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Content for making or keeping your home as energy efficient as possible. #KeepItGreen

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RachelleW

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Reducing electricity usage is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for your wallet. You can cut down on power use at home without going through any major lifestyle changes. Believe it or not, it is still possible to enjoy the comforts of a dishwasher and good lighting while paying less for utilities. Try these four tips for saving power and lowering monthly bills.

Upgrade to Efficient Light Bulbs

If you still use incandescent light bulbs, make the switch to LED light bulbs. The cost of LED light bulbs has significantly decreased over the past couple of years. LED bulbs emit an extremely minimal amount of heat and convert almost all of their electricity to light. Traditional incandescent bulbs waste most of the electricity, turning it into heat instead of light. LED bulbs will help to keep your home cooler in the summer since they emit less heat.

Install Electrical Transfer Switches

To save power and lower your electricity bill, install electrical transfer switches. These devices allow you to connect your home to an alternate source of power. Some companies, like Enercon Engineering Inc.,  know that they could be also used in conjunction with a solar panel array. They could also be used with a wind turbine or another renewable energy source too. You could use an electrical transfer switch with a backup generator too.

Power-down Electronics

Anything that is plugged in and has an indicator light or digital clock uses power. Some items will draw power while plugged in even if they do not have any lights. This is often referred to as "ghosting." Be sure to power down or completely unplug devices such as computer monitors, televisions, and DVD players when you are not using them.

Skip the Drying Cycle

Skip the hot dry cycle when using the dishwasher. Just opening the door of the dishwasher after the wash cycle is done will allow the dishes to quickly dry, with no power required. Consider reducing the amount of times you use your clothes dryer. Hang shirts and pants on a clothes rack or clothesline. Save the dryer for delicate items and linens that need the hot air for sanitary purposes.

Each of these tips does not require much time or effort to employ. You could make one change at a time to get used to the idea of saving power and add in more tips as each one becomes a habit. After you do all four of these things, you can keep more of your hard-earned money instead of sending it to utility companies.

RachelleW

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Every environment needs regular inspection in order to detect a problem as early as possible. Environmental surveys facilitate the process of detecting problems so that experts can come up with a thorough treatment plan. Consider these four ways in which environmental surveys are designed to protect and preserve the Earth and its abundance of natural resources.

Evaluate Leaks

Environmental surveys help to evaluate, locate and identify the size and scope of leaks. Oil and natural gas pipelines may leak, and the leaks can go undetected if they are in remote areas. A prompt identification of the leak's location and assessment of what is leaking helps the operators of the pipeline to take action and fix the problem.

Use an Air Boat for Environmental Surveys

Some environments are more challenging than others to survey. When you need to check out a marshy area, an air boat is an ideal means of transportation. Some companies, like Specialized Enviro, know that air boats don’t cause as much disruption to wildlife or native plants. It affords you the opportunity to get views of the water and of the things that are living and growing in the marsh. The boat has plenty of space for your cameras and surveying equipment.

Check for Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is a major environmental concern. Wildlife can get stuck in plastic items or poisoned by dumped fluids. The individuals who do the dumping could be prosecuted under environmental laws. With an environmental survey, environmentalists and property owners can spot illegal dumping of tires, barrels of waste and other materials. Checking for illegal dumping should be performed on a regular basis through air and ground-level surveys.

Collecting Samples for Testing

During an environmental survey, the surveyors can collect samples and specimens for testing. The samples can provide valuable information about the health of the air, water, and soil in a location. Specimen analysis might include swabbing animals for their DNA, collecting their droppings, or trapping some insects. The laboratory results may show if there are high levels of harmful substances such as arsenic or lead, which could be a result of illegal dumping, runoff or other activities.

Environmental surveys combine the use of high-tech laboratory analysis, innovative transportation methods and a great deal of knowledge and expertise from trained professionals. The information from the surveys can be used to identify problems so that scientists can come up with ways to prevent recurrences. Environmental surveys are also helpful for the monitoring of environments and assessment of their changes over time.

RachelleW

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Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and patronize companies that are "green." Utility companies can lead the way in the global effort to go greener and do it faster. Utility companies can use these four strategies to reduce resource usage and to make better use of renewable forms of energy.

Investing in Renewable Energy

One way that utility companies can go green is to make investments in renewable energy. Wind turbines are growing in popularity. Farms of the turbines are popping up all over the country, from the farmlands of Michigan to the Great Plains. Other great sources of renewable energy include solar panels and hydroelectric power. Utility companies could also consider offering incentives to home and business owners generating electricity through renewable energy.

Using Pole-mounted Electrical Transformers

Pole-mounted electrical transformers allow utility companies to reduce wasted electricity. Most transformers, like those available from Solomon Corporation, are expertly designed, and fully warrantied. Some transformers can even be outfitted with natural lubricants rather than synthetic oils to keep their parts working well for a long duration of time.

Installing Smart Utility Meters

Installing smart utility meters reduces the amount of resources and manpower that it takes to account for consumer energy usage. The smart meters can give the meter readers the amount of energy used by transmitting a radio signal. This allows the meter readers to use less fuel in order to travel through an area and collect information from the electrical and gas meters. Smart meters can also be Wi-Fi enabled, allowing consumers to monitor their energy usage.

Offering Electronic Statements and Bill Payments to Customers

Mailing out paper statements and having customers mail them back to pay their bills takes a lot of paper and time. Instead of focusing on paper billing, utility companies can encourage paperless billing and electronic statements. Allow customers to pay their bills online without a convenience fee. Electronic funds transfers are usually quicker than mailing a check, so the utility payment will be deposited within a faster time frame.

Each time a utility company does these actions, it can let consumers know what they are doing. These green activities will help to keep consumers happy and satisfied about where their money is going. When consumers have a choice, they are likely to do business with a utility company that is environmentally responsible. Protecting the Earth's resources today by going green helps to ensure the planet's health for the next generation.

RachelleW

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Business owners are in a unique position to look out for the environment. You have the capacity to conserve resources, reduce the use of materials and encourage recycling. You can also strive for a greater level of efficiency. These tips will help you to look out for the environment by making upgrades, working with industry professionals and making green purchasing decisions.

Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Manufacturing facilities could lower operational costs and look out for the environment by making energy-efficient upgrades. For example, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems can be upgraded to ultra-efficient systems. Ducts can be sealed and insulated. Walls and roofs can also be insulated. Anti-leak devices can be fitted onto plumbing, and fixtures can be updated with low-flow or dual-flush switches.

Working With Air Quality Consulting Services

Working with an air quality consulting service could help your manufacturing center to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Professionals, like those at Stephenson Environmental Management Australia, evaluate the quality of the air inside of various facilities. Your business might even qualify for certain incentives to work with an air quality consultant and reduce emissions.

