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Found 162 results

  1. All families should be interested in saving on their energy costs, but it can be difficult for some to achieve these savings during the winter. Energy costs are going to naturally go up as the temperatures cool down, but there are still several ways you can save some money. If you follow these four tips, then you should be able to live comfortably in your home, while still saving a few dollars each month this winter. Lower Water Heater Temperature Most people have their water heater temperature set higher than they actually need. Setting your water heater around 120 degrees Fahrenheit has the potential to save you a lot this winter. It may take slightly longer to get hotter water in the sink and shower, but the savings makes the wait well worth it. Open Curtains during the Day The sun may not come out every day during the winter months, so you need to take advantage of it when it does appear. Opening the curtains to let the sun in is a great way to naturally heat your home without have to spend any money. Make sure to close the curtains and blinds when the sun goes down so you keep all of this extra heat in your home. Turn down Thermostat The cold weather outside may compel you to turn up your thermostat a few degrees, but you need to resist this urge if you want to save money. Keeping your home a few degrees cooler than normal has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars during the winter season. You should have no problem staying comfortably warm in your home if you wear a sweater or bundle up with an extra blanket. Properly Insulate Your energy costs are going to be high enough this winter, so don’t add to your own costs with poor insulation. If you do not have the proper insulation, then the warm air from the furnace will escape your home at a faster rate. This requires your furnace to run longer than it should to make up for the escaping warm air. A local heating company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. should be able to direct you to problem areas you might have, and keep your heat pumps running smoothly. There is no reason to be intimidated by the potentially high energy costs this winter. When you implement these four changes into your normal routine it will help your house run a little less energy, and keep you toasty and warm.
  2. Air pollution in many cities is caused by emissions that are produced from automobiles. Other issues pollute the environment too, such as household waste. However, if you make a few small changes, your contributions will benefit everyone in your community. Save Energy The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that homeowners can lower carbon emissions by using less energy throughout the day. When families leave their lights on, various energy sources are used at power plants, which rely on fossil fuel. To help clean up the environment, invest in a timer that controls your lights and appliances. By using an energy management tool, your devices will shut off automatically whenever the technology senses inactivity. Cooling and Heating Considerations During the winter, keep the thermostat set at a low temperature. In the summer, program the thermostat so that it will raise the temperature whenever you are away from home. If you have an advanced water heater, adjust the temperature to 120 degrees to lower the energy consumption. To conserve heat, ensure that the insulation in your home meets industry standards. Disposal Considerations If possible, try to avoid products that are wrapped in plastic packaging. When packaging material is produced at manufacturing facilities, the production equipment pushes toxic emissions into the air. You can reduce environmental waste and pollution by recycling cardboard, glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum. Paints, solvents, batteries, and pesticides are highly toxic, so you must give these substances to a local waste management facility. If you need to remove waste out of a commercial building or a large home, consider using a recycling service like Lakeshore Recycling. Companies that offer this service deliver containers to various locations. Drive Less Since automobiles emit pollution in the atmosphere, you should try carpooling around the city. According to transportation experts, Americans can save about $1,000 a year by carpooling on a regular basis. When traveling short distances, a bike is the best transportation option because it doesn’t produce any harmful emissions. Boost Your Fuel Economy The EPA reported that if drivers improve their fuel economy by one percent, carbon dioxide emissions will reduce by one percent as well. To lower fuel consumption, do not accelerate and brake quickly on the road. Also, avoid driving at a high speed on busy freeways. If you implement these procedures, less air pollution will generate in the environment.
  3. Engineered or activated water is increasingly taking place in the cleaning industry. It has three major types, which are used for cleaning -- ozone, hypochlorous acid and water electrolysis. Despite the fact that none of these have been recognized as a disinfectant, they are good sanitizers, perfect for cleaning glass and other surfaces. The main thing here is that these activated water solutions help minimize the use of harmful chemicals, thus protecting yours and your children’s health. Many cleaning businesses have adopted the usage of natural, bio detergents, but this technology is on a next level. The fact that cleaning industries can take advantage of the engineered water technology is not a recent finding. The large machines, needed to put into operation this innovative technology, have been around for many years, but customers weren’t happy with their size and price. Recently, technologies have evolved and now even the small, hand-held devices can activate water for cleaning purposes. The rising public awareness of sustainability and global warming issues determines this technology as a great step towards providing eco cleaning services at a very decent price. Еngineered water is obtained through electrolysis, which causes nearly undetectable pH and other changes in its chemical composition. Еlectrolysis is a process which uses electricity to break down water molecules into positively and negatively charged water ions. When you apply water in electrolyzed form to a certain area, the charged ions attach to dirt particles and lift them off the surface. More information about the process you may find in this interesting article. Activated water products and devices are mostly used in educational establishments, retail and healthcare facilities, commercial buildings and owner-occupied properties. Many building service contractors also embraced the idea. What drives the increase in activated water usage is that this technology provides a great value for little money. The usual cleaning chemicals require high costs for production, transportation and storage. In our case, these costs do not exist for the reason that engineered water can be produced on site.
  4. Most of us never think about where our water comes from and often take for granted that when we turn on a faucet, water comes out. We take a showers and never think about how much water we use. Watering plants and lawns on a summer day is typical of many suburban homeowners. How quickly are we using up our water supply? Read on and you might be surprised at what you learn. Our Major Supply Typically, our supply for water comes from rivers, lakes, and streams. Over time, however, that water supply begins to become diminished and must be replaced. This is where groundwater comes in. This is water beneath the Earth's surface. Groundwater supplies drinking water for more than half of the US population, and almost 100 percent for rural populations. It helps crops grow, is used in various industries, and recharges our freshwater. In other words, groundwater is critical for survival. Water Scarcity Water scarcity is the lack of available water resources to meet the usage. Over time, our population has grown tremendously, and continues to grow every day. In fact, the population is growing and using water much faster than it can be replaced. Water scarcity affects the entire world. Over a billion people at this time lack access to clean drinking water. Other factors water scarcity can affect includes climate changes, pollution, and waste. Waste is often seen in industry. Used for crops and factories, water is often wasted before it can be used. T. Luckey Sons, Inc. who do dam repair in Ohio are often called to projects where leaks and excavations wasted more water than they saved. The Effects Water scarcity is affecting all of us and many of us don't even realize it. Man-made products can often get into groundwater and pollute it. Examples might be pesticides, road salt, and oil. Drinking this water can cause diseases and our wildlife is harmed continuously through this. If we have lower water levels, wells will no longer be able to reach some groundwater and more energy must be used to pump the water. This causes costs to rise significantly. Lakes and rivers are diminishing rapidly, and the supply to replace is simply not coming in fast enough. Water is constantly wasted by industries and homeowners. For example, many sprinkler systems are set on an automatic timer. Our children and grandchildren are facing limited water supply in the future. Wildlife are dying out due to contamination and low supply. Where will our new water source come from? We need to pay attention and help take care of the environment. This is our future home for our families. Disease, famine, and drought should not be their future.
