Facts About Cleaning Solar Panels

Once you have solar panels installed, you may think your work is done. After all, you’re doing your part to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and increase usage of renewable energies. But, if you don’t properly maintain your solar panels, they won’t work nearly as efficiently as they should. Just as you regularly wash your windows or change the oil in your car, so should you employ professional solar panel cleaners to keep your solar panels working well. These facts about cleaning solar panels explain why keeping them clean is so important.

facts about cleaning solar panels

 

Dust and Leaves Block Sunlight

Over the years, it’s common for dust and leaves to accumulate on your solar panels. They’re just like any other surface in that grime builds up over time if you don’t remove it. While a small amount of dust or just a few leaves won’t affect the efficiency of your solar panels much, if you let dust and leaves fully cover the panels’ surfaces, less sunlight will get through to the solar panel receptors. Therefore, your solar panels won’t be absorbing as much light as possible, making them work harder than necessary.

Bird Droppings Block Sunlight

Even more harmful than dust to your solar panels’ ability to work efficiently are bird droppings. Sunlight simply can’t penetrate bird droppings, so if you let it build up on your solar panels, you’re not fully taking advantage of the sunlight to store energy. This is especially true if you have a lot of trees in your yard that are shedding leaves and providing a haven for birds, who then naturally do their business onto your solar panels. The combination of leaves and bird droppings can really make it difficult for your solar panels to do their job.

Energy Loss is Real

Studies show that by not cleaning your solar panels regularly, you’ll have a 5% energy loss after just three months. This increases by 5% every three months that you go without cleaning your solar panels until you’re experiencing a 35% energy loss 24 months after you’ve installed your solar panels. This means you’re spending more money for energy than you should be because your solar panels aren’t working efficiently.

Professional Solar Panel Cleaning is the Way to Go

You may think that cleaning your solar panels is simple and a task that you can do on your own without professional assistance. But, keep in mind that professional solar panel cleaners are experienced with working on roofs and have all the necessary safety equipment to ensure they don’t take a dangerous fall. It’s always advised that if you want to clean your own solar panels that you do it by implementing a long-handled cleaning tool that allows you to reach the panels from the ground.

solar panels pigeon issue

Additionally, you may not want to add another chore to your to-do list, especially one that comes with a risk of falling (if you decide to clean them from the roof). Purchasing safety equipment along with the right cleaning tools may be too much of a hassle when you can simply call up a solar panel cleaning expert and have the task taken care of for you in no time at all.

Conclusion

No one really thinks about cleaning their solar panels until they realize how much energy (and money) they’re losing by allowing dust and debris to build up on them. Add solar panel cleaning to your regular house maintenance schedule and you’ll keep reaping the maximum energy production from your solar panels.

The Problem of Shipping Wastes

Shipping wastes, long a neglected topic, has started to attract worldwide attention, thanks to the mysterious and tragic disappearance of flight MH370. During the search for MH370, a succession of items floating in the sea were identified as possible wreckage, but later confirmed to be simply pieces of marine litter. Whilst it was large pieces of debris that complicated the search, marine debris of all sizes causes problems for users of marine resources. In the most polluted areas, around 300,000 items of debris can be found in each square kilometre.

garbage-ocean

Up to 80% of ocean debris originates from land based sources, including beach litter, litter transported by rivers, and discharges of untreated municipal sewage, while ocean based sources (merchant shipping, ferries, cruise liners, fishing and military vessels) account for the remainder. Whilst typically this may be only 20% of marine litter, in areas of high shipping activity such as the North Sea it rises closer to 40%.

Wastes from commercial vessels seems like an area that could be effectively tackled with regulation. However, it is difficult for individual nations or regions to take action when ships operate in international waters and the debris in our oceans is constantly on the move.

So how is it addressed through international legislation?

Law of the Seas

In fact, a good many laws are already in place. The key piece of legislation preventing ‘the disposal of garbage at sea’ is Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Amongst the numerous other relevant laws are the London Convention and Protocol, the Basel Convention, UNCLOS, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In addition, many more laws exist at regional and national levels. In the EU, laws directly related to marine debris include the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Directive on Port Reception Facilities. Laws indirectly related to marine debris include the Common Fisheries Policy, the Water Framework Directive, the Waste Framework Directive, the Habitats Directive…. The list goes on.

Fathoming the Legislation

Despite the profusion of legislation, the scale of the current and potential problems caused by marine debris, it is clear that implementation and enforcement is lagging behind. Why so?

Ratification

As yet, not all coastal or flag states have ratified international instruments such as MARPOL Annex V. This means that ships registered with a non-ratified state under a‘flag of convenience’ may legally continue to discharge garbage in international waters. However, even if the current suite of international legislation was universally ratified, this would serve to expose the remaining gaps in the framework.

