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All things green, eco-friendly, and seriously sustainable

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Dixie Somers

Renewable energy has a long history. Since the mid-1950s, it has been a boiler plate for future energy initiatives. Designs for wind, geothermal and solar energy can be traced back to scientific concepts of men like Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison. As it continues to gain supporters and traction, the quest for renewable energy sources isn’t slowing down any time soon. In 2015, renewable energy will become an even bigger deal for several reasons.

Reduction in Costs of Renewable Energy

Formerly, the cost to convert to renewable energy was prohibitive. The average cost to purchase solar panels for the average home in 1990 was approximately $30 to $60,000. For larger, commercial buildings, the costs reached as high as $1 million, depending on the size of the building. The reason for the higher costs was due to having to import solar panels from foreign countries of manufacture, namely China. Wind turbines have always been less expensive to purchase, although the volume of power supplied determines the size of the turbines and their power. Geothermal energy has been used in Scandinavia for more than two decades. Scandinavian countries have access to natural hot springs and spas that provide a large source of geothermal energy.

More Choices in Renewable Energy

With the advent of greater hi-tech advancements, consumers have enjoyed more choice in renewable energy. For example, in 2015, many homeowners can convert to renewable that will make their homes totally independent of electric grids. This has already been done by Michael Strizky of Hopewell NJ, a former NASA employee and inventor. He built his home to be completely independent of fossil fuel energy. In addition to solar panels, his home also is installed with hydrogen and fuel cells. For the average homeowner, however, solar energy conversions are far less costly than in the past. For example, many solar energy companies offer several types of conversion plans:

. Purchase of panels

. Lease to buy

. Lease via annual contract

. Free in exchange for a regular monthly solar utility charge

Advancements in Renewable Energy Production

In 2015, it is more likely that conversions to renewable energy will be a result of the advancements of the past five years. With the knowledge that fuel cells can contain sustainable amounts of energy, the sizes of these cells will inevitably make it possible for greater energy storage and less dependency on fossil fuels. In addition, many European scientists in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have developed full solar arrays that allow countries to produce more than 60% of their country's total energy supply. In 2014, solar energy production in Germany rose to nearly 50% according to several sources. German technology in renewables has outpaced much of the rest of the countries of the world. This type of progress shows that 2015 may be the year that renewable energy is finally validated as a viable alternative to fossil fuel energy.

Long Term, Proven Track Record of Effective Energy

Perhaps, the best testament to the effectiveness of renewable energy is those facilities, commercial, industrial and governmental, that invested in renewable energy since its advent in the energy industry. Many of these facilities installed solar panels in the late 1990s and have now exchanged the panels for newer generations that withstand winds up to 120 mph, where formerly the wind integrity was 90 mph.

Increase in Investments for Renewable Energy

In addition to the physical investments in renewable energy, the banking giant, Goldman Sachs, in 2013, reported on its intention to increase investments in clean, renewable energy. In 2015, interest in these investments will become an even bigger deal as large corporations invest in clean energy initiatives, and get behind large projects.

As you can see, the search for renewable energy isn’t just one of the latest trends that will soon fade. As technology advances, and large companies get on board, we are continually finding new resources for renewable energy. The information for this article was provided by the professionals of LFG Technologies who specialize in renewable energy projects that convert landfill gas into energy.

Dixie Somers

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An increasing number of homeowners are turning to solar power to save on their energy costs and to make less of an impact on the environment. Many times, solar panels can generate enough energy to power as much as 50 percent of the average home’s energy leading to significant savings on electric. Solar power installation companies also often state that adding solar power to your home increases its resale value. In actuality, solar panels can complicate your home sale or purchase.

Do Solar Panels Increase Home Value?

Although solar companies will insist that solar power increases the value of your home, this is not a guarantee. There are many factors that go into how solar panels affect your home’s value including:

  • The part of the country you live in
  • Whether you leased or purchased the panels
  • The type of home
  • How much energy costs are reduced by the panels

The starting value of your home is also a factor as higher-priced homes tend to see more value when they have solar panels installed than lower-priced homes.

Lower Energy Costs and Damage to Environment

There is no doubt that solar has significant benefits that can be an advantage when you try to sell your home. A typical solar panel can produce a significant amount of energy which help you save money on energy. For a potential buyer, this will be attractive as there are very few people who would not want to lower energy costs. Buyers who are conscious of their carbon footprint will also see benefits to a home with solar panels as solar energy has less impact on the environment than other forms of energy.

Leasing vs. Buying

Solar installations can be very expensive, ranging from $15,000 to $20,000. Very few homeowners have that much expendable income to add solar power to their home. Solar companies now offer leasing options. You sign an agreement that you will pay a flat monthly fee for the panels for the next 15 to 30 years. Leasing is attractive to many homeowners who want to switch to solar, but it can be a deterrent to buyers who aren’t interested in an additional monthly payment. In addition, some companies will not permit transfer of the lease to a new buyer, requiring the original homeowner to pay the balance on the lease should they sell the home.

Housing Market

The housing market also has an impact on the value of your home when it comes to solar panels. It must be mentioned that appraisers are not permitted to add value to a home because solar panels are installed because they are not a permanently installed in the structure. If you live in an area of the country with strong environmentally-friendly populations, solar power on a home may be well-received. In other areas of the country, there is less of a focus on the environment and solar panels may actually be a deterrent. It is important to know that the cost of your solar panels cannot simply be added to the price of your home when you sell it.

Before installing solar panels on your home, talk to a real estate agent to find out how they will impact your potential ability to sell your home in your housing market. If you are considering the purchase of a home with panels, a real estate agent can explain the advantages and disadvantages of the system that the homeowner has installed.

Dixie Somers

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Most people are aware of the impact commercial farms have on the impact with their use of pesticides. What many do not realize, however, is regular home and garden use of pesticides adds up to 160 million pounds of chemical use every year, which is more than the government and businesses combined.

Want to do something to help the environment while keeping pests away from your home? Green pest control methods can be just as effective as chemicals or even work better without the use of chemicals that can harm the environment, pets, and children. Eco-friendly pest control methods can be effective against all types of pests, including rodents, cockroaches, termites, and more.

 

What Makes Pest Control "Green?"

Eco-friendly pest control strives to use the least toxic method first to control a pest problem. In general, green pest control solutions are less damaging to the environment and less toxic to living creatures not targeted by the treatment, such as pets, humans, insects, and aquatic life.

This approach to pest control often begins with making your home and garden as inhospitable to unwanted creatures as possible by removing food and water sources and using natural compounds that deter pests. From there, chemicals with reduced toxicity can be used to combat an existing problem. Here's a look at several highly effective green pest control solutions that can help protect your home.

 

Bora-Care for Termites

Bora-Care is a boric acid system that works as a stomach poison against termites. Bora-Care can be used to protect wood from becoming a food source for termites and its low-toxicity, unlike the chemical sulfuryl fluoride that's used in fumigation. A pest control professional can help you decide if Bora-Care is a good solution for your home.

 

Eco-Friendly Cockroach Control

You can stop and track down cockroaches in your home without chemical bait. Simply use store-bought sticky traps or make your own by adding banana peel to a Mason jar and lining the rim with petroleum jelly. Place the jars near pipes and sinks then wait for the roaches to get trapped. Once you track down where they're collecting, inject boric acid into crevices and cracks.

Boric acid is a low-toxicity chemical that causes dehydration and death in roaches by affecting their exoskeleton. It's far safer than the alternative, organophosphates, which are the most common types of pesticides to poison people.

 

When working with a pest control professional like All Seasons Pest Control, ask if they use eco-friendly solutions. You can also request non-chemical solutions whenever possible to help control or prevent an infestation.

