Seven Benefits of Smart/Motorized Blinds -- Environmental Protection

Smart Blinds Lighting

For anyone building or remodeling a home, energy efficiency is a key factor. From insulation to location, how you build a home can have a direct impact on how much energy it uses. While a Passive House, one that can remain comfortable through all seasons without employing an active heating or cooling system, may be a lofty goal for many people, there is something relatively simple you can add to your home to help passively control its temperature: smart shades.

Smart, motorized shades can help control the solar gain and heat loss your home experiences naturally throughout the day simply by opening and closing at pre-programmed times. With the addition of smart home technology, the blinds can actually learn when they need to open and close based on temperature and sun light, maximizing the energy efficiency of your HVAC system.

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How Smart-Home Technology Can Help During a Natural Disaster | The Wirecutter

Smart Home

When I talk to nontechie friends about my smart home, the reaction is usually a polite, bewildered smile. Occasionally, however, something catches their attention, because it relates to a personal need. Whether that’s getting a Wi-Fi camera for checking in on elderly parents, or painlessly dismissing an annoying false smoke alarm with a swipe of a finger, the appeal of the smart home for most people lies in individual situations. While smart things make life more convenient every day, I recently learned the hard way that coping with a natural disaster can be one of the most effective uses of smart-home technology.

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The Best Smart Smoke Alarm | The Wirecutter

smart smoke alarms

It’s hard to overstate the importance of having functioning, reliable smoke detectors in your home. From 2007 through 2011, almost a quarter of all home fire-related deaths in the US occurred in homes with nonworking smoke alarms. While any functioning smoke alarm will alert you to problems if you’re at home, a smart alarm can alert you anywhere your smartphone has an Internet connection. For our tests, a former firefighter installed every currently available smart smoke alarm in her own home, both hardwired versions and battery-powered models, to find the best one for keeping you informed about your house’s status, whether you’re home or away. After mounting them to ceilings and walls, blowing smoke at them, fiddling with their batteries and accompanying apps, and generally pushing their buttons, we found that the second-generation Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is the best smart smoke alarm.

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Round-Up: 9 Best Educational Apps for Your Kids - Modern Parents Messy Kids

Smart Phone Smart Kid

Image Credit: © Stephanie | Smart Kid and the Smart Phone | CC by 2.0

Screen time is a hot-button issue for today’s parents, but one thing we can all agree on is that however long our kids are glued to a screen for, we’d rather that time be spent learning something.

My son is eight, just a year younger than the iPhone, and my daughter is five, a year younger than the iPad. As a tech journalist, I’m an early adopter, so both my children have been exposed to these shiny, addictive devices from a young age.

Over the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time and effort investigating and playing with dozens of “educational” apps to find the ones that best strike that precarious balance between educational and fun. Here is a round-up of my favorite kid-tested and kid approved apps/websites for children under 10.

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How to Build a Squirrel-Proof Enclosure for Your Vegetable Garden for NaturallySavvy.com

Squirrel Proof

Is there anything more heartbreaking than watching a squirrel run off with one of your green cherry tomatoes, take a bite out of it, then throw it to the ground before going back to get another one? That was the scene in our backyard last summer.

We’d labored as a family to build a wonderful raised vegetable garden. We lovingly planted half a dozen tomato plants and carefully cared for a handful of cucumber, melon, squash and pepper plants, eagerly anticipating a summer filled with fresh, homegrown fruit and veggies on the dinner table.

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The Smart Kitchen: The Next Big Hope for the Internet of Things - TriplePundit.com

Solar Lighting
The Internet of Things is a boon for businesses striving to be more sustainable, but at-home IOT is exhibiting worrying signs of stalling. Industry analyst Jan Dawson summed up many people’s concerns when he said the smart home market seems perennially stuck in the early-adopter phase.

He noted some exceptions, and most of them (such as the Nest Learning Thermostat) carry a clear promise of return on a user’s investment. Here, Dawson pinpoints a major issue with the smart home — marketing.

The smart home is being marketed at homeowners as the home of the future, packed with cool gadgets and neighbor-wowing conveniences. While this is true, it’s clearly not convincing anyone other than early adopters to cough up their hard-earned cash. People see connected gadgets as a luxury, because that’s how they’re being sold.

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Easy Upcycling: Turn An Old Chandelier Into A Stylish Solar Lantern - Sustainablog

Solar Lighting
When we moved into our 1960s-era home, it came with a lot of vintage light fixtures. Some had enough mid-century modern style to keep as they were. Others were just a little too dated for the look we wanted.

One such fixture was an elegant brass chandelier. It had hung over the table in a rather grand dining room, and while we quite liked it, its electrics were flaky and it just didn’t have enough “oomph” for the space. So, when we decided to invest in a beautiful new chrome and crystal chandelier for the dining room, I was determined to find a new use for this old chandelier by turning it into an elegant solar garden lantern.

 

7 Smart Ways To Organize Your Fridge To Save Money - thethriftycouple.com

Solar Lighting

The two biggest bills your kitchen generates are your grocery bill and your electricity bill. Your appliances are responsible for 13% of your energy bill, and the fridge takes the lion’s share of that, as it’s always on. By organizing your fridge correctly, you can help it work more efficiently, which reduces electricity costs. Additionally, it will help keep your food fresher for longer, reducing your grocery costs by cutting down on spoiled and wasted food.

Here are seven tips for proper food organization to save you money, plus a look at organization features of new fridges for those in the market for a new one.

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6 Tips for Easing the Back to School Transition

Make Morning Sticks

Welcome to Fall, a season punctuated by crisp, early mornings filled with cries of “Where are my soccer cleats?” and “Mom, I can’t find my library book!” as the mad rush to get out the door begins.