Discharge provisions

MARPOL Annex V includes specific requirements regarding the discharge of different types of waste and location of discharges. For instance, ground food waste can be discharged up to 3 nautical miles from land, but if it is not ground it may only be discharged at a distance of 12 nautical miles or more. Although the discharge of ‘all other garbage including plastics’ is prohibited, compliance relies upon good waste management practices on board vessels.

If waste streams are contaminated, this may result in plastics and other debris being discharged into the sea. The current approach may have been developed to accommodate shipping activity, but in practice it is somewhat confusing and it would perhaps make more sense to issue a blanket ban on discharges.

Scope

Another gap within MARPOL Annex V is the scope of the requirements for ‘garbage management plans’ and ‘garbage record books’. Vessels of 100 gross tonnes or more are required to have a garbage management plan, while vessels of 400 gross tonnes or more are required to have a garbage record book. Smaller vessels are not obliged to comply with the requirements.

Less than 1% of vessels in the world fishing fleet have a gross tonnage of over 100 tonnes, the majority has no obligation to implement and maintain a plan or book; with no planning or record keeping, the risk of illegal disposal is increased. Small fishing vessels may not be considered ‘commercial’ shipping vessels at all – thereby avoiding legislation – but they still contribute towards the problem of marine debris. Most notably, abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear has a considerable impact on marine species through ‘ghost fishing’.

Port waste reception facilities

MARPOL Annex V requires the government of each ratified nation to provide facilities at ports for the reception of ship generated residues and garbage that cannot be discharged into the sea. The facilities must be adequate to meet the needs of ships using the port, without causing undue delay to ships. However, MARPOL does not prescribe any set standards or provide for certification. The term ‘adequate’ is instead defined in a qualitative (rather than quantitative) manner in Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) resolution 83 (44).

Furthermore, MARPOL does not set any requirements regarding how waste delivered to port reception facilities should be managed. Only the non-mandatory MEPC resolution 83 (44) requires that facilities should allow for the ultimate disposal of ships’ wastes to take place in an environmentally appropriate way.

Cruise ships

Cruise ships operate in every ocean worldwide, often in pristine coastal waters and sensitive marine ecosystems. Operators provide amenities to their passengers similar to those of luxury resort hotels, generating up to 14 tonnes of waste per day. Worldwide, the cruise industry has experienced a compound annual passenger growth rate of 7% since 1990, and the number of passengers carried is expected to increase from approximately 21 million in 2013 to 23.7 million in 2017.

The majority of current legislation on pollution and ship waste was developed prior to the rapid growth of the cruise market; as a consequence, there is no international legislation addressing the particular issues surrounding pollution and waste management on these vessels.

Although there is not yet data to support this, intuitively the amount of waste produced by ships would be linked to the number of people on board, rather than the vessel’s gross tonnage (which determines whether MARPOL rules apply). If the industry grows as forecasted, cruise ships may be responsible for a significant proportion of waste generated by ships, particularly if unmanned are the future.

To address this, onboard waste management systems that implement zero disposal of solid waste at sea are needed for cruise ships, together with a requirement that they only dispose of their waste at ports with reception facilities adequate to handle the type and volume of waste produced.

Taking the Helm

Where international and regional legislation is found lacking a number of voluntary mechanisms have been devised, indicating an appetite to improve the current waste disposal practices of the shipping industry.

  • The indirect fee system aims to remove the disincentive for ships to dispose of waste at port rather than at sea by including the cost of waste disposal services in the port fees paid by visiting ships, irrespective of whether ships use the facilities
  • The Clean Shipping Index is an easy to use, transparent tool which can be used by cargo owners to evaluate the environmental performance of their sea transport providers. The information is entered on a ship-by-ship basis but is also added to a total carrier fleet score for an overall ranking. Questions on waste relate to garbage handling and crew awareness, and scores can only be obtained for measures that go beyond existing regulations.
  • One commercial container operator (Matson Navigation) has introduced a zero solid waste discharge policy. The ‘greentainer’ programme uses containers specifically designed for storing solid waste. Since 1994, this programme has prevented over 10,000 tonnes of garbage being disposed of at sea.

Currently, international legislation does not properly support a closed loop system for waste management onboard ships. Despite legislative progress and improvements in practice, the monitoring of waste from shipping remains problematic. ‘Policing the seas’ to verify what a ship discharges and where, and whether this follows recommended best practice, remains one of the most challenging aspects of waste management practice at sea, but critical to making the legal framework effective.

The United Nations Environment Programme neatly summarised the issue in 2005:“… marine litter is not a problem which can be solved only by means of legislation, law enforcement and technical solutions. It is a social problem which requires efforts to change behaviours, attitudes, management approaches and multi-sectoral involvement.” 

The limitations of international legislation governing the case of marine litter disposed of at sea do need to be addressed; but unless legislation is accompanied by environmental education for seafarers, and improved monitoring, our attempts to tackle this source of marine litter will remain all at sea.

Note: The article has been republished with the permission of our collaborative partner Isonomia. The original version of the article can be found at this link.

