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Found 17 results

  1. An efficient HVAC system in your home can help keep the temperature more consistent and save you some money. There are a variety of ways that you can go about ensuring its efficiency. Here are some of the tips that you can employ in order to maximize the efficiency of the heating and cooling system in your home. Clear Out Debris Changing out the air filter regularly will help to keep your unit operating at peak efficiency. More air exchange allows the unit to work more efficiently. Another thing that can help is to have your ducts and registers cleared of debris. You want as much of the hot and cool air to be able to get into the living spaces of your home. Adequate air exchange is another consideration, as you want air circulation that can be achieved without creating different temperature climates around the house. Invest In An Efficient Unit Upgrading your older unit will also maximize the efficiency of your home. The energy rating calculates the average energy usage over the course of the year. If you have a poor energy rating, looking into new ac installation companies can help you save money—especially since newer appliances tend to be efficient. It will increase the comfort level in your home and most likely pay for itself in lower energy costs. Use Technology Assistance A programmable thermostat is another way that you can control the temperature in your home. There are even thermostats that learn about your habits, so that they can more closely regulate the temperature. These types of technology assistance programs are becoming popular means and can help you maximize the energy efficiency of your home. Some apps will even let you control the temperature of your home when you're away. Take Precautionary Measures There are the standard means that you can maximize your energy efficiency. These include things like using environmental options to help regulate the temperature in your home. Opening up the windows at night when it's hot or blocking out the sun are some of the ways that you can reduce your cooling costs. You don't have to run your HVAC system all of the time when there are free methods to maintain your comfort. Take control of your HVAC system so that you can become more energy conscious. Another bonus of increasing your energy efficiency is saving some cash. Use these tips to keep you started down a more energy efficient path.
  2. Staying warm throughout the cold winter months would be a serious challenge without the function of your home’s heater. As beneficial as your furnace may be at keeping the chill out of your indoor air, relying heavily on your furnace as a source of heat can create outrageous energy bills throughout the season. The good news is that there are several essential steps that you can take to reduce heating costs while still staying warm and cozy indoors. Schedule Preventive Maintenance In order to function as efficiently as possible, your furnace must be well-maintained. However, heavy and frequent use from last winter may have taken a toll on the equipment. Parts may be wearing out or dirty. Hoses may be loose, and other issues may be present. These may all cause the system to work harder than it otherwise would need to. Each fall, schedule service with a licensed HVAC technician. The technician can clean all heating components, replace worn out parts and otherwise restore the system to like-new condition. Adjust Your Thermostat Your programmable thermostat may currently be set for summer weather. When you turn the AC off and the heater on, you should adjust the programmable settings accordingly. For example, you may have the AC settings slightly higher in order to avoid draining energy in the warm weather season. If you maintain this higher setting in the winter, your heater will turn on more than necessary. Seal Doors and Windows Your HVAC system will also work more efficiently if the doors and windows are properly sealed. These seals are exposed to the elements year-round so they can deteriorate rapidly. Even if you cannot see moisture or sunlight through these features, do not assume that they are not damaged. Tiny leaks throughout the seals can have a major impact on energy costs. Include resealing doors and windows in your regular home maintenance schedule. In addition to taking these steps, you may also wear an extra layer of clothes in the house or sit under a blanket on the sofa. Drinking warm tea or cocoa can also help you to feel warmer and reduce your reliance on your heater. While each of these tips may only have a modest impact on energy costs, the cumulative effect of all of them can be astounding. You can schedule HVAC service and reseal doors and windows before cold weather arrives, and you can immediately implement the other tips when you turn your heater on for the first time.