Help yourself out with a few of these organizing tips that will make the return to school a smooth, seamless and shouting-free transition...


Read the full post here: http://blog.1800gotjunk.com/2016/09/27/6-tips-for-easing-the-back-to-school-transition/

American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use - for PSFK.com

Energy Use

The American consumer is leading the march toward energy efficiency in this country. They’re embracing government-sponsored programs such as Energy Star and technological advances like the Internet of Things (IoT) and solar panels to reduce their annual energy usage and put money back into their pockets.

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The Best Smart Garage-Door Controller | The Wirecutter

Solar Lighting

After spending over 20 hours wiring and rewiring garage-door openers, opening and closing the doors with our smartphones and our voices, and controlling them through smartphone apps and home-automation routines, we found that theChamberlain MyQ Garage (MYQ-G0201) is the best smart garage-door controller for most people. It was the easiest and quickest to install of all the controllers we tested, it’s among the simplest to set up and use, and it’s compatible with the most garage doors out there, thanks to the huge popularity of Chamberlain and LiftMaster products in homes across the country. It also integrates with the popular Nest Cam if you want a remote view of your garage.

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Green Renovations: The Best Eco-Friendly Countertops for NaturallySavvy.com

green countertops

Remodeling a kitchen is on many homeowners’ to-do lists, and putting in new countertops is often the biggest part of that remodel. For most of this century, granite has been the go-to material when redoing countertops, and while it is still a great option, the growing interest in sustainability and green living has meant many people are looking at alternative materials. This has prompted a surge in options with stronger eco-credentials, such as wood, metal and recycled countertops. 

Deciding whether a material is environmentally friendly or “green” is not as easy as just looking at a label or finding out if the manufacturer is certified by one eco-working group or another.

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How Technology is Transforming the Way We Store Food - allconnect.com

Smart Fridge

At about five years old, I remember standing in my grandmother’s kitchen in Gainesville, Florida, and her telling me to put the juice in the ice box. “Ice box?” I thought. “What on earth is that?”

The ice box—quite literally a box or cabinet with a block of ice to keep food cold—was a part of my grandmother’s childhood.

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How to Buy a Better Light Bulb - CleanTechies

Buy A Better Bulb

It might be time to retire that old joke “How many (fill-in-stereotype-to-be-mocked-here) does it take to screw in a light bulb?” Because light bulbs have got a whole lot more complicated in recent years. These days, it requires substantial acumen to buy the right bulb, especially if you are looking to buy the most energy-efficient model.

The battle for eco-friendly supremacy between Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) bulbs is largely over (plummeting prices and expanding models have given the more energy-efficient, longer-lasting LEDs the clear edge over CFLs, which still contain mercury). The result of the revolution however, is that navigating the light bulb aisle at the hardware store can be something of an overwhelming experience.

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Easy Upcycling: Turn A Log into A Versatile And Natural Bird Feeder - Sustainablog

Easy Upcycling

In our Southern summer garden, we are blessed by an abundance of the most beautiful of birds: the cardinal. My children love spotting the red and tawny birds foraging in our yard, and I’ve been wondering for some time how best to help them feed. They don’t seem that keen on my hanging bird feeders—the perches are too small, the birds too big.

Being natural ground feeders, cardinals prefer flat surfaces, but put a flat surface full of bird seed in our garden and the squirrels will consume it in moments. Because these brilliant birds are actually quite large, we decided to go for something a bit sturdier than the swaying soda bottle bird feeder I made last year. We came up with an ingenious way to transform an old log into a natural looking bird feeder that should be perfect for our cardinals all year round.

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How to Choose the Greenest Outdoor Grill - for MotherEarthNews.com

Green Grills

Summer is here, which means it’s time to get outside and enjoy your backyard, deck or patio area. What better way to do that than with a cookout? Plus, cooking your food outdoors is the more environmentally-friendly way to do it, right? Well, it can be.

As with many eco-friendly choices, it depends on a confluence of factors, including the careful selection of the right equipment. Whether you prefer cooking inside or out, the tools you use can affect the carbon footprint of your cooking.

So before you fire up the grill, think about what you can do to make your barbecue greener and cleaner. Here’s a look at the relative environmentally friendly attributes of the different grill options—gas, electric, charcoal, pellet—so you can decide which is the best fit for your green lifestyle.

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How to turn a hallway closet into a family command center - for Momaha.com

Family Command Center

Family life can seem like one long stream of looking for things. Be it tap shoes, shin guards, leotards, water bottles, Ticonderoga pencils or sunscreen, the eternal quest to fulfill that cry of “Mom, where is my ____?” can drive even the saintliest mother to distraction.

The solution? Turn your hallway closet into a family command center. I’m not talking about one of those impossibly perfect-looking, incredibly organized mini “desks” – you know, the ones where family life is allegedly easily filed away in designer binders and the elegant dry erase calendar is all neatly filled in. Do you think those ever actually stay that way?

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Use Smart Tech to Make Your Small Business Sustainable - for TriplePundit.com

 

Looking to give your small business a leg up, and at the same time, make it more sustainable? Cutting the environmental impact of your business not only helps the planet, but it can also positively affect your bottom line, both through a reduction in consumption of expensive fossil fuels and by streamlining your workflow. Here’s a look at some of the energy-saving, Internet-connected technology you can use in your office to create a smarter, more sustainable workspace.

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Harness the Power of the Internet to Conserve Water in Your 'Smart' Garden - for MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Garden Image 1

How many times have you seen someone’s sprinklers on during a rain storm? Or even worse, arrived home to find yours going while it’s pouring? I think you’ll agree that it’s a truly painful-to-watch waste of Mother Earth’s most precious natural resource. With today’s climate issues, where some parts of the country are living through significant droughts, it’s even more imperative that we be mindful of our water use.

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