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“Green” Outdoor Lights for Safe and Secure Homes

 



There are several reasons why property owners should consider having a well lit outdoors. One is to make it easier for guests and residents to navigate the walkways and avoid accidental falls. Another is to provide additional security for the house because outdoor lighting eliminates shadows around the house. These are areas that can be used as hiding places for criminals. It can also bring out the beauty of the garden or front lawn during night time, thereby adding value to the house. Well chosen lights can deliver all these benefits while saving on energy and protecting the environment. Here are some eco-friendly options for an efficiently lit outdoors:

  • Solar Lights. Why pay for energy when you can get it for free? These outdoor lights use energy from the sun to illuminate their surroundings. This means lower electricity bills and no wire installation required in your outdoors. There are several types of solar light models that can make your patio, pathways, planting beds, and driveways look better. One can choose from different models of solar pathway lights, hanging lights, decorative lights and rope lights to be placed in strategic areas outdoors. Since these lights derive power from the sun, it will be inefficient to place them in shaded areas. Their charging capacity also diminishes at times when there are overcast skies or during rainy periods.
  • Motion Lights. These lights can serve dual functions while saving on electricity. Motion lights are activated only when it senses movement in the area. You don’t have to worry about racking up a huge electricity bill because it isn’t lit throughout the night. The light turns on only when you need it and it automatically turns off when no one is around. It also provides security by alerting you when somebody is approaching or whenever there is someone within the outdoor premises. These lights can be ideally placed near entryways to serve as a deterrent for criminals.
  • LED Bulbs. Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are also electricity saving options. These tiny bulbs consume around ¼ of the electricity consumed by incandescent lights while emitting the same amount of illumination. One can leave them running throughout the night without worrying about the bill and their carbon footprint. Those who opted for solar lights can still make use of LED lights for shaded areas where solar lights aren’t appropriate. LED lights are also found to be more durable that their other bulb counterparts.

    (photo via http://www.trendir.com )

One can easily create a safe and secure home environment by having some outdoor lights installed in their surroundings. The protection and aesthetic value of these fixtures are reasons enough to make a small investment for your home. Put these efficient and eco-friendly options at the top of your options and enjoy energy saving benefits, lower operational costs, and safe choices for the family.



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Upcycling: Finding Better Ways to Use Waste

Upcycling: Finding Better Ways to Use Waste

 




One of the causes that environment advocates has long been fighting against is irresponsible waste management and wasteful use of resources. Their recycling campaign has proved to be effective and most communities today have their own reuse and recycle practices. Another waste management campaign that has grown in popularity is Upcycling. This is the process of using old or discarded materials and transforming it to something that is useful or one that has more value.

The glamorous side of Upcycling can be found in works of art or fashion designs of known artists and designers. Some of these designers and their budding protégés even hold fashion shows that feature clothing made from materials like old seat covers or curtain showers, candy wrappers, tote bags, and other discarded items. As for Upcycling Art, there have already been numerous sculptures or figures of robots, animals, and other unique statues made from soda cans, old pipes, bike parts, and other hodgepodge of metal junks, that have been featured in shows and exhibits.


Upcycling isn’t just limited to the art community. Practical homemakers who make it a habit to repurpose goods that have exhausted their life span can be considered as Upcycling experts. It can be as simple as transforming an old jar into a decorative candle holder or transforming old ripped jeans into a small tote and using small excess fabrics as quilt materials. There are plenty of ways to upcycle, one can get ideas or inspiration from artists and fashion designers, practical moms, or even a frugal relative.

Movies like the Terminator and Astro Boy portrayed a future earth that sits upon loads of trash and waste products. If people continue to put little value in the things around them then that would be a likely scenario. Everyone has to do his part in keeping this planet green. We have to step up to the challenge of Upcycling and find ways to maximize the use of every item that is bought.



