• entries
    85
  • comments
    4
  • views
    9,565

About this blog

All things green, eco-friendly, and seriously sustainable

Entries in this blog

Dixie Somers

costo-energia.jpg

Everyone today wants to find some ways to save money and stretch their paychecks just a little bit further. One of the best ways to do this is by lowering your monthly electric bill. Below are five ways homeowners can save on energy costs.

Insulate Your Home to Regulate Temperature

Heating and cooling costs make up a huge chunk of your electric bill every month, especially during the summer and winter months. Did you know that you could save a ton of money by stopping the air and temperature leaks by sealing the air into your home? Install better insulation in your walls and ceiling and replace old windows with energy-efficient ones.

This can be a major remodeling job, but if you’re on a tight budget and can’t make those improvements right now, you can still reduce air leaks by replacing your old weather stripping around the doors and windows. This includes your garage door too, if you have an attached garage.

Use Power Strips to Prevent Phantom Loads

A lot of people don’t realize that their electrical appliances and electronics all draw power whenever they are plugged in, even when they are turned off! This constant energy leak adds up by the end of the month.

To prevent these phantom loads, as they are called, all you need to do is plug your devices into a power strip and then turn it off when not in use. Make sure that the power strip you purchase has an on/off switch. Some power strips also include a surge protector fuse. This protects delicate electronics such as computers and smartphones from electrical surges.

Switch to Energy-Saving Appliances

When shopping around for clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators or any similar household appliances, look for Energy Star products. These machines are certified to use less electricity than their competitors. You can also switch from regular light bulbs to LED bulbs or energy-saving bulbs which require less power to put out the same amount of light.

Install Solar Panels on Your Roof

Installing solar panels on the roof of your home through a company like Solar Source can also help you save a lot of money over the years. You will probably still have to pay a small fee or tax to the electric company for maintenance, but your electric bill will be greatly reduced, depending on how many solar panels you have installed.

Stop Wasting Electricity

Lastly, the easiest way to save money on your utilities is to simply use less energy. Make sure that everyone in the household gets in the habit of shutting off lights and ceiling fans when they walk out of a room. You can also turn down the thermostat in your refrigerator a little bit without any negative impact on food quality. And you can wear more or less clothing while lounging around the house to avoid using so much power when running the air conditioner or heater.

There are a lot of possible ways to save money on your electric bill. Whether you go all in on insulation and window replacements or just wear a hoodie and extra socks on colder days, you can save money with just a few easy steps.

Dixie Somers

gallery-1443559966-gettyimages-534581737

As summer comes creeping up, the question on many homeowners’ minds at this time of year is how can they save water at home this summer—and all year long? The first place to start is to simply make sure that everyone in your household is more conscious about the water they use during daily activities such as brushing teeth, showering, washing hands before meals and washing the car.

By shutting the faucet off during the activity, you can save quite a bit right there. But beside reducing waste, what else can be done? Here are four ideas that can help.

Use Landscaping Techniques That Save Water

One easy way to cut down on your family’s water usage is to address the problem outdoors. Lawns and flower gardens are notorious water hogs, and many people in drought-prone states simply let them die during the summer and then start watering them again in the fall. But there are other options. You could replace your foliage with low-maintenance landscaping. Astroturf, rock gardens and other desert landscaping features can create a beautiful front or back yard that requires little or no water all year round.

Install Water-Efficient Fixtures

WIth the outside taken care of, now you can turn your attention to the inside of your home. Water fixtures in the kitchen, bathroom and bar can all be changed out and replaced with ones that use much less water. Your toilet, shower head and kitchen faucet are all prime targets. By replacing these with low-flow water fixtures, you could easily reduce your water usage by 20 to 30 percent.

Fix All Leaky Faucets and Handles

You could go all out and put the latest water-saving shower heads in all your bathrooms, and it won’t do you any good if your shower handle is broken and causing your faucet to leak around the clock. So make sure that you fix those leaky fixtures inside and outside your home as soon as possible. A single drippy faucet may not seem like much, but it’s slowly losing you money over time.

Switch to a More Efficient Water Heater

You can also save a ton of water every year by changing out your old water heater for a newer, more efficient one. Sometimes all you need is to downgrade the size of your tank. But you can also go with a tankless water heater to push the savings even further.

Saving water around the house doesn’t have to be complicated or painful. You don’t have to start showering together or anything crazy like you sometimes see on TV. By implementing these four water-saving strategies you can easily reduce your family’s water bill by a significant amount.

