Dixie Somers

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  1. 5 Ways to Save Electricity at Home

    You and your family might be wasting an exorbitant amount of electricity without even realizing it. Inefficient appliances and unwise habits could be costing you thousands of dollars a year, and that is why homeowners should constantly be looking for new ways to reduce their carbon footprint. These five tips will help you bring your electric bills down without making any major lifestyle changes. Weatherize Your House In the average home, the HVAC system is responsible for around 48 percent of all energy use. Weatherizing your home will limit the amount of electricity that must be used to keep it at a comfortable temperature. Sealing up cracks, caulking around windows, and installing better insulation are all simple projects that will improve your home’s efficiency. Cook Responsibly When it comes to making meals, changing a few of your habits could put a major dent in your energy bills. Instead of cooking foods as soon as you pull them out of the freezer, you should give them time to thaw out on the counter. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by using energy-efficient appliances such as the microwave and crockpot instead of the oven and stove. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water Unless your clothes are extremely dirty, you should be able to wash them on the coldest setting. You also need to make sure that the washer is full before doing a load of laundry. These devices use an incredible amount of energy, and being able to cut back on a few loads every month could end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year. Stop Phantom Loads Many devices throughout your home will continue to draw power even when they aren’t being used. These “phantom loads” can cost you quite a bit of money, and that is why you should unplug all of your devices whenever they aren’t being used. As an alternative to unplugging each individual device, you can plug multiple devices into a single power strip. When you are getting ready to leave your home or go to sleep, you can cut off all the devices in a room with a single switch. Schedule an Energy Audit During an energy audit, an inspector will use tools such as current sensors from a company like Aim Dynamics and thermal cameras to detect any efficiency issues that might be taking place. Once the inspection is over, you will be given instructions on how to address those issues. Most experts agree that families should have their homes inspected once every two to three years. Homeowners should never accept skyrocketing energy bills without a fight. With a little bit of planning and the proper attitude, you might be able to save thousands a year while reducing your impact on the environment.
  2. Planet earth is under threat due to the many years of pollution and depletion of resources. This has necessitated the establishment of various environment conservation measures. Metal makes it to the list of the materials that you can frequently recycle either at home or work. Metal covers all metallic objects from cloth hangers to aluminum foil and cans, which can be recycled in a certain way. Your mission should you choose to save the environment would be taking the scrap metal to people or companies that can recycle it well. Here are five intriguing ways scrap metal is recycled at companies like Big Daddy Scrap. Identifying Recyclable Metals One of the first steps that you should take when recycling metals is identifying the ones that can be recycled. This includes drink cans used to pack beverages like soda or beer, which are made from aluminum. Cloth hangers made from metal are another option for recycling whereby you can either place them in a blue bin or take them to your dry cleaners for a discount or cash back. Food containers in the form of vegetable cans, aluminum foils or coffee tins can also be recycled. You should get rid of all their contents and clean them well with water before taking them to the recycling plant or company as they fetch a better price compared to when they are dirty. You can also sort out brass and copper metal from your old home appliances or furnishings like light fixtures, keys, scraps and door handles. Recycling Copper Copper is mostly used in wiring and hence it should be of a higher standard and quality. You must have your copper thoroughly inspected and then graded before it is recycled. The highest grade of copper is often melted and its quality is increased through the process of fire refining. The hot copper is then deoxidized and turned into ingots or billets. Bagging Your Aluminum Cans You can bag all your empty soda and food cans separately at home or work. You should do this religiously until you collect a sizeable amount of the recyclable cans, which will earn you a good amount of money. After you collect these cans, you can take them to a recycling center in your locality and get good cash in return. You can collect them and deposit them in separate bins that are provided by your trash collection company to collect recyclable metals. Public Recycling If you are concerned about the environment and would like to play an active role in its conservation, you can take advantage of various public recycling initiatives initiated at the local level. There are allocated bins that are placed at strategic places in most public areas to collect the recyclable products. You can drop all your recyclable metallic food and beverage cans in these bins found at the beach or in public parks. Electronics and Chemical Recycling Programs Electronics like TVs, laptops and computers contain some metallic components that can be recycled. However, they are hazardous waste materials and when they end up in landfills; they end up contaminating the water and soil in such areas. You can sell your old and unused electronics to trusted recycling centers or donate them to charity organizations. In addition, Empty cans that once contained fertilizers, pesticides or aerosol sprays harbor unsafe chemicals that can end up harming the environment. You can bag them separately and drop them off at a recycling center of your choice. Final Thoughts Recycling scrap metal is a great way of conserving the environment for future generations. This process starts with you and it is prudent to play your part well. You can refer to all the intriguing ways above that scrap metal is recycled.
