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BrookeChaplan

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For the last several years, the idea of building a tiny home and having a scaled-down living experience has been increasing in popularity across the country. While it may have started out as a unique housing option that inspired curiosity, it now has gained traction and is the preferred way of life for many people regardless of age and other demographic factors. If you have been thinking about taking the plunge and building a tiny home, there has never been a better time than now to get started.

Interest Rates

Interest rates have slowly been rising, and this affects the cost of a new mortgage as well as the cost of credit card debt, car loans and more. Many people choose to live in a tiny home to reduce their debt balances and to save money. The affordability of a tiny home makes it easier to pay off debts and to maintain a debt-free status. While there is never certainty with regards to economic conditions, interest rates may continue to trend upward and make debt an even more burdensome problem.

Creative Options

The most common and traditional tiny home option is to build your own home using lumber, drywall, and other basic housing materials. The result is a tiny home with the façade of a standard home, and this option remains for tiny home enthusiasts. However, creative options are increasingly embraced in the tiny home community. For example, many people have chosen to live in renovated shipping containers to save money, to reduce waste and to enjoy other exceptional benefits.

Friendly Communities

When you build a tiny home, you must decide where to place the home. These homes are somewhat mobile, but they generally should find a permanent place to sit. The primary option years ago was to purchase a piece of land or to place the home on a large estate that a family member owned. Today, there is an increasing number of tiny home communities. If you choose to live in one of these communities, you have the ability to enjoy the neighborhood lifestyle that many people prefer.

Living in a tiny house is not ideal or comfortable for everyone, but it is a growing trend that offers incredible benefits. Regardless of whether you are inspired to live a simpler life, to save money or to reduce your footprint, you can see that now is the ideal time to begin seriously exploring the options and making plans to build your tiny home.

BrookeChaplan

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Waste is a serious issue in our industrialized world. The more convenient we make our every day lives, the more waste we seem to produce. There are better ways to achieve convenience while reducing the amount of waste produced.

Renting Small Equipment

Every industry relies on the use of small equipment. Dollies are used to haul large shipments of boxes or heavy materials. Electronic scales are required to measure the weight of products and materials in several industries. Portable wireless radios help staff members or construction workers communicate quickly and easily to coordinate efforts. When you begin to look for ways to improve your industry by reducing the amount of waste your business produces, consider renting your small equipment in place of purchasing it.

Using rental companies, such as radio equipment rental companies like altechradio.com, allows you to use the equipment required for your business while reducing the amount of waste produced. Since you don’t own the equipment, you’re not responsible for its disposal. Finding rentals is as simple as searching Google for something like “radio equipment rentals in NYC” and looking through the results.

Donate or Compost Old Food

Whether you work in the restaurant industry or you run a construction company with hungry construction workers, you’re going to encounter instances where you’ll be dealing with unsold food or partially eaten leftovers. This will be more prevalent in the restaurant industry, the supermarket industry, and the food processing industry. Thanks to the efforts in France, it is now legal precedent to donate old or unsold food to local food banks to reduce a growing global issue of excessive food waste.

Within the restaurant industry, popular coffee shops have taken the initiative to donate their unsold food to local food banks to reduce the amount of food waste that’s tossed into landfills every day. For food that’s been partially eaten, a compost pile can be started to turn organic food waste into fertile compost for gardens and flower pots. This is a way to return those wasted vitamins and nutrients to the soil in order to grow new food and continue the cycle of life.

Biodegradable Products

To help reduce the amount of waste in landfills and the environmental impact plastic and styrofoam have on the environment, scientists have created a line of biodegradable products that can be used in various industries. These products, once thrown away, will naturally erode from exposure to the elements to leave no toxic residue behind.

If you’re looking to make your business more eco-friendly, start by implementing these forward-thinking improvements. Not only are these improvements friendly to the environment, but they’re also friendly towards your community.

BrookeChaplan

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When you program your thermostat, you reasonably expect the thermostat to maintain the entire home at the desired temperature without hassle at all times. In many homes, however, there may be a significant temperature differential from room to room. This can cause a thermostat to work overtime, which can result in skyrocketing energy bills. If you are having trouble with your home’s thermostat, the problem may not actually be related to this device. Instead, it may be related to various other features throughout the home.

Upgrade Your Home’s Windows

Residential windows are no longer made out of a single thin pane of glass. Instead, they are usually at least double-paned with an insulating gas layer between the panes. They also may have an additional coating to further promote energy efficiency. If you notice draughts in your home, it may be a sign that your windows need to be replaced. Through professional window and glass service from a company like Valley Glass Utility, you can upgrade to new higher-quality windows that offer improved insulating benefits.

Seal Doors and Windows Annually

The type of windows that are installed in your home is not the only factor that can cause draughts and uneven temperatures in the home. When doors and windows are not well-sealed, they can allow external air to flow into the home. The thermostat may seemingly not work efficiently when this happens because it will struggle to maintain the desired temperature while the window and door seals work against it. Resealing the doors and windows is a smart way to save money on electricity related to heating and cooling the home.

Improve Insulation

External air can also penetrate into the home through the walls. Insulation is typically installed between the exterior walls to act as a buffer, but fiberglass insulation can deteriorate, be damaged by pests or simply slouch down in the wall. Fiberglass insulation may need to be replaced periodically. You may also consider using spray-in foam insulation. This type of insulation is more resistant to some types of damage that fiberglass insulation is prone to.

It is easy to assume that climate control issues in the home are caused by a faulty thermostat, but you can see that there are many other factors that play a role in how effectively the thermostat can do its job. A smart idea is to inspect each of these factors closely and consider getting a professional opinion to determine if upgrades or replacements would help you to save money on energy costs going forward.

BrookeChaplan

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If you’re not careful, you can end up wasting a lot of money each day on heating your home. On average, most households in the United States spend roughly $2,200 per year on utility bills. You could reduce your costs by ensuring that you avoid certain wasteful practices that are probably causing your heating bill to skyrocket.

