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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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    • 978 views
  • 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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    • 3,494 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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    • 1,068 views

Our community blogs

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    Solar energy has never been more popular, and in the United States alone, the number of solar installations is 17 times greater than it was less than 10 years ago. Still, the vast majority of solar installations are used to power homes and businesses or provide additional energy into the electricity grid. However, the fact is that solar power actually has a great number of uses—especially in times of an emergency or natural disaster. When disaster strikes, solar can quickly become your best friend by providing the following potentially life-saving benefits.

     

    Solar Provides Backup Power Whenever You Need It

    If you truly want to be prepared in case of a power outage, a solar backup generator is most definitely the way to go. When the local power grid goes down, you can switch over to your solar generator to ensure that you still have electricity when you need it. Although you may need to monitor your power usage, a solar generator like those offered by Renogy can still allow you to have lights, keep your food cold, etc. As long as the sun is shining, your solar generator will continue to produce power and thus ensure you won’t be near as affected by power outages.

     

    Helps You Stay Connected in the Event of an Emergency

    A solar generator also enables you to charge your phones, tablet and other handheld devices. There are also a number of smaller solar chargers that can be used for the same purpose. In this way, you can ensure that you are able to stay connected and can get up-to-date information about the emergency or disaster situation. Although your ability to make calls or get online will obviously be dictated by your local network, solar can still ensure that your devices remain charged and ready to use whenever you have a signal.

     

    Keeps You Prepared for Any Eventuality

    In the event of a hurricane, tornado or another major natural disaster, there is a high chance that the power could be out for days, weeks or even months. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to begin the cleanup process and start getting back to your normal life until electricity has been restored. This won’t be nearly as much of an issue for you if you are able to rely on solar to power your essentials. Whether it is used to keep food or life-saving medicines from spoiling or simply to ensure that you don’t have to eat by candlelight, solar allows you to be prepared for any long power outages or other disruptions to the electricity grid.

     

    Based on this evidence, it is obvious that solar energy can be a huge help during an emergency or disaster situation. Although solar won’t make it any easier to overcome the loss or devastation of a disaster, it can still ensure that you have access to electricity when you need it most. In this way, solar power really is an emergency essential.

  2.  

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    It doesn’t matter how shiny and beautiful your building is inside and out, strong, powerful odors can get trapped inside. It is not only essential that a building look clean, it should also smell clean. There are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that clean and fresh air is flowing through at all times.

    Locate the Source of the Odors

    Far too often people tend to grab cans of deodorizers, candles, incense, and other products to fight bad air odors. The first thing to do is find out the root cause of the odor. Make sure the inside of the building is thoroughly cleaned and deodorized. Bacteria can set up in areas of the building and cause odors to permeate. Two areas in particular that should be checked: bathroom and kitchen. Both areas are cesspools for germs. And both should be thoroughly scrubbed and free of trash, foods and other things that can set up odors.

    How is Your Building’s Ventilation?

    The ventilation system can carry odors from place to place. A clogged ventilation system can cause offensive odors to permeate through your building. Call in a professional to make sure your system is running correctly and is free of anything blocking the air. It wouldn’t hurt to call in an environmental air quality consulting service, like Stephenson Environmental Management Australia, to investigate air quality issues. Bad air can cause health concerns. They can perform air tests to find out the source of the problem.

    Use the Right Cleaning Supplies

    The building should be cleaned by products that kill the source of the germs, not mask odors. Products like Pine Sol, Lysol and others germ-killers are the best. There are a number of sweet-smelling products on the market that do little to kill bacteria and germs. The simply cover up odors temporarily. Get a good disinfectant and get rid of the source of the problem.

    What’s Inside the Walls?

    Do you have dead critters inside your walls? As sickening as it is to believe, sometimes rats, raccoons and other small animals can get inside the walls and die. A professional will have to come in to remove the dead animal and patch up holes to prevent others from coming in.

    If your building seems to lack fresh air, sometimes enlisting simple steps can fix the problem. If you follow certain steps and the bad air persists, call in an environmental air quality consultant. They can get to the root of the problem.

