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Found 90 results

  1. Do you want your home to be environmentally-friendly? Not only is that better for the environment, but it can also save you a lot of money in terms of utilities. It may even improve your home values if you ever decide to sell or take out an equity line of credit—home buyers today are increasingly interested in green renovations. Here are a few of the best modern green renovations for homeowners. 1. Smart Energy Use New smart energy systems can monitor the amount of electricity you use and let you control all of your appliances and electronics through your smartphone. Monitoring your energy usage enables you to cut back on your spending if it gets too high, while the ability to turn off appliances and electronics on the fly means that you'll never forget something on. These new smart energy systems are usually Wi-Fi configured so they can be used from anywhere, and they can be easily installed on a home's existing electricity system, making them convenient as well. 2. Eco-Friendly Water Filtration Water filtration systems are incredibly important for an eco-friendly home. Without water filtration and treatment, a fair amount of households rely upon bottled water. Americans use about 50 billion plastic water bottles each year. Not only does bottled water introduce unnecessary plastics into the environment, but it also takes waters from areas that may desperately need it, upsetting the local ecosystems. Water is also costly to ship from the bottling plants, which further increases its carbon footprint. Nevertheless, tap water is often not entirely safe to drink. A filtration system will give a homeowner the option of safely drinking water from their home. Visit a professional at Rooter Pro Plumbing for more information about the water filtration systems available for your home. 3. Indoor Composting Systems Indoor composting systems are state-of-the-art kitchen renovations with no odor or mess. These composting systems take your kitchen food waste and turn it into a nutritious compost to grow herbs and other plant directly within your kitchen. Not only does this improve your food's sustainability, but it also reduces the amount of leftovers you waste -- and replaces a garbage disposal almost entirely. An indoor composting system is run by small and harmless parasites that are able to compost your kitchen materials without the traditional odors of composting. These systems are generally built directly into a kitchen island. These are just three of the best green innovations for your home. There are dozens of ways that you can lower your home's carbon footprint, from simply improving your home's insulation to installing advanced smart home systems.
  2. Although the spring season is when more people spend time outdoors, it's also when each household's energy bill begins to increase. More homes begin to use more energy due to an increase in use of the HVAC system to keep the property cool with the change in weather. To stay comfortable and maintain energy efficiency this spring, there are several steps to take to avoid a high bill. Unplug Idle Electronics From televisions to DVD players, there are a number of electronics in the home that continue to use energy when they're not in use. Most people assume that the electronics only use electricity when they're turned on, but they actually continue to use energy when they're plugged in. Make it a point to unplug idle electronics and use power strips to make it easier to turn off multiple items at once. This includes shutting down your computer at night, which are the biggest energy users and can be shut off 40,000 times during their lifespan. Switch to Energy Star Appliances Although your appliances may be working well, they are likely using a significant amount of energy each day if they're outdated. Upgrade to Energy Star appliances to reduce your energy bill by 10 to 50 percent, which can equate to thousands of dollars during the lifespan of the product. Inspect and Clean Your AC Unit It's important to keep your HVAC system running efficiently throughout the year, which is why you should schedule for an inspection and cleaning of your AC unit before spring arrives through a professional company like C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning. This will allow the product to run more efficiently for added energy savings while also increasing the lifespan of the product over time. Contact a professional to inspect your AC unit once a year and perform the necessary repairs to ensure that cool air is blowing out. Apply Chaulk to Cracks Cracks or gaps that are present in the walls can cause air to leak out and for hot air to get into the home. Make it a point to apply caulk to the gaps to reduce energy loss and insulate the inside of the property. Although it may not be possible to avoid using your AC unit this spring, there are ways to maintain your energy usage and prevent it from surging. By taking the necessary steps, you can enjoy the warmer season while avoiding extra energy costs.
  3. Factory farming is responsible for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the resource intensive feeding, slaughtering, processing, and transporting involved in the process. This has led many to reach for an alternative to conventional meat, and it may seem surprising that many are choosing to raise their own livestock at home, however if you look at the specifics of the process you may find that it’s not such an outlandish option. Why it is a Green Alternative By keeping the process as small and local as it gets, you can enjoy high quality, ethical meat while negating many of the sources of emissions associated with factory farmed meat. The transportation of both the livestock’s food and the meat itself are cut out of the process, as are the emissions produced by the large farm equipment that industrial producers rely on. Furthermore you can monitor what, if any, antibiotics and hormones are used, making healthier meat that uses less resources. What You Need Obviously this is not the right option if you live in a small apartment. You need at least 1.5 acres per cow for adequate grazing, or the ability to supplement with oats or hay. While you can get by without any expensive farm equipment it may be helpful to have a riding mower for keeping your pasture manageable and a trailer for transporting your livestock. Of course you will also need a sturdy fence and padlock to keep your livestock safe and a large freezer for keeping the resulting meat. It can be ideal though if you have a lot of acres to maintain, and don’t want to spend money on landscaping or a lot of yard upkeep. The Cost There are numerous costs associated with raising livestock, not all of which are upfront. You will need to pay for the livestock itself, any farm equipment you find necessary, supplemental food, veterinarian costs, slaughter, and processing the meat. You can always save money at places like Central Farm and Garden on pasture alfalfa and grass as well. Overall it is difficult to give an estimate for the total cost of raising a cow from birth to slaughter as it varies widely, but most agree that the cost would exceed the market value of the meat due to economies of scale. However, the increased quality of the meat and the peace of mind from knowing that the animal was raised humanely, and sustainably is a huge non-monetary reward for raising livestock at home. Alternatives If you don’t have the space or ability to raise your own livestock, there are other options. You can invest in a share of an animal raised on another person’s property, and receive a portion of the meat. You can also buy your meat from small livestock farmers directly at farmers markets or their farm. Most are happy to answer any questions you may have on their practices. If you have room and time, chickens might be a more sustainable option as well since they provide not only meat, but eggs. If you decide raise your own meat you’re in for a rewarding and eco-friendly experience, but it is important to conduct a lot of research before you begin, both for your own sanity and for the health of the animal. However, all this effort is worth it to enjoy high quality meat with fewer environmental costs.
