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8 Clever Hacks to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

8 Clever Hacks to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

Having an energy-efficient home isn’t good for just the environment. Because, let’s face it: Earth is going down to the gutter. Between the ozone layer being destroyed and letting the sun melt glaciers all over the world, and all the air-conditioning/furnace-warming things we do, day in, day out, every single day…

It’s time for a change. It’s time to make our homes more energy efficient so we can stop relying on environment-harming resources so much!

…Plus, following the following tips save you hundreds of dollars a year!

1. Steel is a Steal!

60% of the steel used in steel-framed homes is recyclable. All that “plastic garbage” and cardboard you’ve been recycling over the years? Turns out that it’s actually helping you. Whaddya know?

Plus, steel isn’t susceptible to termites, pests, mold, or anything else that affects traditional wood-framed homes.

Metal roofs can keep your home a comfortable 50 to 60 degrees cooler in the hot months. (Letting you cut down your air conditioner usage.)

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2. Upgrade Your Lightbulbs

According to this report, living rooms and dining rooms need more energy to heat up. The lighting levels in these rooms make it possible.

One thing you can do to cut down on heating, if you haven’t already, is to switch from your traditional incandescent bulbs to CFLs (Compact fluorescent lamp).

CFLs take up considerably less energy to heat up – and they are relatively inexpensive once you figure in savings.

And with those savings, later on down the road you can make an even healthier leap by switching from your CFLs to LED bulbs! (Why? Because LEDs take 12.5 watts to light up the bulb. 8 watts less than a CFL. This means lower electricity bill for you, and less greenhouse gasses for the environment.)

Plus, LEDs last more than double the life-span of CFLs. (That’s tens of thousands of hours longer!)

3. Not Using It? Unplug It!

This is a huge pet peeve of mine! Keeping electronics plugged in when they’re not being used.

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According to a U.S Department of Energies study, the average household (in developed countries) spends more than $2,000 a month on energy costs.

The thing is that some appliances (like microwaves) use minute amounts of power when you keep them plugged in 24/7. I’m talking 8 or 10 cents on your bill. Not a big deal.

And obviously, unplugging your washing machine and fridge/freezer, just to save money, is a no-no.

There are some things that should and shouldn’t be unplugged. For the sake of convenience, a few of energy-suckers that should be, according to AOL.com, are…

  • Desktop computers
  • Televisions
  • Modems
  • Air conditioners
  • Stereos and radios
  • Coffee machines

4. Use Power Strips

Power strips (aka surge protectors) are a dynamic force when it comes to powering off excessive devices and plugs. Some energy hogs never really “turn off” when you turn off their switch. Like PC desktops.

Plug them into a power strip, then just flip that strip off, and all those hungry devices will stop eating energy simultaneously.

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5. Shorter Showers Are Your Friends

Your hot water heater, believe it or don’t, is an energy-hogging MONSTER. Those 10-20 minutes you spend in the shower, pondering life, can be spent lying in your bed. Your luscious, comfortable bed.

As a bonus, taking a shower uses a considerably less amount of water than a bath! Can you talk about a double win-in-one?

6. Cold Water in Washes Are Your Friends, Too!

See previous hack. This is also the hack many “go green” enthusiasts cherish. You’ve probably heard this one before – that’s because it’s so EFFICIENT for making your home energy efficient.

7. Clotheslines Are Chic (Again)

In the days of old, when smart watches were sci-fi, you saw clotheslines everywhere. The logic is simple: reducing electricity usage! The less electricity you rely on, the more of an efficient, cost-saving person you’ll become!

8. (Seriously) Reconsider Steel

Hands down, the most efficient energy-saving method is building a steel frame home. A lot more than building a metal roof, steel framing is a lot more durable. Than nearly anything you can think of.

But, and this is a big one… Unless you have the right, rigid type of insulation wrapped around your steel frames… Using steel frames without insulation, thinking it’d be more energy efficient than wood, is a big mistake.

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Yes! With insulation, steel framing is more cost effective than lumber – with wood prices going up, steel is a savvy alternative.

Last Thoughts

These are just several, quick ways you can make your home energy efficient. Sure, there is a plethora of things you can do – today, tomorrow and right now. But these hacks are a good place to start!

Bonus hack: Use a spray tap on your faucets. You can get a cup of water in this, that you’d get a bucket from an ordinary faucet!

Featured photo credit: 8 Clever Hacks to Make Your Home Energy Efficient via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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