  3. The dog days of summer are almost upon you. This means that you need to find creative ways to survive those hot days and nights. Make your home your refuge by employing some of these strategies. Invest in Fans The whole purpose behind fans is to circulate the air around your home. You have two options when it comes to investing in fans for your home. Window fans are a good option for you to cool your home down over night. You can either vent out hot air or bring in cooler air. Another solution is to install ceiling fans around your home to make the room feel a little cooler. Seal out Drafts There are lots of ways that hot air settles in your home. Once it’s there, it can be difficult to remove. The best solution is to prevent as much hot air as possible from getting inside. Add insulation into areas of your home that are lacking. Upgrade your windows or at the very least, seal them up against the intrusion of the outside air. Windows Provide Free Air Conditioning Opening your windows up at night is another great way to bring down the temperature in your home. You may want to look into a locking mechanism that will allow you to leave your windows open all night safely. Close the windows in the morning so that you can trap the cooler air inside your home. Another way to block out the heat is to use your curtains to limit the amount of solar radiation that enters your home during the day. Service Your AC Unit An air conditioning unit that hasn’t been serviced in a while may not be operating at peak efficiency. This could be costing you a significant amount of money on your electric bill each month. Look into companies like HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. They can make sure that your ac is up to par for the summer heat. Get Ahead of the Heat The cumulative effect of day after day of heat in your home makes it harder to keep cool. Program your thermostat at a moderate temperature so that you can avoid these spikes. Your unit only has to work harder when it needs to drastically cool your home down. Sleeping in a hot house is uncomfortable. If you have kids, this may become impossible. Use these tips to help you have a cooler, more efficient home this summer.
  4. Issues like pollution and global warming are serious challenges. If we are to protect the earth for future generations, we need to take action now. That certainly includes action from businesses both large and small. Make sure you are doing your part by instituting green policies into your company where you can. Below are four such strategies you should give serious consideration. Make Your Office Paperless One thing offices do is waste a lot of paper. The average US office employee uses about 10,000 pieces of paper a year. All this waste leads to the clearing of forests. That means fewer trees to transform harmful carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. However, thanks to things like email and PDF files, there really is no longer a need for paper in the modern office. Do your part and go paperless. Start a Carpool Program One of the biggest sources of pollution created by businesses doesn’t come directly from the business itself. Instead, it’s all the gasoline that must be burned to allow employees to drive to and from work. Thankfully, there is a way to change this and curb your workforce’s carbon footprint. You should consider starting a company carpool program. Employees will benefit as well since they will have to spend less on gas each year. Waste Less Water Most states in the US expect significant water shortages in the future. We will have to start treating more wastewater to make up the difference. You can do your part by using less water in your facilities. Consider installing low-flow plumbing fixtures like toilets, faucets and more that use a lot less water so more of this valuable resource can be saved for the greater community. Perform an Energy Audit Many businesses are completely oblivious to the ways they are wasting energy. Your factory, store, warehouse or other facility may be needlessly wasting energy and electricity in ways you are not even aware of. Perform an energy audit through the use of a third party. The results of the audit can then be used to lower the amount of energy your facilities are using. This increased efficiency will also do the job of helping to slash your overhead expenses. Businesses are not free of moral and ethical obligations. One of these obligations is doing what you can to lower pollution and protect your community as well as the earth in general. Hiring someone with a civil engineering degree to help analyze your companies influence can help you with this. The four strategies above should only be a starting point for going green with your company.
  5. Sustainability starts in the home. But are you doing everything you can to create an eco-friendly house? There are many ways you can make your house greener and more energy efficient. Use these tips to learn how to save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Insulate Your Home How well insulated is your home? Many homes do not have insulation in the basement or attic. This is where most of the unwanted air flow enters your home. Because of this, cold air will enter your home in the winter and warm air in the summer. This means your heating and air conditioning will need to work twice as hard to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. To lower your heating and cooling costs and stop wasting energy, install additional insulation in your home. Make Sure Everything Is Running at High Efficiency Check your appliances and ensure they are working as efficiently as they can. If your appliances and home fixtures are not working as efficiently as they should, you will be spending more on your energy bills. For example, a low-efficiency furnace will require more energy to heat your home. Call a professional furnace repair company, like Logan A/C & Heat Services Inc., to inspect your furnace and fix anything that needs to be fixed. The same goes for all of your large appliances like your refrigerator and washing machine. Additionally, when it comes time to replace any appliances, make sure you choose ones that are energy efficient. You can tell because they will have the Energy Star logo on the tags. Turn off the Lights Your parents might have been onto something whenever they yelled at you to turn off the lights. Anytime you leave a room, remember to turn off the lights. Doing so can save a lot of electricity and thus lower your bills. The last thing you want is to waste energy on things that nobody is even using. Switch to Green Energy Sources There’s never been a better time to upgrade your home to green sources of energy. Consider installing solar panels on your roof to power the house. This is a fantastic way to make your house eco-friendlier and save on energy costs. Plus, you may even be able to get a tax break after installing the solar panels. There are tons of ways you can make your home greener. In doing so, you can save yourself some cash and save the environment, too.