Setting Your Thermostat Wrong

Many people set their thermostat for a bit higher than they really need to. Decreasing the temperature in your home by a couple degrees won’t be that noticeable and it will save you a tremendous amount of money. You should also be sure to program your thermostat so you’re not heating your home excessively when there’s nobody home. Many newer models even go a step further by learning your preferred temperature and defaulting into an energy saving mode during certain times.

Changing Air Filters Infrequently

It’s important to remember to change the air filters in your HVAC system regularly. When your heater runs, the air filter’s job is to pick up particles that flow through it. As time goes on, these particles will begin to build up and clog the air filter. When this happens, the unit has to use a lot more energy to heat your home. A clean air filter ensures that your HVAC system is functioning properly and running efficiently. It’s best to clean air filters regularly and replace them every three months. If you feel like you might forget, be sure to set a reminder to help yourself remember to call a heating repair service.

Poorly Preparing Your Home for Colder Weather

Having a great heating system is one thing, but ensuring the heat stays in your home is another. Before the cold weather hits, you should check for drafts and other problems within your home that might cause heat to escape. For instance, insulating your ceiling can ensure that no heat escapes. This alone will pay for itself in no time, especially if your roof is poorly insulated to begin with. You should also check your windows and doors to ensure all cracks are sealed and no air is leaking through. Heat will escape through these cracks and cause you to use more heat. Additionally, you should ensure that your chimney is sealed appropriately if you aren’t going to be using it. This is another area that heat often escapes from.

Heating your home can be an expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be so costly. Doing these three things during the winter months can lower your heating costs tremendously. If you’re doing these things and your heating system still doesn’t seem to be heating your home efficiently, be sure to contact a heating repair service. They will help you determine whether or not your heater needs to be fixed or replaced completely.

BrookeChaplan

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In the last decade or so, much of the business world has made a massive shift to a triple bottom line. This means that companies don’t simply view their profits as evidence of success, but also look at the well-being of their employees and the impact their business has on the environment. Businesses as diverse as Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company to DHL shipping have all successfully made the shift to a triple bottom line model. Here are 3 ways the food industry can also make the shift to help protect the environment.

Less Waste

While food is theoretically biodegradable, the truth is that excess food waste generally ends up in landfills where it actually accounts for 25% of all methane gas emissions. In addition to the methane that food waste creates, food production also accounts for 25% of all freshwater consumption in the US. That’s not including all the fuel that is used to produce and transport the food and the other resources that growing food eats up. When food is wasted, it also wastes all the resources spent to produce it in the first place.

Less Meat

Almost one-third of the earth’s surface is used to raise animals for meat production, not to mention nearly 1/3 of the world’s fresh water sources. One of the critical dietary components that meat provides is protein. The importance of protein is the amino acids that it contains and not all sources of protein contain the same amino acids. While plant sources like the powders you can see at sanosphere.com can provide the same nutrients and proteins as meat, it is important to ensure that any plant-based diet actually contains all the necessary nutrients. One way to help boost the protein content of almost any dish is through the use of vegan protein powder.

Revive Forgotten Foods

While plant sources have the potential to offer all of the same protein sources as meat, that doesn’t mean that the most prevalent crops we are producing do. 75% of the world’s food supply is currently supplied by just twelve crops and five animal species. Conversely, there are an estimated 940 different cultivated plant species available on the planet. In order for humans to actually get all the nutrients we need from plant sources, we will need to start farming and cultivating foods with more robust nutritional profiles.

The truth is that food production is a business and like all businesses, demand drives production. In order for the food industry to change, consumers have to change. When people begin to actually demand responsible use of resources and buy from ethically motivated businesses like a plant based protein company, the industry will change accordingly.

BrookeChaplan

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Saving money is a primary goal for many business owners, but there is also a considerable need to make smart decisions that promote a healthy environment. It may often seem like these two goals are opposing forces, but this does not have to be the case. There are several steps that you can take to improve your company’s bottom line while also helping the environment in different ways.

Take Advantage of Workspace Mobility

Workspace mobility is a term that describes improving machinery, equipment and more so that it is most functional for the worker. This may include creating handheld computer scanners that perfectly address a worker’s job responsibilities, outfitting a truck with a freezer compartment for deliveries and more. This customization of workspaces helps your team to work more efficiently and with minimal waste. The result is that your company’s bottom line may improve while you also minimize unnecessary waste.

Migrate to the Cloud

If your company has not already migrated to the cloud, now may be the time to do so. This technology enables you to go paperless as much as possible. It eliminates the need to print everything out that your team or customers may need, and it also eliminates the need to have huge stacks of storage boxes taking up available space in your facility. Because it may enable your team to work more efficiently, the productivity factor and the reduction in office supplies expense may bolster your bottom line.

Hire a Remote Work Team

Traditionally, workers commuted to an office and spent their days toiling away in this environment before heading back home. When you hire a remote work team, you eliminate the toll that their commute makes on the environment. You also can decrease your office space needs, office supplies needs and more to save money. Some companies find that remote workers are also more productive in many instances.

While profitability and environmental consciousness may seem like two opposing forces at first glance, you can now see that there are actually many ways to accomplish both of these goals at the same time. Each company has a unique operational structure, so it is important to analyze your company’s current structure and to determine how these and other green ideas may be incorporated to help you save money on a regular basis. Because technology is constantly improving, it makes sense to focus on this tasks regularly so that you can take advantage of new green savings opportunities as they become available.

BrookeChaplan

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A xeriscape yard can be just as lush and beautiful as one with colorful flowers and a deep-green lawn. The word “xeriscape” comes from the Greek and means “dry.” It’s possible to achieve a rich and varied landscape without relying on water-hungry turf or plants by following these three basic steps.

Choosing Plants

The rule of thumb for establishing a xeriscape in your yard is to look for plants that are native to the area. When you go to the nursery, choose plants that will thrive in your climate zone. Your local nursery can let you know or you can access this map online.

The USDA determines zones by determining the lowest winter temperature an area experiences. It breaks those zones into 10 degrees Fahrenheit intervals. Once you find your zone, choose plants based on it. It’s difficult to grow plants in a zone that they’re not suited to. They’ll need covering on the coldest winter nights or may not survive the winter if their roots are damaged by hard freezes. Conversely, if they need a certain number of hours below freezing (also called chill hours), they may not flower or fruit in warmer climate zones.