 

Dixie Somers

A public administration degree includes a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree awarded by an accredited university, college or business school. These programs prepare a person to work for a non-profit organization or in government at the local, state or national level. Earning one of these degrees involves building skills in politics, management, accounting, urban planning and environmental sciences. With a public administration masters, you may be able to put your skills to use for saving the environment.

 

Sound Management of Funds for Environmental Projects

Public administrators are held accountable for the transparency of funds used on all types of projects. Their accounting skills and ability to communicate in writing and orally will help them to employ sound management of funds for environmental projects. They will be able to create cost benefit analyses to show that environmentally friendly projects are a better investment for the long-term. They can also show how changes such as green roofs and proper insulation help to save money on a short-term basis.

 

Green Urban Planning

Green urban planning is already important and will only increase in civic priorities due to increases in urban populations. According to the World Health Organization, urban populations will grow by 1.84% per year between 2015 and 2020, which is faster than that of rural communities. Large city populations mean that it is important to build energy-efficient buildings to accommodate the growing number of people. Infrastructure such as mass transit will also need to be included. Public administrators have the attention to detail and planning skills to make these changes happen.

 

Management of Environmentally Friendly Non-profit Agencies

Public administrators learn management skills, interpersonal communications and human relations skills during their time in college or at the university. These skills can help them to find jobs at non-profit organizations and agencies that are related to the protection of the environment. The courses that public administration candidates take in politics and government will also help them to navigate through the complexities of city zoning, state government lobbying and federal agencies that create the laws around environmental protection.

The leadership, analytical and communications skills that you learn while earning a public administration degree can help you to work with different groups and promote environmental awareness with every aspect of a project. If you choose to earn a graduate degree, you may even be able to become the leader of your organization and help to further the cause of environmentally friendly cities, buildings and projects.

Dixie Somers
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Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons via Timothy Takemoto

Recycling. It's often a controversial topic, but regardless of anyone's stance on it, there is proof that recycling makes good business sense. Reusing waste is a logical way to 'kill many birds with one stone'. Most materials, when recycled, can save time and energy that would otherwise be expended in freshly manufacturing the same type of material. This, combined with the drive to preserve our ecosystems, helps make modern recycling a multi-billion dollar industry. Here’s a look at why the recycling industry is so profitable and will only continue to grow:

Lowering Production Costs

According to the Keep America Beautiful site, recycling a single ton of steel saves almost two tons of coal and iron ore. Even in purely logistical terms, a great deal of money is saved: moving three thousand tons of materials means fuel bought and workers paid. In 2009, five million tons of steel were recovered. That means that approximately twenty million tons of coal and ore were never shipped or burned. The money saved on production costs allows the recycler to sell the reclaimed metal at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible.

Minimizing Cost of Disposal

Closer to home, neighborhood recycling programs have been able to reduce costs of waste disposal by more than $50 per ton on some occasions. This makes sense, because recycling collection companies can sell the materials they collect (particularly metals). This allows them to charge clients less, as well as reducing environmental damage by keeping garbage out of landfills.

Wide-Spread Benefits

Connected to the household aspect of recycling is that of professionals such as plumbers, electricians, and general contractors. These people work with many recyclable materials, especially those who renovate old houses and other such buildings. Copper piping, old wiring, left-over metals, and paper can all be recycled, often at a profit to the contractor.

Recycling in the 21st Century

Another growing problem is electronic waste. Many still-functioning components and metals are lost when old and broken electronics are thrown away. However, in recent years, the importance of recycling has drawn more attention. Large electronic stores offer "trade-in" discounts: Turning in old electronics can get consumers credit towards new items. Making recycling directly profitable to consumers has gone a long way towards reducing waste.

Recycling Creates Jobs

With the difficulties in the economy today, one aspect of recycling stands out. Recycling creates jobs. Wherever there is a demand, someone will build a business to answer that demand. Recycling demand means business, business means jobs, and jobs mean money. The American entrepreneurial spirit has been turning garbage into money for decades and it's not likely to stop anytime soon.

Whatever your opinion on the practice of recycling, there are plenty of reasons why it is now a multi-billion industry and will continue to grow at this rate. The information for this article was provided by the professionals of King Recycling & Waste Disposal Inc., who offer recycling and disposal bin services in Toronto.

Dixie Somers

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons via Georgie Pauwels

There is a boom happening in America, one that rivals the Industrial Revolution of the 1800's. It is quiet, but the American manufacturing sector is making a comeback in a huge way. The reasons for this can be debated, but several factors appear to be self-evident. No matter the 'primary' causes, it can't be denied that manufacturing in America is on its way back up.

Energy

Cheap energy is now and always has been the key to industrial success. Today, that energy is natural gas and oil. The invention of fracking technology and new methods for extracting oil from difficult places have had a massive effect on energy. Two rarely discusses aspects of this energy bonanza are conservation and recycling. Just a quick scan of the home page of the The US Department of Energy, shows the diversity and strength of the American energy sector.

Rising Costs Overseas

It happens every time industry moves off-shore for 'greener' (or cheaper) pastures. They end up returning to the US because those low prices don't last long and Americans are the largest consumers in the world. This was true when Taiwan and Japan received the benefits of U.S. manufacturing. It is happening now in China and India.

Efficiency

Although many CEOs will cry publicly that Americans are not as good as other workers, the American worker is more efficient than we might think. Susan Adams' article in Forbes magazine demonstrates this well, as she discusses the world’s most productive countries. And American workers are also some of the happiest according to Adams.

Business Focus

Regardless of which party is in control in Washington or the state capitols, there is a strong focus on the needs and concerns of business. From taxes and training to incentives and infrastructure, the governing bodies in the US are spending a huge amount of resources to help keep companies profitable. A look at the billions spent in Texas alone proves this.

The New Industrial Revolution is (for the most part) cleaner than the last one and is lacking some of the darker sides, like child labor and slavery. But it has all the earmarks of helping to set the US up for another century of manufacturing domination. Information for this article was provided by the professionals of Advantage Manufacturing Ltd., who specialize in aluminum fabrication in Edmonton.

Dixie Somers
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Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons via Mackenzie

Anyone who lives in a city is aware of the negative environmental impacts of the transportation industry. Most cars on the road today still have internal combustion engines that emit large amounts of carbon and other pollutants. Even seemingly clean alternatives, such as electric subways and trains, still release tons of carbon annually. In all, according to the EPA, transportation was responsible for emission of just under two thousand million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, just in the U.S. Coupled with the struggle to reduce emissions is the growing population both in the U.S. (0.77% annually) and globally (just over 1% annually). Thus, the transportation industry is in a paradox of increased demand, concurrent with a need for greener practices. Additionally, many "green" technologies are projected to not be available until 2020 or later. So, what's being done to remedy the situation?

Lesser Evils

As mentioned above, cars are an obvious source of emissions. Large amounts of carbon are emitted to transport a few individuals or less. Therefore, a common solution, especially in large urban areas, is the implementation of policies encouraging people to use public transportation. Electric trains and subways do produce emissions, but are negligible compared to gas powered vehicles. But, objectively, how much greener are these forms of transport? According to a 2008 analysis of carbon pathways in transportation, switching from car to rail transportation saves an average of 106g of carbon dioxide per kilometer traveled. This may sound insignificant. But, according to The Washington Post, the average American's commute is 25 miles. So, if we extrapolate and convert this figure, the average American would reduce his or her annual carbon emissions by 2444 lbs, assuming a five day a week commute.

