Your Natural Home
Creating a cozy hearth for the family

Biophilic Design: Incorporate Nature Into Your Home

As a human species, we’ve evolved a lot. Our modern way of life dictates certain things and because of this, we must find the ways to fully adapt. We are tied to the living world around us, and all of us can benefit quite significantly from nature. That’s where biophilic design comes to play.

Biophilia means love of nature. It represents the attraction people feel towards natural processes and nature itself. Biophilia is perfectly natural and it comes from our ancestral connection to nature as the only way of survival. The term was popularized during the 1980’s when over-urbanization started to take hold. As there is a need to stay connected to nature, biophilic design became somewhat necessary for our well-being as a species.

We did a bit of researching and we’ve come up with this short guide through biophilic design. We wanted to help point you in the right direction when it comes to applications of biophilic design. So, without further ado, let’s get straight to it.

potted plants in living space
Photo by Inanc Avadit on Unsplash

How Relevant Biophilic Design Really Is?

Quite a lot of experts agree that stress-related illnesses and disorders are on the rise. There are a lot of studies that show a correlation between distancing ourselves from nature and elevation of stress levels. When you stop to think about it, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Exposure to so much technology, daily routines, workplaces, and even the way we spend our free time all separate us from nature, which can result in quite a lot of stress.

Using biophilic elements in your immediate surroundings can have a positive effect on you. With natural elements surrounding you, your blood pressure drops, heart rate is reduced, as well as stress and anxiety levels. On the other hand, your overall productivity and motivation are elevated. Your creativity and cognitive thinking are also on the rise, so we can agree that all these factors make biophilic design quite important in a modern environment.

Benefits of Biophilic Design

Let’s talk about biophilic design in a workplace and see the benefits from employees' perspective first. As part of a workforce, you focus on completing as much as you can during the day. In most cases, you get rewarded for your productivity, creativity, and sometimes even for your additional motivation. All of these things are quite affected when the working area is completely devoid of nature. This leads to general dissatisfaction and you stop enjoying what you do. Your working place has become somewhat of a prison. This is what pushes many employees to seek other opportunities.

As an employer, things might seem a bit different, but in their foundation, they are not. Yes, it’s true you will need to define a budget and remodel your offices; it’s true you will have to spend some time and resources on improving your business space with biophilic design, but you can gain quite a lot. With biophilic design, your surroundings are more appealing to both your workers, as well as your clients and potential visitors. With it, you can boost your workers’ productivity, as well as emphasize your brand and your own creativity.

Implementing Biophilic Design

The first thing you need to understand with the implementation of the biophilic design is that you really need to consider everyone’s needs beforehand. Whether it’s a company or your home, you can’t simply take up the first space you think of and turn it into a garden. You need to understand how space works in your company and have a clear picture of what you want to achieve.

Divide space, arrange a small garden, and make sure you have all the necessary equipment like a high-quality water hose for watering your natural design elements; you might need sprinklers or similar gardening equipment. Make sure you have a solid plan of all the elements for implementation of a biophilic design. Do your research and contact professional gardeners and landscapers, they can help you quite a lot.

plant sign
Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

Biophilic design has become very important in our modern way of life. It represents our connection to nature, as well as helps us feel better and more focused. All of the tips from this short guide can help you understand what biophilic design can do for you. Whether you’re a business owner, employee, or homeowner, there are loads of benefits for you in a biophilic design. It’s only up to you to find the best way to try it out for yourself.

How to Create a Healthy Organic Bedroom

Photo via Pixabay

Getting enough quality sleep can not only eliminate those nasty bags under your eyes, but also improve your overall physical and mental health. However, even after knowing all the benefits of a good night’s sleep, we still tend to neglect our Zs. So, today, it’s time to set our priorities straight and turn our bedrooms into healthy and organic spaces perfect for relaxation and sleep.

Remove the Carpets

In order to create an organic and healthy space, you must start from the bottom. Remove your old carpets that are not just ugly and worn-out, but also serve as a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty critters like dust mites and germs. Replace your carpets with natural and hypoallergenic cork, natural wood flooring or recycled linoleum. These materials are easy to clean and don’t provide a home for allergens. For some warmth, use small area rugs you can regularly wash.