When choosing plants at the nursery, look on the plant’s tag or label. It should indicate its sun and water needs. Local nurseries may also tag plants as native or place them in a separate section.

Irrigation System

Even though you’re installing a drought-tolerant landscape, it will need some supplemental watering during dry periods, especially as it takes root. Once established, you may not need any irrigation, depending on your climate and the plants you choose.

Once you’ve removed the turf and the water-hungry shrubs and plants, install the irrigation system. The most water-efficient are drip systems that provide water to the plants’ roots rather than broadcast it overhead like popup sprinklers do. Home improvement centers sell all the fittings for drip irrigation systems, but if you can’t find what you need locally, you may need to shop online or consult a professional.

Ground Cover

A xeriscape landscape uses rocks, gravel and masonry materials instead of turf to significantly reduce water usage. Losing the grass also emphasizes your plants. Landscaping rock comes in a variety of types, sizes, and colors. Many xeriscape yards combine all three materials in one yard to provide functional areas along with ground cover. As with the plants and irrigation systems, you may need to consult a company like Purdy Topsoil & Gravel if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

The Results

When it’s designed for your climate, a xeriscape landscape will last for years and provide natural beauty year-round. Once planted, it won’t require a lot of effort to maintain and will save precious water resources.

BrookeChaplan

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One of the more common reasons why individuals order a home inspection is to identify minor and significant repair issues that require their attention. Many people order a property inspection during the real estate purchase process so that they can learn more about the true condition of the home, but homeowners may also order an inspection periodically for this same purpose. You may not realize it, but a home inspection report may help you to identify ways to help the environment through various home repair or maintenance projects.

Identify Areas of Water Waste

A typical home inspector is not a plumber, but he or she will usually review plumbing features. Through an inspection, you may learn about leaks in the hot water heater, pipes, toilet or other features that require your attention. Some inspectors may refer you to a plumber for further diagnosis. If your inspection report indicates a possible leak or other concern, remember that water waste may continue until the issue is repaired. Therefore, it is wise to contact a plumber as soon as possible if there is a need to do so.

Pinpoint Energy Loss Locations

Likewise, a home inspector may identify unnecessary energy loss in the home. Inspectors will review all doors and windows, and he or she may discover that the seals are damaged and require replacement. An inspector may also review the HVAC system and appliances. Through his or her review of these items, energy loss may be noted in different ways. As is the case with plumbing issues, energy loss may continue until the problem is professionally repaired.

Focus on Signs of Pest Damage

You may not think that pest damage can affect how environmentally-friendly your home is, but this is not the case. Many pests can destroy your home in various ways. For example, some pests will eat or damage insulation in the walls, and this can result in unnecessary energy loss. They may also damage the exterior of the home to create vulnerable areas that are prone to energy loss. Remember that any damaged materials that require replacement may result in the unnecessary environmental impact associated with replacement materials. If an inspector finds this kind of damage, they may recommend a company like EMCO Pest Control that can help you eliminate pests and better protect your home from future problems.

Now that you know more about the many ways that a home inspector may assist you with making your home environmentally-friendly, you may be eager to order a home inspection. By doing so, can get a better idea of what the true condition of your home is and which steps need to be taken to improve its condition.

BrookeChaplan

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Cars, trucks and other vehicles have traditionally used unleaded fuel or diesel for at least the last few decades, but this is changing. The push to reduce carbon footprints and to minimize negative effects on the environment is reaching into the auto industry. There are now more electric, hybrid and natural gas vehicles on the road than ever before. These are private-use vehicles as well as commercial delivery vehicles, city buses and more. At first glance, the green vehicle initiative seemingly has minimal impact on professional drivers. However, with a closer look, you can see that this is a major change that can have far-reaching effects on professionals who rely on vehicles for their livelihood.

Upgrade Your Vehicle

If you are one of many professional drivers who own your own business-use vehicle, you may need to make a vehicle upgrade soon. Green vehicles may have a more expensive sticker price in some cases, but they also typically are much more affordable to operate. As a contractor using a vehicle for professional purposes, you may need to keep overhead as low as possible so that you can charge competitive rates to your customers. Professional drivers who own their own vehicle may range for ridesharing drivers to professional big rig truck drivers. Keep in mind that you may need to update your truck driving certifications when you change the type of commercial vehicle that you drive.

Adjust to Alternative Fuel Sources

At most gas stations, the primary options at the pump continue to be unleaded and diesel fuel. Some gas stations are transitioning to offering alternative fuel sources and even electric charging stations, but these fuel stations are few and far between in most areas. With this in mind, professional drivers who have already upgraded to alternative fuel vehicles may need to plan ahead by researching locations for refueling along their route. It may not be feasible to simply plan to stop at any gas station that you come across when you drive a green vehicle.

Revise Your Budget

Driving a green vehicle for business can affect your operational budget in numerous ways. For example, you may have a higher auto loan payment because of the generally higher price of a green vehicle. Your fuel expense likely will decrease dramatically. Any change in your vehicle may also affect your auto insurance premium in different ways. Because upgrading to a green vehicle can have a significant impact on your business budget, it is wise to review finances before making an upgrade.

Also relevant to your budget is the continued availability of certain vehicles. If you set out to make the switch to green vehicles, you may find that the selection differs from what you and your employees are certified to drive. This can mean paying for something like an auto heavy rigid vehicle course on top of replacing vehicles. While this doesn’t have to prevent you from making the change, it should be considered so you are adequately prepared.

For many drivers, investing in a green vehicle now makes sense. However, you should explore options, crunch numbers and think through the impact that this may have on your daily work experience before you finalize your vehicle upgrading plans.

BrookeChaplan

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Energy costs make up a significant portion of household costs in the US. In fact, some households spend as much as 7% of their annual income on energy costs. These trends aren’t helped by the ever-growing number of electronic devices we all use daily. In light of that, there’s a growing interest in ways to reduce household energy waste.