  4. When you consider that household cleaners are the number-one cause of poisoning in children, it’s important you’re vigilant about which products you use to clean your kitchen. This room is probably the most important, since you prepare food and spend the most time here, especially with kids. What’s more, the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are about three times more likely to cause cancer than air pollution. If you’re anything like the average home in the U.S., which has more than 1,000 different chemicals in it, it’s time to clean up – the safe and green way. All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner There are plenty of all-purpose cleaners on the market that will take care of tough stains while being hard on your health. For a green all-purpose kitchen cleaner, combine two tablespoons of vinegar, a teaspoon of borax or baking soda, and two cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake it, and then add a quarter-cup of liquid soap. Spray your counters and appliances, and wipe clean. Dish Soap When purchasing a dish soap for your kitchen, stick to detergents that are non-phosphate. To make your own detergent, purchase a bar of plain castile soap, place it in a bag and add water in a ratio of one part soap to four parts water - by height. Let it sit for five days, adding 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oils like lemon, orange, and lavender for even more disinfecting power. Drain Cleaner To clean your drain without losing cells in your brain, pour a half-cup of baking soda down it followed by a half-cup of vinegar. Let it bubble for about 15 minutes and pour a pot of boiling water over it. It's that easy! Oven Cleaner Typicaly oven cleaners often include some of the harshest chemicals to your health. Have you ever used one and once you smelled the fumes, literally choked? That's a clear sign that whatever is in that cleaner shouldn't be around you or in your home. To clean your oven safely, generously sprinkle water over the bottom of it. Cover the water with baking soda, leave overnight and wipe clean. TIP: Ovens are notoriously hard to clean if they're spills are abandoned. To help, sprinkle salt on spills immediately while the oven is still warm. When the oven cools down, scrape the area and wipe it clean. Stain Removal If you're unable to lift the stains with the green all-purpose kitchen cleaning solution that you've made, try sprinkling the surface with salt and squeezing lime or lemon juice over it. Let it sit for a few hours and then rub it out. Pest Problems With a clean kitchen, you'll keep the critters away. But if you do have a pest problem, investing in an organic pest service instead of a traditional one is also important if you want to save you and your family's health. Examples like Greenleaf Organic Pest Management specialize in “low-impact” solutions to get rid of bugs easily and safely. What green cleaning solutions do you rely on to keep your kitchen and home clean?
  5. If you're like most people, many of the habits you formed as a child remain second nature to you as an adult. Consequently, as a responsible parent, helping your children form their own positive habits is something you have to think about daily. When caring for the environment is concerned, the habits and thoughts kids have now can forever shape the way the earth holds up. Here are a few eco-friendly habits worth passing along to the next generation. Buying Products with Green Credentials Besides reducing harm to the planet's delicate balance, buying eco-friendly products encourages corporations to clean up their act. Involve your children in purchasing decisions for everything from LED light bulbs, to phosphate-free dish soap. Explain to them why you're avoiding products with certain substances and making a statement with your wallet. Recycling Appliances & Materials Wisely There's more to recycling than separating aluminum cans from plastic bottles. Finding a quality recycling company that can properly handle more problematic refuse like PCs, TVs, and smartphones is the key to eco-friendly recycling. Bring the kids along when you take in your recyclables to get them familiar with the process. You should also use companies like Ware Disposal to help get you on a regular cleanup and pickup schedule. Scheduling Activities to Reduce Energy Usage If you're a savvy consumer, you know that energy waste can be easily curtailed with a little forethought. Plotting routes using Google Maps to reduce unnecessary car trips can eliminate literally tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Show your kids the ropes by setting a forward-thinking example in everyday scenarios and kill two birds with one stone by helping lower energy and waste as well as your bills. Considering Potential Environmental Impacts Nearly everything we do affects the environment in some way. Demonstrate the importance of making those effects positive by involving children when undertaking a landscaping or home renovation project. If you're a city dweller without a yard, start a balcony garden and educate your kids on the importance of cultivating non-invasive plant species. Going with the Local Option When Possible As you should know by now, transporting goods from one end of the world to the other generates a ton of carbon dioxide. Buy local products instead to cut back on emissions and get started by creating a compost heap with your kids rather than buying commercial topsoil for your organic garden. How to Make Those Teachable Moments Count Getting your children on the green bandwagon isn't terribly difficult. Focus on areas that interest each child so that green life lessons don't seem like homework. Parcel out tidbits of wisdom gradually so that they have a chance to sink in. If you keep things light and take your time, kids will form eco-friendly habits that last a lifetime.
