Blogs

Featured Entries

  • 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  
    • 0 comments
    • 1,638 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
    • 2 comments
    • 4,082 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  
    • 0 comments
    • 1,732 views

Our community blogs

  1. pexels-photo-840996.jpeg?auto=compress&c

    4 Ways A Green Office Leads To Green Profits
    By now, the idea of going green in the business world is probably thought of as an overused cliché. However, you don’t have to live in Southern California and drive a Prius to reap the benefits of green business practices. In actuality, many of these business strategies save money in addition to lowering your company’s impact on the environment. Below are four examples you should seriously consider adopting. 

    Go Paperless
    One definite way to slash costs is to abandon printing. You should be aware that the average printing cost per employee in an office is $725 per year. If you have a lot of employees, that’s a lot of money. Thankfully, nearly everything you can do with paper documents can be replicated and even improved upon with digital files. There’s really no reason to continue using paper at all. 

    Update Your Lighting
    Lighting is something else that can save you money when you go green. Compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs, energy efficient lights can use anywhere from 25 to 80 percent less energy to provide the same amount of light. They also last a lot longer as well. This includes CFL, LED and halogen incandescent lighting. Upgrading to energy efficient lighting is one easy way to go green and save money at the same time. 

    Update Your Plumbing
    Similarly, energy efficient plumbing fixtures can save you a decent amount of money. They use less water to operate. Since you are likely using city water, they can certainly save money in the long run. Installing a solar water heater from companies like Clearwater Plumbing can also help to lower your reliance on other much more expensive heating options like a traditional furnace that uses either electricity or natural gas to heat a home. 

    Obtain Energy Audits
    Lastly, you should consider getting energy audits every year or every other year. This audit performed by a third party can tell you all the ways you are wasting energy and electricity in your office and the rest of your business as well. After making adjustments, you’ll have a much more efficient operation that wastes far less energy. Overhead such as your utility bills will shrink as a result. 

    Overall, while going green may be a cliché, that doesn’t mean the trend is ever going away. Energy efficiency can do far more than help the environment. It’s also a cost cutting measure that increases efficiency and lowers overhead expense. Consider different ways your company can go green and save money at the same time.

     

  2. No matter your stance on global warming, everyone can agree that living “green” is a good idea. After all, it’s always good to take care of the environment and save a lot of money in the process. If you’ve gone down the green living path, you may think you’re living just about as efficiently as you can. However, if you haven’t considered your heating system, all those other green living practices could end up negated. Here are a few ways to ensure your heating system is matching the green goals of the rest of your lifestyle.

    Filter Woes

    Even if you have a newer heating system, a dirty filter will quickly make it largely inefficient. Dirty filters make it much harder for the system to ingest air, causing the blower motor to work harder, resulting in increased electricity usage and extra wear and tear. It’s a good idea to check your filters at least once a month to see if they need to be changed, though if you live in a dusty climate or frequently have your windows open, you may want to check your filter more frequently.

    Working Hard

    Before the cooler weather really sets in, it’s important to have a professional HVAC company take a look at your heating system to ensure it’s in peak operating condition. Dust and dirt can accumulate on various components throughout your system, causing it to operate less efficiently. In addition, individual components within the system may wear out or stop working altogether, requiring replacement to ensure your system works well.

    Empty Spaces

    If you have a central heating system, it’s important to ensure that your system is only heating the parts of your home that are actually occupied. Otherwise, you’ll be paying extra money and using extra energy to heat air that will never be enjoyed. You can direct the heat by closing the registers in unused rooms, and then keeping the doors closed to those rooms so the cooler air within them doesn’t cool down the rest of your home.

    End of the Road

    At some point, even the highest-quality heating systems will need to be replaced. As your system heads toward the end of its life, it will continue to become less efficient, no matter what steps you take. It’s important to have your new system installed by qualified HVAC professionals to ensure that it’s installed properly to ensure it can heat your home efficiently for many years to come. Then, once you have it installed, it’s important to follow the tips above to keep it working at its best.

    Keep the Cold Out

    The best way to keep your heating system from working too hard is to prevent the heat it produces from escaping your home. This is only possible through proper insulation techniques, from wall and attic insulation to proper caulking around doors and windows. When you combine proper insulation with an efficient heating system, you end up with a powerful combination that will keep you warm and comfortable while allowing you to maintain your green lifestyle.