5 Things You Need To Know To Reduce Your Electricity Bill

If you are a homeowner, you have probably thought of lowering your electricity bills every time you get your bill is logical. According to a recent study, the electricity bill is the second-highest cost most homeowners pay every month. That’s not surprising because thanks to modern science, we use electricity to run appliances for everything around the home nowadays.

Especially during this time when coronavirus has damaged the world economy, people are struggling to pay their bills. Meanwhile, lockdowns mean more time at home and higher electricity use than if you were in the office most of your day. You can reduce your electricity consumption if you use it smartly. As a result, your bill will reduce too. If you are looking to cut your electric bill, this article will give you some ideas on how you can do that.

reduce-electricity-bill

1. Get A Smarter Thermostat

In case you didn’t know, your heating and cooling system takes up almost forty-five percent of your total electricity consumption every month. So, if you can reduce at least some of your thermostats consumption, you will see a huge difference in your total bill.

Depending on your local weather, you may need to run your heater or cooler throughout the day. Though this is almost half of your total electricity consumption, that doesn’t mean you need to give up your comfort to reduce the bill. All you need to do is to make the job a bit easier for the thermostat. Control your urge to set the temperature too high or too low. For instance, put on a few extra layers of clothes to stay warm instead of setting the temperature too high on the thermostat.

eco-friendly-business-practices

If you don’t want to take up the work to adjust the temperature from time to time continually, look into getting a programmable thermostat. With these thermostats, you can program the temperature for each time of the day. This way, you won’t need to change it frequently, but it will run in just the required temperature all the time.

2. Use Solar Power

As mentioned before, if you want to reduce your energy bills, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your comfort. A great way to reduce your energy consumption is not to use it all the time. You don’t need to use electricity all the time when you are getting unlimited solar energy every day.

Solar energy is also known as green energy. Using solar energy is an emerging trend worldwide. Solar panels are installed on the roof, and these panels then convert sun rays into solar energy. It is a pretty simple process, but it can work wonders for you. The best part is they are not overly expensive to install – but the energy savings are significant.

solar-energy-texas

You might be thinking that the sun will provide energy only during day time. How are we going to run our utilities at night? The answer is pretty simple. You can get solar battery storage. These storage cells store the excess energy that you don’t need in the daytime and let you use it at night. This way, be it day or night, you can get everything done using solar energy.

3. Use Ceiling Fans

If you live in a warm climate, most of your electricity consumption is used by your air cooler. Although new technologies are coming every day, and you can get energy-efficient air conditioners now, but they still consume a lot of energy. While you can’t get rid of your air cooler completely, you can sometimes use a ceiling fan to create an airflow that cools the room down.

A ceiling fan is a great cost-efficient option. These fans pull out hot air and circulate cold air. It may not give you the same effect as an air cooler, but it will surely make your room a bit more comfortable as it circulates cold air. But the best thing is a ceiling fan takes up a fraction of the electricity that air cooler consumes. So, even if you don’t use it all the time, you can alternate between the ceiling fan and the cooler.

There are a few hacks that can help you stay comfortable even with the ceiling fan. For instance, try keeping the windows and doors which are facing the east covered. This will minimize the heat that comes from the sun.

4. Minimize the electricity your laundry takes

Washing your laundry with hot water takes up a lot of energy. The heater has to work a lot to provide this much hot water to your washing machine. Try using cold water to wash your clothes. You would be surprised how using cold water can reduce almost half of your laundry cost.

The key here is to use appliances. So if you are using your washing machine, try using it as little as possible – save the laundry loads and do them all at once during off-peak hours. So if you are using your washing machine to dry your clothes, you need to reconsider that. Drying clothes is a chore that can easily be done without using any energy. Line drying laundry is an easy way that takes no electricity. It may take longer, but it is free.

5. Reduce Phantom Drainage

If you haven’t heard of phantom drainage before, you are in for a bit of a ‘shocker’! It is also known as standby power. You may think that it is unnecessary to remove the plug when you are not using the appliances. They are turned off after all. But the truth is, your devices consume electricity even when they are not in use.

According to a study, appliances consume almost fifty percent of the total energy when they are actually not used. So, this energy is going nowhere, and you are the one paying for it. Not only is it a loss of our valuable energy and degrading our environment, but it is also a waste of money. So always make sure to remove the plug when you are not using an appliance.

To Sum Up

Reducing your electricity bill is not something that can be done in a day. It’s a day to day practice. Following these simple tips will lower your electricity bill remarkably. But these are not the only things you can do.

There are many small things you can do to get better results. For instance, try to install energy-efficient appliances. They take up a lot less energy than regular ones. You should also be mindful of wasting energy by keeping lights or coolers on when they are not required. Last, but not the least, use a budget calculator to keep a tab on where your money is going.

