Dixie Somers

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  1. You can’t assume that winter is the one season where you have little impact on a frozen environment. During winter, a lot of chemicals, dirt, debris, and waste are collected along with the snow, and as soon as the spring thaw hits these pollutants are washed away into local storm drains and water courses. Even before the thaw, exhaust and other harmful substances can impact air quality and human health. Here are some steps you can take this winter to help preserve the environment. Use an Eco-Friendly Deicer Some deicers contain harmful chemicals, while others that seem to be natural, such as common rock salt, are not safe. Most deicers can be harmful to pets, wildlife, playing children, and the environment. Check the labels for eco-friendly, pet-safe brands. Even then, use them sparingly. Follow the manufacturer recommendations. Don’t forget that common dirt or sawdust can provide traction on slippery ice while being much more eco-friendly. Electric, Not Fuel If you can, try using an electrical or battery-powered snow blower. This will reduce the fossil-fuel hydrocarbons that are going into the air to damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. You and your neighbors will also breathe much easier while snow removal is taking place. Inside the home, never use fuel-based heaters. These can lead to a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide as well as harmful exhaust. Even if you’re using a fireplace or woodstove for heat, have a carbon monoxide detector installed just to be safe. Pick Up Debris Pick up any kind of trash before it becomes part of the deep freeze. This is especially true around trash bins where litter is most likely to accumulate. If you have outdoor equipment like boats, lawnmowers, or project automobiles, be sure they’re fully winterized and stored indoors to prevent leaching rust, heavy metals, or oils and grease into the soil as the ice melts. If you don’t have the internal space, consider renting a storage unit from a business like Walsh Moving & Storage where you can keep your things safe and dry during the cold season. Maintain Your Heating System Inefficient appliances are big wasters of fuel or electricity. This means you’re either squandering limited resources like natural gas, or drawing needless energy from the grid that power companies have to work harder to replace. Your fuel and electrical providers work harder, releasing their own pollutants into the environment. Whether you’re using a traditional stand-alone furnace or an electrical HVAC system, have it checked when the cold weather hits to be sure it’s performing optimally. The long months of winter can also add a lot of pollutants to the air and ground. Don’t let the focus on staying warm or planning for the holidays let your environmental concerns lapse.
  2. When it comes to saving energy, you can consider your whole home as a system with the potential for better performance in many areas. Lower power consumption basically comes down to insulation and improved efficiency. Here are five steps to making your home more energy efficient. Your House’s Envelope Be certain that your walls and attic are thoroughly insulated. The less energy you’re losing, the less you have to generate. Rolls of insulation may do for an unfinished attic, but use blown-in insulation to add a little extra to exterior walls. If you’re due for roof repair or replacement, inquire with local roofing companies like Cloise & Mike Construction Inc about some modern options designed to provide better insulation from the top down. Upgrade Windows Most temperature loss comes through thin window panes. If the windows are old and have small gaps, they could be the biggest energy-wasters in your home. Be sure that your window frames are sealed with caulk or weather-stripping. If budget allows, you should upgrade to energy-efficient modern products that provide a better seal and much better protection. Be sure to look for EnergyStar products. Install Awnings Think about the windows in your home that admit the most sunlight. You can buy and attach awnings over these windows to block out the sun in the hot weather, and roll them back to admit sun when it gets cool out. You’ll find awnings in any number of sizes, colors, and styles to suit your home’s exterior. Some must be hand-cranked into position, but you can also find motorized products that make it easy to extend or retract the awnings. Maintain Your HVAC If your heating, ventilation, and AC unit is more than 10 years old, consider an upgrade to more energy-efficient models. Be sure your HVAC is scaled accurately to your home’s interior volume, as inadequate systems will work harder while over-sized systems will waste energy. At the least, have your HVAC units checked yearly to see that they’re in good order. Clean or replace filters as needed, and be sure to have your ducts checked to remove any accumulation of debris constricting air flow. Improve Your Hot Water Heater If you have an old water heater, you might want to consider upgrading it to a more efficient EnergyStar model. Keep the water temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure that the lines coming into the home are insulated to reduced heat loss. You should also consider adding some loose insulation around the heater itself. To minimize your hot water use, consider adding low-flow, aerated faucets and showers. If you really want to save energy you should consider upgrading to technologies like smart lighting systems or solar panels. But don’t forget that the most important way to conserve energy is to stop being wasteful.