  3. Pollution is inevitable when you own and drive a vehicle, but the impact you have on the environment as a whole is something in your control. Modifying your driving habits and making minor changes to how you operate your vehicle can help reduce your carbon footprint and save you money on gas. Keep these five tips in mind the next time you get in the driver’s seat to make your car more eco-friendly. Reduce Weight Heavier cars use more fuel than lighter ones. Take out unnecessary items such as tools or boxes that you might be carrying around. It might be tempting to keep items in the back for a “just in case” situation, but your fuel mileage is suffering as a result. Do a thorough clean-out of your trunk or back storage area and see the difference in economy. Fill it Right Avoid topping off your tank after the lever clicks to indicate that it’s full. The vapors get held in the emissions canister, which is designed to prevent the vapors from getting into the atmosphere. “Topping up” negates this and essentially wastes money. Always ensure your gas cap is tightened completely to prevent vapors from escaping. Keep the AC Off Air conditioning might be essential if you’re in sweltering heat, but it also uses from 13 to 21 percent more fuel. Air conditioning causes extra strain on your engine to run and uses more gas. If you need to use it, ensure that your air conditioning system is properly maintained and serviced. As a general rule, keep your windows down for air circulation at low speeds and close them when on highways and freeways to avoid aerodynamic drag. Stay on top of Emissions One of the main reasons your check engine light will come on is that the system detects an emissions problem. This is harmful for the environment and, depending on the issue, can significantly affect your fuel usage. Get your car inspected as soon as possible and fix the issue to keep more money in your pocket in the long-term and avoid sending additional pollution into the air. Tune it up Certain parts on your car need to be replaced regularly, such as your oil filter, air filter and fuel filter. Extra strain on the engine with dirty oil contributes to excess gas usage. Old spark plugs cause your engine to be less efficient and should be changed every 30,000 miles. An oxygen sensor controls how the air and fuel mix and a faulty one can send excess fuel to the engine. A bad O2 sensor should trigger your check engine light. You can visit a place like U Pull & Pay to find parts for your vehicle. Driving doesn’t have to cost as much as it does. Reduce your environmental footprint by implementing these five eco-friendly tips, and you’ll be doing your part to care for the environment as you drive.
  4. If you're concerned about the environment, you know that everyone who conserves power is cutting down on all overall demand. That reduces pressure on local ecosystems or adding to pollution and global warming. Options like solar power may be outside your budget, but there are simple ways to conserve electricity. Here are some things you can do. Reduce Phantom Load This is power that some devices use even when they're turned off. Digital displays, status lights, and similar indicators are still drawing power 24 hours a day. While this seems minor, you may have multiple devices around the home, such as TVs, computer equipment, kitchen gadgets, and more. That can add up to significant energy use. Plug items that aren't constantly needed into outlet strips that you can turn on or off when not in use. Energy-Efficient Appliances When it's time to replace major appliances, look for more energy-efficient models. Most will have ENERGY STAR labels that indicate how much power use is involved and how much you can expect to pay for it. In the meantime, you can maximize efficiency by not using appliances needlessly. Hang up the laundry outside on a sunny day instead of turning on the dryer, and avoid running partial loads in the dishwasher or washing machine. Modern Lighting The old incandescent bulbs are extreme energy-wasters. Most of that produces heat, not light, so they're also a safety risk. Modern LED lights use 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer. Instead of swapping bulbs, you can also find a variety of LED fixtures that can be connected straight to your home wiring to provide efficient, safe light where you need it for years to come. Use Fans Over-using AC is a primary power drain as the summer comes on. Establish a temperature toward the higher end of the comfort zone for your family. Dress appropriately for the heat even indoors, and use fans throughout the house to keep the air moving and cool you naturally through evaporation of sweat. Keep plenty of cold water on hand, and turn down the AC as soon as it's dark. Check Your Wiring Old wiring or improper DIY additions or improvements can lead to electrical "leaks" that are costing you money. Turn off everything in the house, including breakers for things like hot water heaters that don't have switches. If your electrical meter continues to climb, you have a wiring problem. Significant use could mean several problems. Call in an experienced electrician from a company like Beckstoffer-Welsh Inc to diagnose and correct the issue. Power conservation requires some planning and a little self-sacrifice. But if you can reduce your bills and preserve the environment, it's worth it.