5 Ethical, Sustainable and Eco-friendly Cost-Saving Tips

Consumers are no longer solely interested in catching a great deal. In fact, it’s the quick and cheap, disposable living mindset that has put the world in such a precarious state. Studies have shown that a business’s impact on the world plays a key role in their purchasing decision. Here are five ethical, sustainable, and eco-friendly cost-saving tips to help you cut back on your spending, and your carbon footprint.

Green SMEs

Evaluate your Utility Providers

Take a look at your utility providers to see what they’re doing to make a positive impact on the world around them. For those that are bill tracking, it is important to note that many energy service providers offer special rates and rebates for lower consumption. Using Energybot, you can contrast and compare providers in your area. You can visit their website to find the most affordable, eco-friendly option for you.

In areas where providers are limited, you can still look at their environmental initiatives and programs that will save you money while making a positive impact. Many utility providers conduct energy audits or provide rebates for swapping out appliances and faucets for eco-friendly versions.

Hit the Thrift Shop

Online shopping makes it easy to get anything you could dream of at an affordable rate. However, there’s a good chance that someone like you had a similar item and discarded it.

Hitting the thrift shop before shopping online will not only save you money but will also have a positive environmental impact. The clothes you buy online are manufactured and shipped from all over the world. This creates carbon emissions that have a detrimental effect. There’s a hidden cost to affordable online shopping; buy local whenever possible.

Eat Seasonally

Eating food from local sources is better for the environment and the economy. By ensuring that your money stays in the local economy, you’re stimulating growth that will ultimately benefit you over time. Furthermore, you aren’t paying to have food manufactured, shipped, and stored from thousands of miles away.

Eating seasonal produce will help you save money on fresh food and improve the diversity of your diet. By consuming seasonal, local produce, you’re saving money, boosting the local economy, positively impacting the environment, and improving your health. It’s a win for all involved.

Be Water Savvy

Minimizing your water consumption will help keep your budget low and the environment thriving. Start by monitoring your consumption at home and making small changes. Shut the water off while brushing your teeth. Don’t rinse your dishes before putting them in the washer. Wait until you have a full load to do laundry.

To take it to the next level, swap your faucet and showerheads out with aerators and low-flow alternatives. Start collecting and reusing rainwater for gardening. Replace your hot water tank with a “tankless” alternative. Look at your meter usage and set reduction goals.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Recycling is a great initiative that can make an incredible difference in the environment when done correctly. However, recycling is just one of the “Three R’s” to remember.

Circular-Economy

 

Reduce and reuse often go hand-in-hand. Reduce your packaging consumption by buying food in bulk and using reusable grocery bags. Before you recycle something, think about ways to give it new life. Mason jars can be used to store dry goods and pack lunches rather than using plastic containers. Keep a few large jugs handy to fill with water, rather than adding to the single-use bottle problem. Instead of plastic toothbrush, use a bamboo toothbrush from Ecoy.

There are plenty of ways to lower your spending while taking care of the environment. Use a budgeting app like Mint to gain awareness about where your money is going. Then, use a carbon footprint calculator to evaluate your consumption. By making some simple changes to your lifestyle, you can limit harmful spending.

33 Foot Whale Dies From Eating Rubbish

This is a true and very sad rubbish clearance story. While this particular incident is certainly a case of “a picture is worth a thousand words” (or more!), we hope that our words give ammunition to those who are working toward positive change to keep our waste removal out of our oceans.

garbage-ocean

A Gruesome Ghastly Sight

Usually, the sight of a majestic sperm whale is such a magical moment, most people try to freeze frame the image in their mind. In fact, many people stop breathing momentarily they are so excited to see such a magnificent creature! However, this was not the reaction people had on February 27 when a thirty-three foot, totally emaciated, sperm whale washed up dead on Cabo de Palos Beach in southwestern Spain. It was not at all a wondrous sight… it was a gruesome ghastly sight… one of those images that people would prefer to block from their mind but can’t no matter how hard they try!

The sight of this gigantic creature, lying there dead, the life sucked out of it from eating our rubbish clearance, is heartbreaking to everyone who has viewed the scene either in person or via picture. It sent shock waves across the environmental community. Many shared images of the ghostly dead sperm whale on social media. All who saw it seemed utterly horrified, many vowing to do something about it. The mantra seemed to be “Shame on us for allowing this to happen!”

The deceased sperm whale, a juvenile male, weighed in at 6.5 metric tonnes (14,330 pounds, 5900 kilograms). While this may seem massive to a human weighting a mere 175 pounds, it is about seven times less than what male sperm whales usually weigh. He weighed so much less than a juvenile male sperm whale is supposed to weigh, the idiomatic expression, “he was skin and bones,” would not even begin to cover his physical state. It was quite obvious from the pictures that he literally starved to death.

