Archive for the ‘Green Ideas’ Category

Safe Storage and Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

bioBelieve it or not, the average household has anywhere from 3 to 5 gallons of hazardous waste. When the product is initially purchased, it is not thought of as waste. However, after the product has served its’ purpose it cannot simply be thrown away. It is actually illegal to throw away many types of hazardous waste.

There are different types of household hazardous waste. These are corrosive such as batteries, toxic such as pesticides, paint, or cleaners, ignitable such as gas cans, chemically reactive such as a sulfuric acid, and technological such as computers and digital cameras.

Common practices are to throw these materials away, dump them out, or bury them. This has risks for both human health and the environment. When these hazardous household wastes are taken to a typical garbage landfill, there are no procedures in place to properly handle the waste. It can poison the surrounding area and injure workers at the landfill. If these materials are dumped they can pollute the water system and damage household pipes. Some chemicals are unable to be removed through water treatment. Burying or burning waste is a dangerous activity due to the risk of explosions and concentrated air pollution.

This makes it clear that it is essential to safely dispose of hazardous household waste. While the dangerous material is being used, it should be kept in a double secured container that will prevent leaks from occurring out of the reach of children and pets. If necessary, additional labels can be made to clearly identify the waste. There should be flowing air in the area where the waste is stored so that potentially dangerous gasses are not concentrated. These products need to be kept out of direct sunlight and extreme changes in temperature. So if your garage gets very cold during the winter and hot during the summer it is probably not the best place to store reactive or ignitable waste.

After the material has been stored properly and there is some leftover from the intended use, it is important to properly dispose of this waste. Oftentimes, if a material requires special disposal, the label will indicate. In this case, follow the label. Household hazardous waste can be taken to a hazardous waste plant. Many areas will have dedicated days for disposal of typical household waste. Some of this waste is able to be reused by others who visit the waste center. If you have useful household waste leftover such as paint or oil, a local charity or church will likely be glad to receive the donation. Likewise, with technological waste, many stores will take back computers, harvest their useful parts and safely dispose of the rest.

Every household has some waste that is hazardous. As tempting as it can be to just quickly dispose of this waste, this is a dangerous practice for our health, the local ecosystem, and the larger environment. Follow the above strategies for being a responsible citizen and practicing safe disposal methods.

Tigran is the owner of Glycon Biomedical Waste, a Los Angeles-based medical waste disposal company. On his free time he enjoys blogging about household safety to help people properly dispose hazardous waste.

 

 

 

Save Time And Money By Utilizing A Pool Cover

poolSwimming pools are beautiful additions to any home, but are a lot of work to maintain. Unless you’re spending an extra $100-$200/month hiring a poolman you’re doing all of the work yourself. This includes a big list of chores such as:

  • brushing pool steps
  • tracking pH level of the pool
  • using a pool skimmer to remove debris from the surface
  • vacuuming the pool floor
  • cleaning your pool filter

Even if you use a robotic pool cleaner you’ll still need to do most of these steps yourself. All together, these all take a large chunk of time. If you’re diligent then all of these steps can easily take 6-8 hours a month.

Fortunately, there is a way to greatly reduce the amount of time you spend on your pool so that you have more free time. I’ll outline how pool covers will reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your pool, and will also explain how they can save you hundreds of dollars over a few years in the conclusion.

Pool Covers Reduce Pool Debris

Pool covers are one of the best items you can purchase for your pool because they are great for a variety of reasons. However, the biggest way they help is by really cutting down the time and energy you use to maintain your pool.

A majority of the time spent on pool maintenance is used to get debris such as dirt, leaves, or rocks out of the pool. The time consuming steps – brushing the walls & steps, skimming the surface, and vacuuming the floor are all done to get rid of the debris. As I’m sure you know, all of these tasks combined take a lot of time.

