Archive for the ‘go green’ Category

What Can Solar Lighting Do For Me?

We are all looking for ways to cut cost as the price of living continues to rise. And, with the recent push to more green power sources, we look for ways to do our part in saving the environment. One of the best ways to accomplish both of these aspects is to switch to solar power. There are so many different ways to implement the renewable source in our daily lives, and with a few simple questions, you can find the right one for you.

Maybe you’re a Realtor in need of lighted signs for your properties. What are your options? You are in luck, because there are affordable and dependable solar lighting systems that fit right on top of your existing Realtor signs. No one wants to lose a possible sale because it was dark and the interested party could not read your sign. Solar lighting is an excellent option to make sure your signs are always readable.

It seems like those city bus stops must use a lot of energy with those lights, but you wouldn’t feel safe without some sort of illumination. Are there any other options? Yes! In fact, there are a whole line of lighting systems that depend on solar power. And, some of these systems offer this neat little motion detector, so when a passenger steps under the shelter, the light automatically comes on. These systems could save a city thousands of dollars in electrical bills.

Are all of those warning lights and traffic notifiers using up electricity? In most cases, these lights, like speed indicators, school zone lights and flashing warning lights do depend on electricity. The good news is that more and more localities are switching to solar power for these signs too. Again, this is a great money saver and another step toward green living.

Have you always wondered about parking lots and street lamps and the power they use? They are needed, but they seem so unreliable, going out at the worst moment. Are there more reliable options? Solar powered lamps for these cases are more than reliable. They are each self contained, meaning that, if one was to malfunction, and the others will continue to glow brightly. The cost of installation of such a lighting system will pay itself off in a matter of months, since the lights use no electricity and need little or no maintenance.

What can you do for outdoor lighting at your home? There are numerous styles and designs for home outdoor lighting needs in sun powered options. You can find cute little pathway lights to illuminate the walk to your door. You can choose decorative lighting for your gazebo or patio. And, you can even install solar powered security lights to make dark corners of your yard feel safer. With outdoor lighting the options are endless. And, installing these solar systems will save you both money and time.

Perhaps you have a dock, and are always worried that something will cause your light to malfunction. What can you do? Consider installing a solar light. These illumination devices are available as track lighting along the edge of the dock or as pillars that can also serve as mooring. They are reliable even if the power goes out.

As you can see, there are so many excellent solar powered lighting options. These seven above are just a few of the many uses for these lighting systems. For anyone looking to save a great deal of money on power bills or for those looking for green power options, then a solar light system is definitely a great choice. You will not be dissatisfied, and you will love the drop in your electric bill.

About The Author
Kriss Bergethon is a writer and solar expert from Colorado.
Solar Lights – Solar E-Clips – Box of 14 LED Light sets

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Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring – Keep it Green

Wood floors are the healthy choice; they require fewer chemicals to clean than other floor coverings, and they don’t trap dust and fumes in the fibers or grow mold in the grout. More and more people are choosing wood floors for anyone with allergies. Don’t be surprised if a doctor recommends a wood floor for your spine and joints. Wood is known to give a little and can be easier on your legs and feet.

Antique and Reclaimed wood floors are an ever popular trend in flooring. Wood that is reclaimed can provide the benefits of old growth timber with the added plus so that not a single living forest tree is sacrificed. This is where living green comes into play.

Reclaimed and Antique wood can be milled to look like new, or sometimes consumers look for wood with nail holes, bolt holes, and other fastener marks which make these characteristics part of the appeal. The old lumber will have rustic character marks from many years of use and exposure to the elements.

Many of the floors come out of buildings about to be demolished or in the process of being refurbished. Antique wood flooring can be reclaimed from lumber salvaged from dismantled old barns and buildings. Antique and Distressed wood floors are prized for their beauty, stability and patina. Antique and distressed wood is usually from salvaged vintage homes, barns and structures.