  6. Even if you aren’t ready to spend a significant amount of money on renovations, there might be a handful of smaller upgrades that will make your home much more efficient. Carrying out a few of these projects could end up saving you hundreds of dollars a month on your electric, water, and gas bills. Here is a quick look at four steps that you can take to improve your home’s efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. Install Low-Flow Fixtures In the average American home, showers account for just over 17 percent of all indoor water use. Installing low-flow showerheads throughout your home could reduce how much water your family uses by thousands of gallons a year. There are also hundreds of low-flow products for kitchen taps, bathroom faucets, toilets, and outdoor spigots. These devices are easy to install, affordable, and extremely effective. Switch to Tankless Water Heaters Traditional water heaters keep huge basins of water warm at all times, and that is very inefficient. If you have a larger family or use multiple fixtures at the same time, then it might take 15 minutes or longer for the fresh water to heat up once the basin has been emptied. Tankless water heaters use just a fraction of the electricity because they only heat up water as it is being used. Smaller tankless water heaters can be installed in strategic areas throughout a home or you can invest in a larger unit for the entire household. Update Your Windows Quite a bit of heat transfer takes place through a home’s windows, and that can wreak havoc on your energy bills. Modern energy-efficient windows are designed to prevent as much heat transfer as possible while still letting in plenty of sunlight. These windows also have a much tighter fit with the nearby walls to prevent unnecessary drafts. When combined with thick drapes, you might be able to reduce your energy bills during the coldest months of the year by a substantial amount. Upgrade Your HVAC System Working with a contractor who can help you optimize your HVAC system is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint. In most states, indoor temperature control accounts for around 48 percent of the average home’s energy consumption. Some companies, like Derek Sawyers Heating and Air Conditioning, know how important it is to maintain your HVAC system. In addition to upgrading your HVAC system as it gets older, one of these contractors can also help you carry out seasonal maintenance. This will keep your furnace and air conditioner running smoothly. One of the best ways to track your progress on this journey is to schedule regular home energy audits. An inspector can carefully look over your property to determine where improvements need to be made and what upgrades will have the greatest return on investment.
  7. 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.
  8. You don’t have to invest in a hybrid or electric car to make your vehicle greener. Certain driving habits, proper vehicle maintenance and a few small changes or accessories can go a long way to improving a car’s efficiency and reducing its overall carbon footprint. The best news of all is that these green car tips are likely to save you money in the long run by reducing your need for fuel or expensive repairs. Control Speed About 75 percent of a vehicle’s carbon emissions are due to the fuel they burn. There are many ways to reduce a car’s fuel consumption. Two of the easiest ways that require little more than a change in habits is speed and car weight. Reducing speed is one of the best ways to improve fuel economy. This is because of some simple physics known as liquid thermodynamics. Basically, as a car moves through the air, it is compressing that air just a little bit. This creates drag that tries to slow the car down. The faster a car is going, the more it compresses the air and the more power it needs to get through that air. No matter how aerodynamic the vehicle is, this air compression increases remarkably at about 60 miles per hour. Those speed limit signs aren’t just a matter of safety. Following them will improved your MPG. Consistent speed is also important for mpg. Gasoline engines are extremely inefficient when they are accelerating and work best when they run at a continuous speed. This is one reason that freeway driving tends to result in higher mpg than town driving. Every time you hit the brakes, you are wasting some of the car’s energy. By driving moderately, and avoiding a lot of starting and stopping or fast acceleration, you can improve fuel economy by quite a bit. Safe driving also happens to be better and more efficient driving. Reduce Weight Your car’s weight has a major impact on how much fuel it consumes. Every 100 pounds of weight tends to reduce fuel efficiency by about 2 percent. Stripping off extra racks and