Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'home'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Announcement
  • Business & Politics
  • Cars & Transportation
  • Culture & Celebrity
  • Energy
  • Renewable Energy
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Food & Health
  • Global Warming
  • Green Action Tip
  • Design & Architecture
  • Green Blogging
  • Green Quote
  • Green Video
  • Green Web Hosting
  • Science & Technology
  • Nature & Travel
  • Agriculture
  • Bali 2007
  • Biodiversity
  • Biofuels
  • Go Live Give
  • Poland 2008
  • Copenhagen 2009
  • Quick Read
  • Photo Gallery
  • Politics
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Activism
  • Science
  • Featured
  • Uncategorized
  • COP21

Forums

  • Site Forums
    • Members Lounge
    • Contributors Lounge
  • Environment Forums
    • Green Talk
    • Climate Change
    • Agriculture
    • Wildlife and Biodiversity
    • Sustainable Design
  • Green Living Forums
    • Living Green
    • Good Food
    • Gardening
    • Transportation
    • Activism
    • Green Products and Services
  • Energy Forums
    • Energy
    • Renewable Energy
    • Non-renewable Energy
    • Nuclear Energy
  • General Discussion Forums
    • General Talk
    • Politics and Current Events
    • Science and Technology
    • Entertainment
    • Religion and Philosophy

Blogs

There are no results to display.

