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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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    • 3,466 views
  • Megan Bonetti

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

    By Megan Bonetti

    India. Culture, cows and rubbish. As an Aussie living for a short time in India it is such an intriguing country. Indians love their diverse nation yet they use the streets like rubbish dumps. Even my friends here tell me it’s ok to throw my paddle-pop wrapper out the car window. I can’t… so I just hold it tight and wait till I get home. Growing up in Australia, those ‘emu hunts’ in primary school have willed my littering days away. Yet I suspect that even my household trash bin will just be dumped across the road for the cows to eat or worse still, burnt on the street…for the cows to eat. This is India. Love it or hate it. (#tii) As an Australian social worker volunteering with an NGO in Southern India I witness the large divide between the rich and poor of this incredibly colourful nation. I work with many children whose whole families have had to migrate from various parts of India due to the rapid effects of drought on their land and the significant urbanisation of major cities in the last 10 years. It turns out India has seen a boom in it’s industrial and technological trades a little later than it’s western neighbours and they are loving it. But India’s urban boom is threatened with westerners telling them they have to stop producing and polluting. The earth doesn’t like it. Sorry India…We made our big capitalist bucks, but you don’t get that chance. Just when things are getting good and you’re developing astronomically, your main source of energy is being taken away. It turns out fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy for the developing world, especially as they try in earnest to develop the same standard of living as we have. So as one the most formidable countries in the developing world, India not only has the pressures of navigating a massive population but also has to figure out how to go green on the cheap. It’s interesting that the Turnbull government has reluctantly agreed on a 5% reduction in carbon emissions in the next five years. “Phew! Glad we got through that one boys.” They wipe their sweaty brows while developing countries are drowning, burning and trying to survive on scant resources. These countries are just trying to make a crust, while Eurocentric nations are slowly turning a baguette into organic multigrain sourdough (and throwing the crusts to their hobby cows). If the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is truly the last attempt for international cooperation, leaders cannot just show and tell their contribution and sit back with folded arms. But how can mere human individuals promote serious teamwork? This brings me back to the children I work with here in India. Every day their parent’s lives are tied to corrupt building associations. They are bonded labourers—gypsies moving from construction to construction. These families have no hope of returning to their now desolate homeland and are not provided social security measures that protect their livelihood. Then there is India’s neighbour, low-lying Bangladesh, experiencing saltwater intrusion that poisons whole water supplies for entire villages. In our own backyard we see Australian farmers shooting all their cattle only to turn the gun on themselves under the shadow of unprecedented drought. This is human impact. Global warming is not just about penguins and polar bears. Climate change is a social justice issue. We live in a globalised world. The industrial revolution brought us here; and climate change is the consequence. No longer do we just neighbour cities, we neighbour nations. The leaders of Australia must be held accountable to all their neighbours including the ones just trying to keep their head above water. It simply won’t do for wealthy nations, such as Australia, to show the world their own country’s carbon reductions and sit back down. This summit can’t work as a set menu; it has to be a potluck dinner, a time for sharing, understanding and safeguarding. For the sake of our beautiful earth and the many diverse cultures of the human race, this time I hope and pray that the leaders of the world provide a resounding voice for the marginalised. This summit and our government must not stop at figures, but uphold the basic democratic and human rights principles that cradle modern society. The United Nations was created so that man-made and worldwide calamities could no longer grasp our world with such authority. Well, it turns out a world war with Mother Nature is knocking on our doorstep. Will we listen and respond? I hope so.   For more information please visit the below links. They offer great insights into climate change realities and are positive and accessible resources for engaging the conversation. The reality of climate change | David Puttnam | TEDxDublin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBjtO-0tbKU India: Climate Change Impacts http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/06/19/india-climate-change-impacts Climate Change and the End of Australia http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-change-and-the-end-of-australia-20111003 The Critical Decade: Climate Change and Health (Australia) http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/1bb6887d6f8cacd5d844fc30b0857931.pdf GoPro: Climate Change and the Optimistic Future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT6jtTtsG_M Paris Climate Conference: COP21 Explained https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-qd8YCaoQ4 Why is the Paris UN climate summit important? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnztR5JllA4 Adam asks new PM Malcolm Turnbull on climate change in Question Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqXtKt-Is54 Morgan Freeman's Powerful Climate Change Short Film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YQIaOldDU8  
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    • 1,038 views
  • Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

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

Our community blogs

  1. Decluttering your home can be a cathartic process, but many people don’t notice just how much waste they really have until they start going through each of their rooms. You could end up dealing with dozens of bags of electronics, batteries, lawn chemicals, cleaning supplies, and other items that are hazardous to the environment. As you are planning this project, you should think about some ways that you can clean up and straighten your home without sending too many items to the landfill.

    Search For Valuables

    Before you consider any other options, you might first want to sift through all of your items and see if there is anything worth selling. Even if you donate or recycle most of your belongings, there could be a few pieces that are actually quite valuable. Old smartphones, consoles, video games, movies, books, and computers can easily be sold online or to local dealers. Some companies even send you prepaid packages to ship your electronics to them.

    Donate

    Another great option is to offer your unused belongings to a local donation center, like Action Donation Services. In addition to household items, many of these organizations accept cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, and other vehicles. Depending on where you live and which organizations you go through, you might even be able to use your donations as a tax write-off. Some companies also allow you to choose which non-profit is going to benefit from your donations.

    Find A Hazardous Disposal Center

    Many homeowners don’t realize that it is actually illegal to throw away certain household items. Even though most trash companies carefully inspect and sort all of the refuse that they receive, you could be fined if they notice any dangerous or toxic materials. Some of the materials that need to be kept out of the trash include batteries, prescription drugs, certain electronics, paint, motor oil, tires, and lawn chemicals.

    Plan A Garage Sale

    A large percentage of your items won’t be worth much money, but that doesn’t mean they need to go to the landfill. Scheduling a garage sale is a simple way to get rid of quite a few things in a short period of time. If you want to attract more visitors to your yard sale, then you should consider having a multi-family sale with some of your friends and neighbors. Most local magazines and newspapers offer free or affordable ad space as well.

    Cleaning your home doesn’t need to be an exhausting project that results in hundreds of pounds of waste being sent to your landfill. You most likely live near dozens of different organizations that will help you get rid of your possessions in an eco-friendly manner. At the very least, you must make sure that all of the hazardous materials in your home are disposed of in a safe and legal manner.

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  2. The Green Business How to Ensure Maximum Energy Savings.JPG

     

    Thousands of hours are spent powering buildings day and night. Running a business includes running the building and paying attention to the energy bills. You will notice a big difference when you make a few minor changes in the way you handle electricity. Increase the amount of energy you save every day using these few tips.

    Retrofits and LED Lights

    Light-emitting diode (LED) technology is designed to use less energy to power the lights. The fixtures last for several decades with minimal maintenance. Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out and replaced by LED lights that are manufactured in different colors and sizes.