What pool covers do is shield your pool from incoming debris. Since they are essentially a layer of specialized plastic material, placing it on top of the pool will allow the debris to fall on the cover instead of into the pool. This easily eliminates a majority of the debris that falls into the pool.

For those who get a lot of sticks and leaves from nearby trees pool covers will make a huge difference as pool covers can reduce the amount of debris by 90%. Naturally, results will vary but in my own experience I went from cleaning my pool 3-4 times a month to once a month.

You can bet that I love not having to clean my pool every weekend!

Pool Covers Reduce Evaporation

Pool covers also help you save time & money by reducing the amount of evaporation your pool experiences. Since pool covers act as blankets it blocks some of the sun going into the pool and will help trap moisture which can  reduce the refill water amount by 30-50% according to the US government.

When your pool water evaporates you need to add water back into the pool which takes some time and money. Because pool covers reduce evaporation you can expect to not only save time refilling your pool, but also some water.

Pool Covers Reduce Pool Chemicals

Utilizing a pool cover helps time and money be reducing the need to monitor pH levels and add chemicals.

Less Debris – Less Chemicals

It’s obvious that debris in your pool makes your pool ugly and dirty. However, what is less known is that it also changes the pH levels of your pool. Having pH levels outside the recommended range can allow algae to grow which can be difficult to remove.

Organic debris such as plant matter or insect matter will change the chemical composition of your pool as they decompose. In turn, this will alter the pH level in your pool.

Since pool covers reduce the amount of debris in your pool your pH levels won’t change as much. Instead of checking your pool’s pH level once a week as recommended, you can now do so every 2-3 weeks in confidence as well as spend less money on chemicals.

 According to the US government (same article as before)  you can reduce the chemicals required by 35%-60% which can result in huge savings.

Most pool owners spend roughly $200-$300/year. If you’re saving just 50% then that’s easily saving $100-$150/year which will add up.

Conclusion

Pool covers are useful in a lot of different ways. They’re good for the environment, your bank account, and your time. They may require a small upfront cost of $50-$200 (we recommend the higher quality ones), but they will typically save you hundreds of dollars over their lifetime.

If you want to spend less time and money on your pool then getting a pool cover is a must. You won’t regret it.

Author Bio:

Laurie is a proud mother of 2 children and loves swimming. Although not a professional, she often helps many friends, family, and neighbors with pool questions. They inspired her to create a blog which can be found at http://ultimatepoolguide.com/.

5 Easy Ways To Make Your Home More Sustainable In 2016

greenhousesavingsYour home might be costing you more each day due to renovations and maintenance bills. Learning ways to sustain your house physically saves on a lot of money. Incorporating green improvements to your home is one of the means to make it more cost effective.

Green home improvements are assumed to be expensive. They may be for the initial set up, but they are cheaper in comparison to previous utility bills. They are not made from hazardous materials and therefore do not compromise on the health of your family. The following are five improvements to help you make your home efficient and to add value.

1. Energy-efficient Windows

Installing energy efficient windows is a costly venture at the initial stages. If you go on and compare the amount of money saved later, it covers the added cost of the cheap windows. Begin by first identifying the right window for your climatic area. Companies such as energy star offer such services. Secondly, understand thermal transmission what most people refer to as U.factor. It is a comparison between the amount of energy lost in the cold seasons and that gained during summer. Invest in green windows that will register low numbers in both cases. Standard windows lose too much heat during winter. When instead the heat should be maintaining it in the room

2. Roof restoration and roof insulation

Most people’s attics feel like an inferno during summer. It is due to the heat absorption by the ceiling and the proximity to it from the attic room. With proper budgeting, you can choose to change your roofing to materials that are more insulated. A good roof should be able to reflect the sun radiation and ensure the house remains cool. It should also be able to prevent heat energy from escaping during cold seasons. After installation of the insulation material, ask your contractor to use an infra-red camera to seal up any gaps that may allow heat to escape.