Repairs

If your house isn’t brand new, it’s probably already started settling. That settling process creates numerous gaps and cracks around your house that drive up heating and cooling costs. You usually notice it in the form of drafts near doors and windows. Gaps also show up around your foundation and where the walls meet the roof.

A tube of caulk will make short work of small gaps and cracks around windows and doors. Installing new weather stripping around your doors and windows helps as well. Expanding foam can pick up the slack on larger gaps and around pipes. If your furnace or AC unit seems to be straining, make an appointment for heating/cooling repairs or maintenance.

Behavioral Changes

Most people don’t realize it, but they own behaviors actually generate a lot of energy waste. You can slash that waste with some basic changes in behavior. Push heat-generating activities like laundry drying and baking into the late evening during the summer. Electricity often costs less in the evening and it takes pressure off your A/C unit.

Wash small loads of dishes by hand. Water heating typically costs less than running a dishwasher for an hour. Unplug electronic devices you aren’t actually using, like computers and TVs. They often leach power by going into a standby mode.

Upgrades

You can also use upgrades to cut energy waste. Look for the Energy Star emblem on new appliances, computers, and even televisions. They often use substantially less power than similar appliances and electronics. You can also upgrade to smart power strips that turn off power to devices that you aren’t using.

Another area where most houses can use an upgrade is the insulation. Dropping another layer of insulation in the attic improves how well the living spaces hold heat or cool air. Consider throwing an insulation jacket on your water heater and foam insulation on your water pipes. It cuts down unnecessary radiant heating and helps protect pipes from freezing.

Energy waste isn’t something you must accept. You can take small steps with behavior changes and basic repairs. You take things up a notch with extra insulation and upgrades to appliances and electronics. Big or small, every change reduces your energy waste.

BrookeChaplan

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Modern cars are greener than ever before, and drivers have a wide array of great cars that sip fuel compared to their older counterparts. For some tasks, however, nothing can beat a truck. There’s no need to give up on reducing your impact on the environment just because you depend on a truck, though. Here are a few ways you can be eco-conscious when you need a truck.

 

Watch Your Speed

Large engines can give trucks surprising speed, especially when driven unloaded. However, excessive acceleration can lead to wasted gas, reducing your fuel efficiency and increasing emissions. Accelerate fast enough to drive safely, but take it easy when the light turns green. Try to coast to avoid stopping if possible. Any time you come to a complete stop, you lose fuel efficiency. Coasting to stoplights might let you maintain some speed when the light turns green, which uses less gas than accelerating up to the speed limit. Trucks, and cars, typically hit their efficiency sweet spot between 45 and 60 miles per hour, so stay in that range whenever possible.

 

Focus on Maintenance

Maintaining your truck is essential for extending its lifespan, but it also leads to better fuel efficiency and less wasted energy. Regularly check your tire pressure, as even small deviations from recommended values can waste energy. When you purchase a truck, make sure to read up on its maintenance schedule carefully, as failing to replace parts at the recommended intervals may decrease your fuel economy. Oil changes can have a small impact on fuel efficiency, but air filters can have a major impact, so make sure to keep your filters fresh. Aside from fuel efficiency, regular maintenance ensures that your truck doesn’t leak oil or other chemicals that are bad for the environment.

 

Plan Ahead

A bit of planning can go a long way. Make sure you know where your destination is; missing an exit, for example, will waste fuel along with time. If you’re going to be busy moving items, plan out your schedule in advance so you can fit as much as possible in the bed. Trucks are designed to haul heavy loads, and even though they decrease your fuel economy, one heavy load is far more efficient than two lighter loads. If you’re transporting people, make sure you know where everyone is going before departing to avoid any confusion that might require you to stop or reroute.

 

Although they aren’t as efficient as cars, trucks play a critical role in reducing automotive emissions by reducing the number of trips needed to transport items, and many green jobs are reliant on trucks. Fortunately, there are steps drivers can take to make their trucks even more efficient, and building green habits will have a significant effect over the years.

BrookeChaplan

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No homeowner likes to see an unexpected spike in his or her electric bill, especially those on tight budgets. According to a survey conducted by the Department of Energy, nearly one-third of all households in 2015 had some insecurity with their electric costs.

 

In some cases, other necessities were cut back to pay the electric bill. Other received disconnection notices if the bill was not paid timely. For those with tight budgets, efficiently running appliances can make a great deal of difference in monthly expenses. There are some common causes for increased energy costs and ways to avoid a sudden bill shock associated with it.

 

Faulty Appliances Consuming Energy

In general, major appliances that either heat or cool consume the most electricity. Electric stoves and ovens, clothes dryers, hot water heaters and refrigerators often use the most electricity. If one of these appliances stops working correctly, higher energy costs are likely.

 

This can happen in a number of ways. A hot water heater that leaks will cost more to run because it must be constantly heating additional water from the supply line. A clothes dryer with a faulty switch may cause it to run longer and use more energy. A fridge with a leaking refrigerant line or bad compressor will work harder to keep the unit cold. A trained appliance technician can diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs.

 

Appliances Having Indirect Effect on Energy Costs

In these cases, though the faulty appliance may not cause additional electrical costs on its own, the effect can lead to higher consumption. For example, if a washing machine is not properly extracting water from clothing, it will take longer to dry. Longer running time in the high energy clothes dryer could be noticeable in the electric bill. A water leak in the dishwasher or washing machine may not only cause a mess, but it could lead to the hot water heater working longer than it should. Having a trained professional diagnose the problem and making the proper repairs will lead to a lower electric bill.

 

Seasonal Changes

In this area, increased costs may be inevitable. When the weather turns warm and air conditioners run more often, an increase people can expect an increase in energy usage. Ensuring the AC unit is running correctly, adding insulation where needed and turning down the cooling system while away from the home may help reduce costs. Having these items checked by a professional can save the homeowner money in the long run.

 

Even if you don’t think your energy bills are too much, it’s still a good idea to take a look at local averages, ask friends, or even just have maintenance done to see if they could be lower. Many fixes for higher costs are relatively painless, but anything that will save you money, in the long run, is worth considering.

