Simple Ways to Transform Your Condo Into an Eco-Friendly Space

Global warming and climate change have been at the forefront of news headlines nowadays. This brings to attention the need to protect the environment. When it comes to going green, every step matters and you can do your share with through your condominium unit.

Whether you own a condo unit for personal use or as an investment, you should think about how to transform your space and make it green.  Get started with basic maintenance care when you read this post. Then, incorporate 8 lifestyle changes and remodeling tips listed below to reduce your carbon footprint and make your condo eco-friendly.

Parquet wood floors are back in vogue

1. Switch to LED Lights

This is one of the simplest changes that you can adopt into condo living. LED lights are the new standard for modern and eco-friendly lighting at home. If you are still using incandescent and fluorescent lights or lamps, you need to consider getting new LED lights.

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are more energy-efficient and can last up to 20 years. They are, therefore, a good option to use for condo lighting if you want to minimize your carbon footprint. They are also practical since LED lights are affordable and last a long time, giving more value to your money.

2. Install Eco-Friendly Air Conditioners

The traditional air conditioners are notorious for consuming large amounts of energy that also hike up utility bills. If you want to save on power and optimize cooling within your home, it is best to find eco-friendly air conditioners. It can help you save up to 90% off your current energy bill.

But it is not just your air conditioner that you should consider replacing with eco-friendly ones. Make sure you choose other energy-efficient appliances, too.

3. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Going organic when it comes to your diet is one of the best ways to develop an eco-friendly practice at home. But when you cannot fully commit to altering your diet, it is best to start with the products you use. For example, you can switch to green cleaning products. This will not only benefit the environment but anyone living in your condo as well.

When you use natural cleaning products, you are exposed to fewer amounts of harsh chemicals. The fewer chemicals you use, the less harmful it is to your health. Also, if you have small kids, the use of chemical cleaning products should be a no-no!

The best part is that natural cleaning products are often less expensive than chemical-based ones. If you are not sure which to choose, research on brands that manufacture or specialize in natural cleaning products.

4. Furnish Your Condo with Reclaimed Materials

Have you inherited antiques from your grandparents? Do you have any unused furniture lying around? Instead of opting for new furniture items and accessories to decorate your home with, it is best to opt for those made of reclaimed materials instead. This will help reduce the waste dumped in landfills and maximize the shelf life of these materials. The use of antiques and old furnishings can also add an interesting decorative flair to your home.

Reclaimed wood materials are one of the most common recyclable materials that are used for home and interior decorating. You can repaint them to make them look brand new and fit into your interior décor theme.

5. Spruce Up Space with Plants

The addition of plants to your condo is a great way to enhance its aesthetic appeal. At the same time, add color and vibrancy to interior space. But there is also an eco-friendly benefit to incorporating plants as decoration–it improves indoor air quality.

Some of the plants that act as an air purifier are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Areca Palm
  • Elephant Ear Philodendron
  • Lady Palm
  • Bamboo or Reed Palm
  • Rubber Plant
  • English Ivy

Before you move into your condo, get one or more of these plants for a healthy home for you and your family.

6. Be Eco-Conscious in Your Choice of Kitchen Sink

If you need to renovate your kitchen, make sure to choose eco-friendly sinks.  As the most important part of your kitchen, choose stainless steel or kitchen sinks that are made from copper recycled materials. This will add a modern look while making it eco-friendly. Sinks made of renewable materials are also great options.

Pair it with low-flow faucets to conserve water easily. Another alternative is to install a low-flow aerator with existing taps. This will significantly reduce the flow rate of 4 gallons per minute to just 0.5 gallons. That’s a huge volume of water saved.

7. Invest in a Smart Home System

A smart home might seem like an expensive investment. But when you live in a condo, you will find cheaper systems that will make your life more efficient and eco-friendly, too. A smart home system will adjust the control of various appliances and equipment, such as lighting, heating, and cooling.

With its data-driven system in place, control of indoor temperature, lighting, and the like are automated. By adjusting to the optimal level, you won’t waste energy heating or cooling your home. It also helps to ensure that no unused light is turned on (as it automatically turns the light off when you leave a room).

This is a simple step that you can take to transform your condo into an eco-friendly space. While the one-time investment might be big, it can help you save more in the long run (in terms of lower energy bills).

