Meghan Belnap

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About Meghan Belnap

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  • Gender Female
  • Interests Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.

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  1. When looking to add value to a home, many people immediately think of remodeling the kitchen, installing new flooring, or adding a fresh coat of paint throughout the interior. Outdoor spaces are often neglected, even though they are an important part of any home. However, with a little TLC and some easy-to-execute projects, you can vamp up your patio and make it a place people want to hang out. Scientists agree that everyone could benefit from spending more time outside, and updating your patio and backyard space just might be what the doctor ordered. Add New Pavers A common reason people don’t like spending time in their patio is because of the pavement. Old pavement can be cracked and uneven, allowing water, dirt, and other materials to pool up. Adding permeable pavers, stone pavement that helps absorb puddles, ice, and snow from a place like M.P.S Paving Systems Australia, can help you solve this problem. They are available in a variety of materials to help you achieve the smooth, even ground you’ve been desiring. They even come in a wide array of colors, allowing you to match your pavement with the rest of your outdoor decor. Create a Lounge Space Update your plastic chairs and rusty metal table with a chic new outdoor furniture set. Couches, chairs, and gliders can turn a drab patio into a comfortable retreat in no time. Add cushions and pillows in bold colors to make even more of a design statement. Not only will this give your space a refreshed look, but it’ll also be the best new hangout spot on the block! By choosing durable, comfortable pieces, you’re sure to add value to your home. Install a Fire Pit Few things are as magical as sitting by the fire on a clear night. Bring that experience to your home by installing a fire pit into your patio space. You can choose from temporary options, like a small, movable pit you can put away when not in use, or you could build something more permanent. Depended on your space, you could even build a large outdoor fireplace as a focal piece. Either way, fire pits are a great addition to any patio and can make your space more welcoming, and as a result, more valuable. Create an Outdoor Theater Nothing says indoor-outdoor living like installing an outdoor projector for your patio. Whether you use the side of your house or a pop-up screen to watch your favorite TV shows and movies, a projector will take your patio to the next level. Think of how much fun kids will have at summer sleepovers and how much adults will enjoy catching the big game on a huge screen. An outdoor theater will be a huge selling point, and it will make your home party central for years to come. With a little planning and TLC, your patio can become a huge focal point of your house. By creating a relaxing and entertaining outdoor retreat, you’ll be adding value to your home and increasing the quality of life you and your family enjoy.
  2. In your front yard and backyard, you may strive to create a beautiful space that enhances the style of your home. Both of these spaces can impact your personal enjoyment of the space as well as affect how you use your home for entertaining and more. You understandably want to have a lovely yard, but you also need this space to be as functional as possible. You can improve your space from an aesthetic and functional standpoint alike by turning your attention to these tips. Give Pets a Space of Their Own Your pets may spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. They may love running and playing, but they can also dig holes, leave messes and more. A smart idea is to install a chain link fence from somewhere like Diamond Fence Pty Ltd to create a run for your pets. This will be a dedicated space that they can have complete freedom in, and the rest of your yard will remain pristine and fully functional for entertainment and more. Examine the Flow of Water While pets can interfere with the look and functionality of your yard, water can do the same. When water is not well-controlled on your property, it can create runoff canals and muddy puddles that decrease the look and use of your yard substantially. Some water issues can result in erosion around your home’s foundation. You can examine the flow of water and use features like gutters or a dry creek bed with smooth river stones to better control water on your property. Consider Hardscaping Features Hardscaping features are permanent features that are added to your yard, and they often have functional and aesthetic purposes. For example, a stone border around your flowerbeds keeps the mulch in place while creating a lovely delineation between the beds and your lawn. Patios, paved walkways and more are all examples of hardscaping features that you can consider adding to your yard. Add Landscape Lighting Landscape lighting can serve beneficial purposes during the daytime and nighttime hours. During the day, the fixtures are visible and become an aesthetic feature that adds style to your yard. During the evening, the lighting can enhance safety and usability in the yard. The illumination can also improve the look of your space when the lighting is properly spaced. Spend time analyzing the challenges in your yard as a first step. Then, you can explore each of these ideas in detail to determine how they can help you to resolve your challenges.
