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  • Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

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

    DESERTEC project, Sahara Sun could power Europe by 2050

    By Mark Piazzalunga

    Sahara desert climate is hot and arid, everybody knows it. So how can this simple and well-known fact become the idea to power a continent like Europe? Let’s start from the principle: renewable energy is the future of energy; we assume that this sentence is true since all facts gets to this point. Second principle: European territory is restricted and allows the construction of a few plants that could use renewable energy. Paradoxically, countries like Africa have renewable sources, particularly solar, in abundance but scarce funds to make the best of these resources. Now find the connection. Is it possible to produce huge amounts of solar energy in Africa and transport them to Europe through energy infrastructures? Apparently yes, according to DESERTEC project developers and supporters. And what is DESERTEC? It’s an initiative of the Club of Rome (a global think tank that has its headquarters in Switzerland) started in 2009. Directly from the official website of the project (Desertec.org): "The DESERTEC concept was developed by a network of politicians, scientists and economists from around the Mediterranean, from which was born the DESERTEC Foundation. Demonstrates a way to provide climate protection, energy security and the development of sustainable energy generation from sites where renewable energy sources are at their most plentiful." In practical terms? Connect renewable energy power plants in Africa to Europe through a network of HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) systems. The Foundation target is to build several renewable power plants of various types (mainly wind, photovoltaic and solar concentration) throughout North Africa. To support the project financially, the Foundation and other 12 companies (including Deutsche Bank, E.ON, RWE and ABB) created an industrial initiative: Dii GmbH. The construction project would continue until 2050 and for that date, the cost is estimated at € 400 billion, which means $ 546,720,000,000, approximately seven times Bill Gates’ fortune. It’s little bit expensive (life on Mars seems cheaper) but the entire network could provide Europe with the 15-20% of electricity that it needs. We must also consider the drastic decrease of pollution, direct effect of the project. This project isn’t just an idea but it seems an accurate and long-term plan. This could be an opportunity to connect two continents and to give them economic opportunities and jobs. There could be some problems like the wars and the instability of some of North Africa countries or how to get all 40 nations to agree to an arrangement for subsidizing the green electricity. There’s also the possibility to build the plants in Europe, just $ 54 billion more, and doing some math it brings to a shocking number: €2 per citizen per year to keep tens of thousands of jobs in Europe -- and to prevent Europe from becoming dependent on foreign countries for its electricity. Well, the project just started and it has the funds to go forward. We can't wait to see the results. Photo from Desertec.org
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  • Megan Bonetti

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

    By Megan Bonetti

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

  1. blogentry-7854-0-40878300-1424295222_thu

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, best known for his work in astrophysics and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, has kept environmental concern in the public eye. Through his public appearances and social media presence, he has done much to enrich public discourse — he has even helped to boost scientific literacy. This is of great importance in the modern age, especially with the environmental hazards at hand.

    Tyson is frequently compared to Carl Sagan, the well-known astronomer and television personality. Sagan taught at Cornell University, wrote more than twelve books, worked with NASA, edited a scientific journal, and served as the house astronomer on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. He co-created and hosted Cosmos: A Personal Voyage in the 1980’s and was the most famous scientist in America.

    More recently, Tyson has been in the public sphere with his radio talk show, Star Talk; a reboot of Carl Sagan’s show, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey; and will host a late-night talk show starting April of this year on National Geographic. His shows broadcast the most up to date information about astral bodies, and other scientific tidbits relating to outer space. Each episode explores the laws of nature, and attempts to create an emotional and spiritual experience through scientific exploration.

    Tyson, like Sagan before him, embraces modern media as a means of engaging the general public. Both men explain complex methods in layman’s terms, helping households not only understand certain principles, but also engage in conversation with one another. Political and civil discussions about global warming and the value of NASA’s space exploration would have been completely different without these men.

    Looking toward the future, Tyson sees the ability to harness the power of natural disasters and utilize them as a direct energy source. Such technology would be adapted for tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes, allowing us to tap into that energy source like tapping into a keg of beer. In an interview on renewable energy’s future, he states that he is “looking forward to the day when a hurricane is building in the gulf, and then just before it hits land, we capture its energy to drive the city that would otherwise have been destroyed if the hurricane’s power had been left untapped.”

