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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
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  • 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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  • 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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Our community blogs

  1. Many people discard unwanted items in the landfills. The emissions from the landfills produce a gas that is harmful to the environment. When you move the eco friendly or green way, you are reducing that rubbish. This helps to eliminate or reduce the emissions from the landfills. You can relocate to a new area more responsibly by following a few tips on eco friendly moving.

    Give Away or Sell Items

    Some items that you no longer need can be donated to others. For instance, books can be distributed to local schools or libraries. Other avenues for disposing of non-essential items are charities or thrift outlets. You can take your old clothes, recyclable items, old computers and other unwanted things to these places instead of the landfills. By discarding these items properly, you will be protecting the environment and providing others with items that you no longer need.

    Packing Eco Friendly

    To pack green, you will need to use recyclable packing materials. These can include cornstarch packing peanuts, recyclable packing paper, reusable boxes and twine. According to DMV, reusable boxes can be reused around 500 times. Therefore, once you have finished moving, you can share the packing materials with others in need. When you use the proper packing supplies, you will be protecting your valuables and the earth. In addition, it is recommended that you pay special attention to detail and preparation to ensure that everything is packed safely and responsibly. Being prepared can eliminate potential problems when moving, and it can save you some time and money.

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    Image source: Reusable boxes by

    Man And His Van

    Cleaning the Eco Friendly Way

    When you move, you will want to leave behind a clean place. You should use cleaning supplies that will not harm the environment. These eco-friendly cleaning supplies are nontoxic cleaners that are biodegradable. Green cleaning will be healthier for you and the next occupant.

    Recycle, Reuse and Donate

    Many things can be reused or recycled. At Recyclenow website, you can learn about the importance of recycling your items. When you recycle, old products are made into something new. These items are helping to reduce the consumption of the earth’s natural resources. When a new product is made, it requires raw materials obtained from the forest or mines. Recycling helps conserve these raw materials. You can donate all of your items that are no longer important or useful to you to a recycling center in your area. Recycling will save the earth’s energy while it helps to protect your environment. The donated items are reducing the necessity of using raw products, which require extracting, processing and refining. The process of making new products causes the air and water to be polluted.

    Reduce to Save Time and Money

    By reducing the items in your home, you will have less to move. This means less packing materials will be needed, and it will take fewer trips from each location. This will save on fuel for transportation.

    Moving can be time consuming and costly. However, eco friendly moving can be done easily and safely when you follow these tips to make the right choices for packing and reducing your unnecessary items.

  2.  

     

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    The roof of a building should do more than keep the rain out. After all, when properly designed and planned, a roof can also be an energy efficiency power house, thus keeping the building occupants comfortable and saving money at the same time.

     

    The options for creating an energy efficient roof, or just improving an existing one, are numerous. This means that homeowners will certainly find one or more options that work for them and their budget.

     

    Attic insulation

     

    Attics are neglected corners of a home that residents rarely visit; unfortunately, this also means that the insulation in an attic is generally insufficient. Homeowners looking to lower energy bills should check that the insulation in their attic has a high enough R-Value for their climate and that there aren't any gaps. For best results, the attic floor and ceiling should be insulated.

     

    Install a cool roof

     

    Not all roofs are created equal, and there's almost no match for the cool roof's energy efficiency. Made of a variety of materials, there is always one shared characteristic between cool roofs: a highly reflective surface. Most homeowners don't want to start from scratch on their existing roof, so this option is generally only used in new construction. However, there are additional considerations to remember before installing a cool roof: special care is needed to avoid mould and heating bills will be higher in cold months.

     

    Roof paint

     

    Homeowners generally only worry about the paint on the walls of their home, but a roof needs to be maintained too. Higher quality product will help your energy efficient roof last longer and look better too. When selecting a new paint, remember, lighter colours reflect more heat, which means less need for cooling costs. Not all roofs are suitable for painting. According to Roofline, painting is suitable for several roof types, including concrete tiles and metal surfaces such as Colorbond.

     

    Solar panels

     

    Solar energy systems are only getting more popular and, as a result, more affordable. However, they aren't a great option for every home. A specialized contractor should be hired to access the home's exposure and potential problems, like trees that will block the sun. Even where challenges are present, there are some workarounds for homeowners who really want to harness the power of the sun.

     

    Green roofs

     

    While solar panels aren't exactly considered attractive, green roofs most certainly are. Not every building is fit for a green roof as specific architectural requirements must be met. The possibilities for a green roof, however, are essentially endless: vegetable gardens, small trees, flower beds, etc. As an added benefit, the green roof will be removing carbon dioxide from the air while it's being energy efficient.

     

    Avoiding asphalt shingles

     

    Asphalt shingle roofs, while by far the most popular option in parts of the world, are also one of the least energy efficient. If shingles, for whatever reason, are the only option, then check out shingles that use a highly reflective surface or have solar panel membranes built in.

    Unless homeowners are proactive, odds are that their hard earned cash is literally flowing right out their roof. While the most energy efficient roofs are built from scratch, almost all existing roofs can still be improved with some simple changes. However, homeowners who are lucky enough to be building their own house from scratch should really invest in the most energy efficient roof possible.

     

    Image source: Flickr - phototouring

  3. Growing concerns for the environment has caused many to seek out green solutions, but some of the approaches to being more eco-friendly, such as urinals that pipe pee into the garden for use as fertilizer, simply aren’t all that appealing. What’s really needed is innovative ideas that meet or exceed LEED standards while creating a beautiful 'wow’ factor.

    For those working on an apartment building renovation project, the benefits of truly innovative green design include lower project costs, an increased ease of attracting potential tenants, and even the ability to charge higher rents. Read on to learn about a few novel and ecologically sound renovation concepts.

    Green Walls and Vertical Gardening

    Back in 1938, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois named Stanley Hart White, who just happens to be the brother of famed author E. B. White, created an invention called botanical bricks, which could be used to create plant-covered vertical surfaces of any height. About fifty years later came French botanist Patrick Blanc, who took the idea and modernized it, coming up with the green wall.

    Still, it wasn’t until the new millennium that the idea of vertical gardening truly caught on. Of all the green walls and vertical gardens known to be in existence today, a whopping 93 percent of them only date back as far as 2007.

    Those who would incorporate vertical gardening into their renovation projects can help to offset society’s carbon footprint. The building’s exterior and interior walls can be covered with beautiful, luscious, even edible plants.

    When used as exterior surfaces, green walls reduce smog and produce cleaner air while insulating the building and protecting it from the elements. On the interior, these eco-friendly walls can improve indoor air quality significantly, and can even be used as part of a wastewater system that’s very innovative, making the gardens virtually maintenance-free.

    Cork Covered Bathrooms

    A significant part of green construction focuses on the type of building material used. Many go the recycling route by using post-consumer products in their renovation designs while others look to materials that are biodegradable and have less of an environmental impact. Then, there’s the option of using pre-owned building materials, and even reclaimed wood, but few have yet learn to consider cork as one of their options.

    It’s amazing what can be done with cork. One of the reasons many wouldn’t dare consider it is because the material has a reputation of being soft and breakable. They worry that it would be high maintenance and need frequent replacement, but that’s hardly the case.

    Today, cork is becoming more commonly found in bathrooms, but it’s being used only by those on the cutting edge of innovation and who want to make sure they do their part in protecting the environment. Some of the surprising elements that can be made of cork include floor tiles, toilet seats, and even bathroom sinks.

    The benefits are that cork is recyclable, fire resistant, and waterproof. Since the extraction of cork does no harm to trees, it’s a very eco-friendly, sustainable material. This is not to mention how attractive it looks. Using cork in the bathrooms of multi level apartments (like these) definitely produces a 'wow’ factor.