  6. Spring cleaning is something everyone has to do at some point and you don’t necessarily want to use harsh or toxic chemicals to get the job done. Luckily there are other options. Here are some green and natural products to help your spring cleaning efforts along. Baking Soda One of the best green cleaning products you can use is simple baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets, allow it to sit for a bit, and then vacuum it up to remove odors. Mix baking soda with vinegar to make a powerful cleaning paste that can be used in sinks, toilets and ovens. Baking soda, a pinch of salt, and a little water can be combined to make an eco-friendly scrubbing paste to get rid of difficult stains. Vinegar Basic white vinegar can clean many things in the common household. It can be used with a little water to create streak-free windows and mirrors, and can be used plain as a disinfectant on most surfaces in kitchens or bathrooms. Leaving a rag soaked with vinegar in a tub or sink will break down mineral scale. Pure Lemon Juice Pure lemon juice or pure lemon extract can be an amazing ally while doing spring cleaning. Use ten drops of lemon in a gallon of water as a fragrant disinfectant. The same mixture can be used as a general purpose cleaner around your home to clean furniture or decorative items. You can also add the lemon to other green products to improve the smell. Olive Oil A little real olive oil can be used to help polish and protect your wood furniture in the spring. Clean your furniture with normal water and dry it then put a little olive oil on a clean rag and buff the surface afterwards. This will bring out the shine and beauty of the wood. It also makes a protective layer that will help to repel dust and allergens. This can relieve symptoms from allergies especially when combined with effective medications like Dymista. Fragrant Essential Oils A final product to have on hand when doing green spring cleaning is essential oil. Get some essential oils with scents you enjoy. You can put a few drops on cotton balls and leave them in key areas to naturally improve the fragrance of a room or drawer. You could also boil essential oils in water to create a sudden rush of pleasant fragrance in the home. Using natural products to do spring cleaning has many benefits. It helps the environment and maintains good indoor air quality. You will also have fewer problems with skin irritation and allergies as a result. These simple products can all help you when spring cleaning time comes around.
  7. Easy Home Plumbing Guide

    The plumbing system in your home requires regular maintenance and while it’s a lot easier to call a contractor when an emergency occurs, there are certain things you can do on your own and include in your daily routine. Here are simple tips how to handle home’s plumbing issues on your own: Bathroom The bathroom is the place where plumbing issues most likely occur and requires regular maintenance in order to avoid it. Start with the drain – to prevent it from overflowing, you should pour hot water at least once a week. In addition to that apply drain solvent to remove clogs and prevent plumbing damage. Examine faucets on regular basis, as damage to them is very likely to cause a lot of trouble to the fixtures. If you are unable to repair these yourself, schedule a professional visit. Kitchen The garbage disposer and the aerator are the most common reason for plumbing emergencies in the kitchen. First, let’s start with the disposer – before using it, leave cold water to flow through it for at least 30 seconds and also it’s a good idea to use dish detergent to easily remove foul odors. Second the aerator – often low water pressure causes lime buildups and these result in leaks or even additional damage to the home’s plumbing system. It’s also recommended to unscrew it from the faucet and then use a small brush to remove the sediments. Basement The basement is the place where water heaters are located and also the main valves of the plumbing system can be found. No matter whether you do plumbing work in the basement, kitchen or anywhere else in your home, knowing where the main shutoff valve is pretty much essential. However sometimes, it’s located outside the house, near the street. Water heaters require annual maintenance and need to be drained, then flushed in order for the sediment buildups to be removed. Sometimes, depending on the model and type of the heater is much easier to call professionals help with that task. Laundry Room All hoses, pipes and the entire plumbing system located in the laundry room needs to be inspected on regular basis for signs of wear or leakage. In case any repairs are needed, carefully asses the task, as sometimes washing machine repairs are not that easy to perform by DIY enthusiasts. In some cases, you may have to even consider replacing the washing machine with a newer model, as often many of the issues are simply caused by the appliance’s age. Clogged Drains Clogged drains can cause serious damage to the plumbing system and fixing these must be your top priority. Depending on the severity of the clog, a simple drain solvent may do the job. However, if the clog is located near the main sewer line, it may not be that easy to reach out to it. In those cases, professional help is pretty much mandatory. Companies like CW Plumbing Services will save you both time and money with any kind of plumbing emergency you face!
  8. Plumbing emergencies can cause serious damage to your property, which besides costing you a lot of money, will most definitely make your everyday life uncomfortable. The best way to deal with plumbing issues is to perform regular maintenance and this is exactly what I am going to share with you in this article. Here are the ultimate tips to follow for dealing with all problems before they actually occur: Watch out for trouble The easiest thing to do in order to spot trouble with the plumbing system is to regularly examine it for leaks. Even the smallest leak can cause enormous water damage over time, so every sign of possible plumbing failure means it’s time to act! Fix issues early Even though small leaks doesn’t seem like a big deal, they need to be fixed immediately or they will cause damage to other parts of the plumbing systems. For example, leaky faucets actually wear out the sink and also cause the growth of mold! Keeping all issues fixed on time and learn how to stay on top of these problems. Prepare emergency plan In case of a plumbing emergency, there are certain steps that you need to follow – the first thing to do is to find the main shut-off valve and turn down the home water supply. In some cases these are hidden or require additional tools in order to be turned-off, so make sure you are prepared with all the tools you need in case of an emergency. Don’t panic, this is pretty much the worst thing you can do in case of an emergency. Turning off appliances Besides the main shut-off valve for the home’s water supply, you also need to know how to turn off all electric appliances that use this water. In case any of these fails, shutting down fast can save you from a lot of cleaning and possible even water damage! The sewer valve In some cases, the toilets are overflowing due to plumbing problems and knowing where the sewer valve is will definitely save you precious time, especially if you have hired a professional to help you with the emergency. Handling small issues You don’t need loads of knowledge and experience to tackle small plumbing issues around the home. You actually need just few tools and you are ready to solve some of the most common plumbing issues that occur in every household. If you want to increase your skillset, there are dozens of how-to books available at the local home improvement store and also online. Keeping the plumbing safe during the winter Probably the worst enemy of your home’s plumbing system is the cold weather. If you live in an area where the temperatures fall below zero during the winter on regular basis, keeping the plumbing safe during the winter is pretty much essential. What to do when the pipes freeze? In case the pipes freeze, first don’t panic and second follow the emergency routine you have supposedly created so far. Turn off the water supply to the clogged area and remember to never use an open flame when warming a frozen pipe. Once the water flow is restored, carefully examine the pipe for leaks or cracks. In cases when there are any signs of damage, you should call professional plumbers like Plumber Services Dublin.
