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Helping to make our society more green and energy independent one blog post at a time

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LizzieWeakley

 

As long as it's working properly, you probably never give your septic tank much thought. After all, it doesn't exactly have a glamorous job. What it lacks in glamour, though, it makes up for in importance, silently working to remove the waste from your home. What you may not realize is that, in addition to performing a vital task, your septic tank is actually quite environmentally friendly. To help give you a greater appreciation for your septic tank, here are a few ways that septic tanks help the environment.

A Natural Process

Unlike so much in today's world, a septic tank still relies on natural processes to do its job. Using naturally occurring bacteria, your septic tank works hard to break down the waste from your home. This prevents potentially harmful chemicals from being released into the environment, helping to protect the soil and water in your area.

Reduces Pressure on Garbage Dumps

Since it works independently of the city sewer system, your septic tank helps to reduce pressure on your local garbage dump. This is because many sewer-based systems are forced to dispose of the solid waste in the garbage dump because there is too much waste for bacteria to break down naturally. Given the already-crowded conditions at many dumps, anything that can be done to divert waste away from the dump is a welcome advancement for environmental protection.

Diverts Pollution from Oceans

Another advantage of being independent of a public sewer system is that there's no risk of anything you send down the drains in your home ending up in the ocean. City sewage treatment plants do what they can to remove potential pollutants from wastewater. However, most wastewater is only filtered to a certain point before it is sent to rivers and oceans. If you have a septic tank, though, your waste collects in the tank until the tank is full. When the tank is emptied, you can be sure that with your own wastewater treatment system, all of the waste products will be dealt with in an environmentally friendly manner.

Less Electricity Usage

Although it doesn't take any electricity to send wastewater down the drain, when that wastewater arrives at a treatment plant, a lot of electricity is used. When it comes to a septic tank, though, there is no electricity required since everything happens thanks to gravity and chemistry. This helps to reduce your carbon footprint even as you're contributing to the health of the ecosystem around you.

 

Though septic tanks have considerable environmental benefits, they must be properly maintained in order for these benefits to be realized. That means maintaining the health of the bacteria population, avoiding pouring harmful substances down your drains, and having your tanks professionally cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. If you follow those simple steps, though, you will be able to rest easy knowing that your septic tank is helping the environment

LizzieWeakley

Drinkable water is the Earth’s most precious resource. It is essential to life, but often in short supply. And despite what the steady stream coming from our taps suggests, it is a finite resource. It is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to limit our water usage, allowing us to build a sustainable future together. But what can you do to help reduce your usage? What adjustments need to happen? What habits need to change? There are countless little things you can do that add up to make a major difference. These three ideas are a good place to start.


 

Fix Leaks

 

If you have leaky plumbing, then you could be wasting gallons and gallons of water every week without even noticing. A drip here and there might not seem like much, but if it’s constant it can add up to a major source of waste. If you can’t fix the leak yourself, contact a plumber to get the issue taken care of.


 

Don’t Let Faucets Run

 

It’s become perfectly normal behavior to let faucets emit a constant stream of water that we only use occasionally during the completion of a task. Take washing dishes, for example. You most likely leave the faucet running not just while you apply the water to the dish, but also while you scrub, while you dry, and while you place the dish on a drying rack. All that time, unused water is needlessly falling down the drain. If you respected water for the precious resource it is, you’d be a lot more careful. Only turn the faucet on for those moments when you actually need the water. This same mindset can be adopted for brushing teeth, washing your face, and so many other activities.


 

Use an Energy-Star Washing Machine

 

Doing laundry accounts for a huge proportion of a household’s water use. You can greatly diminish your usage just by switching to a more efficient machine. Energy efficient washers also use less energy, meaning they’re an overall slam dunk when it comes to environmental responsibility. You should also steer clear of top-loading washers, which tend to use much more water than their front-loading counterparts.


 

Water gives us life, and we should respect it as a resource. If you want to do your part to avoid wasting water, take the aforementioned tips to heart. When it comes to conservation, a little effort goes a long way.

LizzieWeakley

The Earth can be harmed the by the actions of people. Human civilization has created pollution and destroyed natural ecosystems and wildlife habitats. It may even lead to worse problems like global warming that could threaten everyone. The one sector of human civilization that contributes the most to this destruction is industry. Thankfully, you can take steps to lower your company’s impact on the planet. Here are some ideas for making your workspace greener.

Implement Renewable Energy

Most factories and other industrial workplaces use a great deal of energy to complete their work. Thankfully, you no longer have to completely rely on energy sources that create pollution or put a great strain on the local power grid. Implementing power produced by solar panels or wind turbines is one option. Choosing fuels that create a lesser impact on the environment like ethanol or natural gas is another good choice.

Recycle Everything You Can

Recycling is something else companies must implement if they want to be greener. Not recycling creates waste that fills up landfills. In certain cases, that waste can even harm animals and human beings. Consider all the different materials that are part of your industrial processes that you can recycle. For example, you may have not considered copper recycling for the copper left over from a certain production process.

Eliminate Paper

Something most companies use is a lot of paper. There’s paper used for correspondence, memos, record keeping, meetings and much more. It’s no longer the 1980’s. Everything that can be expressed in a paper document can be very easily recreated in a digital file. Doing so saves trees and eliminates waste. It can even save a good deal of money over the course of a year. Going paperless is a strategy that works for many businesses.

Perform Efficiency Audits

Not running your factory or other industrial facility as efficiently as possible can also lead to wastefulness. One thing you should do is perform efficiency audits multiple times a year. The data produced can help you find ways to save electricity and fuel and cut down waste. It can make your company greener and help you save a good deal of money simultaneously.

Industrialization has done a lot of harm to the environment. However, this doesn’t have to be the case today. Thanks to improvements in technology and methodology, there are many ways a company can greatly lessen its impact on the environment. The list above is only a starting point.

LizzieWeakley

Is your office cluttered with several items that hinder your productivity? Are you looking for ways to do your part in saving the environment by starting a recycling program at the office? If you answered yes, then you are probably thinking about other items that can be recycled outside of aluminum cans, paper waste, magazines, newspapers, shipping supplies, file folders, and cardboard. Here are 4 overlooked items found in your office that can also be recycled to help you boost productivity while helping the environment.

