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Where I talk about any and all things green

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So you want a home that's cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but you're sick and tired of paying ridiculous monthly energy bills. You look around and wonder if there's any way to keep your home comfortable, while not giving the utility company another dime. What options do you have for changing the temperature of your home's air while staying "off the grid?" Actually, more options than you probably think.


Let the Outside In

If the idea of high utility bills and constant maintenance don't sound like your idea of a relaxing summer, consider opening some windows to drop the temperature in your home. The key here is to allow air to flow through your home, as moving air feels much more refreshing on the skin than standing air. So, open up windows on the front and rear of your home, as wide as you can, and enjoy nature's free air conditioning.


Go Old-Fashioned

If the thought of chopping wood and wearing flannel get you fired up, consider heating your home the old-fashioned way, with a wood-burning fireplace. Though requiring more effort than a traditional furnace, a fireplace can efficiently warm the common areas of your home, supplemented by heavy blankets in bedrooms. Additionally, if you can access an inexpensive wood supply, you will have constant heat all winter for a fraction of the cost.


Go Hi-Tech

Solar is another option when considering going off the grid, though it has a high initial cost of investment. While many panels would be needed to adequately power an HVAC system, using smaller heating and cooling units, supplemented by other heating and cooling methods on this list, could allow you to meet your entire power need. Not to mention, many utilities and local governments offer substantial rebates for significant solar investment, resulting in a shorter time for you to recoup your initial cost.


Go Down Under

Geothermal systems can also be a practical component of off-the-grid living. These systems use pipes buried deep in the ground to take advantage of the more constant temperatures found at that depth. Always more refreshing than the surface in the summer, and warmer than the surface in winter, a decent-sized installation will enhance the effectiveness of other methods you use to reduce your utility bills. In more temperate climates, you may be able to rely solely on a geothermal system for all your heating and cooling needs.


Charge It Up

A large rechargeable battery, while not creating any energy of its own, is still a critical component to employ in an off-the-grid system. Large batteries store excess energy from other off-the-grid sources for many days, meaning that they can power heating and cooling appliances for a substantial amount of time. If you're planning on going completely off-the-grid, but don't want to change your lifestyle more than you have to, a battery is essential.


Whether you choose to go off-the-grid only some or go all the way, off-the-grid heating and cooling methods can save you a vast amount of money, over time. Knowing the right techniques to integrate for your home and using them effectively will ensure that you have the best results, and are the envy of your friends and family when you tell them how you kissed the energy company goodbye.




Classic Air

Texas Fireframe

House Logic




Green cars have been growing in popularity the last decade or so, and not just due to environmentalists or people who want to limit their carbon footprint. Green cars are not only more eco-friendly, but they’re also economical, getting great fuel economy. Most car manufacturers have edged into the green industry with their own eco-friendly cars, and although they’re still relatively new to the automotive industry, they have good selection of desirable features. Here are 5 technologies that make green cars even safer.


1. All-Electric

All-electric cars are appealing for a number of reasons. First, car owners charge their vehicles instead of refueling. This can make the upfront cost of the car a little higher, since some households need the manufacturer to install a charging station in their home. However, this cost often pays itself in dividends because it’s cheaper to charge a car every once in awhile than it is to refuel it every week or two.


Additionally, all-electric cars are safer since they don’t contain large quantities of flammable material like gasoline, that can explode in a bad accident.


2. Self-Driving/Semi-Autonomous

Semi-autonomous or self-driving cars are still fairly new on the market, but these cars are smart enough to drive without human input. They can detect their surroundings as well as sense the environment. While the current models can encounter trouble with inclement weather like snow or slick roads from rain, they have no problems with normal road conditions, no matter the time of day.


Self-driving cars decrease the risk of accidents while simultaneously increasing customer satisfaction. People who can’t drive, like children and the elderly can still get around, while those who have driver’s licenses can do other tasks instead of driving—they’re more like a passenger.


