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Meghan Belnap

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Going green is both noble and mainstream in today’s market, but it might not necessarily be easy—or even have a positive impact on your environment. Fortunately you can take good steps with little need for concern and without causing further harm. Check out four ways to greenify your home with environmentally friendly measures below. 

Replenish Food and Water

This goes beyond throwing recyclables in a green bin. Organic material, like banana peels and coffee grounds, give off the highly toxic methane when they decompose in landfills. Clean water is likewise lost when it’s flushed or used in cleaning. Consider converting that food into compost material for fertilizing your plants and garden. As for the water, recycling through treatment tanks like Econocycle systems render spent water clean again for home reuse.

Try Solar Paneling

If the initial cost isn’t a barrier, solar panels go a long way to save you money and supply clean energy to your home. Besides working from a completely sustainable and renewable source, panels operate with grids that store unused energy. Not only does this lower your bills, but it also reduces the carbon footprint left on the planet for roughly 30 years! You might not get much energy when the sun isn’t out, but solar panels are a great option on both the financial and environmental ends. 

Regulate Air Flow

Whether it’s hot or cold outside, your air conditioning has a large effect on how much energy your home wastes. Cutting back on potential waste is simple, from sealing up any leaky holes to keeping filters clean, but there are more extensive options, as well. Installing an automatic thermostat to keep the temperature comfortable is one such route; buying a more energy-efficient AC unit is another. 

Buy Local

Your farmer’s market can boost the local economy and provide access to homegrown natural or organic foods, but the benefits don’t stop there. You might decrease carbon emissions based on how far business owners would otherwise ship products, or you might help decrease packaging waste and production emissions. Chances are your hometown businesses want to keep their environment clean, too!

When it comes to environmental consciousness, what’s most important is making good choices. It takes some commitment to do it well, but it isn’t difficult. With the four steps listed above, you will be well on your way to a cleaner, greener home.

Meghan Belnap
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The past decade has seen an energy revolution. Everything is becoming more and more efficient, appliances included. That means they take less of your energy bill and are friendly to the environment. But do the savings behind this new efficiency justify the purchase of a new appliance?

To tackle this question, we talked to appliance experts from Atlas Appliances Ltd. They had a few bits of valuable information regarding this topic:

Take Inventory

Consider replacing the appliances in your home and watch how much money you begin to save on your electric bills. Replacing home appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers. Washers and dryers can account for savings of nearly 15% of your home’s energy budget.

If you are getting ready to move or remodel, or considering replacing older appliances within your home, save some money by purchasing energy efficient appliances.

Each appliance will come with 2 separate purchase prices; the first displays the initial cost of the appliance, and the second refers to the operating cost over its potential lifetime. Basically, you are paying second cost annually, through the lifespan of that appliance on your power bill.

Check for Energy Star

Most appliances now come with a yellow Energy-Guide tag to assist you in estimating an operating cost for that particular appliance. Purchasing an ENERGY STAR®- appliance cuts the second price-tag down because it will save money in the long-term. In actual fact, Energy efficient-certified washers as well as refrigerators provide an additional 20% energy efficiency over the standard appliance models of their kind. Energy efficient dishwashers typically use around 5.5 gallons, per cycle or less of water, while dishwashers bought prior to 1994, will sometimes use in access of 10 gallons of water, per each washing cycle.

Change Lifestyle/Think Green

The operation of your appliance will also affect any potential savings, in a major way every month. You can cut back greatly on appliance cost per month, by following the simple methods below.

  • Only run the dishwasher once you have a completely full load.
  • Scrape food off your dishes before loading as opposed to rinsing the food off.
  • Air-dry your dishes instead of heat-dry (button supplied on my dishwashers) will help in cutting back on energy used by the dishwasher.
  • For laundry, use only cold water if possible instead or warm or hotter settings.
  • Dry your towels or heavy-cottons separately, washing lighter-weight clothing together.
  • Refrigerator seals should be airtight – Shut the door over a sheet of paper or $1 bill, if paper pulls out effortlessly, adjustments or seals may need be replaced.

Typically the energy efficient appliances may initially cost more, but will save much more money in the end. Most key appliances will last from 10 to 20 years, so appliances that are more efficient end-up paying for themselves; lowering your monthly energy costs.

Meghan Belnap
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Home builders need to save money, particularly those buying their home for the first time. Building green homes once was considered to be a luxury but now is affordable. Green home construction has some costs, but many of the green systems put in place save money in home maintenance.

Communicating with Suppliers

By working with suppliers, home builders will determine the best products obtainable from the manufacturers. This step will get the homes certified by the National Green Building Standards. Builders might find floor choices that use carpet that had recycled material and padding, hardwood flooring that was engineered and recycled bathroom tile.

Substitute Materials for Framing and Techniques

Alternate methods and materials for framing could offer saving time and cost as well as a way of gaining points in green certification. Possibilities might include using trusses and panels. These methods save labor and are efficient resources. These result in less waste material on the building site. Pre-constructed systems can produce better thermal efficiency over buildings that are stick frames. More efficient site framing approaches include ladder blocking that requires less wood and allows more space for insulation and two-stud corners that permits for one fewer studs at the corner, providing for a more completely insulated corner.

Multiuse Products

To maintain low production cost while building green, use methods or products that have several green aspects. Once example is the use of cabinets that do not have formaldehyde and are constructed of recycled material, thus acquiring green certification for keeping the quality of the indoor atmosphere and material.

Efficient Water Use

Efficient water use benefits the property owner, but does not increase the cost of house construction. Included in this are the long term benefits of low-flow shower heads, toilets and faucets, along with appliances that are rated as water saving. Recently, the supply of these items is more readily available and more inexpensive than the fixtures that do not provide the water savings. Most of these items do not require special orders.

Affordable Landscaping

After determining the budget, the homeowner should think about the needs for the landscaping. It does take time for the yard and plants to fill in, and the second year shows the progress. To acquire inexpensive sod, it is best to get estimates from several landscapers, like those at Western Turf Farms Ltd, before deciding on who to supply and lay your sod. The green areas can be maintained more effectively by cutting the lawn at two inches and above so the structure of the root will be stronger and hardier. The grass will also require less frequent lawn treatments.

New home builders must plan to save costs and build houses that meet green standards. They will find many practices will save costs in maintaining their homes as time passes.

Meghan Belnap
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In today's society many environmentally conscious and thrifty individuals seek the freedom that comes from living off the grid. Innovations in energy and water conservation have provided avenues for many to become less reliant on city resources. Here are some examples of alternative energy sources and conservation methods that ordinary home owners can use on their journey to sustainable living.