Electronics

Do you remember that microwave tucked away in one corner of the break room that has been broken for ages? Do you also remember passing by that unrepairable bulky printer in the hallway? Do you remember when someone said the laminator malfunctioned but you forgot about it, until now? The microwave, the printer, and the laminator are all electronic items that can be recycled and are called e-waste. Other e-waste items that can be recycled are fax machines, VCRs, computers, and cellphones.

Light Bulbs

Like a scene from a horror movie, that flickering and buzzing fluorescent light fixture has just been bothering everyone at the office for quite some time. Now it is time to get rid of it. Fluorescent bulbs can also be added to your list of items that can be recycled.

Food

Perhaps someone forgot that they brought their lunch and decided to eat out during their break. Weeks later, their lunch is rotting away in the break room fridge, which is starting to emit a foul smell. Maybe your coworker forgot that they threw a banana peel in their paper wastebasket, and now the office is being invaded by fruit flies. Food waste is another overlooked item that can be recycled.

Keys

Has your office recently changed its locks? Do you now have a set of keys that can no longer be used? Any keys that are made of metal can be recycled. Door keys, file cabinet keys, and office keys are often overlooked office items that can be added to your recycling list.


These are only to mention 4 commonly overlooked items that can be recycled. Perhaps you have done a walkthrough of the office and found an overwhelming amount of items that you can recycle. You have probably just found out that the trash receptacles you currently have will not suffice. Consider a dumpster rental to help you save time and save money when recycling these overlooked recyclable items in your office.

LizzieWeakley

As a modern business, it's likely that you have a large amount of electronic equipment that helps to keep your business going. As important as this equipment is, it will eventually become too outdated to efficiently meet your needs. When that happens, it's important to dispose of these old electronics in a responsible manner to prevent harm to the environment. To give you direction on what to do, here are a few ways that businesses can properly dispose of broken or old electronic equipment.

Donate Them

Even though the electronics you're getting rid of may not suit your needs, that doesn't mean that they are no longer usable. By donating your electronics, you give them a chance at a second life to fulfill a noble purpose. In some cases, non-profit organizations use old electronics to teach those in need the necessary skills to help them find a new career. However they're used, donating your electronics is far better than throwing them in the trash.

Sell Them

If you've taken especially good care of your electronics, there's a chance that they may still have some value. Since people can find value in unexpected places, attempting to sell your electronics is a great option because it helps to recoup some of your investment. To sell electrical equipment, you can try to sell them separately to individual buyers, or you can use a third-party buying service that will buy large lots of electronics at once.

Repurpose Them

Even if a certain electronic item is no longer usable, its individual components may be able to be used by your business. For example, an old computer may not have a place in your company, but the monitor from that computer can still be repurposed to provide a dual-monitor set up to help increase productivity. Therefore, before you make the move to get rid of your old electronics, it's a good idea to look at them in terms of how they can be used in different ways around your office.

Recycle Them

If there is no longer any use for your old electronics, then it's important that you make an effort to recycle them. Electronics recycling helps keep potentially harmful substances out of landfills and allows the base materials to be reused and made into something new. The key when recycling your electronics is to be sure to use a certified electronics recycler that won't simply ship your electronics overseas, contributing to pollution in other countries.

When you purchase new electronics, it's important to think through your purchases with an eye to the end of their lifecycles. You want to be sure that it's as easy as possible to dispose of your old electronics in a manner that benefits your company and the environment. In many cases, this means buying higher-end electronics initially, as these tend to be constructed in such a way as to make them easier to recycle or resell. In every case, though, know that there are plenty of options available when your electronics no longer meet your needs.

LizzieWeakley

 

Residential solar panels are more popular than ever, and that type of energy source could save you quite a bit of money in the coming years. If you are still on the fence about having solar panels installed, then you might want to take a look at these four unique things that your new panels will be able to power.

A Residential Well

Those who truly want to live off the grid will need to consider drilling their own residential well. That type of resource might be able to provide your family with fresh water for decades, but you will need to figure out how you are going to power the pump. Attaching the pump and filter to your solar roof is going to save you money and ensure that you have a constant supply of fresh water even during rolling blackouts.

Your Electric Car

There are now millions of electric cars out on the road, and practically every auto manufacturer has released one fully electric vehicle. While charging stations are being built throughout the world at a very fast pace, many people want to be able to charge their vehicles at home. With a solar roof and home charging station, you could essentially drive your electric vehicle for free, and that will result in huge savings.

Water Features

One of the reasons why many people never even consider installing pools, spas, and other water features is because they don’t want a huge increase in their energy bills. Modern water pools and spas tend to have relatively efficient pumps and filtration systems, but they could still increase your energy bills by a significant amount. Your solar roof will be able to offset that new expense so that you can fully enjoy your new water feature.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are extremely important safety features, and those devices can greatly reduce your risk of serious water damage. Unfortunately, your sump pumps could turn off entirely if a storm or flood knocks the power out. With a residential solar roof, you can rest assured that your sump pumps will continue to work even if the energy grid goes down.

 

While solar panels can be added to a building at any time, those who are building a home from the ground up should consider including panels in their initial build. Incorporating solar into your home loan will make this type of upgrade very affordable, and you should be able to enjoy the benefits of your new green energy system for many years to come.

LizzieWeakley

Did you know that the amount of waste generated from construction and demolition is more than double that of household garbage collection? However, you can significantly reduce your next project's carbon footprint by using recyclable materials. Many eco-friendly materials also offer other advantages like exceptional strength and durability. If you're planning to build or remodel, consider these four recyclable materials that can make both your home and the environment stronger.

Bamboo Flooring

You're probably already familiar with bamboo in things like cooking utensils and bath accessories, but did you know that it's also great for hardwood floors? Bamboo flooring is durable, easy to clean and maintain and can be refinished when it gets worn or damaged. Bamboo is also a highly sustainable crop, and bamboo floor tiles can be recycled into composite bamboo, which is often used for high-traffic areas and outdoor applications like decking.

