Archive for the ‘Green’ Category

A New Way to Raise Your Home IQ

By Home IQ Team

There’s never really been a place online devoted to the issues facing home product marketers…until now.

We’re excited to introduce Porte: an entertaining, educational online magazine that inspires new ways of thinking about marketing in the Home industry. From great campaigns and brilliant thinkers to closer looks at what is appealing to consumers today and why they buy, Porte hopes to reenergize you with thoughts, ideas, debate and discovery.

The best part, it’s published by the same people who bring you Home IQ!

Our editors are excited to bring you inspiring, yet useful content, curated every month by the Home marketing experts at IMRE.

We hope this is a place where you’ll be able to take a break from the daily grind and explore new approaches to marketing, new sources of creativity, and new ways of thinking about Home products—and how/why people buy them.

We invite you to check out our inaugural issue here.

Happy exploring. We can’t wait to hear what you think.

By Abby Draper

GreenBuildLogo e1353338870850 Greenbuild Unearths Shrinking Trends in Home Design: Smaller footprints, lower bills and zero wasteIn a still uncertain economy, studies released in conjunction with the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, held Nov. 14-16, in San Francisco, express that residential green construction is on the rise. It is expected that by the end of 2012, green homes will comprise 20 percent of the market and by 2016, one third of all home builders in the U.S expect to be fully dedicated to building green. With the escalation of green building in the residential space, we predict that we will see an increase in accompanying eco-conscious interiors. After attending Greenbuild, we identified three developing design trends we hope to see prosper in the coming year:

Water-Saving Power in the Shower

By Chris Thiede

In the summer of 2012, nearly 70 percent of the United States experienced severe drought conditions. The drought was marked by crop loss, rising food prices, water use restrictions, and most notably a disastrous wildfire that claimed countless acres and hundreds of homes.

The drought once again heightened public awareness about the need to conserve water, and by and large, people are more than willing to do their part. For more than a generation, children have been taught to turn off the water while they brush their teeth. Homeowners have also been conscious of drought conditions when it comes to watering their lawns, often choosing to let their grass go dormant.

But there’s one place where the desire to save water meets resistance: the shower. (more…)

By Christine Costa

As 2013 planning for all of our home brands comes around, I’ve been thinking a lot about how sustainability fits into the picture. Or more specifically, which brands come to mind when I think about sustainable design and why they are successful.sustainable 11 Sustainable Marketing, Sans Sustainable Messaging

This year, West Elm launched a partnership with Etsy. Through the partnership, the retailer has been a champion of artisans and designers throughout the United States. The ability for a large brand to be scalable, localized and selective about the type of materials and products it promotes and sells is a powerful message in sustainability. While West Elm’s “about us” section of its website does not speak blatantly about sustainability, it does aim to solve problems with design and inherently takes nature into consideration.

Last week, one of IMRE’s own clients, Interface, launched a dialogue about the intersection of city and nature via Instagram (#InterfaceUrbanRetreat). While Interface is well known as a leader in sustainability, the conversation in 2013 turned toward a more design-oriented dialogue – how can design merge human life with our natural environment?Sustainability 21 300x221 Sustainable Marketing, Sans Sustainable Messaging

The market has been inundated with green PR and marketing campaigns over the past several years. In contrast to the typical marketer’s approach to sustainability, these brands have found a more sophisticated method of weaving sustainability into a larger brand story. Their success in being perceived as environmentally responsible brands is largely due to the organizations’ approaches to design – purpose, function and simplicity being at the core of their product’s beauty. This thoughtful decision-making is a great inspiration and reminder to marketers, interior designers and homeowners, alike, in slowing down and considering the choices we make when incorporating sustainability into our communications and our homes.

