warmth, get their kids out of the house, and seize the day with loads of fun outdoor activities.

Spring is also a great time to acknowledge the outdoors, and really be aware of our impact on the environment with our activities. We want to make the most out of this beautiful season without damaging the planet that sustains it all. To help preserve the planet and still have fun, here are a couple of ideas for staying green while enjoying spring!

Go Hiking

 Going hiking is a great activity for spring! It gets you out of the house, allows you to enjoy nature while you walk through it, and keeps you moving and exercising. Plus, it can be a fun family activity for everyone to enjoy. No matter where you live, there are plenty of beautiful parks and nature trails nearby. If you don’t know of any yourself, ask a friend, or check Google. You are sure to find tons of great options to choose from!

Biking Instead of Driving

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 Want to make an activity out of running errands? Opt out of driving, and go biking! It’s an excellent way to enjoy the gorgeous weather, knock out your errands, and to exercise while having fun. Not to mention, you will be doing the environment a huge favor by eliminating burning fossil fuels and using a bike.

Create Arts and Crafts on Rainy Days

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 Rainy days during spring are inevitable. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be inspired by spring and have fun! If you have kids and want to keep them entertained and away from the TV on a rainy day, try doing some fun arts and crafts with them. We suggest using our PlastiSpan EPS foam boards as a base, and cutting out fun spring shapes like flowers, bees, etc. From there, use glitter, paint, sequins, markers, or whatever else your creative heart desires to make beautiful spring masterpieces with your little ones! It’s a great boredom buster, and it conserves energy by keeping your kids away from electronics. We’ll call that a win!

Plant a Garden

A great way to get you and/or your kids involved in spring is by planting a garden! Whether it consists of vegetables, fruits, or flowers, planting a garden will help teach your children how to nurture plants, how they grow, and the importance of plants in our everyday lives and nature. Not to mention, it will keep them busy and out of the house, and it will add some liveliness to your yard!

Don’t have time to maintain a full garden? Opt to plant a tree in your yard instead. It will take less maintenance than a full garden, will help add oxygen back into the air, and still teach valuable lessons about the environment to you and/or your children.

Visit an Animal Shelter

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 Do you or your family love animals? Show that love by visiting an animal shelter this spring! Even if you do not want to adopt an animal, you can still visit to show those animals some love and affection, or even make a day out of it by volunteering! If you do want to adopt an animal, all the better! Adopting an animal gives that animal a second chance in a loving home, and eliminates the number of animals being bought by breeding mills. You will make that animal so incredibly happy by giving them a forever home, and be doing the shelter a service by giving them more room to take in more rescues. Bonus: you will be assisting in keeping more animals in need off of the streets and on their way to finding their “fur-ever” families!

Out with the Old, In with the Green: Spring Cleaning

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After what has seemed like an endless winter, we have finally reached a peak of warmer weather. Spring is upon us! Around this time of year, we often find ourselves going through everything in our lives and cleaning out what is no longer useful, relevant, or healthy for us. That way, we can make way for all of the new, wonderful things that the rest of the year will gift us with a “clean” slate.

With spring cleaning in mind, this is the perfect opportunity to ditch all of those cleaning tactics that harm the environment, and exchange them for more eco-friendly options. Here are a couple of green spring cleaning ideas!

Use Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

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 Do you have any lightbulbs around your home that need changing? Instead of replacing them with standard incandescent lightbulbs, replace them with CFLs or LEDs! They are way more energy efficient, and last much longer. The environment will thank you for the energy you conserved!

Hang Dry Laundry

 Want to conserve even more energy? Skip using the dryer this spring, and hang dry your clothes in the beautiful, warm weather! You will be using less electricity to power your dryer, save some cash on your energy bills, and have the opportunity to soak up the fresh air while taking care of your laundry. We’ll call that a win!

Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper

 Using paper towels to clean your home are a huge waste. Trees are being cut, stripped, and destroyed to create these, only to be thrown into a landfill afterwards! To lessen the amount of paper towels used, consider cleaning with reusable, cloth towels. They’ll have the same cleaning effect, but can be washed and used again and again!

Recycle/Donate Old Clothes

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 If you’re going through your closet and find some pieces of your wardrobe that you no longer want, please do not throw them out! Consider donating them to Salvation Army, Planet Aid, or gifting them to a friend. The more kept out of landfills and the more being recycled, the happier and healthier the planet is!

Switch Your Insulation

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 Now that the cold weather is diminishing, it’s the perfect time to assess your current insulation situation, and consider changing it. Is your current insulation energy-efficient? Does it save you money on your energy bills, while also keeping your home cozy year-round? If you answered no to both of those questions, we have some solutions for you! One basic product that our company offers is our Enerspan insulation. It’s an EPS foam insulation that works to eliminate thermal bridging, so that your home can retain heating and cooling. That way, you won’t be losing any energy or money while keeping your home cozy, which kills two birds with one stone! If you want something a bit more extravagant, consider renovating your home with the Advantage ICF System! It’s an EPS foam insulation system that works even harder to trap in the cool and warm air, while also eliminating sound through walls. In the end, you’ll have a comfortable, cozy, and soundproof home that conserves energy!