energy-efficient-pool-cover

What Type Of Winter Pool Cover Should I Buy

If you want to keep your swimming pool clean and safe then purchasing a pool cover is very important. Not only will it keep your safe from the elements, it can also help young children and pets out of your pool.This will remove a lot of tress from your hands and it will also save you quite a lot of money in the long run.

However, there are lots of winter pool cover types, each one catering to a specific need. You do need to take all of these into account before making a purchase.

Leaf Net Cover

This type of cover can be used to keep the twigs and leaves out of the pool. Manufactured using high standard woven polyethylene, such a cover allows the water to fall through, yet it successfully captures all the undesired items that might cause a mess in your pool. Additionally, it’s very easy to clean and maintain, you just have to remove it and the leaves will just fall off. It can even be used with other types of pool covers, offering them additional protection and preventing further damage.

Solar Pool Cover

This type of pool cover has been specifically created to Prevent the heat and chemicals in the water from escaping, and as a result it will keep the pool warm at all times. Not only that, but it also captures the solar rays, heating the water in the process. A solar pool cover helps you lower the operational costs of the pool, as you won’t have to warm it using other means. You need to place and remove the pool cover each time you plan on using the pool. If this sounds like a nightmare for you, the best alternative comes in the form of liquid covers that are made out of Isopropyl alcohol and which float on top of the pool. The liquid is safe to swim in and it even works while the swimmers are in the pool.

Track-style pool covers

The main purpose of such a pool cover is to provide you with convenience and non-stop operation all year. It uses a track style cover system that can be manual or automatic. What makes this type of cover convenient is that you can easily cover your pool on a daily basis without a problems and it can easily be installed on all types of pools. It reduces heat loss, evaporation and it even keeps the water clean, which is crucial.

Safety pool covers

If you want to protect your kids or pets from falling accidentally in the water, then the purchase of a safety pool cover is more than recommended. This type of cover works with other covers as well, and it will provide you with all the necessary protection. By using it your kids won’t get hurt and you will have the best protection for your pet as well.

In the end, it falls up to you to select the best pool cover, depending on your needs. Determine what you want more from your pool cover and then make your purchase accordingly.

Electric-Car

Going on a Road Trip in an Electric Car

With range still being a huge issue surrounding electric cars, they are clearly far from ideal vehicles for long-distance trips, but it doesn’t mean that going on a road trip in an EV is a mission impossible. While most people would not dare to start such an adventure, given that electric cars are more suitable for city driving, or for short-range commutes, because of their limited range, longer trips in an electric vehicle are actually quite feasible, as long as you plan your route accordingly and make sure you use driving techniques and behavior that help extend your car’s range.

Obviously, the biggest challenge of an electric car road trip is finding charging stations along the route, and recharging your car’s battery as quickly as possible, so you don’t have to take long breaks too often. Maybe a couple of years ago, this was an issue that was difficult to get around, but now, there is a relatively good charging infrastructure, albeit only in certain parts of the country, which allows you to cover longer distances in a reasonable time. Even so, you must choose a route that will allow you to be near a charging station during the whole trip, so that you don’t get stranded with an empty battery, and no station in sight.

If you are driving through an area that doesn’t have any charging stations, you can go to an RV park, since most such parks have designated spaces with hookups, that usually provide RVs with electricity, but can also be used to charge electric vehicles. No matter how many stations there are along your route, bringing an emergency recharging kit along is always a smart move. It’s basically a device that is called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, which includes a portable charging cable and a couple of power adapters, allowing you to connect your car to a standard household outlet, and recharge your battery fairly quickly. This way, you will get enough range to get to the nearest charging station and fully charge your battery, before you can continue your trip.

Another factor you need to take into account when driving long distances in an electric car, is that your driving habits and road conditions may affect your car’s range. There are a few driving habits that can drain your battery pretty quickly, such as fast acceleration and hitting the brakes too hard, and driving at high speeds for longer periods of time. Additionally, excessive use of the car’s air conditioner decreases range, as well. Climbing hills, and driving in stop and go traffic can cause a battery to go empty much sooner than expected.

Even with all these challenges and the extensive planning that is required, electric car road trips can be quite fun and fulfilling, given that one of the biggest downsides of electric cars – long recharge times, can make your trip that much more rewarding, as it will give you some extra time to stop and enjoy the beautiful sights and discover some new places along the road.

The Many Health Benefits of Using a Hot Tub

Did you know that almost 80% of Americans suffer from some sort of back pain?

From an increasingly lethargic lifestyle to foods that are making us more sick then healthy, the human body and our backs are suffering.

After stretching,  which is my #1 recommended way to keep your body fit and healthy, relaxing in a hot tub might be my second favourite.  Here is Canada, the Winters are quite long, sometimes the Spring and Fall combine to create one giant winterfest, so being able to relax the body in a nice hot body of water definitely helps.