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    Recent Entries

    Backyard barbecues can pollute the environment and cause the climate to change. However, you can choose to grill greener to help protect the earth and the air that you breathe. Gas grills produce fewer air pollutants than the charcoal grills do. Because charcoal grills release higher levels of carbon monoxide and other components into the air, the environment will experience more smog, which can harm your health and the environment.

    Scientists conducted a study to discover which type of grill was the most eco-friendly. It was discovered that a charcoal grill could emit up to 2,200 pounds of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. This is three times the amount that a natural gas grill emits. Therefore, propane and natural gas grills are the most eco-friendly grills. The reason for the large difference in the carbon emissions was because the gas proved to be a more efficient way to cook. In addition, it takes more energy to produce the charcoal than it does the gas.

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    Chemically treated charcoal is discarded in the trash, which can add to the environments pollution problem. However, with propane and natural gas, you do not have waste to discard. The empty tanks can be refilled to use again. However, some people do not want to stop using their charcoal and lighter fluid because they enjoy that smoky flavor that the charcoal grills produce. However, if we want to protect the planet, we should try changing the way we grill by using a greener method.

    Charcoal briquettes come from waste wood, but they are treated with harmful chemicals. Lump charcoal are created from trees, which means some forests may be depleted for this type of charcoal. If you desire to use charcoal, you should use lump charcoal that is made from environmentally and certified harvested wood. These forests will be managed properly to prevent depleting the forest of the trees. In addition, to grill green, you can buy wood chips that are a certified sustainable product to flavor your food when you use a gas grill. The chips will allow you to get that smoky flavor with less harm to the environment.

    Even though gas grills are better for the environment than the charcoal grills are, they are not perfect. The process used to get the natural gas from the shale deposit and the production of the natural gas will take a toll on the environment over the years. For less environmental impact, we should go green with our grilling to produce less air pollutants, chemicals and deforestation. To go green, an ideal way is to use a solar oven.

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    The solar oven will convert the natural rays of the sun into heat energy. It allows you to bake, steam or boil a meal. You can use your solar oven to cook anything. It works like a conventional gas or electric oven. Cooking time can be similar to a regular oven. In addition, it can be used similar to a crock-pot for slower cooking. You can buy a solar oven or make one yourself from ordinary items such as foil, cardboard, thermometer, black spray paint and glass.

    Besides the method used for grilling, you should consider the items that you are grilling. For instance, beef has a larger carbon footprint than vegetables and poultry do. Therefore, grilling beef will impact the environment more than grilling other foods. The planet's future depends on preserving the air we breathe and the environment.

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    My family and I recently moved from Darwin to Caulfield, a Melbourne suburb in Victoria. I wanted to be close to my job, I work as an acupuncturist in one Melbourne clinic; and my wife and I were beginning a new phase of our lives with the birth of our third child. Of course the question of what to use for energy source came up during the planning stages.

    We wanted to minimise the cost of heating for our home. With energy rates going up, standard baseboard heating for the cold and wet winters in Caulfield would leave a dent in our ability to support the growing family. We also didn't want to depend on carbon-spewing brown coal that the majority of Victoria households use.

    So my wife and I did a little bit of research and consulted our builders. With their help, we came to our final decision, that the best option for our home would be geothermal heating. Our builders told us that Victoria has a rich source of from several natural underground geothermal bores and other artificial ones. Some have been used to power towns, but direct heating to homes is also available from several companies that are developing Sedimentary Geothermal Systems (from existing reservoirs) and Engineered Geothermal Systems (artificially created reservoirs).

    The System Installation

    Once we'd decided we were going with geothermal water for heating, the construction guys helped us with getting the permits. If you're a landholder, you will need to obtain an Exploration Permit from the authorities if you want to extract geothermal energy from land that belongs to the Crown. The company that installs your system should also have an Extraction License.

    Our builders were a great help throughout the process. They also got us in touch with a company that had already installed 20 such geothermal units in Victoria in the last 10 years and were licensed to use the technology.

    Next, the building process had already begun and it was time for the pipelines to be laid. Our land had the perfect layout to let us easily bury the plastic tubing about 1.8 meters to 2.4 meters into the ground. Ours is a typical horizontal system. But you can also install a vertical system, in which the pipes are laid through holes that are about 40 meters to 60 meters deep. A mixture of antifreeze and water is circulated through the system and the home is heated. The building company helped us through each step of the way, explaining our options and being completely transparent all throughout. (Thanks guys!)

    The Cost

    While the initial cost is a little hefty, at around $20,000, I believe the operational costs more than make up for it. We've been using ours for a while and each month I pay only $200 towards energy costs monthly. That is at least half of any other major household energy source. The initial capital will certainly pay back down the line in 10 or 20 years when energy becomes more expensive.

    The Advantages of Geothermal Heating

    The direct heat obtained from geothermal energy can be used for heating water, forced air conditioning and for hydronic slab heating, among other things. The technology uses the fact that the hot water in underground reservoirs remains within a constant range of temperatures. Heat is transferred from these reservoirs to the house with a very high efficiency.

    We've been using our two 14 kW heat pumps for a while now with their two fan coil units. They heat water to about 40 degrees C for our domestic hot water and the floor heating. Inside our home the temperature is a comfortable 22 to 24 degrees C, but we can change cooling or heating requirements.

    Our heating providers worked with the builders and gave us a choice between indoor and outdoor units. We chose an indoor one, as no ventilation is required. The system is very safe to use and incredibly quiet as well, so I'm immensely pleased with it. It remains to be seen if it is the same a few years down the line!

  5. Most people don’t change their air filters as often as they’re supposed to. It often takes months before they’re changed out, and sometimes, only after a significant amount of dust has settled on the furnace vents.

    However, changing your air filters on a regular basis is a necessity in order for proper indoor air filtration to work. Read on to find out more about why this is necessary.

    Changing them regularly avoids damage to your HVAC system.

    Dirt and neglect are both leading causes of HVAC systems failing. The good news is that this is completely avoidable. One way of avoiding this is by checking on the air filters regularly, as a clogged air filter can cause damage to your system. Instead of having to change your system due to this damage, try to change out the air filter as regularly as possible.

    It ensures consistently cleaner air inside the house.

    Air filters collect dust and other small particles, and prevent them from being circulated around your home where they can just as easily be inhaled. Keeping air filters cleaned, or changed out to new ones, translates to cleaner, healthier, and all-around fresher air that is better for your home and the entire family - especially those suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma.

    It can save costs.

    Air filters not only prevent unwanted particles from circulating around your home, they can also, in a way, protect the HVAC system from unnecessary damage. A clogged filter is bad news, as it means your HVAC system will need to work harder in order to produce cleaner air, and these could lead to your system being damaged. Repairs for HVAC systems tend to be costly, so avoiding something like this would not only keep your home’s air clean, it also keeps you from shelling out money just to have the system fixed. We’re looking at up to 15% savings on utility costs by using an air filter.

    There are certainly various kinds of air filters available in the market, and you can even find some of them through their respective websites. Regardless of the filter you use to keep your indoor air healthy, all types and sizes of filters need to be cleaned and changed in order to keep functioning properly.

  6. When it comes to dirty jobs, there aren't many as challenging and dangerous as roofing. There are a lot of hazards when it comes to repairing and installing roofs. Despite the dangers however, many roofers continue to do the work day in and day out because it's what they love. Here's a look at some of the hazards roofers face every day.

    Heights

    The obvious first danger any roofer faces is the risk of falling. When your primary work environment is one to two stories off the ground, that's always a concern. If you have a fear of heights, roofing is not the job for you. And if it isn't already bad enough, most residential roofs have at least some slope to it. The combination of sloped roofs, and working two stories in the air can be a deadly combination. Every year hundreds of roofers end up falling. Roofers learn pretty quick to be constantly aware of their surroundings and to know where they are in relation to the edge of the roof at all times.

