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The Health and Aesthetic Benefits of a Vertical Garden

March 25, 2015 | By: Admin | No Comments

As a business owner, you’re probably interested in finding ways to incorporate natural touches of beauty around the office. While your building might not have a large plot of land for a traditional garden, chances are good that you have an interior or exterior wall that could use a little greening up. How about a vertical garden?

Vertical gardens 101

Mother Nature Network explains why the popularity of vertical gardens is on the rise; instead of needing a wide and flat space to grow, a vertical plot uses an existing wall to create a place of beauty. As a bonus, and depending on what plants you choose, a vertical garden can be grown either indoors, outdoors or both. In addition to looking really cool, My Plant Connection outlines how vertical gardens provide a nice variety of tangible benefits: insulation for the outside of a building, and reduction of the urban heat island effect.

A vertical garden can also protect the building’s exterior by shielding it against the harsh rays of the sun and the driving rain. A vertical garden is also inherently insulating, which means it can make an office more energy-efficient and use less power to heat and cool the building. Vertical gardens outside can also block unattractive but necessary objects like dumpsters and recycling stations, HVAC units and electric meters; a screen can be placed in front of these objects and the vertical plants grow on the screen to hide anything you don’t want passers-by to see.

Health benefits of vertical gardens

An indoor vertical garden provides all of the health benefits that traditional plants offer. The garden detoxifies the air, reducing inside pollution and removing VOCs and other nasty toxic substances like formaldehyde and benzene from the office air. For offices with high ceilings and open spaces, a well-placed vertical garden will absorb some noise for a more calm and stress-free environment.

Green Plants for Green Buildings cites a variety of studies proving how plants make office workers more productive while also reducing their stress levels. In general, people who work in businesses that include plants are an average of 12 percent more productive than those who are in “green-less” offices.

How to create a vertical garden

Ready to take the proverbial plunge and add a vertical garden to your office? There are plenty of places to gather inspiration. A good example is the four-story “biowall” at the University of Guelph-Humber Building. This biofilter is the mother ship of vertical gardens: installed more than 10 years ago, it acts as a natural indoor air purifier and helps to keep the building cool in the summer.

Spend some time researching and refer to the FTD website, which features an entire section on green plants that would look right at home in a vertical garden. In addition, the Self Sufficient Living website features 15 vertical garden ideas, including a collection of two-litre pop bottles made into planters that are attached to a wall. Last, visit 500eco for beautiful and inspiring photos of the famous vertical garden in Milan, billed as the largest vertical garden in the world.

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Using Solar Power to Make Your House More Eco-Friendly

March 11, 2015 | By: Admin | No Comments

There are many reasons why we can agree that decreasing the amount of money spent on our energy bills is a wonderful thing, but that takes a bit of research and preparation if you want to make it happen. Residential solar power usually has less efficiency compared to commercial solar power, but you can still benefit from using solar power to a great extent. Green energy takes a specific approach, so the following tips will point out how you can use solar power to make it happen:

  • Commercial systems have quite a few advantages you can make use of, especially compared to residential solar power systems. They are usually installed in well-lit locations where the technology can work on a greater scale, allowing for the use of more efficient storage cells and other tech connected to photovoltaic solar power.
  • There is a good reason why people like a set of solar panels around their homes. They offer the chance of independence from your local power supplier and it will lower your dependency of fossil fuels, staying away from dirty energy sources. Installing solar power around your home is a possibility, especially useful when you’ve done a home clearance and moved into a new home. If you happened to buy a place that has far too much that needs to be cleared out, then waste disposal, junk removal and garden clearance will be necessary before you move forward with your plans.
  • There are ways you can have a more efficient technology than the usual photovoltaic one, which is SWHS (Solar Water Heating Systems), which provide a cheaper, yet still reliable alternative to the usual PV system. Photovoltaic technology take at least a decade to pull their own weight financially, paying off as they are used, but solar water heaters are faster when it comes to such terms.
  • Once you figure out the subsidies into the final price, you will be able to pay off the price of a SWHS system in the span of a few years, unlike the decade or so of a photovoltaic system. SWHS will also provide more efficiency in terms of electrical energy as well when it comes to heating water as well. Both technologies have their ups and downs, so you would do well to do a more thorough research of what they have to offer before you make your choice.
  • Natural gas costs are on the rise, ever so slowly climbing up because of a number of reasons, so having solar power is an excellent way of staying ahead of the curve and away from such issues. If you’re looking for solar power for simply supplemental purposes, then you will still find what you’re looking for. You would do well to check if you can make an energy audit to figure out how this type of system would benefit you in the long run before you move and make your choice.