  3. The skies aren’t just gray these days because of the weather. Despite years of scientific warnings, air quality continues to deteriorate on a global level. The situation is only going to intensify as more and more nations become fully industrialized. Will governments work to help reverse these trends? While an increasing number are taking leadership roles in addressing this problem, others are actually backing away from them. So who will step into this air quality breach? Increasingly, it is business interests that are doing so. Read on to learn more about how they are identifying and addressing air quality issues. Managing All Pollution Sources Generated by a Business When we talk about pollution generated by businesses, we tend to think of waste streams that are directly generated by a firm’s work. But there are all sorts of ways that can affect air quality. Businesses wanting to improve air quality should consider the ways in which they could be impacting it, which range from transportation to maintenance practices. Outside and Indoor Air Quality While outdoor air quality rightfully gets much attention, the indoor air quality of a workplace can often be much worse. There is much companies can do to improve air here, which includes changing work practices to reduce emissions, making changes to building designs and furnishings, and installing sensors and filters. And in order to get the most out of these changes, businesses should start by working with a firm that specializes in air quality and emissions control, such as Stephenson Environmental Management Australia. These firms will help businesses effectively find problems and develop solutions that work. Work Hours While pollution at any time is not good, emissions produced at key periods can affect air quality. To try to reduce their environmental footprints, more companies are now introducing “flex” hours for certain types of work. Not only does this staggered staffing lower energy costs and emissions for buildings, it can reduce air pollution during key atmospheric periods. Transportation The carbon dioxide emitted by gasoline burning vehicles is one of the greatest sources of poor air quality. Businesses can do their part to help reduce this by making wiser decisions concerning scheduling both ground and air deliveries. They can work to change the “transportation mentality” of employees as well. Encouraging and helping to provide car pool services, as well as offering incentives to use available public transportation can help to reduce pollution footprints caused by individual firms. Tradition Your company’s equipment and infrastructure may have gotten the job done for years, but what’s it doing to the environment? Making “green” upgrades to both equipment and practices aren’t just better for air quality. They can save companies tens of thousands of dollars with government incentives, rebates, and grants. Improved air quality is certainly not only the responsibility of businesses alone. But in leading by example, these companies not only improve the environment for us all, but insure a lucrative business environment for years to come.
  4. In case your company has not taken the necessary steps to become eco-friendly, you need to take the challenge head-on. Taking the initiative to reduce waste and going green is a great way to becoming efficient and saving money for your business. A lot needs to be done to ensuring our working environments are sustainable for the future generations. Below are four eco-friendly practices that will help you reduce your company’s machinery carbon footprint, and save money for your business. Take Part in a Local Electronics Recycling Program Recycling your used electronics provides materials that are reusable to repair and build other electronics, and also help in building the economy. More jobs are going to be created at the same time; the environment is going to be protected. Buy Used and Refurbished Electronics Organizations can save a lot of money if they buy refurbished desktops, laptops and servers. There are times where you can save up to 50% of the cost of purchasing a new product. The interesting thing is that the refurbished products are usually slightly used or just unboxed. Consumer laws restrict manufacturers to sell products that have a company seal. Refurbished products also go through numerous test before they are resold. Pull the Plug You are not always working on your computer 24 hours of the day, depending on the type of work you do. Before you leave the office, ensure to turn off all computers that are not being used. You can use one power strip where several computers are plugged in. This will make it easier for you to ensure that no appliance is pilfering energy secretly. You can also set your computer to shut down at specific times of the night. Ensure that you save more energy by using energy saving appliances and fluorescent light bulbs that are compact, to reduce energy consumption. Go Green on Heating and Cooling Heat your office when it is occupied to a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius, and 16 degrees when it is unoccupied. Cooling and heating set points have to be set apart by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius so that the air conditioner does not turn on and off. Machine coolant on the air conditioner as well as any other company machinery needs to be checked on a regular basis so that the air conditioner functions properly, so make sure to be in contact with a company like ETNA Products Inc. Besides coolant, you can place caulking and weather strips to minimize the loss of heat from the doors and windows. Conclusion There are several ways in which you can make your business environment eco-friendly by making your office machinery eco-friendly. You need to ensure that your company understands the available options and they are aware of what is needed, and what can make a difference in the working environment. Join the movement of going green and make the world a better place.
