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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogEnergy costs make up a significant portion of household costs in the US. In fact, some households spend as much as 7% of their annual income on energy costs. These trends aren’t helped by the ever-growing number of electronic devices we all use daily. In light of that, there’s a growing interest in ways to reduce household energy waste. Repairs If your house isn’t brand new, it’s probably already started settling. That settling process creates numerous gaps and cracks around your house that drive up heating and cooling costs. You usually notice it in the form of drafts near doors and windows. Gaps also show up around your foundation and where the walls meet the roof. A tube of caulk will make short work of small gaps and cracks around windows and doors. Installing new weather stripping around your doors and windows helps as well. Expanding foam can pick up the slack on larger gaps and around pipes. If your furnace or AC unit seems to be straining, make an appointment for heating/cooling repairs or maintenance. Behavioral Changes Most people don’t realize it, but they own behaviors actually generate a lot of energy waste. You can slash that waste with some basic changes in behavior. Push heat-generating activities like laundry drying and baking into the late evening during the summer. Electricity often costs less in the evening and it takes pressure off your A/C unit. Wash small loads of dishes by hand. Water heating typically costs less than running a dishwasher for an hour. Unplug electronic devices you aren’t actually using, like computers and TVs. They often leach power by going into a standby mode. Upgrades You can also use upgrades to cut energy waste. Look for the Energy Star emblem on new appliances, computers, and even televisions. They often use substantially less power than similar appliances and electronics. You can also upgrade to smart power strips that turn off power to devices that you aren’t using. Another area where most houses can use an upgrade is the insulation. Dropping another layer of insulation in the attic improves how well the living spaces hold heat or cool air. Consider throwing an insulation jacket on your water heater and foam insulation on your water pipes. It cuts down unnecessary radiant heating and helps protect pipes from freezing. Energy waste isn’t something you must accept. You can take small steps with behavior changes and basic repairs. You take things up a notch with extra insulation and upgrades to appliances and electronics. Big or small, every change reduces your energy waste.
Cynthia Madison posted a blog entry in Environmental decline is at an all-time high – what can YOU do about it?Considering the worrying state of pollution nowadays, more people should start adopting a greener lifestyle, and contribute to protecting and helping the environment. The power of example gives each person the chance to make a difference, so regardless of how small or big, the actions you take against pollution matter. If you have started to give the topic of environmental concerns more of your thought lately, and have concluded it is time to make some lifestyle changes, receiving a few tips on the subject might come in handy. In order to call yourself an environmental friendly person, an activist against pollution you should start by making some changes with your home and family. These are the things that any person could do, in order to live a green life: Save energy - replace your traditional heating system with a wood burning stove In order to lower down your energy consumption, while not compromising on the comfort of your indoor temperature, replacing a traditional heating system with one that uses a renewable source of energy is recommended. A great option in this department are modern wood stoves. These home additions are known for their efficiency in terms of heating, and also give homeowners the possibility to minimize energy consumption and lower their bills with even 50 percent. The installation of a wood burning stove will be a win win situation - you will be opting for a green source of heat, that will allow you to reduce energy consumption, and at the same time you will be saving money. So give this possibility some of your consideration - you will rapidly find an affordable item of this kind just by searching on the internet. Remember to switch it off! Besides our heating system, there are numerous appliances found in a household that can consume a lot of energy, and thus create carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Besides buying Fireplace inserts, as mentioned above, there are other ways you can easily reduce your monthly energy consumption. Whether it’s TV left on while nobody is in the room, or a computer plugged in although nobody is using it, if you are like the majority of all other families, leaving appliances switched on probably happens with regularity. Remember to always turn off the light and any other appliance, and make sure to teach your children to do the same. Also, if you are truly dedicated to going green, you can also replace some of your home appliances with those that have reasonable energy ratings. Replace light bulbs Traditional light bulbs usually consume a lot of energy, and they can also burn out extremely easily, which is not at all convenient. You have the possibility of replacing these traditional options with LEDs - light emitting dlodes - or with compact fluorescent lamps. These will save a significant amount of energy at the end of each month, and they are also characterized by a longer life span. You will soon be able to notice your electricity bills decreasing. Reduce water use Even if it might seem difficult at first, reducing water usage is something that you should try doing. To help save energy, as well as money, start washing your clothes in cold water, and air dry them naturally instead of using any appliances for this purpose. You can also think about installing aerators on your faucets, which can have a beneficial role. Replacing your shower heads with low flow one is also something that can be advantageous in this department. Take shorter showers, never leave water running when you are not using it, and