A rustic wood floor will have more of the natural character such as knots, distinct color variations, possible insect marks, surface checking and varying grain patterns. Reclaimed or Antique flooring usually comes from the old growth forests from our early American history. Today they can still be found in floors in old homes and historic structures in many parts of the country. This wood displays character unmatched by any artificial means. Wide Plank flooring can also come from newly sawn old growth lumber. The use of wider widths and longer lengths will reduce the number of end to end seams in the floor which creates a historical authentic look.

Much of this vintage recycled timber comes from old growth forest and was used to construct old buildings. This vintage lumber has unparalleled architectural quality and character, not to mention beauty.

Some antique wood flooring is sometimes called country hardwood flooring and is made from salvaged oak, maple, cherry, hickory, walnut, chestnut, white oak and other vintage reclaimed woods.

No two floors are exactly alike and usually can be found in random widths. Reclaimed hardwood flooring may contain characteristics inherent in aged wood, including cracked knots, slight surface checking, insect and nail holes, weather checking, and color variation.

Benefits of using Reclaimed and Antique wood flooring: A floor made from antique wood has Rrerrque beauty and defining character that cannot be found in newly sawn timber.

• Recycling wood is an alternative to cutting down trees. This is good for the environment.
• Reclaimed wood has been transformed by nature and time which is a link to our past. Having a piece of history in your home can be very satisfying.
• The character and patina of the wood cannot be duplicated.
• Older growth wood is denser and more dimensionally stable than new growth wood which are traits more desirable for wood flooring.
• Certain species such as American Chestnut can only be found through reclaimed wood suppliers.

What about Antique Wood over radiant heat?

The use of radiant heating systems is growing in popularity throughout the United States, especially under wood floors. Radiant heat is an excellent heating source. With proper acclimation and installation methods, Reclaimed and Antique wood is an exceptional choice over radiant heat.

Radiant heat is healthier for the wood than alternative heating systems. The heat is evenly distributed throughout the floor at a low temperature. Each board is exposed to the same amount of heat and does not encounter uneven drying.

Radiant heating actually replicates the natural process that antique wood has experienced. Wood that was used to support a factory, barn or building was exposed for decades to a regular increase and decrease in temperature and moisture. In some cases, the timbers from which the boards were cut have been slightly expanding and contracting for over a century in their previous installation. Radiant heat, with its low temperatures and even distribution affects the wood flooring the same way, but the impact is much less dramatic with Antique or Reclaimed wood than newly sawn wood because it has already been through this cycle for years!

Pricing

Generally speaking, the price of reclaimed flooring is a bit higher. Pricing for uninstalled wood can start at $5.95 a square foot and can top the $22.00 mark. The price of recycled Antique and Reclaimed lumber will vary with the size, grade, length, quantity, and surface character of the material and whether the material is purchased in its existing condition or re-manufactured/milled to your specifications. The cost of recycled lumber is generally more expensive than new lumber of the like grade and size. If the lumber goes through the re-manufacturing process, it will add nominally to this cost base to offset the expense involved in cleaning, de-nailing, re-manufacturing and grading. The process of turning the reclaimed lumber into flooring can be lengthy and involves considerable time, money and expertise.

In conclusion, reclaimed wood floors are becoming increasingly popular due to some consumer interest in historic preservation and also to advance the green building design. These woods often offer superior quality from wood that grew slowly and is often more dense than faster grown wood.

Vintage and antique reclaimed wood adds to the warmth, character and atmosphere of a country home. This wood has character from abundant natural traits. Some planks are generally wider boards and have a character and charm that display an instinctive sense of harmony and spirit of country living. A feeling of history from a time when using solid wood flooring was the way a home was built.

If you already have a Reclaimed or Antique wood floor or are thinking about purchasing one, just think a little bit of American history is now or can be part of your home. What an exciting concept!