Dixie Somers

LawnmowerMaintenance.jpg

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

wildy.png

As a farmer, you are much more in tune with your impact on the environment and with the natural rhythms of nature. So it’s not surprising that you want to take steps to make your farm more environmentally friendly. Below are three ways you can go green as you run your farming business.

Use Solar and Wind Generators

One great way to reduce fossil fuel use and reduce pollution is to use less traditionally supplied electricity and to take your power needs off grid. Solar panels can be setup either on rooftops of buildings on your farm or right along the ground itself, making a section of your property a kind of solar farm. Electricity generated will then be stored in multiple battery units which can then give power throughout your complex.

Likewise, wind turbines can be set up to produce electricity around the clock, whenever the wind is blowing. Combining wind and solar generators is a great way to supply all the power you could possibly need.

Install Your Own Well or Water Catchment System

Beside power, water usage is another ecological concern for farmers going green. You need to have adequate water for your crops, but some regions make it difficult and limit your access to the shared water supply. Drilling your own well on your property can be a good solution, but it can be pricey. You can also set up a water catchment and storage tower for rainwater.

To reduce overall water usage, you can also try using drip irrigation systems. These use a system of rubber tubing that carries water to all your crops with less runoff. This is an excellent option for areas subject to drought.

Avoid Pesticide Use

Lastly, another great way to make your farm more eco-friendly is to stop using pesticides as much as possible. Organic farming isn’t just a trend. It is truly the best way to build a sustainable future and protect land resources for future generations.

But organic farming means more than simply not spraying your crops with pesticides. You should also use organic crop production fertilizer. Many fertilizers contain pesticides and other pollutants themselves, so using them on your fields will just defeat the whole purpose of trying to switch to organic farming in the first place. And in order to sell your crops as organic, you’ll need to follow strict regulatory guidelines to prevent inaccurate labeling of the products.

Going green is a smart decision for farmers today, as it is a vital part of sustainable farming practices needed in the world. To make your farm more environmentally safe, take the initiative and invest in solar and wind power, independent water sourcing and conservation and organic farming methods.

Dixie Somers

e.waste.ghana.jpg

When you are the owner or manager of a company, you will want to use environmentally friendly methods to dispose of waste. Here are some ways to implement a plan to get rid of various types of waste in a way that won’t harm the earth’s air, water or soil.

Schedule a Consultation with an Environmental Expert

If you don’t know how to throw waste away in the appropriate ways, then have a consultation with an environmental expert. A knowledgeable environmentalist can create a plan for your company after walking through its buildings to see what type of waste is made by your manufacturing and office processes.

Develop a Written Plan for Your Company’s Waste

You should develop a written plan for the disposal of the various types of waste made by your workers and machinery. This can take time because you must understand how much waste there is and when it is made. With a written plan, you will understand where your problems are concerning waste such as having a lot of paper and cardboard to get rid of or having dangerous chemicals that can pollute natural waterways.

Are You Recycling Cardboard, Wood and Paper?

Today, it is possible to recycle almost any type of material, and in many cases, you can make a profit from recycling certain items. Rather than only throwing trash into dumpsters, learn how you can bundle cardboard, wood and paper for pick up by companies that offer you money for the items. By completing a search on the internet, you can find an assortment of recycling plants in your city so that you can save money and the environment.

Contact Scrap Metal Services

Scrap metal is one of the items that you can make a profit from by collecting it correctly in dumpsters or wastebaskets so that it is accepted for cash. By recycling metal, you are protecting the earth from the damages of additional mining along with the pollution made by trucks transporting metal ore to smelting plants. Scrap metal services buy a variety of types of metal, including copper, steel or brass.

Filter Your Company’s Wastewater

Filtering your company’s wastewater can save the environment, and in many geographic locations, you must remove chemicals and pathogens from the water that your company disposes. Using industrial-strength filtering devices is one of the best ways to clean wastewater, so contact a company that designs water-filtering systems.

Create a New Plan Once a Year

Once a year, you should create a new plan for disposing of waste, making sure to follow the guidelines that are required by local and federal government agencies. Consider creating a proper initiative by announcing any changes that will be done and getting employees involved. This will help get your company on the same page and get them excited to save the company money while saving the environment.