Cork Flooring

If bamboo flooring doesn't strike your fancy, how about cork? Soft and comfortable to walk on, cork is an excellent choice for bedrooms and playrooms. Cork is allergy-friendly and easy to clean, which makes it a great alternative to carpet. Plus, it's one of the most eco-friendly flooring materials on the market because it's not only recyclable but also biodegradable and made from renewable resources.

Metal Roofing

Because of their high value, metals are among the most commonly recycled materials in use today. If you're looking for an eco-friendly roofing option, look no further than metal. A metal roof is easily recyclable, energy efficient and exceptionally durable with a lifespan of up to 70 years. Whether you're building a new home or just remodeling, consider calling your local metal roof installers for a roof that's approved by Mother Nature.

Glass Tiles

Used in a wide variety of consumer products, glass is another material that's commonly recycled. Despite its fragile reputation, glass can be strong and durable in many applications, including floor and wall tiles. Choosing glass tile for your kitchen backsplash or walk-in shower is a great way to lower your home's carbon footprint and raise its aesthetic appeal. Glass tile is also highly customizable because it can be easily cut into different shapes and sizes.

Remember, using recyclable materials is only half the picture when planning an eco-friendly construction project. It's also important to seek out recycled and reclaimed materials whenever possible, and don't forget to choose a waste management company that recycles leftover waste and debris instead of dumping it in a landfill.

LizzieWeakley

Maintaining a large garden is a great way to supply yourself with fresh vegetables and spend plenty of time outdoors. The one problem is that large gardens can get out of control easily if not tended properly. It might take extra effort, or even specialized outside help, but you can make your large garden as beautiful as you dreamed. Here are five ways to make keeping your garden under control simple.

Mulch All Unoccupied Spaces

Weeding is the single most labor-intensive aspect of garden maintenance. Using grass clippings, wood chips or another mulch medium in all the areas around your plants will help to keep weeds down and save you time pulling them by hand. As mulch breaks down, it will also add valuable nutrients back into your soil. This can give your garden a reset, to let you set a regular, manageable schedule for weeding.

Install an Irrigation System

If you have a large enough garden, installing an irrigation system can be worthwhile. Irrigation systems allow you to automate your watering schedule, rather than having to manually water your crops. Keep in mind that this is only a good solution if you’re growing in more or less fixed bed spaces. If you primarily grow vegetables, or want a more controlled garden space, this can be a good idea.

Use Tight Spacings

It’s a common myth that spacing plants farther apart results in higher yields. The reality, though, is that putting your plants closer together can raise your yields and help your crops block out weeds. While you still want to keep enough space to allow for good growth, planting closer together can make your garden much easier to manage. The proper distance will vary from plant to plant, so please look up an individual planting guide for each addition to your garden.

Prune to Avoid Disease

If you’re growing tomatoes or other plants that are prone to fungal infections, strategically pruning the lower limbs to allow for air flow is usually a good idea. Good pruning can also promote fruit production and keep your plants from putting all of their energy into leaves and stalks. Set a regular schedule for pruning. That way you can keep a close eye on what’s developing in your garden.

Harvest on a Schedule

Like watering and weeding, harvesting your vegetables can be labor-intensive in a large garden, even if it is fun. A good way to manage your harvests is to pick on a regular schedule. If you have a pepper patch, for instance, you might decide to harvest your fresh peppers on a particular day each week. This will keep you from trying to harvest from all of your patches each day, which can turn into quite a chore.

By sticking to these five basic principles, you can easily manage even a fairly large home garden. Garden management is all about simplifying the tasks that have to be done to keep your garden healthy. Done properly, good garden maintenance will allow you to have a productive garden without devoting hours of work to it each week.

LizzieWeakley

Many modern homes offer energy-efficient features that make lowering your energy bill easy. But what about old homes that were built before energy-efficient features? Well, there’s hope for old homes, too. There are updates that can make your old home just as efficient as a modern home.

 

Updating an old home is often as simple or as complicated as you can afford to make it. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, then there are quick-fix changes that you can make. But if money is no object, you can invest in upgrades that take more time and money.

 

Switch to CFL or LED Light Bulbs

 

Incandescent light bulbs are fast becoming a thing of the past. CFL and LED light bulbs cost more than incandescent bulbs. But CFL and LED lights save more money in the long run.

 

An incandescent bulb consumes 60 watts per-hour. A traditional CFL bulb consumes 14 watts per hour. And a typical LED bulb consumes 10 watts per hour. The more watts consumed per hour, the higher your energy bill.

 

Get New Windows

 

It’s likely that your old home has single pane windows. Single pane windows have one layer of glass. They’re thin and known for being drafty. Since there’s only one pane of glass, it’s easier for outside temperatures to affect the temperature inside your home.

 

For an older home, upgrading to double pane windows is an energy-saving move. Double pane windows are made with two panes of glass. And some even have insulating argon gas placed between the panes. Two panes of glass provide more protection from outside temperatures than provided by one pane of glass.

 

Switch to Renewable Energy

 

Solar panels are a source of renewable energy. Solar panel installation services can help you understand the best option for your home for saving energy and money in the long run. 

 

Solar panels convert light from the sun into energy. The energy connects to your home’s electrical grid and is distributed throughout the home. Unless you live in a state that doesn’t get a significant amount of sun year round - such as parts of Alaska - then solar panels are worth considering.

 

An old home doesn’t have to guzzle energy. The tips mentioned in this article can help lower your energy costs without ruining your home.

LizzieWeakley

Apartment living can give you a unique and convenient way of life. Rather than commuting miles out to the suburbs just to get some extra space, living in an urban apartment can keep you close to work, shopping, and recreation. Of course, downtown living carries a lot of the same overhead as its more distant counterpart, with energy costs at the top of the list. Here are some simple ways to reduce your energy expense in an apartment.

Draw the Blinds

In larger apartment buildings, individual units may only have one wall to provide a view of the neighborhood. If it happens to be the same wall that catches late-day sun, the apartment can quickly heat up. That’s good in the winter and bad in the summer. Managing your window blinds will help you get the maximum benefit of winter sun and the minimum impact of summer sun.