cargo containers and emptying out the trunk of unnecessary stuff may have a surprising effect on fuel efficiency. The impact of weight is more noticeable the smaller the engine. Be Mindful of Your Tires The next biggest factor in fuel efficiency is the amount of friction created by your tires. Friction creates drag that requires more energy to overcome. Unless you need heavy-duty tire tread for off-road or harsh weather conditions, it is most beneficial to equip tires with low-resistance tread. This may mean switching your tires seasonally. Equip low-resistance tires in the summer and switch to heavier tread in the winter only when you need it. Tire inflation is also a critical factor. As a tire loses pressure, more of the tire is pressed against the roadway, and it creates more drag and friction to overcome. Underinflated tires have other problems as well. The tire is going to wear more quickly and require replacement. If the tire becomes severely underinflated, it is a road hazard that may cause a dangerous blowout or loss of vehicle control. Regular Maintenance For many people, car maintenance is like a pass or fail test. If something breaks completely and the car won’t run or the check engine light comes on, then it’s time to take it in for service. Unfortunately, the truth is that most cars don’t break down completely unless something serious or catastrophic happens. Instead, the car’s systems slowly wear down and become less and less efficient before finally breaking. Proper maintenance and tune-ups ensure that a car continues to run in its most efficient state. Problems with the fuel and exhaust system or coolant system may not immediately cause a breakdown or even a check engine light, but they are still causing problems. You can help ensure that your engine continues to run efficiently by using fuel additives that clean the engine as it runs. States and companies vary on their laws regarding fuel additives. California tends to regulate more additives, but most states have little to no regulation on additives. Be Smart with Oil Used engine oil is a huge factor in the environmental friendliness of your car. The first step is to only get an oil change when you actually need it. Most synthetic oils are designed to run at least 10,000 miles or 6 months, and the highest qualities may last even longer. Mechanic stickers suggesting oil changes every 4,000 miles or less or just trying to keep their income, wasting oil and your money. The only exception is with non-synthetic oils that have much shorter lives and should probably be avoided anyway. When you do change your oil, be sure that it is recycled properly. Most municipalities offer free oil recycling with garbage collection, but the oil must be disposed of properly. It should not be included in regular garbage and it should never, ever be put down the drain or just spilled onto the street. In most areas, improper disposal is illegal and has steep fines. Visit car dealerships in St George for more information on your specific car and how it can be made friendlier to the environment. By changing some of your basic habits and keeping your vehicle well-maintained, you can increase your fuel efficiency and reduce your car’s carbon footprint. You even stand to save quite a bit of money in the process.
  9. Everything a person does can have an impact on the environment. Even actions like moving, which rarely get much attention from environmentalists, can make a difference. That means the best way to help the environment is not by making a single massive change, but by trying to make everything a little bit greener. It's particularly useful in the case of moving, since most of the ways to go green can also save time and money. Shipping Cars Cars have a reputation for hurting the environment, but shipping a car doesn't have to make things worse. There are two ways to help the environment when shipping a car, and the choice between them depends on the scale of the move. If you are shipping your things by truck, try to use your car instead. If your car can take the place of one of the shipping trucks, then one less vehicle is on the road and burning gas. Shipping the car separately would still consume some fuel, which is also saved by using it for the move. If you aren't using trucks to ship your possessions, try to avoid driving. Using a mass freight ship or other option to get the car most of the way to your destination will almost always be more efficient. It may also be cheaper, since the freight company can spread their fuel costs among many customers and because ships and trains tend to be more fuel-efficient than cars. When in doubt, try to minimize the number of vehicles involved in the move. If a car or truck needs to be on the road, use it to carry as many of your things as possible. This saves on