About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.

Waste Management in Qatar

Waste management is one of the most serious environmental challenges faced by the tiny Gulf nation of Qatar. mainly on account of high population growth rate, urbanization, industrial growth and economic expansion. The country has one of the highest per capita waste generation rates worldwide of 1.8 kg per day. Qatar produces more than 2.5 million tons of municipal solid waste each year. Solid waste stream is mainly comprised of organic materials (around 60 percent) while the rest of the waste steam is made up of recyclables like glass, paper, metals and plastics.

landfill-qatar

Municipalities are responsible for solid waste collection in Qatar both directly, using their own logistics, and indirectly through private sector contract. Waste collection and transport is carried out by a large fleet of trucks that collect MSW from thousands of collection points scattered across the country.

The predominant method of solid waste disposal in Qatar is landfilling. The collected is discharged at various transfer stations from where it is sent to the landfill. There are three landfills in Qatar; Umm Al-Afai for bulky and domestic waste, Rawda Rashed for construction and demolition waste, and Al-Krana for sewage wastes. However, the method of waste disposal by landfill is not a practical solution for a country like Qatar where land availability is limited.

Solid Waste Management Strategy

According to Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016, the country will adopt a multi-faceted strategy to contain the levels of waste generated by households, commercial sites and industry – and to promote recycling initiatives. Qatar intends to adopt integrated waste hierarchy of prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, and as a last option, landfill disposal.

A comprehensive solid waste management plan is being implemented which will coordinate responsibilities, activities and planning for managing wastes from households, industry and commercial establishments, and construction industry. The target is to recycle 38 percent of solid waste, up from the current 8 percent, and reduce domestic per capita waste generation.

Five waste transfer stations have been setup in South Doha, West Doha, Industrial Area, Dukhan and Al-Khor to reduce the quantity of waste going to Umm Al-Afai landfill. These transfer stations are equipped with material recovery facility for separating recyclables such as glass, paper, aluminium and plastic.

Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre

One of the most promising developments has been the creation of Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre (DSWMC) at Mesaieed. This centre is designed to maximize recovery of resources and energy from waste by installing state-of-the-art technologies for separation, pre-processing, mechanical and organic recycling, and waste-to-energy and composting technologies. At its full capacity, it will treat 1550 tons of waste per day, and is expected to generate enough power for in-house requirements, and supply a surplus of 34.4 MW to the national grid.

Future Outlook

While commendable steps are being undertaken to handle solid waste, the Government should also strive to enforce strict waste management legislation and create mass awareness about 4Rs of waste management viz. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recovery. Legislation are necessary to ensure compliance, failure of which will attract a penalty with spot checks by the Government body entrusted with its implementation.

Improvement in curbside collection mechanism and establishment of material recovery facilities and recycling centres may also encourage public participation in waste management initiatives. When the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016 was conceived, the solid waste management facility plant at Mesaieed was a laudable solution, but its capacity has been overwhelmed by the time the project was completed. Qatar needs a handful of such centers to tackle the burgeoning garbage disposal problem.

Building More Sustainable Home Habits

Running a household can be a very expensive feat – everything you spend from your electricity, water, heating, air-conditioning, groceries, and general upkeep of other facilities such as your toilet, piping, pool (if you have one) – these all add up and can make your expenditures quite hefty, especially when left unchecked. If you are running a large household, with anywhere from five people living in it or more, this could be especially true – the aggregate effect of every person’s possible carelessness can add up to a sizable sum when put together.

That is why it has become increasingly important to incorporate sustainable habits in every household. This means to educate each person on the importance of being prudent with the resources of the household, enough so that what is used up is only what is needed, and not a single resource and penny goes to waste. If everyone is on the same page about how important it is to care for the environment, then the combined benefits of this paradigm shift can also be quite notable.

sustainable-habits-for-ecofriendly-home

Here are some ways to build more sustainable habits in your home:

1. Turn off the lights

The best thing to do is to keep your consumption minimal. Turn off the lights when you are exiting your room and do not plan to re-enter for a good amount of time. Use natural light when you can – it is good to have windows in every part of the home so you can utilize natural energy. Apart from the natural light, you can also let in some wind and fresh air instead of turning on your air-conditioning.