Have HVAC Serviced

As a renter, you are probably not in charge of heavier maintenance tasks like changing furnace filters. However, it is in your best interest to make sure it’s being done because you’re the one paying the energy bill. Clean filters use less energy, saving you on energy costs, so make sure the maintenance staff is keeping things current.

Watch Water Waste

Most people are in tune with the need to minimize wasted water just because of the importance of conserving. However, once we’re talking about hot water, there is also an energy cost. Any drippy or inefficient fixture that utilizes hot water is also wasting energy as it wastes water. Make sure every faucet and shower head has low water flow and doesn’t leak. If your unit ever needs a new water heater, encourage the management to look into tankless water heaters for building-wide savings.

Be Balcony-Wise

The need for fresh air is natural, and a great apartment will have some outdoor space for you to enjoy. It’s easy to lose track of the loss of warm and cool air that takes place around those doors. Make sure you are keeping your deck or balcony door closed. If there are gaps in the weatherstripping or other issues with keeping it tight, have the maintenance staff check it out.

Choose Efficient Bulbs

Saving energy is often a matter of investment. Spending a little more to buy efficient LED bulbs can add up to real savings over the long term. As you replace blown bulbs in your apartment, choose efficient models that will pay you back for your initial investment in them with reduced energy costs.

Living close to work and recreation can be a real convenience. With a few simple strategies to save energy, an urban apartment can also be an affordable place to live too.

LizzieWeakley

Green or sustainable landscaping is an excellent way of reducing your carbon footprint. Indeed, such trends use energy-efficient appliances and turf supplies that need little or no water to maintain. In turn, you save lots of gallons of fresh water that can go to other purposes. Then, how do you design your eco-friendly yard? Check out the useful tips below: 

Determine Your Water Needs and Sources

A regular landscaping design may require more water than what is available to keep it alive. Such excessive pumping of water can leave your groundwater with a high concentration of salts and pollutants. In turn, you may have to deal with soil pollution sooner rather than later.

Then, in your design, confirm your soil type and its water retention properties. Next, pick watering techniques that will not deplete the ground of its vital moisture. Such methods include irrigation and rain harvesting. Or, you can use mulches to preserve the existing moisture content.

Live Off Your Vegetable Garden

Did you know that including a garden in your yard generates steady supplies of fresh vegetables that can cut on your monthly food bills? This fun outdoor exercise improves your health by providing you with organic foods and a stress-relieving hobby.

Then, choose a spot near a water source, that has ample sunlight, and is away from foot traffic. Next, pick your seeds or seedlings from plants that are economical to grow. Add adequate compost to the soil. Finally, follow the planting, weeding, pruning, and maintenance schedule as provided by your supplier.

Use Chemical-Free Products

An eco-friendly landscaping design uses little or no harmful chemicals. That way, it makes your yard safe for wildlife and pets. In particular, when you opt for artificial turf supplies, there is no need for weed killers or pesticides. Children get the feel of natural grass that is free of poisonous contaminants.

Consider The Labor Needs for Maintenance

A sustainable yard is effortless to maintain. Such yards feature stone patios, potted plants, mulch beds, and perennial plants. The mulch beds need no mowing. Instead, they provide ready compost for your garden. Still, where you are not a fan of mowing, opt for artificial landscapes instead.

The eco-friendly yard looks fabulous, accentuating your home décor. It taps into the available resources to pull off a durable lawn that is easy to install. And your pets will love it too. Then, work with a reliable home remodeling expert who can give you more ideas to improve your home value.

LizzieWeakley

Travertine, quartz, and limestone are some of the stunning natural elements you can use to provide texture and depth to your home design. Placing these materials in the kitchen can make the space more gorgeous. It can also add value to your home. Here are four ways you can incorporate natural stone in your kitchen.

Floor Designs

Using natural tiles on the floor is an excellent way to restyle your home. These materials come in a wide range of designs, colors, and prices. If you are on a budget, then you can get creative with the use of a limited supply of materials. You can create a border around the room. A rug design on the floor is appealing and captivating. Mosaic tiles provide infinite options, and you can choose to use mesh screens or single tiles.

Accent Walls

Natural stone tiles are fantastic mediums for walls. Instead of doing an entire room in stone, an accent piece will provide plenty of appeal. You can do a full wall, or you may want to frame a piece of art like a statue. Another idea is to use the wall to create a strong textural difference, like flat paint or wallpaper contrasting with dramatic limestone.

Fireplaces

Every hearth needs an incredible surround. From natural marble to beautiful quartz tiles, you can put a few layers in front of the fireplace. You may prefer to use these materials to create a background for the piece. Either design can provide a seamless transition from one room to the next. The tiles can also enhance a focal point like the fireplace.

Counters and Islands

Using quartz or marble on the counters is a brilliant way to increase the value of the home. These materials are durable and hold up to a lot of use with the right maintenance program. You may also want to use a stone tile surround for your island. You can use the tiles to make a color change or to add a three-dimensional effect to the kitchen.

Your home will be amazing when you add natural tiles to your kitchen. These items add equity. They may make your house feel more welcoming. Guests and family will enjoy talking about the changes and making new memories surrounding the new features in your favorite gathering space. Even when you have a small amount to spend, you can use natural stone to create accent pieces or areas that will improve the look and feel of your home.

LizzieWeakley

Making your home more energy efficient is important for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it significantly reduces your utility bills, and all those monthly savings will be a major boost to your budget. Also, with environmental catastrophe predicted by most climatologists, you can feel good about doing your part to stave off disaster and improve the health of the planet. With so much to gain, striving for energy efficiency is a no-brainer. But how does one go about it? Energy-efficient appliances often spring to mind, but replacing them can be pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of smaller steps you can take to maximize your home efficiency. Here are five ideas.


 

Turn Down the Heat

 

A toasty home can be nice, but it also uses up a town of energy. Get your household in the habit of wearing sweaters in the house, and then turn that thermostat down a few degrees. Before you know it, you’ll be accustomed to the cooler temperature (and the lower utility bills).


 

Replace or Seal Your Windows

 

Old, drafty windows let cold air into your home, which in turn makes your heating system work harder and burn more energy to get the interior air back to the temperature you want. New, energy-efficient windows are the best bet, but sealing currant windows is also a useful step to take.


