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  • Mark Piazzalunga

    DESERTEC project, Sahara Sun could power Europe by 2050

    By Mark Piazzalunga

    Sahara desert climate is hot and arid, everybody knows it. So how can this simple and well-known fact become the idea to power a continent like Europe? Let’s start from the principle: renewable energy is the future of energy; we assume that this sentence is true since all facts gets to this point. Second principle: European territory is restricted and allows the construction of a few plants that could use renewable energy. Paradoxically, countries like Africa have renewable sources, particularly solar, in abundance but scarce funds to make the best of these resources. Now find the connection. Is it possible to produce huge amounts of solar energy in Africa and transport them to Europe through energy infrastructures? Apparently yes, according to DESERTEC project developers and supporters. And what is DESERTEC? It’s an initiative of the Club of Rome (a global think tank that has its headquarters in Switzerland) started in 2009. Directly from the official website of the project (Desertec.org): "The DESERTEC concept was developed by a network of politicians, scientists and economists from around the Mediterranean, from which was born the DESERTEC Foundation. Demonstrates a way to provide climate protection, energy security and the development of sustainable energy generation from sites where renewable energy sources are at their most plentiful." In practical terms? Connect renewable energy power plants in Africa to Europe through a network of HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) systems. The Foundation target is to build several renewable power plants of various types (mainly wind, photovoltaic and solar concentration) throughout North Africa. To support the project financially, the Foundation and other 12 companies (including Deutsche Bank, E.ON, RWE and ABB) created an industrial initiative: Dii GmbH. The construction project would continue until 2050 and for that date, the cost is estimated at € 400 billion, which means $ 546,720,000,000, approximately seven times Bill Gates’ fortune. It’s little bit expensive (life on Mars seems cheaper) but the entire network could provide Europe with the 15-20% of electricity that it needs. We must also consider the drastic decrease of pollution, direct effect of the project. This project isn’t just an idea but it seems an accurate and long-term plan. This could be an opportunity to connect two continents and to give them economic opportunities and jobs. There could be some problems like the wars and the instability of some of North Africa countries or how to get all 40 nations to agree to an arrangement for subsidizing the green electricity. There’s also the possibility to build the plants in Europe, just $ 54 billion more, and doing some math it brings to a shocking number: €2 per citizen per year to keep tens of thousands of jobs in Europe -- and to prevent Europe from becoming dependent on foreign countries for its electricity. Well, the project just started and it has the funds to go forward. We can't wait to see the results. Photo from Desertec.org
    • 2 comments
    • 3,610 views
  • Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste               Every year Thanksgiving weekend is overshadowed by Black Friday and in recent years Cyber Monday as well. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time when families can get together, even if it’s just for a day or dinner, to talk and reconnect. However every year more American’s are focused on shopping. Stores are now open by 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day resulting in people sitting at the dinner table with their families while browsing on their phones for the best deals that they hope to buy in a few hours.  This is just another example of how our modern, technologically advanced society is constantly becoming more materialistic. Aside from Black Friday overshadowing an American holiday and tradition, it is an annual example of how Americans over-consume and by doing so are very wasteful.  A huge fraction of purchased goods during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are things that people don’t need, they are things they think they need. Advertisements and social trends play a big role in the impact of this event (I refuse to call it a holiday) and in our consumption behavior in general.             Companies are tricking and forcing us to buy un-needed goods through the use of planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence.  Planned obsolescence is disappointing because it refers to how companies purposely make products to only last a few years and by doing so force consumers to by new products from them every couple of years. The most common example of this is electronic devices. Apple creates a new IPhone every year so that once yours break “accidentally” there’s a brand new, more expensive one to purchase as a replacement. Not to mention that such companies stop making old models, forcing you to buy the newest model. On the other hand, perceived obsolescence is promoted by companies but ultimately results from our own social actions. Companies, through advertisements, constantly throw the promotion of new goods in our face. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything without seeing an advertisement of some sort. These advertisements tend to increase around the holiday season, hence the origin of Black Friday. The main reason such advertisements work is due to the social pressure we put on each other and ourselves. Everyone wants the next new model or brand and once a friend or family member purchases something then we are pressured and attracted to buying it as well. The biggest example of this is the fashion industry, where new trends come and go each season resulting in constant purchasing of new, unnecessary clothing. These companies are clearly getting the better of us based on the success of such events as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.             So why is over-consumption such a bad thing, why should we care if people waste there money on unnecessary goods? It’s simple: overconsumption leads to waste! One of the downfalls to the technological advancements of today’s world is that we create materials that cannot be found in our natural world. This means that when we throw something out in the garbage it will never decompose. Purchasing many of today’s consumer goods is bad enough because most cannot be recycled and will sit in landfills, but over-consumption takes this once step further in that we buy more than we need! We buy new clothes or new phones before our old ones are worn our or broken. By doing so we are creating more waste because we constantly thrown away products that are still functional and contribute the ever-growing amount of waste humanity has created on this planet. In order to help reduce the waste we create of course we should recycle and reuse as much as possible. However, I believe that the creation of waste should be stopped at its source, and that’s our consumer purchasing. Buying less and using goods to there fullest is a sure way to decrease waste. Resisting social pressure and advertisements is key to getting this accomplished. So next year put the phones away and turn the TV off at the dinner table during Thanksgiving, you don’t need them. Joseph Ramondelli  
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    • 1,137 views
  • Megan Bonetti

    Conferencing Climate Change: Teamwork or Tug-of-war?

    By Megan Bonetti

    India. Culture, cows and rubbish. As an Aussie living for a short time in India it is such an intriguing country. Indians love their diverse nation yet they use the streets like rubbish dumps. Even my friends here tell me it’s ok to throw my paddle-pop wrapper out the car window. I can’t… so I just hold it tight and wait till I get home. Growing up in Australia, those ‘emu hunts’ in primary school have willed my littering days away. Yet I suspect that even my household trash bin will just be dumped across the road for the cows to eat or worse still, burnt on the street…for the cows to eat. This is India. Love it or hate it. (#tii) As an Australian social worker volunteering with an NGO in Southern India I witness the large divide between the rich and poor of this incredibly colourful nation. I work with many children whose whole families have had to migrate from various parts of India due to the rapid effects of drought on their land and the significant urbanisation of major cities in the last 10 years. It turns out India has seen a boom in it’s industrial and technological trades a little later than it’s western neighbours and they are loving it. But India’s urban boom is threatened with westerners telling them they have to stop producing and polluting. The earth doesn’t like it. Sorry India…We made our big capitalist bucks, but you don’t get that chance. Just when things are getting good and you’re developing astronomically, your main source of energy is being taken away. It turns out fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy for the developing world, especially as they try in earnest to develop the same standard of living as we have. So as one the most formidable countries in the developing world, India not only has the pressures of navigating a massive population but also has to figure out how to go green on the cheap. It’s interesting that the Turnbull government has reluctantly agreed on a 5% reduction in carbon emissions in the next five years. “Phew! Glad we got through that one boys.” They wipe their sweaty brows while developing countries are drowning, burning and trying to survive on scant resources. These countries are just trying to make a crust, while Eurocentric nations are slowly turning a baguette into organic multigrain sourdough (and throwing the crusts to their hobby cows). If the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is truly the last attempt for international cooperation, leaders cannot just show and tell their contribution and sit back with folded arms. But how can mere human individuals promote serious teamwork? This brings me back to the children I work with here in India. Every day their parent’s lives are tied to corrupt building associations. They are bonded labourers—gypsies moving from construction to construction. These families have no hope of returning to their now desolate homeland and are not provided social security measures that protect their livelihood. Then there is India’s neighbour, low-lying Bangladesh, experiencing saltwater intrusion that poisons whole water supplies for entire villages. In our own backyard we see Australian farmers shooting all their cattle only to turn the gun on themselves under the shadow of unprecedented drought. This is human impact. Global warming is not just about penguins and polar bears. Climate change is a social justice issue. We live in a globalised world. The industrial revolution brought us here; and climate change is the consequence. No longer do we just neighbour cities, we neighbour nations. The leaders of Australia must be held accountable to all their neighbours including the ones just trying to keep their head above water. It simply won’t do for wealthy nations, such as Australia, to show the world their own country’s carbon reductions and sit back down. This summit can’t work as a set menu; it has to be a potluck dinner, a time for sharing, understanding and safeguarding. For the sake of our beautiful earth and the many diverse cultures of the human race, this time I hope and pray that the leaders of the world provide a resounding voice for the marginalised. This summit and our government must not stop at figures, but uphold the basic democratic and human rights principles that cradle modern society. The United Nations was created so that man-made and worldwide calamities could no longer grasp our world with such authority. Well, it turns out a world war with Mother Nature is knocking on our doorstep. Will we listen and respond? I hope so.   For more information please visit the below links. They offer great insights into climate change realities and are positive and accessible resources for engaging the conversation. The reality of climate change | David Puttnam | TEDxDublin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBjtO-0tbKU India: Climate Change Impacts http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/06/19/india-climate-change-impacts Climate Change and the End of Australia http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-change-and-the-end-of-australia-20111003 The Critical Decade: Climate Change and Health (Australia) http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/1bb6887d6f8cacd5d844fc30b0857931.pdf GoPro: Climate Change and the Optimistic Future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT6jtTtsG_M Paris Climate Conference: COP21 Explained https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-qd8YCaoQ4 Why is the Paris UN climate summit important? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnztR5JllA4 Adam asks new PM Malcolm Turnbull on climate change in Question Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqXtKt-Is54 Morgan Freeman's Powerful Climate Change Short Film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YQIaOldDU8  
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    • 1,198 views

Our community blogs

  1. gettyimages-617978392.jpg

    According to research conducted by Stanford University, only about 60% to 80% of all eligible garbage is actually recycled. Why, though? Recycling is the process by which certain reusable materials are sorted from general garbage, reduced to their basic components, and then re-manufactured into a new product thus preventing unnecessary waste.