2. Turn off the tap

Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Unless you are rinsing off, you don’t need the tap running. You can even fill a cup with water and use that for your gargling needs.

3. Pull those plugs

Pull the plugs for appliances that aren’t in active use for a long time. Toasters, computers, and lamps are all good examples of appliances that can be unplugged overnight or while you’re away from home.

4. Analyze your electric bills

It would also be a good thing to check out your energy consumption and consult your electricity provider for things you may not understand in your electricity bill. You can take this up with them and clarify what items are taking up most of your consumption, so you can adjust accordingly and minimize those activities.

5. Recycle

You don’t have to throw away everything that you’ve used only once or twice. Plastic containers that you take home from retail or grocery purchases can be used for repacking other items in the home. This is just one example – there are so many things you and your family use daily that you can recycle in order to minimize what you throw away.

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These are just some of the simple but very helpful ways you can start to live a more sustainable lifestyle. There are many other ways you can build more sustainable habits that help the planet and help you save some money as well. It is good to instill these practices within all the members of your household so that you can all work together to be more clean and green.

Parquet Flooring: Creating Everyday Versailles And Royal Ambience In Your Home

What inspires your choice of material used in flooring your home? Whether it is based upon your thirst for comfort, your budget, climate variation and lifestyle, parquet flooring can help make all these aspirations come true and much more. Parquet flooring creates a royal ambiance anywhere it used; be it your home or your office, giving it the lush, magnificence and stylishness of the famous Grand Palace of Versailles. There is more to parquet flooring other than it being an artistic interior design; it also offers warmth because they are made of woods and woods are great absorbers of heat.

oak-flooring

What is Parquet Flooring?

Firstly, parquet is a geometric mosaic of wood particles or pieces that can be systematically arranged in fashionable design and used in flooring. They come in various shapes ranging from an angular conformation to squares, lozenges and some are even curved.

Parquet flooring came into existence in the 16th century precisely in 1684 as a solution to the ruts in joists underneath the floor caused by marble flooring.

Parquet Wood Floors Vs Marble

Parquet floors have an advantage over marble floors is that they are easier to clean and preserve. It is more tedious and expensive to maintain marble floors. Parquet style flooring is also more durable than marble floors, plus the fact that parquets now exist in so many different wood types and offers an infinite possibility of designs to choose from thus creating the scenic, and magnificence of the grand Versailles Palace in your home.

There are over a thousand reasons why you should consider using parquet wood flooring in your home. The most important is that it creates a royal ambiance anywhere it is used and very comfortable to walk on without fear of abrasion, and it has also been linked with aristocracy and prestige in the past.

Other than sheer opulence, it was the best choice for flooring in the past centuries but experienced a massive loss in demand because at that time, parquet flooring was available only in one design (as a plain array of repeated, interlocking squares) and was soon displaced from the market by other flooring styles like the tiles stones, etc.

Parquet wood floors are back in vogue

Well, those days are long gone. Wipe the gloomy look off your face for I come bearing good news. Parquet wood floors are back in vogue and it now exists in a variety of styles. The choice is increased with exotic wood species like mahogany, Brazilian walnut, Teak and lots more and in different geometric patterns. The most frequently used parquet flooring patterns are the Parquet de versatiles and herringbone.  Of course, the most popular species is oak parquet, due to the fantastic properties of this outstanding wood species.

Pros and Cons of Parquet Flooring

There is a variation in the prices of parquet. The longer it is, the more the price. Lots of skills and experience is required in fixing the parquets to the floor and costs about 20$-50$ per square feet.

To minimize costs, you can opt to do it yourself. All you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s directives on how to fix them and you will be fine. You will get to realize that there is much joy and fulfillment that comes from accomplishing a task as crucial as this.

  • It is very easy to clean and preserve. You can clean the floor by using a dry mob and a damp mob occasionally or by simply using a vacuum cleaner.
  • It is very easy to repair damaged parts by simply removing the worn out part, replacing it carefully and sanding it.
  • You should endeavor to put a rug in the parts of the floor that’s in the area with much traffic.
  • Being that wood is used in parquet flooring, it is not very resistant to water, and you should take much care that you keep the floor dry at all times.