 

Install LED Light Bulbs

 

Incandescent bulbs, for generations the industry standard, are significantly less efficient than their LED equivalents. To replace the old bulbs with more efficient ones is a cheap, easy way to lower your house’s energy use.


 

Wash Clothes With Cold Water

 

If you use warm water to wash your clothes, then the heating of that water accounts for up to ninety percent of the energy that the machine uses. With a simple flip of a switch, you can make your washer significantly more efficient. If your washing machine is using too much hot water, call a washer and dryer repair company to make sure you aren’t using an unnecessary amount of water. 


 

Unplug Chargers

 

Unused chargers use just as much, if not more, electricity as when you have a device connected to them. If you leave your charger plugged into the wall, you are needlessly wasting energy. It can be a tough habit to break, but it does a world of good.


 

Energy efficiency is as good for your bank account as it is for the planet, and can be achieved even without replacing all your appliances. Take the steps mentioned above to make your home as energy efficient as it can be.

LizzieWeakley

A computer doesn’t last forever. Even if your computer still technically works many years later, you may want to get rid of it anyways. Newer computers are faster, store far more data and are more capable of better running programs, games, and videos. However, after you have decided to upgrade, what should you do with your old computer parts? Instead of just chucking them in the trash, you can recycle them. Here are some tips that can show you how.

Selling Your Old Parts

One option you have for recycling is to actually sell your old parts on an aftermarket. eBay, for example, is an excellent choice. Craig’s List is another. There may also be some online and local independent electronics dealers you can investigate. You shouldn’t expect to receive much in exchange if the part in question has been used a good deal, but it is a form of recycling that involves some amount of compensation.

Self-Recycling

Alternatively, you could choose to self-recycle. This involves repurposing an old part for a different use for you or your family. For example, you could repurpose an old personal computer as a home server with a little work. With a few extra components, you could also transform an old monitor into an extra television.

Using an Electronics Recycling Service

You may simply want to dispose of your old computer parts entirely. Don’t just put them in the garbage or in a regular recycling container. Instead, bring them to a professional electronics recycling service that will actually break down the materials so they can be reused. Things that can be recycled by such a service include motherboards, processors, hard drives, disc drives, RAM, power supplies, monitors and more.

Removing Your Personal Data

However, before you hand over a computer, hard drive or other component that can store personal data, you should make sure to first wipe that data, so it does not get into the wrong hands. It could be used to steal your identity. Certain recyclers will offer to wipe the data for you. However, you can also wipe it yourself with downloadable programs that can overwrite data multiple times so it can never be accessed again.

Overall, recycling is the responsible thing to do. This is especially true for computer components and electronics that can harm the environment if not recycled properly. Consider your different options for unloading your computer parts in a responsible manner.

LizzieWeakley

 

Garbage littering the world's oceans is a serious problem. Some trash, such as plastic, will never decompose, posing a grave risk to all types of marine wildlife. The best solution to this problem is to collect as much marine trash as possible and then put it to good use. To give better insight into the possibilities for solving this issue, here are four clever uses for recycled marine trash.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

One of the most versatile uses for marine trash is to recycle it into packaging for various types of products. Plastic is an ideal material to use in packaging for dish detergent, nail polish remover, shampoo, and hundreds of other substances that are used every day. This versatility helps to sustain demand for marine plastic, meaning that there will be continued incentive to remove the trash from the world's waterways.

Yarn

Turning yesterday's discarded soda rings into tomorrow's clothing might not seem like the most obvious use of recycled marine trash. Creating thread that has a recycled plastic core helps to lower the costs for clothing manufacturers while helping to keep the environment clean. The yarn or thread can be bound by any number of materials, creating beautiful fabrics that are indistinguishable from fabrics made with more traditional thread. You can learn more about products like this at bionicyarn.com and other websites.

Shoes

You may not know it, but there are many parts of the average shoe that require plastic in some form or another. Fortunately for the world's waterways, the source of this plastic can be recycled plastic that was previously causing an environmental hazard. Plastics in shoes help to keep weight down and help to keep them more durable, both of which are qualities that consumers are seeking.

Sunglasses

Plastic is an ideal material for sunglasses because it is lightweight and flexible. Rather than using virgin plastic for their eyewear, some companies have begun using recycled marine plastic to form their frames. Since sunglasses are often discarded before the end of their useful life due to changing tastes, this is a great way to clean up the environment and help make users more mindful about their consumption. Plus, consumers get bragging rights that their glasses are truly one-of-a-kind.

 

Just as important as using recycled marine trash is working hard to ensure that the trash doesn't return to the ocean after it finishes its second life. That's why careful attention needs to be given to creating a closed cycle that will encourage consumers to dispose of waste properly. If these suggestions are adhered to, the amount of trash in the world's oceans will finally decrease, once and for all

LizzieWeakley

Americans spend $130 billion each year on wasted energy. Energy wastage not only takes a bite of out of your wallet but also harms the environment by producing unnecessary greenhouse gasses and pollution. If you're concerned that your home is an energy pit, here are four telltale signs that you're using too much.

Your Bills Are Too High

The first and most obvious sign that your home is wasting energy is that your monthly utility bills are higher than they should be. Many power companies include a chart on your bill or through their website that shows how your home's energy usage stacks up against the average and against homes similar to yours. If your utility provider doesn't offer this service, give them a call or compare your bill to neighbors with similarly sized homes.

You Wait for Hot Water

If you're like most homeowners, you turn on your shower or sink faucet and wait for ice-cold water to warm up. All those gallons of water going down the drain add up over time, but there are two effective solutions. One option is to hire a plumber with water heater installation experience to swap out your old tank for a new tankless model, which is the most efficient type of water heater on the market. An easier and less expensive solution is to install a recirculating pump in your existing unit.

Your HVAC Runs Constantly

The hum of your HVAC unit means your home is staying comfortably warm or cool, but it shouldn't be running all the time. If you almost never hear silence from your heating or cooling system, that means the unit is having trouble keeping up and constantly using energy. You may need to replace the unit with a larger one or improve your home's insulation. You can also consider a more efficient type of unit like a heat pump system.