Cause of such a grueling death

Experts at the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Centre  determined that his stomach and intestines were filled with twenty-nine kilograms (sixty-four pounds) of garbage! These included discarded cans, netting, ropes, and plastic bags. With all this rubbish compacting his digestive system, he could not digest real food and he starved to death. In addition, he had a severe stomach infection, most likely because one of the rubbish clearance items he swallowed ripped a tear in his stomach lining.

The pain and torture this young sperm whale must have endured before he finally died and washed ashore to shame humanity must have been extensive. How unjust it is to this creature to not only die but actually die in a way that was very likely slow and tremendously painful.

What do we as humans owe his species for the sin of his death? Should his death be the impetus to do more to rid our oceans of rubbish removal? Should we plaster this image of this whales lifeless emaciated body on anti-litter posters even though it makes us feel awkward and ashamed to see it?

Sperm Whale – A Magnificent Creature

Sperm whales have been forever immortalized in the great novel, Moby Dick, so they will live for eternity on in the human psyche even if they go extinct. However, unlike the dinosaurs that roamed our planet before our time, and went extinct long before we made our great migration out of Africa into the fertile crescent, sperm whales have shared our planet for all of human history.

Many members of our species have come eye to eye with this beast and we must answer for our crimes of littering that has been proven to be the direct cause of this whales death, and in fact, threatens his entire species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the conservation status of sperm whales as “vulnerable” which is only one small step away from becoming endangered — and some experts actually argue that sperm whales are already endangered. While it is impossible to do an accurate census of sperm whales, scientists estimate there about 200,000 of these whales left. Keep in mind, there used to be many millions of them in our oceans but they were a favorite of whaling expeditions who hunted them for their valuable blubber, meat, and even their bones.

Sperm whales are now protected under international law so most countries no longer hunt them. However, the Japanese still have a taste for sperm whale and several are harvested for supposed “scientific research” every year. The whale meat from these scientific specimens does get sold in Japanese markets. However, even given this loophole in the law that protects sperm whales, the direct human harvesting of sperm whales pales in comparison to how threatening our rubbish clearance is to the endurance of this species.

Time for Introspection

The sperm whale that washed up dead on Cabo de Palos Beach is only one of many who have died due to eating rubbish clearance. Plastic bags are the biggest culprit but all rubbish in our oceans poses a dire threat to sperm whales and other marine mammals. What we do about our rubbish clearance problem over the next few decades will likely determine the fate of this entire species and many other marine mammals.

The stomach and intestines of sperm whale was filled with 29 kg of garbage

It is important to note how intelligent sperm whales are though to be. Sperm whales have the biggest brains in the animal kingdom, weighing in at five times that of the human brain, with an imposing volume of eight thousand cubic centimeters! They’re also known to express obvious emotions. What would they say to use if we could somehow crack the sperm whale language code? Would they beg us to remove our rubbish from their habitat? Would they appeal to our better angels?

Identifying the Enemies

Sperm whales eat mostly “garden variety” squid, less than a foot in length, but in an ironic twist, their worst enemy is thought to be the giant squid. These colossal squid are usually between ten to thirteen metres (33 to 43 feet). Serrated sucker scars from these ginormous squid are often found on sperm whale bodies. While sperm whales may eat these giant squid, they put up a good fight at minimum and may even be able to kill, or at least harm significantly, a sperm whale at times.

However, the rubbish clearance that we as humans fill our oceans with cause more damage to sperm whales than all the giant squid in the world. We must face the hard reality that our rubbish clearance is directly responsible for the death of sperm whales, and many other marine mammals, and many other animal species for that matter. We must own up to that fact and start seriously working toward finding solutions.

If you have pictures of sperm whales, please send them to Clearabee’s Facebook page in honor of the most recent sperm whale death at the hands of our rubbish clearance. Clearabee is the leading on demand rubbish clearance company in the UK.

4 Fresh Spring Decorating Ideas

Spring is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to start thinking about all the ways you can decorate your home to set the refreshing mood and show everyone that you’re ready for the longer and warmer days.

However, some things are easier said than done, and even something seemingly as simple as decorating can prove to be a real challenge if you try it without any plan in mind. For example, you might want to start by reconsidering your color palette. Do you want to use delicate pastels, or maybe you prefer the intensity of hot pink, canary yellow, and sky blue? Or maybe you prefer to decorate using faux flowers instead of real ones?

If you’re looking for some of the best spring decoration ideas to breathe new life into your home, you’re in a good place. Read on to learn more about spring decorating ideas that will make your home look fresh and cozy!

spring decorating ideas

1. Personalize Your Doormat

You can also choose to personalize your doormat, so every guest who visits you feels even more welcome. Try buying a regular plain doormat along with outdoor acrylic paint in bright colors so they show up well. Let your creativity thrive – paint some flowers, add a nice big “welcome” in the middle. If you want to get even more crafty, consider getting some transfer vinyl that you can order, and then just peel and stick on your doormat for a perfectly polished look.