There you have it, a million reasons why parquet flooring is just the right fit for your home. Create everyday Versailles and royal ambiance in your home by opting for parquet flooring today.

A Primer on Agricultural Residues

The term agricultural residue is used to describe all the organic materials which are produced as by-products from harvesting and processing of agricultural crops. These residues can be further categorized into primary residues and secondary residues. Agricultural residues, which are generated in the field at the time of harvest, are defined as primary or field based residues whereas those co-produced during processing are called secondary or processing based residues.

  • Primary residues – paddy straw, sugarcane top, maize stalks, coconut empty bunches and frond, palm oil frond and bunches;
  • Secondary residues – paddy husk, bagasse, maize cob, coconut shell, coconut husk, coir dust, saw dust, palm oil shell, fiber and empty bunches, wastewater, black liquor.

Agricultural residues are highly important sources of biomass fuels for both the domestic and industrial sectors. Availability of primary residues for energy application is usually low since collection is difficult and they have other uses as fertilizer, animal feed etc.

However secondary residues are usually available in relatively large quantities at the processing site and may be used as captive energy source for the same processing plant involving minimal transportation and handling cost.

agricultural-residues

Crop residues encompasses all agricultural wastes such as straw, stem, stalk, leaves, husk, shell, peel, pulp, stubble, etc. which come from cereals (rice, wheat, maize or corn, sorghum, barley, millet), cotton, groundnut, jute, legumes (tomato, bean, soy) coffee, cacao, tea, fruits (banana, mango, coco, cashew) and palm oil.

Rice produces both straw and rice husks at the processing plant which can be conveniently and easily converted into energy. Significant quantities of biomass remain in the fields in the form of cob when maize is harvested which can be converted into energy.

Sugar cane harvesting leads to harvest residues in the fields while processing produces fibrous bagasse, both of which are good sources of energy. Harvesting and processing of coconuts produces quantities of shell and fibre that can be utilised while peanuts leave shells. All these materials can be converted into useful energy by a wide range of biomass conversion technologies.

The Eco Revolution in Property Investment

Many of us are now making more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious decisions every day. Whether it’s taking our own carrier bags to the shops, having a reusable water bottle or recycling your tin cans – little changes are making a big impact. When it comes to property, the eco revolution has increasingly been making waves. From solar panels to energy efficient light bulbs, our properties are becoming better for the planet. These priorities are also affecting property investment, with an increasing number of tenants looking for eco-friendly essentials in their property.

Eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular with a new environmentally conscious generation starting to look for rental properties. Young professionals who are living in the city are less likely to buy a home than ever before, so are looking for a rental property that meets their exacting requirements. With many of them choosing to make environmentally friendly choices, like going plastic free or cutting down on how much meat they eat, accordingly they are looking for eco-friendly homes too.

Environmental impact is increasingly on the agenda of consumers in every aspect of their lives. Many are also willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly purchases. Research has shown that UK consumers would pay an average 10% more if they were buying something they thought had a positive impact on society. Property investors would be wise to bear this in mind when looking for new property investments. In an increasingly competitive rental market, the ability to raise prices because of eco credentials is a lucrative option for investors.

Furthermore, 40% of consumers think that sustainability is important when they are making a purchase. The impact of this can be seen in the growing number of brands and businesses that are making their environmental commitments obvious to consumers. It is clear that savvy property investors can be both environmentally friendly and business smart when looking to purchase new properties.

In another study, 80% of tenants believed that their landlords should be considering the environment more, and suggested measures like double-glazing, insulation and eco-modifications. These simple measures can make a large impact on the appeal of a property to prospective tenants. Increasing energy prices are another concern for occupants. In addition, 55% of renters asked said they would prefer a rental property with a smart meter if it was the same price. Energy efficient measures are both good for tenant’s monthly costs and for the environment so buy to let property investors can be at an advantage if their property offers these.

As of April 2018, buy to let landlords are legally required to have an EPC rating of E or above in their properties. This means that property investors are increasingly looking at new build properties which are already energy efficient and don’t require costly renovations. Tenants can also legally request that a landlord makes property improvements if the EPC rating is F or G.