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    The cold wind is about to start blowing outdoors, and your home will need to work hard to keep you comfortable and warm indoors. For you to stay warm your home may need to work harder than necessary, and this will inflate your energy bills. However, by making some home renovations before winter, you will save money, boost energy efficiency and add the value of your home in the long run. Listed below are some renovation ideas.

     

    Get a More Energy Efficient Furnace

    Upgrading to a more reliable and energy efficient furnace is an excellent idea to consider before winter. For instance, you can get a variable speed fan and a gas furnace with a modulating gas valve for consistent warmth at your entire home. This kind of unique technology offered by products such as the Trane XC95m eliminates temperature swings and moderates the energy usage of your system.

     

    Change the Furnace Filter

    Dirty furnace filters restrict the airflow, hence increasing energy use in your residence. By keeping the furnace clean, properly adjusted and updated, you will a save on heating expenses during winter. For best results, consider replacing or cleaning the filters once every month this winter.

     

    Minimize Heat Loss from Windows

    According to the Department of Energy, 10-25% of the heating bills every month can be attributed to the heat lost via the home windows. You need to replace your old windows and doors with energy efficient ones. This will prevent the heating system from working hard to manage the desired temperature. Companies such as RWC Windows, Doors & More provide quality products aimed at improving energy efficiency at an affordable cost.

     

    Purchase Energy Star Products

    Energy appliances use approximately 20% of energy in your home. Because of this, you need to consider buying energy star products. These products use 10-15% less energy compared to other products. This way you will save on utility bills.

     

    Install New Flooring

    You can easily maintain the temperature and reduce energy costs when you get the right flooring. Rugs and carpets, for instance, can trap heat, keeping your home warmer during winter. Flooring professional can provide options you can rely on to cut energy costs.

     

    Consider these ideas to ensure that your home is ready for winter. Some of them might seem like major projects while others are just minor adjustments. In the end, you will realize considerable savings on energy costs.

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    You and your family might be wasting an exorbitant amount of electricity without even realizing it. Inefficient appliances and unwise habits could be costing you thousands of dollars a year, and that is why homeowners should constantly be looking for new ways to reduce their carbon footprint. These five tips will help you bring your electric bills down without making any major lifestyle changes.

    Weatherize Your House

    In the average home, the HVAC system is responsible for around 48 percent of all energy use. Weatherizing your home will limit the amount of electricity that must be used to keep it at a comfortable temperature. Sealing up cracks, caulking around windows, and installing better insulation are all simple projects that will improve your home’s efficiency.

    Cook Responsibly

    When it comes to making meals, changing a few of your habits could put a major dent in your energy bills. Instead of cooking foods as soon as you pull them out of the freezer, you should give them time to thaw out on the counter. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by using energy-efficient appliances such as the microwave and crockpot instead of the oven and stove.

    Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

    Unless your clothes are extremely dirty, you should be able to wash them on the coldest setting. You also need to make sure that the washer is full before doing a load of laundry. These devices use an incredible amount of energy, and being able to cut back on a few loads every month could end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

    Stop Phantom Loads

    Many devices throughout your home will continue to draw power even when they aren’t being used. These “phantom loads” can cost you quite a bit of money, and that is why you should unplug all of your devices whenever they aren’t being used. As an alternative to unplugging each individual device, you can plug multiple devices into a single power strip. When you are getting ready to leave your home or go to sleep, you can cut off all the devices in a room with a single switch.

    Schedule an Energy Audit

    During an energy audit, an inspector will use tools such as current sensors from a company like Aim Dynamics and thermal cameras to detect any efficiency issues that might be taking place. Once the inspection is over, you will be given instructions on how to address those issues. Most experts agree that families should have their homes inspected once every two to three years.

    Homeowners should never accept skyrocketing energy bills without a fight. With a little bit of planning and the proper attitude, you might be able to save thousands a year while reducing your impact on the environment.