consider native vegetation for your gardening, because it requires less water consumption. All of these details will add to your new green way of living. Travel eco-friendly Yes, it might be incredibly comfortable to walk out the door, step in your gas-fuelled car and go to work or any other place. Nowadays, people have become addicted to their vehicles, and giving them up seems impossible. However, as you probably know, the production of carbon triggered by traditional vehicles is the one that affects the environment on a daily basis, and while it might seem difficult to actually do something about this issue, you can start with your own family, by minizine the patterns of carbon producing. This means, you should skip on driving and take the bus to work, consider carpooling with other co-workers, or even better, ride your bicycle. If you find it difficult to not travel by car on a daily basis, and if your budget allows you, switching to a hybrid, electric car is also a beneficial option. Traveling eco-friendly remains incredibly important. Clean green! Once you open your cleaning supplies cabinet and start reading the description of each product, you will discover how many chemicals they contain. In order to go green by the book, you will need to start cleaning green as well. Stock up natural alternative, ones that have a more pleasant smell. The market stands at your disposal with numerous great options in terms of cleaning supplies, you just have to look for the best ones, and perhaps do a bit of research before actually making a purchase. By making a change in this department, and adopting appropriate recycling habits, you will be making your household even more eco-friendly, and this is after all, the ultimate goal you are trying to achieve. With today’s aggravating level of pollution, going green is something that any individual should consider doing. If you have always been the environmental friendly type, and you want to take your principles regarding the subject one level further, adopting a green way of living, and making some changes in your home that can contribute to this goal is recommended. The ideas stated above are only a few of the many ways you can make more eco friendly choices. From installing a better heating source in your home, and thus saving energy, to traveling green, each one of these tips has their own relevance and should be considered.
The process of flipping a home is increasingly common, and it involves fixing up an older, outdated home for the purpose of turning a profit. Flipping can be lucrative, but it can also be wasteful. Some people are looking for green ways to flip homes. These may be ways that limit waste or that make the future owner’s use of the home more environmentally-friendly. If you are thinking about green-flipping a home, these are some excellent project ideas to consider. Install Solar Panels The source of energy that a home uses can play a major role in how green the building is for future occupants. The sun provides a steady stream of renewable energy to homeowners each day, and solar panels are responsible for capturing and converting this energy. Installing solar panels and a full solar energy system on the building can eliminate the need for homeowners to use fossil fuels for energy. This can have a dramatic impact on how green the home is for years to come. Replace Old Windows Older windows, typically, are poor insulators, and they can allow an incredible amount of thermal energy transference. This can decrease how energy efficient the home’s HVAC system is. Modern windows may have two or three panes of glass as well as an insulating layer of gases between them. They may also be better sealed than older windows. As a side benefit, updating older windows can also improve the interior and exterior look of the home with beautiful results. There may be tax credits for the installation of energy efficient windows that can help you to save money on this project. Add New Insulation Another idea to consider when green-flipping a home is to improve the building’s insulation. Old fiberglass insulation can slouch down in walls or even deteriorate or rot. New spray foam insulation has a higher R-value for decreased thermal energy transference. It also will hold its shape and remain in place for long-term protection around the home. Some of the side benefits associated with adding spray foam insulation to the home include noise reduction for improved ambiance inside the home as well as improved air quality in the building. Choose Reclaimed or Recycled Materials There are many aspects of a flipping project that are designed mostly to improve aesthetics of the home, and using new materials is common in these projects. However, new materials may use natural resources and may increase pollution. A better idea is to use reclaimed or recycled materials as much as possible. You may even be able to reuse some of the materials in the existing home. For example, you could refinish an existing wood floor or expose decorative shiplap that may be buried underneath drywall. In many cases, exposing and refinishing beams in a historic home incorporates the character of the home in beautiful ways. You can also use reclaimed materials from other buildings to further decrease the use of new materials. Replace the Appliances From the HVAC system and water heater to kitchen appliances and more, appliances can use a substantial amount of energy. This is particularly true when the appliances are older in age. Modern appliances that carry the EnergyStar rating are green, and you can easily improve the look and function of the home when you select the right appliances to use when flipping the home. While renovating a home for the purposes of flipping it can generate a substantial amount of waste and pollution, it does not have to. The use of recycled materials can keep waste to a minimum. You can also limit waste by making extensive plans. Taking educational courses like Success Path can help you make better plans to get the job done right. In addition, there are multiple green projects that you can work on throughout the home that can make the home energy efficient and green. Consider incorporating some or all of these project ideas into your next flip project for incredible results.