Developers are increasingly taking sustainability and environmental impact into consideration when building new properties. Properties with energy efficient specifications, like many by RW Invest  are providing investors with lucrative returns and high tenant demand. Recent changes to regulation mean that new build properties need to be energy efficient and this is making a huge impact on the buy to let market.

The trend towards environmentally conscious properties looks set to continue, with eco-friendly qualities high on the agenda of both potential tenants and investors.

An Introduction to Composting

The composting process is a complex interaction between organic waste and microorganisms. The microorganisms that carry out this process fall into three groups: bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetesActinomycetes are a form of fungi-like bacteria that break down organic matter. The first stage of the biological activity is the consumption of easily available sugars by bacteria, which causes a fast rise in temperature. The second stage involves bacteria and actinomycetes that cause cellulose breakdown. The last stage is concerned with the breakdown of the tougher lignins by fungi.

Composting_Process

Central solutions are exemplified by low-cost composting without forced aeration, and technologically more advanced systems with forced aeration and temperature feedback. Central composting plants are capable of handling more than 100,000 tons of biodegradable waste per year, but typically the plant size is about 10,000 to 30,000 tons per year. Biodegradable wastes must be separated prior to composting: Only pure food waste, garden waste, wood chips, and to some extent paper are suitable for producing good-quality compost.

Composting Equipment

The composting plants consist of some or all of the following technical units: bag openers, magnetic and/or ballistic separators, screeners (sieves), shredders, mixing and homogenization equipment, turning equipment, irrigation systems, aeration systems, draining systems, bio-filters, scrubbers, control systems, and steering systems. The composting process occurs when biodegradable waste is piled together with a structure allowing for oxygen diffusion and with a dry matter content suiting microbial growth.

Biodegradable wastes must be separated prior to composting: Only pure food waste, garden waste, wood chips, and to some extent paper are suitable for producing good-quality compost.The temperature of the biomass increases due to the microbial activity and the insulation properties of the piled material. The temperature often reaches 65 to 75 degrees C within few days and then declines slowly. This high temperature hastens the elimination of pathogens and weed seeds.

Composting Methodologies

The methodology of composting can be categorized into three major segments—anaerobic composting, aerobic composting, and vermicomposting. In anaerobic composting, the organic matter is decomposed in the absence of air. Organic matter may be collected in pits and covered with a thick layer of soil and left undisturbed six to eight months. The compost so formed may not be completely converted and may include aggregated masses.

Aerobic composting is the process by which organic wastes are converted into compost or manure in presence of air and can be of different types. The most common is the Heap Method, where organic matter needs to be divided into three different types and to be placed in a heap one over the other, covered by a thin layer of soil or dry leaves. This heap needs to be mixed every week, and it takes about three weeks for conversion to take place. The process is same in the Pit Method, but carried out specially constructed pits. Mixing has to be done every 15 days, and there is no fixed time in which the compost may be ready.

Berkley Method uses a labor-intensive technique and has precise requirements of the material to be composted. Easily biodegradable materials, such as grass, vegetable matter, etc., are mixed with animal matter in the ratio of 2:1. Compost is usually ready in 15 days.

Vermicomposting involves use of earthworms as natural and versatile bioreactors for the process of conversion. It is carried out in specially designed pits where earthworm culture also needs to be done. Vermicomposting is a precision-based option and requires overseeing of work by an expert. It is also a more expensive option (O&M costs especially are high).

Where To Start On Making Your Home More Self-Sufficient

Nowadays, many people are trying their best to be eco-friendly, energy saving, environmentally conscientious, and trying to lean towards a healthier lifestyle. There are many ways now to become more self-sufficient and giving the environment a break. By being self-sufficient, you’re decreasing your dependence on the environment, but using the earth’s natural resources to create your own sustainability. Being self-sufficient was originally how humankind lived for centuries, now we depend negatively on the earth’s resources, causing an imbalance and a negative impact on the earth. Whether you start small by recycling or going zero waste, some people has even attempted to create completely self-sufficient homes. Below you can find out how to start making your home more self-sufficient.