8. Repaint Furniture, Not Replace Them

This is another simple step that you can do if you want to promote sustainability in your condo unit. Does any piece of furniture look old? Is your cabinetry looking a little dated? Don’t throw them away just yet to get new ones!

Make sure you look at the possibility of repainting or re-facing any furniture or cabinets in your home instead of replacing them with a new one. This is true for appliances or furniture that are still in good working condition.

What steps are you taking to make your condo eco-friendly? Why not give these tips and try and let us know what benefits you gained from doing so?

7 Ways to Live a Stress-Free Life in College

Everybody knows that college is not just about long lessons, wise teachers and interesting acquaintances. Sometimes it’s get harder to be in a harmonious and amicable mood when everything starts to fall apart, and students are trying to fix it but at the same time making the situation much worse.

The most common reasons of stress in college are as follows:

  • Different conflict situations with teachers and other students;
  • Huge lack of sleep and ineptitude to manage time;
  • Getting low grades and not completed homework and tasks;
  • Fears of the unknown and uncertain future;
  • Large amount of educational materials to study;
  • Difference between expectations and reality of chosen profession;
  • Intensive mental activity with a huge quantity of information.
  • Environmental crisis

There are some ways and tips how to live without stress at college, which can help you tackle with stressful situations by yourself.

1. Think about your time management

Try to do all the complicated lessons first and don’t leave your homework until midnight. Start with compiling a task list every week. Write down at least three important, short-term goals that you want to achieve. No matter what kind of your goals are, stick to them and do your best to achieve them! You can do more and you will feel better without delaying things “later”. Make small changes in your life and self-organization —find a place for each thing. Self-pity is a waste of time.

2. Acquire colorful and bright stationery

It will always make you smile in any way. Notebooks with your favorite flowers or animals will bring you peaceful mood and it will help you to be concentrated on pleasant thoughts. Buy some nice pens, pencils and other stationery and you will feel the difference and motivation to do something with these cute things.

3. Eat only healthy and wholesome food

“We literally are what we eat”, says chief editor at Pro-Papers. If you feel stressed, instead of reaching a pack of biscuits or the nearest fast-food chain restaurant, try to eat something healthy and it will help you manage the stress.

For example, avocado and bananas are loaded with potassium, a vital mineral which can keep blood pressure within normal parameters. Feeling low? Eat some almonds, pistachios or walnuts and your immune system will be boosted by vitamins and zinc!

4. Sleep well, at least 8 hours per night

Lack of sleep can cause bad mood, concentration problems and a general severe fatigue. It also affects our ability to perceive and memorize information, which can cause a strong stress when you have to learn a lot. If you have good sleep, it increases your attention, self-confidence, memory, social skills, and appetite. Use a weighted blanket in order to reduce stress and anxiety.

5. Think of your new hobbies

Do you know the best way to put an end to all the stressful situations? Knitting and painting increases the activity of the prefrontal cortex and improve your creativity skills. Scientists have found that gardening improves mental health and physical health, as well as reduced levels of depression.

Cooking is a rather meditative exercise and a great way to deal with stress. Everything that you need to do — is to find your own hobby and get the benefits from it!

6. Listening to peaceful music

Music not only affects our mood, but also inspires, relieves stress, calms and even heals. Gentle music with a harmonic tune will help reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes damage to our mind and body. Just turn on the new album of your favorite band and start relaxing after nervous day at college.

7. Go to shopping

Sometimes all we need to feel happy is a new dress or new sneakers, isn’t it? According to psychologists, shopping is one of the most effective ways to help relieve depression.

The main thing is not to get nervous about some little things. It’s undeniable that these little things cause a serious stressful condition which is too destructive for our nervous system and mental health. Avoid contact with people who are sources of negative emotions, thoughts, moods. If you think, “I will never finish on time,” stop thinking that way. Better imagine your success — visualize how you will feel, shaking the hand of your professor, how he says that you have done a great and important job.

Your hard work will pay off as soon as you leave the tears and regrets behind you. Do not accumulate anger and negative, make a decision, shake off the burden of negative emotions and go on. When you arrange your priorities properly, you will become more organized and have your stress relieved by focusing more on your success. Only then, you are likely to become a confident student for whom studying is just a piece of cake.