EmmaSturgis posted a blog entry in Emma SturgisIt's difficult to avoid coming into contact with toxic chemicals. They're used routinely by homeowners and gardeners to perform lawn care and landscaping tasks, clean home interiors and exteriors, eradicate pests, maintain or protect surfaces inside and outside the home, and maintenance the family vehicles. Most suburban homeowners' garages contain caches of toxic chemicals; if you have a garage, yours probably does, too. Do you ever worry about what could happen if your kids come into contact with the chemical products you have stored in your home or garage? How about your pets -- what could happen if they were to interact with your chemical stash? Each year, pets die from exposure to and / or ingestion of toxic chemicals including pesticides, antifreezes and cleaners. For the sake of your children, your animals, your own health and your environment, we encourage you to consider implementing these 4 strategies to go greener around the house. Replace Your Chemical-Based Household Cleaning Solutions With Green Alternatives Does it make sense to use toxic or questionable chemicals for cleaning your home when many household cleaning tasks can be performed with natural, non-toxic and completely affordable ingredients? You can clean almost anything using combinations of simple ingredients such as water, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, tea tree oil, lemon juice, lemon oil, orange oil, and Borax. If you prefer to use fancier household cleaning aids, look for certified organic products including soaps, sprays, detergents and cleaners. Substitute Natural Oils for Varnishes and Polyurethane Products Chemical-based products such as polyurethane aren't your only choice for sealing hardwood floors or finishing home furnishings made of wood. Safer, greener substitutes include walnut oil and tung nut oil. Get Rid of Your Toxic Chemical-Based Pesticides and Lawn Care Products There's no need to treat your lawn or garden with toxic chemicals. There are abundant organic alternatives, like the products found at Nature Safe, that can keep your landscape looking healthy, lush, fertile and gorgeously green. These sustainable alternatives include organic lawn fertilizers and organic pest control products with natural ingredients. Look for OMRI-approved organic landscaping fertilizers to find third-party verified solutions offering the best results. Utilize Natural Pet Care Products Instead of Chemical Ones It's important to ensure your pet's flea and tick control methods are not harmful. This is particularly critical if you have cats or kittens. You should never apply toxic chemicals directly on a cat's fur; your cat will consume the poisons as he grooms himself, and it could end up harming or killing him quickly. Dogs are not immune from harm caused by flea and tick medications either. There are many effective natural alternatives to toxic chemical flea and tick medications. Most of them are cheaper than chemical treatments you buy at your vet's office or at the drug store. If you live in a coastal area, simply taking your dog to the beach and dunking him in the salt water will rid him of fleas. It's a free treatment that's surprisingly effective for those who are able to take advantage of nearby beach areas. If you'd rather treat your dog or cat for fleas at home, spritzing his fur with raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is another effective remedy. Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits for your pet, and it can reduce or eliminate the parasite population living in his fur if used regularly. These are 4 of the most important things you can do to rid your garage and home of toxic, hazardous chemicals to create a safer and greener environment for your family. Even implementing one or two of these strategies can make a significant difference in your family's health; for best results, we encourage you to consider implementing all of these things in order to truly go green around the house.