  5. Fall Foundation Fundamentals 3 Tips For Making Your Home Energy Efficient.jpg

    Image Source: Pexels

    The fall season is sometimes the best time of the year to make your home energy efficient. You usually don't need to use the air conditioner or the heating system as much as you do in the summer and winter. The season gives you an opportunity to explore the home to look for any cracks under the doors or near the windows that need to be sealed and any issues with the heating system that need to be repaired.

    Seal Air Escapes

    Walk around the home to see if there are any areas where the heat or air might escape. Common areas are underneath doors, around windows and even through electrical sockets. It won't cost a lot of money to seal these areas that allow cold air into the home while you're trying to keep the house heated. Consider using plastic on the windows and on screens in the doors to keep cold air from entering the home. If you can keep air from invading, then you won't need to use the heating system as often, which will save you money.

    Check The Electrical System

    Before you turn on the heating system, you need to check the filters and the vents. A professional company, like Universal Refrigeration, can come to the home to examine the electrical components of the heating or cooling system to ensure that they are working properly. You might want to remove the air conditioners from the windows as these can allow cold air to enter the home through the cracks that might be around the unit as it sits in the window. If your heating unit needs to be replaced, you need to find one that is energy efficient as this can save a significant amount of money on your utility bill.

    Keep It Cool

    If you're someone who doesn't need to stay hot in the fall or winter, turn the thermostat down a few degrees instead of keeping it set at a higher temperature. Before going to bed and if you leave the home for long periods are the best times to turn the thermostat down so that it's not running as much when no one is in the home. A programmable thermostat is an option if you want to install something that will automatically adjust at a certain time or at a certain temperature.

    Keeping your home at the right temperature can take some work. You want to ensure that it's comfortable without spending a lot of money at the same time. After examining the home, you can often make adjustments that will save you money and keep everyone warm or cool during the year.

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

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    The Potential Winners

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

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

    The Possible Losers

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

    The Employment Sector

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

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

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

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

    The Real Estate Impact

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

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


     

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    Green cars have been growing in popularity the last decade or so, and not just due to environmentalists or people who want to limit their carbon footprint. Green cars are not only more eco-friendly, but they’re also economical, getting great fuel economy. Most car manufacturers have edged into the green industry with their own eco-friendly cars, and although they’re still relatively new to the automotive industry, they have good selection of desirable features. Here are 5 technologies that make green cars even safer.

     

    1. All-Electric

    All-electric cars are appealing for a number of reasons. First, car owners charge their vehicles instead of refueling. This can make the upfront cost of the car a little higher, since some households need the manufacturer to install a charging station in their home. However, this cost often pays itself in dividends because it’s cheaper to charge a car every once in awhile than it is to refuel it every week or two.

     

    Additionally, all-electric cars are safer since they don’t contain large quantities of flammable material like gasoline, that can explode in a bad accident.

     

    2. Self-Driving/Semi-Autonomous

    Semi-autonomous or self-driving cars are still fairly new on the market, but these cars are smart enough to drive without human input. They can detect their surroundings as well as sense the environment. While the current models can encounter trouble with inclement weather like snow or slick roads from rain, they have no problems with normal road conditions, no matter the time of day.

     

    Self-driving cars decrease the risk of accidents while simultaneously increasing customer satisfaction. People who can’t drive, like children and the elderly can still get around, while those who have driver’s licenses can do other tasks instead of driving—they’re more like a passenger.

     

    3. Anti-Crash Technology

    Anti-crash technology lowers the risk of rear-ends and other head-on collisions. Cars that have this software programmed in them are able to detect obstacles ahead, and alert the driver of the vehicle. If the driver doesn’t break in time, or doesn’t break hard enough, these smart cars will break the car for the driver, preventing a collision. While anti-crash technology won’t stop any and all accidents on the road, it definitely reduces the chances of you causing an accident.

     

    4. Hydrogen Fuel

    Cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells have already hit the market as a green car alternative to electric vehicles. While some say hydrogen is inefficient, it’s just as safe for drivers and the environment as their electric counterparts, and about the same price.