  5. Whether it is a largescale construction for businesses, government offices or residences embracing green energy is the current trend. Integrating sophisticated technologies that are energy efficient with the use of green construction works and recycled materials have become a mainstay now. These measures in addition to increasing energy efficiency form sustainable designs and effective solutions for homes and businesses. The need for such solutions has become imperative, as the normal heating and cooling solutions used at present lead to a very high level of CO2 emissions. For instance, the air conditioning used in automobiles consumes about 5 percent of the vehicle fuel and is responsible for CO2 emissions that go over 2 million tonnes in the UK alone. To effectively check the harmful emissions and improve energy efficiency, here are some of the top three heating and cooling technologies in use now. Geothermal solution The central core of the earth has an endless supply of steam and hot water, and the temperature increases as you go deeper. But this limitless supply can be tapped without digging too far, using geo thermal systems. The systems use energy underneath the earth surface to cool and heat any type of industrial warehouse, building or domestic homes. While direct tapping is possible, heat pumps are used by the geo thermal systems, which recycle the heat extracted from the geo thermal wells present underground. In winter, the fluids in the pumps absorb the heat underneath and warm the air above, while in summer the reverse happens resulting in cool air. Using pre- insulated pipes for district heating and cooling is another simple, but effective way to boost energy efficiency, as they prevent thermal leaks from the pipes reducing heating costs considerably. Solar energy Solar panels have become a regular fixture in many commercial and residential properties. The photovoltaic materials present in the panels convert sunlight into power for heating, cooling and lighting in buildings. While installing the panels is expensive, the money saved in the energy bills over the years is more than the expense incurred making it a highly viable option. Cheaper alternatives also exist in harnessing solar power. Air, water, or liquid absorbs sunlight via a collector, which transfers the heat to a storage system or building directly. Biomass Biomass is a natural and sustainable energy form that is considerably cheaper, when compared to propane, oil, or natural gas. The biomass systems in use now release minimal pollutants and burn in a clean way making them a highly desirable largescale heating and cooling solution. The amount of carbon dioxide produced by biomass is very less and is comparable to the carbon dioxide level released by a plant. Using biomass can save you a huge amount on the power bills and keep the environment safe too. The heightening concern regarding the impact of harmful greenhouse gas emissions has forced the world to look at green energy measures. From improving energy efficiency with proper insulation to using renewable and environment-friendly fuels several solutions have been tried out with varying degrees of success. Research is still underway to find more such sustainable energy solutions, which are cost efficient and feasible for all.
  6. I LIKE GREEN ENVIRONMENT Under the effect of solar radiation, trees will absorb water from the soil, heat-absorbing solar radiation and absorb carbon dioxide from the air to conduct continental shale and release of oxygen gas. very useful for human health and reducing air "greenhouse". So considering not planting trees on unused land, the air temperature in the lower daytime trees from 1-30C, oxygen content in the atmosphere is greater than 20% and less CO2. During continent of green chlorophyll absorbs solar radiation, absorbs the heat should have the effect of reducing the harshness of hot days, reduced reflection of solar radiation on the building, reducing the temperature does not Gas under the trees and can increase air humidity from 2% - 5%, increase air humidity is also beneficial for hot dry day. - Trees capable of storing rain water on the plant part, keep the spongy ground with tree roots penetrate the ground to help rainwater penetrates quickly into the ground, reducing flooding situation in the municipality. It is through this feature that in the midlands and mountainous, forest green harmonic effects of rainwater, reducing soil erosion, reduce flood overflow, flooding, flash flood kizi new. - When the wind blows through the trees air, dust content in the air will be the leaves retain most, make the air cleaner. Increasingly dense trees, leaves more rugged than the dirt easier grip. When the leaves were dusty, rain will wash the leaves and the leaves will keep dust adsorption cycle. The total amount of dust is hang on one tree with large leaves, thick could reach between 10-30kg. The concentration of dust in the air blowing through the trees can be reduced from 20-60%. - Trees absorb potentially harmful contaminants in water and in soil, especially to absorb and hold permanent storage of heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, mercury .. . in the tissues of green packaging, in the trunk, branches and roots of trees capable Due absorb pollutants, so now they have used a number of plant species in line processing system sewage, and is studying to use some plants to treat contaminated soil, absorb heavy metals, soil quality restoration, including the absorption of dioxin in the soil dora.
  7. We've all heard the words "reduce, reuse, recycle" as a mantra for going green. Most people say they support it, but when it comes to actually applying it to your own life, we all tend to fall short. The most common reason people don’t keep up a greener home is because they aren't sure how. The majority of us would like to be more eco-friendly, but consider it to be too difficult or just don't know where to begin. Here are three cost effective and simple ways to make your home greener today! Change your Heating Methods It takes a lot of energy to heat and cool a home, and paying for it can get pretty pricey. Ceiling fans have become a fairly common and cheaper alternative to cooling homes during the summer, but a lot of people don't know they can also be used in the winter. Warm air rises, so running the ceiling fan in reverse helps to circulate the warm air throughout. Another energy efficient way to heat your home is via a boiler. Boilers use a pump to distribute hot water, or steam, through pipes in the baseboards. Using a boiler to heat your home saves energy and money. A supplier of used boilers like Nationwide Boiler might be able to get you a discount which can save you more money. Use Sunlight to your Advantage The summer sun can easily make your home stiflingly hot. A good way to keep the sun out is to use blackout curtains. These curtains come in many styles, but all provide much needed insulation. You can keep the curtains closed during the summer to block out the heat, and leave them open in the winter to let more in. This natural method of controlling temperature will allow you to run your air conditioner and heater less frequently and at lower settings. Reduce your Waste Reducing the amount of garbage you are contributing to landfills is an excellent way to become more green. One way to do this is to start composting. This eliminates waste, while improving your garden. It is also a fun family activity. Another way to reduce your waste is to purchase beverages in glass containers. These containers can be recycled and reused around your home. Try not to look at everything you throw out as simple garbage. There are a lot of ways you can reuse and reduce your home waste. Making a greener home is easier than it seems. These methods are just some of the practical ways you can improve your home by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Modifying your lifestyle to be more eco-friendly is a wonderful way to benefit the planet and your bank account.