Behavioral Drivers Behind Food Wastes

By 2075, the United Nations estimates the global population will peak at 9.5 billion, an extra 3 billion mouths to feed by the end of the century. Meanwhile, while we produce about four billion tonnes of food annually, it is estimated that 30-50% of this never reaches our plates. Of the food that does reach us, some western societies throw away up to a third of all food purchased. This has enormous implications for the global environment, from wasting the water used to grow the food to adverse effects on climate, land and biodiversity.

food-waste-behavior

The drivers behind the phenomenal levels of food waste are complex and include public behavior, food pricing, logistical and storage issues. However, given the significant level of waste that happens within the households of societies like the UK and US, it is useful and informative to consider those behaviours that drive this level of waste.

The quality of data around food waste, as with much of waste data, has historically been poor. To this end, WRAP commissioned groundbreaking research in the UK in 2006/7 to act as a baseline to their Love Food Hate Waste campaign. This came up with the alarming statistic that 1/3 of food bought by a UK household was thrown away. Until this time, there had been no comprehensive research, either by food manufacturers, retailers or interest groups, suggesting the importance of government, or some other dis-interested party, taking a lead on the issue.

Back to Basics

There may be a link between the amount of time spent preparing food, and the skill and effort that goes into this, and the amount of food waste produced. This has led to a loss of confidence in the kitchen, with individuals losing basic skills that allow them to cook with leftovers, understand food labeling, including Best Before and Use By, even basic storing. WRAP had found little evidence of best practice storage advice so carried out the research themselves – leading the (surprising for many) conclusion that fruit such as apples and pears are best stored in the fridge wrapped in a plastic cover.

However, this has masked a larger trend of less time spent in the kitchen, due to demographic changes. This of course begs the question – how should we use this when trying to reduce food waste? Should we encourage people to cook from scratch as a principle?

Although waste prevention and recycling are clearly separated within the waste hierarchy, there are apparent links between the two when considering food waste. There is an urgent need for legislation to enforce separate food waste collections, not only to ensure it was diverted to anaerobic digestion or composting, but also as it led to greater self awareness around food waste. WRAP research has clearly showed a fall in food waste when separate food waste collections were introduced.

Role of Packaging

Historically, packaging has always been a high priority to the public when asked about priorities for reducing waste. However, as awareness of food waste has grown, a more nuanced position has developed among waste managers. While excess packaging is clearly undesirable, and, within the UK for instance, the Courtauld Commitment  has helped reduced grocery packaging by 2.9 million tonnes of waste so far, there is a realization of the importance of food packaging in preserving food and hence reducing food waste.

food-packaging

Making food easily accessible and affordable by many, it could be argued, is one of the crowning achievements of our age. Over the last century, the proportion of household income that is spent on food has plummeted, and there is a direct link to malnutrition and food prices, particularly for children. But does cheap food mean that it is less valued and hence greater wastage? Is the answer expensive food? The evidence from WRAP in the UK is that food waste is still a serious economic issue for households, and underlining the economic case for reducing food waste a major incentive for households, especially as food prices are not entering an era of increase and instability, providing added economic urgency

Political Persuasions

Different political persuasions often differ in the approaches they take to changing behaviours and food waste is no different. In the UK, the Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement aimed at encouraging major retailers to take responsibility mainly for packaging, later growing to encompass food waste, voluntary and so far has seen a 21% reduction in food waste post-consumer.

Meanwhile Wales (in the UK) effectively banned food waste from landfill. Scotland has ensured that businesses make food waste available for separate collection – again it’s only once you see it, you can manage it. Campaigns like the UK’s Love Food Hate Waste have been successful but measuring food waste prevention, as with all waste prevention, is notoriously difficult. But, people are now widely aware of food waste as an issue – we even see celebrity chefs actively talking about food waste reduction and recipes involving leftovers or food that is about to go off.

Food-Waste-UK

There is clearly a balance between food waste and food safety, with a commitment to reducing food waste throughout the retail and catering world, not just at home. By engaging environmental health officers to help deliver this, a potentially conflicting message can be delivered in a nuanced and balanced way. Indeed, environmental health officers in Scotland will be responsible for ensuring that Scottish food businesses present their food waste for separate collection.

Role of Communication

It is worth considering how the message should be communicated, and by whom. The community sector are more trusted by the public than government and the private sector are more effective at imparting personal, deeply held beliefs – the sort of beliefs that need to change if we are to see long term changes in attitudes towards consumption and hence waste production.