    Retrofits improve energy efficiency by replacing outdated fixtures. Retrofitting includes the use of new lights, thermostats and windows. Find energy-efficient LED lights and retrofits from brands like
    Always Earth Friendly.

    Increase savings by installing motion sensors that switch on and off whenever someone walks by. There is little more effort needed after the first installation. Use timers to turn the lights on automatically at preset times.


    Surge Protectors

    Many appliances run continuously without being turned off, which wastes large amounts of electricity in the building. Use a surge protector to save energy and cut monthly bills in half. The device prevents the damage made by spikes that are caused by blackouts and lightning strikes.

    Programmable Thermostat

    A programmable thermostat helps you to avoid paying for unused heating and cooling bills. Set timers to turn the system on and off at certain times of the day. Most people do not realize that they waste energy by heating or cooling rooms that are unused. A thermostat with zoning technology works to prevent this problem.

    Electrical Appliances

    Energy-saving appliances are easy to use and install in any home or building. Find appliances clearly marked with energy-saving labels at many stores. Like surge protectors, invest in appliances that reduce your energy bills by half and require little maintenance.

    Another option is to measure the amount of household energy usage. A smart meter tells you about all of the electrical events that occur throughout the day. Learn how to save energy during peak hours that lead to higher costs.

    Going green is an easy effort that is beneficial for any business. It takes little effort to switch incandescent lights with LED versions. Instead of remembering to turn off the lights, use motion sensors that work automatically. It takes only a few small changes to transform your energy savings.

     

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    If you're concerned about the environment, you know that everyone who conserves power is cutting down on all overall demand. That reduces pressure on local ecosystems or adding to pollution and global warming. Options like solar power may be outside your budget, but there are simple ways to conserve electricity. Here are some things you can do.

    Reduce Phantom Load

    This is power that some devices use even when they're turned off. Digital displays, status lights, and similar indicators are still drawing power 24 hours a day. While this seems minor, you may have multiple devices around the home, such as TVs, computer equipment, kitchen gadgets, and more. That can add up to significant energy use. Plug items that aren't constantly needed into outlet strips that you can turn on or off when not in use.

    Energy-Efficient Appliances

    When it's time to replace major appliances, look for more energy-efficient models. Most will have ENERGY STAR labels that indicate how much power use is involved and how much you can expect to pay for it. In the meantime, you can maximize efficiency by not using appliances needlessly. Hang up the laundry outside on a sunny day instead of turning on the dryer, and avoid running partial loads in the dishwasher or washing machine.

    Modern Lighting

    The old incandescent bulbs are extreme energy-wasters. Most of that produces heat, not light, so they're also a safety risk. Modern LED lights use 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer. Instead of swapping bulbs, you can also find a variety of LED fixtures that can be connected straight to your home wiring to provide efficient, safe light where you need it for years to come.

    Use Fans

    Over-using AC is a primary power drain as the summer comes on. Establish a temperature toward the higher end of the comfort zone for your family. Dress appropriately for the heat even indoors, and use fans throughout the house to keep the air moving and cool you naturally through evaporation of sweat. Keep plenty of cold water on hand, and turn down the AC as soon as it's dark.

    Check Your Wiring

    Old wiring or improper DIY additions or improvements can lead to electrical "leaks" that are costing you money. Turn off everything in the house, including breakers for things like hot water heaters that don't have switches. If your electrical meter continues to climb, you have a wiring problem. Significant use could mean several problems. Call in an experienced electrician from a company like Beckstoffer-Welsh Inc to diagnose and correct the issue.

    Power conservation requires some planning and a little self-sacrifice. But if you can reduce your bills and preserve the environment, it's worth it.

  4. With an attic, the main thing that people have to think about is the accessibility they have to it. However, most attics and roof lofts are so old that when it comes time for home improvements, people don’t always consider picking loft ladders for their homes.

    Loft ladders, based on the type you choose to use are extremely helpful and have a number of different benefits to offer. In many cases, considering them a part of your home improvement plans can be a huge plus point. Fakro and their loft ladder ranges offer a wide range of choices for you. However, the following arealso a few things that you should consider about loft ladders when picking one for your home.

    1.     Availability of Space

    Saving space is a huge issue, particularly if you live in a small house. With a loft ladder, you can easily cut down on the total space that a loft ladder eats into by ensuring that you get it your hands on a collapsible loft ladder. These can easily fold upon themselves and save up space.

    Moreover, based on your space requirements, you can either get vertical loft ladders or horizontal loft ladders that save space and ensure that you don’t get annoyed with how much space your loft ladder is eating up.

    2.     Functionality

    If you’re wondering how to make your home more accessible and friendlier, you might benefit from having an electronic loft ladder. These ladders are perfect for anyone who has trouble in mobility. They also have great load bearing qualities and can be used for places where it is not possible for manual loft ladders to be installed since they would be out of reach otherwise.

    With electronic loft ladders, you can also enhance the security they provide by getting rails attached to them. The degree of accessibility and security they provide will make them a worthwhile investment and a great home improvement project for you.

    3.     Safety

    If you don’t people going up to the roof, you can easily have loft ladders that come with a locking hatch. This makes them extremely secure. Even electronic loft ladders can have a locking hatch too. This is great to keep inquisitive children out of the roof since they do tend to be able to manipulate manual or electronic loft ladders.

     Keep in mind that most loft ladders are only required in any attic or roof if you’re using the area for storage. If you’re using the area for living purposes, it is always advised to have a permanent staircase installed instead. The best part is that installation is also easy so you can easily get the loft ladder you want in your home installed on the very first day. 

    If you want to get a loft ladder installed, take a look at Fakro and their loft ladder ranges to get the best loft ladder you want. With their help, you can easily pick a loft ladder based on your needs and choose from a variety of different designs.

     

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  5. fire-alarm-austin1.jpgFire alarm technology has advanced so much leading to enhanced protection to occupants and property. This has also given way to reducing expenses and enabling the management of buildings to monitor and maintain their systems well. Here are some new trends in fire alarm Austin systems.

    Phased-in methodology
    Along with the fire-safety engineers and technology experts, prop0erties that exist today are requiring system upgrades to phase-in new technology. Usually multi-phased projects can extend from one year to five years or sometimes more depending on the size of the project and the complexity of the upgrade intended. Smart facility managers are these days achieving better budget by spacing it out over time in terms of minimizing the labor and materials costs and also preventing any disruption to the continuity of the business.

    Economy of installation
    The fire alarm systems we find today feature unbelievable backward compatibility features. This technology facilitates replacing the head-end fire alarm control panel and connecting it to the present detection and notification devices with the help of the existing wires.

    Scalability of the detectors
    New systems provide more capacity to permit for the growth of the facility besides adding more number of field devices. Over a period of time, you can also choose to replace any of the older field devices and the facilities can also benefit from the modernized multi-criteria detectors that can compare diverse kinds of elements including infrared, heat, carbon monoxide and light in order to sense the presence of smoke through different kinds of inputs.