Opt for Organic Bedding

We spend almost a third of our lives in bed, so making it comfortable and healthy is the least we can do. Replacing bedding made of artificial and treated materials with all-natural and organic bedding will do miracles for your well-being and comfort during sleep. You can also opt for pillows made of natural and untreated cotton and natural latex. There are also buckwheat hull pillows that offer great neck support and wool ones with moisture-wicking properties perfect for hot climates.

Photo via Pixabay

Replace Your Old Mattress

Another way to make your bedroom more organic and healthy is to get rid of your old mattress. This might be a costly investment, but when you consider the number of chemicals used in the production of old-fashioned mattresses and all the allergens contained in them, you’ll see the importance of this step. The best and healthiest option is to choose a natural latex mattress that offers great back support and is naturally anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and resistant to dust mites. Just make sure your pick carries a Good Environmental Choice label which makes it safer for you and the environment.

Photo via Pixabay

Boost Your Air Quality

The best way to make the air in your bedroom cleaner and fresher is to invest in an air purifier, preferably one with HEPA filtration. These filters can eliminate almost all particles larger than 2 microns from the air and provide you with a clean and allergen-free bedroom, which is crucial for good sleep, especially for people with allergies. Additionally, if you have mold or mildew issues, make sure to take care of it with bleach or call the pros to expertly remove it.

Eliminate VOCs

Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids that can be found in an average bedroom and can have various health consequences. Longer exposure to VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, skin, eye and throat irritation, fatigue and many other unpleasant health issues. VOCs are usually present in paints, sealants, aerosol sprays, cleaners, disinfectants and adhesives, all of which can be found in your place of sleep. However, today, there are many alternatives you can use that contain low or zero VOCs. There are zero-VOC paints, upholstery that uses no adhesives, and homemade organic cleaners all of which have the same aesthetic or cleaning effect but without all the air pollution.

Welcome Nature

If you want to have a truly organic bedroom, what better way to achieve that than with greenery. Plants help create a relaxing vibe, clean out the air and serve as a pop of color! Additionally, they are cheap and most indoor types require very little maintenance. For instance, succulents and snake plants need minimal space to thrive.

Photo via Pixabay

Candles and Essential Oils

In order to create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere in your bedroom, the smell should never be neglected. Some scents have a very beneficial effect on human mood and sleep cycle, which is especially great for those that have trouble sleeping. However, make sure to avoid using traditional air fresheners or big box stores. Handmade soy candles and natural essential oils from your local producer are always a better and healthier choice for your organic bedroom.  

A bedroom that follows these tips will not only be healthy and safe, but have a much better general vibe that will simply invite you to jump into your bed and get some quality sleep.

Declutter Your Closet Once and for All by Taking on These Personal Projects

With spring just around the corner, this is the perfect time to declutter and minimize. Instead of just cleaning, let’s focus on getting rid of items that are taking up physical and mental space. Sometimes, when we clean, we literally just move things from one corner of the room to other so that we can get the dust, but what if we actually remove things so that we can reclaim space, time and money. I understand that letting things go can be tough, so over at The Do Something Project, I like to challenge my readers to run short self-experiments or mini projects to see what’s really needed to make you happy.

Let’s start with clothing. There’s a statistic floating around that we really only wear 20% of our clothes. For some, this is probably true. We spend a good amount of time figuring out what to wear in the morning, cleaning up that one chair in the bedroom with all of the clothes and figuring out how to fit everything into the closet. All of this costs time, money and mental energy. Here are a few challenges for you to take on to start minimizing your closet.

minimalist wardrobe
Photo by Tu Tu on Unsplash


Project333 is the minimalist fashion challenge started by Courtney Carver. It invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. Essentially, you pick out the 33 items to start with and box up the rest. With this personal project, you have to strategically choose your items as you want to be wearing clothes that you love, clothes that don’t look dated, clothes that fit and clothes that can be carried throughout a season or two.

10x10 Challenge

If 3 months is too long for you, try out the 10x10 Challenge where you select 10 items to be worn for 10 days. It’s a little shorter and you won’t have to contend with needing to wear your clothes for multiple seasons, but you have to be strategic so that you can re-purpose different clothes for different occasions. This is where you need to get creative with your closet and this is where you also will start realizing that you may already have a capsule wardrobe of classic, key pieces that you can count on.