  5. When thinking of ways our lives impact the environment, most people often worry about their carbon footprint, recycling habits, and other common concerns. While it may surprise you, one area of your home that can have a dramatic impact on the environment is your plumbing system. Thankfully, there is a recent trend among plumbing companies to adopt more eco-friendly technology and most of these solutions are widely available. Low Flow Toilets Toilets use a serious amount of water, accounting for about 30 percent of all home water usage. Plumbing companies have taken notice and have increasingly moved towards the installation of low flow toilets. These environmentally friendly alternatives work just as well as older models but use anywhere between two to five times less water per flush, an impressive savings of water that quickly adds up throughout the year. Sustainable Landscaping There’s nothing wrong with wanting a healthy, green lawn and backyard, but irrigating your property can take a significant amount of water. This is especially true during low rainfall periods, to the point that many towns across the country periodically reduce or outlaw the use of sprinklers and other lawn irrigation. Plumbing companies have found an eco-friendly answer to this in the form of grey water irrigation systems. These systems save water from tubs, showers, sinks, and other fixtures that, while not suitable for drinking, can be cleaned and recycled to hydrate the grass and shrubs that adorn your property. Better Faucets and Showers Toilets aren’t the only offenders when it comes to wasting water. Whether in the kitchen or the bathroom, old, inefficient water fixtures waste gallons of water each year, negatively impacting both the environment and your water bill. For example, older shower heads can go through nearly three gallons of water in as little as 60 seconds. Eco-friendly shower heads and faucets not only save water, but provide the same level of water pressure, allowing you to wash your hands, hair, or dishes just as effectively without unnecessarily wasting water. Efficient Appliances While upgrading your kitchen faucet is a start, dishwashers and other appliances hooked up to your home’s plumbing can also waste significant amounts of water. Just as water fixtures have been improved, so too is the market ripe with eco-friendly appliances that use less water to accomplish the same job. Energy efficient washing machines and dishwashers are designed to get the most use out of every drop of water and incorporate more effective heating components to increase the water’s temperature while using less energy. Secure Pipes Whether by leaking grey water into the soil or poorly retaining temperature, the pipes that provide water to the various parts of your home are the most important area to consider when decreasing the environmental impact of your plumbing. Modern pipes use more effective insulation that prevents heat loss as the water travels from the boiler to its destination, thereby requiring the use of less energy overall. Likewise, this insulation makes cracking of pipes during winter less likely, thus preventing leaks of grey water into the surrounding soil. Do Your Part Protecting the environment takes group effort. While plumbing companies like Rakeman Plumbing provide the tech and installation skills needed to update your home, it’s your responsibility to identify areas of your property’s plumbing that could benefit from eco-friendly alternatives. Simply add upgrades incrementally and before long you’ll be doing your part to preserve nature while still living comfortably
  6. While corporate measures and government initiatives do their part in limiting pollution, truly preserving the planet requires the help of every individual. Though it may seem small, doing your part to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle can have a profound impact on the environment. There are plenty of ways you and your household can easily reduce your carbon footprint. Proper Waste Disposal With waste disposal as simple as dragging a can to the curb, most households put little thought into where all that trash ends up. Unfortunately, even more fail to pay attention to the rules and recommendations set out by their local waste disposal service on how to separate waste items. While it’s perfectly fine for biodegradable items like food waste to safely decompose in a landfill, items like batteries or recyclables like plastic and aluminum should be separated so that they can be dealt with in a safe and sustainable way. Take the time to separate your household’s waste so that in can be disposed of properly. Use a Trash Compactor Plastic trash bags may be convenient, but they are one of the biggest contributors to pollution around the world. Plastics can take as long as 500 years to break down in a landfill, so considering that Americans alone use over 100 billion plastic bags a year, plastic recycling and reduction is one of the most vital ways your family can reduce its carbon footprint. A simple way of doing this is to install a trash compactor. By