Returning Nature to European River Banks

As the years have gone by, the river banks of Europe have steadily become more civilized, which has caused a very unnatural and industrial feel along the beautiful European River Banks. More ports have been built, more towns have developed, and we all know that civilization often brings wear to the area around it.

 

Taking Action

Luckily enough, Europe is taking action and is making room for nature to return. Although there are certain areas along the river banks which cannot be restored to its natural state, such as areas that contain hydroelectric dams and cities, Europe is aiming to have its water ways cleared by the year 2015. This includes restricting the allowance of canalized and concreted shipping lanes and, to prevent the use of the river for industrial sewage waste.

 

 

Britain’s Push against Dirty Rivers

Britain alone has made a massive effort on trying to clear the Rivers of man-made clutter, such as damns and trash. They have made a list consisting of 2,700 projects within their inventory for The National River Restoration, of which 1,500 of the projects have already been completed. This should be good news to any of you who might wish to attend a European River Cruise down the road.

 

The Power of Activism

Approximately 20 years ago, a group of activists came from all over Europe in order to stop the building of Serre De La Fare dam, near Le Puy, and successfully kept the river from being cluttered by yet another man-made structure. Since then, engineers have even begun to tear down existing dams like the Maisons-Rouges, which has improved water flow and even has restored some of the marshy lands at the mouth of the Skjern River.

 

Hopefully by next year Europe will have finished the remaining 1,200 projects throughout their rivers and will restore them to their natural beauty.

 

 

Make Landscaping an Environmentally Friendly Project

Every homeowner aspires to having a lush and beautiful lawn or a thriving backyard. What better way to achieve this vibrancy on your property than by doing it naturally? If you have never deliberately planned an environmentally friendly project, now is the time to give it serious consideration.

Going eco-friendly when it comes to landscaping has always been second nature to me. It feels wonderful to beautify your surroundings and contribute to the well-being of Mother Nature in the process. I think that gardening should stay true to its roots of promoting harmony in nature by letting plant life flourish in its natural environment. When sprucing up your yard, consider greenscaping which develops the condition and form of your scenery while conserving its inherent natural resources. Going environmentally friendly when it comes to your landscape plans also means that you get to have more fun and add vibrancy to your lot, and more importantly picking the right kind of soil bed to nurture your foliage in.

I have always believed that using organic garden soil is one of the best ways of going green for your landscape and improving the nurturing conditions for your plants and flowers. How your plants grow will depend on the type of soil bed that you have in your yard. Using organic gardening soil removes the use of any kind of synthetic fertilizer and harmful pesticides which can be harmful to your plants and your family.

Why Choose Organic Garden Soil?

  • If you do a little research on the composition of organic soil, you will find out it is rich in humus, which is the byproduct of normal decay in naturally occurring things such as compost, leaves and insects; it is absolutely healthy for plants to grow in.
  • Plants require air to cycle critical nutrients needed for their growth. Organic soil is formed in a way that traps many air bubbles which promote root circulation, helping your plants grow faster.
  • Organic soil is rich in natural microbial matter, which is important in recycling the nutrients of the soil and breaking them down into more absorbable particles for plants to efficiently use. These microfauna include fungi, bacteria, earthworms and nematodes.
  • Soil certified organic has better water holding properties than synthetic preparations and greatly prevents dehydration in plants as well as nutrient loss due to soil erosion.
  • Organic soil is inherently PH balanced which promotes optimum growing condition for your plants. Because it does not contain any synthetics from chemical fertilizers and pesticides, such soil is inherently safe and matches the necessary acidity levels for successful nitrogen synthesis in the soil, a cycle which is important for plants to process nutrients.

Where to Obtain Organic Garden Soil

You can head to your local gardening center and ask for information about soil distributors within your area who provide organic soil. You may also get in touch with a professional landscaper who specialises in environmentally friendly gardening. In my experience, professional landscaping companies like Centenary Landscaping offer organic garden soil to homeowners looking to improve their plant life conditions and start a greenscaped lawn.