Tech Savvy Trucking

Given that gas cars won't be off the road in the foreseeable future, there's another solution to carbon emissions from transportation that can be applied on the road. Between integrative software from IBM and a growing demand from inefficient tractor trailers and trucks, the carbon emissions due to trucking are projected to decrease significantly in the coming years.

The transportation industry is facing growing demand in addition to growing pressure to go green. However, an industry this large takes time to implement widespread changes. While many green technologies are still being developed, proactive measures can be taken. The transportation industry needs help. But it has solutions, both on the road and off. The information for this article was provided by the professionals of 99 Truck Parts & Industrial Equipment Ltd., who specialize in truck parts in Surrey.

Dixie Somers
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Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons via Hernan Pinera

Our world is more prone to both man-made and natural disasters than any time in history, but technology is moving forward even faster. New materials and methods of testing allow us to build buildings which are modern, safe, and environmentally friendly. Here are four ways that new technology is making our buildings and structures safer and better protected than ever before.

Metamaterials

Earthquakes are destructive because of the wavelengths their shock waves emit. Metamaterials are special because they are capable of taking advantage of properties not seen in nature, and can "cloak" buildings by modifying the soil to divert the energy from earthquakes. Most importantly, the technology could be used to prevent the destruction of important infrastructure such as the national power grid, water transportation systems, and skyscrapers.

Non-destructive Testing

This is a technique often employed to examine the composition and durability of a variety of materials with which buildings are constructed. Companies like 20/20 NDT Inc. who specialize in non-destructive testing in Fort St. John, will use non-invasive techniques to inspect structures for even the smallest problems in order to prevent against disasters and make adjustments for safety. New methods of non-destructive testing (NDT) are becoming available because of technological advancements in the sciences of ultrasonic, radiography, and low coherence interferometry. There has also been a wave of tiny new hand-held devices which have contributed to the convenience of testing. NDT is making the process of constructing safer buildings much cheaper as a result.

3D Printing

Homes have been constructed using concrete for a long time, and age is a major factor in the long-term viability of the substance. 3D printing uses concrete as well, but is designed to use specialized additives which some tests have shown to be ten times as durable while lasting twice as long as traditional materials. As long as the building undergoes the same stringent building regulations as those that aren't 3D printed, experts maintain the building is safer.

Smart Materials

Like metamaterials, smart materials exhibit properties which can help prevent damage due to natural disasters or external threats such as terrorism. New shape memory alloys can endure physical stress without breaking, and bounce back to their original form when the stress is reduced. This technology would be especially helpful for updating bridges and creating a more modern alternative to pavement.

In the future, these same technologies will allow us to build taller, stronger buildings which are nearly impossible to topple through conventional means. The real question is when this will come to fruition—since metamaterials, 3D printing, and smart materials are still years away from providing the speed and cost-effectiveness we require to push the technologies mainstream.

Dixie Somers

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There is a growing desire to move toward a more sustainable lifestyle. This is evident not only in the way people live or do business but also in the way communities are designed. Civil engineers are interested in stepping in a more eco-friendly direction, and the following are a few ways they help build sustainability.

Walking Rediscovered

Communities throughout the United States are hungry for changes in the way their cities are built. Civil engineers lead the way by helping design and build cities with a higher walkability rating. Research shows that communities that are friendly to walkers or bikers are on the rise because people want to avoid using environmentally harmful modes of transportation, such as cars.

Eco-Friendly Materials

There are a lot issues that need to be dealt with in this industry such as waste creation or improving the durability of certain materials. Of course, it is easy to understand why reducing waste is good for the planet, and making sure that materials are durable helps prevent unnecessary rebuilding. This requires knowledge that up-and-coming students are getting by enrolling in programs like the civil engineering masters online. For example, innovations in building materials has led to the creation of bacteria-infused concrete. This bacteria is dormant until a crack appears and begins to create calcite, which naturally fills the crack.

Synergy Created

An important aspect of civil engineering that is becoming more important deals with creating a connection between design and technology. For example, some engineers are attempting to reconstruct the infrastructure in the United States to include smart roads. These roads can absorb sunlight to create energy, which could be used by the city or to recharge energy-powered vehicles. Some of these smart roads can detect ice on the road and help melt it to make driving a little safer.

Water Infrastructure Change

Water is of the utmost importance, especially if the water is clean. It would make sense that the United States would be worried about this since many regions in the country are devoid of clean water, but that is not the case. Now, civil engineers are coming up with ways to fix the country's decaying water infrastructure. Some of their ideas are to simply replace the piping that, in some cases, are decades old. Others are suggesting different ways of filtering water like using sand or lime softening.

Of course, these are just four ways civil engineers are leading small communities and the entire society to the future. There are a few things missing like funding and adequate coverage regard its importance, but the signs of change are evident.

Dixie Somers
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Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons via Halfrain

When a home leaks energy, the result is typically higher energy costs and causing your central heat and air to work harder than it should. For this reason, many homeowners actively seek for practical ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home. Keeping more of your home's heat and air inside will lead to lower energy costs. In the interest of helping homeowners make their home more energy efficient, here are four excellent tips on how to keep energy leaks from eating into your wallet:

Create a Draft Snake

The area at the base of a door leading outside the home is a major issue for a lot of home owners. This is more noticeable in the winter time, when a stream of cold air is pouring in through the open space between the door and the floor. One action a homeowner can take is to create a draft-snake to place in front of the base of their front or back door to prevent air flow. Making a draft-snake is relatively easy and fun. Simply sew up a long tunnel shaped piece of material, fill it with some type of cloth or foam padding, and sew up the end. The draft-snake should be long enough by measure to cover the entire base of the door it will be blocking. Some people even go an extra step and make their draft-snake look like a stuffed snake or other type of stuffed animal for decorative purposes.

Energy Loss through Sliding Glass Doors

Another major source of massive energy loss is energy loss that occurs through a sliding glass door. Because the outside of the home is usually at a different temperature than the inside of the home, the glass becomes an effective medium of energy transfer. Since the surface of the glass is relatively large by area, this allows for more energy transfer than a small window. When the frame of a sliding glass door is metal, this will allow heat loss through conduction during the winter months. One action a home owner can take to remedy this problem is to switch out the aluminum frame for a fiberglass frame, thus eliminating a significant amount of conductive heat loss. To prevent even further thermal loss, another step a home owner can take is to use a thicker insulated curtain to cover the sliding glass door with. Using a reflective material to reflect incoming sunlight back outside during the summer months will help prevent external heating from making your home too warm as well.

Sealing Cracks and Replacing Old Windows

It is inevitable that cracks will form around aging window frames and sills. To prevent energy from leaking through these cracks, it is possible to purchase calking agents to help fill and cover any cracks around a window. Installing seals at closing points on an old window is another action a home owner can take to help keep leaks from being a problem. If a home owner wants to update their home, installing quality energy efficient windows is another way to improve your homes energy efficiency. Newer frames and seals around the closure points of windows will prevent energy leakage for years to come. Installing double pained glazed windows will allow for a thermal gap between the two pains that prevents energy loss from occurring. Professionals who offer Winter Park, FL shutters suggest that you use lighter window treatments as well, in order to keep the home cool and energy efficient.

Insulation

Insulation is an important key to preventing a home from experiencing energy loss. Poorly insulated areas, such as walls, the attic and a crawl space will inevitably create situations for major energy loss to occur. In fact, since heat rises, an attic that is not well insulated will allow heat to escape through the roof at an alarming rate; consequently, applying a layer of insulation in an attic is one of the most cost effective methods for preventing heat energy loss in winter.

