Dixie Somers

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  1. How to Save Water in an Older Home

    Owning an older home can be a wonderful way to enjoy some unique character that simply can’t be found in a newer home. At the same time, it’s rare to find an older home that can operate as efficiently as a newer home, specifically in the area of water conservation. Fortunately, though, while you might not be able to implement every last water-saving device, there are several great and easy ways to save water in your older home. New Fixtures If you have an older home, it’s likely that it’s equipped with older plumbing fixtures, as well. Unfortunately, these older fixtures do very little to conserve water. In order to save water, then, you can replace these fixtures, whether it’s a shower head, bathroom faucet, or kitchen faucet, with low-flow models to start seeing savings right away. Just be sure your home’s plumbing can adapt to these newer fixtures, as many have special water pressure requirements that your home may not be equipped for. Find Leaks The materials in pipes of any kind inevitably break down over time due to the different substances found in water. Over time, this can lead to leaky pipes, which can waste a lot of water. If your water bill is higher than expected, or if you have a visible leak somewhere, it’s important to call a plumber to complete these plumbing repairs as soon as possible to ensure the water doesn’t cause any damage and you don’t waste any money. Collect Rainwater If local ordinances allow, collecting rainwater can be a great way to reduce your water bill. Especially if you can’t install a water-saving irrigation system due to the older construction, collecting rainwater allows you to keep your landscaping well-watered without having to depend on the city water supply. Plus, diverting rainwater in this way helps prevent erosion on your property since the water is being prevented from continuing on to the sewer. Install a New Toilet In addition to new plumbing fixtures, a new toilet can be a great water-saving investment for your older home. If your toilet has been around since before 1994, it’s using almost two gallons more per flush than a modern toilet. If you consider how many times a day you use the bathroom, that can add up quickly. Installing a new toilet is a fairly easy and quick process that will more than pay for itself over time. Be Water Smart Whether your home is old or new, you can save water using other methods, as well. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, and watering your lawn in the morning or evening to prevent evaporation are all great ways to save water. Ultimately, it’s important to treat water as a precious resource that is worth working to save. With a few easy fixes, it’s an effort that is totally accessible
  2. Eco-friendly living is becoming more popular all the time, and many companies and organizations are coming out with new ways for you to live in an environmentally-conscious way. As climate change and the dearth of natural resources becomes more of a concern all the time, it is becoming increasingly important to embrace eco-friendly living to save resources for future generations. Here are five new technologies that are helping to make this type of living possible in the United States and around the world. Food Recycling Bins While you most likely already recycle your plastics, glass, paper and aluminum, you may not be recycling your food. Most food waste can be composted to use as natural and cheap fertilizer for your outdoor gardens. However, rather than having to wait months before using this compost, new food recycling bins speed up the process to take only 24 hours. Solar Wallpaper Solar panels mounted on rooftops have been making it big in recent years, but new technology allows solar cells to be mounted on flexible papers. This lets the solar cells be mounted on practically anything, including the sides of building and along curves. They can even be used on mobile items, such as campers. Footstep Energy If you are longing to go beyond solar or wind-powered energy, you will be excited to learn about footstep energy. New technology is beginning to pick up on the easy way to gain energy just from the footsteps of humans. Some companies are working with shoes that can do this while others are working to create walking surfaces that can be used as floor tiles in train stations or sidewalks. Learning Thermostats While smart thermostats are not new, learning thermostats are new enough that they are not widely found in many people’s homes. However, they can save plenty of money and energy by learning your habits in and out of the home and programming themselves to be most efficient. It takes only a week of use before it goes to work for you. Resistance Spot Welding Although welding may not be the most exciting of technologies, it can significantly improve the environment when it is used efficiently because welding is necessary throughout many industrial sectors. Spot welding is far more environmentally clean than traditional welding is because it requires less energy and creates less heat than usual. New technologies are coming out nearly every day, but not all of them are being designed to benefit the environment. As you purchase new technology for your home, car or workplace, try to choose ones that save the most energy, create new energy or create a healthier earth. Thankfully, because of the increase in interest in eco-friendly living, more companies are focusing on these and other incredible new and beneficial technologies.
