7 Energy Saving Tips for Students

Being a student is a wonderful experience that comes with a lot of perks, especially if you’re living on campus. This is the time to explore various experiences, gain personal responsibility, and figure out your meaning in the world.

You can have a lot of fun, make a lot of new friends, and enjoy your independence to the maximum. There are no parents to tell you what to do, no bedtime hour, and very few rules to follow.

Nevertheless, the biggest problem comes when you realize that your money reserves are slowly fading away. In fact, money management is one of the biggest problems that students face when parents aren’t really an option.

The most obvious way to get more money is to get a part-time job. The less obvious way is to become disciplined and reduce your energy bills and expenses. If you haven’t thought about that yet, here are some of the most important benefits of saving energy during college time:

  • You’re significantly reducing your energy bills.
  • You’re improving your self-discipline.
  • You’re understanding how a few simple actions and habits can boost your financial life.
  • You’re protecting the environment
  • You’re gaining health benefits
  • You’re learning to become a responsible person

If you’ve never done it before, there’s no need to worry about it. You can make a decision now and commit to being a part of the energy efficiency movement. College and university life can be so much better with more money in your pockets, while also knowing that you’re contributing to a higher purpose.

In today’s article, I’m sharing 7 ways to save energy for students who are eager to reduce the costs of their bills and reduce unnecessary waste.

Turn Off the Lights

Spend less time with the lights on and you’ll soon notice a significant difference in your energy bills. This is a simple habit that needs to be implemented through lots of practice. To make it easier, place a note near the switch that says “TURN ME OFF” or “green to go”.

Unplug Unused Devices

Once I decided to cut down the energy waste, I have realized that my energy bills were huge because I was always forgetting to shut down my computer.

Don’t repeat my mistake. Simply unplug all the unused devices, including the phone and laptop chargers. Even when you’re not charging, the chargers are still wasting energy. Also, if you really want to save energy, reduce the TV time and don’t forget to turn it off before you leave or fall asleep.

Dry Your Clothes Naturally

Most students are used to drying their clothes on radiators because it’s fast and convenient. However, besides the fact that they’re wasting energy throughout the process, they’re also putting their health at risk.

Clothes are absorbing heat from the radiator while pouring condensation into the air. This creates damp and mold.

The simplest solution is to dry your clothes naturally on a rack, especially when the sun is out and you don’t need them immediately.

Use Dishwashers

There’s a false belief that washing dishes manually consumes less energy than a dishwasher. Well, that’s a myth that needs to be treated like a myth. To be truly energy efficient, make sure you fill your dishwasher entirely before turning it on.

Keep the Door Closed

What’s the point of using energy to create heat if you leave the door open? This is common sense advice that should stick with you immediately. Don’t let the heat go out by simply making a habit of keeping the doors closed.

Turn Down the Thermostat

Your thermostat is a very tricky device. If you set the temperature high, the thermostat won’t stop heating until it reaches the values that it has been instructed to reach. It is said that turning the thermostat down can reduce your heating bills by up to 10%.

Turn Down the Temperature of the Washing Machine

Whenever you wash clothes, you should consider two important aspects:

First of all, use your washing machine only when you can fill it up with a lot of clothes. There’s no point in using it twice a week when you can be disciplined and wait until more dirty clothes are gathered up.

Secondly, make sure you turn down the temperature of your washing machine to approximately 30 degrees. Because washing machines leverage the same amount of water to get the job done, the temperature doesn’t need to be high.

Takeaways

Saving energy during college is easier than you may think. Every time you turn off the light and consciously think about the fact that you’re saving energy, you will be laying the foundation of a new habit.

Start developing more and more energy-saving habits and you’ll notice the amazing benefits in a very short time. Besides the fact that you’ll feel good about yourself, your energy bills will put you in less trouble every time they pop. More money for you, more benefits for the planet!

5 Money-Saving Upgrades To Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

Did you know the average American household spends about $2,000 annually for utilities? What’s more, $200 to $400 is money wasted due to drafts, air leakage, and outdated HVAC systems. That’s a lot of money, right? You can save that money by making energy efficient upgrades to your home.

Let’s take a look at these money-saving upgrades, shall we?

1. Insulation

A very cost effective way to save on energy is by adding more insulation in the attic, or switching out the typical blanket insulation for either cellulose loose-fill insulation or spray foam insulation. The spray foam insulation is the most effective type of insulation for energy efficiency.

home-insulation

With that in mind, installing spray foam insulation requires professional installation and it can range anywhere from $1 to $1.50 per square foot.