Updating With Green Materials

Consider updating your facility with green materials when possible. For example, when your warehouse or building needs its roof replaced, consider a living roof made of grass that absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. These roofs also reduce water runoff. If you need to replace flooring, consider recycled materials that do not off-gas chemicals. Some good options include concrete with reclaimed pieces or recycled glass embedded into the concrete.

Switching to Recyclable Materials

Consider the sources of the materials used in your manufacturing processes. If possible, purchase materials and supplies that have been recycled or that will be recyclable after you make them. Encourage your customers to recycle your products when they are finished using them. Consider minimizing the packaging associated with your products. You could also strive to use less resources in your manufacturing, such as reusing your scrap materials or cutting down on paper usage for administrative purposes.

When your company looks out for the environment, everyone enjoys the benefits. The efforts that you make to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut down on waste, reduce energy consumption and curtail the unnecessary use of packaging and other resources can be highlighted to the public, consumers, stockholders and others. Your efforts may also help to lower your operating costs and encourage new customers to support your environmentally-friendly efforts.

RachelleW

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One of the biggest costs for businesses is their utilities. It costs a lot of money to heat and cool large spaces, and businesses that run a lot of machinery or electronics use a lot of electricity. Also, many businesses are housed in older buildings that aren't very energy efficient. However, there are ways that businesses can cut their energy bills. Here are four ways commercial facilities can save energy by going green.

Change Habits

One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways commercial facilities can go green and save energy is by changing the habits of employees. For example, the company might do a building-wide push to have people turn off lights, computers and other electronic devices at the end of the day. This seems like a small change, but it can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.

Make Energy-Efficient Improvements

Commercial spaces often are older and may not have energy-efficient features, so if you are willing to make the investment, you can make improvements to your commercial space that will help you go green and save money on energy. Some of the improvements you could make could include changing all the lighting to more energy-efficient types such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, replacing windows, and installing solar panels or a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Keep up on Your Maintenance

Taking care of the existing systems you have can help your commercial building operate more efficiently and make your business greener. Some companies, like Ragan Mechanical Inc., realize that if you have a boiler system for heating, it needs regular maintenance to operate at its best. The same goes for gas and electrical appliances, manufacturing machinery and any other appliances or machinery you have in your business that use energy.

Cut Down on Paper and Packaging

One of the ways businesses can go green is to change the way they interact with customers. Two of the most common ways to do this are to cut down on paper and packaging. Encourage your customers to receiving billing statements, receipts, invoices and other correspondence electronically to cut down on paper use. You also can look at overhauling your packaging to use less of it. Not only will these moves make your business greener by producing less waste, they also will save you money.

Many businesses see "going green" as an added cost, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. Many energy-efficient improvements fulfill a legitimate business purpose and actually save you money.

RachelleW

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You do not have to be a diehard environmentalist to want to do your part in preserving resources for future generations and leaving less of a carbon footprint behind. You may be like many homeowners who have a desire to have your home be more environmentally friendly, but you just do not know how to go about it without it costing a fortune or being inconvenient. Here are some easy ways you and your family can make your home more environmentally friendly.

LED Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are going the way of the dinosaur. Except for some specific applications, such as oven bulbs, incandescent bulbs are being phased out. California plans to have them phased out, with exceptions, by 2018. You may have noticed how hard it is to find incandescent bulbs in some hardware departments nowadays. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LED bulbs only use a fraction of the energy needed to power the hot incandescent bulbs. LED lights use the least amount of electricity. You may have had mixed results using CFL bulbs in the past, but new types are available to provide instant full light and will work in the cold for outdoor fixtures. However, LED bulbs are the best at using less electricity. Swapping all the bulbs you can to LEDs can save money on your electric bill, eliminate the need to change a bulb for many years, and be quite earth friendly in the process.

HVAC Upkeep

Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system use the most energy in your home. Furnaces often use natural gas or another fossil fuel along with electricity to run a blower or pump, making the furnace the costliest appliance in your home to run. Your AC system is second. Dirty filters, grime on condenser and evaporator coils, corroded burners, and more can cause electricity to be wasted for air conditioning and fuels used for heating. Some companies, like Classic Air and Heating, know that it is important to at least get an annual inspection service and cleaning performed to keep your furnace and central air conditioning system operating at peak efficiency. You save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint, which is helpful to the environment.

Recycle

There are some areas of the country that do not yet have a weekly pickup day for recyclable materials. Many neighborhoods collect recyclables separately, but some people do not participate in the program and throw away recyclables in the regular trash instead. Many people start by recycling aluminum cans and newspapers. A single recycled aluminum soda can saves the amount of energy required to operate a television for three hours. Even if you start small with just recycling aluminum cans or newspapers, you are making your home more earth friendly.

Unplug Chargers and Turn off Lights

Those power pack chargers that regenerate the batteries in your tablets, cell phones, and laptops use electricity even when they are not connected to the device they are intended to charge. The amount is small, but there are millions of them plugged in all over the country. Connecting them to a power strip that can be physically shut off with a switch can save energy. Turning off the lights when you leave a room is another easy way to save energy. You should also turn off televisions and other appliances that are not being used. Televisions and monitors still use a little bit of electricity in standby mode, but not as much as when they are operating.

Imagine the energy savings if every home in the country participated in even casual energy saving protocols and minimal recycling. You may not be able to get all of your neighbors on the bandwagon of becoming more earth friendly, but you can at least motivate your family to take a personal concern for the natural resources we share in this finite world.

RachelleW

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Nowadays, energy consumption is constantly getting higher. Regardless of how widespread the campaign to save energy is. This is because technology has become accessible to everybody. It means that almost everything that we have requires the use of energy in some form and we need a more reliable, sustainable solution.

The Current State of Energy

There are still some countries who experience energy crisis while others enjoy an abundant supply. Surprisingly, energy is more expensive in poor countries than in highly-developed ones. As a result, these highly-developed countries are the ones that consume energy the most. On the other hand, you will notice that there are some innovations that are clearly increasing efficiency. In the past, people were obsessed with whatever device took the most power. Today, the demand for energy-saving technology such as solar-powered devices, fuel-efficient cars, and other alternative solutions is fast growing. Moreover, there are now a lot of renewable-energy resources that are being developed to sustain such growing demand.

Engineering Better Energy Usage Techniques

Global crisis is one thing. Energy usage is another. If techniques can be implemented by engineering projects that can address both problems, all people will undoubtedly benefit. It won't be surprising to find experts busy taking online master’s in civil engineering courses, attending seminars on the latest in technology, and conducting research in order to propose some useful techniques to optimize energy usage. This is the reason why our society never runs out of solutions to address serious power problems. One main concern is how to go about implementing better engineering projects. Leaders in our society must take into account some better techniques that can gradually replace conventional energy sources.

