Posted in Sustainable Homes and Living

FlipFlic – An Innovative Energy Saving KickStarter Project

The developers of a new KickStarter project called FlipFlic gave me a heads up about their idea.  I was impressed with their design’s simplicity, cleanness, low price and its potential to save energy and increase convenience and decided to pass the idea on here.

FlipFlic is a Smartphone controlled device that automatically opens or closes blinds based on the time of day, or temperature, or light level.

Some of the nice features:

  • Easy to install.
  • Smartphone controlled.
  • Blind open/close can be based on time of day, temperature, or light levels.
  • Solar powered.
  • Low price.
The FlipFlic compact motor unit replaces the existing wand on the blinds.
It is solar powered, so no batteries to replace or wires to run.
Use your Smartphone to set up the times, temperatures, or light levels
that control the opening and closing of the blinds.
The initial offering works with either horizontal or vertical slat style blinds.  Kseniia tells me that the team has it in their plans to develop version that will also work with cellular shades, which,  I think, offers an even greater potential for energy saving due to the greater insulating value of these blinds.
Our house uses lots cellular shades with side tracks to reduce winter heat loss and reduce summer heat gain.  They work great and have a large energy saving and short payback period.  But, the twice a day ritual of raising and lowering the shades can get to be a hassle.  I’m really looking forward to this device to have more control with less hassle.
Gary
Posted in Healthy (& Tasty!) Eating

Sweet Potato Carbonara with Spinach & Mushrooms

Sweet Potato Carbonara with Spinach & Mushrooms Recipe
Loaded with veggies, this spiralized sweet potato vegetable noodles recipe—our healthy take on a traditional carbonara recipe—achieves superfood status with the addition of spinach and mushrooms. Look for large, straight sweet potatoes to make the longest veggie noodles.

Posted in Flooring

3 Reasons to Choose Sustainable Hardwood Flooring

When you’re thinking about redoing your floors you have a lot of options to choose from. From bamboo to vinyl there are many different materials available that can be used for flooring. Here are 3 reasons to choose our  hardwood for your flooring needs.

Hardwood is Healthy

3 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Flooring - blog.ecotimber.comCarpet is notorious for releasing unhealthy Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, into the air. Exposure to these VOCs can have any number of long-term health effects. With hardwood flooring most if not all of the danger of VOCs is eliminated. Factory finished hardwood is sealed and UV-cured which means that it does not emit VOCs. If you’re finishing the wood on-site look for a water-based finish to minimize the VOCs. In addition, look for a low VOC glue to use when installing a hardwood floor to further minimize the risk of long-term health effects.

Hardwood is Sustainable

3 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Flooring - blog.ecotimber.com

These bluegrass planks were collected from fences that were being replaced and will be made into flooring.

Trees are a renewable resource. Responsible harvesters plant new trees to replace those that they cut down. Wood is also recyclable. Sawdust, a byproduct of manufacturing wood flooring, is the primary material used to make particle board. Hardwood can be reclaimed. When old buildings are torn down there is frequently wood in them that can be reused in other buildings.

The Forest Stewardship Council certifies wood that is harvested from well-managed forests. They ensure that these forests are not damaged and that the local ecosystems are unharmed. When you purchase wood that carries the Forest Stewardship Council seal you’re helping to support the Earth’s forests.

Hardwood is Eco-Friendly

3 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Flooring - blog.ecotimber.comAs trees grow they take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is converted into carbon and oxygen.  The carbon is stored in the tree and the oxygen is released back into the air.

Forests around the world provide habitats for numerous species. They also help to prevent soil erosion and flooding. In addition, turning trees into flooring requires less energy and produces less waste than many other methods of manufacturing flooring.

The next time you’re shopping for new flooring remember these 3 reasons to choose hardwood flooring.

Posted in Flooring

Benefits of Cork – One of Nature’s Great Resources

Benefits of Cork – One of Nature’s Great RESOURCES

Check out this video in which Candace Olson talks about why she likes cork flooring.