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Take Advantage of a Wind Energy Windfall

Wind energy is one of the main alternative energy products that has been used by commercial operations for many years. These industrial organizations refined wind energy collection and distribution methods with sophisticated wind farms where one large wind turbine can produce enough power for 600 households. These techniques are now scalable for residential use, and small wind electric systems potentially cut electricity bills by up to 90 percent depending on one's windy location. These wind turbines that are equipped for residential use are nonpolluting, and many systems are capable of running independently of the city's electric grid.

Employ Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems

Many household appliances received energy-efficient make overs in recent years, and residential heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling (HVAC) systems from Romaniuk Heating & Air Conditioning Ltd are no exceptions. Well-known HVAC system manufacturers have developed patented electronic controls that modify residential temperatures at smaller increments. This creates a temperate indoor environment that requires less energy to maintain. Also, some HVAC systems use solar power in conjunction with these other energy-saving mechanisms.

Be Solar Savvy

Solar power is one of the most common sources of alternative energy used throughout the world. Roof top solar power systems that produce a household's entire energy supply are still expensive, but there are some cheaper ways to harness enough solar energy to reduce one's reliance on city power. Besides installing do it yourself solar panels around one's property, home owners will soon be able to pick up solar shutters and blinds from their local hardware stores and collect solar energy in a relatively inexpensive way. These special window treatments block heat producing summer sun rays while absorbing the energy for household power consumption. Another smart solar power invention is a flexible, tensile material with thin solar absorbing sheets built into the fabric. People can use this material to give shade to sunny patios, decks or car ports while collecting significant amounts of solar energy. While not yet available in local stores, home owners can get some of these products from the inventors who sell them in small quantities over the internet.

The described sustainable living tools are just a few examples from a fast growing industry that continues to develop environmentally friendly products. These products often spark other creative ideas that promote the cause of sustainable living.

Meghan Belnap
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Many people today are becoming more environmentally aware. While we may not be able to solve all of the world’s problems, we can make a difference in our everyday habits. One of the first things you can do to help the planet is to stop doing things that are polluting it. Here are six eco un-friendly habits you should give up right now.

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1. Using Disposable Shopping Bags

It’s an unnecessary waste to get a new paper or plastic grocery bag every time you go shopping. Both paper and plastic bags are harmful to the environment. Getting a reusable bag is not only better for the environment, it saves you from having old bags piling up in your closet.

2. Driving More Than You Have To

If you’re in the habit of driving down the block, this is a good time to start walking more. This will give you more exercise, help you spend less on fuel and consume fewer resources. If you’re driving somewhere and have to make several stops, try to park in the middle and walk to each destination. Carpooling is another efficient way to drive less.

3. Improper Disposal of Motor Oil

If you change your own oil, make sure you don’t simply dump the old oil on the ground or into a drain. This will cause ground or water pollution. Place the old oil in a tightly sealed container and bring it to a place that recycles oil. Many gas stations, oil change places and automobile repair shops like Speedy Apollo Auto Service Centres will accept your old oil and help you dispose of it for free.

4. Leaving Lights and Appliances On

When you leave a room or the house, make sure you turn off the lights and any appliances you aren't using. It’s a waste of power to leave lights on all day. The same is true for televisions, air conditioners and household appliances.

5. Using Too Much Paper

It’s easy to switch to digital forms of many paper items nowadays. Rather than receiving magazines, newspapers, bills and information in paper form, arrange to get these things emailed to you. You can also read e-books rather than print books. These practices are good for the planet and they reduce clutter around your home as well.

6. Wasting Water

Water is our most valuable resource, but many people waste it by taking long showers or leaving the water running when they leave the room. Don’t use any more water than you have to. Another habit that wastes water is watering the lawn more often than is necessary.

The more conscious we are about our daily habits, the better it is for the whole planet. The above are just a few simple ways we can all do our part to preserve the environment. Giving up some of these harmful habits can put us on the right track.

Meghan Belnap
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With the rising cost and limited supply of nonrenewable energy sources, many businesses are looking elsewhere to power their buildings. Some companies reduce their carbon footprint by using solar panels; others use windmills to provide their energy needs. Some are turning to more unique and modern energy savers. A busy train station in Stockholm, for example, converts body heat into warm water that is then used to heat a nearby building. This saves them 25 percent on energy costs. Going green, however, isn't just for companies any longer. Consumers like you can take part in the action, cutting energy costs down in the process. Go green with these five modern ideas.

Charge Your Devices Using The Sun

If you're like the rest of us, you've got a million devices attached to you at once. Problems arise when you're out for an extended period of time and any one of them dies. Solar powered chargers offer a unique way to keep you connected, from cases to covers to water-resistant USB chargers. Some come directly built into the case, while others are mini stand-alone panels. Their use could not be simpler: Find a sunny area, plug in the charger if necessary, face the small solar panel skyward, and let the sun go to work. They are perfect for people who live in a sunny area with little cloud cover. Because of the way they produce electricity, solar cells emit no emissions, waste, or byproducts.

Go Hydro

If you live near an abundantly-flowing water resource like a river, a microhydropower system may be a good option. Hydroelectric power provides an economic source of energy by converting flowing water into electricity. Run-of-the-river systems, the most common type, have three components that convert water to electricity--a pipeline that delivers the water, a waterwheel that transforms the water into rotational energy, and a generator that converts this energy to electricity. Microhydropower systems are an especially viable option for people who use solar power, providing energy in the winter months when the sun is not readily available. These systems can generate up to 100 kilowatts of energy, providing well more than enough for your home.

Tankless Water Heaters Rule

Unlike the traditional water heaters that heat water in advance and store it until it is used, tankless heaters heat it on demand. No more running out of hot water in the shower! Some even offer temperature adjustments, convenient for those who are in danger of scalding themselves, such as the elderly or those with nerve damage in the hands. While tankless water heaters are typically more expensive than their counterparts, they are more energy efficient, and pay for themselves relatively quickly.

Cut Costs with Modern Insolation

A properly insolated home is more comfortable and cheaper to run than one using less quality material, and can also increase air-tightness by 70 percent. First, get an energy audit to see where your leaks are occurring. Properly install your insolation or replace windows, and try to find recycled material that is water-, fire-, and mold-resistant. If you want to know how to make your home more green and save on your next energy bill then you don’t have to look further than the nearest window. New low-e windows can help immensely with heat retention and help cut cost with modern developments.

Install a Greywater System

A greywater system captures and sterilizes your bath and washing machine water and reuses it for flushing the toilet. Though you must plumb the house in order to install it, the savings make up for the inconvenience. Toilet flushing typically uses 30 percent of your water intake. A greywater system would cut your bill by a third. It's estimated that you'll save around $250 annually.