  3. Often people think that being environmentally friendly means recycling. And, yes recycling is important, but it is not the only change companies can adopt, in order to conserve resources and to reduce pollution. Famous brands have understood that being environmentally friendly means reducing the amount of waste generated by their operations. Why did these companies decide to go green? They have multiple reasons:

    -          They know it is good for the planet

    -          They want to conserve resources

    -          They want to cut down their waste

    By doing this they will manage to save money, and as everyone already knows, the main goal of businesses is to increase their revenue. Companies are in a constant search for methods they can use to go greener. The following brands are known worldwide and they are taking the lead into transforming their operations into more sustainable practices.

    McDonalds

    Not long ago McDonalds was one of the negative examples, when we were thinking about the impact companies have on the environment. However, they decided to shift their perspective and to opt for greener strategies. They decided to be the ones who send a signal to the other popular fast-food brands. Nowadays we can refer to McDonalds as one of the leaders in the eco-friendly movement. All their restaurants use energy-efficient appliances, because they considered crucial to reducing the overall energy consumption.

    Also, McDonalds is presently collaborating with PETA, because they want to transform the brand into one that has humane and friendly practices. Multiple restaurants offer green parking lots available only for hybrid vehicles, so their buyers are encouraged to change the cars they use for ones that do less harm to the planet. The parking space has permeable concrete.

    Home Depot

    Home Depot is the true example of a company that struggled a lot to change their practices into greener ones. Home Depot was hit by numerous protests and demonstrations after it was designed as the world’s largest retailer of old-growth wood products, by Rainforest Action Network. But not the protests and demonstrations were the ones that convinced Home Depot to change their actions, the more than 45,000 letters and calls are the ones that forced them to change their perspective. They adopted a no old-growth sales policy and this was only the first step in the long process.

    Google

    Google does its best to support green energy projects, because it is the type of company that is known for the enormous amount of energy it consumes. Google designed the world’s most efficient data centres, and it is a leader when it comes to creating campaigns that promote energy conservation and the usage of renewable energy sources. Google is one of the biggest sponsors of projects that focus on green energy. It invested in solar panels and windmills to create more green energy sources.

    Starbucks

    Starbucks is proud to share with the world their bean-to-cup approach. It improves their efficiency at all levels in the supply chain. Everyone considers this program a success, because Starbucks is using coffee cup sleeves made from recycled paper. Their initiative saves around 80,000 trees every year since 2006. Starbucks has also started multiple collaborations with environmental organisations, because they want to make sure that help the communities it operates in.

    Tesla Motors

    Tesla Motors is a well-known brand for its eco-friendly cars. The company became famous because they managed to produce eco-friendly cars that meet the same levels of speed and power, the other vehicles do. Tesla Motors manufactures electric powered vehicles sold around the world. People prefer this brand because the overall maintenance and care costs are lower compared with the ones from other cars.

    Honda

    Auto companies have difficulties into becoming eco-friendly businesses, but Honda gets involved in a process composed of multiple steps that transformed it into a green business. They managed to find a way to manufacture fuel-efficient vehicles, and they do not stop here. They are in a constant search for improving their vehicles and they are presently seeking for a way to create a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle.

    Auto companies not only that do their best to produce eco-friendly vehicles they also have to make sure that they recycle their waste. Miltek recommends auto companies to establish collaborations with businesses specialised in recycling trash in safety conditions.

    Honda states that they are also working on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and they want in the future their cars to be powered by hydrogen fuel instead of gasoline.

    Toyota

    Everyone around the world has heard about Toyota, because it is the largest car producer. They are also famous for manufacturing cars that reduce the carbon footprint. Prius is the world’s first hybrid vehicle, and it is considered one of the most amazing vehicles people were ever able to drive. This car is worldwide acknowledged for its efficient consumption, and it occupies leading places in the top of cars that emit the least amount of carbon.

    Wal-Mart

    Wal-Mart has a bad reputation when it comes to companies that do efforts to become greener. But, in the present they have started an ambitious project, they want to use renewable energy sources to power all their stores. And they want to use only renewable energy for doing it. Wal-Mart declared that they want to organise all their operations according to a waste-eliminating policy. Not only that their stores will be 100% fuelled by renewable energy, but they will transform all their operations into more eco-friendly ones.