    Recycling is important because many of the materials that can be re-purposed through this process would otherwise become dangerous contaminants if they were left to slowly decompose in a landfill. Certain plastics, for instance, can poison ground water resources if left untreated and exposed in the local waste dump, and other recyclables like paper and cardboard can degrade and obstruct ditches, drains, and other public utility resources. But how do waste management companies help fight these problems?

    By Efficiently Streamlining the Recycling Process

    Waste management companies often provide a system by which different kinds of recyclables can be stored, sorted, and picked up. Many waste management companies provide their constituents with different, distinct, recycling receptacles that make sorting potentially conflicting materials much easier. This is particularly important, as it is the primary cause for the problems outlined in the Stanford Study referenced above.

    Certain kinds of materials cannot be easily recycled when they are mixed with other recyclable substances. Broken glass is a good example of this issue. Most types of glass can be recycled, and most types of paper can be recycled. But if paper is stored with used (often shattered) glass products, the paper can become so contaminated with tiny, minute, shards of glass that it cannot be properly deconstructed and reformed. In short, waste management companies like Green Bins provide a system that easily minimizes these issues.

    By Making Recycling Easier on You

    Most waste management companies also provide incentives to recycle like paying small amounts of money for the collection of certain valuable materials like tin from cans or copper from industrial goods. In this way, waste management companies can give participants an immediate reward for helping with the environment.

    Many such companies will also rent dumpsters out for private use. These dumpster renting companies help in waste management by providing small businesses a more eco-friendly way of disposing of their trash, sorting their recyclables, and storing environmentally corrosive substances like old paint and kitchen grease.

    Practical Environmental Responsibility

    By organizing recycling systems, giving incentives for community participation, and providing customers with things like for-rent dumpsters, waste management companies play a crucial role in local environmental health and safety efforts. If you’re about to begin a big project, or you just want more information on how you can help, contact a local recycling or waste management organization today.

  2. Living green is not that easy if you don’t know how to declutter your home. Recycling and reusing is part of the process and storing away the things that occupy space without a purpose are absolutely necessary. Why? It’s quite simple – wasting space in your house leads to other complications that won’t allow you to properly live green. That’s the reason why you will surely want to learn more about the entire recycling/reusing process and how to handle the things you don’t want to get rid of entirely. Make sure you find Charleston self storage units nearby because you will need them once you are done with cleaning and reorganizing your home. Here are the tips that will guide you through the whole process:

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    Choose what the issue is

    ·         Food

    It is well-known that food bought in large quantities ends up thrown away. Well, producing this food that gets simply wasted consumes a billion hectares of farmland, kilometers of water and tonnes of carbon dioxide. The size of the farmlands used is similar with the size of Antarctica and saving the water that’s wasted on thrown-away food can fill up almost half a million Olympic-sized pools. Reducing your waste food-print by recycling is paramount, so consider composting and other methods to recycle food.

    ·         Energy

    The same goes for energy. Starting carpooling instead of using your personal car to go to work each and every day (especially if your job is outside the city), walking to work or even buying hybrid car models, which are more and more popular nowadays are methods that could help saving energy. Energy saving light bulbs are one thing that everyone knows about. Simply changing the light bulbs in your entire house can have a huge impact on the environment. Plus, you will be saving money yourself and use it as you please at the end of the month. Analysing your appliances is part of the process. Older appliances tend to consume more energy than new ones, so keep that in mind next time you renew your house. Don’t forget to use storage units when you no longer have enough space to store things that you don’t want to throw away.

    Choose what your approach is going to be

    ·         Repurposing

    There are plenty of items that you can repurpose. For instance, you can try using toilet paper rolls to keep your cables & chords tidy and organized. Everyone knows how difficult it is to organize cables, and this is a wonderful solution to that issue. Also, talking about changing light bulbs, you can repurpose the old ones by transforming them into candles. There are tutorials on the Internet to help you do that. Old plastic CD holders can easily become bagel storage devices if you have enough imagination.

    ·         Recycling

    Recycling is great for paper, aluminum, plastic and other waste materials that sit around your house. The easiest way would be sorting out your waste and looking for a recycling center that deals with tasks like these. Doing it yourself might be a little bit difficult, but you can always change your habits to produce less waste.

  3. 4 Reasons Your Office Should Be Using Green Cleaning Supplies.JPG

    The world is changing and becoming aware of toxins and chemicals that are harmful to their health. This is one reason the health revolution seems to be sticking. People are opting for natural or homemade cleaning solutions that contain ingredients they can read. This change is not only happening at home because businesses are now opting for green cleaning solutions for some of the following reasons.

     

    For Those with Chemical Sensitivity

    Some people are allergic to certain chemicals and break out in hives or experience other uncomfortable symptoms when toxic chemicals are used around them. Employers are doing their best to accommodate these people. Customers will be more inclined to go to a establishment that cares about their customers. Employees will also feel the same, which will help with employee retention.

     

    Boost Public Image

    More people are caring about the environment, and many know that toxic, man-made chemicals can harm the environment. Letting customers know that you use a janitorial service like Peerless Building Maintenance that uses products with the green seal will help boost your credibility in the community and with potential patrons. The green seal ensures that the products used to clean up your space do not harm the environment, which can also boost word-of-mouth.

     

    Can Be an Affordable Option

    Many business owners might assume that opting for green cleaning solutions means they will have to spend a lot of money, but that may not be the case. Since the products are made with natural ingredients, it is possible that some of the cleaning solutions will be relatively cheap. For example, the cleaning power behind plain old vinegar is well-known, and it is a cheap solution that won’t take a huge bite out of your budget.

     

    Boost Productivity

    Many are discovering that scents like lavender and peppermint have a calming effect on people. The essential oils commonly used in natural cleaning products are known to help people clear their minds, which will allow your employees and yourself to work in a healthful environment. There is no doubt that this natural boost will likely improve productivity. This is good for workers, but it is also good for customers as they will be greeted by and helped by happier employees.

     

    These reasons should help encourage you to move toward greener cleaning options. You will be helping the environment and future generations, but you will also be helping customers and employees. This step may even boost revenue. Talk to a cleaning specialist to see what natural options are available to you.

  4. Green loans are loans given by financial institution to finance initiatives which have a direct positive environmental impact. These initiatives should be able to promote both sustainable growth and sustainable development. Before they are given out, they have to be certified to be green by any one of the various external agencies.

    There are four types of green loans which are discussed below.

    Green bilateral loan

    This is a loan between the borrowing company and a financial institution. It is known to have a corporate guarantee

    Green syndicate loan

    In this kind of loan, a group of financial institutions pools funds together to finance a green initiative. One of the institutions act as the agent, and is in charge of the managing and putting in order the required paperwork such as certification.

    Green revolving loan

    This kind of green loans aims at providing capital up front. The loan is usually paid up through the savings generated from the reduction in costs such as consumption. The main aim of green revolving loans is to help organizations such as those in the production industry to upgrade to newer ways which are more conservative and which save resources. The financial institution funds the installation of the new technology.

    Green project finance

    This kind of financing is based on long-term project or a series of projects which provide cash flow. The financial institution funding the project takes up the project assets as collateral.

    Green project loans eligibility depends solely on the prediction of a possible long-term finance generation by a certain project. An example of this can be the installation of huge solar panels to generate solar power for a town in large scale.

    Conclusion

    Green loans are gradually creeping into the financial scene, with the increase in calls for sustainable development. Financial institutions are earning from it, either monetary or CSR gains.

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  5. In life, many a times, unanticipated things might happen which can leave you in dire need of cash. The harsh reality of the financial state of the Americans is more than 65% of them don’t even have one thousand dollar saved in their savings account with which they can suddenly deal with an unpredicted expense. This is when such people can turn to vehicle title loans due to the fact that you can get immediate access to cash in lieu of your car title with a promise to repay the loan in a systematic and timely manner.

    There are few essential points you should know before you obtain a clean vehicle title loan. So, if you’re looking for a vehicle title loan, here are few things that you need to keep in mind. Check them out.

