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5 Ways to Perform More Sustainable Home Construction

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Solar panels By wallheater Via Flickr

The harsh winter and sweltering summer this past year are reason enough to justify a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Our atmosphere can be affected by many human activities, and home construction qualifies as one of the most damaging.

According to the Zero Energy Project, the construction and operation of buildings accounts for 40 percent of all the energy used in the U.S. It’s among the most harmful if necessary activities we do.

Fortunately, a good portion of the construction industry has noted the harmful effects of its actions, and developed some useful strategies for creating greener home building. If you’re constructing a home, observe these practices to achieve a more sustainable result.

  1. Find a Green Contractor

Before you build, make sure your contractor has the same sustainable goals. If your builders have no interest in green construction, they may not operate with your eco-friendly building plans.

Many companies advertise themselves as being green contractors, but they need to be vetted carefully. Ask questions about their practices, materials, and ideals. The information you gather will indicate whether a contractor is a good match for your sustainable building orientation.

  1. Choose Sustainable Materials

If you’ve selected a green contractor, the company can help you choose eco-friendly materials. Still, it’s smart to do some preliminary research so you know your options.

Some materials have a much lower impact on the environment than others based on such aspects as how they’re harvested, their amenability to recycling or decomposition in landfills when you’re done, impact on your finished home’s energy efficiency, and other factors.

Some of the top sustainable building materials include:

  • Bamboo flooring
  • Fly ash concrete
  • Wool bricks
  • Solar tiles
  • Paper insulation
  • Triple-glazed windows

There are many more options for sustainable materials for the building process. If you do some research, you can find the best options for your home construction.

  1. Go for Green Interior Design

Your sustainable program shouldn’t end with the exterior of the structure. Today many indoor home trends are also green, so your house can be environmentally friendly as well as fashionable.

The items you choose to make up the interior structure of your residence will also have a bearing on your overall carbon footprint. Opting for LEED-certified lighting, for example, can reduce CO2 emissions for the standard home by as much as 34 percent.

Adding smart-home features, water conservation technology, window treatments, and eco-friendly decor materials can greatly reduce your contribution to greenhouse gas creation.

  1. Choose Materials that Boost Efficiency

It’s essential to monitor the impact of your home after it’s been built, as well. Many materials and appliances lend themselves to a more efficient home. Some of the most effective items include:

  • Programmable thermostats, which significantly reduce heating and cooling consumption
  • A high-efficiency, Energy Star-rated HVAC system
  • Double paned windows that trap inside air
  • Properly installed insulation that will help your HVAC system
  • Energy Star-labeled appliances and fixtures
  • Alternative energy tech such as solar panels that reduce power usage

Your energy bills and the environment will be grateful that you made efficiency a top priority in the construction phase.

  1. Watch the Details

Green home construction means covering all the details, not just the raw materials and construction process. It starts with an environmentally friendly location and goes from there.

Everything, from the size of your house to the landscaping to the paint colors you choose, can make a difference in achieving zero-energy construction. As you consider each of these details, don’t forget to apply the three Rs of sustainability: reduce, reuse, recycle.

If good-quality recycled materials are available, use them. If there’s a way to reduce the amount of materials you need for the project, find it. You might also be able to reuse such items as cabinets, flooring, roof shingles, appliances, and other features of your old home to reduce your environmental impact.

 

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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