  5. The shipping industry is a huge industry - many of our products arrive by ship or truck. The presence of these vehicles is showing up as the oil and grime that pollutes the environment. Trucks and ships will continue to pollute the air and waterways if companies do not act carefully. Learn about ways to increase the environmentally friendly impact of your shipping company. Make Fewer Trips Cut down on carbon emissions by making fewer trips. Consider getting a larger truck from a company like Arrow Truck Sales to carry more items in one haul. Instead of having your truck driver ship to one business, have him stop by several other businesses along the way. Have fewer trucks on the road to reduce the need for gas and remove air pollution. Encourage Work from Home Working from home is more energy efficient than sharing rides to work. Some workers do not need to drive in cars that use up gas and emit pollution. At shipping companies, there are logistics and office administration departments that work mostly through phones and computers. Consider hiring virtual employees who work solely online and meet the same qualifications as traditional employees. As a result, save the energy and money of having to run an office building. Incorporate Alternative Fuel Vehicles The United Parcel Service has introduced thousands of alternative fuel vehicles into their fleet. These vehicles run on batteries, biodiesel, ethanol or solar power. Drivers save hundreds up to thousands of dollars on gas every year. Making deliveries with electric or hybrid vehicles means focusing less about gas and oil. Allow your drivers to go on many trips without worrying about pollution. An additional benefit to owning an alternative fuel vehicle is the tax reduction. Vehicle owners in some states receive one or more tax credits. Some owners are also given free parking or HOV exemptions. Recycle Equipment Like countless other companies, UPS gives paperless options to their customers and recycles unwanted equipment. Place recycling bins around the office and next to printers. Give your employees the opportunity to recycle almost anything - electronics, metals, auto parts and plastics. From automobiles to building materials, the use of vehicles is necessary to ship products all over the world. With growing concerns over climate change, more companies are seeing the benefits of being more eco-friendly. For your own company, save money on energy bills while knowing that you are working to conserve the environment.
  6. Environmentalism has moved well beyond being just a hot-button talking point during election cycles. Green initiatives and eco-friendly solutions are expected from seemingly unrelated industries and service providers across the board. While it may initially surprise you, plumbing companies are among those devising eco-friendly methods and solutions, a vital fact given that water is one of our most precious resources. Solar Powered Water Heating With temperature control accounting for nearly 50 percent of the average household's energy bill, finding natural ways to accomplish this is a win for both homeowners and the environment. Now that solar panels are significantly more affordable, thanks in part to both government initiatives and sheer advancement of the technology, even plumbing companies have developed novel ways to utilize solar energy. Water heaters powered with solar energy are not only more energy efficient than their electric counterparts, but thanks to battery back-up systems, homeowners no longer have to worry about the occasional stretch of cloudy weather. Solar heaters that use direct circulation are best for homes in warm climates, while indirect circulation systems are perfectly adapted for use in cold climates, meaning regardless of where you live, solar powered water heating is a viable green option. Graywater Recycling Each year, single households waste thousands of gallons worth of water simply because it's no longer fit to drink. Between showering, laundry, dishwashing, and other activities, the amount of water we use beyond our doctor-recommended eight glasses a day is astounding. In fact, the average person creates about 40 gallons of graywater each day. However, water that's passed through the washing machine or shower still has plenty of other uses. Once installed, graywater systems collect, filter, and store this water, saving it for toilet flushing, landscaping, and plenty of other applications around your property. Additionally, you can further stretch your graywater’s potential uses by choosing an eco-friendly laundry detergent. Eco-Friendly Toilets It may seem silly, but one of the simplest and most effective ways plumbers make homes more efficient is through the installation of eco-friendly toilets. Depending upon the age of your toilet, it can use anywhere from three to seven gallons just for a single flush. Even at a conservative single flush a day, this adds up to more than 3,000 gallons of water a year. Eco-friendly toilets work just as well, but use anywhere from 20 to 60 percent less water per flush. Not only is this great for the environment, but it also can dramatically lower your water bill. When combined with a grey water system, this can add up to astounding savings throughout the course of a year. Water Pipes Common wisdom holds that, while more expensive, copper pipes are still the best bet for durability and heat retention. However, copper has been edged out by both steel and PEX (polyethylene) pipes, which offer the same benefits at a lower price point. Because these materials are excellent at storing heat, they're often used by plumbing companies that provide homeowners with green solutions. Contact a plumbing company like L.J. Kruse Company if you have questions about your specific pipes. If you absolutely must have copper piping, there's an environmentally friendly fix for them, as well as for cheaper plastic pipes. Adding a layer of insulation will not only offer a little protection, but can also improve heat retention by as much as 80 percent. Faucets and Shower Heads While a comparatively small bit of hardware compared to toilets and water heaters, even shower heads and faucets can waste startling amounts of water. For example, older shower heads can release as much as two and half gallons in 60 seconds, while older sink faucets tend to drip no matter how hard you try to tighten them. High efficiency shower heads and faucets provide more than enough water pressure for bathing, washing dishes, and brushing teeth without the unnecessary waste of older units. Like eco-friendly toilets, these also pair well with grey water systems. Furthermore, a high efficiency shower head combined with a solar powered water heater will let you take long, hot showers free of guilt. Do Your Part We all need to do our part to adopt more sustainable and earth-friendly ways of living. Environmentalism begins at home, and there's no better place to start than with your home's plumbing system. Eco-friendly plumbing will not only reduce your carbon footprint and maximize the usefulness of each gallon, as a suite of green plumbing system can also net you hundreds in savings on your annual utility bill.