    By encouraging scientists to share their knowledge with the public, Tyson believes the public’s excitement and education will expand. While public interest in science is growing and evident, it is a challenge to convince scientists to break convention and use modern information channels to share their findings with the general public. Tyson urges scientists to share fun and interesting information that they learn everyday. His personal Twitter account, which has over 1.5 million followers, does just that. One of his recent posts reminds the public that education is more than just in the books: “Good education is not what fills your head with facts but what stimulates curiosity. You then learn for the rest of your life.” From quips to scientific “fun facts,” Neil keeps his followers on their toes.

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  2. Eco-friendly changing of your habits

    Every person counts. This is not only the case when it comes to elections, but when it comes to something far more serious, like saving the planet we live on. Whenever you think you are just one person and your deeds don’t really count much, think about this: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” Like Ghandi put it, if you chose to think differently today, you can influence the others tomorrow, and maybe it’s your destiny to eventually make a crucial change. After all, it’s in your best interest.

    Transportation alternatives

    Try to imagine yourself riding an eco-friendly car. If you’re not in situation to invest into one right now, consider switching to compressed natural gas. It is way cheaper and it will save your environment from bad vehicle emissions. Also, you can walk more or ride a bike. This way, not only will you be in better shape, but you will also save money.

    Saving energy

    The world is energy deficient. Making enough energy for all people directly affects of pollution. Unfortunately, people are not aware of the fact that turning off even one lamp can be significant. Turn around while reading this and check if we were right. At least one device is unnecessarily turned on, we’re betting on it. Take first step in order to help your planet and turn it off. Were we wrong? Congratulations. You already have a high level of conciseness. So what else you can do to save the energy loss? You can switch to LED lights or even consider making your own energy investing in solar panels.

    Recycling

    This is another way to act ‘green’ and keep earning money. Different materials have different recycling prices. For instance, metals like aluminum and copper are the most expensive. Glass is a lot cheaper while paper and plastic are the cheapest. If you have huge amounts of these materials and don’t know what to do with them, here’s an opportunity to get rid of it – recycle! However, if you will still be needing it but you have nowhere to keep it, consider investing in container shelters.

    Cultivation of organic food

    Did you ever consider planting some agro cultures in your own garden? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to harvest a cabbage, carrots or radishes that you grown? Eating more organic vegetables and less meat will make you feel healthier, stronger and happier. But, it’s even better thing to know that you’ve help your planet by saving energy for its production. Therefore, you increased pollution too.

    Become and stay ‘green’

    If you’re involved in media or politics use your influence to contribute to the better future of our planet. It will only take a few minutes from your day, but to someone else it would mean a lot. Remember that you owe it to your kids, because they are stay on Earth, after you’ll gone. Imagine a place where you would like to leave your offspring, and fight for it.

  3. Cylindrical roller bearing series introduces cylindrical roller bearing roller bearing sales hotline spot cylindrical roller bearing manufacturer. Cylindrical roller and race for line contact bearing. Load capacity is big, mainly bear radial load. Roller and ring guard friction small, suitable for high speed rotation. According to the ring presence of guard, NU, NJ, NUP, N, NF, such as single bearing, double row bearings and NNU, NN. The bearing inner ring and outer ring is separable structure. No guard of cylindrical roller bearing inner ring or outer ring, internal ring and outer ring can be to relative axial movement, so can be used as free end bearing. The one side of the inner ring and outer ring with double guard, on the other side of the ring has a single guard cylindrical roller bearing, can withstand a certain degree of axial load in one direction. General use of stamping steel cage, cage or copper alloy car system. But there are also part of the use of polyamide forming keep frame.

    1. The roller and raceway for the line contact or offline contact, radial bearing capacity big, apply to under heavy load and impact load.

    2. The friction coefficient is small, suitable for high speed, the limit speed close to the deep groove ball bearings.

    3. The N type and NU type axial movement, can adapt to shaft caused by thermal expansion or installation error and shell the change of relative position, can be used for free end bearing.

    4. On the shaft or hole of the processing and the demand is higher, bearing outer axis relative deflection after installation to be kept under strict control, so as not to cause contact stress concentration.