2. Energy efficient appliances and HVAC system

Older appliances tend to use a of energy and are nowhere near as energy efficient as newer models. Look for appliances and electronics that are ENERGY STAR approved products. By replacing the refrigerator, washer and dryer and even the ranges, you can save 15% on how much energy your home uses.

The same with heating and cooling. When you upgrade your HVAC system, you can save up to 20% to 50% on your energy bills – providing you make some of the other upgrades on this list.

hvac-repair

3. Programmable thermostat

It seems like everything is a smart device doesn’t it? Smart thermostats are an excellent way to reduce the amount of heating and cooling is used, especially when you’re not home. In the winter, you can decrease the temperature when you’re not at home and increase it to a comfortable temperature about 30 minutes before you get home, and vice versa.

eco-friendly-business-practices

If you don’t want to go the smart thermostat route, there are programmable thermostats where you can change the settings so the temperature is where it’s set to at the desired time.

4. Eliminating air leaks

One of the biggest culprits of wasted energy is air leakages. A whopping 40% of a home’s heating or cooling is lost due to drafty doors and windows and ill-fitted air ducts. You can prevent this by upgrading your doors and windows to high energy options. Not only are the new doors and windows themselves energy efficient, but the new seals will prevent air leakage.

If you cannot afford new windows or doors, you can always use exterior-grade caulking and new weatherstripping to seal up cracks or gaps you may find.

5. Install ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to add a bit of style to a room, but they can also help circulate the air, regardless of the season. Most fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction the fan moves. In the summer, it should rotate counterclockwise to push the cooler air down, therefore making the air feel cooler than it actually is. In the winter, it should rotate clockwise to pull the cool air upward and push the warm air downward.

Keeping your home’s energy costs as low as possible isn’t just smart as a homeowner, it’s also a good way to increase the value of your home. And, according to HomeLight’s Q2 2020 survey, we are in a seller’s market! 60% of agents who participated in the survey said there were 60% more bidding wars in June 2020 and the market doesn’t seem to be slowing.

That means if you’re looking to sell, these energy efficient upgrades are a great way to pique a buyer’s interest – maybe even more than one!

Solutions for Maritime Industry Emissions

Until 2018, the maritime industry did not have a climate plan. While this may seem surprising, shipping tends to stay quiet about the environmental impacts of a global economy. Additionally, unlike other carbon-intensive sectors, it tends to quietly sail along unnoticed by consumers. It was not included in the Paris Agreement in 2016 and was not held accountable for its contribution to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

The International Maritime Organization laid out plans to cut emissions in half by 2050, an ambitious goal by one of the world’s main polluters. One of the main strategies to reduce CO2 emissions is to transition to more efficient fuel types. Most large shipping vessels operate with heavy fuel oil, which is rich in sulfur and extremely polluting. The International Maritime Organization is seeking to replace heavy fuel oil in 60,000 shipping vessels.

emissions-shipping-sector

However, consumer awareness surrounding the environmental cost of international shipping, coupled with innovative technology, may reduce the amount of pollution produced. The most likely solutions for reducing emissions from the maritime industry include transitioning to a more low-carbon fuel source, changing transport speeds, adopting sustainable shipping waste disposal strategies, transitioning to renewable energy and optimizing travel routes.

The Price of International Shipping

Shipping emissions are expected to grow exponentially between now and 2050. International shipping accounts for the majority of industrial pollution. Maritime regulations are significantly behind those for other carbon-intensive industries. It can be legally complicated to assign accountability to certain countries, especially in international waters. A handful of mega-ships can have the same level of greenhouse gas emissions as millions of cars, accounting for an incalculable portion of air and water pollution.

Our economy is global. When you look at the tags on your furniture, appliances, clothes and electronics, you may see dozens of countries around the world. Even our food, including perishable items like avocados and lettuce, are shipped internationally. Fresh produce can be shipped thousands of miles without spoiling using different refrigeration systems, such as air compressor technology. While these technologies make it easier to transport food, they come with a high-carbon impact. However, there are energy-efficient solutions to reduce carbon emissions in the shipping industry.