Though solar panels and windmills are often the first things people think of when discussing green energy, they should be far from the last. Try these unique energy-saving ideas and you'll be one step ahead of your neighbors on the energy-efficient bandwagon.

Meghan Belnap
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Preservation of resources does more than simply ensure they are around for future generations. Recycling accomplishes more than simply finding a way to reuse an item. For instance, preserving resources can mean saving a household money, others money, develop responsibility in the younger generation and help to build ties in the community by supporting a common cause. It’s important to teach the younger generation how to recycle and there are a few methods for doing so.

Outings

There is an activity center located off of the 5 freeway in California that has a portion of the center dedicated to recycling. For instance, there is a machine that has several items that pass by on a conveyor belt that need to be recycled. Children are encouraged to place each item in the correct recycle bin. Other places, such as state parks, have similar activities or teach about recycling and conservation through other methods. Hands-on experiences help to teach the importance of recycling, which allow children to see how recycling directly affects the environment.

Labeling Canisters

Keeping several canisters in the kitchen where most refuse is discarded is a convenient way to discard recyclables. Corresponding larger containers kept in the garage provide an excellent storage place to collect like items that can be later discarded as selected. These bins may be placed outside for the local trash company to collect, whereby they will recycle the items, or to be taken in to exchange for money. For instance, there are several redemption locations that take cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles.

Turning in Cans

While recycling benefits the Earth in many ways, it may be just as practical to demonstrate the other rewards recycling can offer. For instance, take children to a recycling redemption place to teach them a method for earning money. Some states pay five cents per can or bottle and others pay ten cents. Children can use the money they have earned to buy a special treat.

People may not consider recycling one soda can to be a big deal, but just one can makes a small impact and makes a much larger one when everyone gets involved. Recycling one can of soda helps to free up space where it would have otherwise occupied in a landfill. Money can be preserved by avoiding the cost of mining the materials needed for making an additional can. This, in turn, helps to preserve the environment that is being rapidly dug up. Each person can make a difference and should.

Information Credit: King Recycling & Waste Disposal Inc.

Meghan Belnap
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You’ve heard it before: caring for the environment starts at home. No change is too small and it’s easier than you think to have a green-friendly home. Making changes for the betterment of the environment can help your wallet too. Follow these simple tips and become an eco-friendly homeowner today.

1. Keep an Eye on the Thermostat Year-Round

According to MSN Real Estate, as much as half of your yearly energy use can be from your air conditioner and heating systems. Save power (and money) by keeping your heat down during the wintertime. During the colder months, you’ll save as much as 5% of heat for every degree you set your thermostat below 68 degrees.

2. Create a Compost Bin

When the spring rolls around, consider starting your very own compost bin (or buy one ready-made from your area hardware store). Throw kitchen scraps into the bin to reuse your home’s waste - you can use the compost for an array of things, including gardening.

3. Upgrade Your Windows

Installing energy efficient windows is one of the best ways to go green at home. Energy-friendly windows will help your home to stay cool in the summer (and they’ll keep heat from escaping during the colder months). You can also regulate temperatures when it’s hot outside by installing ceiling fans and keeping your shades drawn until the sun goes down. Couple energy-efficient window panes from Sunrise Windows & Doors Depot Ltd. with curtains to help regulate temperature and energy retention.

4. Maintain Your Appliances

In order for your home’s appliances to work efficiently and use as little energy as possible, they must be maintained. Create a maintenance schedule and hire a pro to make major repairs when necessary. Cleaning the refrigerator coils and unplugging any electronics you don’t use often are two simple ways to cut down on energy use. If you have an old appliance that's zapping way too much energy, consider retro-fitting it or replacing it.

5. Limit Paper Use

Save a tree by cutting down on how much paper you use. Get your mailing address off of junk mail lists, sign up for electronic bill pay and send e-cards and invitations instead of hard copy stationery. Also, try to use paper and paper items made from recyclable materials whenever you can. Lastly, reading books on an e-reader is a much less wasteful way of curing your literary itch!

Small changes truly add up - whenever possible, opt for the green way to do things. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll see a decrease in your heating and electricity bill as well!

Meghan Belnap
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Green technology is becoming more on the forefront of everyone's minds as the worry of global warming increases. The many positive impacts of green technology are numerous and can be measured by the attention that green tech has garnered in the past decade. Below we will explore some of the specifics of why some types of tech are better than others.

Solar Power

Unlike non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels, the sun is a renewable energy source that should stick around another 6 billion years according to NASA. Also, the surface of earth receives more sunlight then the power needed to supply the entire world. These are just a couple reasons why solar power is important going forward in turning this planet into a green planet.

Wind Turbines

There are many benefits of using wind turbines to produce energy.

  • Do not produce carbon dioxide when in use
  • Wind is a free fuel, making it the cheapest renewable energy technologies on the market.
  • Just one wind turbine can produce enough energy to support over 1,500 homes.

As you can see, these are just three of the reasons why wind turbines have a positive impact in the green technology movement.

Reduced Paper Usage

Because of the technological advances of the 20th century, the need for paper has decreased. Now, more and more people use computers to send letters and write papers. By reducing the need for paper, the demand for deforestation decreases which allows more trees to stay, increasing our natural energy in the world.

Electric Cars

Electric cars can decrease the use of fossil fuels as they increase of production of them improve as time goes on. Combining wind turbines to produce energy, electric cars can have a huge positive impact on this planet.

Recycling Tires

Recycling tires have many benefits to society. For one, they have a good source of fuel because of the high heating value of a tire. Also, they can be converted into material that makes roads and running tracks as well as playground mulch. You can easily see the benefit to the environment that Eco Green recycled tires has as the need for sand and gravel drops. Because of this reduced demand there will be less mining for those

materials.

Better Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have more power and less space than other batteries and they produce less energy than other batteries. Phones, laptops, and cars are all moving to lithium-ion batteries to help the environment.

As you see above, these are just six of many more positive impacts of Green Technology. We all can make a difference by just recycling items that we used daily. If we just do a little bit of work, we can all make this planet greener and better off.

Meghan Belnap
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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many private homes have reduced their carbon emissions, thereby eliminating the equivalent of emissions from more than 30 million cars each year. With a few home renovations, your home can be more comfortable as well as environmentally friendly and have lower utility bills.

Find a Green Architect

It is recommended to ask an architect who has green building credentials to help you renovate your home. They will have ideas and knowledge to take your plan forward in the most environmentally responsible way possible. You can find green architects in your location by searching for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified architects.

Use Reclaimed Wood

For your next new floor installation, try reclaimed wood. No trees are cut, and you can request an adhesive backing that is free of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as formaldehyde. You can even find other items that use reclaimed wood like tables and ottomans. This method is not only green but can bring a certain rustic look to your home that non-reclaimed wood cannot.

