A Homeowner’s Guide to Saving the Planet

Humans are amazing. This past century, we have discovered many, many things. We are modernising the world itself. Our ways of living have improved so much in just a short span of time. But the humans’ rapid breakthroughs in technology had its consequences.

Yes, we made amazing discoveries to improve our day-to-day lives, we made life much more convenient, and we made the world a lot smaller by communications technology. But it came with a dire price. In the process of modernisation, we also did grievous damages to Mother Nature.

We have altered Nature’s landscape, and we have destroyed the habitats of some animals. We polluted our atmosphere and our lakes. We dumped toxic chemicals in bodies of water, which killed valuable marine animals, and we’ve created cars, which emitted harmful gas compounds that made holes in our ozone.

We enjoyed the luxuries of our modern technology and neglected the destruction we caused to our world. Fortunately, we humans have realised our dreadful error sometime in the last decade, and have made reasonable efforts in reversing the damage.

As denizens of our beloved Earth, we must not dismiss the efforts of our brethren in saving the environment. Everything we do counts.

As homeowners, we can start helping the Earth by altering some of the things we do to, and in, our home.

Plant some greens

We destroyed many trees and forests to build our huge cities. We burned extravagant amounts of fossil fuels in our factories and transportation, filling our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other dangerous gases. And there aren’t enough trees to absorb the massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

By building a garden, whether outside or inside your home, you are actively helping in diminishing air pollution. And you’ll also receive oxygen and fruits from the plants.

Reduce energy consumption

We use electricity in our daily lives. In generating electricity, we consume fossil fuels. The method is relatively cheap, but it causes severe damage and pollution to our planet.

By conserving energy, we are reducing the harm done to Mother Nature. It is obvious that we can’t just stop our use of electricity, so what can we do? Avoid energy waste and be more energy efficient.

Here are some things you can do to be more efficient in energy consumption:

  • Insulating your roof

If you live in cold areas, you probably use heaters so you can stay warm. But the heat it generates eventually escapes to the roof. To make your home more energy efficient, insulate your roof so that the warm air will stay inside. You can also convert your loft while you’re at it. You can find more information on this at Fulhamlofts.co.uk.

  • Replace old appliances

Ten years ago, we used appliances, but we didn’t know that it consumed significant amounts of electricity to function. But because of the advancement in technology, energy efficient appliances are now available.  These appliances are two to ten times more effective than their old counterparts.

By doing these things, you will help save our planet, you will enhance your home’s beauty, and you will be saving money on your energy bills. So, what’s not to love?

Striving for an eco-friendly home: How-to tips

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A lot of projects elevate your home and also enhance your family’s way of living. You can enjoy these projects’ advantages and updates if you work on these. And once you have done these developments and make environment-friendly upgrades, you can begin earning from your investments through green energy technologies.

Kitchen Renovation

cl2As to a lot of people, they consider the kitchen the heart of homes. That’s why upgrading the kitchen will benefit you. Studies show that you can get your investments back for 60%-120% on remodelling your kitchen. But don’t overdo it. Your kitchen shouldn’t outshine any other part of the house or your neighbourhood.

Effectiveness of Paint

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If we’re talking about the expenses of renovating your kitchen, it can range from $5,000 up to $75,000 or even more. You can definitely see your money’s worth by considering your kitchen’s colour. Having a vibrant paint and a fresh look of colours can improve how your kitchen looks. And another is, paint can cost you less.

Use Appliances that are Energy-Efficient

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Use appliances that are energy-efficient and replace your old ones. These type of appliances are environment-friendly and since they use less energy, it will help you save your money. In looking for new homes, buyers will consider those ones that can save them money.

Adding Bathrooms

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If you want to build an extra space for a bathroom, look for any unused rooms or spaces in the house. These spaces may be closets or those spaces under the staircase. The space requirement varies depending on which kind of bathroom you want. It will require around 18 square feet for a half-bath, 30 square feet for a full bath with a shower, and 35 square feet if you want to include a bathtub.

Adding bathrooms can cost you a lot, depending on the additional accessories you like and other add-ons you want. It would be best if you check constantly on different home depots since they often have great discounts on their toilets or sinks.