What is a self-sufficient home?

Creating a self-sufficient home doesn’t mean you need to live off the grid completely, but it means creating a home that supplies its own energy, water, food and sewage. They’re considered completely autonomous and named the ultimate green living dwellings. You can either build your own self-sufficient home, or make a few changes around your existing home; anything is doable.

Benefits of a self-sufficient home

Needless to say, establishing a self-sufficient home means you reduce your carbon footprint and energy consumption that have a negative impact on the environment. You’re also living a much more financially independent and bill-free lifestyle as you’re making your own resources. Being self-sufficient also develops and sharpens your skills, something that you can pass on to your children by allowing them to be more independent and practical.

Creating a self-sufficient home

In order to make improvements around your home to become more self-sufficient, you need to start with the simplest tasks and make your way towards the most difficult ones as you get the hang of it. Below are some ways you can start establishing a self-sufficient home:

Alternative energy

Save a ton of energy consumption by using alternative energy methods. Switching to renewable energy like solar power may seem a little costly at first, but it’s extremely beneficial in the long run. Since you’re creating your own energy, it will save you a lot of money by not having to pay for electricity.  You can start by installing solar panels called Photovoltaic (PV) on the roof, but make sure it’s in an area that gets undisrupted sunlight all year long. PV uses devices that generate electricity from saving up direct sunlight all day. You can also check the many other ways you can use solar energy through Beupp.com as they provide comprehensive information on alternative energy solutions.

Heating systems

Alternative heating options can be done through solar energy as well. Solar heating is capable of heating your water and saving energy. Water heating systems are achieved with a solar collector, insulated piping and a hot water storage tank. A self-sufficient home is one that provides itself with its own heat, and so you can allow your home to create heat by doing it traditionally. Install a wood burning stove as it’s an excellent way to save energy and provide warmth.

Lighting

Even though you’re already getting your electricity from renewable energy like solar energy, but the use of passive lighting is another way to be self-sufficient throughout the day. You can remodel your window arrangement to design high windows and skylights to get as much sunlight throughout the day as you can. At night, use LED light bulbs that last longer, require less energy as well as not overheat your home.

Growing your own food

One of the major achievements of being self-sufficient is by growing your own organic food. Consider turning your backyard into a small greenhouse for food production or create a vegetable patch. Start small, choose your favorite herbs, fruits and vegetables and start gardening! If your home can allow it, consider having a small chicken coop for meat and egg supply as well as a cow or goat for dairy products.

Water management

Although it might seem difficult to secure an independent water supply, it’s still doable. Ideally, if you’re in a remote location, digging up a well will be highly beneficial. If not, you can go the renewable way and collect rainwater to be used for many things. Install a rainwater collecting system that leads to a filtration system to be able to drink this water, shower or use for laundry. Once this water is used once, it’s still reusable once more and that is called ‘grey water.’ Greywater is filtered once again and can be used to water your vegetable patch.

Plan for the future

Creating a self-sufficient home not only gives you the necessary skills to become practical and independent but it benefits the environment greatly. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but the rewards are more worthy. Establishing a green life will preserve the environment for future generations to come.

Picking the Most Efficient Air Compressor for Your Workshop

Air compressors are energy-generating appliances that can be used pretty much anywhere. When you have a workshop, you care a lot about the condition of all the appliances used in it and their efficiency because these are the tools that help you get work done. Buying your first air compressor, for any purpose, can be incredibly overwhelming. The specific details you should be aware of for each compressor can be complicated and confusing, which will leave you baffled as to which one will best suit the specific needs of your workshop. Here are some tips to help make that decision easier for you.

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Choosing Between a Piston and a Portable Air Compressor

When it is time to choose an air compressor for your workshop, you are likely to come across numerous types of compressors which will make your decision even harder. However, for workshops, there are two popular and basic compressor types to choose between; piston and portable air compressors. According to Brett Patterson of Ablesales, a piston compressor is an excellent source of portable air supply for farms and workshops. Just like any other type of air compressor, the piston’s motor works on collecting the air in a set tank and pressing it with the degree of pressure needed. The more you use it, the more pressure the compressor will generate.

