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Found 16 results

  1. As temperatures warm up in the spring, you can typically expect to see your water bill creep higher. One of the most significant reasons for this is because of extra water usage for lawn care and other exterior purposes. However, there are other reasons why your water bill may be higher during these seasons. Water waste is significant and problematic in many homes in the spring and summer. A closer look reveals how you may be able to rein in your water bills and save a substantial amount of money in the months ahead. Identify and Repair Leaky Pipes Once freezing temperatures have abated, any pipes that have ruptured over the winter may begin leaking water. Some of these issues are immediately apparent in the home. However, if the leaks are in your sprinkler system or other exterior pipes, they can be difficult to identify. Schedule plumbing maintenance in early spring to identify and repair these issues. Plumbing maintenance is also a smart way to address toilets that run frequently, slow drips in the bathroom faucet and other issues that can contribute to water waste in the home. Upgrade Your Sprinkler System If your sprinkler system is older or basic, it may not be equipped with weather sensors. Advanced systems can detect rain, humidity, temperature and other factors to determine how frequently your lawn requires hydration. This prevents you from wasting water by running a sprinkler when hydration is not yet needed. Harvest and Use Rainwater Another effective way to reduce water waste at home and to save money in the process is to invest in a rainwater collection system. By attaching a collection feature, such as a rain barrel, to the downspout on your gutter system, rain that falls onto your roof can be captured. When you need to wash your car, water your garden by hand or use water for other similar outdoor purposes, you can use this free water rather than paying money to tap into the public water supply When the concept of reducing your water bill originally came to mind, you may have thought about needing to make stressful and inconvenient changes in how you use water. While you could save money by cutting your time in the shower by half, you can see that there are easier ways to save water. Identify how each of these tips may apply to your home, and implement them today to enjoy immediate results.
  2. Throughout a typical day, you may use several different types of electronic devices regularly. These devices will eventually wear out or break with heavy use, or they may become obsolete as new technology is introduced. While you could toss old electronics into the trash, they would sit in the landfill for centuries because of a slow rate of decomposition. With some devices, harmful pollutants may enter the environment if they are not disposed of properly. With this in mind, you need to find responsible ways to deal with electronic waste. Research Laws and Regulations Before you decide how to proceed, spend time reviewing local laws and regulations that may impact your decision. In some areas, specific types of waste cannot legally be tossed away. Laws may specifically dictate how these items must be dealt with, such as through an electronics recycling program. These programs may be offered through local government organizations or waste management providers in some cases. Consider Donation If you are retiring electronics that are still in good condition, these items may be useful to other people. The latest technological devices may be important or essential to you, but slightly older devices with moderately outdated technology may suffice for others. Therefore, donating your items to a charitable organization may be an effective and responsible way to get rid of unwanted electronics. You may even enjoy a tax benefit in exchange for your donation. In some cases, selling these items for a small profit may make sense. Find a Recycling Station Depending on the type of electronics that you need to get rid of today, you may be able to recycle them. For example, there are kiosks in many stores that accept used smartphones, and they may even give you a small financial benefit if you recycle your devices in this way. Laptop recycling and other similar programs are also available in some areas. If you cannot find a local program, keep in mind that there are several websites that offer these services as well. Because they accept mail-in items, these options may be suitable regardless of where you live. Tossing your old electronics in the trash may be the most convenient way to deal with unwanted waste, but this is not the most responsible method available. Depending on the type of electronics that you need to get rid of today, consider how each of these smart tips may help you to find a responsible way to do so.