Renewing a Room

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It will be an extremely expensive project to add more area to your house for a new room. Yes, you can earn your investment back on putting up a new room, but the 50% to 83% of that can be uncontrollable. You can see examples of this in TV shows. Their house remodelling begins with a $15,000 budget and ends up to $30,000 or even greater when they encounter problems during the remodelling.

Instead of building a new room, recreate an existing one to save money like turning your attic (see Mansard loft) into a bedroom, or have a basement. A lot of people also adds small rooms in their garages for renting.

Home improvements can come with a lot of expenses, but it can also bring a positive way of living. With better appliances that will cost you less, in the long run, being creative and resourceful towards the designs and efficiency of your rooms. All of this can help add up to your happiness and satisfaction within the four corners of your home.

Planning permission rules for loft conversions 2016

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Are you thinking to extend your livable space in your home? Maybe add some external extensions to the side or back of your home? Or maybe even converting your dusty, useless loft above your ceiling and turning it into a useful asset?

I tell you, converting your loft is the best option for extending your usable space in your home. It adds a great deal of property value and is a less expensive option than adding external extensions. It also recycles your supposedly unusable space in your attic.

If you are planning on converting your loft into a habitable space, you may not be considering it to be subject to some building restraints like those typical house extension projects than is normally attached to the front, side, or back of your home.

Yes, a loft conversion for your home is usually considered by authorities to be a permitted development, meaning it does not require an application for planning permissions. But certain conditions and limits must be met.

Like any other new buildings, any changes in your loft require building regulations to make sure that you follow safety measures. These building regulations are what they call Parts L, K, B, and P.

Part L demands that every loft should have insulation. Part K requires minimum headroom of 2m in all escape routes like stairs to prevent anyone from accidents like falling. Part B is all about fire safety. Lastly, Part P calls for electrical safety and that means you need to hire a professional to make sure that everything is under control.

And also, adding of up to fifty (50) cubic meters, or forty (40) cubic meters for terraced homes, fall under permitted development. But if you are living in some places like in a conservation area or a listed building, you will need to secure a planning permission. You will also need a planning permission if you are considering on altering your roof height or shape.

Roof lights and dormer lofts can also be considered to be permitted developments and it must not be sitting forward of the roof plane on your home on the principal elevation. They also must not be higher than the highest part of your existing roof.

Here are also some conditions from planningportal.co.uk that homeowners should meet for any loft conversions:

  • A volume allowance of 40 cubic metres additional roof space for terraced houses*
  • A volume allowance of 50 cubic metres additional roof space for detached and semi-detached houses*
  • No extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts the highway
  • No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof
  • Materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms
  • Side-facing windows to be obscure-glazed; any opening to be 1.7m above the floor
  • Roof extensions not to be permitted development in designated areas**
  • Roof extensions, apart from hip to gable ones, to be set back, as far as practicable, at least 20cm from the original eaves
  • The roof enlargement cannot overhang the outer face of the wall of the original house.

So before anything else, homeowners should ensure that everything is under control to avoid violating laws or rules or even accidents caused by lack of safety measures in your homes. At the end, safety is all that matters.

Home tips: 4 things you can do to help save Mother Earth

The Earth, the planet we live in, as we know it is slowly dying. That is an undeniable fact. And for centuries, we humans have done nothing to prevent or even to slow down the inevitable.

The technology we have is becoming more and more advanced and with it comes even more destructive substances for Mother Earth. But slowly and steadily, we have come to know and admit our mistake. People are now advocating for a more “green” environment.

We should do our part in helping stave off our world’s demise. It is the least we could do considering all Mother Earth has done for us.

Now, eco-friendly projects are being launched. Engineers are now discovering ways for their machines and infrastructures to be more environmentally sound.

So we, as citizens and as the only intelligent race of the planet, should also lend our help in saving Mother Earth.

Now we can do a lot to help. Every little thing counts. As homeowners, we can help by tweaking and changing little bits in our home.

Here are 4 things you can do to help save Mother Earth:

  1. Replace all your old light bulbs

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Yes. I told you, even little things count. Those old light bulbs waste a lot of energy and that essentially means a lot of Mother Earth’s resources are wasted.

They use up about 90% of energy to convert to heat and light. Not to mention it only produces a meagerly annoying light. Now, think about all the energy wasted. Buying LED bulbs and fluorescent lamps can significantly lower down your energy bills.

