Angie Cole

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  1. Hazardous waste can come in various forms, and it’s not always easy to manage them, much less regulate their disposal. However, the need for proper hazardous waste management has become more and more apparent over the past couple of years, as the imminent threat of global warming has made its presence felt more clearly. But what exactly are we dealing with when it comes to hazardous waste? What is hazardous waste? Waste that poses a threat to the environment and to human health is considered as hazardous, and they commonly exhibit either one or all of these traits: toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity, and reactivity. They can also be infectious, such as those coming from healthcare facilities, or radioactive. Hazardous waste can come in solid, liquid, sludge, and even gaseous states. What should be done with them? In an ideal world, all waste products could be recycled and utilized in some other industry. However, the reality is that the world is hardly an ideal setting, and recycling normally isn’t the end point of hazardous waste. Depending on how hazardous waste was created (either by physical, chemical, thermal, or even biological means), treatment and disposal may also vary. For example, certain organic wastes like those from the petroleum industry can be applied with biological treatment, such as landfarming, in which hazardous waste is mixed carefully with surface soil on a designated and suitable area of land. Microbes can be added to metabolize the waste, thus causing it to stabilize. On the other hand, physical treatment involves solidifying, concentrating, or reducing the volume of hazardous waste. Who is responsible for hazardous waste management? Hazardous waste management should be the responsibility of everyone. A combined effort is needed from everyone involved in producing, handling, and disposing of the hazardous waste. Each institution that deals with such waste – like healthcare facilities and industrial companies – should follow the standard regulations on handling hazardous waste, and have a set protocol in place. Employees and workers who find themselves at risk for exposure to such waste, or handle them directly, should be trained on how to properly deal with them. The 40-hour HAZWOPER training should be required for such employees. Whether you work in a facility that creates these hazardous waste, or are part of the cleanup crew to ensure their containment, it is important to understand the impact that such waste has on our lives. Hazardous waste is inevitable in today’s society, but with proper management, we can ensure that its impact on environmental and human health is contained.
  2. Every home that has an HVAC system needs air filters, it’s practically a given. As their name suggests, air filters filter out the air that enters and circulates around your home, leaving you and your family with cleaner air to breathe. Just like car filters, these home air filters also need to be changed out every 3 months (or more frequently if you have pets or asthmatic family members). But what happens when you don’t change them out for months on end? 1. Frozen Coils The lack of airflow to the cooling coils or the evaporator can be caused by the air filter being too congested, which can happen during the summer cooling season. This, in turn, causes condensation to freeze and your coils and fans to have frost buildup, which can make it a lot more difficult for your air cooling unit to work by removing heat from air and cooling your home. If unresolved and kept as is for a long time, your air conditioning unit may even break down. 2. Mildew, Mold, and Bacteria Growth A clogged air filter could also cause the evaporator coil in air conditioning or heat pump systems to get covered in mold, bacteria, or dirt. When this happens, the critical heat exchange process is constrained, which gives your A/C or heat pump a hard time in effectively controlling indoor climate or removing ample amounts of humidity in the air. It also turns the evaporator coil into a sort of petri dish where microorganisms can multiply. 3. Poor Air Quality As its name stipulates, air filters filter out unwanted particles and bacteria from the air that you breathe in. Hence, if your system’s air filters are dirty and unchanged for months, you can bet that the air that you’re breathing in is dirty, too. Worse, a blocked air filter continuously re-circulates the particles that it normally should keep out of the indoor air, causing you and your family members to experience any number of symptoms including fatigue, allergies, and headaches. 4. Higher Energy Bills Your entire home’s central air conditioning system depends on the continuous re-circulation of air, so when that circulation is disrupted by a clogged or dirty air filter, you can expect your system to struggle just to continue cooling your house as normal. The harder the system works, the more energy it requires – which ultimately means higher energy bills, as well. In other words, you’ll be getting less air for the value that you normally would pay for clean air in the home. 5. Furnace Failure The worst scenario to your home’s HVAC system when you fail to change your dirty air filters would be to have it all stop working altogether. When you compare the price of having to repair or even replace your entire HVAC to the price of changing air filters every couple of months or so, the decision should be fairly obvious. FilterBuy's air filter sizes can even be ordered online and delivered to your home, which eliminates the need to head out to buy them. Changing air filters in your home’s AC and ventilation system literally takes minutes. So the next time you feel the need to put off removing your dirty air filters, think of what it would do to both your HVAC system and your family’s health.
