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!

Environmental Costs of Glitter

While there are no clear estimates of the amount of glitter sold each year, its distinctive ability to disperse makes it a disproportionate contributor to environmental problems. Glitter particles are easily transferred through the air or by touch, clinging to skin and clothes. Its ability to spread is so notorious that there are companies that will ‘ship your enemies glitter’ that is guaranteed to infest every corner of their home.

Glitter has even been used in forensic science to show that a suspect has been at a crime scene. This characteristic, and the plastics it contains, makes it something of an environmental peril. It causes problems for paper recyclers: glitter on cards and gift wrap can foul up the reprocessing equipment, and even contaminate the recycled pulp.

A Growing Problem

Most glitter is cut from multi-layered sheets, combining plastic, colouring, and a reflective material such as aluminium, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, or bismuth oxychloride. It therefore contributes to the more than 12.2 millions of tonnes of plastic that enters the ocean each year – not least when people wear it and then wash it off. Worse still, glitter is a microplastic, and there are growing concerns about these tiny pieces of material entering the marine food chain and harming marine life.

The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is often used in glitter is thought to leach out endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which, when eaten by marine creatures, can adversely affect development, reproduction, neurology and the immune system. PET can also attract and absorb persistent organic pollutants and pathogens, adding an extra layer of contamination.

When molluscs, sea snails, marine worms, and plankton eat pathogen or pollutant-carrying particles of glitter, they can concentrate the toxins; and this concentration effect can continue as they in turn are eaten by creatures further up the food chain, all the way to our dinner plates.

Time for Action

As consciousness of the environmental damage caused by glitter increases, some are taking drastic action. In November 2017 Tops Days Nurseries a group of English nurseries banned glitter for its contribution to the plastic pollution problem. But our attraction to sparkly things is literally age old, and won’t be given up easily.

Research has demonstrated that humans are attracted to shiny, sparkly things, which is thought to stem from our evolutionary instinct to seek out shimmering bodies of water. As early as 30,000 years ago, mica flakes were used to give cave paintings a glittering appearance, while the ancient Egyptians produced glittering cosmetics from the iridescent shells of beetles as well as finely ground green malachite crystal. Green glitter fans might well wonder if environmentally friendly glitter is available, and there is in fact a growing market of products that claim eco credentials.

Shining examples

British scientist Stephen Cotton helped develop ‘eco-glitter’ made from eucalyptus tree extract and aluminium. This appears to be sold by companies like EcoStarDust, whose short list of materials included only ‘non-GMO eucalyptus trees’. Their website explains if you leave your glitter in a warm, moist and oxygenated environment then it will begin to biodegrade, with the rate depending on the mixture of these factors. However, it is not clear that a product that may release aluminium into the environment deserves a green vote of confidence.

Wild Glitter another company also explains their sparkles are made from natural plant based materials but they don’t a lot of detail about how they’re made and what happens to them once used. Other brands, such as EcoGlitterFunBioGlitz and Festival Face, offer biodegradable glitter made from a certified compostable film.

Awareness about the environmental damage caused by glitter is steadily increasing

However, it is difficult for a consumer to be sure, without a good deal of research, that such products will break down quickly and harmlessly in the natural environment – or whether they require specific industrial composting processes.

Other manufacturers are turning instead to natural ingredients that add shine and sparkle; environmentally conscious cosmetic brand LUSH uses ground nut shells and aduki beans in its products. They also started using inert mica to create sparkly things, like the cave painters from millennia ago. Unfortunately, this meant trading an environmental problem for a human rights one: difficulties with the natural mica supply chain made it impossible to guarantee that the process was free from child labour, prompting a forthcoming switch to synthetic mica.

Parting Shot

There’s a lot of grey area when it comes to choosing greener glitter, and little objective evidence available regarding the environmental impacts of the different alternatives. I’ve seen little sign, for example, of a glitter product that claims to be compatible with paper and card recycling processes. But it’s crystal clear that, with enormous variety of options available, it should be possible do without glitter made from PET – even at Christmas.

 

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

4 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night

Many people, including me, have experienced problems when it comes to bedtime, let me tell you that it is something more common than we think. The National Institute of Health (NIH) states indicate that approximately 70 million people in the United States have sleep problems, mainly insomnia. The institute states that an average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to be rested and not experience drowsiness during the day. Sleep problems are often present in adolescents, they generally need around 9 hours of sleep at night, but statistics say that most do not meet those hours.