    Coca Cola

    Coca Cola has established three main goals they want to achieve, regarding to environment preservation. They focus on preserving water supplies, climate and energy protection, and sustainable packaging. All these initiatives are ambitious, and it implies all their operations to be conducted according to sustainable rules. But the efforts Coca Cola is making to protect the planet do not stop here. They are getting involved in projects that promote recycling, green packaging designs and energy efficient production of supplies.

    The above companies are examples of how businesses can become leaders in the green revolution. They will encourage other brands to include in their operations more eco-friendly and sustainable business practices.

  4. pexels-photo-128421.jpeg?auto=compress&c

    Waste is not pretty, and some of it is beginning to hurt the environment in more ways than one. This is the reason you need to take steps to reduce the waste you produce. The following are four ways you can do that for the good of the planet. 

    House Inspection 
    A good house inspection can help reduce waste in various ways; for example, you can seal up holes or cracks. These imperfections could be forcing you to use more energy than needed by forcing your AC to work harder to keep your home comfortable. You will not only be reducing energy waste, but you'll end up saving money. Upgrading your home to a smart digital thermometer may give you a tax cut, but also decrease the utilities that you waste. This is great because you can save on utilities consumed while saving money.

    Composting Forward 
    Composting may sound a little strange at first, but it can go a long way towards reducing waste. A lot of what you throw away can be composted naturally without going to landfills. All you need is a composting bin, the sun, and the willingness to feed your garden or a local garden your compost when you are done. Try to get everyone in your home used to the idea of composting so that it becomes easier for you to do it. 

    Water Purification 
    Water purification and filtration  intricate systems it requires not only fabric wire cloth parts  like those found at newarkwire.com, but also a number of other complex systems to create certain chemical reactions to remove particles that could lead to hard water. Hard water is bad for the environment because it can make it harder to dissolve soap, which can clog up your plumbing or the sewer system in your city. Hard water can also degrade your clothes faster, forcing you to buy more prematurely. Businesses, apartment complexes and even residential areas can all have different water filtration and purification systems put in place that will help recycle water and reduce the amount of water waste.

    Going Paperless 
    It is important that you start making your way towards a paperless existence. There are a lot of things you can do like canceling paper statements from your bank and relying on digital statements. You can also ask loved ones to send you digital postcards or mail rather than regular mail. It may be impossible to get rid of all mail, but that doesn't mean you cannot reduce it. You should also consider avoiding the use of paper plates or cups at home. Going digital is also convenient for archiving information as you can search your online database instead of a garage full of boxes.

    These are just some of the eco-friendly steps you can take to lessen the amount of waste your home creates. Sure, it is going to be tough to get used to some of these changes, but it will be worth it in the end.

  5. When buying a home in Ontario, there are several things that can help ensure you make the most of your investment.  Choosing the right area is step one, then choosing the right house is step two.  There are many up and coming neighbourhoods where home prices are still reasonable, and don’t require you to be driving a Ferrari just to even think about entering the market.  I’m looking at you Toronto, with your million-dollar entry fee and overpriced market.  IT is best to look for a city outside of this “crazy” zone, somewhere like Brantford or Hamilton, maybe even Clarington or Bowmanville.  These cities are not only great, pleasant places to live – but they’re going up in value – FAST!

    Of course, determining the best place is one thing, and finding the right home is another. 

    Not all houses are created equal, and if you’re not careful you could end up with a real junker that will empty your pockets faster than a trip to the casino ever could. 

    First, you’ll need to choose the right real estate agent, which as an example, in Brantford you could look to someone like The Munir Group, or in Toronto go with someone from Remax.  Your agent should be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and have a perfect understanding of the market they operate in.  This will allow them to feel you out and find the perfect home for you. 

    Once you’ve found some potential homes, get a home inspector to help you make sure the houses are as good as they seem.  Pick your inspector wisely as they hold the power to help you make a solid purchase. 

    If you aim to expand your home, choosing a builder before you even buy a property can also be a good way to ensure you make the right choice and save money along the way.  Check if any new builds come with a warranty, especially if the home is at risk of workmanship issues, water penetration or structural defects.

    Buying a home is not an easy task, and with the amount of investment required – you better make sure it’s a good one.  This is easier said than done, but with some due diligence and the right people on your team – a beautiful and profitable home is not a white unicorn anymore.