  7. When you think of green energy your mind probably jumps to solar, wind or emerging hydrogen power, but you may not have considered that propane and its cousin natural gas, are also among of the greenest energy sources available to homeowners. Clean Burning While propane is essentially a fossil fuel, derived from natural gas or petroleum, it burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels. It emits roughly half the greenhouse gases compared to coal or oil and it doesn’t emit as many harmful compounds or toxins, such as sulfur dioxide and CO2. This reduces the prevalence of smog and the occurrence of environmental problems such as acid rain, which is caused by high concentrations of pollutants from gas and coal. May Be Cleaner and Cheaper Than Electricity There is some research to support the argument that natural gas is actually cheaper and more efficient alternative to electricity for some applications. This is one reason that many homes have mostly gas-powered appliances if possible. Having more homes with gas powered appliances reduces electric bills and helps to ease the strain on the power grid. While many people consider electricity to be clean, that really depends on how the electricity is generated. Electricity produced by a coal power plant, for example, is going to be exceptionally dirty and inefficient. Electricity produced from solar, wind or hydroelectric is going to be cleaner than any other source of power, including natural gas or propane. That said, power from truly clean sources accounts for a very small percentage of the electricity generated in the United States. Even in pioneering states like California, renewable energy sources account for only about 25 percent of total energy generation. In most areas of the country, that number is far lower. Taking United States energy production as a whole, 30 percent of electricity is generated by dirty coal, 20 percent generated by nuclear and only 15 percent generated by renewables. Interestingly enough, natural gas accounts for the largest share of electricity production in the US, at 34 percent. Using natural gas directly can help shift the focus away from dirty sources like coal and questionable sources like nuclear. It is worthwhile for you to consider where your power comes from to decide if using natural gas or propane in your home will be a greener choice. Off the Grid One tremendous advantage of propane is that it can be used off the grid. In areas where electricity is difficult, expensive or just plain impossible to supply, propane can serve as an excellent substitute. Propane tank installation in Mason is relatively simple and gives you a reliable supply of propane for your use without reliance on the municipal grid or supply. Even if you don’t use propane consistently, it is an excellent emergency power source for cooking, water heating or even to power a home-based generator. Propane is Efficient Efficiency is a key element of the environmental friendliness of any fuel. In this case, using propane directly is very efficient compared to most other types of power. For example, a coal power plant converts only about 38 percent of the energy found in coal to electricity. This means that not only is coal exceptionally dirty to begin with, it is also extremely inefficient. When propane is used directly, basically 100 percent of the energy goes toward the intended use because there is no conversion of energy. Natural Gas May Become Renewable While natural gas used currently in the United States is not renewable and is derived from fossil fuel, there is the possibility that natural gas and propane could be harvested from renewable sources in the near future. Likely candidates are landfills and water treatment plants. Decomposing organic matter releases tremendous amounts of natural gas, which is released into the atmosphere. If this natural gas could successfully contained and harvested, it would present an excellent source of renewable fuel. The natural gas could then be used directly or refined into other fuels like propane and hydrogen. Demand will primarily affect how much attention this technology receives. As more homeowners switch to propane or natural gas, the demand will increase and entice more companies to invest in the technology and infrastructure to harvest it from renewable sources. As a homeowner, you have an important part to play in the green energy future and the infrastructure that will support it.
