Top tips to make your eco-home count

Have you looked at the news recently? If there isn’t a new war raging, a political sleaze scandal or a threat from some foreign entity you hadn’t heard of until now, there’s celebrity news to neutralise your panic.

It’s all enough to make you feel so helpless in the world. But there’s one story that keeps popping up in the news, and it’s all the more terrifying because it might cause the actual end of the world.

You guessed it – it’s climate change. But despite the panicked clamour from news headlines, this isn’t a story that has to leave you feeling impotent. With a number of alterations to your home, you could turn it from a hefty polluter to an eco-dream.

Make a suntrap for the summer

With the endless sun of the summer drawing near, now is the perfect time to turn your home into a place to catch those rays and convert them into something even more useful.

For a start, invest in extensions such as conservatories with ceiling windows to capture those rays. Not only will this allow you to have a summer snooze indoors, it’ll also oxygenate your home and allow it to retain heat more effectively, saving you on energy bills.

Next, install a few solar panels to turn that shimmering sun into a new energy outlet for your home. Although they won’t come in handy during those dark and drudging winters, they will ensure that you’re not wasting finite resources unnecessarily.

Essentially, this will save you on energy bills and cut down immensely on your reliance on fossil fuels.

Insulate, insulate, insulate

Those heating bills always mount up in the winter, don’t they? But if you haven’t insulated your wall cavities, those bills will pile up even higher.

Call in some professionals to fill your walls with fibreglass and you’ll be able to halt heat trying to worm its way out through your wall cavities, saving you on energy costs when those chilly months come knocking.

DON’T keep up with the Joneses

Energy efficiency isn’t just about making additions to your home – it’s also about skimping on the things you don’t really need.

In so many cases, people obsess over the latest gadget, gizmo, doowop or thingamajig that their neighbour has and buy something similar in a bizarre display of self-worth.

But the more gadgets you buy, the more energy you’ll expend using them. So, before you go splashing out on an IPad, a big screen telly or a sports car, take a minute to think about whether you actually need them.

And really, what’s more important – your latest exorbitant purchase, or living a sustainable, healthy and planet-friendly life?

Basic Emergency Preparedness Tips

When natural disasters hit, or when extreme weather like the snowfall seen across the Eastern United States is seen, my thoughts turn to emergency preparedness.

The proper emergency preparedness steps can help you save money in the long run, since you won’t be as vulnerable to some of the costs and difficulties that can come with an emergency. When you are in the midst of an emergency, it’s not the time to prepare. You need to be ready ahead of time. And if you do take the time to prepare little by little, you won’t have to spend a lot of money all at once. Here are 3 tips that can help you improve your emergency preparedness:

1. Figure Out What You Need

Your first step is to figure out what you need. What if you weren’t able to get to the store for a few days? What would you eat or drink? What if the water and power went out? How would you cook and wash up? Think about these situations and then make a list of things you might need to help you through these times. In most cases, being able to get through a week or two is probably enough.

Think about how you would get through, and then make a list of things you might need.

2. Buy Things Gradually

It can be a financial nightmare to go to the store and immediately get everything you need for emergency preparedness. Instead of buying enough food to last you for a month all in one go, get a few extra things at a time. Get an extra bag of frozen vegetables, or buy two or three extra cans of tuna. The same thing applies to other emergency supplies. You can buy a couple of hand-crank flashlights on one trip, and purchase an extra blanket on another trip. Get extra toilet paper on a trip, and a new First-Aid kit on another. You’ll make the whole thing more manageable if you plan ahead and build your store gradually.

For larger purchases, you might need to set aside money. If you want to buy a generator or if you want to by a propane heater or a new grill for cooking when the power or gas goes out, you might need to put together a short-term savings goal to help you save up for what you need.

3. Rotate Your Stores

A few items each week ...

A few items each week …

Finally, make sure you rotate your stores and regularly check what you have. Hand-crank flash lights and radios need to be cranked every couple of months in order to remain efficient. You should rotate through your food storage so that food isn’t going bad. You can replace what you use the next week. Regularly check 72-hour kits and First-Aid kits and replace items that you might have used.

Make sure your stores are kept in an accessible place. You want to be able to get to what you need quickly and easily — even if you are just grabbing a bag to bring with you in the car. Speaking of which, it’s a good practice to keep your gas tank at least half full at all times so that you can leave quickly, and get a reasonable distance away, without waiting in gas lines.

What are your best tips for emergency preparedness?