  3. As the problem of e-waste looms ever larger in the consciousness of the American public, understanding what to do with those unwanted electronics can still be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable electronics recyclers where you can take your e-junk. At the same time, there are some important things you should know about recycling your electronics to ensure they end up in the right hands. Not All Electronics Recyclers Are Created Equal There are plenty of companies that offer to take your old electronics off your hands. It’s important, though, to understand what happens to those items once they’re carted away. A reputable company, such as Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc., will tear the electronics down to their individual component parts which can then be recycled. A less-reputable company may just sell the electronics in bulk to an overseas processor that will then allow the electronics to pollute the water and land of people in other countries. Electronics Recycling Is Smart While it might seem easier to simply send your old electronics to the landfill, that action can cause great harm to the environment. Electronics contain a multitude of harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment, leading to health issues for people down the road. By responsibly recycling your electronics, you ensure that these chemicals stay out of the land and water and that the materials in the electronics are given a new life. Electronics Recycling Is the Law In many municipalities, it is illegal to dispose of electronic waste in a landfill. Government leaders understand the data and realize that they don’t want all those toxic materials in the land and water that they, too, use. Some areas have stiff financial penalties if you’re caught improperly disposing of your electronics, so just do yourself and your city a favor and recycle those out-of-date e-devices. Electronics Recycling Sets You Up for Future Success Today’s electronic devices are marvels of technical wizardry. At the heart of these devices are various materials, many of which are actually quite rare. If you throw your electronics in the landfill, these materials can never be recovered, meaning they have to continue to be mined with greater and greater difficulty. If you recycle your electronics, however, you help ensure that there is a healthy supply of these materials for generations to come, ensuring that the fast pace of technological innovation can continue. The World You Leave Behind If you enjoy the use of electronic devices, chances are that you’ve been dealt at least an okay hand in life. Take the time to do something tangible to ensure the life you’ve gotten to enjoy is the life that future generations can enjoy, as well. Electronics recycling is an easy yet important way to ensure that future generations can enjoy the beautiful and amazing earth that we enjoy today.
  4. Hazardous material (hazmat) refers to everything from household chemicals to fuel or potentially infectious biological substances like medical waste. All hazardous materials must be handled with extra care to ensure the safety of workers and the public. Special regulations have been put in place by state and federal authorities, particularly the DOT and OSHA. Here are some tips to make compliance easier. Reference for Regulations These regulations must be followed by manufacturers, shippers, truckers, distributors, and end-use companies, including all employees of the above. Failure to comply can cost you some heavy fines. In the U.S., instructions for handling hazardous goods are covered by the rules outlined in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Known as 49 CFR, this set of guidelines covers nine different volumes. Those covering transport fall under Parts 100 through 185. All companies and individuals engaged in hazmat shipping are expected to understand these regulations and follow updates as they occur. Summary of 49 CFR The information found here covers: Description of hazardous materials by class, such as explosives, poisons, radioactive substances, corrosives, and so on. Types of packaging and containers permitted, and testing procedures for containers, as well as the amount of each hazmat substance allowed per container and in total shipment volume. Documentation, including shipping manifests, proper labels/placards, and MSDS (material safety data sheets). Safety and training requirements and equipment. Staying in Compliance Although you’ll have to follow every 49 CFR requirement, here are some important tips to help avoid mistakes: Use the United Nations 4GV labels when shipping variations on common goods such as lithium batteries. Every container shipped must conform to the exact configurations given for each tested container type, including how it’s sealed. Use leak-proof bags and plenty of absorbent cushioning to minimize the chance of spills and damage. These are required for some materials. Make sure there are thorough declarations of everything in each load. Train employees to earn hazmat certifications and keep up training to ensure those certifications stay current. Check with Insurers One way to ensure you’re staying compliant is to check with your insurance carrier and follow their guidelines. Hazmat shipments require insurance by law, and your insurance company will do what they can to help you stay compliant. Experts in hazmat insurance requirements will be experts in 49 CFR shipping requirements. Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants, for instance, will take the steps necessary to see that you, your truck, and your cargo are protected, including regulatory compliance. Title 49 was created to protect the environment as well as people. Hazardous spills can have severe and long-lasting effects. For these reasons, failure to comply can involve stiff fines.
