BrookeChaplan

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  1. Many homeowners notice that their water consumption escalates each spring as the outdoor temperatures increase. This extra water consumption can be a drain on your budget, and it also indicates that you may be unnecessarily contributing more than your share to a water shortage issue. By taking a few steps around the house, you can reduce water waste this spring, save money in the process and promote the health of the environment. Watch for Signs of a Hidden Water Leak Some homeowners have water leaks in their pipes and are unaware of the issue. When frigid temperatures are in place, the pipes may be partially frozen and barely allowing a trickle of water through. However, when temperatures rise, the water flow and water waste may increase substantially. Watch your water bill for unexplained increases. Pay attention to the yard for signs of lush, green areas despite the fact that you have not watered recently and that it has not rained. Listen carefully to the sounds of your quiet house to determine if you hear dripping or trickling. These are among the most common signs of a hidden leak. Repair Plumbing Leaks Quickly While some leaks are hidden, other water issues are obvious and even annoying. For example, you may have a toilet that runs for no apparent reason or a slow drip in the kids’ bathroom sink. These are easy to overlook, but they can contribute to significant water waste. For most leaks, contact a plumber like those at High Speed Plumbing Inc. immediately to schedule repair service. The longer it goes on, the worse it can be for your home. Make Upgrades to Conserve Water Even if no leaks are present in your plumbing system, there is a good chance that you and your family members are using more water than you need to. There are many steps that you can take to conserve water, such as investing in low-flow toilets and faucets. You can also use a rainwater collection system to capture rain. This water can be used to irrigate the lawn and gardens, for flushing toilets and more. The use of water is a necessary part of life, and you may rely on the convenience of having water available on demand in your home. However, some people are using more water than they need to unnecessarily. This spring, take the time to look for water leaks that may be causing wasted water. Then, take the additional step of looking for ways that you and your loved ones could conserve water. These efforts can help you to save money and to enjoy a more eco-friendly home.
  2. Going completely green is a feat that few people can actually accomplish - especially those with busy lives and/ or families. But there are always smaller steps that anyone can take to live a greener lifestyle. While you may not be ready to live in a 300 square foot tiny home, there are a number of relatively simple and steps you can take to leave a lower carbon footprint - and sometimes even save some money in the process. Here are 4 green home improvements you can do yourself. Composting Landfills in North America are filling up and closing down. Nearly 1/3 of all landfill waste is composed of compostable materials. Composting allows you to create a thick, nutrient-rich humus for your lawn and garden while diverting as much as 30% of household waste. Not only does composting offer a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, but microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil and ward off plant disease. Lay Synthetic Grass With water prices skyrocketing, not only will this upgrade help you go green, it will save you a lot of green - and manpower. Eco-friendly synthetic grass requires no water, no mowing and stays green for years. No more mowing the lawn every week in the summer or having to pay someone else to do it. With synthetic grass, you can use your water and your compost on a beautiful garden instead of your lawn. Install Solar Panels Solar panel systems can be purchased for as little as a few thousand dollars but will save you significantly on your monthly energy bill. For around $10,000, you can purchase a system that could allow you to go off-grid entirely. If you can’t go for 10k, solar power companies like Renogy usually have a wide range of solar kits at varying prices and sizes to fit any budget. Today's solar energy panels are easy to install and can be up and running in an hour or less. Upgrade your thermostat Not only are today's thermostats more intuitive, they are also far more sensitive to air temperatures. A decade ago, thermostats would detect when the air temperature rose or dropped about 8 degrees above or below where the temperature was set at to heat or cool the house about 8 - 10 degrees above or below the set temperature. This meant people regularly turned their heat up to high to stay warm or the air too low to stay cool. Today's thermostats are capable of regulating heating and cooling systems to stay constantly within a few degrees, so you can set your temp where you are comfortable and keep it there. Going green doesn't have to cost a fortune, nor does it have to be a significant hassle. In fact, some eco-friendly products are actually superior to their more harmful counterparts. Where green products were once generally more expensive than the more harmful products, now green solutions will often save you green.