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Functional and Spiced Up Balcony Container Gardening

Functional and Spiced Up Balcony Container Gardening

 

A balcony can either be one of several things depending on the size of your home. For instance, a balcony in a special room of a big house is reminiscent of a personal sanctuary. It’s usually where the lady of the house takes her breakfast or it’s where some members of the family escape to when they want some peace and quiet. On the other hand, for small homes, a balcony becomes somewhat like an extension that attempts to blend the outdoors and the indoors.

As a wing of a bedroom, a study, or a family room, one can use the balcony as an extension of the room to offer some privacy for coffee, reading, doing crafts, or even taking a nap if some blinds, billowing curtains, or plants offer some shade. Either way, a balcony is generally a small space that can be functional in a big way if the room owner or homeowner would give it a chance to acquire a personality through balcony container gardening.




What is container gardening? Simply put, it is the practice of growing plants exclusively in containers instead of the ground. That means you don’t have to till land and spend endless hours under the sun to plant. A simple container would suffice. You can actually grow many plants and herbs in nice pottery and containers.

Of course, if you’re new to container gardening, you need to remember a few things to ensure that you’ve got all bases covered.

boxed

Always start with choosing your containers. Pick a few big ones or several small ones to allow companion planting in the big containers and single herb potting in the small ones. You can choose the style based on personal preference but keep them functional too. To avoid water logging, make sure there are drainage holes on the containers.

When choosing the herbs, pick the ones you like to cook with, you like to eat, require easy maintenance and with appealing flowers and scent. Generally, cooks, foodies, and gardeners agree that the best herbs to plant include the mint, sage, rosemary, basil, and thyme.

Companion planting is a great idea in herb container gardening for plants with similar needs. For instance, parsley, chives, and marjoram like moisture. Herbs like thyme, rosemary, basil, and oregano prefer drying out between watering. Plants, like mint, are better when planted solo in a small pot. You can also group several solo planters for appeal and convenience.

Successful growing of herbs depends mostly on the care that you will provide. Provide enough sun, water, good potting mix, and food. Most herbs love the sun for no less than 6 hours a day, but put them in the shade when it gets too hot. Good potting mix and drainage holes in the pots will prevent the garden from being waterlogged. Use less fertilizing and stick to organic.

So, roll up your sleeves and begin the real job of herb container gardening. As they grow, pinch and enjoy them and these will grow lusher. These also make great gift ideas to friends and family who either likes cooking, eating, or growing plants.

 




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Top Tips for Teaching Kids to Be Green

 

The concept of being green isn’t just something that adults should consider when they’re old enough to make a difference – people of all ages can do their bit for the environment and, if we all made a few little changes, the positive impact on the world around us would be incredible. As more and more research is aimed at global warming and climate change, now would be a perfect time to get your kids on board and encourage them to go green, too.




As adults, the changes that we can make are much more prominent, particularly when it comes to the savings we can make on our utility bills. Head online to find out the answer to the question, “what is the Green Deal?” for useful information about what changes you can make around your home, including home improvements that, without the deal, you may not be able to afford. By making these positive changes, you could see a huge saving in your monthly British Gas bill, as well as giving something back to the environment we live in.

When it comes to teaching your kids to be green, things have to be a little simpler. Here are a few fabulous ways in which you could get them on board in your energy-saving, sustainable living ideas.

walking with dad

You could encourage them to:

 

  • Turn their bedroom lights off when they leave the room. It’s easy to forget to do this, even as adults, but if they did that in the morning or when they’re not in their room, it could save on energy usage enormously.
  • Set their laptop or PC to energy saving mode – if they’re too young to do this, you could help. Energy saving mode uses less energy than the usual mode; shutting laptops and PC’s down completely will save even more. Encourage them to turn the monitors off as well as the PC tower, to save as much as possible.
  • Turn off the stereo and video games consoles when they’re not being used – not just onto standby mode, but at the mains as well. That means the television that they’re playing the games on too!
  • Unplug the phone charger from the wall when they’re not charging their phone. Even when a phone isn’t attached to the charger, it can still drain the electricity it’s connected to.
  • Tell you if they feel a draught of air coming through their window, so that you can caulk it. This will mean that not only can they sleep without a draught, but the heat from the radiator won’t be escaping, either.
  • Ride their bike or walk wherever they can, rather than nagging you for a lift! The outdoors are a fabulous place to explore and a PlayStation is not a replacement for it. Riding and walking is great exercise and a fuel saver, too!