The Future of Energy Usage

There is a strong trend toward eliminating fossil fuel as a primary source of energy. Not only is it inefficient, but it slowly destroying our world. Consequently, people resort to new innovations that offer the use of alternative energy source such as solar, hydro, magnetic, and recently, the possibility of using hydrogen. The recent Global Crisis Summit attended by many leaders around the world is a welcome sign that our society is working towards more and more sustainable energy resources. Therefore, we can expect many power-generation projects that are earth-friendly and energy-efficient.

Saving energy is the immediate solution we can always think of. However, it is only short-lived if technology is dependent on conventional energy sources. The solution is not to make people save energy but to make new technology that promotes energy efficiency. Gradually, technology is becoming more and more efficient, to the benefit of all.

RachelleW

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Selling goods is an art form. You want to produce a quality product so as to attract a loyal customer base, yet you need to minimize production costs whenever and wherever possible. The key is to have a production facility that is both streamlined and simplified in order maximize profits in the long run. Consider the following 4 ideas to accomplish just that.

Manufacturing Tasks Made Simple

It is important to simply manufacturing tasks within any production facility in order to increase efficiency. This will ultimately serve to improve not only profit, but customer satisfaction as well. As you walk around your production facility, look critically at any opportunity to simply. Failing to do so will, over time, lead to operational process that become inefficient. Look for ways to implement new technology to cut down on mundane tasks that take a great deal of time and are a poor use of resources.

Organization Is Key

If you have not taken the time to organize your production facility lately, you are missing out on a prime opportunity in simplify and streamline the overall process. The longer it takes a worker to locate something that is out of place, the less likely you are ever going to realize maximum efficiency. An organized workspace is critical. Not only does this contribute to safety within the facility, it also serves to ensure that labor costs are kept low and individuals are able to complete more tasks in a limited amount of time.

Compressed Air and Gas Treatment

If you are involved in the manufacturing of any product that requires gas as a central component, it is important to have compressed air and gas treatment as a central part to your operations. Some companies, such as MTA Australasia, know that having this centralized and regularly maintained is a way to further simplify and streamline the production process. This should be incorporated into every facility in an effort to maximize productivity and improve overall efficiency.

Minimize Waste

Any production facility is bound to have some waste that takes place, but the key is to minimize this as much as possible. This is a process that depends on organization and the ability to constantly monitor processes in order to arrive at a more efficient way of handling the materials on hand. If you find that you are constantly having to order new materials, look for ways to use discarded scraps within the production process itself.

These are four simple yet effective ways to simplify and streamline facilities. Look to begin them this quarter to achieve the results you have been hoping for.

RachelleW

Now more than ever, companies are more sustainably aware of their immediate environment, including contractors. In addition, homeowners are more apt to hire a contractor who is Eco aware. As a contractor, there are numerous ways you can be green and clean to help protect the earth.

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Using Eco-Friendly Materials

Today going green is not just about saving the environment but it allows for more efficient heating and cooling. In fact, Energy Star HVAC systems lower your utility bill, have a higher resale value and increase the value of your home. Contractors can also be more “green” by using environmentally safe supplies that are non-toxic. For instance; using Eco friendly paint instead of conventional, buy supplies from sustainable sources and encourage customers to use Eco friendly materials. Contractors can also carry more sustainable supplies like stone tiles instead of vinyl and support Eco carpet instead of the toxic commercial carpet that can contain formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, toluene, styrene and a multitude of other volatile organic compounds.

Recycle and Upcycle

Another great way that contractors can be greener is to use recycled products. For instance, instead of using regular roofing tile you can look for recycled rubber roofing. In fact, according to the Green Building Supply, recycled rubber roofing is an investment that is tremendously practical and beautiful. The Eco friendly home center has some amazing examples.

Other Applications

Another way contractors can help the environment is by using less energy such as heated power blankets for keeping concrete sealant warm in the center. Heated power blankets, like those available from companies like Powerblanket, help keep concrete sealant warm so that it can be applied correctly. When compared to other methods like band heaters that can leave spots from concentrated areas and sometimes contaminate the entire container, heated power blankets are much more efficient and effective. If fact, they maintain optimum operating temperature at all times.

Lumber Selections

When it comes to protecting lumber, contractors can have a major influence on the reduction of waste, management of forests and sustainable options. As a contractors and home owner greener options include fast-growing bamboo, durable yet sustainable wood flooring and upcycled materials such as barn wood, well preserved whiskey barrels and salvaged wood from riverbeds. Things to avoid are products from or endangered tropical hardwoods and old growth timber. As well, look for lumber that comes from well managed and certified forests. Moreover, some contractors use recycled blends like hardwood-veneered medium density fiberboard (MDF) for cabinets and doors.

Other Great Options

There is a wide array of products that contractors can use to be more environmentally friendly. And it truly does not matter what kind of contracting you do, there are sustainable supplies that have an Eco price. For example, home builders can opt for recycled products. Roofers can use and upcycled rubber for a contemporary or traditional look. Cabinet makers can utilize the best sustainable materials around and so forth.

Even the grounds and landscaping of a home or commercial property can be Eco conscience such as better drainage systems, water saving sprinkler systems, trees for better shade in the summer and using natural methods of pest control instead of hazardous chemicals. High performance windows are also important, especially windows that have low-emissivity (low-E) glazes. These windows save energy on both heating and cooling.

 

RachelleW

Most home owners and renters fail to realize that their homes are unhealthy environments filled with toxic substances that can cause a wide variety of health problems including asthma, immune system dysfunction and even cancer. Although you can't remove every hazard, you can reduce the amount of exposures by following these four tips.

Use Homemade Cleaning Supplies
Many people have heard stories from relatives, friends or co-workers about the fantastic benefits of using natural cleaners over manufactured products that contain harsh chemicals. Natural cleaners contain ingredients that you already safely use for cooking or personal hygiene, such as vinegar, baking soda and toothpaste. Homemade supplies break down quickly inside of septic systems and do not release any harmful toxins into nearby waterways and landfills.

Choose Green Septic Solutions
Harsh chemical toilet and drain cleaning products and non-biodegradable items like kitty litter, baby wipes and cotton swabs can damage plumbing and your septic tank. Some companies, like Econocycle, know that choosing cleaning alternatives that break down easily is the best bet. Remember to never flush anything other than human waste. Additionally, choose a green septic system by using an oxygenated bio-solution product that utilizes aerobic bacteria to improve the breakdown of materials in your septic tank. And instead of throwing organic trash down a garbage disposal, create a compost bin. 