compressing trash through a company like Pro Star Roll Off Dumpsters, your family can dispose of its waste more efficiently by fitting more waste material per trash bag, drastically cutting down on your plastic use throughout the year. Insulate Your Home If you’d like to help the environment while also saving money, insulating your home is a simple way to accomplish both. While your home’s heater may feel like it’s doing a great job, poorly insulated homes leak much of the heat produced by their climate control system, effectively wasting energy and increasing their carbon footprint. Check your windows and door frames for gaps where heat can escape and use window fixtures that help to trap in heat. For smaller spaces, consider using a space heater occasionally instead of solely relying on your home heating system. Use a Water Filter Once again, plastics are a major contributor to pollution problems. Another major source of plastic is disposable drink bottles, which clutter landfills and recycling centers around the country. While recycling these bottles is helpful, a better choice is to reduce the number you use. Rather than relying on bottled water, purchase a filter system for your kitchen sink so that you can enjoy clean, delicious water year-round. Purchase a refillable travel bottle for when you’re on the go. Not only will it reduce your waste output, but you’ll also save on your grocery bill by no longer needing to buy cases of water. Shop In-Season Eating strawberries and other produce items year-round might be delicious and convenient, but the cost to the environment is astounding. Produce that is out-of-season in your region must be shipped from across the world in ships that put out massive quantities of carbon dioxide. Do your part by learning which food items are in-season, and if you can, try to purchase some of your grocery items from local growers. Every Bit Counts When it comes to saving the environment, every little bit counts. You can easily lower your family’s carbon footprint by making simple changes to how you shop and deal with waste. By adopting these habits you will not only lower your own family’s impact on the environment, but also inspire others in your community to take steps towards more sustainable living.
  7. Every time you do business with a company, you’re indirectly supporting them. If you purchase from a company that’s committed to environmental issues, you’re helping to protect the environment. But if you’re providing profits to a company that’s heedless of green practices, you’re working against the environment. In many cases, the difference is not so obvious. Here are some ways to tell whether a business is eco-friendly. Internet Searches The easiest way to check on a company’s reputation is to type their name into a search engine along with a word or phrase like “eco-friendly” or “environmental policy”. If that company has any associations with green practices, something will come up, either positive or negative. Companies that are dedicated to the environment will share news of initiatives, partners, philanthropic support, and related activities. Ecologically harmful companies, on the other hand, will be linked to EPA violations, toxicity law suits, and similar accusations. Look for Evidence Some companies claim to be eco-friendly when their green initiatives are non-existent or marginal at best. It’s a baseless PR tactic. Instead of accepting such claims on the company site or social media conversations, check for things like sustainability or social responsibility releases. Truly green businesses will often publish data or reports providing documentation of their efforts. You may find links to these reports or external sites where they can be found. Claims are one thing, but fully prepared reports, especially if they have the approval of an environmental body or organization, are harder to fake. Check for Awards or Certifications You can also search the websites of reputable environmental organizations to see if the company has earned any awards or mentions. It’s easy enough for imposters to present a eco-friendly logo on their site, but a real organization will be able to verify this. If the company is making any claims for a particular cause, such as saving endangered species or eliminating greenhouse gases, find a charitable organization related to this and see if it can be corroborated. Learn About the Company Explore the company’s website to discover what kind of practices they engage in. For instance, metal companies should be using aluminum or powder coatings, such as those by Rattray Blasting & Coating, to prevent rust or heavy metals from leaching into the environment. Do a little research to understand what eco-friendly standards for its industry the company should observe and whether they’re mentioned. Don’t be shy about contacting the company directly to ask questions. If they’re proud of their green strategy, they’ll be happy to talk about it. A little bit of research will tell you whether a company really is eco-friendly. If they don’t appear to be, you should reconsider supporting them.
