Saturday, 27 April 2013

Is your house making you ill ??

Ey up Blogworms !

This weeks subject is tricky to navigate so all I intend to do is make you aware of the problem and some of the answers for you to improve your atmosphere quality at home, you can follow it up in your own way if you feel the need .

Let's set the scene :  Right, you've trailed round estate agents, got the details of a house you think is perfect, gone to view it and whilst on the surface it ticks all your boxes, for some reason you maybe just don't feel quite as comfortable in it as you should, the feel of the house just isn't right and you can't put your finger on why.

This might be a classic case of..... quick drum roll ......."Sick Building Syndrome".

Of what ?? I hear you ask, yep that's right, the house might be ill !... honest.

This is a well studied and documented problem. It can be down to the way it was built, in which case, you've had it, there's not much that can be done but it could simply be the choices of furniture and fittings which have been introduced to the house.

Four of the biggest contributors are: Lack of fresh air, furniture made from artificial materials, paints containing VOC's and RF energy.

Lack of fresh air   Quite easy to solve this one ..... open your windows at least once a day and get some air changes into the atmosphere in the house, this helps to sweep away any off gassing from any of your furniture ( see next point for 'off gassing' ). Using plug in chemical fragrances to "freshen" your room really does not help the situation, as once the fragrance has gone the chemical carriers then sink into your carpets and get stirred up again when you hoover.
Also this trend for using "wipes" to clean surfaces, stop it, use natural cleaners instead as most "wipes" on the market are based on some form of petrochemical such as benzine, check the packet if you don't believe me. They leave residues behind in the air which can irritate people who are sensitive to this sort of thing. Many cheap household cleaning products have the same effect, so please buy carefully and you will help your air stay fresher.
Worst case scenario is you're living in a chemical pea souper in your own house.

Furniture   Beyond any shadow of doubt, using natural materials really is the way forward but I appreciate that many of these products can be outside many peoples budgets. So choosing recycled materials and materials that off gas little or nothing are a sensible alternative.
Off gassing is usually ( and I stress, usually ) where a product has been made using a material or compound that contains high levels of Formaldehyde in some form, these then give off chemical gas into your atmosphere for many years to come which some people are susceptible to.
It should be said here that Formaldehye is a naturally occuring chemical actually present in the world around us but at very low levels which we as a species have evolved to have a tolerance to, it's when those levels are concentrated that problems can arise.

Physical symptons recognised to be but are not limited to, headaches, dizziness, colds, sore throats, fatigue, insomnia, memory fogging, inability to concentrate and allergies.

All our recycled content materials either have little or no off gassing at all. For example, the Coffee cup and Yoghurt pot materials are zero as no extra resins or binders are used in their production and the content in our chipboard products is half the recommended minimum set down by the furniture industry governing bodies. We use low or zero formaldehyde adhesives and all our paints are VOC compliant ( see next bit for VOC's )

Looking for or asking whether the products you are going to buy are low or zero formaldehyde content is a big step towards cleaning your environment.

Paints  A lot of work has been happening in the paint market in recent years with the drift away from oil based paints. Oil based paints generally contain solvents such as: benzine, styrene, tolulene, xylene and formaldehyde which are collectively known as VOC's ie; volatile organic compounds.
VOC's are what make paint smell and they are toxic. VOC's have been known to cause headaches, nausea and fatigue.
So while your decorator might moan that this new water based paint is rubbish and he can't get a finish on it, it's actually a lot better for your home environment than the old oil based paints ever could be.

The new water based paints now are available in low VOC, VOC free, Natural or Organic and really these are the ones you should be looking at using to improve your atmosphere in your home and for the benefit of a good nights sleep, particularly in your bedrooms.

RF Energy  This one applies to your whole house but again important in your bedroom if a good nights sleep is what you're after !!

RF is radio frequency and refers to the oscillation of radio waves bouncing around your home all the time. In other words this stuff is emanating from anything you've got that's wireless ie: wireless router, computer, wireless phones, your TV and dozens of other household appliances. This energy is whizzing around your house all day, passing through you and anyone else in the vicinity.

As for it's dangers, there are people who are known to suffer from electromagnetic hypersensetivity. There are published studies of folk who claim that this kind of exposure massively disrupts sleep patterns, causes allergy like symptoms and headaches sometimes so debilitating that they have to get rid of all the wireless items they have in the house.

So top tip, turn everything off to minimise the effects and apart from the obvious benefit of saving you money, you'll be improving your environment aswell .... bonus !!

IF you really need to guarantee yourselves a good nights kip, make your bedroom a "wireless free zone" and get rid of as many electrical items in your room as you can, it does work, we've tried it !!