    5. The inner ring or outer ring separable, easy to install and disassemble. . Is mainly suitable for high speed and high speed running, and very durable, need not often maintenance. These bearing small friction coefficient, high limit speed, simple structure, low manufacture cost, easy to achieve high precision manufacturing. Size range and variety in form, used in precision instrument, low noise motors, automobiles, motorcycles and general machinery and other industries, is the most widely used type of bearings in machinery industry. Mainly bear radial load, also can withstand a certain amount of axial load.

    Deep groove ball bearing is my company's main products, the selection of its larger radial clearance when the axial bearing capacity increases, under pure radial force when the contact Angle is zero. With the axial force, the contact Angle is greater than zero. Usually use stamping ribbon cage, car solid cage, sometimes also used nylon frame. Main application:

    Large and medium-sized motor, locomotives, spindle, internal combustion engines, generators, gas turbines, reducer, rolling mill, vibrating screen and lifting transportation machinery roller bearing series introduces cylindrical roller bearing roller bearing sales hotline spot cylindrical roller bearing manufacturer.

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    Recent Entries

    Smartphones and portable digital assistants play a significant role in our daily lives, in the fulfillment of our businesses, communications, and entertainment needs. However, these gadgets carry some negative impacts on our beloved planet. By frequently charging our mobile devices, we are vehemently exhausting our non-renewable energy. The moment we upgrade to the latest trendy tech pieces, our existing handsets will just contribute to the proliferation of electronic wastes on our landfills. As part of our environmental awareness, the best option we have is to opt for greener devices. If not 100% ecological, at least it’s made up of non-toxic substances, complies with the international energy standards, and biodegradable packaging. For this entry, we’ll give you the indicators that a smartphone is not eco-friendly.

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    Low Quality Battery Life

    If your smartphone doesn't last a day of operation despite of moderate usage, it isn't a green gadget. By using this type of phone, you’ll be spending more electricity on a day-to-day basis. But, since mobile devices these days are feature-packed, it’s not really surprising if you need to recharge your juice more than twice a day, with continuous voice calling, web browsing, and music playback. According to Verizon, at least your phone should include an “energy-efficient charger that knows when the phone is fully charged and automatically reduces the draw of electricity.”

    Contains Toxic Materials

    Nature-inspired cellular phones doesn't have harmful elements inside. It shouldn't have mercury, PVCs (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants). These substances when released to the environment upon disposal becomes contaminants. PVCs are commonly found in plastic phones, since it’s the element used to create cheap mobile casing. BFRs, on the other hand, are agents used to inhibit fire production caused by gadget overheating. Check your mobile documentation if they used toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, and polybrominated biphenyls as these are harmful elements not only to the environment but also to the user.

    Doesn't Have A Biodegradable Packaging

    A mobile device that comes with a 100% biodegradable packaging is a green one. If your phone comes with a plastic packaging, its company doesn't have a green initiative. These containers when not recycled, will just add up to the pile of non-biodegradable garbage in landfills. It takes them thousands of years to decompose. On the other hand, paper boxes decay faster upon disposal, and doesn't bring any further harm to our planet.

    Doesn’t Comply With International Energy Standards

    Greenpeace released a greener electronics guide, which states that all items should comply with the international energy standards. These items were approved since they don’t emit too much greenhouse gas and proven to be power-efficient. They also have minimum levels of radiation. If your phone’s documentation or packaging doesn't boast of an Energy Star Logo, then it’s because the gadget didn't comply with the requirements provided by the firm.

    Shorter Product Warranty

    A nature-inspired product should last for a long period of time and this is an important criterion that you should consider when purchasing any electronic device. Gadgets that have a longer product warranty have longer life span, since it doesn’t break easily, which means less reason to change a device. In opposite, products with shorter cycle are usually made of cheaper materials such as plastic that cannot be sent to recycling facilities to create a new one.

    These are some of the pointers that you should seriously consider when purchasing a mobile device, as part of your environmental awareness. Electronic wastes, according to a 2013 EPA report, have predominantly reached an alarming rate of almost 2.4 million tons in the United States alone. By owning a green product, in a small way, we are battling against the deterioration of our beloved Earth. What other criteria should we look for in a green smartphone?

