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Live a greener family lifestyle in the new year

Nickell family
Nickell family

One popular and easy New Year’s Resolution everyone can attempt is to try and live a bit greener in 2014. With small children and all thee busy activities of family life, going greener may seem like a difficult task, but it isn’t impossible.
Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell), father of 7, offers his "5 cents" worth of advice to expectant and new parents.

Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddy & Co. (formerly Daddyscrubs) delivery room duds, gifts, and apparel for dads, and the DailyDaddy blog, where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad's perspective.As a caring father of 7, Robert Nickell, and his wife Katy are concerned about raising a happy family and creating a healthy environment for them as well as the surrounding community of Manhattan Beach.

As the Nickell’s look forward to moving into their new eco-friendly home, they have put together some tips that families came incorporate in their own homes to make it safer and greener. Here are some of his tips.

1. Reduce Water Consumption –There are several ways a family can reduce their water consumption.

a. Take showers instead of baths. Newer higher efficiency showerheads provide good water pressure and use less water than filling a bath tub.

b. Shorten Shower time. You can save up to 5 gallons of water per minute you cut from shower time.

c. Use high efficiency toilets. Over the past several years manufacturers have worked to make toilets more water efficient and bacteria-resistant which makes them easier to clean.

d. Xeriscape – Be thoughtful in your landscaping choices. Utilize plants and grasses that are drought tolerant. Reduce water consumption and garden maintenance simultaneously.

e. Plant trees for shade. Not only will the shade help reduce your cooling bill, it will also increase property values when the trees mature.

2. Use Natural Cleaning Products – Natural cleaning products are readily available at most super markets. They clean, disinfect and deodorize the same way conventional cleaning products do without harmful chemicals. Read labels before you purchase, natural ingredients include baking soda, borax, cornstarch, lemon juice, mineral oil, vinegar and washing soda. If you choose to make your own, add essential oils for fragrance.

3. Maximize Solar Power – Consider installing solar panels to heat and cool your home. Solar panels will reduce energy levels and benefit your entire community by reducing energy consumption at the local power plant.

4. Preserve Air Quality – Use eco-friendly paints the next time you update a room in your house. Eco-friendly paints have very low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and come in a wide array of colors.

5. Reduce Utility Consumption – Upgrade to a high quality air filtering system. By providing better air ventilation and exhaust in your home you will have cleaner air to breathe while reducing strain your community’s electric and gas consumption.

6. Buy Natural and Organic Products – When making purchases for furniture and bedding choose organic products made from sustainable materials like unbleached wool, bamboo, or natural plant fibers. Using eco-friendly furniture is an excellent way to detox your home. Organic mattresses made from wool or natural latex and have been shown to reduce allergens in the air.

7. Use Re-usable Containers – Rather than using foil or plastic wrap, try using a re-usable storage containers for leftovers or lunches. Consider taking a coffee mug to work instead of using Styrofoam cups. Not only will you save money, you will also reduce items that sit in a landfill for years decomposing.

8. Eat Clean – More processing equals less nutrient density in foods. Focus on buying fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet. Eating clean will improve your health and cut down on landfill items by cutting out cans, glass and plastics in your trash.

9. Conduct an Energy Audit – Discover where you have leaks and plug them up. Inefficient windows and doors can cost a lot in utility bills in the winter. If you still feel drafts, hire a professional auditor through the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver site. They can make excellent recommendations to make your home weather tight.

10. Recycle – Most major cities offer free recycling as part of weekly trash removal programs. Take advantage of the service and sort through glass, plastic, aluminum and paper. Quarterly go through closets and drawers and find clothes the kids have outgrown or that you simply don’t wear anymore and donate to a thrift store or homeless shelter. Items that are gently used can benefit others in your community.

Living a green lifestyle is a conscious choice but the benefits for family and community far outweigh the planning it takes. Join the Nickells as they endeavor to create a healthy happy atmosphere for their family and community of Manhattan Beach by embracing the green way of life.

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