Relaxation is an often overlooked health benefit.  We are so used to a go go go mentality with work, family and play that we often forget to stop sometimes and unwind.  A hot tub is a great way to stop the clock and recharge the body and mind.  It’s a great way to relieve stress and to relax the muscles in your body.

Jane McMillan of International Pool and Spa, one of Ontario’s largest hot tub dealers, says that most of their sales come from older couples that are looking for a way to relax and unwind without having to go to a gym or other public place.  She says that the initial costs are outweighed by the ongoing benefit of having a health spa right in your back yard.

Check out the infographic below that gives some visual representation on the health benefits of using a hot tub.

hottub-infographic

 

 

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.

energy-efficient-garage

How to Improve Your Garage’s Energy Efficiency

High utility bills are a common issue for many households. When people get high electricity bills for a couple of months in a row, they usually think that it’s due to inefficient appliances, lighting fixtures, or boilers, or poor insulation, which is true, in most cases, but many fail to take the their garage into consideration, which can have a great impact on a home’s energy efficiency.

Garages are often overlooked when thinking about energy efficiency, but they actually drain a lot of energy, mostly because a garage’s door is opened and closed numerous times over the course of each day, and because homeowners fail to insulate their garages properly, so they are oftentimes the main reason for rising energy costs. But, the following tips might help you improve your garage’s energy efficiency and lower your electric bills.

Insulate Your Garage Door

Poorly insulated garage doors are among the main causes of low efficiency. If you feel that you are spending too much money on electricity, one of the first things you should do is check your garage’s door and see if it’s insulated well. If it’s not insulated correctly, you can either buy a new door that is insulated properly, which is obviously the easier, but a considerably more expensive solution, or you can insulate your current door on your own, which costs much less. All you have to do is buy an insulation kit, that you can get for as little as $50 – $60, and apply the radiant barrier sheets on the inside of your door. Also, look for air leaks around the door, and if you find some, seal them with some weatherstripping.

 

Insulate the Walls

To do this, you will need an R-value insulation, which should be put between a garage’s joists, or blown into the drywall. This will provide great thermal insulation, which many garage walls, especially in homes that were built a couple of decades ago, don’t have.

 

Check the Windows

Another thing that can affect the energy efficiency of your garage is old windows that don’t provide any insulation whatsoever. That’s why you should either replace your old windows with ones that are Energy Star certified, but they can be a bit expensive, and if you want a cheaper solution, you can apply insulation strips to the existing windows, which can do a good job of keeping the cold air out and the warm air in.

 

Get More Efficient Light Bulbs

Garage lighting is another huge energy drainer. Most homeowners don’t think that the light bulbs in their garage consume a lot of energy, but regular bulbs are pretty inefficient and may increase your energy bill significantly. That’s why you should replace your old bulbs with LED or CFL lights, that need much less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

 

Install Solar Panels

This is arguably the most expensive solution for making your garage more energy efficient, but it’s definitely the most effective one. If you install solar panels, you won’t depend on electricity to warm up your garage, and you will save a lot of money in the long run.

 

List made by:

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “car tech” expert. He is full-time contributor to DMV.com, a collaborative community for US drivers.

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.

Going Green In Canada

The Green Movement is going strong in Canada.

Canada is one of the forward thinkers when it comes to green energy and conservation.  They’ve instituted recycling and composting programs that are still years away from happening for most of America.

Even private sector energy companies are making efforts encourage energy conservation.  Energy companies like Power Stream in Ontario offer businesses subsidies to converting their high power halogen lighting to more energy efficient florescent and LED lighting systems.

And big energy companies aren’t the only ones encouraging you to go green.  Traditional companies like Mortgages.ca, a Canadian mortgage company, offer “SMART” thermostats to their customers as a gift and incentive to use less energy.

If you’re looking for a career in the growing green industry, Canada has a green sector that is growing faster than the pace of most traditional industries.  Take a look at the infographic from Talent Egg below to see how a green career might be a great opportunity for you in Canada.

energy-conservation-canada

energy-efficient-highway

Are Electric Highways Possible in the U.S.?

Electric vehicles are facing several hurdles on the road to becoming a viable alternative to conventional, gasoline-powered cars. One of the biggest hurdles, apart from limited range, is charging time, as it takes several hours to fully charge an electric car’s battery, which is not very convenient. That’s why automakers that manufacture electric vehicles, as well as various tech companies, are trying to come up with a solution that would help reduce charging time and make these vehicles far more viable.

Some of those potential solutions include the wireless charging technology, an idea that was recently proposed by Swedish car maker Volvo, and designated charging lanes which could charge cars as they go.