fuel, which helps the environment, but it will also reduce your odds of misplacing a box as you move. You can use sites like these for getting a quote to ship a car which will tell you if it’s in your budget to try. Salvage Boxes Moving means packing, and packing means boxes. Some people purchase boxes for the move, but that wastes money and puts more strain on the environment. The best way to protect nature is to use as few resources as possible, and that means reusing things whenever you can. Most stores will be happy to hand out old shipping boxes to anyone who asks. The boxes are usually getting thrown away anyway, so it doesn't cost them anything to do it. For best results, try to ask at a small grocery store. They get regular shipments and are the most likely to have a lot of boxes on hand. Bubble wrap and packing peanuts are sometimes available as well, but they can be a little bit harder to find for free. The worst that can come from asking is getting a polite refusal, while the best is saving money and protecting nature, so there's no reason not to ask. Downsize Most people have a lot of stuff that they never use or even look at. Those objects take up space during the move, and there's often little to reason to bother bringing them to the new home. Looking through all of your possessions before the move and getting rid of the ones that you no longer want or need can be a great way to make things go easily and save resources. The environmental benefits come from reducing the need to ship items. Weighing down a truck will reduce its fuel efficiency, so bringing fewer objects can save a small amount of gas. Leaving enough items behind might mean reducing the number of vehicles involved in the move, which will have a much bigger impact. It also means spending less time packing and unpacking, which will make the moving process much easier to manage. Be sure to donate gently used items, or make them available for people to pick up. That is much better for the environment than throwing them away and having those people buy something completely new, and it can also raise a little bit of money to help with moving expenses. You shouldn't get rid of anything that you want to keep, but there's no better time to get rid of unwanted possessions. Moving will always be stressful, and it will always involve some pollution. Even so, using these tips can help to reduce those problems to the greatest extent possible. Even a small change can make a difference, so you should give them a try the next time you move.
  10. An inefficient heating system could cost you hundreds of dollars each year, and sadly, most homeowners don’t even know they are wasting this much money because they assume as long as the heater is producing heat, it’s working 100 percent. To know if your heating system is being inefficient, here are four things you will want to look out for. 1. High Gas Consumption Chances are your utility company allows you to view your bills from a few years ago, and if you don’t have an online account, consider creating one to be able to compare the usage from today to a year ago. If you’re noticing your bill is at least 15 to 30 percent higher, then could be a sign your system is becoming inefficient. Unless you’re raising your temperatures, there’s no reason for your bill to increase this much. 2. Your Pilot Light When your gas furnace starts up, you will notice a pilot light if you peek through the vents. A healthy system will have a steady blue color, but if your system is inefficient, this color can change. If you notice the flame is either yellow or it’s flickering, this could be a serious problem. These colors and signs often mean your system is producing high levels of carbon monoxide, and if you suspect this is the case, you will want to turn off your furnace immediately and call a professional. 3. Too Many Calls It’s okay to call the professionals here and there, but if you’re calling at least three to four times per year, you may be better off investing in a new system. Most systems will need an occasional repair; however, if your system has had at least four repairs north of $200, then it has probably reached the end of its life. Experts such as those at Universal Refrigeration, will tell you it may be time to call the professionals if your system is older than 15 years. 4. Odd Noises Pay close attention to the furnace when it boots on. Do you hear any popping or banging noises? If so, it may be a sign the furnace is on its death bed. A healthy furnace will be relatively quiet and won’t wake you up during a deep sleep. If any of these signs apply to you, then it’s time to call a professional before your heater kicks the bucket on a 10-degree night. Investing in a new system or even having a simple repair performed could save you a lot more than you think.