  5. Summertime is here again, and as the weather continues to heat up, your utility bills are also rising. This is pretty common, since most other households are also cranking up the air conditioners and using a lot more electricity to keep their home interior temperatures in a comfortable range. But comfort comes with a price. If you’re looking for ways to stretch your paychecks and lower your utility bills this summer, then check out these five tips for making your home more energy-efficient. Switch to Energy Star Appliances One of the best things you can do to lower your utilities is to use appliances and fixtures that are more efficient. The Energy Star program was developed to help consumers identify energy-efficient home appliances that help to reduce the consumption of water and electricity while lowering energy costs. Now obviously, if your appliances are all working just fine, then it might not make much sense to toss them all and replace them with Energy Star devices. But you should keep in mind that as your appliances wear out and need to be replaced, switching to more efficient machines at that time will save you a good amount of money over the long term. Use Power Strips Major appliances that use more energy than needed to get the job done aren’t the only money waster in your home. All of your electronic devices also suck up a lot of electricity just by being plugged in, even when they aren’t turned on! To reduce these energy leaks, make sure that they are all plugged into power strips that can easily be turned off when not in use. Give Your HVAC System a Tune Up Your central air conditioner can also waste a lot of power and money if it isn’t working efficiently. Over time, parts can begin to work loose, and the vibrations can cause your unit to wear out faster. Not only that, but the hoses, vents, ducts and filters can become clogged with heavy use, and this can cause the unit to strain more as it works to cool down your home. So it’s a good idea to call in an HVAC company like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. every few years to give your system an overhaul and get everything working as efficiently as possible. Add Window Tint, Blinds and Curtains In the cold winter months, sunlight coming in through your windows is a welcome sight, as the additional warmth helps to regulate your temperature and reduce the load on your central heating system. But in the summertime, all that extra heat just drives your electric bill up. So now is a good time to install heavy drapes and blinds on all your windows to block out the heat of the sun. Many homeowners also opt to have tinted film applied to the windows, just like you would do with a car. That tint reduces the heat and also adds a little extra privacy to make it more difficult for people outside to see inside your home, especially during the day. Replace Weather Stripping to Reduce Drafts Lastly, replacing weather stripping around your exterior doors and windows can also help bring down your cooling bill by keeping the cold air from escaping. It’s an easy job that you can do yourself, and the stripping itself is very cheap. You just buy a roll at the local hardware store, rip off the old stripping and stick on the new strips. Reducing your electric bill in the summer is a great idea, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these five tips to keep your home a little cooler and to eliminate energy waste and watch how quickly your utility bills come down compared to the same time last year.
  6. Steel as a building material is growing in popularity, even for residential structures. It’s actually become trendy for its variety of options, speed and ease of construction, durability, and a number of environmental benefits. If you’re an eco-friendly buyer looking to build a new home, here are five good reasons why steel is the best ecological choice in green building design. Lower Energy Costs As one of the strongest construction materials, steel homes can support much denser layers of insulation that traditional wooden frames that tend to absorb moisture and warp over time. It’s much easier for your HVAC system to maintain indoor temperatures, saving you money on every electric bill. Reduced Waste In steel construction, every piece of the structure is normally pre-measured and pre-fabricated to fit neatly together. This eliminates all the wasted material that accumulates as wooden joists and 2x4s are cut to the proper length and angle. This makes for both efficient construction and less scrap, since there’s very little clean-up to do. Weather-Resistant Structural steel from companies like Ashley Savage is not only stronger but more durable than wood. Special coatings may be used to make the surface of steel beams even harder and more resistant to rust or corrosion. They also are better able to withstand the stresses of high winds, flooding, fire, or earthquakes than wooden or even concrete structures. A quality steel construction can last much longer than traditional wood in regions where these conditions occur. Environmentally Safe Steel does not absorb moisture and does not allow harmful growths like mold, fungus, or mildew that pose health risks to your family. It also lowers the chances of insect or rodent infestations compared to wood. Steel is almost completely recyclable long after wood has dried out or rotted away. Meets Green Building Standards Steel homes are better able to satisfy modern standards for green home construction. These are determined by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) criteria. You can be confident that your steel home will be healthier, safer, and longer-lasting than the typical home built today. As demand for green construction rises, steel homes are also poised to offer better resale value as well as tax and insurance credits. Homes with modern steel frames have many advantages but few of the drawbacks of conventional wooden homes. Steel is efficient, affordable, and low-maintenance, making it the right choice for new construction.