  6. Technical advances in RNA-seq

    Sanger sequencing and microarrays. Sanger sequencing technology was first used for transcriptomics, which enabled methods such as SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression). SAGE was one of the first attempts to quantify gene expression on a global basis. Almost instantaneously, microarrays utilizing complementary probe hybridization, quickly emerged and come to dominate the field of transcriptomics profiling for the next decade.

    NGS. The advent of next-generation technologies has enabled the sequencing approach to surpass microarray approach. In 2006, the first RNA-seq paper was published by utilizing454/Roche technology. The era of RNA-seq dominance began in 2008 with the maturity of Illumina/Solexa technology. The most popular technical platforms for RNA-Seq has been the Illumina Genome Analyzer and Hi-Seq. While the Illumina/Solexa technology can generate gigabases of data per run (initially 1GB per run for the Genome Analyzer in 2006 and 600 GB per run for the HiSeq in 2012), Roche/454 technology generates reads long enough for RNA-seq but are hampered by the relatively low throughput and high cost.

    Third generation sequencing. Despite the popularization of the NGS technologies, the application of third generation sequencing in RNA-seq is on its way. For examples, Heliscope sequencing and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing have already been applied in some RNA-seq studies. PacBio SMRT long reads sequencing technology can easily cover complete transcript from the 5′ end to the 3′-poly A tail without the need of fragmentation to obtain full-length cDNA sequences, which is useful to identify new transcripts and new introns, thereby accurately identifying isoforms, alternative splicing sites, fusion gene expression, and allelic expression.

    Table 1. The advantages of RNA-seq compared with other transcriptomics approaches (Wang et al. 2009).

    Technology

    Tiling microarray

    cDNA or EST sequencing

    RNA-seq

    Technology specifications

    Principle

    hybridization

    Sanger sequencing

    High-throughput sequencing

    Resolution

    From several to 100 bp

    Single base

    Single base

    Throughput

    High

    Low

    High

    Reliance on genomic sequence

    Yes

    No

    In some cases

    Background noise

    High

    Low

    Low

    Application

    Simultaneously map transcribed regions and gene expression

    Yes

    Limited for gene expression

    Yes

    Dynamic range to quantify gene expression level

    Up to a few-hundredfold

    Not practical

    >8,000-fold

    Ability to distinguish different isoforms

    Limited

    Yes

    Yes

    Ability to distinguish allelic expression

    Limited

    Yes

    Yes

    Practical issues

    Required amount of RNA

    High

    High

    Low

    Cost for mapping transcriptomes of large genomes

    High

    High

    Relatively low

    Challenges of RNA-seq

    • Short-read. Illumina sequencing technology has steadily increased read length and throughput since its introduction in 2007. Long paired-end strand-specific reads are commonly used for higher levels of mappability and de novoassembly of transcriptomes. Furthermore, the third generation sequencing technology (such as PacBio and Ion-Torrent) enables full-length transcripts sequencing.
    • PCR biases. Another concern is the impact of PCR amplification on the accuracy of gene expression quantitation via RNA-seq. Helicos and some of the third sequencer used an amplification-free technology. There are also PCR-free methods for Illumina sequencing.

    Workflow of RNA-seq based on NGS

    The workflow of RNA-seq by utilizing high-throughput sequencing technology is illustrated in Figure 1. Briefly, long RNAs are first converted into a library of cDNA fragments through RNA or DNA fragmentation. Sequencing adaptors are then attached to each cDNA fragment and sequence data are generated in a high-throughput manner from both ends (paired-end sequencing). The resulting sequence reads are subsequently aligned with the reference genome or transcriptome, and are classifies into three types: exonic reads, junction reads and poly(A) end-reads. A base-resolution expression profile can be generated by using these three types of sequence reads.

    149921824?profile=original
    Figure 1. A typical workflow of RNA-seq (Wang et al. 2009).

    • Library construction

    149926785?profile=original
    Figure 2. A typical library construction pipeline of RNA-seq.

    Following sample collection, total RNA is usually isolated via organic extraction and/or silica-membranes of spin columns. Total RNA sample is subsequently processed either by direct selection of poly(A) RNA or by selective removal of rRNA because the abundant rRNA is usually not the research focus and greatly reduces the coverage of the useful transcript. Oligo(dT)-based mRNA purification procedure is widely used in eukaryotes. However, some RNA transcripts that lack the poly(A) tails are missed. Compared to the poly(A) RNA selection, ribo-depletion approach is preferred because it enriches all nonribosomal RNA species, including tRNA, ncRNAs, nonpoly(A) mRNA, and preprocessed RNA. The two most popular rRNA depletion methods are: (i) hybridization of rRNA with biotin-labeled anti-rRNA probes, followed by removal with streptavidin-caoted magnetic beads; and (ii) selective degradation of rRNA by a 5’-3’ exonuclease that specifically recognizes rRNA with a 5’ phosphate.