  3. As a savvy homeowner, you do your part to save energy. You turn off lights when leaving a room and turn back the thermostat when you go to work. Yet, if you're scratching your head wondering why your energy bills are still too high, don't fret. Tighten up your home efficiency strategy with these solutions to 3 big home energy wasters. Window Pains Glass isn’t a very good thermal insulator. In fact, chances are your windows are the Achilles' heel of your home’s shell — leaking air and allowing heat energy to easily transfer. Pick up a glass of iced or hot tea, and you can feel the heat transfer through glass for yourself. Here's what to do. Air seal: Caulk is a great weapon against window air leaks. A thin line of caulk can seal junctures at siding and window frames. Rope caulk works great to seal window sashes. Clear caulk stops those rattling and leaky window panes. Repair: Rotting and warping wood window frames should be repaired or restored if you choose not to replace. Replace: Old, single-pane windows are no match for efficiency and home comfort compared to modern Energy Star-qualified two- and three-pane glass. Moreover, window replacements give your home’s curb appeal new life. If any of these prove to be a little bit too much to do on your own, call professionals like those at Glasshopper Schor Glass to help you. Ductwork Problems Your furnace and central air systems work hard to churn out warm and cool air for your home. However, it’s your ductwork that actually transports the conditioned air to where you need it. Like your windows, air ducts waste energy in two major ways — air leaks and transferring heat energy. Insulate ducts outside the heating barrier, and use heat-resistant metal tape to seal loose and leaky ducts. Energy Vampires Unlike the fictional vampires of fables, literature, and movies that only lurk around at night, energy vampires suck the electricity out of your sockets 24/7/365! This is because many products and appliances — large and small — and electronic gadgets plugged into electrical outlets use energy whether they're on or off. The two most practical ways to stop these energy vampires from sucking the life out of your energy budget every month is to use power strips and shop for Energy Star-qualified products where possible. So, connect all of your cell phone chargers, microwaves, toaster ovens, espresso machines and the like to power strips, and flip the switch when not in use. Only perform DIY projects that you can accomplish safely. For the best results reducing energy waste in your home, contact your home service professional.
  4. In our modern day and age, people are more and more concerned about preserving the environment, and rightly so. There are plenty of scientific studies that suggest the planet is facing environmental challenges the likes of which it has never faced before. It has gotten to the point that going green is no longer seen as making a personal statement. It is now more about simply being a responsible person. Luckily, with the advance of technology, it has never been easier to be an environmentally friendly home owner. Solar Energy Solar panel technology has been around for quite some time now. It has never been more affordable than it is now, however. The benefits are pretty obvious to see. By switching out your power source from public energy plants which use up natural resources such as coal and oil, you substantially reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy is not only incredibly easy to obtain, but it is also very cost effective in the long run. After all, the sun is free to use. So while the initial cost of solar panels can be scary for a lot of people, be assured that they will more than pay themselves off in due time. Of course, you don't have to go all-in on solar energy if don't want to or can't afford to. You may not be able to afford enough panels to power the whole home at first. If this is the case then you can still use solar panels to power parts of your house, while relying on conventional power for the rest of the spaces. It is still better than obtaining all of your energy the conventional way and can be upgraded when you have the ability. Water Efficient Plumbing I'm sure that you have seen the water efficient bathroom appliances when you go out to restaurants and other such public places. While the businesses generally say that they installed these appliances in order to be environmentally conscientious, we all know that all they really care about is the bottom line. Yet they still installed them. This should be taken as a cue that water efficient bathrooms are both cheaper and good for the environment. Nature-Friendly Gardens This one really only applies to people with yards, but since that represents a lot of people it is important to mention. Basically, fill up your yard with local plants instead of the standard (water depleting) grass. Not only is it environmentally friendly because you are using native plants that enrich the environment, but it also provides the house with unique curb appeal that everyone will appreciate. So the point is that making your house a little more eco-friendly is far from difficult. In fact, it has never been easier. If you are building your home, companies like Fischer Homes can often construct the home to work well with these green initiatives. So if you haven't already, consider making a few tweaks to your house in order to ensure that you are doing your part to preserve our environment.