If you currently have problems with sleep or think you could, the first thing you should do is observe your patterns and habits at bedtime, what you usually do, and how they could be done differently. It is necessary to keep track to see how long you usually sleep during the night and the quality of sleep you feel the next day. It is a precise way of being able to observe when and under what factors you are sleeping better to understand the alternatives and have a plan of action to improve our sleep.

sleep-improvement-guide

After observing your habits and sleep patterns for a few days, try some strategies that you will find in our post below, which will probably help you improve and get deeper sleep, from there, continue making adjustments and you will see that you will soon have sleep as deep as you ever wanted. Here we have a list of things that help you sleep better.

1. Have a sleep routine

All people have in their body a compound called melatonin, it is a natural hormone, whose main function is to regulate the sleep cycle, making it work correctly, improving the quality of sleep. Having a sleep routine makes us promote the action of melatonin in our body, actions such as going to bed at the same time and getting up at a certain time makes our body more predisposed to comply with its sleep schedule, which results in greater well-being and better quality of sleep.

Having a sleep routine implies that we disconnect from all electronic devices so that our brain functions begin to relax, in this way we will enter a phase of tranquility and relaxation. This can also be accompanied by some quiet activity such as reading a book or listening to a podcast. Maintaining bedtime habits is one of the actions that have the greatest effect on our quality of sleep and our well-being in general.

2. Make sure you sleep comfortably

Definitely a good bed is necessary for a pleasant and restful sleep, but what characteristics should a good bed have? A bed should have enough space so that you can move during the night, this depends on the size of each person. On the other hand mattresses come in different sizes, thicknesses and different materials, be sure to choose the best that fits you.

A very important aspect is a good protection like a bed comforter since they have the functionality of providing you with comfort and isolating you from the cold. Bed comforters are found in an infinite variety of sizes and thicknesses for all design tastes. Without a doubt, it is an element that you need in your bed to sleep comfortably so you can get a relaxing and restful sleep.

3. Control the light and noise in the room

Light and noise in the room are external elements that we must control since they have a huge impact on the quality of sleep. The darkness causes our brain to begin releasing melatonin and in a calm environment with few sensory stimulations induces us to be calm and completely relax.

Minimizing all the devices that emit light and using blackout curtains that are usually made of a more compact material and do not allow light to pass through, are some things you can do to reduce the effect of light. In the same way regarding noise, we can choose a room away from the noise and add anti-noise windows. Also, try using earplugs as these can be very helpful at a low cost.

4. Exercise and diet

Without a doubt, having a healthy life during the day will provide us the tools we need to be able to sleep better at night. The quality of sleep we have usually is represented by the quality of the day we have lived, that is why both moments of our day have to be in harmony.

exercise-at-home

One of the methods that science promotes to live a healthier life is to exercise and eat healthily, in this way the levels and indicators of chemical substances in our body, will be regularized if they are not and will provide a feeling of total well-being in our everyday life. One of the benefits that exercise brings is that by doing it our body releases endorphins which is a natural substance that increases the state of well-being and reduces the sensation of emotional pain.

In the same way, together with a balanced diet, it increases our energy during the day and makes us have a more pleasant day to enjoy the activities that we like the most. It is necessary to mention that we must avoid all kinds of drinks that contain caffeine during the night, as this substance can stimulate our sensory system and cause problems at bedtime.

Parting Shot

Sleep problems, if not treated in time, can represent a long-term problem since it can lead to pharmacologic dependence. There are many natural methods to deal with this common and real problem. It is necessary to unite all aspects of our life, focusing and aligning them to the main objective, to be able to have quality sleep for the total well-being of our life. That is why a good healthy lifestyle and correct bedtime habits are the main ingredients for a happier life.

What is the True Cost of Sustainable Living in the US?

Protecting the environment is something most Americans are passionate about. In fact, a recent study found that over 65 percent of Americans would be willing to make drastic changes to protect the Earth. For years, people have searched for a way to live a more sustainable life.

While this can be beneficial, sustainable living is not cheap. Getting all of the different eco-friendly systems in place can be quite expensive. Properly preparing for your path to a sustainable life can help you avoid biting off more than you can chew financially.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

The following are some of the things you need to know about the true cost of green living.

A Sustainable Lifestyle Starts With Rethinking Your Power Supply

Most homeowners spend about 55 percent of their utility bills on electricity. Lowering these costs can be easy when using a website like Texaselectricityplans.com, but in order to make your power supply sustainable, you will have to make some changes.

Using solar power can be cost-effective over time, but initially, it will be a bit expensive. Getting a 24-volt solar power system with a backup generator will cost you around $40,000. As this technology is perfected and mass-produced, these initial costs will continue to decline.