  11. The winter season poses several problems for Colleyville residential and commercial property owners. Sudden temperature drops can freeze pipes and cause leaks, flooding and expensive remediation. It can also take longer than usual and cost more to get repairs during emergency calls this time of year. To make your plumbing system more efficient and less likely to break down this winter, do the following: Add More Insulation One of the best ways to prevent pipe freezing is by using insulation to maintain warmer temperatures in certain areas that are affected the most by outside temperatures, such as exterior walls, crawl spaces, attics and basements. Additionally, you should wrap cold and hot water pipes. Insulated hot water pipes are not only less likely to freeze. They are also less likely to lose heat, which means you can turn down your hot water heater and save on your electricity bill. Keep in mind that insulation is useless unless you also seal any gaps at windows, doors, vents or other areas along exterior walls with caulk and other sealants. Shut Down Outdoor Water Sources Since outdoor water sources can freeze much easier than indoor ones, it is important that you turn off water to outdoor faucets and attached water systems like garden and irrigation hoses. After the water is completely turned off, drain, remove and store the hoses and then wrap each faucet with an old heavy cotton t-shirt or towel, a heavy duty plastic freezer bag and duct or shipping tape. Keep Drain Pipes Clean Frozen pipes and related problems are not the only thing you need to worry about this winter. One of the biggest problems that plumbers hear about during the holidays is drain clogs. To prevent an emergency plumbing situation when you are trying to enjoy festivities with loved ones, install mesh debris catchers at the top of the drain pipes in each sink to collect hair, food and other debris. These traps are also a perfect year-round solution to prevent large debris clogs. The secret to preventing clogs from soap scum, grease and microorganisms is cleaning the pipes at least once a month with a simple homemade method: Pour one pot of boiling hot water down each drain followed by one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Wait five minutes and then follow up with another pot of water. Invest in a Plumbing Inspection Things can go horribly wrong with your system for no other reason than a part breaking down because of age or defect. To help lower the chance of winter plumbing surprises, contact an experienced plumber like those at Piece of Mind Plumbing, a company that offers plumbing services in Colleyville. A plumbing specialist can determine if your system is at risk for leaks and other issues like water heating problems or if it needs a thorough professional cleaning. You rely on plumbing throughout the day for so many things, including hot showers, cold drinking water and waste disposal. These few steps can make certain that your plumbing performs optimally all winter long.
  12. Propane heating is a smart move for heating your office this fall/winter. It is innovative, and it has a variety of benefits. It is a more "green" choice, it saves money and it is a safe and reliable option compared to electricity. Detailed below are three reasons why you may want to convert to propane heating. Clean Energy Propane is on the approved clean fuel list according to the 1990 Clean Air Act. Propane is actually one of the cleanest fossil fuels to burn. Using propane to heat your office space conserves energy while being friendly to the environment. Efforts are continuing to use less gasoline, and propane is the top competitor that the world is turning to. It is readily available and 90% of the propane used in the U.S. is actually produced in the U.S. as well. Saving Money Everything in your office that currently runs on electricity can be powered by propane while also being cost effective. Because propane is more effective than electricity, it saves your business money. Heating your business with propane could also mean more affordable maintenance. A propane heater lasts longer and in most cases, is cheaper to repair than an electric furnace. Propane heaters are also very small and do not take up a large amount of space in your office. When using propane in the colder winter months, a Powerblanket can be a great resource to optimize the temperature of the tank to keep it running efficiently. Safe and Reliable Despite rumors, using propane to heat your office space, or any space, is very safe! In the event of a leak, propane vaporizes in the air rather than causing a potentially harmful and serious problem for your office space/employees. Using propane is also reliable. You are not at the mercy of the electrical companies. If there happened to be a power outage during the winter months, your office space and employees would continue to be comfortable and able to work, rather than waiting for the power to come back on. Propane is the smart choice that many businesses and homes are choosing as a heat and power source this winter. It is clean, cost effective and safe. It is readily available and propane heaters come in a variety of different sizes to accommodate very large or small office spaces. As winter approaches, be sure to look at the benefits that heating with propane could offer your business.
