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Andrew Newitt

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Going green has been a growing trend in the world for many years as more and more people become aware of the negative consequences of using chemical-heavy products. Women, in particular, are seeking alternative, natural and healthier solutions to their everyday problems. Following this trend, even the cosmetics industry has made organic skin care and beauty products a standard. Because choosing these products shows that we are responsible and make smart choices not just for ourselves but for the environment as well.

If you’re still indecisive about making the switch to organic makeup, here are a few reasons why you should go for it.

1. It’s safe for your health

Unlike conventional cosmetics, organic beauty products contain natural ingredients that have not been chemically treated in any way. They don’t contain synthetic additives, like artificial pigments, fragrances, preservatives, etc. Consequently, they cause far less undesired reactions and are considered to be truly hypo-allergenic. This makes them perfect for all skin types. Even the most sensitive ones.

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However, bear in mind that skin care and makeup ingredients are only loosely regulated and are considered to be harmless, until proven otherwise. Besides, a cosmetic product may contain as little as 1% of organic ingredients and still be labelled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. And our skin is like a sponge, which absorbs everything that you apply to it. If you put on conventional makeup every day, the toxins from it will accumulate in your body over time and this may lead to serious health repercussions. For your own safety, always pay attention to the ingredients list and make sure that at least 95% of them are certified.

2. It’s eco-friendly

Synthetically produced beauty products are packed with chemicals. When they’re used, these chemicals are released into the environment and pollute the air, water, and soil. On the other hand, natural makeup and skincare products are a result of environmentally sound manufacturing – from organically farmed ingredients, to biodegradable packaging (not all of them, though, so look for that three chasing arrows sign on the container before making a purchase). For all the above reasons, they release much less pollutants into the environment both while produced and while used.

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Another reason to switch to organic makeup is the fact that it’s never tested on animals. Even the big-box brands including organic options into their offer as proof of their social responsibility. Be a responsible consumer and show that you care for Mother Earth by switching to organic products.

3. It’s nutrient-rich

Another feature that has become a standard in cosmetics industry is dual-purpose makeup. It serves both to beautify you and nurture your skin. Of course, organic makeup is unrivalled here, since it contains only the good stuff and none of the aggressive ingredients found in the conventional products.

Vitamins A, B, D and E are some of the main nutrients that keep your skin youthful and fresh-looking. Let’s not forget vitamin C, which has superb sun-shielding properties and provides a very strong anti-aging effect. Argan oil is also often used, especially in lipsticks, as an excellent moisturizer for chapped lips. Green tea extract soothes irritated skin, liquid foundations may contain maracuja oil or shea butter, which are known for their anti-oxidant properties and help you get smoother skin.

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Although not the most important aspect, there’s also the financial benefit of switching to organic makeup. Some people argue that organic products are much pricier than the conventional ones. But with this nutrient-packed makeup you will need much less skincare products and your wallet will thank you for that.

Andrew Newitt
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The traditional construction tools used to be noisy and non-eco-friendly. Even if these power tools made our construction jobs easier, they used to be terrible air and noise polluters. Fortunately, lately the things have started to change in the construction industry in accord with the general attention on environmentally friendly products. Among the latest developments in the construction industry nowadays are the greener tools.

Many homeowners are choosing these green tools in order to stop stressing the power grid and to lower their electricity usage. For some others the motivation to choose greener tools is their environmental consciousness that push them to find ways to cut down on oil and gas from a desire to stop burning through the planet’s energy resources. Still others are motivated by a simple desire to not to smell and breathe the toxic and unpleasant fumes that some construction tools produce.

We will take a look in this article at some popular green construction tools that are easier on the environment, nose, ears, and even the wallet, and rely on cleaner energy.

Rechargeable chain saw

For the big wood cutting jobs are usually used chain saws. Their fuel based on oil and gas mixture is so pollutant that many chain saw emissions break some state laws on pollution emission. The electric chain saw was developed as a greener alternative. You can even use an electric chain saw indoors, unlike a fuel-powered chain saw, since it doesn't produce any fumes. Other advantages to an electric chain saw are that it tends to be less noisy and lighter, and you don't worry about running out of gas before completed the task.

Another alternative to a fuel-powered chain saw is a rechargeable chain saw. There are chain saws on the market that comes with interchangeable nickel-cadmium batteries or with an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. These are less noisy and lighter than gas chain saws and also offer the advantage of a convenient cordless design. Today's rechargeable chain saw designs provide enough cutting power for most of the jobs and they are friendlier to the environment.

Rechargeable drill

There are many construction tools that have adopted this design lately. For example, you can choose a rechargeable drill that comes with an attached LED light that focuses on your work area. These cordless tools are not only incredibly easy to handle due to their lightweight design, but also provide you with more flexibility and the liberty to work far from a power source.

Certainly, working with a power drill makes your job easier than using a hand drill. However, the power cord can stay in your way and make your task awkward if you need to stretch it into the backyard or across your garage. The rechargeable and cordless drill solves this issue and frees you from the annoying cord. It is also a greener tool because is using far less energy while still packing enough power.

Bottom line

You can also find nowadays complete kits with green construction tools that are rechargeable and cordless. Some even come with interchangeable backup batteries to ensure you won’t run out of power in the middle of your job. The higher battery amp-hours or Ah, the longest use of the tool you can enjoy. The higher amp-hours mean you can use the tool more hours between two consecutive charges.

Andrew Newitt

In the time of recession, many young people are turning to self-employment options. Among dozens of next-year-millionaire-making business ideas, those that base their income on the land are often unjustly underestimated. One of such business ventures that is also a good investment is growing nut trees. In a nutshell, this article describes all the requirements and benefits of having a private nut plantation.

Why nuts?

Nuts are nutritious, and with the popularity of organic food and healthy lifestyle, a handful of nuts is a part of every weight loss diet. They are not a kind of food that spoils easily, so the storage is less demanding than for example peaches or strawberries.

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Apart from this, nut trees are very resistant and need minimal maintenance. People say that you plant nut trees for your children and grandchildren. However, today’s agronomy has produced grafted trees that start bearing fruit as early as one year after planting.

Before you plant

There are a couple of things that you need to make clear before your go out and buy several scores of nut trees. Not all nut species are suitable for any climate and soil type. Consult an agronomist on what nuts to grow on your patch of land. Secondly, you need to consider how much space you have and how much space each tree needs. You should also consider what pests and diseases are prevalent in your region.

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Dealing with pests

If you are planning to grow your 5 acres of nut trees close to a woodland, your biggest problems will be squirrels. They are mainly interested in nut kernels while they are still green in their dough-like stage. In July and August, squirrels are magnetically drawn to these trees, removing the kernels for their winter storage. However, if you set a dog or two to run loose among the trees, the furry pests will take their business elsewhere. Cats are even better guardians as they will actively climb tree trees and chase them off.   

Harvesting

Once you plant the trees, harvesting is the period that will take the most of your time and effort. You need to gather, prepare and preserve the nuts. The degree of human labor will depend on your willing to invest into machinery. Unless you have a trained brown bear, you will definitely need a small tractor with a trunk shaker attachment. In order to make your tractor and other farming machinery completely autonomous, you should invest in a sturdy polyethylene Rapid Spray diesel tank, so you always have a steady supply of safely stored fuel at your farm.

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Preparing and storing

When you pick the nuts from the ground you need to dump them in a water tank. Diseased, damaged and old nuts will float at the surface. To prevent molds and improve the fruit flavor and texture, you need to dry the nuts until moisture content drops below 10%. You can do this by spreading them in a single layer in a cool but dry and ventilated place so the air can circulate freely about them. You can tell that the nuts have dried when the kernels began to rattle in their shells and can snap on bending. The process takes from one to three weeks. When they dry, you need to store them in a cool place.   

Although all nut species are resilient and easy to grow, you should stick to one that grows best in your neck of the woods. After all, a nut farm is an investment and legacy that will last for generations. 

Andrew Newitt

Construction business in known to have a great effect on many aspects of our life and environment protection is most certainly one of them. For example, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) estimates that almost one third of raw material consumption and approximately the same percentage of greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to this field of industry. When you add the fact that more than 10% of potable water use is also closely connected with construction business, it becomes quite clear why companies from all over the world are looking into the ways to make their business more sustainable and environment friendly.

Regardless of your specialization, both commercial and residential construction can really benefit from more sustainable processes. It can actually be your unique selling proposition that your customers will recognize and decide to hire you, particularly because the awareness of the importance of going green rises constantly. If your company manages to create such a market advantage, it will be recording much better results, while at the same time being responsible and respectful towards the environment.

Whether existing public and commercial buildings are renovated and retrofitted or new ones are built, the use of environmentally responsible and energy efficient materials and technologies will create many benefits. Let’s have a look at some of them.

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Increased revenue

It’s been projected that green and sustainable building revenue will continue to grow at this rate and pass $300 billion by the end of this year. The number of people employed in this industry is also continuing to grow and so is the demand for green building projects. That is an excellent opportunity for your company to increase its revenue if you are able to meet the requirements of the market.