  5. Real estate investment can cost a modest fortune for many people, and because of this, you understandably want to save money in every way possible. The U.S. government has created numerous tax breaks and other financial benefits for those who own green homes or who make green improvements to their homes within a specified tax year. Such benefits can help you to save a sizable chunk of change within the next year. If you are looking for ways to save on your home ownership expenses, consider these points. Green Energy Generation There are several ways to produce green energy in your own home. This ranges from solar and wind energy to the use of geothermal pumps and more. Many home energy production methods produce enough energy to entirely offset the home's energy needs on a regular basis. Generally, the IRS allows you to deduct at least a portion of the purchase of the equipment and the installation cost for many types of green energy systems. This can drastically offset the cost to get the system up and running, and you can then enjoy ongoing energy savings throughout your time in the house. HVAC Systems, Boilers and Furnaces Climate control is a serious matter for homeowners, and you understandably need to invest in new, energy-efficient equipment to keep your home’s indoor climate as comfortable as possible regardless of the weather conditions outside. If you invest in a new HVAC system, boiler or furnace that is sufficiently energy efficient to meet IRS standards, you may qualify for a deduction or tax credit. Typically, the credit or deduction applies to specific models and is based on the equipment and installation costs. Some equipment may also qualify for local grants for additional savings. Sealing the Home Everything from new insulation to new doors and windows are responsible for sealing the home. Such features can prevent the transfer of heat between the indoor and outdoor environments, and this can drastically reduce energy consumption related to climate control activities. Replacing insulation, doors, and windows with newer, energy-efficient models may qualify the home for a tax deduction or tax credit. The cost of insulation and materials may both be used to determine the amount of the credit or deduction. Living green is a great way to decrease your impact on the environment and to save money on energy costs in the process. Through these green home improvements, you may also be able to enjoy tax credits and deductions for additional savings. If you’re unsure what benefits you can get, realtors like those at Mark Fox Company can help you find out.
  6. Today, more people than ever are concerned with things like global warming, climate change and pollution’s effect on the environment. One thing that can contribute to a family’s carbon footprint is how much energy is required to run a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. However, there are strategies you can use to make the climate control in your home more energy efficient and less expensive at the same time. Use Your Windows Strategically One way to save money and energy in your home is to rely less on your HVAC system. It doesn’t have to be used all the time in every season. Windows can make a big difference all on their own. During the winter, open up drapes and shades to let in the sun’s warming rays. They can certainly heat up a room. In the summer, you may want to close them for the opposite effect. Opening or closing your windows as needed can also cool and heat up rooms depending on the temperature. It can also freshen up a room’s air supply if it feels stale. All of this is free and requires no expenditure of energy or electricity. Upgrade Your HVAC System However, homes in most climates still require an HVAC system. An HVAC system is not something that can be used indefinitely. Over the years, the components of the system wear out and become far less efficient. Older systems may have also been designed at a time when energy efficiency and global warming were less of a concern. Newer systems are designed with efficiency in mind and can also save you a significant amount of money month to month on energy bills. Certainly, consider an upgrade if you have had your HVAC for a very long period of time. Companies like C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning can often utilize your existing system to make significant improvements, or replace your system altogether. Program Your Thermostat Another way you can be strategic regarding how you use your HVAC system is to program your thermostat. Many people don’t do so, and this is a mistake. Programming your thermostat can allow you to make sure the heat or air conditioning isn’t running when nobody is home during the work or school day. It can also allow you to lower the temperature at night when your family is sleeping and less heat is needed. According to the Department of Energy, lowering the temperature by seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day can save you as much as ten percent on your monthly HVAC bills.
  7. If you are purchasing a new home, there are several eco-friendly features that you should consider investigating. Transforming your home into something that is both environmentally friendly and comfortable can be easy if you consider incorporating these features. Consider eco-conscious landscaping Landscaping is one part of a home that is almost always possible to change. However, when looking for a new home, it’s good to look for eco-friendly landscaping that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally conscious. Instead of traditional flowers, there might be drought resistant plants, or native plants, that do not require a large amount of water. It’s also becoming more common to see landscaping choices like rocks and woodchips that take the place of some or all of the grass in a yard and cut down on water usage. These are both great starts on eco-conscious landscaping, but the most valuable thing to look for in your next home’s landscape is an updated irrigation system. Good irrigation systems use less water, cover only what needs to be watered, and are often programmable. Install Solar Panels Many new homes have incorporated solar paneling on top of the house. Solar panels allow the house to receive a certain percentage of its energy from the sun. There are many companies that can install solar paneling which can not only enhance the resale value of your home but also help to cut down on energy costs. Buying a house already equipped with solar panels is one way to go, but you can also look for a home that has a strong electrical system that could accommodate the electrical needs of a solar panel system. In addition to checking out the house, you may want to check out what kinds of benefits you may get from the city for having solar power for your home. Eco-Friendly Windows and Natural Lighting One of the best things homeowners will upgrade in their home is the windows. Windows are a great investment because they add value to the home and pay for themselves by saving money on heating and air conditioning. These particular windows are also great for the interior of the home because they block UV rays from fading or damaging upholstery and carpet. Eco-friendly windows will also help to regulate temperatures in your home during both hot and cold weather. In addition to eco-friendly windows, you may want to consider a design that incorporates more natural light throughout the house. Windows and skylights are a great way to fill a home with light without spending any money on electricity. Any of these things are a great thing to look for when buying a new home because they can help you save money in the long-term. While you may be able to find homes with great eco-friendly features, sometimes you’ll have to make those upgrades yourself. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult a real estate agent like those at Mark Fox Company to get details on any of the homes you’re interested in. Research all of your options and you will find that creating an eco-conscious house can be easier than you think.