  9. Ongoing trends in kitchen designs and interior home designs in general seem to be going the way of "green" and sustainability, and it helps homeowners to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet. By simply selecting eco-friendly materials, avoiding use of toxic chemicals, using low-flow faucets, and energy-efficient appliances, your new home design can reduce energy use and improve your own health at the same time. Bigger Is Not Always Better In designing sustainable kitchen areas, a smaller space consumes less building material, and less energy to both heat and cool the interior. Designing a smaller layout for cabinets and counter-tops ultimately makes wise use of a smaller kitchen space as well, and you can find other options like hanging pot and mug racks for simple and clever storage solutions. Creating Kitchen Gardens And Indoor Herb/Veggie Stations Connecting with nature and staying healthy in the kitchen can be done by creating an indoor herb or veggie station by a sunny window, or an outside small container veggie garden nearby the kitchen door. In doing so, you may find that even your indoor air quality improves significantly. Composting Composting, even on a small level, prevents up to 140 pounds of waste from ending up in landfills annually. As you begin composting practices, kitchen scraps turned to compost reduce your own need for fertilizer, pesticides, and even water. Keeping a container by the sink for collecting kitchen scraps goes a long way to help reduce your carbon footprint and make your garden more sustainable. Utilize Biodegradable Materials When Possible Buying kitchen counter-tops made from recycled paper, recycled glass, and reconstituted wood is one option. Likewise, natural paints made from natural ingredients are more environmental-friendly than other varieties. Floor coverings made from reconstituted wood is another good choice, as are tiles made from recycled materials. Consider Buying Energy Star® Appliances Think about retrofitting with energy-saving water efficient appliances. Incredibly, doing so is the equivalent of having 15,000 cars suddenly disappear from the highway. Yes, Energy Star® Appliances are more expensive to buy; however, their savings in energy costs may be worth it to many consumers as well as their long mechanical life. Window Replacement Having an environmental-friendly window arrangement in your home means a lot more energy savings in the long run. New window materials and the use of double-glazed Gilkey windows and fiberglass, are all viable means to help either reduce, or maintain heat in a home. When speaking of eco-friendly or environmental-friendly advice in creating kitchen sustainability, the options are almost innumerable. Since this seems to be an ongoing trend in today's home designs, careful research and selection is a must, so choose wisely.
  10. In an era of information that esteems the progress of science, today’s populous is becoming keenly aware of the impact human activity has on the environment. Particularly and prominently, the decline of the planet has steadily come to international attention. With a cataclysmic global crisis impending, people are left to wonder what is being done. Is there anything proactive, or are our communities continuing in detrimental disinterest? One of the most important variables we can control is our waste output. By mitigating the waste our community produces, we decrease the size of landfills and preserve the earth’s most precious resources. Recycling Communities recognize that most of us can contribute less waste simply by not wasting anything. The average household produces over four pounds of garbage daily. It is becoming more and more important for everyone to pay attention to what is being thrown away. Some of these efforts have been put to good use by recycling plants. Recycling plants are established specifically to reuse resources such as paper, cardboard, and plastic. Companies like Lakeshore Recycling are even making an effort to make it more convenient and easy to recycle by providing bin rentals to communities and private companies alike. Ascribing to a Lifestyle Part of recycling effectively, is making it a part of a daily lifestyle. Families toady are constantly looking for different forms of recycling. Rather than allowing old clothes to go to waste, communities consider passing them on to another, and online sellers and purchasing make it easy to get rid of and recycle old materials all over the world. This way less is contributed to landfills, and more waste is reduced. Families also purchase items that are eco-friendly, such as reusable shopping bags, rechargeable batteries, washable water bottles and other items that have been recycled. A Call to Action Communities are willing to respond to good information about causes that matter. This is what is happening across many communities in the United States. As we encourage more people to live eco-friendly lifestyles, and make them aware of the waste that they produce and how it has compromised the planet, people are willing to listen and change their behavior. Information and education is key. With the internet as pervasive as it is, communities are able to spread information and make their causes known and more easily fought for. Leading an eco-friendly life, and finding better, easier ways to recyle is all a part of how communities today are changing and becoming more aware of limited resources. We are concerned with the sort of world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren. By reducing our landfill waste, they will not be plagued with a dying world.
  11. Herb gardening is as easy as the fresh herbs are flavorful. Small flower beds, vertical spaces, and even odd corners can be turned into a productive herb garden with these helpful hints and inspirational ideas. If you don’t want to do all the initial digging and planting work, a local Utah landscaping company would be glad to do the ground-breaking work for you, and help make your herb garden idea a reality. Small Spaces Apartment and condo dwellers that have small outdoor spaces can still enjoy the satisfaction of growing an herb garden. As long as there is some type of sunny outdoor space, such as a porch, or accessible roof top, there is the opportunity for planting a container garden. Select a location that receives bright sunlight for 4-5 hours a day to place your planting containers. Fill them with a good quality potting soil mixture and mix in some slow release, granulated fertilizer into the soil. Start the herbs of choice from seeds and place them in a small container of water (use separate containers for each seed variety), then place the containers in the refrigerator for 48 hours. This cold water soak will cause the tiny herb seeds to germinate quicker. Drain seeds, and plant in prepared soil. Keep soil moist and seeds will germinate in 4-7 days. Container Companion Planting Herbs make excellent container companions for other garden favorites like tomatoes and flowers. Select planters large enough to accommodate the root system of the plants, and place a tomato plant in the center of the container with oregano and chives seeds tucked in around the sides. Basil and cilantro make good growing companions for a pepper plant, and the mixed containers are interesting to look at wherever you place them. Containers will dry out quickly, and the growing plants will need a steady supply of water and food. Water daily during the heat of summer and feed plants weekly with a water soluble plant food. Grow Vertical Decorative and space-saving, a vertical herb garden is an easy DIY project. If you have an exterior wall or fence you can plant and grow herbs of your choice upon the structure. Just attach any type of individual planting containers in an upright position on the vertical wall, low enough so that herbs can be tended and harvested as needed. Create a decorative vertical pattern with the containers, then fill them with good quality potting soil that has a good fertilizer mix, then plant herb seedlings or seeds of your choice. Give seeds a cold soak as described above prior to planting and water vertical container daily. Odd Spaces Herbs have shallow roots and are happy growing in most any location as long as they receive 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, and the soil is kept moist. Since the plants are easy to please, think outside the garden plot and look for odd spaces in which to plant and grow your favorite herbs. An old tree stump can become a prime growing location. Hollow out the stump center, fill with good quality potting soil, and plant seedling or seeds. Suspend a window box or two from an easily accessible window and fill with fragrant and flavorful herb plants. Window boxes can also be suspended from porch railing. Tuck in a nice trailing vine, such as a petunia, in the window boxes for some extra flowers and color. Herbs are easy to plant and take care of, even year round. No matter what your outdoor space looks like, you can find a way to make it a happy place for herbs of all kinds.