This may seems like your house is some sort of toxic battlefield, it's not really and a lot of the things I've touched on are common sense but once you're aware that these problems exist then you're better placed to think whether they affect you or not. Also it does show that going green is not just an environmental choice but many things contained within the green ethos can actually improve your quality of life.

Food for thought or what ?? I've planted the seed, maybe now it's time to 'green up' your life.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Bonny Green Scotland

Hoots Mon and welcome to all our McBlogworms, Well I did say there'd be more aboot our Scottish adventure this week  ... so here it is, the noo.

Firstly ... What a fantastic project the Ravenscraig BRE Innovation Park is !! 

It's located on the Airdrie road out of Motherwell, go towards Motherwell College and keep going, past the new Leisure Centre and it's on your right hand side off the roundabout. There is a postcode for the place for your Sat Nav but forget it, it doesnae work. According to mine you're somewhere in a field ?? which to be fair, at the moment, is actually a pretty accurate description.

The pics are: from the top, the building as we arrived, part way through our install, and just aboot finished. The guys on site were up against it even when we left to get if finished on time, so at the moment I don't have any completion pics but I'll post some when we get them.

The concept of the park is to have one central showcase for all the eco and green building technologies available in one place applied to various different types of house building methods and styles. This can then be used by builders and the public alike to see just exactly what's out there in terms of real, meaningful green products and ideas with which to equip your life and home.

While most of the nine buildings planned are based on 'new build' principles for future housing developments, there is one house planned which is to be built EXACTLY as it was built in the 60's .... nice one, getting that past the planners lads! ... to show just what is possible to upgrade older housing to more eco status and improved energy effeciency.
That, in itself, has to be a fabulous idea to give the many thousands of properties of that sort of age a chance to be run more economically.

I could rant on aboot Ravenscraig all day but you'd only get fed up reading it, suffice it to say go on their website, have a look and follow the parks development over the next year or so, it's well worth watching for inspiration for ideas for your own circumstances.... I will ... and I'm planning a specific trip back up there once it's all done for inspiration for my self and how we can develop our business.

I'll finish with thanks to all the folk we met up there and their help while we were doing our bit... thanks chaps !!.... and hope it's not too long before we're back in Scotland again. Great place, great scenery, great people and a fantastic forward thinking attitude to environmental issues and ideas.

Our Scottish correspondant .... Mc Jules, signing off.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Shiny, happy, glossy Eco kitchens

Ey up, fellow blogworms !

( if bookworms read books, then logically blogworms read blogs ??  yes / no ?, please yourself. )

Anyway time to report in again, been away for a bit up in sunny Scotland installing a fab new Eco2 kitchen for the brilliant new project of the BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig, check out our twitter and facebook for more info. BUT more of that when I sort the pics out for my next blog all about it.

Duo High Gloss Doors

This one is all about Shiny, Happy, Glossy Eco kitchens.

The biggest significant step forward in our quest for Eco for a long time has been locating a gloss board for  producing kitchens without the use of the environmentally nasty resins typically used at the moment for hi-gloss kitchens. We've been keeping our eyes peeled for ages, no doubt all that Rapid Eye Movement  ( get it ? ) has paid off because ....

We've finally found one ..... 2 years in development, the board is now available and we're up and rock 'n' rolling with it in our EcoSelect & Eco2 ranges. The board, as you would expect, is more expensive than the standard board, adding 15% to the base cost but don't despair ..... read on !!

We're able to offer you, our Eco blogworm followers, 2 of our existing EcoSelect colours, White & Ivory, and 7 of our Eco2 colours, White, Ivory, Dark Walnut, Plum, Dark Olivewood & Black all in gloss finish. Have a quick squint at the colour selections on our website pages for these 2 kitchens to see what they're like.

This really is a fantastic & significant step forward for all you eco fans out there and to celebrate we're going to make it even better by offering the first 5 EcoSelect and the first 10 Eco2 kitchens ... in gloss ... AT NO EXTRA COST to our standard website price list. And if you've been following our recent trips to Southern Ireland, Scotland, Northerh Ireland and, not forgetting Wales, there's nowhere in the UK we can't deliver to.

Next step is to put curved doors on the list and I'm hot foot in pursuit of these as we speak.

Shiny, curvy & Eco .... I can almost hear your pulse quicken. And why not, mine is .... Developing new product in the Eco world is definitely not easy but I do get a buzz from the thrill of the chase and enormous satisfaction by being able to offer stuff on an Eco basis that was never previously available.

Eco's out there and it's not going away...... trust me! ... the future is definitely green, if I've got anything to do with it !

So hurry up, get in touch and take advantage of me ( hmmm! not sure that came out right ? ) for these fab deals on the new glossy's, they won't hang around for ever.

Your new Eco Blogworm, Julian.