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Found 24 results

  1. The roof protects your home interiors from snow, wind, hail, storm, rain and sun. It also ensures that heat from either the outside or inside does not leak to either side. If the roof is energy-inefficient, it may be costing hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs. Here are factors of your roof that may impact on the energy efficiency of your home. The Level of Insulation Ideally, energy efficiency is ensuring that the temperature out there does not affect the indoor temperature. One of the areas where outdoor temperature may influence your indoor temperature is the roof. The insulation levels in your attic determine whether the house losses some of the cool air during summer or gets cold during summer. Inspect the attic insulation regularly. Install additional insulation when necessary. Quality insulation also protects the roof from damage due to condensation in the attic. Ventilation Your roof requires some ventilation to offload the excess heat that may be hidden in the attic. During the cold weather, the trapped heat in the attic may thaw the snow prematurely and create ice dams. Ice dams eventually become points of weakness and leakage on the roof. You may end up with expensive leak repairs or roof replacement. During the hot weather, trapped heat may make your cooling systems less efficient. Therefore, it costs you more to cool the house that you should. Moreover, poor ventilation may tap moisture under your roof and cause damage to the holding beans and the roof structure. Trapped moisture can lead to mildew growth and rust on your metallic fixtures. Color The color of the roof also affects the energy efficiency of your home. Dark-colored roofs usually absorb lots of heat during summer. They can heat up to over 150 F° in a hot summer. The extra heat is transmitted to the attic and other materials in your home. This increases the indoor temperature thereby raising the energy consumption of your air conditioning systems. You end up paying more to keep your house cool. Consider light-colored roofs or roofs made from light-reflecting materials. You can also seek the help of professional roof contractors such as Stevens Roofing Corporation to help determine best colors to reflect heat. This enhances your energy efficiency and keeps your home cooler. Cut your energy costs by improving the energy efficiency of your home starting with the roof. Install the right roofing when building or refurbishing the house. Check the above elements to lower your energy costs.
  2. Going green is both noble and mainstream in today’s market, but it might not necessarily be easy—or even have a positive impact on your environment. Fortunately you can take good steps with little need for concern and without causing further harm. Check out four ways to greenify your home with environmentally friendly measures below. Replenish Food and Water This goes beyond throwing recyclables in a green bin. Organic material, like banana peels and coffee grounds, give off the highly toxic methane when they decompose in landfills. Clean water is likewise lost when it’s flushed or used in cleaning. Consider converting that food into compost material for fertilizing your plants and garden. As for the water, recycling through treatment tanks like Econocycle systems render spent water clean again for home reuse. Try Solar Paneling If the initial cost isn’t a barrier, solar panels go a long way to save you money and supply clean energy to your home. Besides working from a completely sustainable and renewable source, panels operate with grids that store unused energy. Not only does this lower your bills, but it also reduces the carbon footprint left on the planet for roughly 30 years! You might not get much energy when the sun isn’t out, but solar panels are a great option on both the financial and environmental ends. Regulate Air Flow Whether it’s hot or cold outside, your air conditioning has a large effect on how much energy your home wastes. Cutting back on potential waste is simple, from sealing up any leaky holes to keeping filters clean, but there are more extensive options, as well. Installing an automatic thermostat to keep the temperature comfortable is one such route; buying a more energy-efficient AC unit is another. Buy Local Your farmer’s market can boost the local economy and provide access to homegrown natural or organic foods, but the benefits don’t stop there. You might decrease carbon emissions based on how far business owners would otherwise ship products, or you might help decrease packaging waste and production emissions. Chances are your hometown businesses want to keep their environment clean, too! When it comes to environmental consciousness, what’s most important is making good choices. It takes some commitment to do it well, but it isn’t difficult. With the four steps listed above, you will be well on your way to a cleaner, greener home.
  3. Image Source: Pexels The fall season is sometimes the best time of the year to make your home energy efficient. You usually don't need to use the air conditioner or the heating system as much as you do in the summer and winter. The season gives you an opportunity to explore the home to look for any cracks under the doors or near the windows that need to be sealed and any issues with the heating system that need to be repaired. Seal Air Escapes Walk around the home to see if there are any areas where the heat or air might escape. Common areas are underneath doors, around windows and even through electrical sockets. It won't cost a lot of money to seal these areas that allow cold air into the home while you're trying to keep the house heated. Consider using plastic on the windows and on screens in the doors to keep cold air from entering the home. If you can keep air from invading, then you won't need to use the heating system as often, which will save you money. Check The Electrical System Before you turn on the heating system, you need to check the filters and the vents. A professional company, like Universal Refrigeration, can come to the home to examine the electrical components of the heating or cooling system to ensure that they are working properly. You might want to remove the air conditioners from the windows as these can allow cold air to enter the home through the cracks that might be around the unit as it sits in the window. If your heating unit needs to be replaced, you need to find one that is energy efficient as this can save a significant amount of money on your utility bill. Keep It Cool If you're someone who doesn't need to stay hot in the fall or winter, turn the thermostat down a few degrees instead of keeping it set at a higher temperature. Before going to bed and if you leave the home for long periods are the best times to turn the thermostat down so that it's not running as much when no one is in the home. A programmable thermostat is an option if you want to install something that will automatically adjust at a certain time or at a certain temperature. Keeping your home at the right temperature can take some work. You want to ensure that it's comfortable without spending a lot of money at the same time. After examining the home, you can often make adjustments that will save you money and keep everyone warm or cool during the year.
  4. Over the past decade, people have gone from freely using resources to eventually coming to the realization that it is critical to work to conserve resources. With more and more information about the planet's dwindling resources and the increasingly frightening findings about the effects of climate change, most eco-conscious people commit to working toward finding new ways to make their property more environmentally friendly. “As you look around your own property, trying to think of ways to make a meaningful contribution to protecting the planet and trying to help its recovery, you will find plenty of ways to pitch in on the efforts while adding value to your property. Take a look at some of the ways we believe create a win for you and the planet.” - Brentwood Home - Natural Home Suppliers Wrap It All Up With Insulation One of the most effective, and often overlooked, improvements you can make to an aging home is to either add or replace insulation in your home. Don't forget to address window insulation issues by changing their insulation to double glazing. Take care of areas that feature wall and cavity loft space, which is where the outer wall is made of block or brick while the interior wall features concrete block or breeze block. When you fully insulate your home, you will reduce your winter heating bill, therefore reducing your yearly costs and helping reduce your energy usage. As a bonus, home buyers like you will appreciate buying a home that features quality insulation. Harness the Sun's Power With Solar Energy While a more initial expensive entry in our list, solar power pays off in less obvious ways at first, and it definitely pays off over time. Install solar panels on your home's roof to attract the sun's energy, capture it and use it for our property's individual energy supply. You will love the immediate energy savings while boosting your property value for future home buyers. An added bonus for installing solar panels includes, depending on your state, potential solar rebates and tax credits. It's Raining, It's Pouring, So Catch That Essential Resource and Use It If you live in a climate outside of the desert, chances are good that you see plenty of rainfall each year. You hear it streaming through your home's gutters, which flows away, not making any real impact. For a small cost, you can install water catchers to capture and rainwater, which you can store for later use in your garden or flowerbed, or you can simply use it to water houseplants. This small addition provides solid savings and is a wonderful feature future home buyers will appreciate.
