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Does an Environmentally Friendly Home and Lifestyle Come at a Cost?

Posted by Mark Godsell-Fletcher on

At Eat Sleep Live we are proud that our furniture is handmade from reclaimed wood.  There is something so humbling about using wood that has already had a life and then transformed into something new and fresh.  Up-cycling of interior furnishings is not just a hobby for many its a business, we have a passion for recycling, sustainability and eco living, but does this environmentally friendly home and lifestyle come at a cost?  I was lucky to meet with the UK's first Eco Estate Agent, Cat Woods from Property Cat, this week.  I wanted to know why she felt sustainable living was so important? 'Sustainability is important to me because I feel it is imperative to ensure that the social, economic and environmental systems that make up our community are providing healthy and meaningful resources for the people that reside in it. Everything we need for our well-being depends on our natural environment and we should all be working together to lessen our impact on the environment to provide a sustainable future for our children and future generations.' [caption id="attachment_4167" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Upcycled Glass Flower Vase, The Comfi Cottage £12.00 Upcycled Glass Flower Vase, The Comfi Cottage £12.00[/caption] People believe there is a huge cost in creating a more environmentally friendly home e.g. solar panels, do you have any tips for low cost changes we can all make? Creating an eco-friendly home does not have to be expensive. Small actions can make a big difference in saving you money and ensuring a healthy, happy, green home. Here are 5 ideas to get you started : -