    #1: You can get a car title loan even with poor credit

    The amount of money that can be offered by a vehicle title loan provider will be solely based on the current condition and appraised value of your car. Even when you don’t have a good credit score, it will still be easy for you to obtain the loan amount. All you require doing is handing over the title of the car and you will get your money within few minutes. If you can repay the loan on time, you would have nothing to worry about.

    #2: Car title loans are same day loans

    You may not be aware of this but the best part about getting vehicle title loans is that the moment you walk in to the lender’s room to ask for the loan, you will be walking out with the loan proceeds on the same day. Therefore, the cash gives you instant ability to deal with any unforeseen emergency in your life.

    #3: Ensure you have an option of paying back the money

    This is applicable with any kind of loan. Whenever you take out a loan, you should have a clear idea of how you’re going to repay the amount. Never should you take out a loan which you’re unsure about repaying as this can tarnish your credit score and leave a poor impact on your future borrowings. Speak with the representatives of the lending institution to clear all doubts.

    #4: You can get a big amount of money through a title loan

    By now, you must be sure about the fact that you can get between $2510 and $50,000 through your car title loan and hence they’re great for the expenses that are totally unplanned. The amount of loan you get will be directly proportional to the value of the vehicle. Hence the more is the worth of your car, the bigger will be the amount of loan.

    So, if you seem to be stuck in a bind and you are not sure about who can help you with some funds, opt for a car title loan to help you through your way. Just be sure about your repayment ability before taking out the loan.

  6.  

    Our Mother Earth is not doing great lately, and it’s mostly our fault. People have been abusing resources, polluting the environment and giving nothing in return for centuries. Now is our last chance to forget about our old ways and become eco-friendly and sustainable. In order to do so, we don’t need to return to living in caves, but we only need to shift our construction methods to a more eco-friendly path. So, if you also want to help save the planet, here are some of the best ’green’ construction materials with an exciting future.

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    Recycled steel

    Wooden beams are a thing of the past. Modern builders are rapidly switching to customized recycled steel beams and panels that are more durable (which is especially useful in areas prone to strong winds and earthquakes) and much more eco-friendly. It’s estimated that an average house requires between 40 and 50 trees to build, while a frame from recycled steel only requires a material amount that equals to about 6 scrapped cars.

    Natural insulation

    Insulation is also getting more natural. Green insulating foams made of bamboo, kelp, hemp and recycled PET are already used for different types of insulation. Some of these foams offer great moisture resistance, as well as great insulation and almost zero air pollution.

    Wood and plastic composites

    If you recycle plastic bags, one of them might end up as a part of your eco-friendly home. Wood and plastic composite lumber is a 50-50 combination of recycled plastic and wood fibers, and it’s a perfect material for deck building or outdoor playgrounds. This material is much more durable than wood alone, but also more rigid than pure plastic. It’s also much less toxic than plastic, and it helps clean out garbage dumps of millions of plastic bags.

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    Rammed earth

    There’s nothing more Earth-friendly than the earth itself, so many builders are going back to old building techniques of ramming earth. Using this technique, walls can be created from nothing more than tightly tamped down dirt put in wooden forms. Even though this green method of building isn’t exactly an innovation, it certainly is coming back on the construction map. Most construction contractors in Australia are opting for precast rammed earth,  handling it requires finding a company that offers crane hire in Sydney,  but the final product is truly amazing.

    Bamboo

    Bamboo is another old building material that’s becoming more and more popular and for all the right reasons. Bamboo has many properties perfect for modern building, such as strength, light weight and renewability. This practical building material can completely replace heavy, imported materials and provide a good alternative to concrete constructions, especially in areas rich in locally-harvested bamboo.

    Mycelium

    Mycelium might sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, but actually, it’s nothing more than dry roots of fungi and mushrooms. It’s completely natural since most of the work is done by fungi themselves. Mycelium can grow around and in between other natural materials put in molds, and after the mold air-dries, we get lightweight, strong and natural bricks ready for building.

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    Fire-resistant materials

    The demand for non-flammable building materials is rising, especially in areas prone to bushfires such as Australia. However, scientists have managed to create a natural fire-resistant insulating material made of fibres of the seagrass called Posidonia Oceanica (also known as Neptune Grass). This seagrass has a very low impact on the environment, is non-flammable, resistant to mold and suitable for both thermal and acoustic insulation. There are also fire-resistant options for building exteriors. Wall coverings made of cost-effective non-combustible cladding systems are lightweight, easy to install and come in a variety of colors.

    Ferrock

    This new material is made out of recycled steel dust leftover from the steel industry. It is used to create a building material similar to concrete, but stronger and more eco-friendly. The highlight of this material is its ability to absorb and trap CO2 during the drying process, which makes it not only CO2-efficient but actually CO2-neutral.

    Low-E windows

    Low-E windows (the E stands for emissivity) are windows made with a clear coating of metallic oxide which stops the heat from escaping the building in the winter and entering in the summer. The reason this material isn’t used more often is its price. These windows cost 10 to 15% more than regular ones, which pushes away many buyers. However, low-E windows can reduce your heating costs up to 20%, which means they can actually save money.

    If both construction industry and buyers make a shift towards eco-friendly building materials, we will all have a much brighter and greener future.

  7. Ready for Change 4 Steps to Make Your Company Greener in 2018.jpeg

    It is the start of a new year, and that means making your company even better. There are a lot of ways to do this from improving your planning to grow profits. One way though to improve your company that you may not have considered is making it greener. After reading this article, you will have at least four ideas to make your company better while also helping the planet.

    LED Lights

    The first idea to make your company greener is by switching your lighting to LEDs. These use less energy than fluorescent bulbs or incandescent bulbs. They may cost more upfront, but this extra cost is spread out over years of use. This is because they can last five times longer than other bulb options. Which means you will be saving your company money and helping use less energy.

    Install Solar Panels

    Another great way to help the environment is by having solar panels installed. Solar panels are great because they provide clean and reusable energy. Even on cloudy days, you can gather some solar power, and you can have batteries installed so on good days the extra energy can be stored. Solar panels may be costly but having them allows you to produce some of your own energy. This means that you don’t have to pay the electric company as much. Also, you can get some tax benefits for having solar panels installed.

    Recycle

    An easy way to make your company greener is implementing recycling. All you have to do is invest in some bins and have your workers put glass, paper, plastic and metal into them. Then you just have a service come pick them up or drop them off at a recycling center. This can save you money because it means you will be using your dumpsters less, and also some areas they pay you for metals, so it might actually earn you a little money while helping the environment.

    Do Business with Green Companies

    One last idea is you can focus on doing business with other green companies. This means if you have options of suppliers for a resource that you need that you can pick the one that has less carbon footprint. By doing this you are encouraging green practices and helping other green companies to stay in business. You can also learn different green practices from other companies and can get more green ideas from Inc.

    Being green isn’t really that hard, and while some things are costly at first to implement they can save your company money in the long run. On top of saving your company money though, being green helps the planet and makes it a great place for everyone to live.

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    As people become more aware of how important it is to protect the environment, many homeowners have become increasingly concerned with finding pest control methods that are eco-friendly. Along with protecting the environment, these methods are also much safer around pets, children, and wildlife, making them popular with more and more people. If you’re ready to go green with your pest control, here are some ways to do so that will be most beneficial to everyone.

    Microbial Insecticides

    Non-toxic to humans and animals, microbial insecticides don’t harm beneficial insects, but do target specific pests and cause them to get very sick. Especially beneficial if you have problems with various types of worms or centipedes, one of the most effective is known simply as BT. When used, pests are usually dead within two days.

    Insecticidal Soaps

    Able to be sprayed inside or outside a home, insecticidal soaps are very effective against almost all insects, including earwigs, aphids, bees, ants, and others. Non-toxic to humans as well as most animals, the soaps can be purchased at most garden centers. However, if you want to mix up your own version, mix one teaspoon of dish soap and one teaspoon of cooking oil in a one-quart spray bottle, then fill up the remainder with water.

    Insecticidal Oil

    A popular option for ridding a home of spiders, ants, cockroaches, and other pests, insecticidal oil kills the eggs and immature stages of insects, and is non-toxic to most beneficial insects. However, if you’ve got house plants or plants near your home, be careful when spraying, since the oil can cause some leaf damage.

    Bait Traps

    Used for everything from flies to mice, bait traps use non-toxic bait formulas to attract pests. Once inside, the pests are then trapped using special non-toxic glues, which are not harmful to pets or children. Available in many different styles, they can be set around on the floor near cabinets or doors to attract mice, or you can use free-standing or wall-mounted traps to capture flies or other flying insects. They are a great way to perform pest control on your own. Now available in designs that resemble pieces of furniture or other home accessories, bait traps are affordable and easy options to rid your home of pests in an eco-friendly fashion.

    Whether you use one or all of these pest control services in your home, the good news is that you’ll be able to get rid of any and all pests without worrying about harming the environment, your pets, or your kids.

