Greener Home

10 Tips to a Greener Home

Going ‘Green’ is not a chore as some people would like you to believe, and doing it the right way is completely plausible if you follow the 10 tips for a greener home:

1. Reduce your heating energy costs by turning your thermostat down by just one degree. The benefit is that over the long run you save up to 4% of your total energy bill.

2. When you go shopping for your next major appliance, consider shopping for an energy-efficient star-rating appliance. It has been proven that you can light a home for more than four and a half months by making use of an energy star-qualified refrigerator.

3. If you live in a cold area or country, why not consider insulating your home by lining your curtains. Heavier drapes will provide adequate protection against a cold draft coming through the window.

4. Any old or unused electronic equipment should be sent to an Electronic Waste Recycler, or hand it to friends or family who may need it. In some countries you may find a local recycler programs where you can sign up and offer your equipment to people if no one in your family wants it. The same goes for your mobile or cellphone. In Australia alone there is an estimated 21 million mobile phones. That equals to one per person and if each person upgrades their contract or gets a new phone once every 12-24 months, then you have millions of old mobile phones that end up in the landfill. So if you don’t need it, recycle it for a greener home.

5. One of the most common hazardous waste materials are batteries. It doesn’t affect the environment in a bad way just by waste alone, but by the production, distribution and end-of-life phases of these batteries as well. So you can start making your home more green efficient by just keeping batteries out of the waste stream by recycling them. You could also consider buying rechargeable batteries. Some brands can be recharged up to a 1000 times and if you want to affect the environment in a positive way, then buy rechargeable batteries.

6. Recycle paper. Yes, we see adverts and suggestions everywhere to do it, but in your home you need to start doing it more. First grab all your old magazines, and old books that you don’t use any more and take it to your local paper recycle bin. Alternatively, donate old books in good condition to your local charity who will encourage users to read and recycle the books again. Go digital! Yes, you heard me right. Everything these days revolve around the internet, so consider buying digital kindle books instead of paperbacks.

7. Do you always have a lot of organic waste like scraps of food and vegetable? Use it for compost in your garden and this will go a long way to a greener home.

8. Any appliances that you leave on standby, like your clothing washer, TV, printer, microwave, consider switching them off. This will save you a decent amount of energy. For those of us who are night-owls, consider going to bed a bit earlier in the evening since just an hour or two earlier, means we save a lot of energy.

9. In the supermarket you can find energy-saving light-bulbs. Make use of them as the advantages are fantastic over the long run, including a reduced energy bill.

10. In the kitchen you can cook your vegetables faster by cutting it up into smaller pieces. Great way of making your home more green.

Whether you plan your kitchen greenly, or buy energy-efficient appliances, it’s never too late to start having a greener home.

Conserve Water

How to Conserve Water Wisely

Conserving water is quite popular these days as more and more people recognize the value in doing so, whether it is for business use or personal use. Besides the obvious benefits that conserving water will reduce your water bills, there is also other advantages like contributing to maintaining an effective world/cycle of life for the benefit of our future children.

So here are some tips you can use to conserve water wisely in your organisation:

1. If your business uses a lot of water, perhaps its wise to have a water audit done for your facility or business. This will keep track of how much you use or need and then you can take the necessary steps to ensure you conserve water wisely. Also using water softeners also called adoucisseur d’eau in french (www.adoucisseur-deau.net) will help you offer better quality water without too much calcium.

2. If you have a large factory or premises and do not make use of the whole place, then switch the water off in some areas to prevent leaks and too much consumption.

3. How about hosting a competition in your business where you ask employees to suggest ideas and the best ideas win a small prize? It will go a long way to promoting a bit of fun and make people think creatively in different directions.

4. If you own a hotel and make use of laundering your own bedding and linen, then ensure that the washing machine is filled to an acceptable level, which conserves the use of water wisely as well.

5. Your organisation can also make use of energy-efficient clothes washers. This is an initiative through the CEE (Super-Efficient Home Appliances Initiative) to provide a list and set of specifications of qualifying products for educational and business use. Not only does it promote energy saving, but conserves water wisely too.

To conserve water wisely in your daily routine, you can consider to do the following:

1. Most people, well not everyone, but most who can afford it, owns a dishwasher. This in itself is not a bad thing, but if you wanted to conserve water, a good suggestion would be to do it the old way- washing dishes with your hands. If you really do not want to do it with your hands, then consider looking for an energy and water efficient dishwasher.

2. Make sure you go through your home and inspect all faucets to ensure there is no dripping. Four thousand drips (400k) amounts to 1 litre of water that you are wasting. May not seem much, but if you have several taps that leak in your home, and imagine other homes having the same problem, it quickly starts to add up.