Calendars

  • Community Calendar

Group


AIM


MSN


Website URL


ICQ


Yahoo


Jabber


Skype


Location


Interests


Political views


Religious views

Found 64 results

  1. Thank you for your desire to adopt a green lifestyle! Our Earth isn't getting any younger. While some environmental damage is reversible, lethal diseases and animal extinction are not. Here are five home services increasingly turning green. Landscaping Eco-friendly commercial landscapers use methods that save water, eliminate harmful chemicals, protect wildlife, and reduce pollution of soil, water, and air. They also minimize maintenance. Water Conservation Fountains and waterfalls are refreshing landscape elements. Landscapers install fixtures that recycle water. In plantings, crews group vegetation with similar water needs into separate zones. They also use drought-resistant native vegetation. Having adapted to local conditions, these plants require less water and care. Ground covers, in particular, reduce evaporation from bare soil. Landscapers also save water by installing automatic sprinklers with rain sensors. Controller devices further adjust watering according to the seasons. Or a landscaper can manually adjust a sprinkler system every other month. To minimize water loss through evaporation, technicians program sprinklers to activate in the early morning. Alternatively, you can have a landscaper replace natural grass with synthetic turf. Quality artificial turf has the same lush appearance and soft texture of live grass. Plus, you avoid the maintenance requirements of aerating, watering, mowing, fertilizing, weeding, and edging grass. If you keep a garden, landscapers can install a drip irrigation system. Water droplets ooze through perforated hoses, directing water to plant roots. Overhead sprinkling wastes water by delivering it to plant surfaces, where it quickly evaporates. Spreading mulch over bare soil conserves water, inhibits weeds, and reduces erosion. A landscaper can offer you several mulch options, such as wood chips, bark, gravel, coconut fiber, and recycled tires. Eco-conscious landscapers source wood mulch from pruned branches and bark. Eco-friendly landscapers also help the environment in the following ways: Pest Control. Native plants are more resistant to pests than foreign species, reducing the need for pesticides. They also attract beneficial insects and birds that eat harmful bugs. Eco-conscious landscapers use organic insect oils to kill pests in their young stages. Natural systemic soil drenches target pests, leaving the ecosystem unharmed. Plus, they only need to be applied once yearly. Fertilization. Chemical fertilizers are high in phosphorus which leaches into groundwater, lakes, and streams. Phosphorus is toxic to aquatic life. Phosphate-free fertilizers eliminate this risk. Organic fertilizers release slowly and last longer than chemicals. They activate soil microbes, fighting off disease and improving soil health. One type of organic fertilizer used is untreated, composted grass clippings. Pest Control Pest control companies like American Pest Control Inc are taking a holistic approach to eradicating insects, using nontoxic chemicals and practices. Employing a dual strategy, they address both infestations and their causes. Pheromone Traps. Pheromones are compounds insects secrete, by which they communicate. Synthetic versions of these chemicals are applied to lures, drawing pests into sticky traps. Fly Lights. These devices use ultraviolet light to attract flying pests to a glue board. On sophisticated models, you can vary the UV output, from 25 to 100 watts. Sticky Boards. These traps have adhesive surfaces to which crawling insects stick. Technicians place sticky boards in hot spots where pests congregate. Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). These synthetic proteins thwart or inhibit insect life cycles. Since pests don't reach maturity, they can't reproduce. IGRs are specific to insect species. For example, one designed for fleas prevents eggs and larvae from reaching adulthood. A roach IGR makes it impossible for the bug to shed its exoskeleton, a necessary stage in development. Repellents. Natural dusts contain pyrethrum flowers and silica. When pests contact these substances, their bodies desiccate. Repellents target ants, silverfish, fleas, cockroaches, and bedbugs. Sanitation. The goal is to hamper insects' access to food and water. Try to clean up spills promptly, keep lids on trash containers, and regularly remove garbage from your property. Also, eliminate sources of standing water, and repair roof and plumbing leaks. Maintenance. Ensure that screens fit tightly and windows and doors are securely shut. Weather stripping helps. Close cracks in your home's exterior with weather-resistant sealant. Carpet Cleaning Companies typically use toxic chemicals, releasing fumes and leaving residues. Since we're exposed to them through our noses, mouths, skin, and eyes, they enter our bloodstreams. Side effects include dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Some solvents are potentially carcinogenic for the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Additionally, rinse water with poisonous chemicals is dumped into drains, killing our soil, streams, rivers, and oceans. Eco-conscious carpet cleaners use natural products, such as extracts of grapefruit, lemon, and orange. Carbonating bubbles lift soil from carpets. These products are free of noxious chemicals, making them safer for people and pets. Commercial operators also use them to clean rugs and upholstery. Natural carpet cleaners effectively eliminate pet odors, dust mites, spots, dirt, and grime. Safe products are green-certified by The Carpet and Rug Institute. Home Construction Each year, producing concrete releases tons of carbon emissions into the Earth's atmosphere. One reason is that processing the limestone needed involves heating it to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Mining virgin sand and gravel for concrete depletes riverbeds, beaches, and land quarries. Eco-friendly building contractors swap concrete for sustainable building materials. They can incorporate them into your cabinets, counters, floors, walls, insulation, and roof. You may be familiar with some products, such as reclaimed lumber, recycled glass, and re-purposed plastic. However, exciting options now in use may be new to you. Straw Bales. Compressed straw forms interior walls. It can stand in for concrete, plaster, wood, fiberglass, stone, and the mineral rock gypsum. When sealed, straw bales are highly insulating. Rammed Earth. Mechanical tampers compact soil inside wooden forms, creating strong exterior walls. HempCrete. Hemp fibers are reinforced with lime, yielding blocks with the strength of concrete. Being lightweight, less energy is needed to transport them to home sites. Bamboo. This woody grass is stronger than concrete and brick. Since it grows so rapidly, bamboo is an easily-renewed building resource. Most commercial bamboo comes from China, where it's cultivated without chemicals. Bamboo is used for house frames and floors. Mycelium. Mushroom and fungus roots are trained to grow around pulverized straw in molds. The resultant lightweight, durable material is then cut into blocks. Ferrock. This material is made from waste steel dust and recycled glass. When hardening, the iron within steel absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide. Silica from glass further reinforces iron. The resultant product has more compressive strength than concrete. For this reason, ferrock is nicknamed "green cement" and "carbon dioxide sponge." Ferrock also resists cracking. It has more "flexural strength," the ability to withstand stress before bending and breaking. Ferrock saves steel dust and glass bottles from ending up in landfills. By trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide, less is available to create a warming greenhouse effect. Here you can learn more about why ferrock rocks! AshCrete. This product consists of 97 percent recycled materials. One of them is fly ash, a residue of coal-burning power plants. Traditionally, most fly ash ends up in landfills. However, when mixed with lime and water, the resulting compound is a tough alternative to cement. Carbon Concrete. This thermoplastic is made from a byproduct of oil refining. It's primarily used in flooring. Housecleaning A reputable housecleaning service employs well-trained, experienced, industry-certified technicians. They use state-of-the-art equipment that can handle large-scale, difficult jobs. Examples are cleaning your ductwork, scrubbing baseboards, and polishing windows. A green cleaning service fosters a healthy home environment. You aren't exposed to toxic chemicals in the air or on surfaces. There's less risk of developing respiratory illness. Eco-friendly cleaners reduce smog-producing gases. Green-certified products contain benign, effective natural ingredients that are safe for people and pets. When comparison shopping for a green cleaning contractor, look for proof that employees are bonded and insured. Trustworthy companies have extensive screening procedures, including criminal checks and drug testing. Ask for references from clients the companies serve. Also preferable is a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Additionally, choose a company with green certification, such as that awarded by Green Seal. Products should be free of phosphates and phthalates. Vacuums should have HEPA filters and be endorsed by The Carpet and Rug Institute and American Lung Association. Housecleaning employees should also use dual-chamber buckets and microfiber cloths and mops. The Green Bandwagon Our world needs more eco-conscious people like you! Now you know even more about home services for green pest control, landscaping, carpet cleaning, construction, and housecleaning. Share your knowledge with neighbors, family, and friends. Get them on the bandwagon to keep greening efforts moving!