When you look at sustainable homes and buildings, you may not be able to notice the difference between them and traditional facilities. Still, specialized designs and materials that decrease the negative impact on environment will provide many advantages to those using the spaces constructed in this way.

In order to be able to achieve this goal, you need to gather a team of motivated and skilled architects, construction engineers, suppliers of materials and equipment as well as experts in construction waste removal. Managing to create such a team will significantly increase your chances of boosting your revenue.

Bigger budgets

Truth be told, it’s not cheap to create sustainable homes and buildings, since you need to be ready to splash out more initially. Experience has shown that green construction projects are up to 10 percent more expensive than traditional construction projects. Naturally, the exact costs depend on many factors, such as design, materials, schedule and location, but clients need to be ready to spend more up-front.

Still, they can full expect their investment to pay off soon through lower electricity and water bills, maintenance fees and increased resale value of the property. Also, some countries offer special tax incentives, which stimulate sustainable construction and, depending on your location, this could be another significant saving.

Needless to say, such tax credits come with numerous rules and requirements, but every knowledgeable contractor or construction company should know what is necessary. This is also another service you can offer to your clients – advisory and consulting services.  

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Remodelling and retrofitting

This is another area that has become much more popular recently. People are using the opportunity to have their existing facilities remodelled and retrofitted in a way that will bring about all the benefits of a green building. Companies which focus only on new buildings are missing out on great opportunities to convert and improve facilities with tradition and history into much more environment-friendly places and to make more profit.

More and more homeowners are remodelling their homes using eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient appliances, smart designs and other features of green living. Again, the initial investment, which can be substantial, is usually very quickly paid off through lower bills, maintenance fee and increased resale value of the property.

Final remarks

With more and more companies and construction managers doing everything they can to become certified in sustainable construction, you need to make sure you don’t fall behind, since this is undoubtedly an industry on the rise and its seems that the growth is here to stay for a while.

Failing to respond to the modern-day demand might see you without job sooner than you think. The increasingly strict rules and regulations that impose requirements related to construction and environment protection are serving as a filter that separates those who are ready and capable to adapt from those who haven’t succeeded or even tried to adapt their business to the new circumstances.


 

Andrew Newitt

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After a while, every home could use some updating and freshening up, whether to match your needs better or simply to make it look more visually appealing. This is especially true if you are happy in your home and are planning on living in it for many more years. Although some eco-friendly renovation projects require quite an investment, you can rest assured that those investments would be worth it. Plus, there are many both affordable and eco-friendly ways to renovate, and here are some you should consider. 

Buy energy-efficient appliances

If you’re planning on replacing your old kitchen appliances, look for those that are energy-efficient. You can recognize them by the Energy Star logo on them. Larger kitchen appliances, like refrigerators, for example, can use quite a lot of energy, which means that they can also cost you a lot and for a long time. This is why investing in energy-efficient appliances – even though it might cost a bit more initially – can save you money in the long run.

Donate everything you no longer need

If there’s an item that you’re thinking about replacing, and you won’t need it anymore, don’t throw it away. You can always give it to charity, or you might even have a friend who could use it. Moreover, there are many organizations that welcome such items, like Habitat for Humanity, for instance. In short, there are ways not just to be eco-friendly with your unwanted items but to actually give back to the community as well. 

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Use recycled materials

Using recycled materials for your renovation, like reclaimed wood, would help reduce waste. Plus, it would preserve nature simply because there would be no need to cut any trees. Plus, there are many salvaged materials that are both durable and visually appealing, so nobody would even notice that your new item is made of recycled materials. For example, bio-glass looks just like any other “new” glass, but it’s completely eco-friendly, which makes it a perfect choice. 

Renew instead of replacing

You don’t need to replace everything in order to upgrade the appearance of your home. For example, instead of buying new kitchen cabinets, you could simply repaint them and replace only the knobs. Plus, even small changes can make a difference; you can switch one wooden cabinet door with a glass door. It would emphasize the items you keep in that cabinet, and it would make your kitchen look much more interesting. 

Repaint

If you’re thinking about repainting your home, make sure to use VOC-free paint. VOC, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that can evaporate and harm your health. Also, if you’re planning on repainting your exterior, keep in mind that safety comes first, especially if you’re doing it on your own. Therefore, think about getting some quality scaffolding so you can paint the upper parts of your house without using uncomfortable and unsafe ladders that you’d have to move every few minutes. 

Moreover, if you can’t afford to repaint your entire exterior, think about repainting just your front door, your house numbers, and perhaps your mailbox. It would spice up the appearance of your home, and it would definitely give it a new feel overall. 

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Insulate

If insulation is a part of your renovation project, make sure to choose a high-quality one. The better insulated your home is, the less energy you will use on heating and cooling it. In other words, it would definitely pay off sooner than you might think. Just don’t forget to do your research on the eco-friendly insulation options, since the insulation itself is not the only possible eco-friendly aspect of the project. 

Make use of the sun

Going solar is a great way to make your home more eco-friendly. Besides preserving the environment, using solar energy can also reduce your electricity bill. However, you should know that there are ways to use the power of the sun that don’t include spending money on solar panels. For example, you can plant seasonal trees in your yard, which would block the sunlight in the summer but let it through during winter. Or, you could add smart blinds and heat-reducing films to your windows. 

Add skylights 

Another great way to make use of the sun is adding some skylights in order to let more natural light into your home. Of course, you don’t have to install them in every room of your home; you can place them in the most commonly used areas, like your kitchen or living room. Just don’t forget to install automated blinds as well, so you can block the sun when needed. If you place them correctly and use them to the fullest, skylights could also help you reduce the amount of electricity you need. 

If you’re looking for a way to renovate your home while preserving the environment at the same time, consider some of the above-listed suggestions. You would feel much better about yourself, knowing that you’re making a difference, and you’d save some money in the long run as well. 
 

Andrew Newitt

Today it’s hard to find reasons against going solar. Between the two most obvious motives – cutting on energy bills and protecting the environment, homeowners can hope for solid solar ROI, increasing their home equity, state tax rebates and investing into the future. What is more, many people are becoming aware that solar panels are a great home upgrade. Whichever your reasons may be, let’s elaborate on the most solid benefits of going solar.

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Honey, I shrunk the energy bill

Adapting your home to run on solar power can either obliterate your energy bill completely or reduce to such an insignificant figure that it becomes just a statistical entry in your budget. How much you’ll be able to save depends on many factors, such as how much energy your home consumes, and the rates you’d otherwise pay to your utility company. If, for example, the electricity rates are high in your area, your savings will be larger since they equal the cost you avoid by going solar. As electricity prices are inevitably going to rise over the years, your savings will continue to grow over the 35+ year lifespan of your solar equipment. So, by installing a solar power system, not only do you reduce your electricity cost, but you make them more predictable, which in return improves your expense forecasting and management.

Keeps generating return

Let’s face it, a solar panel system is a financial product which is bound to generate annual returns from 10 to more than 30 percent. An average homeowner pays off their solar purchase in seven to eight years and receives a healthy ROI in the form of free electricity for the remainder of the equipment lifespan. What is more, there might be local or state tax programs or rebates in your area that motivate homeowners to adopt solar power. Some utilities have a market where you can sell Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) that your system generates. This additional income will help you get to the even point even faster.

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Hedge against rising prices

If you think about it, by going solar, you also protect yourself about rising utility prices and make your expenses more predictable year after year. Since you are your own energy provider, you can sit back and watch the energy prices rise and fall. For example, if electricity prices continue to rise by three percent each year, you can have an extra $1,200 in your pocket a year from now, provided that you purchase a system that meets 100 percent of your energy needs today. Easy to integrate in your home and unobtrusive, a reliable 5kWp solar system is sufficient for households that want to experience all the benefits of renewable energy without compromising their lifestyle and routines. With these units, living off the grid gets a whole new meaning. Even if you lack funds to pay for a solar energy system up front, you can apply for a solar loan, solar lease, or solar power purchase agreement.

We have but one home

Many businesses and non-profit organizations go solar because they want to contribute to minimizing environmental issues like climate change and carbon emission-related health problems. There’s not a single reason why individual households shouldn’t follow suit, especially if we know that an average household emits about 20 metric tons of carbon pollutants each year. And while a single home or small business that goes solar barely makes a nick in the pollution mountain, the joint effect of building owners adopting solar systems across the country is guaranteed to make a lasting effect.

As the number of residential solar installations grows, we move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and closer to clean energy that rises and sets every day. Solar energy perks, however, are not only benefiting individuals and national economies. Our collective transition to commercially viable solar solutions is one of the most tangible scenarios for cleaner and more sustainable environment.

 

 

 

Andrew Newitt

In this day and age, the demand for nutritious, wholesome food has never been greater. Organic farms are sprouting across the globe, providing their families and communities with a constant supply of fresh produce. The export market potential is high as well, which means organic farmers have a chance to own a thriving business that transcends the borders of a local community.

Starting and running an organic farm business is not a walk in the park, though: one has to grasp many factors such as a business plan, funding, machinery, soil, storage space, etc. This is to say that it is best to plan ahead, tread carefully, and go one step at a time.