You Have Energy Vampires

What's scarier than a blood-sucking monster? An energy-sucking appliance. You may not realize that your coffee maker, television or toaster is sucking power even when the off switch is flipped. Slay these energy vampires by unplugging them when not in use or use power strips that you can switch off to cut the electricity supply.

Remember, your home isn't the only source of wasted energy in your life. Consumer products are also a large contributor, so choose low-waste materials like recycled products, paper and cardboard over those that use more energy to produce.

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LizzieWeakley

Recently, sustainable shopping has become more popular. Consumers are now looking for businesses that care about the environment and their impact on the planet more than ever. Consumers are currently looking for ways to become more eco-conscious in their own lives, which includes the way they purchase products. Here are ways to make sure you are buying the most sustainable products possible. 

 

High Quality

 

Investing in high-quality products means you will be less likely to need to replace that item in the near future. This leads to higher sustainability. Through this, you will be using less materials and be requiring less energy to manufacture the product. Thrifting high-quality pieces of clothing or furniture can be a great move toward sustainability as well. However, if thrifting isn’t your thing or you are having trouble finding the right products, making new high-quality purchases is the next best thing. 

 

Sustainable Materials

 

Today, more businesses are becoming mindful of the materials they use for their products. A great way to ensure you are consuming products made from sustainable materials is to look for ones made with recycled materials. This is becoming a more popular option. There are many options available for clothing and accessories made with recycled bottles or even recovered plastic from the ocean. Companies, like BionicYarn.com, are making this possible. 

 

Locally Made

 

The less a product needs to travel to get to your home, the more sustainable it will be. Less travel cuts down on carbon emissions and leads to a better impact on the environment. Now is a great time to start supporting small, local businesses. A great way to do this is to visit farmer’s markets in your area for local food and handmade goods. 

 

Ethical Manufacturing

 

Green manufacturing processes are more important than ever right now. It shows how responsible a business is when it comes to doing their part for the environment. Treatment of  factory workers also plays a role in flourishing the economy and leading toward general sustainability. Look for businesses that offer transparency about their production practices. Only support those that act responsibly and are doing what they can to minimize their environmental and economic impact. 


 

Transitioning to a sustainable lifestyle can seem overwhelming in a world full of consumerism. However, each individual doing their part can make large strides in improving climate change and the environment.

LizzieWeakley

Starting your own garden is an excellent pastime that can provide you with an abundance of fresh produce, but this type of project is easier said than done. If you want to make sure that your first crop is successful, then you will need to put in a little bit of work before you plant your first seedlings.

Choosing the Best Location

Many new gardeners don’t realize just how important it is to spend some time figuring out exactly where they are going to be putting their new plants. Moving your garden from one side of the yard to the other could have a huge impact on which plants are going to survive and what type of yield you are going to get. As a general rule, a garden needs to get plenty of early morning sunlight so that newer plants thrive. You should also have easy access to a hose or some other source of water.

Demo

Another step that you need to take well before you start your garden is demoing the area where you will be planting. Demoing for a garden is going to involve removing any existing foliage, pulling up the grass, and getting all of the larger rocks out of the soil. If you aren’t interested in pulling up grass and sifting the soil, then you might want to consider building or buying a few raised beds.

Collect Your Supplies

Larger gardens require quite a few landscaping supplies, and you should collect all of the equipment and products that you are going to need at least a few weeks prior to planting. The type of supplies that you get will depend on a few different factors, and that includes how much demo work needs to be carried out, what the local climate is like, and which types of plants you are going to grow. At the very least, you are probably going to want a garden hose, a drip hose, a trowel, some pots in various sizes, and a good pair of gloves.

Get Rid of Pests

Pests could wreak havoc on your garden if you don’t come up with a plan for eradicating them. Scheduling preventative pest control services is a great start, but you might also want to install some type of netting or fencing to keep out birds, gophers, and squirrels. You can also contact a pest control expert and ask what types of insects you should be prepared for.

After you have planted your first batch of seeds and seedlings, you should check up on your garden at least once or twice a day. A single pest or broken sprinkler could eradicate your crop and waste all of your hard work.

LizzieWeakley

From reducing your carbon footprint to eliminating toxins, running an environmentally sound household is within easy reach. Just as recycling and other day-to-day actions impact us all, home improvements offer advantages to both your family and the earth. If your goal is to go green, the following tips will help you cut heating and cooling costs while lessening negative environmental effects.

Inspect Your Home for Leaks

Don’t let heated or cooled air escape. Inspect your home for areas where leaks can occur. The most effective form of inspection is a blower door test, usually performed as part of an energy audit. For this test, a technician attaches a heavy-duty fan to an exterior door. The fan pulls air from your home to lower indoor air pressure. Higher outdoor air pressure forces air into holes, crevices, or other unwanted openings. If you’d rather do the inspecting yourself, visually check outside for gaps at corners, around the mail slot, at the line where your foundation touches the brick or siding, or in any place where two types of materials meet.

Decrease Drafts

Replace weather stripping to prevent leaks at exterior doorways. Caulk is perfect for preventing air loss around windows, but it also serves a purpose in other areas of your home. Caulking is also ideal for stopping air leaks around plumbing and wiring. Draft snakes reduce outside air entry, making your heating and cooling efforts more effective. For a longer-term solution, consider installing draft-stopping double-paned windows. New siding can also boost HVAC efficiency, especially when combined with new insulation. Durable siding backed by high-quality insulation protects your home from extreme temperatures and other harsh weather conditions. Research the best type of siding for your climate for keeping your home well insulated. In addition to resisting weather damage and preventing air loss, these two products work together to ensure your family’s comfort.

Prevent Leaks via Unused Appliances

Just as unplugging unused devices reduces power usage, covering or closing certain appliances while not in use is an easy way to reduce air loss. Exhaust fans, fireplace flue dampers and range hoods are just some examples of places where air can escape. Whether you purchase a cover for your exhaust fan or install an inflatable chimney balloon, take control of energy usage and costs by reducing opportunities for air to escape. In the hot summer months, you might want to reduce use of your oven as well. If you must use it, don’t leave it on for any amount of time after. Don’t let it heat up for too long either. This will prevent unnecessary heat from circulating around your home. 