Energy has numerous opportunities to leak out of your home; however, by taking a few simple steps, you can significantly reduce the amount of energy loss your home is experiencing. By reducing energy loss, you will begin to see that your heating and cooling bills will reduce significantly. If you have difficulty identifying ways energy is leaking from your home, it may be necessary to contact a professional who specializes in inspecting and troubleshooting energy leak issues associated with residential homes.

Dixie Somers

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Many are commonly unaware of how easily our water sources and surrounding environments can become contaminated by dirty water. Humans survive through the consumption and use of fresh clean water on a daily basis. Without properly filtered water to drink and bathe with, everyday life would be completely altered, if it continued to exist at all. Below are some ways that eco-friendly technologies like Econocycle affect wastewater for the better.

What Is Wastewater?

Any water that has been affected by human use is considered wastewater. Wastewater can come from domestic homes, commercial and industrial facilities. Any time you flush your toilet at home or hear the dishes being washed at your favorite restaurant, wastewater is being produced. Any tainted water coming from schools, hospitals, office buildings and farms is classified as wastewater. Most wastewater usually has a high composition of chemicals and toxins in which runoff into larger bodies of water. It is even possible for some of this dirty wastewater to find its way into your drinking water. Although most wastewater is filled with toxins and contaminants, graywater is clean enough to be used for things like watering plants.

What Is Graywater?

Different from highly polluted water, graywater is any kind of domestic wastewater aside from sewage. The difference between graywater and sewage (or blackwater) is its organic makeup. Being loaded with materials like food, yard, and human waste, blackwater holds to be much more organic thanks to its sources compared to that of graywater. Some sources of graywater include sinks, showers/baths, washing machines and dishwashers. All of which do not include fecal contaminants making the wastewater they produce much cleaner than that of toilets and industrial factories. Thankfully there is technology available making wastewater and graywater treatment feasible.

Wastewater Technologies

There are countless tools and techniques out there that help sustain the flow of clean filtrated water. Screening and floatation are great methods for commercial industries to use for water cleansing purposes. The initial investment for a proper wastewater purification system can provide organizations like hospitals can be sure they never run out of clean water for their patients. Not to mention the benefits one of these systems offers the environment. Constant upkeep on contaminated water leads to the release of strictly clean water back into the natural water cycle. Rather than disposing of chemically infected water in the backyard of their buildings, businesses can fulfill their social responsibility and help keep a clean and healthy environment. Thankfully these technologies are also available in your home!

How Can You Help?

By installing an effective home sewage system, you would be decreasing the decay of the natural environment around your home. Designed to treat wastewater left off from regular household and commercial activities. It is important to remember that some states even have certain waste discharge standards as well. Thankfully to your benefit, waste cleansing systems help regulate contamination of water.

While adding to the welfare of the environment a proper wastewater care system can go a long way. Commonly used in the business world, it should be known that home filtration systems could be incredibly beneficial. Staying Eco-friendly saves you money and keeps your surrounding area free of toxic contamination. As result, this can only help you prosper in the business world or live comfortably and healthy at home.

Dixie Somers

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Lawnmowers may be a lot smaller than cars, but that doesn’t stop them from releasing noxious fumes into the environment and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, emissions from lawnmowers, leaf vacuums, snow blowers, and other outdoor power equipment are a significant source of air pollution. This is bad news for the eco-conscious homeowner, but there are eco-friendly lawnmower options available that aim to reduce fume emissions. In addition to being better for the environment, eco-friendly lawnmowers are also quieter than traditional mowers and often times, cheaper to run. Is an eco-friendly lawnmower the best option for you? Read below to find out more.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Around 5% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions come from gas lawnmowers. Considering the size of a traditional lawnmower, this is a huge percentage. Electric lawnmowers, on the other hand, generate no toxic tailpipe emissions and run on lithium-ion batteries. Gas mowers emit carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons, which is bad for both the environment and the humans who breathe it in. Electric mowers keep the air clean and make a lot less noise, too. Visit a company like Cox Mowers to see if you can find a model that fits your needs best.

Energy Consumption and Cost

Most electric mowers are slightly more expensive than gas mowers, but cost less to run in the long run. The typical electric lawnmower can mow about one third of an acre with one charge. They need about 3.5 kilowatts to recharge, which equates to about $0.38 per recharge if the electricity rate is $.11 per kilowatt hour. While the price of gas can vary, a typical gas lawnmower will cost about $4.00 to $5.00 per acre. If you have a larger yard, the savings of an electric mower can be substantial.

Electric lawnmowers need to recharge, which can be a downside for some. You can decide to purchase a replacement battery to swap with the other battery, which can make things easier. However, you will have the added cost of the extra battery and you’ll need to make sure you keep both batteries charged.

Where to Buy a Lawnmower

There are several good places to buy both eco-friendly and gas lawnmowers. Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears offer a variety of lawnmowers that will appeal to the eco-conscious homeowner. Online stores carry both gas and electric mowers. Some companies also carry environmentally friendly push mowers for those that prefer a simple, cost-effective lawnmower.

Dixie Somers

Do you want your home to be environmentally-friendly? Not only is that better for the environment, but it can also save you a lot of money in terms of utilities. It may even improve your home values if you ever decide to sell or take out an equity line of credit—home buyers today are increasingly interested in green renovations. Here are a few of the best modern green renovations for homeowners.

1. Smart Energy Use

New smart energy systems can monitor the amount of electricity you use and let you control all of your appliances and electronics through your smartphone. Monitoring your energy usage enables you to cut back on your spending if it gets too high, while the ability to turn off appliances and electronics on the fly means that you'll never forget something on. These new smart energy systems are usually Wi-Fi configured so they can be used from anywhere, and they can be easily installed on a home's existing electricity system, making them convenient as well.

2. Eco-Friendly Water Filtration

Water filtration systems are incredibly important for an eco-friendly home. Without water filtration and treatment, a fair amount of households rely upon bottled water. Americans use about 50 billion plastic water bottles each year. Not only does bottled water introduce unnecessary plastics into the environment, but it also takes waters from areas that may desperately need it, upsetting the local ecosystems. Water is also costly to ship from the bottling plants, which further increases its carbon footprint. Nevertheless, tap water is often not entirely safe to drink. A filtration system will give a homeowner the option of safely drinking water from their home. Visit a professional at Rooter Pro Plumbing for more information about the water filtration systems available for your home.

3. Indoor Composting Systems

Indoor composting systems are state-of-the-art kitchen renovations with no odor or mess. These composting systems take your kitchen food waste and turn it into a nutritious compost to grow herbs and other plant directly within your kitchen. Not only does this improve your food's sustainability, but it also reduces the amount of leftovers you waste -- and replaces a garbage disposal almost entirely. An indoor composting system is run by small and harmless parasites that are able to compost your kitchen materials without the traditional odors of composting. These systems are generally built directly into a kitchen island.

These are just three of the best green innovations for your home. There are dozens of ways that you can lower your home's carbon footprint, from simply improving your home's insulation to installing advanced smart home systems.

Dixie Somers

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Innovations continue to emerge as business and governmental agencies step up to the challenge of reducing solid waste. From planning for the future to large-scale examples of best practices in waste-stream sorting, here are five intriguing advancements in recycling:

1. Design for Recycling

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries recognizes advancements in this area with an annual award. Samsung Electronics America won the award in 2016 for its design of a TV incorporating snap-together parts instead of screws, allowing a recycler to disassemble it in ten minutes or less.

2. Wear. Donate. Recycle.

Did you know the average person in the U.S. throws away 70 pounds of clothing and textiles each year? Some municipalities are considering textile recycling programs or even fining residents who throw away clothing instead of donating it.