    Weather

    Another hazard roofers face every day is the weather. It isn't always 70 degrees with a calm breeze. In summer months temperatures can easily reach triple digits. With the hot sun beating down on them and reflecting off the asphalt shingles, roofers may feel as though they are working in an oven. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration is a major concern for roofers in the summer. To deal with extreme heat roofers will work early in the morning and later in the evening when the temperatures are lowest.

    Summer isn't the only season when roofers have to worry. Cold winter weather can lead to slippery conditions while working on a roof. Combine that with strong winds and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Burns

    What many not familiar with the roofing industry don't know is that roofers are frequently working with hot materials such as tar. Contact with hot sticky tar can lead to very serious burns for roofers who must be constantly vigilant especially when working with these materials.

    Insects

    Finally there's the insects like wasps and bees. Roofers who've been in the industry long enough will eventually encounter a beehive or wasp's nest. Up on a roof with no where to hide, roofers sometimes have to make a split second decision to endure the stings and bites or take the plunge to the ground below.

    Call the professionals

    While a do-it-yourself attitude is admirable, roofing work is very technical and involves many hazards. It's always best to leave roofing work to the professionals who have the proper training and equipment needed to do the job safely and effectively.

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

    Source: nanaimodailynews.com/opinion/dirty-jobs-roofing-can-be-dangerous-and-uncomfortable-1.866281

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    Recent Entries

    There are a number of ways in which employees can go green at their cubicles or personal offices; however, the most significant step of going green at the office is by persuading administrators to adopt cost effective and environmentally friendly policies. This article discusses ten easy ways to go green at the office:

    Cut Down on Energy

    Energy costs at the office can be cut down in very simple steps. First and foremost, the office may use daylight in lieu of artificial light when appropriate. Workers can move their desks near windows so as to take advantage of free natural lighting. When natural lighting is not a realistic option, compact fluorescent bulbs may be used. These bulbs last up to ten times longer than ordinary bulbs and use 75% less energy. They are also available in various wattages and sizes.

    Turning off computers and lights at the end of working hours should be made mandatory at the office. According to Office Depot, a 100-watt bulb working for one hour consumes approximately 37-kilowatt hours of energy annually. Contrary to popular belief, screen savers do not actually save energy; thus, computers ought to be set at sleep mode during the day, when workers are taking a break. Plug all the office appliances into power strips to make it easier to switch off all appliances at the end of the day (with just a single button).

    Always purchase Energy Star-rated electronics.. These types of electronics can save up to two-thirds more energy than the non-compliant electronics. Also, consider controlling your power usage with a power toolkit (like this one http://www.powershop.com.au/)

    Decorate with real plants

    Artificial plants may be easy to maintain and nice to look at but other than that, they practically add no value to the office. On the other hand, real plants are not only attractive but they also purify the air by absorbing airborne pollutants. Additionally, they release oxygen and healthy negative ions into the air. Some good examples include the following: Bamboo, English Ivy, Peace Lily, Rubber plant and Spider plant. Water them at least once a week.

    Eco-friendly Storage Units

    As people around the world are becoming increasingly conscious about the environment, more and more eco-friendly storage units are being erected to support these efforts. Some of the features of these units include sustainable filing carts, shelving cubes, cabinets and storage boxes manufactured from recycled products. When looking for storage space for miscellaneous items, offices aiming to go green should choose these eco-friendly storage units. Though these units are costlier than the normal storage units, the equipment used are modern and are manufactured from sustainable materials, making them a worthwhile investment.

    Recycle Office Waste

    Another easy way for offices to go green is by recycling office waste. This may be done by designating separate trash containers for metal, glass, papers or plastics. Soda cans can be placed into one container while papers can be placed into another. Today, most urban areas have municipal services that collect such recycled waste and transfer it to a reclamation facility. By recycling trash in the office, the environmental footprint which is produced through various activities can be reduced. Additionally, recycling mobile devices and computers allows companies to reuse rare elements that were originally used in the manufacture of various electrical components.

    Limit paper usage

    Going digital is a very useful way of going green at the office. The internet is a great way of sharing information in the office, as it nullifies the need for printing information on paper. To limit paper usage further, overhead projectors and whiteboards can be used to display the agenda during meetings. Employees should be encouraged to print information only when necessary, and not at every available opportunity. And when printing is done, the front and back sides of the paper should be used whenever possible. More importantly, the printing paper used should ideally be manufactured from recycled paper.

    Multi-purpose machines

    The various types of devices found in most offices produce poisonous substances during the manufacturing and disposal stages. Technological advancements in the last decade have seen the invention of multifunctional machines. These machines can basically do everything; they can be used to scan documents, print, copy and fax, thereby reducing the emission of harmful substances into the air.

    Telecommuting (Remote Work)

    Vehicles and locomotives have proven to have a number of adverse effects on the environment. Offices can therefore contribute towards the reduction of these effects by telecommuting a few times during every month. This simply means that employees to do not have to commute to a central place of work – they may even work from home. Not only does this help to save the environment but it also saves a lot of time and money. Similarly, companies can limit the need for travelling by investing in video-conferencing facilities.

    Save Water

    Turn off all taps completely and ensure that they do not drip. It is estimated that leaking taps (at a rate of one drop per second) waste more than 25 litres every day; this is about 10000 litres of water every year. Low-flow faucet aerators may also be installed so as to regulate the flow of water from office taps. Running toilets waste a lot of water and ought to be fixed on a regular basis.

    Solar Power

    The initial investment required for a solar power system may be expensive, but in the long run, more cash will be saved by installing one. Nonetheless, it is important to note that not every building is suitable for solar power. The building set-up and the geographical location are some of the key factors to consider before installing solar power.

    Buy Eco-friendly Supplies

    Lastly, offices can make it a policy to buy furniture and office supplies manufactured from recycled and environmentally friendly products. For instance, offices may purchase staple-less staplers and pens that can be refilled. Detergents used in the washrooms should also be environmentally safe. More so, hand driers and cloth towels are greener alternatives than paper cloths.

    Conclusion

    Going green at the office can be very easy and cost effective. Companies can actually contribute to a greener and safer planet without spending a lot of money. Even small steps such as printing less, saving water and buying recycled supplies can make a huge difference.

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    The roofing on a house is arguably one of the most important features. The quality of the materials chosen will either protect against weather and insect damage, or leave a home vulnerable to costly repairs. Roofing can also be used to make a house more eco-friendly. Properly chosen and installed, roofing can cut down on the environmental impact of a home, from the production stage of materials to the amount of energy a house uses daily. There are hundreds of products to choose from, and narrowing them down can take some time. Here are a few options to consider in several different price ranges.

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    1. Metal Roofing

    Metal roofing one of the most affordable, eco-friendly options for roofing. It is durable, low maintenance, and relatively inexpensive to have installed. One product that is popular in the Australian market is Colorbond roofing. It comes in many different colors and choosing a light color will help keep the roof cool. Colorbond is produced to withstand the weather and insect life specific to Australia. As with any roofing the color will begin to fade over time. However, rather than having to replace the entire roof (as you might with asphalt shingles) you can simply have a professional repaint the steel roofing. Roof painting should be done by a professional as they are best equipped to provide an even, well-blended finish. Here you can read about the stages of roof painting:

    http://www.myroofline.com.au/roof-painting.html

    2. Recycled Materials

    The pricing on recycled roofing materials can vary widely. One option is to use synthetic tiles made from recycled postindustrial waste. This helps prevent waste from ending up in a landfill, and many of these synthetic tiles are also recyclable. That means that when it comes time to replace the roof, the materials can be recycled rather than thrown in the rubbish. Recycled synthetic roofing tiles tend to be a fairly affordable option for most homeowners as well. Another option for recycled roofing is terracotta tiles. These tiles are beautiful, and can be made from old pavers, bricks, or roofing tiles. They do tend to be more costly and they add quite a lot of weight to a roof. Before installation, it is important to make sure the underlying supports can withstand the extra weight. Chipped or cracked tiles will need to be replaced periodically, and old tiles can be recycled.