  8. With energy costs on the rise along with pollution and traffic congestion, energy-efficient vehicles are excellent investments. Most of us own vehicles and depend on them for daily transportation. It makes sense to get one that can save money while also helping to keep the environment clean. The benefits like environmental friendliness and savings on fuel are well known; however, there are a few other benefits that you may not know about. Lower Costs The cost of gas is not the only expense with which vehicle owners have to contend. Insurance is another significant cost that comes with owning all types of vehicles. Many car insurance companies provide their customers with discounts for owning an energy-efficient vehicle. Some insurance companies even have divisions that are dedicated to policies for eco-friendly vehicles and which provide discounts. Hybrid drivers may also be eligible for good driver and other discounts as well. All major insurance providers offer some sort of discount for drivers of hybrids and electrical cars. Aside from replacing parts like tires and wiper blades, there is not a lot of maintenance needed for electric cars. For one thing, the brake pads last longer since these vehicles use regenerative braking to slow the vehicle down. Regenerative braking converts the energy used in slowing the vehicle into electricity, which is stored in the battery. They Are Safe Hybrid and electric vehicles are as safe as cars that are fueled by gasoline. In the past, concerns have been raised regarding the potential for accidents to cause chemical spills because of the batteries; however, such accidents have not occurred in the decade since these cars first became widely available. Still, it is necessary to take precautions when driving any vehicle, regardless of the fuel source. Eric Harron, a car accident lawyer in Austin, advises all motorists to avoid aggressive driving and to minimize distractions regardless of what vehicle is being driven. They Are Just as Comfortable as Conventional Vehicles When it comes to comfort and ease of driving, there is no difference between an all-gas vehicle and an energy-efficient. Hybrids are able to accelerate and to cruise just as fast on the highway. Most hybrids come with the luxury features expected of modern vehicles. These include navigation systems, keyless start and automatic climate control. Most hybrids are able to move at least four adults in reasonable comfort and some can transport as many as eight. They are a Good Investment The economic aspects of buying an energy efficient vehicle can be tricky. Many experts have deemed hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles to be poor investments based on the fuel savings. It is true that the value of a hybrid can fluctuate depending on gas prices. However, one area that many calculations fail to take into consideration is resale value. One 2011 study by Carnegie Mellon University used auction data to show that two energy efficient vehicles (the Toyota Prius and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI) retained thousands of dollars of their value in comparison to gas-only vehicles. More people are turning to hybrids in order to save on fuel and to help protect the environment, which means that there is a greater demand. That demand leads to above-average resale value. The Technology is Not New Even though hybrids and electrical vehicles have been on the market for a while now, many motorists may be concerned about investing in what may be perceived as relatively new technology. The truth is that electric cars were around as far back as the early 20th century. They were among the earliest American-made vehicles. The technology has evolved considerably since then and modern electrical cars are even more efficient and powerful. The benefits above are some of the reasons that hybrids and electrical vehicles are among the fastest growing segments of the auto industry. Furthermore, the popularity of energy efficient vehicles means that there is a wide variety from which to choose. Shop around to find something that meets your needs and those of your family.
  9. “It’s not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us”, I heard it said somewhere a while ago. After a couple of hours of thinking about this quote, I have realized a few things. I am not as good a person as I could be. No, I haven’t been a bad girl; I just haven’t been doing all that I could be. And I have set a goal for myself to change that aspect of my personality. The road has been difficult, to be honest, but, somehow I have managed to move from ground zero. This is my experience, feel free to learn from it, if you desire the same thing. Others and excuses There was always someone else to be blamed. During my school years, I held my teachers responsible for my bad marks, later my boyfriend for leaving me, my boss recently for underpaying me, always discomfort. Someone else was doing injustice to me, I thought, and it weighed me heavily. But then, one morning, I realized. It wasn’t them, it was me. Nobody else should be held responsible for my lack of ambition, emotions, motivation, all of those moving powers which I haven’t got much. The first thing I did was, I stopped complaining. Second, I searched for an approach which will fulfill my sense of doing something important. And what did I do? I started going to the park each Saturday and picking up plastic bottles and paper tissues and throwing those in the container. At first, people around were looking at me as if i was a madwoman, but I didn’t care. I knew that I can’t clean the whole planet, but I could clean my favorite park. For a few weekends, it was the same. Me, cleaning, others looking. But, then, a change was made. A young girl joined me. Two older people the weekend after, and so on. Today, our park is one of cleanest in town, just because I hoped others will join, and I have had faith in my neighbors. Be that triggering mechanism! Myself and others By knowing that my stress won’t change anything, I started to take less care about negative connotations. I was improving myself on a daily basis, just by noticing bad behavior and seeing myself within it. Today I suffer far less from anger, rage, stress, and grief after bursts of such feelings. Yet again, I have noticed that it is right time for doing something on the spot. I have never before considered the impact I as an individual am making on the planet. I have never thought about the future, what I will be leaving future generations and my future grandchildren. Having learned all this, I am here to tell you there is quite a lot you as an individual can do for our Earth. Start with baby steps, at your home. Instead using all those toxic products for a ‘’cleaner’’ home, try looking for something in your kitchen cabinets that is non-toxic and safe to use around your children. What we probably use most are pest control supplies. They can be organic and can be safely used around kids, foods and other sensitive places. You can reduce carbon dioxide level, by avoiding airplane traveling, and also reconsider which car to buy. Try to save up for solar panels, or solar chargers at least. Believe me, it will be noticeable. Science is advancing greatly today, making breakthroughs, and many modern cars are running on engines which are more eco-friendly, with lower emission of hazardous gases. And when it seems that you can’t do anything alone, just remember that I have started like that as well. Remember also, that no matter how small and insignificant your action may be, it is still a step forward, to better and healthier Earth. With everything said taken into consideration, I started thinking. Who will benefit most? My generation nowadays or some future one? And I realized it is less important. The most important thing is that something was done based only upon free will and consolidation. And this is something that gives me back hope for a brighter future. In the end, do something. Anything.
  10. Pets make a welcome furry addition to any home. Unfortunately, they often generate unpleasant smells that can be hard to remove. The following are five natural remedies for getting rid of pet odors. Vodka and Essential Oils Vodka is a powerful tool in removing pet odors from the home. What makes vodka work so well is that it can quickly absorb any odors. Since it is made from alcohol, it evaporates fast. One recipe for a vodka air freshener includes 3 cups of water, 1 cup of inexpensive vodka, and 10 to 15 drops of essential oils with flavors like eucalyptus, lavender, or citrus. White Vinegar Vinegar is a powerful odor fighting agent. One of the nice things about white vinegar is that it is all natural, so it does not harm the home’s occupants with chemicals. Pet odors can be removed from the room by taking white vinegar, putting it in a hand towel, and then ringing the hand towel out. Then wave the towel around the room, and the odors will eventually dissipate. Baking Soda Baking soda has long been used to remove hard to remove odors. Baking soda is more powerful when combined with other odor removing ingredients like vinegar. An odor removing spray can be made by taking 2 cups of water, throwing in a tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Then add 10 drops of essential oil, and the smells will disappear. It is easier to remove pet odors from carpets that have been treated to reduce odor, like the carpets sold at places like JLG Flooring for example. Hydrogen Peroxide Talk to any old-timer or anyone who is grown up on a farm and they will tell you that hydrogen peroxide is an excellent way to remove the smell of pet urine and skunk odor from carpets and upholstery. A tried and tested mixture includes 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and a touch of natural liquid soap. This mixture can be applied to an area and allowed to sit for 24 hours. Vanilla and a Light Bulb This is another old-timer trick to cover up unpleasant pet smells from the room. Take a dash of vanilla and put it on a light bulb. As the light bulb heats up, the smell of vanilla will permeate the room, effectively covering over any unwanted pet odors. Owning a pet is a lot of fun. However, it can also be a very smelly endeavor. By following some of the above-mentioned natural remedies, you can easily eliminate unwanted pet smells.
