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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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