  9. External Value How to Vamp up Your Outdoor Patio.jpegWhen looking to add value to a home, many people immediately think of remodeling the kitchen, installing new flooring, or adding a fresh coat of paint throughout the interior. Outdoor spaces are often neglected, even though they are an important part of any home.

    However, with a little TLC and some easy-to-execute projects, you can vamp up your patio and make it a place people want to hang out. Scientists agree that everyone could benefit from spending more time outside, and updating your patio and backyard space just might be what the doctor ordered.

    Add New Pavers

    A common reason people don’t like spending time in their patio is because of the pavement. Old pavement can be cracked and uneven, allowing water, dirt, and other materials to pool up. Adding permeable pavers, stone pavement that helps absorb puddles, ice, and snow from a place like M.P.S Paving Systems Australia, can help you solve this problem. They are available in a variety of materials to help you achieve the smooth, even ground you’ve been desiring. They even come in a wide array of colors, allowing you to match your pavement with the rest of your outdoor decor.

    Create a Lounge Space

    Update your plastic chairs and rusty metal table with a chic new outdoor furniture set. Couches, chairs, and gliders can turn a drab patio into a comfortable retreat in no time. Add cushions and pillows in bold colors to make even more of a design statement. Not only will this give your space a refreshed look, but it’ll also be the best new hangout spot on the block! By choosing durable, comfortable pieces, you’re sure to add value to your home.

    Install a Fire Pit

    Few things are as magical as sitting by the fire on a clear night. Bring that experience to your home by installing a fire pit into your patio space. You can choose from temporary options, like a small, movable pit you can put away when not in use, or you could build something more permanent. Depended on your space, you could even build a large outdoor fireplace as a focal piece. Either way, fire pits are a great addition to any patio and can make your space more welcoming, and as a result, more valuable.

    Create an Outdoor Theater

    Nothing says indoor-outdoor living like installing an outdoor projector for your patio. Whether you use the side of your house or a pop-up screen to watch your favorite TV shows and movies, a projector will take your patio to the next level. Think of how much fun kids will have at summer sleepovers and how much adults will enjoy catching the big game on a huge screen. An outdoor theater will be a huge selling point, and it will make your home party central for years to come.

    With a little planning and TLC, your patio can become a huge focal point of your house. By creating a relaxing and entertaining outdoor retreat, you’ll be adding value to your home and increasing the quality of life you and your family enjoy.

     

  10. The dominating purpose of gearing up entire business in the mom and pop store is beyond a shadow of a doubt to streamline a curriculum or confidence into outspoken life. Being a business moderator, the main undertaking of handling the case is to start every freezing into a vital profit. How regular owners gain success in their fly examines the attainment of their champion plans. Any business approximately doesn't move up in the world success until gat what is coming to one hundreds of cursory defeats. And, why approximately of the startups amount by generally told of transitory defeats is the real assess that in survival, profuse few have raised. The one-n-only where one headed that brings cursory defeats is the not-so profound business of homicide owner.

     

    This is absolutely important for business owners to know & let cat out of the bag range of solutions that will hold their business to grow. The charismatic cloud technology has been once up on a time taken the entire business survival by harm, philanthropy meticulous new statement of belief consisting of plenty of rope, reliability, scalability & close but no cigar importantly security. Drake cloud, such of the approximately revolutionary consolidation which is bringing both profitability & productivity to businesses http://top4webhosting.com/ .

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    1. Seamless Connectivity: Be in felony environment or not-so flexible surroundings or at birthplace, precisely function on the same exist of files or projects mutually fellow employees without barring no one beleaguer of became lost in, apartment, and platform. Cloud-enabled businesses are raising their profits to a wealthy extent than businesses who are still active on-site. Usually limber for both, SMBs and enterprises, the availability of remotely involve by the whole of business members to urge, stand in one shoes or rereturn business complexities turns it subsequent a simple gold http://www.techmistake.com/ .

    2. Reach to Big Data: One of the practically extraordinary ways to cut back costs of staple & IT experts, Cloud-based networks offers cutting-edge technologies which are bringing truthfulness to businesses. The Internet is perfect of unstructured story which is ready to be drawn to all but not crystal clear to those having call for of knowledge. The cloud technology further avails critical tools that will threw in one lot with businesses to constitute patterns of complacent data that will finance their integrity. The cloud itself makes businesses cash in on the noteworthy data efficiently for their business productivity http://tips4student.com/.

    3. Employee Retention & Recruiting: The retrieve to cloud-based seamless connectivity business has firm it convenient for businesses to lease talents from easily countries as well. Previously businesses ised responsible for compromise by all of their acquisition fashion as the laborer best-suited for the stipulation might not exist in the aside location and herewith the join has to prosecution for others unwittingly. Thanks to cloud computing mutually which no business require to charge themselves right to geographic constraints http://forupon.com/.

    4. Scalability: The spacious IT survival keeps on discrete its landscapes in an sporadically manner which am within one area cause knock for a loop to many businesses. But mutually the fusion of cloud computing, businesses are know backwards and forwards of facing a well known changes efficiently. The word for word and letter for letter fabricated networks, free from danger platforms & everywhere the clock back of experts derive it light as a feather for businesses to come from productivity at some future timetually in today's low-cost world. Scalability is the major wealth one gave a pink slip have if mitigated data by all of the cloud http://shoppingntoday.com/.

    5. Flexibility: Accessing files during cloud incorporate, show and tell ideas with fellow members, engaged in synergy is the bulk of as integrated with cloud computing. Any business field sport for power which boot boost them to consume with as in a superior way people as they boot or satisfied to. With on-site networks, the same fashion is quite strictly and time-consuming as well. The second solutions for business complexities tackle flexibility to barring no one business instantly http://www.fgpgames.com/ .

    The immense network of cloud-based services is consistently a unique mishmash of three segments- level of economic security guaranteed by government oriented platforms, software, and infrastructure. As for the oblige for a distinctive business, accord Tax software boot be recommended onto which businesses can invite for cloud-based hosting. Providers are offering a ace between nation, far-flung, and cur cloud deployment from what place businesses can select any, safeprotection their needs & security concerns in mind.

     

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    There is consistently growing evidence that organic foods are most definitely healthier for humans than crops grown commercially, but the benefits of organic foods actually extend even further than just how they affect our bodies. Organic foods also have a significantly better impact on the environment as well. The term “organic” doesn’t just refer to what is or isn’t put in the food when it is processed, but also how the food is grown in the first place. Here are 3 ways organic crops are better for the environment.

     

    The Types of Pesticides Used Are Tightly Controlled

    One of the biggest problems with commercially grown foods is the types and amounts of pesticides allowed to be used. Some foods even have pesticides genetically embedded in the food itself, which means every time you eat a product made from that original material, you are ingesting pesticide. Even when commercial farmers spray pesticides, however, those chemicals end up in water sources, which contaminates and pollutes the water. Organic farmers are required to use natural pesticides which are better for your body and better for the environment.

     

    Creates a Better Food Chain

    Animals raised on organic grains are not only better for you but better for the environment. Remember that animals create a great deal of waste. When animals are fed an organic diet, that waste can be used to fertilize organic crops, which preserves the purity of the food chain. When animals are fed commercial grains, which contain commercial pesticides and are often genetically modified, then those ingredients end up in the animal waste, which once again ends up in the dirt, soil and water supplies. Animals that are fed organic grains made by companies like Grainpro Australia Pty Ltd are not only better for them, but for the environment as well.

     

    Better for Wildlife

    One thing that is important to remember is that animals share the same food and water sources that we do. While our bodies may be able to handle the trace amounts of pesticides found in commercially grown food, that doesn’t mean that animals can. Keep in mind that wildlife is a vital part of the food chain. From bees that pollinate crops like cucumbers, pumpkins, cherries and apples to microbial organisms that tend soil and create a more hospitable atmosphere for crops to grow, organic farming is friendlier to wildlife, which in turn is more environmentally friendly on the whole.

     

    While there are certainly modern farming practices that commercial farmers can employ which can lessen the environmental impact of commercial farming, they are not required to the way organic farmers are. The rules and regulations guiding organic farming are far more stringent, which means—for the moment at least—organic farming is by far the most beneficial to the environment.

  12. Want to Go Green 4 Keys to Energy Efficiency in Your Home.jpeg

    Making your home more energy efficient can reduce your carbon footprint. There are some simple changes that you can make to be more efficient in your home. For a larger impact, use these solutions to make your home more green.

    Energy Star Appliances

    Appliances are scored on their annual anticipated energy usage. The Energy Star Program is run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA looks at all models that are on the market and determines their total energy consumption. It is a completely unbiased analysis designed to aid the consumer in making a purchasing decision. Consider replacing your older appliances with ones that have a higher rating. Not only will you be helping to reduce carbon emissions, but you will be saving money on your electric bill.

    New Windows

    Older windows allow more air leakage than newer models. This is especially true if your home has single pane windows. Even windows that have aluminum frames and older vinyl windows can become less efficient over time. This is due to the seals on the windows breaking down with exposure to the elements. Not all windows are created equal. New windows are rated for certain climates. There are even varieties available that offer triple pane windows. This reduces the amount of air lost and helps with noise control.

