Category Archives: Home

zero-waste-movement

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Home

When it comes to helping the planet, every little helps and whilst attitudes have changed in recent years with the use of household recycling bins and the rise of the reusable bag, there is still much work to do in order to achieve a ‘waste less’ society. Here we reveal the five steps every household can take to cut waste…

 1. Love food, hate waste

Food waste puts a huge burden on our landfill sites, and a recent survey showed that over a quarter of waste thrown away by UK households is food. With rising food costs, you’d think that everyone would take on a ‘waste not, want not’ approach, however as a nation we are still buying and throwing away too much food.

Being savvier when it comes to food shopping is the best step to reducing food waste and the amount that you spend at the checkout. Take a look in your cupboards before you leave to see what you need and write a list concentrating on creating meals for the week ahead.

2. A bag is for life…

Talks are still underway regarding enforcing a charge for the plastic bags found in the supermarket, and whilst the reusable ‘bag for life’ has risen in popularity, many people still rely on using plastic bags. We understand that it’s not always easy to remember your bag for life every time you hit the shops but by carrying one in your car, you will always have a bag for life to hand. Cloth bags also work too!

3. Recycle or reuse

As well as household waste, many individuals throw their household furniture and fixtures in the trash too. Instead of visiting your local tip, aim to recycle or reuse these items. There are many ways in which you can recycle household goods, kerbside recycling schemes pick up unwanted items or you could give something back by donating to charity.

4. Profit from your recycling prowess

There’s even an opportunity to earn a quick buck from unwanted household goods, salvage yards pay good money for good quality items. These items will then be sold on to their customers, who are certain to repurpose and breathe new life into products that you find tired or unusable in your own home.

5. Say ‘no’ to junk mail

Whilst many of us have become pros at recycling paper goods, there is still 550,000 tonnes of paper used to create unsolicited mail in the UK alone. If we all work together to say ‘no’ to junk mail, we could save over 9 million trees and 16.5 billion litres of water! Use a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker to tell your postman and other visitors that your home is no place for junk mail.

This post was written by the UK’s leading salvage and reclamation specialist Cheshire Demolition. Their Macclesfield-based yard is the perfect place to buy and sell unwanted household items.

washing-car-kids

Reducing Your Impact on the Environment When Washing the Car

There are many ways in which we are harming the environment and waste resources on daily basis, but few of us consider car maintenance (and the associated costs) to be one of them.  For instance, car washing has a huge impact on the environment, since it wastes huge amounts of water, and the wash water that is created in the process, containing petroleum, dirt, oil, cleaning agents, goes into storm drains, which then carry it to the nearest water bodies. That’s why people should be very careful when they wash their cars in their yards, and do whatever they can to avoid polluting nearby bodies of water and wasting large amounts of water while doing it.

When washing your car at home and in your garage, you probably don’t think too much about where the wash water goes, or how much water is wasted. The waste water contains various potential pollutants, such as rubber, mud, detergents, grease, and it usually enters storm drain systems, that transport it to lakes, rivers, or oceans. Alternatively, it can also go directly into the ground, which also pollutes the environment. As far as the amount of water that is wasted, various studies suggest that on average, people waste 10 gallons of water per minute when washing their cars in their yards.

If you want to save some water while washing your car, you should try and follow a few simple tips.

For starters, you can put a quick-action shut-off nozzle on your hose, or a trigger hose, to prevent wasting water when the faucet is on, but you don’t need to use the hose. Also, you can save a lot of water if you use a bucket.

When it comes to the wash water and what to do with it, it’s important to know how to dispose of it properly. A lot of things depend on the area you wash your car on. If you wash it on your driveway, the waste water will probably run into a roadside drainage ditch, a gutter or a curb inlet, which means it will end up in a nearby lake or river. That’s why it’s better to do it on your lawn. This way, the wash water will run off directly into the ground, and you prevent it from flowing into the street and entering the drains. However, you need to be very careful when washing your car on your lawn or garden area, and prevent the waste water from running off into an area that’s close to your vegetables or fruit trees.