The Council for Textile Recycling works to create awareness among consumers, charities, recyclers and others and has a goal of zero textile waste going to landfills by 2037. So expect to see much more of their slogan, “Wear. Donate. Recycle.”

3. Sink Your Shucks

You might not realize that even natural materials can have uses beyond the landfill. Consider oyster shells, as an example. A recycling program in Texas called "Sink Your Shucks" takes oyster shells discarded by seafood processors and uses them to restore ocean reefs. In August 2016 they celebrated recycling one million pounds of oyster shells this way. That's making a difference!

4. In-house Options

Businesses that end up with lots of cardboard boxes — and needs packing material for shipping — have found a great solution with industrial cardboard shredders such as those offered by Advantage Business Equipment. Not only do they provide a sustainable way to get rid of cardboard, but the shredders can also pay for themselves very quickly by supplying the business with virtually free packing material.

5. Smart Waste Management

As communities struggle with lower commodity prices, they're looking for ideas to streamline and improve their recycling efforts. A great example is the Southern Nevada Recycling Center in Las Vegas, operated by Republic Services and winner of the 2016 Gold Excellence Award in the Recycling Systems category from the Solid Waste Association of North. It's huge—110,000 square feet—and is capable of processing 70 tons of waste per hour through its material recovery facility.

Fortunately, there are many great examples of environmental stewardship as efforts continue to make the most of our resources, protect the environment and create a sustainable future. Keep yourself informed on new ways that you can save the environment through recycling.

Dixie Somers

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Whether you're concerned about the chemicals in cleaning products or you simply want to save money, natural cleaning solutions are a healthy, cost-effective way to ensure that your home sparkles. With a little research and a few common ingredients, you can make DIY cleaners for every crevice. Here are five recipes to get you started.

1. Lemons

Yes, just lemons. Citrus fruit can clean everything from your garbage disposal to your countertops (provided they aren't marble or stainless steel). You can also mix lemon juice with sea salt for a natural scouring solution or with one or two tablespoons of cream of tartar to make a paste for cleaning grout.

2. Natural Tile Cleaner

Avoid the chemicals in commercial tile cleaning products with this easy DIY solution. Start with a half cup of baking soda, then add your favorite natural liquid soap slowly until you achieve a frosting-like consistency. Top it off with five to ten drops of your favorite essential oil. Make the paste with water instead of soap and leave out the fragrance for a green oven cleaner.

3. Citrus-Infused Vinegar

Grab the lemon peels from the fruit you juiced for the first tip to make this versatile solution. Just fill a jar with lemon, orange, and lime peels, then fill to the top with white vinegar. Let it sit for anywhere from three to 14 days before straining out the vinegar. The resulting solution can be used to clean windows and glass, disinfect germy surfaces, and mop floors, though you might want to contact a company like A-Plus Window Cleaning if the windows are extremely dirty. On its own, vinegar can be used to clean your coffee maker, dishwasher, drains, and showerheads.

4. Natural Laundry Soap

For this easy, money-saving recipe, mix one part soap flakes or grated bar soap with two parts each of Borax and washing soda. Store the mixture in a glass jar or other closed container, and use between two tablespoons and a quarter cup for each load of laundry.

5. Heavy-Duty Toilet Scrub

Instantly clean and disinfect your toilet by mixing a half cup of baking soda, 10 drops of tea tree, and a quarter-cup of white vinegar. The fizzy mixture easily washes away accumulated grime while you scrub with a brush. When you're done, mix baking soda with essential oil in a clean jar with a lid for an instant air freshener.

Once you've tried these quick-and-easy, all-natural cleaning fixes, you'll never want to go back to the harsh smells, damaging chemicals, and prohibitive cost of commercial cleaning products.

Dixie Somers

Driving can have a hugely negative impact on your carbon footprint, and while we all strive to reduce our personal drain on the environment, there are some things we struggle to do without. While you work toward a world that lives in harmony with earth, there are some things you can do to reduce your car’s carbon footprint.

Share a Car

Most families have more than one car, and more often than not, each car is intended for the transportation of one person at a time. Getting rid of one car and sharing the other can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. If life with one car is not doable right now, try to carpool as much as possible and save the other car for emergencies only.

Trade Up

Trade in your gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient green vehicle. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll be saving money on gas as well. Check out the EPA’s site on green vehicles to help you make the best choice for your family.

Drive More Sensibly

The better you drive, the less gas you waste. Instead of hitting the gas, accelerate slowly and maintain a steady speed. That also includes not driving faster than you need to. These simple tips can improve your gas mileage by 33%, not to mention make the road safer for you and others.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance can also improve your carbon footprint. Simple acts like getting an engine tune up from a company like Natrad can keep your car running smoothly and keep it from emitting more CO2 than it should. Take it a step further and replace all of your filters at least once a year.

Air Up

Airing up your tires and keeping them inflated to the proper level can increase your fuel efficiency and save over 400 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Roll Down the Windows

Instead of cranking up the air, roll down the windows. Not only will this reduce your fuel consumption, but it will increase your happy mood. A little fresh air and vitamin D does good for the mind and body.

So many people live by the idea that, if we can never reduce our carbon footprint to a completely sustainable level, we shouldn’t bother trying. While it may be true that some pollution is inevitable, it is also true that we can make a difference and lessen the global impact one step at a time—and the first step is making eco-friendly choices in your own home.

Dixie Somers

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Computers don't only depreciate in value, they become obsolete rather quickly. That's great for manufacturers in the computer industry but not so great for consumers and businesses who rely on having access to up-to-date and reliable technology. On average, a component in your PC is outdated every three years. From the video card to the processor, something is bound to be considered obsolete within a few years.

While you can future-proof your devices by having your IT department upgrade your operating systems, processors, and RAM, you will eventually have to get rid of the old to make room for new computer systems. When you're making space for your new computer systems and peripheral devices, make sure that you're recycling the outdated technology. Here are 5 reasons that you should recycle:

1. Make Money Back with Buy Back

Some computer companies understand how frustrating it is to have to pay more money just to buy another PC. HP Planet Partners Return and Recycling has a unique buyback program in place where you can sell your old systems back to the company for money or you can trade up to a new system. You're not going to get a fortune, but it is a financial incentive.

2. Help Protect the Environment

Landfill sites are full of materials that can be reused. These sites are also full of toxic waste that could hurt the environment. By recycling your outdated technologies you can help manufacturers used recycled materials instead of using resources that could be used for other things. You can also ensure toxic materials are separated and disposed of properly.

3. Get a Recycling Tax Credit

One of the advantages of being a business owner is that you can get a tax break for recycling. Incentives can really lower your tax liability. The depreciation of recycling your machinery can be taking into account as an extra allowance. You may also get state income tax credits for up to 10 percent of the purchase price of the machinery.

4. Set a Social Example

Your brand is very important when you're marketing a product or service. If you're all about being socially responsible and highlighting the fact that your company is dedicated to green practices, recycling your old hardware could help you set an example for your customers. Your customers will respect the efforts that you're making and they'll be more likely to recycle their old computers too.

5. Protect Your Sensitive Information

When computers and other technologies are recycled they are de-manufactured. That means that the materials are separated into groups by Ottawa IT service companies specializing in recycling. Then, the engineers will safely dispose of the waste. During this process, your sensitive data is destroyed so you don't have to worry about letting it sit there vulnerable.

Your office trash could be the environment's treasure. Consider all of the advantages of recycling your e-waste and you won't leave your full machines sitting in storage. Instead of taking up space for antiquated systems, call a recycling company and dispose of your obsolete items quickly.