Growing an organic lawn

Growing an organic lawn is much simpler than it seems. You don’t have to utilize synthetic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides for you to attain an awe aspiring green lawn. The key to a healthy organic lawn lies in soil. When the soil is healthy, fed by natural materials rather than compacted synthetic fertilizers, the natural processes allow growth and fertilization to occur the way it was intended by Mother Nature. It is also noteworthy that, unlike synthetic fertilizers that feed the plant directly, organic fertilizers nourish the organisms in the soil eventually making the plants maintenance free and draught resistant. Suffice it to say, you are basically initiating cultural practices to nurture life in the soil which will in turn sustain the plants. Furthermore, transitioning your lawn into an organic lawn may initially take money and time but will eventually save you a lot of both as your organic lawn fights off pests and weeds on its own. To that end, here are concise steps bound to give you that healthy, best looking lawn you have always wanted.

Thicken your lawn

The best way to get a thriving green lawn free of weeds is spreading grass seed over an already existing lawn. The essence behind this being that, if grass is healthy and thick, weeds will have no place to germinate allowing the grass to put down a deeper and wider root system. This will serve to ensure the grass pulls water and nutrients from the soil much more efficiently. However, before you commence, ensure your grass is cut to 2 inches high in order to allow sunlight penetration for seed germination.

Feed with compost

Adding compost to the soil will not only serve to the soil’s organic matter content to as high as 7 percent but will also go a long way to improve water retention. It is paramount to note that, you should try to add compost at a rate of two pounds per every thousand square feet.

Water wisely

Lawns account for an average of 50 percent residential water usage during the summer. However, with organic lawns you will use much less water especially if you practice watering your lawn early in the morning to avoid evaporation and fungal diseases.

Controlling weeds organically

There are two types of weeds that will require your attention. First are the annual weeds such as crabgrass. This will be handled by adding corn gluten to your lawn at a rate of twenty pound for every thousand square feet. However, it is highly advisable to add corn gluten every spring since it eliminates and reduces annual weeds within three years. Furthermore, if applied during fall same time as the grass, it will also prevent the grass from germinating.

Secondly are the perennial weeds which will be cleared by using a tool called a spud with a forked blade that cuts off perennial roots.

Control insects

An organic lawn is self sustaining when it comes to insects. After several years of organic fertilization, the lawn is able to repair the damage by itself thus insects will never be a problem for you.

Air Purification Systems

Air PurificationAir pollution has been a long standing problem ever since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Our prolonged use of fossil fuels has increased the levels of carbon monoxide and hydro carbon gases that had consequently increased the rate of global warming as well. But the most apparent threat that is directly affecting our society is the rising symptoms of respiratory illnesses, particularly in the urban areas that is the result of our prolonged exposure to fumes coming from automobiles, power plants and anything that uses fossil fuels. What can we do about this? Can we just try to avoid air pollution by staying away from urbanized areas hoping for some reason that it might do us some good?

We could try, but unfortunately, we can not avoid air pollutants as it is everywhere that we go, including the inside of our homes. Indoor air pollutants are among the most probable cause of health related illnesses related to respiratory diseases. The most common approach in addressing such problems is to control or eradicate the sources of air pollutants that can get inside of your home or office building. Adequate ventilation may be a viable answer but might have a limitation as well depending upon weather conditions and the levels of air pollution outside your premises.

It does not matter how good you try to hide yourself in an attempt to avoid pollutants, as long as outside air still manages to get through the ventilation systems, you  are still likely to inhale polluted and contaminated air. The use of air cleaning devices might give you a fighting chance in countering indoor air contaminants as some of these devises have more ways of fending off contaminated air before you even have the chance to inhale it. Some of these air cleaning devices were designed to be integrated to the ventilation system of a house or building or even integrated with an HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) system. Usually HVAC systems and air filtering systems are integrated and are operated on a centralized setup. Depending upon your need and the particular air contaminants that are present in the area, air cleaning systems have a number of methods of cleaning out the air that you breath after filtering out airborne pathogens and allergens that might give you health problems.

There are also portable air cleaners that are used for single room purposes that provide adequate air filtering using a number of methods as well. One of the most common methods is the use of HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters that can provide the ability of filtering airborne contaminants as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, which is smaller than a human hair strand. Other appliances such as the best vacuum for pet hair (click here) also uses HEPA air filters to trap contaminants that are present in the air. Besides having HEPA filters, portable air cleaners have other methods of cleaning the air that it filters, and depending of the types of contaminants present, we should know what are the most appropriate methods to ensure that the air we breathe is safe and clean.