    Upgrade Your Heating or Cooling System

    Even with routine maintenance on your AC or furnace, the parts can break with the passage of time. It may be time to consider upgrading to a more energy efficient model, like those you might get from a provider such as Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. Something to take into consideration is the amount of usage of your system. You need to size your unit correctly based on the amount of square footage in your home. Sometimes it may even be prudent to oversize your unit if it sees heavy usage. This will allow the unit to run less while maintaining the desired temperature.

    Install Solar Panels

    For the most extreme solution for going green, solar panels are it. This is not a solution for everyone. It can be costly. There are government rebates that can be utilized to help offset the expense. Your home also needs to have a certain amount of roof square footage and sunlight exposure. With the installation of solar panels, your home can generate its own electricity. The surplus can then be sold back to the power company. This can also help to offset the major upfront expense for the installation of the solar panels.

    Energy efficiency in your home can be a huge expense. There are programs that can help with mitigating the cost. Consider these solutions for making your home more environmentally friendly.

  13. As a business owner working to increase revenue and provide a safe place for employees in the beautiful state of New Jersey, you need to take a number of things into account. The one we will address here is a low-cost way to invest in providing safe working conditions for your people. New Jersey is notorious for hidden oil tanks on commercial properties. Oil tanks were commonly used to heat businesses at the turn of the century. As more than 100 years have passed, these oil tanks leak into the soil due to deterioration. Old stagnant petroleum is the most common toxin to enter properties, though metallic and other pollutants are also regularly found when oil tank detection services are performed. Ultimately, calling an oil tank removal NJ company for commercial properties is a smart way to improve your business on multiple levels. Here are four of them.

    Increase the Resale Value of Your Property 

    One sure sign you are growing is when you need to move into a larger space. That said, because leaking oil tanks come with a huge degree of liability, calling in a company to perform oil tank detections and removal will help you get full asking price (or more) for your property. Upgrading your commercial property means you will be investing more money, so doing everything you can to increase the resale of your current building is paramount to your growth.

     

    Protect Yourself from Legal Problems 

    One way to really take a hit in growing your business is to get slapped with a lawsuit, especially if multiple people are suing you for the same thing. Whether or not a property owner is aware of a leaking oil tank on their property, they are liable if people get sick from its spillage. It is worth it to have oil tank detection experts come out, look for buried tanks, and remove them once and for all. 

    Safeguard Employee Health 

    It goes without saying that healthy, happy employees produce the best quality work. People exposed to leaking oil tanks have reported severe nausea, dizziness, skin irritations, lung problems, burning eyes, headaches, and respiratory problems. If someone already has a weakened immune system, being exposed to soil saturated in oil tank spillage can cause a whole slew of more severe health complications. 

    Avoid Paying Fines 

    A leaking oil tank in New Jersey violates state and federal environmental laws. Once an oil tank leak is discovered the commercial property owner must report the leaf to the government. For every day the soil goes untreated, thousands of dollars in fines can amass. Furthermore, if an oil tank has been leaking for some time, the government can fine you based on the estimated time the leak has been a problem. 

    Oil Tank Removal and Commercial Soil Remediation is Well worth Your Investment 

    Why put your business in jeopardy by not having oil tank inspection experts come to your commercial property, scan the land, and remove any oil tanks that would be threatening your livelihood and wellbeing of your employees?  A leaking oil tank can rack up fines, pollute the environment, make your employees sick, and harm the resale value of your building. Cover all your bases and call in the oil tank removal pros!

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    So you want a home that's cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but you're sick and tired of paying ridiculous monthly energy bills. You look around and wonder if there's any way to keep your home comfortable, while not giving the utility company another dime. What options do you have for changing the temperature of your home's air while staying "off the grid?" Actually, more options than you probably think.

     

    Let the Outside In

    If the idea of high utility bills and constant maintenance don't sound like your idea of a relaxing summer, consider opening some windows to drop the temperature in your home. The key here is to allow air to flow through your home, as moving air feels much more refreshing on the skin than standing air. So, open up windows on the front and rear of your home, as wide as you can, and enjoy nature's free air conditioning.

     

    Go Old-Fashioned

    If the thought of chopping wood and wearing flannel get you fired up, consider heating your home the old-fashioned way, with a wood-burning fireplace. Though requiring more effort than a traditional furnace, a fireplace can efficiently warm the common areas of your home, supplemented by heavy blankets in bedrooms. Additionally, if you can access an inexpensive wood supply, you will have constant heat all winter for a fraction of the cost.

     

    Go Hi-Tech

    Solar is another option when considering going off the grid, though it has a high initial cost of investment. While many panels would be needed to adequately power an HVAC system, using smaller heating and cooling units, supplemented by other heating and cooling methods on this list, could allow you to meet your entire power need. Not to mention, many utilities and local governments offer substantial rebates for significant solar investment, resulting in a shorter time for you to recoup your initial cost.

     

    Go Down Under

    Geothermal systems can also be a practical component of off-the-grid living. These systems use pipes buried deep in the ground to take advantage of the more constant temperatures found at that depth. Always more refreshing than the surface in the summer, and warmer than the surface in winter, a decent-sized installation will enhance the effectiveness of other methods you use to reduce your utility bills. In more temperate climates, you may be able to rely solely on a geothermal system for all your heating and cooling needs.

     

    Charge It Up

    A large rechargeable battery, while not creating any energy of its own, is still a critical component to employ in an off-the-grid system. Large batteries store excess energy from other off-the-grid sources for many days, meaning that they can power heating and cooling appliances for a substantial amount of time. If you're planning on going completely off-the-grid, but don't want to change your lifestyle more than you have to, a battery is essential.


     

    Whether you choose to go off-the-grid only some or go all the way, off-the-grid heating and cooling methods can save you a vast amount of money, over time. Knowing the right techniques to integrate for your home and using them effectively will ensure that you have the best results, and are the envy of your friends and family when you tell them how you kissed the energy company goodbye.

     

    Resources

    Telegraph

    Classic Air

    Texas Fireframe

    House Logic

    HowStuffWorks

  15. In the last couple of decades, people became more conscious of the different ways we affect the environment. Our interested in ecology opened up topics like what damages we've done up until now, can we reverse them and can we prevent them from happening in the future. With global warming, polluted waters and deforestation more people want to take part in protecting our planet, bringing the conversation to our homes. Now we do our research and make conscious purchases.

    toxic_cleaning_Products.jpg

    Let's talk about cleaning for example. Some of the products we used to think are harmless, are now proven to be dangerous. They go down the sewer or into the ground on their way to disturb the natural eco-system.

    Some companies gained a bad reputation for using not-so-eco-friendly chemicals in their cleaning solutions. Behind the beautiful packages and expensive commercials stands something very ugly. The truth. "Kill all the germs!", "More powerful than ever!". What about when this solution goes into the sea? Nothing is lost, the poison just changes locations. Be sure, those chemicals are as bad for the fish, plants and you, as they are for the germs. Simply following the cycle of water, we can see how easily the dangerous chemicals find their way back into our homes.

    No wonder people have second thoughts about over-the-counter cleaning products. More people opt-in for professional cleaning services because they offer safe cleaning solutions. But beware! A lot of companies saw this demand as a possibility to break through the market, so they started labelling their products as "eco" and "organic". Some of them really are but most are just as bad as the previous ones. Their lie is hidden on the back of the labels.

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    People often get discouraged, as they feel like an insignificant speck in the cosmos. But we should all remember that big changes happen with one step (person and household) at a time. We shouldn't wait for others to change. We should take care of ourselves first and set a good example for everybody else.

    The number of bad things we should watch out for seems to be growing. From where do you begin?

    The first step is conscious purchases. Be aware that mass production is in fact "mass" because consumers buy the stuff. Think about it this way – with every choice you make, for every product you buy, you claim what world you want to live in. If you buy products with heavy, harmful chemicals or made by industries that exploit their workers, it's like giving them thumbs up for it. You invest in it, you give it green light. Having this in mind, you can now start applying it in your everyday life – from grocery shopping to what kind of paint you use for your house.

    The second step is to swap disposable items with reusable ones. Why do you have to spend who-knows-how-much dollars in your lifetime on something that you use only once? Like wet wipes for example. They don't disappear into thin air or dissolve in water as lots of people seem to think. "But it's only one wipe," said a million people while flushing it down the toilet. They build up, causing problems for plumbers, as well as for nature. Simply washing with water and soap should do the trick. And they should be replaced with reusable cloths in our households. We can at least try to cut down the usage.

    Getting back to the chemicals in the domestic cleaning products. Some of them (actually a great deal of them) are labelled as dangerous to the environment picturing a real wasteland – with a dead fish and a dead tree. This is pretty straightforward. But other companies slip under the radar. Thanks to laws and policies, the businesses are not obligated to list all of the ingredients of the product if there is very little of the toxins in it. Okay, so they're harmless then? Well, no. Combining cleaning solutions can be dangerous and the toxic chemicals build up.