Dixie Somers

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In America's cities, it is a necessity to have clean water for consumption, bathing, and everyday use in order to stay healthy. With so many people living in these areas, it can be hard to keep water safe and clean. There are things that you can do to make sure that your household use doesn't negatively affect the water supply in your area. From pollution runoff from agricultural facilities affecting the water table to toxic chemical dumping in rural areas and even littering, many people have no idea how dirty their drinking water actually is.

 

What Can You Do To Help?

One way that you can make sure that you are not contributing negatively to the pollution of water in our cities is to be sure that you are not flushing or washing any type of volatile or potentially harmful chemicals down the drain when you are using them. Always be sure to dispose of chemicals properly. When washing animals or cars outside, try to use environmentally safe products that won't add to the pollution in groundwater sources.

Sewage treatment plants can produce lots of pollution as well, so it is important to make sure that you are protecting yourself from untreated groundwater. Also, when you move into a new residence or install new toilets, it is a good idea to make sure that your toilets are equipped with water-saving devices. There are many ways to conserve and treat polluted water.

 

Keeping Your Own Water Clean

In-home water purification systems are a growing trend in keeping drinking water safe and clean for everyday use. Rather than buying bottled water and using expensive chemical treatments to keep water clean, purifying water as it is brought into the home is a very smart idea. Your purification system can be installed directly to the water pump in the home or directly onto the faucet as water comes out. New brands of refrigerators also come with water filtration systems and can help keep clean water a constant factor in your home.

 

What About Outside My Home?

You might wonder what you can do to make sure that you are getting clean water when you are outside of the home as well. There are a few ways to do this. You can carry a portable water filter that attaches to faucets with you. You can also be sure to only patronize reputable establishments that support environmental wellness.

Closer to home, it is necessary to make sure that you are not polluting your own yard. Adding things like fertilizer to your soil can make your water table toxic and unhealthy and can bring bad water into your home. You too can be an activist for your own clean water and for the health of your city's water by taking these few simple steps.

Dixie Somers

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Not only can solar panels increase the value of your home, but they might also reduce your electric bills by hundreds of dollars a year. Before having the solar panels installed, you must take a few steps to protect your home and the panels themselves. Here are some tips you can use to make sure that your next solar power project goes off without a hitch.

Carefully Inspect the Roof

You must have your roof repairs completed well before your solar array is installed. Issues such as a few missing tiles or cracked drip edges might not seem important, but they could result in much worse damage if they aren’t taken care of immediately. You also need to inspect the inside of your attic for any signs of damage like mold in the insulation, wet spots on the joists, or sagging roof panels.

Consider Replacing Your Roof

The solar panel contractors can do everything in their power to protect your home, but they will still be dragging heavy equipment and materials across your roof. If your roof happens to be more than 15 years old, then you might want to consider replacing it entirely before the solar panels are installed. Once the panels are installed, it will be completely impractical to replace the roof for the next five or 10 years.

Determine the Placement of the Panels

Solar contractors have many tools at their disposal to determine where the panels should be placed. As a general rule, south-facing roofs tend to receive the best sunlight and generate the most energy. Roofs that face east and west can produce energy, but placing panels in those areas might not be as efficient. Luckily, the cost of solar panels has dropped in the last few years, and many people still install arrays in areas that don’t receive quite as much direct sunlight.

Remove Obstacles

Anything that blocks sunlight from hitting the panels will have a major impact on the efficiency of the system. The most common obstacles are chimney stacks and tree branches, but you will also need to consider nearby buildings. Those who have satellite dishes or antennas might need to move those devices to a different position to make room for the panels.

Schedule a Final Inspection

Even if you know quite a bit about roofs, you must work with a certified roofing contractor before having the panels installed. These specialists will make sure that your roof is safe and adheres to all local codes and regulations. Depending on the age of your roof, the contractor might also suggest placing additional supports under the panels themselves.

 

The final step in this process is to contact a local solar company to discuss your options. This technology is more affordable than ever, and many companies offer unique deals such as rental options and lease-to-own programs

Dixie Somers

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When you think of green energy your mind probably jumps to solar, wind or emerging hydrogen power, but you may not have considered that propane and its cousin natural gas, are also among of the greenest energy sources available to homeowners.

Clean Burning

While propane is essentially a fossil fuel, derived from natural gas or petroleum, it burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels. It emits roughly half the greenhouse gases compared to coal or oil and it doesn’t emit as many harmful compounds or toxins, such as sulfur dioxide and CO2. This reduces the prevalence of smog and the occurrence of environmental problems such as acid rain, which is caused by high concentrations of pollutants from gas and coal.

May Be Cleaner and Cheaper Than Electricity

There is some research to support the argument that natural gas is actually cheaper and more efficient alternative to electricity for some applications. This is one reason that many homes have mostly gas-powered appliances if possible. Having more homes with gas powered appliances reduces electric bills and helps to ease the strain on the power grid.

While many people consider electricity to be clean, that really depends on how the electricity is generated. Electricity produced by a coal power plant, for example, is going to be exceptionally dirty and inefficient. Electricity produced from solar, wind or hydroelectric is going to be cleaner than any other source of power, including natural gas or propane. That said, power from truly clean sources accounts for a very small percentage of the electricity generated in the United States.

Even in pioneering states like California, renewable energy sources account for only about 25 percent of total energy generation. In most areas of the country, that number is far lower. Taking United States energy production as a whole, 30 percent of electricity is generated by dirty coal, 20 percent generated by nuclear and only 15 percent generated by renewables. Interestingly enough, natural gas accounts for the largest share of electricity production in the US, at 34 percent.

Using natural gas directly can help shift the focus away from dirty sources like coal and questionable sources like nuclear. It is worthwhile for you to consider where your power comes from to decide if using natural gas or propane in your home will be a greener choice.

Off the Grid

One tremendous advantage of propane is that it can be used off the grid. In areas where electricity is difficult, expensive or just plain impossible to supply, propane can serve as an excellent substitute. Propane tank installation in Mason is relatively simple and gives you a reliable supply of propane for your use without reliance on the municipal grid or supply. Even if you don’t use propane consistently, it is an excellent emergency power source for cooking, water heating or even to power a home-based generator.

Propane is Efficient

Efficiency is a key element of the environmental friendliness of any fuel. In this case, using propane directly is very efficient compared to most other types of power. For example, a coal power plant converts only about 38 percent of the energy found in coal to electricity. This means that not only is coal exceptionally dirty to begin with, it is also extremely inefficient. When propane is used directly, basically 100 percent of the energy goes toward the intended use because there is no conversion of energy.

Natural Gas May Become Renewable

While natural gas used currently in the United States is not renewable and is derived from fossil fuel, there is the possibility that natural gas and propane could be harvested from renewable sources in the near future. Likely candidates are landfills and water treatment plants. Decomposing organic matter releases tremendous amounts of natural gas, which is released into the atmosphere. If this natural gas could successfully contained and harvested, it would present an excellent source of renewable fuel. The natural gas could then be used directly or refined into other fuels like propane and hydrogen.

Demand will primarily affect how much attention this technology receives. As more homeowners switch to propane or natural gas, the demand will increase and entice more companies to invest in the technology and infrastructure to harvest it from renewable sources. As a homeowner, you have an important part to play in the green energy future and the infrastructure that will support it.

Dixie Somers

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Environmentalism has moved well beyond being just a hot-button talking point during election cycles. Green initiatives and eco-friendly solutions are expected from seemingly unrelated industries and service providers across the board. While it may initially surprise you, plumbing companies are among those devising eco-friendly methods and solutions, a vital fact given that water is one of our most precious resources.

