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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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  • 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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    There are several appliances used at homes that demand electricity to work properly. Some of these appliances consume a great amount of power to work. As a result of this, your monthly power bills tend to climb up steadily. The best way to save your hard-earned money on power bills is to opt for solar power. It is true that installing a solar power system at home may be a rather costly affair. However, it is also true that it requires very little maintenance, which is one of the biggest advantages of the system. Since there are no moving parts, there is every chance of solar installations to degrade with time according to the website, https://territorysolarsolutions.com.au.

    solar-panel-array-power-sun-electricity-

    Tips to Solar Panel Care

    The general thumb rule is that the solar panels tend to lose 1% of their effectiveness with every passing year. However, this figure has decreased in recent times. This is mainly due to the fact that solar panels are nowadays made up of monocrystalline silicon that ensures 92% of their efficiency even after 20 years. However, here are some tips to help you take proper care of your solar panels.

    • Regular Inspection of Your Solar Panels Is Necessary:

      Most of the time you will see that solar panels are placed at higher locations where they cannot be damaged easily. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to check your solar panels from time to time to ensure that you do not lose any power due to tree material accumulation or pollen buildup on the panels. It is important for you to remember that the same type of dirt that you find on your windows can find its way to the solar panels on your roof. Thus, it is important to clean the panels on a regular basis.:
       
    • Shade and Sun Monitoring:

      In order to maintain optimum effectiveness, it is necessary for your solar panels to be in the sun for as long as possible. During their installation, solar panels need to be placed in a location that gets maximum sun exposure. It is true that trees grow over the years and this can cause changes to the patterns of the sun and shade. There may also be new constructions that can affect the time your solar panels get the sunlight. Thus, it is always a good idea to check the position of the panels on a periodical basis to ensure that they get proper sunlight.:


     

    • Clean the Panels:

      It is needless to say that rain will effectively clean your panels. This is especially possible when the panels are installed at a steeper angle. Pollen and dust can get washed off easily with every rainfall. However, if the pollen and dust accumulation is heavier than normal, it will be a good thing to wash them off yourself with plain water. You can also use a hose to spray water on the panels and clean off the dust and pollen accumulation. You need to ensure that the panels do not get scratched, since this may reduce the sunlight that reaches the solar cells.

    Author:

    I’m Jaylin: SEO Expert of Leelija Web Solutions. And full time blogger. Favorite things include my camera, travelling, caring my fitness, food and my fashion. Email id: editor@leelija.com. You can follow me on thegrinbin.com.

     

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  1. Remodeling your kitchen is an excellent chance to upgrade it in term of eco-friendliness. You will finally get a chance to separate waste and apply natural cleaning solutions in order to cause the least amount of harm to the environment. The best thing is that these changes will not require a huge amount of money because you can work with what you’ve got and the little you do need to invest is a small investment compared to the benefits you get.

    You will see how a remodeled kitchen will soon turn into a hub of social activity in the house as even the children will want to join the whole ecological hype that their parents became part of. We provide you here with a 5-step checklist that will help you transform your kitchen into an eco-friendly space that will work with Mother Nature, not against it.

    1. The labels have to be green

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    Whatever additions you decide to introduce into your kitchen, whether it is something as simple as a new teapot or even a brand new countertop, this product must bear a green label. This means that the product has been subject to testing on how the ingredients of materials for it were produced. A label of the color green usually stands for sustainability, like the Follow to Frog sign and the Forest Stewardship Council stamp that indicates that fruit or timber have been outsourced from regions that care about protecting the local environment.

    2. Cork for flooring

    The bark of the cork tree is used for kitchen flooring as a cheap and efficient replacement for linoleum, hardwood floors, and tiles. It is fairly easy to install, as it is simply glued to the existing surface, like concrete. Once in place, it is coated with acrylic that will ensure cork is waterproof and slip-resistant. Because it has a rather soft texture, it will act as a natal spring that will adjust to the weight of your body, so you can even walk barefoot over it. This can come in handy when children play around the kitchen and if one of them falls down, the cork will cushion the blow.

    3. Plexiglas in the kitchen?

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    The material you never thought belonged inside the kitchen is Plexiglas. Well, the automotive industry does not have exclusive rights over it as kitchen walls can benefit from it too. A thin layer of Plexiglas over the kitchen tiles impregnates their joints and ensures they are 100% waterproof, so no mold or mildew will ever form. The best thing about Plexiglas, that you can outsource from Plastic Wholesale Online is the fact that it is an eco-friendly material that does not hurt the environment. Basically, anything around the kitchen that needs waterproofing could be treated with Plexiglas in order to decrease the impact on the environment.

    4. Reducing energy consumption

    In terms of reducing the carbon print, you want to make sure your new kitchen is as energy efficient as possible. This is done by introducing green energy through house appliances and the reduction of total energy used. For the latter, a simple change in the type of light bulbs you use can make a huge difference. Replace the incandescent light bulbs with LED ones and just look at your energy consumption going down. As with everything else, when shopping for new appliances look for the Energy Star logo that ensures the manufacturer took great care of energy inefficient.