    Fragmentation is subsequently conducted to reach the desired length for different NGS technologies. Some small RNAs, such as microRNAs, piwi-interacting RNAs, and short interfering RNAs, can be directly sequenced without fragmentation. Larger RNA molecules need to be fragmented into smaller pieces (200-500 bp) before deep-sequencing technologies. cDNA fragmentation (DNase I treatment or sonication) and RNA hydrolysis or nebulization. However, each of these methods can create a different bias in the outcome. For example, cDNA fragmentation is usually strongly biased towards the identification of sequences from the 3’ ends of transcripts, while RNA fragmentation has little bias over the transcript but is depleted for transcript ends. Therefore, cDNA fragmentation provides valuable information about the precise identity of these ends and RNA fragmentation provides access to precisely identity of the transcript body.

    In the classic NGS protocols, adapters are ligated onto shared double-stranded DNA fragments. However, a major drawback of this approach is the loss of information on transcriptional direction. Pre-treat the RNA samples with sodium bisulphate can convert the cytidine into uridine. Widespread C-T transition thereby marks the coding stand of each transcript. Some other methods that maintain strand-specificity have been proposed, such as direct ligation of RNA adaptors to the RNA sample before reverse transcription.

    • Sequencing

    The RNA-seq is currently dominated by three different platforms: Illumina (Genome Analyzer and HiSeq), Applied Biosystems SOLID, and Roche 454 Life Science systems. Read lengths range from 30-100 bp for Illumina and SOLiD, and 200-500 bp for 454 pyrosequencing system. 454-based RNA-seq is particularly attractive for non-model organisms without reference genomes or transcriptomes. Longer reads or paired-end short reads can reveal connectivity between multiple exons. RNA-seq is a powerful method to study complex transcriptomes and reveal sequence variations in the transcribed regions.

    • Bioinformatics

    149929857?profile=original
    Figure 3. A typical analysis pipeline of RNA-seq data.

    Quality assessment is the first step for the bioinformatics analysis of RNA-seq, which ensures a coherent final result by removal of low-quality sequences, over-represented sequences, and adapter sequences. Once all reads have been filtered and mapped or assembled, gene expression levels can thus be inferred, leading to a genome-scale transcriptome map in terms of quality and quantity. RNA-seq also allows detecting differential expression (DE) across treatments of conditions. Normalization has to be conducted to adjust the differences between samples such as library size and gene-specific features. Furthermore, RNA-seq enables us to identify SNPs, fusion genes, and post-transcriptional gene regulation, such as RNA editing, degradation, and translation.

    If you want more information about the applications of RNA-seq or bioinformatics workflow of RNA-seq, you can refer to the article.

    References:

    1. Wang Z, Gerstein M, Snyder M. RNA-Seq: a revolutionary tool for transcriptomics. Nature reviews genetics, 2009, 10(1): 57.
    2. Qian X, Ba Y, Zhuang Q, et al. RNA-Seq technology and its application in fish transcriptomics. Omics: a journal of integrative biology, 2014, 18(2): 98-110.
    3. Marguerat S, Bähler J. RNA-seq: from technology to biology. Cellular and molecular life sciences, 2010, 67(4): 569-579.
    4. Wilhelm B T, Landry J R. RNA-Seq—quantitative measurement of expression through massively parallel RNA-sequencing. Methods, 2009, 48(3): 249-257.
    5. McGettigan P A. Transcriptomics in the RNA-seq era. Current opinion in chemical biology, 2013, 17(1): 4-11.
  7. rsz_rawpixel-1135763-unsplash.jpg

    After a while, every home could use some updating and freshening up, whether to match your needs better or simply to make it look more visually appealing. This is especially true if you are happy in your home and are planning on living in it for many more years. Although some eco-friendly renovation projects require quite an investment, you can rest assured that those investments would be worth it. Plus, there are many both affordable and eco-friendly ways to renovate, and here are some you should consider. 