  3. Sometimes, the home environment can cause more harm than good. It may be hard to believe, but indoor air can possibly be several times more polluted than the air that we breathe outside. This can be because of the products that we use indoors, how often we DON’T clean, or the lack of ventilation in the home. One way of ensuring that the home environment, particularly the air that we breathe in while indoors, is healthy is by installing air filters. They can be good for the indoor environment for the following reasons: 1. They clean the air by removing particles and odors. Air filters work exactly by filtering the air that flows into your home. They remove particles and dirt that could be harmful when inhaled, and some can even remove foul odors. These particles may be allergens that could trigger asthma attacks, so getting them filtered out is essential if you have asthma, or any other type of respiratory disease. 2. They keep indoor air healthy. The quality of the air inside your home can directly affect your family’s health. Suffice it to say that bad air can cause health problems, and good clean air can be all that’s needed to nurse a sick family member back to health. Air filters can keep the level of quality of indoor air healthy simply by doing its job of filtering the air that goes into your home, and keeping out harmful particulates from being inhaled by the family. 3. They keep bad air out and circulate purified air. Outdoor air pollution can find its way indoors, simply by opening a window or door. Air filters can filter out the bad air, and only circulate clean and purified air. Breathe fresh and cleaner air while you’re at home by installing air filters. Just make sure to change or clean out your filters routinely in order to avoid running into problems which may cause your air filter to circulate “dirty” air instead of keeping them out. A good home environment is not only achieved by cleaning and dusting regularly, but it also requires that the air be fresh and healthy. Keeping the home environment clean and fresh doesn’t have to be too tedious. Sometimes, all you need is the right air filter to do the job of cleaning your air for you. Be sure to check out all the various offerings of filter sizes by FilterBuy for your air filter needs.
  4. Asbestos is known now as a toxic substance, but up until a few decades back, it was widely used in a lot of products. This went on until the late 1980s, when countries started banning it from use. Products that contained asbestos were promptly discontinued. Yet, as years went by, the risks that exposure to this toxic substance brought about are still at large, even though it has been decades since its use was banned. But just what is asbestos, and how does it concern us and the environment? Asbestos Use Asbestos has insulating and fire-resistent qualities, which made it a popular component in building materials and household products. Before being halted from use, asbestos-containing products were commonly used to build homes and buildings. In general, those built before 1990 would almost positively have asbestos in its walls, roofs, floors, or insulating system. While asbestos by itself is not harmful, the fibers that it releases into the air when it is disturbed has caused a number of health problems. Threat to Human Health Asbestos fibers are so tiny that when they are released into the air, they can stay suspended for a while before eventually settling on top of soil or ground. This means that once asbestos is disturbed, the air around it would be considered contaminated. Asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled into the lungs, where they can lodge onto the walls and remain for decades. Continuous exposure to asbestos would increase the number of fibers inhaled or ingested. Over time, serious chronic and possibly terminal respiratory diseases may develop, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, or even lung cancer. Threat to the Environment Asbestos not only provides a threat to humans, it also affects the environment. Asbestos fibers are not soluble and do not easily pass into the soil, nor do they evaporate. They can remain on top of the ground or any outside surfaces for years before they are again disturbed and redistributed into the air where they can be easily inhaled by both people and animals. Animals actually can are also affected by asbestos when they are continuously exposed to asbestos fibers, which puts their health and population at risk as well. Nowadays, asbestos is no longer widely used in common household products and materials, yet the risks that it poses to health and the environment is still present. If your job puts you in danger of being exposed to asbestos or other toxic materials and substances, protect yourself by being trained. The OSHA 40 hour HAZWOPER training, for example, aids workers in knowing what to do in case the danger of exposure to hazardous waste arises in the workplace.