    Widening the capabilities
    You can set the multi-criteria detectors to different kinds of sensitivity besides programming it to sound only a local alert. This will enable the security management personnel double check the cause of alarm before sounding a general evacuation alarm throughout the campus. At the same time, the fire alarm can be programmed to initiate a complete evacuation when several detectors are triggered within an area.

    Extension of the detection features
    These days we find devices that can monitor both smoke and CO. Several facilities including dormitories, schools, commercial sleep occupancies and nursing homes need to detect CO besides detecting the traditional smoke. If separate detectors must be used, then the installation process will need making four holes for the detectors and sounders. All of them have to be wired meaning incurring additional costs on labor.

    Advantages of dual sensing unit
    A dual sensing unit will need not more than two boxes while one is used for the detector and the other for the sounder. The sounders can help make out the difference between a CO alarm and a smoke alarms and can give out the signal that is appropriate to the incident. The dual fire and CO sensing detectors can significantly bring down the time and costs of the overall installation. It is possible to minimize the effects on the room aesthetics as well. Most importantly, they can very well meet the requirements of the CO detection systems that are mandated by increasing number of provinces today.

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    We are still a few months away, but the earlier you start preparing for the cold season, the better. Winter seasons are often characterized by high energy consumption, and now is probably the best time to start thinking about ways to cut down the cold weather utility costs.

     

    According to the United States Energy Information Administration, about 50 percent of homes in the US use natural gas for heating during cold seasons. One of the biggest challenges for these homes is the sky high heating costs they have to endure during winter. However, there are some tips homeowners can utilize to control the costs of energy in the winter and save money. Here are three of them:

     

    Install Better Windows

    Replacing windows is one of the most worthwhile home improvements you can make before winter. Old, thin, single pane windows don’t do much to keep out the cold air. If your windows have been around longer than anyone can remember, it’s probably time to replace them. Energy-Star rated windows and specialty storm windows recommended by professionals like Valley Glass Utility can provide great insulation in your home and keep that precious warm air inside. This means lower utility costs and a nice cosmetic change to boot.

     

    Caulk Doors, Siding, and Windows

    Air leaks can increase the cost of heating and cooling your house by a significant amount, pay attention to them. Start with the big gaps, like broken or jammed windows, poorly hung doors, and damage to the exterior of the home. Once those are done, you can focus on the harder to find problems. Air leaks are common where wiring, duct work, and plumbing goes through floors, ceilings, and walls.

     

    You can find these small leaks by passing your hand close to suspect areas and noting any change in temperature. If that isn’t working, you can turn off fans or HVAC systems and hold a candle near potential leaky areas and see if the flame flickers or moves. Sealing leaks with caulk can save more than enough money to pay for itself, and can easily be done in an hour or two for even a large house.

     

    Replace or Clean the Furnace Filter

    It's important to clean or change the furnace filter on a regular basis, especially when it is running every day. When a furnace can 'breathe' easily, they use much less energy. Check the manufacturer's manual for information regarding the replacement of furnace filter – some require changes every three months. The cost of replacing the furnace filter will depend on the furnace.

     

    On average, furnace filter replacement costs range between 10 and 50 dollars. Depending on how often your furnace runs, how dusty your house gets, and the age of the furnace, you may want to replace it more often.

     

    A huge chunk of your home budget goes towards heating costs, especially during winter. Taking a few measures to make your home more efficient will go a long way for your budget, and will make cold weather stay outside where it belongs.

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    Do you love nature and the great outdoors? If you’re looking for a relaxing and stress-relieving activity, there are few places better to find this than the great outdoors. Exercise can be a a great stress-reliever. It’s not only essential for overall health and wellness, but it’s also a natural mood booster. Some activities have the added benefit of relieving the symptoms of chronic pain conditions. Here are five calming outdoor activities your doctor, chiropractor, or health care provider may recommend for de-stressing in green spaces.

     

    1. Gardening

    You don’t have to be a master gardener to enjoy the benefits of planting and caring for ornamental or edible plants. Spending time in the garden reminds many of childhood’s zen-like state of deep play. A Dutch study from 2012 suggested that gardening is among the most stress-relieving of leisure activities. Six or more hours per week spent gardening can even help improve the symptoms of mood disorders including major depression and bipolar II disorder.

     

    2. Swimming

    A dip in a lake, a pool, or the ocean not only releases endorphins but also builds strength without overly stressing the joints, making it an ideal exercise for those recovering from an injury. An hour of swimming at a moderate pace burns up to 500 calories, but you don’t have to exercise vigorously to appreciate the calming effects of spending time in warm, blue water and sunshine.

     

    3. Tai Chi

    This favorite exercise of those with health conditions that limit their ability to tolerate strenuous activity combines deep, mindful breathing with a series of slow, graceful movements. It requires no equipment. You can participate in tai chi formally in a class in the park or you can learn a few moves and practice them alone in a quiet outdoor spot. Its many benefits include increased aerobic fitness, energy, flexibility, and stamina as well as improving your overall sense of well-being.

     

    If you have an injury, are pregnant, or have a chronic pain condition, talk to your chiropractor or personal physician before starting a new exercise program.

     

    4. Walking

    Walking is an activity most people can do without any special training or planning at no cost. A 2013 study in the UK suggested that walking outdoors puts the brain into a state of calm awareness similar to that of meditation.

     

    5. Yoga

    Like tai chi, yoga can be practiced alone or in a group and is enhanced by being practiced outdoors during pleasant weather conditions. Outdoor yoga increases focus and wakeful relaxation, heightens the breath awareness needed for yoga, and replenishes the energy that extended periods of stress deplete.

     

    Conclusion

    Each of these five activities is good for relieving stress. They’re not the only activities that work for this purpose, those. Any outdoor activity you enjoy can help you relieve stress if you make time for it.

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    Over the past decade, people have gone from freely using resources to eventually coming to the realization that it is critical to work to conserve resources. With more and more information about the planet's dwindling resources and the increasingly frightening findings about the effects of climate change, most eco-conscious people commit to working toward finding new ways to make their property more environmentally friendly.

    “As you look around your own property, trying to think of ways to make a meaningful contribution to protecting the planet and trying to help its recovery, you will find plenty of ways to pitch in on the efforts while adding value to your property. Take a look at some of the ways we believe create a win for you and the planet.” - Brentwood Home - Natural Home Suppliers

    Wrap It All Up With Insulation

    One of the most effective, and often overlooked, improvements you can make to an aging home is to either add or replace insulation in your home. Don't forget to address window insulation issues by changing their insulation to double glazing. Take care of areas that feature wall and cavity loft space, which is where the outer wall is made of block or brick while the interior wall features concrete block or breeze block. When you fully insulate your home, you will reduce your winter heating bill, therefore reducing your yearly costs and helping reduce your energy usage. As a bonus, home buyers like you will appreciate buying a home that features quality insulation.