    Buy energy-efficient appliances

    If you’re planning on replacing your old kitchen appliances, look for those that are energy-efficient. You can recognize them by the Energy Star logo on them. Larger kitchen appliances, like refrigerators, for example, can use quite a lot of energy, which means that they can also cost you a lot and for a long time. This is why investing in energy-efficient appliances – even though it might cost a bit more initially – can save you money in the long run.

    Donate everything you no longer need

    If there’s an item that you’re thinking about replacing, and you won’t need it anymore, don’t throw it away. You can always give it to charity, or you might even have a friend who could use it. Moreover, there are many organizations that welcome such items, like Habitat for Humanity, for instance. In short, there are ways not just to be eco-friendly with your unwanted items but to actually give back to the community as well. 

    rsz_sam-hetterich-585833-unsplash.jpg

    Use recycled materials

    Using recycled materials for your renovation, like reclaimed wood, would help reduce waste. Plus, it would preserve nature simply because there would be no need to cut any trees. Plus, there are many salvaged materials that are both durable and visually appealing, so nobody would even notice that your new item is made of recycled materials. For example, bio-glass looks just like any other “new” glass, but it’s completely eco-friendly, which makes it a perfect choice. 

    Renew instead of replacing

    You don’t need to replace everything in order to upgrade the appearance of your home. For example, instead of buying new kitchen cabinets, you could simply repaint them and replace only the knobs. Plus, even small changes can make a difference; you can switch one wooden cabinet door with a glass door. It would emphasize the items you keep in that cabinet, and it would make your kitchen look much more interesting. 

    Repaint

    If you’re thinking about repainting your home, make sure to use VOC-free paint. VOC, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that can evaporate and harm your health. Also, if you’re planning on repainting your exterior, keep in mind that safety comes first, especially if you’re doing it on your own. Therefore, think about getting some quality scaffolding so you can paint the upper parts of your house without using uncomfortable and unsafe ladders that you’d have to move every few minutes. 

    Moreover, if you can’t afford to repaint your entire exterior, think about repainting just your front door, your house numbers, and perhaps your mailbox. It would spice up the appearance of your home, and it would definitely give it a new feel overall. 

    rsz_rawpixel-780507-unsplash.jpg

    Insulate

    If insulation is a part of your renovation project, make sure to choose a high-quality one. The better insulated your home is, the less energy you will use on heating and cooling it. In other words, it would definitely pay off sooner than you might think. Just don’t forget to do your research on the eco-friendly insulation options, since the insulation itself is not the only possible eco-friendly aspect of the project. 

    Make use of the sun

    Going solar is a great way to make your home more eco-friendly. Besides preserving the environment, using solar energy can also reduce your electricity bill. However, you should know that there are ways to use the power of the sun that don’t include spending money on solar panels. For example, you can plant seasonal trees in your yard, which would block the sunlight in the summer but let it through during winter. Or, you could add smart blinds and heat-reducing films to your windows. 

    Add skylights 

    Another great way to make use of the sun is adding some skylights in order to let more natural light into your home. Of course, you don’t have to install them in every room of your home; you can place them in the most commonly used areas, like your kitchen or living room. Just don’t forget to install automated blinds as well, so you can block the sun when needed. If you place them correctly and use them to the fullest, skylights could also help you reduce the amount of electricity you need. 

    If you’re looking for a way to renovate your home while preserving the environment at the same time, consider some of the above-listed suggestions. You would feel much better about yourself, knowing that you’re making a difference, and you’d save some money in the long run as well. 
     

  8. Protecting the environment is a high priority for many people today, but a large portion just don’t know where to start. One of the easiest ways to go green is to start recycling at home. Here are a few tips to get you going on this path. 

    pexels-photo-1353365.jpeg?auto=compress&

    Learn the Rules and Get Organized

    First, look into some recycling centers nearby to see what kinds of materials they allow you to bring in. They might have specific rules about what items they will allow and what they will reject. Some facilities might require you to crush bottles and remove the caps, while others won’t care. 

    You’ll also need to get some bins and garbage bags for storing and transporting all the goods you plan to recycle. Clear out some space in your garage or backyard for storage. Make sure they are sealed up nice and tight to keep pests from getting into them and making a mess. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make them cute! The better looking your bins are, the more likely you are to have them out where you can see them. This increases the chances that you and your household will remember to separate your waste products appropriately.