  5. The risk of being exposed to asbestos isn’t just real for those whose jobs focus on asbestos abatement, it’s also real for a number of other professions. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety has reported that over the past century, workers from more than 75 different trades have been actively exposed to unsafe levels of asbestos. Though the use of this dangerous substance has been considerably limited (even banned) since 1990, there are still those today whose symptoms from past exposures only recently came to light. Mesothelioma, asbestosis, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer - these are just some of the known diseases directly caused by asbestos exposure. Today, these trades below tend to be presented with a higher than average risk for exposure to asbestos, more than other lines of work: Construction workers Asbestos training is especially necessary for those working in the construction industry, as the substance can be found in a huge number of products and materials, as well as locations, that these workers encounter on a daily basis. The problem lies in the fact that a majority of construction workers simply don’t have the advanced training and knowledge necessary in order to properly address asbestos exposure and related concerns. Electricians In the scope of their job, electricians often have to work through old asbestos-containing materials and parts just to ensure that their clients have safe electrical systems that are in compliance with safety regulations. This causes them to often (and mostly unknowingly) get severely exposed to and affected by asbestos fibers, though it may not show until a few years to a couple of decades later. HVAC repair technicians Modern heating and ventilation systems and components are already largely asbestos-free, however, HVAC repair personnel at times still have to work in old and tight spaces, which are most likely sources of asbestos. When disturbed, a highly toxic level of asbestos fibers could be released, putting the technician at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases that would only become apparent 20 to 50 years after. Firefighters There are often instances when asbestos-packed buildings literally fall down all around our fire-fighting heroes. Because of the heat from the fire, asbestos fibers may be rapidly released into the air, where they can be inhaled by the firefighters working in the area. While firefighters do wear the appropriate protective gear when working to put out fires, they don’t always wear respirators. Teachers This may come as a surprise, however, it makes perfect sense when you factor in the number of aging school buildings all across the United States. Many school buildings being utilized today were built around the time when the use of asbestos was prevalent, putting teachers at risk of exposure to asbestos fibers even in the simple act of using normal facilities within the school. Aside from these trades, there are quite a number of others that puts its workers at a higher than normal risk for asbestos exposure. Often, this can be attributed to the lack of training regarding proper handling of these types of substances. Business owners are recommended to pair up with a reputable safety training organization that can provide necessary training on asbestos safety, as well as HAZWOPER training for those whose workers are involved in hazardous waste cleanup and containment. Visit theasbestosinstitute.com for more details on safety training.
  6. Mold is very helpful outdoors as it helps in breaking down fallen leaves and dead trees. However, you wouldn’t really want to have them inside your homes and office buildings, as they can be pretty harmful to human and animal health. And yes, mold can definitely grow indoors, provided the conditions are ideal. So where can you normally find mold indoors? Below are three of the most common locations where mold can usually be found. 1. Bathroom The bathroom or shower obviously has plenty of water and moisture, and it may never really go back to normal humidity levels once you actually start using it. Most bathrooms also don’t have ample ventilation, which means that the humidity that increases when water from the shower floor and walls dries up tends to linger in the bathroom longer. All of these provide a perfect environment for mold to grow. 2. Kitchen Molds in the kitchen can usually be found near the dishwasher, under the sink, or behind the refrigerator - spaces where small leaks often go unnoticed for a longer period of time. If you start to notice a musty odor in the kitchen, you’ll want to search for mold growth, especially in the areas aforementioned. 3. Basement Basements in older homes tend to have mold growth due to the moisture that develops in them. Basement molds can also be found in homes that are poorly sloped, have broken drain tiles and foundation cracks, or are missing waterproof membranes as these conditions add to the moisture in the home. Preventing mold spores from getting indoors can be a pretty impossible task. The important thing is to control its growth inside the home, and this can be done by knowing where it can be found, and keeping the moisture down. Regularly cleaning and replacing of filters (you can find a wide range of filter sizes by FilterBuy) can help ensure cleaner indoor air all around.