  7. When you are the owner or manager of a company, you will want to use environmentally friendly methods to dispose of waste. Here are some ways to implement a plan to get rid of various types of waste in a way that won’t harm the earth’s air, water or soil. Schedule a Consultation with an Environmental Expert If you don’t know how to throw waste away in the appropriate ways, then have a consultation with an environmental expert. A knowledgeable environmentalist can create a plan for your company after walking through its buildings to see what type of waste is made by your manufacturing and office processes. Develop a Written Plan for Your Company’s Waste You should develop a written plan for the disposal of the various types of waste made by your workers and machinery. This can take time because you must understand how much waste there is and when it is made. With a written plan, you will understand where your problems are concerning waste such as having a lot of paper and cardboard to get rid of or having dangerous chemicals that can pollute natural waterways. Are You Recycling Cardboard, Wood and Paper? Today, it is possible to recycle almost any type of material, and in many cases, you can make a profit from recycling certain items. Rather than only throwing trash into dumpsters, learn how you can bundle cardboard, wood and paper for pick up by companies that offer you money for the items. By completing a search on the internet, you can find an assortment of recycling plants in your city so that you can save money and the environment. Contact Scrap Metal Services Scrap metal is one of the items that you can make a profit from by collecting it correctly in dumpsters or wastebaskets so that it is accepted for cash. By recycling metal, you are protecting the earth from the damages of additional mining along with the pollution made by trucks transporting metal ore to smelting plants. Scrap metal services buy a variety of types of metal, including copper, steel or brass. Filter Your Company’s Wastewater Filtering your company’s wastewater can save the environment, and in many geographic locations, you must remove chemicals and pathogens from the water that your company disposes. Using industrial-strength filtering devices is one of the best ways to clean wastewater, so contact a company that designs water-filtering systems. Create a New Plan Once a Year Once a year, you should create a new plan for disposing of waste, making sure to follow the guidelines that are required by local and federal government agencies. Consider creating a proper initiative by announcing any changes that will be done and getting employees involved. This will help get your company on the same page and get them excited to save the company money while saving the environment.
  8. One of the keys to operating a successful farm is to maintain the integrity of your water sources and irrigation systems. With levels of pollution on the rise—even in isolated, rural areas—accessing clean water is more important than ever. Below are five tips you can use to protect your farm’s water sources and plumbing lines. City and County Water Lines Most local water utilities are strictly regulated to provide clean water to the communities they serve, both in the cities and out in the farming communities like yours too. So most farmers will find these to be the best choice. But while most county water sources are safe, there have been notable exceptions in the news over the years. If your local water provider has a poor quality reputation, or if you simply prefer to source your own water, there are alternatives. But you’ll still need to follow local regulations concerning the collection of water. Install Your Own Well and Pump After acquiring the necessary permits, you can drill your own well to provide water for your farm. Keep in mind that groundwater is not always as clean as it was in the past. This is because many farming communities have experienced ground and water pollution. So be sure to have your ground water tested for impurities and toxins by a company like Action Well & Pump Repair. If it tests clear, then you’ll be in good shape, as having your own well and pump can provide your farm with all the water it needs for years to come. Keep Water Catchment System Clean In some areas, water catchment systems might also be used to collect rainwater. While these are becoming less common, they still meet a need in many rural communities. If you have a catchment system, it’s important to keep it well maintained year round. Be sure that all filtration systems and UV light systems are maintained per the manufacturer’s specs, and you should have all catchment gutters and surfaces cleaned regularly. Reduce Use of Pesticides Reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides is the only sustainable practice for ensuring clean water for future generations. Pesticides work down into the soil and build up layer after layer as the seasons pass. Water from rain and irrigation systems can then push the pollutants down into the groundwater supplies, so this can be problematic as the years go by and the pollution levels accumulate. But your commitment to organic farming can help to reverse that trend. Properly Maintain Plumbing and Sewage Systems All water lines need to be maintained and repaired regularly to keep your water clean and safe. This is especially true if you have a home or living quarters on your farm for your family or workers. Corroded pipes add impurities into the water, and leaks allow pollutants from the soil surrounding the pipes to work into the water supply as well. So repairing leaky or corroded pipes is essential. Keeping your water clean is important for your farm, as the quality of your crops depends on the quality of your water and soil. Follow these five tips to reduce pollution and protect the integrity of your irrigation systems to provide pure water for your crops year round.