  13. The success of any business is determined by the quality of the products and services it offers. Another key factor includes having suitable prices that meet client and customer requirements. Businesses need to set up strategic plans on how they can improve performance in order to succeed in the long run. Improving a company’s efficiency does not necessarily reduce operational costs, but it can motivate employees to perform even better and do wonders to help your overall bottom line. Engage Your Employees Create a conducive working environment for your employees. This involves fair and respectful treatment and open communication or an open-door policy. Taking time to lay a foundation that motivates and rewards your employees’ contributions will augur well with the success of the business. It shows your workers you care about them personally and can motivate them to do better in daily tasks. It is important to engage your employees so as to create better working relationships. Don’t let anyone fall behind and keep up with an evolving and employee-directed culture. Set Benchmark Goals and Measurements Most businesses use the acronym SMART to set expectations and goals that are timely, specific, realistic, measurable, and achievable. Apply this in every department. Then, create standard criteria to use in supervising the implementation of this strategy. The department goals may vary in each case. For example, the goal of customer service operations may be 100 percent customer satisfaction. For receivable accounts, and increase collection rate by 20 percent in six months. The IT department might focus on fully incorporating inventory management programs and point of sale systems in the coming year. Change your goals annually, and keep employees and departments accountable for what they are supposed to provide. An Ongoing Monitoring Plan Ensure all employees are engaged in process monitoring. Managers can analyze reports, conduct service level reviews, and divide current working processes. On the other hand, lower level employees can give information on current workflow and carry out quality testing. Organize frequent department and whole company meetings to check results to assess whether process change is required or not. Improve Management and Production An improvement in business management always leads to an improvement in overall production efficiency. To stay ahead of your competition, perform a daily oversight of your business. Diligent managers can quickly address inefficiencies to reduce waste and loss. They also recognize and put policies in place to boost production in the entire organization. Communicate effectively with your employees. This can be achieved by holding interdepartmental meetings either on the phone or in person. Inquire about the personnel and material supply issues that reduce production from department managers. For example, you might rent Arrow Truck Sales trucks for smaller deliveries that are needed at certain clients businesses sooner. This way you are helping speed up shipping processes and eliminating common bumps in the road for clients. Attend to problems with major impacts on the company’s production ability. Guide the management team to employ policies that reduce downtime and boost efficiency and compensate managers who increase production in their departments. Encourage managers to work in unity when solving problems and inform other workers of the successful techniques used by one manager. Endorse productive managers to higher positions of authority and eliminate practices that do not benefit the production process. Involve department managers when formulating attainable goals for your company. Encourage company managers to maintain good relations with clients and suppliers as well because most production issues are external. Take the time to improve your company’s efficiency by starting at all levels. Look at where improvements can be made and go in increments and small goals. When you have a good plan in place the rest will be easy.
  14. Seems like everyone these days is trying to become a little greener. You probably already recycle and if you’re lucky, maybe have even upgraded to a hybrid car. But what can you do for your home? There is certainly an environmental benefit of conserving energy and resources and can help the earth stay clean, but in the end it also saves you money to improve your energy at home. There are small things you can start doing today and more long-term solutions that you can plan for in the near future to make your living space much greener and more wallet-friendly. Close Doors Any rooms or spaces in your home that you use on a minimal basis do not need to be consistently heated or cooled. Any spare rooms or even closets that you can close off means less space that you are using energy to heat or cool. Just by simply closing a door or two, you can cut down on heating or cooling costs depending on the season. Use Curtains In the wintertime as soon as the sun is up, open your curtains. Free heat! It will come in through your windows and warm your space so your heater is not working as hard. Likewise, in the hotter months, draw the shades during the warmer hours of the day so you keep the sun out and cool air in. This will decrease the use of central air and any air conditioning units that have a built in thermostat. Insulate It's pretty simple to do at least temporary insulation around your home. Quick weather stripping around doors and plastic covering over unused windows are quick and easy insulating jobs that take minimal time and money. Less obvious insulating options are things like using a propane tank Powerblanket and insulating any indoor duct systems. Lighten Up If you are building a house, or planning