3. To conserve groundwater in some drier areas in the country, you can collect rainwater to wash your car or water the garden. You can achieve this by using a type of Cistern system or a catchment system. Just remember not to use it for human consumption.

4. If you have conventional fixtures in your home, rethink of replacing it with low flow plumbing fixtures. This would conserve water wisely through your shower usage, toilet and taps in the home.

5. Other things you can do to conserve water wisely is by shortening your shower by a minute or so as this will help save a lot of water each month. Also with the bath, plug the tub first before running the water and then gradually adjust the temperature instead of running the water first and then putting in the plug. This also bring to light another area worth considering as you should teach your children, if you have any, to turn off the faucets tightly.

There are literally hundreds of tips on how you can conserve water wisely, but ultimately it is up to you to make the necessary changes in your life and contribute to a better cycle of life.

Planting trees - Environment

Why Planting Trees Helps the Environment

In some countries they hold a national day where you get to plant some trees to help the environment. May sound stupid to some people, but here are the reasons why planting trees helps the environment.

1. Planting trees helps the environment by reducing pollution and preventing global warming. Sounds a bit far-fetched, but not really once you understand how this happens. One tree releases its own oxygen, but more than this, nutrients are created from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, minerals in the soil, sunlight and water. So when you hear someone refer to ‘greenhouse gas’, the process of releasing these nutrients helps the environment by removing massive quantities of it involved in global climate change. There are people who have noticed that it gets hotter and hotter each year. This is the end result where the levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is too high and not enough water evaporates into the atmosphere which increases cloudiness. There will be less heat from the solar radiation if there are more clouds to reflect it. And for that you need more water to evaporate from the trees.

2. The pores in a leaf of a tree also absorbs gaseous pollutants. Things like pollen particles, dust and smoke gets trapped and filtered through the stems, at which point the rain purifies these particles.

3. Planting trees helps the environment by supplying oxygen through filtering pollutants out of the air and replacing them.

4. Another more common reason why planting trees helps the environment is that it provides shade and gives shelter from wind and rain- especially in winter in some parts of the world where the winds are the most harshest. Not just to humans, but to animals and insects. In the cycle of life, all insects and creatures, along with humans, contribute to a more efficient running world.

5. For some animals, a tree means a home as well. To birds, and owls and anything else you can think of.

6. It helps the environment by replacing the trees that are cut down or destroyed, whether it be through man or natural causes. We as humans, destroy the environment more rapidly than any other known natural cause that the world can throw at us, which it why it’s essential we get into the habit of planting trees.
7. Ever heard of the term soil erosion? The roots of a tree actually helps to fight soil erosion and conserve rainwater in the ground which in turn leads to more nutrients being dispersed in the ground, the surrounding plants and trees.

8. Ever lived near a busy road? The noise sometimes just gets to a person on a personal level. But did you know by planting a tree, it will help with controlling noise as it acts as a buffer against noise pollution. This is especially helpful if you live near an airport or free-way.

9. Planting trees helps the environment by promoting mental and physical health of people living in urban areas or busy cities. Which is why a stroll through a park can greatly enhance your sense of connecting to nature and clean oxygen which in turn will help you feel more alive than you have been for the entire day.

10. You can also benefit from lower energy usage if trees are planted in such a way on your property where it protects your home against heat and harsher conditions.

Planting a tree is one of the most selfless things you can do as a human being, and by teaching your children how to help the environment, not only you, but our future generations will benefit from these simple gestures. So plant a tree today!

Kintai Bridge

5 Most Beautiful Bridges in the World

First we will start our tour of the 5 most beautiful bridges by travelling across land and sea to Japan. Here we will visit the famous Kintai Bridge originally built in 1673.

In the city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, you will find this historical wooden arch bridge that is made from a series of five wooden arches that span the Nishiki river. Famous tourist stops near the Kintai bridge consists of the Iwakuni castle that sits at the top of Mt. Yokotama. Before the Kintai bridge was completed in 1673, there was a series of wooden bridges that was destroyed by the spring floods. The Iwakuni castle itself was completed in 1601.

The name ‘Kintai’ for the bridge was formed after comparing it to the traditional Nishiki obi for a kimono, and so it literally means ‘gold brocade sash.’ To date, Japan’s famous bridge is still the Kintai Bridge and a cherry blossom festival is held near the bridge where tourists can pay a small fee to cross the famous bridge to get to the gardens on the other side. Well worth a visit if you stop over in Japan.

Next we whisk away to China to the Haidian district at the Northwest suburb of Beijing. Here tourists can stop over at the Summer Palace where the emperor spent his summers and is also famous for the largest garden in China. The Garden of Restful Peace, known as ‘Yi He Yuan’ in Chinese is a scenic spot most visited in China along with the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. It is here in the outskirts of Beijing that the Gaoliang Bridge exists- ancient architecture at its finest.