    3. Green Roofs

    Green roofs are a trend that is catching on in Australia. They consist of installing a lip around an existing, generally flat, roof. From there, a waterproof membrane is installed along with a root barrier. Finally, plants are used to cover the roof, providing excellent insulation. They also create much needed greenspace in urban areas. The cost of installing a green roof is fairly high, and there is a bit of upkeep to them as well. It is also very important to check that your local area can support the water needed to maintain a green roof as many areas in Australia have a limited supply of freshwater. That said, they are an attractive and extremely eco-friendly option for roofing. For more information on green roofs follow the link below:

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/green-rooftop.htm

  7. Office-Design-Fit-Out-Environmental-Audi

    For decades, business has been depicted as an unstoppable force of pollution and wasteful practices victimizing the natural world. Now, however, increasingly efficient technology has made it both affordable and easy to reduce your company's impact on the environment. These are ten of the most quick and effective ways to green your office and contribute to the conservation movement.

    Mind the Lights

    In busy offices, it can be tempting to leave lights on at all times. Not only does this harm the environment by wasting electricity and requiring the manufacture of more light bulbs, but it also runs up your energy bill. A simple reminder to turn off the lights as employees exit a room is all that is needed to be more eco-friendly.

    Reduce Paper Consumption

    Despite operating in the digital age, many companies blow through reams of paper without a second thought and then throw it into a landfill to decompose. Paper waste is easy to overlook and even easier to correct. Set printers to print double-sided pages to automatically cut paper use in half, or buy recycled paper to save a few more trees. Whenever possible, keep documents digital and distribute them through email or cloud sharing. Even the paper cups seen so often in break rooms or by a water cooler can be replaced by personal mugs.

    Organize Car Pools

    Offices tend to draw in employees from miles away, driving alone for the entire trip. With some careful planning, commuters can lower their monthly gas bills while adding less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Encourage your workers to make plans based on geographic proximity and to trade off driving duties. Although it takes coordination and responsibility, an established car pool is easy to maintain and beneficial to all parties.

    Minimize Heating and Air Conditioning

    The perceived need to keep air at a steady temperature throughout the year leads to an overuse of heating and air conditioning when people are perfectly capable of acclimating to seasonal variations. A difference of a few degrees, lower in winter and higher in summer, will in all likelihood only be noticeable to accountants tallying up savings in your heating and air conditioning budget.

    Green-Offices-Environmental-Policy-Susta

    Promote Recycling

    Recycling is one of the oldest methods used to improve eco-consciousness, and it remains one of the most valuable. Giving resources a second life removes pressure from the environment, which sustains a massive load of new development and mining in large part due to inefficiency and a reliance on immense landfills. Encourage recycling by placing bins next to regular trash cans and hosting educational workshops to refresh knowledge about what can and cannot be recycled. Businesses can further recycle paper, cardboard boxes and packing supplies, which is again likely to save money.

    Use Green Cleaning Products

    Air quality in an office can contain more pollutants than the outside world because of toxic cleaning supplies. These chemicals, when flushed down a drain, also contaminate water supplies and local soil, leading to a buildup that damages plants and animals in the area. Nontoxic cleaning supplies result in the same sanitary surfaces but are less damaging to employees and the environment.

    Buy Used

    Recycling supplies manufacturers with more eco-friendly materials, but it is better to recycle equipment as well. Used office furniture is just as practical as new and often shows little to no signs of wear. Even better, they come at a steep discount for the same quality. Another option is to rent serviced offices, which may be fully furnished and use fewer resources with every transition.

    Optimize Computer Settings

    Electronics are now so ubiquitous in office settings that they are left running without much regard for their energy consumption. Besides being kept on to needlessly sap electricity, they may also be running at a higher performance level than standard office work requires. Change computer settings to power saving modes so that they will go to sleep during stretches of inactivity and moderate performance. At night, unplug the power strip as well as shutting down the machines to prevent electricity leeching.

    Grow Plants

    Office plants are a beautiful accent that also improve air quality in a building. Businesses with grounds can take this one step further by planting trees or even converting some acreage to a natural ecosystem. Lawns, though pleasant to look at, demand far more water, nutrients and fossil fuels to maintain while providing no value to local wildlife.

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    Consider Telecommuting

    More and more businesses are turning to telecommuting as a cost-effective way to reduce the space needs and environmental impact of their offices. There are still concerns about employee productivity, but dedicated workers can actually get more done without the worries of commuting and office politics. The move can cut costs for everyone involved and drastically reduce the environmental footprint of each employee.

  8. Document-Shredder.jpg

    Canadian information privacy and data handling laws require business owners to protect the personal information of their clients and employees (1). Shredding documents on a regular basis and properly destroying outdated electronic equipment are key steps in the data handling cycle. Every business should have a data destruction plan in place as part of their corporate security strategy. One surprising benefit of this type of service too is that you can support your company’s green initiatives by having all of your shredded waste and destroyed electronics recycled.

    There are several ways to destroy sensitive information. Options include in-house, off-site and mobile shredders. Professional document destruction companies will customize a plan designed around the needs of your company. You never have to worry about paying for services that you do not use. When you try to shred documents in house it is your responsibility to maintain the equipment and find the staff hours to complete the job. Off-site shredding is a service that transports your documents from your location to a permanent shredder. Mobile shredders will come to your location mounted on a truck and destroy data right at your place of business. Cost and effectiveness are the top two reasons why more companies favour mobile paper destruction. Every company must prioritize the protection of personal data. If information falls into the wrong hands, there is little doubt there will be serious repercussions.

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    Destruction of documentation is not restricted solely to the destruction of paper documents. It also includes the elimination of x-rays, computer discs, USB drives, hard drives and other electronic data devices. When you choose to use mobile shredding services, documents remain in a locked bin until the shedder truck arrives. You accompany your records to the truck where you watch as shredder eliminates them. Shredding at your place of business eliminates the possibility of lost documents in case of an accident. When the process is complete you receive a Document of Destruction that is dated and stamped by the shredding company.

    You are probably wondering how data destruction possibly supports green initiatives in business. Well data shredding and electronic destruction are surprisingly green processes. A seasoned and professional destruction company like Absolute Destruction takes pride in first completely destroying each document or hard drive and then by taking the raw materials and recycling them. When you engage in responsible data destruction “significant savings are realized in the use of water, energy, landfill space and reduction in pollution” (2). Reading up on environmental options and how material can be repurposed is possible by visiting http://absolutedestruction.ca. It is a fact that for every metric tonne (1000 kg) of paper shredded and recycled 17 trees are saved (3).

    Although there are ways of taking care of the basics of document shredding and hard drive destruction on your own, the risks involved with doing the tasks improperly outweigh the cost of hiring a professional document shredding service to ensure that data is handled properly. If you are located in the GTA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Toronto_Area) and are in search of information about document shredding you should contact the experienced team at Absolute Destruction. Your customers and employees deserve the best protection of personal data that you can give them. You will discover that mobile shredders are cost-effective, easy, and secure. When you consider that you are being green at the same time as meeting security standards and acting as a responsible employer it is hard to imagine why you wouldn’t hire a document destruction company.

    References:

    1. http://www.priv.gc.ca/index_e.asp

    Authority Site:

    1. Recycling Council of Ontario: http://www.rco.on.ca/

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    If you are into business, you must keep a lookout for new strategies, tactics, and tools that can have a positive impact on your business. This is necessary to ensure that you stay ready to face the challenges of doing business in your specific era. Holding fast to the tools and tactics of yesteryear will only accelerate your demise. For those who are into the sales type of business, it is wise to invest in a point of sale system for retail.

    Your checkout point is now better placed to take on a whole new set of tasks and challenges thanks to the improved appreciation of the retail environment’s dynamics.