  3. Everyone wants to save a little more money, especially on electric bills since it is usually one of the highest bills people have to deal with. This is true during the winter when you turn up the heat to stay warm. Do not fret about this; there are a few ways to stay warm while reducing your electric bill. Use a Fan One way to stay warm this winter without forcing your heater to work hard is to use a fan. What you want to do is simply reverse the blades so that they are spinning clockwise. There is usually a switch on the fan that helps you do this. The reason this is effective is that the fan pulls cool air upward while pushing warm air downward, helping your home warm up faster. Insulate, Insulate It is important that you do your best to insulate your home. You can add insulating foam to your attic, basement, and the walls if needed. You are going to have to talk to a professional to have your home insulated though some homeowners try to do it on their own. Making your home trap warmer air while keeping cooler air out should definitely help reduce this bill. Alternate a Bit Sometimes the best thing you can do is use an alternative way of heating your home to avoid those electric bills. You might want to consider a fuel-powered heater instead of the one that uses electricity. The prices are more than competitive as long as you find a company that sells bulk fuel such as BUCKSFUEL.COM at the right rate. These furnaces are just as good as electric furnaces, which should be good enough for a family trying to stay warm without breaking the bank. Repairs Make a Difference Some homes have little problems that could make it harder for your heater to preserve warmth, which spikes your bill in the long run. For example, air could escape from your home through weak window seals, cracks on the walls, or other similar issues. What you want to do is inspect your home, and try to deal with all of these problems to ensure that warm air stays in. Again, you can hire a professional, or try to deal with these little issues on your own. Hopefully, some of these suggestions help keep you warm while saving money. Remember, there is always more to do. For example, you can wear warmer clothes made with materials like wool or alpaca.
  4. When you look at the windows in your home, you might see everything from streaks to fingerprints. You can get window cleaners at retail stores that will clean the glass. Another option is to make your own cleaner with products that you probably already have in your home to clean your windows without spending a lot of money. Vinegar and Water A simple DIY cleaner uses white vinegar and water. Combine two cups of water with half a cup of vinegar in a bucket. You can add a squeeze or two of lemon if you want the mixture scented. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe the cleaner on the windows. Rinse with water, and wipe the windows dry with a clean cloth. Apple cider vinegar can also be used and offers a better smell than white vinegar. Rubbing Alcohol If you want to remove a large number of streaks of prints from the windows, then combine rubbing alcohol with warm water. A cup of each liquid is enough to clean the windows. You can use a cloth or even newspaper that you roll into a ball to clean the windows. Sometimes your windows can get so badly stained that seemingly no amount of effort will clean them, or the glass may have scrapes or cracks that are unfixable. In these cases, Valley Glass Utility or a similar provider in your particular locale can help you install completely new windows. Baking Soda Combine about three teaspoons of baking soda with a cup of water and a cup of vinegar in a bucket. The baking soda will offer an added component that will help to lift the dirt from the windows. It’s important to clean the windows with the solution as soon as you add the baking soda so that it works on the surface instead of letting it linger in the bucket. Corn Starch If you don’t want to use products that have a strong scent, then combine cornstarch with about a teaspoon of vinegar instead of a larger amount and two cups of water. This will create a paste that you rub on the windows. Let the paste sit for about 10 minutes before wiping the windows clean with water and a cloth. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to clean your home. Use a few products from your cabinets to make glass cleaner that will leave your windows sparkling. Large amounts can be made at one time and kept in a spray bottle to use later.
  5. More and more people are worried about the planet, which is probably why many are making eco-friendly choices when making purchases. For one, more people are hunting for eco-friendly cars that they can feel good about. The only problem is that trying to get a car that won't kill the planet can be a little overwhelming, but the following tips may help. 1. Consider Fuel Switching to an eco-friendly car could mean switching to more eco-friendly fuel. The options that you have include biodiesel, diesel, and electric. You want to make sure you know where your charging or fueling stations are before you choose a car that runs on either of these fuels. You do not want to find out that your nearest charging station is an hour away. 2. Focus on Needs You cannot forget your needs when purchasing an eco-friendly vehicle. More car manufacturers are creating eco-friendly cars, so there are several options for you. You need to think about cargo space, towing capabilities, passenger space, and even off-road capabilities. In essence, you need to make sure that your eco-friendly car fits your lifestyle. 3. A Good Selection It is easy to focus on the details of the car and overlook the importance of the dealership. You need to find a car dealership such as Young Automotive Group that has enough cars for you to choose from. A large selection is definitely a good sign, but you should also meet with some of the salespeople to ensure that they are knowledgeable about eco-friendly cars. 4. Look for Certification The next thing you might want to do is check the EPA certification on the car. The EPA grades eco-friendly cars using the SmartWay Certification program, which should allow you to choose the most eco-friendly car that you can buy. You can go to the EPA's site directly to see the vehicles that are currently graded, or you can talk to your car dealership salesperson about the choices that are available in their car lot. These are just some tips that could help you find a car that will make your life easier without killing the planet. Remember, several vehicles do not run on eco-friendly fuels but are still eco-friendly because they give you more miles per gallon than ever before. These types of vehicles should also be a possibility just in case you live in an area without many eco-friendly re-fueling or charging options.