The concept of wireless, or inductive charging has been around for a while, and this method is being used to charge small portable electric devices, such as cell phones. But, inductive charging technology can be used to charge electric cars’ batteries, as well. This idea is the basis of the TEV (Tracked Electric Vehicle) Project, an open source initiative for prefabricated roads that can power electric vehicles as they move along. The TEV Project was founded by Will Jones, a mechanical engineer and owner of Philadelphia Scientific, a company that designs industrial batteries, and some of its proposed solutions are expected to be implemented in the UK and in India in the near future.

The TEV concept has the potential to eliminate the need of stopping along the road to recharge your electric car. It involves specially designed roads that are supposed to be built alongside existing roads, equipped with electric tracks, where cars are controlled by a centralized computer system. Drivers would only have to enter their destination code, and the acceleration, the steering, and the braking will be done by the computer.

Although the TEV initiative is far from being widely adopted in the U.S., there are some similar projects that aim to bring so-called electric roads to the country. For example, there is the idea of a charging system developed by a team of engineers at Stanford University, which could make it possible for electric cars to recharge their batteries while in motion. Their system employs transmitter coils embedded in the road, which send electric currents that are received by several coils installed in electric cars. This inductive charging technology could be placed on dedicated charging lanes on highways, which would only be used by electric vehicles. However, integrating such a system into the existing traffic infrastructure would be a very expensive venture, and the government would obviously be hesitant about committing to such a project before some extensive research is done, primarily in terms of financial feasibility.

But, considering that highways in America are in a pretty poor condition, and they obviously need to be significantly improved in order to reduce congestion and enhance road safety, which requires a very heavy investment. The government has no choice but to build new highways or try and repair the current highway system, and it might decide to install this type of technology while trying to achieve that.

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” expert. He is a regular writer for a collaborative community for US drivers.

Going Green When Relocating Your Business

Moving your business overseas can be tremendously beneficial, but it is also significantly more complex than just hiring a truck to move across town, especially if you want to do so in an eco-conscious way.

There are a myriad of reasons why you might want to move your business overseas, from tax exemptions, to deferment, to the simple desire to live and work abroad.

Though there is quite a bit of buzz, and a good deal of misconception, about offshore business and tax evasion, the reality is that there are a number of absolutely legitimate ways to structure businesses abroad that are not about hiding money from the US government, but that are about realizing significant, honest benefits when it comes to asset protection and taxes.

But I digress. This article is about making that move and doing it in the most cost effective way possible, both for your own bottom line and for that of the environment.

The reality is that while you may want to ship some office equipment and furniture to your new destination overseas, much of what you currently have will need to be re-purposed, sold, gifted to those in need or, worse case scenario, disposed of in the United States and replaced abroad.

Generally, office desks, cubicle systems, executive furnishings like desks or wall units, reception-area desks and furnishings, conference room tables, kitchen appliances and cabinetry units are all furnishings that don’t transfer well to new spaces overseas. These types of furnishings usually just won’t fit at the new space without alterations, because office cubicles, desk systems and cabinetry are typically custom- fitted for the office spaces they were originally intended for.

Those kinds of modifications are much more difficult to accomplish abroad since the company that made them may not have service providers, or suppliers, outside of the United States. If they do, they may only be found in industrialized countries and, more often than not, expatriate moves, for a number of reasons, tend toward areas that are still growing.

Nevertheless, office chairs, small filing units, computers, printers, copiers and other equipment can be used pretty much anywhere, and it may be beneficial to ship them rather than purchase them new abroad for a couple of reasons:

 

  • The “cost benefit” is that many times shipping is far less expensive than the cost of replacement, when you take into account high import taxes on electronics and office furniture in many countries outside the US, where the mark-up after taxes and retail sometimes exceeds 100%.

 

  • The “green benefit” is simply to avoid adding still more to the already existing 3.5 million tons (approximately) of surplus office furniture that gets disposed of each year, and ultimately ends up in our landfills.

 

Preparation for your move will take some time and consideration, but is easy and your shipping company can help you with both international and domestic transfers of office supplies, furniture and equipment.

  1. Do a complete inventory of your company’s office assets
  2.  Sort everything into categories:
  • Items that are eligible for resale on the secondary market, which can help to alleviate some of your moving costs.
  • Items that can be shipped for continued use in the new space overseas, which will help save re-furnishing costs and reduce your organization’s ecological footprint.
  • Items that should be donated to non-profit organizations or those in need, which can have a positive effect on public relations as well as produce tax benefits and reduce impact on our local landfills.
  • Items that can be turned in for recycling, again reducing impact and producing tax benefits.
  • Items that must be sent to the landfill.
  1. Schedule your moving company to ship items overseas that are marked for the new office, and to ship donations locally or nationally to their recipients.

 

Author byline

Einat Mazafi is the owner of NYShipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.