  3. When you think about green home living, things, like reducing energy consumption, recycling and conserving water, may come to mind. However, you cannot overlook the importance of your impact on wastewater as well. While wastewater can be treated, the treatment capabilities in different areas varies. In many cases, phosphorous, nitrates and other pollutants may remain in the treated water in small amounts. This means that the fresh water that enters your home may not be as pure and clean as you may think. By understanding and adjusting your own impact on wastewater, you may be able to do your part to reduce pollution and to lead a greener life at home. Pollution from Runoff The two primary impacts that may affect pollution in sewage systems from residential runoff are the amount of runoff that flows off of your property and the chemicals that are in that water. Therefore, avoiding the use of chemicals on your property is essential. This may be accomplished by using natural fertilizers rather than chemical fertilizers. You can also use natural pest control methods rather than harsh chemical products. In addition to avoiding the use of chemical products on your property, you can also use rain collection methods to harvest rainwater and use it beneficially rather than to allow it to run off of your property in large quantities. Pollution from In-Home Waste In-home wastewater from flushing the toilet and using the shower, tub and sink drains also should be a focal point. Wastewater treatment plants are designed to treat typical waste from these features, but some people put other things down their pipes and drains that may be more difficult for treatment plants to remove. For example, some people flush unused prescription medications down the toilet or use chemical drain cleaning products. These and other unintended uses of the wastewater system can have a harsh impact on the quality of treated water that re-enters your home later. Disposing of all waste properly and calling a plumber for assistance with clogged drains are helpful steps to improve your green lifestyle at home. Now that you understand more about the impact that your current lifestyle may be having on the environment through wastewater, you can take proactive steps to improve in these areas. When in doubt about the impact that a certain activity may have on the public water supply, research the activity online. This can help you to make informed decisions that ultimately may promote the health of the environment.
  4. Poor outdoor air quality is a serious concern because it can have both immediate and long-term effects on your health. It is easy to assume that outdoor air quality would not affect you while indoors, but this is not the case. Outdoor pollutants may enter the home through open doors and windows, smaller or larger gaps in the exterior of the home and more. These pollutants can combine with indoor pollutants to create truly unhealthy air quality in your home. By following these essential tips, you can promote healthier indoor air quality at home. Service Your HVAC System Your air conditioning and heating system is designed to circulate air throughout the home. By doing so, it also circulates pollutants. Over time, the components may get filthy, and this can contribute to poor indoor air quality. It may also cause energy inefficiency until you schedule heating and air conditioning repair service. In addition to keeping your HVAC system well-maintained, you should replace the air filters regularly for superior air quality. Use an Air Purifier Purifying your air essentially means that you are removing pollutants that ultimately may cause illness or disease. By investing in a high-quality air purifier, you can remove many potentially hazardous elements from your home’s air. Keep in mind that plants are natural air purifiers. In addition to having a purifying device, keeping at least a few houseplants in your home can have positive effects. Keep the Windows and Doors Closed While trace pollutants may enter your home through small gaps and fissures throughout the exterior, open doors and windows enable pollutants to stream into the home. You may think that opening doors and windows allows fresh air to enter the home, but the opposite may occur. Keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible is most beneficial for indoor air quality in many cases. Replacing seals around exterior doors and windows is also beneficial. Because you spend many long hours at home each day, you understandably need this air to be as clean and fresh as possible. Both indoor and outdoor pollutants can be problematic, and their level can increase over time. To improve indoor air quality, it is necessary to prevent outdoor pollutants from entering the home as much as well. It is equally essential to remove pollutants through various purification methods. By taking these steps, you can promote a healthier indoor environment and potentially keep many related health issues at bay.
  5. In cities across the country and beyond, there is an increasing push to protect the planet from additional harm and hope that some damage can be reversed. Many cities are taking bold steps to be more environmentally-friendly in various ways, and these efforts may inspire you to make positive changes as well. These are some of the more common ways cities are becoming greener. Water Conservation There have been several recent news stories about smaller and larger cities around the world running low on fresh water, so water conservation is understandably a hot topic. Many cities are taking bold steps to conserve water, such as by turning water in a sewage system into sanitized, healthy drinking water. Some cities are collecting rainwater to use for landscape watering, enforcing water conservation laws and more. Recycling Programs Government recycling programs have been around for decades, but some cities are much more proactive in this area than they have been in the past. For example, many cities now offer curbside recycling service as well as special collection days for appliances and large items. There are recycling programs for Christmas trees and even special warehouses where old building supplies may be donated for use by others. In government buildings, employees may be required to participate in recycling programs. Energy Reduction Another common step that cities are taking to go green involves energy consumption. Increasingly, you will find solar panels on government buildings so that the buildings can generate at least some of the electric power that they need. City buses may likewise run on natural gas or even have electric engines. In addition to these steps, there may be a push to reduce energy consumption, such as through an investment in equipment that uses less energy. These are only some of the many ways that cities today are going green or becoming greener than they already were. As you explore ways to go green at home, you may look at your city’s efforts for inspiration. For example, you can trade in your car for an electric or hybrid vehicle, and you could install solar panels on your home. You may increase your participation in a recycling program and decrease personal use of electricity and water. While you could make drastic changes right away, even making small improvements regularly can have a huge impact on the planet’s health over time. Look for ways that you can decrease your impact on the environment today, and take action soon.