      2. Insulate your roof

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It is a reality that our home tends to be either too cold or too hot. We get uncomfortable so we spend a lot of money on temperature altering appliances.

These devices emit loads of destructive elements like CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) that can harm our atmosphere.

Here’s a thought. Why not insulate your roof?

Insulating your roof causes heat to get trapped inside your home making it a great deal warmer inside. You won’t have to rely on heaters and other similar appliances anymore.

Companies like Chiswick loft conversions specialises in turning dusty old lofts to purposeful new rooms which come with roof insulation. 

       3. Replace your old appliances

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Saving energy means saving the Earth. Old appliances are very inefficient and use up a lot of energy. Take for example an old refrigerator. It consumes about three times more energy than a new one. If you replace your old appliances for new ones, you will not only be saving a lot of money on energy bills, you will be decreasing your overall energy consumption thus helping to save our planet.

       4. Go for green

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What better way to save Mother Nature than by placing nature all around you? By planting or placing trees and plants around your house, you will be decreasing the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide content. And your house will look very enchanting with all the greenery around.

Let us all help save the earth in our ways. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you do big or small things, it all counts.

New CDM Regulations 2015

It is not to say that Construction sites are entirely dangerous and no doubt that they are risk free. Whether it is building or repairing a structure, there are still many processes that come with working in these conditions. As a result, it is definitely necessary that laborers be given the proper and safe state to spent their time and effort to work in.

Required? Yes, it is, businesses and contractors should endow vast protection for their own employees. With many electrical and chemical working workers can be exposed to, many medical issues can arise.

The construction market constantly exaggerates economic progress when there is an upsurge, which often leads to productive market growth. As anticipated, the skills shortages emerge, with material shortages also reported in the house building sector, which was the first to emerge from the previous recession.

The preceding 2007 CDM Regulations are being replaced to make it easier and convenient for everyone involved to understand what they need to the job safely. Petite and average size construction businesses will have to make a plan and manage health and safety when the Construction Regulations 2015 come into force. This means that for the first time in construction work, whether it’s a new bathroom fit out or an extension will need a construction phase.

The Key changes of the New CDM Regulations 2015

• The revised legislation applies to all projects including for the first time domestic jobs.

• All projects must have a written construction phase plan.

• The role of CDM coordinator in the previous CDM Regulations 2007 has been removed and replaced with a new role of principal designer.

• There is a duty to make sure all persons doing the job have the right skills, knowledge, training and experience.

• Some domestic and non-domestic projects will have to be notified to the Health and Safety Executive by the client.

 

Safety For Construction Sites

It is not to say that construction sites are entirely dangerous but there is no doubt they are not risk free. Whether it is building or repairing a structure, it stands that there are many processes that comes with working in these conditions. Therefore, it is definitely necessary that laborers be given the proper and safe state to spend their time and effort to work in.

Required it is, that businesses and contractors should provide immense protection for their own employees. With the many chemicals and electrical workings that workers can be exposed to, many medical issues can arise.

As a construction person, you should not enter the premises if you are not in complete gear. Over your clothes, you must wear a safety jacket to cover yourself from foreign objects that can hurt you. This is the same when talking of your head. Hard hats must be used. Gloves and shoes that you put on should fit just right as well because if not, they are not really serving their purposes.

For your eyes and face, there are safety glasses or face shields, especially when you are to do cutting, grinding and welding activities.

Employers should certainly impose to workers to really wear the appropriate safety gear. If not, they should not be allowed in the site because again, the place is just plainly harmful without the essentials. Beforehand, a business owner should assess the surroundings and then take action in eliminating anything and everything that is unnecessary and simply hazardous. For example, if there is any lifting operations, you must assure that the whole process will be secure. The person you are to assign in controlling should be an expert too to stay clear from any miscalculations of any kind.

It cannot be avoided that laborers will work with heights. There are towers and platforms that one or two must climb up to finish a part of the structure.

Falls and slips can then be likely. With this realization, it is then deemed necessary to provide safety netting, for instance, so that even if a worker will accidentally descend from high, there is a blanket that will save him from injury and bodily damage.

Electrical wirings and all that are normal as well and so, the best thing to do would be to map these lines. In this way, anyone who is to walk the premises will not, say, slip on them and cause any accidents as big as fires and even deaths.