  12. 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.
  13. 8 Ways To Go Green At Home

    As everyone is talking about the climate changes, global warming and sustainability, it seems like all “passionate” supporters of the green idea are just talking, but they lack action. But I’m happy that you want to take action and change things for good. If you want to live in a greener, cleaner planet, remember that any change begins within ourselves. Limit your environmental impact, live a healthier life and save money by following these simple steps. 1. Forget about bottled water. Instead, buy water filters to clean tap water. When on the go, opt for a reusable bottle, preferably aluminium one. 2. Borrow. Go to the library and borrow the books you want to read, instead of buying them from the bookstore. 3. Make your own natural cleaners: Usually all the ingredients you need are vinegar, baking soda, lemon and soap. When choosing a cleaning company, hire the one that uses bio detergents in the cleaning process. This company, for instance, works with natural, eco-friendly detergents. 4. Get out of the car. Reduce the harmful exhaust emissions by walking or cycling to work. In addition to the saved money, you will also improve your health and reduce the risk of obesity. 5. Save energy: Turn your thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and increase the temperature a few degrees in the summer. This way you will save money on heating and cooling. Replace the old incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones. Unplug appliances when not being used, or buy "smart" power strips. They feel when appliances are off and eliminate "phantom" energy use. Instead of machine drying, hang the laundry on a clothesline or on a drying rack. Improve the insulation, install solar panels, upgrade the windows. 6. Save water: Invest in a low-flow showerhead. Take shorter showers, bathe with warm, not hot water. In the garden, grow native plants which require few and far between waterings. 7. Use reusable shopping bags. Put one in your handbag, at home, on your desk, in the car, or any place where it would be useful. 8. Buy smart: Look in thrift stores, garage sales and consignment shops for clothing and furnishings. Buy in bulk. Save on packaging and money. Invest in high-quality products. Paying more now means less frequently replacing of household items, clothes, appliances, etc. Resources: Worldwatch.org
  14. In the recent past, doing your part to save the environment meant recycling plastic containers, buying organic vegetables and using canvas tote bags. Today, there are more ways to live green than ever before. In fact, a few simple changes can help you create a greener, healthier home. Here are five decorating ideas to consider. Marry Your Interior and Exterior Home One of the easiest ways to green up your home is to blur the lines between the interior and exterior living spaces. Opening your doors and windows is one way to bring the outdoors inside. If you are planning a home renovation, consider installing a window wall that opens an entire room to the outdoors. Screens allow you to let in fresh air while keeping the bugs and other pests outside. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting Fixtures The right lighting fixtures can give your home an aesthetic appeal that is eco-friendly and functional. Old fixtures use a lot of energy, which can drive up your electricity bills. Replace them with energy-saving fixtures, such as those with Energy Star certification, or even solar-powered models. Replace your standard, incandescent bulbs with energy-saving alternatives such as light-emitting diodes (LED) or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Decorate With Indoor and Outdoor Plants Nothing says green living like live plants. Besides adding beauty to your home, plants from places like Green Smart Decor provide a relaxing outdoor hobby and help reduce indoor air pollution. Choose low-light, low-water houseplants for indoor decorating, and water them with rainwater or water you would otherwise discard. Outdoors, use the right soil and appropriate fertilizers, and water your plants frequently to keep the soil from drying out. Beautify Your Home With Reclaimed Water While luscious greenery is a great way to green your home and lawn, it comes at the price of high energy bills. If you are renovating your home or designing a new one, consider installing reclaimed water solutions. For example, try drainage systems that use rainwater to feed your lawn and outdoor landscaping. Save Water With Artificial Leaf Panels Artificial leaf panels are a good way to green your home without adding to your water bills. In addition to their easy installation and natural appearance, polyurethane panels provide ultraviolet (UV) protection and noise insulation. They are also weather-resistant, pest-free and unattractive to pets. Green Smart Décor offers a variety of panel options including ficus and ivy. "Going green" does not have to mean "going expensive" with solar panels or bamboo flooring. Simple changes like the ones above can make your home a greener, safer, healthier place to live. Begin with small steps and make a commitment to change your habits over time.