About The Author
Dave Barkstedt, NOFMA & NWFA Certified Floor Inspector

Insect-Repellent Fabric Treatment Is It Enough

Have you done any research on insect-repellent fabric treatment? I’m curious about what’s involved in production and whether it does indeed work.http://www.purpleturtle.co.uk/acatalog/Protective_Clothing_and_Fabric_Treatment.html
Answer
The active ingredient in this clothing won’t protect exposed skin from insects, although you’ll likely sustain fewer bites through your clothing. And while it may prevent ticks from crawling on your clothes and then on to you, the clothes won’t keep ticks from jumping onto exposed heads, necks, arms or feet.
Here is something else that will help at least you wont have to get it on your skin. Clips onto belt, purse.
Effective Protection Within minutes, OFF! Clip-OnTM repellent provides personal protection from mosquitoes. If you move, allow a few minutes for the unit to rebuild its protection. Protects against mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus
No Skin Application Unlike ordinary personal repellents, OFF! Clip-OnTM repellent provides mosquito protection without putting anything on your skin.
Fan Powered The quiet, battery-powered fan circulates repellent all around you. Batteries are included.
Odorless OFF! Clip-OnTM repellent uses an active ingredient with no scent. Johnson S.c. & Sons 70318 Here are some other safe solutions MQ7 – Personal Mosquito Repellent Lotion
Liquid Repellent for Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Flies & More
Safe for yards, parks, ball fields, golf courses, gardens and more. Mixed and applied as directed Mosquito Barrier repels mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, black flies, and gnats. It is also a deterrent for animals such as; armadillos, deer, field mice, geese and rabbits. All Natural & Safe:
Mosquito Barrier is a very strong liquid garlic extract (over 99% garlic juice). It comes from a special variety of garlic which is many times more potent than the type found in grocery stores. Using liquid garlic as a repellent is not new, it has been used by master gardeners and farmers for many generations.
What Makes Mosquito Barrier the Best In Mosquito Control?
Mosquito Barrier Liquid Repellent is made in the USA.
All natural, biodegradable ingredients with no poisons.
Effective for mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, black flies, gnats and other insects.
Use it safely on grass, turf, gardens, trees, flowers, vegetables, vines and more.
Safe to use around children, pets, fish, birds, bees and food products.
Properly mixed, 1 quart of concentrate covers 1.25 acres of grass or turf.
Properly mixed, 1 gallon of concentrate covers 5 acres of grass or turf.
Kills adult mosquitoes on contact, kills larvae in standing water.
Made in the USA.
Download the Mosquito Barrier Product Brochure (PDF)

Mosquito Barrier – Liquid Spray Repellent – 1 Quart, For Grassy Areas; Yards, Parks, Athletic Fields And Golf Courses, Keeps Away ticks, fleas, gnats, fire ants and black flies for nearly a month

Bug Off! Kids Biting Insect Repelling Wrist Band – 1 ea

Bamboo has long been regarded as an eco-friendly material but how green are bamboo clothes

Bamboo has long been regarded as an eco-friendly material because of its amazing green attributes: It can grow with few pesticides and little water. This is the view of Lotus Organics, who in their usual full and frank style have investigated the industry and presented their finding on their informative Organic Clothing Blog. It is always a great read for anyone with an interest in the greening of the rag trade. None more so than their current peek at bamboo.
Michael Lackman of Lotus concludes, “The growing of bamboo is environmentally friendly but the manufacturing of bamboo into fabric raises environmental and health concerns because of the strong chemical solvents used to cook the bamboo plant into a viscose solution that is then reconstructed into cellulose fiber for weaving into yarn for fabric.”
We also admire them for bravely pointing out that the ISO 140001 and Oeko-Tex standards, while useful in their spheres of influence (management and human health respectively) do not, on their own, indicate sustainable textile practices
Along with palms, bamboos are one of the world’s most important building materials, particularly in areas where timber trees are in short supply. Large timber bamboos, including Dendrocalamus giganteus and Bambusa oldhamii are used for scaffolding, bridge-building, water pipes, storage vessels and to build houses. In fact, as a building material bamboo plays an important role in almost every country in which it occurs. In Burma and Bangladesh, about fifty percent of the houses are made almost entirely of bamboo. In Java, woven bamboo mats and screens are commonly used in timber house frames. With modern polymer glues and bonding cements, bamboos are made into plywood, matboard and laminated beams.