The most common indoor air pollutants found in private homes are contaminants such as smoke  (cigarette or tobacco), pollen, dust, carbon emissions from engines on a daily basis, cooking oil residue resulting from the use of kitchen appliances particularly ovens and cooking stoves. There are even air contaminants caused by  building and construction materials such as cement dust, paints, varnishes, cleaning products and even hair products and perfumes that release hydro fluorocarbons. So, it now comes to the question on what kind of air contaminants and pollutants can air cleaning systems really clean?

There are two type of air cleaning systems that are used in air filtering machines which is the mechanical filtering system and the electronic filtering system. The mechanical air filtering system uses the HEPA air filtering system as it draws in air from within the room and passes it into the HEPA filters. This is very efficient when it comes to airborne particulates that are not smaller than 0.3 microns. Although it is effective in filtering out the air, it still has some flaws to it’s system in regards to air seepage that tend to let smaller particulates to escape back into the environment.

Electronic air cleaners create electrostatic charges that attract smaller particle through ionic magnetism.  It uses a electrostatic magnetically charged plate in where it attracts particles as air is drawn in. This is the same principle used on electrostatic cloth used in cleaning furnitures. In the case of chemically based contaminants such as paints and other chemical based pollutants that leave a pungent smell, the use of activated carbon absorbs the smell while air is being drawn into the air filtering machine. These particular filters do have their limitation as they can only effectively remove a few types of smell causing pollutants  with the activated carbon filter that they have.

There are other air cleaning system that utilizes ultra violet light to directly kill off airborne pollutants that are not likely to be killed by other air filtering systems. Usually called UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) cleaners or PCO (Photocatalytic Oxidation) cleaners, these type of air cleaning system uses ultraviolet light to “cook off” any type of airborne contaminant that might pass through it’s path while air is being drawn in. Ultraviolet light is a proven method of killing bacteria, fungus, molds and viruses that may cause illness in regards to airborne pathogens and allergens.

A Trip To Vancouver – An Exciting Experience

VancouverA word in advance

Before we embark on this different trip to Vancouver, consider something that travel guides won’t tell you – gasoline is very pricey. This is due to the fact that the local authorities charge additional taxes on gasoline because of the finances required to maintain the numerous bridges and complex infrastructure of the area. So, if you decide to travel to Vancouver by car instead of public transport, do have this fact in mind.

The rain

When you visit Vancouver you might be obsessed by a feeling of incessant rain. If you visit the city over Christmas and if you come from a place where it usually snows at this time of the year, you might miss the magic of a white Christmas. If your trip is timed in the summer, mind you that even in the warmer seasons it rains very often. So if you decide to visit Vancouver, don’t forget your waterproof clothes.

Shopping or Nature

Shopping in Vancouver is a must. There are regular sales such as Boxing Day Sale and other mid-season sales. If you prefer nature to shopping, Stanley Park will charm you. Surrounded almost entirely by the amazing Pacific, the park is a green escape from the hustle and bustle of this hectic city. Take pictures of this place, which will astonish you with its vastness and magnificence. Eagles are a frequent sight, soaring the skies against the high mountains. Keep an eye for the totem poles as well as the numerous other monuments – considered by many the most-visited sightseeing in the area of British Columbia. You will definitely need a car there, and some (if not a lot of) cash for parking too.

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Vancouver is a rare combination of mountain and ocean. But it is a northern country so you might miss spring there… Wait till you visit the Japanese Garden. Blooming in tender colors, it will let you enjoy a spring-like atmosphere in this place. If you are lucky, you might see an original tea ceremony.

Skiing

Yes, you can ski near Vancouver, sometimes as late as April. To go to the ski slopes you have to take the lift, which is usually quite crowded. In clear weather the whole city can be seen at a glance. The mountain has been ‘harnessed’ and the houses and the scenery merge wonderfully.

Where to stay and what to eat

We can recommend Holiday Inn, as it is one of the most popular chains in Western Canada. You can always rely on clean and spacious rooms, impeccable service, pleasant ambiance and lovely free breakfast at reasonable prices. The substantial breakfast will let you skip the lunch altogether and look for something to eat for dinner. And dinner can’t be easier – offering food delivery Vancouver restaurants are a click away. With websites such as Just-eat.ca you don’t even have to leave your room – just click your way to your favorite dishes and you will have your dinner within minutes.

