Basement Remodeling Trends for 2014 – 2015

Oh once again, it’s the Fall time, with all the beautiful foliage just around the corner! Did you know that Fall is also one of the best times of the year to sell your home, or at the very least, a great time to start thinking about improving and remodeling your existing place?

The thinking here is very simple, really; If you are not ready to sell your old home in order to buy a better house in the neighborhood you’ve been dreaming about, then why not try to improve your existing home, so you can live better and get closer to your goal of swapping your current place for a better one in a not so distant future!?

For those who are not ready to sell, yet, Remodeling and Improving your old place may be a great alternative:

If you are in the camp that is sticking with the old place, you are probably thinking about making some remodeling upgrades to your home. – So, why not start with your basement? Even if you are not ready to sell your house, you may well be able to rent your newly-refinished basement and make a little bit of money in the process! What a great way to save up some extra money for that new place, as well as upraise the value of your existing home! ;)

With that being said, I would like to share some cool ideas to refinish your basement this fall:

If you are planning to remodel your basement and turn it into an comfortable and functional space that your family and guests can enjoy, there are some fundamental things you need to consider. Whether you are looking to splurge or do a basic renovation on a budget, transforming your basement into an inviting space should include working with the walls, ceiling, flooring and lighting. Additionally, there are many unique and cool ways you can decorate the space to make it look and feel like the rest of the home.

Check out these essential design ideas to get your basement renovation off to the right start:

Finish the walls

Chances are your unfinished basement has unattractive gloomy walls that make it look like a secondary space. No matter how you slice it walls made out of poured concrete or stacked concrete block just don’t look cozy. To turn this around, you need to cover up the concrete walls and there are a variety of materials you can choose from. You can consider using drywall, plywood, paneling, or paint over the concrete, depending on your budget and aesthetic preferences.

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Eco-Friendly Pest Control Products

Current Advances in Pest Control Are Taking the Industry In A Greener Direction

There are few industries that the overall shift towards greener methods of doing business has not had an impact on. The world of pest control is no exception, and in part to do its historical reputation as a major polluter of the environment it is poised to be one of the more important consumer product sectors of the economy that will benefit from increased investment in green technologies. Not only are there opportunities for pest control companies to do things better by using greener alternatives, but there is a huge marketing opportunity available for the companies that take advantage of the demand for these safer and less harmful products.

For far too long, pest control has been reliant on chemical formulas that are known to cause harm both to humans and to the environment at large, including among other species, birds and fish, both of which are incredibly susceptible to pesticide runoff and contamination. In fact, many of the recent ecological crises worldwide can be reasonably assumed to have been caused at least in small part by the over-reliance on traditional pesticides.

Through natural selection they can become nearly immune to a previously fatal dose within as few as three generations. This means that the two choices left to those who wish to get rid of them are either to use larger and larger amounts of the old pesticides or to find new, natural and more effective ways to repel and kill these bugs.

The biggest trend currently in the green and organic pest control market is the usage of two specific natural products for pest control needs. The first is diatomaceous earth, which in addition to pest control can be used for filtering and cleaning, and is a great all around organic product in a wide range of applications.

The second such product that can be employed in many different places including the elimination of pests is boric acid. Much like the previously mentioned diatomaceous earth, it is completely non-toxic and not harmful to the environment, but has the same insect killing potential of more powerful chemical pesticides.

In addition to these two dry powder products, there are new spray products being introduced to the market regularly that can take the place of traditional sprayed insecticides, even for large scale and commercial applications. Most of these are the result of increased research over the past two decades into the insect killing properties of various plant extracts such as rosemary and peppermint oils. Not only do these kill insects but they also can have a beneficial repellent effect, whether applied outdoors or inside one’s home or business. Unlike most chemically based spray insecticides, those based on plant extracts have absolutely no aquatic or avian toxicity, which is obviously a huge benefit to the environment where they are applied.

The future is likely to hold even more advances in the natural pest control category, particularly as companies place more emphasis on the research and development of natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. This can only be a positive for the future, as the reliance on pesticides has done quite a bit more harm than good over the past century.

