Anca Novacovici
Anca Novacovici: Eco Expert
Anca Novacovici is the founder and president of Eco-Coach, Inc., a consulting company that provides services for businesses and individuals who desire to become more environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and healthy. Clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller businesses and individuals. Ms. Novacovici is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional and is on the board of the Green Building Instiute.

Eco-Coach business projects range from green business and operations assessments for smaller businesses to assessments of buildings to determine LEED qualification for a large developer. Other work includes supporting businesses with ‘green’ procurement decisions (whether for product-related materials or office supplies), reviewing and revising business processes to make them more environmentally friendly, training and educational workshops for staff and individuals about green practices, and general support with decisions related to ‘greening’ lifestyles or businesses.

Prior to Eco-Coach, Inc, Ms. Novacovici was a management consultant, first with Davies Consulting Inc., and then with her own company, Axis Business Consulting Inc. She has over eight years of experience with strategic planning, change management, business process redesign, benchmarking, training and communications. She has worked with companies in the energy, health care, utility, and telecommunications sectors, and with international lending institutions. Her passion for, and involvement with, environmental issues outside of work led her to start Eco-Coach, which combines her management consulting expertise with her interest in green, healthy businesses and buildings.

Ms. Novacovici obtained her Masters of Business Administration in International Management from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
  • Best Eco Sunscreens
    UV rays can increase the risk of skin cancer and cause up to ninety percent of wrinkles. Not to mention that when sunscreen goes into the water, it harms the coral reefs. Common ingredients in chemical sunscreens activate dormant viruses in algae that then kill the coral beds that algae feed. Some general rules of thumb are to choose a sunscreen with a physical rather than a chemical blocker and to purchase an eco-friendly sunscreen. Physical blockers contain mineral-based non-chemical pigments such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These work by creating a physical barrier between the skin and the sun, reflecting sunlight away from the skin. Below are some of the best out there, though there are more than five that should be included in this list!
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  • Best Eco Pesticides
    Gardening is a great way to connect with the environment and learn about how nature’s processes work. One of the big dilemmas with gardening, however, is how to stay green but not lose your plants and flowers to pests. Our typical reaction in the past has been to use synthetic pesticides, which has created new problems by poisoning the environment, our water supplies, animals, and even humans.

    Today, there are new ways of dealing with pests in your garden, ranging from planting a garden with plants that have natural pest barriers, arranging plants together in a way that creates a natural food chain to exist between species, removing pests by hand, making sure your soil is healthy, keeping your garden clean, and attracting beneficial pests such as ladybugs, lacewigs, and nematodes. If you must resort to using pesticides, try to choose ones that are meant for the specific pests you have in your garden, and find products that contain ingredients that aren’t harmful. Organic products are generally better, but just because it is organic, doesn’t mean it is good.

    In this section, you will find green pesticides that have gone the extra mile. These products have found their way onto the “Best of the Best” list for their overall low impact, effectiveness for multiple uses, overall safety, a nifty innovation, or some combination of the aforementioned traits. If you need to resort to using pesticides for your pest problems, any of these pesticides will make your green thumb a little greener.
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  • Best Eco Food Containers
    With our on-the-go lifestyles, most of us find ourselves in need of eating meals outside of our homes. Waste from the food industry as well as from lunches we eat at the office or at school is a contributing to the landfills and hurting the environment. Just using reusable containers to pack your meals instead of using one time use bags and wraps can make a big impact. Rather than buying take-out all the time, it is generally more eco-friendly to cook your own meals. With that said, it can be difficult to find products that will help you make it easier to pack your own lunches or take food with you on the go.

    The best-known and most widely used food storage containers have been reusable plastic containers, the most famous of which is Tupperware. However, as more studies are being done, we are finding out that these plastic containers really aren’t all that good for us or for our environment. Because they are made out of plastic, they typically are created from non-renewable resources and when they can no longer be used, they can be difficult to recycle. Some studies have also shown that plastic products tend to “leach” or allow toxins to enter into whatever food or drink you have placed in these containers. The leaching typically takes place when the plastics are exposed to high temperatures such as those from a dishwasher or a microwave.

    There are several other products available that are more eco-friendly than plastic containers and that won’t cause you concerns over your health. When considering what product is right for you, take into account what you are using the product for, where it comes from, what it is made out of, how durable it is, how it needs to be washed and cleaned, and how convenient it will be to carry around with you.
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  • Best Eco Fertilizers
    Our quest to enhance our soils and increase yields has led to the creation of synthetic chemical fertilizers, many of which have caused massive environmental problems. With the rise of the green movement, there has been a push to find ways to not only make our yards greener, but also ensure that we are doing our part to protect the natural environment.

    When determining what type of fertilizer is right for you, it is important to know what the current state of your soil is. There are many simple testing devices that you can buy to perform a soil test. Once you have identified which nutrients your soil needs, and what types of gardening you will be doing, then it is time to pick an eco-friendly fertilizer. This generally means using organic products, but don’t judge a product solely on whether it has an organic label or not. The more important thing is that you choose a slow releasing fertilizer, meaning that it releases its nutrients over a period of time, instead of shocking your soil and plants all at once, also known as a growth spike.