Energy-Efficient Solutions

Low-carbon technology is available in the shipping industry, but how it works in practice may be a different story. For example, switching from a high sulfur fuel oil to a low carbon option may have the greatest impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Lowering sulfur oxide emissions is key to reducing the effects of international shipping.

However, switching oils will require the industry to identify pollution from the whole lifecycle, meaning that the use of fuel is only one part of its environmental impact. Accounting for this will be crucial in finding a sustainable solution for maritime industry emissions.

Another solution that is easier to implement than changing fuels is a practice called slow steaming. Slow steaming simply refers to slowing boats down, sometimes only by a few degrees. While it may not sound like much, changing a ship’s speed by a couple of kilometers can result in an 18% increase in fuel savings, which could be a gamechanger. However, industry leaders are worried that simply slowing down ships is not the answer, since it will result in a need for more vessels to keep the global economy moving.

Other energy-efficient solutions to maritime industry emissions include route optimization, renewable energy such as wind-assist technology and transitioning to all-electric ships. Norway, a main exporter in the petroleum and fish industries, has already tested an all-electric vessel and is actively working to optimize this technology to transition more ships away from fuel oil.

Time for Maritime to Go Green

The effort by the maritime industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is significant. Effective solutions to help curb climate change include transitioning to low sulfur fuel oils, changing ship speeds and investing in new technology such as renewable energy. However, consumer awareness will also play a vital role in the future of international shipping. The cost of a global economy is significant. Finding more sustainable methods of transporting goods across the ocean is imperative.

How Batteries Can Benefit From Biomass Energy?

Organisations and more importantly, battery manufacturers are recognising the need to overcome the problem of global warming. The objective is to develop ways of producing carbon-neutral sources of energy. One of the areas currently being explored is the use of biomass resources to create sustainable, eco-friendly batteries which are suitable for use across a wide range of business sectors. With different forms of biomass energy available, the challenge is finding products that provide high performance along with being commercially viable.

Biomass-Resources

A quick glance at popular biomass resources

What is Biomass Energy?

Biomass is something that we are all familiar with. It is derived from plants and animals and is now becoming an increasingly viable form of renewable energy. Initially, the energy comes from the sun, and in plants, it is converted via photosynthesis.

Regardless of its origin, the biomass will either be converted into biogas, biofuels or burnt directly to create heat. Of course, different sources of biomass produce varying amounts of energy, affecting their efficiency. As a result, high precision battery testing equipment is required to ascertain their viability.

Forms of Biomass Used for Energy

Wood and Products: Renewable sources of timber and the by-products of wood such as wood chip are burned in the home to create heat and in industry, burned to generate electricity. Typically, softwood such as pine is used as it is quicker to replenish than hardwood such as oak.

Agricultural Crops and Waste: With large amounts of waste produced from the farming sector, it is natural that this is an ideal source of energy. The materials are either converted to liquid biofuels or burned directly to generate heat or electricity.

Food and Household Waste: The amount of waste households produced has been increasing annually, and up until recently, the majority was disposed of it landfill sites. Nowadays, this garbage is thermochemically processed in waste-to-energy plants to produce electricity or converted into biogas at existing landfill sites.

Animal Manure and Human Waste: We frequently hear about the link between animal waste and global warming. Inevitably, the same is also true of human waste. Both can be converted into biogas and burned as a fuel.

How is Biomass Converted to Energy?

Biomass can be converted to energy using different methods depending on the source. Solid forms of biomass such as garbage and wood are generally burned to created heat while other types will be initially converted into either biogas or biofuels such as ethanol or other biodiesel-related fuels used to power vehicles or generators.

Human sewage and animal manure are placed in vessels known as digesters to create biogas. Liquid fuels such as biodiesel are derived from oils and animal fats. Any form of biomass must be burned at some point to generate energy.

Biomass and Batteries

The most common form of battery used in domestic appliances and mobile devices is lithium-ion batteries. However, the performance and capacity are still below what is demanded by manufacturers and consumers. As a result, manufacturers are investigating alternatives such as biomass. Naturally, high precision testing equipment such as that produced by Arbin is required to assess their potential and commercial viability accurately.

The potential of elemental sulphur has been explored although due to its poor electrical conductivity, has failed to make it onto the mass market. A composite of sulphur and porous carbon appears to be a far more viable option although this is a complicated and time-consuming process. Carbon is one of the best conductors available, albeit at a relatively high cost. Therefore, the objective is to source carbon from biowaste, such as popular catkin that can be combined with sulphur. Popular catkin is a highly porous carbon and ideal for Li/S batteries.