  7. Asbestos being very harmful to health and potentially causing fatal illnesses is already a well-established fact, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that its effects extend even to the environment. When asbestos fibers are released into the air, they can be inhaled into the lungs of both humans and animals. It’s why asbestos handling should only be done by trained professionals. Here are 3 reasons why we should not attempt to dispose of asbestos ourselves: Personal Health and Safety Unless you are an asbestos expert, or have received training on how to deal with this harmful substance, then you would most likely not have the proper resources or know-how to handle an asbestos risk situation correctly. While asbestos, in general, does not pose any immediate threat to one’s health when left alone, it can be easily breathed in once disturbed. Asbestos fibers are so tiny, they can only be viewed with a special microscope. Once these micro fibers find their way into your respiratory system, they could lodge into the tissues of your lungs, and cause you to develop mesothelioma or asbestosis, which can both be fatal. Protect your health and stay safe - leave the asbestos to the professionals. Protection of Those Around You Once asbestos fibers are released into the air, it puts not only yourself, but also those around you in danger. To avoid causing unnecessary problems to the people around you, avoid dealing with asbestos problems yourself. Instead, leave it to trained personnel to deal with. If the asbestos risk occurs at home, call in a professional. You wouldn’t want to place your family or neighbors in a compromising position, now, would you? Environmental Protection Asbestos fibers travel though air, and they are not absorbed into the soil when landing on soil surface. This means that they can just as easily be introduced back into the air, where they can be inhaled by humans and animals, putting populations at risk. When animal populations become threatened, it puts a burden on our ecological balance. By making sure that asbestos is handled properly and correctly disposed, it is not only human health that is being kept safe, but also the environment and the other flora and fauna that thrive in it. Avoid putting yourself and the environment at risk by getting a professional to do the removal and disposal for you. Ensure that you get a professional who knows what he is doing and is legitimately trained to deal with asbestos. Having hazwoper certification by training centers like The Asbestos Institute may mean that your hired professional has had experience dealing with hazardous waste as well, which is a definite plus.
  8. Most people don’t change their air filters as often as they’re supposed to. It often takes months before they’re changed out, and sometimes, only after a significant amount of dust has settled on the furnace vents. However, changing your air filters on a regular basis is a necessity in order for proper indoor air filtration to work. Read on to find out more about why this is necessary. Changing them regularly avoids damage to your HVAC system. Dirt and neglect are both leading causes of HVAC systems failing. The good news is that this is completely avoidable. One way of avoiding this is by checking on the air filters regularly, as a clogged air filter can cause damage to your system. Instead of having to change your system due to this damage, try to change out the air filter as regularly as possible. It ensures consistently cleaner air inside the house. Air filters collect dust and other small particles, and prevent them from being circulated around your home where they can just as easily be inhaled. Keeping air filters cleaned, or changed out to new ones, translates to cleaner, healthier, and all-around fresher air that is better for your home and the entire family - especially those suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma. It can save costs. Air filters not only prevent unwanted particles from circulating around your home, they can also, in a way, protect the HVAC system from unnecessary damage. A clogged filter is bad news, as it means your HVAC system will need to work harder in order to produce cleaner air, and these could lead to your system being damaged. Repairs for HVAC systems tend to be costly, so avoiding something like this would not only keep your home’s air clean, it also keeps you from shelling out money just to have the system fixed. We’re looking at up to 15% savings on utility costs by using an air filter. There are certainly various kinds of air filters available in the market, and you can even find some of them through their respective websites. Regardless of the filter you use to keep your indoor air healthy, all types and sizes of filters need to be cleaned and changed in order to keep functioning properly.
  9. Indoor air can be more polluted than the air that you breathe outside. Shocking, but true. And it isn’t just because you keep your windows open at night, thereby allowing the pollutants in outdoor air to waft into your house. Chemicals commonly found in each households, such as floor cleaners and insecticides also add to the growing list of pollutants that are making your indoor air quality bad. But while there are certainly dangers lurking in every room in the house, the good news is that there are affordable and easy solutions for most of them. 1. Increase ventilation. Ventilation should be a priority in every household. Not only does this allow fresh outdoor air in, it also lets the bad air inside the house out. Increasing ventilation promotes good air circulation and prevents molds and other harmful substances to grow and lurk within the confines of the home. 2. Keep your house clean. While good ventilation allows healthy air circulation, the dust and dirt that settle on the surfaces in your home throughout the day don’t really clean themselves up. Keeping the house clean not only involves dusting and sweeping, it also means taking out the trash to avoid the accumulation of bacteria that could become airborne, and keeping toxic substances away when not needed. 3. Turn on the air conditioner. It may come as a surprise to some, but turning on your energy-star-labeled air conditioner, especially in the summer, can actually remove particulate matter and pollen from the air. Air conditioners work by cooling the air and removing the water from the atmosphere, and as a lot of pollutants are soluble in water, they are also removed during this process when the air conditioner is working. 4. Install an air filter. For utmost protection against the negative effects to health caused by bad indoor air quality, having an air filter installed is the best solution. As their name suggests, these filter out particles of dust and other substances in the air, leaving the air that you ultimately breathe in cleaner than it once was. Good quality air filters, such as those from Filter Buy, can remove even very small particles, and are an especially great installation in households with asthma-stricken family members. Indoor air quality can be worse than the air just outside your home, but it doesn’t have to always be the case. By taking steps to clean, ventilate, and install air filters, having improved indoor air quality is not an impossibility.