BrookeChaplan

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The cumulative environmental costs of human activities are becoming better understood. In the wake of that understanding, many businesses are looking to limit their own environmental footprint. Some try to do it with improved efficiency. Others are looking to energy production alternatives.

 

Solar

The most mainstream of the energy alternatives is solar. It’s also probably one of the most actively researched alternatives. The steadily increasing efficiency of solar panels is evidence of this. Around 8-12% efficiency used to be the norm, but most solar panels average around 16% efficiency these days.

 

Solar power is limited by the total sunlight you get at your location. Even so, it still serves as a viable supplemental power source in most locales. You can also use it as part of your branding. If you’re trying to achieve a zero-carbon footprint or just reduce your impact, solar panels make a statement.

 

Wind

Less widespread than solar, wind is still a viable energy supplement option for some businesses. The caveat is that you need a fair amount of space for it. An urban business can’t throw up a wind turbine. If you own some acreage for a manufacturing facility, though, it’s worth investigating.

 

Wind energy works on a fairly simple principle. The wind turns the rotor, which spins a shaft. A gearbox converts the slow rotation of the shaft into a fast rotation that drives a generator. The generator produces electricity. This cuts down on your grid-based costs and, again, lets you promote your business as working toward sustainability.

 

Emergency Power Generation

Green energy alternatives are important from an environmental perspective. There are, however, emergency situations that also call for supplemental power generation. Say that a tornado or flooding from a storm knocks out part of the local electrical grid. Solar or wind options might not cover your immediate needs. This is where pragmatism comes into the equation.

 

At the very least, you should have emergency generators or battery backups that can keep the lights on for a few hours. It’s also advisable to get uninterruptible power supplies for your computer equipment. For any kind of lengthy power outage, though, what you really want on site is something like an electricity-producing, industrial boiler.

 

Businesses often get a bad rap for energy waste and pollution, yet many are looking for ways to help preserve the environment. Stricter efficiency policies get businesses part of the way there. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind provide them with options for power generation at a lower environmental cost.

BrookeChaplan

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When you take a deep breath, you understandably expect the air to be fresh and healthy. However, air pollution is a growing problem in many areas. When the air you breathe is polluted, you bring toxins into your body. These harmful toxins can increase the risk of respiratory conditions, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, and even lung cancer. Unfortunately, outdoor air contaminants can enter your home, and this means that there may be no place for you to enjoy breathing fresh air. However, there are some steps that you can take to keep your indoor air as fresh and clean as possible.

 

Take Your Shoes Off

When you enter your home, you bring contaminants from outdoors in with you. Your shoes are a primary source of contaminants. When you walk across your home with dirty soles, pollutants become airborne. Some contaminants will lodge themselves in your carpet or will enter your HVAC system. One of the best ways to reduce this source of indoor air pollution is to take your shoes off before you enter your home. You can also wipe your pets’ paws off for additional benefit. Remember to vacuum regularly to remove particles from the carpet.

 

Replace Windows and Seals

Windows seemingly last forever at first glance. Unless they physically break, you may think that any piece of glass between you and the outside world would suffice. However, older windows may leak, and this could allow air pollution to stream into your home around the clock. This could also impact climate control and energy efficiency in your home. Replacing older windows and re-sealing the space around your windows and doors can help you to reduce or eliminate the amount of outdoor air that enters your home from these spaces. If you’re not certain of your ability to replace the windows perfectly to avoid drafts, consider hiring a professional window service to do it for you.

 

Clean Your HVAC System

Even when you take these steps, some air pollution will still enter your home. Your HVAC system can filter many of these contaminants out of your indoor air, but it is most effective when the system is cleaned and well-maintained. Replace air filters regularly. In addition, schedule HVAC system maintenance at least once per year.

 

You understandably want to breathe healthy air inside your home, but your air may not be as clean as it could be. As you can see, there are many ways that air pollution can enter your home, but there are also steps that you can take to improve the situation. Follow these helpful tips soon so that you can enjoy the benefit of fresher air in your home.

BrookeChaplan

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Burning a wood fire in your fireplace on chilly winter days can add a touch of coziness to your home, and it can also bring much-needed warmth to your space. However, a wood-burning fire in your fireplace can increase indoor air pollution. The air pollution can be so significant at times that it creates a true health hazard that puts you and your loved ones inside the home at immediate risk. With proper usage and maintenance of your fireplace, you can reduce the risk of indoor air pollution generated by your fireplace.

 

Clean the Chimney Regularly

Each time you burn a wood fire in your fireplace, creosote, and other elements are deposited in the chimney. These are highly flammable materials, and a stray spark could ignite the material and cause a house fire. In addition, when the material is very thick, it can partially or even fully block the flow of smoke out of the home. When even some of the smoke remains inside the home, the issue of toxic gases becomes a serious concern. Scheduling annual chimney sweeping service before you use the fireplace each season can reduce this risk. If you use your fireplace heavily, it may also be necessary to schedule a second service halfway through the winter season.

 

Open the Flue Completely

Another cause of indoor air pollution from a fireplace relates to the flue. The flue must be fully open in order to allow smoke to filter up and out of the home. If the flue is not open, the smoke can billow back into the home. During a chimney inspection, a chimney sweep can inspect the flue and ensure that it functions as intended.

 

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Ventilation is critical when you are burning a wood fire in your fireplace. Smoke typically will rise up and out of the home through the chimney when the flue is open. However, when you have open windows or doors inside the home or even when fans are operating in some rooms, the smoke can be pulled into the home. If you are concerned about carbon monoxide from your fireplace, invest in a quality carbon monoxide detector. If ventilation continues to be an issue with a conventional fireplace, you may need to replace it with a safer alternative like a gas fireplace insert.

 

As wonderful as a wood-burning fireplace can be throughout the winter, this charming feature can be hazardous to your health. Indoor air pollution is a serious concern for anyone who burns a fire even occasionally in their fireplace. Take these steps today to keep your home environment as safe as possible.

