Save energy and Money by weather stripping your house

I originally wrote this for Tashman Home Center

Weather stripping your home can save you money for several different reasons. While Southern California may not have harsh winters, it does have heat and our famous Santa Ana Winds and with climate change increasing the frequency and severity of both, weather stripping your home might be worth considering. Whether your cooling or heating a home or want to cut down on the amount of dust that slips in around your windows and doors, doing an energy audit will let you know if makes sense to spend the money weatherizing your home. Here is a list of professionals that provide Energy Audits,

If you’d prefer to check things our yourself, here are several things you can do:

Windows

Use a stick of incense or a candle during a windy day to go around the windows and see where air is leaking in. During this wind test also check the windows themselves for cracks or other problems that can easily be addressed.

When dealing with sliding windows, there are a few simple things that will make a big difference with respect to unwanted air flow. Attach vinyl weather strips to the sides of the windows and foam strips on the bottom. Also put a V-Channel weatherstrip where the window goes into the frame to create a complete seal. Another option if you don’t plan on opening the windows for a while is to fill the cracks with caulking. The best product to use for this purpose is called seal and peel caulk. It is made to be easy to remove so you can quickly open up your house when spring comes.

Doors

When you close your front door, ideally it will make a strong seal. Use open cell foam weatherstripping for the sides of the door and a sweep for the bottom to keep out drafts.

Visit Tashman Home Center

Visit our website’s Hardware Page to see some of the 20,000 items we carry in stock that can help you with your project, or stop by our showroom at 7769 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood 90046 and get assistance from our terrific and knowledgable staff.  See Map

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Will Water Be a Commodity More Sought After then Gold?

Hollywood has done a decent job keeping us entertained over the years. Futuristic movies have grasped out imagination with tales of how water is scarce and survival after an apocalypse is anything but ideal. However, how much content from those movies are purely imaginative considering the world wide events of today? Will the world’s supply of fresh water become as precious to us as gold and oil?

Glaciers
For the inhabitants near glacier parks, as well as providing fresh water to rivers that span hundreds of miles, the reality of no water is a fact of life. Across the globe, glaciers are melting at an incredible rate pouring greater amounts of water into the oceans. This has, in turn, increased the sea levels at a rapid pace. Within our lifetime, island cities such as the Maldives will be submerged as could be several areas of Florida and other coastal states and cities. In Peru, 1600 years’ worth of ice has melted in less than three decades. How much more will we lose as a species before preventative measures are taken?

Rain Forests
Rain forests are more important than merely providing a habitat for the creatures that live within them. Each year, rains produced within the forests have declined steadily as trees and plant life are removed to provide land for cattle and commodities. Shouldn’t the water produced by these forests be considered a greater commodity than cotton or corn?

United States
In a report completed earlier in 2013 by the Natural Resources Defense Council of Tetra Tech, more than two-thirds of the counties in the US will have reservoirs unable to sustain the population demand by 2050. Changes in the climate and irregular weather patterns will not be able to replenish reservoirs that are in use. An overwhelming amount of the population wants the government to step in and address the problem of water shortages, but very few trust that the government will do anything about the problem.

Wasted Water for Production
Did you know that it takes more than 39,000 gallons of water to produce a new car? If you consider that a single human can consume up to one gallon of water per day, this is enough water to hydrate a person for more than his or her lifetime. Industry exhausts a great deal of water between cooling, lubricating, cleaning and any other use that requires liquid. The more we consume products as a global population, the faster the water is used. The very thing that is keeping economies functional will be a major contributor to its demise if things don’t change.

Toxic Chemical Levels
Many skeptics don’t believe that humans are the cause of climate change due to higher levels of carbon dioxide that is produced through various means. While they focus the quality of air, not many look at the ground. Chemicals that we take for granted are being put into the Earth and poisoning our water supply. Whether this poisoning of the water tables is on accident or not is irrelevant. That fact is that humans are responsible for contaminating water supplies through inappropriate or negligent actions.

At the current rate of decline, it will only be a matter of a few decades before the lack of water can create situations similar to those apocalyptic movies we grew up with. Whether our governments believe in global warming or not shouldn’t be the focus of their attention. Dehydration of the population is a reality and more efforts should be involved to sustain the people of any area.

Author Bio:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of  morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

 

Is Humanity to Blame for the Scarcity of Water?

wasting water

 

Although skeptics don’t believe humans are the cause of global warming, or climate change, we may be responsible for the scarcity of our own water supplies. Water does more for our community than simply keep us alive. We use this liquid component in a variety of tasks from flushing waste down to sewers to cleaning toxic chemicals to the excessive use each time we frack for gas. Instead of looking for alternatives and examining how our actions affect communities and the planet, humans are more drawn to the quick and easy way to accomplish goals.

1. Deforestation – Less rainfall in particular areas of the globe can be correlated with the loss of plant life within those areas. The Amazon Rainforest, while being a prime example, isn’t the only area that has seen diminished rainfall from the lack of trees and plants. Deforestation has been greatly impacted by humans because of the need for cattle ranches, paper and other materials that could have been produced using other methods.

2. Cleaning and Waste Removal – Depending on the style of your toilet, you can use 3.5 to seven gallons of water with each flush. In a family environment, more than 100 gallons of water can be flushed down the drain each and every day. The water that fills this receptacle is the same water that we drink. While this is aside from the installation of “low-flow” toilets, showers and baths can consume a great deal of water for the family environment as well. While this depends on the shower head that is installed, a single 10-minute shower can use up 50 gallons of water. In a family environment, more than 350 gallons of water can be consumed just in the bathroom on a daily basis.