  11. Homeowners that want to cut back on their energy consumption should start thinking of their house as a complete system instead of individual areas that do not interact with one another. Small changes anywhere in a home will affect its overall efficiency and can make a big difference over the course of their lifetime. Here is a look at 6 upgrades that are sure to lower your utility bills in the coming years. Insulation Older insulation rolls do not have a tight enough fit to perfectly insulate attics, crawlspaces, walls, garages, and basements. Modern spray insulation is often made of green materials such as cellulose, resistant to fire, and much more effective for retaining the home's temperature. Programmable Thermostats A programmable thermostat should be one of the first upgrades a family carries out when it comes to improving their home's efficiency. Newer thermostats give you unprecedented control over your home's temperature and can even be controlled with wireless devices. Furnace Replacements Furnaces that were manufactured before 1992 will often use over 35 percent of their gas just keeping the pilot light on. Newer furnaces are designed to use up gas and electricity only as they are needed. This could lead to an 11 percent drop in utility bills during the colder winter months. Light Bulbs Studies have shown that inefficient light bulbs cost California families over $35.6 million in wasted energy every single year. One simple way to combat this is to begin switching out older light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs as they go out. CFLs produce the same amount of light at just a fraction of the cost and have a much longer lifespan. Energy-Efficient Windows Thick curtains will not be enough when it comes to the energy that is lost through windows. Older windows allow an incredible amount of heat to enter and leave a home due to the materials they are made of and ineffective seals. Energy-efficient windows, available from places like Five Star Windows Inc., help to block out UV rays and maintain the indoor temperature. Refrigerator Upgrades Even just three decades ago, most refrigerators were not built with energy efficiency in mind. Modern Energy Star refrigerators, however, have been made to use as little electricity as possible. These devices often consume just $50 worth of energy per year. These six areas upgrades are great options when it comes to cutting down on your carbon footprint while saving some money on utility bills.
  12. My Favorite Ways to Green

    I think one of the really important things for us to realize in our fight to protect the environment is that it’s got to be personal. Like the ‘personal calling’ those with religious fervor feel, the personal conviction a good steward of the environment feels is the cornerstone of an authentic and unflagging purpose. And the reality of climate change is backed up by scientific evidence. So, the conscientious among us are the way we are because of the facts, and because we get a level of enjoyment from this lifestyle. This objective and subjective motivation creates a powerful drive. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite means to live my life green. Repurposing Presents the chance to basically do an art project with stuff you might otherwise throw away. For example, lately I’ve been creating a collage from old compact disk sleeves. It’s a lot of paper with a lot of artwork bands took plenty of time to either create or curate. Instead of using a canvas, I’m gluing the plastic cases together with the interiors facing down. This makes for a flat surface on which I’ll paste the artwork. I plan on creating or buying a wooden frame to place around the exterior, both for visual appeal and hanging purposes. I’ve always had a big thing for wooden furniture. A good armless chair is priceless for sitting down and strumming the acoustic on a summer night. When it comes to wooden furniture, yes you can find a lot of scrap, but sometimes tools are pretty spendy and it’s a specialized game to make your own. So if you can’t DIY and you want something that looks decent, the next best option is “upcycled” furniture. Upcycling involves taking previously used materials and making them into something more upscale, something that functions well in the home and looks new. Eating Seasonally It’s easy to pick something up from the supermarket, but most of that produce is picked before ripe. According to Dominion Harvest, the average piece of produce travels an average of 1750 miles to get to the supermarket. Cutting a piece of produce from its stalk deprives it from the nutrient source. And, during the time it takes to ship, the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content degrades, as does the overall quality. That’s why I either grow it myself or buy from a local farm. Again, you don’t have to be hardline DIY. It’s the vindictive, do-it-this-way-or-no-way attitude that scares people away from this practice. In my opinion, what matters is the intent. But if you have space to garden, first I recommend putting together some good compost. There are a lot reasons to compost and a lot of things you can compost, but if you’re not sure, try consulting a source of information on the subject. Two of my favorite things about composting are: I drink a ton of coffee, and I can use my organic filters and coffee grounds in my compost heap; on the objective side of things, compost captures and destroys about 99% of harmful organic industrial chemicals in the air. The coffee factor is my subjective enjoyment; the benefit for the environment is the objective end. And there are plenty of other environmental benefits that stem from eating seasonal, local produce. Huge monoculture farms use pesticides and insecticides to protect their crops from insects. You may have heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, in which adult honeybees abandon the hive, leaving the queen and the young and causing destruction of the colony. Although an indisputable link is tough to prove, a recent Harvard School of Public Health study points to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids as a probable culprit. One indisputable fact is this: less fuel will be consumed if you eat seasonally. It just takes less gas for the goods to get to your table, and that makes environmental sense. Biking to work Conserving on fuel is paramount, and biking to work is one of the number one ways I choose to do so. There are a lot of motivating factors for this, especially this month since May is National Bike Month. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of the bike ride. It helps me wake up in the morning, it provides me with a good amount of the cardiovascular exercise my body needs, and it’s just downright fun tearing down the street on your bike. Knowing my terms I’m a writer, so I like to stay up-to-date on the terminology and information relating to green practices. For me this comes down to the subjective enjoyment, but at the same time these terms and this information are essential for having an objective, knowledgeable conversation about the subject at hand. A lot of this stuff is downright fascinating. Ever heard of photovoltaic cells? These are the tiny units that make solar panels possible. Here we have materials that work to achieve a goal similar to the goal photosynthetic plant cells achieve: the conversion of sunlight into directly usable energy. Only, in this case the energy that results is in the form of electricity. What if we could find a way to put these cells in our windows while maintaining transparency? Even if not entirely realistic, for me imagining the possibilities is the most exciting part of the green pursuit. We each have our own reasons to get in on living a green lifestyle. Getting pleasure out of our practice is the only way we can sustain it. With that in mind, please share some of your green reasons and tips in the comments below.
  13. Master craftsman, eco-designer, furniture hero - words that Stephen Staples, maker and co-owner of Staples Cabinet Makers, embodies. Allow me to tell you a little bit more about our eco-superhero Mr. Staples. No, he doesn’t wear a red cape with a large S on his chest, nor can you summon him with your magic ring. But this guy really does know how to save the environment - this hardworking artisan makes gorgeous and natural looking furniture from reclaimed wood from old barns and houses found throughout the New England area. Following a Japanese philosophical style known as “wabi sabi,” which roughly translates to “flawed beauty” in the art world, Staples truly believes that the real beauty in his work lies in the natural contours, knots and stains that have naturally formed in the wood throughout time. With his dedication in using reclaimed wood to create unique furniture laced with historical and aesthetic value, Stephen Staples is our green superhero/super-artisan of the year! To learn more about his beautiful furniture pieces and about his inspirations.