Everyone has the ability to save some money while being a little greener – encourage your children to join in too and make it a family effort!

 



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Brighter Future with Energy-Efficient Lighting Choices

Brighter Future with Energy-Efficient Lighting Choices

 

Your lighting choices have an effect on your future; they can affect your finances and the environment as well. Some people choose their lighting fixtures mostly based on aesthetic appeal. However, choosing wisely takes more than just considering the kind of illumination these bulbs provide. Functionality is one of the things you need to consider. Just how much light do you need in a particular room in your house? You might think about economizing and just installing a single bulb in a room. Perhaps what you might not correlate to your bad lighting choice is your inability to concentrate on the things you have to do in that room. It is also highly likely that you will feel down while you are in that room. When you consider the effects of lighting on your productivity and efficiency, you will realize that you really are not economizing by going for cheap incandescent light bulbs or by using less lighting than you actually need.

The amount of savings that you enjoy with energy efficient lighting choices is more evident when it comes to your utility bills. No one can dispute that using compact fluorescent light or halogen lights result in lower monthly charges. This is basically because they consume less power. Interestingly, incandescent light bulbs consume more energy than it requires to give off light. Industry studies show that CFLs are 75% more energy efficient than old light bulbs. The result is a considerable drop in the monthly energy bills. If you choose to switch to more expensive LED lighting options, you can even enjoy more in savings.

It would be a wise move to plan your home lighting needs properly too. You can consult an expert about this; your trusty electrician or contractor can give you the advice that you need when it comes to your lighting needs. You will need to measure the space that you need to provide lighting for and then come up with a lighting plan that provides the right lighting in the right places. For rooms with variable lighting needs, you might have to consider a combination of lighting options or perhaps a bulb with a dimmer function. Choose to buy bulbs that have the Energy Star logo or are certified as energy efficient. The markings in the product as well as in the packaging of the lighting fixtures you choose will assure you that the product that you are buying has been tested and certified by the appropriate regulatory agencies.

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Green Alternatives for Modern Homes

 

Many homes today are shifting to greener alternatives in power sources. Solar energy is one of the most popular options that is convenient and affordable. Aside from being environment friendly, there are more practical benefits to having a solar panel installation in your home.

One of the biggest benefits of solar energy is that it is less expensive. You will have to spend on installation costs but the investment is well worth every penny. You are bound to save a considerable amount on your energy bills. Some governments even offer tax incentives for those who are using alternative power sources. There are also some power companies that actually buy back energy generated from home power sources. Solar panels are also easy to maintain so you will not have recurring costs.




Some homeowners are concerned about how the panels will affect the way their home looks. When the panels are properly planned and installed, they can actually increase your home’s market value. This, however, is because of the actual benefits of the solar panels rather than the aesthetics. Real estate industry studies show evidence that green homes are more desirable in the market. Home values were observed to increase by about 3-4% after they have been fitted with solar panels. If you are looking to put your home in the market several years down the road, it’s a good idea to consider turning to the sun for your home’s power needs.

You can explore your options by consulting solar panel experts. There are installers who can talk to you about how you can make your home greener with solar panels. Ask about the installation costs and procedures so you can do the necessary prep work. You can also ask them about their previous projects. This will allow you to see their actual work and perhaps talk to their previous customers. What you are looking for is a reliable solar panel installer company that will give you high quality and reliable service at the most affordable price.