3. Fracking – Millions of gallons of water can be used in any particular “fracking” job in order to improve drilling for oil and natural gas. Although some of this waste water is recycled, a large portion of it is lost. Instead of investing in improved ways to drive our automobiles or keep the steam turbine generators spinning for power, we squander the very component life depends on even though droughts run rampant across the plains.

4. Existing Technology –
We have existing technology that can help drought-affected areas to support life, if not for the implications of a dollar amount. Large and small scale water condensers are being developed that can essentially pull the water right out of the air. Since it costs so much money to build these units, may don’t see them as a practical way to survive – as drought causes crops to suffer.

5. Lack of Effort – In areas that are affected by floods and where the humidity is so high, why can’t this extra influx of water be piped to areas that are suffering? Because it wouldn’t be cost efficient to do so. It would require effort by local and federal governments in order to provide a viable method to keep the populations alive with the one component that humans cannot survive without.

Climate change on a global scale may be caused by a natural occurrence of the planet, but humans do their part to be as detrimental to their own survival. Instead of being a species that cares for survival, we have become one that depends on the size of the pocket book. If it’s not profitable, it must not be the correct path, right?

 

 

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.

 

Green Kids like going green

How to Get Kids Involved in Being Green

In recent years, many of us have shifted into living a greener life. We’ve become more aware of turning off lights when we leave a room, have switched to using reusable grocery bags, and have started sorting trash from recyclables before throwing things out. However if we want to continue to further the green movement we can’t stop there. We have to get our kids involved in living a greener life too; otherwise our efforts will eventually stall out. To help get your kids involved and interested in the green movement, try these tactics:

  1. Make it a challenge. Kids love to compete against other people, so make going green a challenge. See who can collect the most recyclables throughout the week and give everyone a different bin to put their recycling in. Assign different people in the house different green chores, like making sure all the lights are turned off before bedtime or collecting cans around the neighborhood, and keep track of who is the most consistent at accomplishing their tasks. At the end of each week award a prize to who did the best job, like letting them pick the movie to watch on movie night or taking the family to the winner’s favorite restaurant for a meal.
  2. Make it fun. Not all recyclables have to be taken to the recycling bin; instead make craft projects out of old toilet paper and paper towel tubes, or artwork out of scrap paper. Have the kids make papier-mâché robots from the tubes and cereal boxes, or paint pictures over paper that’s been written on. Show them how easy it is to re-purpose recyclable items instead of throwing them away.
  3. Plant a produce garden together. To teach kids the importance of eating locally grown, organic foods, plant a garden together. They’ll love spending time outside working in the dirt alongside you, and how often do we really encourage them to get their hands dirty? They’ll learn about gardening and biology in the process, and they’ll be proud when they harvest their produce or herbs.
  4. Talk to them about the importance of going green. Kids are like sponges when it comes to absorbing information, so talk to them regularly about how important it is to our planet to live a green lifestyle. Explain how we’re hurting our planet, how we can help, and why everyone needs to pitch in. They’ll probably end up retaining a lot more information than you think.
  5. Involve them in your green efforts. When you need to take the recycling to the recycling plant, take the kids with you. Have them help you sort through trash and recyclables together. Make a game out of crushing cans. Show them how they can pick up trash around the neighborhood to help keep everything clean and beautiful.

By actively living a green lifestyle and encouraging our children to do the same we can make a lasting difference in the preservation of our planet. Don’t assume that kids are too young to be involved; instead teach them from early on how they can make a difference. It’s through the generations to come that we can help clean up and preserve our planet, and every little bit helps.

About the Author:

 

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor ofLiveinnanny.comShe welcomes your comments at her email Id: jdebra84 @ gmail.com.

 

 

 

Two pronged attack Energy Efficiency and Conservation

The total energy efficiency of the United States is less than 50% and the total amount of energy produced by oil and coal together is almost 75%.

Now let’s pretend we would like to put less carbon into the atmosphere and as a given oil and coal happen to be the sources that put most of the carbon into the air. If we could increase the overall efficiency by a quarter, we could use a third less carbon fuel.

So I guess the question is what are the obstacles to not wasting more than half of the energy we produce? Are the costs associated with such an endeavor so high that it is really not worth the investment?

Doing some research on fuels and their various efficiencies,  wood can burned generating heat energy at above 90% efficiency in the right kind of fireplace.  The technology for burning wood has been developed since the beginning of mankind but I still think we could still waste less energy with other fuels as well.

Cap and Trade Infographic

I have been meaning to write an article on cap and trade in the United States but it can be hard for people to understand and without other major polluting countries having similar programs, the whole thing seemed somewhat pointless.

In the US, however, the program will have an effect on our poor sad economy and thus should be addressed.  I still don’t want to write about though, so here is a great ideographic from the people at http://www.wellhome.com

 

 

Greenwashing

Everywhere we go recently it seems as though there is a brand new eco-friendly “green” versions of old products.  I have mentioned a few of these silly things like the 57 watt light bulb as a new energy efficient version of the 60 watt.

I have been coming across even more ludicrous examples, many of them outright lies.  Often you can see the absurdity just by looking at the contradictions in the advertising.  Phrases like “eco-friendly” and “contains mercury and lead” should not be on the same product.

I came across a good example the other day with a can of lithium grease.  The can is green of course and is pitched as a bio-based biodegradable lubricant.  If the warnings about calling poison control if ingested aren’t enough there is always the fact that Lithium is a metal and thus can not bio-degrade…ever.

This trend is a problem because in addition to claiming dangerous products are safe, overall the public believes things are changing for the better when in reality the packaging is just different. Consumers look around and things look like companies are being less wasteful but in the end it is just a marketing illusion.

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