Tuesday, March 3, 2015

5 Eco-Friendly Updates that Will Allow You to Harness Solar Power around the House

One of the greatest natural resources available to man is the sun. Its fuel source is practically everlasting, and its rays can provide power without pollution. You can also harness the rays of the sun to make your home more eco-friendly as well. Keep reading for a few good ideas that will allow you to harness solar power around the home in an effort to make your dwelling more eco-friendly.

photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons via Oregon Dept of Transportation 

Solar Powered Light Fixtures

One way to cut down on your home’s electricity use is by implementing solar powered light fixtures. These lights include tiny solar cells that soak up and store energy from the sun during the day. This energy is then able to power these lights during night time hours. While these lights have traditionally been used outdoors, they can be used indoors as well if given access to a sunny window.

Solar Roof Panels

Another excellent choice is to install solar panels on your roof. The sun’s rays that hit the panels are converted to electricity through the use of a grid system that has been modified to accept solar power. This kind of system is able to supply power to both AC and DC leads in a home. It also has the ability to automatically subtract the amount of solar power used to properly calculate utility bills. The savings created can be quite large. According to the professionals at A. Clark Roofing & Siding Ltd. who specialize in Sherwood Park roofing, you can also choose a lighter color and material for your roofing in order to keep the house cool, and save on energy bills.

A Solar Water Heater

Solar power can also be used to heat your home’s water. A device that collects the solar power is mounted on the roof or other elevated location. The thermal energy that is collected is then intensified and used to heat a water tank. This supply of hot water can then either be used in faucets, shower fixtures and appliances, or be used to provide heat throughout the home by being piped to radiators.

Solar Storage Tubes

You can also use solar power to cut down on your home’s heating bills in another way. This is through the use of solar storage tubes. These are large fiberglass tubes that have been traditionally used to provide heat to greenhouses. Simply purchase a few tubes and fill them with water. If they are placed in direct contact with sunlight, they will absorb the heat from the sun and radiate it throughout that room.

Solar Chargers for Appliances

Most people charge electronics like cell phones by plugging them into wall outlets. However, this isn’t the only option for charging your devices. Instead, you can purchase a solar charger to provide power to these electronics and appliances instead. Just make sure the charger you choose is compatible with your appliance’s adapter before purchasing, and then you can enjoy the efficiency of solar charging.

The sun is the most powerful force in our solar system. If you make the effort, you too can harness this power and use it to make your home more carbon neutral and energy efficient.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Four Reasons Metal Recycling Can Be Great For Your Local Environment

Metal recycling is not new by any stretch of the word. What is new are innovative ways recycled metal impacts a healthy environment. With modern innovations turning this age-old practice of conserving and reusing into more accessible avenues, you can be sure that it is around to stay. Green-living and thinking is becoming more and more popular with modern culture with recycling at the forefront of this movement. Take a look at just a few reasons metal recycling, in particular, can be great for your local environment.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: Simple Steps You Can Take At Home

With global warming becoming an increasingly large problem, many people have begun to look for different ways of reducing their carbon footprint, and rightly so. If climate change isn't curbed soon, it could bring unwanted consequences. Fortunately, though, there are several easy ways of lessening the greenhouse gases that you emit, or contribute to emitting. Best of all, you can even do these things at home, with little change to your general lifestyle. The most obvious and well known ways of reducing global warming are to switch to clean fuel sources, plant trees, recycle and take alternative means of transportation. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Going Green: 5 Energy Efficient Home Remodeling Ideas

Energy costs continue to rise, pushing homeowners to find energy efficient upgrades. While remodeling or improving a home requires an investment, becoming greener does not have to break the bank. The following five upgrades will make a home more attractive while cutting energy use.

Low-Flow Fixtures
Low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads can reduce a home's water use by up to 50 percent each year, which can add up to savings of around $150. All are inexpensive, simple to install and are often more attractive than older models. Water-saving fixtures add to a home's value and can bring a higher price if the owner decides to sell.

Programmable Thermostat
Many homeowners are replacing traditional thermostats with programmable models. The precise temperature control reduces unnecessary furnace and air-conditioning cycles, lowering energy use by an average of $200 per year. The programming feature allows for automatic start-up and shutdown of heating or cooling depending on the household schedule.

Roof Replacement
According to
Metal Roof Outlet Inc., an old, worn drafty roof can rob a home of warmth while running up large energy bills. Replacing it will not only make the home more efficient, it will add to its value and curb appeal. A new trend is the "white roof," which deflects heat away from the structure unlike standard dark shingles. This results in reduced cooling costs and a higher level of comfort during the summer months.

Tankless Water Heater
Installing a tankless water heater can produce up to 20 percent savings on a home's water bill while lasting nearly a decade longer than a standard tank model. Since tankless heaters work by making hot water as needed, the supply never runs out in the middle of a shower or dishwasher cycle. Homeowners can also receive a tax rebate for installing a tankless water heater.

Ceiling Fans
Adding ceiling fans throughout a home speeds up air flow and distribution of heat and air-conditioning. During the summer, the fans can make a home feel up to 10 degrees cooler, reducing the number of AC cycles. In the winter months, ceiling fans can be reversed to bring warm air downward, making rooms more comfortable and lowering overall heating costs.

A house is one of the biggest purchases a person will make. The five upgrade ideas above will improve a home's energy efficiency while increasing its value and saving the homeowner money. 

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Disposing of E-Waste: The Best Tips for Recycling your Electronics Safely

As the use of electronic products has grown in the last twenty years, so has the production of electronic waste. In 2012, Americans disposed of approximately 3.4 million tons of e-waste, and about 29% of this amount was recycled. Mobile devices, while making up the smallest share of total e-waste tonnage, are recycled at a rate of only 11%. Although the disposal of e-waste into properly managed landfills is considered safe for human health, the loss of precious metals and other complex components has its own environmental impact. Donating or recycling electronics ensures that valuable components can be reused or repurposed, saving precious natural resources and reducing the pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with mining and manufacturing. Use the following tips to help you donate or recycle your old electronics:

photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons via David Ohmer


There is still a market for old TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, cellphones, laptops, and other computer equipment. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and other nonprofit organizations will often accept many of these items for resale in their thrift stores. Goodwill also sponsors electronic technician training programs that are in need of old items for students to work on. If you do plan to donate a computer or cellphone, be sure to erase all personal data and remove your phone’s SIM card before dropping off the item. There are a number of free and low-cost disk-cleaning software programs available for erasing hard drives. Or you can take the device to a facility that can shred or destroy the hardware (thus destroying any data), according to the professionals of STS Electronic Recycling who specialize in hard drive destruction in Dallas, Texas. Be sure to keep a list of all donated items, as your contribution may be eligible for a tax deduction.

Municipal Recycling

Many towns offer special collections for e-waste, either at designated areas year-round or on several occasions throughout the year. Check with your town or city’s department of public works to find out what options are available for recycling e-waste and other hazardous items.

Private Recycling

A number of electronics retailers, including Best Buy, Target, Dell, and Staples, among others, offer recycling drop-off opportunities at their stores. The EPA offers a convenient drop-down menu with information about these national retailers’ recycling programs.

In addition to retailers, many independent companies offer electronics recycling services. To guarantee that a recycling company is committed to safeguarding your privacy and protecting the environment, be sure to find a recycler who is certified either through the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) or the e-Stewards standards.

E-recycling and donation saves landfill space and preserves precious resources for future use. With just a few small steps, you can contribute to making the world a cleaner and more connected place.

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