The best way to save water and prevent wastewater from entering your storm drains is to take your car to a commercial car washing facility, where water is treated before it is disposed. They clean the water, removing all pollutants that may harm the environment, and then discharge it in the sewer. They also recycle it and reuse it several times before disposal. Additionally, they waste much less water, as they use more sophisticated, automated equipment, which is far more efficient than using hoses and buckets.

bamboo-wood-energy

How to Lower Your Home’s Energy Consumption

As homeowners, we’re always looking for ways to reduce our energy consumption and in turn lower costly heating and electricity bills, which can easily spiral out of control in the autumn and winter months when plummeting temperatures hit our homes.

We have compiled our top five ways to reduce energy consumption within your home so you can look forward to more manageable costs all year round…

Alter your everyday habits

The first and perhaps most important step of reducing your household’s energy consumption and carbon footprint is by altering how you operate on a daily basis. Just a few simple changes can dramatically cut your energy costs resulting in major savings for you and your family.

When appliances and other gadgets are not in use, unplug and save energy. Even when everyday household items like televisions and audio equipment are in standby mode, electricity is still being used so prevent this by hitting the off switch. Computers are a major consumer of energy so customise your sleep mode to conserve electricity. Lighting can also drain your energy supplies, don’t forget to switch these off when you leave the room.

Control temperature throughout your home

Making use of the thermostatic valves on your radiators and the timer features on your boiler will ensure that all heat generated is used effectively within your property. Adapt your temperature controls from room to room, lowering your temperature in areas of your home that you use less such as spare bedrooms. Rooms that are prone to high humidity such as your kitchen, bathroom and utility room will also require less heat as heat is generated naturally via showering, bathing, washing dishes and clothes, and cooking.

In addition to this, your timer can be adjusted to regulate temperature at different times of the day so you use less energy when in bed or at work.

Invest in humidification

The main reason why you increase the temperature of your central heating system is to enhance your property’s warmth and comfort, however, you can achieve a more comfortable atmosphere without increasing your heating bill. Humidifiers can be used to add moisture to your home environment and create a more comfortable ambience. Humid air also holds heat better ensuring any heat generated by your radiators and other energy sources is retained effectively and efficiently.

Investing in a home humidifier won’t break the bank, and will make sure you feel the effects of a well heated home without having to ramp up the temperature.

Take advantage of energy saving appliances

Many modern appliances are equipped with handy energy saving features which many homeowners fail to take advantage of. Computers, refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines can be switched to power saving mode to conserve energy by making more efficient use of the appliance. Take a closer look at the settings of your home appliances to make energy saving a priority in your home.

Energy saving bulbs are also available and will dramatically cut costs year on year.

Insulate your home thoroughly

A well-insulated property will retain energy more effectively and prevent costly heat loss. Make sure your attic space and cavity walls are sufficiently insulated and windows and doors throughout your home are sealed correctly to avoid waste and high energy bills.

About the author – Martin Davies works for Airandwatercentre.com. As the leading specialists in humidification and air quality, they assist thousands of homeowners across the globe looking for more energy efficient and comfortable properties.

Lily pad on koi pond

Ideas for the Perfect Pond

Many homeowners are often stuck for ideas when it comes to the home garden. This is where extreme costs for landscapers are brought into the budget and therefore limits the possibilities of the outcome. Although timing can be a large issue, why not dash out and stock up on the equipment to carry out these home renovations yourself in this tight economical period.

Amongst the minority of gardens is the average garden pond – or at least, space for one. And what’s more ideal than lavishing in expenses on keeping fish within the grounds of your home? When you speak to many homeowners a pond is very much a love it or hate it scenario.

For those who indulge in thoughts of ponds, below are some ideas on getting the perfect pond for your outdoor living space.

Dependant on garden space and budget, you can have a pond to your exact requirements or if you’re lacking inspiration, buy an already prefabricated shape and slot into your desired location.

