Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Easy Tips to Adopt a Greener Approach Towards Your Home

Choosing to go green is a simple decision and thankfully, simple steps follow it too. The only thing people get scared by is the cost, but that too gets recovered in a few years and then you experience no costs, only benefits. The benefits of living a green lifestyle are obvious and many. A planned and legally regulated green lifestyle is the ultimate savior for the sorry state of our planet. There are many things you can do toward this approach, some of which can be accomplished using home remedies too. Here are some easy and useful tips that you can adopt to make your house and lifestyle greener and increase the worth of your house too -

* Whenever you clean your home, make sure you use cleaners that are multipurpose, so that the one in the kitchen can also be used for the surfaces of your bathroom. This immediately reduces the use of chemicals in your house which also makes the environment a healthy place to live in. Use natural cleaners, like Vinegar and Baking Soda. Add lemon to vinegar to get rid of the strong smell. There are many green products in the market too that can replace your harmful antibacterial products and toxic cleaners.

* In a world where people love free stuff, it is hard to understand why more people have not yet installed solar panels. These would generate power for you out of a free energy source; the sun. Reduction of power usage can be achieved through the usage of electronic appliances that consume less energy.

* Location really is everything. Your house must be located and designed in a way that it receives the utmost amount of sunlight and does not have to depend on electricity for light.

* Paint your house with carbon-absorbing and eco-friendly paint, renew its look and keep it young for a much longer time than with the usage of regular toxic paints. Use a paint that is low on or has no Volatile Organic Compounds. These are bad news for your environment and also for women expecting a baby.

* Your floors can look better with bamboo rather than hardwood. Also they come in different shades, look just as beautiful and last longer too. Bamboo also has the stunning quality that helps it to grow two inches in an hour, which is a strong contrast to hardwood trees that take decades for their growth. People who love environment and are practical, clearly know which one to choose.

* Make a simple and beautiful garden and decorate your house. With this you can literally make it greener and grow healthy vegetables for your own consumption.

Make the greatest use of your environment without harming it or making any adverse impact on it. You must be able to save thirty percent of the energy to be called a green home. Start now and you will see the results instantly and the profits in a few years too.

Buying Property in Rural Portugal - An Off Grid Adventure

Manter a Calma (stay cool)

First of all, allow plenty of time for your property search, and organise your time well so that you can see as many properties as possible. I worked on farms as a volunteer on the WOOFING program, and was lucky enough to spend months living in the country before purchasing my property. This gave me ample opportunity to get the feel of the place and learn from other peoples experiences. You probably have a vision of Portugal in your mind's eye, I know I did, but there is really no substitute for actually living there for a while and feeling the December sun on your face while gardening in your summer clothes, then experiencing the surprisingly cold winter evenings creeping in through the caravan door.

Make a List

It's a very good idea to keep a list of your priorities with you when you are looking at properties; tick off the relevant boxes at each viewing and refer back to it. Also take a camera and take photographs of each property, it's very easy to forget important details when you are seeing ten or more prospective plots in a day. You will be inundated with new things to think about such as; water supply, the extent of the building project, access to the property, mobile connection and electrical power supply to name but a few. It's all very exiting and very easy to get carried away when you see a house that you love. There is a lot of real estate for sale in Portugal and many factors to consider before making a purchase. Your head will be spinning after a day or two of driving around with the estate agent, so try to remain tranquilo as the locals say, and don't get rushed into making a deal. The fact is that people often end up buying something completely different to what they had first imagined.

Stone Ruins

Rebuilding an old stone ruin is a labour of love that cannot not be taken lightly. So although it looks beautiful and may seem like quite a straight forward project, take the time to really consider what you are letting yourself in for. Repairing stone walls is a skilled job and also very labour intensive. I know because I have done it, and being covered in filth carrying large stones around in the searing heat is not an experience I care to repeat. Putting them back together is not easy either and demands a great deal of patience and skill. I have seen large cracks appear in newly repaired houses that eager self builders have been working on. Heartbreaking. There are however skilled local stone workers available if you ask around.

Would I Recommend It?

Yes, yes, and unequivocally yes. If you are thinking seriously about buying a property in Portugal then I do highly recommend it. My years there have changed my life in many positive ways, and afforded me experiences that would not have been possible in the UK. I wanted to live in the forest and be away from civilisation and all its trappings for a while. I had a very small budget and was almost always working alone. I chose to build my house using ecological and re-claimed materials where possible and lived off grid for five years. That was my way, and I loved it for the most part, but there are also many foreigners living there doing it very differently; some with young families and much greater budgets than mine; others much older and living out their autumn years. Thats what makes it such a fascinating place to visit, there is great variety of people, and a lot of opportunity to try new things that would not be possible in many other countries. The last word has to go to the very tolerant and kind Portuguese people, if you learn to speak Portuguese your life there will be greatly enhanced, especially in the more rural areas. You would be surprised at the amount of foreigners that don't bother to get past the most basic language skills even after many years of living there. Also if you do learn to speak the lingo (not easy) you could save yourself a lot of money when bargaining your price. Quanto custa?