Inside Out or Reverse Hanger Technique

This last project doesn’t require you to limit your wardrobe, but it does require you to do what I call “data collection.” Essentially, each time you use an item and put it back in your closet, put it inside our or reverse the hanger. After a week or two, see how much of your closet is inside out. From there, take a look at the clothes that weren’t touched:

• If the tags stills exist, return or re-sell the item. Sometimes we buy things for that initial euphoric feeling of scoring a deal, but after that wanes, we may not even like what we bought which is why the tag is still on there. If this is the case, let go of the item and get your money back. Most stores will accept items as long as tags are intact. You may not get the full amount or cash back, but it’s better than completely wasting that money.

• If the item needs some TLC. These could be clothes that you love but missing a button, clothes that needs to be ironed, clothes that needs to be hemmed, etc. Place them in a pile and determine if you are willing to do the work yourself. If you absolutely can’t sew, then it’s time to bring these to someone who can. If you have lots of things that need to be hand washed or ironed, set aside time and do them all at once.

• If the item doesn’t fit, we have to be honest with ourselves. If we are working towards losing that weight, then that’s great, but if we are not, let’s move on. One thing to keep in mind too that if we working to lose that weight, our future selves might not want these old clothes. Let’s not weigh down our present self with having to hold these in case our someday self wants them. Chances are they won’t.

If you do any of these projects and finding yourself really being challenged, share them with your social media community. Ask for feedback, help or advice. All of these projects are only a few days or a few months, but sometimes that’s all it takes to take on new habits, gain a new perspective and learn something new. When you really think about it, a few weeks is a drop in a bucket. By going through these self-imposed personal projects, you have the opportunity to try what works for you. You are also forcing yourself into situations that you may not be comfortable with and in many cases those situations are where the magic happens. The sooner you can reclaim your time, money and space for yourself, the better off you will be. In other posts, we will cover other areas of our lives to minimize.

Catherine Agopcan is a writer who loves to take on projects and educate others on how consumption affects their bottom line using the tenets of minimalism, sustainability and personal finance. Read more of her work at The Do Something Project and Sisters for Fi.

5 Ways to Keep Your Kitchen Clean, Healthy, and Fabulous

clean kitchen
Photo by Pexels/Skitterphoto

No matter how great at cooking you are, your kitchen always has to be spotless and organized—you can’t expect to replicate all those wonderful recipes you see on TV unless you work in such a kitchen, can you? Kitchens are usually small, but they still deserve attention, so trying to keep them clean, healthy and fabulous should be high on your list of priorities. And if you don’t know how to do so, here are five tips that might help you.

Clean Tile with Baking Soda

Most of us use baking soda in cooking quite frequently, but have you ever considered cleaning with it? Probably not, but you’d be amazed at what half a cup of soda mixed with two gallons of water can do. Cooking usually involves a ton of mess, especially with inexperienced cooks, and baking soda isn’t just one of the cheapest ways to clean your tiles, but also among the most eco-friendly and efficient methods to remove those stubborn stains. Besides tiles, you can clean other areas in the kitchen using baking soda—from cups and cookware to ovens and countertops!

box of generic baking soda
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Learn How to Freeze Food

Remember all those leftovers you don’t know what to do with, so you just stack them in your freezer instead of throwing them into the trash? Well, if you too like saving food for later, be sure not to use plastic containers and opt for eco-friendly solutions instead. Glass-, metal- or ,even, silicon-based storage solutions are much better in the long run and will keep your food just as fresh and tasty as those nasty plastic containers that are slowly destroying our planet.

how to freeze food
Photo via Pinterest

Green Utensils

Now, if you want to be super-green and turn your kitchen into an oasis of eco-friendliness, you simply have to pay more attention to the utensils and dinnerware you’re using. Finding visually appealing pieces is quite all right, but it’s not as safe as you might think, so switch to greener options as soon as possible. Minimizing the use of plastic plates and cups might be one of the ways to do so, while looking into sustainable Robert Gordon dishware, for example, could lead you to efficient and attractive mugs, jugs, earth bowls and even dinner plates that will amaze your guests and show them how environmentally-aware you really are!

cast iron cookware
Photo via Max Pixel

Natural Scents and Odors

Keeping your windows open all day long could easily be the best way to ensure your kitchen is always full of fresh air, but this isn’t something you can do in the winter or during the rainy season. That’s why more and more people are looking for ways to freshen their interior up using natural scents and fragrances that won’t just smell amazing, but also help them keep their cooking space healthy. Therefore, you too should include a couple of scented candles, fragrance sticks or reed diffusers to minimize the smell of cooking, but make sure they’re 100 percent natural and eco-friendly.

