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.


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.


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 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!


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?


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!

Best Tips for Placing Furniture In The Right Place

One of the best things about living in Toronto, other than its quality of life is the condominium life.

That’s right, the city is renown for curbing urban sprawl by mixing housing lots with apartment buildings at a distance from the city center. This resulted in the construction of lofts, condominiums, and apartments.

Apart from being the cultural and business capital of Canada, Toronto is a renowned international center for finance, business, culture, and arts. The Canadian metropolis is a prominent center for television & motion picture production, theatre, and music. It boasts numerous museums and galleries, festivals and public events, entertainment districts, national historic sites, and sports activities.

In addition, the city attracts more than 43 million tourists each year thanks to the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. Toronto is home to Canada’s major broadcast networks, media outlets, businesses, and financial institutions.

It is no wonder that the city attracts people from Canada and all over the world.

Torontonians have been buying all sorts of homes throughout the city’s modern history and condos are no stranger. Thanks to robust sales from ad placements of Toronto Condos, the city’s real-estate market has seen robust growth since 1988.

Now, let us move on to living in Condos in Toronto.

Condo living comes in many kinds. A lot of Torontonians went minimalist but maximalism is making a return. Condos aren’t as big as houses hence furniture placement in condos should focus more on movement and ease of living over aesthetics (but it doesn’t mean the condo should look bad). In fact, let us look at these top tips to help condo owners bring out the best in their furniture layout.

1. Form after function

An important factor in arranging any room is understanding the layout as well as reflecting upon how to use the living space. An example would be sofa placement. Two sofas facing each other does look good, but if the sofa is in front of the TV and is needed for watching it, then such an idea isn’t good.

In short, condo residents must determine what should be within an arm’s reach, how much room is needed, and how much space should be between each furniture item.

2. Allow room for flow

For the die-hard interior design enthusiast, an empty room is an ideal canvas to work upon, a blank slate giving a free hand in getting creative. Once the furniture arrives in, residents can arrange it any way they want and even get creative.

But for the impulsive buyer and maximalist lover, this can start feeling overwhelming.

Well, not everyone wants to be a minimalist but allowing room for movement is the best thing to do. Allowing up to three feet of walking space at least between furnishings.

3. Never underestimate the power of balance

Regardless of whether residents love symmetry in design or not, they must understand that balance is important in any living space. They can achieve it by visually counteracting a large piece of furniture with two small furniture items or placing a hanging pendant by a tall floor lamp.

Getting colors and patterns done right in the balance game will help bring the Zen in the condo in no time at all.

4. Never forget in creating a zoning process

In an open-plan space, residents can use their furniture arrangements in creating cozy rooms. They can also designate specific areas for specific use as a separate area for work in a bedroom and a separate zone on the TV shelf for a gaming console.

Placing a rug under a pair of sofas or a group of chairs creates a conversation zone. Likewise, placing a captivating chandelier over a table creates a unique dining area and turning a sofa with its back to the rest of the room indicates a living room.

5. Do not make a seat feel lonely

A cozy armchair is a cozy armchair but there is something odd if it just hangs there lonely. No one is just going to sit on it only. It needs a cushion on it, a surface or a table to accompany it, which can host a cup of coffee, a glass of soda, a laptop, phone or a tablet.

It also needs some light (a lamp or bearing near a window). In fact, a buddy chair is needed too as it is helpful in creating a company of two people sitting and chatting together.

6. There is no need for stacking everything against the wall

You heard it, and it should not come to any resident as a surprise. Small rooms can, however, be treated as an exemption. Even if there is a party in the condo, there is no need to push all the furniture up against the wall.

For example, giving a sofa at least 11 or 12 inches of breathing space can create the illusion of a space that is large and airy.

7. Have a clear vista

When residents wish to increase the sense of space, they must understand the importance of keeping the eyeliners clear across a room. This does not mean being frugally minimalist (because it will be boring and not fun).

Rather, it means paying special attention to things placed in front of windows and those placed in front of room entrances. Other than that, it is fair to play with the height of furnishings.