  2. It’s a fundamental law of the universe (actually, the Second Law of Thermodynamics) that entropy increases over time in an isolated system – practically, this means that a system will only ever lose energy over time. This has fundamental consequences for your home: no matter what you do, you’re going to lose energy, and with energy bills rising, it’s as good a time as any to do a full energy audit on your property to see where you can make the most savings. For example, a full energy audit can save you a huge amount off your heating bills each year: between 5 and 30 per cent, which can add up to a thousand dollars in winter. The idea is to do a series of tests that check the efficiency of your household heating and cooling systems, as well as check the overall efficiency of your home. You can hire a professional to do this for you… or you can do it yourself. Here’s how. Checking Equipment Your first job is to check your house’s heating and cooling equipment, which should be inspected annually, or as often as the manufacturer recommends. Check and replace filters in a forced air furnace about once every month or two – and if your unit is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, energy-efficient unit. Ductwork should also be checked for dirt streaks, which may indicate air leaks, especially near seams. Seal these with duct mastic, and insulate any exposed pipes or ducts. Next check the lighting, which can cost up to 10% of your electricity bill. You may wish to replace your light bulbs with the most efficient versions available, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). Also, try and reduce lighting use by using dimmers or timers. Similarly, try strategies to reduce your use of appliances and electronics, and aim for energy-efficient versions of these as well. Checking for Leaks Air leaks, also known as drafts, can be a huge issue and when sealed can save between 10 and 20 per cent of your energy per year. Leaks can occur both indoor and outdoor: for indoor leaks, check the wall and ceiling junctures and the gaps along the baseboard, and for outdoor leaks, prioritize areas where two different types of materials meet. Also consider windows and doors, as well as lighting and plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, and switches. Leaks should be sealed where they are found, plugging or caulking for pipes, faucets, wiring, and electrical outlets. Seal cracks in mortar, foundation and siding with the appropriate material. However, it’s important to note that you should consider appropriate ventilation if you have a furnace that burns fuel (like propane, wood, or natural gas) – otherwise indoor air quality can suffer and might become dangerous, especially if exhaust fans pull combustion gases back into the living space, in what is known as a ‘backdraft’. Checking Insulation Losing heat through the walls and roof is often a consequence of insufficient insulation. Particularly if you have an older home, you may find that the insulation initially installed is not enough for your needs. Check that all openings for pipes and ducts in the attic are well sealed, that the attic vents aren’t blocked by insulation, and set up a vapour barrier under the attic insulation if one doesn’t exist already. A vapour barrier keeps moisture out; too much moisture reduces the effect of insulation and can damage your house’s structure, so consider using vapour barrier paint on interior ceilings in a pinch. Wall insulation is trickier: ensure that your outlets are not receiving any electricity, and then remove a cover plate from one and probe the wall with a long thin implement. If you feel some resistance, then there is some insulation present. You may have to check in several areas to be satisfied that all of your walls are filled with insulating foam. Conclusion Once you have audited your property, you can start to make changes based on what you find – like ensuring that the walls are insulated, and making sure that all air leaks and drafts are sealed. You should start to see a noticeable difference in your energy bills, as well as a change in your comfort level once all those drafts have gone!
  3. The summer season is rapidly approaching, which means we will start to experience hot weather very soon. Staying cool inside your house is one of the best ways to beat the intense summer heat, but it can also lead to high energy bills. These are the four best ways to stay cool in your home this summer without spending a lot of money on energy bills. Install an Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner Purchasing and installing a new energy-efficient air conditioner may seem like a big expense, but it will actually save you money in the long run. An energy-efficient air conditioner will be able to cool your home to your desired temperature without drastically raising your monthly energy bills. An AC unit similar to the ones offered by Seliga Heating and Cooling will ensure you never have to suffer in your own home just to save a few dollars. Use Your Ceiling Fans Ceiling fans are great in the summer because they can increase your comfort level by a few degrees without using much energy. A ceiling fan is able to provide a cooling effect by circulating the air in a room. While they are not powerful enough to cool an entire room on their own, they can cut down on your usage of the air conditioner. Make sure to limit your energy consumption by turning off the ceiling fan when you leave the room. Block the Sun with Shades and Curtains If you want to keep your house cool during the summer, then you need to do everything you can to keep the sun out. You may be tempted to open the shades and curtains for some natural light, but this will only make the house hotter. Blocking the sun with shades and curtains may create a dark atmosphere, but it is a completely free way to cut down on your cooling bills. Program the Thermostat There is absolutely no reason to cool your home when you are not there. Programming the thermostat to your work schedule is a great way to cut down on your energy bills without having to sit in a hot house. The programmable thermostat will prevent the AC unit from running during the day, but it will turn back on to cool the house to your desired temperature before you return from work. Summer is a beautiful time of the year, but it also brings unbearable heat to most of the country. There is no reason to sweat in your home this summer when it so easy to avoid. Just follow these four tips and you can cool the house without ruining your budget.
  4. Becoming more energy efficient isn't just about preserving the environment. It can also provide substantial savings on your monthly power bills. You may have decided it's too much trouble, or costs money for greener technologies. There are really a number of simple, affordable things you can do. Here are four ways to start saving energy. Efficient Kitchens Kitchens are one of the most energy-intensive areas. You can save power by cooking more than one meal at the same time, so that tomorrow's dinner only has to be warmed up. When cooking meals or desserts in cold weather, let the heat circulate to the rest of the house to reduce the burden on home heating. Wash the dishes on warm instead of hot, and avoid pre-rinsing dishes that don't need it. Don't cook small pans on big burners, or vice-versa. Heat and AC HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems shouldn't be turned on if you don't need them. Even slight adjustments could be wasting money over the course of a day. Put on a sweatshirt instead of turning up the heat, or a pair of shorts instead of turning up the AC. It's also important to have your AC system checked by a professional, such as those from Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. before peak summer temperatures. Inefficient operation or clogged ducts forces the AC to work harder and wastes electricity. Efficient Cleaning Saving energy with household chores just takes a little effort and common sense. Don't use warm water where cold will do, or hot water where warm will get the job done. Try to use appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers at full capacity in order to avoid wasted electricity. Consider hanging up your laundry rather than using the dryer, or removing it before it's fully dry. Use dust mops and brooms instead of dragging out the vacuum cleaner. Energy-Efficient Homes Fans and dehumidifiers can help to reduce AC costs. Letting in the sunshine will reduce heating and lighting expenses. Additional insulation and sealing of window or door gaps will help save money on both. Also add insulation around your hot water heater and hot water lines. Get everyone in the household into the habit of turning off anything that isn't being used. Consider solar-powered lights for the exterior. Saving electricity is just a matter of a little proactive planning and developing good habits. Start with the easy and affordable solutions. In time, you might be ready to move up to solar panels or smart thermostats to save even more.
  5. If you are looking to save money by generating your own power at home, solar is the way to go. To completely wipe out your utility bills, you have to get a system that is big enough to generate all the power that you need. Once you have your materials, you can maximize energy production by putting them in the right places and keeping them maintained. Calculate Your Needs Before You Buy Before you shop for solar panels, you should know how much electricity your home needs. You can figure this out by looking at your utility bills to see how many kilowatt-hours you used. To account for seasonal energy demand and consumption trends, you should look at statements from the past year. Once you know how much energy you use, you can figure out how big your solar power system needs to be. Panels almost never produce their maximum rated power. You have to buy more kilowatts than you use to account for the amount of sunlight your location receives. The U.S. Department of Energy has some useful equations and maps that will help you calculate how many kilowatts you really need to meet your energy needs. Make sure you explore all of your options by checking out inventory from suppliers like ML Solar and any other place so you can get the best price. Put Your Panels in the Right Place Even if you buy enough solar panels, they won't work too well if you install them in the wrong position. They obviously need to go in a sunny spot, but you should understand a few other positioning factors that will affect your power system's performance. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is on the southern horizon, so south-facing panels get the strongest sunlight. If this is not an option on your property, west is the next best choice. This is because homeowners tend to use the most electricity in the late afternoon, especially during the summer air conditioning season. Your panels also need to be placed at an angle in order to receive the most direct sunlight. The size of this tilt depends on your location and the time of year. You can use this calculator to determine the proper angle for your setup. It is best to buy some adjustable racks to properly tilt your panels toward the sun's rays as the seasons change. They will pay for themselves with the extra power you will produce. Keep Your Panels Working Well Solar power systems are very low maintenance, but there are a few things you need to do to ensure a continuous supply of power. Most of the work involves cleaning the panel surfaces to remove the grime that blocks sunlight. Washing dust and bird droppings off your system is very similar to washing a car, but you should use a special kit that is designed for cleaning solar panels. Your system won't produce a lot of power if it is blocked by leaves in the fall and snow in the winter. Make sure you clear them off whenever you rake your lawn and shovel your driveway. If there are any trees near your solar array, you also may need to trim the branches whenever they grow big enough to cast shade over your panels. A solar power system will produce all the electricity that you need with the right research, setup, and maintenance. When you keep the right sized system working efficiently in the right place, you can say goodbye to all those high energy bills.
  6. You may be surprised to hear that private homes account for over 40 percent of all energy consumed within the United States. If you are ready to cut back on your family's energy consumption and start saving on monthly bills, then take a look at these five affordable upgrades with an excellent return on investment. Tankless Water Heaters An older water heater can be one of the biggest energy consumers in a home because they keep an entire tank of water hot at all times. Tankless water heaters (on-demand water heaters) only heat water as it is needed, and this means lower gas or electricity bills and a home that never runs out of hot water. Light Tubes Everyone should upgrade to compact fluorescent lights at some point, but another simple way to save on lighting is to have light tubes installed. These simple tubes can fit around important structural components of a home and provide light to any room. Window Treatments Anyone with windows that are more than a decade old should consider upgrading their treatments to improve the insulation of their home. Studies show that older residential window treatments cost the American public $35 billion a year. Newer treatments will provide a home with additional layers of insulation to keep UV rays out during the summer and warm air in during the winter. Foam Roofing Older roofs are another major problem when it comes to energy efficiency. Foam roofing, available from places like Armstrong Installation Service, is nearly 500 percent more efficient than traditional roofs and provides much better protection from moisture. This relatively new technology works on a variety of roof types including flat and sloped roofs. This foam can also be sprayed around solar panels and other structural components. Trees Planting a few perennial trees will not only improve the appearance of your property, but it could also cut down on your HVAC bills during the summer. Placing these trees near windows will allow them to act as a windbreak as well as shade those areas from the sun. Having an energy efficient home no longer means that you and your family must do without modern amenities. Often all it takes is a few simple upgrades to make serious improvements with your home's carbon footprint. This includes utilizing new technology such as tankless water heaters, wall insulation, and new window treatments.
  7. As a savvy homeowner, you do your part to save energy. You turn off lights when leaving a room and turn back the thermostat when you go to work. Yet, if you're scratching your head wondering why your energy bills are still too high, don't fret. Tighten up your home efficiency strategy with these solutions to 3 big home energy wasters. Window Pains Glass isn’t a very good thermal insulator. In fact, chances are your windows are the Achilles' heel of your home’s shell — leaking air and allowing heat energy to easily transfer. Pick up a glass of iced or hot tea, and you can feel the heat transfer through glass for yourself. Here's what to do. Air seal: Caulk is a great weapon against window air leaks. A thin line of caulk can seal junctures at siding and window frames. Rope caulk works great to seal window sashes. Clear caulk stops those rattling and leaky window panes. Repair: Rotting and warping wood window frames should be repaired or restored if you choose not to replace. Replace: Old, single-pane windows are no match for efficiency and home comfort compared to modern Energy Star-qualified two- and three-pane glass. Moreover, window replacements give your home’s curb appeal new life. If any of these prove to be a little bit too much to do on your own, call professionals like those at Glasshopper Schor Glass to help you. Ductwork Problems Your furnace and central air systems work hard to churn out warm and cool air for your home. However, it’s your ductwork that actually transports the conditioned air to where you need it. Like your windows, air ducts waste energy in two major ways — air leaks and transferring heat energy. Insulate ducts outside the heating barrier, and use heat-resistant metal tape to seal loose and leaky ducts. Energy Vampires Unlike the fictional vampires of fables, literature, and movies that only lurk around at night, energy vampires suck the electricity out of your sockets 24/7/365! This is because many products and appliances — large and small — and electronic gadgets plugged into electrical outlets use energy whether they're on or off. The two most practical ways to stop these energy vampires from sucking the life out of your energy budget every month is to use power strips and shop for Energy Star-qualified products where possible. So, connect all of your cell phone chargers, microwaves, toaster ovens, espresso machines and the like to power strips, and flip the switch when not in use. Only perform DIY projects that you can accomplish safely. For the best results reducing energy waste in your home, contact your home service professional.
  8. 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.
  9. Green homes help reduce environmental damage and waste commonly caused by standard home construction and life habits. They also offer homeowners many additional benefits. They can lower utility and grocery bills, improve your home's value and make your overall life better. To reap these benefits and more, consider the following green home additions: Composting Room Composting bins turn plant-based waste materials from cooking and gardening into nutrient-rich fertilizer. A composting room is an extension of this idea designed to replace the traditional detached "garden shed" with a more efficient setup that allows you easy access to compost and garden supplies throughout the year even during cold weather. Since gases and odors are a byproduct of composting, you only need to run an attached ventilation duct from the enclosed bin to the outside through a wall or the ceiling to make this room work. Automatic Systems A lot of electricity and water loss occurs because homeowners often forget to turn off manual home systems like indoor and outdoor lights, sprinklers and thermostats. An automatic control system utilizes software and/or sensors to optimize usage. For example, an automatic system with light-detection sensors might turn on outdoor lights at night and then turn them off immediately in the morning or turn off indoor lights that you typically forget to turn off after a certain time at night. Green Roofing Homeowners can enjoy flower and vegetable gardens, safeguard the environment and save on heating, cooling and grocery costs without using up nearby land with green roofing. A "green" or "vegetative" roof turns an often unused home area into a garden paradise. The advantages of green roofing go beyond energy efficiency and fresh fruits and vegetables. You also receive greater roof and ceiling leak protection, higher local oxygen contribution and reduced chemical and noise pollution and government tax breaks. Nontoxic Materials Many standard home building and furniture materials, such as plastics, formaldehyde-containing fiberboard and adhesives, release toxic gases or break down into toxic dust over time that damage the environment and cause sick buildings syndrome. The "addition" of environmentally-friendly materials that release fewer harmful volatile organic chemicals after the removal of toxic ones can both improve your health and increase the value of your home. If your home is not already a green dwelling, it is time to do your part for the environment, yourself and your community. Start with one of these four green additions to improve your world and standard of living.
