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How To Get Long Term Energy Savings Out Of Your Next Green Home Improvement Project

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While new Raleigh area homes are 100 percent more energy efficient today than those built three decades ago, most people are not familiar with how to actually design energy savings into the infrastructure of their home.

Here are a few ways to save energy in your home:

* Windows and doors: Today’s architecture takes advantage of increased window space and elaborate entry systems. This style enhancement certainly adds to the appeal of a home, but it increases the importance of having energy-efficient windows and doors.

On average, a household spends nearly 50 percent of its annual energy costs in heating and cooling. You can reduce this expense by up to 15 percent by using energy-efficient windows and doors, which help decrease the transfer of heat. Start by looking for products that have the Energy Star label. This label identifies products that meet the strictenergy-efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Many of the homes in and around Raleigh are older and in need of window replacement. Coyote Siding and Windows is a great example of a reputable window replacement company that operates in and around Raleigh, offers excellent service, and great prices.

* Construction materials: Wood or vinyl (for windows) and steel (for doors) offer high energy efficiency. For windows, dual-pane insulating glass units and low-emissivity glass also increase the products’ energy efficiency. For steel doors, look for a polystyrene core, which helps the door retain its energy-saving properties longer than steel doors with a polyurethane core.

Rest assured, however, that you will not have to forgo style and beauty when seeking energy efficiency. Many manufacturers, such as Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, offer a variety of Energy Star-qualified products that are attractive, durable and provide superior performance. In fact, upgrading windows and doors is a great way to buildenergy savings into your current home.

* Insulating your Raleigh home: In addition to diminishing heat transfer through windows and doors, you can ensure even temperatures in the home by selecting proper insulation. Well-insulated homes can save up to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs. Pay attention to the R-values used to rate the energy efficiency of insulation – a higher R-value indicates a better ability to resist heat flow, meaning that it is more energy efficient.

* Heating and cooling engines: Installing oversized heating or cooling equipment is a common practice to provide customers with immediate results. However, oversized equipment is not necessary if your home is designed to conserve energy; it will only add to the growth of your energy bill.

Visit a local home improvement center to learn more about heating and cooling options.

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How To Safely Have An Outdoor Fire In Raleigh

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We are all about being green, but did you know we are super focused on safety as well? Although Raleigh, NC isn’t as plagued by forest fires as must as our neighbors out west, we do see a lot of residential fire destruction. A key aspect to reduce your home from outside fire damage is taking action.

When fire proofing your home the inside is a very big part of the inspection indeed but do not forget that the outside is also a safe haven for fires. You should keep in mind that the outside is also part of your home, so do not neglect to check the patio, the backyard, the roof as well as the garden. Minimizing the hazards in these areas is just as important as the dangers indoors. One example of a fire hazard that exists outdoors is storing of wood. When warehousing wood in your backyard it is imperative that you follow the basic preliminary fire prevention rules in order to diminish the chance of wood catching fire which can cause much larger scale disaster. That is why it is important to maintain your wood in safe manner, in order to reduce the occurrence of the fires as well as the strength and size of the fire. One of the first steps to take when making sure that the fire is stored safely is to make at least a 30 feet safety perimeter around the area that the wood is being stored.

An example of a good safety clearance is a green lawn that is free of any types of fire hazards such as flammable debris, toys or lawn ornaments. You may need to hire a Raleigh tree removal service to come take down any trees that can act as a ladder fuel and carry fire up into your eaves and onto your roof. Now when it comes to plants and fire, there are a lot of plants that are fire resistant; some more than others, it is good to plant these in the area designated as the safety zone. Even though these plants may be fire resistant, it is imperative that you get rid of any dry leaves, dead limbs, twigs, and rubble that surround the plant(s); preventing these things from fueling a small fire that can escalate into a larger much more intense fire.