8. Look for focus

Does every room need a huge lamp, a beautiful work of art or some peculiar wallpaper? It is, however, important to arrange the furniture in a way to make the best use of what the condo has. The furniture must be arranged in such that it gives both residents and visitors a beautiful view of the town from the window, keeping it low to showcase period paneling or both.

9. Do not hesitate in experimenting

Among the best things a room can have, furniture is one of them. A lot of people often get accustomed to one layout and convince themselves that it is the only thing that works well. However, moving a chair, shifting a sofa or changing the bed’s orientation is more than enough to give the condo a fresh new breath of life.

10. No need to be rigid with your condo’s layout

Residents can read all handbooks they like on home improvement, can read all catalogs and can see what others have done. But they do not necessarily need to gobble them all up because they can break those rules with creativity to add the missing sparks that make their home beautiful.

They should let their imagination expand so they can make their condo look great and feel welcoming. Hence, experimenting with the layout is one of the best things to do when placing furniture in the condo.

5 Top Tips to Fix a Broken Water Pipe Outside

Fixing the water pipe outside is a fairly simple task that you can handle on your own and on a budget. Now, there are various methods to do so but the quickest and simplest method of doing so is to use a so-called C-clamp. For this to work, you need to handle two fairly simple preparatory tasks and handle several simple materials and tools. Here’s how you can get this done.

1. Turn off the water

The first thing you need to do in order to fix a broken water pipe is to turn off the water. For this, you need to find either the valve controlling the flow of water to that particular area or the main water valve. Either way, shutting off the main water valve is a simpler solution and a safer choice. Still, for this to work, you have to figure out where the valve in question actually is. Fortunately, even if you don’t know its location, finding the main water shutoff valve is a fairly simple task.

2. Drain the pipe

Just because the valve is off, this doesn’t mean that the pipe is not completely empty. So, turn on the tap or fixture that’s connected to the problem and wait until all the water comes out. This won’t take long and it can make your job so much easier. The key lies in knowing your home’s plumbing or just visually tracking the pipe through your property.


3. Place a piece of rubber over the area

Once the water is off, you need to seal the area of the leak. One way to do so is to place a piece of rubber over the area where the pipe is leaking. Keep in mind that these rubber pieces are quite inexpensive and you can even use an item like an old heater hose. This is something that you can find even on a junkyard and, due to the importance of this piece in the overall repair, it’s definitely worth your while to have one ready.

4. Put some pressure on the rubber

The next thing you need to do is fixate the piece of rubber and the simplest way to do so is to pressurize the rubber over the area with a suitable item. In this particular scenario, even a block of wood can be of use. Now, the problem with this lies in the balance, seeing as how the round pipe won’t allow you to put pressure all along the pipe. Instead, you’ll be able to pressure a narrow area, which, if done properly, should be enough.

5. Get a C-clamp

The most efficient way to handle this situation is to install a C-clamp around the damaged area. Ideally, you wouldn’t remove anything described above but would rather find a C-clamp that’s wide enough to surround the pipe, the gasket material and the block of wood in question. Ideally, you would look for the best plumbing services in your area but it’s quite reassuring to know that you can do a lot even on your own. Still, like with any other DIY project the results are never guaranteed.

In conclusion

The very last thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that fixing a broken water pipe doesn’t require too much plumbing experience, sophisticated tools or expensive materials. All you need is a rubber piece, a block of wood, a C-clamp and some tape. The majority of these items are something that every household already possesses, which means that you won’t have to go out of the way in order to prepare your inventory. Still, it’s always easier and more reliable to look for professional help.


Top Benefits of Couch and Loveseat Covers

The use of sofa and loveseat covers adds a new look and feel to your living room furniture. It adds a new life to your living area as well. In fact, you will get these covers in premium quality cotton that is second to none. 