  9. Water is one of the most precious and limited resources that we utilize. At the same time, it is one of the most necessary resources, being used for drinking, cooking, washing, going to the bathroom, and other essential tasks of everyday life. With so much at stake, then, it’s important to try and conserve water whenever possible, to ensure there’s plenty available, both now and in the future. Here are a few ways that plumbing can be environmentally friendly. Low-Flow Fixtures A standard shower head uses around 2.5 gallons of water a minute. Across the U.S., this adds up to over 1.2 trillion gallons of water a year that’s used for showering. By utilizing a low-flow shower head, you can reduce water consumption for showers by at least 20% and often more. This may not sound like all that much, but when you’re talking about over a trillion gallons, even a 20% reduction adds up to billions of gallons of water saved. Water-Saving Toilets Another major water user in the home is the toilet. Fortunately, most homes have been converted to using toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush, down from the 3+ gallons of older toilets. However, newer toilets that are WaterSense certified utilize only 1.25 gallons per flush or less. This isn’t to say that a toilet should be replaced simply for the lower water consumption, as that is a waste of resources, as well. However, if a toilet is in need of replacement, it’s a great opportunity to reduce water consumption within a home. Warm Pipes The pipes in your home or business often run through areas that are uninsulated. This can cause problems when warm water is running through pipes located in cold wall cavities. The energy that is lost can lead to higher water usage and more energy used to heat the water. Fortunately, easy-to-use pipe insulation kits are available to allow you to keep the pipes nice and warm, no matter the weather. The insulation fits easily around the pipes, then seals to provide a tight fit. This prevents you from having to insulate large cavities or rooms that wouldn’t be cost-effective to insulate as a whole. Leak Monitors Unseen leaks can cost you hundreds of dollars a year in wasted water. If you have leak detectors in strategic points throughout your home, however, you can detect these leaks early on to prevent them from wasting water and causing damage to your property. Many leak detectors can be linked to your smartphone to quickly alert you to any potential issues. Quick and Easy One of the best ways to “go green” when it comes to water consumption is simply to intentionally work to reduce your normal consumption. This might mean shorter showers, fewer loads of laundry, or less watering your lawn. Whatever the case, the environmental and financial benefits which result from these efforts will certainly be worth it in the long run. Contact a plumbing company like Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. for more information and tips on your specific situation.
  10. As summer comes creeping up, the question on many homeowners’ minds at this time of year is how can they save water at home this summer—and all year long? The first place to start is to simply make sure that everyone in your household is more conscious about the water they use during daily activities such as brushing teeth, showering, washing hands before meals and washing the car. By shutting the faucet off during the activity, you can save quite a bit right there. But beside reducing waste, what else can be done? Here are four ideas that can help. Use Landscaping Techniques That Save Water One easy way to cut down on your family’s water usage is to address the problem outdoors. Lawns and flower gardens are notorious water hogs, and many people in drought-prone states simply let them die during the summer and then start watering them again in the fall. But there are other options. You could replace your foliage with low-maintenance landscaping. Astroturf, rock gardens and other desert landscaping features can create a beautiful front or back yard that requires little or no water all year round. Install Water-Efficient Fixtures WIth the outside taken care of, now you can turn your attention to the inside of your home. Water fixtures in the kitchen, bathroom and bar can all be changed out and replaced with ones that use much less water. Your toilet, shower head and kitchen faucet are all prime targets. By replacing these with low-flow water fixtures, you could easily reduce your water usage by 20 to 30 percent. Fix All Leaky Faucets and Handles You could go all out and put the latest water-saving shower heads in all your bathrooms, and it won’t do you any good if your shower handle is broken and causing your faucet to leak around the clock. So make sure that you fix those leaky fixtures inside and outside your home as soon as possible. A single drippy faucet may not seem like much, but it’s slowly losing you money over time. Switch to a More Efficient Water Heater You can also save a ton of water every year by changing out your old water heater for a newer, more efficient one. Sometimes all you need is to downgrade the size of your tank. But you can also go with a tankless water heater to push the savings even further. Saving water around the house doesn’t have to be complicated or painful. You don’t have to start showering together or anything crazy like you sometimes see on TV. By implementing these four water-saving strategies you can easily reduce your family’s water bill by a significant amount.
  11. How to Live Off the Grid in Texas

    Everyone who lives off the grid has their own reasons for doing so. It might be political, economical, environmental or some other reason. But whatever your motivation for choosing this lifestyle, there are a few basic ideas that you need to get straight in order to make this successful for you and your family. Texas is a great place to live off the grid. Below are four things you must have to live comfortably in this way. Food For many people, living off the grid and homesteading is a very attractive way of life, and living off the land is one of the best parts of that lifestyle. You’re going to want to grow your own fruits and vegetables, and you’ll probably raise your own livestock for meat as well. You can start small with a vegetable garden and a few fruit trees and supplement these with eggs for protein by having a henhouse with a handful of hens and a rooster. This is enough to get you started, but you can upgrade as you go, depending on your land and space available. Water Water will be your greatest concern in some parts of Texas, especially during the sweltering months of summer. An ideal location would have running water coming through your land as a stream or river, but these can be difficult parcels to come across. If you’re looking to buy a modern home that is already built, then search homes for sale in rural areas and check Google maps to look at water features in the region. If you don’t have running water you can try drilling a well to pump your own water. You’ll need the proper permits and licenses, so check your local ordinances to stay in compliance and avoid unnecessary hassles. You can also collect rainwater by setting up a catchment system and water tank to store it during the dryer seasons. Make sure to have UV systems to kill bacteria and filters in place between your tank and your home. You can also install fixtures within the home that have filters attached. Electricity To get your electricity off grid, you’ll need solar panels, a wind turbine or a combination of both. Your particular set up will depend on your area and what kind of wind you’re able to get. Also keep in mind that some regulations might prevent you from having a tall wind turbine, so double check that before you purchase anything. Waste Management For sanitary reasons, you’re going to need to install some kind of waste management system. It doesn’t necessarily have to be very complicated, but again you will need to comply with local ordinances. You can install a cesspool or septic tank in the ground, and this will probably be fine for most families. The decision to live off grid is not one to be taken lightly. There’s a lot of preparation that you’ll need to do in order to live comfortably and to avoid any tangles with local government. By doing your homework and following the rules in your area you can get yourself set up with a wonderful property, a beautiful home and a sustainable lifestyle that you will enjoy for years to come.