  5. There are a number of different ways you can conserve energy in your home, but one of the most effective ways is to invest in Low-E windows and even different window treatments. Like many other energy conservation efforts, these changes require a bit of an investment upfront; however, the payoff down the road is well worth it. Low-E windows are an innovative product that just recently became available on the market while window treatments have always been an option for regulating the temperature of your home. Consider the benefits of these treatment options, and decide what works for you. Low-E GlassLow-E or Low-Emissive glass is a type of window glass that has been treated with a special coating to support energy conservation. The treatment is typically an invisible metal or metallic oxide coating that creates a surface that reflects heat but still allows light to pass through. To measure the energy efficiency of the window glass in your home, the heat that passes through is measured by the U-factor or ultraviolet light. The lower the U-factor is, the more energy-efficient the glass is. If too much of this ultraviolet heat enters your home, it heats it up and causes your air conditioning bill to go up. Conversely, Low-E glass reduces the heat lost through your windows during window. Loosing less heat means that you’ll pay less to keep your home warmer. To get the most out of your Low-E glass, you need to consider how the pains should be installed. If you live in a warmer climate, install the pane so that the Low-E coating is toward the outside of the window to block the sun. However, if you live in a colder climate, adjust the installation so that the Low-E coating is applied to the inside of the window and holds heat in. These installation techniques ensure that your windows will be as energy-efficient as possible. Window TreatmentsThere are additional options that can also contribute to the energy efficiency of your home. While most people consider window treatments and coverings strictly decorative, they can actually contribute a great deal to energy savings. As you consider your window treatments, be sure to carefully weight your options to select treatments that can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Some of the most effective custom window treatments include awnings, blinds, and draperies. Awnings can provide significant energy savings. Attached above south-facing windows, awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65 percent. Used on west-facing windows, the gain reduction is roughly 77 percent. Consider installing an awning that covers one window or the entire side of your home to get the biggest benefit. Interior and exterior blinds are another great option for increasing energy efficiency. Interior blinds offer slightly less protection from heat loss; however, they reduce heat gain by nearly 45 percent. Use these systems to control light and ventilation and to block direct sunlight. Exterior blinds are also effective for reducing heat gain. You can manipulate this type of blind to block the amount of light flowing through to reduce additional heat. Draperies also offer protection against heat loss and gain. If this is a conservation effort you plan to implement, consider the type of fabric you select. Medium-colored draperies with a protective plastic backing can reduce heat gain by 33 percent and heat loss by up to 10 percent when drawn at the appropriate times. For maximum efficiency, attach the drapes so that they reach from ceiling to floor and overlap in the center. You may even consider attaching Velcro to the sides nearest the walls to create a seal. The type of windows you have as well as the window treatments you use can contribute significantly to the energy efficiency of your home. To reduce heat gain and loss, consider installing Low-E glass and selecting appropriate window treatment options for your area. Either way it will be an investment with a great payoff in the long run.
  6. In our modern day and age, people are more and more concerned about preserving the environment, and rightly so. There are plenty of scientific studies that suggest the planet is facing environmental challenges the likes of which it has never faced before. It has gotten to the point that going green is no longer seen as making a personal statement. It is now more about simply being a responsible person. Luckily, with the advance of technology, it has never been easier to be an environmentally friendly home owner. Solar Energy Solar panel technology has been around for quite some time now. It has never been more affordable than it is now, however. The benefits are pretty obvious to see. By switching out your power source from public energy plants which use up natural resources such as coal and oil, you substantially reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy is not only incredibly easy to obtain, but it is also very cost effective in the long run. After all, the sun is free to use. So while the initial cost of solar panels can be scary for a lot of people, be assured that they will more than pay themselves off in due time. Of course, you don't have to go all-in on solar energy if don't want to or can't afford to. You may not be able to afford enough panels to power the whole home at first. If this is the case then you can still use solar panels to power parts of your house, while relying on conventional power for the rest of the spaces. It is still better than obtaining all of your energy the conventional way and can be upgraded when you have the ability. Water Efficient Plumbing I'm sure that you have seen the water efficient bathroom appliances when you go out to restaurants and other such public places. While the businesses generally say that they installed these appliances in order to be environmentally conscientious, we all know that all they really care about is the bottom line. Yet they still installed them. This should be taken as a cue that water efficient bathrooms are both cheaper and good for the environment. Nature-Friendly Gardens This one really only applies to people with yards, but since that represents a lot of people it is important to mention. Basically, fill up your yard with local plants instead of the standard (water depleting) grass. Not only is it environmentally friendly because you are using native plants that enrich the environment, but it also provides the house with unique curb appeal that everyone will appreciate. So the point is that making your house a little more eco-friendly is far from difficult. In fact, it has never been easier. If you are building your home, companies like Fischer Homes can often construct the home to work well with these green initiatives. So if you haven't already, consider making a few tweaks to your house in order to ensure that you are doing your part to preserve our environment.
  7. Real estate investment can cost a modest fortune for many people, and because of this, you understandably want to save money in every way possible. The U.S. government has created numerous tax breaks and other financial benefits for those who own green homes or who make green improvements to their homes within a specified tax year. Such benefits can help you to save a sizable chunk of change within the next year. If you are looking for ways to save on your home ownership expenses, consider these points. Green Energy Generation There are several ways to produce green energy in your own home. This ranges from solar and wind energy to the use of geothermal pumps and more. Many home energy production methods produce enough energy to entirely offset the home's energy needs on a regular basis. Generally, the IRS allows you to deduct at least a portion of the purchase of the equipment and the installation cost for many types of green energy systems. This can drastically offset the cost to get the system up and running, and you can then enjoy ongoing energy savings throughout your time in the house. HVAC Systems, Boilers and Furnaces Climate control is a serious matter for homeowners, and you understandably need to invest in new, energy-efficient equipment to keep your home’s indoor climate as comfortable as possible regardless of the weather conditions outside. If you invest in a new HVAC system, boiler or furnace that is sufficiently energy efficient to meet IRS standards, you may qualify for a deduction or tax credit. Typically, the credit or deduction applies to specific models and is based on the equipment and installation costs. Some equipment may also qualify for local grants for additional savings. Sealing the Home Everything from new insulation to new doors and windows are responsible for sealing the home. Such features can prevent the transfer of heat between the indoor and outdoor environments, and this can drastically reduce energy consumption related to climate control activities. Replacing insulation, doors, and windows with newer, energy-efficient models may qualify the home for a tax deduction or tax credit. The cost of insulation and materials may both be used to determine the amount of the credit or deduction. Living green is a great way to decrease your impact on the environment and to save money on energy costs in the process. Through these green home improvements, you may also be able to enjoy tax credits and deductions for additional savings. If you’re unsure what benefits you can get, realtors like those at Mark Fox Company can help you find out.