Invest in Air Purifiers
The air inside a house is rarely clean because many common household items release harmful substances into the air as they break down or come in contact with heat from sunlight and cooking. You also allow harmful substances into your home when you open windows and doors and bring particles inside on clothing and shoes. Air purifiers remove the majority of these substances so that you and your family can benefit from cleaner air.

Pick Greener Household Products
Whenever possible, pick household products that have been crafted using green material-harvesting and manufacturing processes. Additionally, pick products that break down into non-harmful byproducts. For example, choose natural materials like untreated wood, bamboo and stone over plastics. If you do not want to make your own household cleaners, choose ones that organizations like Consumer Reports or the Environmental Working Group have confirmed as healthier and greener alternatives. Keep in mind that you can also find personal and pet grooming products that are cleaner and greener too.

You do not have to give up a modern lifestyle to have a home that is safe for you, your loved ones and the environment. You just need to make safer and healthier choices.

 

RachelleW

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Many people are surprised to learn that the air inside of their homes can contain more contaminants than the air outside near a busy freeway or factory. According to Indoor Air Quality, Inc., 96 percent of homes have at least one indoor air quality problem.

Ventilation

Ventilation is essential to your indoor air quality. When cooking, use the exhaust fan on the range hood to disperse the steam and odors. It is also a good idea to turn on the fan or open a window when showering. Letting the steam out helps to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. If you do hobbies that involve volatile organic compounds such as glues and paints, open a window or use a fan to push the airborne pollutants outside. Do not allow anyone to smoke inside of your house, because the contaminants from smoking can stick onto your windows, walls, flooring, upholstered furniture and curtains.

Charcoal Air Filters

If odors are a problem in your home, charcoal air filters can help to eliminate them. These filters work well if you have pets in your home. You can buy activated charcoal air filters to get rid of musty smells in a basement recreation area. The charcoal filters fit into your home's air blower, furnace or air conditioning unit. Be sure to replace it every three months for the best results.

UV Filters

During cold and flu season, you and your family could share germs from sneezing and coughing into the air. Installing a UV light system into your air blower can eliminate the bacteria and viruses that make you sick. These lights eradicate germs as the blower propels the heated air through your air ducts and into the living spaces of your home. They can be used with any forced air heating system.

Vacuum Filters

If your home has any carpeting, vacuum filters are essential to getting rid of dust and dust mites. Dust and dust mites are a major contributor to indoor air quality problems. They may also trigger allergies and asthma. Make sure that your vacuum is outfitted with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Also make sure that people take their shoes off before coming in. This helps reduce the dirt and dust that gets on the carpet.

Indoor air quality has direct impacts on your health. Using filters can help to get rid of many air pollutants. By cleaning up the air, you can breathe more easily.

RachelleW

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You've probably noticed the growing popularity of solar panels, as they've become less expensive and more refined in the past few years. And although many of your neighbors may be sprucing up their roofs with solar panels, is it really worth the switch for your wallet and the environment?

Here are some of the pros and cons of solar power systems to help you decide if making the switch is right for you.

Pros

 

  • No Greenhouse Gas Emissions

     

The process of obtaining and using solar energy does not result in any chemical by-products. No gases, smokes, or any other potentially harmful substances are released, making solar energy a healthier option for your family and the environment.

  • Tax Credits and Cash Rebates

     

In a nutshell, there are a lot of people who want you to switch over to solar energy. The federal government, state governments, and several utility companies are willing to reward those who install solar power systems. The federal government will match dollar-for-dollar 30 percent of the cost of your system as a tax credit, and several state governments also offer tax credits to those who install solar energy systems. Not to mention the savings on your monthly power bill, and the possibility of selling your SREC (solar renewable energy certificates) to make an extra few hundred or thousand dollars each year.

  • No Ongoing Energy Costs

     

The great thing about solar energy is that it’s literally available to anyone, anywhere. So once you have a way to harness and use solar energy, you don’t have to keep paying for it. Other than the initial costs of installing a system, as well as some light maintenance, you won’t have to pay anything for the energy.

  • Can Function off the Grid

     

An especially appealing feature for those who live in rural areas is the possibility of using solar power to power buildings and structures that would otherwise require expensive power line installation, or that experience frequent power outages.

  • Not Influenced by Politics

     

Since no particular country or person can own the sun or its energy, you don’t have to worry about costs fluctuating because of politics or the conditions of international relations.

Cons

 

  • It Doesn't Work at Night

     

Your house will still be connected to the main power grid when your solar energy system cannot generate enough electricity, like at night when the sun has gone down.

  • Solar Panels are Large

     

In order to make the switch to solar energy, you have to be willing to sacrifice the consistent look of your roof. Solar panels are just big and bulky. The more-efficient silicon crystalline wafer solar panels are particularly thick and large. New, thinner panels have been developed, but these are not as efficient as the larger crystalline wafer solar panels.

  • It's not Very Efficient

     

As mentioned above, solar energy is not consistent because the sun is not always available. Solar panels in general have about a 20 percent efficiency rate, which measures how much of the sun’s energy the panels are able to convert into usable electricity. Efficiency is improving, and considering the cost on the environment and other factors of using traditional fossil fuels for energy, many people dub even 20 percent a raging success.

If you’re considering making the switch to solar energy, get a free quote and learn more about the process.

 

RachelleW

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Many business are going green to benefit the environment and their bottom line. Green building initiatives show corporate responsibility. By investing in these useful tools, you can go green efficiently and make investments that could ultimately save your business a significant amount of money.

Solar Panels

A building's roof has the potential to either absorb a great deal of the sun's energy or reflect it. One way to create a green roof is to install solar panels. Solar panel technology allows for the collection of energy on sunny days. A connected battery system allows this energy to be stored and used as needed. The electricity that is generated can be used to heat water or to power electrical items inside of the building. Excess amounts of electricity could even be sold back to the utility company. State and federal tax grants are available for companies that install certain types of solar panels.

Green Roofs

A green roof confers many advantages. It can help with storm water mitigation to eliminate runoff during heavy rains. A green roof absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the air. The green roofing materials add insulation and reduce heat absorption through the roof, which helps to reduce the amount of electricity that is required to keep a building cool during the summer. You can even add a patio or access area to a green roof and turn it into a leisure place where your employees come for relaxation on their break time.

Delicate Building Materials

When you have delicate building materials such as sprayed foam insulation, they need to be kept cool. In a hot environment, the sprayed foam may deteriorate. Some companies, like Powerblanket, know that regulating the temperature of sensitive materials helps keep them safe. Keeping delicate materials at their optimum temperature is important.