Using the Power of Wind Turbines

Another popular power option for people who are trying to live a sustainable existence is wind turbines. While you can’t use this technology solely to power your home, they can be used as a backup to the solar system you have in place.

These systems are great to have, but they can be pricey. The typical wind turbine system will be around $11,000. If you are going to go completely solar-powered, you definitely need to consider including this backup to ensure your lights and appliances stay powered.

Revamping Your Water and Septic Solutions

Once you have your power problems figured out, finding a better way to get water and dispose of waste should be at the top of your list. If you are looking for a way to reduce your dependence on water treatment facilities for drinking water, then utilizing the power of a well is a good idea. Studies show that nearly 15 percent of Americans are using wells for their home drinking water.

If you are using your city’s sewer system to dispose of waste, you need to think about getting a standalone septic tank installed. Getting a well and a septic tank installed will cost around $13,000. There are greywater systems on the market, as well as waterless composting toilets. These systems take some getting used to but are a great eco-friendly waste disposal option.

Establishing an Independent Heating Source

Staying warm in the winter is something everyone views as a priority. Traditional HVAC systems use a lot of energy, which is why you need to establish an independent heating source if you want to live sustainably. One of the best ways to do this is by using wood-burning stoves or propane heaters. A propane tank splitter connects two propane appliances into one fuel tank, which helps in running two cookers in a single tank

Since wood is a renewable source of energy, you can use it as much as you want in your sustainable life. Buying a wood stove and lumber to keep it going will cost you around $4,000. This is a good deal when you figure out how much you pay in electricity costs during the winter and how much of a strain this puts on the environment.

Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle Takes Time

The journey to a sustainable life will not be easy. The amount of hard work and effort you put into converting your home into an eco-friendly paradise will be well worth it in the long run.

Why Going Green is the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Community

As we go about our daily lives, it’s always a good idea to think about how we can contribute to the community we belong to in tangible and appreciable ways. Improving our communities from the inside not only allows us to make things easier and more convenient for ourselves, but also for the people we meet and rely upon in our day-to-day. Besides this, it also helps us think of other people’s needs rather than just our own—an essential need if we’re to live happy and productive lives. One of the best ways of improving our communities is, of course, going green: the act of adopting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. This means taking active steps to minimize our carbon footprint and reducing waste.

It doesn’t have to start out big—we can start with the smaller things, and work our way up from there. Instead of buying new printer ink cartridges, for example, we can try using compatible ink cartridges instead. These are ink cartridges that are made the same way as new printer ink cartridges, but cost way less to make than branded ones. Instead of throwing away our old or obsolete electronics and electrical goods, we can look into getting them repaired. Another example of that is to refurbish old drones instead of buying new.

By taking up these eco-friendly practices, our communities will become cleaner, more energy-efficient, and much healthier places to live in, alongside other very practical and tangible benefits that everyone will appreciate.

Not convinced? Well, hopefully listing out those benefits in full below will convince you. Read on as we go through all the biggest reasons why going green is the best thing you can do for your community.

A healthier community

Enacting green and eco-friendly practices in your community will have the immediate effect of making it healthier for the individuals who live in it, enabling them to live longer, happier, and more productive lives. This can be considered as the most important benefit, seeing as we can tie so many health conditions and diseases to having an environmentally-negligent lifestyle. By going green, you can avoid these potential risks from taking hold in your community.

For example, recycling and minimizing trash or garbage helps makes your immediate surroundings cleaner and more attractive to look at. This causes disease-carrying pests such as insects and rodents to be driven away from your community, which then results in less people catching those diseases.

Another example is having the vehicles in your community switch to more eco-friendly fuel types will result in cleaner and healthier air, as well as reduce the chances of children and the elderly from getting respiratory diseases. Many companies like popgear use recycled material in their clothing. These and a whole lot more are attainable by going green.

Recommended Reading: A Helpful Guide to Electronic Waste Recycling

Savings on utility bills and other expenses

One of the main tenets of going green is to be conservative when it comes to the usage of utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and so on. It goes without saying that using too much of these obviously strains the environment.

For example, the excessive and unnecessary use of electricity when it’s clearly not needed increases the power demand from power plants, which in turn increases the amount of fuel being used to supply that energy. This uses up our remaining fossil fuels at an alarming rate, while also depositing more pollutants into the atmosphere and environment. The same goes for gas and other utilities.