    5. Composting

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    The last item on our checklist concerns the way we manage organic waste. Recyclables should go into separate bins but food leftovers should end up outside, not in the trash can but in the garden compost. You can create it in order to decrease the total amount of waste you generate and later use the compost in your garden instead of buying hummus from the local garden center.

     

    Finally, going eco-friendly is more than possible in the kitchen and in every other room in the house. Use our 5-step checklist as the guide during the initial phases of the kitchen remodeling project.

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

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

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

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

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

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  6. flowers-to-gurgaon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  11.  

    Sustainability has already become a trend in home renovation, and there is no wonder why. As more people become enthusiastic about the eco-friendly way of life, sustainable innovations upsurge and become even more accessible for those in need to create a more sustainable home for themselves.

    When thinking about sustainability, trending items aren’t just about what is trendy; it’s also about which are doing the most for the environment.

    With that in mind, when we renovate or build our home, we determine the consumption pattern of that structure for the rest of its life. It’s a unique occasion to make such structural improvements to the efficiency of our homes and minimize their continuous drain on the environment. Investing energy, time and money at this point will only give financial and environmental rewards for years to come in terms of reduced water and energy use and increased wellbeing.

     Buy reclaimed

    No matter where you want to start, the golden rule in a sustainable renovation is to buy reclaimed. Even though it might be tempting, try as much as possible not to get caught up with having the shiniest and newest. Take some time and think about other materials such as reclaimed wood which isn’t only a green sound choice, but sublimely striking and growing in popularity in all kinds of home makeover projects.

    Reclaimed wood can be an exceptional choice for walls, counter-tops and flooring. Often certified kitchen designers rely on reclaimed materials such as wood around the kitchen area as it can save a lot of energy, time and money that would be necessary to produce likewise and newer products.

    Deconstruct – don’t demolish

    If you plan on knocking down entire rooms or demolishing, try to walk around your house first to decide on what you can actually reuse and salvage beforehand. This isn’t only environmentally friendly, but it will also save money in the end.

    Consider everything from tiles, light fixtures, flooring, molding and cabinets. For instance, if you plan on replacing the windows in your dining room, instead of throwing it, think about using them in another room- maybe in your dorm, in your son’s room, even a bathroom will do.

    Donate your unwanted items

    So you really had enough of that living-room chandelier and don’t want to see it in any of your rooms. Don’t throw it out, instead consider a consignment shop, there are plenty.

    Maybe you have a crafty family member or friend who most likely will enjoy repurposing or repainting it. Another great option for your unwanted couch or chandelier, as well as other items such as cabinets or appliances, is a donation station. Not only they will happily welcome your old kitchen cabinet, but they will sell every donation, and 100% of the profits from your materials are used to build new homes for those in need. With that in mind, not only are you helping the environment, but you’re actually giving back to the community.

    Think energy-efficient

    Shopping sometimes is unavoidable, especially when you’re renovating. That said, when you’re looking around for new appliances like dishwashers, ovens or refrigerators try to look for those that are the most energy-efficient.

    Why? Energy-efficient appliances are simply meant to utilize minimum energy to complete a required task. An example of energy-saving appliances would be the energy saver bulbs, solar water heaters and booster water heater. Many of these appliances will operate under lower energy and temperature settings which sustain their efficiency until the achievement of tasks. Why should you opt for energy-saving appliances?

    • To save energy Such appliances are built to spend a minimum amount of energy on operating. That said, they enhance energy conservation, energy that can be used for another purpose at home.

    • To save money 

    Bills and bills again. Using energy-saving appliances will reduce your spending at home, money that can be used for other purposes. For instance, from $5,550 you spend annually on energy, you can reduce by $2,500 through using energy-efficient appliances.

    • To conserve our environment 

    It goes without saying that using energy-efficient appliances can only minimize the exploration of natural resources such as oil, water, gas and coal. Not only that but such appliances are imperative in controlling pollution. Energy generation industry today relies a lot on oil, fuels and natural gas that lead to soil, air and water pollution through emission and effluents, but using energy-efficient appliances helps in controlling pollution.

    Invest in pre-owned materials

    A very cost-effective and easy way to redo your home is to consider investing in pre-owned materials. This won’t be a problem as you can easily find retailers across the country, some even dedicated to high-end products. That said, if that energy-efficient and the fancy fridge is an absolute must-have, you could save a lot purchasing one that has been used for a few years.

    Moreover, kitchen cabinets can actually be the largest expense when it comes to kitchen renovation, but these salvage retailers regularly have high-quality furniture in great condition. It’s an outstanding idea that is honestly worth investing.

    Visit yard-sales and antique shops

    Consignment and antique shops are all excellent places to visit for items such as light fixtures, mantels or even doorknobs. Doing so, not only helps you save your budget for something more important, but these charming repurposed items will definitely add a new air to your homes that basically cannot be imitated by their newer counterparts.

    With that in mind, choosing to makeover your home through an eco-friendly approach not only helps and encourages the environmental movement but also allows you to do it while helping your community and saving serious cash. Being green-minded does not have to cost you a fortune. 

    A well-designed and thoughtful living space that uses repurposed materials, energy-efficient appliances and lights to bring them into sympathy with our environment is the recipe for a fabulous home. Renovating your home in a way that avoids pollution and does not facilitate the decline of our environment will honestly make you smile for years to come.

     

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