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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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  • 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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    • 3,527 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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    • 1,114 views

Our community blogs

  1. 3 Green Approaches To Your Emergency Preparedness Plan.jpg

    Getting your family and home ready for an emergency doesn’t need to be bad for the environment. In fact, many homeowners are surprised to hear that “prepping” can actually reduce their carbon footprint when done correctly. Here are some eco-friendly tips that will help you get your family ready for emergencies such as storms, floods, and power outages.

    Buy Supplies That You Are Going To Use Anyways

    Many of the food products that are put in survival kits aren’t designed to be very tasty. The point of an emergency ration is to be as lightweight as possible while still providing you with enough calories to survive. Instead of buying bland survival food, you can stock up on nonperishables that your family will end up eating anyways. Most experts agree that families should have a good mixture of canned and dried foods that will last for at least a year. That includes dehydrated fruit, cereal, canned vegetables, canned meats, nuts, rice, and pasta.

    Invest In Second-Hand Gear

    Even though emergency gear can be expensive, there is a large second-hand market for most of these items. Those who spend a little extra time searching for supplies might be able to stock their entire home with second-hand items that have never even been taken out of their packages. In addition to scouring the internet for deals, you can also take a look at local military surplus stores in your town. Buying brand new flashlights, first aid kits, and other emergency supplies is only going to send more unused items to the dump.

    Make Your Home Self-Sufficient

    Making your home as self-sufficient as possible is good for the environment and a great way to prepare for emergencies. The first step in this process is to make sure that your home has an alternate source of energy, like a standby generator from Anderson Water Systems. If a natural catastrophe causes rolling blackouts, then you will be able to take your entire home off the grid so that electricity can get to hospitals and other emergency organizations. Those who live in a colder climate should also consider investing in a secondary heating source such as a wood furnace.

    Having a well-stocked home and comprehensive plan for emergencies will keep your family safe during these terrible events. With some research and a little bit of planning, you can make sure that your emergency preparations have almost no impact on your neighbors and the environment around you.

     

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    Winter can be a brutal time for your family as well as your pets, and your whole crew may spend much of your time indoors where it is safe, warm and cozy. However, winter weather can be harsh on your home in different ways as well. Some of the more common types of winter damage that homeowners may have to deal with actually can be prevented when you take a few steps to prepare for the weather conditions to come.

     

    Ice Dams on Your Roof

    Heavy snow and ice on your roof can be potentially damaging because of the added weight on the roof, but this is not the only issue that cold weather presents to your home. When your home’s attic is not properly insulated, several patches of melted snow and ice may develop in pools over warmer areas of the roof. These can ultimately cause water to unnaturally pool up and even to flow upward into the shingles. Roofs are not designed for water to flow upward, so leaks commonly occur when this happens. Adding a new layer of insulation in your attic can prevent uneven heating. It can also help you to reduce heating bills in the months and years to come.

     

    Ruptured Irrigation Systems

    When the temperature is very low outside, the temperature of your soil may also plummet. Any water that is inside your irrigation system’s pipes may freeze. As water freezes, it expands. This exerts outward pressure on your pipes, and they ultimately may leak or rupture. This can waste water, and it can also result in the need for expensive repair work. Winterizing your irrigation system, or having a company like Hydrotech Irrigation Co. do it for you, is a great step to take to prevent this type of damage.

     

    Tree Branch Damage

    When snow and ice buildup on tree branches, the branches may become heavy with the weight. Branches that may not normally touch your roof, windows or siding may now brush against them regularly and cause damage. Some tree branches may even break under the weight of snow and ice, and this could damage the roof of the side of your home. Trimming branches away from the home in the summer or fall months is a smart idea.

     

    As you can see, there are several types of property damage that can be caused by winter weather conditions. As common as these issues are, they can easily be prevented when you spend time preparing your home for the weather conditions that will soon arrive.

  3. Machinery.jpg

    In case your company has not taken the necessary steps to become eco-friendly, you need to take the challenge head-on. Taking the initiative to reduce waste and going green is a great way to becoming efficient and saving money for your business. A lot needs to be done to ensuring our working environments are sustainable for the future generations.

    Below are four eco-friendly practices that will help you reduce your company’s machinery carbon footprint, and save money for your business.

    Take Part in a Local Electronics Recycling Program

    Recycling your used electronics provides materials that are reusable to repair and build other electronics, and also help in building the economy. More jobs are going to be created at the same time; the environment is going to be protected.