    Harness the Sun's Power With Solar Energy

    While a more initial expensive entry in our list, solar power pays off in less obvious ways at first, and it definitely pays off over time. Install solar panels on your home's roof to attract the sun's energy, capture it and use it for our property's individual energy supply. You will love the immediate energy savings while boosting your property value for future home buyers. An added bonus for installing solar panels includes, depending on your state, potential solar rebates and tax credits.

    It's Raining, It's Pouring, So Catch That Essential Resource and Use It

    If you live in a climate outside of the desert, chances are good that you see plenty of rainfall each year. You hear it streaming through your home's gutters, which flows away, not making any real impact. For a small cost, you can install water catchers to capture and rainwater, which you can store for later use in your garden or flowerbed, or you can simply use it to water houseplants. This small addition provides solid savings and is a wonderful feature future home buyers will appreciate.

     

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    If you are concerned with your carbon footprint, there are things that you and your family can do to reduce it. The good news is that many of these ideas will not significantly alter your lifestyle. Therefore, you can do good for the Earth without having to go without the things that you want or need.

    Recycle Whenever Possible

    That plastic soda bottle or milk carton is likely eligible to be recycled. The same goes for the cardboard box that your cereal came in or the soup can that you just made dinner from. In lieu of putting those objects in your recycling bin, you can use them as flower pots or fill them with soapy water to use as a fly or pest trap.

    Find Ways to Limit Your Water Use

    There are many ways to limit your water usage such as washing your dishes only once a day or by taking shorter showers. You can also save water by watering your lawn once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day. Tightening loose pipes or making sure that the hose is completely turned off may also conserve water.

    Install Appliances That are Friendly to the Environment

    Appliances that have an Energy Star rating are ones worth having in your home because they use less energy. The only way to earn this label is to pass a government inspection, and there is no way for a company to buy its product onto the list.

    You should also look for central air units from Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co. Inc. or a similar company that have a higher SEER rating than what you have in your house. The higher the rating, the more efficient the item is.

    Carpool Whenever Possible

    Instead of having each member of the family using their own car, a family can carpool and save on gas and other emissions. It may also be a good idea to walk or bike to school or work if you live close enough. Using public transportation such as a bus or subway may also be an effective way to reduce the emissions created by your family's driving habits.

    If you are concerned with how society is treating the environment, you should lead the charge for change by example. By demonstrating the changes that you have made, it could inspire others to follow your lead. Over time, this could cause entire communities or even entire parts of the country to follow through on the momentum that you have helped to create.

  10. No matter what kind of factory you own, dealing with wastewater is of huge importance both for the health of your employees and the environment. Not only this, but any faulty actions regarding your wastewater can earn you different fines and lawsuits, which is definitely something you’d want to avoid. Therefore, this article will tell you more about the importance of wastewater management and possible outcomes if you leave your wastewater untreated.

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    Most common pollutants

    Your wastewater is a byproduct of your factory's uses and processes, and the pollutants in it tend to vary depending on what the water was exposed to. However, there are certain contaminants that can be found quite often in wastewaters factories have to deal with. Metals are one of the most common pollutants that can be found in them. They are usually present in wastewaters of factories that deal with household piping and manufacturing processes. Other dangerous pollutants are pathogens, which are similar to fungi and lead to various health issues, some of which can even result in death. Other common pollutants include synthetic chemicals, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, nitrates, and phosphates.

    No matter which of these pollutants there are in your factory's wastewater, it's very important that you deal with them correctly. Of course, the pollutants in your wastewater have to be identified, and certain measures have to be applied accordingly.

    Common wastewater treatment options

    There are numerous ways factories deal with their wastewater. However, your options for dealing with it depend heavily on what your factory is doing.

    One of the options many factories go for is discharging wastewater into the local municipality. Of course, if you want to do this, you’ll first have to check with your local municipality what kind of regulations regarding wastewater there are in your area. Most municipalities will demand that you clean your wastewater before you discharge it.

    Another common way of dealing with it is recycling. This means you can actually reuse your wastewater and thus avoid discharging it. Of course, recycling means you'll need special equipment that's going to make it usable again. We are talking about machines such as heat exchangers which enable heat transfer from wastewater to process water you’re going to use.

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    Reasons for treating wastewater

    With so many pollutants that can be found in wastewater, investing in wastewater management is of great importance. These pollutants can seriously harm people and nature around your factory and that's why wastewater has to be dealt with correctly. Moreover, if wastewater isn't managed properly, it can also affect your process and hurt your products. However, there are wastewater management regulations that have to be met. If you fail to do so, you might be looking at huge fines which are always going to hurt your work.

    As mentioned above, recycling is one of the most common ways factories deal with their wastewater and there are several reasons why you should consider it. First of all, it’s important to say that even though the earth is 70% water, water isn't an infinite resource as many people believe. Due to the fact that there are so many water-stressed countries around the world, recycling wastewater is a great idea. Also, this means you won't have to finance transportation of your wastewater and you'll lower pollution risks.

    The bottom line

    Due to the fact that pollutants which can be found in wastewater can seriously hurt both people and environment, it's absolutely necessary that you invest in your wastewater treatment. Buying wastewater management equipment is a much better option than having to pay huge fines or cause someone serious health issues. In the future, we can only expect to see more technologies designed especially to help factories improve their wastewater management, which means you should keep an eye on new machines you can get for your factory.

  11. pexels-photo-235648.jpeg?w=1260&h=750&au

    Every day we are witnessing how our actions have caused climate change, degradation of nature and animal species being wiped out. While most humans are not even aware of their part in these, there are those who advocate changes in behaviour and lifestyle which could make this world a better place for future generations. Among those is sustainable travel, a new and eco-friendly manner of tourism and travelling gaining more and more supporters and promoters, not only among individuals but also among companies and governments.

    If you’re planning to join this growing community of eco-travellers, here are a few things you should know.

    1. Choose a responsible manner of travel

    How you travel to your destination does matter. If you’re going by plane, take a non-connecting flight since the fewer plane flights you take the lower carbon emissions will be. Also, choose one of the 30+ IATA airlines which are investing in carbon reduction projects in order to neutralise the pollutants harmful to the environment. If you’re not flying, you can rent a hybrid or electric car if yours is not eco-friendly, or travel by train, bus or ship since it’s more environmentally responsible.

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    1. Collect the info before the trip

    By getting all the facts about your travel destination, you can learn a lot about how to be a green traveller. Nature reserves, endangered species, customs, national parks, wildlife, sustainable energy programmes and a number of pollutants in the air, those are just some of the issues which can influence your travel plans and stay.

    1. Find a green hotel

    Nowadays, many hotels are focused on being more responsible towards their environment. Look for hotels using solar panels for electricity and heating, recycling programs, wind turbines and treatment of rainwater for drinking and utility. Also, if you’re planning to do hotel hopping, you can still continue staying at eco-friendly hotels by checking their seal of approval from certification programs and whether they’re using native resources and thus invest in the local economy.    