  12. As a farmer, you are much more in tune with your impact on the environment and with the natural rhythms of nature. So it’s not surprising that you want to take steps to make your farm more environmentally friendly. Below are three ways you can go green as you run your farming business. Use Solar and Wind Generators One great way to reduce fossil fuel use and reduce pollution is to use less traditionally supplied electricity and to take your power needs off grid. Solar panels can be setup either on rooftops of buildings on your farm or right along the ground itself, making a section of your property a kind of solar farm. Electricity generated will then be stored in multiple battery units which can then give power throughout your complex. Likewise, wind turbines can be set up to produce electricity around the clock, whenever the wind is blowing. Combining wind and solar generators is a great way to supply all the power you could possibly need. Install Your Own Well or Water Catchment System Beside power, water usage is another ecological concern for farmers going green. You need to have adequate water for your crops, but some regions make it difficult and limit your access to the shared water supply. Drilling your own well on your property can be a good solution, but it can be pricey. You can also set up a water catchment and storage tower for rainwater. To reduce overall water usage, you can also try using drip irrigation systems. These use a system of rubber tubing that carries water to all your crops with less runoff. This is an excellent option for areas subject to drought. Avoid Pesticide Use Lastly, another great way to make your farm more eco-friendly is to stop using pesticides as much as possible. Organic farming isn’t just a trend. It is truly the best way to build a sustainable future and protect land resources for future generations. But organic farming means more than simply not spraying your crops with pesticides. You should also use organic crop production fertilizer. Many fertilizers contain pesticides and other pollutants themselves, so using them on your fields will just defeat the whole purpose of trying to switch to organic farming in the first place. And in order to sell your crops as organic, you’ll need to follow strict regulatory guidelines to prevent inaccurate labeling of the products. Going green is a smart decision for farmers today, as it is a vital part of sustainable farming practices needed in the world. To make your farm more environmentally safe, take the initiative and invest in solar and wind power, independent water sourcing and conservation and organic farming methods.
  13. More and more companies, from the largest to the smallest, are concerned with “going green.” Some of this is in response to worker and consumer pressure and the desirability of marketing to environmentally concerned customers and attracting educated innovative workers who tend to be concerned about the environment. In some countries, carbon pricing affects the bottom line and there are increasingly strict regulations concerning everything from emissions to use of potentially toxic chemicals. Perhaps the two most important reasons for going green, though, are saving money and corporate social responsibility. Paper Products Management gurus have been predicting the advent of the paperless office since the introduction of computers in the 1960s. Most companies still use massive amounts of paper. Two simple steps you can take to reduce your environmental footprint are recycling and using paper products manufactured with post-consumer waste. Make it easy for employees to recycle by placing dedicated paper recycling bins near every work space. The Environmental Paper Network has a paper calculator that shows you the environmental impacts of different paper choices. Lighting Lighting is one of the easiest ways for a company to save energy. Replacing older fixtures with LED lighting helps the environment in two ways. First, it saves energy and second, LED bulbs need to be replaced less frequently than many other types and thus contribute less to the waste stream. Rather than relying on individual employees to turn off lights, install motion sensors to ensure that you are not wasting money and energy lighting empty rooms. Energy Sources Using renewable energy sources is an important element of going green. Installing solar panels on a roof or buying energy from renewable sources are two important ways to ensure a high percentage of renewable energy and potential cost savings. Some large organizations invest in wind turbines to generate their own energy and save money. Solar Parking Lots In areas with substantial amounts of sunshine, solar canopies in parking lots are an innovation that provides substantial amounts of green energy while keeping employees’ cars cool in hot summer months. Solar parking lots also make a strong and stylish visual statement concerning your commitment to renewable energy. Green Chemicals Many companies are moving to using green chemicals in many processes from cleaning rest rooms to advanced manufacturing. To maximize the environmental benefits in chemical use, study your complete chemical supply inventory to see whether components can be replaced with greener equivalents. Managing your inventory closely, perhaps using just-in-time supply chains, can reduce wastage, helping the environment and your bottom line. You can also visit a company like Seidler Chemical for help in this regard. The Environmental Bottom Line Greening your business benefits all possible stakeholders. Employees, especially those with chemical sensitivities and other medical conditions, benefit from a greener work setting. Society as a whole benefits from preserving our environmental. The company and shareholders profit from attracting environmentally concerned customers and employees and saving many by conserving energy.
