Thursday, October 23, 2014

How Homes Today Are Becoming More Energy Efficient

In President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he made known his goal of homes becoming twice as energy efficient by the year 2030. Boosting energy efficiency is a major concern if we are to tackle the global warming dilemma that faces us. What are some ways that homes today are becoming more energy efficient?

Energy Efficient Appliances

Newer models tend to keep energy conservation as a top priority. Energy Star certified appliances go a long way towards making your home greener. Low flow showers, toilets, and washing machines can help save water. A high efficiency water heater that heats on demand will also help cut energy consumption.

Eco-friendly roofing

Energy efficient roofing materials can drastically reduce the amount of energy used. Cooling roofs are typically metal that is painted light colors to help reflect the heat. Metal roofs are known to be durable, fire retardant, and energy efficient. Some companies, such as Great Canadian that provides roofing in Calgary, specialize in energy efficient metal roofing as well as asphalt, concrete tile, and cedar roofing.

Environmentally Friendly Light Bulbs

A great way to start being more energy efficient is to switch from old incandescent light bulbs or fluorescent light bulbs to a more energy efficient LED light bulb. LED lighting also contains no mercury, and they tend to last eight to twelve times longer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient this Fall

When summer ends, many homeowners breathe a sigh of relief because they no longer have to spend on air conditioning. But fall is also the time to prepare for cold weather, and here are five things that need to get done before it gets really cold.

1. Fix those air leaks.

Look for cracks and gaps around your baseboards, doors, windows, chimneys, dormers, and the area where the foundation and the wall of your house meet. Once you find those energy consuming leaks, patch them up by applying cement, caulk or weather stripping. Your neighborhood hardware will be glad to show you how which products to use.

2. Check your heating system.

Clean all vents and make sure that none of them are blocked. Find out if it is time to buy a new heater. Even if your heater is still serviceable, you should change its filter once a month once you start using it in earnest.

3. Get a setback thermostat.

A setback thermostat allows you to program your heating system so that it will heat your home at the temperature and time you desire. This means the temperature can be set to go down when you are away and get warm and cozy when you are home. Because most, if not all, setback thermostats allow a manual override, you can then adjust the temperature as needed.

4. Adjust fan blades so that they run in reverse.

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, it can actually help keep you warm in fall and winter. The reverse switch will make the blades run clockwise; this will help heat your house by bringing warm air (which naturally rises to the ceiling) back to the room.

5. Pay attention to the plumbing.

According to
Always Plumbing & Heating, your water heater is going to be an extremely hardworking fixture in your home now that the cold is starting to set in. You can save a lot of energy by wrapping your heater with an insulating blanket and by insulating exposed pipes – particularly those that are in your garage, attic, or in a crawl space. First wrap the pipes with electrical heating tape then with foam pipe insulation. While you’re at it, check for drips and leaks, drain and shut off all sprinklers and outside taps and hoses. This will help prevent pipes from freezing over and bursting.

There are many other things you can do this fall to make your home more energy efficient. If you haven’t switched from incandescent to fluorescent or LED bulbs, this is a good time to do it. You can take your sweaters out of storage and wear them at home so you don’t have to crank up your heater. These simple ways not only help save the environment, they will also help you save money while living comfortably during the season.

Simple Ways You Can Go Green With Your Home Renovation Project

Remodeling a home is necessary for keeping a residence looking updated. It is also important to keep up to date on useful technology and for homeowners to enjoy maximum efficiency when it comes to energy expenses. An entire home can be remodeled, or it can be a project tackled one space at a time, specifically to accommodate a growing family. Here are a few simple ways that home owners can go green with home renovation projects:


Materials Selection

Taking on a home renovation project is an exciting time for home owners. Possibilities are seemingly endless and the planning phase of lining out the details is where consumers can get creative with incorporating green aspects into their remodel. Materials like eco-friendly composite decking, innovative paper-based counter tops (made of tree pulp), bamboo, rubber mulch and even synthetic grass are great options to get started.

Green Companies and Contractors

During a remodel, enlisting the help of a professional can save time and bring a project back on track. Professional contractors and designers are experienced with the most cost-effective, creative green ideas that can cleverly be used throughout a developing project, says a custom home builder in Victoria.

Low-Energy Lighting

L.E.D. lighting is an excellent green option because of its cost saving qualities, low-energy consumption, long lifespan (5 to 50 times longer than traditional lighting) and mercury-free disposal. There are many different options for both indoor and outdoor lighting that can work well with any home.

High Quality Insulation

Green insulation products can be identified by their recycled materials percentage. Insulation on its own merit is a green aspect of a home remodel because its very purpose is to save homeowners as much energy as possible. Natural materials and insulation that contains low-levels of harmful substances will be ideal.