All in all, this is really a partnership between employees and employers. If both or even one does not value safety, then that is just bad. Still, it is a must for workers to individually take care of themselves as they are in the construction site and practice preventive measures. But it will really pay off if contractors will really go out of their way to furnish and prepare the area to be conducive for the job that is to be done.

Hiring Portable Loos For Your Construction Sites

Working at a construction site is really no joke. You will be up to so much labour underneath the heat of the sun and all that. It is a job that requires both physical and mental strength to be able to survive. Moreover, you can’t be lax or negligent because it can affect your work and maybe endanger you.

Now, that is why employers and contractors alike should provide great working conditions to their men. It is necessary and legal to do this, so that those employees will be able to offer themselves for labour. Businesses can also be assured that the quality of the work will be better because the workers are satisfied and thus, that will appear in their production and output.

One of the many things that should be provided for these employees are building site toilets. These should be set up because they are important for the goodness of their health and well-being.

It is normal for these men to eat and drink a lot to give themselves the energy to continue the days of labour. Well, after all these, going to the toilet may not be instant but it will come. And when that happens, it will be good that there is a loo or two that is around, so they can be able to relieve themselves.

If you implement mobile toilets, you actually increase their production rate because they will not have to go far. The loo that they are to utilise will be just at a near and safe distance. This then also implies that they will not waste their energy and time to find a restroom. Instead of using those for their work, they will be expending it to look for a toilet – this is a scenario that can happen if there is not an accessible one. Therefore, it is really essential to place these units around the construction site.

Size and quantity are factors you should consider as well. A portable loo is, basically, a one man cubicle but you can order a kind that is a bit more spacious. It all depends upon your preferences actually. Next up is how many should you get. You have to keep in mind that not just one but maybe two or more may want to use the toilet at the same time. You do not want them to fight on who is to go first, right? Hence, the quantity is dependent on that.

Get in touch with portable toilet hire Cambridge if you need them for your building sites. They offer secure and sanitary comfort rooms that for sure you and your employees will be able to respond to the call of nature fast and easy. In addition, toilet paper, soaps, fragrances and other toiletries will be supplied, so you will be comfortable inside. Rent now and see the many benefits that these mobilities can bring for everyone and most importantly, to the construction project. There is no doubt the undertaking will be done smoothly and seamlessly.

Useful Garden Construction Laws and Advice

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Gardens can be simple or luxurious, depending upon its owner. Both styles can be complex and demanding as much as you let it be. But they are precious and require proper attention. Nonetheless, when you have decided to renovate and take care of your garden, here are some guidelines that you should follow.

An ample amount of knowledge in gardening and landscaping will certainly not hurt. Take the time, especially if you are in no hurry, to study on how you can better cater to the needs of your lawn. Learn on how to maintain flora and perhaps vegetation. There are books and magazines that focus on these topics and you can look some info up on the Internet as well. This will broaden your view on the subject and will further widen your choices.

With a whole new understanding under your belt, you can now apply and relate it to the selections you make. From the division of the garden space to the design and positioning of objects such as plants and flowers to relaxing and lounging spots, you now have the know-how on how you can use your garden to its full capacity. Whether you are starting from scratch or just continuing the work previously done on it, take advantage of each of the skill you have picked up from studying gardening.

If you wish to put your money on it, then it will be for the better, though garden construction and renovation may not cost a lot. But if you choose to spend your money, then it would be more effective and definitely wiser as well if you know, in complete details, each of the things you invest your funds in. In particular, you can hire landscapers and garden builders Crouch End has and ask for their good and sensible opinions. They provide services like gardening and construction packages that satisfy the customers’ requests. They are also up to survey and evaluate your garden area, give appropriate suggestions and offer garden maintenance. Both parties can discuss and come up with the ultimate plan to operate with.

All the same, the final decision lies with you, obviously. This can be very practical for you as the client because it is your money you are using. That realization should be enough for you to be decisive at all times. Be open to what your hired landscapers will recommend, but do not let them sway you into elements you do not want and/or need, because, for the record, it will be your regret and disappointment, not theirs.

The quality and longevity of your garden construction can depend on you and the enterprise you employ. This garden project is big in itself so one concluding advice would be to be ready in devoting your time, effort, patience and most importantly, money. This is not a task that is easy – it will need a period of work and labor. Still, when you are to see the final outcome, there is no denying these all will be worth it.