This beautiful bridge was built in the Yuan Dynasty in 1292 and later rebuilt in Qing Dynasty. This single-span stone arch bridge crosses the Gaoliang river. On the west is the Changhe river and on the east is the Jinshui river that goes into the city of the bridge. The emperor would cross the Gaoliang Bridge to get to the Summer Palace and West Hill on his tours. A definite visit if you like to see an ancient, but beautiful bridge.

We cross back over the ocean and head towards Venice in Italy where we find the Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto). The Rialto Bridge is one of four bridges that spans the Grand Canal in Venice. It is also the oldest, but was finally completed by Antonio da Ponte in 1591. This beautiful bridge has become one of the architectural icons of Venice and was even predicted for future ruin because of it’s audacious engineering. Lots of shops exist near the bridge, so it’s a brilliant choice for the traveller who wants to see a stunning bridge of engineering ingenuity.

Once again, we set sail to far off lands as we spy the iconic image of the Sydney Opera House near the beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. This steel through arch bridge has an arch based design and is aptly nicknamed ‘The Coathanger’ because of this. The bridge was finally completed on 15 January 1932 and the first test train, a steam locomotive, crossed the bridge on 19 January 1932. In March of 1932 was the first time it was open to the public after rigorous testing by loading 96 steam locomotives in February of 1932. Currently, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s widest long-span bridge according to Guinness World Records. A fantastic site to see, especially at night time.

Last, but not least we head back over the water towards Great Britain where we visit the famous Tower Bridge in London. This beautiful bridge has breathtaking architecture that forces the visitor to grab their camera and snap away 50 pictures easily on the first day. This beautiful bridge was built in 1886-1894 and overlooks the River Thames. This iconic symbol of London is well worth a visit along with the very best that London and surrounds has to offer for the first time visitor. So mark it down on your map.

There are so many beautiful bridges in the world, and we cannot cover them all, but found these 5 most beautiful bridges is well worth a visit if you are looking to travel, enjoy a bit of history and sample the delights the nearby cities have to offer. So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and start planning to visit these bridges tomorrow!

Tinted Windows

5 Reasons to Have Your Car Windows Tinted

We have all seen it. That mysterious car that pulls up next to your car and has tinted windows.

Sometimes curiosity will get the better of you as you try to peer into the car, wondering who is sitting behind the steering wheel. After a few seconds you give up, thinking it either looks cool as the car pulls off or you may even shake your head, thinking they want to act like a celebrity. The truth of the matter is that there are advantages to having your car windows tinted. So let’s look at five reasons, shall we?

1. Protect what is important to you and safety.

The first reason to have your car windows tinted is that it will deter ‘would-be’ thieves if they are looking to see what is inside of your car. Imagine going out to shop and you just bought yourself a nice laptop or computer system, maybe even a Playstation for your kids and had to stop somewhere else. What do you think looks better to a thief? The car with clear windows and windshields that shows these goodies lying in your back seat, or the the car with tinted windows where you can’t make out what is in the car really. I can bet you right now, the first option sounds nicer. You don’t want to lose your belongings, so it’s a good enough reason to be number one on the list.

2. Protect yourself from harmful radiation.

Do you enjoy driving, or have to take long commute trips into the city? Visiting family in a nearby city or even driving across country to attend functions or fairs? Well, tinting your windows can actually protect you from the sun. Some car windows and windshields already have UV protection, but if you are in the car a lot in the blistering heat, tinting your windows can actually protect you against harmful radiation from the sun. You don’t want to find out one day that you have skin cancer, when all you did was spend an inordinate amount of time driving your car and nothing else.

3. Reduce the sun’s glare.

If you have ever driven along a road that faces the sun, you would have undoubtedly put down the mirror/shade, hoping it will keep the sun out of your eyes. This never really works, but it does work to some degree. Having tinted windows will help reduce this glare on the windows and this you won’t have to strain your eyes when driving, which can be problem in some instances.

4. Energy saving and improving your comfort level.

In summer, you may switch often between the heat of the sun and shade. The problem is over minutes and hours of travelling your car will gradually build up heat inside of the car. This can be extremely uncomfortable. By tinting your car windows, you can reduce your energy consumption of your air conditioning and enjoy a more comfortable ride where it balances the temperature out a bit.

5. Accident Protection

This last reason is not something many people would think about, but if you happen to be in an accident, having tinted windows for your car can actually lessen the effects of the windows shattering and damaging something vital.

So there you have 5 very convincing reasons why you should tint your car windows and overall, it will add to your comfort and still make you look cool like a celebrity.

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