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Window Treatment Ideas for 2014 – 2015

It’s Fall time again, which means that it’s perfect time to change your home’s interior look and feel to reflect the seasonal change, as well as make your home more comfortable! And what’s the easiest way to do it you may ask? Well, I would venture to say that upgrading your window treatments or installing classy blinds is one of the easiest, yet most impactful ways to shake up the interior atmosphere in your home! ;)

Choosing from a list of Window Treatment Options

Window treatment options have increased and improved over the years. There are now many options that will surely suit the style of your home and improve its aesthetic beauty. However, because there are many options to choose from, it might take you a while to find the window treatment that suits your preferences. You can shorten your list by starting with a specific group. You can start by determining what material you want, or by looking for a suitable window treatment that would match the type of windows that you have.

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Sustainable Flooring Solutions – PVC Flooring Systems

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) flooring tiles are a sustainable and economical flooring choice for residential homes, industrial facilities and commercial spaces including schools, hospitals, governmental facilities, gyms, auto shops, and scientific laboratories. Interlocking PVC floor tiles are often produced using either virgin or recycled plastic content and at the end of their service life the tiles are 100% recyclable.

Benefits

PVC flooring tiles are relatively inexpensive, easy to clean, and maintain, and can be installed over the existing floors, with no mess, no adhesives, and with zero VOC emissions. Any left over materials like R-Tek ESD Floor Tiles can be picked up by the supplier once the installation is complete, and reused to manufacture new tiles.


Commercial and Industrial

For commercial and industrial spaces, hard-wearing PVC tiles can be loosely laid over the hard surfaces, and installed with a minimal disruption to the work place. Industrial floor tiles are naturally oil and chemical resistant, require minimal upkeep, and are available in textured or studded surfaces, both providing excellent anti-slip properties essential for a safe working environment.

Domestic

Domestic floor tiles featuring a concealed interlocking system are designed for a loose lay installation on any hard surfaces in your home. These tiles are ideal alternatives to bonded vinyl tiles and linoleum, as they require no adhesives and can be installed with much ease. These tiles are an ideal choice for kitchens, and utility rooms. Once installed these floors require only an occasional mapping to keep them looking new.


ESD Flooring

For spaces requiring anti-static floors, specially moulded floor tiles designed to disperse any static electricity through its bulk electric conductivity, when combined with a grounding system. These floors can be used in electronic shops, in trolleys, and in any facilities that require a proper floor grounding to ensure the safety for all occupants.

References:

www.r-tekmanufacturingltd.com

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Window Treatments to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Many Americans are looking for more ways to save money on utilities and appliance uses throughout the home. By working to control the amount of sunlight that enters your house or patio, homeowners can cut cooling and heating bills, while regulating the temperature of the home. What’s more, creating energy-efficient  means throughout the interior and exterior of the home can enhance the appearance of the house.

One way to do this is to invest in window coverings and window treatments. Using these environmentally-friendly methods helps control the amount of light that comes in and helps to create an insulating or cooling effect in your home.

Windows have a real impact on heating and cooling costs in many homes and in many climates. Treatments over windows can also account for a large percentage of a homeowners heating bill in the winter, too, as cold air has that ability to find its way into our home through leaky windows, cracks in the windows linings and more. What’s worse is that warm air escapes, making your heating system run more and cost you more money. During the summer, your air conditioner must work harder to cool hot air from sunny windows. It’s best to reduce energy costs by looking for ways to replace or install windows, doors or skylights.

Knowing what to look for in choosing the correct window treatments can save a homeowner money, while helping to conserve energy and add style to one’s home. Insulating your home from both extreme heat and wintry cold can have a measurable impact on your electricity bills and instantly improve your home’s energy efficiency.

In some cases, sun and light streaming into one’s home for hours on end can be a marvelous thing in some environments. For instance, when it’s 10 degrees below zero in Minneapolis in January, letting in abundant stream of light can have a great psychological effect as well as a great heat-inducing effect on the house. Mid-day sunlight can build up warmth inside a home, and let the homeowner reduce use of their home heating system during the peak energy hours. However, that same situation in the middle of Phoenix, Arizona might not work. You see, there’s too much light and warmth throughout the Arizona summer months in this desert city, and many inhabitants do what the animals do. They cover up the light coming into their homes, just as the animals crawl underground and under rocks to prevent themselves from feeling the heat.