    What Can A Point Of Sale System For Retail Do For You?

    • Accelerate transactions giving customers a fast service
    • Run your promotions, offer discounts, create vouchers etc.
    • Link you to your business via mobile phone
    • Keep track of your inventory levels for you
    • Produce financial reports to help you manage the business.
    • Give you video monitoring of your business
    • Give pertinent information on demand such as sales per employee, inventory levels in any branch, employee attendance records etc.
    • Give you jaded features such as fingerprint identification for customers.
    • Give you the flexibility to pursue other interests away from your business

    New and improved points of sale software are constantly being churned out with Nova 4.5 being among the latest. You can get a better appreciation of the full benefits of such software by looking at the Nova Point of Sale software features.

  9.  

     
    
     

     

    In the beginning of its outset, Movember was a small movement founded by a couple of men in Adelaide. They came up with the name of the charity event over a pub gathering and soon decided to turn their quirky idea into reality. They started small, later on adding more men from Adelaide and other big Australian cities to the so called “Movember Committee”. Their idea was to raise money and bring awareness about men’s health problems along with helping other non-profiteers such as RSPCA.

    Not long after the dawn of Movember, the event kicked off quickly today reaching thousands of men throughout the world. It has since raised more than $174 million after joining South Africa, Europe and North America. For its nation-wide popularity, the Movember movement thanks its supporting community at the official website and throughout the world. With the help of guys such as Tom Rickard ( last’ years Man of Movember ) and smaller companies who try bringing the event to people’s attention, the movement manages to reach more and more people each year and raise money for health research programs.

     

    Each and every voice helps bringing the cause to the crowd. The fastest way of supporting the idea is donating to the official website. Along with that, men are encouraged to grow their own mustache and use it to start conversations about the importance of the whole project. Women are able to help, as well, trying to raise awareness amongst family, friends and colleagues. And even tho Movember is all about mo's, not overall facial hair, some creative individuals have managed to bring the cause to their community through rather more abstract ways. But then again, the previously called November, aims to bring men's health to people's attention and any form of help is of an essence. The guys at the official website have seen all sorts of mo' bro teams having registered as fund raisers. Along with the bros, even company teams are welcome to the crew. The Paul's Sydney Cleaning team, for example, has came up with a bunch of fun, engaging posters aiming to use the power of visual content to engage the audience. Here are some of them:

    We all have different approaches towards engaging our friends and family and the diversity is what makes our attempts alive and evolving. And even though women are not the center of this movement's cause, they are the base of its development. Without the support only a wife, sister or girlfriend can give a man, raising awareness of the Movember cause would be much harder. The future of the prostate cancer medical researches depends on us and if we don't join forces in fighting for our health, no one will.

    Are you ready to make the first step into creating a better world? What would be your approach towards raising awareness this November? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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    waste_not_want_not_wwi_poster-e134489052

    It's funny how ideas go in and out of fashion – whether it's saving or borrowing, home cooking or fast food, recycling drives or personal convenience. As it happens, the trend in recycling has swung back towards an old saying which many of us in the United Kingdom will have been brought up with: 'waste not, want not'. This little adage has taken on a whole new identity since the time of ration books and shortages, but the fact that it is coming back into use on the fronts of glossy council leaflets suggests that it still has something to teach us.

    These days, though, it's less about winning a world war against an evil empire and more about going green by reusing your old and broken things in clever and original ways. A flurry of websites have appeared in the last half decade or so, proving that the ideas of re-using things that you might otherwise throw away has been around for a while. A lot of the ideas on these sites are a little frivolous, though, and not much use for the average family. How to make dream catchers out of old jewellery or plant pots out of milk bottles might be entertaining for young couples with time on their hands, but busy urban families will struggle to see the point of such innovations, imaginative as they are.

    Far more generally applicable ideas, in fact, can be found in the wartime interpretation of the phrase. Fabrics are especially re-usable. Broken shoes, with a little bit of snipping, can become flips flops for around the home. Ragged old trousers can become shorts without a great deal of expertise. Dresses can become t-shirts and any offcuts will make perfect jay cloths for around the house – that's one less thing to buy. And if you think about it, there's something quite special about having a completely unique piece of clothing. You might just find yourself being asked where you shop, and having to explain that no, you're actually an amateur eco-friendly fashion designer.

    Of course, there are simpler things yet that you can do. After Christmas, do you simply throw away all the used wrapping paper, or do you save the unripped pieces for next year? This little tip can save a bit of cash over the years, as well as giving the kids something to do while you are washing up after you Christmas dinner. If you break a mirror that you were fond of, you don't have to bin it – by carefully gluing the pieces to a new backing, grouting in between so that there are no sharp edges and sweeping away the smaller pieces carefully, you will end up with a mirror that not only serves its purpose just as it used to, but doubles up as a cool piece of home art, too.

    Then there are some handy modern tips. If you find your bins overflowing, you might be able to lighten them with some clever waste reuse. Old milk bottles, if you slice them at forty-five degrees, make great little dustpans for clearing your kitchen surfaces of crumbs, vegetable peel and so on – and after a few uses, you can simply throw them in the recycling and cut yourself a new one. Old shampoo bottles can be snipped in half and, with a little niftiness, can serve as great bedside mobile phone holders. Broken ironing boards, desks or ladders can make wonderful shelves with a minimal amount of DIY. How many people have shelves with drawers?

    Of course, there are inevitably going to be broken items or used packages that are useless to you as well. There's little point in accruing a vast pile of dilapidated and useless objects – and that is where waste disposal comes in. But when you break something you liked, don't want to let go of a favourite piece of clothing or find yourself throwing out the same things every week, it is certainly worth asking yourself what you could do to give them new leases of life. If only to give your imagination some exercise.

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  10. Inhalation of carbon monoxide can make you sick and even kill you. It is a fate that bells thousands of people every year as they cross paths with this colorless, odorless, tasteless and poisonous gas. Its reputation is chillingly conveyed in its reputation as the silent killer. Approximately 500 people die every year in the US and thousands more undergo medical treatment from exposure carbon monoxide especially in the home.

    The symptoms that arise from exposure to carbon monoxide depend on the level of exposure suffered by the person. Mild exposures are usually characterized by a headache and the symptoms graduate with the duration and level of exposure to include:

    • Nausea
    • Dizziness
    • Stomach pain
    • Confusion
    • Tiredness
    • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
    • Stomach pains

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    Most of the times the symptoms are quite misleading as they can mimic flu or food poisoning with the exception of a high temperature. It is impossible for a human being to detect the presence of carbon monoxide without the aid of special equipment such as a carbon monoxide detector. This is because of its lack of color, odor or taste.

    Carbon monoxide or CO is produced during the incomplete combustion of anything especially fuels such as oil, gas, wood and coal. These fuels are used in and around the home which is what brings the dangers of carbon monoxide into the confines of your home. It is produced when you use your fireplace, generator, kerosene heater, wood burning appliances.

    Carbon monoxide acts by invading your bloodstream and attaching itself to hemoglobin. This displaces the oxygen and results in your body pumping blood that is lacking in oxygen. The end result is the death of your body tissue and blood cells.

    carbon-monoxide-3.jpg

    You must ensure that all appliances that burn fuel are installed and used properly. They must also be subject to regular maintenance checks especially when approaching winter. You must ensure that they are well ventilated and avoid the temptation of using outdoor appliances in and around the house or running your vehicle inside the garage attached to the house.

    The installation of carbon monoxide detectors is a very noble step that ensures the protection of your whole family. You need to do some research on the different types that are available and get the best which must also be a certified version. They also require proper installation and regular checks as well as battery replacements.

  11. blog-0232860001396954985.jpg

    Carbon dioxide pollution is the greatest contributor to the global warming. The top two sources of carbon dioxide pollution are coal-burning power plants (the largest in the U.S.) which emit 2.5 billion tons of CO2 yearly and automobiles which produce 1.5 billion tons of CO2 every year. But did you know that browsing the internet can also produce carbon dioxide emissions?