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    1. Save water

    People rarely pay attention to how much water they’re using and wasting. By taking shorter showers and never baths, you can use three times less water than you usually do. Turn the tap off while you shave, brush your teeth and perform other hygiene activities. The same applies if you wash the laundry or dishes, just like when you’re at home. Don’t request new towels after each use because it means fewer washing cycles for the hotel laundry and subsequently decreased usage of water. Also, buy a water bottle which you can refill.   

    1. Save energy

    Don’t forget to turn off all the lights, television, heating and air conditioning unit and unplug the devices from chargers to save energy. There are hotels where this will be done automatically when you take your key card and leave the room so you might choose that kind of boarding. There’s no better way to do some sightseeing and tours than by foot, using public transport or biking. That way you will participate in less gas consumption and save money in the process. Also, if you use the hotel room cleaning service only when really needed, you’ll help cut down the use of electricity for vacuuming and washing.

    1. Be a good tourist

    It is very important that you are not only choosing eco-friendly means of travel and stay but that you are the one being environmentally responsible too. Don’t throw garbage outside the places designated for waste disposal. Whenever you can, recycle and stop using materials damaging to human or animal health. You can even help by picking up the trash and disposing of it in the right way.

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    When going for hikes, walks or any other activity which involves contact with nature, don’t wander off and respect the rules of conduct. Never feed animals since that way they get used to humans and when an attack happens, the animal is euthanized. Keep your distance from wildlife since trying to come closer can be interpreted as a sign of aggression, and yet again the animal will be killed for attacking you. And watch your step, because you wouldn’t want to harm the indigenous flora.

    And lastly

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    Choosing the green way of life isn’t put on pause when you go for a business trip or vacation, or even when you’re visiting relatives in another town. It should be more than a lifestyle and philosophy. It’s who you are and how much you respect your home – planet Earth. Even by doing some of the things we mentioned you can impact the negative climate change and other people’s perspectives on eco-friendly principles. So be proud to participate in making this world a better place for all life and its miracles.

  12.  

    Hardwood is one of the most popular flooring options. It is warm and natural looking, automatically adding some class to any room. Hardwood flooring can also last for decades if it is installed and maintained properly. Unfortunately life happens and it can get scratched ruining the look of the hardwood. These extensive scratches dont mean that you have to redo the entire floor though, there are a couple options available to restore the flooring to its original glory. Making these options even more enticing is the fact that restoring the floor is significantly less expensive than redoing the floor, whether hardwood or otherwise. But before you get started you need to determine the depth of the scratches to the floor. Whether they require buffing or sanding depends on the severity of the damages.

     

    The difference lies in the work each requires. Sanding means that the polyurethane finish and some of the damaged wood needs to be sanded down and removed, while buffing just require the removal of the finish. If the scratches don't reach the wood beneath the finish, all you need to do in this case is to use a buffer on them and then apply a couple coats of finish to have them looking as good as new in no time at all. Needless to say, this would be ideal because buffing is significantly easier, less time consuming, and less expensive than sanding them down to the wood. Nevertheless, both practices follow the same steps.

     

    Tools

    The first thing you need to do is rent the proper tools, which can often be found at most tile stores and hardware centres. Depending on the extent of damages you'll want either a buffer or an orbital sander. Youll also want a high-quality vacuum that can clean up all of the dust that there will be left when you're done. After the floor is evened out you will need a finish to put on the wood to protect it. The water based polyurethane is a good option. It takes three hours to dry and might require a second coat. The finish should be reapplied every few years for continued maintenance, or when the floor begins to look worn. Oil based finishes are also available for a lower price, but take longer to dry.

     

    Prep Work

    Once you have all of your equipment the room needs to be cleared of furniture for the work to be completed. Then clean the floor with either specialty wood cleaning products, or a homemade mixture of one part vinegar to ten parts water. Dry the floor after with with a towel or soft mop.

     

    Baby Steps

    Begin the sanding the floor along the perimeter and corners of the room with a power hand sander loaded with 30-40 grit sandpaper. Four to six inches from the baseboard is typically fine.

     

    The Main Event

    At this point, if buffering, attach a buffing pad to the bottom of the buffer and be sure to use a dust mask to shield from the powder it will create. Begin the process at the side of the room furthest from the door. Move the buffer along the grain, overlapping each lap by a few inches. Itll be easy to keep track of what you've done by the dust created. Keep the machine running the entire time but stop occasionally to clean the pad. Be sure to buff the whole floor and not just the scratches to ensure that it will be even when you're done.

     

    Follow the same steps if you are sanding them down more extensively with the orbital sander. You will do this over the course of three session with gradually lighter grit sandpaper. Begin with a coarse 30-40 grit, then a medium 50-60 grit, and finally a fine 80-100 grit. If the floor is rough after this, gently buff until it is smooth.

     

    Clean Up

    Let the dust settle for a little bit before bringing the vacuum and broom in to sweep up. Clean with the flow of the boards at first, then across them to get everyone you missed. Finish by using a micro fibre cloth to collect remaining particles.

     

    Refinishing the Floors

    Staining the wood is only necessary if you want to alter the colour of the wood. To do this apply it evenly along the edges of the floor are then use a roller to spread it evenly on the floor until achieving the desired depth of hue. Once it is dried, then apply the polyurethane in the same manner. Go with the grain and overlap each pass slightly. Continue like this until the floor is covered, and wait three more hours before recoating. Wait a couple days before moving the furniture back in.

  13. Saving the Green How to Lower Your Utility Bills While Being Environmentally Conscious.jpg

    Many homeowners pay a small fortune in utility bills each month. This can be financially burdensome, and it also may be a sign that your home or lifestyle is not as green as it could be. With a closer look at some of the top green tips you can follow around the house, you may be able to make your space more environmentally-friendly and save a significant amount of money in the process.

    Use Low-Flow Water Features

    The scarcity of fresh water is a top concern for many environmentally-conscious people. Low-flow water features, such as toilets, faucets and showerheads, can be installed in your home to help you conserve water. These are specially-designed features that use less water without requiring you to adjust your water usage behavior. For example, a low-flow toilet may use half the water or less with each flush that an older model may use.

    Harvest Rain Water

    Another great idea to consider is to use gutters, such as those from Unique Home Solutions, and a rain barrel to harvest rain water. This water can be stored and used for landscaping water. It can also be purified on-site and used inside your home. For example, you may use it to wash your clothes or for toilet purposes. You may notice a dramatic decrease in your water bill each month, and you can enjoy the benefit of knowing that you are not taking water away from the public water supply through your usage.

    Adjust Your Thermostat

    Maintaining an ideal climate inside the home can be an energy drain, and this is particularly true during peak summer and winter months when your HVAC system may function most frequently. Adjust your thermostat so that your home’s interior is cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. Use blankets, clothing, ceiling fans and more to control your comfort level without relying so heavily on your HVAC system.