Whenever you decide to visit Vancouver, remember that it is one of those places that you don’t visit every day, even if you are an experienced traveler.

Helping the Environment One Community at a Time

The world is a big place with a lot of problems involving the environment. Pollution, deforestation, endangered species, radiation, global warming, and more are all contributing to make this planet much less hospitable for living things. It’s long past time we cleaned it up and made it healthy and strong again. The problem is that the environmental issues the planet currently has are so vast and global in nature that most people feel like there isn’t anything they can personally do to help. So they do nothing. Thus, the problems continue.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Governments around the world are designing and implementing measures meant to clean up the environment. But they can’t do it alone. First of all, governments need the support of the people. Our world leaders need to know the average people of the world support what they are doing. This is especially important in democratic countries. The support of the people equals a “mandate” to the government to do something about the environment. You can show your government your support for what its doing regarding the environment by calling or emailing your congressional representatives and telling them you support their environmental initiatives. You can also let them know you want them to implement programs to clean up the environment if they’re not doing so already.

It’s also easier to think of ways to clean up the environment if you think about it at a community level rather than on a global level. Considering the logistics involved in cleaning up the whole planet can get a little overwhelming. However, thinking about ways to clean up your own community isn’t overwhelming at all for most people. In fact, you can probably think of several environmental issues facing your community right now as well as ways to help correct those issues.

There may be programs already in place in your community to help clean it up and protect its environment. If so, join those programs or at least donate to them to show your support. If you see a need that isn’t being fulfilled yet, you can start an initiative of your own. If you don’t feel comfortable becoming a community environmental leader, consider being a leader in an area of your community where you have influence. This could be in a club you already belong to, or it could be at work or at home.

For example, you could start a recycling program at work. You could also encourage your company to go paperless. Many businesses, such as medical billing, are able to do this now through the use of software that replaces traditional paper tasks. If you’re wondering what is medical billing and coding, it’s a job where people look up diagnostic codes for doctors and use the codes to bill insurance companies for the appropriate things. It’s just one example of a job that can benefit from going paperless. Any job that has tasks that take up paper can help the local environment by looking into software alternatives. There are alternatives for most paper tasks.

You can help your local environment at home, too. Recycle paper, plastic, glass, and cardboard products, even if there is no town curbside recycling. Just collect these items in bins and take them to the nearest recycling center once a month. You can also install low-flow water fixtures in your bathroom, use non-toxic paint on your house, compost your garden instead of using fertilizer, and use all-natural cleaning products to keep chemicals from getting into the groundwater supply.

You may think there’s not much you can do to help the environment, but that’s just not true. On a community level, there is much you can do, and you can start doing it right away. Even small changes can add up to a big difference when other people do them, too. So, do your part and encourage your friends and family to do the same. The planet will thank you.

Roll Off Dumpster Rental Can Help When Combating Litter

When you have trash to dispose of, it makes sense to take it in the dump. The dump is a complex system that helps trash break down while having a minimal impact on the environment. When you don’t have recyclables, this is the ideal place for your trash to go. This is because they separate trash and prevent it from seeping into ground water, prevent rainwater falling on trash and entering the ground water while also properly disposing of the methane gas released by the bacteria breaking down the trash.

With litter, none of those safety precautions are in place. Additionally, litter can harm or kill wild plants or stunt their growth. It also impacts the animals in the area. Animals can get stuck in jars and bottles and coke rings can get stuck around their necks while broken bottles can cause wounds that become infected and the animals will die. Litter comes at a high cost, so ensuring it is cleaned up and removed is important.

Since you won’t have to bag items when they go into the roll off dumpster rental, you won’t have to worry about further impacting the environment. Instead, you can fill it with the debris and it can then be taken to the local dump, properly disposed of and the company will step in and ensure your dumpster is delivered to the next area where it will be needed. This will require some communication as there may be specific dates when deliveries and removals can be done and you may be required to have someone on hand.

It is important that you do follow any rules and regulations concerning the dumpster to ensure that you aren’t placing items into it that may be prohibited. At the same time, you should be using work gloves to handle the trash and using caution when you handle items like broken glass. In the event you are injured, it will be a good idea to seek medical assistance. The reason is that it could lead to things like infection and even tetanus if you haven’t been recently vaccinated.