By being smarter and more conscious about using these precious resources in our homes, we can reduce the impact we have on the environment by quite a large degree. It will help ease the strain our environment is currently experiencing in providing us these resources and ensure that they don’t run out as quickly as they would have if we continued being unnecessarily wasteful with our usage.

Besides this, conserving energy and resources also helps us save on our utility bills. Obviously, the less power, water, and gas we use in our day-to-day, the less we’ll be charged when our monthly bills come in. Up to 20% of expanses per household, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, are saved, especially if we adopt changes such as using solar panels rather than relying on our electrical grid. This is a huge chunk of money no matter how you slice it!

Durable and stronger homes and and structures

Let’s not mince words about it: eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious “green” products are more expensive than the brands that have an easier time fitting into our budget. However, we must consider that the former is also much more durable than the latter, which will inevitably result in a lot of savings in the long run.

This can be seen the most in building construction materials, especially those involved in the building and repair of homes. For example, recycled decking, which is made from recycled plastic and wooden fibers, have been tested to last five times longer than traditional decking.

Bamboo, a self-sustaining perennial grass that can grow up to three feet in 24 hours, is lighter than most building materials and yet has greater compressive strength than brick and concrete. The best part about it is that it grows faster than it can be harvested, meaning that there’s no danger of running out of it anytime soon, no matter how extensively it’s used.

By creating your community’s homes and structures using these eco-friendly materials, you can help save the environment while also ensuring that the homes and shelters will last for as long as they’re needed.

A self-sufficient community

It’s a fact of life that we have to rely on big companies to get us the modern conveniences and essentials we need to get through the day. However, by going green, we can help reduce our reliance on them and become more independent in our lives.

For example, taking the initiative to install solar panels in every home in your community will allow it to become less dependent on the power that companies provide you with electricity. With enough time, your community will be generating enough excess power that the same company will be paying you for that excess. There’s also the fact that if something goes wrong with the power plant, your community won’t be subjected to the same annoying and disruptive blackout that other surrounding neighborhoods will be, as you’ll have enough solar power to last you the entire time.

college-green

Let’s say you’re not quite at that level yet, in terms of going green. How about supporting your local markets rather than your nearby supermarket? By doing so, you ensure that the food-growing sector of your community continues to earn a living while also retaining the ability to keep growing natural and organic produce. Doing so also cuts down on harmful emissions, as you won’t have to travel by car just to get the fresh food you need. Your community retains its independence while helping the environment.

Conclusion

There are many ways to improve one’s community from the inside, with one of the major and more effective ones being able to adopt eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious practices. By doing so, not only does the community benefit hugely in the end in terms of health, sustainability, and independence from big companies, but the environment as well.

How Much Millennials Need to Save for Retirement

Retirement can be the last course of life to be in the mind of millennials. But, life is getting tough by the time as the technology is taking over. Millennials now need to save 40% of their income as compared to 15% of the past saving plans. Right now, millennials are the ones in the toughest position and it can get tougher by the time of retirement.

However, let us do some math here to understand how much savings millennials need for the retirement plan and how they can make it happen.

Importance of Retirement Plan for Millennials?

The employment program is reshaping into automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning along with a lot of other technological advancements. So, you need to invest more in on-demand skills and mental resilience including overall health. Because you need to be fit and mentally healthy to survive the wave of technological advancements.

millennials-savings-plan

More importantly, you need a retirement plan for you to live a happy and joyful life in the last years. Besides of retirement plan, you can also consider life insurance for seniors, visit SeniorsLifeInsuranceFinder.com.

Experts About the Retirement

In 2016, the 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers gave their perspective on the retirement for baby boomers, millennials, and Generation X. According to it, 72 percent of people contributing to 401(k) plans were born in 1979 and 2000 is around 72 percent and investing around 7% of their annual pay. And the other 30% invest more than 10%.

The same report shares the way boomers and Generation X had early withdrawals of their investments stating the major issues or debt pay-offs. So, millennials need to learn from the other generations and plan better.

So, you must be asking a question; how to plan your retirement budget?

How to Plan a Budget to Retire by the Age of 70 or Above?

Just assume that you have $23,000 in your IRA and you are planning to retire in the next 30 years. Moreover, you happen to manage to set aside $100 a month over the next three decades, you will end up with about $288,000 in total.

It is only if your investments in that IRA deliver an average annual 7% return for the remainder of your savings window. There may be other complications, but you can get through them while you’re planning retirement.

The question here is that if you are aiming to have this much amount at your retirement, how can you save it in this ongoing era of low wages and economic downfall?