  15. Build your own low-energy, sustainable dwelling using nothing but a mallet and a drill. Four people are needed to assemble the first WikiHouse kit, which is now released and free to download and buy in the UK. Print and build a beautiful timber house, customized to your own needs! And the most important is, people won't have to spend their whole lives paying mortgages. Even me, an employee of this small housekeeping agency, can afford to build a house like this. The WikiHouse Studio, displayed on the pictures here, can be purchased for only £14,500! The basic type of housing can usually be erected by a team of amateurs in 1-2 days. Depending on the project and the design, the other building elements can vary, but it usually takes a total cutting time of 4 weeks and a construct time of 2 weeks. The WikiHouse project is happening thanks to the collaboration of many designers and architects, whose main objective was to create a DIY kit for a timber house which could be constructed by everyone. Various types of buildings can be constructed, like guest or granny houses, tourism cabins, kiosks and small houses which can be grouped around a common facility like a BBQ, a pool or a shared kitchen. Graham Osborne is the principal of Origen Architects in Queensland, and he is the coordinator of this project. He said that the combination of numerous sustainable elements makes this design suited for “the worst case scenario” and he is confident that it will work well no matter the location, weather conditions and climate. The Australian project’s engineering consultant Arup ensures that each WikiHouse meets the building code requirements, as well as both bushfire rating and cyclone rating requirements. Each WikiHouse is made of timber walls and a system of timber cassettes for flooring, OSB cladding and entry beams. Each element of the kit weighs less than 80 kilos, which means that you don’t need a special machinery to lift it, just a few buddies of yours. The houses are designed to sit on stumps and thereby the need for a concrete slab and in-ground fortifications is avoided. The timber cassettes provide a good thermal isolation too. You can download the open source plan from the WikiHouse website, where you can also learn more about their mission, technology, different designs and the annual, locally-held workshops.
  16. While we likely won’t see a world in which every home is solar powered, trash is turned into fertilizer, and everyone grows their own produce, there are a number of things that you do at home to be a little greener. Going green once meant you simply recycled all your trash bags and conserved water when brushing your teeth, but today there are so many more things you can do. If you want to do your part to make your home environment more green, check out these environmentally friendly living tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint from the inside out. Conserve Energy Energy conservation is one of the first steps you can take toward going green, and today it’s easier than ever to implement these energy-saving practices. Here are just a few ways you can start reducing your energy consumption. • Switch your light bulbs. – Incandescent lightbulbs use up to 75 percent more electricity than compact fluorescent bulbs. Switch all of your existing bulbs to fluorescent bulbs and save energy (and money). • Turn the lights off. – Another great way to save energy is making sure lights get turned off when not in use. If you and your family forget to do this, then consider either installing automatic light sensors or timers on your lights to regulate when lights are turned off. • Unplug unused appliances. – Even when not in use, your appliances and other electronics are using electricity. Conserve energy by unplugging unused appliances and electronics, including your television, computer, lights, toaster, and other items. • Install an alarm system with energy efficiency options. – We have all left a light on at home, or even left the heat running when we were going to be gone for the day or even for several days. This is one of the biggest drains on energy, so help yourself and the environment out by installing an alarm system that will help you manage your energy. NorthStar alarm reviews show great options that allow you remotely power off appliances, control your lighting, and monitor and manage your home energy usage. Improve the Air Quality Another way you can go green at home is by improving the air quality around you. This measure is one few people think about, but is just as effective as other options. • Grow indoor plants. – Plants function as natural filters for the air, removing harmful pollutants and even odors. Fill your home with natural air cleaners including spider plants, palm trees, and Boston ferns. • Install a carbon monoxide detector. – If you heating unit is emitting carbon monoxide, it is polluting your home and the environment, which can even be deadly. Prevent this type of pollution by installing a carbon monoxide detector available from your local hardware store. Reduce Toxins Make an effort to reduce the toxins you use and bring into your home. While this effort isn’t always easy, there are many more options today than ever before. • Get rid of toxic chemical cleaners. – Start with the cleaners you use throughout your home. Ditch toxic chemical cleaners, and choose more natural options instead. There are many varieties available today, but you can also make your own with regular household products like vinegar and baking soda. • Reuse cleaning cloths. – Instead of using paper towels and other disposable items to clean, opt for reusable cloths you can toss in the wash. You’ll cut down on waste and save some money at the same time. Doing your part to go green at home makes a big difference, and it’s not that hard to do. Start on your path today to a greener home environment with these simple tips.
  17. 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.
  18. Did your last energy bill take you by surprise? Yes? And you thought your home was energy efficient. So the best choice you have in order to avoid unpleasant surprises of that particular type is to singlehandedly assess your home's energy efficiency. You can run some tests and see for yourself what you have to do in order to make make your house more energy efficient. If you do, you'll not only save money on electricity bills, you'll also be ensuring your personal safety and the safety of your home. Look for Air LeaksSo to start with, first check your house for any air leaks (drafts). These drafty areas fail to keep warmth inside during the winter months and respectively, the cool air in the summer. Fixing these problems can help you save as much as 30 percent on energy bills each year and on top of that will make your home much more comfortable. Begin by checking for air leaks near windows, doors and vents. If you find any you can easily take care of them yourself by simply airsealing around doors and resealing the caulking on your windows. Make sure you check your flooring and vents as well as all outside areas where different materials meet. Replace Inefficient LightingMost people don't know that, but around 10 percent of your electricity bill is due to lighting charges. So if you still haven't replaced your old incandescent light bulbs, it's high time you did. You can opt for the spiral compact flourescent lamps (CFLs), or the so-called LEDs – light-emitting diodes. They are a bit more expensive than your ordinary bulbs, but are a much better investment because they last a lot longer. Something more, they also let off more delicate light and use less energy, which is another plus and significantly contributes to the return on your investment. Large Household Appliances InspectionAn important step towards making your home more energy efficient and reducing your electricity bills is inspecting your household appliances. The surest sign something's not right with a device would be the loud noises coming out of it and its impaired efficiency. To lighten the workload of some devices, prolong their lifespan and save up on energy, you might want to consider: Buying new and more energy-efficient home appliances with the Energy Star label. It might seem a bit on the expensive side but in the long run the investment will pay off, especially if you take good care of the new device.Switching off or unplugging items from the power grid when you aren't using them. Unplugging them will prevent the so-called vampire draw or phantom loads which refers to the consumed by your appliances electricity when they're in switched off.Regular Air Filter ReplacementReplacing your air filters can also go a long way towards making your home more energy efficient. Ultimately, you should replace the air filters of your ventilation on a monthly basis. Otherwise the debris and dust in the air system will impair the airflow and cause the system's capacity to go down. As a consequence, it will need more energy to heat/cool your house. The regular air filter maintenance also means that no dust and debris will fall out of the vents. So you're saving money on both energy and house cleaning services. Insulation CheckupIn the last few months Melbourne, and Australia as a whole, saw some scorching heats. So if you want to stay cool this summer you better check the insulation of your house. Otherwise, given today's energy prices, the cool loss during the hot summer and the heat loss in winter will make your energy bills skyrocket.