As you remove trash and debris from the area, you will start to notice that plants are growing fuller and they will appear brighter and healthier. There will also be an increase in local wildlife as animals are kept safer and they will begin to reproduce and restore the natural wonder of an area. This then restores the natural balance of things, which will prove to be incredibly important.

All of this can begin when you have a roll off dumpster rental in place. Begin by surveying an area and determine where you need it the most and ensure you have all the permits you need. Then organize a team to get together and work on removing the trash in the area. Once you have it cleaned up, consider going back out once a month to ensure the environment remains clean and prevent it from ever getting as bad as it once was. For more information about dumpster rental, check this out!

Take Up Group Cycling. It’s The Perfect Way To Save The Planet

One of the most pressing environmental issues of our time is the environmental damage caused by the pollution which results from driving cars. Sadly, over the last century, the rise of the car has been, in my view, a complete disaster for humanity.

Whilst the development of the motor vehicle has been an extraordinary technological achievement, enabling millions of people to find a cheap and effective source of ready transport, there is another side to the coin.

Unfortunately the internal combustion engine, whilst highly efficient at producing locomotion, also produces plenty of pollution. In particular it produces gases, including CO2, which contribute to climate change.

Why not take up road cycling instead?

For this reason I am a huge fan of cycling. By cycling I don’t mean buying a motorbike, I mean getting on a pushbike and using your legs to produce the power.

I’ve been cycling for a long time. I see cycling as the perfect way to combine a whole lot of benefits, including for older cyclists.

Obviously when you’re cycling you’re using your own energy rather than the energy that comes from petroleum products, and for that reason you are not contributing to the greenhouse gas effect. Every mile that you ride a bike is a mile that you don’t need to drive a car, and you’re doing your very small bit to save the planet.

Cycling is also wonderful exercise. Its low impact, easy cardiovascular exercise. It’s a great way to help reduce another problem that afflicts so many of us, namely obesity and overweight.

If you take up road cycling, like I did, you’ll find that it’s got other benefits as well. It will save you money, it’s fun and it’s very social.

Commonly road cyclists gather together in groups to ride together. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly it makes the group of cyclists more visible to drivers, which makes it safer and secondly it’s much more fun cycling with a whole bunch of other people than it is on your own.

I’ve been group cycling for years, and I love it. I’ve lost weight, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and I’ve saved money that I would have spent on my car.

If you’ve not heard about group cycling before read this article.

If you take up group road cycling however there are some things to learn, it’s not something you should just jump into without learning some of the basics. The best explanation of the techniques of group cycling I’ve found is in this book.

So if you’re environmentally conscious, like I am, you should be doing everything you can to reduce your reliance on your motor vehicle and reduce your impact on the planet. Every mile you drive that car is another mile of CO2 you’ve pumped into the atmosphere.

But every mile you ride on that bike is another mile of CO2 that you’ve saved. You’re doing your bit, you’re getting healthier, you’re getting fitter, you’re losing weight and you’re having fun. If you’re group cycling then you’re also meeting new people.

So leave the car in the garage, buy a bike, find a cycling club and get out on the road as a new road cyclist, and preferably find a group so you can become involved in group cycling.

You won’t regret it.

Environmental Tips & Reviews: How We Can Inspire Others to Help Save the Environment

Every day, we hear news that makes it seem like saving the environment is a hopeless cause. The recent news about Taiphoon Haiyan can make some people think that the environment has been damaged beyond saving. This is not true. Anyone who tries to save the environment can still make a difference; people just need to be informed about the different ways they can help save the environment. I have hope that in time, everyone will be become a committed environmentalist. I am actually writing this post now because I want to inspire people to stop being apathetic about the environment. I believe that by sharing the simple ways we help save the environment, we can inspire others to start caring about it.

One way I help save the environment is by not using too much power when I am at home. When I do binary options trading on my computer, I make sure that I just do not leave it idle. I only use the trading platforms when I need to make an investment or do trading-related business. Otherwise, I just turn my computer off. The same is true for when I am planning my binary options strategy. After I finished reading charts and graphs on the movement of assets on my computer, I immediately turn it off and do my strategizing offline – this way, I do not waste power.