Let the Sun Shine In

Low-E glass or window film keeps heat out and lets sunlight in. Low-E glass has a special coating that is 50 percent more energy efficient than regular glass. It suppresses heat flow, so your air conditioner needs to work less. If changing glass is not an option, consider putting window film. This is less expensive, but serves the same purpose. It also comes in tinted shades to give more privacy.

Consider Square Footage

Regina major renovations often include adding a new room. However, being eco-friendly means using few new materials and reducing waste. Rather than adding a new bedroom or making your living room big enough for a Super Bowl party, consider using attic or basement space for extra rooms. When you avoid unnecessary square footage, your footprint can remain the same because you don’t up your heating and air conditioning costs.

Keep Down the Maintenance

You can ask your Regina custom home builder about eco-friendly materials that require no maintenance. This means the stone or wood does not need to be repainted, refinished or constantly cleaned. The same goes for landscaping. Permeable pavers keep water runoff in the ground and not down the sewer. Landscaping and driveways can be made from permeable pavers that hold grass or gravel and along with that, water.

Reducing the carbon footprint of your home doesn’t necessarily mean you need to add expensive features that you can’t really afford such as solar panels or rainwater collection systems. There are many options such as on-demand water heaters and efficient appliances that will have a big impact on making your home greener.

Meghan Belnap
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There are many green ideas that will improve your home. There are several ways to make your home more eco-friendly and these can be done without breaking your bank too. There are some affordable and simple project ideas that may be of interest to you. If you are just choosing to make home improvements that will help the overall environment or if you simply have a desire to cut down on fuel costs and make your home more efficient there are definitely some ways that you can upgrade your home and make it eco-friendly.

Where to Start?

You can start by determining what your home improvement budget is. Determine the amount of money that you can spend on your projects. Decide if you would like to hire a green-savvy professional or if you would like to tackle your home improvements yourself. You can then prepare your eco-friendly upgrades. Determine what areas you will improve on.

Simple Solutions

Here is a list of simple solutions that will be a beginning of your eco-friendly home upgrades. Start with the following ideas:

  • Check for drafts that may be coming around your windows and doors. You can lose approximately 20 percent of your energy because it may slip right through these drafts. You can cut your energy bill if you block off any drafts.
  • Reflective insulation can use the benefits of the sun. It is a control solar radiation. Reflective insulation may be used to keep your heat from escaping from your home. This can prevent your airflow from going astray.
  • Upgrade your windows to be better-insulated and better-sealed. An energy efficient Retro Teck Window will lower your energy costs by a large amount as well as look great.
  • A low-impact lawn can be an eco-friendly lawn. If you use native plants as ground cover this will cut costs because there will be less fuel needed for lawn mowers. A smaller amount of grass to mow may allow for the use of a manual mower.
  • Hot water heating usage. Approximately one third of your home's energy is used on a water heater. If you improve your water heater's efficiency this will offer your home an effective investment for your upgrade to an eco-friendly home.

Every homeowner has many options that can be inexpensive. In the long run any upgrades will be cost effective and eco-friendly and will save money on energy costs. Getting your energy consumption under control can not only save you money but it can seriously help the environment. Consider these suggestions if going green is the route that you would like to take.

Meghan Belnap
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Toxic waste consists of products that can cause illness or death to humans, animals or plants. Proper disposal of household toxic waste can prevent that waste from entering our air, soil and water. It also helps protect waste workers from illness and/or injury from toxic materials. Here's what you can do around your house to properly dispose of toxic substances.

Liquid Toxic Household Waste

There are a wide variety items that can be classified as liquid toxic hazardous household waste (HHW). Liquid HHW can be in the form of paint, weed killer, anti-freeze, oil, bleach, cleaning solutions and polishes. Some can even cause a fire or explosion. Your state environmental protection agency will have a list of hazardous household substances on its website. You never want to pour these down a drain to dispose of them. They'll only enter the ground and water supply again. They'll also eat your plumbing from the inside. Check labels for disposal instructions.

Solid Toxic Household Waste

Solid toxic household waste can consist of batteries, computers, printers, electronics and cell phones. Don't just throw these things in the garbage. There's a place where they can go to die. When not disposed of properly, they can also be harmful. Toxic chemicals in them can leach into the groundwater and pollute lakes and streams.

Proper Disposal

Most municipalities have their own HHW facilities for their residents. Their websites will tell you what are and are not acceptable products. They're quite liberal with how much waste product they'll take at no charge. They have separate facilities for disposal of computer and other electronic equipment. You can take those things there. Some products like paint, oil and acetone might even be recycled back to the consumer at no cost if unused or only slightly used.

Prescription Drugs

Flushing unused prescription drugs down the toilet only puts them in the water supply. Local drug take-back programs are available through local municipalities for safe disposal of medications. You can phone your governmental recycling office for information on drug take-back programs in your community.

Don't be a hoarder of HHW. It's very easy to get rid of these toxic materials responsibly. Take it to a facility near you, like King Recycling & Waste Disposal Inc, as they are ready to help you with your waste. They're pleased to take your HHW, the service is free, and you'll be participating in your personal part of preserving our health, safety and environment.

Meghan Belnap
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Most doctors know a patient's environment can have an impact on their recovery time. Health problems can worsen when a patient breathes in toxic fumes from paint and cleaning products. In response to this problem, many hospitals are now using environmentally friendly paint and cleaning supplies. Many hospitals are taking things a step further by implementing environmentally friendly technology and cleaning methods. Here are a few ways technology is helping hospitals become environmentally friendly.

Waste Management

All hospitals are required to shred sensitive documents. In addition to shredding and recycling documents, some hospitals have purchased a cardboard baler to dispose of their boxes. Recycling boxes crushed in a cardboard baler can save thousands of trees. Some healthcare facilities have also increased the amount of recycling bins designated for cans and plastic bottles.

Reducing Energy Everywhere

You have probably noticed large fans outside some hospitals. Those huge fans use an excessive amount of electricity. They require a large amount of energy to heat and cool the hospital. Many healthcare facilities have eliminated this problem by installing a ductless filtering hood.

Clean and Safe Tools

Several hospitals use dry ice blasting to clean instruments and surfaces. Dry ice blasting cleans using compressed air and can literally remove the bacteria from the instruments. Surfaces and instruments, like a coronary stent, are cleaned without abrasive substances but still involve hydro pressure as they are a little more intricate. This environmentally friendly cleaning method prevents harmful fungus and germs from growing on tools and surfaces. It also eliminates odors caused by bacteria that can make hospital visits horrible. These cleaning technique are approved by the USDA and are very green and eco-friendly.

