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BrookeChaplan

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

Filter Woes

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

Working Hard

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

Empty Spaces

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

End of the Road

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

Keep the Cold Out

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

BrookeChaplan

Many businesses today tout themselves as being green, but they are not always as eco-friendly as they could be. Green businesses have a positive edge in marketing and public relations. Some green efforts, such as installing solar panels on an office building, may offset expenses. However, there is much more involved in going green from a commercial perspective than using solar energy. Active management and regular improvements are required to run a business that is truly eco-friendly, and special attention in these specific areas is required.

The Impact of Logistics

Producing and packaging products as well as getting them to market can create a tremendous amount of pollution and produce unnecessary waste. Actively focusing your attention on improving logistics is essential. This can include investing in communications equipment from companies like altechradio.com and business software specific to your industry. For example, rather than ship your products on diesel trucks, you may use hybrid or electric trucks. This is only one of many ways that you may improve logistics to run your business in a more environmentally-friendly way.

The Production of Eco-Friendly Products

Even when you run a green company, your products may be a major source of pollution. Consider if your products produce waste when they are used by your customers or if they are bad for the environment in any other way. Perhaps they are not usually recycled and wind up in the landfill a few years later. Look for ways to improve your products so that consumers can continue to enjoy their benefits without contributing to pollution and other environmental concerns.

An Improvement in Internal Operations

To run a green company, you also should analyze your company’s regular operations and processes. Look for inefficient processes that may lead to pollution and that may easily be improved. For example, if your workers in the field normally drive around a work area in a motorized vehicle to communicate, simply investing in two-way radios can improve productivity, eliminate unnecessary pollution and conserve energy. Reviewing your current operations and processes regularly is an important first step. Finding these implements can be as easy as searching online for something like “two way radios in NYC” and shopping around locally. Keep in mind that new technologies are being unveiled regularly, and these may help you to continue to improve in this area going forward.

With numerous benefits associated with running a green business, it makes sense to continually work toward improvements in this area. While some companies are content to simply install solar panels, you can see that there are many additional steps that you can take to take your environmentally-friendly business to the next level. A smart idea is to make steady improvements over time as new opportunities become available.

BrookeChaplan

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If you are like most people, your annual home energy cost amounts to a small fortune. However, this is seemingly a necessary expense that you have minimal control over. By taking a closer look at how you use energy at home and how this energy is generated, you may dramatically reduce energy costs on a regular basis. In fact, you may even be able to generate a profit from home energy generation rather than continue to pay expensive utility bills.

Reduce Energy Consumption Dramatically

The first step to take if you want to improve home energy consumption is to alter how it is used. You can make a few behavioral adjustments, such as by turning all lights off when they are not in use and unplugging appliances and electronics when they are not needed. You can also reduce energy consumption at home by upgrading to a new HVAC system and major appliances that have improved energy efficiency ratings. To promote HVAC system efficiency further, schedule energy-efficient door and window installation services, re-seal doors and windows and upgrade insulation throughout the walls and ceiling. These steps require a substantial financial investment, but the net impact on your finances over time may be positive.

Produce Your Own Green Energy

When you follow these steps to reduce energy consumption, you may still be responsible for regular energy bills. To potentially eliminate energy costs going forward, produce your own green energy. Solar energy panels are among the most common ideas, but there are other ideas. For example, wind and geothermal energy may be well-suited for your home as well. Because you may have already taken steps to reduce energy consumption, the home-produced energy may completely cover all of your needs at home. This can eliminate the need to pay an energy bill regularly. Your home may produce so much energy that you are able to sell energy to the local utility provider. By doing so, you can actually receive a small amount of income regularly rather than pay a monthly bill.

You could continue to struggle with high energy costs for years to come, or you can take action to address this problem directly. While it may require a large financial investment to accomplish each goal outlined here, you will notice that each small step that you take has a positive effect on energy consumption and expenses. Now is a great time to take your first steps to improve your home in these thoughtful ways.