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Green Home Cleaning Tips and Hints

February 20, 2015 | By: Admin | No Comments

Having a clean and nice home that looks both presentable and clean is a must for most homeowners, but cleaning such a place will require you to be quite diligent in your work. It happens to be a job that will never end, making you work hard and often if you want to keep your home looking spotless. There are many details to keep in check, such as washing curtains, upholstery cleaning, oven cleaning, kitchen cleaning in general, window cleaning and so much more. There are also equally great opportunities to keep your cleaning efforts green, following these tips ahead and hiring London House Cleaning Ltd.:

  • Cleaning mirrors and glass

You can really let go of your usual window cleaners, as they tend to contain ammonia inside, using something else instead. All you will need to make cleaning less of a chore is to mix several tablespoons of lemon juice with about a liter of water or so. You can use this to cut the grease in most locations on glass and scrub it clean. You can also do the same by using rubbing alcohol and witch hazel, but you will need a good squeegee as well if you want to avoid using newspapers for such a task. Lint rags are also a viable solution, especially if you want to stick to a reusable solution that doesn’t rely on squeegees. You can also use washing leather, assuming you can find one nowadays.

  • Polishing your furniture pieces

Keeping your furniture well polished will mean you need to do this carefully if you want to stay green. As other substances are pretty unpleasant when it comes to toxicity, you would do well to pay special attention to the types of metal polishes you plan on using, especially when it comes to spot removers and toilet cleaners among other solutions. Most of what you will work will often have pretty unpleasant chemicals within, so you should do your best to avoid such cleaners whenever you can. You can instead use something else, mainly as mix of olive oil and lemon juice that works wonders when it comes to polishing surfaces. Using this in equal parts will create an excellent solution you can use, especially on wood as long as you use it within reason. Mixing some salt into it will create a paste you can use to buff some surfaces to a shine, but it will work well only if you use finer salt crystals and nothing larger than that.

  • Cleaning floors

Water and vinegar will get the job done, especially if you want to mop any ceramic tiles, linoleum or even wood if you mix them together at about a cup of vinegar per two liters.

  • Making use of baking soda

You can use baking soda for a number of purposes, such as removing any smells from your carpets while you clean, scrubbing away mold and more from your bathroom and kitchen and even when cleaning clogged drains. Just mix it with vinegar for that last task and see how the chemical reaction fizzes up and removes the clogs if you do it fast enough.

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BYOD: Saving the Planet One Device at a Time

February 16, 2015 | By: Admin | No Comments

Bring your own device, or BYOD, is one office trend that is quickly gaining popularity. Adopters of this policy use their personal devices for work purposes, rather than the company issuing devoted work devices. Gartner reports that one out of two businesses will require their staff to provide their own devices by 2017.

While employees used to have dumb phones, now nearly everyone has a smartphone that can handle their work load. For example, the iPhone 6 has built-in 4G LTE that provides faster internet connection speeds and a Wi-Fi calling feature that allows for better mobile coverage. And, another huge advantage for BYOD policies is that they are environmentally friendly because they reduce waste and transportation emissions and encourage recycling programs.

Reduced Waste

It makes sense to only run one device per employee as opposed to separate sets for business and work. By eliminating one set, you help reduce the amount of obsolete technology in the future, the amount of raw materials needed to create the device and the energy required to transport it to the end consumer.

Additionally, cellphones contain high amounts of precious metals. Americans throw away over $60 million in gold and silver every year just from their outdated devices, according to For every million phones that are recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. So, by eliminating a device for each employee, companies can be part of the solution instead of the problem.

Less Product Transportation

When buying the latest mobile device, one thing people tend to overlook is the sourcing of raw materials and components that go into their production. These raw materials typically are sourced internationally and need to be shipped to China or other major manufacturing destinations. For example, tantalum is found in such diverse locations as Australia, Brazil, Canada and the Congo, explains Lenntech. Once it is mined in these locations, then it needs to be transported somewhere else to be used.

Furthermore, once the phones are made, they then need to be transported to the wholesalers and then to the retailers and then to the end-consumers. By the time the process is complete, the components have traveled thousands of miles before the phone is even switched on.

Recycling Programs

Some businesses take environmentally-friendly practices a step further by instituting cellphone recycling programs. More than 70 percent of mobile phones can be recycled, but only 14 to 17 percent are recycled annually, explains e-Cycle. Phones contain dangerous substances, such as lithium, cadmium and lead, that can contaminate the soil and groundwater if not disposed of properly. So, these in-company programs ensure that phones are correctly disposed of instead of contaminating landfills.

All major cellular providers have take-back schemes that allow customers to recycle their old phones. For example, if you are buying the new iPhone 6 from T-Mobile, you can hand in your old iPhone 5 for them to recycle for free. Additionally, T-Mobile allows you to turn in cellphone batteries, accessories and tablets to be recycled at any of its locations.

Overall, BYOD is a trend that intends to stay in the workforce. With 90 percent of American employees already using their personal smartphones for work, according to a Cisco survey, BYOD programs can help your employees, profits and the environment.