BrookeChaplan

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Growing an organic garden is not as arduous as some people think it is. Indeed, it may be easier than growing one that depends on lots of commercial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in an attempt to wrestle nature into producing perfect fruit and veggies. Organic gardeners believe that their garden can be healthy and grow abundantly with some guided help from nature. With this in mind, here are three tips for growing organic for the first time:

Cultivate the Earthworms

The sight of an earthworm in the soil brings joy to the organic gardener’s heart, for they are a gardener’s best friend. Their tunneling through the soil aerates it, breaks it up and homogenizes and loosens it, which helps the plant’s roots reach deep. Their burrowing also raises important minerals from the subsoil to the topsoil where they are available to your plants. They neutralize soil that is too alkaline or acid for your plants, and they liberate essential nutrients and help the soil retain water.

Use Compost and Other Natural Fertilizers

Compost is any organic material that has been broken down into simpler forms through the action of bacteria. When used as fertilizer, it feeds both plants and other creatures who live in the soil. This is in contrast to artificial fertilizers, which can kill such beneficial beasties as earthworms if they are not used in just the right way. Compost also lasts a long time because its components are broken down slowly. Chemical fertilizers give the plants a boost then they’ll peter out quickly. You can purchase Nature Safe organic fertilizer as an alternative to harmful chemicals if you can’t compost.  Another great thing about compost is that you can make your own out of kitchen scraps and other waste products. These can include the scraped skins and ends of vegetables, grass clippings, paper as long as it doesn’t have colored ink and autumn leaves. The few things to avoid include meat, the manure of carnivorous animals, charcoal and wood ashes.

Getting Rid of Pests

Even the most loved-up organic garden is going to attract pests, though probably not as many as you think. Ways to discourage pests without organic remedies include:

  • ·         Encouraging earthworms

  • ·         Composting

  • ·         Planting varieties of plants that are resistant to diseases and pests

  • ·         Using row covers before the pests or diseases can attack

  • ·         Encourage insect-eating birds to show up by building birdhouses

  • ·         Plant in the fall when pests and diseases are less common

These are only three tips for a first time organic gardener. With time, care and patience, you won’t believe how beautiful, healthy and fertile your garden will be.

BrookeChaplan

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There is consistently growing evidence that organic foods are most definitely healthier for humans than crops grown commercially, but the benefits of organic foods actually extend even further than just how they affect our bodies. Organic foods also have a significantly better impact on the environment as well. The term “organic” doesn’t just refer to what is or isn’t put in the food when it is processed, but also how the food is grown in the first place. Here are 3 ways organic crops are better for the environment.

 

The Types of Pesticides Used Are Tightly Controlled

One of the biggest problems with commercially grown foods is the types and amounts of pesticides allowed to be used. Some foods even have pesticides genetically embedded in the food itself, which means every time you eat a product made from that original material, you are ingesting pesticide. Even when commercial farmers spray pesticides, however, those chemicals end up in water sources, which contaminates and pollutes the water. Organic farmers are required to use natural pesticides which are better for your body and better for the environment.

 

Creates a Better Food Chain

Animals raised on organic grains are not only better for you but better for the environment. Remember that animals create a great deal of waste. When animals are fed an organic diet, that waste can be used to fertilize organic crops, which preserves the purity of the food chain. When animals are fed commercial grains, which contain commercial pesticides and are often genetically modified, then those ingredients end up in the animal waste, which once again ends up in the dirt, soil and water supplies. Animals that are fed organic grains made by companies like Grainpro Australia Pty Ltd are not only better for them, but for the environment as well.

 

Better for Wildlife

One thing that is important to remember is that animals share the same food and water sources that we do. While our bodies may be able to handle the trace amounts of pesticides found in commercially grown food, that doesn’t mean that animals can. Keep in mind that wildlife is a vital part of the food chain. From bees that pollinate crops like cucumbers, pumpkins, cherries and apples to microbial organisms that tend soil and create a more hospitable atmosphere for crops to grow, organic farming is friendlier to wildlife, which in turn is more environmentally friendly on the whole.

 

While there are certainly modern farming practices that commercial farmers can employ which can lessen the environmental impact of commercial farming, they are not required to the way organic farmers are. The rules and regulations guiding organic farming are far more stringent, which means—for the moment at least—organic farming is by far the most beneficial to the environment.

BrookeChaplan

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You want your home to be a comfortable place, and the temperature of it plays a large role in keeping it as cozy and refreshing as possible. While you may not realize it, your roof plays a large role in the temperature of your home. In fact, there are many different characteristics to consider when choosing a roof for your home that will provide you with the best temperature all year long. Here are four main characteristics that affect the temperature of your home.

 

Color

It may seem silly, but the color of the roof can have a large impact on its ability to absorb or retain heat. Studies have proven that dark-colored roofs keep what’s underneath them 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the material under light-colored roofs. This is simply because dark colors absorb light, while light colors are more reflective. Darker colored roofs are popular in colder places that get a decent amount of snow in the winter since they absorb heat and help the snow melt away faster.

 

Material

The material the roof is made of also impacts the internal temperature of your home. Asphalt and metal roofs are the most popular materials to construct a roof with, and each has pros and cons, but an asphalt roof only reflects about 30 percent of the light, while a metal roof reflects the majority of the light rays and can keep your home an even temperature all the time. This perhaps makes it the best choice when it comes to roofing material. But, if you’re not a fan of how metal roofs look, you don’t have to settle. Most roofing materials are now constructed to offer a “cool roof” option. These materials have been designed to absorb heat and reflect light to regulate the temperature of your home. Although they may be more expensive up-front, the energy savings can make them worth it in the long run.

 

Construction

It’s important to keep in mind that, while you may pick the perfect color and material for your roof, the most important part is the construction of it. Most professional roofers, like Acoma Roofing, Inc., will tell you that ventilating the attic area properly is the best way to keep your home cool in the hotter months. On the other hand, proper insulation is an extremely important part of keeping your home warm in the cooler months.

 

Each of these things plays an important role in regulating the temperature of your home. But, it’s important to remember that every home does not have the same roofing needs. Be sure to consult with a professional to determine what type of roof will fit your style and needs.

BrookeChaplan

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Remodeling a home is a great way to shake things up. If you care about the environment, one of the major shakeups you can make deals with environmental friendliness. As you change things up in your home, you can make sure your new space is a bit greener. Here are a few tips to make your remodeling more environmentally conscious.