    You will find that there are numerous types of organic and eco-friendly fertilizers. They all fall into one of four categories: plant substances, animal processing by-products, mineral based, and compost. Each has its own benefits and disadvantages. The fertilizers chosen on this list are all solid fertilizers as opposed to liquid fertilizers. Solid fertilizers tend to be slower releasing and are easier to control when applying. Most products listed will be all-purpose fertilizers, but a few may be for specific purposes if they are really great products.
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  • Best Eco Wood Floor Cleaners
    In this section, you will find a list of green wood floor cleaners that have proven their effectiveness and have received high marks. It is safe to say that you could use any of the cleaning products listed below with confidence though, as always, be sure to read the label to ensure that it can be used on your type of floor.
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  • Best Eco All-purpose Cleaners
    There are many eco-friendly all-purpose cleaners that are currently on the market, and more and more are appearing as this is being written. Most of the brands offering eco-friendly all-purpose cleaners don’t vary that much in terms of price. However, they do vary in terms of effectiveness and eco-friendliness. The brands included on this list are either third-party verified, and/or list ingredients on their bottle, and come from a company that has sustainable business practices.
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  • Best Eco Air Filters
    There is a wide range of air cleaners available that cover a variety of sizes, technologies, purposes, and costs. This category lists some of the best room air cleaners out on the market today though there are a few more out there aside from the five listed. If money is no object and you don’t care where the product is manufactured or whether it is readily available in the USA, then these are for you. Realizing that there is no product out there that can guarantee it will remove 100% of air pollutants, these room air cleaners have the best chance of removing the majority of unwanted air particles.

    Generally these products are in the higher price range and were chosen based on criteria such as performance, environmental friendliness, energy efficiency, noise levels, containing multiple technologies, and user friendliness. The products generally all look similar to one another (rectangular and grey – silver). There was no limit to where the products could be manufactured so the list contains products made in places such as Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States. So if you have very sensitive allergies, tons of chemicals floating around your air, a house full of pets, or heavy smokers, be glad that these products are available to solve your air quality needs.
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  • Best Rain Barrels
    As you are probably aware, our planet’s freshwater supply is shrinking, and the cost of water is increasing. So take advantage of a renewable and free supply of water for use around your home! All you need to do is purchase a rain barrel to collect rainwater that falls on the roof of your home and would otherwise be wasted. Depending on how much water you need and the level of complexity you are looking for, there is a wide range of systems ranging from one rain barrel to multiple rain barrels connecting in series utilizing a pump to move the water.

    By installing a rain barrel you will be reducing the strain on your municipal water supply, reducing the amount of pollution and sedimentation in our stormwater systems, as well as lowering your utility bills. The captured rainwater can be used for activities such as gardening (rainwater is actually healthier for plants and soil since there aren’t any added chemicals), washing cars, washing clothes, and other activities. However, the captured rainwater should not be used for drinking water as it has not been treated to potable standards. The roofing material on your home will also be a key factor in determining the contamination level of the water being captured. Once you have begun using your rain barrel, you will quickly see first hand just how much rain can be captured in a short amount of time. Generally it is estimated that for every inch of rain that falls on a 1000 square foot roof, you can capture approximately 600 gallons of water.

    Best of the Best:

    If you have decided that you want to try your hand at capturing rainwater for reuse, would like a higher-end product and you aren’t sure what type of rain barrel is right for you, this list should give you a better idea of what your options are, and what features to look for. There aren’t an overwhelming number of rain barrel manufacturers out there, but there are enough that you should be able to find one in your nearby area, and one that suits your needs. Some key things to consider when choosing a rain barrel are the capacity, the types of uses you will be needing the water for, what the barrels are made out of (for environmental impact), aesthetics, safety, ability to drain and direct overflow, and durability.
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  • Best Shower Heads - Low Flow
    Up until as recently as the mid 1990s, low-flow showerheads meant a trickle of a shower with little water pressure. Luckily for us, the days of sacrificing shower quality for the good of the planet are past. We can now save water and enjoy showering all at the same time. The low-flow showerheads in this section have been designed to go the extra mile. They are in this category because they are innovative and/or have achieved a new level of water conservation. The cost of these showerheads is a little higher, but so is the quality of the showering experience.

    Here you will find both aerated and laminar showerheads as well as wall mounted and hand-held models. Aerated showerheads generally achieve increased water pressure and velocity by mixing air with the water. One drawback to aeration is that some heat will be lost during the process so the water temperature required will be higher for an aerated showerhead. Non-aerated, or laminar, showerheads generally have a higher water pressure and velocity through showerhead design.
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  • Best Countertop Water Filters
    It can be tough to sort through all the different models of countertop water filters on the market; there are so many of them. But, if money is not an issue, and you are just interested in making your tap water the healthiest, purest, and best tasting, no matter the price tag, then this is the place to look. Even if you aren’t looking to spend a lot of money, these water filters can provide you with a point of comparison against other models that you might be considering purchasing.

    When coming up with the countertop water filters on this list, there were several important criteria that were considered. One of the most important features was certification by an independent third party organization to ensure that the filters performed as claimed. In general, these water filters are expensive and are manufactured in various places all over the world, so they might not be all that available in the United States at the moment.

    Since water filters are meant to remove as many pollutants and particulates from a tap water source as possible, it was important that each of these filters cover a wide range of pollutants and particulates through their filtration methods. Most of these filters use superior technology compared to the majority of mainstream products. To top it off, a few of these models don’t just remove the pollutants in the water, but they also create positive effects on the water so that the water is healthier, purer, and tastes better than your tap water would have even if there were no pollutants in it. These filters are for cold water use only, in chlorinated public water systems unless otherwise specified.
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