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3 easy tips to prevent breathing volatile chemical compounds when cleaning at home

February 13, 2015 | By: Admin | No Comments


Cleaning at home usually takes place every week and there are some cleaning things to do every day as well. However, the big home cleaning is that cleaning that continues longer, but only once or twice a year. Changing the wardrobes for the winter and the summer or vice versa is only a hint of what`s to come. There are also complex procedures for deep cleaning rugs, carpets and other upholstery at home, while the windows may look like the easiest part of the journey, but they require a lot of patience and the exact type of cleaning solution as well. So, take your free time to consider all the types of detergents and the solutions needed for the big seasonal cleaning. The chemical compounds should be applied strictly according to their labels and the most important thing is to take all the measures to prevent breathing volatile chemicals during the cleaning itself. The protective gloves, masks and eyewear are very useful items, but next are few other tricks and easy tips to follow to reduce the volatile compounds even more.

It comes to choose the best week of the season for cleaning. It usually takes place twice a year somewhere in the early springtime and the late autumn, but it all depends on your location. For example, the first springtime days might be yet windy and crisp, and so the cooler air reduces the evaporation by contrast to the hot warm summer days. Another important thing to keep in mind is the wind. A great idea is to try not to leave the doors or the windows open when it`s windy and especially while cleaning with detergent solutions in the meantime. Open the doors and the windows so the fresh air to enter, but after finishing with spraying detergents onto the windows or the carpets, for example. Therefore, the volatile chemical compounds form tiny little droplets, which can fall straight down freely instead of floating through the air in all over the room.

Another easy tip is to wait for a cloudy springtime or an autumn day for cleaning with volatile compounds. This is due to the invisible power of the sunshine rays, which enhance the evaporation quite rapidly. You can try this on a window – just spray onto its glass shiny surface and make sure that the sunlight beats straight on the window. Before you have finished scrubbing with a clean cloth or a squeegee at the one section of the window – the other section might already be dry. The fast evaporation due to the direct sunlight causes the long darker dirty lines and stretches, which aren`t visually pleasing and you have to repeat each section time after time. Because of that, try to clean the windows when there is no wind nor a direct sunlight. The evaporation is less and so the risk from breathing volatile chemical compounds is less too.

Reducing invisible compound particles often means to reduce common allergens in the air, especially when you have pets or domestic plants. You can go through one simple step after finishing the deep cleaning of carpets, furnishings and upholstery. It comes to deodorizing and sanitizing all the rooms and the objects in it. Always use clean towels and clean water, while the sanitizing agents also make the clean effect longer lasting.

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4 Steps for Solar Startups on their Pathway to Success

February 09, 2015 | By: Admin | No Comments

As the cost of traditional energy rises, homeowners are seeking “greener” energy options and solar energy is the solution. Solar Energy Definition reports that, although only 1 percent of American households currently use solar panels as the only energy source, solar energy is still one of the fastest-growing types of Earth-friendly energy in the world. For entrepreneurs in the beginning stages of a solar energy startup, this is the time to enter the industry.

To start strong, there are definitive steps a new solar company must take.

Step 1: Think about the customer

Clean Technica advises solar companies to know everything possible about their audience when developing marketing and business plans. Think about what makes people tick in regard to solar power. The main points to consider include the consumers’ concern over high utility bills, the price of fuel and perhaps their desire to live the green life.

By using advertising and social media to to educate potential customers about solar energy and explain its affordable alternative to traditional energy sources, solar startups are already at a major advantage.

Step 2: Team up with established organizations

The next step is finding like-minded businesses to partner with and that already support the expansion of solar energy. Why is this important? From a marketing perspective, a partnering company is another resource for spreading the word about your company to their social media pages and blogs.

Great example: Apple Rubber and Nissens Cooling Solutions. An article on the Apple Rubber blog shares the news of a partnership with Nissens Cooling Solutions to develop and produce a specialized rubber mount that is strong enough to withstand the intense power of a wind turbine. The mount will also allow the cooling system in the turbine to properly adapt to the surrounding environment. By posting an article about their partnership, Apple Rubber helps spread the world about Nissens Cooling Solutions and their eco-friendly mission.

Step 3: Focus on what works

Sometimes small business owners feel obliged to apply certain marketing techniques simply because it’s “the right thing to do.” But it’s important to rethink ineffective marketing tactics. Example: instead of spending hours handing out business cards and raising awareness about solar energy options, it may be more conducive to spend that time focusing on other (new) ways to get the word out. It might be an obvious fact, but it is crucial for solar startup owners to focus time and efforts on what works and ditch what isn’t.

Step 4: Seek out funding from different sources

Expenses during the first year are typically enormous for a solar startup; this is due in large part to not having the resources to run a day-to-day operations department, which needs to happen before completing any sales. Tip to owners: research grant funding from both private and federal sources and also inquire at banks to see if you qualify for business loans to help the company run smoothly during its first year.

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