  19. You may be surprised to hear that private homes account for over 40 percent of all energy consumed within the United States. If you are ready to cut back on your family's energy consumption and start saving on monthly bills, then take a look at these five affordable upgrades with an excellent return on investment. Tankless Water Heaters An older water heater can be one of the biggest energy consumers in a home because they keep an entire tank of water hot at all times. Tankless water heaters (on-demand water heaters) only heat water as it is needed, and this means lower gas or electricity bills and a home that never runs out of hot water. Light Tubes Everyone should upgrade to compact fluorescent lights at some point, but another simple way to save on lighting is to have light tubes installed. These simple tubes can fit around important structural components of a home and provide light to any room. Window Treatments Anyone with windows that are more than a decade old should consider upgrading their treatments to improve the insulation of their home. Studies show that older residential window treatments cost the American public $35 billion a year. Newer treatments will provide a home with additional layers of insulation to keep UV rays out during the summer and warm air in during the winter. Foam Roofing Older roofs are another major problem when it comes to energy efficiency. Foam roofing, available from places like Armstrong Installation Service, is nearly 500 percent more efficient than traditional roofs and provides much better protection from moisture. This relatively new technology works on a variety of roof types including flat and sloped roofs. This foam can also be sprayed around solar panels and other structural components. Trees Planting a few perennial trees will not only improve the appearance of your property, but it could also cut down on your HVAC bills during the summer. Placing these trees near windows will allow them to act as a windbreak as well as shade those areas from the sun. Having an energy efficient home no longer means that you and your family must do without modern amenities. Often all it takes is a few simple upgrades to make serious improvements with your home's carbon footprint. This includes utilizing new technology such as tankless water heaters, wall insulation, and new window treatments.
  20. We live in an increasingly eco-conscious world, where both home-owners and brands are driven to create a prosperous natural environment. This is even true in major metropolises and cosmopolitan hubs such as the U.S., where nearly 40% of all consumers now make purchasing decisions based on the use of sustainable materials and processes. There is no doubt that brands and business-owners are leading this drive, however, as the rising prevalence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to compel them. This is empowering consumers to live more sustainable and Eco-friendly lifestyles, while also serving as a template for others to follow. 3 Lessons that Home-owners can Learn from Leading Brands With this in mind, let’s take a look at three of the major lessons that home-owners can learn from businesses and brands when creating an Eco-friendly living environment: - Think in terms of ROI when creating a sustainable home One of the biggest issues facing home-owners is a lack of forward planning, which makes it extremely difficult to create a budget and execute potentially costly Eco modifications around the home. Many may even be deterred by the cost, regardless of the long-term benefits or whether they have the financial resources to complete the project. This is where savvy entrepreneurs would consider the ROI of a specific modification, measuring this against the potential ecological benefits before making an informed decision. There are energy reduction specialists that can help you to calculate the cost and ROI of Eco-friendly modifications, so before to consult with these in addition to amending your existing mind-set. Create a culture of Awareness among those involved This is perhaps the most pertinent lesson that can be learned by business owners, quite simply because long-term environmental gains cannot be made without a culture of awareness. Just as businesses strive to educate their employees on the importance of sustainability and equip them with the tools to work in a socially responsible way, home-owners must empower fellow residents to maintain a cost-effective and energy-efficient home. This can be achieved by spending time with residents and educating them on how sustainable living can contribute to an improved natural environment. Start by involving fellow residents and family members in the project, creating enthusiasm and a genuine sense of accomplishment in the process. Pay Attention to small and seemingly insignificant details Businesses and corporate ventures have a huge advantage when looking to implement Eco-friendly measures, simply because they can delegate specific tasks while maintaining a strategic overview of costs and goals. This makes it far easier to pay careful attention to small and seemingly insignificant details, which in turn can help individuals to manage costs accordingly. While home-owners may lack this level of human resources, they can at least recognise the importance of detail and how it underpins any successful modification project. In terms of home-modification, this applies to executing small and affordable measures before investing in solar panel. More specifically, you should ensure that your home as interior insulation, which is cheap to install and helps structures to retain heat during the winter. Similarly, you should also look to address any gaps that adorn the walls or doorways, using basic polyfilla or draft excluders. Statistics suggest that this reduces energy loss by 20%, which translates into tremendous efficiency and significant savings.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. While prominent estate agent Knight Frank has recently claimed that the annual price of real estate in the capital dropped to 2% in June, widespread growth throughout the UK has more than compensated for this. Even with June’s figures down on last years’ corresponding number of 8.1%, there is still ample opportunity for home-owners to sell their properties for a handsome profit. We are still in the midst of a sellers’ market, meaning that anyone who is gripped by a ‘sell house fast’ mentality can optimise the resale value of their home while executing a quick sale. There are several elements that are crucial to achieving this, but the decision to invest in eco-friendly modifications is arguably the most important in 2015. These will not only offer a considerable return on investment (ROI), but they will also make your home appealing in a competitive sellers’ market. So, here are some ideas for three crucial rooms within the home: - Emphasise Insulation and Materials for your Living Room Let’s start with the living room, which is arguably the focal point of any home. Often a hub of activity, it is crucial that this room is energy efficient