2. Make Your Porch a Stunner

If you want your home to look welcoming and charm everyone who passes it, you’re going to have to start with your front porch. One of the best ways to do so is to add some flowers. However, early spring days and nights might still be too cold for the fresh flowers depending on where you live. That’s why you should visit your local craft store to make a perfect spring wreath.

You can also choose to buy a premade wreath made of spring flowers such as tulips of lavender, miniature roses, ferns, or even moss. To top it off, decorate with a big festive ribbon tied into a bow. Hang the wreath on your door and consider putting more flowers and greenery into a tall vase or even a planter.

3. Decorate Your Fireplace Mantel

In any room, the fireplace is a focal point. It immediately draws the attention of everyone that’s entering, so why not make it beautiful with spring in mind? You can set up some decorative baskets and fill them with greenery and flowers – once again, faux options might be your best bet, as you won’t have to worry about the excess heat from the fireplace killing the real ones. While you’re at it, you should also give your whole fireplace a good cleaning – dust the surfaces before setting any decorations, and if your fireplace is painted, consider doing some touch-ups if the pain starts to flake off in some spots.

The fireplace mantel is also a perfect spot for decorative signs. You can buy them pre-made from sites like Etsy to get something custom, but the home decor section at your local Target, or, even better, thrift store, might also be worth checking out. Look for signs with colorful writing so the lively colors can make your space look more appealing. Spring is definitely not a time when you should limit yourself to white decor only.

4. Decorate the Windows

Spring is the perfect time to take down the heavy winter curtains, put them in a washing machine, and store them safely in the linen closet until the cold season comes back again. For the springtime, consider hanging up light and airy sheer curtains. Sheer curtains are wonderful items that are both decorative and functional. They can enhance a room’s ambiance through the softening of incoming light, making them perfect for this season. Of course, this solution is going to work best for the rooms where no one is sleeping, such as the living room.

home redecoration in 2022

You can also feel free to decorate the window sills with cute trinkets such as decorative figurines, potted plants, or even set up or hang some crystals that will reflect the warm spring sun rays and create beautiful rainbows. If you want to transform the look of the glass in the windows, consider getting clear, opaque, or frosted decals that can be used to create beautiful compositions that look great in the sun and during the night when you turn the light in your rooms on.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are no strict rules telling you what you can and what you can’t do when it comes to freshening up your house for spring with new decorations. You can feel free to use fresh flowers or choose the convenience of the faux ones. For this season, it might be a great idea to greet your guests with a personalized doormat and beautifully arranged porch. Inside, you can decorate the mantel of your fireplace, hang some airy curtains, and change the look of your windows using potted plants, crystals, and fun decals. Don’t be afraid to experiment and show off your personality through the decorations that you choose.

How Will Housing Marking in College Towns Fare Post-COVID?

Distance learning and COVID-19. This combination is every parent’s worst nightmare. It creates the perfect storm of stress, madness, and desperation. But, parents are making the best out of a terrible situation because education can’t be put on hold due to a global pandemic.

The real question is what if you have kids in college? The question many people have is regarding COVID-19’s impact on college towns.

HomeLight’s Q3 survey reveals that the coronavirus has left college towns in a tough spot. Local businesses such as bars and restaurants rely heavily on college students to keep business afloat. However, 2020’s fall semester has proven to be more detrimental than some would expect.

housing-college-towns

University towns become ghost towns

Many colleges and universities have shifted from in-person learning to distance learning and sent their students home. The result of the mass exodus has rendered many of these towns a proverbial ghost town.

According to insights from top agents who participated in HomeLight’s Q3 2020 survey, this student housing market in these cities are predicted to increase from 5.2% during the 2019 fall semester to 7.4% in 2020’s fall semester. Unit vacancies have increased by 1% during that time and because of this, property owners will have no choice but to lower their rental fees just to get people through the door.

Some towns are unaffected

Although some major universities said they were discontinuing in-person learning in favor of remote learning, there are universities who are keeping in-person classes. In these towns, landlords are likely to see an influx of rental applications if/when on-campus housing closes.

Real estate investing is on shaky ground

For real estate investors, buying rental properties in college towns seems like a gold mine – especially if the rent is going to be cheaper than an out-of-state student paying for room and board on campus. For example, the average monthly rent for Ann Arbor, Michigan is about $1,600 and room and board at University of Michigan is $11,996.

Now, room and board at the university may be cheaper, but when you factor in other living expenses, it could add up quickly. However, if four students rent a 4-bedroom apartment that costs $3,300 per month… Each student would pay $825 per month or $9,900 per year, which is quite a bit cheaper, especially when you factor in that the students aren’t staying on campus the entire year.

Inventory fluctuates

Thirty percent of real estate agents that participated in the survey state the rental vacancies in their area have either stayed the same or are starting to decline. Even though the housing market in a particular area may differ from others, 81% of agents said their inventory is at an all time low, despite the fact that many landlords are selling their rentals.