    Upgrade Your Windows

    Another excellent step to take is to upgrade your windows. If you live in an older home, your windows may not be well-sealed, and they also may not be good insulators. Modern windows may be more energy efficient, and they can help you to maintain a comfortable climate inside the home without relying on regular use of your HVAC unit.

    These are only a few of the green tips you can follow to save money on energy bills regularly. Now is a great time to begin implementing these and other ideas you may have to improve your home.

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

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

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

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

     

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


     

    Turn your waste into an eco-friendly fertilizer

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


     

    Use the worms

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


     

    Arrange waste pick-up

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


     

    Take it to the nearest waste collection center

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


     

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

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

    Efficiency

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

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

    Extended Swimming Season

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

    Durable

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

    Eco-Friendly

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

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

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    Reducing electricity usage is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for your wallet. You can cut down on power use at home without going through any major lifestyle changes. Believe it or not, it is still possible to enjoy the comforts of a dishwasher and good lighting while paying less for utilities. Try these four tips for saving power and lowering monthly bills.

    Upgrade to Efficient Light Bulbs

    If you still use incandescent light bulbs, make the switch to LED light bulbs. The cost of LED light bulbs has significantly decreased over the past couple of years. LED bulbs emit an extremely minimal amount of heat and convert almost all of their electricity to light. Traditional incandescent bulbs waste most of the electricity, turning it into heat instead of light. LED bulbs will help to keep your home cooler in the summer since they emit less heat.

    Install Electrical Transfer Switches

    To save power and lower your electricity bill, install electrical transfer switches. These devices allow you to connect your home to an alternate source of power. Some companies, like Enercon Engineering Inc.,  know that they could be also used in conjunction with a solar panel array. They could also be used with a wind turbine or another renewable energy source too. You could use an electrical transfer switch with a backup generator too.

    Power-down Electronics

    Anything that is plugged in and has an indicator light or digital clock uses power. Some items will draw power while plugged in even if they do not have any lights. This is often referred to as "ghosting." Be sure to power down or completely unplug devices such as computer monitors, televisions, and DVD players when you are not using them.

    Skip the Drying Cycle

    Skip the hot dry cycle when using the dishwasher. Just opening the door of the dishwasher after the wash cycle is done will allow the dishes to quickly dry, with no power required. Consider reducing the amount of times you use your clothes dryer. Hang shirts and pants on a clothes rack or clothesline. Save the dryer for delicate items and linens that need the hot air for sanitary purposes.

    Each of these tips does not require much time or effort to employ. You could make one change at a time to get used to the idea of saving power and add in more tips as each one becomes a habit. After you do all four of these things, you can keep more of your hard-earned money instead of sending it to utility companies.

  17. The sustainable building trend is not just good for the planet, but for the economy — green construction is expected to account for 3.3 million jobs in the U.S. alone by 2018, a 143.5 percent increase over 2015. Green construction involves the design, construction and/or operation of buildings in ways that reduce any harmful impact on the environment and/or on human health. Some of these include reducing the carbon footprint of manufacture, preserving air and water quality, minimizing toxic emissions, and increasing energy efficiency in building operations. Sustainable building also can be economically beneficial. Using green materials and practices often benefits local economies, and the focus on energy efficiency frequently results in significant savings for property owners.

    The following infographic was created by Accurate Perforating Company and highlights 10 green building materials to consider for your next green building project.

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  18. More than 1 million U.S. homes now sport solar panels on the roof. That number is expected to double in the next two years as the cost of solar continues to decline and solar awareness continues to rise.
     
    While making the shift to solar is good for the environment, that’s not the only reason to invest in solar technology. Here are just a few of the many benefits homeowners can realize by going solar. 

    5 Reasons So Many Homeowners Are Going Solar

    1.    Solar is a good investment. While the exact ROI for solar varies according to location and other factors, research indicates that in most states it makes financial sense to go solar. Specifically, solar brings a better return than a five-year CD in 86 percent of states. If you live in one of the top 13 states for solar, you’ll actually do better with your solar panels than you would by investing in the S&P 500. 
    2.    Solar is reliable. With any technology comes the potential for failure, but solar bucks the trend by being one of the least likely of your home’s systems to break down. While solar panels are typically warranted for 25 years, 90 percent of them last 30 years or longer. One report showed that many 40-year-old panels are still generating power at 80 percent of their efficiency. In addition, a residential solar system typically has no moving parts, and almost never needs repair. 
    3.    Solar is security. Concerned about power grid security, future energy price hikes, and/or the escalating effects of global climate change on the weather? Installing a solar system with battery backup is an excellent way to ensure that you will always have the power you need at a price you can afford. 
    4.    Solar protects our planet. Sunshine is a clean, renewable energy source that does not contribute to global climate change. While all manufacture has an impact on the environment, solar panels create far more energy in their lifetime than is consumed by making them. In fact, an average 4 KW solar power system offsets nearly 200,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in its first 25 years. It would take planting more than 2,000 trees to equal that amount of carbon offset.  
    5.    Solar is hot — and that’s cool. Who doesn’t like to be the cool kid on the block? Solar is an undeniably hot and trendy technology, so why not add a system to your roof and enjoy witnessing the “panel envy” of your neighbors and friends?   

    How to Go Solar at Home

    According to Google’s Project Sunroof, nearly four out of five U.S. homes have enough unshaded area to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. So when you’re ready for a larger investment in your home (similar to what you would pay for a kitchen remodel or home addition), chances are good that solar will pay off for you.  

    That said, PV panels aren’t the only way to go solar in your home. Here are more ideas, at a variety of price points for any budget:
    •    Solar water heater — A typical solar water heating system saves 50-80 percent on monthly water heating costs, even in a cloudy climate.
    •    Solar landscape lighting — Solar outdoor lighting doesn’t just save electricity. It’s also safer and reduces maintenance because you won’t have to run power lines outside. 
    •    Solar chargers — A solar phone charger lets you charge your phone from anywhere, even on a hiking trip or in a boat! 
    •    Solar Christmas lights — Solar LED holiday lights are convenient to set up, and can save you up to $10 for every 300 hours they’re lit.

    These are just a few of the many benefits you can realize by going solar at home. Check out this infographic to discover even more compelling reasons why so many Americans these days are choosing to add solar to their homes. 

    Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation, one of the largest residential solar energy companies in the mid-Atlantic region. It is committed to providing homeowners with high-quality, American-made solar panels and solar energy products. 

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  19. In today’s economic uncertainty and fluctuating weather Calgary homeowners are increasingly interested in reducing their home’s impact on the environment, which can also help lower energy and utility costs. 

    Built Green Canada, a national organization with a certification program that rates the level at which a home is energy-efficient, measuring factors such as the materials and methods used in construction, ventilation, waste management, water conservation, and indoor air quality. The Calgary Herald has reported that Calgary and area builders enrolled more single-family homes in the Built Green Canada program in 2016 than a year earlier, and again more homes in the Calgary area were enrolled in the program over the first three months of 2017 than the same time last year. 