On the other hand, a portable air compressor does the exact same job as the piston compressor, just without the need for an air tank. The main perk of a portable air compressor is that it is easy to move around wherever you need it. It might not be as powerful when it comes to pressing the air, but it is quite versatile, especially if you have a large workshop where you might need it in different places at different times. It is also excellent in reducing waste that is harmful to the environment.

Consider the Size of the Compressor

Almost all workshops are known for having large machines and appliances. Essentially, an air compressor would be another machine added to your working space, so you would need to consider the size of the compressor you will be investing in to ensure the best efficiency and ease of work. Whether your workshop is big or small, you need to think about the load of work you are planning to do with the air compressor as that will determine the size of the tank required. Compressors that need an air tank are usually more efficient for more demanding workshops, however, they are quite large. On the other hand, compressors with small or no air tanks can be more suitable for workshops with small workloads and smaller working spaces.

efficient-air-compressor

Check the Features

Efficiency and durability are essential features that workshop owners or managers look for in their appliances. The durability of an air compressor determines how much work it will be able to offer you as well as the life span of its productivity. When you choose an air compressor, features like the coating of the tank and the strength of the steel build of the compressor itself should be at the top of your list. Read reviews on the supplier and manufacturer before you purchase to get a better idea of how reliable that specific machine will be for your workshop’s needs.

How is the Compressor Powered?

Workshop owners invest in air compressors to generate energy used in manufacturing products or powering certain appliances. However, the compressors themselves need to be powered in some way. Compressors can be powered by electricity, petrol, or diesel. Electric compressors are the most popular because of how energy-efficient and economical they are. However, they are not as powerful as their petrol-powered counterparts, which can be more reliable when it comes to pressing air. Diesel compressors are similar to petrol-powered ones, but they can be a bit more harmful to the planet as they emit larger amounts of nitrogen compounds and particulate matter, which pollute the air and contribute to climate change.

Investing in an air compressor can be beneficial for your workshop, regardless of how big or small it is. But when it comes to deciding which compressor is best suited for your needs, the choice can be challenging. Your best bet is to do some research in advance and compare different types, sizes, and prices so you can choose which best fits your needs and budget. It also pays to read up on the different power sources and try your best to opt for a unit that doesn’t contribute as much to environmental degradation.

How Does Water Filtration Work?

The reality is that drinking water has contaminants, and that’s something you have to address to ensure the safety of your family. The good thing is you can address this by simply investing in a good water filtration system. The following will help you understand how one would work.

water-filtration-systems

Microfiltration Goes First

Okay, there are many water filtration systems out there to choose from. Some of these systems are whole-house systems you can have installed and will filter all of the water going into your home. The drawback is that these systems will have to be uninstalled if you decide to move to a new home.

Those who value portability may want to consider smaller water filtration that you can take with you wherever you go. Whatever you choose, the internal process of each water system normally starts with microfiltration. A reliable water filter system is going to have a complex filtration system with millions of pores to destroy potential contaminants like parasites, cysts, bacteria, herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals, just to name a few things.

The microscopic pores do not allow pathogens and contaminants to pass through. Those contaminants become trapped within the filter. Of course, this is the reason your filters are going to have to be replaced sooner or later. The amount of times you replace your filter depends on how often the filter is used and the construction of the filter itself.

Adsorption is Key

The second step water filters take to ensure that your water is as clean as possible is adsorption. This is a process where an ionic barrier is formed to help the microscopic porous filter work more effectively.

The truth is some contaminants are a little smaller than the tiny pores of the porous filter. These contaminants could make their way out of the first stage without this second stage. The barrier seems to be strong enough to make contaminants like submicron viruses stop in their tracks. It also helps stop iodine or chlorine, both of which are quite common in tap water.

You should remember that the metals that could be in your water such as cadmium, copper, lead, and mercury are also extracted at this point. These questionable heavy metals are extracted through an Ion exchange process, thanks to the electronically charged barrier formed within the filter. Remember that all filters are not this sophisticated, so make sure you find out if the filter you are considering removes heavy metals.