  6. No matter your stance on global warming, everyone can agree that living “green” is a good idea. After all, it’s always good to take care of the environment and save a lot of money in the process. If you’ve gone down the green living path, you may think you’re living just about as efficiently as you can. However, if you haven’t considered your heating system, all those other green living practices could end up negated. Here are a few ways to ensure your heating system is matching the green goals of the rest of your lifestyle. Filter Woes Even if you have a newer heating system, a dirty filter will quickly make it largely inefficient. Dirty filters make it much harder for the system to ingest air, causing the blower motor to work harder, resulting in increased electricity usage and extra wear and tear. It’s a good idea to check your filters at least once a month to see if they need to be changed, though if you live in a dusty climate or frequently have your windows open, you may want to check your filter more frequently. Working Hard Before the cooler weather really sets in, it’s important to have a professional HVAC company take a look at your heating system to ensure it’s in peak operating condition. Dust and dirt can accumulate on various components throughout your system, causing it to operate less efficiently. In addition, individual components within the system may wear out or stop working altogether, requiring replacement to ensure your system works well. Empty Spaces If you have a central heating system, it’s important to ensure that your system is only heating the parts of your home that are actually occupied. Otherwise, you’ll be paying extra money and using extra energy to heat air that will never be enjoyed. You can direct the heat by closing the registers in unused rooms, and then keeping the doors closed to those rooms so the cooler air within them doesn’t cool down the rest of your home. End of the Road At some point, even the highest-quality heating systems will need to be replaced. As your system heads toward the end of its life, it will continue to become less efficient, no matter what steps you take. It’s important to have your new system installed by qualified HVAC professionals to ensure that it’s installed properly to ensure it can heat your home efficiently for many years to come. Then, once you have it installed, it’s important to follow the tips above to keep it working at its best. Keep the Cold Out The best way to keep your heating system from working too hard is to prevent the heat it produces from escaping your home. This is only possible through proper insulation techniques, from wall and attic insulation to proper caulking around doors and windows. When you combine proper insulation with an efficient heating system, you end up with a powerful combination that will keep you warm and comfortable while allowing you to maintain your green lifestyle.
  7. Cranking up the thermostat is one of the most common ways for people to stay warm indoors throughout the winter, but this is also one of the most expensive methods. You may not be able to afford to use your heating system as much as you would like to this winter, or you may not want to spend a fortune unnecessarily. The good news is that there are several effective ways for you to stay warmer at home without relying heavily on your furnace. Keep Your Heater Well-Maintained Your heater will use more energy to heat your home when it is not well-maintained. Consider those dirty or worn out components may reduce efficiency, causing your heater to work harder than necessary. Scheduling residential heating maintenance services annually is a wonderful way to improve efficiency and to save money when your heater is running. Re-Seal Doors and Windows Annually You may decrease the frequency with which your heater turns on by re-sealing your home’s doors and windows annually. When heated air escapes from cracks in these seals, your heater may need to run more frequently to keep your home warm. This unnecessarily increases heating-related energy costs. In addition, cool air may penetrate through these seals, and this could create draughts that can be uncomfortably chilly. Re-sealing doors and windows is an affordable project that may deliver a great financial return. Add More Insulation to the Walls and Attic Another idea is to supplement your home’s existing insulation with an extra layer. Some homes are built with low-quality insulation, so upgrading the insulation may have incredible benefits on energy efficiency and overall comfort in the home. If your home is older, the insulation may have deteriorated or been damaged. Adding more insulation may be essential for superior warmth indoors. Spray-in foam may be particularly effective. While this step requires a significant financial investment, the return over the years can be substantial. You can see that relying solely on your heater to keep you warm in the winter can be expensive and may not be as effective as it could be. Each of these steps can reduce home heating costs while improving your comfort level indoors. Keep in mind that wearing warmer clothes indoors, burning a fire in the fireplace, sitting underneath a blanket and drinking warm beverages may also have a beneficial impact on your comfort throughout the winter. Consider combining all of these ideas for a comprehensive approach and exceptional results.