1. Invest Early and Often

The main thing you need to do is to invest early and make it often. If you cannot 40% of your income, at least invest in the skills and health plans. Because by the time you retire, your skills and health can be core essentials to help you keep going.

2. Save Your Bonuses for the Retirement

Another plan is to start adding your bonuses to the savings account. So, next, when you are celebrating receiving a bonus, make it count by adding it into your savings account. In case you are not getting any raises or bonuses, you can still add some of the amounts from your income to save for a better lifestyle at the time of retirement.

3. Woman or Have a Family? Save Even More

Women generally dismiss the retirement plan. But they are more on the edge without a retirement plan. So, if you are a woman with or without a family, save even more.

Despite all the women equality protests, women are still facing low wage issues. So, if you are working around the clock and still end up with lower savings, you may need a better plan for your retirement. Therefore, start saving more by cutting more percentage from your income.

4. Have a Side Job

If you are dreaming about the comfortable retirement time and you don’t have enough income to cut 40% out of it, you can have a side job. Plan this job only for retirement and include the income in your retirement plan. It is just a way of planning for the long-term.

5. Pick Any of the Expense and Save It

We can increase our expenses and cut them off for our good. So, if you cut off some of the expenses, do it and include them in the retirement money. Yes, life is about living in a present, but the last years of your life shouldn’t be broke because you were busy living the life of the present.

Plan it accordingly and save for the days when you might want better health care and even a better lifestyle.

6. Invest in Different Plans

Invest in the 401(k) plan or choose IRA plans to smoothly plan your budget. Usually, all plans offer a tax advantage, but 401(k) and IRA are the hottest options in the market. For example, 401(k) contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, which reduces your taxable income. Roth IRAs, in contrast, are funded with after-tax dollars but withdrawals are tax-free.

So, find the institution offering these plans and start investing right now. All you need is to learn from the mistakes of boomers and other generations.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, you need to prepare yourself for retirement. Do your math or listen to the financial experts to understand and manage your money accordingly. Millennials are hungry for the information and putting up important fights too.

So, they need to be mentally aware of their retirement plans too. Also, the job of the future is changing and you will need a safety plan to be healthy and fine.

5 Reasons to Choose Rail Travel

Are you debating the best way to get from A to B? Are you considering travelling by rail – but not sure if it offers the most benefits? You’re in the right place. Here, we explore five reasons to choose rail travel.

1. You can be productive

If you’re driving a car, you need to place your undivided attention on the road in front of you. When you take the train, however, you’re free to spend your time onboard as you wish. Whether that’s being productive by getting some work done on your laptop, relaxing with your favourite podcast or refuelling with a bite to eat, you can make the most of your time spent travelling.

2. It’s better for the environment

Studies have shown that public transport can help to tackle climate change – by reducing the reliance on individual car journeys and therefore lowering overall emissions from petrol and diesel. In the US, greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport accounts for around 29% of the country’s total emissions – so by having less cars on the road, emissions can be reduced. This will in turn improve air quality, particularly in urban areas, leading to a healthier population.

3. You can avoid traffic

Have you ever been in a rush to get somewhere, got stuck in a traffic jam and ended up being late? You’re not alone – many of us have been caught out by heavy traffic at one time or another. Travelling by train means you don’t need to worry about getting stuck in traffic, you can simply hop onboard and get from A to B with ease. For instance, if you need to travel by train from Cambridge to Hatfield in rush hour, you’ll typically arrive in less than an hour with no stress about traffic or parking.

4. It’s fast and efficient

Another benefit of travelling by rail is that it’s fast and efficient. Many rail services can travel at impressive high speeds which are much quicker than that of a car on the road. Of course, how fast the train travels will depend on the service and model – but some of the fastest trains in the world include the Shanghai Maglev at 267mph and the Fuxing Hao at 249 mph.

5. It’s cost-effective

Travelling by train may also be a more cost-effective option than travelling by car or plane. This really depends on where you’re travelling to and from, so it’s important to do your research before you book your travel. In some cases, you may be able to take advantage of deals and discounts from the train provider. For instance, you can often get great value fares if you have a railcard or travel at Off-Peak times.

Will you take the train next time you have to travel?

11 of the World’s Most Eco-Friendly Cities

Cities often compete with each other, whether they’re seeking to have the highest quality of life or fostering innovation. However, the increasing world population and a changing climate have made eco-friendly living a priority for residents and city leaders alike. This has now led to cities competing to be the most environmentally friendly. The global movement towards more sustainability is also pushing for more innovation and change. Here are 11 of the world’s most eco-friendly cities as well as a brief overview of what they’ve done to achieve that status.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and ranks among the most eco-friendly cities in the world. This is partially due to their harnessing of abundant geothermal energy for power and keeping the freezing northern city warm. Their small population is densely packed into the city, so people can get around by walking, biking or via public transit.