  8. Car manufacturers, auto repair shops and drivers take major steps to protect the environment. Commuters realize that they can do more by being more conscious about driving. The first step is to find out at least a few ways to improve the daily commute to work. Carpool Carpooling is the most effective way to remain conscious of the environment. The reality is that many people need to get to work, but few people want to give up their vehicles for good. Instead of selling your car altogether, leave it at home and join a carpool. Get four people to carpool in one car and eliminate three whole cars on the road. If a carpool isn’t a great option, you might try taking the bus. Being environmentally friendly is the main reason to carpool, but the other reason is to avoid heavy traffic. If more people carpooled on the way to work, there would be very few or no traffic jams. With fewer cars on the road, there are fewer accidents and drivers drive straight through without stopping. If you take the bus, many cities have a dedicated bus lane that can cut through traffic with ease. It’s definitely worth considering. Get a Regular Checkup If you have a bad transmission, the car leaks oil from underneath. If you have a bad engine, the car releases too much exhaust gas. It only takes a simple annual checkup to prevent the problems of your car from interacting with the environment. According to Young Automotive Group, it is crucial to work with certified technicians who know the most important maintenance duties to do. Check your air filter for clogs that may cause the engine to overheat. Prolong the lifespan of your engine to avoid having to replace different parts of your car. Track Your Routes Drivers are known to waste fuel when they do not know where they are going. Many people use GPS devices on their cars or phones, so they choose the quickest and shortest paths to where they need to go. If your career relies on driving, you need this kind of guidance system to save money on fuel and reduce the volume of emissions you release into the air. The less you drive, the smaller the carbon footprints you leave in the world. Millions of cars crowd the streets and roads all over the world. If half of those drivers gave up cars, the effects are guaranteed to change the environment for the better. If half of those drivers carpooled, the effects would be similar. The change starts with you and your daily commute to work.
  9. The right landscape can greatly improve both the curb appeal and market value of a home. From landscaping arrangements that feature native plants or sophisticated irrigation systems that may reduce upkeep and maintenance costs to outdoor lighting options that may improve the appearance of an outdoor area after dark, there are numerous ways to improve the look and feel of an outdoor space. The following three resources can make a welcome addition to any lawn or landscape. Xeriscaping With Native Plants and Soil The potential water conservation that xeriscaping makes possible may result in lower utility bills and less demanding maintenance and upkeep efforts. Maintaining an attractive landscape may prove to be an uphill battle for those who utilize trees, shrubs and other outdoor plants that may have trouble adapting to a new climate. Soils that provide the right composition and pH balance and plants that are able to thrive with very little moisture may allow property owners to design the perfect outdoor landscape while ensuring water usage is less likely to place some strain on household budgets. If you’re unsure which materials to use to maintain these plants, consult a company like Bourget Bros. Building Materials and see what they recommend. Automated Irrigation Systems Automated systems offer a number of advantages. More precise control over watering and irrigation schedules and the means to ensure that lawn maintenance can be performed with greater ease and convenience can both make a considerable difference. These systems can be especially valuable during hot summer months for homeowners who lack the time or opportunity to water during the early morning or late-evening hours. Features like water-flow sensors can also ensure that lawns and landscaped areas are less likely to be over-watered, an issue which may cause excessive soil erosion or cause harm to plants. Recycled and Repurposed Materials Brick, stone, and even glass are all popular choices for homeowners seeking to utilize recycled materials to create hardscaped areas. Hardscaping offers a simple and effective way to redirect water flow, limit soil erosion or to create a more distinctive landscaping layout or design. Repurposing used and salvaged materials offer a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option for home and property owners who may be working with a fixed budget or that wish to create a greener home. For many property owners and households, lawn and landscape irrigation often represents a sizable portion of utility usage each month. Materials, plants, and installations that allow for superior water conservation efforts make it easier than ever to create and maintain a green home. A few well-chosen landscaping upgrades or additions may result in greater savings than many property owners might expect.