High Precision Battery Testing

High precision battery testing is required to establish the commercial viability of popular catkin and other biowaste products. Marginal improvement could have a significant impact and give cell manufacturers a competitive advantage over their rivals.

Naturally, extensive research needs to be conducted to assess a variety of bioproducts that are presenting themselves as potentially viable alternative products. Increasing battery capacity and battery life is something that is required in several sectors such as with EVs, mobile devices and home appliances. Major manufacturers will be eagerly awaiting the findings of testing that is currently ongoing.

How Does a Solar Battery Storage Work?

The idea of having an energy-independent home is quite enticing for any homeowner. It comes with a lot of advantages, the main one being the fact that you won’t be affected by utility rate fluctuations. Also, you’ll be promoting the ‘green energy’ campaign, which is currently being recommended as a way of preserving the environment. Fortunately, it’s an attainable dream given the rapid advancement in the world of energy storage. All you need is a set of solar panels or a solar energy provider, and a battery backup to satisfy your needs.

Solar batteries are an integral part of this setup since they ensure a continuous supply of power if the grid goes down. This article will break down the seemingly complex operation of these storage devices into a few easy-to-understand steps. The discussion will revolve around a battery that’s already paired with a solar system rather than a standalone solar battery storage.

solar-battery-storage

Feeding the Solar Energy

When sunlight rays hit the panels, the visible light is converted to electrical energy. The electrical current flows into the battery and is stored as DC electricity. It’s worth noting that there are two types of solar batteries: AC-coupled and DC-coupled. The latter has a built-in inverter that can convert the electricity current to DC or AC. As such, the DC solar electricity will flow from the panels to an external power inverter, which will convert it to AC energy that can either be used by your home appliances or stored in the AC battery. What the built-in inverter will do in this case is convert the AC electricity back to DC for storage.

As for a DC-coupled system, the battery doesn’t have a built-in inverter. As such, the DC electricity from the solar panels flows to the battery via a charge controller. Unlike in an AC setup, the power inverter in this system is only connected to your home’s wiring. As such, electricity from the solar panels or your storage battery is converted from DC to AC before flowing to your home appliances. What determines how much energy is stored in the battery?  Read on to find out more.

The Charging Process

As power flows from the solar panels, your home’s electricity setup will take precedence. Therefore, electricity directly feeds your appliances, like refrigerators, TVs, and lights. Often, this energy from solar panels can be more than what you need. For instance, on a hot afternoon, a lot of power is produced, yet your home isn’t using much of it. In such a scenario, net metering occurs, wherein the extra energy flows back to the grid. However, you can use this overflow to charge up your batteries.

solar-battery

The amount of electricity stored in the battery depends on how fast it charges up. If, for example, your home doesn’t use up too much power, then the charging process will be quick. Also, if you’re connected to huge panels, then a lot of electric energy will flow to your home, which means the batteries will charge up a lot faster. Once your battery is full, the charge controller will prevent it from overcharging.

Why Do You Need A Solar Battery?

1. To shield you from power outages

If you’re connected to a grid, there’ll always be a few moments when the transmission system malfunctions or is shut down for maintenance. As soon as this happens, the system will isolate your home from the grid and activate the backup source. In this case, the battery will operate like a backup generator.

2. Time-of-use rate plans

On these plans, you’ll be charged according to the amount of electricity you use, as well as the time during which you use it. TOU states that the power drawn from the grid at night is more valuable than the extra energy produced during the day. As such, by storing the extra energy and using it at night, you’ll reduce the overall cost of electricity in your home.

Closing Remarks

With the world embracing ‘green energy,’ solar panels are gradually replacing the traditional sources of electricity. Solar batteries play a crucial role in ensuring that you have a reliable power supply in your home. AC-couple storage batteries have a built-in inverter, which converts the electric current to DC or AC, depending on the direction. On the other hand, a DC-couple battery doesn’t have this feature. Both batteries, however, store electric energy in DC regardless of the setup. The speed at which electricity is stored in the batteries depends on the size of the panels and the amount used by your home appliances.

Paying Less for Your Energy: A Handful of Practical Tips

There is little doubt that energy bills are a big drain on your finances, what with the Big Six energy providers hiking their prices recently, with two of them doing it twice within a year! What is one to do? Toe their line or search for the best and cheapest energy tariffs? Of course, you will save a pretty packet if you search for the cheapest energy rates. Find below certain practical tips that will enable you to find the right energy deal and save on money.