According to an article published on, your living room needs renovation with sofa cushions, throws, and of course covers that steal your guests’ attention. The most essential aspect is the choice of material. No matter what you choose, the type of sofa and loveseat covers will lay the foundation of the color scheme of your living room. There are many benefits of using couch and loveseat covers. Here are some of the top advantages of the same: 

The fresh look of your home

Many homeowners think that home decoration or buying new couch covers will cost them dearly. Wrong! You will find quality materials and even eco-friendly sofa covers at a price that you can afford. For example, if you consider buying a new sofa cover, it is way cheaper and affordable than buying a new chaise longue. You can render a fresh look and feel to your old couch or loveseat without creating a dent in your wallet. 

Using recyclable sofa covers will not only make your living room furniture last for a long time but also prevent the dumping of an old sofa in the landfills. This way, you can contribute to a greener environment. Couch and loveseat covers are easy to slip over your existing furniture upholstery for that perfect look and feel. 

Enhances your home interior design

You want to take your home interior design to the next level. Yes, it is possible. Did you know that you could use a couch cover or loveseat cover as part of your home décor? It would help in improving the design and color scheme of your living space. 

There are many homeowners, who use couch covers to give their living area a seasonal facelift. It is just like a few people buy new window curtains every summer and winter. Sofa covers are useful if you embellish or shift to a new house and need to match up your living room furniture with the new color scheme of your new house or apartment.

Practical use

Though you can use a sofa or loveseat covers for improving the aesthetics of your living room, slipcovers also serve many practical purposes. Couch covers make your furniture durable, protect these from wear and tear, and keep the sofa upholstery clean and spotless. Slipcovers are easily removable and machine washable effortlessly. You can protect your sofa and loveseats from stains, blemishes, and spills. It helps to keep your sofa color and shape intact without further damage. That is the reason why pet owners prefer a sofa and loveseat cover. Pets leave their body fur and muddy paw marks on your couch. When you have slipcovers, you can clean these marks and keep your furniture intact. Couch covers also make your living room furniture look new and fresh. 


Now that you know about the benefits of sofa and loveseat covers, you will feel motivated to use them to protect your living room furniture.

Winning Eco-Solutions for Our Homes

Globally, builders, developers, and professional remodelers of family homes are offering more green options than ever before.

Interestingly, the start of this growth can be traced back a decade, to 2009, when the global recession in the residential construction market was at a very low ebb. One conceivable explanation researchers have found is that builders started to use the advantages of green building to attract buyers at a time when the market was exceptionally sluggish.

According to a SmartMarket report by the Massachusetts-based McGraw Hill Construction company, that discusses the growth of green multi- and single-family homes in a “recovering market,” the three primary triggers were:

  1. Continued increases in energy costs.
  2. Changes in code ordinances and building regulations including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Code Council (ICC) 700 National Green Building Standard which is approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
  3. Increasing availability and affordability of “green” products.

Additionally, various government and utility incentives placed an important role too. Unfortunately, many of these have been, or are being, phased out.

Statistics provided in the report show a phenomenal increase in green building projects. While builders that undertake very few (less than 16%) single-family home projects decreased progressively from 63% in 2011, 38% in 2013, 23% in 2015, to an anticipated 16% in 2018, those boasting that more than 90% of their projects were green rose from 12% in 2011 to 19% in 2013, 24% in 2015, to a projected 38% in 2018. The figures were similar for multi-family projects: from 69% in 2011, 46% two years later, to a consistent 21% from 2015-2018. Not as many boasted that more than 90% of their projects were green though a similar trend is evident. While there were only 6% in 2011 and 2013, this increased to 9% in 2015 and was expected to double to 18% in 2018.

Similarly, those firms undertaking remodeling projects, of which at least 90% of which were green increased from 7% in 2011 to 25% in 2018. Those admitting that less than 16% of their remodeling projects were green decreased from 70% in 2011 to 21% in 2018.

So what do builders and remodelers do to make homes green?