    Buy Used and Refurbished Electronics

    Organizations can save a lot of money if they buy refurbished desktops, laptops and servers. There are times where you can save up to 50% of the cost of purchasing a new product. The interesting thing is that the refurbished products are usually slightly used or just unboxed. Consumer laws restrict manufacturers to sell products that have a company seal. Refurbished products also go through numerous test before they are resold.

    Pull the Plug

    You are not always working on your computer 24 hours of the day, depending on the type of work you do. Before you leave the office, ensure to turn off all computers that are not being used. You can use one power strip where several computers are plugged in. This will make it easier for you to ensure that no appliance is pilfering energy secretly. You can also set your computer to shut down at specific times of the night. Ensure that you save more energy by using energy saving appliances and fluorescent light bulbs that are compact, to reduce energy consumption.

    Go Green on Heating and Cooling

    Heat your office when it is occupied to a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius, and 16 degrees when it is unoccupied. Cooling and heating set points have to be set apart by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius so that the air conditioner does not turn on and off. Machine coolant on the air conditioner as well as any other company machinery needs to be checked on a regular basis so that the air conditioner functions properly, so make sure to be in contact with a company like ETNA Products Inc. Besides coolant, you can place caulking and weather strips to minimize the loss of heat from the doors and windows.

    Conclusion

    There are several ways in which you can make your business environment eco-friendly by making your office machinery eco-friendly. You need to ensure that your company understands the available options and they are aware of what is needed, and what can make a difference in the working environment. Join the movement of going green and make the world a better place.

  4. volkswagen-auto-historically-vw-163809.j

    More and more people are worried about the planet, which is probably why many are making eco-friendly choices when making purchases. For one, more people are hunting for eco-friendly cars that they can feel good about. The only problem is that trying to get a car that won't kill the planet can be a little overwhelming, but the following tips may help.

    1. Consider Fuel

    Switching to an eco-friendly car could mean switching to more eco-friendly fuel. The options that you have include biodiesel, diesel, and electric. You want to make sure you know where your charging or fueling stations are before you choose a car that runs on either of these fuels. You do not want to find out that your nearest charging station is an hour away.

    2. Focus on Needs

    You cannot forget your needs when purchasing an eco-friendly vehicle. More car manufacturers are creating eco-friendly cars, so there are several options for you. You need to think about cargo space, towing capabilities, passenger space, and even off-road capabilities. In essence, you need to make sure that your eco-friendly car fits your lifestyle.

    3. A Good Selection

    It is easy to focus on the details of the car and overlook the importance of the dealership. You need to find a car dealership such as Young Automotive Group that has enough cars for you to choose from. A large selection is definitely a good sign, but you should also meet with some of the salespeople to ensure that they are knowledgeable about eco-friendly cars.

    4. Look for Certification

    The next thing you might want to do is check the EPA certification on the car. The EPA grades eco-friendly cars using the SmartWay Certification program, which should allow you to choose the most eco-friendly car that you can buy. You can go to the EPA's site directly to see the vehicles that are currently graded, or you can talk to your car dealership salesperson about the choices that are available in their car lot.

    These are just some tips that could help you find a car that will make your life easier without killing the planet. Remember, several vehicles do not run on eco-friendly fuels but are still eco-friendly because they give you more miles per gallon than ever before. These types of vehicles should also be a possibility just in case you live in an area without many eco-friendly re-fueling or charging options.

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    You want your home to be safe and clean, but you also probably don’t want anyone in your home to be exposed to harsh and toxic substances. Unfortunately, many chemicals in cleaners are not safe. But the good news is that you can just as easily clean your home with simple, homemade green cleaning methods.

    Sink Scouring

    What could be less expensive or fresher than using a tried-and-true method to clean your sinks, showers, and tubs? The key ingredient is baking soda, and you can simply sprinkle it on a surface to be cleaned, then add a little water. For enhanced cleaning benefits, add a couple drops of essential oil like tea tree oil or lavender oil.

    Drain Cleaner

    Drains in bathroom and kitchen sinks as well as tubs and showers can get dirty and smelly over time. Address that issue by keeping all drains clean. Simply sprinkle some baking soda in the drain, and then pour a bit of vinegar in there. The mixture will fizz some. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes or overnight, and then flush it with hot water. Some companies, such as Coastal Plumbing Inc., know that if your drain is having a serious problem, you might want to look into using a drain cleaning service. They will maintain your drain so that it works like new.

