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Things to Consider When Buying an Eco-Friendly Home

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3D Green Home By Chris Potter Via Flickr

There’s been tremendous growth and progression in the American marketplace over the past decade in terms of eco-friendly goods and services. Currently, one of the biggest trends involves “green” homes. But before you sell your current home and consider building or buying an eco-friendly alternative, there are some things you should know.

Be Ready to Spend

The first thing you need to know is that you’re going to spend some decent money to build or purchase a green house. There’s no such thing as pinching pennies. You have to be financially stable enough to invest.

Green homes are going to be significantly more costly than standard new construction homes. While you’ll ultimately save money in the long run, the 20 or 30 percent premium you’ll pay on the front end is a very real cost.

Assuming you plan on financing the home, it’s imperative that you immediately begin analyzing your financial situation and making plans to obtain a loan with the best possible rates. One thing that can really sneak up on you is a bad credit score.

“Mistakes on the credit score can affect the interest rate of the loan,” CreditRepair.my explains. “High interest rates result in higher monthly payments, and the length of the loan contributes to the total cost of borrowing money. To ensure that you get the lowest possible interest rate, you need to ensure that your credit report is free from errors, inaccurate information and other mistakes.”

Look for Tax Incentives

If you’re building a new eco-friendly home, there may be tax credits available to you. Generally, tax credits are applied upon installation of specific energy efficient products – such as appliances. You can learn more about the different credits, rebates, and savings that are available to you by accessing Energy.gov. Each state presents unique offers.

According to Money Crashers, financial incentives are common for solar energy products, wind energy products, geothermal heat pumps, fuel cell energy generation, air source heat pumps, biomass stoves, efficient central air conditioning systems, non-solar water heaters, conventional fuel boilers and furnaces, building envelope improvements, and more.

Think in Terms of Levels

When it comes to green homes, you have to think in terms of levels. There are small things that can make a home green, as well as big-picture elements.

“The idea behind the green building is to reduce your consumption as much as possible. Choosing products and materials that have long-term durability is a positive strike in the green balance,” green living expert Yolo Ouiya says. “Start at minimal levels like using LED light bulbs and choosing energy star certified home appliances. The next level would be installing triple glazed windows or having high R-Value, a measurement of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow through it, on your exterior walls.” The next level would include things like solar roof paneling.

It’s Not All About the Building

Interestingly enough, a green home isn’t all about the building itself. You also need to consider the property and how the home utilizes different features.

“A green home isn’t just a green structure, it’s a home that makes the best use of the land,” landscaper Cassy Aoyagi says. “Asking simple questions like which direction the home is oriented toward can tell you a lot about the home’s green credentials.”

For example, the home’s orientation actually determines how much sun exposure it gets, which in turn impacts heating and air-conditioning usage. Trees and shrubbery can also play a role in deflecting wind or shading windows.

All of these small details matter. Whether you’re building a new home or searching for an existing one on the market, don’t forget to look out for all of these factors, elements, and conditions.

 

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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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