Eco-Solutions for Family Homes

Around 95% of builders and remodelers regard energy-efficiency as the most important element of green homes. Other important green practices that provide eco-friendly solutions include:

  • Durability of materials
  • Water efficiency that incorporates more water conservation products and practices
  • The use of materials that emit low volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Improved quality of indoor air
  • Management and reduction of construction waste and a focus on material conservation and recycling
  • Eco-friendly site planning and development with a focus on environmental sensitivity

The motivation for opting for eco-solutions varies, with the promise of long-term utility cost savings remaining the most powerful argument for going green. Operating efficiency is also a priority, followed by a belief that quality construction, along with durability and the need for reduced maintenance, is associated with so-called green features. Homeowners also consider high performance and sustainability important and, to a lesser extent, the fact that an eco-friendly home will have a reduced environmental impact.

Professionals play an important role in terms of identifying which green products, practices, and features are best for purpose and location. This includes builders, architects, and those providing engineering solutions in Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Moscow, or whichever city you live in or are near to.

Green Products, Practices, and Features

There are so many ways to ensure that our homes are eco-friendly. These are some of the winning solutions for new homes and renovations:

  • Ensure your house is energy-efficient in every possible way
    Switch to high-efficiency water heater and heating, air-conditioning, and cooling (HVAC) systems that are correctly sized and properly installed. Make sure all lighting and appliances are energy efficient. Insulation should exceed code minimums and windows should exceed code-mandated performance. Opt for above-code energy programs and passive solar design.
  • Do everything possible to conserve materials and resources
    While there are different priorities for new homes versus those being renovated, there is definite value in using more durable materials as well as recycled products or materials that are easily recycled. This is particularly true for homes that are being remodeled. The use of prefabricated components and engineered wood is gaining significant attention and interest as is the use of lumber that is certified to have been sustainably harvested.
  • Put systems in place that will enable you to conserve water
    The ability to conserve water comes from installing appliances and fixtures that are designed for this purpose. Efficient plumbing techniques also help a great deal. Look for WaterSense labels and harvest rainwater if you can.
  • Aim for the very best indoor environmental quality possible
    There are many products and practices that will improve the indoor environmental quality of your home from filtration and air-cleaning systems and low-VOC materials (including paint, synthetic fibers, wood finishing products, and cabinetry that contains formaldehyde) to systems that increase moisture control and ventilation. A company that offers mechanical engineering services in Chicago or wherever you live will be able to assist with the latter.

There is little doubt that the challenges of finding appropriate eco-solutions for your home will be easier if you work with a professional, there is certainly a lot that each and every one of us can do ourselves. It simply requires commitment.

About the author

Michael Tobias is the founder and principal of New York Engineers, an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America. He leads a team of 30+ mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers from the company headquarters in New York City, and has led more than 1,000 projects in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, and California, as well as Singapore and Malaysia. He is passionate about sustainability and renewable energy.

Things You Must Avoid Doing When You Hire a Moving Company

Moving to a new house or office can be a tiring thing to do and for many people, getting a moving company to help with this comes in handy. Once you decide that you do not want to do the moving by yourself, identifying and hiring a moving company is the next critical decision you need to make. There are many moving companies on the internet. However, finding the right company to handle this important task for you can be a challenging task. To ensure that you find a moving company like, here are the things you need to avoid once you embark on hiring a moving company:

Not sourcing for quotes from different moving companies

When hiring a moving company, you need to request for quotations from three or more different moving companies irrespective of where you are moving from. Failing to do this could mean paying more for a service that could have cost you more. When you have quotations from different moving companies, you will be able to compare costs and get an idea of the different experiences and benefits that each company offers. You also need to research each of the companies that have submitted quotations. With this information, you will be better equipped to hire a trustworthy and reputable moving company so that you avoid potential problems during the moving process.

Considering cost more than other factors

When hiring a moving company, it is not guaranteed that the company that quotes the least price will do a great job. Rather than focusing on how much a company will charge for the job, it is advisable to research the company thoroughly. It is important to note that where a moving company that presents a very low quote compared to others, that may be an indicator of the low quality of service that the company offers. Also, rogue companies may also attempt to lure customers by quoting very low prices, offering special offers and free services to entice people.