  8. Eco-landscaping is about making a difference in your yard, the one that results in making surrounding a healthier place that reduces water, soil and air pollution. The advantages of such responsible approach are reasonable savings in time, money and maintenance. The eco-friendly method is growing in popularity for its obvious reasons while creating and designing an eco-friendly landscape is not more complicated than designing a traditional garden. It does take some planning and involves maintenance, but all the efforts invested in a project like that are nothing compared to benefits. Planning For starters, you will have to make basic analysis and assessment of the yard. Determine the ground thickness by running the water to see how it is draining and where the ground is soaked the most. That way you’ll know where to plant as well as where to place hardscape. Check which areas get most of the sunlight and which ones are in the shade. Decide which area will serve its specific purpose, meaning where you will place a patio, play area or flower beds. This way you’ll know ahead what materials and plants you will be using and what will structure the basis of your eco-friendly yard. Downsize the lawn Having a smaller lawn means there will be less mowing and you will use less water. Limit your lawn by placing artificial grass or synthetic turf. Create walkways and paving and make sure to use low-maintenance materials like concrete, bark or gravel. You can use permeable pavers to direct rainfall back into the ground. Place gazebos or benches to fill the space in the yard that won’t require any watering. Eco-friendly mowing Since there will be a lawn that needs mowing, consider using a reel lawn mowers. Although mowing can go a bit slower than with gas or electric mower, reel mowers are true eco-friendly device since they are a perfect example of energy conservation. An alternative to reel mowers are the mowers powered by rechargeable batteries. Plant low-maintenance plants Consider planting native plants since they are best suited for the environment. Also, try choosing drought-resistant plants because there will be less maintenance while planting them will save water in the long run. To reduce the usage of water, try to group plants with similar water requirements. Plant some ornamental grass, pansies, and marigold. Planting clover is recommendable since it is insect and weed repelling plant. Clever landscaping Strategically planted trees and shrubs around the house can act as an insulation and save you up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs. One of the best landscape design firms advises planting deciduous trees on the sunny spots next to the house. That way the trees will provide the shade in the summer, while they will allow more sunlight in the cold months. Also, vines can be used to cool some areas. Watering To reduce water waste, install drip irrigation system that brings water directly to plants. Watering with automatic irrigation is more effective while the technology allows you to program it the way you want. You can set the system not to release the water while it rains. You can use rainwater, previously conserved in barrels to water the lawn and the flower beds. When watering in the summer, always water in the late evening and early in the morning to avoid evaporation. Weed and insect control Avoid using chemicals to fight or to control weed, but take some preventive measures like planting in raised beds, preparing the soil, using landscape fabrics and mulching. To get rid of the weed you can use corn gluten or vinegar, only make sure to use it carefully since it a strong herbicide that can harm other plants. The last stage of fighting the weed is an old-fashion move of pulling the weed from the ground. As for insects, learn more about companion planting and see how your plants can benefit from it. Fertilizing Learn to make and use compost and keep the chemical fertilizer away. Composting is the best possible way to keep your ground properly fertilized, aired and watered, while it will significantly reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the landfills. Almost anything can be used for compost, starting from grass clippings and leaves to fallen branches, food scraps, coffee filters, tea bags, newspapers, cardboard, etc. Going green takes a bit more than these few tips since it extends further on the maintenance and how you care for the environment aside from the yard. Remember to recycle and reuse all the materials and to establish a sustainable eco-system in your home and your yard. Do your research and create an eco-friendly garden that you will enjoy in years that come. An effort toward the healthier environment is worthy of praise so design your garden and be proud.