BrookeChaplan

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Cranking up the thermostat is one of the most common ways for people to stay warm indoors throughout the winter, but this is also one of the most expensive methods. You may not be able to afford to use your heating system as much as you would like to this winter, or you may not want to spend a fortune unnecessarily. The good news is that there are several effective ways for you to stay warmer at home without relying heavily on your furnace.

Keep Your Heater Well-Maintained

Your heater will use more energy to heat your home when it is not well-maintained. Consider those dirty or worn out components may reduce efficiency, causing your heater to work harder than necessary. Scheduling residential heating maintenance services annually is a wonderful way to improve efficiency and to save money when your heater is running.

Re-Seal Doors and Windows Annually

You may decrease the frequency with which your heater turns on by re-sealing your home’s doors and windows annually. When heated air escapes from cracks in these seals, your heater may need to run more frequently to keep your home warm. This unnecessarily increases heating-related energy costs. In addition, cool air may penetrate through these seals, and this could create draughts that can be uncomfortably chilly. Re-sealing doors and windows is an affordable project that may deliver a great financial return.

Add More Insulation to the Walls and Attic

Another idea is to supplement your home’s existing insulation with an extra layer. Some homes are built with low-quality insulation, so upgrading the insulation may have incredible benefits on energy efficiency and overall comfort in the home. If your home is older, the insulation may have deteriorated or been damaged. Adding more insulation may be essential for superior warmth indoors. Spray-in foam may be particularly effective. While this step requires a significant financial investment, the return over the years can be substantial.

You can see that relying solely on your heater to keep you warm in the winter can be expensive and may not be as effective as it could be. Each of these steps can reduce home heating costs while improving your comfort level indoors. Keep in mind that wearing warmer clothes indoors, burning a fire in the fireplace, sitting underneath a blanket and drinking warm beverages may also have a beneficial impact on your comfort throughout the winter. Consider combining all of these ideas for a comprehensive approach and exceptional results.

BrookeChaplan

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Staying warm throughout the cold winter months would be a serious challenge without the function of your home’s heater. As beneficial as your furnace may be at keeping the chill out of your indoor air, relying heavily on your furnace as a source of heat can create outrageous energy bills throughout the season. The good news is that there are several essential steps that you can take to reduce heating costs while still staying warm and cozy indoors.

Schedule Preventive Maintenance

In order to function as efficiently as possible, your furnace must be well-maintained. However, heavy and frequent use from last winter may have taken a toll on the equipment. Parts may be wearing out or dirty. Hoses may be loose, and other issues may be present. These may all cause the system to work harder than it otherwise would need to. Each fall, schedule service with a licensed HVAC technician. The technician can clean all heating components, replace worn out parts and otherwise restore the system to like-new condition.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Your programmable thermostat may currently be set for summer weather. When you turn the AC off and the heater on, you should adjust the programmable settings accordingly. For example, you may have the AC settings slightly higher in order to avoid draining energy in the warm weather season. If you maintain this higher setting in the winter, your heater will turn on more than necessary.

Seal Doors and Windows

Your HVAC system will also work more efficiently if the doors and windows are properly sealed. These seals are exposed to the elements year-round so they can deteriorate rapidly. Even if you cannot see moisture or sunlight through these features, do not assume that they are not damaged. Tiny leaks throughout the seals can have a major impact on energy costs. Include resealing doors and windows in your regular home maintenance schedule.

In addition to taking these steps, you may also wear an extra layer of clothes in the house or sit under a blanket on the sofa. Drinking warm tea or cocoa can also help you to feel warmer and reduce your reliance on your heater. While each of these tips may only have a modest impact on energy costs, the cumulative effect of all of them can be astounding. You can schedule HVAC service and reseal doors and windows before cold weather arrives, and you can immediately implement the other tips when you turn your heater on for the first time.