3. Anti-Crash Technology

Anti-crash technology lowers the risk of rear-ends and other head-on collisions. Cars that have this software programmed in them are able to detect obstacles ahead, and alert the driver of the vehicle. If the driver doesn’t break in time, or doesn’t break hard enough, these smart cars will break the car for the driver, preventing a collision. While anti-crash technology won’t stop any and all accidents on the road, it definitely reduces the chances of you causing an accident.


4. Hydrogen Fuel

Cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells have already hit the market as a green car alternative to electric vehicles. While some say hydrogen is inefficient, it’s just as safe for drivers and the environment as their electric counterparts, and about the same price.


5. Zero Emissions

One of the key benefits of green cars is how much safer they are to the environment. You don’t have to be a tree-hugger or environmentalist to try to lower your emissions. Manufacturers over the years have been striving to reduce the emissions of the cars produced. Zero emission cars are the result. These cars don’t emit any exhaust gas, which means that you don’t have to worry about harmful pollutants—either for yourself or the environment.

Even if you haven’t made it your mission to save the environment, it shouldn’t be hard to see that eco-friendly cars are good cars to drive. The above technologies are only some of the perks with these cars. Why not drive something safe, while potentially getting a tax credit at the same time?




Do you love nature and the great outdoors? If you’re looking for a relaxing and stress-relieving activity, there are few places better to find this than the great outdoors. Exercise can be a a great stress-reliever. It’s not only essential for overall health and wellness, but it’s also a natural mood booster. Some activities have the added benefit of relieving the symptoms of chronic pain conditions. Here are five calming outdoor activities your doctor, chiropractor, or health care provider may recommend for de-stressing in green spaces.


1. Gardening

You don’t have to be a master gardener to enjoy the benefits of planting and caring for ornamental or edible plants. Spending time in the garden reminds many of childhood’s zen-like state of deep play. A Dutch study from 2012 suggested that gardening is among the most stress-relieving of leisure activities. Six or more hours per week spent gardening can even help improve the symptoms of mood disorders including major depression and bipolar II disorder.


2. Swimming

A dip in a lake, a pool, or the ocean not only releases endorphins but also builds strength without overly stressing the joints, making it an ideal exercise for those recovering from an injury. An hour of swimming at a moderate pace burns up to 500 calories, but you don’t have to exercise vigorously to appreciate the calming effects of spending time in warm, blue water and sunshine.


3. Tai Chi

This favorite exercise of those with health conditions that limit their ability to tolerate strenuous activity combines deep, mindful breathing with a series of slow, graceful movements. It requires no equipment. You can participate in tai chi formally in a class in the park or you can learn a few moves and practice them alone in a quiet outdoor spot. Its many benefits include increased aerobic fitness, energy, flexibility, and stamina as well as improving your overall sense of well-being.


If you have an injury, are pregnant, or have a chronic pain condition, talk to your chiropractor or personal physician before starting a new exercise program.


4. Walking

Walking is an activity most people can do without any special training or planning at no cost. A 2013 study in the UK suggested that walking outdoors puts the brain into a state of calm awareness similar to that of meditation.


5. Yoga

Like tai chi, yoga can be practiced alone or in a group and is enhanced by being practiced outdoors during pleasant weather conditions. Outdoor yoga increases focus and wakeful relaxation, heightens the breath awareness needed for yoga, and replenishes the energy that extended periods of stress deplete.



Each of these five activities is good for relieving stress. They’re not the only activities that work for this purpose, those. Any outdoor activity you enjoy can help you relieve stress if you make time for it.



You might be surprised by all of the crazy possibilities out there for people to go green. From what you buy for your day-to-day office operations to how you decorate your office, you can save a lot of money. It might be just what you need to improve your bank account and be more eco-friendly at the same time.


Opt for Sustainable Materials

Whether you’re redecorating your law office in hopes to bring in new clients or simply in hopes to cut costs down the road, choose sustainable materials like hardwood floors. This is a bit of an initial investment to install, but you won’t have to replace or repair them often, and with well-placed rugs, you can ensure that they don’t get damaged. Hardwood and bamboo can even last the life of the building. Additionally, hardwood floors look really nice and usually appeal greatly to potential clients. It’s a win-win.