Some of the most popular and environmentally sound window coverings in the hot summer months come in the form of window treatments used on houses in the southwest desert. A variety of alternatives are available to homeowners – wood blinds, woven wood shades and vertical covering systems, to roman and solar shades and roman shades all work well in turning a hot house into an environmentally friendly, solar home.

Blinds and shades are effective for a variety of reasons. Dummies.com points to a few of these, citing how blinds absorb sunlight and foster good insulation. If you’re using a solar screen, most of the sunlight will get filtered before it even gets to the window. Even though the screen outside gets hot, it acts as an insulation barrier and traps the heat, away from your interior window. This is good for very hot summer temperatures. Although, sunlight would be welcome in the winter months.

Some of the new window treatments incorporate a high-tech layer of protection from UV rays, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is important as it acts as a deterrent against the sun’s rays, which the Journal writes “can penetrate regular window glass and damage skin, discolor fabrics and overheat rooms.”

These new window films are beneficial in cutting down glare and blocking overly warm UV rays. Additionally, so-called ‘solar shades’ act as another layer of UV protection, filtering out UV rays and heat, even on traditional window setups. Some have likened it to putting a pair of sunglasses on a window. These solar shades, already used in commercial buildings and industrial-looking condos, are starting to be used more in mainstream homes and apartment rentals.

Making your home more energy efficient and focused on saving energy is the first step to green, sustainable living. Not only that, but finding ways to eliminate wasteful energy will make your home more healthy, comfortable and sustainable. You’ll also find you’re saving money as well.

For basic recommendations, strategies and tips for energy efficiency improvements and products for your home, try the US Environmental Protection Agency’s website, which offers up helpful advice for reducing home energy consumption. The EPA for years now has developed and run the well-known Energy Star program, which rewards for efficiencies in building new homes. By receiving the Energy Star, a builder or homeowner has shown that it’s using superior energy performance. Go to http://www.energystar.gov to learn more about the program.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Once thought of as a gimmick or an unrealistic dream, today, solar energy is very much a reality for many homeowners who use it to power their homes and enjoy all the environmental and financial advantages it has to offer. In fact, the rate of installations of solar panels on homes across the US and UK continues to grow, as more homeowners are finding it increasingly important that their home is environmentally friendly and energy efficient. What makes solar panels all the more attractive is a real possibility of having dramatically reduced electricity bills, especially since electricity prices have been steadily climbing over the last few years.

If you are looking to make your own home more green, and save on electricity, installing solar panels and powering your home with clean renewable energy from the sun is the way to go. Switching to solar energy is a major step and a serious investment, so it is important for you to carefully weigh all the pros and cons before picking up the phone to call you local solar installer.

Advantages

Clean energy is good for our Earth

One of the top reasons homeowners choose to switch to solar power is that it is beneficial to our environment. Today, it is no secret that conventional electricity generation is a highly polluting process.

In the US, 50% of all electricity is generated by coal-powered plants, 20% comes from natural gas-powered plants and another 20% is generated by nuclear fission-powered plants. Toxic emissions from all these plants pollute our air and contribute to global warming. This process also continues to propagate our country’s dependance on foreign oil, while at the same time depleting valuable fossil fuel reserves.

By contrast, solar energy is not only clean and abundant, but also sustainable. The sun can provide us with electric power indefinitely, and without contributing to pollution and global climate change. It is truly empowering that an individual homeowner can make a positive impact on the environment by installing solar panels on his rooftop. EPA Research shows that by installing a 500 kW solar panel system, it is possible to prevent the emission of approximately 1,200,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. This is equal to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 100 passenger cars.


Accessible in remote locations

If you home is located in a remote area that has no access to the electric grid, solar power is an ideal option. A solar panel array can be installed in any location (climate and roof conditions permitting) so that the home will have a supply of electric power. Many homeowners who are connected to the grid, often choose to go off the grid, and solely rely on solar power for the purpose of solely using a clean energy source.