By Home IQ Team

With consistently sweltering temperatures, Americans have pumped up the AC to full blast. However, that cold air can cost you a pretty penny, especially with the rising prices for U.S. electricity. Here are some tips on how to cut back on high-energy bills, yet still stay cool during the unbearable on energy 300x223 How to Beat the Heat and Save on Your Energy Bill

  • Set your thermostat for 78 degrees or higher. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recommends homeowners set their thermostats no lower than 78 degrees while out of the house. For each degree you raise your thermostat, the ACEEE estimates you can save between 3 and 5 percent on your energy costs.
  • Close your blinds during the day. Before heading out during a hot day, make sure all your window blinds are closed. According to the ACEEE, limiting the amount of sunlight that streams into your home can keep rooms cool, reducing the need for air conditioning and further cutting costs.
  • Use hot appliances sparingly. Craving a Sunday pot roast? Think twice. Using your oven or stove can significantly heat up your home. To keep your kitchen cool, try making a pasta salad or grill outside for dinner instead. Check out for some hot weather culinary inspiration. Also, instead of blasting heat in your laundry room, use Mother Nature as your dryer and hang clothes outside.
  • Opt for ceiling fans. Try turning on your ceiling fan rather than punching your air conditioner down a couple more degrees. Keeping the air circulating in your home will make it seem cooler and more comfortable. Don’t have a ceiling fan? Invest in a floor fan for the same effect.
  • Replace air conditioning filters often. For your air conditioning unit to work at optimum efficiency, it is important to replace the air filters often. Consumer Reports recommends you check your filters at least once a month to see if they need to be changed out or cleaned.

Remember, if all else fails, embrace the heat and hit the pool! How do you handle the summer weather? Have any tips or advice on how to lower your energy bill? We would love to hear your comments below.

Summer Reset

By caraw

How to slow down this summer and create a happy, healthy home

Summer is an extremely busy time of year. With the HomeIQ team, it seems like we rarely have a weekend without an event or commitment.  With all of the rushing around, it can be easy to cut corners when it comes to everyday tasks at home.

summerreset Summer Reset

Photo Credit: Sura NualpradidJuly marks the middle of the year, so we’d like to invite you to take a minute and reset with us.

For the rest of the summer, we’re taking the “slow living” approach in order to create a happy and healthy home.  Here’s where we find inspiration:

  • Slow food – Many families have turned to growing and producing their own food, creating added appreciation for each meal. What we love is their positive approach to the day-to-day, and the fact that no task is done without heart.  Check out My Crazy Life As a Farmer’s Wife. Sherelle is an avid canner, and she offers great recipes.  Canning is a growing trend and great way to slow down and enjoy a fun and rewarding project that brings healthy food to the table.
  • Bring the outdoors in – There’s something so relaxing and pleasant about fresh flowers and plants in the home.  The idea of a “living wall,” is a great way to add an element of greenery and bring a burst of life to your interior design.
  • Shop with a conscience – When you shop for sustainable or responsibly developed products, not only do you benefit from their safe and healthy sourcing, but it feels good to have a clear conscious about your purchase.  We recommend using the GoodGuide App the next time you are purchasing food, home goods or almost any consumer item.  With the simple scan of a bar code you are able to see a product rating, and whether or not it is the best, most sustainable choice for you and your family.
  • Improve air quality – In the intense summer heat we’ve been having, it’s hard to open the windows to let in the fresh air.  It is essential that you are eliminating any harmful chemicals and allergens from your home.  A vacuum like the Dyson C25, has a HEPA filter to pick up a variety of allergens, and the bag-less design offers another element of sustainability.

Summer is one of our favorite seasons, so we want to savor it, and enjoy every moment. These tips will help us slow down and take note of our surroundings. Whether you plan on accomplishing a simple task like canning, or removing all the products in your home that emit harmful chemicals, making one simple change a day can lead to a much healthier and happier home.

What are you doing this summer to make an attempt at slow living?

By Abby Draper

As home technology continues to evolve, the full home automation is becoming less of a trend and more of a mainstay in home design. Automated home entertainment systems, security systems, curtains and lighting have been popular for some time, but recently, we have noticed a trend in advanced home technology offerings from tweeting refrigerators to digital tables and countertops. Large companies have caught on and the growth in automation service offerings is becoming more and more accessible for homeowners at every income level, as opposed to just wealthy house From Wireless to Wellness, Smart Homes Keep Us Connected

These heavily automated homes are being referred to as “smart homes” for a variety of reasons. First, remote access via smartphone or other wireless mobile device is becoming standard. Companies like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast are now partnering with technology service and home and building product brands to make this feature affordable and accessible to a larger audience.

