When it comes to treading lightly and minimizing environmental impact, the Dutch are far ahead of most of us. Considering that the Netherlands has more bikes per capita than any other nation, almost 1 per person—and Amsterdam has 400 kilometers of bike lanes, the Dutch are clearly serious about reducing their carbon footprint. They’ve even gone so far to make their bike lanes out of solar pavers. Ingenious.

Shown: Thatched Roofed Home in Zevenhuizen, NL

Until the early decades of the 20th century, domestic work was very labor-intensive. Of course, there were hardly any electrical tools, so each household had staff. Lots of staff, if they could afford it. There was a LOT of polishing, washing everything, sweeping all the floors, polishing, scrubbing pots, pans and all surfaces, not to mention lugging milk, firewood and coal. Sooo what did you do when you weren’t wealthy enough for a staff? The lack of servants stimulated research into running a household more efficiently.

And here at EcoSmart Shades, we are ALL about efficiency. *wink*

It’s in our NAME! Eco-SMART!

‘The kitchen is an important part of the house, it is the main work environment of the housewife. The daily care of the meals, i.e. preparing, serving and clearing away, demands a lot of time and attention, which cannot be withheld with impunity. For poorly cared for, unpleasant, meals break up the family ties’. -Courtesty of Hague Design

How to save even MORE time in the kitchen.

The wire dish rack was born. in 1933 by the Dutch Association of Housewives. When washing dishes with hot water, provide them space to dry in a rack! Your much needed tea towel can stay on the hook. The Association gave the specifications for such a dish rack to the Dordrecht wire metal factory Tomado…

Their specifications: 12 plates or saucers and teacups had to fit in together with cutlery.


Let’s fast forward a few decades…..2020 to be exact.

Check out the Unplanned, yet Most Planned Place
This Dutch neighborhood is encouraging their residents to design their own homes and SO MUCH more!

Courtesy of The New York Times.

In the Netherlands, a 10,625-acre community called Almere Oosterwold is demonstrating a democratic way of living. They Netherlands is knowng for very precise building regulations. This community is an experient. An EXCITING experiment. The homeowners of Almere have the design freedom to do what they want. Yes…that’s with or without an architect! The catch? It has meet codes.

Fair enough.

One house in Oosterwold is powered by a bike and built on a rail so that it can turn and follow the sun during the day.

This concept of ‘unplanned community’ was created more than a decade ago. The neighborhood now has some 1,000 houses, with, get this…more than 1000 more in the offing.

The Dutch have always been working WITH the landscape since the beginning. Reclaiming the land from the waters, is the majority of the Netherlands. And recycling, reusing and reducing is instilled in it’s people.

This last showcase is of the creative design to reduce an upcycle plastic bags that have become ingrained in our lives, sadly.

My goal was to alter plastic shopping bags in a way that would extend the lifecycle of the material, to improve its negative qualities and preserve its positive qualities.

This lead to ‘Precious Waste’, a textile made entirely out of used plastic shopping bags that were spun into yarns and then woven. The resulting fabric forms a big contrast with the cheap, mass-produced bags it is made of. The plastic shopping bag is transformed by pure hand work into a beautiful and strong material that’s suitable for making new bags with a much longer life-span, or a wide range of other purposes. No chemicals, no heat or even electricity needed. When this textile is eventually worn out it can still be recycled in the conventional way, because it is not mixed with any other material, and can then be made into a new product once again.

And just like these clever Dutch, our EcoSmart Shades are designed to last decades, to be repaired instead of disposed of. And that makes us quite proud. Shades in windows, not in landfills!

Sooooooo…let’s Go Dutch! Uhmm..I mean, let’s go with smart design, reduce energy and increase efficiency!

Talk with our shade gurus today!

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