The truth of the matter is this, COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives and the housing market in university towns remains on shaky ground. As more students and faculty contract the virus, universities are closing their doors and students are going home. Even students who live off campus are leaving the area and are going back home to save money.

Local businesses in university towns are suffering due to a lack of patronage. Unless schools open back up in a safe manner, who knows what the 2020 Spring semester will fare. Will students return to university? Will real estate investors start investing again? Will the economy pick back up?

There are just so many questions that cannot be answered right now. But, we’re keeping our fingers crossed and are hoping for the best.

A Complete Guide to UK Freight Forwarding

Business owners are busy and don’t always have time to handle cargo transportation tasks. Meanwhile, supply chain optimisation can significantly impact your company’s profits and guarantee customer satisfaction.

If you’re wondering how to transport goods with maximum efficiency, consider hiring a freight forwarder UK. Logistics companies in the UK are some of the most experienced professionals in the industry and can be of great help to any entrepreneur. This guide will explain what freight forwarders do, why you need one, and how to pick the right company.

freight forwarding guide

Who is a Freight Forwarder and Why You Need One?

The term freight forwarding refers to the organisation of cargo shipment from one place to another. Consequently, a freight forwarder is an individual or company carrying out the task. Freight forwarders have a wider duty list than cargo carriers.

Firstly, freight forwarders research different cargo shipping options to determine the most time and cost-efficient method. One may think that anyone can handle this task with enough time and dedication. However, freight forwarders don’t simply use Google; they find the optimal option by utilising their own contacts and transportation management systems.

Secondly, freight forwarders are responsible for properly executing the transportation plan. This may include goods packing, labelling, and loading, communication with delivery partners, and paperwork. Freight forwarders must arrange customs clearance and ensure the shipment has all the necessary documentation.

Additionally, freight forwarders may offer other cargo services such as supply chain optimisation advice, consolidation and negotiation, warehousing, cargo insurance, and supply chain performance reports.

So, do you need a freight forwarder? The answer largely depends on your cargo type, business industry, country of origin and destination, among other factors. Freight forwarders can be helpful for all businesses, large and small, wishing to optimise their supply chain and ensure compliance with local legislation.

They have the necessary connections and experience to navigate the most complex triangular operations involving multiple parties – for instance, a manufacturer, intermediary, and final customer. Furthermore, freight forwarders can handle large, complex, and high-value cargo deliveries such as factory production equipment, oil or gas, and wind turbine blades.

The advantages of using a freight forwarder include:

  • Your communication is limited to one person who’s responsible for everything rather than multiple carrier companies.
  • Some freight forwarding projects are too complex and involve plenty of paperwork. A freight forwarder will ensure everything goes smoothly.
  • Freight forwarders can quickly find an optimal solution using their worldwide connections.
  • Freight forwarders save you time.
  • If anything goes wrong, you can fill in an insurance claim.

Types of Freight Forwarding

Freight forwarding is divided into two main categories: domestic and international. The shipment can be carried out using one or multiple carriers, depending on the destination region and cargo complexity. The three types of freight forwarding include air, sea, and land freight.

Freight Problems Companies Face While Transporting Goods To Other Country

Air cargo services are executed using passenger or cargo aircraft. The main advantages of air cargo services are the speed high security level. However, air cargo leaves a massive carbon footprint and is the most expensive of all options.

Sea cargo services are performed using container ships. Due to the low costs and small carbon footprint, sea cargo is the most popular freight forwarding method, accounting for nearly 90% of worldwide shipments. The only drawback of sea cargo services is the slow delivery speed.

Land cargo services are typically used to deliver goods within one country or to a neighbouring country. Cargo is delivered using trucks or trains depending on the load size and destination. Land cargo services are cost-efficient, but the delivery times are highly dependent on weather and traffic.

How to Find the Right Freight Forwarder UK

Now that you understand the importance of planning in cargo transportation, you may wonder how to find the right freight forwarder. UK businesses can benefit from hiring freight forwarders who are familiar with local legislation and can handle customs clearance, VAT, insurance, and other documentation.

For instance, GenX Freight is a London-based company with years of experience in arranging sea, air, and land shipments worldwide. Don’t hesitate to contact your local freight forwarding company for a consultation. By trusting your cargo to industry experts, you can gain peace of mind and free up more time to grow your business.

Green Ways to Travel the Globe

According to a recent report, 87% of travelers want to travel more sustainably, but only 39% say that they accomplish the task on most or all occasions. Well, in a world that often focuses so heavily on comfort and convenience, it’s understandable. Many cultures and individuals are certainly making great efforts to lead eco-friendly lives, but many are still left wondering how to make those changes. Read on to explore a wide array of green ways to travel the globe.

Where You Go

Carefully choose your destination. Shorter distances without air travel are ideal, but obviously, that’s not always possible. So, if you’re planning to travel a little further, look into visiting destinations that value sustainability as well. It will be easier if the surrounding culture has the same eco-goals.