Solar Powered Water Heating

With temperature control accounting for nearly 50 percent of the average household's energy bill, finding natural ways to accomplish this is a win for both homeowners and the environment. Now that solar panels are significantly more affordable, thanks in part to both government initiatives and sheer advancement of the technology, even plumbing companies have developed novel ways to utilize solar energy.

Water heaters powered with solar energy are not only more energy efficient than their electric counterparts, but thanks to battery back-up systems, homeowners no longer have to worry about the occasional stretch of cloudy weather. Solar heaters that use direct circulation are best for homes in warm climates, while indirect circulation systems are perfectly adapted for use in cold climates, meaning regardless of where you live, solar powered water heating is a viable green option.

Graywater Recycling

Each year, single households waste thousands of gallons worth of water simply because it's no longer fit to drink. Between showering, laundry, dishwashing, and other activities, the amount of water we use beyond our doctor-recommended eight glasses a day is astounding. In fact, the average person creates about 40 gallons of graywater each day.

However, water that's passed through the washing machine or shower still has plenty of other uses. Once installed, graywater systems collect, filter, and store this water, saving it for toilet flushing, landscaping, and plenty of other applications around your property. Additionally, you can further stretch your graywater’s potential uses by choosing an eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Eco-Friendly Toilets

It may seem silly, but one of the simplest and most effective ways plumbers make homes more efficient is through the installation of eco-friendly toilets. Depending upon the age of your toilet, it can use anywhere from three to seven gallons just for a single flush. Even at a conservative single flush a day, this adds up to more than 3,000 gallons of water a year.

Eco-friendly toilets work just as well, but use anywhere from 20 to 60 percent less water per flush. Not only is this great for the environment, but it also can dramatically lower your water bill. When combined with a grey water system, this can add up to astounding savings throughout the course of a year.

Water Pipes

Common wisdom holds that, while more expensive, copper pipes are still the best bet for durability and heat retention. However, copper has been edged out by both steel and PEX (polyethylene) pipes, which offer the same benefits at a lower price point. Because these materials are excellent at storing heat, they're often used by plumbing companies that provide homeowners with green solutions. Contact a plumbing company like L.J. Kruse Company if you have questions about your specific pipes.

If you absolutely must have copper piping, there's an environmentally friendly fix for them, as well as for cheaper plastic pipes. Adding a layer of insulation will not only offer a little protection, but can also improve heat retention by as much as 80 percent.

Faucets and Shower Heads

While a comparatively small bit of hardware compared to toilets and water heaters, even shower heads and faucets can waste startling amounts of water. For example, older shower heads can release as much as two and half gallons in 60 seconds, while older sink faucets tend to drip no matter how hard you try to tighten them.

High efficiency shower heads and faucets provide more than enough water pressure for bathing, washing dishes, and brushing teeth without the unnecessary waste of older units. Like eco-friendly toilets, these also pair well with grey water systems. Furthermore, a high efficiency shower head combined with a solar powered water heater will let you take long, hot showers free of guilt.

Do Your Part

We all need to do our part to adopt more sustainable and earth-friendly ways of living. Environmentalism begins at home, and there's no better place to start than with your home's plumbing system. Eco-friendly plumbing will not only reduce your carbon footprint and maximize the usefulness of each gallon, as a suite of green plumbing system can also net you hundreds in savings on your annual utility bill.

Dixie Somers

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Kudos to you for caring about our precious planet! As a business owner, you can protect our environment on a broad scale. One significant way is using eco-friendly equipment. By doing so, you'll reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption. You'll also save money. Here are five types of gadgets with Earth-saving features.

 

1. Recycled Calculators

Equip your staff with calculators made of recycled plastic that run on solar power. Some devices are advertised as being free of lead and mercury. Some companies go a step farther, with packaging and instructions made of recycled paper. Examples of companies selling these gadgets are Canon, Sharp, and Staples. Canon recycles plastic from its old copiers. Staples offers one made of recycled toner and ink cartridges, keeping them out of landfills.

 

2. Eco-Friendly Printers

You'll reduce paper waste via printers with recycled cartridges and few consumable parts. An ENERGY STAR rating indicates high energy efficiency. Color laser printers have the largest number of consumable parts. When shopping for a printer, choose one with separate toner and drum cartridges. These are the least wasteful. Ideally, purchase an ozone-free printer that uses recycled cartridges.

 

3. Computer Power Savers

Power savers save electricity and reduce carbon emissions by powering down computers when not in use. Plug a unit into your USB port, and load the software. Then press the button before leaving your desk, and the gadget puts your computer into energy-saving mode. This power suspension is almost equivalent to turning off your machine. Upon returning, tap any key, and your computer powers up.

It's estimated that using this device on a single computer can prevent 135kg of carbon emissions per year. A business with 50 computers saves at least $1,500 in electric bills and 6.8 tons of CO2 annually. These merits accrue when non-machine use averages two hours per day. Although it's possible to navigate menus to access energy-saving mode, the average employee won't bother since it's time-consuming. A power-saving device is both user-friendly and gratifying. Research cites another benefit of power-saving devices. They motivate consumers to turn off lights and unplug appliances when not in use.

 

4. Solar Panels

Solar systems are now used by 22 percent of city buildings and 5 percent of commercial buildings in the US. As a business owner, you can significantly reduce and possibly eliminate your electric bill. What you're spending on electricity now is likely much higher than what you'll pay for solar long-term.

Houston Chronicle reports that installing solar panels is a sound business investment. Government incentives and lower installation costs make switching to solar economical. Most panels carry a 25-year warranty. A panel system needs little or no maintenance, working efficiently for 25 to 40 years.

If your system generates more electricity than your business uses, your net electricity cost will be $0. To remain linked to the electrical grid, you'll pay a minimal connection fee, usually $100 per year. While saving money, you'll help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution. You can also use going solar as a marketing tool. Customers respond positively to eco-friendly businesses.

So, how does a solar panel work? This device converts sunlight into electricity, using conductive metalloid wafers called solar cells. When light particles strike a solar cell, they generate an electric charge. Multiple charges create a steady flow of energy.

Solar cells are packed into circuits called modules. One or more modules make up a solar panel. When mounted on a rooftop, the panels receive sunlight. The resulting direct current (DC) is converted to alternating current (AC) by a device called an inverter. AC then powers your lights and machines. Visit a vendor like ML Solar if you’re interested in getting solar panels.

 

5. Eco-Friendly Vending Machines

A standard vending machine uses 3500–4000 kilowatt hours per year, consumed by refrigeration and lighting. Eco-friendly models significantly cut energy expenditure, some slashing it by half! Other features that are kind to our environment are LED lighting and energy-efficient cooling units.

Motion sensors and standby mode further reduce energy consumption by 20 percent. Some companies provide remote inventory monitoring. Many vendors are now offering healthy snacks, organic coffee, hot food, frozen treats, and fresh fruit. Dual controls maintain both hot and cold foods at proper temps inside one machine.

 

ENERGY STAR Business Support

If you own a small company, consider joining the ENERGY STAR Small Business Network. As a member, you'll receive free information and technical support for reducing energy waste and costs. You'll learn business practices that protect our environment. You can display the ENERGY STAR promotional mark, showing the public your company is dedicated to saving energy.

Tools from the Environmental Protection Agency help you track water and energy consumption. Expert assistance is at your disposal for improving efficiency, such as the "Ask a Technical Question" service. Resources are also tailored to the following types of small businesses:

  • auto dealers
  • convenience and grocery stores
  • lodging
  • manufacturers
  • offices
  • restaurants

 

Gadgets Large and Small

As a business owner, you can help protect our environment in numerous ways. Using eco-friendly equipment is one substantial way. Our world needs more Earth-minded entrepreneurs like you!