The city is offering incentives to encourage people to drive electric cars, such as free parking and lower taxes. They’re also going the old-fashioned route by encouraging the other 96 percent of the population to ride public transit, including their brand-new hydrogen powered buses.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is sandwiched between the ocean and the mountains, though the surrounding coast is covered in forests. The local administration found out that the city’s environmental footprint was just too big to be sustainable and decided to make some real changes. As a result of these initiatives, the city now has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions level for any major city in North American city.

They are doing yet even more to reduce the city’s footprint. For example, the city is doing a lot to attract clean technology companies and increase the number of green jobs. They’ve seen a 23 percent in green jobs since 2013. They’re also encouraging local food production so they can feed people without wasting energy transporting food from thousands of miles away.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world. Where San Francisco stands out is the sheer number of ways it is lowering its ecological footprint from the top down.

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For example, consumers and city agencies systematically shop for organic and locally sourced food. Living waste-free seems like a dream, but the city itself has that as a goal by 2020. The city is roughly eighty percent of the way there. They’ve dramatically reduced waste and increased recycling, while they encourage businesses and individuals alike to switch to reusable containers. As a matter of fact, San Francisco became the first city in the US to completely ban plastic bottles. A large part of the organic waste produced in the city is turned into compost and used by local farmers.

San Francisco is also ahead of the curve in terms of renewable energy. The city has many zero emissions and hybrid electric buses. Solar installations in the Bay Area are surprisingly common. This is in part because they pay themselves off in less than seven years when you take rebates and tax credits into account. For example, San Francisco’s GoSolarSF program encourages people to install solar panels. The average homeowner receives 300 dollars per kilowatt and up to 2000 dollars per kilowatt if the residents are considered low income. This will remain in effect even if the federal tax rebates for solar installations start to phase out.

Another side effect of the eco-conscious population is that renewable energy becomes a selling point for properties that have it. The best solar companies in the Bay Area, including firms like Semper Solaris, install quality solar panel systems that add value to your home. They also make it easier for people in the region to afford systems by adjusting them to their particular needs. Not only that, but they also offer battery storage so users can still use solar energy when the sun isn’t shining. The increased home value is based in part on the future reduced utility bills the homeowners expect to receive.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki sits on the Gulf of Finland. It stands out for its delicate balance between eco-friendliness and tourism. Roughly three in four hotel rooms in the city are certified as eco-friendly. Most of the remainder have some environmental impact reduction plan in place to reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and lower the environmental impact of their food and water supply.

The city makes use of wind energy and solar power. The “green district” Viiki is an experiment in sustainability. This is why the first solar powered apartment building in Finland is located here.

Capetown, South Africa

Capetown is another example of a city that has gone above and beyond to reduce its ecological footprint. One of the ways they are doing so is by reducing their reliance on unsustainable energy sources and turning to alternatives like solar energy instead. And it has paid off, especially when considering the amount of sunlight the city enjoys every year.

They’ve also heavily invested in wind power. As a matter of fact, the city has started focusing on building wind farms since 2008. And the city made it a goal to meet 10% of its energy needs using renewable energy sources by 2020, which could very well be possible given all the different initiatives they’ve started.

They’re also trying to pattern the behavior and habits of residents and push them to adopt a more outdoorsy lifestyle. Not only that, but they’re facilitating bike transport by allowing bicycles for free on their My Citi express bus service.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is one of the most famous and historical cities in the world, and the reason why it made that list is also tied to history. After WWI, residents in the city were forced to become very self-reliant, and had to find ways to grow and raise their own food, which is a tradition that continues to this day. Germans in general also value their green spaces and gardening.

electric-cars

Berlin is also doing a lot to accommodate electric vehicles owners by adding over 400 charging stations around the country. They’re also trying to raise awareness among gas vehicle owners and trying to sway them into going electric. Not only that, but Berliners also are more prone to using public transit or sharing vehicles then using their personal car.

Portland, Oregon

This is the second west coast city in this list, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the west coast is and has always been a hotbed for the environmentalist movement. And while the city’s population keeps on growing, they are continually working to minimize the effect of the city’s activity on the environment. They also put a ban recently on plastic bags to curb their effect on the ecosystem, with other cities on the west coast following suit.