Dixie Somers

cosmetic-dentist-1024x597.jpg

Proper dental care is essential to maintaining your overall well-being. Studies show that poor oral hygiene is directly linked to many common illnesses including dementia, diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease, not to mention an assortment of other life-threatening medical conditions. Considering the variety of illnesses caused by gingivitis and periodontal disease, it is essential to brush and floss daily and visit a dentist regularly for checkups. When looking for dental care Tampa, it is important to decide whether a traditional or holistic dentist is right for your lifestyle.

What Is Holistic Dentistry?

Often referred to as biological dentistry, the holistic approach considers the patient’s emotional and overall physical health when diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the mouth and gums. This alternative type of dentistry focuses on the use of non-toxic chemicals to restore teeth, reduce and eradicate the likelihood of infections, as well as combining complimentary care to promote the structural integrity of the head, jaw, and neck in relation to the teeth.

What Are the Differences in Holistic and Traditional Dentistry?

While conventional or traditional dentists often perform complex, invasive procedures that often involve the use of metals and other chemicals, holistic dentists do not believe in the use of manufactured materials. Instead, those who practice holistic dentistry believe that the many of treatments conducted through conventional dentistry may be detrimental to the patient’s and lead to further health issues.

Mercury Amalgam

Conventional dentistry includes the use of mercury amalgam fillings, partly due to their endorsement by the American Dental Association (ADA) as stable and safe. In addition, the fillings are much easier to replace than their composite counterparts and the costs are primarily covered by insurance. On the other hand, holistic dentists do not condone the use of mercury, understand that it is toxic to humans, and even minimal amounts may be a risk to your health. Although mercury often lasts longer than composite and may outlast the actual tooth the material was used to fill, the fillings also apply a great deal of pressure to teeth. The result is weaker teeth that are more susceptible to breakage and decay.

Root Canals

In addition, while traditional dentistry may argue that a root canal is the preferred method to save a severely decayed tooth, proponents of holistic dentistry negate the practice.

According to holistic beliefs, root canals are considered an ineffective remedy for saving damaged teeth. During the procedure, the infected pulp of the tooth is removed, then the canal is cleaned. However, sterilization of the canal of the tooth does not annihilate bacteria in its entirety; holistic dentists believe the treatment is not effective because it is impossible to disinfect the tooth 100%. In addition, the use of harsh chemicals, including formaldehyde, has been linked to further health issues including heart disease and even breast cancer some patients.

Fluoride

The use of fluoride among holistic dentists is a debatable topic. While some believe it is acceptable, others do not. Too much fluoride weakens the enamel of teeth and may also result in fluorosis. This condition identifies toxic levels of fluoride are already in the patient’s system and is characterized by yellow, brown, and sometimes white spots on the teeth. High levels of the chemical have also been linked directly to osteoporosis. However, traditional dentists condone its use since fluoride is thought to reduce the rate of cavities.

What Dentist to Choose?

Since no one knows you better than yourself, only you can answer that. Your teeth should last a lifetime—making an educated decision can make that a reality.

Dixie Somers

TruSlate_Greystone_House.jpg

If it is time to replace your roof, but you are hoping to reduce your carbon footprint, there are several options available that are environmentally friendly. The option you choose will depend on your budget, your preferences and the look of your home. If you’re looking for eco-friendly yet affordable roofing and gutters, consider the following options.

Standing Seam Metal Roofs

Standing seam metal roofs reflect sunlight and are 100 percent recyclable. In addition, you can purchase metal roofing material made from recycled metals as well. The lifespan of a metal roof is about 50 years, so they are durable and are also fire-resistant. Another benefit to metal roofs is that you can harvest rainwater for your garden without worrying about toxic materials seeping into your soil. If you live in an area prone to snow and ice, metal roofs allow frozen precipitation to slide off easier than other types of roofing.

Corrugated Roofing

When you think of corrugated roofing, you probably think of commercial buildings or old sheds with wavy metal roofs. Today’s corrugated roofing is much more sophisticated as technology provides a wide range of colors and styles. You are no longer stuck with translucent plastic or sheet metal. Corrugated roofing is easy to repair and is much lighter than its predecessors. Like other types of metal roofing, corrugated roofing is durable and recyclable.

Reclaimed Clay or Slate

Because they are created from recycled materials themselves, reclaimed clay or slate roofs are environmentally friendly. If you have a home with a Spanish look, clay or slate roofs work perfectly, adding to your home’s curb appeal. There is no question that clay and slate roofs are durable as many have lasted over a century. Clay and slate roofs can be heavier than other types of roofing material, so you will want to talk to a qualified roofing contractor to be sure the walls of your home can withstand the additional weight.