LED Lights

Lighting is very important in any healthcare facility, and most modern hospitals use LED lights. In addition to reducing the electric bill, they help surgeons see better in the operating room. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff need bright lights to read charts and attend to patients.

Laboratory Cooling Systems

In addition to keeping the healthcare facility at a comfortable temperature, cooling systems are needed to maintain the temperature in hospital labs. Hospitals built decades ago used inefficient cooling equipment. Now, hospitals can use automated software to regulate the temperature in rooms that need to be kept cold.

Eco-friendly solutions benefit patients and hospital staff. These solutions also improve air and water quality in the general population. Reducing waste and implementing cleaner waste management policies protects local and surrounding communities. Several healthcare facilities have also realized the economic benefit of implementing these changes. These changes increase profits while providing a higher standard of care for patients.

Meghan Belnap
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It isn't really necessary to have a green thumb to create green landscaping or to make your renovations more eco-friendly. Landscaping is partly an art and a science. The basic steps to green landscaping are to plan ahead and choose landscapes that endure and also add an eco-friendly element to the final result.

Green Landscaping

The fundamentals of green landscaping are fairly simple. Start with a complete review of the existing soil, soil moisture, climate and types of plants preferred. If there are a lot of obstructions like tree stumps and large, exposed roots, consider a digging service like Kamloops Septic Service that specializes in hydro excavations. The use of pressurized water to remove roots and rocks is an eco-friendly way of outdoor renovating. The water is clean, safe and won't add chemicals to the local drainage systems. Once all of this debris is removed, review the design of the green landscape plan.

Protection from the Elements

If the home or building is located in a windy area, it may be necessary to create a wind break using a fence of evergreens, Russian olive shrubs or privet hedges. With this kind of natural wind break you can help reduce soil erosion and water loss as well as create a natural privacy barrier.

Consider the Foliage

Choose plants that are compatible with the soil. Not all plants like sandy soil, just as not all plants do well in dark loam. When planting wild flowers, trees or shrubs, check with the regulatory compliance authority before planting takes place. Certain types of wild plants may be protected from extinction. Others grow in their natural environment without much encouragement if the soil is compatible.

Making Interior Renovations More Eco-Friendly

When making renovations inside a home or building, check all of the tags and labels to insure they meet standard environmental compliance. This applies to roofing, flooring and insulating materials. Most paints and wallpapers today are manufactured according to eco-friendly regulations. When renovating or replacing fixtures and piping, check the ratings for these as well. Many of these can be recycled when it's time to replace them. Keep a careful watch on how to recycle older pipes, sheet rock and exterior shingles and roofing materials. When renovating an outdoor driveway, consult with installers to ask if materials like asphalt or cement can be replaced with natural, eco-friendly pavers or stones.

The secret to green landscaping is to understand the compatibility between nature's ecological balance and personal choice of plantings that marry perfectly. With the wealth of eco-friendly materials for renovations, it's now possible to go green indoors and out. Most homeowners and building owners enjoy less expense with green landscaping and eco-friendly renovations.

Meghan Belnap
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Energy consumption is a constant state of existence for all living beings. From the leaves of a tree converting sunlight into chemical fuel to human super cities consuming coal, hydroelectric discharge, or nuclear power to fuel their massive electrical grids – energy consumption happens as a day to day process in all walks of life. There are green alternatives available, however, that can greatly reduce the impact this consumption has on the environment - especially on a per home basis.

Here are 4 green alternatives to common household systems:

Solar Energy

When considering green alternatives, one of the first things that should come to mind is solar energy. On average, the Earth receives an astonishing 174 Petawatts of incoming solar radiation per day.

There are two distinct types of solar energy you can choose from:

  • Active Solar – This system uses panels known as solar collectors and is the more recognizable of the two when discussing solar power. These collectors usually mount on rooftops in a southward facing orientation. The heat generated from these panels can be used to warm living spaces or water supplies.
  • Passive Solar – Material usage such as thermal mass stone and concrete can serve to absorb heat during peak sun hours and released the stored heat into the home during nighttime hours. Also, large plate glass south-facing windows can provide heat during colder months.

Geothermal Heating & Cooling

This system involves circulating water through underground pipes beneath the home. The water is naturally heated or cooled based on the temperature of the Earth during summer or winter months. This is called a closed loop system, but another alternative would be an open-loop system that makes use of a well.

Natural Gas

When available, natural gas is always an efficient alternative to electricity, heating oils, and even propane. Natural gas, according to recent Department of Energy estimates, costs approximately 68 percent less than the cost of electricity per British thermal unit (Btu).

Plumbing Alternatives

By installing more environmentally friendly plumbing units from Imagine Plumbing & Appliance Ltd, an enormous amount of water energy can be conserved. Here are just a few examples of quick plumbing fixes to help lower energy costs:

  • Low-Flush Toilets – Lowers the water usage from 3.5 to 5 gallons for conventional toilets to 1.6 gallons or less.
  • Low-Flow Showerheads – Lowers the water usage from 4.5 gallons per minute for standard heads to 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • Faucet Aerators – Reduces the water used by faucets by as much as 60 percent while still maintaining strong flow cycles per use.

In a progressive approach to thwart the negative implications of human energy consumption on the environment, today more than ever, “greener” alternatives are being researched. These green alternatives involve methods of energy production that are environmentally friendly while striving to remain cost effective.

Meghan Belnap
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Everyone wants to breathe clean air, drink clean water and protect the environment. Doing this does not require massive changes to your life. There are actually small things that you can do every day to make a difference. You should know about a few ways to be more eco-responsible in your daily life.

Drive Less

Driving in a typical car sends a significant amount of pollution into the air every day. Even highly efficient cars are releasing emissions every minute they run. Do what you can to drive less. Car pool, take public transportation or ride a bicycle. Consolidate your shopping trips. Try walking to nearby locations instead of taking the car out for just a few minutes.

Turn Off Lights, Appliances and Electronics

Leaving lights, appliances and electronics on for just a few extra minutes a day can add up by the end of the year. You will be using more electricity. This causes more harmful emissions to be released by power plants. Turn off anything you do not need immediately even if you are coming back in a few minutes. Unplug appliances and electronics you are not planning to use.

Recycle Everything Possible

Recycling helps to preserve energy and resources. Recycling reduces the demand for virgin materials that must be extensively transported and processed. You can help the environment by recycling everything possible. This includes glass, paper, and plastics and even scrap metal. Metal recycling from Federal Metals Inc can be one of the most lucrative, eco-friendly endeavors you pursue. Recycling reduces the need for landfills and protects the environment.