Identify your goals

First off, you need to set emotions aside and get your priorities straight. Do you want to contribute to the environmental movement, launch a highly-profitable business, help the community, or just earn enough money to live on? Define organic farm goals and let them serve as your guiding light. Establish values you are going to uphold, as well as personal objectives. The next, more concrete step is assembling a business along with a first-year plan. These documents will steer your day-to-day hustle and long-term aspirations.

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Test the waters

It all starts with the process of obtaining the land and getting to know it: how big and fertile is it? Bear in mind that in order to receive USDA organic certification, for instance, the land has to be free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers for a period of three years. Factor in elements such as water availability and access because you need good drainage and good-quality water for irrigation. Make sure you can source the livestock and locate organic seeds and starts. The abundance of small game encourages farmers to raise free-range chicken, cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Find your target market

Do the market research and identify your target customers. People interested in organic products tend to be more educated, affluent, and environmentally conscious. That is why many organic farms gravitate towards areas around urban centers. In any regard, the proximity of buyers is of the utmost importance. Therefore, see if they are in your neighborhood or whether you would have to dispatch your products miles away? Whatever the answer is, you have to ensure that there is a real need for your products, and ideally, a limited competition.

Build storage space

Ample storage space plays a vital role as you have to preserve food until the moment it is sold. It also enables you to easily load, unload, and dispatch products. So, assess your storage needs, decide whether you want bulk or bag storage, and build a facility. Be clear on what the exposed peripheral structure area per unit is. Pick building materials carefully and see if you can integrate flexible and innovative solutions. For instance, structural steel dairy sheds are designed to ensure adequate ventilation, efficient management and maximised cow comfort for optimal milk yields.

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Settle financing

To get operations off the ground, one has to address the financial side of things. The investment needed here is higher than with non-organic farms, but if you can help it, avoid borrowing money. In recent years, debt has laid waste to numerous organic farms. It is preferable to start small, but with your own savings piled up. Of course, the decision in this department ultimately depends on your ambitions and whether you aspire to run a family farm, a small-scale operation, or a huge farm that caters to national or international market.

Choose your produce

Last, but definitely not least, you must decide on what to grow. At this point, you have freedom, but only to an extent. Never lose sight of the feasibility of certain products that you evaluated in the market research stage. Also, remember that farming is hard work. What makes your life easier is growing what you like. Filled with passion, you can get through the toughest of days and overcome any challenges on the road to success. It pays off to invest in marketing your products as well, so don’t skimp on this activity once you set the wheels into motion.

Sow the seeds of success

Organic farming is a gratifying career choice that holds much promise in today’s market. At the same time, this endeavor is not something you can afford to take lightly.  You need to plan for a successful business from the ground up. So, make certain it is realistic and viable, and not just something you dearly dream of. Set your financial house in order. Get the necessary licenses and permits. Design and build your compound. Come up with a continuous flow of goods in the market and reap your rewards.

Andrew Newitt
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If you have a business that deals with transportation of goods, and you have to deal with warehouses, you know the importance of pallets. Pallets are used for storing, handling and transporting loads with a fork lift. There are plastic and wooden pallets and while you may feel that you should stick to the basics and make sure that you have the good old wood pallets, here are some of the reasons why you should reconsider your decision.

Cost

At first, it may seem that wooden pallets are cheaper than the plastic ones, but that is not true in the long run. Wooden pallets can be sold after use and some may even find other uses like furniture or something to use in a garden, but the plastic pallets can be used many more times and they are much more durable. Therefore, by paying more in advance, you are actually saving money in the long run by opting for plastic pallets.

Handling

There are many things that you need to take care of when you have wooden pallets. You need to use chemicals to treat them and that are not always welcome near the freight that you may be using. You need to clean them and dry them before usage. Even then, you have splinters, broken or crooked pallets and many other problems. With plastic pallets, it is enough to hose them down or wipe them and they are as good as new. They are also very durable and they don’t change shape.

Manipulation

Another good thing is that it is easier to manipulate plastic pallets by hand and by machines. By hand, because there are no splinters and they are much lighter than the wooden pallets and by machines because they are designed in such a way that they can be taken and lifted from many angles and they are lighter and that means that the machine won’t be overburdened and can take more of the actual cargo. This saves time and reduces the costs significantly in terms of fuel saving.

Stability

Another good side of plastic pallets is the fact that they are far more stable than wooden ones, even if they are lighter. By using specific types of production processes and material, what happens is that you get a product that is at the same time light and durable, they are also equally strong at all their parts since the density of the material is the same. They are not influenced by the vermin and moist and they cannot rot as wood can. Therefore, they have 100% stability which is very important.

More and more countries are introducing restrictions for the use of wooden pallets because of the ecological impact they have. They are made by cutting down wood. They are heavy which maximizes the costs and causes more fuel to be used. Vermin can hide and live there and they can be shipped to the countries and places where they can make real ecological disasters. Therefore, it seems that the wooden pallets should be left as interesting and lovely way of making chic furniture instead of in transport.

Andrew Newitt
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Cars with electric powering options are becoming more and more present, but they are still far from being as present as their internal combustion powered counterparts. In theory, as well as in most of the practice, they provide amazing fuel efficiency, allow you to enjoy instant torque delivery and keep the world cleaner. They seem far better than petrol cars. So, why aren’t they in the lead?

Well, the technology is still in its baby years. The batteries are heavy, they take up loads of space and they still don’t provide the electric cars with the range that would satisfy buyers. There are cars which are emerging as breakthrough models, such as the Tesla S, but they are vastly expensive. It is not that they are not worth the price, but vast majority of buyers can’t afford to buy a car whose price is well into six figures, so we can’t really expect them to be a common sight just yet. In order for the electrics to take the lead, certain conditions need to be fulfilled.

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Still, there is a solution why we are waiting. Hybrids! They employ standard internal combustion engines, so they allow us to fill them up with fuel and drive normally, but they also make use of the new technologies, combining it with an electric motor, thus improving fuel efficiency, range and performance. Speaking of the performance, even ultimate supercars such as the McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari are employing hybrid powerplants.

So, which are the best ones for 2015?

Well, they need to be relatively reasonably priced, so the P1 and the LaFerrari are out of the list for the same reason the Tesla S is. These are the cars that you can buy and use as everyday means of transportation.

BMW i3

For the people who are familiar with the industry, including the i3 in this list is no surprise. The famous German manufacturer is well known for their prowess, and they are bound to release respectable cars. The i3 is a whole new concept for BMW. It is a four-door car with compact dimensions, but loads of interior space. Plus, the design is very futuristic.

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The i3 is powered by an electric motor, but you can also opt for the range extender version which makes use of a small 2-cylinder engine serving as a generator of energy for the battery. The range goes from about 130 km to about as double as much for the range extender option. The top speed is limited to 150 km/h, which is more than enough for a city car and the acceleration to 100 km/h takes about 8 seconds. The i3 already has its markets, with the UK and Norway buyers being particularly interested in it, so it has been tested on the road. And it works just fine.

Mercedes C-Class Hybrid

If you are worried that a whole new approach to the i3 is a bit too much, an even more revered manufacturer has provided you with more conventional, but still very modern hybrid cars. Although you can opt for the top of the range and ultimately plush S-Class Hybrid, we have chosen to present you with a more reasonable buying option in the form of the C-Class, since the S-Class is a fairly expensive car.

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The C-Class C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, as it is called, is a regular, tested and venerated C-Class car with a modern hybrid powering options. It packs a 2.1 l diesel with 201 hp and a 27 hp electric motor which give it the acceleration to 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds. Additionally, you can get the fuel efficiency of about 3.6 l/100 km, which is amazing for a car of this class and performance. However, bear in mind that the C-Class Hybrid is still mostly powered by the diesel engine and that the electric motor is only there to help. It reduces the consumption and increases low-rev torque, providing better driving response, but the C-Class is still a conventional car with improved efficiency. On the plus side, it is not an all new car like the i3, so buyers might feel more confident buying a proven piece of equipment.

Another perk with the C-Class is the possibility of numerous additional equipment options, including the air suspension. There is no way Mercedes would gamble their reputation by making a gimmick out of a several-decades-present C-Class. It is a good car.

Volkswagen Golf GTE

A car which offers less than the Merc, but also costs significantly less. Comparing these two hybrids is like comparing the standard Golf and C-Class. The C-Class is better, but the Golf is still amazing and probably a better value for money.

Its fuel efficiency is rated at about 1.5 l/100 km and it has an option of electric-only driving for about 45 km, which is more than most drivers will ever need in a city. When all of the horses are unleashed, it gives the top speed of 222 km/h with the acceleration to 100 km/h of just 7.6 seconds. Almost as good as the infamous GTI.

As with any Golf and most German cars, you get amazing build quality and reliability, and the balanced Golf chassis inspires confidence and provides loads of driving fun.

Toyota Prius

If the previous cars on the list were new for you, you can educate yourself by finding loads of high-quality content online, but the Prius is almost a household name. It might be called the first common hybrid car in the world and it can already boast with several generations, which is amazing knowing that most other hybrid or electric cars are still concepts.