In addition to price and company experience, you also need to consider how far you will be moving. Ideally, local moving takes a day to complete and a small moving company that has a good reputation can get that done at a reasonable cost. On the other hand, long-distance moving is likely to take more than a day and will be more costly. For this, you’ll need to engage a larger moving company that has a good reputation. As such, be clear on the kind of move you will be making as well as the kind of moving company you need.

Not asking moving companies the right questions

The process of hiring a moving company is not easy. As such, there are many things you need to clarify with moving companies that you are considering to ensure you find the most reliable one and that your items will be handled safely.

 Ideally, a good moving company needs to provide you with all the details you need about the task and as experts in the profession, be able to address your questions even before you ask them. Even when they do this, you need to prepare your own questions to engage them because your moving will be unique in some way. You may also use those questions to gauge how transparent and thorough a moving company is with you. This will help you weed out rogue movers as many will avoid responding to specific questions and will tend to be ambiguous about issues such as insurance, moving fees and other critical details that you will need to know.

Not inviting the moving company to visit your house before you hire them

When asking moving companies to provide you with a quotation, you need to have them visit your house so they can see everything that needs to be moved. This way, they will be in a position to give you an accurate quotation. The visit is also important because it enables you to ensure that their quote matches the inventory of items that they move. In addition, consider developing your own household inventory before the moving company makes its own estimates. Such an inventory will give the movers a picture of all the items they will be moving and also enable you to have a discussion on items that need special handling with the moving company.

Not asking about extra fees that moving companies might charge

Before you hire a moving company, you need to find out whether there are any additional costs that could apply during the moving process. Such costs could be related to moving items up or down the stairs, not having a parking space near the house and item packing fees. To ensure that you do not get surprise fees, ensure that you find out from the moving company what other charges you will be responsible for.

Getting in Touch with Nature at Your Own Home 

Being able to spend some time in the open and enjoy nature is one of the most special feelings in the world. But if you do that in the comfort of your own home, it’s even better! If you’re one of those lucky people who live in a home that’s surrounded by a front and back yard, you simply have to make the most of it. Therefore, here are some of the best ways to get in touch with nature at your own home. 

Spice up your porch

Some people have a problem spending quality time in their front yard because they feel that everyone who passes by is able to see them. But if you design and build a great porch, you could be spending all your free time here – alone or with other people. You and your family could start having your meals there, or you could have a cup of coffee with your friends. Ultimately, you can even take a nap here or enjoy your books, but the most important thing is that you’ll be spending more time in the open than ever. 

Fix your deck

If you’re not a fan of letting random passers-by see you in your private moments, you can always introduce a totally different idea. Making the most of your backyard and giving your deck a brand new life is always a great choice. You don’t have to hide in your living room all summer long but instead, enjoy the outside area. From boosting your motivation to helping you discover a new hangout place, you’ll certainly get in touch with the nature around you. Instead of being stuck in dark, gloomy, improperly illuminated and poorly ventilated spaces, you’ll be surrounded by trees, fresh air, and lots of sunshine, which is great for your health, both mental and physical.

Regulate the exposure

Speaking of sunshine, you have to remember that not just any amount will do, no matter how amazing and healthy this is. Too much sunshine might harm you, especially if you’re living in a hot region with lots of sunny days on a yearly level. That’s why people living in places like Australia, for instance, might look into those handy shade sails that don’t just make your home more visually appealing but also help you connect to nature in a more meaningful way. Being able to spend time protected against too much sunshine will help you fall in love with your outdoor space again and again, and that’s always great.

Add more plants

In case you can’t or don’t want to spend time outside, you can always do the same in the comfort of your own home. Instead of going out, you could bring nature in, and turn your home into an oasis you can enjoy every day of the week. You just need to find some of the most durable house plants and incorporate them into every corner of your home. These will purify your indoor air, give your home a more natural look, boost your motivation, help you wake up in the morning, and turn into the focal points of your indoor space. You could also combine these with some eco-friendly décor, and take the green potential of your home to a much higher level.

As you can see, getting in touch with nature at your own home isn’t as hard or challenging as people generally think. It’s all about finding the right ideas and figuring out a way to make them work in your own space. And if you manage to do so, you too could start enjoying nature straight away!