Carry Your Own Reusable Bag

The disposable plastic bags used at many retailers harm the environment. They require petroleum to create. Plastic bags can also end up in natural areas where they harm wildlife, contaminate soil and remain in the environment for decades or longer. Carry your own reusable bag around while shopping to be more eco-responsible.

Stop Using Disposable Water Bottles

A final step is to stop using disposable plastic water bottles. These water bottles end up in the ocean, landfills and other areas where they cause a range of problems. This is true even for disposable bottles made from recycled materials. You should start using a hard plastic, metal or glass bottle that can be refilled once it is empty.

Helping the environment is often as simple as taking a few extra seconds to recycle something or turn off unnecessary lights. The cumulative effect of all your small changes will become significant over the course of a year or more. You can be more eco-responsible without having to change your entire lifestyle.

Meghan Belnap
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One of the most desirable attributes that many real estate shoppers are looking for these days is a neighborhood that is green. This includes neighborhoods that have a lot of green buildings as well as places that have a lot of green amenities that make living an eco-friendly lifestyle easier. If you are looking for a green place to call your home, here is a look at four of the greenest locations that you should consider.

Mueller, Texas

It probably comes as no surprise to most folks that one of the greenest neighborhoods in the United States is located in Austin. This neighborhood has ample public transportation and loads of open green spaces. All the roads comes with bike lanes to make zero-carbon commuting in the gorgeous Austin weather a breeze. Austin also has tons of farmers markets and green grocery stores.

Madison Street, Tennessee

This used to be one of the most rundown neighborhoods in Chattanooga. This all changed when a green initiative was launched to transform Madison Street into the location of Tennessee’s first LEED-certified homes. All the new buildings in the neighborhood are made from locally manufactured and harvested materials. It is now a community of artists that has all the eco-friendly attributes that you could wish for.

Liberty Village, Ontario

This Toronto neighborhood is a great place for people who want to live a green lifestyle. It is located next to several public transportation options to make commuting greenly a breeze. It also has a lot of green spaces to enjoy. There is also a lovely farmers market that allows shoppers access to locally grown foods. Learn more about this lovely place at Renters Guide. You can find a place to live in this progressive and stylish area.

Northwest Crossing, Oregon

While Portland gets a lot of press when it comes to green communities, this Bend neighborhood is actually the greenest place to live in the state of Oregon. It is surrounded by 32 acres of parks that give residents ample green space to enjoy. The neighborhood was designed to make it easy to walk or bike to everything that residents need like stores and entertainment. All the homes in the neighborhood have been certified organic by the prestigious Earth Advantage program.

If you are looking to transform your lifestyle into an eco-friendly one, one of the most important steps to change it is to find someplace to live that offers green living. These four neighborhoods all allow residents to enjoy green living without sacrificing comfort. They are a great place to start for people looking for green spaces to live.

Meghan Belnap
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Making energy efficient upgrades to your home not only is good for the environment, it also can save you lots of money when your bills are due. The only issue is that you might not know where to start. There are so many options to just throw money into but not all of them are as good as you would like to think. Here are some of the best energy efficient improvements to make.

New Windows and Doors

If you live in an older house with windows and doors that haven't been replaced in years, it's likely you are losing a considerable amount of money on your heating and cooling costs. Over the years, your house shifts and settles, and doors and windows no longer fit their frames the way they once did, leaving gaps and cracks for air to get through. Also, newer windows come with either double or triple panes, which are much better at keeping the air in that you want in and keeping the air out that you don't than older single-pane windows.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat helps improve your energy efficiency by optimizing the use of your heating and cooling systems. During the summer, for example, you can set your thermostat to raise the temperature during the day when you aren't there and then gradually raise it in the hour or two before you arrive home. In the winter, you can set your thermostat to lower the temperature during the day and at night while you are sleeping. Being able to program your thermostat allows you to use less energy and save money.

Adding Insulation

Another way to be energy efficient in your home is to add or update your current insulation. Insulation in walls, floors and ceilings helps to keep warm air in in the winter and cold air out, while doing the reverse in the summer. Reitzel Insulation Co Ltd insulation also keeps pipes in walls and under floors warm during the winter so they don't freeze. If you can afford blown-in insulation, it works great for hard-to-reach areas.

Low-flow Water Devices

You'd be surprised how much water you waste in your home on a daily basis, but there's a way you can cut down on that. Installing flow-restricting devices on your toilet as well as a low-flow shower head can cut your water usage by hundreds of gallons a month. Though this won't save you a ton of money, it will give you the peace of mind that you are doing your part to help the environment.

Having an energy efficient home is the dream of so many of us. There are many energy efficient upgrades you can make to your home, some simple and inexpensive, some that are complex and costly. Choose the ones that make the most sense for you. These upgrades might set you back but remember that you are going to make some of that money back over time due to lower bills at the end of the month.

Meghan Belnap
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Water seems like it is the one thing that we humans will never run out of but don't be so sure. With modernization of morer and more of the world, this precious resource is being polluted and used at an alarming rate. With water being one of the most necessary resources for the survival of all plants and animals it’s a very precious resource that needs to be preserved and protected from pollution. Thankfully, you can take steps to improve the quality of your water and conserve it at home.

Why Water Conservation Matters

The majority of the Earth may be covered by water. However, only a small fraction of that water is suitable for consumption by humans and animals. In certain areas, such as the western United States, droughts are a serious danger that can destroy ecosystems, put farmers out of business and devastate local communities. Wasting water can have a tangible and negative effect.

Why Water Cleanliness Matters

Water cleanliness is also a serious issue. For one, access to clean and unpolluted water is necessary for a long and healthy life. If someone drinks contaminated water, it could lead to death due to bacterial infection. Water that has been polluted by toxins and chemicals can also slowly deteriorate a person’s health and lead to an early demise.

How to Conserve Water at Home

Conserving water at home requires action. You should be reassessing how you use water in every part of your home during each part of the day. For example, showers waste gallons of water in a home each day. However, if you install a low-flow showerhead, you could prevent your family from wasting as much water. Installing low-flow faucet fixtures and toilets can also make a big difference. You can also make other changes in your home. For example, you could switch to hand washing your clothes and start collecting rain water for your plants.

How to Maintain Water Cleanliness at Home

Water cleanliness is also extremely important at home. Maintaining a high level of water quality means insuring your family stays healthy. Unless you are provided with city water that has already been thoroughly treated, you need to treat your water supply yourself to make sure it is safe to drink. A water softener from Anderson Water Systems, for example, can remove magnesium, calcium and iron from water. Installing filters on faucets used for drinking water can provide additional protection. A reverse osmosis filtration system could also make just about any water source safe for human consumption

Overall, improving the cleanliness of your home’s water supply and lowering your home’s water consumption takes a bit of work. However, the benefit for your family as well as the environment is always worth the effort.