  8. Your car is probably the item you own that makes up your largest source of personal pollution. While it’s difficult to go without a car, it is easy to make your car more environmentally friendly. You can do just a few simple things to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a better environment. Open Your Windows One of the easiest ways to make your car more eco-friendly is to reduce your air conditioning use. The air conditioner puts a significant load on your engine and reduces your gas mileage by up to 25% on short trips in very hot weather. On hot days, open your windows when you first start driving to flush out the hot air. On short trips around town when the weather isn’t too hot, ride with the windows down so you breathe in the nice fresh air while reducing your environmental impact. There are times when you don’t want to open your windows while driving and this is at highway speeds. The drag created by open windows actually is greater than the load placed on the engine with the air conditioner. Don’t Load Your Car Up Extra weight in your car will reduce your gas mileage and increase its carbon footprint. If you are carrying around weight in your car needlessly, you aren't doing anyone any good. You should look inside your car and see if you have anything in it that you don’t need. Remember things add up so even if a single thing doesn't weigh a lot, several of them can add up. This includes driving around with cargo box on your roof. Not only do you have extra weight but give you extra aerodynamic drag on your vehicle. Reducing your weight in your car can get you an extra 1% for every 100 lbs. of weight. Drive More Conservatively Are you the first one off the line when the green light shines? Do you look at the speed limit as just a suggestion? Do you love using your brakes? Any one of these habits can be costing you at the fuel pump. In fact, they could be costing you 20% to 60% more in fuel costs. If you are driving a late model sedan at speeds of 75 mph, you will use almost 50% more fuel than if you were driving 50 mph. Yes, it takes more time to get where you are going, but you are saving money and helping the environment in that extra time spent driving. The US Department of Energy maintains a speed limit fuel economy calculator that can tell you exactly how much you will save based on the year, make, and model of your vehicle. Keep Your Check Engine Light Off Computers are responsible for monitoring your sensors and ensuring that your car is running at optimal fuel economy. When one of the systems is not performing its best, the computer will turn on your check engine light. It’s easy to ignore the light if your car is otherwise running well, but it could be putting out significantly more pollution and damaging the environment. This is why it’s so important to keep your check engine light off. Many auto parts stores will do a free scanning of your system and let you know which parts or sensors need to be replaced. Sometimes, your fix can be as simple as tightening your gas cap. Don’t Overfill Your Car Topping off your tank seems like an innocent thing to do. Unfortunately, it is one of the worst things you can do at the gas station. Not only do you risk spilling fuel that will eventually get washed into your local rivers and streams, but you also risk damaging your fuel system. Every modern car has a charcoal canister to capture vapor so they can be burnt in the engine. When you overfill your tank, the excess fuel can saturate this charcoal canister. At best it loses efficiency and vents harmful gases to the atmosphere, but at worse, it can fail leaving you with a repair bill that can run into the hundreds of dollar. It’s easy to implement these tips and not only save money but also help the environment. It’s clear that if you use these 5 ways, your car use will be more environmentally friendly.
  9. Computers don't only depreciate in value, they become obsolete rather quickly. That's great for manufacturers in the computer industry but not so great for consumers and businesses who rely on having access to up-to-date and reliable technology. On average, a component in your PC is outdated every three years. From the video card to the processor, something is bound to be considered obsolete within a few years. While you can future-proof your devices by having your IT department upgrade your operating systems, processors, and RAM, you will eventually have to get rid of the old to make room for new computer systems. When you're making space for your new computer systems and peripheral devices, make sure that you're recycling the outdated technology. Here are 5 reasons that you should recycle: 1. Make Money Back with Buy Back Some computer companies understand how frustrating it is to have to pay more money just to buy another PC. HP Planet Partners Return and Recycling has a unique buyback program in place where you can sell your old systems back to the company for money or you can trade up to a new system. You're not going to get a fortune, but it is a financial incentive. 2. Help Protect the Environment Landfill sites are full of materials that can be reused. These sites are also full of toxic waste that could hurt the environment. By recycling your outdated technologies you can help manufacturers used recycled materials instead of using resources that could be used for other things. You can also ensure toxic materials are separated and disposed of properly. 3. Get a Recycling Tax Credit One of the advantages of being a business owner is that you can get a tax break for recycling. Incentives can really lower your tax liability. The depreciation of recycling your machinery can be taking into account as an extra allowance. You may also get state income tax credits for up to 10 percent of the purchase price of the machinery. 4. Set a Social Example Your brand is very important when you're marketing a product or service. If you're all about being socially responsible and highlighting the fact that your company is dedicated to green practices, recycling your old hardware could help you set an example for your customers. Your customers will respect the efforts that you're making and they'll be more likely to recycle their old computers too. 5. Protect Your Sensitive Information When computers and other technologies are recycled they are de-manufactured. That means that the materials are separated into groups by Ottawa IT service companies specializing in recycling. Then, the engineers will safely dispose of the waste. During this process, your sensitive data is destroyed so you don't have to worry about letting it sit there vulnerable. Your office trash could be the environment's treasure. Consider all of the advantages of recycling your e-waste and you won't leave your full machines sitting in storage. Instead of taking up space for antiquated systems, call a recycling company and dispose of your obsolete items quickly.