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The current model has improved range, lowered emissions and better fuel efficiency reaching the equivalent of 2.6 l/100 km. The electric-only range is also increased to about 20 km and the top speed in no fuel burning mode is at 100 km/h. It is more expensive than the Golf (but significantly cheaper than the Mercedes) and it includes loads of comfort perks as standard.

Andrew Newitt

Waste management has become a serious issue in the world ever since the rise of industrialization and the population boom that started in the 20th century. With over 7 billion people across the globe producing waste within their homes, companies and communities, a need arises to educate people and promote waste management in order to battle the effects of global warming and decrease the harmful effect that waste production has on the environment.

Assess the amount of waste you produce

Start your waste management plan by writing down the amount of waste your household, company or project produces on a monthly basis. You can categorize waste into different types such as scraps, human waste, water waste, energy waste and natural materials. Additionally, remember to note the trash produced by excavation and building crews, if you are running a renovation project.

Every waste management situation will have different parameters, so make sure to observe all crucial elements in waste production. When managing waste in your company, you will have to account for the amount of waste that every employee produces and that will include water, energy and material waste.

After you’ve assessed the amount of produced waste, you can divide it into recyclables, reusable materials and refuse. Recyclable waste is usually consisted of flyers, clothes, bottles, plastic and paper, among other.

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Refuse materials are mainly consisted of kitchen and industrial waste in the form of old cleaning supplies, cords, bulbs and electrical trash, and is best reduced to a minimum by limiting consumption and opting for more durable, long-lasting items, such as switching from regular lighting to LED lighting, etc.

Lastly, reusable “waste” can be anything you can make use of for a prolonged period of time, such as partially printed paper, delivery boxes, jars and paper bags.

 

Set up an action plan

Once you are finished with categorizing and have assessed the amount of waste, you’ll need a concrete plan of action for each type of waste. Note that waste disposal is not cheap and it’s always better to prevent waste accumulation and production than to deal with excessive amounts of it every month. Along with being better for your budget, prevention is eco-friendly as you are reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emission and waste production.

You can limit the amount of resources you use that later become refuse and use only the reusable and recyclable materials. Instead of constantly changing traditional light bulbs that consume and waste vast amounts of energy, switch to LED lighting that preserves the energy and lasts longer. In addition to saving energy, it will also cost you less.

Further, in order to reduce water waste, make sure that all water sources are only used when necessary and fix every leakage. Opt for water-saving appliances like washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators that are energy-friendly.

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Recycling is fairly easy - you just need to love nature enough. Make sure to divide your recyclables into different bags and learn the schedule of your neighborhood’s recyclable waste pickups.

Finally, you can move onto planning your refuse waste management. Trash is bound to accumulate at some point, and after you’ve implemented all the new rules of reusing and recycling, it’s time to get rid of the trash you are left with.

Start by noting the means you will use to dispose of your trash by assessing the cost, choosing removal crews and types of vehicles they have depending on the amount of waste you’re dealing with. Waste can often be difficult to classify, and in order to avoid hitting a roadblock in your disposal efforts, make sure to consult with environmental experts about proper waste classification.  

Lastly, draw up concrete goals for you waste reduction project. You’ll need a realistic set of goals if you want to make your waste management plan work. You can define these by assessing the percentage of trash you want to reduce over a period of time, all the while increasing the use of recyclable and reusable materials.

Waste management is no easy task as it requires planning, preparation, time and effort, but with these guidelines you will be able to create a concrete plan of action to boost your waste management efforts and make the process as quick and efficient as possible.

Andrew Newitt

 

Greening up your home so that you can live in a more eco-friendly environment can be perfect not only so that you can protect Mother Nature, but because you can also save up money in the long run. Remember that a lot of green solutions will require work from your part, but, it will be worth it, as it will usually repay itself over time.

Insulate your home to lessen heat loss

 

Many homes have creaks and holes which we are not even aware of, and they can be what is letting heat out during colder weather. Moreover, if you insulated your whole house, with green insulation solutions of course, you can make sure that you have completely sealed your home. On the other hand, when you are in the middle of this project, be sure to check for any entrances pests could be using, so that you seal it off immediately.

Be careful which curtains you use

Most modern curtains can be made from organic material so that they can last longer and that you have an easier time cleaning them as well. But, pay attention to which curtains you are going to hang, because a thermal one can help you in preventing heat loss, and you will have to use less energy to keep your home nice and toasty. A relatively small investment to keep your home warm and to cut down on energy consumption.

Heat your own water

Although it is possible to use alternative power sources to heat your home, it is often best to install a solar power unit. This way you will drastically cut down on energy dependence, and you will be able to heat your own water, which can be as high as half your energy consumption otherwise. Do not be afraid of the initial investment, as over time, it will handsomely pay itself off. Though, remember to take good care of the solar panels, so that they can last for years.

Use reclaimed wood

 

When it is time to change your flooring, be sure to use reclaimed wood, as it is not from freshly cut down trees, but rather from recycling. It will be easy to remodel it into something new, and because it will be reworked, durability and versatility will be an option as well. Keep in mind that by opting for reclaimed wood, you are helping preserving your environment. Moreover, your only concern once you get it will be proper maintenance to keep the wood looking good.

Recycled fire in your home

Going green in your home does not mean that you should give up on some things you enjoyed before. Having a fireplace is still possible, and all you have to is get eco fire glass by Blazing Glass. The material will burn for longer, give off more heat, and because it is eco-material, there will be zero pollution to worry about. And after a long hard day of work, you will be able to sit down with your family, get some hot cocoa and enjoy the fire.

 

 

You should update your home every time you get a chance, so that you can really green up your life. However, be sure to handle changes step-by-step, so that you do not spend a lot of money at once, and that you have the chance to look into every little detail. You will have to invest a bit initially, and you will have to put in effort to make it all work, but in the long run, you will have a cozy and green home to enjoy.  

Andrew Newitt

Running an unsanitary home is a known cause of many complications and allergies are one of the most common ones. Cleaning a home with non-toxic materials, however, should be of utmost importance and priority – not only do toxic chemicals poison the environment, but can also be quite damaging for your own health, as well. This article will guide you through the main points of non-toxic home cleaning and care, towards an allergy-free home.

Cleaning by Room

Although it is vital that you keep each room clean and, therefore, healthy, different rooms require different cleaning approaches and means to reducing allergens.

  • Bedroom – Your bed is a perfect home ground for mites and allergens, so taking care of your bed cleaning should be done at least twice a week and vacuuming on a daily basis if you are prone to allergies. Encasing your pillows, mattresses and box springs in cover that are dust-mite-proof is also recommended.

  • Living Room – The room where you spend most of your personal time naturally needs a lot of cleaning. Perform dusting and vacuuming at least every other day in order to keep the allergies at bay and pay special attention to allergens’ breeding grounds, such as curtains. If you are especially prone to allergies, think about removing your carpeting and opt for hardwood or linoleum flooring. Given the fact that dust is the most common cause of allergies, think about browsing through air purifiers for your living room – these are great ways to fight dust and make your air fresh and clean.

  • Kitchen – Not only is keeping your food clean a key factor in maintaining your health, but the kitchen can also turn quite filthy, unless cleaned regularly. Make sure you wash your dishes on a daily basis – mold and food debris shouldn’t stay untended to for more than a couple of hours. Think about installing a vented exhaust fan, in order to remove cooking fumes and reduce mold-causing moisture.

  • Bathroom – Now perhaps the biggest problem with bathrooms is the mold – unless you have tiles installed on your shower walls and next to your bathtub, you are bound to experience mold on your walls, which is a known cause of health problems. When it comes to bathroom flooring, use tile, vinyl or linoleum to make cleaning easier. Additionally, an exhaust fan will reduce moisture greatly, after steaming baths and showers.

  • Basement – Although this is the least frequently visited room within your house, it is likely to turn into a cesspool of germs if not cleaned regularly. Water-damaged carpeting should be removed and the foundation and stairwells checked for any sources of leak-caused water damage. When it comes to your clothes dryer, make sure that the moisture is vented outside. The biggest problem with basements is clutter, so properly arranging your stored items is of essence, in order to avoid health hazards

Your Home in General

When it comes to the general cleaning overview of your house, it is essential that you establish a weekly cleaning routine. This is not to say that a bit of cleaning on a daily basis shouldn’t be performed, but that you should thoroughly clean your home at least once a week. Pro tip: if you aren’t a smoker, be strict about your non-smoking policy within the walls of your house


Keeping your house clean is vital for keeping the allergies at bay, even if you don’t have any significant allergen problems. These, however, aren’t the only health hazard an unclean home might cause, so exercising proper cleaning is vital, even if you do not suffer from allergies.

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Andrew Newitt

Whether you are a builder, a developer, or a homeowner and want to construct something that can potentially affect the environment, you will have to hire an environmental consultant. If you don’t know what can affect the environment, then let us quickly give you all the ins and outs. Constructing man-made ponds, building near wildlife habitats, tinkering with water sources, building on questionable soil, etc. can all affect the environment in numerous ways.

That is why your local government has made the laws that are there to protect the environment from exploits. The only way to be certain that you are running the whole operation according to environmental regulations is to get an assessment from an environmental consultant.