to replace your existing roof, choose a lighter color shingle for your roof. It's one of the things that many people don't think of, but darker colors attract sunlight which in turn attract heat which makes for a much more difficult time cooling your home in the hotter seasons. This is a more long-term solution, but can really make a difference in how much energy you spend. Tree Time Obviously, planting a tree at all is a long-term commitment and although you can get fairly mature trees, it takes time for most to reach the point of maturity to offer shade. But it's one of the greenest ways to add shade to your home in a natural and beautiful way. Try deciduous trees for great results, and see if you can add bushes for added shade as well. Install Smart Systems Many new homes come equipped with smart systems for everything, but you can start installing these same systems in your home especially for energy purposes. The easiest solution is a thermostat you can control from your smart phone to regulate temperature and energy use of your heating or cooling system even when you're not home. There are countless small and innovative ways to maximize your energy resourcefulness in your home. Some you can easily start today, and many you can start planning today. Either way, make a plan to have a greener dream home.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and GreenerCars.org have established a ranking system for the greenest cars for 2015. The list provides consumers with the lowdown on the most environmentally conscious models currently on the market. While each manufacturer offers a number of individualized options, the list serves as a starting point for consumers. Nissan Leaf The compact five-door hatchback comes equipped with an automatic transmission, an 80kW electric motor and a 24kW lithium-ion battery that runs up to 100 miles on a full charge. The Leaf offers 24-cubic feet of cargo space, which expands when folding down the rear seats. Additional features include automatic climate control, around view monitoring system, a navigation system, intelligent keyless entry and push button start. The 2015 model comes in S, SV and SL styles and lists for $29,010. Toyota Prius C The 2015 hatchback hybrid continues offering a 1.5L gasoline engine and an AC synchronous electric motor, which function independently or in combination. The Prius still gets an impressive 53mpg/city and 46mpg/highway. Options vary depending on which of four model choice consumers select. Features include automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone controls, cruise control, push-button start, backup camera and a 6.1-inch touch-screen display with USB input. The Prius C lists for $20,300 to $25,300. Smart For Two Electric Drive With a tight turning radius and the ability to park just about anywhere, the Smart For Two electric version comes with a 55kW motor and an automatic transmission. Available in hatchback or convertible styles, the 2015 model promises 68miles per charge on the vehicle's 17.6kW lithium-ion battery. Recharging takes approximately six hours if using a 240-volt outlet and 20 hours on a 110-volt plug-in. The ultimate mini-commuter lists for $25,000 - $28,000. Fiat 500e The little Italian hatchback features room for up to four passengers, comes equipped with seven airbags, a navigation system, Bluetooth communication and Sirius radio. The 83kW electric motor goes up to 87 miles on a full charge. The Fiat also has a single-speed transmission. The California 500e lists for $31,800. Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium The 2015 Subaru Outback ranked in the top five overall scoring green cars of the 2015 AAA Green Car Guide, making this compact SUV one of the greenest options on the market for the average car buyer. An expert with Findlay Subaru in St George says the 2015 Outback has been awarded the highest possible safety rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety, making this SUV as safe as it is green. Chevy Spark EV Proudly American made, the Spark EV features a 100kW electric motor that offers 140hp and a 18kW lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 82 miles when fully charged. The charging time varies from 20 minutes on a DC fast charging unit, seven hours on 240-volt outlets or 20 hours on 120-volts. Some of the many features include heated front seats, Bluetooth, OnStar, MyLink Infotainment and Sirius radio. The all-electric vehicle sold by GM lists for $31,800. Volkswagen e-Golf The e-Golf is new to the Volkswagen line-up for 2015. The two-door hatchback features an AC synchronous electric motor that has 115 hp and a battery pack capable of running up to 83 miles. Charging is accomplished using a 240-volt outlet or a DC fast-charging station. Available in East Coast and West Coast states, the e-Golf lists for $35,445. BMW i3 As many potential electric vehicle owners express concern over having a mere 80-mile capacity, BMW additionally offers the option of having a gas engine that functions as a generator, which doubles the range of the i3. There are three models available with a choice of a DC fast charging port, heated seats, ConnectedDrive synchronization, the Comfort Access System, keyless entry and leather-and-wool interiors. The upscale hybrid lists for $41,350. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 1995, there were a mere 250,000 alternative fuel vehicles available. By 2011, that number exploded to more than 11 million. The options of environmentally friendly vehicles continues expanding and becoming more competitive. Today's choices include electric, diesel, hydrogen and hybrid powertrains. Additionally, every year manufacturers include more features and upgrades in attempts at attracting new buyers.