Cork, used for everything from wine bottle stoppers to bulletin boards, has become very popular among designers. But what makes cork flooring such a good fit for your home or business? Read on to discover some of the many benefits of cork.

Renewable

Cork comes from the bark of Cork Oak trees. These trees are native to the Mediterranean region where they can live over 200 years. The bark from the trees is first harvested when the trees are about 25 years old and after that it is harvested every 9-12 years.

Sustainable

Cork Oak trees are not harmed when their bark is removed and will in fact continue to grow. In many Mediterranean countries Cork Oak trees are protected by law and can only be cut down with government permission. In addition, the Cork Oak forests provide homes for a number of endangered species.

WEZP-PA-Beja-CAFF_Vignette_1Recyclable

Cork is recyclable and there is very little waste in the process of turning cork bark into consumer goods.  Some cork flooring is created from the remnants left from making cork bottle stoppers.

Healthy

Cork is naturally hypoallergenic and it resists dust mites and mold. In addition it repels some insects.

Easy Care

Due to its nature cork both repels water and resists fire.  It also retains its shape even when heavy furniture has been sitting on it and it resists wear and tear.

Insulating

Cork provides thermal insulation, aiding in the regulation of temperatures, and it helps to absorb ambient sound.

Comfortable

Cork flooring feels warm and, because of its elasticity, cushioning.  As a result it is easier to stand on for long periods of time than harder floors.

100% Cork Candice Olson Discusses Benefits of Real Cork.wmv from EcoTimber onVimeo.

Posted in Flooring

Orchard Walnut – A Unique Collection

Do you know the story behind the flooring in your home? What was it before it was made into flooring? EcoTimber only offers FSC certified sustainable products. And that means that every piece of wood we sell has a story.

The Orchard Collection

A Californian Walnut Orchard - blog.ecotimber.com

A walnut orchard in California

What happens to commercial orchards that have aged and can no longer bear fruit? They are cut down and replanted to insure a future harvest. The trees that are cut down are often used as biomass fuel in generating electricity. We save the best of these trees to be recycled into flooring.

Traditional Walnut Flooring

Most of the walnut flooring created in North America comes from the American Black Walnut tree. This tree grows in the Eastern US but is not ideal for commercial walnut harvesting. At EcoTimber our Orchard Walnut collection is different.

Our Orchard Walnut Collection

Orchard Walnut collection - blog.ecotimber.comThere are over 200,000 acres of commercial walnut orchards in Central California. These orchards are the source of 98% of the annual US walnut crop. When these orchards are about 40 years old the walnut production drops significantly. The trees are then cut down and replanted. In about 4 years the orchard once again begins producing. Approximately 7000 acres of walnut orchards are cut down every year. We take the best of the cut trees and turn them into flooring.

Grafting – The Secret to Spectacular Flooring

Grafting step 4 - blog.ecotimber.comGrafting step 2 - blog.ecotimber.comGrafting Step 1 - blog.ecotimber.com

Commercial walnut growers know that they get the best harvest when they combine a tree that is hardy and resistant to the local diseases with a tree that gives a high yield. They do this with a process called grafting. As a result of grafting the walnut trees develop highly variegated grain patterns. These grain patterns make this wood highly sought after for certain luxury items like car interiors.

Features of Our Orchard Walnut Flooring

Grain Graft Closeup - blog.ecotimber.com

A closeup view of the grain graft.

When you buy EcoTimber’s orchard walnut flooring you know you’re getting an eco-friendly product. The thick walnut wear layer is entirely made from recycled walnut. The pine backing comes from FSC certified well-managed forests.

Our Orchard Walnut Flooring has beautiful variegated grain patterns - blog.ecotimber.com

Our Orchard Walnut Flooring has beautiful variegated grain patterns.

This flooring has exquisite color and grain variation. The factory-applied clear stain offers superior durability without releasing dangerous VOCs into your home. A thick wear layer that can be sanded down and refinished to look like new means this floor will last a lifetime. The cross-ply construction means that it will resist cupping and warping.

Do you know what story your floors tell? What type of story would you like it to be?