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So, what are the traits of a professional environmental consultant? To answer that question, we have created this list of tips to find the right environmental consulting company for your job, so let’s just jump into it.

Know your project

Before you even start looking for a consulting company, make sure you are completely familiar with the project you are working on and what the final product will look like. An environmental consultant will make sure that everything is done according to the laws and regulations of your state, but it will be your job to set the goals and prepare for everything.

For example, some environmental regulations will make you step out of your budget, so it will be your job to compensate for that. That is why knowing your limitations and knowing your project plays a crucial role.

Evaluate the consulting company

As with every business, there are some bad apples, some companies that don’t do their work properly. If environmental consulting is a completely new thing for you, it will be hard to tell apart the good ones from the bad ones. However, we have some advice for you.

First, look at their previous experience. You can learn a lot about a company just by looking at whom they have worked with before. Second, look at their previous projects. Some companies don’t have enough experience with large-scale projects. Lastly, contact their old clients to see if everything checks out. It is one thing to read praise on their website, but if previous clients don’t tell the same story, it is usually a sign of trouble. To give you an example of an outstanding environmental consulting company, we recommend visiting the EnviroX Consulting website. They tick all boxes that we have previously mentioned and offer transparency from the get-go.

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Create a contract

Once you find a suitable consulting company, the next step is to create and negotiate a contract. Go through everything thoroughly, from start to finish. Describe in detail what their work will consist of. Ask for warranties, in case some task isn’t completed. Also, negotiate the price. Expenses pile up easily, so knowing the estimated cost will help you plan your budget. Lastly, set the beginning and end date. With jobs like these, it is important to create a deadline, otherwise, you risk blowing up your budget and messing up the whole operation.

Make sure that all the boxes are checked

We have one last advice for you, and that is to check the work after it is done. Sometimes people overlook details and then there are companies that just look for ways to cut corners. To make sure that everything from the contract is completed, carefully go through it and inspect the finished project. Unfortunately, that is the only way.

And that is all that you need to know when hiring an environmental consulting company. As you can see, it is not rocket science, but you will have to be thorough with your research, so you don’t end up hiring an inexperienced company.

Andrew Newitt

We’re in the process of poisoning our planet. Luckily, people are becoming aware of this, which is the very reason behind the term ‘ecological awareness’. Plants and factories, however, have a bad reputation in this department, because they really are one of the main culprits for global pollution. Fortunately, the manufacturing process is slowly becoming eco-friendly and if you want to make your own plant as green as possible, you can start with these five tips.

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1.      Know Your Facility

The first step towards “greening” your manufacturing plant is finding out how much energy it is actually using. The final goal here is, of course, reducing the overall usage. You are probably aware of some rough estimates with regards to how big a number is in question and, without a doubt, you know exactly which pieces of technology are the main culprits; we’re talking boilers, heaters, conveyor belts, electric motors, air compressors, chillers and the like. Without a proper energy audit, however, you’re going to miss out on key data, which, if presented before you, will fill you in on the exact items and processes that need to be closely monitored and probably tweaked or replaced.

2.      Renewable Energy

For some reason, factory owners don’t hold renewable energy in highest regard, probably because the whole thing sounds too good to be true and owing to the fact that plants do need a ton of electricity. Renewable energy, however, is very misunderstood; in fact, you are probably underestimating the power of nature. For example, while all of us know all about solar power, wind, heat and even rain can also be used to generate enough energy to keep things functioning. Using a combination of at least two of the mentioned means of powering up your plant is the way to go – count on the fact that one element will experience downtime caused by nature.

3.      Use Recycled Materials

Sure, everyone is worried about the environment, but factory owners tend to worry even more about their business. This is exactly why many still don’t use recycled materials – for some reason, they think that this will affect their end product’s quality. Well, this simply is not true. Don’t be reluctant about implementing recycled materials and make sure that you get your raw materials from a trusted vendor that makes them by recycling old items.

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4.      Water

As time goes by, the technology around us is evolving into “green”. Unfortunately, many simply choose to take this for granted and unreasonably consider any energy-reducing piece of equipment an unworthy investment. It is important that you realize that a ton of equipment in your factory uses way more energy than it really needs. Our advice is to start with water – regardless of what branch your manufacturing business is in, it relies on our planet’s most important liquid for a huge number of uses – from cleaning and production purposes to building and plant room infrastructure processes, water is simply everywhere. This is why equipping your plant with industrial UV water treatment systems is so important – they can be implemented into any water application that requires disinfection. By installing UV disinfection system, your plant can recycle and reuse industrial waste waters, thus reducing water usage and costs associated with wastewater discharge.

5.      Connect

Looking for likeminded manufacturing businesses (in terms of environmental consciousness) is very useful and even more important, and this is why you need to connect – fighting against the tide of nature-poisoning businesses is best done as a part of a movement. Connect and look for inspiration – IKEA is the leader in the field of using sustainable forestry and clean energy, so look up to them!

Preserving our environment from impact of its biggest pollutant is of absolute essence and it is you, as a manufacturing plant owner, who can make a difference. Use these five ways to make your factory as eco-friendly as possible and don’t forget to follow the latest green trends!

Andrew Newitt

Luckily for all of us environmentally savvy consumers, designers constantly keep coming with new eco-friendly flooring materials. So now there is a vast of flooring materials we can choose from when decorating our homes. Here is a list of both new and old flooring solutions green homeowners can turn to.

 

Cork

 

Cork is one of the relatively newer flooring materials and is a great option for eco-friendly homes. It is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees. A great thing about it is that no trees have to be cut in order to get this material. Bark grows back every three years and that is what makes it a perfect renewable source for flooring materials. Cork flooring has anti-microbial properties which can help you in reducing allergens in your home. It is also fire retardant and it can act as a as a natural insect repellent as well. Because of the many colors you can choose from and its durability, cork is a great option for almost all rooms.

 

Wool Carpet

 

People have been using carpet floorings for quite a long time now. Still, many toxins and volatile organic compounds are used in its production which made it a bad choice for the green homeowners. Luckily, now we can find some eco-friendly options as well. Carpet floors made out of wool are something you can go with. Wool is a natural resource that can be a perfect option for flooring. It can be dyed in any color and then be woven into a carpet. It is very durable and soft to walk on.

 

Reclaimed Hardwood

 

Some of the most beautiful floorings are made out of hardwood. Still, hardwood is not considered an eco-friendly due to the deforestation concerns. But there are the ways you can use hardwood and still make your home eco-friendly. Reclaimed hardwood is a perfect option if you want to do so. Such flooring is made out of wood that has been cut down long, long time ago for some other purposes. Reclaimed hardwood can be a great choice for beach cottages and some older homes.

 

Marble

 

Marble is another great material you can choose. Made out of natural materials, marble tiles can be a perfect option for your bathroom or kitchen. You can also get a marble fireplace which will help you use less electricity and go perfect with your marble flooring. Marble tiles can also be a great solution for outdoor flooring and pool coping. It is quite durable and easy to clean material. Marble will also give your home that natural look you were hoping for.

 

With today’s technology and a designers’ imagination we now have many eco-friendly materials to choose from. But not only that these materials are green but they do not cost much as well. So today environmentally savvy consumers can have a perfectly green home without spending much money. Consider these flooring options and make sure you choose other home features that are nature-friendly as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Newitt

Even though some farmers who grow their plants in conventional way say that organic agriculture does not have more environmental benefits, facts speak for themselves. The Organic Trade Association claims that if all farmers in the United States switched to organic productions, we would stop around 500 million pounds of dangerous pesticides from entering the environment each year. This would have a major impact on all aspects of the environment, and here it is how.

Water

 

Many practices of conventional agriculture require extensive use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that pollute underwater. This is a major issue in many agricultural areas. In organic agriculture no synthetic fertilizers are used. Instead of these, organic farms rely on the use of natural fertilizers such as compost, animal manure or green manure. Besides enhancing soil structure this also increases water infiltration. Organic systems that are managed properly have better nutrient retentive abilities and reduce the pollution of underwater. In some countries like France and Germany, where underwater pollution is a big issue, the use of organic materials is encouraged as a restorative measure.

Climate

 

In conventional agriculture, many fossil fuels are used. Not only are they used on farms but also in the production of pesticides and fertilizers. These all contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming. On the other hand, organic agriculture does not have negative impact on the climate. The use of renewable energy that is encouraged in organic agriculture actually mitigates global warming. These practices reduce the use of fossil fuels and provide carbon sequestration in the soil. Organic agriculture thus strengthens agro-ecosystems and helps farmers learn how to confront and challenge changes that appear in the climate.

Soil

 

Some of the most important organic agricultural practices are crop rotations, crop covers and inter-cropping all of which help build the soil. This does not only improve its formation and structure but also encourages flora and fauna and helps build a more solid structure. These practices also help control the soil erosion. It is less exposed to the erosive forces and its productivity is increased. Even though organic agriculture relies heavily on the use of renewable resources, sometimes it is necessary to supplement organic soils with some other resources such as calcium, magnesium or potassium.