    Countertop and Surface Cleaner

    It is important to keep the surfaces in your kitchen looking clean. This includes the countertops and refrigerator shelves. This is an easy cleaning issue to address. Get a 32-ounce spray bottle, and fill it almost to the top with water. Then add about 25 drops of grapefruit seed extract. Shake up the bottle. You now have a spray cleaner that has zero chemical odor yet cleans through grease and dirt very effectively.

    Laundry Powder

    There is no need to use laundry cleaning products that are filled with chemicals that you have to breathe when you use the products. Instead, opt for green and homemade laundry cleaning methods. One great option is to use washing soda powder along with borax powder for washing clothes in all temperatures in the washer. Use about a tablespoon of each item for a regular-sized load of clothes.

    When you use homemade and green cleaning methods and products, you have greater peace of mind in knowing that you are not using harmful, harsh chemical products. And a huge bonus is that cleaning becomes much more pleasant and even fun.

  6. “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

    ― Luther Burbank

     

    Yes, flowers are one of the best gifts by nature that makes your life more colorful and vibrant. Even on your worst times, a glimpse of flowers can bring solace. Similarly, in the harsh and dry winters, flowers can add a rainbow of colors by its presence. But, if you are wondering how can flowers survive the harsh winters then, you must not have heard about the flowers that only blooms in winter.

     

    Here is a list of 7 wonderful and beautiful flowers to keep you warm in the winter season:

     

    Carnations

    One of the beautiful and common flowers that rules during winter season are Carnations. These long-lasting blooms are commonly known as “pinks” and have a spicy floral fragrance. Found in different hues of colors, carnations symbolize love and fascination. Hence, a bouquet of carnations is perfect to convey your love for your dear ones.

     

    Gerbera Daisies

    Gerbera Daisies are just another significant flower that blooms in winter. These blooms are found in several colors like yellow, red, white, orange and pink. Rewarded as the fifth most popular flower in the world, Gerbera Daisies symbolize purity and cheerfulness. So, whenever you want to cheer up your dear ones, you can send them Gerbera Daisies.

     

    Lilies

    Lilies are one of the notable winter flowers often used in decoration. You can often see them in winter weddings or festivals. Lilies are perennial flowers which symbolize royalty and purity. Found in a variety of colors, Lilies also symbolize rebirth, motherhood, and fertility.

     

    Pansies

    Pansies are a staple flower for gardeners in the winter season.

    These cheerful blossoms can add so much of brightness to your garden. Like most of the flowers, pansies also symbolize the love your heart holds for another person. An interesting fact about Pansies are that they are edible and are a good source of nutrients.

     

    Calendula

    Also known as “Pot Marigolds”, these flowers are similar to daisies in look and are found in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, and other pastel hues. These beautiful flowers are also considered sacred in India and are used in religious rituals. Calendulas generally symbolize cheer, happiness,and success in life.

     

    Winter Jasmine

    These are evergreen shrubs that grow up to 4 to 6 feet wide. The peak blooming season of this aromatic and heavenly flowers is the late February and the early March. Associated with love, these snowy white blooms symbolize beauty and sensuality too. That’s why garlands of white Jasmines are often used in weddings.

     

    Daffodils

    These trumpet-shaped yellow bright flowers can uplift and energize your soul by its presence. These blossoms are also known as Narcissus and come in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, pink, white, and several others. Oils extracted from daffodil plants are used by people to reduce stress. Daffodils symbolize creativity, energy, vitality, and memory.

     

    These were some beautiful flowers that blooms in the winter. You can easily get order these flowers from online flower shops. Suppose you want to send a bouquet of Gerbera Daisies in Mumbai then, all you need to do is to order your flowers from the best online flower shop in Mumbai to experience an impeccable delivery service. So, send your loved ones one of these flowers to brighten their day this winter.

  7. The Green Home How Your Roof Can Impact Your Energy Efficency.JPG

     

    The roof protects your home interiors from snow, wind, hail, storm, rain and sun. It also ensures that heat from either the outside or inside does not leak to either side. If the roof is energy-inefficient, it may be costing hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs. Here are factors of your roof that may impact on the energy efficiency of your home.

     

    The Level of Insulation

    Ideally, energy efficiency is ensuring that the temperature out there does not affect the indoor temperature. One of the areas where outdoor temperature may influence your indoor temperature is the roof. The insulation levels in your attic determine whether the house losses some of the cool air during summer or gets cold during summer.