  10. Not many people are aware of the dangers of indoor air pollution or even the fact that there even is such a thing. With all the attention that’s been directed to the pollution that affects everyone outdoors, this shouldn't really be surprising. Fortunately, Filter Buy, a family-owned business that specializes in hard-to-find air filters, created an infographic that has all the basics down in a simple format. Here's what we need to understand about air pollution indoors.
  11. Asbestos was very popular between the '40s and the '80s for its resistance to fires, insulating capability, as well as its durability. Homes that were constructed after 1990 are unlikely to have any products containing asbestos, but if your home was built before that year, then it is highly likely that most products used in its construction did contain this harmful substance. While the presence of asbestos in the home does not necessarily pose a risk to health and safety, it is nonetheless important to know how to manage if it does become a problem over time. Here are some ways in which to manage asbestos problems in the home. 1. Check the condition of the asbestos-containing material. When suspecting an asbestos problem in the home, the first thing that should be done is to do an ocular inspection. Check the condition of the material that contains the harmful substance, and see if it’s still in intact. If it looks to be in good shape and have little possibility of being disturbed, then there’s no need to do anything – at all. Moving or attempting to repair any asbestos material that is otherwise in good condition can only disturb the asbestos in it. 2. Repair or Remove If you’ve determined that there is a problem, then it can either be repaired or removed. A repair can either mean covering or sealing the asbestos material. Covering involves positioning something around or over the material in order to prevent it from releasing asbestos fibers, while sealing or encapsulation usually involves the use of a sealant to treat and coat the material so that fibers cannot be released. Doing a repair is a quick and cheaper way of managing an asbestos problem, albeit temporarily. On the other hand, removing the asbestos material can be costly, but it does have the advantage over a repair as this totally eliminates it from the home for good. Whether you opt to repair or remove the asbestos material, both cases should be handled by a professional with asbestos safety training and certifications. 3. When in doubt, always call a professional. It may be difficult to determine whether there is an asbestos problem in the home, or if it is even an asbestos-containing material to begin with. In such cases, avoid trying to manage the situation yourself – call a professional. As an added precaution, never sweep, dust, or vacuum any debris that may contain asbestos as this would disturb and release tiny asbestos fibers into the air. Once inhaled, these could lodge onto the surfaces of the lungs, and cause serious diseases – most notably cancer. Don’t risk it - call in a professional to do the disposing.