My workflow at Bankdebinary.ca might seem like a really small thing, but it does make a difference when it comes to power consumption. Another thing I would like to talk about is the new environmental policy of the high school I attended. The custodial staff of the school now only uses environmental products. The cleaning products they now use are derived from corn and soybeans. Because renewable/biodegradable resources are used in making these products, the staff is able to cut back on their power and water usage.

The products the school’s custodial staff uses are certified by Blue Seal. What this means is that the custodial staff can be sure that the products they use really do help save the environment. Blue Seal is an organization which rigorously tests the environmental impact of the use of certain products. When a product is certified by Blue Seal, it means it has passed all of the scientific tests conducted by the organization.

The school’s dining system has also been changed. Trays are minimally used now so that water use for cleaning is lessened. Also, the food scraps that come from the school are now sent to farms and other places to be used as compost.

Everyone can help save the environment. Now, you may be asking yourself what you can do. What you can do to safeguard the environment is totally up to you. What is important is that what you are doing really helps the environment in the long run. By doing a little research, anyone can think of ways they can make the most out of the earth’s resources without damaging it. Hopefully, this post will inspire everyone who reads it to start being eco-friendly in their daily life, maybe even start pro-environment initiatives.

How Senior Citizens Can Help The Environment

Since we are so focused on helping the earth, we thought we would share some ways that the older generation can help. We often focus on the youth, and rightfully so since most are so progressively minded. However, we all need to play our part new and old alike. As the earth’s population continues to skyrocket, so does the overall stress level placed on our living environment. While there are many things people of all ages can do to help the environment, this article will focus on ways that senior citizens in particular can help to keep Mother Earth much happier.

Conserve on electricity: Throughout all of our homes there are countless electrically run appliances and gadgets. This is especially the case with seniors who often times spend much more time at home due to the fact that they are retired. It is a great idea to walk through your home once a day and attempt to spot anything electrical that can be turned off. If you aren’t using an electrical appliance or gadget, then always be sure to switch it off, or unplug it completely. Not only does this greatly reduce the strain on the overall environment due to energy conservation, but it also greatly reduces the household risks for fire.

Unplug Unused Appliances: Similar to the advice given in the paragraph above, senior citizens should unplug any kitchen appliances that aren’t being used, such as toasters, blenders, and other appliances. Most people are not aware of the fact that when these appliances are plugged in, they are still consuming a very low level amount of electricity. By unplugging these appliances you can be saving a lot of energy on an annual basis.

Make sure that your home energy sources are renewable: Many electric companies these days offer consumers the ability to choose if they want to receive electricity from renewals sources, such as wind, solar, or hydro power. In some cases this renewal electricity can be more expensive than power derived from coal plants, however, it is far better for the environment. It is proven that senior citizens per capita use more electricity monthly than average consumers, and thus opting for the renewable energy option can greatly help the environment over the long run. In many cases you can also receive a tax deduction for using renewable energy, which depending on your location may even end up saving you money at the end of the year.

Use a clothesline during the summer: As senior citizens generally have more free time, they can save a lot of electricity throughout the year by setting up a clothesline to dry their clothes on instead of using an electric dryer. Depending on the climate in your specific location, clothes will generally dry on a clothesline in just several hours. In places like Southern California, Florida, and Arizona, you can use a clothesline year round due to the hot average temperatures. Besides saving electricity with a clothesline, most will agree that clothing is way softer when it is aired dried.

In the end, senior citizens can help the environment just as much as a young person. We found many other resources for senior citizens at http://www.senioritycomplex.com and would recommend you have any older people visit that site. Together, we can save this planet and preserve it for future generations.

Energy Saving Blinds and Window Coverings

One of the many environmentally friendly choices we make at the Levesque household is using energy efficient drapery and blinds.

Energy saving blinds can help reduce your electric bills in both summer and winter by reducing how often your furnace and air conditioner run.  They are beneficial to keeping your home comfortable when the weather turns cold and when the summer sun and heat come barreling down on your home.

widowcoveringTraditionally, most window coverings are not thermal in nature. Without thermal drapes during the winter months you can actually feel the cool air radiating from the curtains or blinds. Larger windows are more susceptible to this, that is why it is important to utilize a thermal widow covering. Many companies offer a a great selection thermal window coverings for very reasonable prices. You can even order your blinds through the internet also.