  14. Greening up home lighting is fun! With advancements in eco-friendly technology, you have many elegant and modern designs from which to choose. Moreover, your conscience smiles, knowing you’re sparing our Earth from demise. Here are five options available to you. Replace Incandescent Bulbs with CFLs Compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs resemble swirly soft-serve ice cream cones. Essentially, they’re coiled versions of long-tube fluorescent lights. CFLs consume roughly one-third the electricity of incandescent lighting. While they cost more than conventional bulbs, CFLs last ten times longer. Since they emit less heat, they’ll reduce your cooling costs during summer. CFLs are compatible with most existing fixtures and come in a range of colors. Their average lifespan is 10,000 hours, paying for themselves at about the 500-hour mark. Buy CFLs featuring the Energy Star logo, a symbol issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The logo signifies that a product is energy-efficient, saving a significant amount of power on a nationwide scale. The only drawback to CFLs is that they contain small amounts of mercury. Still, they’re approved for use by the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Discard old CFLs by bringing them to your neighborhood recycling or home improvement center. If you don’t have one, ask your local waste management facility for how to safely dispose them. Alternatively, contact Earth911, a source of recycling information, at 1-800-CLEANUP. Invest in LEDs Even more eco-friendly than CFLs are light emitting diodes. Lasting at least 25,000 hours, LEDs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights. Additionally, LEDs are mercury-free and emit virtually no heat. These merits do come at a higher price than incandescent bulbs. However, since LEDs last up to 25 times longer, you’ll ultimately save money. LEDs employ unique technology. They use semiconductors to convert electricity to light, similar to traffic lights. Sold in a range of colors, LEDs are highly versatile. Use them in small track lighting, recessed fixtures, under-cabinet kitchen lighting, and outdoor lights. For closets, cabinets, and pantries, affix LED stick-on lights, powered by rechargeable batteries. Preferably, buy Energy Star-certified LEDs. Tip: To amplify illumination, decorate with reflective surfaces, such as mirrors and glass panels. Conserve Light Swap existing light switches with dimmers. Both CFLs and LEDs are available with dimming features. Also, buy motion-activated lamps. Upon entering a room, a sensor will detect your presence, and turn on the light. After a programmed period of no movement, the light will automatically turn itself off. For outdoor use, install flood lights with motion and daylight sensors. LED lights are typically used with sensing devices. Use Eco-friendly Light Fixtures When shopping for new light fixtures, look for those displaying Energy Star labels. You’ll find a comprehensive range of styles, including track, accent, vanity, ceiling fan, lamp, chandelier, under cabinet, and outdoor. Some are made of recycled or recyclable materials. Also available are fixtures with dimming and sensing features, powered by CFL and LED bulbs. Alternatively, shop for fixtures constructed with eco-friendly materials, such as: · recycled Steel · reclaimed Shell · bamboo · recycled Glass · FSC-certified Wood Fixtures with the FSC logo are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This symbol indicates that the wood is sourced from either post-consumer waste or sustainable forests. Mount Skylights Picture lighting up your home with golden rays of sunshine! Skylights will improve your home’s comfort, appearance, and energy efficiency. Their passive solar heating saves money during winter. When ventilated during summer, they protect rooms from overheating. Following are design factors to consider when installing a roof-mounted window. · Orientation. If you live in a warm climate, position the window on the north side of your roof. If your region tends to be cool, choose a south-facing location. An east-facing skylight yields morning light and warmth. A west orientation will maximize afternoon sun and solar heat. · Panes. HomeAdvisor reports that choosing double panes over single can reduce heat loss through the window by 15 percent. Dual panes have two glass layers separated by air or gas. · Coating. Buy glass with a “low-e coating.” This is a thin invisible metal sheet, overlaying the glass. This feature cuts heat loss during winter and reduces summer warmth. E-coatings also shield your home from ultraviolet light. Over time, UV light can discolor or fade furniture, carpet, photographs, and artwork. E-coatings differ by climate. · Frames. Choose Insulated Wooden Frames, Rather than Steel or Aluminum · Ventilation. Since warmth rises, skylights are best ventilated during summer. Venting can be achieved with a screen or louvers, operated by crank, chain, or remote control. · Energy Star. According to Recyclebank, Energy