Avoid standard variable rate tariff

You need to be careful when your fixed tariff deal ends, for it is then that your energy provider will nudge you towards standard variable rate tariff. Their reason for doing so is simple, that is, to make money. These variable rate tariffs are expensive. According to the figures of previous year obtained from First Utility, will escalate your energy bill by an average of £262 annually. Not only are these variable rate tariffs expensive, but they also provide leeway for your energy supplier to hike costs.

The way out of this is to search for smaller suppliers that offer the best-buy tables and better services. You can do this by manually researching lists of energy suppliers or using online comparison sites. Spending time doing manual research can pay dividends as you can often find deals not apparent on switching sites, however the latter are much faster to use.

Power tip: When using switching sites, always check the box that says something like ‘include plans that require switching directly though the supplier’ as this will reveal even cheaper deals.

Today, the minnows are giving a run for money to the Big Six energy providers. These suppliers offer you a choice of long-term fix and even variable rate that are well under £1,000. Opting for a fixed rate tariff will give you a secure price on each unit of electricity for a set period, whereas variable rate tariff, where the price can fluctuate up and down.

So, to get the full price advantage don’t stick to your original supplier, but switch to a smaller one. It will certainly help in saving cash.

To fix or not to fix

In the past, variable rate tariffs tended to be cheaper, but this trend has changed. Today, the cheapest rates are offered on one-year fixes. Opting for it will save you money. This is because this type fixes the rate you pay for each unit of electricity, usually for a 12- to 18-month period.

The latest trend is to opt for two-year fixed deals. Whether it is one-year or two-year fixed deals, the idea is to avoid expensive variable standard tariffs. It needs to be noted that fixed deals are slightly more than the cheapest deals, if you are going in for long-term security. However, it certainly does not mean that you pay a fixed amount and be done away with it. It will still depend upon the amount of energy consumed, only the tariff per unit is somewhat reduced.

energy-company

You need to be careful about some fixed deals that charge exit fees if you decide to leave early. Also, there is no guarantee that a fixed deal is the best long-term option, but if you want to give certainty over bills, this is the best choice.

Benefits of energy switching

Your local energy suppliers are the real beneficiary since they tend to charge more for electricity from people living in their vicinity. This is because they build a monopoly in the region and dictate the energy rates.

To break the stranglehold of your local energy supplier, you will do well to explore the possibility of moving away. This switching will certainly save you money. Of course, finding the cheapest supplier will primarily depend upon where you live. A little search will not only help you find cheap suppliers but also help you in comparing prices to find the best price.

If you are scared that switching from your current energy supplier will attract a penalty, if you decide to leave before the term expires, it will still be worth it. So, accept the penalty and you will still end up saving big.

Cutting your energy bills

If you are still in two minds regarding switching to a smaller energy supplier, you can still limit your energy bill in the following ways:

  • Ask for return of credited money: If you are paying a set amount by direct debit pay each month for gas and electricity, it will be a good idea to ask for a return of money during summer and spring. You may get it back with interest.
  • Save energy: Change the way you use your gas and electricity. This will reduce usage and save money.
  • Pay online: This could cut more than £10 off your annual bills.

Conclusion

Switching energy supplier is a big decision. However, if your current supplier is offering cheaper tariff than what you are currently using, it is wise to switch to it, rather than opt for a new energy supplier. You still end up saving money.

Looking for Cheap Business Electricity? Tips to Get the Best Tariffs

Every business person knows that making a profit from an enterprise is not easy. Reducing expenses is among the best ways to ensure profitability. However, it requires identification of all your costs and expenses. One area of concern for most businesses is the ever-rising cost of electricity. Indeed, cheap business electricity is a factor that can make or break your business. We guide you through some of the best techniques that’ll help you to get the best electricity tariffs for your business.

Compare the prices

The electricity sector has many suppliers. Each one of them is in it to make money. The competition is stiff, and so every supplier continually looks for the best ways to beat the competition.

Also, the tariffs differ among different industry players. Hence, you should endeavor to compare the prices among various suppliers. In case you get another provider with the best deal, it’s time to switch.