 

Reuse What You Can

The remodeling process involves a great deal of destruction but it can also involve quite a bit of creation. Instead of getting rid of everything that doesn’t work, why not try repurposing some of it? You might be able to save money and help the environment by repainting old cabinets or repurposing some of the building materials from the area that you are remodeling. If you can’t reuse what you’ve got, try using reclaimed items from someone else. This helps to cut down on the pollution involved in manufacturing new items and keeps detritus out of the landfills at the same time.

 

Dispose Of Your Waste

The way you get rid of rubbish can play a huge role in the green nature of your company. If you’re burning trash or just dragging bags out to the curb every week, the odds are that you’re contributing to the problem more than helping. Instead of going that route, why not work with professionals, like those at Green Bin, to make sure your trash is hauled away in an environmentally safe way? While you should always do what you can to reduce waste, getting rid of what is left in the right manner is a good start.

 

Be Energy Efficient

Finally, pay attention to the efficiency of what you’re adding to your home. Bringing in newer appliances is usually a good way to ensure that your energy usage is a fair bit lower, but you don’t have to stop there. Look into other energy-saving techniques like environmentally-friendly insulation or lower ceilings that will require less energy to heat and cool. You can even reduce your dependency on the electrical grid by installing solar panels when you remodel. Choosing energy-friendly additions to your home can help you to reduce your carbon footprint.

 

Always make sure you keep environmental friendliness in mind when you remodel. Reuse materials when you can, dispose of things properly when you can’t, and always look for more efficient ways to bring energy into your home. If make going green a priority you should be able to find ways to make your remodel fall in line with your plans.

BrookeChaplan

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Staying warm and cozy throughout the winter months is important, but many homeowners will deal with unpleasant drafts, high energy bills and other unpleasant issues. Your instinct may be to run the furnace more frequently to make your home warmer, but this is expensive and not necessary. There are many factors that can affect your comfort level in the home as well as your energy costs throughout the winter months, and tackling them head-on may help you to save money and avoid energy waste. These are some of the most effective solutions available to combat energy loss all season long.

Upgrade Your Roof

While the primary function of your roof is to protect your home from direct exposure to the elements and to prevent pest infestations, an important secondary function is to promote energy efficiency. Different types of roofs have various energy efficiency ratings. More than that, the condition of your roof can also affect your home’s energy efficiency. Consult with a roofing company, like Top Dog Roofing, to determine if your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. If you need to make a replacement, choose the new roofing material carefully.

Re-Seal Doors And Windows

Even when your roof is well-maintained and in great condition, be aware that the doors and windows can let climate-controlled air escape from the interior of the home. Seals around the doors and windows are designed to prevent this from happening, but seals will wear down over time. Re-sealing doors and windows throughout the home is an affordable and simple project that most homeowners can complete on their own.

Update Your Insulation

Another excellent idea to consider if you are concerned about conserving energy throughout the winter season while still keeping your home warm is to update your insulation. Because insulation is not easily visible, it is easy to overlook the importance of this component of your home. However, some insulation is not as energy efficient as other types. In addition, it can deteriorate or even slouch down in the walls to decrease its effectiveness. If you are thinking about updating your insulation, consider the benefits of spray-in foam insulation.

Updating your home’s features is important if you want to decrease energy loss throughout the winter months. These are steps that can save you money throughout the season and that can also make your home environment more comfortable. Spend time reviewing each of these tips to determine which ones may be most effective for your home’s needs.

BrookeChaplan

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As winter rolls in, many people find their energy bills rising quickly. While it may be difficult to warm your home throughout the winter without seeing some increase in your energy bill, there are several things you can do to conserve energy throughout the winter.

 

Remove Phantom Power Users

Phantom power users are devices and appliances that use small amounts of power whenever they’re plugged in, even when they’re not in use. To prevent this, attach your gaming systems, televisions, and other similar items to power strips and turn the strip off when they aren’t in use. Get used to shutting your computer down completely when you aren’t using it. Turn off appliances that aren’t being used. Phantom power can add a significant amount to your energy bill each month and is particularly wasteful because the power is being wasted without any of the benefits of using the device.

 

Have Maintenance Done

Even if you don’t do it every year, which is advisable, you should still call out professionals like Classic Air and Heating to inspect and maintain your air system. During the maintenance process, your system will be cleaned and examined to ensure that it’s performing at its optimal level. As a result, your unit won’t have to work too hard to warm your home.

 

Drop the Temperature

Every degree that you drop the temperature in your home throughout the winter could save as much as 3% on your energy bill. Even reducing the temperature overnight, when you’re wrapped up in bed anyway, can make a substantial difference in your energy costs. You don’t have to freeze yourself out, but if you keep the temperature a few degrees lower and bundle up a bit, you’ll save money and energy all winter long.

 

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

 A programmable thermostat will allow you to reduce the temperature in your home when you aren’t there, saving on your energy costs while still keeping your home comfortable when you’re at home. Many models can even be controlled by your phone. It’s not hard to see that you can save money and energy by only running the heater in preparation for being home and not when you know you’ll be gone. Many smart thermostats also integrate into smart home systems that allow you to turn on and off different lights and fixtures to save even more energy.

 

Block Unused Rooms

If there are rooms in your home that you don’t use on a regular basis, close the door and block the bottom of the door with a towel or blanket. This will stop heat and cold from that room interfering with the thermostat readings. The more space you have in your home, the quicker the heat can dissipate. Closing off rooms allows your thermostat to take its readings based on the temperature of the main spaces of your home. Additionally, you’ll want to keep doors to high traffic areas open so air can circulate easier.

 

Seal Doors and Windows

Small leaks and drafts can add up quickly as the warm air inside your home is replaced with cold outdoor air. Take the time to caulk around drafts in your windows and, if necessary, purchase a seal to place against your doors. This especially important at night, when temperatures drop.

 

Controlling your energy costs throughout the winter doesn’t have to be your biggest challenge of the year. By implementing these simple tricks, you can watch your energy usage decrease and your energy bills become easier to handle.