GMOs

 

GMOs are one of the most discussed issues of today. Even though the GMOs’ impact on environment and health is not yet entirely understood, their use is not permitted in organic agriculture. Still, since a big number of farmers that deal with convention agriculture use GMOs the organic farms won’t be able to ensure that their products have not GMO free. This will happen because of the GMOs are transmitted into our environment through air (by pollen for example).

Biodiversity

 

Without the use of dangerous pesticides and fertilizers the soil is able to attract more species of plants and animals to it. The use of renewable resources actually creates a healthier gene pool which makes a perfect home for some re-colonizing species. Some of these species are pest-predators or pollinators and their presence is of great importance. Organic agriculture also offers farmers to grow certain plants with improved flavor and aroma. For example, when growing cannabis not only that these are improved but with some strains its potency is increased as well. Be sure to learn more about strains if you plan to start an organic garden.

It is obvious that organic agriculture has many benefits for our environment. So if you are thinking about starting a garden, deciding on organic farm would be a great option. Be sure to grow plants which are perfect for this type of garden.

Andrew Newitt

Running a profitable business is extremely important but it is not the most important thing in the world. Just think of it this way, what good is all the wealth in the world if we ruin our planet in the process. However, the best thing lies in cognition that eco-friendly business and profitable business are not in contrast. In fact most of the planet-friendly practices are also friendly towards your budget. With this in mind, there is lot to be gained by going green and here are some tips and tricks on how to do so.

 

  • Power Saving Appliances

First step you need to do in order to significantly improve eco friendliness of your business is revolutionize your power management system. On this front, whatever is good for your budget is good for the planet as well so one could safely call this state of things a win-win scenario. By investing a bit into low spending appliances, you are bound to make a difference. Now, word investment terrifies some people but, observing things in this fashion is pretty short-sighted. Keep in mind that you will need to buy these appliances only once, but they will continue to save your money for ages to come. In a manner of speaking, given enough time, these appliances pay themselves off.

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  • Replacing Your Bulbs

One more thing you can do in your eco-friendly endeavors is replace all your traditional light bulbs with LED ones. Seeing how this can slightly reduce your power bills this is another small victory for both your business and the environment. The most important thing here is to be realistic and know what to expect from such a change. If you aim to buy a new car off of this saved money you will be quite disappointed, but if you plan to make nothing more than a noticeable difference you will do just fine.

  • Recycling Paper

Next pressing matter that requires your full and undivided attention is the issue of pollution. Namely, it is estimated that an average office worker prints over 10,000 sheets of paper annually. Alarming as this figure may seem, there is a way to remedy the effects of this devastating statistic. First of all, you can switch from regular paper to recycled one. There is no difference in quality whatsoever and plus sides of buying the latter one are that it is both cheaper and endorses recycling endeavors.

  • Printer Ink

Still, taking care of your paper needs is not the only pressing matter here. You need to do something about your ink spending as well. Seeing how 10,000 sheets per one member of your staff is not a figure one should take lightly, you need to look for the best deal on printer ink that you can find. Another planet friendly thing to do would be to refill your own ink cartridges. Even though it may sound complicated, this process is actually quite. All you will need is some basic gear like rubber gloves, one syringe and some old newspaper to place underneath.

  • Changing The Commute

Finally, you can also make a difference by changing your commute to work and urging your staff to do the same. Carpooling or using a public transportation are vast improvements over driving to work. Furthermore, for those not lacking in spirit and stamina, cycling or walking to work are even better since they are free, healthy and completely green means of commute.

In the end, raising your awareness about any of these things is equally as important so make sure to preach the word amongst your employees. By managing to introduce some or all of these changes you will leave a better world to our descendants. One more way in which all of this helps is that these practices will make your business labeled green which is something that both your clients and partners are going to appreciate.

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Andrew Newitt

If you want to start purifying your drinking water , it’s important to get familiar with what kind of filters there are on the market. There are two most common kinds, Ultraviolet (UV) and Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters, and if you’re unsure which type to choose, here is a brief overview outlining their advantages and disadvantages. You will find out how they work and what their benefits and limitations are that will hopefully help you decide which filter to buy. Have a look.

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Reverse osmosis filters

Reverse Osmosis filters work by extracting inorganic solids from water by pushing water through a thin semipermeable membrane. This membrane has a tight structure that is highly effective in extracting contaminants from the drinking water. Collected impurities from the filters are simply washed down the drain.

Just to name the few, a reliable reverse osmosis system is successful in removing lead, asbestos, chlorine, detergents, fluoride, nitrates, sulphates and pesticides from the water. All these contaminants can easily enter streams, rivers, and aquifers and get to your home. Another good thing is that Reverse Osmosis filters exclude ions out of the water, making your water pure of salts, sugars, and bacteria.

Additionally, RO filters can also block radioactive elements like plutonium and strontium. Just like the UV filters, RO filters are affordable and require regular maintenance performed either by the homeowner or the expert. RO membranes and filters need to be replaced every 6 months to 2 years, depending on the water quality, water usage, and the type of system you use. Quality units, as this Clear Choice Water Filters reverse osmosis system, improve both the taste and smell of your water, making it perfect for drinking.

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Ultraviolet filters

Ultraviolet filters use rays from a UV light source and they use radiation to kill inactive viruses and bacteria. They aim at their DNA structure and successfully stop them from reproducing and spreading. UV rays protect against waterborne bacteria, mould, viruses, and other microorganisms that cause diseases. UV also eliminates hepatitis virus that can be resistant to chlorine that is used to disinfect water.  

Simply said, ultraviolet filters are probably the best defence system against biological contaminants. UV filtered water is completely tasteless, odourless and colourless which makes it perfect for drinking. Also, you will not need any professional help in maintaining UV filters, and the only thing you need to do is change the UV bulb yearly. Another upside is that the process of purification is relatively fast, so the production of the water isn’t limited.

UV filters have many benefits, but they have limitations as well. UV filters work wonders on biological contaminants, but they cannot protect you from inorganic impurities. Contaminants, such as chlorine, heavy metals, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals that get into the ground waters during production processes of paint, petroleum and different refrigerants) cannot be removed from water by using UV filters.

In order to ensure your household gets completely clean water, you might consider combining UV filters with Granular Activated Carbon filters or Kinetic Degradation Fluxion filters. The combination of those will filter out all organic and inorganic impurities and make your water completely safe to drink.

As you can see, both UV and RO filter systems have their advantages and limitations. UV filters are unprecedented in their defence against organic contaminates, and RO filters excel in fighting inorganic impurities. Both are excellent, but they cannot produce completely pure water on their own. If you want to ensure you get the best quality water in your household, consider combining the two systems. This way you will be safe from both organic and inorganic contaminants. Before you decide, make sure to test your water and see what impurities it contains and then choose the water filter accordingly.

Andrew Newitt

Excessive production of various products and overdoing with loads of both necessary and unnecessary items lead to a huge global pollution problem, which we are already experiencing and which will become even harsher in the next few decades. Consumerism and aggressive marketing campaigns which persuade us to buy a new mobile or tablet every couple of years push the world into a never-ending whirlpool of tons of garbage that is nod easily disposable. Ecology and industrial design meet at this spot, since industrial design should try and use as many reusable materials as possible to save natural resources. Here are some strategies how ecology and industrial design can intertwine and make a joint effort to contribute to the environment preservation process.

Industrial ecology and ecological design

These two fields of research have a strong bond and a lot of overlapping in the process of industrial design. Industrial ecology refers to applying eco-friendly strategies and techniques in the process of industrial production. On the other hand, ecological design seeks for optimal design methods that do not harm the environment. Industrial design based on these two interdisciplinary scientific branches tends to help the global efforts to overcome the environmental problems. The basic concepts that industrial design borrows from these two scientific fields are production sustainability and the flow of materials. Materials or products that have already been used and thrown away should be reused or recycled whenever it is possible to do so. By applying this strategy, we lower the expenses for the overall industrial production and also cut the costs on the material-gaining side, as well. That way companies do not have to spend money on transporting oil producing plastic from scratch, for instance, but the old plastic can be recycled. The role of local authorities is also very important here, since they have to ensure conditions for collecting old materials to make them ready for the recycling process.

Products made of recycled materials

As the pressure on the environment is increasing, many businesses are looking for sustainable solutions in their development. A lot of governments give subsidies to green-friendly companies, which is why many industrial design companies are moving forward to using recyclable materials, especially plastic and glass. Plastic is particularly interesting when it comes to industrial design and possible green solutions. This material is made from oil and it is not bio-degradable. The fact that plastic is made from oil means that the production of plastic is not environmentally-friendly, since it includes oil drilling and other procedure connected with oil. The non-organic quality of plastic makes it extremely harmful for the environment. When all these facts are taken into consideration, the best ecological option for products made of plastic is manufacturing plastic products from recycled plastic. By doing this, we save the natural world from the damage plastic might cause to it.

Going green when manufacturing new product requires a larger initial investment. However, over the next period, you will have less trouble with some other expenses that non-green businesses have. That is why investing in eco-friendly industrial design means securing the future of your company and taking care of the environment.

Andrew Newitt

 

Air conditioning is one of the crucial components for creating a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere in a commercial environment. However, choosing the right air conditioning system for a specific commercial property is of the utmost importance. Not only will the system be more effective, but it will also provide owners with more savings opportunities.

