Other Home Improvements for a Sustainable, Energy-Efficient House

In the previous article, we discussed solar panels and how you can use them to turn your house into a sustainable, self-sufficient property. The prices of solar panels and supporting hardware are becoming more affordable by the day, which is why it is even more appealing to invest in a good solar panel system for your house.

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Solar panels aren’t the only upgrade to add in order to make your property more energy efficient and sustainable. There are other great home improvements to consider, and we are going to look into them in this article.

LED Lights

LED lights are among the best things to pick up if you want to boost your house’s energy efficiency. They consume much less power than conventional bulbs and investing in them will immediately lower your energy bills. LED bulbs are up to 80% more efficient than CFLs and neon lights. The cost of LED lights is also much more affordable than it used to.

This is a home improvement that practically pays for itself. You may have to pay for the LED lights yourself at the beginning, but you can expect to save a lot on your electricity bill that the savings will cover the purchase in just a few months.

Energy Efficient Windows

The cost of heating and cooling the interior of your house is usually the major part of your energy bills. Changing the interior temperature to the right level is even more expensive when you have cracked windows and bad insulation.

Investing in energy efficient windows is the first step towards solving that problem. Once you get the windows installed, you will find cooling or heating your house to be a lot easier and much more affordable. You can also add additional window treatments to boost energy efficiency even further.

Insulation Upgrades

Upgrading your home’s insulation is the next thing to do. Aside from wall insulation, it is also important to look into ducts, especially if you use central heating and cooling. According to the EPA, a fifth of the air forced through ducts in residential properties leaks. This results in poor energy efficiency.

Similar to the previous home upgrades we discussed, insulation for pipes and ducts is much improved and very affordable these days. Skipping this step would be a mistake, especially if the goal is to make your house more energy efficient in the long run.

A Smarter Home

Last but certainly not least, consider turning your property into a smart home. Use a programmable thermostat and install a smart home hub such as Google Home to further improve energy efficiency. These smart devices can be remotely controlled and programmed for maximum efficiency.

With a smart thermostat installed, for instance, you can have the interior of the house kept at a comfortable temperature just 30 minutes before you arrive home after work instead of all day long. Imagine the amount of money you can save from this feature alone.

Paired with solar panels and clean energy, these home improvement options are even more valuable. The next time you want to upgrade your property, consider the improvements we covered in this article to get started.

Investment ideas for beginners

Are you letting your money work for you? If not, you are missing a great opportunity to increase your personal wealth. Keeping money in a low interest account isn’t going to accomplish this. By choosing to invest your money in stocks, bonds or other options, successful investments will generate more cash for your future goals. Consider some of these potential investment alternatives.

Bitcoin

Different than other investments, bitcoin is a currency that can be used in a number of ways to help increase one’s wealth. The most common method is simply to purchase the bitcoin currency, anticipating it will increase in value. The currency is very popular with online websites including online casinos and at mobilecasinocanada.ca, they are considering the use of Bitcoin with other online banking methods.

Certificates of Deposit

CDs permit investors to invest their extra cash. This particular investment can vary in terms. Some CDs are short term with only three months while others can be as long as 5 years. Of course, one’s specific needs will determine the better term option. However, generally the longer the investment, the better your return on investment will be.  Shop around when looking to purchase CDs as banks do vary in regards to their rates.

Peer to Peer Lending

While this is a relatively new idea, peer to peer lending bypasses traditional banks and connects consumers looking to invest with those needing a loan. Notes are purchased by investors from websites. Borrowers must go through a thorough vetting process which helps reassure investors of repayment. Each month lenders will receive a payment consisting of principal repayment along with interest.

You may choose to try one of these investment ideas or perhaps another way to let your money work for you. No matter what you decide, one important thing to remember is that you must be diligent researching any investment prior to making it.

Types of Insurance

When going to purchase life insurance, it is important that you know there are different types out there. You will need to explore all of the types to find what is best for you. Even if you have a policy, it is important that you read your policy and understand what you have. Below is a brief outline of what types of life insurance are out there.

Term

Term life insurance is when you purchase a policy that provides you with coverage for a defined period of time. You pay a premium during that time. If you pass away before the time period elapses than you can receive the benefits, but if you claim after the time period than you can not receive the benefits. Term life insurance is known to be inexpensive and also easier to understand, making it very popular for the masses.

Whole

Whole life insurance pays a benefit for as long as you’re paying the premium. Along with the benefit, you also accrue a cash value through the years. The cash value can be used as an investment and can be withdrawn for things such as education or emergency situations but will not be distributed if not used at time of the death benefit. This type of policy is more expensive than term.

Universal

Universal life is similar to whole insurance but is more flexible because you able to increase or decrease the death benefit and cash value throughout the time period. Because of this, it is more expensive than whole insurance.