Know when your contract ends

When the electricity contract expires, and you are not aware, it can automatically renew because such a contract requires formal termination. The worst case scenario is where the contract rolls-over to higher prices. Knowing when your contract ends provides you with the perfect opportunity to switch suppliers.

Consider using a broker

The process of finding the electricity supplier with the most competitive tariffs is tedious and time-consuming. As a business owner you have many other essential engagements hence it would be better to use an electricity broker.

Brokers deeply understand electricity matters. They know all the suppliers and the tariffs they offer. They may also know the secrets of the trade that you might not be aware of. To crown it all,brokers in most cases will not charge you for their service as they get a fee from the electricity partner you choose.

Discuss with your supplier

When your contract ends, it provides you with a stellar opportunity for negotiating with your current supplier for tariff reduction. Most suppliers won’t want to lose you as their customer, and so they may be willing to listen to you.

Even where you have a quote from other electricity suppliers or also using a broker, it does cost you anything to try and negotiate with your current supplier. When you call them, let them know that you are considering switching if they do not lower the tariffs. Also, at the time of contract renewal, you get the opportunity to request for discounts.

Change Tariffs

Many people don’t even know their existing electricity plan. It is an excellent idea to look at your electricity bill or contract to discover your plan. Your tariff could be based on a flat-rate, or it could vary depending on the amount of usage.

It is also possible that your tariff depends on the time of usage. Selecting the best tariff can enable you to save a lot in electricity bills. Negotiating with your supplier for a customized tariff is another excellent strategy for reducing your business electricity.

Save Money with Sustainable Gardening

If you’re looking for ways to create a sustainable and energy-efficient home, make sure to consider your gardening practices. Gardening is a great way to produce your own fruits and vegetables. If you’re gardening, you’re already helping to reduce plastic waste because your food is coming right from your backyard rather than from the store.

You can become even more green by practicing sustainable gardening! Sustainable gardening uses principles and practices that help to protect the environment without doing further harm. It embraces organic gardening methods, conserves resources, and substitutes harmful practices (such as using pesticides) with more eco-friendly practices. And not only is it good for the environment, but it can also help save you money!

Here are 5 ways you can begin using sustainable practices in your own garden.

Reduce energy use

When planting and maintaining your garden, look for ways that you can be more energy efficient and create less pollution. For example, instead of using gas or electric-powered tools, look for tools that you can use by hand. Using a cheap cordless battery powered drill instead of an electric powered drill. Dig with shovels, clip with pruners, weed by hand.

Another way to reduce energy is to consider how you’re protecting your garden. Some people like to put an electric fence around their garden to keep out deer and other animals. Electric fences use painful electric shocks to deter animals from entering; depending on the setting of the fence, these shocks can be harmful to wildlife, pets, and humans. Instead of an electric fence, use a metal fence. A metal critter fence saves energy, is more cost-efficient, and does not harm animals.

Conserve water

Water is a precious, limited resource. Instead of watering your garden from a hose, create a collection system out of rain barrels. A rain barrel system collects runoff from your gutters when it rains. You can then empty the water from the container as needed to water your garden and other areas of your lawn. Sometimes we water the plants too much than needed. It also helps a lot in saving water that we know how much or when to water our plants. There are freely given learning materials about this all over the internet. One place in particular, the Occupy The Farm website, gives simple yet detailed guides regarding this.

You should also keep in mind that runoff from your garden makes its way back into the water supply. Herbicides or pesticides contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate our water. Using natural herbicides or pesticides, such as vinegar, can still help kill weeds and prevent pests without harming the environment.

Make your garden a habitat

Sustainable gardening can help you create a backyard wildlife habitat. Even if you’re hoping to keep larger animals out of your veggies, there is a way to open up your garden to smaller critters. There are certain plants you can grow that will help provide food and shelter to animals such as bees, butterflies, and birds. Habitats will vary by area.

Grow native plants

Growing plants that are native to your area means that the plants will naturally thrive in their environment. They’ll do well in the existing light, moisture, and soil conditions so you won’t have to put as much effort into taking care of them. Another reason to grow native plants is that they won’t disrupt the ecosystem. Non-native plants can seed and spread to surrounding areas and prevent native species from growing.

You can save seeds from your plants from season to season. For example, if tomatoes are native to your area and did well in your garden, save the seeds from one of your tomatoes to plant again next year. Some people also like to scout out woods and fields near their home for native plants that they can seed in their own garden.