Insulation

Newer insulation products help to reduce unwanted air exchange with the outdoors. Sprayed foam insulation has high thermal resistance values and only needs to be installed once. Proper insulation helps to keep buildings consistently comfortable all year long.

Going green in your business does not have to be complicated. You can make one upgrade at a time as your budget allows. By doing the research and making cost-effective changes such as electronic cooling blankets for your server room, you can save money and use the savings to make even more green updates.

 

RachelleW

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Environmentally friendly manufacturing methods are commonly referred to as green manufacturing. Developments in equipment and technology over the past several years have resulted in green manufacturing making sense financially in addition to showing respect for the environment. Respect for the environment can be shown in a number of ways including reduction of waste, prevention of pollution and energy savings.

Energy Savings

Saving energy shows respect for the environment because it means fewer natural resources are consumed. One way to save energy is to make sure the equipment is operating at peak performance levels. Engine dynamometers, while not traditionally thought of as an energy saving tool, can actually be beneficial in that realm. When used to help determine the motor size that is needed to drive a piece of equipment such as a pump, energy is not wasted because a motor that was larger than what was needed had been installed. A dynamometer could also help determine if the motor needs to be serviced. Professionals, like those at Power Test Inc., know that if the test results indicate the motor is not operating at peak performance, it is likely wasting energy. Not only does this mean it is costing more to operate, but it is adding more pollutants to the atmosphere.

Waste Reduction

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not generate it in the first place. Packaging material serves as a good example. With the use of returnable and reusable packaging, landfill waste is eliminated. Finding ways to reuse items that were formally discarded is also an effective tool used in green manufacturing. Things like specifying pallet sizes on which raw material is received in order to match the size pallets used internally or for shipping allows companies to reuse these pallets. It eliminates the need to throw these pallets away only to buy new ones for shipping.

When the amount of material used cannot be reduced at the source or reused in the process, the next best thing is to recycle it. Again, packaging material provides a good example. Cardboard can be compacted and recycled. Things like stretch wrap and banding straps can easily be bailed. Some recycling companies will even install bailers and compactors on-site to aid in the process. Many of these items can actually bring in revenue when recycled. The bigger savings come, however, by not having to pay landfill charges for these items.

While, with today's technology, green manufacturing makes for good business practices, it also helps a company's reputation in the community. This includes both the general public and the regulatory community.

 

RachelleW

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The desire to create a greener office space is driving business owners to re-think office organization and to institute protocols that make the most of materials and energy usage. A number of systems can be integrated into the average office to use less energy, lower the amount of emissions, improve work efficiency and provide a healthier environment for workers.

Recycle Paper

Even in the computer age, the amount of paper that is generated creates a problem for disposable and a waste of previous resources. Systems should be put in place to recycle paper products of all types. Paper and boxes can be re-used within the office system and ultimately placed in containers that can be picked up by local recycling companies.

Go Energy-Efficient

Take a close look at how the office uses energy throughout the day. Using energy efficient light bulbs can save hundreds of dollars. Make sure areas that are not used throughout the day, such as storage rooms, have motion-sensitive lighting that turns off automatically.

Choose the Right Office Furniture

Office furniture that utilizes materials responsibly and does not add to the accumulation of volatile organic compounds in interior spaces can be an important step in making your office space greener. Emissions coming from synthetically-produced parts should be minimized to prevent reactions to the chemicals and long-term health problems. Some companies, like Affordable Business Interiors, know that furniture should also be recyclable, that is, it should break down easily into component parts that can be re-used in other ways. In this way, your office can comply with the highest standards of creating a green interior environment.

Turn Off Computers and Equipment

Computers are often left on, even when people have left the office. This habit results in a waste of electricity that adds hundreds of bills to utility bills each year. Workers should be encouraged to use “sleep” settings on the computer for daytime use and shut them down completely during the night hours.

Add Natural Plants

Natural plants create a more natural atmosphere that improves working conditions. Not only are plants visually pleasing and remind workers of outdoor spaces and recreational activities, but they also add oxygen to the air, which increases healthy breathing and neutralizes some of the toxic gases that build up in offices from synthetic materials. Hardy plants only require a minimum of care, yet they provide many benefits for those who work in the areas where they are located.

Going green is a growing trend in today’s offices that not only makes sense for the bottom line but can also improve work environments for employees to achieve greater productivity and worker satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

RachelleW

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Businesses utilizing strategies to help with the environment are always worth looking up to. There is no need, however, to downright change your entire lifestyle and how you work too much in the world of business. Just a few small changes to how you do business can make a big difference to the Earth. Implement these environmentally techniques to make a small change to the world.

Organic Office Furniture

Not many people realize the power in the world of simply buying organic furniture. Your tables, chairs, and everything in an office can be bought through the power of furniture. Just a few small changes can make a big difference to the earth. Strive to buy items that are recyclable and made from organic properties.

Recycle

Simply recycling paper, bottles, and everything everybody in your office uses the recycling box. Some companies like Main Street Fibers, know that the truth is that recycling helps our planet by reusing what we already have. There is no need to buy new paper when there already is plenty of paper to reuse. Recycling can be done simply by having everybody throw away trash and recycle anything that can.

Going Solar

The best way to help the earth is to go solar. In other words, invest in a set of solar panels. For example, try to find out if there is a way for you to install a panel at the roof of your business. It will use the sun to power everything in your establishment. It can save you tons of money, along with saving energy.

Energy Audits

You can get an energy audit and make a few changes to your office to save energy. Simply sealing leaks and cracks in the office can actually cut up to about 20 percent off of the energy bill. You can seal leaks and cracks to avoid using too much of your heating and cooling.

Biodegradable Products

Simply using natural and biodegradable products can help reduce the exposure to harsh toxins and other chemicals in your office. If you can't use anything to clean, the key is to make sure that you are using a natural green option.

There are many ways your company can go green. Just a few tiny changes can make a massive difference. The key is to be wise with your choices and know how everything you do affects the environment. If you use the tips above, you will be making a huge change in your entire office.

 

 

RachelleW

Green Ideas for Manufacturing Needs and Processes.JPG

The manufacturing industry remains a topic when it comes to a lack of eco-consciousness. Its use of oil, coal, natural gas and toxic processes has labeled the industry a major contributor to waste, and air and water pollution. While other industries are lauded for implementing eco-friendly operations, manufacturing gets finger pointed for generating greenhouse gases and either depleting or harming natural resources.

While it may be slow going, the industry is pushing for green initiatives. Improvement in waste management and clean production are on the drawing board of companies big and small. Here are some of the basic processes that they are looking at.