Meghan Belnap
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Most people don't take the time to consider how their front or back yards are affecting the environment. While many property owners make investments in energy efficient products like solar panels or LED light bulbs, they hardly think of how the property beyond the walls of their home is being wasted when it could promote an efficient and sustainable environment. It's time to think beyond the staples of what we consider green living and maximize what the right type of landscaping can do for your environmental impact. Here are some ideas that will make your yard your neighborhood's beacon of sustainability:

Raised/Green Gardens

Long before pristine sprawls of useless grass became the standard use for a homeowner's plot of earth, the soil was used to feed the family and even make a profit. Now, fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe and are shipped half way around the world to arrive on grocery shelves with the right color but lacking the flavor of locally grown, ripe produce. Why buy bland, imported produce with a large carbon footprint when you can grow it just outside?

Start by building a wooden box frame and filling it with top soil or hiring one of the best landscapers in Utah to help. This project can be as simple or complex as you like. Build the walls of the box and don't cover it: that's where your plants will grow. A bottom for the box is not necessary, but if you are concerned about old pollutants in your yard's dirt like motor oil or lead that might be leeched into the garden's top soil, you can lay out a plywood floor to build your box around. You can make this box frame as long and wide as you like, and you can build multiple frames with walking space of about three feet between them if you have the space for it and want to compartmentalize your garden.

Once each box is filled with rich top soil from your gardening supply store, or better yet your own compost pile, you can begin planting seeds. A raised garden will benefit your wallet, your dinner table, and the world's climate when you stop feeding the beast of the global grocery supply chain and bring things back to your own yard.

Composting

Buying a compost bin is a great way to start taking the biodegradable food waste hauled to the dump and recycle it right at home. Garbage trucks need to pick up, haul, and bury your coffee grounds, food scraps, leaves, newspaper, ashes, and other biodegradable trash, but if you start putting it into a compost bin you can create a carbon and nitrogen rich fertilizer to put directly into your garden to nourish soil and feed plants. By buying a low cost compost bin (a plastic one will suffice), you can reduce waste production and turn your garden into a fertile paradise at the cost of an easy to set up bin and the time it takes for your food and yard waste to decompose inside it.

Low Flow Watering System

Lawn lovers can go green by limiting their water use. Some sprinklers are designed to maximize efficiency with water usage. Look for a "low flow" sprinkler or sprinkler kit, and do your part to protect our water reserves. Lawns are considered a luxury in a draught-prone area, so limiting your yard's water usage can help ensure water is there for it in the long run.

With these simple green yard tips, you can be sure to make an impact on your local environment and neighborhood. The effort you put into your yard will not only help your wallet but the entire environment.

Meghan Belnap

There are a number of different ways you can conserve energy in your home, but one of the most effective ways is to invest in Low-E windows and even different window treatments. Like many other energy conservation efforts, these changes require a bit of an investment upfront; however, the payoff down the road is well worth it. Low-E windows are an innovative product that just recently became available on the market while window treatments have always been an option for regulating the temperature of your home. Consider the benefits of these treatment options, and decide what works for you.

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Low-E Glass

Low-E or Low-Emissive glass is a type of window glass that has been treated with a special coating to support energy conservation. The treatment is typically an invisible metal or metallic oxide coating that creates a surface that reflects heat but still allows light to pass through.

 

To measure the energy efficiency of the window glass in your home, the heat that passes through is measured by the U-factor or ultraviolet light. The lower the U-factor is, the more energy-efficient the glass is. If too much of this ultraviolet heat enters your home, it heats it up and causes your air conditioning bill to go up. Conversely, Low-E glass reduces the heat lost through your windows during window. Loosing less heat means that you’ll pay less to keep your home warmer.

 

To get the most out of your Low-E glass, you need to consider how the pains should be installed. If you live in a warmer climate, install the pane so that the Low-E coating is toward the outside of the window to block the sun. However, if you live in a colder climate, adjust the installation so that the Low-E coating is applied to the inside of the window and holds heat in. These installation techniques ensure that your windows will be as energy-efficient as possible.

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Window Treatments

There are additional options that can also contribute to the energy efficiency of your home. While most people consider window treatments and coverings strictly decorative, they can actually contribute a great deal to energy savings. As you consider your window treatments, be sure to carefully weight your options to select treatments that can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Some of the most effective custom window treatments include awnings, blinds, and draperies.

 

Awnings can provide significant energy savings. Attached above south-facing windows, awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65 percent. Used on west-facing windows, the gain reduction is roughly 77 percent. Consider installing an awning that covers one window or the entire side of your home to get the biggest benefit.

 

Interior and exterior blinds are another great option for increasing energy efficiency. Interior blinds offer slightly less protection from heat loss; however, they reduce heat gain by nearly 45 percent. Use these systems to control light and ventilation and to block direct sunlight. Exterior blinds are also effective for reducing heat gain. You can manipulate this type of blind to block the amount of light flowing through to reduce additional heat.

 

Draperies also offer protection against heat loss and gain. If this is a conservation effort you plan to implement, consider the type of fabric you select. Medium-colored draperies with a protective plastic backing can reduce heat gain by 33 percent and heat loss by up to 10 percent when drawn at the appropriate times. For maximum efficiency, attach the drapes so that they reach from ceiling to floor and overlap in the center. You may even consider attaching Velcro to the sides nearest the walls to create a seal.

 

The type of windows you have as well as the window treatments you use can contribute significantly to the energy efficiency of your home. To reduce heat gain and loss, consider installing Low-E glass and selecting appropriate window treatment options for your area. Either way it will be an investment with a great payoff in the long run.

Meghan Belnap

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The rising cost of energy is a big concern for many people. While energy usage is continuing to be more expensive, there are now many ways that the average person could cut back on the amount of energy that they use. There are five tips in particular that all people could follow to cut their energy usage.

Home Automation

One of the best things that you could do to save on energy costs would be to use a home automation system. Home automation systems will turn electronics on and off when they are not in use, will automatically change the temperature in your home when you are away and will provide you with certain controls remotely. All of these can help to reduce your energy usage.

Use Vents Strategically

Another great way to reduce your energy costs is to avoid heating and cooling rooms that you do not use. If you have extra bedrooms or living space that are rarely in use, keeping these rooms at a comfortable temperature can be very expensive. One of the best things that you could do would be to close the vents to these rooms and seal the windows as this will prevent air flow into these rooms and will reduce your energy costs.

Change Temperature

One of the biggest ways that people waste their energy dollars is by cooling or heating their home too much. While all people have a desired temperature in their home, those that are willing to raise their thermostat a few degrees during the summer or lower it during the winter could reduce their energy bills by a significant margin.