    Even those that are labelled as “toxic-free” and “green” can be misleading. Watch out for phonies, who use “eco” or words like this only to decorate their label. They should be certified, not just state it freely. People can start feeling discouraged as they seemingly cannot be sure about the trustworthiness of anything.

    But do we really need to use chemical-based products that much?

    There are ways to clean without any cleaning solutions. Like using a squeegee and purified water – for windows. Steam treatment technique – for carpets. Pressure cleaning – for outside walls. The later is effective even if the surface has graffiti on it. Those are maybe the best ways to do domestic (and corporate for that matter) cleaning. The equipment for these methods is professional and quite expensive so it's usually used by cleaning experts. If you are looking for service here's a list of what you should be looking for:

    • Environmental Policy
    • Energy Saving processes
    • Responsible products
    • Low energy usage equipment
    • Recycling policy

    Even if we don't like it, we do have an effect on the world. Why don't we turn that into something positive and actually be the change in our choices? We try our hardest not only to repair the damages done by previous generations but to prevent any of them repeating in the future. And we can do it. Minimising the negative effect on nature has become more important than ever and every household counts. Are you in?

  16. Off The Grid 3 Ways To Keep Your Well In Tip Top Shape.jpeg

    A good well is a priceless part of off-the-grid living, and maintaining one can be surprisingly easy. However, first-time well owners may find that there is a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately, mistakes can be costly if they damage the well or cause contamination. Here are three simple ways to avoid those troubles and keep your well running smoothly.

    Keep An Eye On The Calendar

    Regular water testing is an important part of maintaining a healthy well. In most places, an annual test for bacteria and other contaminants is enough. Check with your local health department when working out a maintenance schedule, however, because some areas may have specific risks that require more frequent testing. During this annual check, it’s also a good idea to give your system a routine flush with chlorine as a preventative measure, as well as checking the flow rate to make sure your system is working as well as possible.

    Watch For Changes

    Most of the time, wells run just fine with just a little preventative maintenance. However, even properly maintained wells can develop contamination issues for reasons ranging from failing equipment to flooding from major storms. If you notice any changes in your water quality, schedule another water test immediately, and consider drinking bottled water while you wait for the results. These changes can include cloudy or discolored water, new odors or a strange taste.

    Changes in the rate of the water flow can also be a sign of trouble. Pumps may become sluggish or inefficient before they break down completely, or a broken pipe may be causing you to lose water pressure without totally disabling the system.

    Know When To Call The Professionals

    The average homeowner can handle some minor maintenance, but for most issues it’s best to call in qualified professionals, like those at Taylor Heating Inc. Wells are more complicated than they seem, so a problem that would be minor and easy to fix for an experienced technician may turn into a major headache for a homeowner. Inexperienced people also may accidentally introduce dangerous bacteria into the system while doing something as simple as removing the well cap.

    Wells are a major investment, so it’s important to take the time to keep yours running smoothly. Preventative maintenance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. By scheduling routine testing and treatments, addressing any potential problems and finding qualified professionals to work with, your well can last a lifetime.

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    Eco-landscaping is about making a difference in your yard, the one that results in making surrounding a healthier place that reduces water, soil and air pollution. The advantages of such responsible approach are reasonable savings in time, money and maintenance. The eco-friendly method is growing in popularity for its obvious reasons while creating and designing an eco-friendly landscape is not more complicated than designing a traditional garden. It does take some planning and involves maintenance, but all the efforts invested in a project like that are nothing compared to benefits.

    Planning

    For starters, you will have to make basic analysis and assessment of the yard. Determine the ground thickness by running the water to see how it is draining and where the ground is soaked the most. That way you’ll know where to plant as well as where to place hardscape. Check which areas get most of the sunlight and which ones are in the shade. Decide which area will serve its specific purpose, meaning where you will place a patio, play area or flower beds. This way you’ll know ahead what materials and plants you will be using and what will structure the basis of your eco-friendly yard.

    Downsize the lawn

    Having a smaller lawn means there will be less mowing and you will use less water. Limit your lawn by placing artificial grass or synthetic turf. Create walkways and paving and make sure to use low-maintenance materials like concrete, bark or gravel. You can use permeable pavers to direct rainfall back into the ground. Place gazebos or benches to fill the space in the yard that won’t require any watering.

    Eco-friendly mowing

    Since there will be a lawn that needs mowing, consider using a reel lawn mowers. Although mowing can go a bit slower than with gas or electric mower, reel mowers are true eco-friendly device since they are a perfect example of energy conservation. An alternative to reel mowers are the mowers powered by rechargeable batteries.

    Plant low-maintenance plants

    Consider planting native plants since they are best suited for the environment. Also, try choosing drought-resistant plants because there will be less maintenance while planting them will save water in the long run. To reduce the usage of water, try to group plants with similar water requirements. Plant some ornamental grass, pansies, and marigold. Planting clover is recommendable since it is insect and weed repelling plant.

    Clever landscaping

    Strategically planted trees and shrubs around the house can act as an insulation and save you up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs. One of the best landscape design firms advises planting deciduous trees on the sunny spots next to the house. That way the trees will provide the shade in the summer, while they will allow more sunlight in the cold months. Also, vines can be used to cool some areas.  

    Watering

    To reduce water waste, install drip irrigation system that brings water directly to plants. Watering with automatic irrigation is more effective while the technology allows you to program it the way you want. You can set the system not to release the water while it rains. You can use rainwater, previously conserved in barrels to water the lawn and the flower beds. When watering in the summer, always water in the late evening and early in the morning to avoid evaporation.

    Weed and insect control

    Avoid using chemicals to fight or to control weed, but take some preventive measures like planting in raised beds, preparing the soil, using landscape fabrics and mulching. To get rid of the weed you can use corn gluten or vinegar, only make sure to use it carefully since it a strong herbicide that can harm other plants.  The last stage of fighting the weed is an old-fashion move of pulling the weed from the ground.  As for insects, learn more about companion planting and see how your plants can benefit from it.

    Fertilizing

    Learn to make and use compost and keep the chemical fertilizer away. Composting is the best possible way to keep your ground properly fertilized, aired and watered, while it will significantly reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the landfills. Almost anything can be used for compost, starting from grass clippings and leaves to fallen branches, food scraps, coffee filters, tea bags, newspapers, cardboard, etc.

     

    Going green takes a bit more than these few tips since it extends further on the maintenance and how you care for the environment aside from the yard. Remember to recycle and reuse all the materials and to establish a sustainable eco-system in your home and your yard. Do your research and create an eco-friendly garden that you will enjoy in years that come. An effort toward the healthier environment is worthy of praise so design your garden and be proud.

  18. The foundation of your home, is, by no surprise, the most important aspect of it. While others may argue, the fact that your entire house depends on the integrity of your foundation means that any damage that might occur to it, can be drastic. Since your entire house literally sits on top of this concrete base, any little mistake in its design means that the problems will increase as you go up. Ensuring you protect your foundation will mean longevity and hassle-free home maintenance. Here are ways you can protect your home’s foundation.

    What is the Foundation?

    To begin with, for those who are unaware, the foundation of your home is made from a combination of materials, with the most common being made from poured concrete or concrete block, and a poured concrete footing system. With the majority of North American homes being built this way, it’s safe to assume that your house was also. During the construction process, it is vital that the foundation is poured and dried at level. Any dips or slants will cause structural problems throughout the rest of the house, making it a headache to fix and to sell.

    Ways to Protect Your Foundation

    Now that you are enlightened on what your home’s foundation actually is, here are some ways in which to ensure it is protected, and remains its integrity and strength.

    1. Make Sure the Ground Slopes Away: Keeping water away from the foundation of your home is critical in ensuring it stays dry and protected. Ensuring your backyard or front yard are sloped away from the house will enable runoff water to flow away from the house, instead of towards. If it is sloped towards, water will likely seep into the foundation, causing flooding in your basement and structural damage to the concrete base. If the ground is sloping towards, you’ll have to either call a professional (depending on the severity) to level out the ground, or fill in the areas with dirt yourself, if it’s not too difficult.  

    2. Clean Out Your Gutters: While generally keeping your gutters clean is a good habit for good water runoff, it’s especially important to ensure the water from rain and other precipitation doesn’t get backlogged and then seep into your house. Ensure they are pitched correctly so that they water flow is away from your home, and clean them at least twice a year to remove any buildup that can cause clogs.

    3. Inspect Your Downspouts: As with your gutters, make sure your downspouts don’t have any leaks or holes present. Also, make sure they are pointing away from the foundation of your house, rather than just next to it.

    4. Monitor the Foliage: Especially during the fall, leaves, trees, and foliage tend to shed everywhere. Managing plants and vines that are up against your home is helpful in ensuring they don’t have an active part in trapping moisture and dampness against your home when they are wet. Try not to plant any trees near your foundation either, as they can soak up the moisture that prevents the foundation from cracking.