  9. Humanity’s effect on the environment is pretty high up on our list of things to worry about. Rarely a week goes by without some new information about the increased rate at which Polar ice caps are melting or waste is piling up or natural disasters are occurring. So what can we do to help prevent irreversible damage to our planet? Making your life more sustainable is easier than you think. Just by taking your own bags to the grocery store, cycling rather than driving the odd journey and thinking more carefully about the energy you use, you could greatly reduce your own impact on the natural world. These seven great iPhone apps are designed to give you a helping hand when starting a more sustainable life: SolarChecker Solar panels can reduce your energy costs and provide a cleaner form of power. This app can help you to decide whether solar panels at home is a good idea. The app can measure solar radiation in different areas around your home and tell you whether investing in solar energy is right for you. JouleBug JouleBug offers a social way to go green. You win points and badges for the various sustainable activities you engage in throughout the day. That could be cycling to work or using a reusable coffee mug. You can take green inspiration from friends and compete with them to be the most environmentally friendly. This app also allows you to see how much you are saving in energy bills by being more careful with how you use your gas and electricity. Carma Carpooling If you have no other option but to drive to work, make your journey less damaging to the environment by carpooling. This app helps you to find neighbours looking to share a ride and reduce carbon emissions, traffic jams and your own costs in the process. HowGood Shop more consciously with HowGood. The app allows you to input a grocery item and discover details about its manufacturing process, the way it sources ingredients, its treatment of workers and the waste it produces. Each item is given a HowGood score that acts as an indicator of the item’s social and environmental impact, helping you to make informed shopping decisions on the go. Your Garden At Home This is a great app for those wanting to grow their own food at home and reduce the carbon impact of growing and transporting produce across the world. The app offers information on different plant varieties, advises you on when to grow and harvest them and how to take care of them. PaperKarma If your heart sinks at all the junk mail you get coming through your letterbox, PaperKarma could be the answer. The app allows you to take a photograph of any junk mail you receive. Once submitted to PaperKarma, the app will contact the various mailing companies and take your name off their mailing lists. Recyclemore This app helps you to find the nearest recycling centres for your recyclable waste products. Whether you’re looking to get rid of batteries, clothes, appliances or garden waste, this app can help you to find the right place to take it. Going green is made that bit easier with these great iPhone apps. And if you really want to live more sustainably, you should ask yourself if you really need that latest iPhone upgrade. Discarded electronics are piling up in landfills around the world and tons of emissions are produced by manufacturing new ones. Buying second hand and unlocking the handset is a great way to reduce your carbon impact.
  10. Maintaining an eco-friendly home will actually provide a family with a number of great benefits. Along with helping to protect the environment, they will also be cutting down on their energy bills and could even improve the value of their property. If going off the grid with a comprehensive solar panel array isn't an option quite yet, then you may want to consider these six actionable tips to lower your home's carbon footprint. 1. Start With an Energy AuditThis is going to be a difficult process for families that are unsure of exactly what is inefficient around their house. Energy audits are carried out by highly-trained specialists that will thoroughly inspect the home in order to find any problematic areas that the current residents could be unaware of. This may include everything from drafts around doors and windows to a faulty thermostat. Audits are often offered at a discount by the town's electricity provider in order to cut back on energy consumption. 2. Slowly Replace Older Incandescent Light BulbsNo one wants to go through their household and replace every single light bulb they have, but it is not a bad idea to buy high-efficiency bulbs and replace older lights as they begin to go out. Modern compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) cut down on bright glare and can be found in practically every color imaginable. Not only do CFLs cut down on energy consumption, but they often have a lifespan that is three times longer than their incandescent counterparts. 3. Learn the Ideal HVAC SettingsA family may want to enjoy a blast of freezing air whenever they step into their home on a sweltering day, but a few alterations to the thermostat's settings could drastically cut back on energy bills. Every home and area is slightly different, but most households should keep their thermostat at around 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer while people are home and 82 degrees when the house is empty. During the winter, the ideal settings are 68 degrees during the day and 58 degrees at night with a few extra blankets on the bed. 4. Stop “Phantom” Electricity UseDevices throughout a home are often consuming energy even if they don't appear to be on. Everything from phone chargers and coffee makers to laptops and TVs can have a “phantom” draw in which they are pulling small amounts of electricity day and night. One simple way to combat this is to plug these devices into outlets that can be turned on and off with a wall switch. If that is not an option, then you may want to invest in a handful of power strips that can turn off multiple devices at once. 5. Check for Government Tax RebatesAt any time, both the state and federal government may offer a wide variety of rebates when you become more eco-friendly. This often changes by the season, but the most consistent tax rebates are for families that switch old appliances, heaters, and coolers to Energy Star devices. This is also a good time to check for any local waste removal programs to safely dispose of toxic materials such as batteries. 6. Get New Window TreatmentsAn incredible amount of heat can pass through older windows, and this means a colder house in the winter and warmer house in the summer. Modern window treatments utilize multiple layers of protection in order to provide more insulation. High-efficiency treatments often include a window film, insulated drapes, and recycled materials in order to be as eco-friendly as possible. You can help your home save money by investing in plantation shutters. Not only are they energy-efficient, but they look great in the home as well. Becoming energy efficient does not necessarily mean that your home needs new and expensive products. Instead, it is smaller changes made over time that will often make the biggest difference.