  10. In today’s world, keeping costs down is important and this is especially crucial for new homeowners. If the utility payments get out of hand, it is very easy to fall behind on all your bills. To alleviate some of the utility costs, consider what you can do and what tools can be used to make your home more energy efficient. Here are some tips for cutting back on energy use and how to make life at home a lot easier. Energy Audit Every homeowner who wants a more energy efficient home should consider a professional energy audit. While you can conduct one yourself, the professional may hit on areas you have overlooked. They start by checking your home for air leaks and making sure you have the proper insulation installed. While doing this, they will be certain that the home is ventilated properly to prevent harmful toxins from getting back into your home. Further study will be done on all systems in the home, including appliances, the heating and cooling system, and lighting. Energy Star Appliances Should you choose to not have an energy audit done, the first step in using less energy is to install Energy Star certified appliances in your home. This includes the refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, stove, and dishwasher. Many homeowners tend to forget about the hot water tank as they often do not think of it as an appliance. Appliances with the Energy Star certification will operate on the lowest energy possible. Appliances on receive this label if they pass the government standards for energy use. Heating and Cooling System Outdated systems or systems that are not properly maintained will use more energy. Anything over 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing. However, even a new system must be properly maintained in order to be at its most efficient. Filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly and ductwork cleaned prior to using at the beginning of a season. This can be done by scheduling an inspection of your system by a professional. The above steps are a great start in making sure your home is energy efficient. You may also wish to replace lightbulbs with Energy Star certified ones and after putting all the time and effort into making it efficient, protect your home and investment with an ADT security system. Your home should be considered like a business. Keeping the costs low will put more money in your pocket and allow you and your family to spend it on the things you enjoy. Make sure the investments you put into yours are worth it.
  11. It is impossible to live without heating and cooling your house throughout the year. However, energy costs are usually one of the biggest expenses in a home every year, but you can drastically reduce this expense by making your home more energy-efficient. If you take the time to make these four changes to your home, then you will have no problem cutting down on your energy bills in your newly efficient home. Install New Windows If you have not replaced the windows in your home recently, then there is a very good chance that they are not energy efficient. Old windows naturally start to get leaky cracks over time, which allows unwanted air to enter and leave the house. If you have old leaky windows, then you will have to spend more on energy costs to keep the house at your desired temperature. New energy efficient windows will ensure that this will never happen again. Replace Pilot Light On Your Propane Furnace A propane furnace is a great way to heat the house because it is much more energy efficient than an electric heater. While you are already saving money on your heating costs, there is a way to make your propane furnace even more energy efficient by replacing the pilot light on the furnace with an electric igniter. You will be required to ignite the electric igniter every time you want the furnace to run, but this will come with a lot of savings when compared to an always-on pilot light. You also can use products such as a Powerblanket to help keep your propane tanks energy efficient and even more effective. It is amazing how many tools are out there to help you with things like this. Add Insulation You can never have too much insulation in your home. The insulation traps the outside air and keeps it from entering the home to make sure your home remains a comfortable temperature throughout the year without spending a fortune on energy costs. Insulation is much more effective when added upstairs and in the attic. Seal Up The Ducts Air ducts carry the hot or cold air throughout the house to help maintain your desired temperature. Over time, these ducts will start to let more and more air escape through leaks and cracks. This air will never get to its intended destination in the house, so you will be forced to keep the heater or air conditioner running longer than necessary. Using duct sealant on your air ducts is the only way to ensure that all of the hot or cold air is being properly circulated throughout the house. There is no need to waste money on energy costs when it so easy to make your home more efficient. It may require a little extra work around the house, but you will be happy you followed these four tips after you see the results.
  12. It'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.
  13. Running an unsanitary home is a known cause of many complications and allergies are one of the most common ones. Cleaning a home with non-toxic materials, however, should be of utmost importance and priority – not only do toxic chemicals poison the environment, but can also be quite damaging for your own health, as well. This article will guide you through the main points of non-toxic home cleaning and care, towards an allergy-free home. Cleaning by Room Although it is vital that you keep each room clean and, therefore, healthy, different rooms require different cleaning approaches and means to reducing allergens. Bedroom – Your bed is a perfect home ground for mites and allergens, so taking care of your bed cleaning should be done at least twice a week and vacuuming on a daily basis if you are prone to allergies. Encasing your pillows, mattresses and box springs in cover that are dust-mite-proof is also recommended. Living Room – The room where you spend most of your personal time naturally needs a lot of cleaning. Perform dusting and vacuuming at least every other day in order to keep the allergies at bay and pay special attention to allergens’ breeding grounds, such as curtains. If you are especially prone to allergies, think about removing your carpeting and opt for hardwood or linoleum flooring. Given the fact that dust is the most common cause of allergies, think about browsing through air purifiers for your living room – these are great ways to fight dust and make your air fresh and clean. Kitchen – Not only is keeping your food clean a key factor in maintaining your health, but the kitchen can also turn quite filthy, unless cleaned regularly. Make sure you wash your dishes on a daily basis – mold and food debris shouldn’t stay untended to for more than a couple of hours. Think about installing a vented exhaust fan, in order to remove cooking fumes and reduce mold-causing moisture. Bathroom – Now perhaps the biggest problem with bathrooms is the mold – unless you have tiles installed on your shower walls and next to your bathtub, you are bound to experience mold on your walls, which is a known cause of health problems. When it comes to bathroom flooring, use tile, vinyl or linoleum to make cleaning easier. Additionally, an exhaust fan will reduce moisture greatly, after steaming baths and showers. Basement – Although this is the least frequently visited room within your house, it is likely to turn into a cesspool of germs if not cleaned regularly. Water-damaged carpeting should be removed and the foundation and stairwells checked for any sources of leak-caused water damage. When it comes to your clothes dryer, make sure that the moisture is vented outside. The biggest problem with basements is clutter, so properly arranging your stored items is of essence, in order to avoid health hazards Your Home in General When it comes to the general cleaning overview of your house, it is essential that you establish a weekly cleaning routine. This is not to say that a bit of cleaning on a daily basis shouldn’t be performed, but that you should thoroughly clean your home at least once a week. Pro tip: if you aren’t a smoker, be strict about your non-smoking policy within the walls of your house Keeping your house clean is vital for keeping the allergies at bay, even if you don’t have any significant allergen problems. These, however, aren’t the only health hazard an unclean home might cause, so exercising proper cleaning is vital, even if you do not suffer from allergies.
  14. Keeping a home up to date and preserved can be a pricey endeavor for any homeowner. From lawn care and utility costs to regular maintenance and repairs, taking care of a home takes a lot of work and money. Make sure you're not overpaying for unnecessary expenses as you do these tasks. Here are some ideas to save more money on your home energy costs and keep your home running smoothly. Seal Up Any Leaks Leaky windows and doors can let your air conditioning escape in the summer, and let in icy breezes during the winter. Consider replacing any windows that are beyond repair and add a weather seal to those that can be fixed. Put weather stripping around leaky doors to seal out bad weather as well. Insulating your house is the best way to keep your heating and cooling bills lower. Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature Most people need their water heater kept really hot during the winter, but many forget that they don't need those hot temperatures when the weather outside gets warm again. Consider lowering the temperature of your water heater to save significantly on electricity costs. Most likely, you won't even notice the temperature difference. Get a Programmable Thermostat Keeping your home set to one temperature can be wasteful, especially if your house sits empty all day. Get a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature during hours you know you won't be home. When you're gone at work, set the thermostat to drop the temperature a few degrees, and program it to bump the temperature back up shortly before you return home. If this is a project you don't feel comfortable tackling on your own, consider hiring professionals to install these systems for you. Little changes can make a big difference on your utility bills bottom line. Get Energy Efficient Appliances As your appliances break down, replace them with energy efficient models. You can even shop for the most energy fficient models by comparing the annual energy use on the yellow energy guide tags. Modern appliances are required to be more energy efficient, as well as water efficient. Even if the new appliance is slightly more expensive, it will save you on your monthly utility costs. Swap Out Light Bulbs Incandescent light bulbs can use up to ten times as much electricity as newer, low energy bulbs. Multiply that usage by every light bulb in your home, and you'll see how quickly your electricity usage can add up. Talk to an Electricity Match professional to see other ways where your home might be lacking in efficiency. They can even Compare Electricity Rates for you to help you make the best decision for your house. Maintaining a home can cost a lot of money, but you can keep home maintenance costs down by being smart with your utility usage. Follow the tips above to minimize your utility waste and get the most bang for your buck out of your utility bill.