  12. Most of today’s cleaning products don’t only pose a risk to the environment but also to human health. It’s the perfect time to make your own toxic-free cleaning agent from home ingredients instead of spending money on commercial cleaners loaded with harsh chemicals. Here are tips on cleaning your furniture the eco-friendly way. Wood furniture Wood is considered the universal material in making furniture. To clean it, remove dust using a clean cloth, small paint brush, or vacuum. Dusting removes particles from the surface and also gets rid of dirt which may become harder to remove when wet. Cleaning wood with water isn’t usually recommended. However, if you do need to moisten the piece to remove sticky parts, make sure you follow it with lemon oil or olive oil. Mix 1 cup lemon juice with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spray the mixture onto a soft cloth. Wipe the furniture with the slightly damp cloth. Let it sit for a few minutes, then buff. Beeswax is another product considered to give wood furniture a long-lasting shine. Using a clean cloth, apply the wax onto your furniture in a circular motion. When done, leave it for a couple of hours. Glass furniture Almost every house has glass furniture in one form or the other which are usually seen in minimalistic designs. Cleaning glass doesn’t actually need any chemical agents. The most you would need is a bit of washing liquid. The easiest and fastest way to clean glass is by spraying it with water. For muddy surfaces, it may be necessary to apply mild soap with a sponge. After spraying it with mild soap solution, wipe the surface dry with a clean cloth. You can also polish the glass with crumpled newspaper for a really good shine. Fabric furniture Prevent dust and grime from building up by vacuuming or brushing your fabric furniture frequently. For hard-to-remove stains, use whisked detergent. Fill a container with half water, half mild soap and use a hand mixer to whip it up until you make foam. Dab the foam onto the spots but don’t rub. Allow to dry and vacuum. For red wine or ink spills, use hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of mild soap. Blot it on the stain with a dry towel behind the fabric. This works great for curtains, carpets, and other fabrics. When purchasing fabric furniture, consider the labels. The code “W” or “WS” means it can be cleaned with water-based agents such as mild soap. Leather furniture Leather is considered one of the most durable materials used for furniture. Some of the popular leather furniture pieces include leather sofas and leather club chairs. However, without proper maintenance, it can be as vulnerable as the other products. To remove loose dirt and spills, wipe leather with distilled water using a soft sponge. Be careful not to soak the material as this might create a larger, irreversible stain. Also, avoid rubbing the area, just dab. Avoid harmful soap, abrasive cleaners, or strong detergents as this can seriously damage leather. If your leather is stained with something oily, apply a small amount of cornstarch to the area and let it sit. Then, wipe it away with a cloth. Repeat the process until the oil has been fully absorbed by the powder.
  13. Summer is one of the most exciting seasons to decorate. It brings a lively energy and opportunity to play with colors and styles. So before it finally comes to an end, here are 5 last-minute opportunities to give your home a fresh makeover with less waste. 1. Organize Everyone has that space in the house that could use a little organizing. Decorating doesn’t only mean adding accessories or furniture into a room, it also means rearranging and organizing. Create an easy flow within a room by prioritizing its practical use without sacrificing beauty. For example, ensure the placement of furniture allows for ease of movement in high-traffic areas such as living a living. Maintain the overall ambience so it remains inviting for rest and relaxation during the summer months. 2. Upcycle Upcycling is an idea that has been around for quite a while but is an emerging trend in design. If you have furniture or home accessories that have been broken or unused, repurpose it by upcycling. Take an old drawer and upcycle it into a plant box or turn unused bottles in to vases. Upcycling is good for the environment and it can enable you to add refreshing additions into your own homes without running to the store. 3. Restore Summer is the perfect time to restore any antique or vintage furniture. These valuable pieces are a perfect contrast to lively colors that are typical in the summer months. Restoring an antique dresser or writing table can bring back the original beauty and vibrancy of the piece, making it a favorite once again. When restoring furniture, make sure to clean thoroughly in order to inspect any damage or loose parts that need to be repaired. 4. Repaint Do you need an extreme home decorating makeover? Repaint. Choose your favorite space in the house and repaint it with a fresh new color. Your furniture and accessories can look surprisingly new with a new background. Choose a lively yet relaxing color. Pastels, pale shades of green and white are summer favorites because they are an effective contrast to bold, solid colored furniture as well as bright accessories. However, be careful when choosing paint. Ordinary paint is harmful to the environment because of volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Look for zero-VOC and low-VOC paints instead. Check the label carefully before purchasing. 5. Color If you are not ready for a project as big as repainting a room, you can still add color to your favorite spaces by accessorizing. Placing bright colored or summer-themed items across a room is a great way to bring summer indoors. Bright colored lamps, fresh flowers or printed throw pillows are easy to find and easy to match with existing furniture or wall color. When adding accessories to your home, you can add them little by little. Purchase pieces that are unique and interesting but make sure to keep cohesiveness in style all throughout the room.