  10. While great strides have been made to further geothermal, wind, and other forms of clean energy, these methods lack the ease and simplicity of harnessing solar energy. This is clearly demonstrated by the growing popularity of solar panel roofing with homeowners. Tax Credits and Assistance Federal and state authorities offer a tax incentives to homeowners who adopt solar panels. The federal government offers an investment tax credit of up to 30 percent, which helps defer the cost of having panels installed. Some states offer additional credits and incentives. For example, in 2016, Washington D.C. established new laws which not only reward early adopters, but also set aside funds to assist lower income families with the cost of installation. Quick Return on Investment Solar panels have never been cheaper to install, and you can begin earning back the cost of installation almost immediately thanks to net metering and solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). You can sell your earned SRECs right to the utility provider, as they pay homeowners who produce clean energy. This essentially translates into extra income, which is further supported by net metering, a separate system of credits that subtract cost directly from your power bill. Increased Property Value Studies have firmly established that owning solar panel roofing is a net gain for homeowners. The Federal Housing Administration has established new guidelines which require solar energy systems to be included when appraising the value of a property, so having solar panel system can significantly raise your home's appraisal value. Solar paneling is a sound property investment that can dramatically raise the resale value of your home. While not all properties are suitable candidates for installation, a roofing company like Acoma Roofing, Inc. can quickly determine if your home has the necessary structural design to support paneling. Reduced Energy Bills Homes with solar panel roofing have shown energy bill reductions as much as 30 percent, and even higher for homes that integrate larger systems. The average lifespan of a solar energy system is 25 to 30 years, so when factored over that period of time, this amounts to massive savings on electricity. The last decade saw a 5 percent increase in electricity costs, while solar systems went down about 70 percent over the same ten year period. The upward trend in electricity cost will continue, but investing in a solar system now will insulate you from the inflating prices. Clean and Renewable All financial considerations aside, solar paneling is a simple and accessible way to lower your carbon footprint and improve the environment. Furthermore, since the panels can be installed on your roof, no clearing land for installation is necessary, further supporting their value to the environment. Unlike traditional fuels, solar panels release zero harmful emissions. Beyond basic maintenance, solar panels are long lasting, making them a long-term, renewable energy solution. The Future Between rebates, credit programs, and other financial incentives, solar panel roofing is a safe and affordable way to both add value to your home and lower your energy costs. More importantly, they are a simple way to invest in the health of the environment, thereby making our collective future a little brighter.
  11. It is becoming increasingly important in this fast-paced, industrial society to acknowledge the environmental impact of each individual and do your part in maintaining eco-friendly habits. There are many areas where you can make changes to yourself and your home to help protect the earth. One way to make your home more environmentally-conscious is to make use of several different household appliances that are on the market today. Vacuum Sealer Investing in a vacuum sealer cuts down on food waste by keeping your food fresh for longer. Vacuum sealed bags are the optimal way to store food in your fridge while saving space, and using them can make your food stay fresh until you are ready to eat it. Vacuum sealing removes all the air that could cause bacteria and rot, making your food's shelf life a lot longer than it would be with normal food storage bags. Low-Flow Faucets One of the most effective ways to conserve water in your home is to install low-flow faucets and showerheads. Showering takes up a large portion of an individual's water consumption. By purchasing and installing water controlling fixtures, you can limit your daily water use. Low-flow fixtures are inexpensive and can save you up to 50 percent on your water bill, benefiting both you and the environment. Recycled Sinks A new sink may not be the first thing to come to mind when you are in the market for eco-friendly choices, but there are more options than just the standard kitchen or bathroom sink. Consider purchasing a 100 percent recycled or salvaged sink. Beautiful design and eco-friendly manufacturing come together in many unique metals like copper, bronze and stainless steel. Manufacturing recycled metals is a much more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly process than producing virgin steel. Air Fryer Air fryers allow you to perform all your cooking needs without the use of grease or flame. They work by circulating hot air around food. An air fryer conserves energy by generating a lot of heat in a small, contained space. You can fry, bake and roast with simplicity, all while saving on your energy consumption and reducing your carbon footprint. LED Lights Another way to save energy is to get LED lights from a company like Always Earth Friendly. LEDs are a type of light fixture that is much friendlier to the environment than common compact fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs. LED lighting can save a significant portion of your energy use each year. It lasts over three times longer than CFL bulbs and saves more electricity when in use. Each light bulb is made of eco-friendly, durable and high-quality materials and just one light can last for almost 23 years. Doing your part to help the environment is rewarding. Using these appliances and fixtures around the house can provide a long-term method to conserve the resources around you