  10. A new UN study concludes that the future of companies around the globe will depend on their ability to cope with the coming consequences of climate change. Food, mining, transport, finance, and tourism industries especially will be impacted by extreme weather, the rising cost of natural resources, and a reduction in biodiversity. Companies that haven't put emphasis on reducing their environmental impact should do so now. Here are three important ways companies can get started. Smart Houses, Smart Business "Smart" homes are a new trend in technology and should be applied to more commercial enterprises. A smart building is equipped with interconnected, Wi-Fi-enabled devices that can work together to reduce energy demands. Sensors and pre-programmed devices can automatically perform important steps like turning off lights when there's no activity, turning off printers and computers at the end of the workday, or turning down AC at night or on weekends. These are small things that busy humans often forget, but automating them throughout a large facility can lead to substantial energy reduction - and cost savings - over time. A "Green" Culture A company can also reduce its environmental impact by implementing and encouraging environmentally friendly practices with its staff. This can include reducing paper use, using recycled products and materials, using permanent cups and utensils rather than disposable ones, and encouraging plants for better atmosphere and air quality. You can also find technology from companies like Stephenson Environmental Management Australia to monitor and control air contaminants. This makes for a healthier, more productive workforce while eliminating pollutants. Renewable energy infrastructures Businesses can save more money over the long term and reduce their environmental impact by integrating renewable energy sources wherever possible. Solar and wind farms can generate enough power to meet office needs. They could even be over-sized to create surplus power that can be sold back to the grid under Australia's feed-in tariffs, thus reducing the energy needs of the surrounding community. Excess solar energy could also be used to charge batteries at night that could power a data center for hours during the day. Public response is almost invariably favorable toward environmentally conscious companies, thus adding to company brand and appeal. There are some initial costs to adopting green technologies and products, but it makes perfect business sense over the long term. And as the UN study suggests, companies that "go green" sooner will benefit more later.
  11. As the seasons change from fall to winter, temperatures turn from comfortable to chilly. Depending on your location, temperatures can drop down drastically and create one frigid situation. So, how do you beat the cold? Most people would reach to turn on space heaters or dial up that thermostat. But, chances are good that your heating sources are consuming astonishing amounts of energy. Before heading over to the thermostat, there are several ways to tame the cold weather without wasting all that energy! Use Natural Heating Sources A simple way to be green in the winter months is to let some sun into your home by keeping the curtains open during the day! The heat from the sun can help keep your house warm without running the furnace all day. Turn Down Your Thermostat Energy officials recommend keeping your thermostat at around 68 degrees during the winter months. If 68 degrees just isn’t cutting it, try wearing sweaters, socks, or blankets around the house to bridge the gap. Also, try to avoid changing the thermostat throughout the day. Keeping the temperature consistent reduces energy consumption, and wear and tear on your heating system. Check Your Windows Considering that cold air can enter your home through tiny openings in your windows, it’s a good idea to take measures to make your windows work for you, not against you. For one, you could have your windows replaced. Windows can make all the difference by keeping warm air in and the cold air out. There are experts out there, like Statewide Energy Solutions, which specialize in energy efficient window and door installation. You could also seal your existing windows using caulking or weather stripping. Caulking is especially helpful for small gaps in windows. Weather stripping is used more for sealing moving pieces like large windows and doors. Keeping Up Your Heating Systems A simple yet practical solution to being energy efficient is to just maintain the upkeep of your heating and air system! Replacing the filters, cleaning your ducts, and having your system serviced will help cut down on your heating costs. It’s always a good idea to make sure everything is serviced and up to date to avoid any issues during those cold winter months! In short, there are many ways to be efficient during the winter months. By checking your windows, using natural heat, and keeping your central heating up to par, your whole family benefits as you have made conscious energy saving efforts! Remember, you can be warm without being wasteful!
  12. Hello BrookeChaplan, welcome to Green Blog! :)