Dixie Somers

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Under both public and government pressure, more industries are adopting eco-friendly practices. Business owners are also looking for ways to incorporate green practices into their operations out of their own environmental concern. One of the industries that's increasingly focused on going green is dentistry. Here are just a few of the ways that dentists have become more eco-friendly.

1. Office environment

More dentists are opting to use green materials in both the exterior and interior of their facilities. Fabrics, panels, finishes, and many other products are now available that are made from non-toxic, biodegradable, and sustainable recycled materials. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has established benchmarks for green construction. Designs are based on a point rating system and earn LEED certifications you can display.

2. Office practices

In your practice you should also be following the paperless trend in business processes by shifting from hard copies and paper forms to digital records and web-based information, including automated systems for patient appointments and reminders. Dentists are also trying to measure, track, and improve such concerns as solid waste, water conservation, and reduced energy consumption. Low-flow toilets and fixtures, smart HVAC systems, and LED lighting will save on resources and monthly bills.

3. Patient practices

Use of green cleaning and sterilization products is creating a safer, healthier environment for your patients. Digital radiography is reducing the need for chemical-based films and development, as well as lowering radiation risks to patients. Some items such as tubes or IV bags were once made with PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. PVC has been linked with cancer, birth defects, and diabetes, among other ailments. You can now replace these products with safer, eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable plastics. It might be worth it to check around at other clinics like Silverado Family Dental to see what their practices are when it comes to the environment.

4. Dental amalgams

Dentists have traditionally used amalgam for common tooth fillings, without the general public recognizing that the principle ingredient of amalgam is mercury, now universally recognized as a toxic metal. It can cause severe nervous disorders leading to loss of motor and cognitive abilities. One of the major sources of mercury in community waste water comes from dental practices. Today's dentists, however, are leaning toward use of composite resins, or installing elimination systems to prevent the mercury from reaching municipal water systems. By taking these approaches, you'll do your part in removing this heavy metal from accumulating in the environment.

These are just a few ideas for making your dental office more eco-friendly. Your staff and patients will appreciate that your practice is helping to make our planet a safer, cleaner place.

Dixie Somers

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Let's be honest, we spend a lot of time in the bathroom. It's our first stop in the morning and our last stop before bed. It is the room in which we perform all of our self-care routines and maintain our health and cleanliness. But, it is also the room in which we produce the most waste. From excessive water usage to immense paper waste and chemical cleaners, the refuse never seems to end. Luckily, transforming your bathroom into an eco-friendly paradise is easy. Once you decide to make the change, you can create a green and healthy room that will benefit you and the environment. Here are some do-it-yourself home improvement tips and tricks to give your bathroom the green makeover it needs.

 

1. Use Recycled Toilet Paper

Next time you are shopping at the grocery store, make sure you pick up toilet paper made from recycled materials. According to Greenpeace, if every family in America bought just one roll of recycled toilet paper, it could save 400,000 trees. Check out great brands like Green Forest and 365 for toilet paper that is not made from virgin boreal forest trees and does not use toxic chlorine compounds.

 

2. Install a Low-flow Toilet

Did you know that your toilet consumes approximately 27% of the total water used in your home? That’s more than any other appliance! Replacing your old toilet with a newer, low-flow model can save up to 5.5 gallons per flush. But, if buying a new toilet is not in your budget right now, you can still go green by installing a dual-flusher. This gives you a choice of how much water to use per flush based on the type of waste. DIY kits comes pretty inexpensively and can be used to update your current toilet.

 

3. Install a Low-flow Shower Head

In the same vein as tip number 2, installing a low-flow shower head can help save water. Experts say taking a short shower can cut down on water usage, but if you are someone who likes a longer shower, installing a low-flow shower head can cut down your water usage without lowering the water pressure. In addition to the water you will be saving, you will also be saving on your heating bill. This upgrade is inexpensive and simple to install yourself, but contact a company like Puget Sound Plumbing if you have any concerns.

 

4. Avoid Disposable Clean-Up Products

It can be very tempting, but try to steer clear from disposable cleaning products. Toilet paper should be the only disposable product in your eco-friendly bathroom. Instead of paper towels and disposable wet wipes, use washable towels and rags to clean off surfaces. In fact, nowadays more and more cleaners are being sold in refillable containers. Instead of throwing out a perfectly usable spray bottle and buying a new one, you can refill and reuse the original.

 

5. Use Green or Homemade Cleaners

Why is it that the room we use to clean ourselves is often the dirtiest and most filled with chemicals? By purchasing green and organic products, not only are you creating a smaller environmental footprint, but you are also ensuring your body's health and safety. Conventional cleaning products are often full of chemicals and toxic preservatives which are hazardous to you and the planet. Brands like Mrs. Meyers, Method, and Seventh Generation all make great eco-friendly cleaning products. You could also take it one step further and create your own homemade, eco-friendly cleaning products. Simple ingredients from your kitchen such as baking soda, vinegar, club soda, and lemon juice can go a long way.

Using these tips, the process of making your bathroom greener is cost-effective and simple. Whether it be installing low-flow appliances or purchasing natural cleaning products, there are many ways to do your part and go green. Making the switch to an eco-friendly bathroom will help make your home and the Earth a healthier, safer, and greener place to live.

Dixie Somers

Julia_Child%27s_kitchen_by_Matthew_Bisan

It is becoming increasingly important in this fast-paced, industrial society to acknowledge the environmental impact of each individual and do your part in maintaining eco-friendly habits. There are many areas where you can make changes to yourself and your home to help protect the earth. One way to make your home more environmentally-conscious is to make use of several different household appliances that are on the market today.

Vacuum Sealer

Investing in a vacuum sealer cuts down on food waste by keeping your food fresh for longer. Vacuum sealed bags are the optimal way to store food in your fridge while saving space, and using them can make your food stay fresh until you are ready to eat it. Vacuum sealing removes all the air that could cause bacteria and rot, making your food's shelf life a lot longer than it would be with normal food storage bags.

Low-Flow Faucets

One of the most effective ways to conserve water in your home is to install low-flow faucets and showerheads. Showering takes up a large portion of an individual's water consumption. By purchasing and installing water controlling fixtures, you can limit your daily water use. Low-flow fixtures are inexpensive and can save you up to 50 percent on your water bill, benefiting both you and the environment.

Recycled Sinks

A new sink may not be the first thing to come to mind when you are in the market for eco-friendly choices, but there are more options than just the standard kitchen or bathroom sink. Consider purchasing a 100 percent recycled or salvaged sink. Beautiful design and eco-friendly manufacturing come together in many unique metals like copper, bronze and stainless steel. Manufacturing recycled metals is a much more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly process than producing virgin steel.

Air Fryer

Air fryers allow you to perform all your cooking needs without the use of grease or flame. They work by circulating hot air around food. An air fryer conserves energy by generating a lot of heat in a small, contained space. You can fry, bake and roast with simplicity, all while saving on your energy consumption and reducing your carbon footprint.

LED Lights

Another way to save energy is to get LED lights from a company like Always Earth Friendly. LEDs are a type of light fixture that is much friendlier to the environment than common compact fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs. LED lighting can save a significant portion of your energy use each year. It lasts over three times longer than CFL bulbs and saves more electricity when in use. Each light bulb is made of eco-friendly, durable and high-quality materials and just one light can last for almost 23 years.

Doing your part to help the environment is rewarding. Using these appliances and fixtures around the house can provide a long-term method to conserve the resources around you