BrookeChaplan

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Many people are increasingly concerned about the environment, and they have already taken substantial efforts to change their own lifestyle. For example, many drivers have traded in gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient vehicles, and buying organic, locally-sourced foods is increasingly common. You may not realize it, but the local infrastructure in your area also plays a major role in global conservation efforts. These are some of the many ways that your local infrastructure is essential to a healthy planet.

Effective Recycling Programs

Your local municipal services may include a recycling program. Some municipalities provide recycling facilities where you can drop off your items at a convenient time around your own schedule, and they may also have collection bins located around town so that you do not have to drive as far to drop off your items. Other cities have curbside pickup at your home at least once or twice per week. In some cases, participation in recycling programs is mandatory. The effectiveness of these campaigns directly links to pollution on a global scale.

Convenient Public Transportation Options

A considerable amount of pollution is generated through the use of personal vehicles. Public transportation enables local residents to get around town while minimizing the amount of pollution that is generated as a result. Some cities only offer public bus service. Others also have light rail, subways, public-use bikes, public-use motorized scooters and more. Some of these methods also may have an impact on the use of non-renewable fossil fuels as well. These public services also require the help of companies like icunj.us for engineering work that facilitates their transportation plans.

Well-Maintained Public Water System

Fresh water is in short supply in many areas, so keeping the public water supply well-maintained is essential. Consider that a small leak in a water main line may go unnoticed for many months, and this allows a considerable amount of fresh water to be lost. In addition, sewage waste must be well-contained to prevent unnecessary contamination in the environment. Trenchless sewer repair is a one way that wastewater pipes may be repaired, and this method has minimal impact on the local environment. For relevant local information, you can search something like ‘trenchless sewer repair for industrial roads in NJ’ and see what these services entail.

The health of the entire planet may seem to be a much larger issue than you have control over. However, each individual effort, as well as the localized efforts at a citywide level, can play a major role in environmental conservation. Keep in mind that you only have control over your actions, so doing your best to promote a healthy environment is essential. In addition to improving personal efforts, consider being a catalyst for change in your community.

BrookeChaplan

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Making green home improvements makes a lot of sense from a health, comfort and financial perspective. With an increasing emphasis on minimizing the climate crisis and making homes as healthy as possible, homeowners and builders are focusing on increasing the number of features that save energy and promote healthier living.

They Appreciate Faster

While the rate of appreciation for a home’s highly variable, all other things being equal, a green home will appreciate faster than a less energy efficient unit. There are a number of reasons for higher appreciation. Homes with higher efficiency are in greater demand, which is the primary force behind home appreciation. They also have lower energy bills, something that ranks high with many home buyers.

If you live in a neighborhood of older homes and you want to increase the value of your home, make improvements to the insulation, particularly in the attic. If the HVAC system is old, chances are your heating and cooling bills are high. Installing a new one will add value to your home and lowers your heating and cooling costs.

You and your financial consultant can explore how important faster home appreciation is. If you don’t have a consultant, you can search something like ‘NJ individual wealth management’ for your area to find one. Your home is probably your most important asset and when it increases in value faster, so does your net worth.

Green Homes Are Healthier

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important part of achieving a green home and the easiest way to achieve good IAQ is by using products that don’t emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These gases cause physical symptoms from mild to serious like headaches and sore throats to cancer or neurological system disorders.

There’s a long list of materials used in daily life and for home construction and remodeling that contain VOCs. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to find alternatives that keep IAQ high.

Look for remodeling products labeled as low in VOCs or are VOC-free. Some carry clean air labels, like paint and flooring products. It’s getting easier to find household products that have no to few VOCs. Look for natural cleaners, products without perfumes and candles made from beeswax or soy. Avoid anything made from paraffin.

Some Green home upgrades run at a higher cost than their less environmentally friendly counterparts, so make sure you factor that into your budget. While there is no price you can place on health, you still need to budget well to afford these upgrades. As mentioned above, a financial service provider like rmrwealth.com can be very helpful when planning and executing home improvements.