3. ENERGY STAR Appliances

Electrical and water bills are some of the utilities that make house maintenance unsustainable. To try and lower power consumption to a necessary minimum, it is advisable to invest in energy efficient appliances. ENERGY STAR is a government initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Appliances that meet a certain amount of specifications qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. It is wise to invest in such to help lower water and electricity costs. Efficient showerheads and showers that only heat up the water flowing are some of the appliances in their extensive array of green products.

4. Installing HVAC system for air purification

HVAC have an upgrade in their mechanical build to save on energy used for air conditioning. The new AC saves money as compared to the ones without energy conservation specifications. They are relatively expensive as compared to the others. For that reason, they should save you money to make up for the added cost. Ensure they are properly installed to avoid mistakes that may compromise energy efficiency. You can confirm your contractor is using the Quality Installation Guideline. Have a different AC for air purification, heating and cooling. That way you are able to switch on the one required.

5. Eliminate allergens with smarter flooring.

The types of Floors in your house are important when it comes to cleaning and price. They may contribute to the unsustainable house maintenance budget if they are too expensive to keep up or cause frequent visits to the ER from allergic reactions. Vinyl floors are environmentally friendly and cheaper compared to carpets. Carpets tend to store dust and other allergens such as fur from pets. Buying floor materials from green stores is a sure way to avoid those with volatile organic compounds. They are known to cause permanent respiratory diseases.

A lot of talk is in the public discussion on ways of conserving and preserving the environment. One established mechanism is by everyone reducing their carbon footprint. Your house is the best way to start. As an advantage, you get to save on money and live in a healthy environment.

A Guide to Converting Your Home to an Led Haven

image 2Led by current trends that promote energy efficiency as one of the most important eco features, more and more people turn to LED lights. However, this shift is still not as massive as one could expect in 2016, mostly because the majority of us still expect dim, hospital-like lighting from LED technology. This is a wrong assumption, since the production process has improved significantly over the last few years. So, here are some updated basics that every homeowner needs to know about LED lighting.

 

Lumen-watt ratio

As a result of advancements in the lighting industry, today the difference between watts and lumens plays an important role in the quality of lighting. When we used those old-style incandescent bulbs, the only feature we cared about were watts. The main difference was the power of the bulb, while the color of the light was almost the same for all such bulbs. However, LED bulbs bring an additional feature – lumens. While lumens have always been used as a unit of luminous flux, they have entered our everyday lives only as an important distinctive feature of LED bulbs. So, the color and intensity of these bulbs will depend on the number of lumens. The more lumens you get per watt, the more efficient your LED bulb is. Users should simply read the labels on LED bulb packages and try the bulbs in the store to make the most energy efficient choice. Also, find out more about watts and lumens.

 

image 3All-inclusive approach to LED

Now that we have learnt how efficient and advanced those modern LED solutions are, it is time to start replacing your old incandescent and halogen lights with those new ones. You should not wait for the old bulbs to go off, but remove all of them at once. If you think that it would be too expensive to apply such an all-exclusive approach to your old bulbs, have a look at the following analysis. For instance, a 5W LED piece is expected to last for about 24,000 hours, in comparison with a 50W halogen bulb, which has a lifespan of about 2,000 hours. Also, the former will use about 9kWh per year, while the latter will waste more than 90kWh annually. When you sum up all the electricity wasted by your old-fashioned bulbs, it is clear that you should free your home from them as soon as possible. The first electricity bill after the purge will show you why it was necessary.

 

To use or not to use them outdoors?

Since these lights are more sophisticated than their halogen and incandescent ancestors, some people have some reasonable doubts when it comes to the outdoor use of LED lights. If we know that LEDs are sensitive to heat, it is logical to ask how they will operate in low temperatures. It turns out that these lights handle the cold weather quite well. In fact, lower temperatures contribute to their efficiency, but only up to some extent. Too extreme conditions can damage some elements of LED bulbs. To avoid such an outcome, new users of these lighting solutions should get more information from the manufacturer on their performance in colder conditions. There are certainly LEDs that can serve well as outdoor canopy lights or porch LED fixtures in winter months, too. However, they might cost a little bit more than average LEDs, but this investment will definitely pay off.