    5. Water your Foundation: While this may seem contrary to what we’ve been saying about keeping water away from your foundation, no moisture at all can result in cracking and shrinking in the spoil of your foundation. Giving it a good soaking during the summer at periodical intervals will help prevent this from happening.

    Warning Signs You Have a Problem:

    While you may have implemented these preventative measures, if there is a problem with your foundation, you should be able to see warning signs pretty clearly. Here’s what to look out for:

     

    1. If you see pooling occur, especially after a rainstorm, this is a good indication that something isn’t right. Water gathering in pools around the foundation of your home means the ground isn’t level and water is seeping towards the base. Hiring a professional to both level the ground and pump the water away from the house is most likely the best course of action here.

    2. Water leaks don’t always show up easily, so looking out for water stains on the walls or ceiling is a good way to tell if anything is wrong with the house. You might notice it as well with discoloured baseboards or musty smells.

    3. Inspecting the perimeter of your home will let you know if there is a problem. If you see cracks or breakage, this is not a good sign. Making sure the siding, whether it’s brick, wood, vinyl or metal, is at least six inches above the bottom of the foundation is helpful, because often times, dirt and debris can make its way in there and shrink the clearance area. This provides a place for moisture to invade. If possible, power wash and clean away this dirt and buildup to improve the clearance.

  19. Whether it is repair or renovation, home damages are always a crucial concern for each one of us. You have a plethora of things to take care of; you need to spare your time from the daily hustle and bustle and the most essential, you have to budget your home repair.    

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    At times, we fail to figure out the damage at an early stage and have to bear a massive expenditure for its repair. Hence, it is always advised to inspect your roof at a regular interval through and take residential roofing services if required. Despite the inspection, if you cannot find the damage, here is the information on how to find out the leakage of your roof at an initial stage to avoid the unnecessary expenditure. 

    Ø Use The Flashlight:

    The very moment you saw the damage on the roof, you should make sure to check in depth the source of leakage. It is highly essential to know the roots of leakage to understand how dangerous is it. 

    Take a flashlight and head it towards the highest point of the house. Check the attic that is directly above the leakage area and makes a thorough inspection of the leakage depth and its surrounded area. 

    Ø Turn Off The Lights:  

    The leakage is undoubtedly severe if the light can come through it. Quite a few times, due to the internal lighting, you don’t get to see how much is the roof affected. To check the severity, switch off your lights and check if the lights are coming through the walls and ceiling. If you see the signs of lights, contact your residential roofing company at the earliest. 

    Ø Check For The Reflections:  

    It is an excellent trick to find out the source of leakage. See through the flashlight whether there is any reflection coming through. The reflection of lights coming through roofs gives an idea of the affected area. 

    If you are unable to see the reflections directly through the flashlight, shine it around the suspected area. The water reflects well so if there is any such leakage, you will be able to see it quickly. It is noteworthy that the metal or glue can also reflect like water so don’t conclude that it is damage by merely seeing the reflection. 

    Ø Examine Intrusive Objects:  

    If you didn’t find any reflection, check for any intrusive or out of space objects in the roof. A misplaced roof, or an out of space seal is quite simple to identify. Once you find anything misplaced, broken or cracked, simply have a close look so that you can see whether it causes the leakage or not. 

    Ø Silent The Surrounding:  

    Once you have examined your eyes, its time to test your ears. At times, you may not get the source of leakage through the flashlight or such other mean. Under such case, when you can feel water leakage, try to put your ears and figure out from where the water is coming.  

    Ø Scrutinize Your Pipes And Drainage:  

    If you could not find out the source of leakage from the above tricks, check the pipes and drainage. The leakage from the gutter and drainage is quite challenging to figure out. The exterior drains and tubes can be the cause of leakage that needs to be checked properly. However, make sure the pipes are clean and properly connected. Now, check each of them by pouring water into it. With this mean, you will be able to find out the source of leakage.  

    If none of the above tips works, its time to call the professional. When the damage is too deep, it is natural that you cannot find the source and you need the right residential roofing services. 

    So, you know the drill now. Don’t wait for anything. Find the solutions today.

  20. Amazon is one of the largest online retailers in the world. With an estimated net worth of nearly $20 billion dollars, this massive portal has changed the ways in which online shopping occurs. It is therefore understandable that the recent announcement of Amazon entering into the Australian marketplace and the intention to use Melbourne as their base for operations has turned quite a few heads. Why is this movement so important and what could it potentially mean for the average Melbourne business? Let's take a closer look at the answers to both of these questions, as the face of the retail industry could be forever transformed.

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    The Potential Winners

    The answer to the first question, primarily depends upon the type of business. For example, it is predicted that online sellers within Melbourne will reap the greatest number of benefits. As they will soon be presented with an entirely new venue to digitally promote their items, their overall ROI should dramatically increase.

    This same observation can be made for international sellers who have been looking to tap into the lucrative Australian marketplace. As they can ship their products directly to the consumer, these sellers will likely enjoy a greater amount of business. However, we should keep in mind that this relationship will partially depend upon the strength of the Australian dollar in relation with other major currencies such as the pound and the euro. 

    The Possible Losers

    The bad news is that traditional retailers might not fare so well. When Amazon does indeed enter into the Australian marketplace, consumers may opt for cheaper goods from international sources as opposed to purchasing similar items from a local business. This is particularly the case in terms of Melbourne-based electronics firms, as Amazon has always had a strong market share within this industry. The only possible trade-off is that those businesses which are able to translate their operations into the e-commerce sector will likely enjoy success over time. Still, these predictions have yet to materialise. 

    The Employment Sector

    Many are rightfully concerned as to whether the introduction of Amazon will bolster or deflate the job market. Robert Bruce,
    Amazon’s director of operations for Australia attempts to alleviate concerns stating “Over time, we will bring thousands of new jobs to Australia and millions of dollars of investment as well as opening up the opportunity for thousands of Australian businesses to sell at home and abroad through Amazon Marketplace.”

    Those businesses within Melbourne (and throughout the entire country) which are able to adapt to the online retail community could very well see their businesses expand at a rapid pace.

    Thanks to the new warehouse to be located in Dandenong East, local trades such as sales, customer service, HR, Operations Managers and warehouse operatives will all be in high demand.

    However, the verdict is still out as to whether traditional retail businesses will be forced to downsize. 

    The Real Estate Impact

    We should also expect to see some changes within the real estate market. As The
    Financial Review highlights, dropping brick-and-mortar sales may impact the number of commercial leases being renewed throughout Melbourne. However, there is a potential bright side as well. Businesses centred around the field of e-commerce could very well experience increased sales. Thus, they might require more office space to store and ship goods to the end user. This will particularly impact the Melbourne metropolitan area thanks to the looming presence of a truly gargantuan Amazon warehouse. 

    The entrance of this giant online retailer into the Australian marketplace will certainly shake things up a bit. However, few analysts are surprised at such a move and it only makes sense in a world increasingly defined by digital purchases. The main question is how Melbourne businesses will adapt to this shift and if they will be able to capitalise upon such a profound move into the future. 


     

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    The maintenance of the car battery should be an essential task for the proper care of it. A faulty battery will quickly shorten its life. And among one of the tasks for such maintenance is knowing how to clean it.

    The importance of this act is that the battery produces sulfated salts that are usually accumulate on its edges. If you do not clean it regularly, this can damage any other element in the vehicle around you, whether it is electric circuits or the same sheet of the car.

    If you do not know how to clean it, you have two options: first, take it to the garage or car dealer ; or the second, do it yourself. In case you chose the second option, then Toyocosta presents some tips to properly clean the car battery.

    Recommendations for cleaning the car battery

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    If you see that on the edges of the battery appear some formations of greenish-white appearance (sulfated salts), you must act quickly. And for this there are two types of materials that will help you do it: baking soda or fizzy drink.

    Unscrew the terminals from the edges of the battery. Do it carefully and avoid forcing it. He will also try not to cross the terminal wires or touch any metal parts of the car.

    Once the cables have been disconnected, you must insert these oxidized terminals in a container with water and bicarbonate. Try to saturate the container with baking soda, and if you do not have it, use a carbonated drink.

    Let the mixture act for a few minutes, then remove from the bowl. There you will see how all the rust has been removed.

    Clean any debris on the edges of the battery with paper. Never use a garment, since it will be burned and can not be used again.

    Finally, place the terminals and apply abundant petroleum jelly to protect the edges.

  21. Natural-Bedroom_Design.jpg

     

    Your bedroom should be a place of leisure where you can kick back and let every nerve and muscle in your body just chill. By doing this, your body can fully recuperate from hassles and stresses of your everyday life. But is it possible to enjoy this rejuvenating power of your bedroom if your bedroom contains unhealthy elements such as a bed or bedding that’s made from synthetic materials filled with hazardous compounds, or if you have poor ventilation and no fresh air? Probably not.

