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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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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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