  6. Green homes help reduce environmental damage and waste commonly caused by standard home construction and life habits. They also offer homeowners many additional benefits. They can lower utility and grocery bills, improve your home's value and make your overall life better. To reap these benefits and more, consider the following green home additions: Composting Room Composting bins turn plant-based waste materials from cooking and gardening into nutrient-rich fertilizer. A composting room is an extension of this idea designed to replace the traditional detached "garden shed" with a more efficient setup that allows you easy access to compost and garden supplies throughout the year even during cold weather. Since gases and odors are a byproduct of composting, you only need to run an attached ventilation duct from the enclosed bin to the outside through a wall or the ceiling to make this room work. Automatic Systems A lot of electricity and water loss occurs because homeowners often forget to turn off manual home systems like indoor and outdoor lights, sprinklers and thermostats. An automatic control system utilizes software and/or sensors to optimize usage. For example, an automatic system with light-detection sensors might turn on outdoor lights at night and then turn them off immediately in the morning or turn off indoor lights that you typically forget to turn off after a certain time at night. Green Roofing Homeowners can enjoy flower and vegetable gardens, safeguard the environment and save on heating, cooling and grocery costs without using up nearby land with green roofing. A "green" or "vegetative" roof turns an often unused home area into a garden paradise. The advantages of green roofing go beyond energy efficiency and fresh fruits and vegetables. You also receive greater roof and ceiling leak protection, higher local oxygen contribution and reduced chemical and noise pollution and government tax breaks. Nontoxic Materials Many standard home building and furniture materials, such as plastics, formaldehyde-containing fiberboard and adhesives, release toxic gases or break down into toxic dust over time that damage the environment and cause sick buildings syndrome. The "addition" of environmentally-friendly materials that release fewer harmful volatile organic chemicals after the removal of toxic ones can both improve your health and increase the value of your home. If your home is not already a green dwelling, it is time to do your part for the environment, yourself and your community. Start with one of these four green additions to improve your world and standard of living.
  7. Organic living goes way beyond the food you eat and cleaning products you buy. Organic living can and should play a role in every aspect of your life, from the clothes you wear to caring for your lawn. Yes, caring for your lawn. You don't have to be a slave to the chemical grass treatments, here are four ways organic fertilizer is better for your lawn. 1. Friability Friability is what science calls the breaking down of a solid. Soil friability is what happens when chemical fertilizers are used. The chemicals break down the natural rock that is in the soil causing the dirt to compact and become hard. This hardened and compact earth prevents rain water from soaking into the ground. So while chemical fertilizers have an immediate impact on your lawn, they also provide long term detriment. 2. Worms Earthworms are incredibly important to the health of the soil. According to a reference article by the University of Pennsylvania, the earthworm actually aerates the soil which allows air, water and nutrients to penetrate deep into the ground. Interestingly, the plants cannot directly consume these nutrients. The earthworms eat the dirt and their waste, or castings, is what the plants use to get the nutrients needed. The acidity found in chemical fertilizers can kill the earthworms that keep the soil alive. 3. Contamination of Groundwater Another study shows chemical fertilizer moves through the soil in a process called leaching, and contaminates the water. Once this contamination exceeds 10 parts per million nitrate-nitrogen, it can cause harm to fish and other inhabitants of the water, infants and children and cause the water to turn green and become odorous. 4. Greater Yield Today and Tomorrow Yes, chemical fertilizers act fast and you see instant gratification of a pretty lawn. At first that is. Over time, the use of chemical fertilizers kill the micro-organisms that live in the soil. These micro-organisms prevent diseases that would otherwise attack and kill your plants and grass. Overtime, chemical fertilizers not only stop working, but they prevent a long term and sustainable lawn. Chemical fertilizer companies have the market share on fast acting products but the organic market is coming up fast behind them. Companies like Nature Safe develop organic products and lawn care programs that not only promote healthy lawns but are yielding amazing results. The newer organic products hitting the market today are upping the stakes of the game by no longer using manure and creating fertilizers that increase the density and the stress tolerance of the grass, all while ensuring a long and healthy life for the lawn and the organisms that live in it.