  8. While it may come as a shock, winter is one of the worst months for negative human impact on the environment. From neglecting good recycling habits to irresponsibly using energy, many people fail to consider their environmental impact during the colder months. If you’re worried about your carbon footprint, there are plenty of ways to go green this coming holiday season. Stick with Seasonal Produce While grocery stores carry strawberries, kiwis, lemons, and other seasonal fruits and vegetables year-round, it’s often at the expense of our environment. Shipping in out-of-season produce via ships results in massive carbon dioxide emissions, contributing significantly to global warming. Thankfully, apples, clementines, and plenty of other winter seasonal foods are readily available and can be enjoyed guilt-free. If you don’t have the patience to learn which products are in season, stick to stores that carry locally sourced produce rather than imports, as their selection will reflect the most sustainable options. Optimize Your Home Heating With temperatures dropping, most homeowners are dusting off their heaters to keep warm. Before winter fully sets in, schedule an appointment with an HVAC company like Derek Sawyers Smart Energy Heating & Air to have your climate control system evaluated to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. An optimized system will save you money on your energy bill and also protect against dangerous malfunctions, especially with gas heaters that can emit harmful levels of carbon dioxide if they aren’t serviced regularly. To help support your heater, make sure windows, door frames, and other areas are properly insulated to maximize how well your home retains heat. Salting and Shoveling Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s easy to pack on pounds during the holidays. Rather than paying for a gym membership, get an outdoor workout by shoveling your front steps and driveway instead of using a snowblower or plow. These methods require the use of gasoline or electricity, emitting harmful environmental gases or upping your energy bill respectively. By shoveling walkways yourself, you can lower your carbon emissions and indulge in a few extra desserts guilt-free thanks to the intense workout. If you have some time to spare, consider shoveling your neighbors’ properties to add a little more money to your gift-buying budget. Recycle Your Christmas Tree There’s nothing wrong with opting for a natural Christmas tree, provided you put it to good use after the holiday season is over. Pine needles make excellent mulch, so if you have a garden patch in your yard, carefully remove the branches and shake the needles over your designated spot. If there’s too much snow coverage, simple store a healthy supply of the needles in a sealed plastic tote or other container for later use during planting season. Christmas tree needles decompose slowly and do not mold, so long term storage is perfectly safe. If you’re the DIY type, you can get some use out of the trunk as well. Its round shape makes it the perfect base for building some natural drink coasters, and a good sized tree should give you plenty of material to make a few extra to hand out as gifts next year. Use Water Responsibly While there’s nothing quite like a hot bath or shower during the winter months, you may literally be pouring money down the drain. Simply lowering your home’s water temperature a modest few degrees not only helps the environment by lowering your energy consumption, but can also save you some money on your next bill. Dropping your hot water temperature from 140 degrees to 120 will still give you plenty of warm water for baths and dishes, but can also cut your annual bill by as much as $60, giving you a few extra dollars for buying presents while also lowering your carbon footprint. Year-Round Sustainability Every season offers its own unique ways to reduce your negative impact on the environment. During the winter months, focus on responsible energy usage, eat in-season foods, and find creative recycling methods for your Christmas tree, wreathes, and even wrapping paper. With a few simple steps, you can fully enjoy the holiday season while making your life more environmentally conscious.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.