Lean, green homework machine
How to give your child’s study space an eco-makeover
Jonathan and Drew Scott of W Network’s The Property Brothers offer some pointers on how to transform your child’s room into an eco-friendly haven where (and here’s the twist) he or she will actually want to study.
What should parents look for when purchasing paint or wallpaper?
First, get your kids involved so they’ll identify with the study area as their own and want to spend time there. They’ll appreciate a cheerful splash of their favourite colours or patterns (don’t overdo it — they need to concentrate!). If you want wallpaper, look for the newer self-adhesive kind, which is much easier to put up (and remove). Other options include paint stencils, wall decals and fabric panels. And consider using blackboard paint on a section of wall — it now comes in various colours and gives kids a surface for learning or doodling. Try to use paint with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which keeps harmful chemicals out of the environment (and your lungs).
In terms of flooring, why is it better to use bamboo over hardwood? Are there any other green alternatives?
Fast-growing bamboo is tough and good-looking. But we also like engineered wood flooring, which saves trees by using wood veneer. Today it looks as good and wears as well as hardwood flooring (we favour the hand-scraped version — the contoured surface hides many scratches and scuffs). The best laminate flooring costs less, lasts even longer and is relatively easy to install or replace.
What energy-efficient light bulbs would you recommend? What about light fixtures and other such appliances — any tips?
Study areas need good task lighting as well as good ambient light. You want to avoid both eyestraining dimness and harsh, glaring light. There are many good-looking, affordable desk lamps now. Check the desk or study area at a kid’s-eye level to make sure the light is adequate and balanced. We prefer energyefficient compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, which are much improved over early versions. They use considerably less energy and last much longer than standard incandescents, resulting in savings that justify their higher (but dropping) prices. It’s also nice to have a fun, stylish floor lamp by a lounge chair to create a more casual reading corner. This gives kids the option of different working styles so that things don’t get too monotonous.
What about fun, eco-friendly suggestions for organizing a child’s schedule?
A corkboard is a classic way for kids to organize and display the cool stuff they bring home. We like this because it leaves it up to the kids to create their own form of organization without imposing any “colour within the lines” rules.
Any tips for those who are looking to try and cut down on their utility bill?
Programmable thermostats are now standard. They allow you to set different temperatures for different times, so you don’t have to remember to reduce the heat (or air conditioning) for nighttime savings. The newest ones, like the Nest thermostat, link to your home network so it can be monitored and controlled from your smartphone, at home or away.
Remember: fall is the time to put away summer recreation gear and clothes. For dorm rooms and home bedrooms, we like storage benches and containers that fit under the bed as well as multipurpose furniture such as coffee tables that have built in shelving. Be sure to keep the clutter at bay and add some life with an easy to maintain plant. Happy studying!
To get best results, make use of items that inspire kids to keep working hard