     

    Inspect the attic insulation regularly. Install additional insulation when necessary. Quality insulation also protects the roof from damage due to condensation in the attic.

     

    Ventilation

    Your roof requires some ventilation to offload the excess heat that may be hidden in the attic. During the cold weather, the trapped heat in the attic may thaw the snow prematurely and create ice dams. Ice dams eventually become points of weakness and leakage on the roof. You may end up with expensive leak repairs or roof replacement.

     

    During the hot weather, trapped heat may make your cooling systems less efficient. Therefore, it costs you more to cool the house that you should. Moreover, poor ventilation may tap moisture under your roof and cause damage to the holding beans and the roof structure. Trapped moisture can lead to mildew growth and rust on your metallic fixtures.

     

    Color

    The color of the roof also affects the energy efficiency of your home. Dark-colored roofs usually absorb lots of heat during summer. They can heat up to over 150 F° in a hot summer.

    The extra heat is transmitted to the attic and other materials in your home. This increases the indoor temperature thereby raising the energy consumption of your air conditioning systems. You end up paying more to keep your house cool.

     

    Consider light-colored roofs or roofs made from light-reflecting materials. You can also seek the help of professional roof contractors such as Stevens Roofing Corporation to help determine best colors to reflect heat. This enhances your energy efficiency and keeps your home cooler.

     

    Cut your energy costs by improving the energy efficiency of your home starting with the roof. Install the right roofing when building or refurbishing the house. Check the above elements to lower your energy costs.

  8. w7jBwBN.jpg

     

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

    Planning

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

    Downsize the lawn

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

    Eco-friendly mowing

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

    Plant low-maintenance plants

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

    Clever landscaping

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

    Watering

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

    Weed and insect control

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

    Fertilizing

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

     

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

  9. Effective Energy 4 Benefits of Using Solar Power at Home.jpeg

    For many people today, green energy is a huge concern. We want it from our companies, but don’t often practice it ourselves. At home, solar panels are a great way to reduce the environmental impact your home has, with a host of other positives, like:

    Lower Energy Bills

    The most obvious boon of solar panels is reduced energy costs. Depending on the amount of sun in your area, the break-even point for solar panels can be as little as two years, though the average is six to eight. To maximize your savings, consider contacting a licensed electrician to complete the installation, as they can work to best optimize the placement and wiring to bring about the lowest costs and highest yields. Average savings number in the tens of thousands over twenty years, increasing for sunnier locations.

    Secure, Reliable, Independent

    Solar energy comes from the sun, which comes with a number of benefits besides being clean and free: it can’t be monopolized, we know when it’s coming, and no one can limit our access to it. When it comes to energy sources, it’s the only choice a homeowner can make that affords them control; once you own solar panels, you have access to energy, period.

    Increase Home Value

    Research has shown that market demand for solar panels is strong, with buyers willing to pay a premium for homes already outfitted with systems. The average increase in resale value is around $5,911 per kilowatt, putting the typical 3.1 kilowatt system at a nearly $18,000 jump. In addition, you can enjoy increased roof longevity, as solar panels provide some protection from the elements, and lowered cooling costs, as they reflect sunshine in the summer.

    Tax Incentives

    No matter where you live, there’s more than likely some sort of energy incentive. Federal tax credits are numerous and more localized government on the state, provincial, county, or municipal level. There’s also the rise of power purchase agreements to watch, as homeowners can enjoy solar panels for zero initial investment with these agreements wherein the solar company owns the panels while the purchaser pays them off monthly.

    In today’s eco-friendly market, solar panels are an achievable reality for more and more homeowners. Beyond the lower energy bill, they provide numerous benefits like those listed. That’s not to mention their decreased carbon footprint, enabling you to help the environment from the comfort of your own home.

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

    What is the Foundation?

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

    Ways to Protect Your Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Warning Signs You Have a Problem:

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

    Ø Use The Flashlight:

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

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

    Ø Turn Off The Lights:  

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

    Ø Check For The Reflections:  

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

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

    Ø Examine Intrusive Objects:  

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

    Ø Silent The Surrounding:  

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

    Ø Scrutinize Your Pipes And Drainage:  

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

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

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

  12. 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?

  14.  

    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.

     

     

  15. 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.

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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.

  16. Natural-Bedroom_Design.jpg

     

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

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

    1. Improper lighting messes with your sleep cycle.

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

    1. Poor ventilation is unhealthy.

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

    What about the bed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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    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.

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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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  18. 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!

  19. 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?

  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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