 

The LED technology is definitely the technology of the future. It is a clean, resource-saving option that should be used as much as possible by modern homeowners. So, join the LED team and make your home an energy efficient, bright property.

Perfect Eco-friendly Swimming Pools for Your Backyard

image 3Natural swimming pools are much safer and healthier than chlorinated ones, which is why more and more people are choosing to build eco-friendly pools in their yards. Bio-filtration and skimming systems in combination with cleaning properties of plants help eliminate chlorine and other chemicals from the pool water. Moreover, the natural pools stay clean through the entire year, unlike the traditional ones that can be grungy in the winter. In order to protect the health of you and your family, choose some of these natural alternatives.

Ozone Pools

The perfect upgrade for the pool you already have is an ozone sterilization. This pool will provide you with the natural way to keep the water clean. The ozone pool systems will convert oxygen into bacteria-busting ozone through electricity. This system reduces the need for chemicals by more than 80 percent of other alternatives, and has the ability to eliminate them altogether. Furthermore, it prevents the formation of chloramines and trihalomethanes. Even if they are already formed, the ozone will eliminate the unwanted chlorinated byproducts. Problems with red eyes and respiration problems are immediately solved with the usage of ozone.

Natural Swimming Pools

Sloping sides and many plants embellish this perfect oasis. The fact that plants are involved with the construction helps eliminate the need for chlorine, pumps and filters. This maintains the water spotless and ensures a soothing atmosphere. There is a possibility that the mud will cause some problems, or that a duck or a frog might want to jump in, but only if you choose to build it without a concrete floor. If you are not that fond of mud bottom, you can choose between the concrete, bentonite clay, a synthetic or even a rubber liner. The construction of a natural swimming pool costs approximately the same as the construction of traditional ones. It is roughly about $50 per sq. ft. However, considering you will not have to add any chemicals in the water, a yearly maintenance costs are hundreds of dollars less. All you need to do is remove any loose sediment with a pool vacuum cleaner once a month.

Salt Water Pools

image 2This kind of swimming pool is the perfect alternative to traditional pool. Saline pools use a couple of bags of table salt and a chlorine generator cell, which turns the salt into hypochlorous acid. The acid vaporizes algae and bacteria and keeps the pool perfectly clean. The maintenance requires cleaning the chlorine cell once a year in order for calcium to build up at bay. You should also sprinkle a salt in the pool once a month. These pools save you tons of many, so you can expect to keep $800 a year. The salt water will make you feel more buoyant and your skin will feel silky instead of shriveled. If your property is not that spacious, you can indulge in the wonders of water thanks to the plunge pools. They are smaller than your standard swimming pool, but equally satisfying as standard ones.

Moss-Filtered Pools

The biggest advantage of these pools is that they are very beneficial and antimicrobial. The moss readily absorbs heavy metals, such as iron that usually encourages microbial growth. When there is no iron in the water, there are no conditions for microbes to grow. Furthermore, the moss prevents the growth of biofilm. The main cause of corrosion is exactly this mat of bacteria that sticks to pool surfaces and coats the inside of pipes. The amount of chlorine rises when biofilm is present in the pool, because precisely these bacteria absorb the existent chlorine. The moss can perfectly filter bacteria from pool water, and make sure you replace it every 30 days.

Eco-friendly pools will make your life so much easier. You will not have to worry about eye irritation, or the fear of getting asthma due to chlorine influence. These natural swimming pools will make the entire family happier and safer.

 

How to efficiently green up your kitchen

image 2Living a healthy lifestyle has to start from your kitchen. Without having an eco-friendly place to make your food green, and to enjoy your meals, it will be hard to imagine the rest. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong choice when trying to make your kitchen greener, the only choice you have to make is which things can stay, and which need to be upgraded.

Buy durable cookware

Preparing food in your new lovely kitchen should be about enjoying yourself and making it with love. Though, unless you have cookware which will last a long number of years, it will be hard. You should not be spending most of your time pondering why your skillets and pots are in a bad shape, rather, get yourself a few eco-friendly ones so that you can cook like a chef.

Try to save energy

Changing the appliances in your kitchen will be a bit of investment, but, in the long run, it will be worth it. However, before you go and buy new appliances, make sure to check if they are energy efficient so that you can really save some money, and that you can help protect the environment. On the other hand, it is advisable to change your kitchen gadgets every now and then, so that you can follow energy demands, and that you do not waste a lot of energy.

What source of energy to use?

Even though electricity is widely available and cheap, it is not always the best solution to have in your kitchen. You will have to make some changes if you want not only to lower the costs, but be greener. Using gas could be your answer, but before you sign up, it is best to view the pros and cons for gas and electric stoves, so that you can decide what is better for your situation. Keep in mind that even though both types of stoves are around the same price range, you will have to think in terms of longevity.

Be careful what you eat

You need to take a good look at your fridge and make changes if you find that you are eating too much meat. After all, you need to have a good balanced meal every day to stay healthy. And, on the other hand, to stay green, you will have to invest in sustainable ingredients. But, if you manage to grow your own vegetable garden, you will be able to harvest your own greens as well.

Avoid drinking tap water

image 4Clean water might be coming out of your pipes, but it does not necessarily have to mean that it is healthy and good for drinking. Make sure to look into what best water filters would be good for you, as you should install one. Not only will you be able to drink pristine clear water, but you will help your body stay strong and healthy. Just make sure to avoid brining any fizzy drinks or sodas home, so that everyone will want a nice tall clear glass of water.

 

Greening up your kitchen will take some time and effort, but the end results will be all worth it as you will have a nice and warm kitchen where it will be joyous to prepare food. Keep in mind that your kitchen is the soul of your home, and spicing it up and making it eco-friendly is only one step towards becoming really green and being environmentally conscious. A bit of investment can go a long way in helping to green up your kitchen.

 

Green up Your Home on a Budget

image 2When the budget is tight, you might have trouble making your home greener and more sustainable. However, if you manage to save bit by bit, you will have the opportunity to invest in something to make your home a better place to live in, and for the environment as well. Remember that even the smallest things count towards perfecting your home.

Change Your Appliances

Even though it might seem like a lot of money to pay for new appliances, you should not worry too much, because if you change in your old ones, chances are that you can recycle them for a brand new energy-efficient one. Moreover, there are good deals and sales you will have to pay attention to, so that you can find yourself a cheap alternative to energy-hungry appliances in your home.

Install Solar Panels

Opting for a bigger investment might be more affordable than you think. Thanks to all the government funds you can get for going green, you can easily install solar panels at home, and be able to generate some electricity on your own. But, be sure to look into the law, and if you are going to be taxed differently if you go and install green energy solutions in your home.

Make Use of Programing Your Heating

image 3Installing a programmable thermostat is not a big deal nowadays, but the amount of money it can save you is going to matter a lot. However, you should let a professional help you out, so that you do not mess up the configuration. With the thermostat in place, you can choose which rooms to heat in your home, making sure that you avoid those which are not in use. Furthermore, you will be able to set the temperature in each individual room as well, so that you do not heat overheat, and that you do lower in those rooms where you spend less time.

Change Your Light Bulbs with Newer Ones

You would not believe how much money you can save on just changing your light bulbs alone, but, it will be an initial investment you will to pay. Though, in the long run, you will drastically reduce your energy bill, and if you use newer generation bulbs, you will prolong their lives and make sure that you will not have to change them any time soon. And, the light emitted will be more natural-like, so that your eyes will feel more at ease as well.

Lower Your Water Bills Effectively With Simple Changes

Your bathroom might be a big waster as well, if not of energy then of water. You need to be careful with how much water you are using every day, as you might be squandering it without even noticing. Though, investing in bathroom renovations will be costly, you should do in stages, so that you can change problematic parts and ensure that you lower costs. There are plenty of simple methods to lower water consumption, but you should first research which will be best for your bathroom, before you rush into doing them.

Even though most options might seem costly, you also have to take into account that over time, they will pay themselves back. Not only that, but if you manage to upgrade your home and make it greener, you will be lowering your carbon footprint and doing something to protect your environment as well. Keep in mind that every simple solution helps, and that you should not disregard it, even if you think that it will have an insignificant take on your home’s green side.

 

Follow Nature Laws – Make Your House Shine

Environmental issues are becoming more evident from day to day. Fortunately, people are trying to fight them with equal persistency and what better place is to start that fight than the very place they live in. Making a new home or drastically shaking things up by reinventing the old one is a great opportunity to get yourself in tune with nature laws and make the place where you live as appealing and green as possible. There are several ways to do that, from aiming for the looks that will blend more seamlessly in naturalistic environment to making it more sustainable and we will try to cover them all.

Choosing the Right Construction Material

Traditional brick & mortar method of tackling the construction is neither cheap, nor good looking. Stone and wood, are on the other side completely organic materials that served as a basis of every construction work for centuries, so we can easily say that they have some pretty good reputation. Houses made of them are beautiful, eco-friendly and very cost-effective. Alternatively, you can always opt for straw bales, which are cheap, reliable and light material that will provide you with completely solid construction when combined with mortar.

Indoors Matters As Well

bambooIf you are worried that you will have to make some huge compromises with internal design in order to remain green, your fears are irrational. For, example, bamboo is rapidly renewable resource, so it can serve as very visually pleasing material for your floor. Not only that Japanese style living room will look absolutely gorgeous but it can also be affordable as well.  Woven bamboo is more durable option and it also looks like grained wood. Recycled glass is good alternative to granite or another stone that’s not renewable for your countertops. It is still somewhat hard to find, but, as the time goes by, it will certainly catch on and become widely available.

Green Painting

Without any intention to bother you with complicated chemistry, we have to point out that majority of paints contain chemicals that are harmful both to you and to Mother Nature, namely VOCs (Violate Organic Compounds), fungicides and biocides. Therefore, you should search for paints with low amounts of these. Still, even the label “low VOC” means that they don’t contain more than 250gm/l of VOCs and you can find options that go as low as 0-100gm/l. If you need help in choosing the right option you can always seek trustful commercial painters.

Make the Most out of Energy you Have on Disposal

This means that energy-efficient light bulbs and double-glazed windows that reduce condensation and CO2 emission and cut your bills by 12% are well prescribed. With a little bit of clever landscaping you can make sure that your house is covered with shade, which will help you to survive hot periods without need to use air conditioning. Same goes for the natural light. Making long house positioned to utilize sun’s light during afternoons with plenty of windows, verandas and adjustable louvers will lower the need for artificial light.

All these things maybe don’t seem so radical or helpful on the paper, but remember, every journey starts with a single step and every contribution no matter how small, counts. If you motivate just one person to follow your footsteps your part in preserving nature will be tremendous. Now, make that house shine.

Why Greenhouses Play A Major Role In Society

greenhouse tomatoesUndoubtedly, greenhouse gardening has taken the art of gardening to the next level. However, not many gardeners have caught on to this trend due to the prohibitive costs involved in setting one up. This is because many wonder whether the benefits accrued would actually match the money invested in building a greenhouse.