     

    5. Zero Emissions

    One of the key benefits of green cars is how much safer they are to the environment. You don’t have to be a tree-hugger or environmentalist to try to lower your emissions. Manufacturers over the years have been striving to reduce the emissions of the cars produced. Zero emission cars are the result. These cars don’t emit any exhaust gas, which means that you don’t have to worry about harmful pollutants—either for yourself or the environment.



    Even if you haven’t made it your mission to save the environment, it shouldn’t be hard to see that eco-friendly cars are good cars to drive. The above technologies are only some of the perks with these cars. Why not drive something safe, while potentially getting a tax credit at the same time?

  8.  

    The state of New Jersey has had one of the more interesting real estate markets in our nation. With up and coming neighborhoods, shifting weather patterns, and fluctuating demand, it can be a buyer’s market one year, and a seller’s market the next. 

     

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    In many cases it’s the little things that really add value to your home making it appraise for higher prices while adding value to buyers. Sure, a new kitchen remodel and master bathroom upgrade can increase your home’s value by more than 20%, but the little things can be that deciding factor that makes your home more valuable than the neighbor’s. Here are three outside the box things you can do to add value to your NJ home. 

    1-   New Jersey Oil Tank Removal 

    Back at the turn of the century, underground oil tanks were commonly used to fuel homes.  Today, thousands remain undetected and when they are discovered it is usually because a leak has contaminated the soil or well water. Soil remediation can be expensive and leave your land barren. If you are thinking of putting your home on the market, call a specialized New Jersey oil tank removal company to bring their state-of-the-art equipment to perform oil tank detection across your entire front and back yard. If the company gives you the green light indicating your property is safe from leaking oil tank threats, you can get a certificate to let buyers know this risk is not a concern. If oil tank removal services are required, you will save money on the service because the detection team already started, and when buyers learn the tank was removed they will value your home over those that pose the unknown. 

    2-   Build a Deck 

    You may not be adding square footage to your property, but adding outdoor living spaces will increase your home’s value and delight buyers. Outdoor entertaining was huge in the 60s, and has had a huge comeback in New Jersey—even in winter months. Make sure the space is large enough to host sizeable groups; use cedar wood because it has an amazing scent, and weather treat it for snow, rain, wind and other elements.  Some heat lamps will allow people to use the space all year long. Add a fire it, cozy seating, and an outdoor kitchen with a wine and beer fridge. 

    3-   Add a Walk-In Closet 

    Do you have a large master bedroom? If so, you can actually get a higher sale price on your home by reducing the size of this room and add space to the closet. Today’s buyers look for storage space, and walk-in closets are all the hype thanks to popular TV shows on HGTV that highlight this feature as the golden ticket to new homes. Be sure to add lots of shoe storage, a vanity, and plenty of space for hanging garments. If you have the space, a His and hers walk-in closet will really get the buyer’s attention.

     

     

  9. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average American spends almost 90 percent of their life indoors, and most of that time is spent in the living room. People don’t often perceive this as a problem, since they consider their homes to be safe and healthy. The truth is that indoor pollutants are just as dangerous as the outdoor ones (if not more). Luckily, there are ways to make the spaces we live in healthier. Here are some things you can change in your living room that will drastically improve its influence on your health.

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    Check your paint

    Did you know that the paint on your walls can emit harmful gasses that can find a way into your lungs and eventually harm your health? Before painting your home, you should check whether the paint you want to use contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds). There are some paint colors that have low levels of VOCs, but it is always better to go with the ones that are completely free of these toxins.

    Clean house equals healthy house

    Dust on the bookshelves surely looks bad, but there is much more to it. Dust mites are one of the most frequent indoor air-pollutants, and they can trigger allergic reactions or cause even more harm. Regular dusting will keep you and your family safe. Vacuuming (twice a week) is also an important part of the cleaning process, and to avoid just spreading the dust around, it is best to use a steam-based vacuum cleaner.

    Choose cleaning products carefully

    Cleaning is important, but if it is done with products that contain chemicals and toxins that can harm you, you are not really doing yourself a favor by using them. With that in mind, you should turn to organic cleaning products or make your own cleaning mixtures by using simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda.