Start composting

Composting is good for you and for the environment! When you compost waste, there is less material going into the landfill. That waste then creates an organic material that you can use in your garden. Compost helps maintain soil quality and fertility, serves as a natural fertilizer,  increases water retention, and improves plant growth.

benefits-composting

It is easy to start composting. There are a few different types of composters you can buy or create. Enclosed bins are the most practical method for most home gardeners. The type of materials you can compost will vary slightly depending on your composting strategy. In addition to various types of food waste, you can also add yard waste such as leaves or grass clippings.

Conclusion

Sustainable gardening practices don’t just help you save money, they help you protect the environment. Look over your current gardening practices to see if there are ways that you can reduce the amount of energy you’re using, if there are ways for you to produce less waste, and if there are ways you can help your local ecosystem.

Wonderful Tips to Avoid Heat Loss from Your Home

Heat loss is a big problem to homeowners. It comes with various issues including a skyrocketing energy bill. Most of the heat is lost through the windows and doors. Luckily, there are some ideas that can help you improve insulation and lessen loss of heat. When choosing fixtures, timber doors and windows are a wonderful option for their amazing insulating properties. Additionally, here are 5 tips to avoid heat loss from your home.

Install curtains

Thick close fitting curtains and blinds will keep warm air inside your home. The curtains and blinds hit the colder window class and cools it down plus lessening draught. Consider installing a pelmet above your curtain rail to enhance thermal insulation more.

Blinds offer tremendous versatility and boost insulation in your home. These leave a smaller gap between slats where less heat escapes from. you can open the curtain and blinds to let the sun enter and close them in the night to lessen heat loss. Installing curtains is a wonderful idea to enhance the security of your home. These windows have hook shaped locks embedded in the window frame leaving them untouchable.

Choose an appropriate glass type

There are various kinds of glass offering different thermal efficiency. Luckily, modern double glazed windows have low emissivity coating. This means they can reflect heat back into your home. Therefore, they are a wonderful option because they offer better thermal insulation compared to plain glass with no coating.

Opt for double glazed windows

You should consider double glazed timber windows and doors in Melbourne to prevent heat loss. Single glazed options lose about 20 percent of the heat in your home. double glazed options have a gap between the panes of glass full of gas such as argon, xenon, and krypton, which is a poor conductor of heat. This helps to lessen chances of heat loss. A reliable company should offer slimmer glazing units for a contemporary and elegant appeal.

Use warm edge spacer bars

A perimeter spacer bar sits between 2 panes of glass holding them apart in double glazing. Spacer bars have desiccant for absorbing moisture that might be in the unit. It is made of aluminium for its high conductivity and ability to lose heat fast.

Keeping your home well insulated is a wonderful option.

Warm space bars made of pre desiccated structural foam help enhance the temperature in the internal edge of glass by up to 65 percent. This is better than the use of aluminium spacers. Additionally, warm spacer bars reduce noise by about 10 percent to keep your home quieter and warmer.

Consider draught proofing

These windows allow the breeze to move at acute angles along your house. Therefore, with curtains windows, you will catch side breezes inside your house.It is a wonderful idea to consider modern windows and door but you have to realise that there is a chance of your home getting draughty with time. Consider installing draught proofing to enjoy more energy efficiency, sound proofing, and no chance of draught in your interior.

Mind your style

Choosing the right colour for curtains windows is a personal decision. Therefore, always ensure to choose a colour that effortlessly reflects your style. Luckily, wooden windows offer a wide range of colour options. It is very important to consider the design you are seeking to achieve. Crisp white is a wonderful option if you want a simple but timeless appeal on your home

Final thought

There are various consideration when choosing the best windows for your home. Keeping your home well insulated is a wonderful option. It comes with a variety of benefits including enhancing the appeal of your home, lowering energy bills, increasing comfort in your interior, and making your home more attractive to prospective buyers. A wonderful trick is to opt for double glazed timber windows that help lessen heat loss.

The Concept of Passive House: An Interview with Toyin-Ann Yerifor

Green building concepts have come a long way. As architects, designers, and builders gain access to better tools that help push the limits of construction energy efficiency; we see longer strides made towards more mainstream adoption of green building standards. One such standard that is coming of age is passive houses. The concept of passive houses was first mooted in the early eighties when the idea of green building was still in its infancy. Today, the concept is well entrenched with over 25,000 houses and buildings across the world qualifying as passive houses.