Preformed Ponds

Preformed, plastic ponds are ideal for quick and easy installations. Due to being pre-formed, you are restricted to sizing requirements and depth can also be an issue. A benefit of having a plastic moulded pond is that in some cases it is sturdier than pond lining materials and is crease-free. Although, with this is mind, placement of rockery around the outer edge can sometimes warp the mould.

Life expectancy of these ponds is around 15-20 years, depending on the correct installation.

Featured Ponds

Featured koi pond

Increasing in popularity, these types of featured ponds are ideal in a contemporary environment. Very appealing to the eye – and children, these hexagonal ponds or “Feature Pools” display various windows within a wicker frame. Great for getting that side perspective that children love when visiting garden centres.

Being an ideal size, almost EVERY garden can adapt to cater for this these types of ponds.

Manufactured by Blagdon, you can get these feature Ponds at: AffinityPools.co.uk

Water Features

Water Features are another option to have. Either running into your pond or a standalone option, they are great in harmonising and can be a relaxing necessity within your garden.

Coming in a variety of sizes, shapes and base materials, they really can be adjusted to suit your requirements within your own garden.

Pond Liner Materials

With traditional pond liners you can build and adjust the sizing requirements of your pond on just about every scale. Whether you require a deep setting, or are looking to expand your existing pond, this is a great method with use of a jointing kit.

Whether you’d like to be hands on in the creation of your pond project or would like to leave it to the experts, you ideally require expert advice in this instance. Although many companies and garden experts will willingly offer their expertise, there are many guides and videos available to you online.

Pond Liner Materials can vary and are often used for lakes to small commercial business and properties. The usual pond materials are EPDM or PVC based liners. What’s the difference? EPDM has a higher life expectancy –evidently costing more.

Lining materials have tremendous properties; although in some cases can puncture due to the surroundings and environment of which the pond is currently based in. No fear, many garden centres and online stores will sell EPDM repair kits and such items.

The use of pond liner can extend your pond life expectancy to around 30-40 years.

Box Welded Liners

Box Welded Liners are similar to Featured Ponds in the sense that they are prefabricated to a desired shape including depth. Often used for Koi Ponds – because of their depth, they are ready welded into position ready for you to install into your garden space.

A Koi Pond is very different to the average pond. First being, they have to be much deeper – after all koi’s can develop to be quite big fish. And with the average box welded liner coming in squares, rectangles or circles, they can be adapted to the shape that you’re most comfortable with within your garden.

 

With all this in mind, it really is down to the requirements and sizing refinements of your home as to which option best suits your needs.

Author Bio:

AquaLiners Direct provides Pond Liner and Rubber Roofing materials for all domestic installations. Amongst our products is Box Welded Liners – ideal for a Koi Pond installation.

Ideas to save energy for your home

Is it Time to Invest in Solar Power?

Over recent years the developments in solar power have been optimistic in terms of whether it will soon be possible that homes would generate at least some of their own power – saving money and aiding the environment. Sadly however the cost of creating solar panels has been somewhat higher than most homes would like, with some specialised solar panel services charging some of the cheapest prices around £45 ($72). This of course was for some of the lower power producing solar panels; in most cases either multiple or more powerful solar panels would be needed.

With costs this high it seems rather counter-productive; you could be spending around £3000 – £4000 just to save around £40 on your bill. Not to mention the solar panels can look too big, bulky and ugly, so why would you want one? Besides the fact you would be creating energy from nothing but sunlight, which is of course going to help to protect the environment, you’ll be generating power that you can use – you won’t have to buy it from anyone else. That is of course assuming you make enough to use. It is more likely that you won’t be able to generate enough power to get rid of your electric costs altogether but you might be able to trim them down a bit.

save-energy-solar-panels

However, with enough solar panels and light on your roof you could generate enough power to start selling it back to your provider – not just save money on electric but actually earn money from it! This is doubtfully going to happen in the British sun, but the possibility is still there, the fact that it’s possible is encouragement enough for a lot of people and what should be even more encouraging is that the cost of buying solar panels should be going down very soon.