Your home is your castle, but it doesn’t have to be drafty or low-functioning. Cut the effects of air loss by inspecting your home and making necessary adjustments. Even the most simple changes can make a huge difference. You’ll experience lower power bills and increased comfort while lessening your negative impact on the environment.

LizzieWeakley

Increasing operational efficiency and lowering the output of emissions are goals that companies across all industries have in common. Developing optimal strategies for controlling costs and limiting environmental impact is both a challenge and opportunity, so it’s something companies need to embrace rather than avoid. Not all of these strategies are appropriate for every business, but most companies can find numerous simple and surefire ways to improve their operations.

Make the Most of Materials

Reducing resource consumption and learning how to reuse or recycle materials whenever possible is essential for streamlining operations and ensuring environmentally responsible operations. Business leaders need to consider every aspect of their production process when looking for opportunities for efficiency, including onsite resource management, supply chains and product packaging.

Rethink Policies and Procedures

Just as companies examine and redesign the way they use materials, they also need to think about the workplace and operational policies that they have in place. Enshrining safe and efficient practices as workplace policy is a step in the right direction. However, educating employees about the importance of lowering emissions and how they can help the company reach this goal is also necessary for achieving meaningful results.

Optimize Industrial Boilers

Manufacturing, extraction and other industrial environments often rely on boilers for part of their production process. Whether these machines are permanent fixtures in a workplace or just a temporary augmentation, learning how to optimize and use them responsibly can make a big difference in long-term emission generation. Installing a rectifier or SCRS for water tube boilers can give companies more control over their boiler’s performance and can significantly reduce emissions associated with combustion.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

While many companies have taken their own initiative to minimize their environmental impact, all commercial operators also have to think about mandatory requirements enforced by national and local laws. Staying ahead of the curve means reading new research, exploring fresh ideas and preparing for possible legislation even before it has passed. Looking at potential future requirements as a milestone for internal efficiency can help companies avoid racing against a deadline in the future.

Efficiency and emissions reduction don’t always go hand-in-hand, but most business can take advantage of various opportunities to improve both of these areas simultaneously. Cutting down on waste should always be a priority, as this strategy often yields sheer benefits across the board. Business owners should always consider all the optional available and think about the impact of industry rules or regulations before coming to their decision.

LizzieWeakley

One of the first expenses that new homeowners incur is their energy bills. Unless the house has just been built, there are usually several ways to reduce energy costs. And, even if owners do live in a new residence, there are measures that they can take to minimize their energy bills, some of which are quite simple. The solution is not just turning out lights in rooms that are not in use.

Idle Electronics

For one thing, there is a great amount of electricity used by idle electronics. Many people leave their computers, phones, and other devices on when they could shut them off and conserve much energy. For, the electricity consumed by idle electronics in the United States is equivalent to the electricity generated by as many as 50 power plants. This idle time costs households from $165-400 per year. Using power strips for the electronics can save money when owners turn off the strips that end idle time.

Repairs to the Home

Often the benefits of heating and air conditioning systems are minimalized by several areas of the home. Doors and windows can allow drafts if not sealed well as together windows and doors account for 20-25% of energy loss. The addition of storm windows is helpful in reducing energy costs. Repairing ceilings, wall vents and floors, too, can eliminate nearly 30% of energy loss. Closing off wall outlets not in use also helps reduce about 10% of air leaks. In addition, replacing old heating and air conditioning systems with a heat pump reduces the energy usage and expense in a home because heat pumps transfer heat from one site to another. For instance, it uses the outside air to produce cool temperatures inside and vice versa. Thus, a heat pump is capable of both heating and cooling the interior of a home.

Ductwork and Roof Repair

Another important repair that can be made to conserve energy is on the ductwork of the home. This ductwork should be well-insulated as should other areas such as exterior and interior walls, floors above crawl spaces, attics, cathedral ceilings and the roof. Windows need to be caulked and sealed as do doors. Of course, roof repair is essential to containing heat in cold weather since heat rises. A well-constructed roof also prevents water damage and mold from invading the home. Roofing companies provide many types of asphalt composition shingles, stone-coated steel and metal roofs.

LizzieWeakley

Installing solar panels is one of the best ways homeowners can live more sustainably. While there are several upfront costs with switching to solar energy, the ROI for solar panels makes this investment well worth it. Read on to learn how installing solar panels can save money as you help to take down big oil companies.

Cut Down on Electrical Bills

One of the most significant ways you'll benefit from installing solar powers is by reducing your electric bill. These panels make it possible for homeowners to stop relying on utility companies as this switch to solar power will ultimately save 50% a month on electricity. With solar panels on your home, you’ll be able to harness the sun’s energy to power your house, as long as the sun is out.

In the event that the sun isn’t present, you’ll be able to use electricity from your utility company. While this backup electricity comes at a cost, using the sun to power your home is free.

Save on Maintenance

Many homeowners are frequently charged by their utility company for maintenance fees or costly repairs. Relying on the sun as a power source makes it easy to skip out on these expenses. Once your panels are installed, you’re much less likely to encounter maintenance issues. With this in mind, you can easily consider the cost of installing your panels as a one-time fee for free power.

Enjoy Steady Electric Costs

It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to pay more during peak seasons like summer and winter. Whenever you’re using more electricity to heat or cool your home, relying on a utility company will cause your electric bill to skyrocket. Similarly, the utility companies themselves are vulnerable to the fluctuating natural gas, oil, and coal markets, leading to even more unpredictable pricing.

If you’d prefer to deal with steady electric costs, consider investing in panels. By using the sun as your power source, you'll protect yourself from being susceptible to fluctuating electricity costs.

Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Tax credits are another way many homeowners benefit from using solar energy. Many states offer individuals that rely on sustainable energy sources clean energy grants and SRECs or Solar Renewable Energy Credits. These credits are an incentive for homeowners to install panels as they will cover up to 30% of the installation costs.