  1. Unplug your gadgets! Anything that has an LED that glows, even after you turn it off, continues to use energy (which you are paying for). Your TV, phone charger or printer are the likely offenders. Being mindful of these things can save you up to £100 per year. Your hard earned money is better off in your pocket right?
  2. Try turning down your thermostat on your water heating source. By turning down the temperature by just 20 degrees, you could save up to 10% of your water heating costs. Try it out and do the same with your washing machine by using the ECO cycle or turn the dial down to 30 degrees instead of 50. Clothes that are not heavily soiled wash perfectly at lower temperatures. Save your pennies and lessen your impact on the environment.
  3. When buying new appliances always look for the Energy Star appliances, they will save you money on your utility bills.
  4. Host a garden sale or a pop up swap shop at home. My little Mantra is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Have a little de-clutter at and arrange for your friends to come around, bringing items they no longer want. You can have a catch up and swap stuff. One woman’s trash is another's treasure. The many benefits here include, No energy being wasted by producing new stuff and you have not spent any money in requiring anything new. You’ll have more space at home and money in your pocket. Win, win. There are many Eco Chic, boutique Type pop up swap events happening all over the country. Join the Eco Revolution.
  5. Make your own cleaning supplies – DIY Green cleaning products are super easy to make . My 3 favourite ingredients for healthy, eco-friendly cleaning are white vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. The benefits to swapping to green cleaning are that these ingredients are as cheap as chips and you’ve probably already got them in your kitchen cupboard. They are also healthy alternatives to your usual supermarket cleaning products which contain a whole load of dangerous chemicals which are harmful to you and you are reducing your carbon footprint too. Happy cleaning!
[caption id="attachment_4168" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Vintage Music Score Paper Heart Decoration, Not on the High Street £1.50 Vintage Music Score Paper Heart Decoration, Not on the High Street £1.50[/caption] You give your clients tips for moving home, can you share your top tips? I thoroughly enjoy helping our home movers lessen their impact on the environment by enjoying a green move with us. The top tips I give are :-
  1. Avoid sending your ‘Trash’ to landfill.  Find your local reuse and recycling enterprises, they reduce waste by collection unwanted items, upcycling or reviving them and sell them in local charity shops. Google a local reuse business near you. You’ll feel really good about yourself because your old stuff, that you were going to throw away, can make someone else really happy.
  2. Always choose Eco Friendly packing supplies, there are many out there, as well as reusing those cardboard boxes if you have any. It’s better to use green recycled bubble wrap and many other biodegradable and Eco packing materials. Be kind to the planet during the packing process.
  3. There are a comprehensive list of locations for recycling, buying eco friendly produce, and getting rid of household and domestic waste properly and efficiently on our website. Keep thinking, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.
  4. Have a packing party, where your friends can come and help you pack, bring with them an old cardboard box and taking away with them any items you no longer require that may be of benefit to them. I know I keep saying “One man’s trash, is another’s treasure, but this is SO true. Recycling is good, but reusing is better.
I little bird told me you are a fan of Eat Sleep Live, why? Yes, I love Eat Sleep Live, what a fabulous, eco-friendly and sustainable company that were the first to specialise solely in the design and manufacture of furniture made from 100% reclaimed wood. The furniture is so unique, using only the finest hand-selected reclaimed beams. It may cost a premium for the best but it’s well worth it. I absolutely love that each beam has it’s own character and story. Reclaimed wood can be hundreds of years old and the furniture at Eat Sleep Live ooze character and are naturally robust. All handmade and sustainable. In a very wasteful world it’s lovely to see companies like this building beautiful items from material that would have likely have ended up in landfill. There is a growing trend for this which really needs to be applauded. I’m currently saving up as I’ve got my eye on a few pieces from Eat Sleep Live myself. They are really leading the way in sustainable, eco-friendly products. What are your favourite recycled products and why? I love the idea of creating something amazing out something that is being wasted or that may end it’s life in landfill. Breathing new life into something is really attractive to me. It tells a story and creates wonderful memories for all concerned. Not to mention the fact that it’s good for the planet. I’ve always loved this product since I first seen Max McMurdo present to the world on Dragons Den in 2008. May I introduce you to Annie the shopping trolley chair. If you can afford something really special, then she’s for you. [caption id="attachment_4154" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Annie, shopping trolley chair, Reestore £600.00 Annie, shopping trolley chair, Reestore £600.00[/caption] "Trolleys are generally scrapped due to unaligned wheels or exposed wire. Once transformed by Reestore they become beautiful yet functional upright chairs. Annie has become Reestore's trademark design and has featured in Elle Decoration, The Guardian and took pride of place in Prince Charles' eco home at the Ideal Home Show 2011.” One day.. I’m going to source an old BT red phonebox and ask the lovely Max from 'Kirsties Fill Your House' for free to create something unique for me to lounge on. This is a huge dream of mine. What do you think? [caption id="attachment_4155" align="aligncenter" width="620"]BT Artbox BT Artbox[/caption] Artists and designers including Sir Peter Blake, Zaha Hadid and Giles Deacon re-designed the iconic red telephone box as part of BT Artbox. I’d love to own the original coffee table with shelf from Eat Sleep Live. How luxurious does it look? and it's made from reclaimed wood, stunning! [caption id="attachment_4160" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Original Coffee Table. Eat Sleep Live Original Coffee Table. Eat Sleep Live[/caption] Why is it important for your company to give back? I feel it is really important for businesses in the UK to be instinctively trying to make a difference in their communities. Property Cat is a force for good in the Estate Agency business and we commit to help fund and support our local community environmental and well-being projects with our profits. We are encouraging and inspiring other people to adopt corporate social responsibility policies and even more than that, we want to inspire every person in a business to take responsibility to make a difference in everything they do. If every Estate Agency used some of it’s wealth to give back to the community to promote sustainability, then the world would be a nicer, safer, healthier place to live. What is your biggest tip to lessen our impact on the environment? Go Renewable! Choose energy options that are kind to the planet. Installing solar panels at home can reduce your dependence on electricity produced by dirty nuclear and fossil fuelled power. Therefore going renewable can reduce your impact on the environment. If you feel this is not financially viable for you, check what government schemes there are currently available, like the Renewable Heating Incentive. (RHI) Thank you Thank you so much to Cat for taking the time to talk to us and share some fantastic tips, you can connect with Cat on twitter at @EcoEstateAgent I couldn't go without sharing some of my favourite up-cycled finds for where you Eat Sleep Live. Eat [caption id="attachment_4162" align="aligncenter" width="620"]'You're my cup of tea' Upcycled Antique Book Page Art Print, Roo Abrook £10.00 'You're my cup of tea' Upcycled Antique Book Page Art Print, Roo Abrook £10.00[/caption] Sleep [caption id="attachment_4166" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Upcycled Denim Throw, ANAHI Collection £139.00 Upcycled Denim Throw, ANAHI Collection £139.00[/caption] Live [caption id="attachment_4163" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Banksy - Upcycled Vintage Chair by Kelly Swallow, Sable and Ox £1800.00 Banksy - Upcycled Vintage Chair by Kelly Swallow, Sable and Ox £1800.00[/caption]

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