    Built Green Canada notes that there are a number of roofing materials and methods that improve thermal performance and offer energy benefit including recycled-content roofing systems and those with a minimum 30-year manufacturer warranty on roofing material. To help you make eco-friendly choices when you need roofing and siding replacement our roofing contractors at Century Roofing Limited have pulled together these common roofing related ways to make your home environmentally friendly:
    •    Proper insulation and ventilation of a roof system - reductions in power and fossil fuels used in the heating and cooling processes will help make a more environmentally efficient household.
    •    Daylighting - bring natural daylight into your home will benefit the environment by reducing electricity, and provide healthy natural light to the household. 
    •    Landscaping - keeping vegetation growth from encroaching on a roof area will aid in air circulation and reduce wear and tear on your roof system. Extending the life of the roof system reduces the material usage over time, saves money, and lowers the environmental impact. 
    •    Proper roof maintenance - keeping the gutters, downspouts, and roof area free of debris will help extend the life of a roof system. By utilizing the full life span of a roof system homeowners can delay replacement, which in turn results in cost savings and less material waste. 

    Albertans are increasingly embracing eco-friendly building options as evident in Built Green Canada’s efforts and events such as Edmonton’s Eco-Solar Home Tour, now in its 17th year (June 3-4, 2017), showcasing ways to maximize energy efficiency at home. Century Roofing Limited can help you to fill all those needs. We handle virtually everything having to do with roofing. No project is too big or small for our roofing contractors; see what our Calgary roofers can provide:
    •    Historical renovations;
    •    Custom designs/installations using quality craftsmanship and materials;
    •    Large-scale commercial or varied sized residential roofing projects;
    •    Roofing, eavestroughing, soffit and fascia renovation and repair; and 
    •    Siding maintenance and repair.

    At Century Roofing Limited, we handle virtually everything having to do with roofing and offer a host of eco-friendly options. If you have questions about your homes or business exterior contact us at 403-235-5457 today to plan your next project and get a free estimate. Serving central and southern Alberta and eastern British Columbia.

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    Every generation has its own defining issue, and unfortunately, ours is climate change. Climate change is affecting people and communities all over the world. Apart from being a major threat to humankind, climate change has far-reaching impacts on the entire ecosystem. For over a quarter of a century, activists and concerned citizens have been discussing climate change through public broadcasting. Back in the In the 80's, the main focus was on recognizing and discussing the potential threats. In the past 30 years, we have thoroughly examined the actual impacts and yet failed to effectively address global warming. We’re all aware that Global Warming is happening as a direct consequence of human activities. That’s why activists and concerned citizens like Solly Assa, are struggling to keep the American public informed.

    Over time the conversation has changed, but the problem has remained unsolved. Solly Assa calls everyone to become emotionally, practically, intellectually and politically and involved in this battle to save our planet. The effects of Climate Change are already with us and if we continue down this path, the planet that as we all know it, may be given a 10-year deadline. The actual impact has caused heat waves, droughts, ocean acidification, and floods. Global warming has also exacerbated poverty, hunger, and spread of diseases. The consequences of climate change are very real, and if we don’t take drastic changes, it can even lead to the worst consequence, which is leaving that planet

    As an individual, Mr. Assa has helped by taking action to reduce his personal carbon emissions and encourages more people to do the same. We all need to take responsibility and reduce Carbon Emissions now. Once we start dealing with the problem on an individual level, together we can get the support needed to build a community that can make a difference.  To fully address the threat of global warming, we need to seek action from our leaders who have the power to implement comprehensive solutions. In December 2015, world leaders agreed to limit Global Warming to 2°C, but since then we haven’t seen some life real action. For example, countries like Denmark have committed to 100 percent renewables, while China has increased their renewable energy consumption.

    Because of climate change, humans and wild animals face new challenges for survival. If we don't reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically, then the results will be catastrophic for the climate. Education and information play important roles as facilitators of climate understanding. Nowadays there is a wide range of documentaries and other informational media that can help us get to the bottom of this issue. But in order to succeed, we all need to be a part of the solution. Together we have the power to limit the effects of climate change. We have all participated in the over-use of our planet, and now the time has come for us to unite and start fighting for our home.

  20. Indoor air quality means the condition of the air that you and your family breathe inside your home. This is an important concern because you spend most of your time indoors and you could be exposed to environmental pollutants. Air pollution is largely considered as being outdoors, but the truth is that the air in your house is more contaminated. Indoor air pollutant levels are higher than outdoor levels. Indoor air pollution happens when toxic contaminants and gases infect the air. You shouldn’t assume that that your home environment is completely safe. Considering that Toronto’s environmental pollution is still causing serious health issues, you can’t afford to take any chances. Be sure. There are many ways to tell if the indoor air quality is bad.

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    Get in touch with air quality experts

    One of the best ways to know if you have poor home air quality is to have it tested. Sure, selecting Toronto air quality experts is a daunting task, but the Internet has made the process a lot simpler. The air quality experts will investigate your indoor air quality, thus being of great help. What the trained professionals do is offer you peace of mind. You will know for sure whether you and your family are living in a healthy indoor environment. Don’t waste your time with test kits. They aren’t reliable, not to mention that they are expensive. You should better invest your money in professional indoor air quality testing. The consultants will be able to detect even the tiniest sources of poor indoor air quality. The best thing you can do is call in the professionals.

    Take notice of your allergies

    It’s hard not to attribute an allergy episode to a climate change. Yet, you could be having a sensitive reaction to indoor allergens. The change in weather patterns isn’t to blame, but animal dander, dust mite droppings, and mould. They are the ones overwhelming your immune system. If you experience rashes, watery eyes, trouble breathing or you have a runny nose, then chances are that you have poor home air quality. Pay attention to when and where the symptoms appear and disappear. If allergy symptoms occur when you stay at home, you have a problem. But what if you don’t have allergy symptoms at all? Well, take notice of your loved ones. Their sensitivity is a good indicator of indoor air quality.

    Investigate the indoor air quality

    You can tell if your home has poor air quality by looking for sources of pollution. Know that it’s not easy to identify sources of environmental pollution and that their presence doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a problem. Here are some examples of sources of poor air quality:

    ·         Damp carpets

    ·         Old pieces of furniture

    ·         Heating equipment

    ·         Building materials

    There is nothing more important than the health of your family, so don’t ignore the aforementioned sources of indoor air pollution. Look for these culprits even before you have your home tested.

    Look for mould growth

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    It’s not uncommon for mould to grow and homes. What is uncommon, on the other hand, is to inhale mould spores. Mould poses threats to the health. Harmful effects of mould include allergic reactions, rashes, coughing, and eczema. But these should be the least of your worries. Exposure to mould leads to infection, respiratory problems, and even cancer. Mould is not as easy to identify as you may think. The fungus is usually hidden from the view, so finding its source can be difficult. Places you need to check are the corners where the walls meet the ceiling, behind appliances, and in the basement.