  15. Having mature trees on your property can increase the value of your home by as much as 10 percent, but they also create a number of unique risks. A falling branch or uprooted tree might cause thousands of dollars in damage in the blink of an eye, and your insurance is not necessarily required to cover the repairs. Here are some tips for keeping your trees healthy as well as a look at a few signs that it might be time to remove a tree. Identify Your Trees Correctly identifying all of the trees on your property is one of the most important steps in this process. Once you know what type of trees you have, then you will know how to properly care for them and what they look like when damaged. Most trees can easily be identified with a few key features such as their leaves, bark, fruit, flowers, cones, and general size. Schedule Extermination Services Extermination services aren't just about keeping bugs out of the inside of your home. Certain species such as termites, carpenter ants, and bark beetles will wreak havoc on your trees and the rest of the plants on your property. Within just a few months, these insects can damage and weaken your trees to the point that they must be removed entirely. Regularly Check for Visible Damage As a general rule, families should regularly inspect any trees that are within close proximity to their home at least a few times a year. During these inspections, you should be trying to find clear signs of damage such as cracked limbs, holes from insects, leaning trunks, and roots being pulled out of the ground. Discolored bark and leaves are two signs that your trees might be infected with a disease. Also, if any branches are hanging too close to the roof of your home, then that is a clear sign that your tree needs some pruning done. Consult With an Arborist A professional arborist, like those at Smitty’s Tree Service Inc, can certainly trim and prune trees, but that is not all that they do. These specialists can help with issues such as stabilizing trunks, identifying signs of disease, and relocating trees when necessary. Just as with many other maintenance projects around your home, it is a good idea to schedule preventative services well before any major damage occurs. Arborists can also fertilize your trees so they continue to thrive for years to come. Homeowners are responsible for the safety of all family members and guests on their property, and that is why it is so important to keep a close eye on any trees that could create a dangerous situation or expensive damage.
  16. Learning earth-friendly habits at a young age can set your kids up for a lifetime of environmental awareness and a healthy mindset. As a parent you help your kids understand the world around them, and teaching them to care for it and to be considerate of their surroundings is a great way to help them in their future. Help them understand the concept of earth-friendly habits using these activities and other ideas. Go Camping Instill a love of nature in your kids by going camping on a regular basis. Maybe you encourage scouting trips or go as a family every summer. During your camping trips, talk about how litter and garbage can make plants and animals sick, and how to build fires by only using dead, fallen wood. This is a great opportunity to explore wildlife, talk about taking care of nature, and living green. Visit a Recycling Center Take your kids on a field trip to your local Main Street Fibers recycling center. Teach them about recycling and how it helps the Earth stay healthy. After your trip, go home and show them how to sort recyclables and discuss reducing, reusing and recycling. Make Recycled Art Show your kids that reusing materials can be a great way to help the environment, and a wonderful way to create artwork or new useful containers. There are many art projects that can be created using plastic shopping bags, string, wire coat hangers, and more. Your kids will have a blast, and will learn about reusing materials to keep them out of landfills. Plant a Garden Give your kid a spot in your backyard, or a window planter where they can grow their own plants. Talk with them about how plants help produce clean oxygen, and how planting an organic garden can help plants stay healthy and happy. Giving them their own spot in the garden and making it their responsibility not only teaches them a useful skill, it can also help them learn to love taking care of the Earth. Praise them for jobs well done, and your kids will learn to love the sense of accomplishment they get with each new vegetable or herb. Adopt a Public Place Find a park or other public land that is victim to a lot of litter. Make this place your family's spot to go and clean up together. Your kids will have fun taking care of a public place, and they will develop a passion against litter and harmful dumping. Teaching your kids Earth-friendly habits now can help them see the importance of taking care of the Earth in which we live. Use these great activities to help your kids understand the value of their contributions to the health of the Earth, and that living green can really make a difference.
  17. Not very long ago, private swimming pools belonged to the domain of the wealthy; until the middle of the last century, they were out of reach of the average citizen. Today, approximately eight million American homes display this amenity. As more and more homeowners throughout the country find swimming pools an affordable and attractive addition to their lives, another trend is developing. Recognizing the vital importance of conservation to the health of our planet, individuals are making eco-conscious decisions when implementing pools in their homes. Read on to see some of the ways they do this. Sun Power Solar energy is capable of more than heating your home and providing electrical power. Solar panels can warm pool water and fuel equipment. A solar swimming pool cover is an option for those whose budgets do not allow a full-fledged system: it keeps water debris-free and heats it at the same time. You can even harness the power of the sun to help keep your private swimming hole bacteria-free: ozone sterilization systems transform oxygen into germ-killing ozone. The Right Equipment Devices like variable speed pumps and in-floor cleaning systems are big energy savers. The former efficiently circulates the water, and the latter performs this task while keeping your pool clean and distributing heat from solar panels. And since equipment need not be running constantly, especially during cooler months, timers are essential. A smartphone or computer application enables you to run pool apparatus from anywhere, eliminating its energy-draining use when not needed. Your family members can start up the equipment remotely so the pool will be ready when you are. Salt water Oceans have a built-in mechanism to keep algae and bacteria at bay: salt water systems. In recent years, pool owners have been utilizing saline to achieve the same result. A chlorine generator cell transforms ordinary table salt into chlorine, which reverts back into its original, non-polluting form. Owners of traditional pools can easily make the switch to saline, and using less costly salt instead of chemicals helps offset the initial expense. Maintenance is simple: clean the chlorine cell annually and add salt to the water every month. The benefits go beyond keeping your pool bacteria- and algae-free: swimmers are more buoyant in salt water (making water exercise even more pleasant), there is no chlorine to irritate eyes, and skin remains soft rather than becoming prune-like. Natural Swimming Imagine a pond in your back yard. Natural pools feature sides that slope and a variety of plants that are more than pleasing to the eyes. Greenery like sphagnum moss removes bacteria from the water and can be used for compost. (It works so well that the University of Maryland uses it in indoor pools.) Plants infuse the water with oxygen, promote healthy bacteria that take care of debris and undesirable organisms, and provide a habitat for water wildlife. Use local varieties—they need less water and maintenance—as a windbreak to limit water evaporation. Be sure to place filtering plants away from the swimming area and all greenery where they will not shed into the pool. Starting natural pools is costly but, once they are fully functional, these ponds are virtually maintenance-free and require no chemicals to keep the water clean. And no matter what type of pool graces your domain, rainwater can be used to top it off as needed. It takes only a little effort to create an oasis that is more than refreshing and a source of beneficial exercise. An eco-friendly pool saves money, reduces water use, conserves energy, and creates a home for local wildlife. It’s a win-win situation for you, your family, your community, and our planet.