Furthermore, communications can engage wider audiences that hold an interest in reducing food waste that is perhaps not primarily environmental. The health and economic benefits of issues and behaviours that also result in food waste prevention may be the prevalent message that fits with a particular audience. So whilst the main aim of a training session might be food waste prevention, this is may not be the external message. And this has wider implications for waste prevention, and how we engage audiences around it.

Municipal authorities tasked with waste prevention will need to engage with new groups, in new ways. They will have to consider approaches previously considered to be beyond their powers to engage new audiences – should they be partnering with public health authorities with an interest in nutrition, or social housing providers that are focused on financial inclusion.

Should waste prevention even be a discipline in itself? After all, across material streams it is a motley assortment of behaviours with different drivers. Furthermore, with the knots that one can tie oneself in trying to measure waste that doesn’t get generated, – therefore doesn’t exist – should we integrate waste prevention in to other socio-economic programmes and position it as an “added benefit” to them?

Note: The article is being republished with the permission of our collaborative partner be Waste Wise. The unabridged version can be found at this link. Special thanks to the author Mike Webster.

Impact of Whitening Mouthwash on Teeth Whitening Treatment

According to a study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, more than 90 percent of dental and orthodontic patients also request tooth whitening. The fact is, as no less than Inc. magazine recently reported, having a bright white smile you love to show off is important for every goal you have in life. People who smile more tend to make more money, receive more frequent promotions, look younger, have more friends and connections, feel better, live longer, lead better and be happier.

No wonder there is so much demand for teeth whitening services! But how can you tell all the different options apart and figure out which is best for you? And how can you maximize the results of your in-office teeth whitening? Should you use over-the-counter options like whitening mouthwash or will that hurt your results? Find out in this blog post.

How the Teeth Whitening Process Works

The American Dental Association (ADA) highlights how important it is to understand how the process of teeth whitening really works.

Once you understand the basic underlying mechanism behind teeth whitening you will be in a much better position to maintain your teeth whitening results long term.

The ADA explains that there are two basic types of teeth whitening and both are bleaches. The two types are carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

Regardless of the bleaching type you choose, the way they work is basically the same. Once applied, the bleaches go to work to dismantle tooth stains bit by tiny bit, almost like a tiny eraser.

How Do Tooth Stains Develop?

Marc Lazare, teeth whitening expert in New York, notes that tooth stains can develop in any number of ways and for a wide variety of reasons.

Different stains may be easier or harder to lift. Generally, lighter stains such as yellowing are easier to bleach away, while gray or brown stains are more resistant to whitening efforts. Some stains, such as those caused by mouth trauma or injury, may not respond to bleaching much if at all.

As well, it is important to be aware that teeth whitening treatments generally do not work on dental prosthetics such as implants, bridges, veneers or crowns.

The most common reasons include these:

1. Food and drink

If you have ever had to go to the sink to wash dark blueberry stains off your fingertips, you already understand how food and drink can stain your teeth.

Over time and with repeated exposure (such as that daily morning cup of coffee) your teeth will become increasingly less white.

2. Smoking and nicotine use

Smoking, vaping, snuff, gum and other sources of nicotine can stain your teeth quite badly over time, and the brown stains are some of the harder stains to lift.

3. Injury or trauma

If you have experienced an injury or trauma to your mouth or teeth, injured nerves and blood vessels may cause tooth discoloration.

4. Medication use

Medications used to treat cancer such as chemotherapy and radiation are some of the best-known drugs that can cause tooth discoloration. Another common culprit is the acne medicine tetracycline, which can cause lasting tooth discoloration.

5. The natural aging process

The natural process of aging can also cause the tooth enamel to wear thin and look less white and more yellow over time.

Will Whitening Mouthwash Help or Hurt?

To date, research shows that whitening mouthwash is not harmful to teeth that have been professionally whitened.

While a whitening mouthwash is unlikely to deliver comparable results to the outcome of a professional teeth whitening treatment, even when used consistently over time, it is equally unlikely to degrade or interfere with the results you get from professional teeth whitening.

Too-frequent use of any product designed to bleach and whiten teeth can sometimes cause temporary tooth sensitivity. Patients who experience tooth sensitivity from any tooth whitening product generally find that this side effect fades after a few days of not using the product.