  8. You may not be aware just how many different types of fertilizers there are. Ranging from chemical fertilizers to natural fertilizers and organic fertilizers. The choice you make can have a significant effect in a number of different ways. Of all fertilizer options, going organic will not only benefit your yard but it will have lasting effects on the betterment of the environment. Organic fertilizer is basically a carbon-based compound that increases the growth quality and productivity of plants and soil. Plant pundits state that organic fertilizers have various benefits that include: 1. Employment Opportunities Chemical fertilizers are manufactured in large plants that are highly mechanized and automated. The factories have a capacity of literally millions of tons. On the other hand, organic fertilizers are produced locally and on a significantly smaller scale. Therefore, the production of these organic fertilizers actually creates jobs, especially in rural locations. 2. Fertility Of The Soil Organic fertilizers can also keep ground fertile for hundreds of years. Research has revealed that the ancient ground in such places as China and India are actually still fertile despite the fact that it has been farmed for literally thousands of years. The ground remains fertile because those who used the land fertilized it with organic fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers can quickly make ground infertile and create an unbreakable chain of dependency on chemical fertilizers. 3. Low Capital Investment & On-Location Production Experts note that organic fertilizers also aid in increasing the nutrient-holding capacity and in managing the soil structure. Because of this, those who have practiced organic farming or otherwise regularly used organic fertilizer for several years will need a lot less fertilizer. The soil is already rich in numerous important nutrients. According to Nature Safe, many organic fertilizer contains a blend of various plant and animal meals that balance sugars, starches, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. This increases the number of natural microbes found in the soil. 4. Safe For The Environment Finally, all organic fertilizers are easily biodegradable. They do not cause any type of environmental pollution. Chemical fertilizers, however, can and sometimes do contaminate both the water and the land. This has been reported to be one of the major causes of diseases in human beings. In fact, various sources have concluded that chemical fertilizers are responsible for the extinction of several different animal, insect and plant species. It's simple. Organic fertilizers are the smart choice. They are inexpensive, effective and can even help small businesses. More importantly, organic fertilizers are great for the environment.
  9. Going green is both noble and mainstream in today’s market, but it might not necessarily be easy—or even have a positive impact on your environment. Fortunately you can take good steps with little need for concern and without causing further harm. Check out four ways to greenify your home with environmentally friendly measures below. Replenish Food and Water This goes beyond throwing recyclables in a green bin. Organic material, like banana peels and coffee grounds, give off the highly toxic methane when they decompose in landfills. Clean water is likewise lost when it’s flushed or used in cleaning. Consider converting that food into compost material for fertilizing your plants and garden. As for the water, recycling through treatment tanks like Econocycle systems render spent water clean again for home reuse. Try Solar Paneling If the initial cost isn’t a barrier, solar panels go a long way to save you money and supply clean energy to your home. Besides working from a completely sustainable and renewable source, panels operate with grids that store unused energy. Not only does this lower your bills, but it also reduces the carbon footprint left on the planet for roughly 30 years! You might not get much energy when the sun isn’t out, but solar panels are a great option on both the financial and environmental ends. Regulate Air Flow Whether it’s hot or cold outside, your air conditioning has a large effect on how much energy your home wastes. Cutting back on potential waste is simple, from sealing up any leaky holes to keeping filters clean, but there are more extensive options, as well. Installing an automatic thermostat to keep the temperature comfortable is one such route; buying a more energy-efficient AC unit is another. Buy Local Your farmer’s market can boost the local economy and provide access to homegrown natural or organic foods, but the benefits don’t stop there. You might decrease carbon emissions based on how far business owners would otherwise ship products, or you might help decrease packaging waste and production emissions. Chances are your hometown businesses want to keep their environment clean, too! When it comes to environmental consciousness, what’s most important is making good choices. It takes some commitment to do it well, but it isn’t difficult. With the four steps listed above, you will be well on your way to a cleaner, greener home.