We recently caught up with Toyin-Ann Yerifor, an architectural consultant focused on exploring new and innovative ways to design with reduced impact on the environment to explain what passive houses are and their benefits. She holds an MSc in Architecture (AEES) from the University of East London, an MBA from the University of Northampton and an MSc in Computer Science and Engineering from the Université Grenoble Alpes.

What is a Passive House?

First, what is a passive house? Toyin-Ann explains: A passive house is any building that adheres to rigorous energy efficiency standards. The term passive comes from the fact that the building’s energy efficiency comes from its passive structures, which include the roof, walls, windows, doors, and floor. By radically improving the building’s insulation and energy conservation features, it is possible to reduce its heating requirements by up to ninety percent. As such, passive housing as a standard is focused on helping reduce the energy requirements of buildings through insulation, and by extension, their overall energy footprint.

When you reduce a building’s energy footprint, says Toyin-Ann, several benefits accrue, including environmental, health, and cost efficiency benefits.

Environmental Benefits of Passive Houses

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “energy efficiency is the first fuel of a sustainable global energy system. It can mitigate climate change, improve energy security, and grow economies while delivering environmental and social benefits.” Passive houses deliver on this mandate superbly, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor.

One of the biggest challenges traditional buildings face is energy loss. When a building easily loses energy in the form of heat, it takes burning more fuel to heat the building. When this happens, overall energy consumption goes up, which is bad for the environment because a major portion of heat generation comes from burning fossil fuels. When buildings are radically energy efficient, on the other hand, less energy is required, and so fewer fossil fuels need to be burned.

While this is the macro view of the environmental benefits of passive houses, are there any micro benefits of investing in this technology? Here are two, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. First, think of the air quality that comes with less energy consumption. In homes that rely on furnaces, doing away with the furnace improves the air quality in and around the home significantly.

Second, sound pollution is eliminated if you no longer need to use a furnace, HVAC units around the home, or any other heat generation and management devices. Essentially, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor, passive houses reduce the need to burden the environment. Through radical energy efficiency and self-sufficiency, passive house buildings become a part of the environment and not just an addition to it.

Health and Comfort Benefits

When most people hear about passive houses, they imagine living in a sealed paper bag. That thought can be quite disheartening because issues of quality of air, air adequacy, and comfort come to mind. Although the idea behind passive houses is energy efficiency through a tightly sealed envelope (building), this does not mean health and comfort are compromised. Take air quality, for instance. Most people consider opening a window the best way to guarantee air quality in a room. Now, passive houses rely on closed windows to ensure no heat escapes, which presents a dilemma. Passive houses address this dilemma well, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor.

Although you can open a window in a passive house, even if you do not, the heat recovery ventilation system ensures there is enough quality air circulating the house. Regarding comfort, passive houses maintain a comfortable temperature regulated by the passive heat sources in the house like appliances, body heat, and lighting. Also, they tend not to have cold spots or hot spots, which is often the case with traditionally heated homes. Through rigorous design standards afforded by tools such as the Passive House Planning Package, homes built on the passive house standard adhere to comfort standards as rigorous as the energy efficiency standards stipulated.

Cost Efficiency Benefits

Cost efficiency is at the heart of the passive house concept. When a building is exceptionally well insulated, it can use as little as 10 percent of its regular heating energy requirements. This, of course, also significantly reduces the costs associated with heating the building. So, how does the passive house concept achieve such a radical reduction in energy needs? The answer is insulation, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. Passive houses rely on extensive insulation to gain this level of energy efficiency. Why is insulation so effective?

Traditional buildings lose a lot of heat through the roof, walls, floor, doors, and, most of all, windows. With a passive house, each of these structures is carefully designed and built to ensure close to zero loss of heat. When you look at the thermal scan of a passive house next to a traditional house, you’ll notice the passive house is almost entirely blue, meaning there’s close to no energy loss. The other building is close to all red, meaning it is losing a lot of energy. This level of energy conservation and efficiency is what leads to the massive energy savings that make passive houses so cost-efficient.

Passive houses are a concept that is yet to hit mainstream construction. However, this does not mean it is impractical to build passive houses. What it does point to is the need for better awareness of the concept. Toyin-Ann Yerifor recommends anyone interested in the concept to visit a passive house showcase home to experience its benefits firsthand. She says this is the only way to understand and internalize this breakthrough energy efficiency concept.