How to Choose a Whitening Mouthwash

According to the ADA, the best whitening mouthwash will also provide other important oral health benefits, such as helping to control tartar and plaque buildup on teeth, guarding against decay and dental caries, fighting back against gum inflammation and infection (gingivitis/periodontal disease) and, of course, improving breath.

The ADA specifies two different categories of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. It is important to note that a mouthwash can serve both purposes, such as a whitening mouthwash that also provides health benefits such as the ones just mentioned here.

Some of the best whitening mouthwashes will themselves require a prescription from your dentist or orthodontist. These mouthwashes are often recommended as a follow-up to a professional teeth whitening treatment and for daily use after preventative dental care or dental treatment.

The more you can do to improve your overall oral health by brushing, flossing, gargling with mouthwash and choosing your daily menu with tooth health and color in mind, the longer your teeth whitening results will last.

About “Dentist to the Stars” Marc Lazare, D.D.S., M.A.G.D.

Dr. Marc Lazare, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., is one of just one percent of dentists nationwide who has earned the coveted designation of “Master of General Dentistry.” Dr. Lazare is the inventor of numerous dental apps, author of “The Patient’s Guide to Dentistry” and president of two companies now viewed as leading innovators in the field of cosmetic dentistry.

How to Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint?

Roughly 2.5 billion people around the globe use the internet. Experts predict the energy used to power the internet — as well as the number of greenhouse gases produced — will soon exceed air travel. Your digital carbon footprint is comprised of a number of activities, not just checking email.

Digital activities that have an impact on the environment include:

  • Streaming music
  • Watching Netflix
  • Posting on Twitter
  • Buying an e-book
  • Reading online news

Today’s eco-conscious consumers and businesses are looking for ways to reduce their digital carbon footprints and implement sustainable practices.

1. Reach Out to Tech Companies

Tech companies like YouTube can reduce their digital carbon footprint by changing how their design. In 2016, people streamed about 1 billion hours of YouTube videos each day, producing 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) — the same as the City of Glasgow.

For users who only listen to YouTube for the audio, the option to turn off the video could save 100 to 500 Kilotons of CO2e each year — comparable to the carbon footprint of 30,000 homes in the U.K. For consumers, it’s imperative to reach out to your favorite brands and request eco-conscious features.

2. Unsubscribe from Unwanted Emails

In 2018, more than 281 billion emails were sent and received each day, a number that’s expected to grow to more than 347 billion by 2022. Like anyone else, you probably have multiple brands who send you unwanted emails. To reduce your carbon footprint, make use of the unsubscribe button.

Look through your inbox for any unwanted emails you’ve yet to delete. You should also go through your promotions and spam folder. The unsubscribe button is typically at the very bottom of the email. Some brands attempt to hide it by making the text a similar color as the background.

3. Optimize Your Charging Routine

How many digital devices do you charge? There’s the laptop, cellphone, tablet and smartwatch. To reduce your carbon footprint, optimize your charging routine. Once a device is fully charged, unplug the power supply. Not only can you reduce your energy consumption, but you’ll also improve the lifetime of your battery.

Reduce your reliance on fossil fuels by investing in a solar charger. There are many solar charging stations available that range in capability and price. You can find a quality set-up under $50 for a smartphone, tablet and watch. If you want to power heavy-duty devices like laptops and film equipment, you’ll want to research options $75 and above.

4. Hang Onto Your Old Device

In the U.S., 44% of smartphone users said they replace or upgrade their phone as often as their provider allows, typically every two years. Many of these working devices end up cluttering landfills, while others are broken down into usable materials. Consumers and businesses alike can reduce their digital footprint by holding onto devices longer.

If you have a cracked screen, look into DIY tools online, or visit a local shop. The cost is remarkably affordable compared to the latest phone model. If your device is running slow, delete unused or unwanted apps, photos, videos, files and more. Most smartphones have a built-in storage cleaner that can free up space.

5. Download Instead of Stream

Video streaming makes up a large chunk of internet traffic. Data centers that host streaming sites like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook consume around 1% of the world’s electricity each year, a number that’s expected to grow. More demand for this type of technology means more consumed energy.