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Sookie Lioncourt is a British tech writer who is fascinated on technological innovations. She is a self-confessed environmental advocate. Some of her influences are Al Gore and Greenpeace. She loves covering green initiatives of various companies. Follow her on Twitter and connect with Sookie via LinkedIn

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  5. blog-0995833001406277248.jpg

    In today’s world, cities seem to be forever expanding. Corporate, modern offices, high-rise apartment buildings and packed-in-like-sardines homes are now the norm. While there’s no doubting the benefits of city living, this boom in concrete living means that those of us in urban and city areas are forced to face the prospect of living in residential environments with poorer quality or quantity of green space. It is a well known fact that most large cities have microclimates, whereby the inner city area is a couple of degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. Urbanisation results in changes in natural water flow, carbon cycles, biodiversity and air pollution levels, which ultimately results in these microclimates forming.

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    ​Cities in Australia and around the world are realising the impact that urbanisation - and subsequent lack of nature - is having on climate change, pollution and human health and are increasingly working on 'green’ initiatives to counteract the negative effects. However, these initiatives can only happen so fast.

    There are so many benefits to bringing nature closer to home, but sometimes we need to take things into our own hands. Having nature in your life is highly important and small lifestyle changes can make a massive impact both to your personal health and the health of the Earth.

    The Benefits of Living Close to Nature

    There are many studies, sources and evidence that support the notion that nature in urban areas can benefit our mental and physical health. Not only that, but increased greenery in our cities can help minimise the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Lower stress levels

    An American study conducted in 2008 found that workers who had even a small glimpse of a park or green area were significantly less stressed at work and were much more satisfied employees. So imagine the impact of bringing nature inside your home or office!

    What is more, it has been proven that an increase in greenery positively correlates not only with less stress at work, but decreased anxiety and depression.

    Reduce mental fatigue

    Urban centres literally never sleep - there’s always something going on. With all these noises and distractions, city life can be incredibly tiring on both the body and mind. We now know that the constant stimuli offered by cities can actually dull the mind’s ability to think. But, the good news is that even brief interactions with natural environments have been proven to help reduce mental fatigue and restore your mind to a healthy state.

    Long-term mental health

    The University of Exeter found that greener surroundings in urban areas boosted residents’ mental health and happiness in the long-term, even after they moved away from the area. So even if you are planning on moving out to a more rural area in the near future, you can benefit your mind in the long term.

    Recover from illness

    That’s right - green areas help people prevent and recover from disease and illness; they also provide opportunities for physical activity, which in turn supports active lifestyle and reduces diseases including obesity - one of the developed world’s leading killers.

    What is more, ailments like heart disease, neck/shoulder/back/wrist problems, diabetes, respiratory infections, migraines and even stomach illnesses can all be positively impacted by green spaces.

    Green Solutions for City Living

    The benefits are clear, but when you’re living in a city where the number of parks and nature reserves are largely controlled by powers much larger than ourselves, it can seem impossible to green-up our lifestyles. But is it really?

    Spruce Up Your Backyard

    Not everyone in the city has a backyard, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, you can go green-crazy! Don’t just think of it as somewhere to plant some trees - turn it into a garden retreat. Create your own organic vegetable garden, grow herbs and introduce some evergreen plants to keep your space thriving all year round.

    To maximise your space, add walls, fences and other borders, which are perfect for increasing the amount of greenery you can add; climbing plants are amazing at turning a concrete view into a tropical oasis.

    Create a Balcony Garden

    Don’t have a backyard? No worries! If you have a balcony or rooftop you can have a flourishing mini-garden. The key to a perfect balcony garden is to choose plants that suit the size of the space and will flourish in the climate of your balcony. For example, if you get a lot of sunlight throughout the day you should look for plants that can survive constant sunshine such as sunflowers, lavender and petunias. Vegetables and fruit that enjoy lots of sunshine include tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and peppers.

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    Again, if your balcony or roof has limited space, try incorporating wall plants, hanging plants, vines or even tall potted plants to maximise your space. A good balcony garden doesn’t mean you need to completely cover it in plants!