    According to an Environmental Fellow at Harvard University, Dr. Alexander Wissner-Gross, who researches the environmental impact of computing, every second that someone spends browsing a website produces an estimate amount of 20 milligrams of CO2. Every single activity like sending an email, downloading a song, or video streaming that happens in the web has an impact on the environment. That desktop computer you and you’re family are using whose electricity came from coal power plants is giving carbon emissions equivalent to a sports car!

    Several studies showed that with the increasing demands for energy of computers from manufacturing, utilization and disposal of data and communications technology creates nearly two percent of air pollution which is equal to the amount generated by the whole aviation industry.

    Some researches estimated that in a decade, the internet will be creating 20 percent of the world’s CO2 pollution.

    McAfee, an anti-virus software company, stated that the energy needed in transmitting trillions of spam emails every year is equivalent to the electricity needed to power two million houses in the U.S. and generating the similar amount of CO2 emissions as more than 3 million cars.

    The worst offenders in harming the environment are the data centers whose hundreds to thousands servers are storing everything from emails, company websites, social media photos and videos. Based on the Climate Group and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) study in 2008, data centers all over the world emitted 76 million tons of CO2 in 2002. This amount may had tripled or more after a decade.

    As millions of people use the Internet each year, the necessity of making an environment-friendly Internet ecosystem is urgent and very important. But how can we achieve this?

    The energy department of WMD hosting agrees that one of the answers is switching to “green” web hosting, know as the eco friendly version of the traditional web hosting.

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    Web hosting operations need a huge amount of electricity to power web servers and other equipment. To minimize the CO2 emissions, more and more companies are resorting to “green” web hosting – an eco-friendly alternative to the conventional web hosting.

    The main purpose of the mentioned “green” web hosting is to compensate for the CO2 emissions of the data centers in the environment by applying several approaches. Some of these are:

    · Purchasing of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

    · Reducing the consumption of energy by using solar power, recycling or eliminating the use of paper.

    · Car pooling.

    · Planting a tree.

    Opting for a this kind of web hosting rests entirely on you. You have seen what CO2 emissions have caused in the environment. It is more expensive than the traditional, yes, but think about the help that you can give not just today but the future generation as well.

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    I am going to strat a blog related to data decode components.

  12. By J. Matthew Roney

    At the end of 2013, the wind farms installed in more than 85 countries had a combined generating capacity of 318,000 megawatts, which would be enough to meet the residential electricity needs of the European Union’s 506 million people. New data from the Global Wind Energy Council show that wind developers built 35,000 megawatts of new generating capacity worldwide in 2013. This was down from 45,000 megawatts installed in 2012—marking only the second time in 25 years that installed capacity increased by less than it did the year before.

    The principal reason for the decline in new capacity was a more than 90 percent drop in U.S. wind farm installations from a record 13,000 megawatts in 2012. Although the United States has the second-highest wind power capacity in the world—some 61,000 megawatts—a lack of long-term policy planning has led to several such boom-and-bust cycles.

    Despite the dearth of new capacity, there were many bright spots for U.S. wind power in 2013. Wind accounted for at least 12 percent of the electricity generated in nine states, including Iowa (27 percent) and South Dakota (26 percent). Iowa will get another boost from a $1.9 billion deal announced in December 2013: Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Company purchased Siemens turbines totaling more than 1,000 megawatts, all destined for Iowa wind projects. When complete in 2015, these wind farms will likely bring the wind share of electricity in Iowa to at least 33 percent.

    Wind’s contribution to the grid is also growing in Texas, the U.S. wind capacity leader with 12,400 megawatts. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas reports that wind farms produced nearly 10 percent of the electricity delivered to its 24 million customers in 2013. And with the early-2014 completion of state-funded transmission projects linking windy West Texas and the Panhandle to population centers to the east, Texas can accommodate even more clean electricity on the grid. The state has 7,000 megawatts of new wind power capacity under construction, more than half of the 12,000 megawatts currently being built nationwide.

    China has led the world in installed capacity since surpassing the United States in 2010. In contrast to the drop in U.S. installations in 2013, China’s wind construction accelerated—adding 16,000 megawatts to reach a total 91,000 megawatts. Wind further solidified its role as the number three electricity source in China (behind coal and hydropower), out-generating nuclear power by an impressive 22 percent. The National Energy Administration aims to make wind-generated electricity cost-competitive with coal by 2020. (See data.)

    As in Texas and many other places around the world, some of China’s best wind resources are found far from major cities where electricity demand is high. High-voltage transmission lines now under construction will connect wind-rich provinces in the north and west with more populous ones in the central and eastern provinces. For example, one project linking remote Xinjiang province to the 4 million people in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, was completed in early 2014. Infrastructure projects such as this one will be critical in reaching the official Chinese goal of 200,000 megawatts of grid-connected wind capacity by 2020.

    India, the country with the fifth-highest amount of installed capacity, added 1,700 megawatts in 2013 to cross the 20,000 megawatt threshold. Although this was 25 percent less new capacity than in 2012, India is poised to grow its wind power base dramatically in the coming years. In January 2014, the government announced a National Wind Energy Mission—in the spirit of the country’s National Solar Mission—to be launched mid-year. By beefing up the grid and using incentives to attract investment to wind hotspots, the program aims to hit 100,000 megawatts of wind within eight years.

    Development is picking up elsewhere in Asia as well. In Pakistan, wind power capacity doubled to 100 megawatts in 2013 and will double again when two 50-megawatt projects go online in 2014. Thailand also doubled its wind capacity in 2013, reaching 220 megawatts. And the Philippines has seven projects due for completion in 2014 that will expand wind capacity there 13-fold to 450 megawatts.

    Before China’s recent surge, Europe was the leading wind power region. Germany, which added 3,200 megawatts in 2013, ranks third worldwide in total capacity, with 34,000 megawatts. Four of its northern states regularly get half or more of their electricity from wind farms.

    When it comes to wind’s contribution to national electricity needs, European countries top the leaderboard. Denmark gets one third of its electricity from wind, well on its way to a target of 50 percent by 2020. Portugal, Lithuania, Spain, and Ireland come in at around 20 percent each. In fact, wind came within a percentage point of beating nuclear power for the title of Spain’s number one electricity source in 2013. And Germany, Europe’s largest economy, obtained 8 percent of its electricity from wind farms.

    While some of the larger European wind power markets, including Spain, Italy, and France, have slowed down, smaller players are speeding up. Poland and Romania each expanded their wind power capacity by 36 percent in 2013, to 3,400 and 2,600 megawatts, respectively. And in Turkey, even though the approval process for projects is slow, wind capacity grew by 28 percent to nearly 3,000 megawatts.

    One region with enormous wind potential but little development so far is Latin America. Brazil, best known for getting 80 percent of its electricity from large hydropower, hosts the most wind power capacity in the region—now close to 3,500 megawatts after a 950-megawatt addition in 2013. At government auctions, wind companies have won more than half of all contracts to sell electricity since 2011, according to Bloomberg data. Some 10,000 megawatts of wind may be installed in Brazil between 2014 and 2019. Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay also added wind power in 2013.

    In all of Africa, just one project added capacity in 2013. The final 90 megawatts of Ethiopia’s 120-megawatt Ashegoda Wind Farm went into operation, more than doubling the country’s wind capacity to 170 megawatts. South Africa has 2,100 megawatts of wind power in the pipeline, including 750 megawatts to be added in 2014 alone.

    Offshore projects account for just over 2 percent of the wind capacity installed worldwide. Having hit a seventh straight annual installation record in 2013, however, offshore wind is growing fast. More than half of the 7,100 megawatts of offshore capacity belongs to the United Kingdom, which installed 730 megawatts in its waters in 2013. Denmark, Germany, and Belgium each added at least 190 megawatts to their totals, while China added 39 megawatts. Both Vietnam and Spain added offshore wind capacity for the first time, as did the United States, although the U.S. project was one very small demonstration turbine off the coast of Maine.