Smart homes also focus heavily on energy and health. Recently, Honda revealed a test smart home system in Japan that controls energy usage. Solar cell panels and rechargeable batteries power the house, while a management device monitors the total power supply. According to Science Magazine and Washington State University professor Diane Cook, smart homes will go a step even further and monitor inhabitants’ well being as well.

“In the home, the idea is that computer software, playing the role of an intelligent agent, perceives the state of the physical environment, reasons about this state using artificial intelligence, and then takes actions to achieve specified goals, such as maximizing comfort of the residents and maintaining health and safety,” Cook wrote in an article recently published in Science.

According to a feature on BBC, Val Curtis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, conducts research on her family’s health and hygiene with the help of her smart home. She wears a monitoring bracelet that works with other sensors placed on appliances and other objects through the home so she can digitally track hygiene habits. The system monitors when she or her family brushes their teeth and washes their hands, among other activities.

As we continue to become more connected to our homes, what other benefits do you think we’ll find?

By Kristi Rains

When it comes to living sustainably, there are design and décor decisions you can make that keep the environment you work, live and play in healthier and more comfortable (while conserving all of our natural resources of course). Bamboo and organic cotton materials, low VOC paints and repurposed waste materials are just a few choices you can make. Need some inspiration? This week’s Pinterest Picks shows you how. IMRE Green IQ expert, Kristi Rains, shares her picks for sustainable design and décor. Find even more inspiration on our Green Home board on Pinterest.

sustainable 1 Pinterest Picks: Sustainable Design Decisions

Lighting made from sustainably harvested timber and recycled plastic chips

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Upcycled and reclaimed handmade wood wall tiles

sustainable 3 Pinterest Picks: Sustainable Design Decisions

Eco-friendly paint brands

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Grasscloth wallpaper

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Recycled tire lounge chair

Pinterest Picks: Yard Art

By Sarah Findle

Yart (short for yard art) does not have to be as tacky as the gnomes and flamingos of the world have made it out to be. This week’s Pinterest Picks are brought to you by Home IQ expert, Sarah Findle, who has uncovered some chic examples of yard décor that are sure to boost your curb appeal. Visit the IMRE Home IQ Pinterest page for additional ways to beautify your home from the inside out.

Yard 1 Pinterest Picks: Yard ArtYard 2 Pinterest Picks: Yard ArtYard 3 Pinterest Picks: Yard ArtYard 4 Pinterest Picks: Yard ArtYard 5 Pinterest Picks: Yard Art

By Kristi Rains

Think back to a few years ago, when renewable energy technology in the form of solar, geothermal, wave and wind power seemed to be the winning answer to the world’s growing energy crisis. Since then, the movement for renewable energy in the United States has hit a number of roadblocks, including cuts in government subsidies, political turmoil and international competition. By and large, these emerging technologies still haven’t caught on with most American consumers.ID 10071339 Leave The Light On For Renewable Energy Technology

However, efforts to expand the reach of renewable energy by researchers, corporations and government partners continue, with significant success. Just last week, the country’s first commercial solar plant built on federal public land was activated near Las Vegas, and now generates enough power for nearly 10,000 Nevada homes. Meanwhile, Hawaii’s government considered legislation to expand geothermal energy production in an effort to increase energy independence for the isolated state, where household power bills are about three times the national average.

Across the globe, what else is happening in the world of renewable energy? See below for a few highlights:

  • Iceland, the world’s leader in geothermal energy, is looking to expand its geothermal production by building the world’s biggest underground electricity cable, which would power 1.25 million homes.

  • Domestically, New York’s Department of State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are one step closer to offshore wind energy projects after mapping wind farms against existing bird and fish habitats.

To find out how to bring renewable energy technology into your home, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website. The site also has ideas for making your own clean electricity with small solar, wind or hybrid electricity systems.

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