  11. Going green can seem a bit daunting, especially if you don’t know how to apply these principles at home. At first, it might seem like everything is trying to destroy the planet. However, these four tips will help you make the difference that you’re looking to make right from your own home. Grill One appliance that may use propane or other forms of energy is the grill, but that no longer has to be the case. It might be a good idea to consider a solar-powered grill that will not use up electricity or force you to purchase propane. These grills can fry, bake, boil, and grill by using the power of the sun. This is a tasty way to help the earth! Generator One way to power your small appliances is by using generators. Solar-powered generators will allow you to use your basic appliances without plugging them up to electricity. Generators do not last too long, but it should provide enough energy throughout the day. This is really what you want since most of the electricity produced by factories ends up releasing unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. Hot Water Everyone knows that water heaters work with gas or electricity, but did you know that you can install a solar-powered hot water system? Yes, and it should work just as efficiently as any other hot water appliance would work. It is estimated that about 80 percent of the annual cost associated with hot water can be cut using a solar-powered hot water heater, like those you can get from Degree C Pty Ltd. This also means that electricity use will be down, reducing your carbon footprint. Solar Panels This is perhaps the most expensive option, but it is one worth mentioning. These panels are installed on the roof of your home by professionals and are meant to provide the house with a sufficient amount of energy. Think of it as installing a large-scale generator that will power up your entire house. The expense is one reason why some do not opt for this choice while others do not want to install these panels above their roof due to several reasons like aesthetics or the stability of the roof. Nevertheless, it is a good option for those who would not mind installing these panels. These are just four ways that you can go green by using solar-powered appliances or making additions to your home. There are more ways that you can harness the power of the sun. Do not be afraid to make the switch that will help you save some cash and help the planet
  12. It is important to have an efficient home today. Good efficiency will keep your energy bills low and help the environment by conserving resources. Improving the efficiency of any home is not too difficult. There are six ways to get started: Insulate the Home and Seal GapsStart by improving or replacing the insulation in the home. Put in some modern insulation like loose fill. You can insulate attics and the exterior walls. You also want to go around the home and seal any gaps you find using weather-stripping or caulk. Install and Use Ceiling FansA large heating and air conditioning system can waste a significant amount of energy every year. A more energy-efficient solution is to install and use ceiling fans. These fans can make every room feel more comfortable without using a massive amount of energy while running. They can be used in summer and winter depending on the direction of the blades. Use Occupancy Sensors or Motion Detectors for LightsYour lights use a good percentage of your electricity. Install occupancy sensors or motion detectors in the most common areas of your home and in hallways. These sensors will turn the lights on and off automatically depending on whether someone is in the area. Maintain Your Plumbing and FixturesOld, corroded or damaged plumbing can make your home less efficient by wasting hundreds or thousands of gallons of water every year. This is true even for the smallest leaks. You will want to call a professional to have any bad plumbing in your home fixed, say the experts at C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning. This will make your home much more efficient and could lower your water bills. Plant Trees to Block Wind and SunPlant trees near your home to block sun and wind. Place the trees near windows, but far enough away from the home so it doesn't cause damage. The trees will keep the house cooler in the summer by creating shade. Install Storm WindowsIf you do not want to replace your existing windows, then you can install storm windows to make the home more efficient. Storm windows add an extra layer of insulation. They can keep your home feeling comfortable all year long without the added costs. You want to focus on efficiency in every part of your house. Do not ignore the small things like a leaking pipe or malfunctioning appliance. Make changes and repairs whenever you can. An efficient home is more economical, comfortable and environmentally friendly.
  13. Paper bags are not just for shopping; they make ideal storage and props for entertaining your kids. Take a look at our top 3 uses; we guarantee that you with be using at least one of them before the day is out. 1. STORING ART AND CRAFT ITEMS Paper carrier bags are ideal for storing all those craft items that you have in old pencil cases, and clogging draws about the house. Why not use a paper bag to store everything from pencils and crayons, to pots of glitter and glue. It’s even easy to get everything out when your little one is feeling creative. All thanks to most bags having handles for easy transportation. 2. KEEPING CARS AND TRACKS TOGETHER Toys. No matter how careful you are something always goes missing. Especially when it comes to toy car tracks. Why not keep them all together in a large paper bag? Everything fits in easily, and if you use a large bag then you shouldn’t have any problems storing the entire track. Provided you don’t over fill the bag you shouldn’t have any problems. Storage is also easy and should fit nicely into any space between cupboards, or even under the bed. If you have car tracks then it stands to reason that you also have lots of toy cars. Instead of keeping them in draws, keep them in bags. They are easy to transport and you can fit lots of them into one bag. All their favourites in one handy bag. 3. MAKE CHARACTER MASKS AND HELMETS Fire the imagination of your kids with home made masks and helmets. All you need to do is remove the handles, draw a face on the front, and put hair (or antennas) on the top. You can use straws for antennas and wool for hair. If they don’t want a mask then you can also make space helmets for your budding explorer, or helmets for your brave knight. You can even make an afternoon of it. Making the mask and then playing with them. Enough to keep the kids busy on a rainy afternoon.