But one of the main reasons why Portland made this list is the people of the city. Environmental consciousness is part of the city’s DNA, and Portlanders take it to the next level. Did you know that roughly 25% of the city’s workers do their commute through carpooling, biking, or public transit? Out of all the people in the city, 8% also stated that they only use their bike for transportation. This is thanks in part to the city’s massive bike path and lane system.

The city also gets 33% of its energy from renewable sources and recuperates roughly 1,200,000 tons from the 2,434,840 tons of waste they produce every year, which is pretty impressive for a city its size. The city also managed to cut their carbon emissions by as much as 17%, even with the increasing population.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is bar none one of the most avant-garde cities when it comes to environmental initiatives, and has worked for a long time to limit its energy consumption from unsustainable sources. As a matter of fact, the city was one of the first to introduce widespread sustainability initiatives with a goal to reach a wide variety of benchmarks by the year 2020.

One of the main things people remember when they come to the city is the sheer number of cyclists, and Amsterdammers do love their bikes. But the city also did a lot to popularize electric vehicles, and owners can charge their vehicles in one of the 300 charging ports you’ll find all over the city. People in the city are also increasingly turning to solar energy and sustainable local farming. More people from the city are starting to grow their own food as well.

Stockholm, Sweden

With over 50 bridges and 14 islands, Stockholm has done a lot to improve the city and allow citizens to live a more sustainable life. The city also set a goal to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2040. In addition, they’re getting assistance from the European Union to become a smarter city.

 

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One of the ways the city has managed to be more energy efficient was by turning to biofuels, which are created from the city’s sewage waste. A large portion of cars in the city are powered using this biofuel. They also managed to recuperate some of the heat generated by their massive stadium. This heat can be used to heat over 1000 units in the city.

Copenhagen, Denmark

The capital of Denmark has also started to build a reputation as an ecofriendly city, and is taking steps to continue in the right direction and support eco-friendly initiatives. And this is mainly due to the city’s sustained and massive investments in clean infrastructure and renewable energy sources.

They also set the lofty goal of becoming the first major city in the world to achieve CO? neutrality by the year 2020. And residents in the city are also doing their part for this goal to become a reality. Less than a third of households in the city own a car, and people in Copenhagen are also big on cycling. As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon for hotels in the city to provide guests with a bicycle upon arrival. The city also has one of the most extensive bike lane networks in Europe.

Another thing that sets the city apart is how many people choose to eat organic there.  About a quarter of all the food sold in the city’s markets is organic, and they’re also big proponents of local farming, which further reduces their carbon footprint.

Curitiba, Brazil

Considering the amount of natural beauty Brazil is nestled in, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a Brazilian city on this list. Curitiba might not be as well-known as Rio and Sao Paulo, but it is known as one of the world’s green capitals. Where they excel is when it comes to recycling. As a matter of fact, it is said that about 70% of the waste produced in the city is recycled in the form of derived products or energy.

The city also puts a lot of importance on urban planning and has one of the best public transit systems in South America. Most people in the city rely on public transport too. The city is also not overly developed and has tons of green spaces with over 16 parks and 14 forests near and around the city’s core.

Presence of trees make a city appear more vibrant and eco-friendly

To incentivize cleanliness around the city, they installed a program that allows people to return and exchange recyclables for things like tokens, sweets, snacks, and cash. Not only does it encourage people to recycle more, but the program is also feeding over 7000 people in need in the city.

Bottom Line

The most eco-friendly cities in the world are seeking to provide a better environment for residents while reducing their impact on the planet, and they’re providing an example to the world that the rest can follow. We can only expect the trend to grow from now and into the future, and for residents from cities all around the world to start pushing for more green initiatives where they are.

Top Reasons to Buy a Hybrid

Are you thinking about buying a new car? If yes, then you may seriously want to consider getting a hybrid as there are many benefits to this type of car and more and more motorists are making the switch. Read on to discover a few of the main benefits of owning this type of vehicle.

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1. Eco/Power Balance

One of the primary advantages of owning a hybrid is that you get a good balance of eco-friendly driving and power. You get the best of both worlds with a hybrid because they are more environmentally-friendly than a typical car but they also still have a lot of power, so there is no compromise on performance which is key for those that spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

2. Battery Charging

Many motorists are hesitant to make the switch to electric due to range anxiety. This is less of a concern with a hybrid because you do not need to use or own a charging point as the vehicles charge up their own batteries, meaning that you can easily travel long distances without having to worry about stopping and recharging the battery.