Recycled Shingle Roofs

Recycled shingle roofs mimic the look of slate and cedar shake, but are made from recycled plastic, wood fiber and rubber. They are considered one of the greenest roofing materials available. If your budget won’t allow for a slate roof, recycled shingled roofs that look like slate are your best option. The roof has a lifespan of more than 50 years, adds curb appeal to your home and helps protect the environment.

If you are concerned about your family’s impact on the environment, speak to a qualified roofing contractor about the many options available in green roofing materials. In addition to these types of roofing, a qualified roofing contractor may be able to help you create a green roof, using plants to reduce rainwater runoff as well as additional cooling, or rubber roofing, which consists of materials made from old steel-belted tires. Roofing contractors today have many ways of creating a roof that is environmentally friendly, yet works well with the design of your home.

Dixie Somers

Faucet_Featured.jpg

Overtaxing the natural sources of water can seriously degrade the ecosystem. Water restrictions have become commonplace in urban areas. This is partly due to population growth. In addition, droughts in areas like California have become worse in recent years. There is also a personal incentive to save water. You will save money on your water bill if you by water consumption.

Change Water Use Habits

You would be surprised by how much water you waste due to habitual behavior. For example, you may routinely take a bath instead of showering. Baths consume up to 70 gallons of water a shower only uses 10 to 25 gallons. It’s also a good idea not to let the tap run while you brush your teeth or shave. That unused water is money down the drain. Another way to reduce water use is to run the clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. Avoid over watering your lawn. The Environmental Protection Agency says half of the water used outdoors is wasted.

Do Simple Fixes

Change your shower head for a low-flow model. You can do the same for faucets with few simple tools by installing flow restrictors. Check for toilet leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If there is color in the bowl after 30 minutes, buy a repair kit from your building supply store.

Watch for Leaks

Check for plumbing leaks periodically. A single dripping faucet can waste up to 3,000 gallons yearly. You may be able install a new faucet yourself, but call a professional if you need to. Leaks only get worse with time. Watch for signs of trouble. For example, drain cleaning is occasionally necessary, but a clogged drain can usually be cleared with a plunger or drain cleaner. Again, you may need a professional like King Rooter to do major drain cleaning. The thing to remember is that constant clogging indicates worn plumbing, which is likely to start leaking.

Buy Efficient Appliances

Clothes washers and Dishwashers are not inexpensive. However, there is a way of limiting the cost of water saving models. Wait until you are ready to buy a new one. Choose a water saving model and the only cost is the difference compared to traditional designs. Finally, consider a low flow toilet. These save 1.3 to 1.6 gallons per flush, which adds up to thousands of gallons each year. If you are handy with tools, you can install it yourself, and a low flow toilet isn’t very expensive

Conclusion

Admittedly, fixing some plumbing problems requires costly professional help. However, there are a lot of ways you can do to inexpensively reduce water use. The secret is to be proactive. Steps such as changing habits costs you nothing. In fact, lifestyle changes save you money.

Dixie Somers

95aac8cb-88f3-4806-99ad-773aaabe226d.jpg

Purchasing energy-efficient windows for your home is a smart investment that can reduce your monthly utility costs. Climate control accounts for 48 percent of the average U.S. Home’s energy usage. The right windows, however, will reduce your home’s heating and cooling needs by trapping thermal energy indoors.

ENERGY-STAR Windows

Windows touting the ENERGY-STAR logo are designed with strict standards to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency. According to the organization’s website, replacing conventional single-pane windows with ENERGY-STAR windows yields an average savings of $126 to $465 per year.

Low-E Windows

Another type of energy-efficient window is low emission. Also known as low-e windows, they feature a special coating to better control thermal energy movement. You can expect to pay more than low-e windows than conventional windows, but it’s a smart investment that will save you money over time. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), low-e windows are 30 percent to 50 percent more energy efficient than conventional windows. Contact a window company like Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin for more information.

Heat-Absorbing Windows

Featuring a tinted surface to absorb solar energy, heat-absorbing windows are an excellent option to consider when replacing your home’s windows. Rather than simply reflecting off the surface, sunlight absorbs through these windows and into the home. For homeowners living in cold climates, heat-absorbing windows can significantly reduce heating costs during winter.