  10. 5 Eco-friendly Uses for Waste Water

    According to the UN News Center, one of the world's most pressing issues is meeting water needs. Without changes in water consumption and conservation, the world will find it challenging to meet the water needs of the world's 2050 projected population of 9.6 billion. With extreme drought threatening areas including metropolitan California and southern Somalia, conserving water and reusing water will make what we have go further. Try these tips to make a difference. Use a Shower Bucket Collect the water that flows before the water heater gets the shower spray ready. You'll end up with plenty of clean, fresh water for another use, like filling your pets' water bowls. Cooking Water After cooking pasta, place a bowl under the colander and drain the pasta. After it cools, the pasta water you'd usually pour down the drain is perfect for watering indoor plants. The same goes for the water used to wash vegetables. If you find a partially drunk glass of water while gathering the dirty dishes, feed it to a plant. Take Baths Between 7 to 10 gallons of water goes down the drain in a shower. So, put your feet up in a relaxing bath instead. Reuse your bath water to wash the car, clean bathroom tiles, mop the floor, etc. You can have a plumber install a drain to an indoor or outdoor recycling system. Rethink Your Water System Reuse your sewage-free waste water to water the lawn, garden or crops. Gray water refers to reusable waste water from bathroom sinks, bath/shower drains and washing machine drains. It's commonly used for landscape irrigation. These systems simply divert your gray water using submersible pumps and pipes, such as those developed by PFC Equipment, Inc. The same systems used on construction sites and at mining operations can help your home or farm save water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there have been no documented cases of human health issues from properly treated recycled water. Car Wash Park your vehicle near the lawn and shrubs when you wash it. Use soap and water to wash the car, then let the rinse water run onto the lawn. You'll accomplish two tasks at once and the soapy water won't hurt your lawn. Let these five simple ways to make your water go further kick start your conservation efforts. Not only will you help the environment, you'll likely see your water bill decrease. These tips may seem small, but if everybody in the world implemented these practices, imagine how much water and money could be saved.
  11. A lush, green yard starts with healthy soil, and that usually means using soil amendments to make sure that it's as nutrient-rich as it needs to be. With all of the different types of fertilizer on the market, it can be tough to make the best choice for you, your plants, and the surrounding environment. When it comes to organic fertilizer, there are some key advantages that shouldn't be overlooked. Long-term Improvement Most people don't really look past the nutrient boost that fertilizers give their soil, but a good organic fertilizer like Nature Safe has benefits above and beyond its nutrient content. As it breaks down, it can actually help improve the moisture-retaining capabilities and overall fertility of the soil itself over the long term. Better for the Environment Organic fertilizers are produced using the natural processes of decomposition, making them easily biodegradable. The production of conventional fertilizers relies on petrochemical byproducts, and is implicated in air, water, and soil pollution. Not only is it destructive to the environment to obtain the raw materials necessary to make it, its manufacturing process can actually damage vital ecosystems, drive out important plant and animal species, and spoil water sources. Wildlife Friendly Since they're so often hidden from view, it can be easy to forget just how much a yard depends on tiny creatures like earthworms and beneficial insects to stay healthy. While organic fertilizer has always been a part of nature, conventional fertilizers often end up adding nutrients to soil at the expense of the local fauna. Earthworms and other creatures have a harder time living in chemically amended soil, and the soil's overall quality suffers as a result. Slower Break Down This may not sound like a benefit, but it is. Conventional fertilizers deliver nutrients quickly, which is not the way plants or soil fauna have evolved to receive them. Organic fertilizers break down slowly, providing a sustained release of nutrients in a readily bioavailable form. Rather than having to cope with sudden gluts of nutrients, your yard can grow the way nature intended. When it comes to amending soil, organic fertilizers are far and away the superior choice. While it is possible to use them irresponsibly, organic fertilizers have far more benefits than risks even for novice gardeners. When used properly, the end result is a vibrant yard, healthy soil, and a cleaner environment.