Utilize the Power of Water

Let’s be honest—cooking is amazing, but washing dishes is as far away from amazing as you can imagine! This is actually the reason why some people don’t like cooking at all, or even avoid certain kinds of food—the Millennials, for example, stopped eating cereal in the morning precisely because of that—but this shouldn’t be happening at all. The best way to take care of your dishes is to soak them in warm water and detergent right after using and keeping them there for some time. After just an hour or two, even the greasiest pans will be easy to clean and your kitchen will never be full of dirty dishes you just can’t wash properly.

Keeping your kitchen clean, healthy and fabulous may seem like a never-ending job at first, but if you do something day after day, you won’t have to spend an entire Sunday afternoon scrubbing every surface there is because everything will already be done!

Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the SmoothDecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time. Find more of her work on Facebook and Twitter.

8 Tips to Make Your Home Green

Maybe you’ve resolved to take better care of yourself, up the ante at work, or reduce overall negativity in your life. Perhaps you’d like to add a more meaningful level of community and give back in a way that resonates on a global level.

Then again, you may just be ready to resolve against resolutions altogether.

How about a no-brainer that requires only as much effort as you’re ready to give, yet results in lasting gain? Consider making your home green in the new year. You’ll be surprised by how many personal goal boxes the process checks off along the way.

Below, we’ve compiled tried-and-true strategies to make your home more eco-friendly, along with methods to save valuable resources at each step.

modern open living area
Photo by Adobe Stock/bearinmind

Lighten Up

A perfect way to start shedding a bit more light on the project at hand is to switch out household bulbs methodically. Take a look at CFLs — compact fluorescent lamps — you’ve no doubt noticed their distinctive spiral shape and bright emission. ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL bulbs use 70 percent less energy than traditional incandescents and are available in hues from warm to cool.

CFL bulbs are sensitive to temperature, so installation requires a bit of preplanning. You don’t want to place CFL bulbs in a tightly enclosed or recessed fixture where reflected heat will quickly build up. Look for open indoor fixtures, and research CFL lanterns or globes that offer protective, decorative covering for outdoor use.

Another green option worth consideration is LED — light-emitting diode — bulbs. LEDs last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use only 20-25 percent of the energy. Unlike CFLs, LED lights can safely be used both indoors and outdoors without undue concern for temperature fluctuation.

LEDs emit light in one direction only. They are great for reading nooks and workspaces such as kitchen countertops or a home office.

Program Comfort

Install a programmable thermostat and forget about having to keep track of indoor climate. For maximum efficiency and comfort this season, set cooler temperatures during weekdays when no one is home and after bedtime.

Keep an eye out for new, cutting-edge models that intuit temperature adjustment based on past patterns of preference.

Seal Tight

No matter how smart your thermostat is, if your home has air leaks, the HVAC system will have to work harder than necessary to maintain a comfortable climate. Save yourself money, resources, and aggravation by assuring a tight structural seal.

Caulking around windows is a simple DIY project that can be completed in one day. If you don’t own a caulk gun, consider borrowing one from a friend. Chances are excellent that you’ll quickly glean its value on a year-to-year basis and end up a proud owner yourself.

To air-seal persistently opened components you’ll want to check into weatherstripping options. With the proper material, installation can be as basic as measuring, cutting and pasting. Main doors, such as the kitchen and front, will likely benefit from an insulated bottom sweep. In a pinch, a rolled-up bath towel works well too.

Garage Band

By far the largest moving component of consideration, and most continuously used for exit or entrance year-round, is the garage door. It covers up to one-third the area of your home’s perimeter, so assuring your garage door is well-insulated and maintains an airtight seal is of paramount concern.

Do you know updated garage doors can be green above and beyond obvious energy-efficiency? Made with sustainable materials, eco-friendly options not only add curb appeal but also prove a level of durability that minimizes repair and maintenance costs over an extended lifespan.