  14. Some 45 million Americans have bid goodbye to the daily commute and started working from home at least once a week. While staying put and telecommuting is a great way to reduce fuel expenses, traffic time, and carbon footprint, there are still so many things that can be done to help the environment. When working in an office building, someone else generally takes charge of the environmental details. However when you work in your own home, you make the decisions. Whether you’re working from home full-time, or are just using a home office after hours, here are some adjustments to make your working environment eco-friendly. But don’t limit yourself to these suggestions, there are many other ways to go green! 1. Change your lighting Forget incandescent bulbs. It’s time to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for your overhead lights and desk lamps. CFLs may be more expensive than their counterparts, but they last significantly longer and are cheaper over time. Energy star estimates that each CFL can save you about $45. LED lighting is also an energy-efficient option, as it can last up to 40,000 hours and uses 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs. 2. Select energy-saving devices LCD monitors use less power and are better for the environment compared to CRT monitors. When buying office equipment, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star products like printers, computers, and fax machines have eco-friendly features that can save electricity to light your home for years to come. As for laptops, check the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT) logo to identify sustainable ones. 3. Choose eco-friendly furniture Natural wood or handmade pieces are some of the most environmentally friendly choices for your home office. They are manufactured with less energy and don’t contain any toxic materials. If you’re looking for functional, sustainable furniture that can also be used as art pieces, shop for antique pieces. Reputable online furniture shops like Antiques on Old Plank Road have authentic wood-crafted desks and quality shelves that your green office could use. 4. Power down Many appliances use a significant amount of much energy even when they’re not being used. According to the Department of Energy, 5 percent of all the electricity in America is wasted on unused devices. So when you’re done working, turn off your computer and other office equipment. Rather than setting them to “sleep” mode - which still uses electricity - use a power strip. Plugging the appliances into one surge-protecting power strip will also make turning the appliances on and off a lot easier. 5. Go paperless Eliminating paper from your office is the best option, but it’s not entirely realistic. The next best thing you can do is reducing your paper by digitizing your paperwork. Consider emailed invoices instead of paper alternatives and instead of faxing, scan the document and email it. Evernote is a great tool for in-office organization as it keeps track of your files. Reducing paper will also help you maintain a tidier desk, too! Greening your office by buying environmentally friendly products is easy, but being green is more than buying products - it’s a lifestyle change. Making small changes in your behavior would count too.
  15. Adding natural elements to your home can create a space that is welcoming and full of warmth. Homeowners strive to bring the beauty of the outdoors in by making use of natural elements in furniture and color scheme. Using natural elements in your home can turn it into a beautiful and functional space for day to day lives.. If you want your home to be calm and inspiring, here are some ways to bring the beauty and tranquility of nature to your home. Choose elements that suit you Nature brings you close to elements that comfort and inspire you. Whether it is the tranquility of a bonsai tree or the adventurous aura of a rare rock, bringing elements of nature into the home adds character. Choose the elements of nature that mean something to you. Natural elements in the home bring a connection with nature and peace that is felt and enjoyed. Let the colors do the talking The natural element is not limited to the pieces of artwork and furniture that surround you; they are also laid out in your color scheme. Incorporate natural colors in your furniture, wall colors, and artwork. Bringing natural elements through color could make even the most modern home relaxing. Go for antique pieces Invest in antique furniture that is made of natural wood. Wood furniture and accents can be very versatile. It can be crafted in different finishes and tones. If you need functional furniture that can also be art pieces, look to Antiques on Old Plank Road. They offer rustic and elegant pieces that will bring the beauty of nature inside your home. Use real flowers Flowers have the ability of making any space light and airy. Nowadays, more and more homes are using fresh flowers in lieu of artificial ones. To bring the natural beauty and freshness into your home, you can also make use of potted bulbs and low maintenance potted plants such as cactus or other succulents. Soak your living spaces in sunlight Letting sunlight into your room is not only a practical and eco-friendly replacement to artificial lighting, it can also be a decorative element. Natural light can easily make your living spaces come alive. It can help make your furniture look more inspired. With natural light as a natural and beautiful element, you can easily have every other color in the room stand out and look healthier. Extend the element of nature outside your living room Many areas in your home deserve a touch of nature. Add the beauty of natural elements into other areas of your home such as your bathroom and dining areas. Spaces that are your sanctuary could use an aura of peace and lightness. Sustainable matters Utilize recycled and repurposed furniture or artwork made from natural materials. The trend of using eco-friendly pieces is a way to preserve nature while adding natural beauty into your home.