  14. Green Hybrid Cars: Top 2015 Models

    Cars with electric powering options are becoming more and more present, but they are still far from being as present as their internal combustion powered counterparts. In theory, as well as in most of the practice, they provide amazing fuel efficiency, allow you to enjoy instant torque delivery and keep the world cleaner. They seem far better than petrol cars. So, why aren’t they in the lead? Well, the technology is still in its baby years. The batteries are heavy, they take up loads of space and they still don’t provide the electric cars with the range that would satisfy buyers. There are cars which are emerging as breakthrough models, such as the Tesla S, but they are vastly expensive. It is not that they are not worth the price, but vast majority of buyers can’t afford to buy a car whose price is well into six figures, so we can’t really expect them to be a common sight just yet. In order for the electrics to take the lead, certain conditions need to be fulfilled. Still, there is a solution why we are waiting. Hybrids! They employ standard internal combustion engines, so they allow us to fill them up with fuel and drive normally, but they also make use of the new technologies, combining it with an electric motor, thus improving fuel efficiency, range and performance. Speaking of the performance, even ultimate supercars such as the McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari are employing hybrid powerplants. So, which are the best ones for 2015? Well, they need to be relatively reasonably priced, so the P1 and the LaFerrari are out of the list for the same reason the Tesla S is. These are the cars that you can buy and use as everyday means of transportation. BMW i3 For the people who are familiar with the industry, including the i3 in this list is no surprise. The famous German manufacturer is well known for their prowess, and they are bound to release respectable cars. The i3 is a whole new concept for BMW. It is a four-door car with compact dimensions, but loads of interior space. Plus, the design is very futuristic. The i3 is powered by an electric motor, but you can also opt for the range extender version which makes use of a small 2-cylinder engine serving as a generator of energy for the battery. The range goes from about 130 km to about as double as much for the range extender option. The top speed is limited to 150 km/h, which is more than enough for a city car and the acceleration to 100 km/h takes about 8 seconds. The i3 already has its markets, with the UK and Norway buyers being particularly interested in it, so it has been tested on the road. And it works just fine. Mercedes C-Class Hybrid If you are worried that a whole new approach to the i3 is a bit too much, an even more revered manufacturer has provided you with more conventional, but still very modern hybrid cars. Although you can opt for the top of the range and ultimately plush S-Class Hybrid, we have chosen to present you with a more reasonable buying option in the form of the C-Class, since the S-Class is a fairly expensive car. The C-Class C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, as it is called, is a regular, tested and venerated C-Class car with a modern hybrid powering options. It packs a 2.1 l diesel with 201 hp and a 27 hp electric motor which give it the acceleration to 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds. Additionally, you can get the fuel efficiency of about 3.6 l/100 km, which is amazing for a car of this class and performance. However, bear in mind that the C-Class Hybrid is still mostly powered by the diesel engine and that the electric motor is only there to help. It reduces the consumption and increases low-rev torque, providing better driving response, but the C-Class is still a conventional car with improved efficiency. On the plus side, it is not an all new car like the i3, so buyers might feel more confident buying a proven piece of equipment. Another perk with the C-Class is the possibility of numerous additional equipment options, including the air suspension. There is no way Mercedes would gamble their reputation by making a gimmick out of a several-decades-present C-Class. It is a good car. Volkswagen Golf GTE A car which offers less than the Merc, but also costs significantly less. Comparing these two hybrids is like comparing the standard Golf and C-Class. The C-Class is better, but the Golf is still amazing and probably a better value for money. Its fuel efficiency is rated at about 1.5 l/100 km and it has an option of electric-only driving for about 45 km, which is more than most drivers will ever need in a city. When all of the horses are unleashed, it gives the top speed of 222 km/h with the acceleration to 100 km/h of just 7.6 seconds. Almost as good as the infamous GTI. As with any Golf and most German cars, you get amazing build quality and reliability, and the balanced Golf chassis inspires confidence and provides loads of driving fun. Toyota Prius If the previous cars on the list were new for you, you can educate yourself by finding loads of high-quality content online, but the Prius is almost a household name. It might be called the first common hybrid car in the world and it can already boast with several generations, which is amazing knowing that most other hybrid or electric cars are still concepts. The current model has improved range, lowered emissions and better fuel efficiency reaching the equivalent of 2.6 l/100 km. The electric-only range is also increased to about 20 km and the top speed in no fuel burning mode is at 100 km/h. It is more expensive than the Golf (but significantly cheaper than the Mercedes) and it includes loads of comfort perks as standard.
  15. Plastic Vs Wooden Pallets

    If you have a business that deals with transportation of goods, and you have to deal with warehouses, you know the importance of pallets. Pallets are used for storing, handling and transporting loads with a fork lift. There are plastic and wooden pallets and while you may feel that you should stick to the basics and make sure that you have the good old wood pallets, here are some of the reasons why you should reconsider your decision. Cost At first, it may seem that wooden pallets are cheaper than the plastic ones, but that is not true in the long run. Wooden pallets can be sold after use and some may even find other uses like furniture or something to use in a garden, but the plastic pallets can be used many more times and they are much more durable. Therefore, by paying more in advance, you are actually saving money in the long run by opting for plastic pallets. Handling There are many things that you need to take care of when you have wooden pallets. You need to use chemicals to treat them and that are not always welcome near the freight that you may be using. You need to clean them and dry them before usage. Even then, you have splinters, broken or crooked pallets and many other problems. With plastic pallets, it is enough to hose them down or wipe them and they are as good as new. They are also very durable and they don’t change shape. Manipulation Another good thing is that it is easier to manipulate plastic pallets by hand and by machines. By hand, because there are no splinters and they are much lighter than the wooden pallets and by machines because they are designed in such a way that they can be taken and lifted from many angles and they are lighter and that means that the machine won’t be overburdened and can take more of the actual cargo. This saves time and reduces the costs significantly in terms of fuel saving. Stability Another good side of plastic pallets is the fact that they are far more stable than wooden ones, even if they are lighter. By using specific types of production processes and material, what happens is that you get a product that is at the same time light and durable, they are also equally strong at all their parts since the density of the material is the same. They are not influenced by the vermin and moist and they cannot rot as wood can. Therefore, they have 100% stability which is very important. More and more countries are introducing restrictions for the use of wooden pallets because of the ecological impact they have. They are made by cutting down wood. They are heavy which maximizes the costs and causes more fuel to be used. Vermin can hide and live there and they can be shipped to the countries and places where they can make real ecological disasters. Therefore, it seems that the wooden pallets should be left as interesting and lovely way of making chic furniture instead of in transport.
  16. Are you passionate about environmentally responsible practices and green living? Would you like to have a job that paid your bills while also helping to save the planet? Today’s colleges are focusing more and more on providing degrees that can work for the environment. Whether it’s a science research in declining species, to a technology degree to help with wind turbines, or even an online mba in management information systems, more degrees are being created with the world in mind. Below are four job options you might be interested in, and how to get involved in the environment with your degree and career. Solar Panel Installer The solar energy industry has been booming in recent years, and as the technology has improved and the supply and demand have increased, costs have dropped significantly. This has allowed homeowners and small businesses to have solar panels installed on their homes and buildings, and reduce their electric bills to mere pennies per month. Solar installation is becoming a very popular job, and installers can make pretty good money. In some cases, specialized training via tech schools is not even necessary, as some employers will offer paid on-the-job training for new installers. Wind Turbine Distributor Not only have solar panels become more popular over the past few years, now wind turbines are rising in popularity too. And we're not just talking about those massive, high tech windmill that dot the landscape out in the desert. We're talking about much smaller units purchased by homeowners to set up in their back yards. There are many companies out there now who are looking for distributors, so you don't necessarily have to work for the company who designs and installs the systems; instead, you can become an outside sales representative and work for commissions. Green Energy Auditor Energy auditors inspect homes and commercial properties, looking for ways to cut down on energy costs. They often focus on improving window and door insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs. They might also recommend lighting systems that could reduce electricity usage. These types of changes not only help their clients to save the planet and preserve precious natural resources; they also help them to save money by reducing their monthly electric, gas and water bills. Green Home Designers Green design elements are being incorporated more and more into home construction and design, allowing for some pretty interesting and fulfilling jobs as green architects and green interior designers. Green principles can be applied every step of the way, from using recycled building materials, double-paneled insulation in the walls, double-paned glass windows, low-watt CFC lighting systems, rain catch-water systems, skylights and more. What better way to show off your artistic creativity, do something good for your community and for the planet, and make a living at the same time? These are just a handful of options in the green job market, but these ideas barely scratch the surface. There are countless opportunities out there today, with more being created every year. This is a young industry with a lot of room for growth. Go for the gold and find a program or job that offers a little more satisfaction for your part in the environment.