    Offshore wind is still one of the more expensive electricity generating technologies, but onshore wind is often highly competitive with coal, natural gas, and nuclear power in areas with strong wind resources. And costs continue to fall as wind manufacturers steadily improve turbine efficiency, harnessing more wind per machine. In the United States, the average price of wind-generated electricity has dropped 40 percent since 2009.

    After a slower year in 2013, world wind installations will bounce back in 2014, perhaps to a new record—the Global Wind Energy Council sees the potential for 47,000 megawatts. Roughly half of the total will be built in China and the United States (around three times more in the former than in the latter). This is good news for the wind business, for electricity consumers, and for people who value cleaner air and water. But increasingly dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change mean that the world will need to accelerate the shift to carbon-free, renewable sources of energy even more so in the years to come.

    Copyright © 2014 Earth Policy Institute

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    When most people envision a landfill, the images that most likely come to mind are those of great heaps and mountains of garbage with a steady stream of dump trucks running day and night and piling more and more on top of what is already existing. While, part of this image may be accurate, the modern landfill is quite different. With people becoming more aware on a daily basis of the impact their actions have on the earth, even landfills are being designed with conservation and sustainability in mind.

    The Environmental Protection Agency summarizes modern landfills as "well-engineered facilities that are located, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with federal regulations." In order to ensure that these regulations are being followed in modern landfills there are various protocols in place.

    One of the first things considered in the planning of a landfill is location. They must be built in a suitable geographic location, away from wetlands, faults, or any restricted areas. Once a location is chosen some sort of liner must be laid in place to prevent any contamination of groundwater and underlying soil. One of the more popular liners currently being used is a geosynthetic liner. These liners are made up of a very thin layer of clay sandwiched between two layers of some sort of geotextile. These are durable and more efficient to install than the more traditional clay liners. A geosynthetic liner is also highly popular in areas with significantly varying temperatures. They stand up well to freeze and thaw cycles. Many modern landfills also consist of some sort of leachate collection and removal system. This is installed on top of the liner and acts to remove sludge and other harmful leachate from the landfill for treatment and removal.

    Modern landfills have a much smaller impact on the environment than landfills of the past. Once in place, operating practices are strictly monitored. Periodically, the waste is covered with a layer of compact soil. This helps to protect public health by minimizing odor, insects, and rodents. There are also scheduled ground water checks to ensure that nothing harmful from the landfill has leached into the groundwater. When it does come time for the landfill to close, there are strict protocols in place to continue to protect the environment and help to provide long term care for the closed landfill areas, making our earth a better and cleaner place for all.

  14. Do you have any idea how many cigarette butts are littered in Australia each year? Billions. Those small things, combined together, have some serious impact on the environment around us. Let’s see how. For starters the cigarette smoke contains about 4000 chemicals, and every second the butt is alight those toxins are released in the environment. Another problem, that carelessly flicked cigarettes cause, are fires. But the true problem is caused by the material the butts are made from. The filters are made from cellulose acetate which causes a lot of problems, when not disposed properly.

    Now imagine what happens with all those billions of cigarette butts, when it starts raining for instance. They are washed off the streets and alleys to the nearest water reservoir or even worse the ocean, where the toxins from the filters poison the water. And that could be deadly for the marine life.

    And do you know how long does it take for one cigarette butt to break down entirely – up to 12 months. But in water that period is much longer – it could take up to 5 year. Can you imagine that?! And each year new cigarette butts are added to the pile, again and again.

    Cigarette butts could be mistakenly eaten by some of the sea animals, there are cases when cigarette butts are being found in the stomach system of birds and fishes. The chemicals contain in the cigarette filter ( lead and cadmium) could leach in the water. There are plenty more ways in which the cigarette butts affect the nature.

    What can you do in order to prevent all that from happening and preserve the environment. According to Paul's cleaning team in Melbourne, there's nothing easier that leading a green lifestyle. Dispose the cigarette butts the proper way not by flicking them wherever you like. Use ashtrays. It’s only a small step, but if everyone take it you will see how big impact it could have.

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  15. Just about everyone has at least a few things in their home that are difficult to recycle, with some of the hardest things being old CDs and DVDs, mattresses, and household hazardous waste. These are also things that for the most part cannot simply be thrown in the trash. CDs and DVDs are made of plastic and do not break down in landfills, mattresses are simply too big just to throw in the trash, and household hazardous wastes are too dangerous to carelessly throw away. Fortunately, it is still possible to recycle these items; it will just take a little extra work.

    Recycling CD's and DVD's

    With the rise of streaming video and downloadable music, CD and DVD use has been steadily declining. This will soon lead to a surplus of obsolete compact discs that need to be dealt with. Unfortunately, these discs simply cannot be mixed in with the rest of a home's recyclable plastic. CDs and DVDs are made from type 7 plastic, the most toxic kind of plastic available. Type 7 plastics contain polylactides and polycarbonates, some of which are too toxic for the average recycling center to handle.

    Instead of simply being thrown in the trash, old CDs and DVDs should be sent to the CD Recycling Center of America. There is no charge for this recycling service, although the center does accept cash donations.

    Recycling Mattresses

    Although it is illegal to just leave a used mattress on the street corner, it's understandable why so many people do exactly that. There aren't many opportunities to recycle an old mattress, and most donation centers won't take mattresses unless they are brand new. Still, there are some options available when it comes to recycling old mattresses. A mattress that is still in decent condition can be offered for free on Craigslist or similar sites, and there are some recycling centers that can disassemble a mattress and reuse the majority of its components. Some people even opt to do this themselves; it's much easier to recycle pieces of springs and fabric than it is to find a way to reuse an entire mattress.

    Recycling Household Hazardous Waste

    No matter how "green" a family may be, they will still probably use some toxic household products. Unused paint, chemical cleaners can leach toxic materials into the soil or groundwater if they go into a landfill or down the drain. These should never be thrown in the trash, but they can be dropped off at certain recycling centers that accept hazardous materials. Some services even offer to pick up household toxic materials from homes for a small fee. There are such centers and services in most major cities, and they can be found with a Google search.

    Sources:

    http://www.fasthaul.com/ecoblog/2014/10/21/recycling-cds-dvds-what-to-do/

    http://www.sfenvironment.org/article/toxic-products-disposal/toxics-product-disposal-for-residents

    http://www.fasthaul.com/ecoblog/2015/03/09/what-to-do-recycling-mattresses/

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    Environmental disasters take many forms, with some of the more common ones being oil spills, air pollution, water contamination, and landfill issues. Though these disasters can be massive in scope and environmentally devastating, innovative companies have developed amazing solutions. Here's a quick look at some of the solutions in use today.

    Cleaning Up Oil Spills with Microbes

    Microbes have a purpose: they feed on dead and decaying organisms. This natural process cleans our environment and returns nutrients to the earth. Microbes are now being used to clean up oil in a process known as bioremediation. In some forms of bioremediation, microorganisms are added to the spill; in others, nutrients are added to the area with the goal of growing existing bacterial populations (Source: "How Microbes Clean Up Our Environmental Messes", Popular Mechanics).

    In another form of oil spill remediation, a solution made from plant-based materials is used to penetrate and break hydrocarbons into smaller, bite-sized units which are more readily consumed by bacteria.

    Tackling China's Air Pollution Problem at the Source

    As China has become more prosperous, its air pollution problem has grown increasingly worse. A new catalytic converter by ACAT Global, Advanced Clean Air Technologies may be part of the answer. Cars in China account for nearly 80 percent of China's emissions, making them an excellent target for improvement. This catalytic converter has been shown to reduce a car's particulate matter emissions by 44 percent. ACAT Global makes catalytic converters for cars, heavy equipment, diesel engines, boats, and motorcycles.

