Candice Batista: She’s so eco
What doesn’t Candice Batista know about eco-living? You’ll see Candice everywhere, from columns, to stage presentations, to TV as the on-air eco expert on The Marilyn Denis Show. We caught up with her at the Ottawa Home & Design Show to gather top tips on creating, and keeping, an eco-friendly home.
What are your top tips for sustainable living in your home?
- Reduce your chemical load by opting for cleaners and laundry detergents that are non-toxic.
- Change from your conventional cleaners. I am not saying throw them out, but when you finish one, replace it with a better one.
- In the bathroom you want to save trees and reduce toxins. Conventional shower curtains are made from PVC, they highly toxic and the off gases are about 108 toxic chemicals. Opt for hemp or organic cotton. Hemp is best as it naturally resists mildew.
- In the bedroom, reduce indoor air pollution by using no or low VOC paints. VOCs are volatile organic compounds that give off gas and cause allergies and other health issues.
- Your mattress contains a series of very nasty chemicals, if yours is over eight years old it’s time to replace it. Avoid stain repellent and fire retardants. They are very harmful chemicals that we are breathing in while we sleep. Opt for wool or natural latex or natural rubber. It’s key to ask lots of questions and make sure you talk to the manufacturers. Toxic free mattress is key for kids and babies. A mattress topper can work too, if you can’t afford the full thing.
- In the kitchen again reduce the toxic chemicals and opt for natural cleaners; you can make your own and save big time. All you need is two cups water, three drops castile soap and 30 drops lavender oil. Add to a spray bottle and voila!
Why is sustainable living important?
Sustainable living begins with the understanding of the impact your purchases have both on the environment and the people who make the goods you buy. It’s about being a mindful consumer and realizing that you have a great deal of power with your pocket book. I like to call it, “voting with your dollars”. For me going green is really much more than just changing my light bulbs.
How can we reduce our bills by living the sustainable way?
There is a major misconception that going green will cost you more money. The truth of the matter is that it will actually save you money.
Installing a programmable thermostat for example, will help you figure out how much energy your home is using and wasting. This technology has come a long way over the last five years. There are devices that you can hook up to your smart phones, and you can control your homes energy use from where ever you are. The best part is you are looking at an annual saving of 20 per cent on energy bills! You'll spend on average $30,000 heating and cooling your home over the 20-year life of your system. A really good thermostat, like NEST for example, can save you $6,000.
Most people don’t realize that you lose a lot of hot air out of the attic if it’s not insulated properly. In some cases [with installation] you can save up to 50 per cent in energy costs. Also, caulking and sealing the house can save you between five and 15 per cent on your heating bills.
Vampire Power is a biggie and it can cost you big as well. Most electronics have stand-by power, so even when they are off they are still sucking power from the grid, if you have lots of stuff plugged in all the time, you're paying lots more than you should.
Get more sustainable living tips from Candice at www.candicebatista.com
By Sarah Hoy