Utilizing Alternative Energy

Manufacturing companies are decreasing dependency on the traditional for electricity. Energy sources not harvested from eco-dangerous fossil fuels is a consideration throughout the industry. Alternative energy like wind, geothermal and solar are more affordable than ever, making them exceptional solutions for the bottom line. The reality is the complete elimination of fossil fuels may not be possible in the short term. Still, its implementation and the use of advanced tools like engine dynamometers will reduce energy consumption and play their part in minimizing carbon footprints. Professionals, like those at Power Test Inc., know that measuring power output can help reduce emissions in the long run.  Most people in the manufacturing industry don’t realize this.

Environmental Management Systems

Environmental management systems are playing a significant role in reducing manufacturing's impact on ecosystems. Another upside is these systems are known to maximize operating efficiency. The systems use a framework that let management design and achieve goals by monitoring and reacting to inconsistency in company operations. Increased control enhances environmental performance. Management will be able to identify areas where going green makes the most sense.

Inventory Management

Many businesses have excess inventory in order to be prepared for anything. Stockpiles contribute to waste, especially as many products are overproduced to fill orders and, in turn, burn fossil fuels. Inventory management entails curtailing resources and having only what is necessary to complete tasks. Use and procurement control has to be a consideration.

Repurpose and Recycle

Along the lines of inventory management, manufacturing companies with over-extended supplies and excess resources can cut their carbon footprint by finding ways to recycle and reuse materials already in-house. They can initiate programs to recycle bottles, cans and plastic bags. They can compost paper and other rubbish, and repurpose crates and boxes. These operations would also save on the bottom line as the company would spend less to restock these supplies.

With objectives like recycling, inventory and environmental management, and alternative energy on the agenda, the manufacturing industry is ready to challenge any question about its eco-friendliness.

RachelleW

How Chemical Manufacturing Can Be Made Safer and More Earth-Friendly.JPG

Unfortunately, one of the largest sources of pollution in industry is chemical manufacturing. The byproducts of chemical manufacturing processes are often very harmful to humans, plants and animals. Once released, this pollution can keep affecting the environment for many decades into the future. However, if a strong effort is made to lower the risks of chemical manufacturing for both living things and the environment at large, this problem can be solved. Below are a few ways how.

Move Towards a Philosophy of Green Chemistry

Overall, one thing manufacturers should do is move towards a philosophy of “green chemistry.” This simply means being much more mindful of the effects chemicals can have on animals, people and ecosystems during every part of the chemical manufacturing process. The goal here is achieving sustainability and minimizing all environmental impacts. Doing so can also have other benefits as well. Increased efficiency in the production process leads to lower costs.

Do a Rethink of Your Entire Production Process

Overall, becoming greener means having to reexamine past decisions that weren’t viewed with ecological sustainability in mind. There are probably adjustments you can make to how you use chemicals that can both decrease environmental impact and increase efficiency. For example, many companies, like Powerblanket, know that improving the flow of viscous materials keep expensive chemicals from freezing. Such a design improvement can lessen the possibility of environmental contamination and save money related to waste simultaneously.

Consider Green Alternatives

Many companies in different industries simply use the same chemicals in their production processes that they have used for decades. Many of these chemicals will always be hazardous to the environment and living things. While attempts are made to store, handle and dispose of them properly, mistakes are still often made. Instead, you might want to start considering alternatives that won’t have the same kind of environmental impact. In fact, a nonprofit group, Clean Production Action, was set up specifically to help companies select less hazardous chemicals for their manufacturing processes.

Obtain an Environmental Impact Assessment

One way to determine what kind of impact your chemical manufacturing is having on the Earth is to have an environmental impact assessment performed by an independent third party. This can give you a clear view of exactly how your company affects the surrounding environment and what you can do to mitigate that impact.

Chemicals will still probably be a very important party of industrial manufacturing years into the future. However, that doesn’t mean the use of chemicals has to create pollution. Consider less hazardous alternatives, new technology and alterations to your production process that can make your company more environmentally friendly.

RachelleW

Green Manufacturing Processes and how to Improve Them.JPG

Most manufacturers understandably focus on essential business systems like Kanban, Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. However, green manufacturing processes will also lower costs and increase revenues. Here are three major benefits of implementing green manufacturing into your business.

Reduce Energy Costs

Energy and water bills are very high for most manufacturing companies. A large portion of these expenses are actually caused by long periods of equipment standby and downtime. Strategic production planning and tighter schedules will reduce waste. Regular equipment inspections help through identifying problems, such as air compressor leaks. Changing product processing and packing can also save time and costs. Consider switching to energy-efficient lights and upgrading equipment to energy-saving models. There are many government reimbursements available for companies that buy efficient machinery and install solar or wind energy equipment. Manufacturers must also research how to sell production waste. For example, lumber manufacturing facilities often sell bark and sawdust.

Sustainable Maintenance

A green maintenance approach proactively evaluates the impact of machine failures on both employee performance and environmental conditions. The goal is to monitor equipment functioning and implement preventive maintenance actions. For example, dynamometers are used to monitor heavy equipment testing systems. Some companies, like Power Test Inc., have dynamometers that test electric engines.  Performing such tests makes production easier to manage. Sustainable maintenance will accurately predict when energy consumption levels peak and when material degradation threatens the environment. As a result, maintenance managers can effectively mitigating risks and avoid operational repair costs. One of the best ways to implement an eco-friendly preventative maintenance program is through regular equipment maintenance check sheets that are performed by operators and turned into maintenance.

Designing for Sustainability

When new manufacturing systems are proposed, life cycle cost analyses should be performed during the conceptual design stage to evaluate the best engineering solutions that offer the highest levels of reliability and maintainability. This will help key decision makers identify potential financial gains or losses from poor operational and maintenance practices. During the planning stage, management can evaluate and compare the maintenance needs and energy consumption levels of proposed equipment.

Management can thus select higher efficiency motors, alternative fuels or more eco-friendly energy sources. An additional benefit of sustainability planning during the life cycle cost analysis is that it will be easier to smaller, energy-efficient alternatives and avoid oversized equipment. Complex production systems will most likely require an outside consultant to perform an environmental impact and risk analysis.

Sustainable businesses practices will control costs and curb environmental impacts through efficient asset and maintenance management. Keep in mind that these benefits and improvements are often realized as annual savings instead of quick, short-term savings.

RachelleW

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One of the biggest issues facing the world over the next couple of years is the environment. There are a lot of studies that show just how much the environment is impacted by human policies around the world. Although developing nations were thought to be the source of a lot of issues, now many first world countries like the Unites States have a larger carbon footprint than “smaller” countries. Here are several keys for creating a greener global economy.