  12. With so many cars, machines, and chemicals involved in our everyday lives it's no wonder that the earth is starting to show signs of distress. And not only is Earth sending up red flags, but our wallets are weeping in despair because our mechanized, chemical rich lifestyles are expensive. But what can be done about it? Here are some great tips to keep both your budget, and Mother Earth happy. Tip #1: Distilled Vinegar Common household cleaners are expensive and chocked full of harsh chemicals that destroy the earth. Distilled vinegar is an unsung hero in the cleaning world. It's cheap, natural and a powerful disinfectant. Put it in a spray bottle or soak a rag in it to clean glass, tile, counter tops, walls, grout and more. Improve its smell and cleaning effects by adding lemon juice, and/or baking soda. These natural products are, cheap, earth-friendly, hypoallergenic and totally safe to use around your kids and pets. Tip #2: Conserve Water There is only so much water in the world and your water bill could be draining your wallet every month. Cut down on water usage and expenses by either purchasing a low-water toilet or by simply filling a water bottle with rocks or sand and putting it in your toilet tank. This will cut back on how much water your tank uses to flush the toilet saving you money, and saving the world one flush at a time. Tip #3: Go Solar Power and gas bills are astronomically expensive and excessive usage damages the earth. With an upfront investment you can convert to solar power-- saving money in the long run and doing Mother Nature a little favor. Companies like Degree C Pty Ltd offer solar powered alternatives for hot water systems. These typically last longer than traditional designs. Cut your gas bill every month and reduce the amount of natural gas harvested by letting solar power your home. It’s easy to think the little changes you make won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the simple steps that can often make the biggest impact. Going green can be the most cost effective change you make. Reduce waste, cut harsh chemicals, and lower your power and water bills by using these easy tips. You’ll watch your wallet get fatter as your carbon footprint gets smaller.
  13. Between global warming, pollution, and many other issues, our planet is in a state of crisis. Like most people, you're probably wondering what you can do to help. Not everyone can afford to purchase a hybrid vehicle or solar panels, but there are still inexpensive and effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. 1. Buy Organic and Local Foods In America, the average meal travels nearly 1,500 from its source to your plate. Carbon footprint-wise, that's the equivalent of traveling 4,500 miles a day simply from eating. What's more, most of the food consumed in America is laden with pesticides, the use of which exacerbates global warming and greenhouse gas issues. Transporting food over such a large distance uses a substantial amount of fossil fuel, and emits more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Buying food at a local farmer’s market means that the food you eat travels substantially fewer miles, and is usually not sprayed with harmful pesticides. 2. Recycling Most people at least recycle aluminum, cardboard, and plastic goods, but did you know that you can recycle all sorts of appliances and electronics? It's true, and recycling these items protects the earth from the pollution that occurs during the production of plastic. Sites like City Auto Wreckers make it easy to recycle your old car and make the most of its parts and pieces. Many landfills and private businesses give people options to recycle most anything from old computers, to cell phones, to shoes. 3. Biking Even if your work commute is only 10 miles, things can get pricey. Driving that round-trip five days a week emits 1.3 tons of CO2 and uses 124 gallons of gas each year, even in a midsize car. Biking to work is a great way to cut your carbon footprint. Of course, this isn't an option for everyone, but biking to the grocery store, or to leisure activities is another way you can help the planet. 4. Unplug Appliances and Chargers Appliances and electronics still use energy when they’re powered down. This phenomenon is known as vampire energy; it drains your wallet and wastes fossil fuel. The way to avoid vampire energy is to unplug your appliances and electronics when not in use. It takes extra time and effort, but it cuts CO2 emissions significantly. Reducing your carbon footprint doesn't have to be expensive or become a big hassle. It's simply about being mindful of the energy and fossil fuel-based products you are using. If everybody makes some of these simple changes, we can leave a healthier planet for future generations.