  18. Do you want your home to be environmentally-friendly? Not only is that better for the environment, but it can also save you a lot of money in terms of utilities. It may even improve your home values if you ever decide to sell or take out an equity line of credit—home buyers today are increasingly interested in green renovations. Here are a few of the best modern green renovations for homeowners. 1. Smart Energy Use New smart energy systems can monitor the amount of electricity you use and let you control all of your appliances and electronics through your smartphone. Monitoring your energy usage enables you to cut back on your spending if it gets too high, while the ability to turn off appliances and electronics on the fly means that you'll never forget something on. These new smart energy systems are usually Wi-Fi configured so they can be used from anywhere, and they can be easily installed on a home's existing electricity system, making them convenient as well. 2. Eco-Friendly Water Filtration Water filtration systems are incredibly important for an eco-friendly home. Without water filtration and treatment, a fair amount of households rely upon bottled water. Americans use about 50 billion plastic water bottles each year. Not only does bottled water introduce unnecessary plastics into the environment, but it also takes waters from areas that may desperately need it, upsetting the local ecosystems. Water is also costly to ship from the bottling plants, which further increases its carbon footprint. Nevertheless, tap water is often not entirely safe to drink. A filtration system will give a homeowner the option of safely drinking water from their home. Visit a professional at Rooter Pro Plumbing for more information about the water filtration systems available for your home. 3. Indoor Composting Systems Indoor composting systems are state-of-the-art kitchen renovations with no odor or mess. These composting systems take your kitchen food waste and turn it into a nutritious compost to grow herbs and other plant directly within your kitchen. Not only does this improve your food's sustainability, but it also reduces the amount of leftovers you waste -- and replaces a garbage disposal almost entirely. An indoor composting system is run by small and harmless parasites that are able to compost your kitchen materials without the traditional odors of composting. These systems are generally built directly into a kitchen island. These are just three of the best green innovations for your home. There are dozens of ways that you can lower your home's carbon footprint, from simply improving your home's insulation to installing advanced smart home systems.
  19. You don't need to make the biggest adjustments to your life or even spend a lot of money to live a greener lifestyle. There are tons of little and simple things that you and your family can do for cheap or even for free. It really is amazing how much of a difference just your family can make when it comes to saving the environment. Here are six simple ways you and your family can contribute to a healthier environment. Bring Your Own Grocery Bags Many grocery stores bag your items in either plastic or paper bags, which are not the best options for saving the environment. Bringing your own reusable grocery bags is a much better choice, especially since some retailers pay you for every plastic bag you don't use. This may seem like such a simple little thing, but it can really be worthwhile. Brewing Morning Coffee If you and other members of your family like to drink coffee in the morning, make sure you're buying brands with a USDA Organic certified label, for this ensures that it was grown with natural substances and by sustainable standards. Not only is this good for the environment, but it can be good for you too! It is definitely worth a try! Unplug Devices You Aren't Using Electronics like your fully charged laptop, printer, the kids' video game consoles, and the TV should truly be turned off when not in use. If they are plugged into a power strip, the whole group of devices can be switched off during the evening so you can prevent electricity still being drawn through them. This can really help save you a lot of energy and a lot of money. Avoid Plastic Bottles, Invest in a Water Filter Plastic bottles are one of the biggest threats towards our ecosystem, especially in our oceans. Instead of spending money on packs of water bottles, consider investing in a water filter for your home which in turn can save you hundreds of dollars and reduce the use of plastic. Here's an Idea, Switch to Energy-Saving Lightbulbs Standard bulbs can suck up a lot of energy making your electricity bills horrendous. Energy-Star rated CFL lightbulbs use 75% less energy so they last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs. You'll surely see a reduction in your electricity bill and your wallet will thank you. Water Saving Shower Heads and Less Shower Time Certain showerheads come with a water flow reducing switch which is ideal for the environment particularly if you have members of your household who like to take long showers. To avoid high water bills, consider implementing a shower time limit where each member should try only showering for 5-10 minutes, also turning off the water when they are applying body wash or shaving. How Can You Start? A common first step to families living greener is recycling, and with the help of services like Main Street Fibers, you’ll be on your road to recycling in no time! There are tons of great companies and resources out there for you to help you and your family figure out the best possible green living plan for you. This is definitely not something that has to be a lot of work or super overwhelming. If you do your research and utilize the right resources you should be able to really start making a difference in no time.
  20. Environmentally friendly solutions for the home might seem overwhelming and expensive, but if done correctly they can save a homeowner money without much worry or effort. Some solutions yield immediate savings while others take longer to materialize but may be even more cost saving. All of the examples below are smart ways to help the environment through lower use of water and electricity while saving money in the process. Synthetic Grass Planting and maintaining grass is not only ecologically wasteful, it’s also expensive. The constant watering that grass requires, especially in drought stricken areas, is extremely wasteful and all that wasted water costs money. According to the experts at Green Planet Grass, there is a practical and aesthetically pleasing alternative: synthetic grass, or artificial turf. Synthetic grass allows all of the same activities as normal grass, so families can still play catch and soccer, but without the associated water costs and waste of a normal lawn. Improved Insulation Upgrading the insulation in your home is a one-time cost that will lead to energy savings for a long time to come. A lot of insulation methods are associated with toxic chemicals and high prices, but they don’t have to be. By using recycled, non-toxic, but high quality insulation you won’t be polluting the environment, and a well insulated home means lower heating and cooling costs year round. Grey Water Recycling Installing a grey-water recycling system might sound overwhelming, but it can actually be as easy and straightforward as diverting laundry water to a bucket used for watering plants. This simple step can save a hundred dollars every year in water costs with just the cost of a bucket. While easily diverting used water can be affordable and simple, more complex and efficient grey-water recycling methods can also be installed, just be sure to check your state’s policies on water repurposing. Energy Efficient Appliances Energy efficient appliances can make a huge difference in electricity consumption and therefore utility costs. Switching all appliances at once probably won’t fit in most people’s budgets, and no one should be getting rid of brand new appliances, but it’s a good idea to consider replacing things that already are old and need to be replaced with appliances that will use less water and electricity. Not only will washing dishes and laundry become easier and faster, but all utility costs will drop as well.
  21. Many people want a pool on their property. It is a great investment for year-round fun as well as property value. As you consider incorporating one into your landscape, you may be thinking about the environmental issues as well as sustainability associated with it. Is is possible to have a pool that is eco-friendly? With the right knowledge and tips you can make an existing pool better for the environment overall. Solar Pool Heater According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using solar pool heating is a very cost-effective method of using solar energy. This may require a high initial investment, though. Depending on the climate, a solar pool heater will pay for itself in a short period of time. This is accomplished by lower energy costs. In some situations, a pool may require more heating than a solar heater can provide. In this case, a pool owner can choose to combine their solar heater with a convention pool heater which will still make their energy use lower. Eco-Friendly Landscaping Many owners are pleased to discover how they choose to landscape around their pool impacts the environment as well. Having plants nearby can help. Experts recommend the use of plants that are low-maintenance and can survive under drought conditions. It's also important to use plants native to where the pool is located. Trees and shrubs, when used correctly, can act as windbreaks and offer shade. This will decrease the evaporation of the pool's water, as well as its heating requirements. Reduce Chlorine Some pools are designed to use plants and not chemicals to sanitize the water and others are able to decrease or eliminate the use of standard chlorine. There are pool sanitation methods that involve ozone as well as salt water as well. Pool professionals at Bullfrog Spas recommend owners be consistent when it comes to keeping their pool clean. This will decrease the need for any extra needs for chemical sanitation. Ozone & Salt An ozone sterilization system is designed to eliminate bacteria in a pool using electricity. It eliminates swimming pool contaminants by releasing oxygen atoms. These atoms will join with any foreign substance in the pool, such as bacteria and algae, and remove them. Salt can be used to sanitize pools as well. The salt turns into a hypochlorous acid and eliminates any algae or bacteria. Variable Speed Pool Pump Experienced pool professionals tell their clients that pool pumps use even more energy than their pool's heater. It is recommended that pool owners use a variable speed pool pump. They are very popular when constructing new pools or renovating an existing pool. What makes them so efficient is their ability to only use as much energy as is needed to accomplish a certain task. Energy Efficient Lighting A pool owner has many different lighting options. Many of them are able to use much less energy than incandescent lighting. A very popular choice is LED lighting. Pool owners like this lighting because it is stylish as well as efficient. Solar lighting is excellent for illuminating pathways to the pool or around it as well. Automated Pool Systems These systems are designed to only run the water features or a pool's heater when necessary. An automated system will save you money by reducing energy costs. This type of automation also makes it easier to make certain the pool is properly maintained. Hot Tubs & Spas Sanitizers can be used to clean hot tubs and spas. The most popular ones are bromine and chlorine. There is also an effective treatment that is non-chlorine known as spa shock. You can find more information for a hot tub water care guide at professional sites as well. It is possible to maintain a pool, spa, or hot tub with methods that are safe to use and friendly to the environment. Researching what method works best you’re your situation can pay off in reduced energy costs as well as having an eco-friendly pool that doesn’t ruin the environment.