Characteristics of an Environment Friendly Home

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There is no recipe for building a net zero energy building, but these guidelines provide a basic basis of exactly how net no power is achieved through wise design and cutting-edge modern technologies.

Other Energy Source

These sustainable electricity sources could be taken advantage of in a range of methods to supply power, heating, and cooling down to a structure and reduced additional usage by traditional grid utilities. The most prominent element in achieving net zero power in a building is picking just what kind and exactly how much choice power will certainly be utilized. Simply placed, the alternate power source must be chosen based on the natural sources provided by the specific region of the world the building website is found.

Along with an alternate electricity source, various other lasting construction layout, innovations and components must be utilized in order to further lower a building’s demand of standard grid energies.

Passive Solar Design

One aspect of structure layout that has actually been around for hundreds of years yet is extremely under considered is just how the structure will certainly act basing on the sun. Solar gain is accountable for heat gain that could drive the costs of cooling down a structure with the roofing. On the various other hand the sunlight offers important real headlight, and solar gain in the winter season could assist to warm a building. Passive solar refers to a structure’s capacity to naturally collect, shop and disperse electricity as needed basing on a building site’s specific environment.

Paying very close attention to the building’s positioning on the site, and window and door placement is vital to passive solar design. In addition it is important to utilize parts of a high efficiency building envelope, further reducing electricity lots to make a net absolutely no energy building.

High Performance Building 

Today, several building materials and innovations are developed to contribute to a building’s ability to lower home heating and cooling lots. The concept of super insulation is to make a building as air-tight as feasible. This could be done by adding numerous higher efficiency insulation to a traditional framework, or by making using of paneled casted wall devices that eliminate thermal bridging while providing sound structural performance. These non standard wall surface structural systems are architectural protected panels (SIPs) and shielded concrete kinds (ICFs). These panels can not alone be responsible for creating a super insulated envelope as windows and doors will likely be existing on every side of the building. The greatest whole wall R-value is achieved by utilizing SIPs and ICFs in mix with super insulated windows and doors.

Lights and Daylighting

In commercial structures, simply one power load is a lot more requiring compared to home heating and cooling separately. That is the power taken in by illumination. A normal internet no energy structure will effectively allow daylight to permeate deep into highly busy spaces, and employ a modern censored lighting device that readjusts synthetic illumination result based on the amount of daytime present.

Low Consumption Technology/Appliances

Besides lighting, additional electric consumption originates from home appliances and workplace equipment. Luckily, many producers across several markets have sustainability initiatives that focus on lowering the power eaten by their products. Many rating systems make it easy for customers to pick the appropriate products that will help to achieve a net zero energy objective.

What exactly is Net Zero Energy Building

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Among the troubles in the eco-friendly building world is the lack of clearness in the terms utilized. I have been complaining about the term Net Zero Energy for several years, declaring that it had little to do with eco-friendly building at all, that “you could make a canvas outdoor tents net-zero if you have the cash to put adequate solar panels on it.” There was no actual sufficient definition, no strenuous credentials.

That is not the case any longer; the Living Building Challenge has developed the Net Zero Energy Building Certification and it is strenuous certainly. They note the necessity for it:

Net Zero Energy is rapidly becoming  a sought after goal for numerous structures around the world- each relies upon remarkable energy preservation and then on-site renewables to meet all of its home heating, cooling down and electrical power needs. The real efficiency of several developments is overstated- and real Net Zero Energy buildings are still unusual.

The accreditation validates that the building in fact runs as asserted, “using electricity from the sun, wind or planet to surpass net yearly demand.” It can’t be a canvas tent, either; there are other requirements from the Living Building Challenge that need to be thought about:.

 Limits to Growth (partly): Curbs the building’s contribution to the impacts of sprawled advancement, which threatens the good impact of obtaining net zero electricity structure procedure.

Net Zero Energy: Serves as the key focus of Net Zero Energy Building Certification.

Rights to Nature: Ensures that the building does not avert another structure from obtaining net no electricity operation as an outcome of too much shading.

Beauty + Spirit and Inspiration + Education: Underscore the idea that renewable resource systems can be integrated into a building in methods that are motivating and attractive. Learn more.