To minimize carbon output, data centers need to be fed by renewable energy sources, such as solar, hydroelectric or nuclear power. As a consumer, you can reduce the amount of time you spend streaming videos and music each day. Try to download content ahead of time, which puts less strain on networks. If you do stream video, connect to Wi-Fi instead of 4G to consume less energy.

Most of the resources we rely on are finite. It’s crucial to make sustainable choices and reduce your carbon footprint. Reach out to your favorite tech companies and request eco-friendly alternatives. Pare down your inbox and delete any offers for a phone upgrade. You can also invest in a solar charger and reduce your streaming time.

For most of us, it’s impossible to cut out internet use entirely. However, it’s still possible to make eco-friendly decisions.

Green Ways to Travel the Globe

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

Where You Go

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

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

How You Get There

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

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

green-travel

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

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

Where You Stay

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

Parting Shot

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

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Power Bill is Skyrocketing

Working from home does have its perks, but one huge downside is dealing with energy bills that are higher than usual. However, the fact that you’re spending most of your time at home shouldn’t be a reason to simply accept skyrocketing energy bills. There might be a couple of ways you can still bring those monthly charges down despite your high consumption while working from home.

high-energy-bills

Here are the top reasons why power bills spike and what you can do to mitigate the situation.

1. Failure to upgrade appliances

Most new appliances have been equipped with energy-efficient and power-saving features. Old appliances were not required to have these features, which is why ‘vampire charges’ were such a big deal in the past. Once you upgrade to newer appliances, you’ll find that you won’t even have to religiously unplug your devices since they stop consuming substantial electricity once they’re turned off.

Furthermore, old, rickety appliances lose efficiency as they degrade, so they might be consuming more power to do simple, everyday tasks. You might think you’re saving money by sticking to appliances that are decades-old, but you will undoubtedly feel an improvement in your power bills once you make the shift.

2. Overusing ‘big’ appliances

Even with new appliances, frequent usage is still a major problem. This is especially true for power-hogging devices such as your washing machine or dishwasher. The best strategy is to wait until you have enough laundry or dirty dishes to run your machines at full-load or capacity.

This will lessen the frequency with which you run these major power-hugging appliances, therefore reducing your overall power consumption in the long run. If there is an urgent need to free up some clean dishes or clothes, handwashing them is a better alternative than running the washer just for a few items.

3. Late detection of leaky ducts

Poorly sealed or weakly insulated ducts can add thousands of dollars to your yearly power bills. This is because they release hot air into unheated spaces in your home. Make sure you are not spending more than necessary for your home’s heating or cooling systems by maintaining vents and ducts.

Aside from sealing or insulating ducts, you also have to ensure that your airflow is not restricted by furniture and other large objects. Keeping registers clean can also help optimize ducts, therefore helping with the power bills.

4. Higher rates

If you live in an area where electricity markets have been deregulated, like in Connecticut, then know that you have a choice regarding your third party power supplier. Now, unless you’re closely watching spot market news, you might not have noticed that your energy provider has been secretly hiking rates.

energy-company

 

To take better control of your power bills, compare the rates charged by power suppliers in your area, then change electricity providers so that you will get the most value for your money.

5. Not exploring cheaper power sources

If you’re already subscribed to the cheapest energy provider in your area but are still struggling with power bills, then you might want to check alternative power sources like installing solar panels or keeping solar batteries at home.

Now, unless you have an industrial-level solar energy system, it’s highly unlikely that you can cover all your power needs using PV panels, but this would at least reduce your dependence on provider-supplied electricity, thus substantially reducing your power bills.

Wrapping Up

Of course, there are several other tips and tricks that could chip away at your huge power bills like replacing your lights with LED bulbs and setting a timer on your A/C, but if you really want a substantial reduction in what you’re paying for energy, you have to make big changes around the house, such as the ones mentioned and discussed in this article.

As more and more companies mull letting employees work from home permanently, you must be able to do so without forever stressing about those monthly power charges.

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.

1. 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”.

2. 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 and online learning devices.

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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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%.

7. 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 in 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.

Glitter is 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. According to Evol Power, 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, Air foam mattress materials offers comfort and support that is long lasting and queen mattress with air foam technology is worth to try which improves sleep quality and to be sure it best fits your needs.

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. One of the methods that science promotes to live a healthier life is to exercise and eat healthily Contrary to the common belief you can exercise even with annoying medical conditions such as hemorrhoids. 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.