  22. Owning a home means sometimes your place will get fairly messy. You need a routine cleaning schedule to ensure the general protection of your home and family and maintenance to keep things preserved. As a greater emphasis has been placed on being environmentally friendly, people have begun to understand the need for a greener way to clean. Countless products exist that make this task simple, and most of the ingredients are probably already in your home. Here are some simple ways to get your house spiffy and still be kind to the earth. Craft an All-Purpose Cleaner The name of these ingredients speak for themselves by being safe to use on virtually anything, but there is also a multitude of ingredients that can be used in these cleaners, and each of them serves a different purpose. A common mixture includes mixing 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with a drop of liquid soap and two cups of hot water. This mixture only takes on the odor of the soap and works to abate growing bacteria, caked on dirt, and is a great way to clean bathroom stains. The base of this cleaner allows for the incorporation of other important green items, like vinegar, as the acidity of the liquid kills all types of bacteria, ultimately making it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. One Simple Fruit with Endless Possibilities Whether they are squeezed to make a drink, used to leave a house smelling fresh, or made into a heavy-duty cleaner, lemons are always a good idea. The acidity of a lemon works as a bleaching agent which makes it ideal for laundry, washing white surfaces and breaking down areas that collect a lot of germs like kitchen counters. Squeezing two lemons into a spray bottle with one tablespoon of baking soda makes for a profound, eco-friendly bleach. If you desire the fragrance to be more potent, though, consider reducing the baking soda to 1/2 tablespoon. Aside from mimicking a bleach, lemons are rich with citrus flavonoids which are powerful components that fight free radicals from entering the body. When used in rooms of the home where germs are the most concentrated, this cleaner guarantees a home free of sickness, disease, and even insects. Invest in an Energy Efficient Vacuum Cleaner Sometimes sweeping is not sufficient enough to rid your floor of debris and a broom is unable to reach every corner of a room. As a result, investing in a quality vacuum is essential to keep things truly dirt free. Some of the best Central Vacuum models are quiet, save energy, and have the ability to reuse the bags. The necessary power does the trick without straining valuable natural resources. For the Living Room: Corn Meal and Olive Oil People with children understand that spills are part of everyday life, but few cleaners exist that will remove the mess without harming playing children or pets. From the carpet to furniture, a natural, non-toxic cleaner is needed; this is where corn meal and olive oil are able to work their magic. Olive oil rubbed on a rag acts as a powerful furniture polish that will leave tables, chairs, and wood floors looking brand new. Corn meal on the other hand, acts as a powerful absorption tool that effortlessly lifts spills off of carpets and other fabrics. In sum, green cleaners are not only beneficial for the environment and the safety of your home and family, but work wonders on a household budget. All of the ingredients used in green cleaning are often already in the pantry or fridge and if they are not, they are easily attainable at stores throughout the world.
  23. If you want to increase your recycling efforts to be more earth-friendly, you’ll need to make some changes at home. Having an earth-friendly house is an admirable goal, but getting there can be a challenge especially when trying to change daily habits. Follow these tips to improve your family’s recycling of paper, metal, and plastic items to reduce the amount of trash that goes into landfills. Think before You Shop While shopping for food and other household goods for a family, think about what you are buying to avoid creating waste. Rather than using the store’s plastic or paper bags, bring along your own durable canvas totes to carry merchandise back home. In addition, don’t buy products that have a lot of packaging to avoid creating more trash from plastic wrappers and cardboard containers. Fill Your Own Water Bottles Instead of buying huge multi packs of bottled water, invest in several reusable metal or plastic bottles to fill at home. A reusable water bottle is easy to carry with you to work or school and can be filled up at any drinking fountain when you are out and about. If you want to have cleaner water to pour into these bottles, then install a water purification system onto your kitchen’s water faucet. This tip can keep you from adding hundreds of plastic bottles to a landfill each month. Don’t Waste Paper You probably waste a lot of paper in your home without realizing it, but you can break this habit easily. Avoid paper waste by making a few changes such as buying washable cleaning cloths to dust furniture and clean windows. Rather than using paper napkins during meals, buy cloth napkins to wash each week as well. Use the internet as a news source and cancel your subscription to the local paper. Buy a Can Crusher Empty metal beverage and food cans require a lot of space in a home, but there are inexpensive metal can crushers you can use to reduce space in your recycling containers. With one of these devices, you can smash a soft drink or soup can flat before placing it in a recycling bin inside a garage. Make sure to rinse the remnants of food or liquids from metal containers before smashing the items. Instead of needing to carry several bins of metal to a recycling facility, you will only have one. Check to see the value of certain cans at places like Main Street Fibers to see if you can even make money with your recycling efforts. Re purpose Items There are numerous ways to increase your recycling efforts, including contacting your utility companies and banks to stop mailing paper bills or statements. You can also find ways to purpose items such as using metal cans as flowerpots or making bird feeders from plastic milk jugs. Think of your trash as another item you can use around the house or garden. Recycling is a great goal to have and any family can improve and increase their efforts at home. Use these ideas to get started changing your daily habits and making your whole house more green.
  24. 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.
  25. Nowhere is the phrase, "start them young and early", more appropriately applied than when referring to teaching kids about recycling, sustainability, and being good stewards of this planet. Hopefully they'll be learning about it at school, but the burden falls on parents to assume most of their responsibility and teach youngsters how to keep their environment green. Early Childhood Training Beginning as early as three years old, let kids see you set the example first. In other words, verbalize out loud what it is you're doing as you're doing it. For instance, as you drop a plastic bottle in the blue bin, you might say something like, "This is a plastic bottle, and plastic things always go into this blue container." Doing so can teach them how to sort items and how to dispose of them in their proper place. You might even have them scribble a sign to hang over the proper bins that read, Plastics Here! or Papers Here! You can also have children tape a small plastic jar to the blue bin acquainting with plastic materials. To further involve younger aged children, begin a reward system of giving out little sticker stars with a prize like a sourdough pretzel goes to the child with the most stars. As they grow older, you may substitute little stars for returning bottles, and encourage them to keep the change. Make a Game Of it At this environmental protection government (EPA) website, you'll find imaginative, interactive games to stimulate young minds in the vision for protecting their environment. The Dumptown Game actually makes your child into a city manager with critical decision-making activities that engage municipal residents in their own waste management and waste reduction at-home programs. Use games and prizes to make learning and treating the environment right fun and educational. Young Children to Teens Having learned the basics of colors and plastics, your next job as a parent would be teaching them about composting. Easily done by setting up a separate bin for discarded tea bags, grass cuttings, veggie peelings, coffee grounds, egg shells, toilet paper rolls, and paper towels, this cuts down not only on the waste, but saves you money on fertilizer supplies as well. It all comes down to example. Set the stage for how your home runs and try to make a habit of throwing natural waste into the compost pile, using safe fertilizers like Nature Safe on your lawn, and routinely picking up trash and debris from your yard and local parks. When kids see you doing the right thing, they will naturally follow. Reusing Usable Items As many items can be reused for other purposes, make your kids aware that a peanut butter jar, for instance, can be transformed into a coin bank once it's been washed clean first. Empty tissue boxes are great for storing grocery plastic bags and a small plastic bag can be used in the family car as a trash bin. If you visit your local waste management, you'll see what your municipality recommends as far as dumping and recycling materials go. However, all initiatives really must begin at home by educating the children early.