energy

New Year, Fresh Start

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As 2016 came to an end, it was time to consider New Year Resolutions. The infamous saying “new year, new me” automatically popped into my head, as society has drilled this concept into my mind for as long as I could remember. But aren’t you so tired of hearing this phrase? Every year, over and over, people claim that they will make resolutions and change areas of their lives, only to let it fall through just a few weeks later.

Let’s vow to make this year different! This year, do not quit on your resolution. Let 2017 be the year of positivity and gratefulness, savings, health, prosperity and accomplishments:

  1. Positivity & Gratefulness: Positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes. This year, let’s try to work on letting stress go! Focus on the happiness of waking up for another day. Whether succeeding or failing in a project, focus on the experience you gained while trying. Take a moment each day and appreciate everything around you – the beauty in nature, the smile of a coworker, a good cup of coffee – anything that you are grateful to have in your life. Say thank you more often. Enjoy a meal with family or friends. Avoid complaining or judging others, or yourself. Focus on the law of attraction, and do what you can to boost your attitude of gratitude!
  2. Savings: 2017 will be the year of saving! Whether you are saving money, or working to save your credit, let 2017 be the year you accomplish this goal! Work smarter, not harder! Open a savings account (if you do not have one already) and anytime you can, put money in it. Even if it is only five dollars, no pressure. If you save one dollar a day, that is 365 saved in a year, five dollars a day saves $1,825, and so on. Make sure to pay bills on time or ahead of time if you can. Keep the balances on your credit cards low, and pay off debts rather than transferring them around. Do not close any open accounts, even if you are not using the credit card, and do not open credit accounts that you do not need.
  3. Health: Work on your overall health for 2017, and no, this does not mean lose 50 pounds. Try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, as a way to let go of some of the stressors from your day. Eat Breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it gives you energy, which leads to productivity. Meditate before bed, and reflect on calming your thoughts. Take a vacation to a destination that you have never been before. Explore your roots by going to visit the place where your ancestors lived. Grow as a person by taking a volunteer trip, or take a “staycation,” and just stay home and watch movies all day long, resting and relaxing.
  4. Prosperity and Accomplishments: 2017 is the year you will accomplishment your goals! Make a commitment and stick to it. Keep track of your progress, and if you fail for a moment, keep going. Ask for help when you need it. Focus on being consistent. Whether your goal is to purchase your first home, start a family, open a business, buy a car, etc. Do not stop working until you achieve it.

Make 2017 YOUR year.

New Year, Fresh Start- to be a better version of yourself.

Person silhouette standing in 2017 on the hill at sunset

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Go Green or Go Home: Cutting Your Home Energy Costs

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With the new year officially on the clock, it’s time to start looking at making those big changes just in time for 2015. What better place to start than with some changes where you spend most of your free time…home! With National Cut Your Energy Costs Day just a day away, we’re here to provide you with all the tips you need to make sure your home is green to go!

But wait, why bother with making your home energy efficient? Well besides the obvious reason of saving big bucks AND lending a big hand to mother nature, there’s also the fact that making the initiative to have a green home is one of the few places that implementing energy efficient solutions will yield results remarkably quick. Right after you’ve made these changes, it’s not uncommon to see a drop in utility bills and spending within a few billing cycles! Even using reusable options can help to cut the average cost of spending in your home.

Consider that home appliances generally play a major role in hiking up your energy costs. But do you know just how big that role is? Well, just skipping on your dishwashers drying cycle and allowing it to air dry can cut your energy costs by up to 20% in the long haul! As if that’s not reason enough, you simply have to take into account that environmental benefits will be present, too. For example, just by lowering your water heater by 10 degrees can lessen your homes carbon dioxide output by 600 pounds a year! Try lowering the thermostat on a water heater to 120 degrees instead of the standard 140 to begin reaping the benefits and cutting your energy costs.

Whether you’re looking to make big changes or minor adjustments, every little bit counts towards making a major difference. Start by pinpointing the lights in your home that you tend to use the most. For each house, that could be different, whether it’s the light in your living room, porch or even your bedroom. By replacing the 5 most frequently used with Energy Star-qualified bulbs, you’ll be well on your way to saving money.

Even if you’re looking to start a little bit smaller, simply reduce your use of heat in appliances like washers and driers. As simple as it may sound, the results could be astronomically beneficial to your energy costs. In fact, LG Electronics reports that approximately 90% of energy used by these machines is dedicated solely to heating. Make use of cold-water settings and even hanging clothes to dry every now and then. All in all, there are a ton of ways to easily reduce your energy costs at home, whether it’s installing energy efficient appliances or just unplugging products when they’re not in use, the benefits you (and our earth) will see in the long run are clear.

energy costs [Image Source: Today Online]

How To Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient

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1. Replace your refrigerator
This is one of the biggest energy-guzzling appliances in the house and there have been big changes in the efficiency of this appliance over the last five years. Replacing older dishwashers and dryers can make a big difference too.

2. Install a programmable thermostat and a timer for the water heater
Just as you would flip off the lights before heading out to work, you should turn the heating or cooling off or down while you’re away. Program the thermostat for a higher temperature when you’re gone in warmer months, or lower in cooler months. These thermostats can be had for $150 at big-box hardware stores.
Likewise, don’t heat your water when you’re not there to use it.

3. Put a solar film or solar shades on the outside of windows to cut the heat
If you’re moving into a house with single-paned windows, or living in a climate with extreme heat, you should consider putting something on the outside to reflect the light.

4. Don’t let the heat escape
Also, caulk window and door frames to make sure they are airtight. And if possible, use honeycomb-type shades on the inside to trap the heat before it is absorbed into the room.

5. Use compact fluorescent bulbs
This is kind of a no-brainer, experts say, because it’s so cheap to do and saves so much on your electricity bill.

6. Change the filter on your air conditioner regularly
This monthly maintenance helps it run more efficiently and minimizes wear and tear on your unit. Arranging furniture so it doesn’t block air vents also is important to maximize the flow of cooling from your system.

7. Put in shady landscaping
Planting a tree or some vegetation outside a big window can shade your house from the strongest rays of the sun and stifle freezing winds. Planting low-water native plants can also cut your water bill; lowering the total cost you pay for you home each month.

8. Invest in an attic fan
These inexpensive fans can make a difference in the temperature of the whole house and keep your air conditioning from working so hard.