  14. As electric cars become more and more prominent on roads around the world, it is only logical that the demand for home charging stations is reaching a new peak, with companies scrambling to meet it. Already there are several options with a wide array of benefits that give consumers a choice, but the question becomes how does one find the best charging station for them and their particular situation? Fortunately, it's fairly easy to compare several of the top brands. Converting Your Car The first thing to keep in mind is that it's actually very easy to convert a car from using petrol to employing electric power, and there are quite a few reasons to make this change. For one, it costs a lot less to run an electric vehicle. For a handful of change you can travel as far as a full tank of gas would otherwise bring you. According to a study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists “Based on electricity rates in 50 cities across the United States, the analysis found drivers can save $750 to $1,200 dollars a year compared to operating an average new compact gasoline vehicle (27 mpg) fueled with gasoline at $3.50 per gallon. Higher gas prices would mean even greater EV fuel cost savings. For each 50 cent increase in gas prices, an EV driver can expect save an extra $200 a year.” Those who live in energy deregulated markets (read more about those here) can pair this with an energy provider who uses green energy to pack a double punch against their carbon footprint. Luckily for car owners who want to make the changeover but are wearing of the price tag of electric cars the actual conversion of a gas powered car to one that runs off electricity can be done for much less than the cost of a new electric car and it will produce zero emissions when it's finished. Making this change is therefore not only good for your budget (in both the short and long runs), but also the environment. Leviton Evr-green Leviton has gone to great lengths to start thinking ahead. That's why the new Evr-green system is not only designed for both Level I and Level II users, but it also includes a pre-wire system that can be installed in a home in order to make the transition to an electric car easier. The system starts at around $200 but does not including installation, which is best left to the professionals. That being said, it's a bit pricey at $1,129.54 and doesn't include DC fast charge, making it one of the slower units available on the market today. AeroVironment What stands out about AeroVironment is largely their commercial operations, offering both Level II and DC fast charge units, but its residential operations just got a big boost in the arm by securing the exclusive contract to be the installed station for Nissan LEAF home charging. At $899.00, it's an excellent deal. What makes this particularly useful is that AeroVironment is now forced to comply with standards of a major automobile brand, so you should see a consistent progression of improvements on the model and more cars making use of the system in order to partake in already installed units. On the other hand, the units are designed with specific cars and receptacles in mind, so if you get another car later you'll likely need another charging station to go with it. General Electric WattStation Part of what makes the GE WattStation such a great station and will be fantastic for home use is that it's the only one with WiFi smart grid technology built into it, so it's easy to connect to when you require remote access and help finding additional charging stations when you need them on the road (you can even check out a map of stations on their site). Add to that the GE name, which has built its reputation over quite some time, and you have a charging station you can count on. That being said, it is by far the most expensive at $2,999.00. What's worse is that is for a station that only does Level II charging. It is clear that you are very much paying for the GE name with this charger. Clipper Creek Despite being around for decades, Clipper Creek isn't well known in the charging station industry. They're very much a quiet competitor, largely because they haven't put much effort into the design of their stations. Moreover, they only do Level II charging. That being said, they are the install of choice for the Tesla Roadster and despite just being gray boxes, are highly reliable charging stations. These will last as long as your car and probably more than that, as well as having a wide variety of voltage and amperage settings to choose from. The price for a Clipper Creek station runs anywhere from $379 to $899, making them also the least expensive option despite their limitations. NRG eVgo NRG eVgo is a company that is aggressively trying to establish itself as the center of home and public charging, and they're doing it by not only offering a high quality residential unit for a good price, but also offering service and maintenance at your house for when things go wrong. The drawback, however, is that you only get 12 to 25 miles of travel per hour of charge, making it great for a standard Level II if you don't drive a lot, but terrible if you're looking for something that will last a while. The width of the variance also makes it uncomfortable to gauge your driving capacity. You can get a home charging NRG eVgo station for $699.00 or you can sign up for their monthly Freedom Station network for $14.99 per month plus a recharge fee. As you can see, there are quite a few options for almost everyone’s budget if you’re considering converting your existing car to, or purchasing, an electric car. It’s important to note with all this technology that while the upfront costs may seem like a burden, they will pay for themselves in the long run and help you sleep better at night knowing all the good you’re doing for the planet.