The wooden sword called a “shinai” used in the Japanese martial art of kendo is made from longitudinal strips of strong bamboo culms. Several strips are tightly bound together with string. There are many weapons made from bamboo, including bows and arrows and sharpened bamboo stakes. In Sumatra, native hunters fashion blowguns (blowpipes) from bamboo culms to shoot deadly poison darts.
Giant pandas are completely dependent on bamboo for food, and they require enormous quantities of it. Because of a rather inefficient digestive system compared with other herbivores, giant pandas may consume up to 85 pounds (38 kg) of bamboo per day. Pandas digest about twenty percent of the bamboo they consume, while cattle can digest sixty percent of their intake. Pandas will eat other species of bamboo but apparently prefer the kinds that grow wild in their native habitat, including Himalayacalamus, Fargesia, Drepanostachyum and Sinarundinaria, all native to Yunnan, Tibet, Nepal and northern India. Pandas once roamed over a wide range in southern China. Before the fertile valleys became farmland, they could move from one area to another to find a variety of bamboos. Now they are restricted to isolated mountain regions in which there are relatively few species of bamboo. This habitat isolation is a potentially serious problem when bamboo species that giant pandas depend on suddenly flower and die.
Bamboos are very important plants, both ecologically and economically. They are one of the most useful and valuable plants for people and provide the primary diet for giant pandas. Giant pandas are indigenous to mountain forests of small, cold-tolerant bamboos in the Yunnan province of southern China. Although they have a carnivorous ancestry and are members of the bear family (Ursidae), giant pandas have evolved a vegetarian diet of bamboos and eat the entire shoots, leaves and stems. The Himalayan red panda also feeds on bamboos along with a variety of other plants. It belongs to the family Procyonidae along with American racoons, coatimundis and ringtails.
Bamboos are very useful plants throughout the Old and New World tropics. It has been estimated that they are used by more than half of the world’s human population every day. According to A. Lewington , more than 1000 different products are made from bamboo. Bamboo shoots are edible and are a major component of Asian dishes. Since fresh shoots are more flavorful than canned, bamboo farms have been established in the United States. In Tanzania, “bamboo wine” is made from the fermented juice of the wine bamboo. Although bamboo shoots are tender and weak, they grow very rapidly. In fact, there are records of tropical bamboos growing 100 feet in three months, an astonishing 0.0002 miles per hour! When the shoots leaf out in sunlight they become very strong and woody.Some bamboos stems have the same tensile strength as certain types of steel and are used to reinforce concrete. After about ten years the stems begin to deteriorate in humid tropical regions. Bamboo canes are used to make cooking utensils, blow guns, toys and furniture. Bamboo pulp is used to make paper, and small, polished stem segments are sometimes used in necklaces.
Reeds and bamboos are very significant plants in the development and evolution of musical wind instruments. Different lengths and widths of the hollow culms produce the light airy sounds of small sikus or zampoñas and the deep bass notes of Bolivian toyos. Some of the world’s most beautiful music is produced by these relatively crude instruments. Panpipes have also been made in France and the Balkan countries, primarily from the reed Arudo donax collected in marshlands of the Danube delta.