Go Low or No

Have you been debating adding a pop of bold wall color or switching out worn draperies? These seemingly decorative touches have the potential to carry considerable environmental weight, as well. Whether you’re researching paints, textiles or upholstery, go with low or no VOC — volatile organic compound — material bases.

VOCs are gases emitted from chemicals commonly found in paint, treated fabric, and furnishings. Many have adverse long- and short-term health effects, including headache, nausea, respiratory irritation, loss of coordination, central nervous system impairment, and liver and kidney damage.

Reducing the pollutant level of your home decreases the overall content of harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — never mind the supportive boost it lends your immune system and general health.

Update Appliances

Does attention to indoor air quality have you scrutinizing air purifiers and dehumidifiers? Make sure you look for ENERGY STAR-certified products, and while you’re at it, consider switching out other household appliances that may be ready for an overhaul.

When comparing models, efficiency and pricing, don’t forget to factor in possible rebates offered in your area as well as predicted savings over time.

Reduce Water Use

From deceptively small flow changes to the possibility of a major rainwater recycle addition, every drop of water saved carries a ripple effect of environmental benefit. Consider placing aerators on your faucets and installing low-flow shower heads. If you feel any difference in water pressure at all, it will be minimal — but the savings in your pocket won’t be.

Do you have a roof with a marked slope? Not only does a steep incline aid water drainage and help keep your home mold-free, it might also be conducive to installation of a rudimentary rainwater recycle system. Reusing rainwater in toilets and washing machines decreases the rate of household consumption significantly, and boiled rainwater is even safe to drink in a pinch.

Compost Waste

Decomposing food in our landfills releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. You can do your part to minimize this effect by starting a compost heap at home. All you need is kitchen waste, soil, water, grass clippings, or dead leaves and an open container. Organic microbes break waste down into simple components that are readily reabsorbed and add nutrients to the soil, without the release of adverse gases.

Going green can be full circle whether you go slow or all out. The process in and of itself helps you take care, reduce toxicity and connect meaningfully on a universal level.

How to Ensure a Better Sleep Environment

modern minimal bedroom design
Photo by Pexels 

Have you ever found yourself staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night despite being exhausted after a full day of work and stress? Sometimes, all it takes to prevent the twisting and turning and fall right asleep is to tweak the design of your room and make a few lifestyle adjustments.

Before you transform into a night owl, with several layers of eyebags and a sudden craving to take up night-time knitting lessons, take a look at the following steps you can take in order to increase your bedroom’s sleepability and enjoy every second of your zzz’s before your head hits the pillow!

nest smart thermostat
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Keep an Eye on Temperature

If you’re a warmth-loving lizard like myself, then you might be in the habit of keeping your bedroom windows shut for the best part of the day, and purposefully avoiding lowering your room temperature when it’s finally sleep o’clock.

However, rooms that are too hot are one of the main culprits of poor sleeping habits, leading you to either stay awake for too long, or make you feel drowsy and sluggish in the morning. Think somewhere along the lines of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and your room will be perfectly crisp and fresh to tell your body it’s time for some shut-eye.

bedroom with neutral color palette
Photo by Pixabay

Rethink Your Color Palette

This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill – if you choose to paint your bedroom in neon green with splashes of crimson red, then you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself wondering about the meaning of life at three in the morning.

A soothing shade of sky blue, soft green or yellow, or any creamy, pastel hue of your choice can be incredibly sleep-inducing. Avoid grey, purple and brown at all cost, and make sure that your accent colors are not too vibrant to cause a disturbance in the sleepy force of your bedroom.

Learn more about the connection between color and mood in The Psychology of Color.

simple potted succulent
Photo by Pexels

Air Quality Matters

For people who suffer from allergies or asthma, but even for the rest of us all-year-round, there are so many airborne irritants that can wreak havoc on our quality of sleep. Think pollen, dust, smoke, soot, pet dander and other pollution buildup, all of which makes it close to impossible to breathe freely and enjoy uninterrupted sleep.

To that end, finding a HEPA air purifier for your bedroom can keep your indoor air clean, without making excessive noise or messing up the Feng Shui of your décor. In fact, it makes for quite an asset, since it will seamlessly fit in with any room design and you’ll even forget it’s there after a while, but your lungs will surely be able to tell the difference.