Places like Amsterdam are great because they do not rely heavily on vehicular transportation. They stick to bikes and their own two feet most of the time which makes a huge difference. Additionally, make sure that you’re not visiting a destination that is already overwhelmed with tourists and travelers to the point of causing harm. You don’t want to be a part of the problem.

How You Get There

It’s no secret that air travel is a non-ideal form of transportation right now, but since it is often unavoidable, there are a few small things that can help. First, do your research and choose the most fuel-efficient airline and second passport. When you do, book a non-stop, flight and sit economy.

A significant portion of a flight’s emissions is during take-off and landing, and business select or first class is responsible for three times more emissions than economy seating. And in preparation, pack lightly because an aircraft burns more fuel when it is carrying a heavier weight.

green-travel

But, if you can avoid flying, go for a relaxing train ride. Traveling by train is widely popular in places like Europe and in the United States, you can make it the highlight of your journey.  If you need to rent a car, you can check eco friendly car rental before you book.

Rentagile as a reliable source for electrics & hybrid car rentals.

Where You Stay

Look for accommodations that prioritize sustainability. Do your research and look for places that have certifications from a third party, like the Global Sustainable Tourism Council or the Rainforest Alliance. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have the amenities that you may want or need, it just means that they abide by a particular set of global standards that aim for a more “green” operation.

Parting Shot

Even if you aren’t able to choose the ideal location, avoid air travel, or stay at a certifiably eco-friendly hotel, don’t worry. There is still plenty that you can do to lighten the load. Support the local economy, bring a reusable water bottle, carry a rain jacket, take shorter showers and go for ecotourism. Just do the best that you can, and you’ll be on the right track.

5 Amazing Tips for Maintaining a Wooden Fence

Your fence is a vital aspect of your yard and property; if it’s well-maintained, it may offer beauty, seclusion, and elegance, but a weary or decaying fence can make your house appear uninviting and unwanted. And you don’t want that?

It’s critical to keep up with the repair of your wooden fencing because if you don’t, you may have to replace it. It also looks horrible if you decide to sell your property, and it’s such a simple action with tremendous consequences.

Tips For Maintaining A Wooden Fence

With our top 5 recommendations, you’ll be able to confidently attack your wooden fence and bring it back to life. Here goes a list of tips you should consider: 

  • Get proper equipment
  • Protect grass and plants( also animals)
  • Bleach panels
  • Let the fence dry out
  • Repeat process if needed

1. Get proper equipment

If you want everything to go smoothly and without any troubles, you should get all the needed equipment first, before you start doing anything else. With this step, you can make yourself easier, and also you will save a lot of time. You won’t have to stop halfway through the work to pick anything up, which will reduce tension farther down the road. The following are the primary items required to clean your fence:

  • Wood stain
  • Power washer
  • Sheets to protect the ground
  • Brushes
  • Bleach or any other wood treatment

2. Protect grass and plants

You don’t want to ruin your backyard and all the beautiful plants you have, do you? You need to know that you are about to do some blasting with a washer machine, but also you will going to use bleach and other solutions which can do harm to your plants, animals, and ground.

Just to be sure that solutions and washer machines not going to ruin your backyard or garden, use plastic sheets to cover up the ground around your fence, and around the area with your tools and equipment. Before you begin, take any potentially damaged plant pots or outdoor furniture out of the way.

3. Bleach wooden panels

You can buy a decent wood cleaning fluid at most home improvement stores, but you can also make your own by diluting bleach and applying it to your fence. One part bleach to every two parts water is the easiest method to calculate this.

Place this mixture on your fencing and leave it to work for a few minutes. You may use a power washer to eliminate the liquid after you observe it removing mildew and grime. If you don’t have access to a power washer, a basic hose should suffice.

4. Let the fence dry out

After you’ve given it a good bath, you’ll need to wait for the wood to rest before applying a fresh seal. It’s crucial to do this because if the wood below is moist, the fresh wood stain will be rendered useless.

Make sure you’re not painting your wood – wood stain comes in a variety of colors and is designed to protect your wood, and if you just paint it, you’re not protecting it as effectively as you might be. There is a lot of product nowadays on the market, if you are not sure about them, you can always call wood fence specialist.

5. Repeat this process

You are in charge of the accuracy with which you carry out this procedure. The majority of individuals choose to do it every two years, while some prefer to wait longer. In reality, you’ll have to keep an eye on how your fences appear because they’ll fade faster and collect more green stains if they’re exposed to high levels of water and sunlight.

how to maintain a wooden fence

You can usually get away with just giving the wood a brief wash with the spray gun, but eventually, you’ll need to re-stain it to restore its vibrancy.

Wooden fences are usually easy to maintain, and that is why they are people’s first choice when it comes to fencings. We hope that we helped you in process of maintaining the wooden fencing, and these steps you can always recommend to someone of your friends or family, they will be amazed how easy they can repair their fences.