Cost-effective

Because prices for conventional electricity continue to rise, it is actually cheaper to rely on solar energy. Depending on the size of your solar panel array, and your home’s electric needs it is possible to save 15-30% annually on your electric bill. While the initial savings will not be high, since you will be paying off the initial cost of the solar panels and instillation, once your equipment is paid off, you can actually make money by selling your excess electricity back to the electric companies. At the end of the day, your own electricity will be free and you will also be making extra cash!

Dependable equipment

You do not need to worry about your solar panels breaking, as they are proven to be highly reliable. High quality solar panels have 20-25 year warranties and will last at least 30-40 years. If you choose to lease solar panels instead of buying them, you solar provider will take care of any repairs or maintenance that need to be done in a timely fashion and typically free of charge.

Disadvantages

Initial premium cost

Historically and to this day, the biggest deterrent for homeowners who want to switch to solar power is high cost of solar panels and installation. Even with all the federal and state government incentives such as tax breaks and rebates that encourage homeowners to install solar panels, making the switch can cost thousands of dollars upfront. It is also important to know, that the ROI on your investment will be slow, ranging from 15-25 years.

If you are not able to afford purchasing a solar panel array for your home, there are other options available to you, such as a solar lease. Numerous companies such as CD Electrical based in Leicester UK, allow you to lease solar panels, which gives you access to clean energy, reduces your monthly electric bill, without the premium cost. It is important to read all the terms and conditions of solar lease contracts and explore offers from different providers to find the best deal.

Location and climate

For the solar panel array to produce energy at its maximum potential, there needs to be a lot of sun on a daily basis. Therefore, to take the most advantage of solar energy, you home needs to be located in a region that gets many sunny days, where as rainy and cloudy days will reduce the amount of energy your panels will produce. Contrary to popular misconceptions, solar panels still produce energy on cloudy days, just at a slower rate. Also, you need to make sure that your home is located in an areas where your roof and the solar panels will not be obstructed from the sun rays by trees or other buildings.

Therefore, you need to take your climate and location into account, and potentially invest into a solar battery that will store the excess solar energy, which you can then use whenever it is needed. Another option that many homeowners choose is to still remain connected to the grid, which means that if for some reason your solar panels cannot produce enough electricity to power your home on any given day, you will still have access to electricity generated from the grid.
Roof condition

For solar panels to work successfully, your roof must be able to accommodate them. A solar installer will come and evaluate the size, framing strenght, and orientation of your roof, to determine if it will be suitable for solar panels. Your solar installer will also help you navigate local building codes and community regulations to making the process smoother for you.

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Video Surveillance Systems for Outdoor Environments

Finding an optimal home video security surveillance system can be a real challenge in and of itself, but it can be especially difficult when there is a need to monitor external spaces outside your home at night. This may be especially true for people who live in larger-sized homes that may require effective, outdoor video security surveillance measures put in place.

One of the greatest challenges with the outdoor video surveillance operation is the effectiveness of a night-time video surveillance, which requires the use of specialty cameras. For instance, if there are a lot of leafy trees and areas with low-lighting during the night time, then you will need to have a specially designed camera capable of providing high level of detail under low-lighting conditions, as most conventional cameras will not be up to the task of providing good visibility in low light conditions, especially when there and other objects that further obscure the light.

Thus, it is important to keep in mind that if you happen to have a lot of trees and bushes providing natural cover and concealment for a potential intruder on your property, then even a specialty camera designed and equipped for the night time operation may not be a sufficient-enough measure for heavily obscured areas like trees with a lot of leaves and dense bushes. But, fortunately, there is a solution for this; thermal camera makes it easy to see any intruders, even in the areas with very low to no lighting at all.

Thermal Imaging Camera vs. a Standard Camera

Take a look at the video demonstrating the difference in performance of a conventional camera vs. a thermal imaging camera by Pelco, below:

As you can see in the video above, the difference in performance of this thermal imaging camera from Pelco vs. a standard camera is strikingly dramatic. Therefore it is imperative that you select the type of camera that is capable of providing adequate protection for your property’s external spaces.

References:

http://www.pelco.com/sites/global/en/products/camera-solutions/specialty-cameras.page

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