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There is no way you want to allow heavy metals to contaminate your home. A high concentration of these metals can lead to all sorts of other issues, such as organ damage. Some say that prolonged exposure to these metals could put people at risk of developing some types of cancer. Dangers like these shouldn’t plague your mind, and they don’t have to with the help of a good filter.

A Different Method

One more thing that needs to be pointed out is that good quality water filters usually use the long contact period filtration method. Okay, most water filters do what they are supposed to by relying on the water pressure in your home. In essence, the water pressure in your home pushes water through the filtration system, which is how contaminants are removed.

Technically, this type of filtration isn’t bad, and it is effective enough to give you clean water, but the long contact period filtration system takes another approach. What these types of filters do is allow water to flow through the first stage using gravity rather than pressure.

Gravity is a little slower, meaning the water has a long contact period as opposed to regular filters where the water shoots through the filter. Yes, this kind of filtration is a lot slower, but the results are much more impressive. You’d be surprised how many contaminants make it through a filtration system that relies purely on pressure. If you want to give your family the best clean water you can give, then be sure to choose a long contact period filtration system.

Now that you know how water filters work and why they are so important in living a healthy life, you can begin your search. The best thing is you won’t need to worry about buying water from the store nor will you have to pollute the earth with dozens of water bottles that you have to discard often.

Home Renovation Can Improve Energy Efficiency

There is almost nothing more satisfying than a clean, fresh, and sustainable home. You may think that renovating your home is a hassle, not to mention expensive, but there are plenty of small changes that can make a home really feel like it’s yours. Something as simple as a new garage door, or a small solar panel can bring personality and life to your home while saving energy and giving you a boost of pride for your house.

Doors and Windows

When thinking about renovating your house, you probably think, new basement, new roofing, and much more expensive and time consuming projects. But do not write off home improvement just yet! There are plenty of small changes that can make a huge difference to the style of your home and even boost its overall value.

Doors and windows play a huge part in energy efficiency as air enters and escapes your home. This makes these options a great place to start as they add a personal flair to your home’s look as well as being environmentally friendly. Below is a short list of these renovations you may not have thought about.

insulated-home

Garage Doors

When thinking about the outdoor curb appeal of your home, an often overlooked detail is the garage. This may seem silly but just think about how much visual space your garage door or doors take up.

A new or refurbished garage door can not only up the style and personality of your home, but can make your home more energy efficient and secure. And with companies like CSSGarageDoors there are so many styles to choose from.

Front Door

A unique front door also helps your house stand out and adds your own personal touch to your home. Keep in mind the style of your garage doors and make sure your other doors do not clash. Replacing old front doors can also save you money and energy, as air often escapes from unseen cracks in old doors and windows.

There are hundreds of style choices to choose from, and many energy efficient sustainable options too. Not only will this give your home an instant personality boost, it will raise the value of your home significantly.

Windows

While this one may be a little more on the pricey side of renovations, it is yet another example of boosting your homes personality, value, and energy efficiency. Not only can you choose from styles of windows, you can choose how you want the glass and frames to make them custom just for you and your home.

New windows will save you money on heating and air and some even keep out the noises of busy streets or noisy neighbors. Depending on the climate and place you live, these replacements could be a life saver. Lowes has an excellent selection of beautiful window and door replacements.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

While improving the overall look of your home can give you a sense of personal pride in your home, less visible but sustainable options can give you comfort and help the planet. If you want to live more sustainably but do not have the funds to build a whole new eco-friendly home, there are small changes that can boost your home’s energy efficiency and sustainability. Below is a short list of options to improve your home from the inside out.

Tankless Water Heaters

Water heaters are probably something you do not often think about. However, that tank that sits in your garage or basement is constantly using energy. Even when you are not using your hot water, the tank is busy working away using energy and costing you money. Switching to a tankless or on-demand water heater means that it will only be using energy when you need it.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are becoming better and better, and adding one to your homes exterior no longer seems like a dream. While there is a lot to consider before installing solar panels, they can be an amazing way to reduce energy and a great investment.

solar-powered-home

Although solar panels can last for up to 30 years, you do not need to be afraid of wasting money when you move as they can increase the value of your home significantly. You can also get a sizeable tax return for installing solar panels, so it is a great option to look at for sustainable living.