  17. The traditional construction tools used to be noisy and non-eco-friendly. Even if these power tools made our construction jobs easier, they used to be terrible air and noise polluters. Fortunately, lately the things have started to change in the construction industry in accord with the general attention on environmentally friendly products. Among the latest developments in the construction industry nowadays are the greener tools. Many homeowners are choosing these green tools in order to stop stressing the power grid and to lower their electricity usage. For some others the motivation to choose greener tools is their environmental consciousness that push them to find ways to cut down on oil and gas from a desire to stop burning through the planet’s energy resources. Still others are motivated by a simple desire to not to smell and breathe the toxic and unpleasant fumes that some construction tools produce. We will take a look in this article at some popular green construction tools that are easier on the environment, nose, ears, and even the wallet, and rely on cleaner energy. Rechargeable chain saw For the big wood cutting jobs are usually used chain saws. Their fuel based on oil and gas mixture is so pollutant that many chain saw emissions break some state laws on pollution emission. The electric chain saw was developed as a greener alternative. You can even use an electric chain saw indoors, unlike a fuel-powered chain saw, since it doesn't produce any fumes. Other advantages to an electric chain saw are that it tends to be less noisy and lighter, and you don't worry about running out of gas before completed the task. Another alternative to a fuel-powered chain saw is a rechargeable chain saw. There are chain saws on the market that comes with interchangeable nickel-cadmium batteries or with an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. These are less noisy and lighter than gas chain saws and also offer the advantage of a convenient cordless design. Today's rechargeable chain saw designs provide enough cutting power for most of the jobs and they are friendlier to the environment. Rechargeable drill There are many construction tools that have adopted this design lately. For example, you can choose a rechargeable drill that comes with an attached LED light that focuses on your work area. These cordless tools are not only incredibly easy to handle due to their lightweight design, but also provide you with more flexibility and the liberty to work far from a power source. Certainly, working with a power drill makes your job easier than using a hand drill. However, the power cord can stay in your way and make your task awkward if you need to stretch it into the backyard or across your garage. The rechargeable and cordless drill solves this issue and frees you from the annoying cord. It is also a greener tool because is using far less energy while still packing enough power. Bottom line You can also find nowadays complete kits with green construction tools that are rechargeable and cordless. Some even come with interchangeable backup batteries to ensure you won’t run out of power in the middle of your job. The higher battery amp-hours or Ah, the longest use of the tool you can enjoy. The higher amp-hours mean you can use the tool more hours between two consecutive charges.
  18. Green Industrial Design is Possible

    Excessive production of various products and overdoing with loads of both necessary and unnecessary items lead to a huge global pollution problem, which we are already experiencing and which will become even harsher in the next few decades. Consumerism and aggressive marketing campaigns which persuade us to buy a new mobile or tablet every couple of years push the world into a never-ending whirlpool of tons of garbage that is nod easily disposable. Ecology and industrial design meet at this spot, since industrial design should try and use as many reusable materials as possible to save natural resources. Here are some strategies how ecology and industrial design can intertwine and make a joint effort to contribute to the environment preservation process. Industrial ecology and ecological design These two fields of research have a strong bond and a lot of overlapping in the process of industrial design. Industrial ecology refers to applying eco-friendly strategies and techniques in the process of industrial production. On the other hand, ecological design seeks for optimal design methods that do not harm the environment. Industrial design based on these two interdisciplinary scientific branches tends to help the global efforts to overcome the environmental problems. The basic concepts that industrial design borrows from these two scientific fields are production sustainability and the flow of materials. Materials or products that have already been used and thrown away should be reused or recycled whenever it is possible to do so. By applying this strategy, we lower the expenses for the overall industrial production and also cut the costs on the material-gaining side, as well. That way companies do not have to spend money on transporting oil producing plastic from scratch, for instance, but the old plastic can be recycled. The role of local authorities is also very important here, since they have to ensure conditions for collecting old materials to make them ready for the recycling process. Products made of recycled materials As the pressure on the environment is increasing, many businesses are looking for sustainable solutions in their development. A lot of governments give subsidies to green-friendly companies, which is why many industrial design companies are moving forward to using recyclable materials, especially plastic and glass. Plastic is particularly interesting when it comes to industrial design and possible green solutions. This material is made from oil and it is not bio-degradable. The fact that plastic is made from oil means that the production of plastic is not environmentally-friendly, since it includes oil drilling and other procedure connected with oil. The non-organic quality of plastic makes it extremely harmful for the environment. When all these facts are taken into consideration, the best ecological option for products made of plastic is manufacturing plastic products from recycled plastic. By doing this, we save the natural world from the damage plastic might cause to it. Going green when manufacturing new product requires a larger initial investment. However, over the next period, you will have less trouble with some other expenses that non-green businesses have. That is why investing in eco-friendly industrial design means securing the future of your company and taking care of the environment.
  19. Greenify Your Life and Your Home

    In recent years, going green has not only become a proper movement, but a whole way of life, and you only need to look around yourself to see why it is so important. We have become hungry for power, and we are recklessly treating nature, spending all the resources it has to offer, without even caring about whether that is sustainable or not. We read all the time that members of endangered species are dying out, we feel sad and maybe click a like, then we continue doing what we do best – ruining this planet. But what can you do, practically do, so that you decrease your influence on this planet and maybe even help out? Going green is used everywhere, yet only a few people know what that really means, and it is truly a whole way of life, which everyone will have to get accustomed to, or we will all face dire consequences. Buy Smart and Buy Green Many people do not even know what green means, but it is a whole concept which is created to define something that is renewable, sustainable and overall - eco-friendly. This is especially important when you visit the store where you are surrounded by products that you need, but not everything is that simple. It is your responsibility to buy those products that are produced by clean technologies and services, which do not harm the environment and which dedicate a percentage of their earnings to develop new ways of protecting nature or repairing the damage that has been done. All the chemicals that you buy for cleaning or for any other purpose need to be in accordance with some environmental standards, and to be safe for you to use at the same time. When it comes to food, it is important to avoid buying food on which a lot of pesticides were used since they can contaminate not only food and water, but also all the animal life around the area where they were used. They can also have negative effects on humans, too, so, always read the label, and try to buy local groceries, produced on nearby farms. Greenify Your Home Making your home greener is important because of two reasons. The first one is obvious, you will be doing a favor to your children, and their children, while the second one is from a financial point of view. If you try and use green technologies, you will be able to save a lot of money, especially when it comes to heating and cooling your home. If you use certified green appliances for doing that, your electricity bill will go down significantly, and after that, it is important to switch from incandescent light bulbs to their more energy-efficient cousins – compact fluorescent lamps. Even having LED lamps installed is a good idea, as they spend around 80% less energy, and offer the same amount of lights. When it comes to the rest of your home, it would be important to have all the doors and windows properly sealed so that your home stays at a desired temperature. Insulation should also be added to walls, ceilings and attics as a great addition. It would be wise to first remove all mold from your home - as it can not only present a health hazard to you and all the other occupants - before installing any kind of insulation. Other good ideas that you can use for your own home is to have a water barrel installed so that you can reuse rainwater as a free source, and during summer, you can even heat it up and have hot water anytime. Reuse, Reduce and Recycle These three Rs are extremely important for you to both save money and protect nature. There are many things that we buy only to use once and never again, so why not borrow it? This is a simple example of how reusing something can be a much better solution. Do not waste anything, and think carefully before printing out anything – just imagine how many trees we could have saved if we printed only what was truly necessary. These small changes can mean a lot for the environment, and you only need a little dedication to change your life for the better.