Technology

The only thing that prevents the world from being completely green is technology. Nations and companies do not use green energy more simply because it costs more, and of course, no one cares about anything but money. By investing more in technology, these costs will come down over time as it becomes more available to other people. Anyone who wants to look at implementing this in their company or country needs to lay-out a long term investment plan. The more success with technology, the easier it will be to convert to renewable energy.

Government Incentives

There are some countries around the world that give tax incentives to companies or people that make investments into renewable energy. This is a good idea for several reasons. First of all, it increases the number of people who use renewable sources of energy. Another big reason for this is that it creates a demand in the market for renewable sources of energy. As this demand increases, consumers will drive technology growth in the area. This is a very good long term strategy to increase the amount of renewable energy that is used in any specific area. Over the long term, this can go a long way in helping people who want to see more renewable energy used.

Natural Gas Delivery

Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel that many people support. Having a delivery service for natural gas will reduce the worldwide demand for oil and increase support for the cleaner natural gas. Some companies, like Nationwide Boiler, have equipment that’s designed and packaged so that it can easily be delivered to job sites. Companies and governments should be much more willing to support natural gas by using it more regularly, till it becomes commonplace in business and industry.

More Education

Educating people on the importance of renewable energy is important as well. There are a lot of people who think that education is preventing many people from understand how important renewable energy is to the future. There is a huge political struggle in many areas of the world for control over oil. Having more renewable energy options is the best way to grow the economy over the long term. As people figure this out, they will drive market demand for innovations in this area.

Green energy is an important issue over the next few decades. As more energy is used around the world, it is essential to understand how to grow renewable energy sources for people to use over the long term.

RachelleW

5 Practical Ways to Safeguard the Environment.JPG

 

You have a lot of impact on your natural environment. Whether large or simple, the effort you put in will play a major role in maintaining the good health of our environment. The rate at which people impact their environment negatively can be moderated through several ways.

Change Daily Habits

To save energy, switch off any gadgets that use electricity when they are not in use. Also, walk or use a bicycle instead of using electronic exercise machines. Conserve water by taking short showers, and monitoring your outdoor irrigation. To help reduce landfill space, recycle all you can and avoid using disposable items such as bottled water.

Change Your Eating Habits

Attempt vegetarianism by eating less meat and dairy products. Meat and dairy production is extremely inefficient and resource-intensive. Avoid wasting food and store your leftovers so that you can use them up at your next meal.

New Transportation Habits

When going to a close destination, consider walking or using a bicycle. If your job permits, you can try telecommuting or working from home one day a week. Instead of driving your kids, arrange a “walking school bus” or take mass transit to school. Also, consider driving a hybrid car that can run on both gasoline and electric motors as they release less emissions into the air.

Adapt Your Home

You can install skylights or solar panels to reduce the electricity you need to light up your home. You can also switch to LED light bulbs because they use less energy. To maximize energy conservation, choose curtains and blinds that will keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In the yard, plant a tree or other air-cleansing plant. Avoid herbicides, pesticides, and man-made chemical fertilizers. Use what fertilizer you need and ensure that no excess fertilizer is washed into waterways.

Engage In Awareness Campaigns and Courses

Donate to, or join an environmental organization. This will go a long way in enlightening others on the importance of protecting our environment. You can also enroll in online classes such as HazMat training that will help you learn more about ecological disasters and hazardous management.  For instance, National Environmental Trainers, even offers refresher courses in mobile formats for easy access. Ecological disasters affect the environment in different ways:

• Tornadoes lead to destruction of property such as buildings and trees

• Loss of human and animal life

• Water contamination

• Global warming

• Because of man-made global warming, scientists predict that there will be an increase in tornadoes and other severe weather.

Sometimes it is inconvenient and hard to live an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, but it is a way of life that guarantees you a greater peace of mind. The little things we do mean a lot, and the more eco-conscious we are in our daily life, the more we keep our planet alive.

RachelleW

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In the 21st century modern furnishings has several important characteristics. They include functionality, simplicity, and are aesthetically pleasing. Go further by adding these with Eco-friendliness for an evolutionary component. Here are some ideas for blending these attributes together while decorating a home.

Lighting

This idea continues to make energy-efficient lists due to the variety of innovative options. For example, pendant lights in diverse shapes of environmentally-friendly bulbs are a chic complement to any room. Consider using them in a myriad of colors where they alternate with white or use one color to make a bold statement. Place decorative solar lamps near windows and glass doors to take the conservation theme up a notch.

Flooring

Rugs are a smashing idea to keep floors cooler in the summer while keeping floors warm and heat in during the winter. For the modern element, choose from textures, designs, and sizes to fit furniture already in place. Retailers such as
Modern Home 2 Go have a vast inventory of rugs to accent modern decorating themes.

Window Treatment

Solar blinds are energy-efficient as well as stylish with a plethora of colors and designs to choose from. They cut damaging UV rays while maintaining comfortable in-door temperatures. Models come with manual or remote control options. If there is a home automation system, this piece of furnishing can be programmed to open and close on cue.

Electric Fireplaces

Here is a piece of furnishing off the beaten path. However, it will become more than a focal point wherever it lands. These specialty pieces have dual functionality that includes an entertainment center and bookshelves. In addition, designs have different types of mantels, textures, colors, and sizes available. This translates into placing one in just about every room. It would not be truly modern without the remote control to complete the package. Enjoy the winter while controlling home temperatures.

Ceiling Fans

This Eco-friendly furnishing brings loads of personality to any decor. Factor in the ability to push cool air down and draw warm air to the ceiling delivers savings on energy bills. A simple pull of the string or push of a remote changes the direction of the blades. The type of blades also plays a role in achieving maximum efficiency from use. Additional accents include a light fixture with more money-saving benefits from green technology lighting components.

The environment has become important along with the public’s heightened awareness about conservation. Homes with modern motifs dictate keeping lines clean and space open. Here are five areas to achieve both goals with a trendy flair. Every modern homeowner enthusiast will love these ideas.

RachelleW

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When it comes to buying organic foods, there is a lot of controversy about whether or not it is a worthy consideration. Organic food is produced without the use of synthetic additives to include antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticide or fertilizers or any other artificial means. Organic farmers utilize environmentally conservative practices in regard to soil, water and overall food production procedures. For a product to be labeled ‘USDA Organic’, it must undergo a stringent certification process to be labeled as such, including farming practices and handling of food before it can be sold to consumers.

Meat

Meats, including beef and poultry products are often from animals that have been treated with growth hormones and antibiotics. These animals also usually have been fed grain treated with pesticides. When feasible, choose grass-fed, organic meat to ensure its quality.