Group

When you are employed, Group Life Insurance is often a benefit offered. Group Life is basically a contract with a life insurance company which contains a group of people. This is a benefit that can cover your needs or sometimes people have supplemental policies in addition to what is offered by their company. The convenience of this policy can’t be beat. It is typically free to the employee so they get the benefit without having to do anything.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Each type of insurance has its advantages and disadvantages. What you think is best is based on personal preference and opinion. Many families choose to hold multiple policies of each to cover their bases. You can have more than one policy

Uses

People use life insurance for many different things. Life Insurance uses include investment, cash flow, loans, chronic illness, tax shelter, supplement retirement, enhance income, and college tuition to name a few. It is best to speak to a professional about how you can use your policy to help you.

Hopefully this information allows you to understand life insurance and the types of policies that are out there.

Health During Pregnancy

When you find out you are pregnant, there are so many things to worry about and consider. The main one being your health and the baby’s health. It is important to do your best to fuel you body with the best so that the baby gets exactly what it needs. Everything from what you eat to what products you use, and even what is in your home can affect you and the baby.

FOOD

Everything that is put in your mouth is shared with your unborn child. It is important to think twice when eating because you are sharing with them and building a human being. You may not be a believer in organic food purchases but now is the time to change your stance. When pregnant it is imperative to give your baby the most quality food and avoid chemicals at all cost and make the best choices. The food you consume and purchase should come from a reliable source and give the vitamins and nutrients your child needs. There are products that are proven to be helpful during pregnancy.

There are many foods that pregnant women are asked to avoid. Things such as lunch meat, unpasteurized cheeses, raw seafood, shellfish.

Another element that is important during pregnancy is vitamins. It is important to take the proper prenatal vitamins to ensure that your baby is getting the right nutrition regardless of your eating habits.

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Every human being uses toiletry products and think nothing of it. What everyone should know is that there are a lot of chemicals in our products. It is so bad that the US allows the use of certain chemicals that are banned in other countries. Do you want to use that on your body, and most importantly do you want your baby to be exposed to that as well? Everything from lotions, face wash, toothpaste, body wash, makeup can be found in safe/non-toxic formulas to allow everyone to be safe.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

Just like your food and toiletry products, cleaning products around your home often contain harmful chemicals. It is best to choose the products at the store that say they are chemical free or free from dyes and fragrances. All of those things can seep into your system and affect the baby.

EXERCISE

Exercise and keeping your body at a healthy weight is extremely important during pregnancy. At the beginning of your pregnancy, your doctor will tell you what a healthy weight gain for you is and it is important that you follow it. A lot of people think pregnancy is the time to eat what they want but that just isn’t true, consuming dead end calories can be harmful. Too much weight can put stress on the mom and in turn stress on the baby. Later in pregnancy it is hard to stay active so a lot of people turn to yoga or walking that is less high pace. There are certain circumstances that may cause a mom to gain more weight, such as gestational diabetes or a twin pregnancy. Even then there are still ways to be healthy and exercise.

Overall, your health as a pregnant woman is very important to you and our baby. It is best to read up and research all of the ways you can do your part.

6 Ways to Save Money by Going Green at Work

Tesla’s hyper-sexy cars and expensive solar roofs may have you believing that going green is only for the rich and famous. But don’t let Musk convince you that being environmentally-friendly needs to cost a fortune. Here are six simple ways you can go green whilst actually saving money for your business:

1.  Government subsidies

The government is trying to incentivize going green, and there’s a good chance you’ll get a rebate for being environmentally friendly at work. If you’re short on cash on a rebate approved investment, a good idea may be to get a small grant, or a cash advance from Cash Stop to install the technology required to go green. Considering how these newer and sustainable technologies are cheaper to operate, you can expect some considerable savings over time.

2.  LED costs less

There’s no doubt that LED bulbs cost more upfront. However, they are designed to last nearly 25x longer than other bulbs. Over time, these smart LED lights can cost nearly a third of what incandescent bulbs would cost you.

Switching all your bulbs to LEDs could save your business thousands of dollars each year, and the government estimates it could save the country a total of $30 billion by 2027. LEDs look better and are more customizable, so there’s really no good reason not to get them.

3.  Upcycle furniture

Used or recycled furniture will probably cost less to buy and is great for the environment. Old chairs and desks can easily be refurbished for use in your office.

4.  Save money on travel by working from home

A report from 2013 found that nearly half of all the staff at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked from home. This is because the department responsible for conserving the environment knows what’s best for it.

Working from home cuts out the single biggest pollutant – vehicular emissions. It also costs the business less to provide heating and lighting for employees when they turn up to work. Large firms like IBM and Microsoft have saved tens of thousands of dollars per employee who chose to work from home.

5.  Conserve Water

Even a relatively small office can save nearly $300 a year by using water-efficient appliances. You can probably go a step further and replace your toilet and heaters with the latest technology to conserve even more water each year.

6.  No More paper

Paper isn’t expensive, but larger firms use a ton of it and much of it is wasted. Over time, the costs add up. Digitizing completely means less waste and substantial cost savings, depending on the size of your business. Some large firms have saved millions in paper costs alone.

Going green isn’t always expensive. These are just some of the sustainable moves you can make to cut costs while saving the planet.