  20. Moving Home the Green Way

    When moving house it feels like there’s a million details to sort out and consider, but one you might not have thought of is making your move a green one. It’s more easily done than you might think, just changing a few details can make a big difference and often it’s more economical for you as well. Don’t throw away – Reuse or Recycle Moving house is often synonymous with de-cluttering but what you do with your unwanted belongings can have an impact on the environment. So, instead of taking several trips to the dump and creating yet more waste, try to find another home for your belongings. There are various options for this; Gumtree, eBay and even a car boot sale for those knick-knacks you’re not sure anyone really wants. Or, if you have a bit of time and artistic flare you could try upcycling them. One easy option is the British Heart Foundation, they have furniture stores across the UK and will collect your unwanted furniture for free and sell it to raise money for charity, given it’s in good enough condition for them to sell on. It helps the environment because you’re not throwing it away and creating rubbish, it raises money for charity and someone gets a reasonably priced piece of furniture. It’s a win, win and all it takes from you is a simple phone call. If your mission to sell or even give away your stuff doesn't work, you can probably recycle it rather than just throwing it away. Recycle now is the official UK recycling site which tells you what items you can recycle and where you can recycle them in your local area as well as providing useful info on how recycling works and why it’s important. Eco Cleaning Products Before you leave your home for good it’s likely it’s going to need a good clean, especially if you’re moving from a rental property and hoping for a full deposit back. So, you should consider getting some environmentally responsible cleaning products to help you, if you get the right ones they’re just as effective at cleaning and you won’t leave the property with a chemical stench. Wasted Packaging The materials you use to move can also have a big impact on the environment, moving companies often like to use new boxes because of the stability and then throw them away after one use. Often you don’t need all new boxes and rolls of bubble wrap to pack up your home. Newspaper, towels and clothes work just as well to protect fragile items and you can often get old boxes from supermarkets or friends. There are even companies where you can rent removal boxes or removal companies that do this for you. Pick the Right Moving Company It’s worth looking into who helps you move, for instance Abels removal company have environmentally responsible moving vans. The environment is a growing concern across all industries and it’s worth doing a little research to find a company which can help you to make your move as green as possible. Moving internationally We all know airplane travel is the ultimate environmental sin however sometimes it’s a necessity, especially if you’re moving a great distance internationally. If this is the case you might want to think about offsetting your carbon footprint. There are various companies and websites that set to help you do this and it’s usually as simple as transferring a small fee to get some trees re-planted or support reforestation. If you’re not moving home so far you could consider transporting you and your belongings by more environmental means.
  21. The Main Features of a Green Home

    Green, sustainable building is conquering the world of architecture. It’s no wonder - building homes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient is rewarding on many levels. By building homes that are “green” you’re minimizing impact on both people’s health and the natural environment. Image Credit: GJ Gardner What are the main characteristics of a green home? To begin with, it is a building that efficiently uses natural resources and alternative sources of energy. It is a home that preserves the health of its occupants and helps in reducing pollution, waste and environmental degradation. Let’s see what every green home must include in order to be a true, eco-friendly building. Materials used in green building Whenever we build, there has to be some sort of environmental cost. We often use natural materials and expendable energy resources uncontrollably. People think that using only wood, for example, will immediately make their house or lodge sustainable, but this is far from the truth. The first and the most important rule when it comes to materials is: always use sustainable, local materials that are recycled or recyclable. This often means reusing existing materials and reducing waste. Timber can be used in green building too, if it’s locally and sustainably sourced and FSC-certified. Also, the more processed the material is, the more energy was spent (embodied) to produce it. Therefore, green homes should be constructed from materials that have low embodied energy. Alternative forms of concrete are always a better option than conventional concrete, the production of which is responsible for high carbon emissions. Sometimes, even materials we consider “junk” can be used in the construction of a green home: tires, bottles, cans, materials left over from the pre-existing building, etc. Wood from fast growing trees (instead of hardwood), recycled stone, rammed earth, straw bale and mud brick are the traditional materials that most builders turn to nowadays. Clever design for an energy efficient home The design is another important factor in making a building “green”. Sustainable homes are smartly built – which means they are designed to last long, to fit the climate and use all the benefits their environment provides. Passive design almost always involves positioning homes in relation to the sun and shade to reduce the use of electricity. This can be done is several ways: by spatial zoning, orientation, ventilation, insulation, shading, glazing and using thermal mass. The house should be placed on a ground that receives a lot of sunlight in the winter, with large windows facing the sun and collecting “passive” solar power. Prevention of heat accumulation in the summer can be obtained by strategically placing trees, roof overhangs and horizontal slats. A well-designed floor plan can only help in achieving energy efficiency. Also, adding solar panels can save energy even more and make a building truly eco-friendly. Insulation Adding good insulation is a crucial thing in the building process - it is the most effective addition you can make to your home. Insulation, shading and waterproofing can save up to an amazing 45 percent on monthly energy bills.There are lots of insulation options. However, the top sustainable insulation materials are sheep wool, cotton, aerogel, polystyrene and icynene. We know that polystyrene doesn’t sound very “green”, but it’s an outstanding insulator that can be recycled. It brings structural integrity to walls and provides excellent thermal resistance. Wool fibers are perhaps the healthiest and most fire resistant insulation option. Water management A sustainable building must include water saving in addition to energy saving. An excellent way of saving water is rainwater harvesting – collection, filtration and use of rainwater. This reduces the need for main water supplies and can lead to significant economic and environmental benefits. Rainwater is collected in leak-proof tanks and can be used for many purposes. Image Credit: Wikimedia Swimming pools are big energy spenders and a real luxury in water scarce areas. Therefore, modern green homes feature increasingly popular natural pools and ponds. Water in such pools and ponds is cleaned with the help of plants and bacteria and no chemicals are used in the process. One of the steps in being a responsible water consumer includes using products and appliances that save water significantly. Your home must be equipped with adequate plumbing products, sanitary ware and white goods that use less water than others.