  14. If you are a concerned eco-friendly entrepreneur, there are many inspiring and creative ways to make and keep your business “green” and help the environment in safe ways at the same time. Feel good about helping Mother Nature to maintain our natural resources for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. There is an extra benefit because it helps your reputation that consumers want to support a green business, and you can thus show customers that you care about the environment and are making strides for improvements within your business. Eco-friendly LandscapingProfessional landscaping for your business property lawn can be ordered that will save energy, water and money. Such inclusions can be drought-resistant plants, synthetic turf, strategically placed trees and more. Use All-natural, Organic and Recycled ProductsCleaning products and soaps can be purchased that use common organic materials that are much better for the environment. Office supplies including all types of paper, file folders, toilet paper, paper towels, cups, and plates can be purchased made from recycled products. Aerial Imagery and Conscience DiggingLearn from an oil company that uses the aerial photographic services of Terra Server to get imagery and the geography of areas to find appropriate places to dig where it will not harm the environment. You might have the type of business that needs to evaluate and analyze the working area landscape. Encourage Employees to RecycleKeep waste bins separate from recycling bins, and make sure they are clearly labeled to make their use easy. Explain to employees how good this is for the environment and how it cuts trash expenses. Also, ask the employees to make suggestions for ways the company can be made more eco-friendly. Cut Down on Wasted EnergyBe less wasteful and more energy-efficient by closing off unused rooms so they do not need to be heated and cooled, and setting the thermometer higher or lower depending on when you are open for business and when you are closed during non-business hours. Additionally, have employees shut off unused equipment including their computers at the end of the work day. By making your business more eco-friendly, or “going green”, the above measures will cut down on costs. By saving money in as many areas and ways as possible, you can spend more on important things such as marketing to grow your business.
  15. There are a number of different ways you can conserve energy in your home, but one of the most effective ways is to invest in Low-E windows and even different window treatments. Like many other energy conservation efforts, these changes require a bit of an investment upfront; however, the payoff down the road is well worth it. Low-E windows are an innovative product that just recently became available on the market while window treatments have always been an option for regulating the temperature of your home. Consider the benefits of these treatment options, and decide what works for you. Low-E GlassLow-E or Low-Emissive glass is a type of window glass that has been treated with a special coating to support energy conservation. The treatment is typically an invisible metal or metallic oxide coating that creates a surface that reflects heat but still allows light to pass through. To measure the energy efficiency of the window glass in your home, the heat that passes through is measured by the U-factor or ultraviolet light. The lower the U-factor is, the more energy-efficient the glass is. If too much of this ultraviolet heat enters your home, it heats it up and causes your air conditioning bill to go up. Conversely, Low-E glass reduces the heat lost through your windows during window. Loosing less heat means that you’ll pay less to keep your home warmer. To get the most out of your Low-E glass, you need to consider how the pains should be installed. If you live in a warmer climate, install the pane so that the Low-E coating is toward the outside of the window to block the sun. However, if you live in a colder climate, adjust the installation so that the Low-E coating is applied to the inside of the window and holds heat in. These installation techniques ensure that your windows will be as energy-efficient as possible. Window TreatmentsThere are additional options that can also contribute to the energy efficiency of your home. While most people consider window treatments and coverings strictly decorative, they can actually contribute a great deal to energy savings. As you consider your window treatments, be sure to carefully weight your options to select treatments that can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Some of the most effective custom window treatments include awnings, blinds, and draperies. Awnings can provide significant energy savings. Attached above south-facing windows, awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65 percent. Used on west-facing windows, the gain reduction is roughly 77 percent. Consider installing an awning that covers one window or the entire side of your home to get the biggest benefit. Interior and exterior blinds are another great option for increasing energy efficiency. Interior blinds offer slightly less protection from heat loss; however, they reduce heat gain by nearly 45 percent. Use these systems to control light and ventilation and to block direct sunlight. Exterior blinds are also effective for reducing heat gain. You can manipulate this type of blind to block the amount of light flowing through to reduce additional heat. Draperies also offer protection against heat loss and gain. If this is a conservation effort you plan to implement, consider the type of fabric you select. Medium-colored draperies with a protective plastic backing can reduce heat gain by 33 percent and heat loss by up to 10 percent when drawn at the appropriate times. For maximum efficiency, attach the drapes so that they reach from ceiling to floor and overlap in the center. You may even consider attaching Velcro to the sides nearest the walls to create a seal. The type of windows you have as well as the window treatments you use can contribute significantly to the energy efficiency of your home. To reduce heat gain and loss, consider installing Low-E glass and selecting appropriate window treatment options for your area. Either way it will be an investment with a great payoff in the long run.