New Window Treatments

Installing new window treatments can also help you to reduce your energy bills. Window shutters, such as those from companies like Litemaster Blinds & Awnings can help to keep your home cool in the summer months and warm in the winter months by retaining the current temperature in your home.

Unplug Electronics

Finally, simply unplugging certain appliances will be able to cut your costs. Minor appliances and electronics including microwaves, coffee machines, phone chargers, and other small items all use a little bit of energy even when they are not in use. By unplugging them you could cut your energy bills.

While cutting your home energy usage could help to reduce your bills on a monthly basis, there are other benefits as well. Reductions in energy usage could also extend the life of your furnace and air conditioner and is much better for the environment.

Meghan Belnap

If you are a concerned eco-friendly entrepreneur, there are many inspiring and creative ways to make and keep your business “green” and help the environment in safe ways at the same time. Feel good about helping Mother Nature to maintain our natural resources for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

There is an extra benefit because it helps your reputation that consumers want to support a green business, and you can thus show customers that you care about the environment and are making strides for improvements within your business.

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Eco-friendly Landscaping

Professional landscaping for your business property lawn can be ordered that will save energy, water and money. Such inclusions can be drought-resistant plants, synthetic turf, strategically placed trees and more.

 

Use All-natural, Organic and Recycled Products

Cleaning products and soaps can be purchased that use common organic materials that are much better for the environment. Office supplies including all types of paper, file folders, toilet paper, paper towels, cups, and plates can be purchased made from recycled products.

 

Aerial Imagery and Conscience Digging

Learn from an oil company that uses the aerial photographic services of Terra Server to get imagery and the geography of areas to find appropriate places to dig where it will not harm the environment. You might have the type of business that needs to evaluate and analyze the working area landscape.

 

Encourage Employees to Recycle

Keep waste bins separate from recycling bins, and make sure they are clearly labeled to make their use easy. Explain to employees how good this is for the environment and how it cuts trash expenses. Also, ask the employees to make suggestions for ways the company can be made more eco-friendly.

 

Cut Down on Wasted Energy

Be less wasteful and more energy-efficient by closing off unused rooms so they do not need to be heated and cooled, and setting the thermometer higher or lower depending on when you are open for business and when you are closed during non-business hours. Additionally, have employees shut off unused equipment including their computers at the end of the work day.

 

By making your business more eco-friendly, or “going green”, the above measures will cut down on costs. By saving money in as many areas and ways as possible, you can spend more on important things such as marketing to grow your business.

Meghan Belnap

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With so many cars, machines, and chemicals involved in our everyday lives it's no wonder that the earth is starting to show signs of distress. And not only is Earth sending up red flags, but our wallets are weeping in despair because our mechanized, chemical rich lifestyles are expensive. But what can be done about it? Here are some great tips to keep both your budget, and Mother Earth happy.

Tip #1: Distilled Vinegar

Common household cleaners are expensive and chocked full of harsh chemicals that destroy the earth. Distilled vinegar is an unsung hero in the cleaning world. It's cheap, natural and a powerful disinfectant. Put it in a spray bottle or soak a rag in it to clean glass, tile, counter tops, walls, grout and more. Improve its smell and cleaning effects by adding lemon juice, and/or baking soda. These natural products are, cheap, earth-friendly, hypoallergenic and totally safe to use around your kids and pets.

Tip #2: Conserve Water

There is only so much water in the world and your water bill could be draining your wallet every month. Cut down on water usage and expenses by either purchasing a low-water toilet or by simply filling a water bottle with rocks or sand and putting it in your toilet tank. This will cut back on how much water your tank uses to flush the toilet saving you money, and saving the world one flush at a time.

Tip #3: Go Solar

Power and gas bills are astronomically expensive and excessive usage damages the earth. With an upfront investment you can convert to solar power-- saving money in the long run and doing Mother Nature a little favor. Companies like Degree C Pty Ltd offer solar powered alternatives for hot water systems. These typically last longer than traditional designs. Cut your gas bill every month and reduce the amount of natural gas harvested by letting solar power your home.

It’s easy to think the little changes you make won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the simple steps that can often make the biggest impact. Going green can be the most cost effective change you make. Reduce waste, cut harsh chemicals, and lower your power and water bills by using these easy tips. You’ll watch your wallet get fatter as your carbon footprint gets smaller.

Meghan Belnap

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Owning your own home comes with plenty of responsibilities, not the least of which is ensuring that your home has as small of an impact on the environment as possible. This sounds great in principle, however, in practice, this can be a difficult goal to achieve. Here are a few tips to beginning a “green” lifestyle while still maintaining the lifestyle you currently enjoy.

Upgrade Your Home on Time

Your appliances and HVAC system use the majority of energy in your home. That’s why it’s so important to replace them using energy-efficient models when the old units break down. That’s the key, though. You need to wait until the old units are no longer operable before replacing them with new models. Sure, new models are likely to use less energy, however, the energy required to produce the new model and dispose of the old one will far outweigh any energy savings you gain through early replacement.

Recycle It All

Recycling is, of course, a great way to ensure that the materials you don’t need anymore do not fill up the landfill. What’s crucial with recycling, however, is to truly consider how to recycle all that you can, not just those materials that are “easy,” such as cardboard, glass, and aluminum. One category that can be more difficult is electronics. Since they contain so many precious metals as well as harmful materials, proper electronics recycling is absolutely crucial. Utilize a company such as Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc. that is trusted and works to keep all waste produced in the United States instead of shipping it off to contaminate another country.

A Note about Pets

Pets, for people of any age, can be wonderful to release stress, build responsibility, and provide many years of enjoyment. If you’re seeking to live “green,” however, the environmental cost of owning a pet must be considered. Whether it’s a dog whose food puts a big stress on food supplies and shipping resources or fish whose tank accessories are operating 24/7, pets can do more than their fair share of harm to the environment.

Taking steps like buying locally-made dog food or utilizing a fish tank that can cycle itself without electricity are good ways to lessen the environmental impact of your pet while still retaining all the benefits of owning one.

Turn off Those Lights

Though we all know the importance of turning off lights when we leave a room, it’s a habit few of us actually practice. If you find yourself consistently unable to remember to flip the switch, consider investing in some automatic light switches that turn off after a period of inactivity in a room. These work especially great in areas that people don’t frequent, such as a bathroom or a basement, but where lights are still frequently left on.

Reach out

Though the impact of the steps you take in your own home is certainly important, the biggest change happens when others take notice of the changes you’re making and seek to make some changes themselves. Be open with those who ask and have the information handy to help them make changes in their own lives, as well. The cumulative effect of many people making changes will truly make a big impact on making the world a better place.