Star-certified skylights cut power consumption by at least 40 percent over conventional skylights. Install Solar Lights You have two design options for solar lights: landscape and rooftop domes. Since they’re powered by the sun, the light they supply is free. Landscape These lights make walkways safer to navigate. They also deter burglars. Fully charged, they can supply up to 15 hours of illumination, the number varying by season. Summer days yield lengthier time frames than shorter winter days. Clouds also reduce solar charge. Ideal bulbs for landscape lights are LEDs, performing well in cold conditions. For maximal power, landscape lights must receive direct sunlight during daytime. Situate them away from outside light sources, such as streetlights. Otherwise, their light will prevent the solar panels from activating. After installation, you may need to keep the lights off for a couple of days, using the switches. The “off” position enables the solar panel to fully charge, storing power. Be sure to read the instructions for required charging time. Batteries for outdoor solar lights have an average lifespan of two years. Rooftop Domes A skylight variation is the solar tube, also called a “light pipe” and “sun tube.” These small domes channel sunlight into home interiors. Sun tubes deliver light and solar warmth, without the heat loss and gain of window skylights. Solar tubes cost less than window skylights and are easier to install. Inquire about Rebates and Incentives from Your Electric Company According to Philips Lighting, 3,000 utilities exist in the US, each with their own rebate programs. Frequently, rebates are offered for lamps, fixtures, ballasts, and controls. Some utilities refund money for the purchase of Energy Star-certified LED lights. With a “prescriptive rebate,” you’re reimbursed a certain amount for each lamp or fixture you replace. Installing a skylight or solar tube may also qualify you for a government rebate. Contact a company like Gosling Electrical Service if you have questions Green Lights Now you have five ways to “greenify” your lighting, indoors and out. Begin by replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFLs and LEDs. Install dimmers and sensors, activated by motion or low light. Use fixtures made with eco-friendly materials, such as bamboo, reclaimed shell, recycled steel and glass, and FSC-certified wood. Flood your home with sunshine! Invite the sun to power skylights, light pipes, and outdoor solar lights. Whenever possible, buy Energy Star-certified products. Then, see if your investments entitle you to rebates. With all these earth-friendly upgrades, your home will virtually smile!
  15. You are thinking about getting a new roof for your home. It has been many years since your roof has been redone. You want to do your part to be green, and yet you want to operate well within budget. While these two goals are not always easy to appease at the same time, in the case of getting an eco-friendly roof, you may have a few options at your disposal. The following are some ideas to consider when looking into an eco-friendly roof. A Simple Approach An eco-friendly roof to consider is a white roof. Sometimes referred to as a cool roof, the idea of a white roof is that it is white to reflect the sun’s rays. Since it reflects, rather than absorbs, the sun’s rays, a white roof can help to keep your home cool. This will be echo-friendly in the sense that it keeps you from needing to waste energy to cool your home. And if the material is white metal, this would have a low impact on the environment given the lifespan of a metal roof compared to roofing materials that were not eco-friendly at all. Such a roof would also last you many decades on average. A metal roof will simply hold up far better than a typical shingle roof will tend to do. Add on a Roof Overhang When it comes to the idea of an eco-friendly roof, you may not need to actually change the roof you have—especially if your current roof is not in utter disrepair. If you want to cool your home and save energy, you can consider adding roof overhangs as an extension to your preexisting roof. Overhangs can supply a house with loads of shade from the sun and help to cut costs along the way. Installing Your Eco-Friendly Roof When it comes to installing your eco-friendly roof, it will be a good idea to work with a roofing company like Seagate Roofing and Foundations. Installing this type of roof is as important of a consideration as choosing the materials that go into its construction. Most roofing companies can do the job in a reasonably short timeframe. But, short is not always what you want in a roofing project—especially if you are working with certain materials that need to be handled in a careful manner. Conclusion All kinds of materials exist to help in the search for an eco-friendly roof. You just need to have an idea as to how long you want your roof to last. You will need to know if spending the money on such a roof will benefit you in the area of energy savings over the long term.