Energy-Efficient Windows

Installing double-pane windows is a green option for homes because they help regulate interior temperatures, decrease energy costs and create a barrier between the inside and outside of a home, particularly in extreme climates. Getting high-quality windows save you money in the long run with lower utility bills.


Home owners will find many benefits by incorporating recycled materials into a remodel project such as roofing tiles, doors, lumber and paint. Your family's health can also benefit from the use of recycled products because they do not include as many harmful toxins and ingredients.

Simple ways of going green with a home renovation will bring a large return on investment to homeowners and continue paying off. Before starting your renovation project, consider the benefits of going green and work with professionals to get the end result you expected.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Prevent Power Piracy: 6 Pointers for Protecting Your Diesel Fuel

Pre-Break Content Goes Here
In 2003, the Australian Institute of Criminology did a study on the ways in which farms were targeted with petty crime: sabotage, theft, trespassing and vandalism. Called the Rural Crime Victims Statistics report, the study documented alarming farm crime rates: nearly one out of five farmers in Australia experience at least one incident of theft each year. The more remote the farm, the greater the risk. While livestock was the number one target for thieves, diesel fuel theft was common, too.

Fuel is easy to steal

Petrol and diesel theft are at epidemic proportions across the country, in both rural and urban areas. One study done by the Motor Trade Association of Western Australia reports a 200% rise year on year. Fuel is extremely easy to steal and sell.

Millions of people park their cars, utes, tractors and other equipment outside with no protection. Any petty criminal in need of money only has to buy a cheap fuel siphon at a hardware store, jemmy the fuel cap off the tank of a parked vehicle or fuel drum at night and suck the fuel out. Some thieves are better equipped. They have specially modified cars or utes with large, hidden fuel tanks. They use electric pumps to quietly siphon fuel out of parked vehicles.

Diesel generators for farmers need plenty of fuel; in rural areas farmers often store large quantities in tanks in poorly secured facilities. Anyone can easily drive up in the middle of the night, siphon out hundreds of dollars' worth of fuel in 15 minutes and run off.

What can you do to protect yourself?

The first thing that you need to do is to be aware of your fuel situation. Whether it's the fuel in your car, truck, farm machinery or fuel storage tanks, you need to be aware of how much fuel you have. Keeping a reasonably up-to-date log of these fuel levels should help you know if you're being hit. Once you put a system together to keep track of your fuel, you should look into taking preventive measures.

.    Park defensively -- Whether it's just one car or a fleet of trucks, you should avoid parking on the street if you can. If you do need to park outside, try to do it so that the side of the vehicle with the fuel tank faces the street. Don't offer cover to anyone trying to steal your fuel.
.    Get anti-siphoning equipment -- Many manufacturers sell special fuel tank locks and devices that make it difficult for common siphons to operate. These devices place a one-way valve in the mouth of your tank: it will allow fuel to go in, but not come back out. More sophisticated devices place sensors in fuel tanks. When they sense that fuel is being drained out, they turn on a very loud siren. Stores that cater to truckers and farmers usually sell these devices.
.    Get security cameras -- Thieves generally hit places that are unprotected. Since security cameras are cheap these days, you can quickly install multiple cameras all around the area that you have vehicles or fuel tanks in, and install signage that warns potential thieves.
.    Install good lighting -- Simply installing bright outdoor lighting near your vehicles and fuel storage areas can be a powerful deterrent. No thief wants to walk in bright light.
.    Get physical protection -- If you do need to park your vehicles outside or do not have a building in which to install your fuel tanks, you can at least build tall, protective fences outside.
.    Consider using fuel dyes -- For farms and businesses that need to store massive amounts of diesel, dyes are an effective deterrent against employees who steal fuel. Anyone who touches the fuel will have indelible stains on their hands.

With fuel theft being reported at alarming rates, it's important to take charge of the situation. Diesel theft isn't just a little money lost. It can make fuel unavailable exactly when it's important. It can cost a business its goodwill.

Getting Republicans to stop dodging the climate question

This post originally appeared on Climately, a Dude, Sustainable! project

"But I'm no scientist..."

Ever heard this one? It's the standard go-to dodge used by Republican (and even some Democratic) politicians when they don't want to answer a question about our climate crisis. Does it mean that the same politicians should give up airplanes, iPhones or toothpaste because they don't understand how that works either?

The point of the matter is, of course, that this defense is absurd. When in doubt, defer to the experts, and in this case, the experts are 99%+ of climate scientists who agree that climate change is a reality, and a man-made one at that. Read on for an important take on how to combat the recalcitrant politician who defers to this defense:

from Climately - The Social Network Fighting Climate Change

October 20, 2014 at 11:51AM

Sponsored Links