BrookeChaplan

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Severe storms are one of the more common reasons why you may lose electrical power in your home, but other factors can also create this problem. Many electrical service providers will restore electricity within hours, but there may be other instances when you are without electrical power for days. Keep in mind that your ability to control your home’s climate, to keep your refrigerated foods fresh and more are eliminated when you have no electrical power in your home. If you want to be fully prepared for this type of situation, consider some of these alternative ways to power your home.

 

An Underground Propane Tank

While you may use electrical power for many purposes, you may use gas fuel for cooking, heat, and even electricity if you have the right system. This could help you to meet many of your needs for energy. You may still want to light candles to see around your house at night. However, this is an excellent way for you to reduce the inconvenience associated with a power outage. Propane is a clean-burning fuel and can be used in nearly any home. You can easily search for a service to install a tank by searching “underground tank installation in Kitsap” for your area to get started.

 

Solar Panels

Another energy option available is solar panels. You can install solar panels on your roof now, and your panels may produce energy for you on a daily basis. In fact, you may completely eliminate the need to draw energy from the public energy supply. When your friends and neighbors experience a power outage, your home could still be well-lit. In fact, solar energy panels may provide you electricity to power your lights, appliances, HVAC system and more.

 

Wind and Solar Power Generators

You can also create a backup energy plan by using a power generator. Some generators use propane or other types of fuel, but some eco-friendly options derive power from solar or wind generators. You can explore the many power generator options available to select one that may be most suitable for the environment where you live. Remember that solar panels for a generator may not provide energy at night, but solar panels on your roof may store power that can be used throughout the night.

 

At first glance, a power outage is simply a minor inconvenience. However, when a power outage extends for hours or even days, you may face issues with rotting food in your fridge, uncomfortable or even dangerous temperatures in your home and more. Many people will experience at least short power outages several times per year, and more significant outages can also occur periodically. By exploring some of these alternative sources of energy and calling companies like Kitsap Propane to assist in implementing them today, you can be prepared for any future power outages.

BrookeChaplan

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

 

Ice Dams on Your Roof

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

 

Ruptured Irrigation Systems

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

 

Tree Branch Damage

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

 

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

BrookeChaplan

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There is no question that the world is ready for solar energy. In the United States, the Office of Energy Efficiency estimates that the growth of major solar energy installations has grown by more than 1,700 percent since 2008. While most installations have been of the utility, industrial and commercial kinds, residential systems are expected to grow exponentially through the end of this decade.

 

In 2017, electrical vehicle manufacturer Tesla announced its intention to start taking deposits on residential installations of an advanced solar roof panel system complete with transformers and batteries; this announcement has sparked considerable interest from homeowners who are now looking up at their roofs and wondering what they would need to do in order to get some panels installed.

 

In essence, there are three important things for you to consider before weighing the possibility of going fully solar:

 

Roof Inspection

When was the last time you had your roof inspected by a professional company like Burke’s Roofing ? Unfortunately, many homeowners wait until they spot a leak or an ugly brown stain on their ceiling panels before they resolve to call technicians for roof repair services; this is about the only time an inspection is conducted, and on many occasions, the findings are not pleasant. A roof inspection is a must before installing heavy solar energy panels on top of your house; in fact, you may want to do this now before the next winter or rainy season so that you can budget for repairs accordingly.

 

Ventilation

Your current roof system has a particular ventilation arrangement that may not be fully compatible with the intended roof panel installation. The vents may need to be relocated and tested so that they preserve the level of energy efficiency your household requires.

 

Roof Leaks

In rainy climate regions such as South Florida, some homeowners will notice a roof leak during a heavy tropical storm or when a hurricane makes landfall. In many cases, the leak seems to be manageable because it is limited to a drip and does not seem to spread across the ceiling; in other words, these leaks are nothing that a pan or bucket will not solve, and they tend to not be an issue until the next hurricane or spectacular rainstorm arrives. The problem with this nonchalant approach is that it could be ignoring serious issues such as missing shingles or damaged flashing, which would certainly need to be repaired before solar panel installations.

 

In the end, the state of your roof will determine whether you can really take advantage of solar energy production. Do not attempt to forego roof inspections and repairs before solar panels are installed.

BrookeChaplan

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At first glance, it may seem like the struggle to protect the environment is counter to the government’s goal to boost GDP and to provide the highest quality of life to its many citizens. However, the reality is that many green initiatives also benefit the government in various ways. With a closer look at how green building policies are impacting the environment and the government, you can see how beneficial these programs truly are when you incorporate them into your next projects.

 

Construction Improvements

There are many aspects of construction that can destroy the environment. For example, natural habitats can be eliminated through construction. The depletion of natural resources, the effects of erosion, the emissions in new construction HVAC systems and more all play a negative role in the environment. It may cost the government millions of dollars or more to combat these issues. However, green construction initiatives are designed to work more cohesively to minimize the effects on Mother Nature, and this means that the government can save money related to addressing these issues.

 

Water Management Solutions

The amount of fresh, clean drinking water on the planet is a source of concern for many. The government is typically tasked with supplying water to the public through utility services. New construction projects that have green practices in mind can contain the natural drainage on the property and can capture rain through the guttering system. This allows the property owner to more successfully take advantage of natural rainwater for irrigation and more. There are also desalination efforts available in areas close to the coast. Desalination systems allow the property to create its own fresh water supply without having to rely on the public water supply.

 

Wastewater Management Improvements

Dealing with the wastewater produced in buildings and homes is a governmental concern as well. This water must be properly contained to avoid polluting waterways or contaminating the fresh water supply. New construction projects may use their own purification systems or treatment systems. In addition, some grey water may be re-used in toilets without having to be treated. In some cases, wastewater management facilities can be protested, or their construction contested. This is where a masters of diplomacy degree comes into play to make sure necessary facilities can be built or operated while keeping nearby businesses and homeowners happy.

 

While the issue of new construction and urban sprawl must be addressed, you can see that some construction projects are actually beneficial to the environment and the government. If you are planning a new construction project soon, carefully review modern green practices that could be incorporated into your plans and that could benefit the environment and those who plan to spend time in the building.

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