In late August 2012 researchers at RTI international declared that they had developed a new form of solar technology, it works in very much the same way but is constructed of much cheaper materials. Research is still ongoing as to what else can be done and the best way to manufacture these new solar panels but the most important fact is that they too are a possibility. The estimation is that these new, cheaper solar panels will actually be as good if not better than the solar panels that are already sold, but will cost around £12.50 ($20) to produce. This huge improvement in price is likely to encourage a rise in sales for the solar panels in the years to come.

It is also thought that when the new version of this solar energy becomes commercially available the power of absorption will be increase, research scientists at RTI are already working on methods that will stop low levels of light from becoming the end of the power, which can only be good news for members of the UK.

The hopes of many of the scientists researching this technology is that there will soon be a greener world, with more energy being drawn from natural sources like the sun, not only to protect our environment but to demonstrate our own advances. As we advance technology like this should be more present in our live, particularly when it can be at such a low cost high output state. With the issues of cost cast aside there are no reasons not to invest in solar energy. It might be that you just want your home to be more independent and free from the issues of paying for electric, it might just be that you really care about the environment and the use of more harmful fuels. Whatever you reason for considering solar energy, it is bound to be a beneficial investment. When the price of solar energy drops, there will surely be a number of people lining up to become part of it.

Author Bio

Katy writes for JR Wood Electrical Contractors and is very passionate about energy conservations and preservation of your future environment. By making a few small changes everyone can make the world a better place to live.

 

 

How Much Energy Is Needed To Power a Light Bulb?

How much energy is needed to power a lightbulb?  Well, it depends on the source of the energy.  Here in North America, we are stuck on using fossil fuels and are struggling to free ourselves from this energy trap we created for ourselves.

Many countries, particularly in Europe, have been making tremendous strides in moving towards renewable energy resources to power their cities.  Here in America, even Google is funding initiatives to help get us moving towards renewable energy.

When you think of a lightbulb, we don’t think much about the resources required to power it.  Take a look at the infographic below showing us how much resources are required in order to power a lightbulb for an entire year.  As you can see, coal (a fossil fuel) requires a tremendous amount of resources, including manpower to mine it, in order to power a single lightbulb.  We need to start thinking about alternative and renewable sources of energy if we want to leave this planet a better place then when we started on it.

What are your feelings on renewable energy?  What power source do you think is the right choice in creating a balanced energy strategy?

 

How much energy to power a lightbulb infographic

swimming pool infographic

How To Conserve Water In Your Swimming Pool [infographic]

Trying to conserve water in and around your home should be a standard practice.  From washing machines to taking showers to watering our garden, eco-friendly practices should be taken into account to do your share in conservation.

But what about swimming pools?  They consume an enormous amount of water and regularly lose water from evaporation and from “cannonballs”.  So what do you do?  If you own a swimming pool, there are things you can do to conserve water and lessen the resources a swimming pool consumes.  A few easy and inexpensive options are using a solar cover on your swimming pool to reduce evaporation and keep your pool water warm using solar energy.  You can also use liquid pool covers, which surprisingly do a great job at reducing evaporation of your pool water.

Take a look at this neat infographic below courtesy of Swim University for some more ideas on how to conserve water with your swimming pool.

swimming pool infographic

How Much Wattage is Needed to Power a Light Bulb

In the past, the incandescent light bulb was a homeowners only choice for lighting their home.  Over the years, several new options have surfaced, leaving the homeowner a bit confused as to what is the best option.

When making your decision to purchase a light bulb, look at lifetime costs which take into account the cost of the light bulb as well as the energy savings over the life of the bulb.  If you factor these 2 variables into the equation, you’ll see that LED light bulbs offer the best savings overall, despite having a higher up front cost.

Take a look at this handy visual guide to see how much wattage (electricity) is needed to power each of the different kinds of light bulbs.  Hopefully this will empower you to make a greener energy choice next time you’re at the local home improvement store.

Light Bulb Energy Use Guide