California Construction and Solar Panels: What Does it Mean?

California Construction and Solar Panels: What Does it Mean?

California recently became the first state in the country to require solar panels on all newly-constructed homes. While the rules aren’t in place just yet (they will be starting in 2020), many people are wondering what it will mean not only for homes but how will it impact the environment? The goal of this new law is to make at least half of California’s used energy renewable. This goal goes hand-in-hand with a bigger climate change goal that the state is trying to achieve by 2050. If you live in California, what can you expect from this kind of construction? And, how will it impact the rest of the country?   What Does it Mean for Housing Costs?   The problem some Californians have with this new initiative is that it’ll significantly increase the cost of building a home. Unfortunately, it already costs quite a bit of money to build and/or buy a home in California. So, it’s understandable why some people are concerned about the increasing prices in the housing market. This isn’t just a problem for home builders and buyers, but for anyone who has to deal with new home construction. A prime example is Habitat for Humanity, who relies on donations to construct new homes. The good news? In the long run, the costs will likely even out. With solar panels installed on a home, energy costs for the people living there will be significantly lower. While this is a savings that will add up over many years, you will eventually get that money “back” in what you’re saving each month.   What Does it Mean...
Heading Back to School? How to Save Water During Your Daily Routine

Heading Back to School? How to Save Water During Your Daily Routine

All across the country, kids of all ages are heading back to school. Some have even already started! If you haven’t already implemented some water-saving techniques in your home during the summer, back to school time is a great opportunity to ‘start fresh.’ Most kids have a routine they develop when they go to school. It usually includes things like getting dressed, having breakfast, brushing their teeth, etc. So, why not introduce some water-saving options into your child’s morning routine? It’ll help them to start the school year off right, and can develop conscious habits that will last a lifetime. Use the following tips to make saving water and reducing their footprint part of your child’s daily routine.   Set a Timer for Their Showers   One of the best ways to get your child to take a shorter shower is to turn it into a game! Set a timer for them (or have them do it themselves). You can either see if they can continuously beat their time, or challenge them to complete their shower in a certain amount of time, like 10 minutes.   Check Your Plumbing     Back to school time is a great time to make sure all the plumbing in your house is working properly and efficiently. If you have multiple people vying for the bathroom at once each morning, every day, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any leaks, running toilets, etc. Not only will that add up on your water bill quickly, but it’s a huge waste that can be avoided with a little maintenance!   Be Conscious of Your...
Why You Should Use a Faucet Aerator on Your Sinks

Why You Should Use a Faucet Aerator on Your Sinks

Aerators for sinks are specifically designed to help reduce water flow and conserve both water and energy. Of course, that just covers the basics. There are actually many different benefits to using aerators that you can take advantage of. Faucet aerators are considered ‘green’ hardware. They’re easy to install and extremely cheap. Sometimes, you can even find them for just $1. If that’s not a good start to the benefits of these energy-saving devices, we don’t know what is! With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the additional benefits you can expect when you install aerators on your home faucets.   You’ll Use Less Water The main purpose (and biggest benefit) of using an aerator on your faucet is to use, and waste, less water. With an aerator on your faucet, your water flow will reduce to around two liters per minute. That’s a huge reduction to a tap without an aerator, that allows about 20 liters of water to be released per minute. As you can imagine, that’s not only a huge savings when it comes to the amount of water you’re wasting, but it will end up being huge savings to your wallet if you pay a monthly water bill.   Cleaner Water An aerator can also double as a type of filter. It’ll help to catch excess dirt and debris that might be coming through your water. Because of this, you’ll have to either clean or replace the aerator once in a while. You might notice a scaling buildup on it if you have hard water. They can usually be cleaned quickly...
Community Gardens – How They Work, and the Incredible Benefits!

Community Gardens – How They Work, and the Incredible Benefits!

Community gardens have become more popular throughout the country over the last several years, and for plenty of good reasons! You might even have one in your own town, but you’ve never been quite sure how it works. Well, community gardens are more than just large spaces for people to grow vegetables (don’t get us wrong, that’s a huge benefit!). There are so many benefits to these gardens when it comes to the community itself, and of course, when it comes to the environment.   How Does a Community Garden Work?             Community gardens essentially function the same way any small home garden would, but on a larger scale. Many communities are encouraging their citizens to take part in these larger garden because of the many benefits. In order to grow your own plants, you simply reserve an area of the garden and tend to it. Others do the same, and the result is a thriving, fully-functioning garden that brings people together. Some community gardens work differently – they are run by volunteers and different organizations instead of individuals renting out sections. These volunteer-run gardens are maintained for a variety of reasons, including to provide food and other resources to the community. Many larger cities have started putting these gardens in urban areas because they offer so many benefits.   Who Benefits from a Community Garden?               Community gardens reduce the strain of environmental impact. They do this by lowering the cost of food transportation and water runoff. Because these gardens are so diverse, they also help local...
No More Straws – The Truth About Plastic Waste

No More Straws – The Truth About Plastic Waste

If you’ve been following the news lately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about some controversy surrounding plastic straws. Some restaurants have decided not to hand their patrons straws unless they’re specifically asked for. Others have simply banned plastic straws altogether. Of course, there are arguments on both sides of this controversy. After all, we’re all used to plastic straws, and it can be hard to accept the change that some restaurants are implementing. So, what’s the big deal about using plastic straws anyway? Well, the impact of these tiny plastic tubes is greater than most people realize. Let’s take a closer look at how plastic straws impact the environment, and what that could mean for us on a larger scale. The Anti-Straw Facts Plastic waste has been a huge problem for our environment for a long time. Typically, people are focused on single-use plastics like grocery bags, and, of course, plastic straws. According to the EPA, more than 33 million tons of plastic trash is tossed out each year. Straws and other plastic stirrers make up about 7% of that waste. That’s quite a hefty portion for such small sippers! With that in mind, it’s no wonder people are trying desperately to look for alternatives. But, yearly facts can be difficult for some people to swallow, so here’s a daily fact for you: Over 500 million plastic straws are used every single day in the United States alone. Some studies have estimated that because of this, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by the year 2050. That will end up creating incredibly polluted water...