ECO GREEN BATHROOM

Bidets were designed to help people freshen up without taking a shower or a bath. They were most likely invented in the early 1700’s, before a fully plumbed bathroom became common. Ladies loved the convenience of being able to rinse off after a visit to the chamber pot. Although the bidet is most commonly used to wash the genital region, some people also use this handy gadget to wash their feet.
Today, the bidet has evolved quite a bit. You can find a bidet attachment for your toilet that eliminates the need for a separate fixture in crowded bathrooms. Japan went a step further and actually made a toilet, bidet and dryer combination that eliminated the need for toilet paper. This toilet is very popular in many homes worldwide. In fact, actor Will Smith has proudly announced more than once that he has tossed out his toilet paper in favor of this Japanese innovation.
People who are trying to go green point out that using a bidet saves thousands of trees and millions of gallons of water a year. Even though the bidet uses water to rinse you off, it is much less water than the number of gallons needed to create toilet paper. In addition, eco-friendly bidets help you avoid the harsh chemicals that are needed to make toilet paper so white.
American Standard Bidet
The American Standard bidet comes in several styles and many colors. You can find wall mounting or floor mounting models made from vitreous china, which is quite durable. There are space saving rounded models and roomy rectangular models. If you want a really sleek and flashy bidet, you can shop for quite a few different fixture upgrades, such as a chrome and brass one piece faucet.
We use 36.5 billions rolls of toilet paper in the U.S. each year, this represents at least 15 million trees pulped. This also involves 473,587,500,000 gallons of water to produce the paper and 253,000 tons of chlorine for bleaching purposes. The manufacturing process requires about 17.3 terawatts of electricity annually. Also, there is the energy and materials involved in packaging and transporting the toilet paper to households across the country.
Toilet paper also constitutes a significant load on the city sewer systems, and water treatment plants. It is also often responsible for clogged pipes. In septic systems, the elimination of toilet paper would mean the septic tank would need to be emptied much less often.
Basically, the huge industry of producing toilet paper could be eliminated through the use of bidets(at least most of it). Instead of using toilet paper, a bidet sprayer cleans your posterior using a jet of water. You can use toilet paper to dry off with, which would be a fraction of your normal use, or you can use a towel which actually works even better.
Most of us can’t imagine living without toilet paper. The average American uses over 100 single rolls—about 21,000 sheets—each year.
Finally, do the math. How much would you save each week and then month if you stopped buying toilet paper completely? And this saving will just keep going on and on.“Bidet Toilet And Hand Bidet Sprayers”

Some Awesome Green Tips

In an effort to save some electricity try turning your AC up a few degrees. Just a couple of degrees and you will probably not even notice. Also, if you leave your home during the day, turn your AC up about 10-12 degrees for maximum savings. Just little things like this can make a big difference in not only your monthly utility cost, but the environment as well.

  • Recently I have been using vinegar to clean up a lot of stuff. From stains in a toilet bowl to whipping down the counter tops, vinegar has a wide range of uses and is much better for the environment than any chemical formula you find in a squirt bottle. Want to have a green cloths wash… use vinegar and baking soda and your cloths will come out fresher than you have ever seen. Want to dissolve mildew, soap scum or algae.. Again vinegar can do it all.

  • A lot of water is used, especially in the summer, to water plants and lawns. A simple way of making use of rainwater, is by catching excess water runoff from your roof and using it to irrigate at a later time. By simply placing a barrel at the bottom of one of your roof drain leaders, you can store enough water to irrigate the lawn and your plants until the next rain. No roof drains, just put the barrel underneath a valley in your roof to catch the runoff which would otherwise erode away the ground where it hits.

  • Paperless billing is relatively new and most companies are jumping on board because it saves them money. This not only saves money, but the more people who use it, the better it is for the environment. Paperless billing allows companies to use less virgin paper because smaller and smaller amounts of paper bills are being mailed out. This equates to less virgin paper being used and produced, which will save a lot of trees from being clear cut. So, signup for paperless billing and pay your bills online, its easier, faster and better for the environment.

  • It is heating up, and during the summer many home loose their efficiency due to heat gain through their windows. A quick and dirty fix would be to close the blinds on the Southern and Western sides (Northern Hemisphere) of your home after lunch. Although this is more effective than just leaving the windows unprotected, heat still passes through the window and radiates inside the structure. There are alternatives which would stop this radiant heat gain, such as investing in double pane gas filled energy star windows or better yet save some money and get the same performance with someEnergy Film Glare Control Window Film 48-by-84-Inch

  • Yokohama Tires Out of Orange Peels

    Yokohama, a world renowned tire manufacturing company, has started selling non-petroleum based tires using orange oil as the main ingredient. Called the Super E-spec™, this tire is already recognized by Popular Mechanics as its Editor’s Choice Awardee. The tire will be available in the latest hybrid Toyota Prius.
    Says Yokohama Vice President for Sales, Dan King — “The eco-focused dB Super E-spec mixes sustainable orange oil and natural rubber to drastically cut the use of petroleum, without compromising performance. It also helps consumers save money at the gas pump by improving fuel efficiency via a 20-percent reduction in rolling resistance.”
    Orange oil is a renewable, sustainable raw material.
    Here is a video from Yokohoma: