The Phenomenon of Micro-Apartments: The Rising Trend in City Living

Micro-apartments are a form of smaller housing that usually ranges between 150 and 400 square feet. Aiming to combine necessity with functionality, these types of apartments provide all the essential amenities one might need in the smallest space possible. And even though micro-apartments are still a relatively new concept, they are slowly becoming the most popular accommodation option, especially among younger generations. To that end, here are some reasons why micro-apartments have become a rising trend in city living:

The importance of a prime city location

What micro-apartments lack in square footage, they often make up for in their proximity to prime locations. As this type of accommodation can usually be found in major cities across the globe, micro-apartments tend to be located in more urban and densely populated areas that generally don’t provide a lot of space, only at a more affordable price for the average tenant. What’s more, an increasing number of renters, especially younger ones who have just started living on their own, are more likely to sacrifice space, as long as that entails close proximity to schools, business centers, and other lifestyle aspects of urban areas that allow them to enjoy a life in the city. This could be one of the reasons why micro-apartments are so trendy among generations that value convenience over luxury.

The need for more affordable housing

The standard of living has typically decreased for younger generations in recent years, which might be one of the biggest reasons why micro-apartments are gaining popularity. Of course, the monthly cost of renting a micro-apartment can vary widely depending on the country, the city, and even the particular area of the city where the housing is located. However, the monthly rent is generally between 70% and 80% the price of a typical, conventionally sized apartment in the same area. This difference becomes more apparent and much more important in large American cities such as Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco, where a micro-apartment becomes the only affordable housing option for younger generations.

Unique serviced apartment experiences

Smaller apartments aren’t just a popular living arrangement; they’re also becoming one of the trendiest options when it comes to travel accommodation, whether it’s a short trip or an extended stay. For instance, businessmen and digital nomads traveling through Asia for work obligations typically opt for Hong Kong serviced apartments when they visit this major business center. The reason for this increasing popularity is not only the convenient location that serviced apartments tend to offer, but also the comfort, privacy, and a homely feel, which make for a more pleasant and unique travel experience. As many of these serviced apartments also include communal areas, such as lounges, kitchens, and workspaces, they can be suitable for anything from socializing to effortlessly taking care of essential business obligations.

Choosing efficient design over luxury

Considering the fact that renters are increasingly looking for new and fully furnished properties that align with their aspirational lifestyles, it’s no surprise that micro-apartments are becoming a rising trend. And as these tenants generally choose a creative and efficient design that offers everything they need over the luxury of wasted space, such as basements, garages, and additional rooms, smaller living spaces become the best possible solution. The limited square footage of micro-apartments means that the interior design needs to be carefully planned and thought out in advance, offering perfectly placed, essential furniture, as well as innovative storage and other space-saving solutions. Evidently, the mere nature of small apartments caters to the minimal lifestyle favored among younger generations.

A sustainable accommodation option

With the need for a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle also come more ethical and sustainable practices. Living in a small space means that there’s not enough room for excess, unnecessary belongings, which leads micro-apartment renters to reduce their need to purchase and consume resources, but rather find new ways to be more environmentally conscious. As a number of micro-apartments are also incorporated in different co-living spaces that share communal areas such as living rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and entertainment spaces, this also means that the total amount of water and energy consumed is significantly smaller compared to conventional living arrangements, making for a more sustainable and eco-friendly housing option.

Evidently, the current housing and lifestyle trends are heavily influenced by younger people aiming for a simpler, more convenient, and more affordable living arrangement. And considering the fact that living in a micro-apartment provides all the advantages of living in an urban city, without any staggering costs, it’s safe to assume that the small living trend will only continue to rise in the future.

10 Bathroom Remodeling Ideas That Won’t Blow Your Budget

Redecorating bathrooms is a huge business. In fact, bathroom design has become more of a movement than just a business, with an estimated $158 billion being spent according to figures published by the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association. Bathrooms comprise almost half of that total.

Whether you can’t afford to spend much on a bathroom remodel or would just rather not, there are plenty of ways to redecorate a bathroom without matching the national debt. If you are looking for a way to do Bathroom Remodeling on a Budget, here are 10 ideas that will help.

 

1. Become green.

One way to decorate a bathroom that is quick, easy, and inexpensive is to add plants. A plant can be selected that will add virtually any color of the rainbow to brighten a bathroom and improve your mood. Plants will also help to purify the air in a confined area. They will also help to reduce moisture by absorbing the dampness. Some of the best plants that add color and utility to a bathroom are peace lilies, bamboo palms, Boston ferns, and weeping figs.

 

2. Update Tilework.

Tile has been popular for use in bathrooms for years. Not only is it affordable and will dress up a bathroom better and faster than usually thought, but it’s easy to clean as well.

There are plenty of ideas out there for how tile can be used, and they won’t blow your budget. Perhaps best of all, tile will last for years and is unlikely to go out of style any time soon.

To save even more on your tile expense try to limit it to areas that are likely to get splashed with water or suffer from steam. Areas, where less tile is used, can be painted with mold-resistant paint to prevent damage.

 

3. The Latest and greatest: Art.

There was a time when art was a decorating option for nearly every room of the house except the bathroom. Today, however, art is becoming more commonplace for every room in a home, including the bathroom. Art in virtually any form—from painting to sculpture—is in just as great a demand for bathrooms as for any other room in a house.

To begin, paint a wall, then add some kind of art that has a primary color to complement the rest of the room. Try picking out some gift-frame art that add a touch of glamour to the bathroom. There’s nothing like being able to see a picture of your family while soaking in the tub.

One concern many people have over adding art to the bathroom is keeping it protected from moisture. This can be done by limiting the amount of steam via good ventilation. Frames can also be sealed and kept away from the wall with bumper pads add to each corner.

 

4. Update the bathtub and shower.

One of the most expensive items to replace in a bathroom is the tub or shower. If you think replacing these is your only option, think again. Instead, a tub or shower can be given a fresh new look by removing stains, resurfacing it, and touching up the old grout. This job takes patience, but the new look will be well worth the effort. Best of all, that new look will last for years.

Another way to make your tub or shower looks great is to cover everything around it. Paint, tile, wallpaper, or other surfacing can be used to make the surrounding area look great.

 

5. Spread some color.

A few small pieces of décor in complementary colors will give your bathroom a totally new look. Colorful new towels, a soap dish/toothbrush holder, and other items will give your bathroom an immediate new life. Colorful candles (don’t forget scents) are an attractive and inexpensive way to add a relaxing touch.

Little things like these can not only make your bathroom stand out, but you might be tempted to go in and never come out.

 

6. Window work.

Windows can be made to look practically new without even touching them by replacing curtains and other coverings. Not only are there many types and styles of curtains to choose from, but a look can be updated with blinds, shades, and even shutters. Letting your likes and dislikes dictate the look of your windows will guarantee that they will end up being very unique.

 

7. Cabinets and class.

Despite what many people think, cabinets are one of the easiest things in a bathroom to upgrade. All that’s needed is some water-resistant paint and a little drying time. Even the hardware can be easy to replace to fit a new style.

When you go shopping for your new hardware, be sure to have your old fittings with you so that you purchase something with the same screw configuration. This way there is no need to fill old holes and drill new ones.

 

8. Recycled chic.

Thrift shops and second-hand stores are a great place to find tons of finds for bathroom redecorating. Look enough and there might even be faucets, bathroom furniture, and other items.

Shopping online has become the latest source for nearly everything, including new looks for your bathroom. Not only can these treasures be found in numerous stores and outlets, but it can also be used for comparison shopping.

 

9. Flat on the floor.

As ugly as a floor can become over time, it can be remarkably easy to bring it back to life. There are ready to cut carpets available, throw rugs, and other options. If there is a wood floor in the bathroom, try refinishing it. There is also vinyl flooring that looks great and is surprisingly inexpensive.

 

10. Lighting up.

As daunting as replacing lighting might seem, achieving a new look can be remarkably easy. Get rid of an old light cover or shade to create something that is nothing short of dazzling. There are still other lighting options, including pendant lights, wall sconces, and even stick-on lights, to add a dash of snazzy.

 

Adding Up the Savings

Suffice it to say that considerable amounts of money can be saved when redecorating a bathroom. All it takes for a totally new look is planning, a little resourcefulness, and some creativity.

Improving Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Modern homes are sealed to keep out drafts. Unfortunately, that means that they keep indoor  toxins in. That is, the air in your home may be more polluted than the air outside. Since we spend more time indoors than our ancestors did, it can endanger our health. Fortunately, keeping healthy indoor air requires only a few simple steps.

 

Maintain your furnace

Do you have a forced warm air furnace? Then you have at least one air filter to maintain. You should at least get filters that block lint, household dust, mold spores, pollen, and smoke. Speaking of smoke, if you smoke, stop. Tobacco smoke dirties indoor air the way it dirties you lungs. Also, be careful about fireplaces, candles, and incense.

Some filters also block bacteria and viruses. Be careful with those, however. The pores are so tiny that they can keep adequate air from returning to the furnace. Put in a new filter at least every three months, the virus-blocking ones even more often. And keep an eye on it. Change it when it’s dirty, not according to the calendar.

 

Use a humidifier

In the winter, the air in our homes can be dryer than a desert. Overly dry air dries out our bodies. We can get chapped lips, itchy skin, and a dry sore throat.

Static electricity more easily builds up. We get a shock when we get close to something metal. Static cling makes our clothes stick to already uncomfortable skin. Unfortunately, dry air feels cooler. But if we turn up the thermostat, we only dry the air even more. Not only that, but air that’s too dry can harm our furniture and the structure of the house.

In the summer time, your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier to keep your home from getting too moist. But in the winter, you need a humidifier to add moisture. You can get one to attach to your furnace or smaller room humidifiers of three different basic designs.

 

Open windows and doors

Indoor air becomes stale if it isn’t exchanged for outside air. Even modern sealed homes allow some outside air to enter and drive out the stale air. But perhaps not enough.

Even in the coldest parts of winter or the hottest parts of summer, opening doors and windows from time to time helps indoor air quality. Of course, you needn’t keep them open for very long. In extreme temperatures, normal coming and going might exchange enough air.

In moderate temperatures, when you don’t need to run either the furnace or the air conditioner, leave windows open longer.

 

Use houseplants

Most people probably choose houseplants for their beauty. Most people know that plants breath in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. So houseplants keep indoor air from becoming stale.

Less well known, at least some houseplants can remove common air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzine.

 

Control dust

Now here’s where improving indoor air quality requires some extra effort. Your air filter traps dust, but it’s better to keep it out of the air in the first place. Regular vacuuming and dusting surfaces like end tables keeps the air cleaner.

 

Eliminate volatile organic compounds

Modern sealed buildings lead to so-called sick building syndrome. People who live and work in sick buildings suffer a variety of allergy symptoms. These come not from the sealing of the building, but from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Certain solids and liquids––thousands of products in all––emit these possibly toxic gases.

Some VOCs come from new carpeting or furniture. Most of them come from products for cleaning, disinfecting, or, ironically, air fresheners. Cosmetics, dry-cleaned clothes, bug-killers, paint, and various hobby products also emit VOCs.

If a product––bleach, for example––stinks, you’re smelling a VOC. The stench indicates a toxic chemical.

Unfortunately, in our sealed buildings, VOCs linger in the air long after we’ve finished using the products that emit them. Concentrations of VOCs are higher indoors than out, regardless of whether the building is in an urban area with bad air or out in the countryside. Indoor air may have twice or even ten times the concentration as outdoor air.

Houseplants and air filters remove some of these pollutants, but it’s better not to turn them loose in the house in the first place.

If you paint, look for a low VOC paint. Alternatively, keep the window open. Put a box fan in the window to blow outside.
Whenever possible, buy new furniture or carpets when you can keep windows open and use an exhaust fan.
Don’t use bleach or other toxic products indoors.
Prefer cleaning supplies that do not contain VOCs.
Don’t use air fresheners.

 

Check for radon

Radon is a radioactive gas, which can cause cancer. It occurs naturally in soil. The interior of your house probably has lower air pressure than the soil. So it can act like a vacuum cleaner, sucking air from the soil.

Well water, too, can have high levels of radon. Running the water releases radon into the air.

Your house probably has some radon in it. If any part of your home is below ground, it has more than it would otherwise. Since you can’t see or smell radon, you can’t know if you have a dangerous level of it without testing. You can either buy a radon detection kit or have a contractor perform the test.

Consumer Reports counsels not to believe manufacturers’ claims that air purifiers take radon from the air. If a test shows a problem, have a contractor install a radon-reducing system for your  house.

 

About the author: David Guion is founder and editor of the respected blog Sustaining Our World. A retired librarian, he served for three years on a university sustainability committee.

How to Maintain a Healthy Garden – 7 Useful Tips

If you are a nature lover like me, then why not create a beautiful garden in your backyard, especially if you have the space for gardening? A garden not just uplifts the aesthetic appeal of the house but also gives you your own zen area to relax. Gardening is a hobby you need to develop as there is a lot of work involved to maintain a beautiful garden. We have discussed a few tips below to help you keep it clean and healthy.

 

1. Learn Thoroughly About the Plants You Choose

Each plant has different sunlight, nutrients, and water requirements. You cannot water all the plants equally and a few plants may need extreme sunlight whereas others may die if exposed to extreme sunlight. Do thorough research about all the plants you choose for your backyard to make sure you are taking the best care of them.

 

2. Maintain Proper Spacing

Make sure to maintain adequate distance between the plants as the roots need space to spread. If plants are placed in a crowded manner then the plants will grow poorly as they would compete for water, nutrients, and light.

 

3. Prune the Damaged Limbs Timely

 

It is essential to prune the damaged parts of the plant. If not, the plant will divert all its energy and most nutrients to the damaged part in order to salvage it which may affect the health of the entire plant. A wounded limb is also prone to disease that may spread to the entire plant. Make clean cuts that heal rapidly.

 

4. Use Fertilizers Carefully

It is obvious that you will have to use fertilizers in order to give your plants the essential nutrients, but then you need to be careful about choosing the right fertilizer for your plants. All your plants may need different nutrient combinations to grow better, and using the wrong fertilizer can burn the roots. To avoid these, get a soil test done by a local agency to get the information about nutrient levels and the soil so you know your next steps.

 

5. Fence Your Garden

 

An open backyard without a fence is never a good idea as critters, strays and even wild animals like deers can be attracted by the plants you are growing and soil your entire garden. Especially young plants are more prone to danger if not protected from these animals, hence fence your entire garden using metal fencing material to protect it from all large animals and small critters.

 

6. Treat for Bugs and Insects

Keep checking your plants for any infestation as insect damage is common in plants and if not treated can spread to other plants. There are chemical sprays available for different types of bugs and insects, consult an expert before you use any of those on your affected plants.

 

7. Keep it Clean and Tidy

An untidy garden will promote the growth of insects and germs, hence occasionally clean the garden to save your plants and also create a beautiful-looking garden for you to enjoy.

Plants are essential parts of our ecosystem and the more we can plant trees, the lesser our carbon footprint will be. Hence consider taking up gardening as your new hobby as it is not just good for you but the entire planet.

Dealing With a Clogged Drain Should You Resolve the Issue Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Dealing with a clogged drain can be a hassle, but it’s a task that’s always best performed as soon as possible after the issue arises. Clear pipes are important not just to the home’s plumbing, but to the health of its inhabitants. Read on to find out when to attempt a DIY repair and when to call a professional.

Clogged Toilets

Plungers are available at just about every hardware store for a reason. They’re helpful tools for resolving minor clogs, especially in toilets. When using the plunger, make sure it is locked to the drain with a perfect seal and try plunging it at least a dozen times. If this doesn’t work, it might be time to call a plumber. Homeowners can check out maplewoodplumbing.com to find out about one local company that can help.

Minor Clogs Close to the Surface

If there’s a bit of hair stuck near the opening of the drain, a home drain auger might be able to get it out. These devices aren’t as strong as the tools used by professionals, though, so they may not be able to get past the blockage. If homeowners can’t remove the blockage using a drain snake, they should call a plumber. Professional plumbers have access to better, stronger equipment, and it’s often motorized to provide faster results.

Multiple Drains Are Clogged

If multiple drains in the home are clogged, backing up, or running slowly, there’s little homeowners can do about it by themselves. Don’t bother with DIY fixes. The blockage is almost definitely too far down. A plumber with high-tech equipment and professional training will be able to locate and resolve it quickly, but DIY methods for removing it will likely prove ineffective and frustrating.

Built-Up Soap or Grease

If there’s soap built up in a bathroom drain or grease in a kitchen drain, homeowners may be able to remove it themselves by pouring boiling water down the sink. Try pouring it in three stages to give the water time to work through the clog, or use baking soda and vinegar before pouring in the boiling water to maximize its effectiveness. If that doesn’t work, or if it works for a little while but the clog comes back, call a plumber.

Repeated Clogs

Even if one of the DIY methods mentioned above works perfectly the first time, they aren’t fool-proof, and they don’t address the underlying plumbing problems. If one or more drains keep backing up, call a plumber to inspect the home’s plumbing system. He or she may be able to suggest ways to prevent future issues.

What About Chemical Drain Cleaners?

Homeowners may be tempted to use chemical drain cleaners to resolve their plumbing issues, but they shouldn’t give in to the temptation. They’re bad for the home’s plumbing, residents’ health, and the environment. In houses with septic systems, using chemical drain cleaners can even cause the system to stop working entirely.

If baking soda and vinegar, boiling water, plungers, and home drain augers don’t resolve the clog, a chemical drain cleaner won’t either. All it will do is cause homeowners more problems.

The Bottom Line

Minor clogs can sometimes be resolved at home using common tools and products like baking soda, vinegar, and plungers. Serious clogs that can’t be broken up, keep coming back, or affect multiple drains are best handled by professionals.

Effective Ways on How to Detect a Hidden Leak In Your Plumbing

Water leaks can result in major problems in your property, especially when it’s left unnoticed. Hidden water leaks can cost you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars yearly! This is because, in addition to your water bills rising, the water damage costs increase the more you leave the leaks to become a more serious issue.

That’s why you need to monitor your plumbing and watch out for any signs for hidden leaks you can repair immediately. Read on as I show you the different ways you can detect hidden leaks in the plumbing.

How to Detect Hidden Leaks In the Plumbing

You don’t need to be an absolute expert in your plumbing to know if you have a hidden leak. Watch out for these signs that indicate hidden leaks so you can head to a plumber Brisbane to have it repaired immediately!

1. Monitor the Water Meter and Bills

The best way to tell if there are any water leaks is to check your water meter. Switch off all the water in the house, shutting off all faucets and ensuring no appliance is running. Watch the meter and see if it changes. 

If it changes, then there is a quick-moving leak. If not, check back after two hours, and when you notice changes, it indicates a slow leak.

Check your water bills as well, as a rising water bill despite having similar washing habits can indicate a leak. Compare previous water bills and see if there is a steady increase. You can also check your water usage to see if it looks like the household has been using even more water lately even without changing anything.

2. Check the Faucets

The source of water leaks can come from your faucets, usually coming from worn rubber washes. Check if there are any leaks from the faucet, or if you can, open it up and see if you see anything wrong. Fortunately, you can easily replace and repair faucet parts yourself with the proper knowledge and equipment you can find from hardware stores. 

3. Detect Water Leaks From the Toilet

Another culprit is the toilet, and a leak one can waste hundreds of gallons of water! Check if there’s a leak by adding a few drops of food coloring to its tank. You can also use dye tabs from the hardware store.

Allow the coloring to saturate the water, waiting for half an hour without flushing. If colors come through the tank and to your toilet bowl, there may be a leak.

Furthermore, your toilet may have a leak if you have to jiggle its handle to avoid the toilet from running. There may be an issue with the chain sticking and/or flush bar.

4. Visual Inspections

You can perform a visual inspection of your home beyond your usual appliances, faucets, and toilet. Leaks that come from plumbing inside your walls or ceiling go unnoticed usually and only repaired when it’s too late. You can stop these leaks with simple regular visual inspections. 

Check the walls and ceiling of all the rooms. If there are unusual discolorations or staining, there might be a leak. Also watch out for any mold or strange dips form the walls or ceiling, which is also a cause from water leaking.

5. Underground and Exterior Water Leaks

Outdoor and underground water leaks are costly to repair, so watch out if some areas of your yard are softer or darker than the rest, or unusual water flow from the driveway. If one area stays wet despite dry spells or puddles that look out of place, this indicates underground leaks.

6. It’s Common Sense!

Besides the tips mentioned above, you can also check other parts of your home. You should be more vigilant if you have a home that’s over 25 years old. The plumbing system is already on the declining stage of its life expectancy by that time. 

Regularly check the backs of your cabinets, as well as under basins if there are any foul smells or mold, which indicate leaks. Check the connections of your water heater, pumps, washing machine, dishwashers, and other appliances for discoloration or oxidation, another sign of slow leaking.

Wrapping It Up

When you detect water leaks early, you can save a lot of money and prevent disaster at home! Fortunately, it isn’t that difficult to detect leaking, whether hidden or not. You simply need knowledge and time to monitor your water and plumbing performance. 

I hope that these ways to detect hidden leaks in the plumbing helped you out! Don’t wait any longer and take a look at your plumbing and water flow to see if your home may have hidden leaks.

Would you like to ask any questions or share your knowledge of hidden water leaks? Share it in the comments section below, all your thoughts are much appreciated!

How to Practice Sustainability when Working From Home

If you’re among those who are learning to work from home all of a sudden, then all of your normal routines have probably flown out the window. You may be eating different types of foods, trying to keep your kids entertained, educated, and fed while you work remotely, and trying to manage your mental and physical health.

One thing that can easily get neglected as you change routines, though, is sustainability. We can’t forget that in addition to living in a world experiencing a pandemic, we’re also still battling climate change and its disastrous consequences.

So how can you find balance? How can you stay sustainable, safe, and productive when working from home? Here are some tips to get you started.

Before You Stock the Shelves with Sustainable Food, Make Sure Your Kids Aren’t Allergic!

With grocery stores experiencing shortages, your normal options for feeding your family might not be accessible. If you’re trying to stock your shelves with sustainable food, you might be looking at new products and meal solutions for feeding a house full of people three meals a day.

It’s important to remember, though, before you add a bunch of new sustainable food to your shelves, to check for allergens that might affect your family. About 7.6% of children have a food allergy in the United States, and some of them experience severe reactions. Not only are allergic reactions to food very scary, but medical care can be more difficult to access during a pandemic.

Healthy food is important for wellness in your household, but so is safety. Research products before you buy them and keep an eye out for the eight most common allergens that affect children. You don’t want to buy a bunch of food only to find your family can’t eat it. That’s not sustainable at all!

Support Companies That Are Sustainable and Socially Responsible

Companies are facing enormous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many small businesses are unlikely to survive the sudden loss of income caused by social distancing.

In these desperate times, it’s more important than ever to support businesses that practice effective corporate social responsibility and commit to sustainability. Without support from consumers, they may not be able to bounce back once things start to return to normal.

Show your support by shopping from your favorite sustainable businesses online or buy gift cards for future use. You can also help by encouraging friends and families to shop from these kinds of businesses as well.

Every Work Space Needs Plants – Just Make Sure Your Watering Practices Are Sustainable

Working from home can be tough, especially when you’re not used to it. One of the ways you can make your workspace and home brighter is by adding some sustainable decorations, like plants. Plants can help improve your mood and can even spice up your meals if you choose edible varieties.

With that said, it’s important to make sure that you’re caring for your plants sustainably, both indoors and out. Reducing your dependency on the hose and tap to water your plants is a smart solution for you and the planet. Consider putting up a rain barrel or even just a few small containers outside for collecting water that you can use to keep your plants happy and healthy.

Consider Practicing an Eco-Sabbath

If you’re feeling helpless about practicing sustainability, then it can really help to regain some sense of control, even if just for a day (or an hour). An eco-Sabbath is a predefined period of time where you avoid using resources. This includes anything that runs on electricity (and electricity, period), cooking (which uses energy), and purchasing.

Eco-Sabbaths might not be realistic for your family, but they can be a great way to pause and reflect while reducing your impact at least a little bit. Try a short Sabbath at first and work your way up to a day-long Sabbath once a week. It’s an opportunity not only to use fewer resources, but to read, write, and spend time with your family while shutting out electronics and other distractions.

Sustainability, Uncertainty, and a New Way of Life

The pandemic has upended life as we know it, and there’s a lot of uncertainty in our world right now. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on sustainability, though. Think of the wins—you’re probably driving less, eating out less, and spending less by working from home—all of which helps the environment. The economic impact may be devastating, but the silver lining might be a more sustainable world for a little while.

Ideas to Embrace Nature and Go Solar!

The world’s revolutionizing and solar energy is helping us all to adopt an environmentally friendly life! With coal and water under the threat of extinction and electricity bills surging up higher, the sun is actually a God sent blessing for the world. It’s freely available and is inexhaustible (Bless the Sun!). The experts have utilized this free energy wisely enough and harnessed it to gift us solar powered products and gadgets.

The solar powered gadgets are nothing short of magic in our lives today. You can utilize them for long and don’t even have to worry about paying the bill for the same. And if we add to the benefits, you can actually be paid by the State (in some places) if you own solar panels in your property! So, isn’t solar energy a great inclusion in our lives? And we could actually benefit from it more if we utilize its different ways in our day to day life!

Ø A list of best solar powered devices for your regular lifestyle!

Gone are the days when solar energy was looked upon hesitantly and people used to shy away using the same. Today, you’ll see almost everything utilizing solar power and operating excellently everywhere. Below, we have listed some tips which can bring that magic of the power of the sun to your daily domestic life better and cut down your electricity charges too.

o Solar panels — There are lots of cheap solar panels available in Melbourne via Wattsup Solar and Electrical, which provides you economical options that last for decades. These can be easily put up on your roofs and you can cut down your electricity bill to an admirable all-time low. And as said above, you may even get paid for the amount of energy you conserve through your panels.

o Solar water heaters — Most people nowadays complain about the high usage of electricity and gas used to heat their water. With solar heaters, you can consume hot water in a chilled climate and wouldn’t need to stress about the hike in your bills because of it.

o Solar charger —Mobile chargers are a must for everyone today! You just couldn’t function without smartphones, and your phones require chargers to operate. You can skip to solar chargers which would really make your life a lot easier. Carry it anywhere, without worrying about the plugs or sockets — simply charge them throughout the day under the sun and fill the battery of your device through them during the night.

o Solar oven — Cooking is a daily chore in almost all households. And most of us carry out this task through stoves and ovens which are either fuelled or run through electricity. While solar ovens are an excellent investment. They work similarly as the electrical one but don’t cost you a hefty bill.

o Solar lights — Yes, we are even fortunate enough to have solar lights in our life. These are a great alternative to the electrical ones, as they provide better brightness and last longer, along with reducing your utility bills.

These are some excellent gadgets listed especially for easier domestic usage. They utilize maximum solar energy to make your life easier. Now, can you imagine the long list of benefits you can enjoy once you adopt them in your regular lifestyle?

6 Ways Industrial LED Lighting Cuts Energy Costs and Consumption Today

There should be no denying that, as time goes by, humanity, in general, becomes more aware of the environmental issues and looks for new ways to remedy the problems that are causing them. That is, by all means, commendable. However, it should be pointed out that, while our gaze is set for the future, we are missing an opportunity to solve a lot of problems here and now.

Take for instance lighting that, according to recent estimation, makes up for 15% of worldwide energy consumption and 5% of global greenhouse gas emission. And all that because a huge number of existing businesses and entire industries are still relying on legacy lighting systems. Let us take a look at some of the ways this situation can be changed by a simple transition to more contemporary industrial LED lighting. 

More light produced by less energy

When we think about the incentives the business world could have for the transition to energy-efficient LED lighting systems, we can’t think of a better argument than the simple fact that industrial LED bulbs are simply brighter or, in other words, produce more light. For instance, while a good old incandescent bulb requires as much as 40 watts to produce 450 lumens, LED bulbs are producing the same output with no more than 6-9 watts.

Translate these numbers to vast industrial facilities and huge office spaces, and you will only begin to realize how much power we are wasting with dated lighting systems.

Incredible efficiency per fixture

This can be considered to be the other side of the same coin but it is still worth mentioning that, although the lumen output of LED lights is constantly high, their efficiency per fixture often goes off the charts. Just how efficient they can get? Well, according to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, that efficiency can go as high as 80% or 90% more than conventional lighting systems. Of course, you can’t expect the numbers to constantly be that high but smart selection of fixtures can take your business quite far.

LED light is better focused

So, as we can see, LED lights are far brighter and more efficient than their obsolete incandescent counterpart. But, that’s only the beginning of the story. When you are trying to lighten up a factory hall or an office space, your goal is to allow your employees to perform their tasks with optimal efficiency and without too much eyestrain. It is good to know then that the LED light solutions, like the ones produced by BUCK Lighting from Serbia, are not only efficient, but are also incredibly focused and human-centric. That means that the watts you are investing in lighting won’t be used for lighting up the walls, but utilized where they are needed the most.    

LED lights are designed for smart controls

Traditional HPS fixtures sometimes take a lot of time to heat up and reach the full output. Unlike them, LED lights are capable of reaching the optimal lumen output as soon as they are turned on. That makes them a far more suitable companion for smart controls and IoT-managed performance.

Take for instance occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors. If your lighting system takes too much time to warm up, both these technologies are made somewhat obsolete. Sure, the differences may look insignificant at first glance, but after endless cycles of ons and offs, the wastes tend to pile up in the long run.

Low maintenance costs

One of the common complaints the critics like to point out in regards to LED lights is their supposedly high up-front price. This claim could not be further from the truth. Not only has the price of LED fixtures seen considerable drops over the last decade, but the very bulbs themselves last up to 25 times longer than their incandescent counterparts. All these numbers mean that the upfront price of LED lighting systems more than pays off in the long run.

Also, such a long lifespan effectively cuts the maintenance costs to a negligible price. The amount you would invest in new bulbs and maintenance crew can, thus, be invested in other energy-efficient upgrades.

New opportunities for branding and governmental rebates

Although this mention is not primarily concerned with the efficiency of the very LED lighting systems, it can’t be denied that the global business and political climate is making huge steps in the eco-friendly direction. Because of that, making your business more sustainable can open the doors for some pretty exciting branding opportunities and even governmental rebates. Much like in the previous examples, the money you are going to receive can be later spent on making additional energy-efficient upgrades within your company.

We hope these few arguments we have presented above gave you an idea of just how important the introduction of LED lights can be for the future of your business. Putting aside the environmental angle that is only going to become more relevant as time goes by, LED light systems simply make more financial sense than their obsolete incandescent alternative. In a business climate like this, every opportunity to make your business leaner and more efficient should, by all means, be used.

Landscaping Supplies You Need To Create a Beautiful Garden

A beautiful backyard not only makes your house look more welcoming and homely, but it also increases the property value. Some professional landscapers have all the landscaping supplies and equipment to work in your backyard. You can hire professional landscapers, or if you so choose, you can also work in your backyard. If you want the latter option, you may need to make a list of all the landscaping supplies you will need in the process of making a garden. Not only that, but you will also have to order all the necessary tools and equipment. Do remember that some of the materials may be hard to source, or may not be available locally.

Here Are Some of The Necessary Landscaping Supplies That You Need for The Task.

Soil

This is a no-brainer. You need to select a soil that will be good for the plants you are going to plant. Not only that, but the soil should also be compatible with the existing soil in your backyard. You may think that all soils are the same, but they are not. There are different varieties of soil; some are more porous than others. Some even contain toxins. You need to choose carefully. If you can try and smell the soil, if you smell anything rusty or funny, then you should know that the soil will likely damage your backyard and plants. Also, you should check for the soil texture. Good soil will not have any or few stones in it and also will not contain any clumps. When you lay a new soil over the existing soil, make sure that you mixed the soils.

You also need an excellent fertilizer that can replenish the existing soil if it lacks nutrients.

Gravel

Now you can use this to provide support for the paving, or you can use this to decorate your garden and create some contrast with the greenery. Gravels are mostly used in different sizes when they are to be used for paving purposes. When gravel is used for decoration, people tend to opt for similar sized and shapes to create uniformity. Also, you need gravel when it comes to landscaping because if you have a gravel runway in your backyard, you can use heavy cars and trucks without causing any damage to the grass and the soil.

There is yet another use for this landscaping supply. Gravel helps in draining the water from the grass and soil, which means, you will not face the problem of stagnant water and the growth of flies and mosquitoes around your house.

Mulch

Mulch is used as a form of a coating or to finish the landscaping project. Mulch traps in moisture within the soil, to keep the grass and the plants hydrated. Also, it means that you do not have to water the plants and the grass too often. 

Weed is a big problem when it comes to your backyards. There is one way to tackle weed, you can use mulch. Yes, mulch cover is a great way to keep weeds from growing in your backyard!

Sand

No landscaping supplies can be complete without sand. The types of sand that you can get depend entirely on your region. You can find various kinds of colored sand, which also differ in their sizes and texture. What sand you are supposed to use entirely depends on what you are going to use that sand for? Are you going to use it for creating your kid’s sandpit, or are you going to use it for paving?

Conclusion

Landscapers mainly use clean river washed sands that are not contaminated to create standouts, but if you are going to use for paving, you need to use a type of sand that contains a large amount of clay in it to create a good stable base.

Now that you know what supplies you need to create a garden, you should hurry up and source these materials!