    Start by Recycling Aluminum Cans and Glass and Plastic Bottles

    The easiest items to begin recycling are aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles. Some facilities will also allow steel cans, such as the ones used for canned food. They might also allow glass jars or other containers. 

    You’ll need to separate them, and you might also want to rinse them out to avoid attracting ants and other pests, but that is not always necessary. Most facilities allow you to crush the items, so that can help you condense the space and bring in a lot more items every time you go down to the recycling center. Since many products are sold in containers made of aluminum, glass, or plastic, these are the easiest to start with. Make the decision to start and stick with it. Placing reminders around the house can help you turn recycling into a household habit.

    Don’t Forget to Recycle Newspapers and Scrap Metals

    Many families go beyond bottles and cans and will also recycle newspapers, paper waste and scrap metals. If you have the available space, then this is another great way to keep those items out of the landfills and recycle them to reduce waste and give them new life. 

    Some residential communities have special dumpsters set up at schools or other community centers to receive newspapers and other items to be recycled. This can free up a lot of space at your home and save you from driving all the way out to the recycling center. Check around to see if anything like that is available in your area.

    Recycle Wastewater

    Many people don’t know that you could be reusing your household waste water. While reducing the amount of solid waste that ends up in landfills is a great way to recycle, it’s not the only option out there. Many families are investing in greywater systems as a way to recycle the water they use at home. Much of that water that goes down the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower drains can still be used to water plants and trees outside without damaging them. By using a treatment system like those at Econocycle to help you recycle your household waste water, you can help lower your water usage as well as your utility bills.

    Recycling is a great way to reduce waste and protect the environment for future generations. Just start small by recycling some of the items you already use and then build up from there. Once you get started recycling small items at home, you’ll quickly find that you enjoy making an impact and will want to do even more to make a difference in your community.

  9. Most people today would agree that the world and environment is in far worse shape that it was even just 50 years ago. While increased emissions, growing mounds of garbage, and other factors are impacting the world, this trend can be reversed if all people work together. There are several ways in particular that you can help to mend environmental damage. Save the Planet 5 Tips to Going Green in Your Startup Cafe.jpg

    Be More Environmentally Friendly 
    If you are trying to find ways to help mend the environmental problems of the past, one of the best things that you could do would be to be more environmentally friendly with your choices. Today, there are many great things that you can do including being sure that you recycle, trying to reduce the amount of time that you drive, trying to use renewable sources of energy, and looking for ways to help clean up the Earth. 

    Encourage Others 
    One of the best ways that anyone can leave the world in a better place is to encourage other people to be more conscious and friendly towards the environment. While you can do all that you can to recycle and make good decisions, being able to make others make good choices can go even further. You should try to motivate and encourage other people to make good decisions and find ways to reduce their carbon footprint. 

    Recycle Materials 
    If you are trying to improve the environment, another great thing to do would be to recycle as many materials as possible. Today, most people will take the small step of recycling their goods when it is available and convenient. However, there is often far more that you can easily do. For example, if you have an old car, you could sell it to a scrap metal company that will then be able to use the metal again. 

    Collect Rainwater 
    One of the largest growing environmental concerns today is the water supply across the world. While some areas are very rich in water, others are lacking it considerably. One way that you can reduce your public water usage is by collecting your own rainwater. If you have a well or other storage system, you could collect water that could then be used for some services including gardening. 

    Ultimately, when you are trying to improve the environment, the little changes that you make do add up quickly over time. If you are able to find even a few small changes, it could lead to a big improvement for the environment.

  10. pexels-photo-1353365.jpeg?auto=compress&

    Keeping your neighborhood clean can be good for aesthetic purposes. It can also be good for keeping the planet happy and safe for all for generations and generations to come. If you want to do your part in helping the planet, you should think about setting up a trash cleanup project in your community.

    Set a Great Example

    If you want your neighbors to follow suit, you should begin by setting a great example. Pick up trash around your neighborhood in the middle of the day when other people can easily see you. You may just motivate others to do the same exact thing. If people ask you what you’re doing, tell them proudly.

    Reach out to Your Neighbors

    Don’t hesitate to reach out to neighbors who are friendly and cooperative. You may want to call or email them to ask them if they’d be interested in joining forces with you in your cleanup effort. They may not be able to resist taking part. If you make your cleanup project sound fun and interesting, it may encourage more and more people to team up with you.

    Post a Listing on the Internet

    Word gets around rapidly on the Internet. If you want to spread the word about your neighborhood cleanup effort, you can choose to post a free listing on a classified website. Look for a classified website that caters to your specific neighborhood. It’s critical to mention your community name in the header for the listing, too. If people learn about your project on the Internet, it may persuade them to reach out to you to lend a helping hand.

    Rent a Dumpster

    You can simplify your neighborhood garbage cleanup project by getting your hands on a sizable dumpster for disposal purposes. There are trustworthy companies that offer durable skips for rent. If you rent a roomy dumpster or two, you can get rid of significant levels of garbage. This can spare you a lot of frustration. Dumpsters can make doing away with trash straightforward and speedy.

    Trash and a gorgeous planet simply do not go hand in hand. If you want your neighborhood to be immaculate and lovely, then you need to prioritize cleanup work. You can make prioritizing a clean community a lot easier by getting help from other people who live near you. Remember, doing things in groups can be fun. It can also be a lot more efficient.

  11. save-water-indoors-faucet-drip.jpg

    Owning an older home can be a wonderful way to enjoy some unique character that simply can’t be found in a newer home. At the same time, it’s rare to find an older home that can operate as efficiently as a newer home, specifically in the area of water conservation. Fortunately, though, while you might not be able to implement every last water-saving device, there are several great and easy ways to save water in your older home.

    New Fixtures

    If you have an older home, it’s likely that it’s equipped with older plumbing fixtures, as well. Unfortunately, these older fixtures do very little to conserve water. In order to save water, then, you can replace these fixtures, whether it’s a shower head, bathroom faucet, or kitchen faucet, with low-flow models to start seeing savings right away. Just be sure your home’s plumbing can adapt to these newer fixtures, as many have special water pressure requirements that your home may not be equipped for.

    Find Leaks

    The materials in pipes of any kind inevitably break down over time due to the different substances found in water. Over time, this can lead to leaky pipes, which can waste a lot of water. If your water bill is higher than expected, or if you have a visible leak somewhere, it’s important to call a plumber to complete these plumbing repairs as soon as possible to ensure the water doesn’t cause any damage and you don’t waste any money.

    Collect Rainwater

    If local ordinances allow, collecting rainwater can be a great way to reduce your water bill. Especially if you can’t install a water-saving irrigation system due to the older construction, collecting rainwater allows you to keep your landscaping well-watered without having to depend on the city water supply. Plus, diverting rainwater in this way helps prevent erosion on your property since the water is being prevented from continuing on to the sewer.

    Install a New Toilet

    In addition to new plumbing fixtures, a new toilet can be a great water-saving investment for your older home. If your toilet has been around since before 1994, it’s using almost two gallons more per flush than a modern toilet. If you consider how many times a day you use the bathroom, that can add up quickly. Installing a new toilet is a fairly easy and quick process that will more than pay for itself over time.

    Be Water Smart

    Whether your home is old or new, you can save water using other methods, as well. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, and watering your lawn in the morning or evening to prevent evaporation are all great ways to save water. Ultimately, it’s important to treat water as a precious resource that is worth working to save. With a few easy fixes, it’s an effort that is totally accessible

  12. wind-turbine-2218457_640.jpg

     

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

     

    Let the Outside In

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

     

    Go Old-Fashioned

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

     

    Go Hi-Tech

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

     

    Go Down Under

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

     

    Charge It Up

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


     

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

     

    Resources

    Telegraph

    Classic Air

    Texas Fireframe

    House Logic

    HowStuffWorks

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

    toxic_cleaning_Products.jpg

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

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

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

    pregnancy-housecleaning-02-pg-full.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keep An Eye On The Calendar

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

    Watch For Changes

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

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

    Know When To Call The Professionals

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

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    AustralianFlag.jpg

    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. 


     

  18. 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.

     

    • 1
      entry
    • 0
      comments
    • 909
      views

    Recent Entries

    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:

     

    Pacmoore-GMO-Organic-Infographic-V4.jpg

  19. 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

    XVuffZI.jpg

    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

    GbvRvG2.jpg

    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!

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

    green-building-materials.jpg

    green-building-materials.pdf

  22. 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. 

    solar_panels_info_update2.jpg

  23. 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.

    eco friendly roof.jpg

    • 1
      entry
    • 0
      comments
    • 858
      views

    Recent Entries

    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.

  • Blog Statistics

    1,160
    Total Blogs
    1,442
    Total Entries