    There are lots of reasons to keep your bedroom natural and ensure that it maintains its powers of rejuvenation and some of these reasons include;

    1. Improper lighting messes with your sleep cycle.

    Natural lighting is hands down the best no matter the situation you are in and that includes when you are resting. If you have bright glaring light in your bedroom when you should be resting, it tampers with your sleep and can lead to you waking up feeling totally unrested. Keep lighting natural in your room by installing the right LED lights for night time, especially if you are one of those who aren’t comfortable sleeping in total darkness. This will help ensure your body can sleep properly and rest your mind as well as everything else to strengthen you for the coming day.

    1. Poor ventilation is unhealthy.

    Fresh air is very important for both overt and subtle reasons. If your bedroom’s window is constantly closed, it simply means you are breathing in all the old air and stale gases your body has expelled and this isn’t healthy in the long run. Open your windows as frequently as possible to let fresh air in and clear out the old air. This will keep you cool the right way instead of depending solely on recirculated air from fans and air conditioning. And if you are totally averse to opening your window for some reason, place some leafy potted plants in your bedroom. These plants will absorb carbon dioxide and other unhealthy elements from the atmosphere of your bedroom and give you clean, fresh oxygen in return. These potted plants should be natural, not synthetic ones.

    What about the bed?

    You can heighten the comfort and enjoyment of your bedroom by also throwing out your old synthetic mattress and replacing it with a natural organic one. According to Brentwood Home, “…organic mattresses are some of the most comfortable natural sleep products you can use to get the best night's sleep…”

    If you opt for a natural mattress, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits;

    1. Synthetic mattresses are well known for harboring dust mites, mold, and certain forms of bacteria. All these elements can be causes of irritation for you while you sleep. But with an organic mattress, all that goes out the window because the composition of an organic mattress ensures that it is mold-resistant, anti-bacterial, as well as capable of repelling dust mites.

    2. Organic mattresses are made from wholly natural materials and are thus free of the harmful chemicals found in synthetic mattresses. Some of these toxic chemicals in synthetic mattresses have been found to cause cancers as well as trigger allergies.

    3. Natural mattresses have moisture wicking capabilities which means no more sweat drenched sleepless nights for you.

    4. Instead of depending on hazardous chemicals, organic mattresses have their own natural fire resistant properties.

    5. The 100% natural wool and cotton mix of organic mattresses make them more breathable and ensure you can keep cool in summer, and warm in winter while you sleep.

    6. And best of all, natural mattresses are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. This means when you throw it out, it will be absorbed back into earth without negatively impacting the environment.

     

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    For people who have become more conscious of what goes into what they eat, the good news is that an escalating amount of food manufacturers are proposing organic options, making organic food one of the fastest-growing sectors of food production in the United States. The bad news is that all of those options can be uncertain, especially when factoring in food made without GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Some people could be trying to eat an all-organic diet, and others may simply be trying to dodge GMOs. Although foods may be labeled as USDA-certified organic or Non-GMO, consumers may not understand the difference. In some cases, there is an overlap between the USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, but there are some key differences consumers should be aware of when trying to make the distinction between organic foods and foods made without GMOs.

    Normally, foods with the USDA Organic label have been manufactured without the use of GMOs as well as other standards that certify that the food has been produced with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Foods that have been labeled as Non-GMO, on the other hand, only need to meet the criteria that they contain less than 1 percent of GMO content. Foods certified as Non-GMO may have been exposed to fertilizers or chemical pesticides, animals may have been subjected to hormones or antibiotics, and livestock may not have been fed using 100 percent organic feed. In short, all USDA Organic certified foods are Non-GMO, but not all Non-GMO certified foods are organic.

    The inflated variety and selection accessible at the grocery store today may be more confusing, but anyone who is concerned about what goes into their favorite organic chocolate brands will need to know the difference between the labeling and what the labels mean. The following chart helps delineate the differences between USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, so review it the next time you check the labels on your favorite snacks.

    Check out the useful infographic that spray drying company, PacMoore has created below:

     

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  22. Every once in a while there comes the time to freshen up your garden and it is important to remove your green waste the responsible way. A common problem that arises is what to do with all that garden leftovers. If you are looking for Eco-friendly ways to get rid of your yard waste you are in luck because what follows is a comprehensive guide on how to dispose of your green waste without harming the environment. Read on and enjoy.


     

    Turn your waste into an eco-friendly fertilizer

    Much of your yard waste can be turned into compost that may be reused later as a fertilizer in your garden. Grass, veggie scraps and flower cuttings are ideal matter for this purpose. You will need a DIY composting bin or specially designed composting station. Do get in touch with your local government administration, as the office may provide composting bins for free to encourage sustainable gardening practices. It is important to take proper care of your composting bin – keep it moist and secure and add layers of different materials regularly. Unprotected composting bins may attract insects and rodents. Take a look at composting know-how to learn more.


     

    Use the worms

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    Beware fellow gardeners as vermicomposting is on the rise! More and more home-grown and professional gardeners are drawn to using worms as green waste disposal system which can turn garden and organic home waste into the ultimate soil enricher. Designated worm species, such as red wigglers and white worms will gradually consume your waste and turn it into nutrients-rich worm castings that can be used as a top or side dressing for the plants or worked into the soil without burning the roots. You can get worm boxes from your local gardening store or make them yourself. If you opt for the latter, do remember to line the box with fabric and drill little holes for drainage.


     

    Arrange waste pick-up

    Many countries have implemented regular yard waste pick-up – you simply need to bag your waste and leave it on your parkway. Unfortunately, there is a significant drawback to this method, as you are allowed to dispose of limited amount of garden leftovers. When you are planning a major clean-up or you are about to finish an extensive yard project it is a good idea to hire professional waste removal company to tackle your garden waste problem. Companies such as 1300 Rubbish will take care of as much of green waste as you need. The undeniable advantage of waste pick-up is the fact that you won't have to lift a finger, as the heavy lifting will be done by the professionals.


     

    Take it to the nearest waste collection center

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    If you do not want to arrange for organized waste pick-up you can always take your garden trash to the nearest collection service yourself. This method might be time-consuming, but it gives you the comfort of knowing that your waste has been disposed of legally and safely. You can also find tailor-made facilities designed specifically to handle large quantities of green waste. Collection centers and dumps may charge you a small fee per weight or load and you will be expected to unload your deposit in the right section of the tip.


     

    Garden waste can build up pretty quickly, therefore it is essential to implement efficient and sustainable strategy for green waste removal. You no longer need gas-guzzling chippers or heavy machinery to get rid of excessive waste, as with the help of our 4 tips you will be able to handle your green waste like an expert!

  23. Based on the findings of the US Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners shell out $2,000 or more every year to heat their private pools using conventional electricity. If we go by data, there are approximately 800,000 pools in Florida alone, including the above-ground ones.  Although Florida hardly gets cold, you can extend the swimming season by opting for solar pool heating in your Tampa home.  Here are some of the most important reasons to choose the solar option over traditional pool heaters:

    Efficiency

    Solar heaters have the capacity to heat your pool efficiently provided the panels are professionally installed to harness the sun’s free energy. With proper installation, you can expect to raise your pool’s temperature by up to 15 degrees, especially when you experience a nip in the air. During the cooler months, you can consider using solar blankets as well to maintain the water temperature. You can use them when the pool is not in use. The blankets will trap the heat and stop the unnecessary evaporation of water.

    You can also lower the water temperature during the hot summer months if you have a solar pool heater installed. Obviously, you cannot cool the water when the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you run the heater overnight instead of turning it on during the day, the water circulating will cool by several degrees, making the pool water more comfortable to take a plunge.

    Extended Swimming Season

    A solar pool heater together with covers can extend your swimming season, especially during the summer months from May to October. These pool heaters are designed to adjust the water temperature for a comfortable dip. It depends on the season and the amount of sunlight received.  When the Florida Solar Energy Center monitored pools in the Sunshine State some two decades ago, they found that most of the homeowners enjoyed swimming for approximately 110 days in a year. Eventually, with the advancement of solar equipment and technology, people with private pools could extend the swimming season to about 290 days. It means that you can enjoy a refreshing dip with your family and kids a little longer than you have expected.

    Durable

    Gas heaters with a lifespan of about five years are not as efficient as solar ones. Moreover, they call for a lot of care and maintenance. And it is needless to say that periodic upkeep will add to your pool heating costs further. Solar pool heating systems, on the contrary, come with a 12-year warranty and last for 10-20 years requiring little or no maintenance at all. With your pool’s filtering system and chemical balance working fine, they will last for years to come. Solar panels are designed from high-quality polypropylene. They include an additional 35 percent of the material. Solar pool heaters also have UV stabilizers, making it more durable than conventional heaters.

    Eco-Friendly

    Solar pool heaters are extremely environment-friendly. In fact, you are contributing to the green cause by installing a photovoltaic (PV) system. That’s because the sun’s energy is pure and clean.

    The benefits of solar pool heating in Tampa are hard to ignore. With the significant drop in the prices of equipment over the last few years, installing PV systems is a safe and economical option for homeowners in the city. So, are you ready to take the plunge?

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