Also take time to survey the roofing material on your home. In previous years many roofs on homes were built with many risky, combustible materials causing a large amount of homeowners to lose their homes; these losses were directly linked to the roof catching fire. Nowadays there are new and improved roofing materials offered to promote fire safety. When having your home built or either when choosing a home, it would be wise to choose a home that uses non-combustible roofing materials. There are many non-combustible roofing materials available, including: Class A Shingles, Metal or Terra Cotta. If your roof has already been built and it doesn’t need to be replaced, then you do have the option of treating your roof with fire retardant procedures to reduce the flammability of the roof until it can be replaced.

One last thing to pay attention to when fire proofing the outdoor is barbecue grills. North Carolinians are known for our bbq prowess and a lot of us own a grill. Barbecue grills involve a lot of upkeep to keep them safe. You should clean your grill regularly, and make sure to keep it free of dirt and dust buildup. It would be much easier on you to maintain if you made it your goal to clean the grill after every use paying close attention to dust and cobwebs that may have accumulated. Also make it a habit to check all water hoses in the yard for cracks and to make sure it is in good condition; these are also fire hazards. Last but not least if you use propane tanks, check to see if it is damaged in any way. It is very dangerous to use damaged propane tanks. They are very combustible and can cause major damage.

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Landscaping Your Summer Garden Is Good For You And The Environment

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There are many things that must be considered when planning and planting your summer garden. One of those things is the natural landscape or terrain of your lawn and garden area. It is best, whenever possible to work with the landscape rather than working against it or going to extraordinary efforts to make changes to the natural landscape of your lawn when you could very easily and beautifully plan your summer garden to go with the flow of and work well with the natural terrain of your lawn and garden area.

A nicely landscaped garden is good for you and the environment.
A nicely landscaped garden is good for you and the environment.

One way in which this is accomplished is by taking a quick survey of your lawn. This will need to be more than a cursory visual survey. You will need to walk your lawn and the area in which you are planning for your garden space. You will need to measure the terrain and take not of inclines and slopes. While you are at it, you need to study the condition of the soil and any areas that seem particularly inhospitable for planting. If these types of areas are present in your garden you need to decide what you want to do about them. Is it possible to turn this patch into a water feature or some other attractive addition to your garden rather than remaining a bare patch in the midst of your flowers, plants, and/or vegetables?

You should also determine the amount of shade a particular area receive and, if in direct sunlight, how to create shade for those plants, vegetables, or flowers that grow best in indirect sunlight. This can be accomplished by planting them creatively in the shadow of plants, shrubs, or vegetables that grow much taller or by using rocks to create shade or even climbing vines on trellises or fences in order to create an artificial shade. Some plants require lots of sunshine. You can prune and remove smaller limbs yourself or hire a Garner NC tree service like to remove larger branches and entire trees.

Once you have a good feel for the terrain and landscape of your summer garden you will need to plan for the vegetables, flowers, or plants that will be used. Vegetable gardens tend to be less aesthetic in nature and are often the easiest to landscape, as it is a matter of need rather than beauty. If you are planting a flowery summer garden however, it is quite likely that you will be planning to achieve some degree of beauty within your garden. Decide now if you want to keep the flowers and plants within a certain color scheme or if you want dramatic blues and greens combined with bright and vivid reds and yellows. This is a personal decision but will greatly affect the appearance of your garden when all is said and done.

You should also landscape your garden according to the amount of time and effort you want to devote to working your garden on any given week. Some plants require more care than others. If you want a garden that is basically sow and go then you need to make sure it is filled with plants and flowers that are suited to that sort of low maintenance. Most vegetable gardens require a good deal of tending in order to flourish and are not acceptable in this sort of situation.

If you are completely lost as to how to landscape your summer garden it may be worth the effort to have a team of professionals come in and do the landscaping for you. When procuring their services be sure to either check into a maintenance program with them in which the upkeep the landscaping or have them provide a low maintenance type of landscaping that you will be able to maintain and duplicate on your own.

Many gardeners find the task of landscaping their summer garden to be the highlight of the summer growing season. If you are not among those, the hope is that the recommendations provided here will provide you with a good start and several helpful tips on getting your garden landscaped and ready to grow.