3. Reliability

Reliability is key when deciding on a car and modern-day hybrids are highly reliable. The technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years as the demand has soared, so you can be sure that any hybrid vehicle that you purchase will be a car that you can rely on each and every day.

4. Running Costs

Of course, another major advantage to buying a hybrid is that you can make huge long-term savings when it comes to running costs. Hybrids consume less fuel and emit less CO2 which means that you are spending far less on petrol than a typical automobile and you will pay less in road tax, plus you will also avoid congestion charges which are on the rise and being introduced in cities up and down the country. While they can cost more to buy, you can recuperate the cost that you save on fuel and you can make the cost easier to manage with a finance deal from somewhere like Go Car Credit.

These are the main benefits to buying a hybrid car over a conventional automobile but there are many others. It is easy to see why so many motorists are now making the switch and there are many excellent models to choose from, so it should be easy to find one that fits in with your lifestyle.

4 Eco Lifestyle Habits You Should Start Implementing

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Mother Nature is finally starting to breathe a little easier again. Indeed, it could be argued that this has been the major benefit of the coronavirus pandemic. The rules and regulations rolled out by political leaders in different countries might be tough, but these encouraged citizens from different parts of the world to change their ways and become more environmentally conscious.

But with lockdown restrictions now easing, it might prove tempting to lapse back into old, environmentally destructive ways. So, to help combat this, we’ve compiled a few simple lifestyle changes to ensure the planet continues to heal.

1. Go organic and shop local

You might have to pay a little more for the privilege, but by shopping and eating locally and organically, you’ll soon start to notice not only the taste difference but the positive difference in your overall health.

With the UK now considering lowering its standards when it comes to importing food, with the dreaded chlorinated chicken now on the table in trade deals with the US, keeping it fresh, organic, and local has never been more important.

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The concept of safe food using organic waste generated compost is getting traction.

Aside from helping improve the environment, going organic and shopping local can also boost your local economy. By patronizing products and services from your locality, you are providing income to local workers and encouraging businesses to continue their operations. Going organic and shopping local is something everyone must do in order for their countries to easily recover from the effects of the pandemic.

2. Travel by train

We understand that travel by public transport hasn’t exactly been actively encouraged in recent months, but sooner or later, the world will return to some semblance of normality, and when that happens, train travel is comfortably one of the least damaging forms of transportation.

Of course, we would always recommend walking or cycling if at all possible, but we realise this won’t always be a realistic option. So, rather than firing up the car and spending a good hour wading through rush hour traffic every morning on your way to work, why not switch up your commute? This is particularly relevant in London, where trains from East Croydon to Norwood Junction are running constantly and provide faster and cleaner transport.

biomass-train

Travelling by train might be uncommon for some but making the change will surely be worth it in the long run. Travelling by train allows you to take care of the environment and save money. Moreover, train travel can be a great way to meet new people and appreciate the views in your locality.

3. Go paperless

It’s never been easier to lead a completely paperless life thanks to the digitization of most sectors and data. You’d be surprised how much paper is possible to get through if you’re not careful. The vast majority of services, however, now give you the option to go paperless.

It’s often as simple as logging on to your bank accounts or your energy provider accounts and ticking a box. You can also help the cause a little further by ensuring you recycle all the paper and card you have already used and only printing off hard copies of documents when it’s 100% necessary.

It’s easy for anyone to start going paperless. If you usually receive your bills through physical mail, reach out to your service provider and have your bills emailed to you. You can also go paperless at work by encouraging your colleagues to send out emails for communication instead of printing documents regularly.

4. Avoid bottled water

Green living doesn’t always have to be difficult. Sometimes, it can even save you money! There is absolutely no legitimate reason to continue buying bottled water in this day and age. Plastic is a blight on our environment like no other and bottled water creates more plastic than almost any other product on earth.

water-filtration-systems

A water filter is a cheap and elegant way to filter out any of the potential chemicals and contaminants that might make your tap water seem like a less attractive option. And think of all the money you’ll save, too! Oh, and while you’re at it, ditching plastic bags is something you should really be looking into, as currently, only around 3% of the world’s plastic bags are being recycled!

If you want to take it up a notch, carry a water tumbler inside reusable cotton bags, such as those from calico-bags.com.au. You should always bring reusable bags when you step out of your house because these will enable you to carry your purchases with ease and save money from buying plastics every time you buy something.

Conclusion

Incorporating eco-friendly habits to your life can be challenging at first, but if you want to preserve the environment and ensure that it continues to provide for your needs, you should be willing to make the change. Your efforts will surely go a long way to improve or maintain the condition of the environment!