    Go Green Indoors

    Did you know that indoor air can be much more polluted than outdoor air? One of the wonderful benefits of having plants indoors is that they can help to purify the air and make you feel more relaxed overall. In the late 1980’s, NASA studied the benefits of indoor plants for removing volatile organic compounds from air and found that certain plants worked better than others, including aloe vera, gerber daisy, golden pothos and spider plants.

    Even if you have no balcony or garden, you can still bring nature indoors and benefit from its positive impacts. There are numerous plants that thrive indoors and in low light areas. Indoor plants such as ferns, dracaena, peace lilies and small palms are ideal. You can also create an indoor organic herb garden, which is perfect for those that enjoy cooking and want fresh herbs to hand.

    Start a Community Garden

    Approach your council or building management about starting a community garden. You’ll need to consider who will be involved in maintaining the garden and what types of plants you want to grow. These gardens are also great social experiences, allowing you to get to know your neighbours and others in your local area.

    If there is any unused space in your neighbourhood, you can also talk to the council about turning it into a green space that can benefit your whole community. Types of green spaces include: parks/pocket parks, playgrounds, green corridors (connecting pathways, cycleways), sporting areas and BBQ/picnic areas. While they might have grass on them, they could be even greener - ask about planting trees and shrubbery to maximise the oxygen output. So the more variety the better!

    Top takeaway tips

    - Choose plants that will grow / thrive in your space and climate; remember, city climates can often be much warmer than those outside of the city;

    - Keep your gardens maintained and manicured to sustain their benefits; water your plants regularly and keep them nutritious with good soil and fertiliser;

    - Including herbs, vegetable plants and fruit trees in your space is also a great way to support sustainable living; again, choose herbs/plants that you know will grow well in your particular environment.

    By creating green spaces around us, even in the smallest of ways, we can sustain the benefits of nature when living in huge, concrete cities. And by doing this we can enrich our lives, mentally, physically and emotionally – while also giving something back to the greater natural world that surrounds us.

    Are you ready to greenify your life?

    Need more ideas?

    Benefits of Green Space

    Mental Health and Function & Green Environment

    Green Cities and Microclimate

    Start an Organic Garden

    Start a Balcony Garden

    Start a Community Garden

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

    Give Away or Sell Items

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

    Packing Eco Friendly

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

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    Image source: Reusable boxes by

    Man And His Van

    Cleaning the Eco Friendly Way

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

    Recycle, Reuse and Donate

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

    Reduce to Save Time and Money

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

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

  7.  

     

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

     

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

     

    Attic insulation

     

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

     

    Install a cool roof

     

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

     

    Roof paint

     

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

     

    Solar panels

     

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

     

    Green roofs

     

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

     

    Avoiding asphalt shingles

     

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

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

     

    Image source: Flickr - phototouring

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

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

    Green Walls and Vertical Gardening

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

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

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

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

    Cork Covered Bathrooms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. 800px-Fountain_geyser.jpg

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

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

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

    The System Installation

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

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

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

    The Cost

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

    The Advantages of Geothermal Heating

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

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

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

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

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

    Changing them regularly avoids damage to your HVAC system.

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

    It ensures consistently cleaner air inside the house.

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

    It can save costs.

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

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

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

    Heights

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

    Weather

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

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

    Burns

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

    Insects

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

    Call the professionals

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

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

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

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

    Cut Down on Energy

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

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

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

    Decorate with real plants

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

    Eco-friendly Storage Units

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

    Recycle Office Waste

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

    Limit paper usage

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

    Multi-purpose machines

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

    Telecommuting (Remote Work)

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

    Save Water

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

    Solar Power

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

    Buy Eco-friendly Supplies

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

    Conclusion

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

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

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    1. Metal Roofing

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

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

    2. Recycled Materials

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

    3. Green Roofs

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

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

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

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

    Mind the Lights

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

    Reduce Paper Consumption

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

    Organize Car Pools

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

    Minimize Heating and Air Conditioning

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

    Green-Offices-Environmental-Policy-Susta

    Promote Recycling

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

    Use Green Cleaning Products

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

    Buy Used

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

    Optimize Computer Settings

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

    Grow Plants

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

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    Consider Telecommuting

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

  13. Document-Shredder.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

    References:

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

    Authority Site:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    · Purchasing of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

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

    · Car pooling.

    · Planting a tree.

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

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