Gas-Filled Windows

It’s no secret that double-pane windows are more energy efficient than single-pane windows. The space separating the two panes insulates and protects against thermal loss. However, not all double-pane windows feature air between the two glass panes. Some are actually designed with gas. Gas-filled windows provide greater energy efficiency than air-filled windows. Argon and krypton, for example, are denser than air; thus, improving the windows’ thermal efficiency.

Energy-Efficient Frames

The frames used in a window’s construction will affect its energy efficiency level. Aluminum and other metal frames, for example, offer minimal protection from thermal loss. However, fiberglass and vinyl frames are often filled with insulation to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency. When used in conjunction with the right windows, energy-efficient frames can reduce your home’s energy usage and lower your electric or gas utility bills.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the cost-savings benefits of energy-efficient windows, contact a professional window replacement company today. They can provide personalized recommendations to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency in your home.

Dixie Somers

186028018ccefb7fcf6eef9e0f08aab7.jpg

Personal improvement truly comes one step at a time. It’s overwhelming to think about doing many different changes at once, but most of us can make a single change. You can reduce your family’s environmental footprint by looking through this list of five ideas. Choose one idea that you think would the easiest for your family to implement and do it. Once you are making a positive impact, choose another one. It can be from this list or you can brainstorm. One step at a time you can improve the environment in your home and community.

Start Composting

Landfills are filling up at a rapid pace. Think about everything that you toss out in the trash. There are cartons, cans, bottles, and other use containers. You are probably already recycling some or most of these. Another large component of your waste stream is food and other organic waste. You throw it away, it builds up in your trash, and then it gets shipped away to the landfill where it slowly decomposes. There is a better way.

You can start composting your kitchen and food waste. A compost pile in your backyard will provide you with a rich source of organic material that can improve your garden or even your lawn. Utilizing a purpose-built compost system, you can compost your kitchen waste in as little as 2 to 3 months. Your kitchen waste will turn into rich black soil. To make the collection of kitchen waste easier, you can buy a kitchen compost container or you can use an old coffee can and take the waste to your backyard composter daily.

Use Reusable Grocery Bags

If you live in California, you are probably already using reusable bags. In 2016, the state passed a bag law that ended the use of disposable plastic grocery bags in favor of reusable bags that cost 10 cents each. These are durable plastic bags that can stand up to repeated use.

If you aren’t in California, then you are probably still using the disposable plastic bags that are so problematic for the environment. You can change this today. Many of the disposable bags that you get from the store can be used more than once so take bags with you when you go to the store and ask the cashier to use them. You can also buy the reusable bags from the store and carry them along. It can be hard to remember to take them along when you go to the store so keep a few of them in your car at all times.

Use Cloth Diapers

Disposable baby diapers are a huge component of landfill waste. The plastic portions of the diaper take centuries to properly decompose. It’s estimated that a typical disposable diaper will take 500 years to decompose. Moreover, the untreated waste in a diaper can contaminate groundwater and lead to public health issues. Disposable diapers are clearly an environmental hazard.

Fortunately, cloth diapers represent a good alternative. They can be cleaned out, washed, and reused over and over again without a negative environmental impact and can be stylish if you get the accessories from Chunkabuns. If you really want your family to help the environment and have a baby in diapers, changing to cloth diapers would probably bring about the greatest impact. You don’t have to go all in either. You could choose one day a week to use cloth diapers exclusively. This alone would result in a 14% reduction in your disposable diaper usage.

Set Your Thermostat Properly

If you are like most busy families, your house stays vacant during the day. Parents are at work and the kids are at school. There isn’t a real good reason to keep it well heated or air-conditioned during the day when no one is at home. Unfortunately, no one likes coming into a hot or cold house. It can take time to heat or cool your house down and frankly, it’s quite uncomfortable.

If you already have an electronic thermostat, you can utilize the programming function in your thermostat to automatically set the temperature during the day to save energy and have it automatically adjust the temperature before family members arrive in the home. This allows your family to save money and help the environment while stay keeping things comfortable.

Use Reusable Water Bottles

If you are like most people, you buy a big pack of disposable water bottles when you hit the grocery store. They are convenient and easy to use, but they represent a tremendous environmental cost. Buy reusable water bottles and filling them yourself can save you tons of money and help the environment. Pick up a couple of reusable bottles for each member of the family and fill them from your water cooler. It’s easy and immediately brings about an environmental benefit.

Taking the initiative to help the environment is easy and can bring about tremendous benefits for your family. It doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to represent major changes. Changing one thing at a time is all that is needed to save the environment.