Popular Cruising Myths Debunked: Why Cruises are Ideal for the Adventure Holidaymaker

Cruise holidays have, over the years, become surrounded by a number of misconceptions, myths and stereotypes. That’s why we’ve decided to debunk some of the myths and explain why cruises are still great for all types of holidaymakers, including those looking for an adventure.

I Can’t Afford a Cruise Holiday

Granted, some cruises can be expensive, but this doesn’t mean all cruises are out of your price range. In most cases, a cruise holiday will cost the same as a package holiday to a beach resort, while sometimes, you may even find that they’re more affordable.

A lot of cruise companies, like Bolsover Cruise Holidays, for example, include a variety of things within the total price, such as meals, evening entertainment and tours. Furthermore, when you’re on a cruise, you aren’t limited to one destination, which provides you with far more value for money than a single-destination holiday.

I’ll Be Bored While We’re at Sea

Even though some cruises do involve a lot of time at sea, this by no means implies that you’ll be bored. Cruises have been specially designed to cater for a whole host of needs, offering entertainment, shows and activities throughout the day and night. That’s not to mention the added bonus of leisure activities, sun loungers, bars, spas and much, much more.

Every ship provides its cruisers with unique entertainment, which is why you’ll want to investigate this before you go so you’re choosing something that’ll entertain you throughout your trip. And don’t forget that, when you’re sailing along on your cruise ship, you’ll often be taking in a lot of the sights that you’re passing along the way.

We’ll Only Stop Off at Beach Resorts

This is another huge myth surrounding cruises because even though many Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises will visit beach destinations, some cruises will offer you other unique destinations. For example, you could choose to sail to the Middle East, sail along the Mexican Rivera or take in the sights of Asia. Cruises definitely aren’t limited, which is why any you’re sure to find a holiday that feeds your sense of adventure.

I’ll Find the Food Options Limited

Our final myth couldn’t be further from the truth because the majority of cruise liners come complete with their own on-board, high-quality chef. This tends to mean that the restaurants on the cruises liners give many dry-land eateries a run for their money. Not only do they offer a variety of food but it’s all freshly served to you throughout the day.

Many years ago you may have found cruises limited, boring and expensive, but today, they’re a favoured holiday for all types of travellers, with cruises to suit everyone.

 

What You Need to Know About Setting Up an Office

All businesses of some sort end up needing an office. This can be as small as the corner of your den, an office in your home, or actual space that you lease to run your office out of. Why you need this office will depend on the nature of your business. Most offices are taking care of the administrative and financial aspect of your business. Before you decide to open an office, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

What Size Do You Really Need?

Determining who is using the office is going to give you an indication of what size you need. If it’s just you so that you can handle your bookkeeping and emails at the end of a work day, then a simple home office will do. If you have human relations, accounting, IT, and marketing, they will indicate the leasing or purchase of your space. If you are going this large, make sure you have plenty of space for growth and stay well within your budget.

Shop for Internet

No matter what you are doing in your office, you will need internet. There are a slew of office internet providers and it takes some time to find the best ones. You are looking for a reliable service in all manner of weather. You also want a fast service so that you can get through your tasks with efficiency. It also helps to find fiber optic service rather than cable or DSL. Fiber optics are simply faster and ensure transfers of data over long distance without degrading the data. Fiber optics are not available everywhere and can be expensive to install. Be sure you can get fiber optics and that it’s within your budget.

Furnish It with Necessities

Shopping for office furniture can cause anyone to get caught up and swept away. Keep it simple and takes care of your needs. If you are leasing or purchasing a space, all of your furniture should match among the departments. For storage, get what you need plus one year’s worth of growth so that you are not constantly purchasing more filing cabinets. All chairs should be comfortable and provides support so that no matter how long you are seated, you are not straining your body too much. If your office space is carpeted, floor mats at the desks will allow for rolling chairs to move easily. If you have overhead lighting, you can avoid desk lamps.

Keep Office Equipment to a Minimum

Purchasing office equipment is yet another expense that is easy to get carried away with. Get exactly what you need to perform your duties. If you are in a home office and travel a lot, skip the desktop pc and opt for a laptop. If you are leasing/purchasing office space, desktops are more efficient for your employees. Sales teams of course would benefit from laptops rather than desktops. Printers for a home office should only include extras you use. No need to get a scanner option if you will never use it, unless the printer with the scanner is a less expensive option! Printers for a larger office space often need more bells and whistles but you can minimize how many printers you obtain. Many can be hooked into a network and folks can share the printer. One other option you can consider is leasing equipment, rather than purchasing it.

Office Supplies Are Your Friend

Office supplies can be your most costly expense in an office. Of course, you should buy exactly what you need and keep them plentiful in the supply closet. No matter what size office you have, getting a rewards card to your local office store will be greatly beneficial to help you save on your supplies. Look for those deals and watch how much waste you create. If you can avoid printing on paper, you should.

Hopefully, your endeavor into opening an office is an exciting time for you and your business. Take these extra steps to pay attention and make the most of your space without breaking your budget!