Find five more ways to improve your indoor air quality that will also keep toxic emissions at bay and improve overall health.

simple bedroom decor
Photo by Pexels

Think Minimal Thoughts

Just like clutter destroys your focus and plays tricks on your mind during those creative hours of the day, a chaotic bedroom can also affect your mindset when it’s time to turn in. On the other hand, if your design revolves around purpose, then your bed will be the centerpiece of your bedroom décor as well.

Some items that are commonly placed in the bedroom and don’t belong there are TV sets, exercise equipment, and similar action-inspiring things should be moved to a different area of your home. Keep it a private, Zen nook and make sure that even the smallest details, such as your photos, reflect a serene mindset that will help you sleep.

white mussed bedding
Photo by Pexels

Revise Your Bedding

Even if you do comply with all the tips above, yet still choose to sleep on a disturbingly uncomfortable mattress with bedding of equally poor quality – your efforts will be futile, to say the least. Yes, I realize that spending time to think about mattresses and bedding is nowhere near exciting or glamorous, but it’s essential for quality sleep.

Find a suitable replacement for your bedding by looking for hypoallergenic materials, test a mattress before you choose the one with the right firmness for you and, by all means, use separate blankets with your partner, so that both of you can sleep comfortably without hogging the covers.

Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smooth Decorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Calculate Your Peak Sun-Hours

One important question that many individuals have when deciding whether or not installing a solar energy system is the right move for them is “do I live in an area that receives enough sun to make solar panels worth it?” To answer this question, it’s critical to understand how much sun solar panels need in order to operate effectively, what peak sun-hours are, and how you can calculate the peak sun-hours in your area to get the most out of the solar power that’s up for grabs.

solar panel grid
Photo by Pexels

How much sun do solar panels need to operate effectively?

Although direct sunlight provides optimum conditions for solar energy systems, solar panels produce electricity from the photons present in natural daylight, rather than from the sunlight itself, which means that panels don’t actually need to be installed in direct sunlight to work. Heat isn’t a factor that affects how much electricity PV solar panels can generate either, so a cool spring day could be as productive, if not more, than a sweltering summer day. Even in cloudy weather solar panels can absorb energy to produce power, but it will be at a reduced rate compared to sunny days—typically between 25 and 40 percent.

Panel placement is perhaps a more important factor than natural conditions. If panels are installed in an area on your property that receives a significant amount of shade, they may still be able to produce some electricity (depending on the equipment), but this will usually pose more of an issue than clouds or cold weather. Ideally, solar panels will be installed facing south, but a solar professional can help you determine the best placement for panels on your specific property.

bright sunlight and clouds
Photo by Max Pixel

What are peak sun-hours?

While the amount of sunlight your panels receive is important, a more accurate representation of the amount of power your panels have the potential to produce is peak sun-hours. Note that peak sun-hours is not the same as hours of daylight; a peak-sun hour describes the intensity of sunlight in a specific area and is defined as an hour of sunlight that offers 1,000 watts of photovoltaic power per square meter. Peak sun-hours occur when the sun is highest in the sky and generally increase during summer months and the closer an area is to the equator.

Photo by Pexels

How do I calculate the peak-sun hours in my area?

Knowing the average number of peak sun-hours where you live can help you decide whether or not solar panels are a worthwhile investment for your home. Most areas in the United States average between 3 and 5 peak sun-hours per day, but this is likely to fluctuate depending on the season.

To calculate your peak-sun hours, use an isolation map to see how much solar energy your location receives throughout the year. You can also take a look at different charts that compile data on solar radiation, including monthly and seasonal averages. To calculate the exact number of peak sun-hours that solar panels will receive on your property, you can purchase an isolation meter or build your own. After placing the meter in direct sunlight, it will give you a reading on current light intensity and solar power supply, which can help you to determine peak sun-hours.

If you find that your peak sun-hours are relatively low, don’t fret — solar energy may still be a viable option. As mentioned above, even with less-than-optimal conditions, solar panels can still produce a decent amount of power and be beneficial for both you and the environment. Consider consulting with a solar expert if you’re unsure whether or not your home is a good candidate for a solar energy system.

A proponent of renewable energy and green living, Sarah Hancock enjoys writing about sustainability and manages the solar blog on You can also find her work on Twitter.

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