Granted, it takes a lot of motivation and courage to build a greenhouse and only those who are passionate or serious about greenhouse gardening will pay the money needed to set one up. With this advanced facility you do not have to worry about trivial gardening issues distracting you from having fun whilst at it. Below we take a look at 5 major roles that greenhouses play in today’s society

1. Help to minimize grocery expenses

Needless to say, tough economic conditions have pushed up grocery prices including flowers, vegetables and fruits. With greenhouse gardening you are assured of a constant supply of vegetables, fruits and flowers in addition to having control of what you plant all year round. More significantly however, planting your own groceries will see you spend considerably less on them. While you may not see the effects immediately, on average, most greenhouse gardeners usually break even after a year or two in the business.

2. Provide consistent gardening opportunities

A greenhouse allows you the luxury of evading and ignoring weather conditions and seasonal changes all year round. You do not have to worry about your gardening efforts being hampered by excessive rain, extreme temperatures or long droughts. Also, planning your garden will no longer be determined by the weather thereby giving you more flexibility to undertake any form of gardening you may wish.

3. Plant protection

The protection offered by a greenhouse means that your plants stand to be shielded from problems such as rough weather and seasonal pest infestations e.g. from mites, caterpillars, beetles and locusts. Since plants are weak, such problems would inevitably lead to destruction of your whole crops. The role of a greenhouse in protecting your plants can therefore not be overemphasized.

4. Provide plants with an optimum growing environment

If you have undertaken gardening for a considerable while, you will no doubt have noticed that plants, whether herbs or vegetables, love humid and warm environments. Greenhouses are synonymous with such conditions that enhance plant growth. This is attributed to the fact that a greenhouse’s main purpose is securing a reasonable amount of water vapour and heat in order to maintain the humidity and warmth within.

5. There is no gardening according to seasons

Most gardeners have at one time or the other been excited to undertake planting only to realize that the current season, with its unfavourable temperatures is not suited to what they wish to plant. This means that they have to wait until the right conditions are present and by that time, the excitement of planting is likely to have died off. But with a greenhouse, you are able to control your garden’s temperature and may opt to plant seasonal plants ahead of time or delay planting. Whatever you decide, you are in total control.

Blogger who researchers and talks about the benefits of greenhouses and how they help society for Gabriel Ash

Energy Efficient Window Treatments

windowIt’s no secret that windows are responsible for as much as 30% of the energy loss in a home. That is money that is essentially getting thrown out said window, much to the dismay of your wallet and the environment.

But there are some ways to help prevent that loss of energy even without replacing all the windows in your home: window treatments.

There are two main places that energy seeps in around windows: the glass and the frame.

The glass, if it is old enough, can be porous enough to let in or out a minimal amount of air, which can increase your energy costs. But the bigger culperate is the sunlight that will come in through the glass. Obviously in the winter you want to do what you can to let this sunlight and the natural, free heat that comes with it heat up your home. But in the summertime it can be hard to try to prevent that same heat from coming in.

The frame, depending on how solidly it is constructed can have gaps and holes that will cause drafts around the windows and can be as bad as just leaving the window open.

Not all window treatments are created equal when it comes to preventing energy loss from these key places.

Curtains, for example do very little to stop hot air from leaching into your home on summer days. They prevent a bit of extra energy costs by blocking some of the residual heat that might come in from sunlight, but that is about it.

Blinds are a little bit better. Since they have a more solid barrier they block more of the potential air flow from cracks around the seams of the window and more of the sunlight that can cause rooms to heat up during the day.

But your best option for energy efficiency is a window treatment that is fitted to the actual window, like plantation shutters. They provide the maximum seal around the window to stop any drafts in or out. They also obviously prevent most of the sunlight from warming up a room too much, especially since there are materials these shutters can be made out of that will absorb even more energy that blinds or traditional wooden shutters.

The idea of plantation shutters might not fit with the image you have for your home, but they can easily fit in to modern design. So consider adding them to your home the next time you’re cringing at your electricity bill.

 

Gina Vasselli is a writer living in Myrtle Beach who works on behalf of a number of companies, from those that sell Southern food to those that sell Plantation Shutters in Charlotte.
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