  8. Protecting the planet is a great goal, and everyone is doing just a little more to have a part in ensuring our planet will be here for future generations. While some changes are big and costly, in other ways you can go green with just a few small changes at home. Here are some small changes that can add up to big difference in your overall impact on the environment. 1. Learn to Unplug Everything, from your computer to your power tools, needs to be unplugged when not in use. Many homeowners do not realize that leaving appliances, electronics and other electrical devices plugged in actually uses energy, even when the device is not in use. Simply being plugged in causes a little bit of electricity to flow to the device then back into the home's circuits, and in that process some energy is lost. Make this easier by plugging most entertainment devices into one power strip, then switch off the group when you head to bed. 2. Adjust the Fridge Many homeowners have their refrigerators and freezers set too cold. Invest in a small fridge thermometer, and test the temperature. The fridge should be between 37 and 40 degrees, with the freezer between 0 and 5. If it's too cold, adjust the temperature higher and save money. 3. Bring Reusable Bags When you go shopping, bring your own cloth grocery sacks. Your grocery store may actually pay you a few cents for doing so, but the biggest reason to do this is to prevent more plastic bags from ending up in the landfill. Remember, plastic does not decompose, so you are putting everyone at risk when you throw out plastic bags. 4. Turn off the Tap Turn off the tap while brushing teeth. If you brush for two minutes and leave the tap running, your family can waste around 5 gallons of water a day. Turning it of is simple. The same is true for washing dishes. After filling the sink, turn off the tap while you scrub the dishes. Remember, it really is small changes that make a big difference when you're trying to go green. Make these changes, then enjoy the energy savings that come as a result!
  9. With rising awareness about the well-being of our planet both sellers and buyers acknowledge the importance of green home features. Living in an eco-friendly house reduces your carbon footprint, limits the exploitation of natural resources and can significantly lower utility bills, but how cost-effective are they and how much value do they add to a home? If you are interested in ways to increase the value of your home and make it eco-friendly then read on to find out 6 of the best that you can incorporate into your home. Sustainable insulation One of the most important green home upgrades is insulation, as proper insulation – especially in the attic – will ensure that energy is not escaping through the roof. There are many types of insulation to choose from, however blown-in cellulose wall insulation is mostly recommended by home sustainability experts. For reinforced effects, consider upgrading weather stripping around doors and windows. Solar panels Installing solar panels is a huge investment and organizational challenge as it requires you to rethink the infrastructure of the entire house. However, a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that home sellers can look at an up to 97 per cent return rate when investing in new energy efficient strategies. Energy and water saving appliances ENERGY STAR rating is an internationally recognized symbol of energy efficient appliances, which offer significant energy and water savings without compromising performance. Experienced realtors from OpenAgent suggest that replacing old and used appliances such as ovens, fridges, water heaters, TVs and even showerheads significantly improves the appearance of the house and has the power to boost its overall value. This is because potential buyers look for house features that will save them money in the long run. As an added bonus you can wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket or install tankless water heaters that heat water on demand. Energy-smart windows For potential buyers, old single-pane windows can be a big turn off, therefore it can be a good idea to invest in multi-pane windows adjusted to your climate zone. It is said that homeowners can save up to $500 annually by upgrading their windows to high performing models. Low-emissivity glass windows can reduce energy bills and harmful UV rays, as well as improve overall quality of life by cancelling outside noise and beautifying your property. Also, adding in skylights is an efficient way of bringing natural light into the rooms, thus reducing the need for artificial lighting. Go LED You may be surprised, but changing the smallest things can have a huge impact on home energy efficiency. When it comes to lighting, CFLs and LED lights are a must-have, as they are said to consume from 75 to 90 per cent less energy and last 20 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. LED light bulbs also do not heat up as quickly as older models, which helps to keep the house cooler in the summer, reducing the need for air conditioning. Modern dimmer switches and occupancy sensor light switches that turn the light off automatically when someone leaves the room are additional cool features that could boost the appeal of your house. Thermostats One of the simplest ways of adding value to your home is installing programmable thermostats, as almost half of energy bills go towards heating and cooling the house. By installing and programming thermostats wisely, utility bills can be reduced by up to 10 per cent. These were our top environmentally-friendly home upgrades that give the best value for money. There is no denying that the real estate market is very competitive, therefore, if you want to sell your house and make significant profit, do make sure to implement these top 6 green and sustainable features to your home.
  10. It is no secret that going green is today more import than ever. For this reason, many homeowners decide to turn their houses into real environmentally-friendly places. What’s great about this is that by aiding in preserving the nature this way you can also manage to save a lot of money. This is the case because the goals of every cautions homeowner should be using less energy, using less water and recycling. So if you decide to contribute to saving the environment, here are 5 low cost upgrades for your home that can do wonders for both nature and your wallet. Add More Insulation Insulation is something you should always consider when turning your home green. If there is more insulation in your home, you will be using less energy to keep it warm during the winter and cool during the summer. There are quite a few green insulation materials you ca choose from, with aerogel and cotton being among the most popular options. No matter which material you opt for, you will be guaranteed to use less energy during the whole year. Of course, this will also reduce the cost of your energy bills significantly. Replace Old Windows We have already mentioned how not letting either hot or cold air escape your home is one of the best things you can do when going green. Another great way to do this is to replace any old windows in your home. If there are any cracks in the window frames or the windows are simply too old, air can escape quite easily through them. If this is the case with your home, you are probably using much more electricity than it is necessary. Therefore, getting new windows should be your no.1 priority. Plant Some Trees Of course, you shouldn’t just stick to your house when going green. If there is a lot of place in your backyard planting a new tree is always a good thing to do. And if you want your tree to be even more useful, you should make sure you plant it on the west side of your home. That way, the branches will block the sunbeams during the summer, while in winter, bare branches will help allow infrared radiation that will warm up your home get through. Nuttall oak, red maple and weeping willow are just some of the trees you can opt for. Go for Water-Efficient Fixtures If you want your home to be more environmentally-friendly, you will also have to think about using less water. Even though turning off the tap when washing your hands and brushing your teeth is always a good thing to do, you should also consider installing some water-efficient fixtures in your bathroom. There are low flow shower heads that are just a perfect option for every green home. Also, there are aerators that maximize the flow rate of your faucets. If there are any leaks make sure you contact a 24 hour plumber in order to minimize the amounts of water that go to waste. Get Solar Panels A large number of homeowners also decides to install solar panels when going green. With these, you will be utilizing natural power and minimize your use of electricity. Even though getting solar panels seems like an expensive investment at first, if you are planning long run, these will in fact help you save quite a lot of money. It is also important to mention that in some countries, homeowners who decide to get these receive bonuses and huge tax breaks. Having all of this in mind, getting solar panels is always a great thing to do, both for the environment and your wallet. Make sure you do all of these upgrades and you will be guaranteed to contribute quite a lot to preserving the environment. Bear in mind that you can never do too much when going green so keep looking for some further upgrades you can do.
  11. Taking care of a home can be expensive. Help cut your home's maintenance costs with these 7 tips to make your home more energy efficient. Decrease Water Heater Temperature It may be necessary to crank your water heater temperature up during the winter, but during the summer, you may notice you can get by with a much lower hot water temperature. Experiment with lower temperatures and see what is comfortable for you while still saving you a little money. You may not be able to tell the difference, and it'll be a big savings on your power bill. Replace or Caulk Old Windows Old windows can be a frequent cause of increased utility bills. Gaps and cracks can let air conditioning out, and let cold winter breezes in. Put caulk adhesive in the cracks to seal up what you can. You could also consider replacing your old windows with new, energy efficient windows. There are many different styles of windows to choose from, like bay windows, casement windows, and awning windows. If you're replacing windows, you might as well choose a window style that will increase the value of your home. New windows can take years off of a home, and can brighten and refresh your curb appeal. Hire a realtor and figure out how much new windows will affect the value of your home. Realtors are experts in determining home improvement projects that produce high returns for sellers. Consider hiring a realtor to help you determine if new windows could improve the value of your home. Change Air Filters Regularly Make sure you are buying air filters for your HVAC unit that are properly sized, and that you're changing them frequently. Leaving dirty filters in place can put a strain on your HVAC unit, and cause more expense in the future. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat Don't pay money to heat or cool your home when nobody's there. Invest in a programmable thermostat that can adjust the temperatures based on the time of day. Set the thermostat to bump the heater down a few degrees when you know you'll be gone, and have it turn back up before you get home. Increase the Insulation in Your Attic In a lot of homes, there is blown-in insulation in the attic space of your home. Over time, this can get compacted, and lose some of its R-value. Blow more insulation into your attic to help your home maintain your desired temperature. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances Modern appliances are required by the government to operate within certain parameters, which use considerably less water and power than appliances built even just a few years ago. Consider replacing one of your older appliances with a newer one. Shop around, comparing the yellow utility usage tags to be sure you get the most efficient one available. Use Power Efficiently Pay attention to your power usage, especially during peak months. Turn off lights, and unplug items you're not using. Many things use power even when you don't think they are. A good way to identify how many items are using power is to look around at night and see how many glowing lights you see. These items are still using power even in the middle of the night. Unplug items that are unnecessary. Keeping a home maintained can be an expensive and costly prospect. There are many easy ways to keep your home using energy more efficiently. The experts from Statewide Energy Solutions suggest replacing old windows, radiant barriers, AC & Duct Sealing, sealing plugs, light switches, doors, and plumbing and pipe entrances. Following the tips discussed can keep your energy costs down and help make your home more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
  12. How to make your home greener

    The fact that people are taking active roles in preserving the environment without anybody forcing them to do it tells us that there has been some noteworthy success when it comes to spreading awareness about this very important issue. This awareness and effort made by people has significantly influenced almost every aspect of our lives, for the better of course. Along with trying to preserve the environment and the Earth’s fragile eco-system, the green initiative has managed to do a lot of work connected to improving work safety, home safety, raising the quality of life in our homes and generally clearing our immediate surroundings of any threatening materials. This does not mean that we should feel like we have achieved our goal. On the contrary, this means that we need to spread the word even more aggressively since so many positive things have sprouted from this. What you can do to make your home green A lot of times some designer trends tend to overshadow the main purpose of the original idea. Now while it may be that there is such a thing as a green home design style this isn't the reason to see it just as a style. The green design is first and foremost an idea. In some cases, people do their entire home in green design but do not even follow some basic guidelines about what they can do around the house to preserve the environment. The first thing you need to know is how to redo your home in such a way that you do not produce too much refuses material, which you recycle where you can and so on. If you have decided to make your home green, here are some pointers on what you can do. Some of these things range from simple tips to construction advice but they are all part of the process and are necessary if you really want to have a green home. Energy consumption Households tend to be very serious energy users and have a high percentage of energy loss. It is amazing how much you can save by just taking all necessary measures in order to preserve it. Your home will benefit twofold from this effort since not only will you be preserving energy, but you will also save money on electricity and other bills. Here is a small list of things you can do to save energy: Heat control and good isolation This is crucial in order to prevent extensive cooling and heating from your AC or any other source. Good isolation will also help you control the temperature more easily without making you relay on energy or fuel consumption as much. Energy effective appliances A lot of older models of household appliance are not energy efficient and may cost you in the long run even more than investing in a new one. Also, it is up to you to try and turn them off when they are unnecessary. Energy efficient light CFL light bulbs consume 66% less energy than the standard light bulbs while also lasting 10 times longer. So not only are you saving energy, you are also saving money on replacing light bulbs. Green materials and substances In and around the house, we use all kinds of substances which can damage our health. Those substances also damage the environment. Thanks to the initiative taken by the green community a lot of them were identified and there are valid alternatives for them. Paint Lead paint is the primary threat to your family’s health in this case, but you should realize that not all paint is the same. When repainting, try to avoid conventional paint since it can cause health problems during the process, while it is drying and when it is completely dry. Gardening All kinds of chemicals are used in order to help plants grow but pesticides and these artificial growth improvers can contaminate the soil and as well as the plants that grown from that soil. Material Use Avoiding the overuse of materials that are hard to produce is a good move. For example, the best option for hardwood floors is to use bamboo, since this tree lasts 5-6 years while regular hardwood lasts somewhere between 10 and 20 times more. Safety first Safety is an essential part of the green philosophy and that is why we need to stress this point. When you rearrange your home, please follow proper safety procedures when handling power tools, chemicals and so on. Also make sure you have a firm ladder when doing work on higher places, especially while using tools.
  13. With so many cars, machines, and chemicals involved in our everyday lives it's no wonder that the earth is starting to show signs of distress. And not only is Earth sending up red flags, but our wallets are weeping in despair because our mechanized, chemical rich lifestyles are expensive. But what can be done about it? Here are some great tips to keep both your budget, and Mother Earth happy. Tip #1: Distilled Vinegar Common household cleaners are expensive and chocked full of harsh chemicals that destroy the earth. Distilled vinegar is an unsung hero in the cleaning world. It's cheap, natural and a powerful disinfectant. Put it in a spray bottle or soak a rag in it to clean glass, tile, counter tops, walls, grout and more. Improve its smell and cleaning effects by adding lemon juice, and/or baking soda. These natural products are, cheap, earth-friendly, hypoallergenic and totally safe to use around your kids and pets. Tip #2: Conserve Water There is only so much water in the world and your water bill could be draining your wallet every month. Cut down on water usage and expenses by either purchasing a low-water toilet or by simply filling a water bottle with rocks or sand and putting it in your toilet tank. This will cut back on how much water your tank uses to flush the toilet saving you money, and saving the world one flush at a time. Tip #3: Go Solar Power and gas bills are astronomically expensive and excessive usage damages the earth. With an upfront investment you can convert to solar power-- saving money in the long run and doing Mother Nature a little favor. Companies like Degree C Pty Ltd offer solar powered alternatives for hot water systems. These typically last longer than traditional designs. Cut your gas bill every month and reduce the amount of natural gas harvested by letting solar power your home. It’s easy to think the little changes you make won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the simple steps that can often make the biggest impact. Going green can be the most cost effective change you make. Reduce waste, cut harsh chemicals, and lower your power and water bills by using these easy tips. You’ll watch your wallet get fatter as your carbon footprint gets smaller.
  14. Our homes are expressions of our personalities and anchors of our place in the world. We innately strive to make them beautiful and fitting to our style. Remarkably though, many of us are so focused on cosmetic appearances, that we overlook things that make a home truly enjoyable. True comfort in a home is directly linked to its functionality. Making smart home improvement choices can reward us with more than surface pride but give us a deep sense of contentment. A Better View Consider choosing energy-efficient windows instead of single-paned, uninsulated windows. Environment control becomes much easier and cost-effective to maintain, no matter if in cold or warm climates. Since double and triple pane windows also require sturdier frames, designers are able to create larger areas of glass without compromising structural integrity. Outdoor visibility and natural light become major players in day-to-day life. A feeling of openness is achieved, while maintaining consistent, comfortable temperatures and even lessening the need to flip on a light switch. The right windows from Window Planet can make your home more beautiful and eco-friendly. Standing Strong Another element that plays a huge role in the aesthetics of a home is our choice in flooring. Because of its warming effect and hypoallergenic nature, wood is very popular. Among the seemingly endless varieties though, bamboo clearly stands above the rest when considering efficiency, durability and style. Because bamboo grows so quickly, up to three feet in a 24-hours, it is merited with being a top eco-friendly building material. It can tolerate a much broader span of environmental differences than most of it counterparts whether they be wood, stone or tile. Each of which is more sensitive to humidity and temperature changes. This adaptability and today's every increasing selection makes bamboo a winner. Wooly Warm As wonderful as bamboo flooring may be, there are those who simply prefer the soft and cushiony feeling of carpet. Instead of committing to installing wall-to-wall carpet, try large area rugs. Wool offers the warmest and most eco-friendly production process and is wonderfully sound reducing. It is a particularly good for those living in colder climates because a wool rug may make a room feel warmer. A Steady Stream One area that simply cannot be ignored when creating an efficient yet stylish home, is how we get water. Faucets and shower heads are the jewelry of our kitchens and bathroom, but are also the hardest working fixtures in a house. When the flow of water is inconstant or messy, it is not only annoying but also wasteful. Steady more even water steams that use less water can be achieved with low-flow fixtures that have aerator adapters. The Best Flow The mention of water usage automatically brings the massive amounts required for toilets to mind. This is one of the major areas that can be made more efficient. One of the easiest ways to do this is by installing a toilet with an eco-flush system. These use less water for liquid waste but allows for larger amounts when needed for solids. They have been mainstream in Europe for years and have become much more readily available with suppliers in the United States. Making a home both beautiful and efficient has many pay-offs. Not only will it be a joy to live in, but with just a bit of attention and forethought, it can be functionally and economically efficient as well as beautiful. Ultimately, it is well worth the conscious effort for a better more comfortable home.
  15. There are few things that can make a home more inviting and pleasant to be in than a wonderful scent. Of course, everything from the kids' smelly shoes and your pets to grease from cooking and more can impact the smell of your home. Many people go to great lengths to overcome these smells and to improve the odor in their space. For example, it is common to spray air fresheners, to use deodorizers on your carpeting and even to light candles in various rooms in the home. While these are common steps to take, aromatherapy may actually be a healthier solution. The Toxins in Air Freshening Products Many air fresheners and other related products contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment as well as to your health. For example, most contain benzene, styrene, formaldehyde and phthalates. Some of these are known carcinogens. Others can increase hormone levels, cause reproductive issues, negatively impact the development of a fetus and more. Different air freshening products contain different levels of these ingredients, and some will opt to use products that have a lower level. However, a better option may be to forgo these products altogether and to opt for aromatherapy instead. What Is Aromatherapy? While most common household air freshening products use harsh, dangerous chemicals to make your home smell great, aromatherapy can produce the same aromatic results by using natural plant extracts and essential oils. These may be some of the same oils and extracts that you may use in your massage oils and bath products. The practice of aromatherapy describes the combination of art and science that come together to create a harmonizing, pleasant and healthy experience for the mind, body and spirit. Gary Young is a leading advocate of aromatherapy, and he has authored many books on the topic that go into great detail about his own health experiences with aromatherapy. How to Use Aromatherapy in Your Home Aromatherapy may most commonly be thought of in relation to making your home smell good, but there are true health benefits associated with aromatherapy as well. Each oil and various combinations of oils can be used to create different and healthy results for you. They have the ability to affect your mood, improve your physical health and help you to feel more spiritually balanced. Choosing oils is the first step to take to enjoy aromatherapy. You should spend time researching the effects each one may have on you. For example, lavender has qualities that will help you to feel more balanced and soothed. Rosemary can be both invigorating and warming. Sweet orange has uplifting, cheerful properties. These and other oils can be incorporated into your home individually or separately to create the healthy results you desire. While you want to choose a scent or a combination of scents that you find appealing and pleasing, you also should be aware of the impact they can have on your mind, body and spirit. Everyone wants a home that smells fresh, clean and pleasant, but daily activities and regular use of the home can often produce odors that are unappealing. Using air freshening products that you purchase at a local store can be effective at making your home smell better, but these products are bad for the environment and can have unhealthy effects on you and your family. The essential oils used in aromatherapy are a better option because they are natural, safe and healthy, and they are also equally as effective at making your home smell great. If you are looking for a great way to improve the odor in your home without creating an unhealthy environment, aromatherapy may be the right solution.
  16. Going green is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. More and more people are incorporating a lot of great green initiatives into their daily life to make a difference for their planet. Many people think, in fact, that there is not much more they can do to go green. Even though it seems like there is not much the average person can do, there are a lot of new an uncommon ways to save the planet and its resources. Anyone can try to add these practices into their daily lives. Here are six new ways to go green you haven’t tried yet. Get a better energy provider Every year there are more and better options for green energy from some of the most popular companies in the business. Everyone should reevaluate their options and compare energy rates every year to make sure they are getting the best price for the best, cleanest energy they can get to their home. Make your own green products There are a lot of good options for green products on the market today. However, many of these products are quite expensive and most still use a lot of valuable resources in the manufacturing process. Instead, try doing some DIY to make homemade products, trying out everything from cleaning products to beauty products. Ditch all plastic A lot of plastic is used and wasted in the world every day. This is a major issue that many people cannot seem to get away from. Though using no plastic whatsoever may not be possible every day, everyone can make big changes to use less plastic regularly, like switching to paper or reusable bags at the supermarket, as a most basic example. Try CO2 dry cleaning There is a new dry cleaning method that is hitting most major chains around the world. This method uses cleaner practices that create no carbon dioxide to keep the air clean and everyone’s clothes clean as well. This is still a new method, so make sure to ask the local businesses if they are able to get it at their establishment. Make the home smarter Smart homes used to be just a futuristic fantasy. Today, smart homes are becoming a very real possibility to many people, to some extent. Everyone can make their home smarter by helping it use the least amount of energy every day automatically. A couple basic changes to make are installing an automatic thermostat and a universal power controls to help the home use less energy without home owners having to even lift a finger. Find a new way to use animals to benefit the planet Though many people reduce their consumption of animal products already to reduce pollution, there are other ways to use animals to the benefit of the planet. Many people are opting to let animals, like goats and sheep, to mow down their grass. This may sound bizarre, but it is a practice that more people are getting on board with.
  17. Keeping our homes clean on a regular basis can mean the difference in being healthy vs. being sick. Many homeowners realize this, however because so many people lead busy lives, rarely do they take the time needed to maintain a clean home. A recent study by the National Center for Healthy Housing found that a sizeable majority of those surveyed did not realize that living in a dirty environment can actually contribute to the development of certain illnesses, such as allergies, asthma or even cancer. The problem for many property owners is that they just do not know exactly what it takes to foster a clean, healthy home environment. Thankfully, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a set of guidelines for attaining a healthy home. Here are the 7 steps that they suggested in their report: 1. Maintain a Dry and Mold-Free Home. • Clean and preserve gutters and downspouts on a routine basis. This helps to avoid any water buildup, while preventing mold growth. • Repair all water damage in walls and ceilings immediately. If you notice water gathering at the foundation, be sure to dry it immediately. • Routinely check all appliances and plumbing components for water leakages. Repair and dry them as quickly as possible. • Regularly inspect floor drains. 2. Maintain a Clean House. • Dust with a slightly moist cloth frequently. • After dusting, use a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner from a reputable company, such as Miele or Riccar. • Emphasize using non-toxic cleaners, such as baking soda, borax, lemon juice, and vinegar. • Do not use artificial fragrances. These release toxic chemicals and VOCs into the air, where they can cause health problems. • Regularly clean the oven, air-conditioning system, hot water heater, and heater according to manufacturer recommendations. • Routinely clean the refrigerator exhaust fan and drip pan. • Frequently clean the lint screen and clothes dryer vent. • Use floor mats at the inside and outside of all access points to the house. • Do not permit anyone to wear shoes inside the house. 3. Guarantee Optimal Indoor Air Quality. • Invest in a HEPA air cleaner from a reputable brand, such as Austin Air or Amaircare. • Remove all possible sources of contaminants. • Do not allow smoking in the home or near open doors and windows. 4. Maintain Proper Ventilation. • Guarantee that all appliances have proper ventilation (especially gas stoves). • All bathrooms with showers should have an exhaust fan to help reduce humidity levels. Every time you shower, make sure to turn on the fan. • Along with proper air filtration, open windows and doors when the air outdoors is clean. Ventilation helps disperse any contaminants, while introducing fresh air into the home. 5. Control Vermin. • Consistently examine the home for signs of cockroaches, mice, snakes, and other bugs and rodents. • Fill all foundation cracks and openings with caulk, foam, and cement. • Avoid pesticides. If need be, hire an expert that employs integrated pest management (IPM). Also, try to use non-toxic pesticides if and when possible. 6. Foster a Safe Environment. • Set the water heater temperature level to 120 degrees. • Install non-slip mats and grab bars at baths and showers. • Set up non-slip pads under movable rugs. • Use nightlights wherever it is dark. • Quickly replace damaged electrical cords and outlets. • Frequently examine smoke and carbon monoxide gas detectors. • Test for radon. Radon kills over 21,000 people in the U.S. alone each year. • Check the house for peeling paint. Strip and repaint immediately using non-toxic/low VOC paint. 7. Keep the Home Maintained on a Regular Basis • Have the home professionally inspected every year. • Repair all foundation cracks and holes quickly. • Replace broken windows promptly. • Keep the roof in optimal condition. • Change HEPA filters per the cleaner instructions • Replace heater filters every quarter. • Pump the sewage-disposal tank at least every 5 years. Enhancing Your Indoor Air Quality. As property owners, we want to believe that making sure ideal air quality is easy. The reality is that so many building and furnishing products on the market are actually some of the worst air contamination offenders. There is no doubt that this kind of contamination can impact health, particularly in children, the elderly and pets. The reason why certain HEPA air cleaner brands are so popular, such as Austin Air, is that they efficiently remove hazardous airborne contaminants and provide a clean, safe breathing environment. In fact, parents who are concerned with their family's health and well-being should give careful consideration to using a HEPA air cleaner in the home. In addition to following the recommended healthy home guidelines, consider investing in a HEPA air cleaner today and guarantee optimal air quality for years to come. Resource(s): A Healthy Home for Everyone: The Guide for Families and Individuals
  18. Making energy efficient upgrades to your home not only is good for the environment, it also can save you lots of money when your bills are due. The only issue is that you might not know where to start. There are so many options to just throw money into but not all of them are as good as you would like to think. Here are some of the best energy efficient improvements to make. New Windows and Doors If you live in an older house with windows and doors that haven't been replaced in years, it's likely you are losing a considerable amount of money on your heating and cooling costs. Over the years, your house shifts and settles, and doors and windows no longer fit their frames the way they once did, leaving gaps and cracks for air to get through. Also, newer windows come with either double or triple panes, which are much better at keeping the air in that you want in and keeping the air out that you don't than older single-pane windows. Programmable Thermostat A programmable thermostat helps improve your energy efficiency by optimizing the use of your heating and cooling systems. During the summer, for example, you can set your thermostat to raise the temperature during the day when you aren't there and then gradually raise it in the hour or two before you arrive home. In the winter, you can set your thermostat to lower the temperature during the day and at night while you are sleeping. Being able to program your thermostat allows you to use less energy and save money. Adding Insulation Another way to be energy efficient in your home is to add or update your current insulation. Insulation in walls, floors and ceilings helps to keep warm air in in the winter and cold air out, while doing the reverse in the summer. Reitzel Insulation Co Ltd insulation also keeps pipes in walls and under floors warm during the winter so they don't freeze. If you can afford blown-in insulation, it works great for hard-to-reach areas. Low-flow Water Devices You'd be surprised how much water you waste in your home on a daily basis, but there's a way you can cut down on that. Installing flow-restricting devices on your toilet as well as a low-flow shower head can cut your water usage by hundreds of gallons a month. Though this won't save you a ton of money, it will give you the peace of mind that you are doing your part to help the environment. Having an energy efficient home is the dream of so many of us. There are many energy efficient upgrades you can make to your home, some simple and inexpensive, some that are complex and costly. Choose the ones that make the most sense for you. These upgrades might set you back but remember that you are going to make some of that money back over time due to lower bills at the end of the month.
  19. Now more than ever is the right time to go green at home. You probably heard the news: 2014 was the hottest year on record. If each one of us does not make some sort of effort to reduce our carbon footprint the results for our children and grandchildren will be disastrous. Huge tidal waves. Droughts. An increasingly un-livable planet. I mean, let’s face it; the Mars One mission to colonize Mars is not feasible. What we need is short-term, simple steps to help us continue doing what we love on Planet Earth. Here are some steps we can take right now: 1. Buy Energy-Efficient Light-bulbs The production of incandescent, inefficient bulbs has been phased out, so really at this point you don’t have a choice. Instead of waiting for your old light-bulbs to die or break, seize the moment to replace every incandescent bulb in your home with an energy-efficient alternative. There are several options available. The primary debate revolves around which is a better choice, LED or CFL. LED bulbs cost more at the outset, but they don’t contain mercury like CFL’s do, and they last longer. On average, a 15 watt CFL will cost $1.20 a year to power and will last 10,000 hours, while a 12 watt LED costs $1.00/year and will last 25,000 hours. Don’t want to leave the house because you’re too busy optimizing it for energy-efficiency? You can order either kind of bulb here. 2. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies The temptation is to simply buy the standard, inexpensive supplies that “get the job done.” But the factories that make these supplies are part of the problem—they consume lots of fossil fuels and they don’t pay their employees enough for them to go green. Also, disposing containers generates more waste. Instead, take advantage of common, inexpensive goods. Lemon has acidic and antibacterial traits. You can mix lemon juice with salt to make a great sink-cleaner, or just soak the faucet in lemon juice and let it sit to loosen mineral deposits; to get rid of stains on garments, rub fresh-cut lemons on the stain and leave the clothing to soak in warm water for a couple of hours, then wash. Try using baking soda on counter-tops and in toilets; mix with vinegar for an especially strong cleaner. Try putting together some home-made laundry detergent: use one bar of shaved, organic bar-soap, a cup of borax, and a cup of washing soda. Stir for 5 minutes or so and put it to work! 3. Greenify and Optimize Wash Cycles A good green practice is to wash whole loads, whether they’re loads of laundry or dishes. And use cold water when you can. About 90% of energy consumption from washing is a result of how much electricity it takes to heat the water. Air-dry your dishes and, if you have the space, hang your laundry out to dry on a clothes-line. If you’re going to ignore the earlier advice and buy laundry detergent (we only have so much time!), buy it in bulk and find the brand(s) with minimal packaging. Same goes for dishwasher detergent. If you’re buying detergents, make an effort to purchase products manufactured locally or find the ones manufactured closest to your home. 4. Head Towards the Light Yes it makes sense to buy energy-efficient light-bulbs, but you should take advantage of natural light whenever possible. Use light-colored wall-paints to reflect natural light better in any room with windows. Avoid turning on lights in your home whenever you can and turn them off whenever you leave the room. Put your favorite reading-recliner and your office-desk beneath windows. 5. Minimize Appliance Power-usage Plug appliances into a power strip, and when you’re not using them, turn the power strip off. Or, just unplug appliances when you’re not using them. When you’re buying appliances, consider buying from companies that partner with Energy Star to offer rebates, a list of which you can find here. Take advantage of your computer’s power-saving mode, and, if you’d like a free way to analyze your computer’s power usage, download Miscrosoft’s Joulemeter. These are just some of the ways you can easily go green at home. Do you have any other suggestions, tips or tricks for greening the home-space?
  20. While most people believe that thinking green has to do something with things that are far away geographically, a constantly growing part of the general populace is starting to realize that this just isn’t true. I mean, we have all noticed how the weather is changing year in, year out, and more and more information about lost species, eco catastrophes, our general disregard for the environment, and how this impacts our daily lives keep emerging. This naturally leads people to reevaluate the state in which their homes are, and this is the most logical place to start. Still, a lot of people do not do the necessary research when they attempt to make their home greener. We are here to help you get your facts straight. Choosing the Right Materials The importance of this is two-fold! First of all, some materials that are generally used by construction teams are not good for human health as well as the environment. The prime example of this are paints, adhesives and other things that contain a high level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Materials containing VOCs cause air pollution, smog and can be quite destructive for human health. This isn’t the only example of poor material choice when it comes green construction and you should research them before you start the project. It is also a very good to use recycled material wherever possible. A lot of people perceive getting recycled construction materials as going to the junkyard to scavenge through the waste. This is very far from the truth. Recycled materials come with proper specification and you can always contact manufacturers if you need to make any further inquiries. Getting Professional Help While you might have the best intentions at heart, you might not be qualified enough to come up with and lead a green renovation project all by yourself. This is why you should rely on professional help in order to get things done properly. You need to ensure that you builders are properly licensed to handle this kind of work, and that they adhere to proper procedures that minimize the damage done to the immediate and global environment. Being that Green building has grown to be somewhat a trend (and about time it did), there will be a lot of contractors out there who will claim that they can pull off the whole thing, but I wouldn’t go that far without a licensing confirmation. Managing Waste and Pollution What’s tricky about green construction is that you need to make sure that the end result, as well as the process, is green and safe. It just doesn’t make sense to have one without the other. Before you start, you should consult your builders about the right amount of material you should order, and when to order. Excess material is usually the material wasted, and this is something you are attempting to avoid by going Green, right? Throughout the entire thing, you need to ensure that you reuse all the materials that can be reused. You should also separate the waste properly, and take it to the right recycling and/or disposal locations. This is a complex matter, and if you really want to build green, you need to get into the thick of things, and act from a position of knowledge. Energy Efficiency This is where planning really gets into the forefront and shines. Logistics, electricity management, the choice of appliances and so on, are all very important aspects of being energy efficient during construction. This requires a team of builders that are aware of these issues, and capable of following the rules of the best practices proposed by the authorities in your area. Don’t let all of these things discourage you. Sure, they require more effort, but ultimately, building Green is something that saves you money. The Green philosophy is about being economical with resources, and this is something that you need to keep in mind. There are tons of factors to consider, but the benefits are more than apparent. Cheaper construction, faster construction, a clean site and building as an end result, along with a cleaner and healthier environment - what more could you ask for?
  21. Energy consumption is a constant state of existence for all living beings. From the leaves of a tree converting sunlight into chemical fuel to human super cities consuming coal, hydroelectric discharge, or nuclear power to fuel their massive electrical grids – energy consumption happens as a day to day process in all walks of life. There are green alternatives available, however, that can greatly reduce the impact this consumption has on the environment - especially on a per home basis. Here are 4 green alternatives to common household systems: Solar Energy When considering green alternatives, one of the first things that should come to mind is solar energy. On average, the Earth receives an astonishing 174 Petawatts of incoming solar radiation per day. There are two distinct types of solar energy you can choose from: Active Solar – This system uses panels known as solar collectors and is the more recognizable of the two when discussing solar power. These collectors usually mount on rooftops in a southward facing orientation. The heat generated from these panels can be used to warm living spaces or water supplies. Passive Solar – Material usage such as thermal mass stone and concrete can serve to absorb heat during peak sun hours and released the stored heat into the home during nighttime hours. Also, large plate glass south-facing windows can provide heat during colder months. Geothermal Heating & Cooling This system involves circulating water through underground pipes beneath the home. The water is naturally heated or cooled based on the temperature of the Earth during summer or winter months. This is called a closed loop system, but another alternative would be an open-loop system that makes use of a well. Natural Gas When available, natural gas is always an efficient alternative to electricity, heating oils, and even propane. Natural gas, according to recent Department of Energy estimates, costs approximately 68 percent less than the cost of electricity per British thermal unit (Btu). Plumbing Alternatives By installing more environmentally friendly plumbing units from Imagine Plumbing & Appliance Ltd, an enormous amount of water energy can be conserved. Here are just a few examples of quick plumbing fixes to help lower energy costs: Low-Flush Toilets – Lowers the water usage from 3.5 to 5 gallons for conventional toilets to 1.6 gallons or less. Low-Flow Showerheads – Lowers the water usage from 4.5 gallons per minute for standard heads to 2.5 gallons per minute. Faucet Aerators – Reduces the water used by faucets by as much as 60 percent while still maintaining strong flow cycles per use. In a progressive approach to thwart the negative implications of human energy consumption on the environment, today more than ever, “greener” alternatives are being researched. These green alternatives involve methods of energy production that are environmentally friendly while striving to remain cost effective.
  22. It isn't really necessary to have a green thumb to create green landscaping or to make your renovations more eco-friendly. Landscaping is partly an art and a science. The basic steps to green landscaping are to plan ahead and choose landscapes that endure and also add an eco-friendly element to the final result. Green Landscaping The fundamentals of green landscaping are fairly simple. Start with a complete review of the existing soil, soil moisture, climate and types of plants preferred. If there are a lot of obstructions like tree stumps and large, exposed roots, consider a digging service like Kamloops Septic Service that specializes in hydro excavations. The use of pressurized water to remove roots and rocks is an eco-friendly way of outdoor renovating. The water is clean, safe and won't add chemicals to the local drainage systems. Once all of this debris is removed, review the design of the green landscape plan. Protection from the Elements If the home or building is located in a windy area, it may be necessary to create a wind break using a fence of evergreens, Russian olive shrubs or privet hedges. With this kind of natural wind break you can help reduce soil erosion and water loss as well as create a natural privacy barrier. Consider the Foliage Choose plants that are compatible with the soil. Not all plants like sandy soil, just as not all plants do well in dark loam. When planting wild flowers, trees or shrubs, check with the regulatory compliance authority before planting takes place. Certain types of wild plants may be protected from extinction. Others grow in their natural environment without much encouragement if the soil is compatible. Making Interior Renovations More Eco-Friendly When making renovations inside a home or building, check all of the tags and labels to insure they meet standard environmental compliance. This applies to roofing, flooring and insulating materials. Most paints and wallpapers today are manufactured according to eco-friendly regulations. When renovating or replacing fixtures and piping, check the ratings for these as well. Many of these can be recycled when it's time to replace them. Keep a careful watch on how to recycle older pipes, sheet rock and exterior shingles and roofing materials. When renovating an outdoor driveway, consult with installers to ask if materials like asphalt or cement can be replaced with natural, eco-friendly pavers or stones. The secret to green landscaping is to understand the compatibility between nature's ecological balance and personal choice of plantings that marry perfectly. With the wealth of eco-friendly materials for renovations, it's now possible to go green indoors and out. Most homeowners and building owners enjoy less expense with green landscaping and eco-friendly renovations.
  23. With the rising cost and limited supply of nonrenewable energy sources, many businesses are looking elsewhere to power their buildings. Some companies reduce their carbon footprint by using solar panels; others use windmills to provide their energy needs. Some are turning to more unique and modern energy savers. A busy train station in Stockholm, for example, converts body heat into warm water that is then used to heat a nearby building. This saves them 25 percent on energy costs. Going green, however, isn't just for companies any longer. Consumers like you can take part in the action, cutting energy costs down in the process. Go green with these five modern ideas. Charge Your Devices Using The Sun If you're like the rest of us, you've got a million devices attached to you at once. Problems arise when you're out for an extended period of time and any one of them dies. Solar powered chargers offer a unique way to keep you connected, from cases to covers to water-resistant USB chargers. Some come directly built into the case, while others are mini stand-alone panels. Their use could not be simpler: Find a sunny area, plug in the charger if necessary, face the small solar panel skyward, and let the sun go to work. They are perfect for people who live in a sunny area with little cloud cover. Because of the way they produce electricity, solar cells emit no emissions, waste, or byproducts. Go Hydro If you live near an abundantly-flowing water resource like a river, a microhydropower system may be a good option. Hydroelectric power provides an economic source of energy by converting flowing water into electricity. Run-of-the-river systems, the most common type, have three components that convert water to electricity--a pipeline that delivers the water, a waterwheel that transforms the water into rotational energy, and a generator that converts this energy to electricity. Microhydropower systems are an especially viable option for people who use solar power, providing energy in the winter months when the sun is not readily available. These systems can generate up to 100 kilowatts of energy, providing well more than enough for your home. Tankless Water Heaters Rule Unlike the traditional water heaters that heat water in advance and store it until it is used, tankless heaters heat it on demand. No more running out of hot water in the shower! Some even offer temperature adjustments, convenient for those who are in danger of scalding themselves, such as the elderly or those with nerve damage in the hands. While tankless water heaters are typically more expensive than their counterparts, they are more energy efficient, and pay for themselves relatively quickly. Cut Costs with Modern Insolation A properly insolated home is more comfortable and cheaper to run than one using less quality material, and can also increase air-tightness by 70 percent. First, get an energy audit to see where your leaks are occurring. Properly install your insolation or replace windows, and try to find recycled material that is water-, fire-, and mold-resistant. If you want to know how to make your home more green and save on your next energy bill then you don’t have to look further than the nearest window. New low-e windows can help immensely with heat retention and help cut cost with modern developments. Install a Greywater System A greywater system captures and sterilizes your bath and washing machine water and reuses it for flushing the toilet. Though you must plumb the house in order to install it, the savings make up for the inconvenience. Toilet flushing typically uses 30 percent of your water intake. A greywater system would cut your bill by a third. It's estimated that you'll save around $250 annually. Though solar panels and windmills are often the first things people think of when discussing green energy, they should be far from the last. Try these unique energy-saving ideas and you'll be one step ahead of your neighbors on the energy-efficient bandwagon.
  24. These days we can see a more intense focus on owning and buying products marked as green or environmentally friendly. The popularity of PCs, cars, phones and so on – have been made in such a way that they are energy efficient. It is a good thing that companies are trying to get on to the band wagon but they aren't really getting the whole thing right. Not yet at least. Regardless of this sloppy effort made by large companies and corporations, we can still see a lot of good things that come from environmentally friendly moves made by the general public. If you are thinking about renovating your home and you are just starting to put together your redesign plan, then you might want to consider “greening up” the place a bit. There are tons of reasons to do this and very few valid ones that you can use as an excuse not to do it. An environmentally friendly home is practically a necessity, if you have a newborn in your family or if you are expecting one. Having a green home eliminates a lot of hazards that can harm a baby’s health or the health of a toddler. Going green will also save you money and you will compensate for your investment by reducing your bills significantly. Green homes basically pay for themselves after a while. Energy Conserving energy sources and making sure we spend it rationally helps everybody. Basically, the whole point is to use less energy to resolve all the necessary issues related to energy expenditure around your home. There are more than a few points on which you need to focus in order to make your home energy efficient. Heating – Every family knows that when winter strikes the family budget gets smaller and it is harder to keep everything in line. No matter what type of heating you use, you can’t really say it is cheap. This is why it is important that you prevent energy loss by installing high quality isolation. Electricity – Old appliances like washing machines, water heaters, and old PCs and so on spend more and more energy as time goes one. Also, one of the common energy thieves are old school light bulbs you may be using. Electric devices that have the energy efficient stamp on the package can resolve a lot of issues you may be having and lower your bills. If you have a bit more money to invest, you can even start producing energy in your home. Solar panels are the first thing that comes to mind. Health Depending on the type of material you use, you can run into a lot of problems when it comes to your family’s health. Some materials are hazardous by themselves while others are good breeding places for bacteria and other organic health hazards. If you have children around the house, you need to make sure that any surface they can reach is safe and clean. This also means that it would be smart to avoid chemical house products and switch to green alternatives. It would also be smart to install kitchen and bathroom tiles that do not nurture organic hazards. Mold can be another great problem. If you don’t have good air flow through your home you can run into some major health issues when mold takes its hold over your residence. Mold can also cause structural issues as well as health issues. People with problems with their respiratory system can suffer from humid air a lot more than most people think. They can experience seizures and constant breathing problems. Recycling When redoing their home, most people function under the presumption that they need to buy a lot of new things. This is not the case. You can breathe in new life into your old furniture and use the pieces that are beyond saving for DIY projects. If you have an attic that is full of things you do not use, it would be wise to clean up and donate that which can still have a valid use to charity. Of course, recycling your own thrash goes without saying. I hope I managed to give you a better insight into how you can transform your home into a greener environment. Good luck with your renovating.