  12. Organic farming is more common than ever before and is changing agriculture practices around the world. Organic farming is the fastest growing type of agriculture in North America. Canadian farmers are conducting research into the benefits of organic agriculture and strategies to make farms in Canada more profitable and environmentally-friendly. Damage from Pesticides and Chemicals Organic foods are proven to be healthier than foods that are grown commercially using pesticides and chemicals. Pests that are damaging to crops and diseases that attack plants thrive in a climate where one crop is grown consistently, which means chemicals and pesticides must be used to contain disease and kill pests. Using chemicals results in the minerals and nutrients in the soil is depleted faster. When the soil is no longer useful, more forests must be cut down to obtain more land for farming, and the cycle never ends. Research has proven that intensive farming has considerable, damaging effects on people, animals, soil, and water. Intensive farming relies on the use of massive amounts of pesticides and chemicals. This system of farming extends to how livestock is raised and treated through factory farming, the effect on ecosystems and natural habitats, and depletion of the soil. More than 40 percent of the land on this planet is for the production of food. With the increase in population worldwide, more sustainable methods of farming must be adopted. Benefits of Organic Farming One of the biggest advantages of organic farming is conserving resources that are non-renewable and producing foods that are healthier. Organic farming doesn't rely on chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers. In fact, many conventional farmers and some organic farmers use fertilizers like those from Nature Safe, which are in harmony with the Federal National Organic Program. Natural composting is another method of naturally fertilizing the soil. Cultivating the land excessively prevents rainwater from being absorbed into the soil. When chemicals are used, the runoff from the topsoil goes into streams and rivers, further polluting them. Organic agriculture has a positive effect on the environment over the long-term with crop rotation, a minimum of tillage, and organic fertilizers. Another advantage of organic farming is that the need for non-renewable energy sources is reduced. Although the effect of GMOs on health and the environment isn't conclusive, Genetically Modified Organisms aren't allowed in the production of organic foods, making them healthier. One of the biggest incentives for small farmers is that organic farming requires a lower, initial investment than traditional farming, especially since no chemicals are involved. One of the most effective ways to conserve our natural resources, combat climate change, and eat healthier food is through more organic farming methods.
  13. Whether you're concerned about the chemicals in cleaning products or you simply want to save money, natural cleaning solutions are a healthy, cost-effective way to ensure that your home sparkles. With a little research and a few common ingredients, you can make DIY cleaners for every crevice. Here are five recipes to get you started. 1. Lemons Yes, just lemons. Citrus fruit can clean everything from your garbage disposal to your countertops (provided they aren't marble or stainless steel). You can also mix lemon juice with sea salt for a natural scouring solution or with one or two tablespoons of cream of tartar to make a paste for cleaning grout. 2. Natural Tile Cleaner Avoid the chemicals in commercial tile cleaning products with this easy DIY solution. Start with a half cup of baking soda, then add your favorite natural liquid soap slowly until you achieve a frosting-like consistency. Top it off with five to ten drops of your favorite essential oil. Make the paste with water instead of soap and leave out the fragrance for a green oven cleaner. 3. Citrus-Infused Vinegar Grab the lemon peels from the fruit you juiced for the first tip to make this versatile solution. Just fill a jar with lemon, orange, and lime peels, then fill to the top with white vinegar. Let it sit for anywhere from three to 14 days before straining out the vinegar. The resulting solution can be used to clean windows and glass, disinfect germy surfaces, and mop floors, though you might want to contact a company like A-Plus Window Cleaning if the windows are extremely dirty. On its own, vinegar can be used to clean your coffee maker, dishwasher, drains, and showerheads. 4. Natural Laundry Soap For this easy, money-saving recipe, mix one part soap flakes or grated bar soap with two parts each of Borax and washing soda. Store the mixture in a glass jar or other closed container, and use between two tablespoons and a quarter cup for each load of laundry. 5. Heavy-Duty Toilet Scrub Instantly clean and disinfect your toilet by mixing a half cup of baking soda, 10 drops of tea tree, and a quarter-cup of white vinegar. The fizzy mixture easily washes away accumulated grime while you scrub with a brush. When you're done, mix baking soda with essential oil in a clean jar with a lid for an instant air freshener. Once you've tried these quick-and-easy, all-natural cleaning fixes, you'll never want to go back to the harsh smells, damaging chemicals, and prohibitive cost of commercial cleaning products.
