The beauty of blogging is that it lets us see—instantly—exactly what our readers are interested in. We tracked our top 10 Natural Home Living posts for the year and found that natural bedbug prevention, smaller homes and federal regulations that affect our health and well being are top of mind. Here’s a quick look back—and best wishes for a bedbug- and BPA-free, comfort-filled 2011 (possibly in a smaller home?)
1. Not Welcome in My Bed: How to Prevent Bed Bugs
Bed bugs, which all but disappeared from this country in the last century, are back—and spreading. Prevention and vigilance are key to keeping them out of your home.
2. Home Trends: Americans Want Smaller, Smarter Homes
Homeowners are switching their focus from frivolous to functional and paying special attention to energy-efficient features, according to an American Institute of Architects survey. As home size has decreased, homeowners have showed less interest in special-function rooms and focused instead on rooms and features that will maximize their home’s small square footage.
When Jay Shafer's first home didn't meet the minimum size requirement for an Iowa home, he put it on wheels and called it a trailer. Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison.
3. Five Ingredients to Avoid When Buying Summer Skin Care Products
Don’t buy it if you see one of these on the label: parabens, which been linked to breast cancer; glycol, which can cause kidney and liver damage; sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), can change the genetic information in human cells, break down the protein in skin and hair and has been shown to cause cataracts and improper eye development; petrolatum, which can stimulate sun damage; and artificial colors, which can contain heavy-metal impurities such as arsenic and lead that are known carcinogens.
4. 2010 Predictions: Interior Design Trends
We predicted rooms would go warm and bright, with plenty of natural materials and bold patterns.
5. Americans Want Smaller Homes
Americans want smaller, more affordable homes, according to a National Association of Home Builders survey. In fact, 60 percent of Americans said they prefer smaller houses with more amenities to houses with more square footage.
The FTC's revised environmental marketing guidelines are aimed at reducing greenwashing. Photo By Anita Sarkeesian/Courtesy Flickr.
6. FTC’s New Green Marketing Guidelines Go After Greenwashers
Concerned with the gap between product claims and performance, the Federal Trade Commission revised its environmental marketing guidelines for the first time since 1998, cautioning marketers against using broad terms such as “environmentally friendly” and “eco-friendly” because consumers tend to perceive these as having far-reaching environmental benefits with few drawbacks—yet few products actually live up to those standards.
7. FDA Declares BPA a Health Risk
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a statement saying it has concerns about how BPA affects infants’ and children’s health. The building block of many plastics, BPA, or Bisphenol A, is used in water bottles, dishware, baby bottles and sippy cups, and it makes the resins that line food and beverage cans and jar lids. Studies have shown that as these plastics age, are heated or used with certain acidic or alkali liquids (including certain vegetables, fruits and detergents), BPA can leach. Studies have also shown that BPA can affect reproduction, development, metabolism and behavior in children.
8. Hemp Concrete: Promising New Green Building Material
Two homes in Asheville, North Carolina, are being built using a hemp material called Tradical Hemcrete. The product, sold by Asheville-based Hemp Technologies, mixes four parts ground-up hemp stalks with one part water and one part lime to create durable, resilient walls that European researchers have found can last up to 700 or 800 years.
Starting January 1, 2012, the federal government is bringing the hammer down on incandescent light bulbs. Photo by cmd-p.com/Courtesy Flickr.
9. Guaranteed Green: Top 10 Green Building Products of 2010
BuildingGreen makes this a little easier each year with its Top 10 Green Building Products list, which includes a diversity of products, from decking to toilets, that save energy and are made from healthy, nontoxic materials.
10. Americans Unaware of Federal Phaseout of Incandescent Bulbs
Most Americans are unaware that as of January 1, 2012, inefficient 100-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be sold. Under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, 75-watt bulbs will be phased out by 2013, and 40- and 60-watt bulbs by 2014.