Solar energy is a great way for homeowners to live sustainably as they avoid contributing to the wasteful practices of big oil companies. As you learn more about solar panels, keep these four benefits in mind.

LizzieWeakley

Installing solar panels is one of the best ways homeowners can live more sustainably. While there are several upfront costs with switching to solar energy, the ROI for solar panels makes this investment well worth it. Read on to learn how installing solar panels can save money as you help to take down big oil companies.

Cut Down on Electrical Bills

One of the most significant ways you'll benefit from installing solar powers is by reducing your electric bill. These panels make it possible for homeowners to stop relying on utility companies as this switch to solar power will ultimately save 50% a month on electricity. With solar panels on your home, you’ll be able to harness the sun’s energy to power your house, as long as the sun is out.

In the event that the sun isn’t present, you’ll be able to use electricity from your utility company. While this backup electricity comes at a cost, using the sun to power your home is free.

Save on Maintenance

Many homeowners are frequently charged by their utility company for maintenance fees or costly repairs. Relying on the sun as a power source makes it easy to skip out on these expenses. Once your panels are installed, you’re much less likely to encounter maintenance issues. With this in mind, you can easily consider the cost of installing your panels as a one-time fee for free power.

Enjoy Steady Electric Costs

It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to pay more during peak seasons like summer and winter. Whenever you’re using more electricity to heat or cool your home, relying on a utility company will cause your electric bill to skyrocket. Similarly, the utility companies themselves are vulnerable to the fluctuating natural gas, oil, and coal markets, leading to even more unpredictable pricing.

If you’d prefer to deal with steady electric costs, consider investing in panels. By using the sun as your power source, you'll protect yourself from being susceptible to fluctuating electricity costs.

Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Tax credits are another way many homeowners benefit from using solar energy. Many states offer individuals that rely on sustainable energy sources clean energy grants and SRECs or Solar Renewable Energy Credits. These credits are an incentive for homeowners to install panels as they will cover up to 30% of the installation costs.

Solar energy is a great way for homeowners to live sustainably as they avoid contributing to the wasteful practices of big oil companies. As you learn more about solar panels, keep these four benefits in mind.

LizzieWeakley

Overfishing has become a major concern among environmentalists. All fisheries are aware of illegal, wasteful fishing practices that are putting the local fish populations at the risk of being depleted. Alaska is one of many regions that has strict fishing regulations. People who consume fish should do their part to eat more sustainably.

Don’t Eat Endangered Fish

Do not eat fish species that are on the endangered list. It’s easy to find this list by doing a simple search online or visiting the Marine Conservation Society’s website. Environmental organizations provide lists of fish to avoid and to eat on a regular basis.

Eat More Sustainable Fish

Eat more fish that are sustainable, meaning they are in abundant supply. Sardines are a plentiful, fast-growing species that are found in many locations in Europe and North America. Alaskan salmon, clams, oysters, tuna, mussels and mackerel are caught responsibly by modern fishermen. Prepare meals that are more sustainable like a salmon or tuna recipe, and save the rare, exotic fish for special occasions.

Buy Local or Seasonal Fish

Buy fish that is caught and sold by local fishermen. They are more likely to use smaller nets and use less destructive fishing techniques. Buy less of the kind that is overfished in the oceans, caught in large nets and shipped over long distances. Also, buy fish that are available only during certain times of the year.

Buy Organic Fish

Organic fish is grown, caught and sold in its natural state without pesticides or harmful chemicals. Organic fish products have a long list of stringent requirements that they must pass before being labeled as organic. Organic fishing is not as common as traditional fishing that includes the use of longline nets. Buying organic fish is another conscious method of preserving different fish species.

Read the Label

Know the origins of your fish by reading the label. Some fish have sustainable labels. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has blue labels that indicate which wild fish and seafood products are certified to meet their standards of sustainability.

Everyone enjoys seafood from tuna to Alaskan salmon. However, not everyone practices safe, environmentally conservative fishing techniques. When they go out into the ocean, they take out more than they can put back into the water. Many fishermen and fisheries are taking up the practice of eco-fishing. People who love seafood are encouraged to eat sustainably to protect the wildlife in the oceans, rivers and lakes.

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LizzieWeakley

Pollution and waste have bombarded the planet. We are now tasked with finding effective solutions to help reduce their effects without sacrificing comfort. You are probably at home thinking about how you can help the environment while also lowering your energy bills. Here are 5 repairs to make in your home to help you save money, reduce your environmental impact, and live a greener life.

Insulation

Weather stripping, caulking, and sealing your home's openings can help you save money and reduce your environmental impact. How? Repairing your home's insulation will maintain the home's temperature. This means less energy consumption, which translates to saving money while reducing your environmental impact.

Windows

Just like insulation, repairing your home's windows can also help you lower your energy bills while reducing your environmental impact. Cracks and chips on your windows can leak out cool or warm air, causing your HVAC system to continuously operate. This means consuming more energy, which leads to a higher energy bill.

Plumbing

Water is a natural resource that is quickly depleting. Making necessary maintenance repairs to your plumbing like pump repairs can help reduce your water consumption while also lowering your environmental impact. For instance, a broken water pump can leak significant amounts of valuable water in and around your property, causing both damage and waste. So, to help reduce your environmental impact, consider preventive maintenance repairs to your home's plumbing.

Lighting

Look up. Do you see that light above you? Is it emitting a lot of heat? If it is, then it may perhaps be an incandescent bulb. Another way to reduce your environmental impact and lower your energy bill is by repairing or replacing the incandescent bulbs around your home with LED lighting. LED bulbs or lighting are more efficient and cost-effective than incandescent bulbs. So, use LED lighting to save money and to save the environment.

Appliances

Maybe there are a few appliances in your home that are beginning to show their age. Perhaps your washer or dishwasher seems to use more water during a cycle. Maybe your dryer is taking a little longer to dry your clothes. If your appliances are no longer operating efficiently, then having them repaired would be beneficial to help you reduce your energy bills and energy consumption while also lowering your environmental impact.

These are only to name 5 repairs to make in your home to help you save money and reduce your environmental impact. Along with these, reuse, recycle, upcycle, and use sustainable materials to do your part in saving the environment.

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