 

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For instance, a single-split air conditioning system is more appropriate for small commercial buildings, such as small offices, cafés and shops, because they cool down and heat up individual areas. On the other hand, a multi-split AC system is more appropriate for restaurants, shops and offices because a single unit can provide heating and cooling for up to nine indoor areas. Finally, VRF (variable refrigerant flow) or VRV (variable refrigerant volume) systems are suitable for medium to large spaces, such as hotels, spacious offices, retail spaces and mixed-use properties, since they can meet complete heating and cooling needs of a large building.

1. Conduct an energy audit

The first step in maximising the energy efficiency of your commercial AC system is conducting a comprehensive energy audit. This will provide you with a clear insight into the building’s energy consumption, which will enable you to identify possible areas for improvement. Performing an audit will also help you address certain HVAC problems more efficiently.

2. Learn how your entire HVAC system can affect your savings

Your commercial HVAC system can have a crucial impact on your building’s energy consumption. Since it accounts for around 50 percent of your company’s energy consumption, it’s essential that you ensure that your HVAC system runs efficiently. If it’s damaged, aged or improperly installed, it will consume more energy without providing you with the desired results. Proper and regular maintenance, retrofitting and proper installation are key to your HVAC system functioning properly.

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3. Have your AC unit regularly serviced

AC units need to be regularly checked, properly maintained and repaired in a timely manner. Otherwise, their air filters can become covered with mould and dust, which will hinder their performance. An overlooked damage can lead to more serious problems and drastically increased energy consumptions. Therefore, proper maintenance and regular checks are of the utmost importance for preventing unnecessary costs and increased electricity bills, reducing your energy consumption by up to 40 percent. However, you should always leave this job to experienced professionals, especially in countries like Australia where unlicensed work is strictly prohibited. Namely, professionals for air conditioning in Sydney specialise in commercial AC maintenance and repairs, ensuring that their clients’ units are functioning properly. Thus, you should always hire highly trained and licensed technicians to make sure that the job is done properly, quickly and efficiently.

4. Opt for programmable thermostats and smart technology

Maintaining a stable indoor temperature can be quite challenging, especially in spacious commercial buildings. Frequent fluctuations often cause tenants to keep the AC units running at all times, which consumes a lot of energy. Sometimes these units are even left overnight in order to create a comfortable atmosphere that occupants will enjoy. However, by installing programmable thermostats and smart tech features, you can easily solve this problem. They will help you maintain a pleasant indoor temperature by adjusting it depending on the time of day, or the presence or absence of tenants. Certain configurations can also be set up to help you conserve energy. For instance, these high-tech features can turn on air conditioning right before the opening hours.

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5. Insulate properly

Proper and quality insulation of your commercial space can also help you reduce your energy consumption and create a more comfortable indoor atmosphere. By insulating walls, floors, ceilings and attic, you can prevent heat loss or gain during winter or summer. Consequently, this will reduce the need for your AC system, enabling you to increase your savings in the long run. Improved insulation can help you cut your energy bill by up to 10 percent.

6. Seal the heating and cooling ducts

Properly sealing the heating and cooling ducts of your commercial HVAC system is a simple upgrade that can enhance the energy efficiency of the system by around 20 percent. There are different ways to seal the ducts. For instance, blown-in duct sealant or mastic, foil tape can be used for this purpose. They can also be wrapped in insulation for enhanced efficiency. It’s advisable that you tackle the unprotected areas first, such as storage spaces or areas underneath the building. Of course, you can always leave this job to experienced technicians who can apply the most appropriate sealing solutions.

After choosing an AC system appropriate for your commercial space, you should apply different measures that will enhance its sustainability and energy efficiency while also providing you with money-saving benefits.



 

Andrew Newitt

There are a number of reasons to repurpose your farm for sustainable farming, one of them being increased efficiency and decreased upkeep and production costs. But beyond that, sustainable farming entails the simple premise of introducing environmentally-friendly practices and techniques that will not only preserve the nature, animal welfare and the surrounding ecosystem, it will also aid in the battle against global warming by cutting down on greenhouse gases emission and energy and water consumption.

The benefits are numerous to switching to sustainable farming, and here is how you can do it safely and effectively.

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Assess the natural resources

One of the key elements of sustainability is giving back to nature as much as you are taking from it, if not a bit more. Given the fact that agriculture is the leading consumer of fresh water in the world, it’s very important to asses where your natural resources are coming from and what you can do to minimize their consumption.

One of the things you can do is change the way you use water for irrigation purposes and introduce an eco-friendly irrigation system such as rain water harvesting. Additionally, you want to minimize the negative impact of energy consumption and the burning of fossil fuels by implementing a solar, wind-powered or other renewable energy source to power you farm which will in turn result in decreased operational expenses, among other, eco-friendly benefits.

Adopt a green mindset

If you want to minimize expenses, save the environment and boost productivity, you need to think of areas where you can implement a recycling practice. This means using recyclable materials, investing in quality reusable tools and equipment as well as reducing and optimizing the consumption of resources.

Also, implement some smart ideas such as attracting animals that are beneficial to your operation, like birds, ladybugs and bats that will feed on insects but not on the crops. Introduce managed grazing, the practice of rotating the grazing areas of livestock - this will reduce erosion, help with soil fertilization, and control weed growth.

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Assess and feed the soil

Soil structure, acidity and care are your most important factors that will determine the growth of plants and the health and quality of livestock. Therefore it’s imperative to check the soil for its fertility, differences in acidity that suit different types of plants and animals and finally, to determine the best upkeep practices. These are very delicate tasks and they are performed by professional geotechnical engineering consultants that specialize in soil assessment, management and green waste removal practices.

Speaking of waste removal, sustainable farming means cutting down on waste production and eliminating waste accumulation and transportation of non-recyclable materials to landfills, by implementing recyclable, reusable and renewable practices across the farming operation.

Managing the soil properly will mean the difference between healthy, sustainable agriculture and a red light from the governing bodies. Some of the best practices include managing soil distribution. This means that you should limit and eliminate any practices that might disrupt the health of the soil, such as excessive fertilizer or pesticide use, improper use of inputs, compacting and tiling.

Secondly, diversify your crops and plant crops throughout the year. Biodiversity feeds the soil with more nutrients and helps control weed growth and the spread of disease. Additionally, you can help feed the underground root network by growing living roots, as root sugars give the necessary organisms to the soil in order to promote plant growth and nutrient distribution.

In conclusion

Sustainable farming is not a taxing chore, it’s an investment for the future. With its eco-friendly practices and renewable production methods, sustainable farms are able to not only preserve the surrounding ecosystem and reduce the harmful footprint humans leave on the planet, but also bring healthier products to the consumers and minimize costs for the farmer.


 

Andrew Newitt

It is no secret that going green is today more import than ever. For this reason, many homeowners decide to turn their houses into real environmentally-friendly places. What’s great about this is that by aiding in preserving the nature this way you can also manage to save a lot of money. This is the case because the goals of every cautions homeowner should be using less energy, using less water and recycling. So if you decide to contribute to saving the environment, here are 5 low cost upgrades for your home that can do wonders for both nature and your wallet.

 

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Add More Insulation

Insulation is something you should always consider when turning your home green. If there is more insulation in your home, you will be using less energy to keep it warm during the winter and cool during the summer. There are quite a few green insulation materials you ca choose from, with aerogel and cotton being among the most popular options. No matter which material you opt for, you will be guaranteed to use less energy during the whole year. Of course, this will also reduce the cost of your energy bills significantly.

Replace Old Windows

We have already mentioned how not letting either hot or cold air escape your home is one of the best things you can do when going green. Another great way to do this is to replace any old windows in your home. If there are any cracks in the window frames or the windows are simply too old, air can escape quite easily through them. If this is the case with your home, you are probably using much more electricity than it is necessary. Therefore, getting new windows should be your no.1 priority.

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Plant Some Trees

Of course, you shouldn’t just stick to your house when going green. If there is a lot of place in your backyard planting a new tree is always a good thing to do. And if you want your tree to be even more useful, you should make sure you plant it on the west side of your home. That way, the branches will block the sunbeams during the summer, while in winter, bare branches will help allow infrared radiation that will warm up your home get through. Nuttall oak, red maple and weeping willow are just some of the trees you can opt for.

Go for Water-Efficient Fixtures

If you want your home to be more environmentally-friendly, you will also have to think about using less water. Even though turning off the tap when washing your hands and brushing your teeth is always a good thing to do, you should also consider installing some water-efficient fixtures in your bathroom. There are low flow shower heads that are just a perfect option for every green home. Also, there are aerators that maximize the flow rate of your faucets. If there are any leaks make sure you contact a 24 hour plumber in order to minimize the amounts of water that go to waste.

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Get Solar Panels

A large number of homeowners also decides to install solar panels when going green. With these, you will be utilizing natural power and minimize your use of electricity. Even though getting solar panels seems like an expensive investment at first, if you are planning long run, these will in fact help you save quite a lot of money. It is also important to mention that in some countries, homeowners who decide to get these receive bonuses and huge tax breaks. Having all of this in mind, getting solar panels is always a great thing to do, both for the environment and your wallet.

