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The Top 7 Design Trends for Eco-Friendly Homes in 2016

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With growing concern for the environment, green living initiatives are popping up in just about every aspect of life. From recycling to making conscious decisions about the things we buy and the resources we use, there are now a million ways for the average person to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

If you’re in the market for a new home, you’ll be happy to learn that there are several green options for new home construction too. As you make important choices regarding materials, design and new home communities, don’t forget that you can also go green with these eco-friendly design trends.

Green Home Certification

Green home certification is a way to get a stamp of approval on your environmentally-friendly new home design. The most well-known certification is called LEED, which measures the home on categories such as energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, and materials and resources. There are also other green home certification programs, including NAHB Model Green Home Building Standard, Energy Star, as well as several state and local programs.

Green home certification is a badge of honor that says your home meets strict environmental standards. It can also improve home value when it comes time to sell. Even if you don’t go through the full certification, you can and should explore the certification programs in order to get green construction ideas for your new home and to facilitate communication with your home builder.

Energy Efficient Features

There are several opportunities in new home construction today where you can choose the energy efficient model to go green. Energy efficient choices can includes windows, appliances and also water efficiency features like low-flow faucets. By choosing an energy efficient model, you will consume less energy and therefore have a smaller footprint, but an added benefit is long-term savings for your wallet as well.

Net Zero Energy Homes

Choosing energy efficient features is the first step in lowering your energy consumption, but some home builders can take it a step further and help you create a net zero energy home. Net zero energy means that the amount of energy you consume is equal or less than the amount of energy you create. A net zero energy home is created by reducing energy consumption as much as possible (through energy efficient options, insulation, etc.) then adding renewable energy sources on your property, such as solar panels.

Locally Sourced Materials

Using local materials has always been trendy and a great way to support your local community. However, locally sourced materials are also an eco-friendly choice because they cut down on energy use and emissions from having materials shipped from further distances. When choosing materials, you can make a sustainable decision by going local.

Use Low VOC Coatings

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are hazardous carbon-based chemicals that evaporate easily. Although VOCs are found in many things, they are relevant to new home construction because they are found in paints, stains, finishes, and other decorative coatings used inside and outside of the home.

VOCs are harmful to your health and can lead to a wide range of problems from nausea and dizziness to organ damage. They also evaporate into the atmosphere and contribute to pollution. Fortunately, you can cut back on your carbon footprint by using low and no VOC paint alternatives.

Greywater Reuse

Greywater refers to lightly used water from the home, such as the water that typically washes down the drain in sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines. Although this water may have traces of dirt, food and other products, it is still safe to use for some applications – particularly for outdoor irrigation. To incorporate greywater reuse into your new home construction, your new home builder can install pipes that channel this water outside where it can be used to water and fertilize your lawn and garden.

Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

We end the list with an eco-friendly trend that is within everyone’s means for old or new homes – choosing CFL or LED lightbulbs over traditional incandescent lightbulbs. Energy.gov states that CFL and LED bulbs use between 25 to 80 percent less energy, and they can last 3 to 25 times longer. This makes them a very environmentally-friendly and economical choice.

As you can see, there are many eco-friendly choices that you can make on new home construction, ranging from simple to elaborate. Custom home builders, such as Princeton Classic Homes, are always eager to incorporate your ideas into the design of your new home, including eco-friendly trends. So, the next time you build, consider these seven great eco-friendly design trends to help preserve the natural beauty that surrounds us.

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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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