Ventilation

Homes that have high IAQ may have balanced ventilation systems that pull in as much fresh air as they exhaust. The U.S. EPA has found that indoor air can be much more polluted than the worst outdoor air. The greenest products used for ventilation are heat and energy recovery ventilators. These devices transfer the thermal energy from the outgoing air into the incoming air, which eliminates the cost of heating or cooling outdoor air.

Bottom Line

Anything you can do to make your home greener in the short and long term helps your financial and personal health. You can start by doing something as easy as changing the cleaning products you buy or as challenging as making major improvements to its structure. Whatever it is, it will better your life by making it more comfortable.

BrookeChaplan

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Your AC unit could have a big impact on the quality of air in your office. If you have an AC unit that works properly, it could positively impact your air quality. A system that is faulty or hasn’t been properly maintained might have a negative impact on air quality.

Your AC System Needs to Work

If your AC system is working properly, it should handle the air pollution the right way. The system needs to work to make sure it’s effective and that’s an important part of the way it contributes to the quality of the indoor air.

The Type of AC Matters

Whether you have ducted reverse cycle air conditioning or another type of system can make a huge impact on your air quality. You must have an air conditioning system that works for your building and is able to meet the needs of your office. If you don’t have the right type of system, you might not be getting the best quality air.

Maintenance Is Important

Even if your unit is new or if you feel you’ll know when there is an issue, you still need to have it maintained. Regular maintenance is important because it gives the technician a chance to look at the AC unit and see if there is anything wrong with it. Catching a problem right away can be the difference in a small repair bill and a major overhaul of the whole system.

It Could Still Work Properly

Even if your AC unit is working the right way, it might not be giving you the best quality air in your office. It’s important to make sure that you know what to look for with your unit and you keep track of air quality.

Changes to the AC Could Affect Quality

Any changes that you make to the AC could affect the quality of air that’s put out from the AC. Change the filter regularly, don’t make any changes the AC unit and make sure you know when to have it properly maintained. Any major changes could cause an issue with air quality and could also risk damaging your AC unit in the process.

 

Whether you want to keep your office cool or you want to truly focus on air quality, there are things you can do to make your AC better. The higher efficiency of the system, the better chance you’ll have for increased air quality.

BrookeChaplan

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Many businesses have already adopted green business practices, and some are completely self-sustaining. These businesses may benefit by saving a substantial amount of money regularly. In addition, green practices may have excellent public relations benefits, and they may even bolster your employee retention rate. If you are thinking about making green improvements in your business soon, there are a few of the essential things required to achieve your goal.

A Reasonable Budget

There may be some green steps that your business can take at minimal cost, such as by implementing a recycling program. However, other steps may cost a small fortune, such as the investment and installation of solar panels. Creating a budget is an essential first step. As you prepare a green improvement budget, research tax benefits, rebates and other savings offers available that could decrease the cost of at least some of your improvements.

A Strategic Plan

It is also important to have a strategic plan for the selection and installation or implementation of various green improvements. Keep in mind that some of your updates may be governed by energy or infrastructure law. With this in mind, your strategic plan should be created after a consultation with an experienced lawyer who specializes in this area of the law. Your plan should also take into account your local climate and environment. For example, solar panels may be a great idea for an area with many sunny days each year, but wind energy may be a smarter investment if your business is located in a windy area, such as off of a bay.

Access to Quality Green Energy Service Providers

If your business is located in a major metropolitan area, you likely have convenient access to many green energy service providers, such as those that specialize in solar panel installation services. On the other hand, your business may be located in a more remote area. You could potentially contract with a service provider from farther away to complete installation work. However, the availability of services should be considered as you create a thoughtful plan.

Businesses that have already taken steps to be more environmentally-friendly have enjoyed exceptional benefits. You understandably want to benefit in these ways as well. Because each business has different activities and is located in a unique area, creating a customized plan is essential. Keep in mind that things, like having a remote workforce and investing in electric cars for your fleet, are a few of the many additional steps that you can take to go green.

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.

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