    Using Electrolyzed Water to Clean and Disinfect

    Imagine spraying water from a spray bottle and zapping germs with just water, salt, and a slight electrical charge. Believe it or not, water electrolyzed with a low-level of electricity can do just that. Electrolyzed water systems are being used to clean dairy equipment, decontaminate some foods, and disinfect surfaces. Though intriguing, this technology is still fairly expensive.

    Harnessing the Power of Landfills

    What if you could capture landfill gas emissions and convert them to energy? This technology solves two problems (containing undesirable emissions and capturing energy), and it is in use today. For example, anaerobic digesters are used to decompose green, animal, and food wastes. From there, the energy is converted by fuel cells. Thermal conversion is another technology used to convert organic and inorganic wastes into various compounds and basic molecules which can then be used for other purposes (Source: "Emerging Technologies", CalRecycle).

    Oil spills, air pollution, water contamination, and landfill emissions aren't going to go away in the near future. We can't ignore these potential problems. Fortunately, many innovative companies have been focusing on them.

    Sources:

    "How Microbes Clean Up Our Environmental Messes", Popular Mechanics, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/waste/how-microbes-will-clean-up-our-messes

    "Emerging Technologies", CalRecycle, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/swfacilities/TechServices/EmergingTech/default.htm

    "Oil & Fuel Spill Remediation", E&B Green Solutions, http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/applications/oil-fuel-spill-remediation

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    The innovative approach to achieving project goals, allows its clients to get the results they are looking for achieve their sustainable business goals and also minimize compliance, and ongoing monitoring costs.

    Today’s ever changing economic landscape continually forces companies to start looking at new ways to do business to achieve their goals, while keeping their costs to a minimum. This is today’s reality in operating within a global economy, and surviving among tough competitors.

    Also the recent developments in expanding technology, and making it accessible, and approachable, have allowed companies to further explore new ways of doing business. Ways that were not possible just a few years ago.

    “Our model track record in serving public and private clients and providing responsible services and our knowledge of regulatory environmental regulations help our clients meet their particular challenges, whether in capital works delivery, or in environmental compliance and monitoring.” Project Specialist, Julia Scott said in an interview. “We also specialize in providing project management services to client to achieve their results on their capital works projects.”

    “We provide a no obligation consultative session to each of our perspective clients to assess their needs, and in order to find out all the specific details and about their project. Once we all are clear on their specific project criteria, we will put together an approach to achieve their deliverables. We also provide free support to our client on their facility and production until they actually achieve their results and receive their approval.” Scott said.

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    As we people constantly try to find new eco-friendly alternatives to protect the planet, we changed many parts of our daily lives to do so. The electricity and industry branches of the world economies strive to reduce the effect known as global warming. With many new technologies introduced the percentage of bad emissions produced is less than five years ago. However, there are many things left to be considered.

    One of them is the transportation sector. It produces around a third of the CO2 emissions in our atmosphere. One of the best alternatives to the old fuel-powered internal combustion engines is the electrical motor. It doesn't use petrol, gasoline or diesel. This means it produces no emissions that affect the nature. With its range of between 250 and 400 kilometres and the new charging stations introduced around different countries, the electrical car can challenge the petrol powered means of transportation.

    The popular opinion of the electric cars has changed throughout the years, but since the middle of the 90s, they've started getting recognition once again. With this on hand there are a lot of debates whether or not Australian government or in fact any other government should promote buying electric cars by lowering the taxes or should the taxes be the same as any other type of vehicle. To this day this question remains controversial.

    Electric cars need to be charged and there are several ways to do so. One is via a normal socket and the re-charge time varies depending on how much power it provides. At a charge station it is much faster and a full charge of your car battery may take around one hour. The re-charge time is a major disadvantage to the electrical motor. Electric cars emit no carbon dioxide or any other type of a gas. Needless to say this is one of the reasons why they are considered better and more eco-friendly by the consumers. Although electric cars don't affect the atmosphere, industries produce electricity by burning fossil fuels, which means they do release CO2 indirectly.

    Another great trend among DIY enthusiasts is transforming their old vehicles to electric. The process is easy and can be done from people who have knowledge of electric motors. The popular belief is that electric cars are less safe than a normal car. This, of course, is not true as an electric car has all the safety features (like bumpers, safety glass etc.) that a normal car has. In case of an accident though, an electric car is safer due to the lack of spilling fuel. However, aside these advantages the electric cars have a more sophisticated . This proves as a disadvantage because a more complex configuration is more prominent to malfunction.

    The electrical cars have many advantages and disadvantages. In Australia, many local businesses have decided to turn to electrical cars to help them with their transportation. A representative from Paul's Landscaping Melbourne - an Australian based landscaping and landscape design company comments: "Our new electrical cars have helped a lot with the development of our business. Since we are a local company, we have routes which we follow. With an electric car and the right planning of our route, we finish the job in no time and with not paying a single cent for gas."

    So there you have it. To conclude our discussion - the electrical car is perfect for short distances. Regardless of the all advantages specified, this technology has yet to improve and is still far behind the fuel-powered cars. However, in the past few years another great technological break-through has set foot on the market - the hybrid. This system uses both an electric motor and a gas powered motor to set the vehicle in motion. Even though it is not perfectly eco-friendly, this technology reduces the amount of emissions while keeping the comfort and the power of a normal car.

  19. Going green in your home does not mean you have to sacrifice luxury. There are plenty of green home products on the market that provide the same extravagance as their less green relatives.

    In the bathroom:

    There are hundreds of different kinds of environmental friendly bathroom products on the market, include a wide variety of candles. Some of them are made of beeswax or soy, and some are made of odd materials like vegetable wax. A lot of these candles provide relaxation and stress relief through the use of essential oils and extracts.

    Also for the bathroom are organic towels and cotton exfoliating gloves. All of these items offer just as much, if not more of the comfort that similar, traditional, non-green items would.

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    Health and beauty:

    Among the green bathroom items commonly offered, there are also many different health and beauty products on the market. There are natural body washes, body butters, lip balms, salves, and foot cream. Ingredients in these products range from peppermint to aloe vera to lavender, and almost all of these products come in biodegradable containers. A majority of these items are just as luxurious as comparable environmentally harmful health and beauty products.

    For the bedroom:

    There are a variety of different green materials used for pieces in the bedroom. Some of the most popular examples are pillowcases and shams made out of bamboo, blankets made out of wool, and throws made out of fair-trade organic cotton. Among these items, there are also dressers and bed frames made out of sustainable resources such as maple.

    Energy:

    Many sources of renewable energy are available for purchase for the green home. Some of these products include LED lights, solar powered lights, and eco friendly solar powered holiday lights. There are also sun tunnel skylights that add natural light to your home and also provide heat. Crank lanterns and flashlights that charge by being shaken are examples of products that require no battery but work just as well as ones powered by battery.

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    image credit: WB Homes

    Outside:

    A lot of the most useful products that are offered for green homes are for the outdoors. There are things like rain conserving barrels in a variety of materials and shapes, water filters for hoses that utilize the filtering powering of sand, and hoses made out of 50% recycled plastic. These sorts of items allow you to get the most out of natural resources and live a healthier and greener lifestyle.

    For the Kitchen:

    There are lots of green products available for the purpose of storing and transporting foods. Some examples of these items are compostable bamboo trays, soup containers, sandwich bags, and cling wrap. Many of these will work just as well as like, less-green products, but will not create all of the harmful waste. There are also plenty of kitchen cleaners that are non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

    Having a green home doesn’t mean you have to live any differently. There are alternatives for nearly every product you already use everyday that are much more environmentally friendly and sometimes, even better than the original. In most cases, going green will not even force you to change your lifestyle. There are actually many benefits, including better health and lower energy bills.

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