    Consider home improvements and repairs

    Home improvements and repairs can affect the indoor air quality. How so? Making updates results in strange things. For instance, if you install a new A/C, you and your family can get sick. The filter retains all kinds of germs and bacteria, so if it isn’t cleaned regularly, it can become dangerous. Other changes that affect the home environment are removal of asbestos and lead-based paint. If you haven’t gotten to cleaning up after such projects, it’s time you did. The last thing you want is to suffer health consequences.

    When it comes to determining if you have poor indoor air quality, it is better to get in touch with the experts. Trained professionals are the only ones capable of discovering the gravity of the situation. They can tell you which is the source of the indoor air pollution and how you can deal with the problem. The greatest thing of all is that the solutions provided are neither difficult nor expensive. If you have a reasonable doubt concerning the quality of the indoor air, contact the professionals.

  21. Ever since people started realising the need of keeping the environment clean and healthy, that’s when the concept of using reusable shopping bags came into existence. There was a time when people used to use paper bags for carrying their essentials, but then came plastic bags. Well, now people do understand the dangers plastic bags bring with them, hence efforts are being made to cease their usage. The best solution to both of these varieties is these bags. Yes, canvas shopping bags do rectify all the flaws posed by paper and plastic bag, and undoubtedly these bags are here to stay. These bags are durable, sturdy, and capable enough to bear heavy weights. Here is why you should use these bags.

    Because Canvas Bags are Eco-Friendly

    Canvas bags are loaded with several benefits. Not that these bags are long-lasting and durable, these do not harm the environment as well. How? The answer is quite straightforward and simple. These bags can be used for a long period of time, unlike plastic and paper bags. In this way, lesser amount of waste is produced. And that is not where the benefits of these bags end, these are biodegradable as well, so no need to regret if you get bored with one of your previously favorite canvas shopping bags. But do keep in mind that you need to use these bags for quite a long period of time in order to recompense their extensive carbon footprint and hazard to the environment.

    With the increasing demand, canvas bags bulk are available in various stores of the market. To give a tough competition to paper and plastic bags, these bags are available in different variants and hues. Ladies are often seen flaunting their beautiful canvas bags on the streets. So, what are you waiting for? Grab one for yourself today to keep the environment clean, green, and healthy.

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    Having a garden in your own backyard can be a highly rewarding notion. You can either make a beautiful flower-garden and use it as your own private little oasis or you can grow vegetables in it. The latter method allows you to produce organic food for you and your family and save some money along the way. Whatever your choice may be, the key to making your gardening efforts more efficient mostly lies in how diligent you are when it comes to its maintenance. One of the huge items on this list is the question of watering. Most domestic watering methods are inefficient and waste too much water, however there are a few ways you can make this both effective, environment friendly and inexpensive.

    1.      Drip Irrigation

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    Image source: Flickr

    It would simply be unfair to start this list with any other method, seeing how it is the pinnacle of both simplicity and frugality. All you need for this to work is a hose long enough, that you will strategically deploy all across your garden. After this, you need to poke tiny holes in this hose (as small as possible) so that it starts dripping in all the right places once you turn the tap on. As for the tap itself, it is in your best interest to open it as little as possible, because too much water will create pressure that will probably destroy the whole system.

    2.      Using the Bucket.

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    The greatest problem with the previous idea is that it relies on tap being constantly open. Instead of it, some people decide to use a bucket or a barrel filled with water with a tiny hose attached to it. This bucket would have to be elevated on a platform of any kind (even things such as stone, chair or an old tree stump will do the trick) in order to allow the flow even to the water at the bottom of the bucket. Another advantage of this method, which shouldn’t be overlooked, is that it allows you to use gathered rainwater, which makes your efforts planet-friendlier (not to mention more money-saving).

    3.      A Plastic Bottle System

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    Another course of action you could take (perhaps even simpler than the drip irrigation one) is the so called plastic bottle irrigation. All you need to do here is take a large plastic bottle and poke few holes at its bottom. After this, you need to bury its lower half into the ground and fill the bottle with water. This way, it will gradually release water. When you take a closer look at it, this system is cheaper in the long run since it uses a finite amount of water, instead of relying on the tap that never ends running.

    4.      PVC Drip Irrigation

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    A PVC drip irrigation method is an ingenious and simple project, which can be made for as little as $50 and is specifically designed to minimize your water spending. Here, all you will need are some PVC pipes (both 3/4″ and 1/2″), end caps, elbows, connector tees, ball valves, some PVC cement, pipe straps and some screws to attach them. All of these, are standard and can be found in any hardware store. As for the tools you will need, a simple hammer, nails and a drill will do. Now, assembling it is a bit tricky, but those determined to go through with it can find an in-depth-tutorial here.

    5.      Getting Serious

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    Even though most of the above mentioned methods did usually cost under $10 to make, there is no reason why inexpensive should serve as a synonymous for next to nothing. For just a bit more, you could get some plastic ground stakes, tee connectors, micro sprayers and even some retractable hose reels. In this way, you can make a sprinkler system, almost authentic to those that can be seen in stores and ensure that your garden is always taken care of properly.

    In Conclusion

    Keeping your garden safe during the summer is a vital task, but it is also something you need to start worrying about on time. Even though you don’t have to go out right away and start working on the system, it would be smart to at least start doing some research on which of these methods would suit your needs, and those of your garden, the best. The prices of all the above mentioned are fairly low, especially when considered with the prices of commercial DIY systems. You should also keep in mind that this project is not something you will do every year. Overall, undertaking such an effort is always more than worth it.

  22. flowers-to-gurgaon

    Flowers are meant to make any celebrations truly amazing and magnificent. You can send flowers to Gurgaon online or in any other place to give a unique look and feel to any celebration. The company is known to deliver fresh fragrant flowers to its customers for occasions like birthday, marriage anniversary, office promotion, farewell and other events. Customers have the freedom to choose any flower types based on their preference and the type of occasion.

    The company has the stockpile of blooming fragrant flowers that are available in multiple colours, floral arrangements and bouquet styles. Customers can choose the flowers such as roses, tulips, sunflowers, daisies, lilies and other varieties that can be delivered anywhere in India and other countries with the support of its express delivery services.

    Avail the flower delivery in Gurgaon, Noida, Delhi and other cities of India and abroad in a time bound manner. Speaking for the development, the company officials reiterated that “Flowers are a part of every other celebration and the company is working to deliver them anywhere to its customers in India and other countries through its express shipping services”. Get the desired flowers at the doorstep from a wide coverage network of express delivery services.

    The company is committed to deliver fresh fragrant flowers to its customers in a time bound manner. It can offer the best flowers that will reach the destination without getting wilted. Customers don’t need to search for any florist shop as people can send flowers to Gurgaon online with this online florist shop.

    So, avail the flower delivery in Gurgaon and other places in India or abroad through the time bound express delivery services.

    A well-known name in the domains of sending online flowers, cakes and gifts delivery to make every occasion truly memorable. The company is capable to deliver the orders anywhere in India and overseas through its reliable express delivery services.

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