Opt for LED Lights

LED lights are higher priced than traditional ones, but they use significantly less energy and last a lot longer. This means you make the investment knowing you won't have to replace bulbs as often. Plus, it’s entirely possible that you’ll start seeing savings as soon as you get your electric bill the first month after you put in your LED lights.


Replace Appliances with Energy Star Versions

Your office probably doesn’t have many appliances, but what appliances you have could likely use an update. They could be chugging away every day, contributing to high electric bills without you even realizing it. Energy Star appliances are rated for efficient energy use, and the best part is that they don’t sacrifice what you’d expect from regular GE appliances.You could update the fridge in your breakroom, along with your water heater, air conditioners and dehumidifiers, depending on where your office is located. Energy Star could be just where you need to go to replace any older model appliances in place.


Choose Alternate Energy

Alternative energy options are increasing everywhere, so look into what’s available in your area. You could have access to wind, solar, or geothermal power, just to name a few. Talk to your utility provider to find your options. If there’s nothing, consider installing solar panels on the roof of your office. Tapping into alternative energy often warrants tax credits from the government too, so not only does it save you money on your utility bill, but it saves money at the end of the year with taxes.


Install a Smart Thermostat

Offices are often known for being too hot or too cold, especially if you have both males and females working for you. Someone will be unhappy with the temperature. You might even have employees adjusting the thermostat themselves, if they’re uncomfortable. You can save on your electric bill by installing a smart thermostat. It will adjust the temperatures to what you set depending on the time of day and year and your employees won’t be able to fiddle with it.

Another option is installing a lock box around the thermostat so that only authorized personnel (you and your law partners) can make adjustments to the base temperatures.

Knowing about the crazy ways to go green could be just what you need to save money. Your law firm’s account will thank you. Not only will you be doing something to help the environment while saving money, you might even be able to grow your clientele.


Drought brings special challenges to dry and desert climate dwellers. Droughts impact the available water, making it scarce to completely unavailable for potentially long periods. Water is necessary for drinking, growing the vegetables, raising livestock, bathing, cooking, cleaning, laundry and sewage transport and treatment. To ensure continued water availability during dry times and get the most of your available water, here are four ways to do your part in a drought.


Water-Saving Behaviors

The simplest, and cheapest, way to save water is changing your habits surrounding regular water-using activities. Washing cars with a self-closing nozzle, cleaning driveways with a broom, turning the water off while brushing teeth or soaping up in the shower, watering plants in cooler times of the day, and composting over using the garbage disposal all greatly reduce water usage.


Water-Saving Technology

Although it is simple to change behaviors, it is not always easy. This is where technology comes to the rescue. Using a smart controller in yard and garden irrigation can save water and money. Smart controllers run your irrigation timers while syncing with weather monitoring systems to turn off your system or delay watering on rainy days. Installing low-flow faucets (including aerators), toilets, shower heads and drip irrigation systems all can work together with a smart controller to ensure you are using the least amount of water for your regular activities.


Implement Drought-Tolerant Landscaping

In addition to delivering the water more efficiently with technology, using nature can help us save water too. Removing grass, plants requiring large amounts of water and non-natives from your lawn and garden, while replacing them with native and drought-tolerant species can dramatically decrease your water demand.


Re-Using Water, aka Greywater

Installing high-tech greywater systems, or even saving the cold water from a slow-heating shower in a bucket for the garden effectively recycles the water you use to be used again. Re-using bath, laundry and dish-water for the lawn and garden can greatly reduce your water demand while increasing the utility of the water you already regularly use. 


The demand we place on the water system in dry climates and deserts during droughts determines how much is left for the environment, other people and the community of individuals around us who all depend on that water into the future. To ensure you, your neighbors and the environment have the water needed reduce your demand while using water more wisely and efficiently through the many methods available to us all.

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