Make sure you do all of these upgrades and you will be guaranteed to contribute quite a lot to preserving the environment. Bear in mind that you can never do too much when going green so keep looking for some further upgrades you can do.

Andrew Newitt

Green marketing is a strategy many companies today choose to adopt. A big number of consumers want to take part in preserving the environment and this creates a great opportunity for smaller businesses to promote themselves as environmentally conscious. This strategy has proved to be quite effective and it has even created a couple of “green” brands over the years. It does not matter if a company’s products or services are connected with saving the environment, declaring it eco-friendly will always attract you some customers. If you want to do this, be sure to try out the following green marketing tactics.

Choose the right logo

If you have already decided to make your company eco-friendly, it is the right time to make it clear for your customers. Mentioning it on your flyers or commercials may not be enough. What you can do is use a green element while designing a logo for your company. First of all, you should actually make your logo green. This color is associated with nature and freshness. Also any natural elements you use in your logo design will only make your customers sympathize with the company even more. So make sure that your customers know your company is eco-friendly from the very first moment they notice it.

Use recycled paper

Using the recycled paper is one of the best ways to show people that your business is eco-friendly. So use the recycled paper when printing flyers or posters and make sure no one goes without noticing it. Have a sign somewhere on it that says you have opted for recycled paper. Do the same thing with your business cards. No trees will be cut down so you can promote your business and the customers will know how to appreciate this. You can also encourage them to use recycled paper as well.

Organize donations and charities

This is another great way to make sure customers are aware your business is pays some effort into preserving the environment. Organizing a charity event like planting new trees or collecting garbage shows that your company cares and promotes your name as well. It won’t cost you too much to organize something like this, but it will definitely pay off. Another thing you can do is make donations. Take a percentage of your latest sales and make a donation to an environmental organization. This is a great way to assure your customers you actually do what you are preaching.

Give eco-friendly promotional material

It is no secret that promotional material is a great way to attract new customers. It is even more effective when that material is eco-friendly. Not only that your customers will be getting something form you but they will also have the feeling of taking part in helping the environment. What you can do is give them pens that are made completely out of recycled materials, for example cardboard barrel pens. You can also use bags as a way of promoting your business. Instead of giving your customers plastic bags which take much time to decompose you can give them printed non-woven bags which are a great way to send the positive message about your business.

All of these tactics will actually make some difference and help preserving the nature. So not only will you be doing the right thing but you will also gain more attention from the consumers who are always more than happy to do business with eco-friendly companies.

 

Andrew Newitt

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The year 2017 might as well be be the right one for you to make your home more energy-efficient. The first step in deciding which home improvements you should consider is hiring a non-profit or professional specialist who will assess your energy consumption, detect issues contributing to energy loss, and recommend measures to achieve greater efficiency. Here are some home improvements that will help you reduce energy costs while keeping your home green and your energy sustainable.

Upgrading Home Weatherization

Gaps and cracks in your home’s thermal envelope can significantly increase your heating and cooling costs and dealing with them should come first. Such places will be unavailable for fixing once you install insulation. Even when optimal air sealing and insulation is achieved, you should not forget about regular maintenance of your heating and ventilation systems to ensure their maximum efficiency. Sometimes, a full replacement of currently used devices should also be considered.

Window Replacement

Choosing the right frame and glazing for your specific circumstances and climate when replacing your windows will improve the overall energy-efficiency of your home. Wood frames may be the most expensive solution, but they provide the best insulation and curb appeal. On the downside, they are not an ideal solution for humid climates and they require regular maintenance and repainting. Double paned Low-E glass windows with a vinyl frame are a budget-friendly alternative that doesn’t require maintenance and repainting.

Roof Optimization

A cool roof will keep the heat away from homes by reflecting it. To achieve its benefits, you can coat your existing roof with reflective materials, but this can just be a short-term solution as it requires reapplication after a certain time which depends on the roof type. Also, most liquid coatings work best with certain types of roofs, such as membrane-based and metal roofs. They can be applied to asphalt shingles as well, although they tend to chip and crack with age, which may also be an environmental concern. In this case, complete re-roofing might be considered. If you decide to go for it, choose metal. It may be an expensive roof material, but it pays off in the long run due to its significant benefits such as durability and low maintenance. Choosing the right solution for your roof may be difficult. If you would rather leave all these decisions and work to a professional, be sure it is someone who is insured with valid contractor bonds to guarantee project completion and financial compensation if anything doesn’t go as planned.

Introducing Alternative Energy Sources

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Think of introducing alternative energy sources as a supplement to your existing ones. Many homes today enhance or even substitute traditional sources of energy with solar panels installed on their roofs. The benefits are numerous: lower energy costs, decreased use of fossil fuels, use of renewable energy, etc. Where applicable, consider other renewable energy sources such as wind. Wind generators use the same concept as wind turbines, but on a smaller scale suitable for home use. Wind energy can also be stored for later with batteries. Consider these sources as an addition to primary energy sources and optimize them by using them for specific tasks, such as solar water heating.

Using a Rainwater Collector

Many communities around the world have used rainwater for different purposes, ranging from garden watering to drinking when proper water cleaning processes are involved. Even in cases when main or reticulated water supplies are available, properly collected and stored rainwater is a safe, cost-effective and sustainable water source. A water collection system will be especially worth the investment if you have considerable irrigation needs, experience frequent droughts or need to control drainage problems on your property.

Make it Green

These home improvements will help you save money, enable optimal temperature levels all year round and increase your indoor air quality. Making the most out of natural resources available to you will make your home more energy-efficient and green.

Andrew Newitt

Once, the use of solar energy seemed like a distant concept of the future. Nowadays, it has become integrated into every aspect of the modern life. While eco-consciousness is expanding, the prices of solar panels are dropping, making this source of sustainable and renewable energy available to everyone. Furthermore, owing to technological advances, there are numerous innovative ways to use solar energy today.

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Image source: iphoneness.com

Solar on the go: wearable electronics

Numerous gadgets and electronic devices have become an integral part of the modern life. No one can deny the fact that they facilitate our everyday lives significantly. However, such a reliance on tech devices leads to increased power use worldwide. Fortunately, solar energy can greatly alleviate the pressure put on the environment’s finite resources. Nowadays, an increasing number of devices and gadgets are becoming solar-powered owing to innovative tech features. Solar-powered charges are easy to use, safe for the environment and versatile. Some charges can power various electronic devices, from smartphones and tablets to e-readers. Other devices are also becoming solar-powered, including smart watches, rechargeable flashlights, music speakers, etc.

The warmth of the sun

Owing to their eco-friendliness and profitability, solar water and space heaters are being increasingly implemented in modern homes. These solar-powered devices are generally affordable and definitely energy-saving. Solar space and water heaters harness natural light and use liquid or air to transfer it into thermal energy. Depending on whether they use natural circulation or pumps, there are passive and active solar heaters. Furthermore, a solar-based thermal energy can be used to heat up pools at a substantially lower price than regular heaters. This technology truly pays off in the long run by reducing a household’s energy use, bringing from five to ten percent return on investment.

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Image source: choice.com.au

Solar on the roof

Rooftop solar panels are still one of the most significant and effective upgrades when it comes to green technology. Energy generated by solar panels can be used to power an entire household, leaving homeowners with numerous benefits, including reduced energy use and decreased carbon footprint. In addition, innovative SMA inverters for solar panels have become an essential component, enabling homeowners to monitor and manage their systems and analyze data. Although the initial costs of installing solar panels may be a bit higher, this green upgrade is a long-term investment that can completely eliminate owners’ dependence on the grid.

Solar lighting for a true shine

As one of the most common uses of solar energy, solar lighting has become a standard in numerous homes. Both interior and exterior lighting can be solar-powered, with outdoor lights being extremely easy to use. Wireless exterior solar lights can be simply placed outdoors because they don’t require any installation. After harnessing sunlight throughout the days, exterior lights can shine through the night. When it comes to interior lighting, it can be connected to solar-powered systems and batteries that generate electricity during the night.

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Image source: elitesolarsystems.com

Solar-based ventilation

Ventilation systems and units are a major power consumer, both in residential and commercial buildings. They are used to maintain a pleasant temperature, reduce humidity and eliminate odours. Consequently, they require a substantial amount of energy, which affects both homeowners and the environment. Solar-powered fans, on the other hand, harness sunlight and are easy to install and maintain. Not only do they have a positive impact on the environment, but they are also a cost-effective alternative that can keep any home comfortable.

Solar-powered transportation

Considering the fact that transportation around the world leads to enormous greenhouse gas emissions, the use of solar energy can truly make a difference in this aspect. While the potential of this technology is still not completely utilised, it’s becoming more and more implemented around the world. Solar cars are one of the most common technologies, especially in Australia, while solar buses are working their magic in China. Recently, even a solar-powered aircraft, called Solar Impulse 2, traveled around the world and across the Pacific. It’s only a matter of time when solar-powered transportation will find a wider application on a global scale.

Solar energy is a suitable and renewable source that offers numerous benefits for the modern society, its members, and the environment.

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