At issue though can be the cost of purchasing all new drapery and blinds for your home. We had to consider this when we decided to go that route. This is what we did…well my wife did because she sews. We actually took our existing drapery and simply added a thermal lining. This proved to be substantially less expensive than buying all new drapery. Plus, we really like the the drapes we have. I believe there was a 78% difference between adding a thermal lining versus buying new drapes.

Once the drapes were completed and after hanging them, one thing we noticed almost immediately since it was approaching winter was the amount of draftiness that was gone from the home. Even with our diligence in making sure our windows were sealed properly. There was a certain comfort level that we had not experienced before.

While we heat overall with wood during the winter, we have the furnace as a back up for the coldest of nights when the wood stove cannot keep up. We have experience less furnace time with the new thermal lined drapes than we did prior to adding the lining.

As the cost of energy continues to increase, it is vital that we look at all ares within our homes that we can better insulate from the outdoor elements. We do not use an air conditioner at all during the warmer months of the summer. The sunshine blasting through the widows can certainly heat up a home quite quickly. The new thermal drapery liners have reduced the amount of radiant heat that is generated through the windows during the day. This keeps our home considerably cooler during the day and very comfortable at night. Well, except when the temperature hits the 90′s with high humidity…whew!

Other than great insulation here are a few more benefits of insulated widow coverings: The help with sound reduction. We have all wood floors throughout so the echo can sometimes be a bit much especially with two young children and two dogs running around. They add to your privacy as they are not transparent. Along with this they allow for more light control, too. Plus they are longer lasting. The thermal lining is like a second drape which adds to the life of the main drape.

Seriously consider either adding a thermal lining to your current blinds or if you can afford to do so, purchase new ones for your home. You will see a great difference in your electric bills and feel the difference in your home.

Hybrid Vehicles Owners May Qualify For Lower Insurance Rates

hybrid-carThe difference between a hybrid vehicle and traditional vehicle

For those of you not familiar with hybrid vehicles they are an eco-friendly mode of transportation that run on traditional gasoline and electric power. They have a rechargeable battery systems that you recharge every evening. These electrical systems work in conjunction with the gasoline engine to reduce the use of gasoline and reduce emissions caused by fossil fuels. There are many brands of these hybrid vehicles that you can choose from like the Chevrolet Volt, Honda Prius and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to name a few.

Hybrid Car Owner Insurance Advantages

Why is it that Hybrid vehicle owners can receive a preferred rate for car insurance, sometimes up to 10%?

  • Hybrid vehicle owners are typically are more mature drivers.
  • They are on average 41-60 married men and women.
  • They have a financially stable background.
  • They are not as likely to have a moving violation or a traffic accident.
  • Less likely to present an insurance claim.

William Glasser of Glasser Insurance states that “research has shown that people who own and operate a hybrid vehicle typically drive fewer miles throughout the year and are not as likely to be in a car accident.”

On average a hybrid vehicle owner can expect fuel costs to be around $1,700 versus an owner of a Suburban that can easily cost $100 per week to operate in gasoline alone.

Total Reliability on Electric.

Aside from the popular hybrid vehicle is the purely electronic vehicle, running completely on battery power. These vehicle may receive the preferred insurance rate just for the fact they are electric. Some insurers have specific departments to deal with the increase in electronic and hybrid vehicle insurance.

Electric vehicles are less likely to be stolen. With mileage range of approximately 100 miles and top speeds not conducive for running from the police, these vehicles are not at the top of the list for seasoned car thieves. The batteries may be of value to them, but the trade-off is not in their favor.

Other Incentives and Discounts

Another issue to consider apart from insurance benefits is the federal incentives that may be in place to entice you into buying a hybrid or electric vehicle. States and cities may have incentives also such as being able to drive solo in a HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicle) while traveling on the freeway. These are often found in large cities around the country.

You may also be eligible for reduced rates on loans. Many banks offer reduced rates of .25% or more when lending money for an eco-friendly vehicle.

Our suggestion is to make a list of the potential hybrid or electric vehicles that you are interested in purchasing. Then contact your insurance provider, make an appointment and sit down to review your options, discussing the pros and cons of owning a hybrid or electric vehicle from an insurance standpoint. After that consult a tax adviser to see what incentives, if any, are available for you. You may be surprised how affordable a hybrid or electric vehicle may be beyond the cost of insurance.