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    Clear the air

    Most indoor pollutants settle in the air. Besides addressing the problem at its roots, you should also try to purify the air inside your house. This can be done by introducing houseplants ‒ which are natural air purifiers ‒ and using air-purifying machines with HEPA filters capable of minimizing the harmful particles in the air.

    Change the lighting

    Do you feel unhappy and fatigued when spending a lot of time in your living room? Poor lighting might be the reason. Lighting can not only affect your mood but also cause headaches, eyestrain, emotional stress and sometimes even physical illness. If you notice that lighting in your living room is too bright, too low, or too cool, any reliable Sydney electrician can change it completely and adapt it to your space and needs.

    “Lower” your rugs

    High pile rugs can do wonders for the décor and introduce a warm texture. However, they are also a perfect habitat for allergens and dust. This issue can’t be resolved even with regular vacuuming. That’s why it is better to compromise and opt for low pile rugs, such as flatweave, which will make it difficult for tiny particles to settle and are also easier to clean.

    No shoes inside, please

    The bottom of your outdoor shoes might be the dirtiest and the most germ-affected spot in your home. It is never a good idea to leave them on when entering your living room, unless you want to take all the germs with you. Instead, get a pair of indoor slippers and make a switch between the two at the entryway.

    By following these tips, you can make your living room much healthier for you and your household members and finally turn it into the safe haven it should be.

  10. In UK personal loan among the masses is in huge demand. The personal loan helps to turn your dreams into reality. As the name suggests personal loan is a loan taken for personal reasons. And the best part about the personal loan is that you do not have to reveal the reason for which you’re taking the loan, not even to the bank or financial institutions offering you personal loan. A personal loan could be of varied reasons like marriage, honeymoon, purchasing luxurious items etc. The repayment of personal loan varies from minimum 1 month to 7 years or as per the terms of the contract. There are many companies offering online personal loans UK.

    The best thing about a personal loan is that you do not need to have a guarantor for the loan. Many institutions also offer loan to people with bad credit. There are two documents which you need to show to avail personal loan.

    1.    Pan card/driving license or passport as proof of identity

    2.    Electricity bill/house tax bill/ telephone bill, bank statement for proof of address of the house.

    Types of personal loan

    1.    Car finance personal loan: if you’re in urgent need of a car or wish to have the latest model of the car, then you can avail car finance personal loan. This loan is a boon for those who live in a rural area, where public transport is scarce.

    2.    Home improvement personal loan: if you wish to repair your home, or want to have latest design furniture, you can avail this loan. By taking this loan, you can add value to your house. You can also build multiple stories with the help of this loan.

    3.    Debt consolidation personal loan: when you take a loan to pay off other installments of other loans, it is called debt consolidation. You can take a personal loan to pay off every other installment. However, it is advisable to seek debt counselor advice before consolidating your debt.

    Types of interest rates on personal loan

    The terms upon which you will receive loan will depend a lot upon your credit score. Some financial institutions offer instant personal loan but these loans generally have a high rate of interest. A person with bad credit history may get a personal loan at the high-interest rate. Generally speaking there are two kinds of interest rates: a fixed interest rate is the one whose interest rate remains the same throughout the loan period. A variable interest rate remains to change depending upon the market situation. It is advisable to take the personal loan on a fixed interest rate.

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

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

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

    Recommendations for cleaning the car battery

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

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

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

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

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

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

  11. Natural-Bedroom_Design.jpg

     

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

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

    1. Improper lighting messes with your sleep cycle.

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

    1. Poor ventilation is unhealthy.

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

    What about the bed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

  12. Environmentally Conscious 4 Ways Your Family Can Help Take Care of the Earth.jpg

    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.

  13. 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.

  14.  

    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.

  15. 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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  16. 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!

  17. 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?

  18. 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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    green-building-materials.pdf

  19. 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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  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    5 ways to know if you have poor home air quality_1.jpg

    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

    5 ways to know if you have poor home air quality_2.jpg

    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.

  22. 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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