  15. Many people today are becoming more environmentally aware. While we may not be able to solve all of the world’s problems, we can make a difference in our everyday habits. One of the first things you can do to help the planet is to stop doing things that are polluting it. Here are six eco un-friendly habits you should give up right now. 1. Using Disposable Shopping Bags It’s an unnecessary waste to get a new paper or plastic grocery bag every time you go shopping. Both paper and plastic bags are harmful to the environment. Getting a reusable bag is not only better for the environment, it saves you from having old bags piling up in your closet. 2. Driving More Than You Have To If you’re in the habit of driving down the block, this is a good time to start walking more. This will give you more exercise, help you spend less on fuel and consume fewer resources. If you’re driving somewhere and have to make several stops, try to park in the middle and walk to each destination. Carpooling is another efficient way to drive less. 3. Improper Disposal of Motor Oil If you change your own oil, make sure you don’t simply dump the old oil on the ground or into a drain. This will cause ground or water pollution. Place the old oil in a tightly sealed container and bring it to a place that recycles oil. Many gas stations, oil change places and automobile repair shops like Speedy Apollo Auto Service Centres will accept your old oil and help you dispose of it for free. 4. Leaving Lights and Appliances On When you leave a room or the house, make sure you turn off the lights and any appliances you aren't using. It’s a waste of power to leave lights on all day. The same is true for televisions, air conditioners and household appliances. 5. Using Too Much Paper It’s easy to switch to digital forms of many paper items nowadays. Rather than receiving magazines, newspapers, bills and information in paper form, arrange to get these things emailed to you. You can also read e-books rather than print books. These practices are good for the planet and they reduce clutter around your home as well. 6. Wasting Water Water is our most valuable resource, but many people waste it by taking long showers or leaving the water running when they leave the room. Don’t use any more water than you have to. Another habit that wastes water is watering the lawn more often than is necessary. The more conscious we are about our daily habits, the better it is for the whole planet. The above are just a few simple ways we can all do our part to preserve the environment. Giving up some of these harmful habits can put us on the right track.
  16. Why Green Living Is Much Easier Than You Think

    A lot of people are confused about the green trend that is now spreading faster than ever. They think going green involves radical change of their everyday life, more money spent on organic food, installation of expensive solar panels and so on. While in fact, it only takes small changes and very little time to develop habits that are more friendly to the environment. Here are a few simple ways to enjoy healthy lifestyle without much effort. Leave Scented Products Alone. When you give up on items stuffed with fragrances, you also say 'no' to all dangerous chemicals that come along. There is a wide range of toxic ingredients that may be harmful both for your body and for the nature. after disposal. Instead, choose products that incorporate essential oils rather than fragrances. Keep Shoes Away From The Rooms. When you or other family members enter your home, make sure everybody takes off their shoes and leaves them at the front door. There is a plethora of harmful pesticides and other toxins everywhere outside, so don't let them get any deeper – hallways, stairs or premises. In hospitals, staff members use special plastic protectors, but at home you can just keep shoes far away from the actual living space. Make Your Home Cleaning Green. This is one of the most popular green living trends lately and it's welcomed worldwide. You can now find many special stores that offer environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions or you can make your own cleaners. If you take some time and make an online search, you will find recipes to clean up anything at home using natural ingredients only. Specialist from a local one off cleaning company in Sydney admit that more and more professionals use non-toxic cleaners for their everyday work, especially when there are children and pets around. You Are What You Eat. You have probably heard this sentence many times before and now it's the right time to realise its meaning. There are a few reasons why including more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet is essential to green living. First of all, the most natural option available is to consume something that has been produced by Mother Nature versus a product that is man-made, packed and sold across supermarkets. Additionally, growing plants is much more eco-friendly in comparison to dairy and meat, which require a lot more water, energy and other resources.