and capable of fulfilling its core purposes. You must therefore that it is insulated effectively, and while this is a standard feature of all homes built post-1996 older properties may lack this and leave you exposed to increased consumption. You should also use materials wisely when modifying your living room, prioritising fittings that are sustainable and constructed using non-toxic natural glues, wool batting, renewable woods and organic latex foam. Create a Functional and Energy-efficient Kitchen In terms of the kitchen, this room has evolved into the heartbeat of the modern living space. It must therefore be both functional and stylish, while it must also remain energy efficient given the rate of carbon emissions that it is typically responsible for. The first step is to invest in multipurpose and energy efficient appliances, each of which should have an EPC rating of A or better. Think carefully about whether or not you need specific appliances too, as you do not need to invest in a separate washer-dryer as this is not efficient all year round. On a final note, look out for a water aerator, as this is a standard faucet attachment that pumps air into the water and negates the need to operate the taps at full blast. Repurpose Fixtures to create an Efficient and Rustic Dining Room The dining room is an unusual space, as while it serves multiple purposes it is often overlooked from a design perspective. It is ideal for experimenting with repurposed fixtures and materials, however, as this can save you money and help you to drive energy efficiency in the home. Consider repurposing discarded chairs, old kitchen cabinet doors and table tops into freestanding storage solutions, for example, while also using renewable woods to create new unit doors. You can be creative as your skills allow when repurposing materials, although the key is to adopt a simple plan of action that can easily be maintained. Image: Pixabay
  24. Energy waste and misuse is at an all-time high. This poorly coincides with the current state of the economy and job market. Home owners need to carefully conserve both resources and their hard earned money through being energy efficient. Below explains four tips to make your home more energy efficient. Energy Conservation One of the appliances that consumes the most energy is the water heater. Ensure that the water heater temperature is below 120 degrees. This will save energy and avoid potential overheating of plumbing pipes. Make sure that the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer are energy efficient models. A recent USA Today report revealed that Americans waste 4 billion dollars every year through inefficient clothes dryers. A standard dryer will consume as much as an energy efficient refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes washer. Research by McKinsey & Company in 2009 found that American homes and businesses spend over $130 billion dollars to power standby appliances. If an appliance is not in use, unplug it. Schedule Regular Air Conditioner Tune-ups Most homes need an AC to regulate temperatures and maintain indoor air quality. However, air conditioners consume an enormous amount of energy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Energy Star certified AC’s are 15 percent more efficient than conventional models and can be installed by companies like Spokane Air Conditioning Installation. If an upgrade isn’t necessary, regularly scheduled AC maintenance will ensure that the unit runs smoothly and will save money in the long run. Most people don’t realize that indoor air pollution can be worse than the outside air. A recent study by the National Institute of Health has shown that cardiovascular health can be improved through air conditioning. Windows According to the National Resources Defense Council, over 30 percent of a home's total heat loss occurs through windows and doors. Replace older single-pane windows with double-pane windows. Check for drafts and seal all window edges and cracks with caulk. Consider using shades or drapes to keep out the heat during the summer and keeping them open on sunny winter days. Light Pollution Light pollution isn’t something to take lightly. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, over 30 percent of lighting is wasted. Incandescent lights are very inefficient and over 90 percent of the energy is wasted as heat. Fluorescent lights conserve more energy the longer they are turned on. Most importantly, turn off lights when nobody is in the room. Home owners can conserve energy and save money through upgrading appliances, scheduling AC tune-ups, upgrading windows and reducing light pollution. Through these steps, you will be well on your way to running a more energy efficient home while also saving some cash along the way.
  25. It doesn't matter if you want modern, sleek decor or you'd much prefer the shabby-chic look; upcycling can result in treasured pieces you customize to fit your taste. The following is a list of ways to convert trash materials or worn-out chairs, into works of art. Decoupaging an Old Chair's Surface To update a chair that's nothing but an eyesore, gather up newspaper and magazine clippings, multicolored tissue paper, or scraps of fabric leftovers from a recent project. Apply them to the chair's surface using either decoupage glue, or lacquer from a nearby craft store and set aside to dry. Reupholstering Dingy or Torn Seats To fix rips, outdated patterns, or unattractive sun fading, simply reupholster all the tired padding. Quilting is an easy way to upcycle leftover fabric into seating that makes a statement. Crafty people could also use duct tape in varying designs to cover over ugly padding. Turning Home Improvement Leftovers into Conversation Starters Did you recently have a custom home builder in Regina revamp your bathroom or kitchen? You can upcycle the items that were replaced into eye-catching seating that is sure to turn some heads. Cut the side out of a claw-footed tub and modify it into a cozy reading nook. Using Old Chairs to make a Fashionable Bench When you want to get rid of an old patio set, consider turning the chairs into a bench instead. Line up two or three and use a shipping pallet to create a seating area that joins them all together in a cohesive way. Alternatively, you could line up four or five pieces of plywood in a row to achieve the same effect. Converting an Old Trunk into a Loveseat Modify the lid of an old trunk so it permanently sits at a 90-degree angle with the bottom half. Add upholstery to the hollow areas in the top and bottom sections for a comfortable seat and back rest. Attach four wooden legs to raise it off the ground. Relying on Old Accessories Gather up the family's old belts and weave them in and out of each other to create new upholstery. This can also be done with strips of cloth from old clothing items as well. Upcycling is a fantastic way to refurnish a home and add a decorative touch while also getting rid of useless junk you might have just lying around. The possibilities are as endless as your miscellaneous materials and imagination.