  22. Green technology can be a confusing concept for many people, and one of the reasons for this is because there are no official criteria for what makes technology green. For example, an app on your smartphone, an energy efficient fridge and a wind turbine could all be categorised as green tech. Because of this, there are many misconceptions about green technology, and this can make it hard for consumers to make the best decisions. Here are a few myths that you may want to keep in mind when it comes to greener technology. Everything About Green Technology Is Eco-Friendly When you buy a green technology product, you may think that it is going to be made from greener materials, but this is not always the case. Its green credentials may be that it uses less power, but the actual materials may not come into it at all. Or it may save you energy, but it may not be made from materials that can be recycled. Quite simply, not all manufacturers will take this into account when they design technology products. Try to look for technology that is green in more ways than one. Not just in its use of less power, for example, but also in the materials it is made from and how it is recycled. Green Products Are Always the Best Option Sometimes you may be led to believe that simply by choosing an eco-product you are doing your bit for the environment. You may see a new computer advertised as eco-friendly because it uses less power, but leaving that computer on all day may use more energy than turning off another non-green computer when you are not using it. Green technology is not therefore automatically better, and it requires your input to get the most out of it. Green Is Always More Costly Many people will automatically assume that green tech is always the more expensive option. Sometimes this is true, but not always. Green technology is often about longer-term benefits. You might pay more in the immediate future, but down the line you may be able to make large savings. And you have to remember that savings also come in the form of environmental savings. Other green technologies could help you to make more immediate savings. Something like the Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, could be considered green technology, and it could really help you to save you money by cutting the amount of energy you use. The new smart meters may also be able to help you cut down on your energy usage by increasing your awareness of how much energy you use each day. When it comes to saving money, there are many factors to consider, and it's important to look at all of these together. For example, you may want to use something like the Nest thermostat while also choosing a more suitable energy tariff to reduce your bills. You could also use an online tool to help you do this, such as the Tariff Information Label search tool on the npower.com website. So don't just rely on one type of technology to save you money, and consider all your options. It's How You Use It that Matters The most important thing to remember is that it is how you use green technology that matters. Reducing your energy use may well involve choosing greener options, but don't stop at that and assume you are doing enough. The fact is you may also have to change your habits to cut energy usage and reduce your bills.
  23. UK housing is amongst the least energy efficient homes in the whole of Europe. Running a fully-functioning home accounts for nearly half of the UK’s yearly carbon emissions. Housing is so poorly insulated that a third of all UK homes (6.7 million) are rated E or worse on their energy performance certificate, meaning they have a low standard of energy efficiency. Not only are Britain’s poorly insulated homes having a negative impact on the environment, but also on their inhabitants’ standard of living. According to recent research, the UK comes bottom of a fuel poverty league table for Western Europe and figures from 2011 revealed that a quarter of the people in question were living in fuel poverty, amounting to a grand total of 4.5 million homes. As UK homes are so poorly insulated, any in the house heat is lost very quickly, meaning that Brits are spending a small fortune on energy bills and are essentially burning cash to stay warm for only a short period of time. With energy prices substantially increasing this year, many simply can’t afford to heat their homes during the cold winter months, forcing them into fuel poverty. For example, British Gas has increased their gas prices by a staggering 8.4% and its electricity prices by 10.4% in recent years. The older generation are among the worst suffers of fuel poverty with Age UK estimating that 1.7 million older people in the UK cannot meet the expense of heating their homes, and over a third (36%) of older people in the UK say they try to spend a majority of their time in a single room to save money. This can cause major health issues and up to 24,000 older people could die in the cold during the winter months. With conditions in UK housing becoming rather serious, the Government has already made a conscious effort to help reduce household bills, reduce carbon emissions and improve the general standards of living. For instance, the Green Deal was introduced at the beginning of 2013, with the objective to encourage household’s to take out loans to cover the cost of making their homes more energy efficient. However, the scheme hasn’t been as effective as hoped – the government aimed to convert 10,000 homes into the scheme for 2013, when actually there was not one live deal in the first half of the year in spite of 241 household’s agreeing to the funding. Therefore, the question is what else can be changed to develop the efficiency of homes within the UK? One of the major issues is the fact that so much of Britain’s housing in the UK is relatively old, and therefore the UK would benefit from newer housing which has less impact on the environment, such as the new generations of manufactured homes like mobile homes and park homes. Mobile housing is popular in the U.S and according to research carried out by the U.S. Department of Energy, this type of housing can save up to 55% of energy when compared to a house without energy efficient facilities and appliances. Furthermore, Omar Homes a company that provide mobile homes and park homes, are built with ‘being green’ in mind. The homes can be built with water heat pumps, solar photovoltaic panels and ground source heat pumps. Therefore, taking this into consideration; could more manufactured housing be the answer to helping Britain become more green? The manufactured housing industry has already seen considerable interest towards mobile and static housing. For example, companies like Harvey Longsons, who focus on static caravans for sale have seen outstanding results in recent years. Conversely, if more mobile housing communities were more available it could also help solve the problem of fuel poverty for the ageing population, as these types of communities are often a suitable lifestyle for retirement. The retiree can be surrounded by similarly aged neighbours and have communal activities more available to them. As opposed to elderly people continuing to live in their family home, (which can often be s too large for their needs, and are not cost efficient), perhaps if they had the option, more retirees would move to manufactured housing communities that will not only save them money on energy prices and provide them with a more fulfilled lifestyle, but will also significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
  24. With so many housing developments today, forests are slowly dying. Forest serves as the natural habitat to a lot of animal species. What will happen if the forests are gone? First possibility is that animals will dwell with human in cities or towns. Can you imagine sleeping soundly then you realize that a python is next to you? Or a big bear is sitting in your veranda? Second possibility is that wild animals will die, which eventually affects the food chain. Dead forest is sure to have negative impact to the next generation. There will be no more forest to hike or trek.Lush green environment will become limited. Needless to say, many other detrimental effects will likely happen. This is why it is critical to help save the forest. In our own little ways, there are things we can do. If you cut trees, be sure to replace it new seedlings. For instance if you want to cut 1 old tree, you should plant 5 new trees. If all people share the same mission, our forest will stay until the next generation and the next. Image from sxc.hu
  25. If you are thinking about moving, you should consider being as eco-friendly as possible. There are many small things that you can do that will help the environment while making your move a simpler process. Enjoy using these tips whenever you are thinking about relocating your home. Share What You Have If you have a lot of items, you may consider donating some to charity so that you can rent a smaller moving truck. This will be a good choice for the environment, and you can feel good about donating items to help people that really need them. You can donate everything from clothing to furniture. Never Buy New Boxes There is no reason to buy new boxes to pack items when you can use boxes that have already been used. Check out your local grocery store or even a liquor store that may have plenty of boxes that you can have for free. You want to make sure that you pick out sturdy boxes and make sure that you have the bottoms of the boxes taped securely so that nothing falls out during the moving process. Be Creative with Packing Materials Instead of purchasing packing peanuts or bubble wrap to wrap your fragile household items in, be creative. You can wrap items in towels or shirt. You are going to be packing these items anyways, so using them to protect your breakable items is a good idea. You can also use old newspaper to wrap glass and other valuable items in so that they do not get broken during transit. Rent a Storage Unit We all have stuff that we don’t use but they have a certain sentimental value to us and getting rid of them is no option. When that is a case, finding long term local storage unit to store your belonging is a good solution. It will enable you to access them whenever you want and leave you with fever possessions that require less vehicles for transport – reducing your carbon footprint even further. Buy New Items If you are moving a long way away from your home, it may be more cost effective to buy new furniture and appliances. You can find many nice furniture items in your new location by visiting furniture stores or yard sales. You can often buy a nice looking piece of furniture that is gently used for less than the amount of money it would take to ship your old furniture to your new location. You can also invest in energy star appliances that are good for the environment and can help you save money on your energy bill each month. Find the Best Way to Move Your Items You have many different moving options to choose from depending on how far you are going to be traveling and how many items you are going to be bringing with you. You can rent a trailer and pull it behind your vehicle or rent a moving van or truck. If you need to, you can also hire a professional moving company. There are many companies out there that specialize in green moving techniques. You should take your time and enjoy finding the best moving solution for your specific needs. You want to find ways to move that are good for the environment. As added bonus, many eco-friendly solutions are also very affordable. You can enjoy saving money and having a safe moving experience at the same time. Image credit: Flickr - swanksalot