  14. Many homeowners dread opening up their energy bills during the warmest and coolest months of the year. Throughout the country, HVAC systems account for about 48 percent of all residential energy consumption. If you would like to reduce your energy bills, then here is a closer look at some ways you can make your HVAC system as eco-friendly as possible. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat Very few people realize just how much of an impact that a thermostat has on an HVAC system. Not only are many older thermostats inaccurate, but there is no way to turn the system off once you are out of the home. A programmable thermostat will allow you to turn the system on just before you get home instead of letting it run all day. Clean the Outdoor Coils Most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit that draws in air. Along the outside of these units are coils that cool the air down before it is blown into the ducts. Cleaning the coils once every few weeks is another simple way to improve the efficiency of the system without spending any money. Homeowners should also trim foliage back at least a few feet so that debris doesn’t get caught in the coils or fans. Regularly Change Your Filters HVAC filters remove dust, dander, and other outdoor toxins from the air before your family breathes them in. Depending on where you live and how often you use the HVAC system, you might need to change the filters as often as once every few weeks. Clogged air filters create an immense amount of pressure in the ducts, and your system must work much harder to keep pushing air through the vents. Even high-quality filters need to be changed once every 80 or 90 days. If you need help with this step, contact a company like Doctor Fix-It. Add More Insulation Quite a bit of energy will be wasted trying to keep your home at a comfortable temperature if it isn’t properly insulated. The insulation in your crawlspaces and attic should be inspected at least a few times a year to make sure that it isn’t flattened or torn. You also need to check the caulking around your doors and windows for any signs of damage. Adding a little bit of extra insulation and caulking could end up saving your hundreds every year. Don’t Block the Vents Many families make the mistake of closing vents or blocking them with furniture, and that can be very bad for an HVAC system. Much like a clogged filter, a closed vent will create more pressure within the ducts and force the system to work much harder. Even if a room is unoccupied, the vents should still be kept completely open. Anything that increases pressure in your ducts is bad for your heater and air conditioner. No matter how well you care for your HVAC system, there will come a point when it needs to be replaced entirely. On average, modern heaters and furnaces should be replaced once every 12 or 15 years. Homeowners who wait too long to replace their HVAC systems are almost always going to be stuck dealing with huge bills and expensive repairs down the road.
  15. Under both public and government pressure, more industries are adopting eco-friendly practices. Business owners are also looking for ways to incorporate green practices into their operations out of their own environmental concern. One of the industries that's increasingly focused on going green is dentistry. Here are just a few of the ways that dentists have become more eco-friendly. 1. Office environment More dentists are opting to use green materials in both the exterior and interior of their facilities. Fabrics, panels, finishes, and many other products are now available that are made from non-toxic, biodegradable, and sustainable recycled materials. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has established benchmarks for green construction. Designs are based on a point rating system and earn LEED certifications you can display. 2. Office practices In your practice you should also be following the paperless trend in business processes by shifting from hard copies and paper forms to digital records and web-based information, including automated systems for patient appointments and reminders. Dentists are also trying to measure, track, and improve such concerns as solid waste, water conservation, and reduced energy consumption. Low-flow toilets and fixtures, smart HVAC systems, and LED lighting will save on resources and monthly bills. 3. Patient practices Use of green cleaning and sterilization products is creating a safer, healthier environment for your patients. Digital radiography is reducing the need for chemical-based films and development, as well as lowering radiation risks to patients. Some items such as tubes or IV bags were once made with PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. PVC has been linked with cancer, birth defects, and diabetes, among other ailments. You can now replace these products with safer, eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable plastics. It might be worth it to check around at other clinics like Silverado Family Dental to see what their practices are when it comes to the environment. 4. Dental amalgams Dentists have traditionally used amalgam for common tooth fillings, without the general public recognizing that the principle ingredient of amalgam is mercury, now universally recognized as a toxic metal. It can cause severe nervous disorders leading to loss of motor and cognitive abilities. One of the major sources of mercury in community waste water comes from dental practices. Today's dentists, however, are leaning toward use of composite resins, or installing elimination systems to prevent the mercury from reaching municipal water systems. By taking these approaches, you'll do your part in removing this heavy metal from accumulating in the environment. These are just a few ideas for making your dental office more eco-friendly. Your staff and patients will appreciate that your practice is helping to make our planet a safer, cleaner place.