Dairy

The milk produced by cows is affected by the hormones and antibiotics they are given, so choose organic milk, cheese and other dairy products when possible. Other products derived from dairy, including protein powders, should be derived from organic milk from grass-fed cows to ensure purist quality, like that of WonderWhey protein from DoVitamins.

Eggs

Choosing organic eggs ensures that the chickens they came from were not given harmful antibiotics nor were they fed grains that were treated with pesticides. Eggs labeled free-range or cage free ensures the chickens were raised under humane conditions supporting their health.

Produce

Fruits and vegetables are generally grown using commercial fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Some produce has a higher content of pesticides and buying organic or planting organic if you are a gardener is a good idea. According to the Environmental Working Group, an agency that regularly tests pesticide levels in produce, some of the fruits and vegetables at the top of the list for having the highest levels of pesticides in 2015 include apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe and cauliflower.

Grains

Grains are also heavily treated with chemicals to ensure that farmers will yield a crop. Grains are being genetically modified as well, so buying organic wheat, oats and other common grains ensures they are GMO-free, an environmentally healthy choice.

With the price point of organic foods often being higher than that of conventionally manufactured foods, it can be difficult for consumers to know which foods they should consider buying organic. Choosing organics when feasible is one important way of reducing the toxic load for our bodies to support overall bodily health and the health of our environment.

RachelleW

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In the recent past, doing your part to save the environment meant recycling plastic containers, buying organic vegetables and using canvas tote bags. Today, there are more ways to live green than ever before. In fact, a few simple changes can help you create a greener, healthier home. Here are five decorating ideas to consider.

Marry Your Interior and Exterior Home

One of the easiest ways to green up your home is to blur the lines between the interior and exterior living spaces. Opening your doors and windows is one way to bring the outdoors inside. If you are planning a home renovation, consider installing a window wall that opens an entire room to the outdoors. Screens allow you to let in fresh air while keeping the bugs and other pests outside.

Install Energy-Efficient Lighting Fixtures

The right lighting fixtures can give your home an aesthetic appeal that is eco-friendly and functional. Old fixtures use a lot of energy, which can drive up your electricity bills. Replace them with energy-saving fixtures, such as those with
Energy Star certification, or even solar-powered models. Replace your standard, incandescent bulbs with energy-saving alternatives such as light-emitting diodes (LED) or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs.

Decorate With Indoor and Outdoor Plants

Nothing says green living like live plants. Besides adding beauty to your home, plants from places like
Green Smart Decor provide a relaxing outdoor hobby and help reduce indoor air pollution. Choose low-light, low-water houseplants for indoor decorating, and water them with rainwater or water you would otherwise discard. Outdoors, use the right soil and appropriate fertilizers, and water your plants frequently to keep the soil from drying out.

Beautify Your Home With Reclaimed Water

While luscious greenery is a great way to green your home and lawn, it comes at the price of high energy bills. If you are renovating your home or designing a new one, consider installing reclaimed water solutions. For example, try drainage systems that use rainwater to feed your lawn and outdoor landscaping.

Save Water With Artificial Leaf Panels

Artificial leaf panels are a good way to green your home without adding to your water bills. In addition to their easy installation and natural appearance, polyurethane panels provide ultraviolet (UV) protection and noise insulation. They are also weather-resistant, pest-free and unattractive to pets. Green Smart Décor offers a variety of panel options including ficus and ivy.

"Going green" does not have to mean "going expensive" with solar panels or bamboo flooring. Simple changes like the ones above can make your home a greener, safer, healthier place to live. Begin with small steps and make a commitment to change your habits over time.

RachelleW

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With energy costs on the rise along with pollution and traffic congestion, energy-efficient vehicles are excellent investments. Most of us own vehicles and depend on them for daily transportation. It makes sense to get one that can save money while also helping to keep the environment clean. The benefits like environmental friendliness and savings on fuel are well known; however, there are a few other benefits that you may not know about.


Lower Costs
The cost of gas is not the only expense with which vehicle owners have to contend. Insurance is another significant cost that comes with owning all types of vehicles. Many car insurance companies provide their customers with discounts for owning an energy-efficient vehicle. Some insurance companies even have divisions that are dedicated to policies for eco-friendly vehicles and which provide discounts. Hybrid drivers may also be eligible for good driver and other discounts as well. All major insurance providers offer some sort of discount for drivers of hybrids and electrical cars. Aside from replacing parts like tires and wiper blades, there is not a lot of maintenance needed for electric cars. For one thing, the brake pads last longer since these vehicles use regenerative braking to slow the vehicle down. Regenerative braking converts the energy used in slowing the vehicle into electricity, which is stored in the battery.

They Are Safe
Hybrid and electric vehicles are as safe as cars that are fueled by gasoline. In the past, concerns have been raised regarding the potential for accidents to cause chemical spills because of the batteries; however, such accidents have not occurred in the decade since these cars first became widely available. Still, it is necessary to take precautions when driving any vehicle, regardless of the fuel source. Eric Harron, a
car accident lawyer in Austin, advises all motorists to avoid aggressive driving and to minimize distractions regardless of what vehicle is being driven.

They Are Just as Comfortable as Conventional Vehicles
When it comes to comfort and ease of driving, there is no difference between an all-gas vehicle and an energy-efficient. Hybrids are able to accelerate and to cruise just as fast on the highway. Most hybrids come with the luxury features expected of modern vehicles. These include navigation systems, keyless start and automatic climate control. Most hybrids are able to move at least four adults in reasonable comfort and some can transport as many as eight.

They are a Good Investment
The economic aspects of buying an energy efficient vehicle can be tricky. Many experts have deemed hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles to be poor investments based on the fuel savings. It is true that the value of a hybrid can fluctuate depending on gas prices. However, one area that many calculations fail to take into consideration is resale value. One 2011 study by Carnegie Mellon University used auction data to show that two energy efficient vehicles (the Toyota Prius and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI) retained thousands of dollars of their value in comparison to gas-only vehicles. More people are turning to hybrids in order to save on fuel and to help protect the environment, which means that there is a greater demand. That demand leads to above-average resale value.

The Technology is Not New
Even though hybrids and electrical vehicles have been on the market for a while now, many motorists may be concerned about investing in what may be perceived as relatively new technology. The truth is that electric cars were around as far back as the early 20th century. They were among the earliest American-made vehicles. The technology has evolved considerably since then and modern electrical cars are even more efficient and powerful.

The benefits above are some of the reasons that hybrids and electrical vehicles are among the fastest growing segments of the auto industry. Furthermore, the popularity of energy efficient vehicles means that there is a wide variety from which to choose. Shop around to find something that meets your needs and those of your family.

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