Posted by Peggy Farber on 11/23/2016

Climate change may turn out to be the defining issue of our time. As global temperatures continue to rise, many of us are looking for small ways that we can make a difference. What better place to start than right in your own home? Making your home eco-friendly can seem daunting. Installing solar panels and replacing windows aren't an afternoon project. They take time and financial planning. However, there are many changes we can make without spending a penny, and those small changes add up. The two main areas we'll focus on are power and waste. Cut the Power A costly utility bill isn't only hurting your wallet. It also means power plants need to burn more coal and natural gas, emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. Your home is probably full of opportunities to conserve electricity. One thing we all do that uses a huge amount of power is washing and drying our clothes. 85-90% of power used by washing clothes goes to heating water. Set your machine to cold wash when you can to cut down on energy consumption. When the weather's fair, take advantage of it by hanging your clothes on the line. It doesn't have to be a cloudless summer day to dry clothes outside, and it will drastically reduce your power consumption. Another cost-free way to save on electricity is to unplug your devices when they're not in use. You probably have at least 50 items in your home that use electricity. Many of them are always plugged into the outlet. While this is necessary in some cases, like your refrigerator or alarm clock, oftentimes those objects are left on standby, slowly leeching electricity. One way to easily cut the power to multiple objects is to keep them plugged into a power strip. Start in the living room where you might have a TV, DVD player, cable box, and lamps all plugged into one strip. Simply power off the strip at night to start saving. Take out the Trash Up to 70% of waste from U.S. households goes into landfills. That's double the rate of many European countries. Just like conserving power, reducing waste can be done at no cost to you and can sometimes save you money. A good place to start? Food items. In the U.S., up to 40% of food purchased will never be consumed. All of that food took a huge amount of energy to grow, process, package and ship. Even worse, much of that food is over-packaged and then placed into unrecyclable plastic bags at the checkout line. How can you save?

  • The next time you need to go grocery shopping, make a list beforehand so you only buy what you will eat
  • At the store reach for items that are less packaged, like fresh vegetables
  • When possible, buy items like rice and beans in bulk. You'll throw away less packaging and save at the register
  • Get a few reusable shopping bags and keep them in your car. Grocery stores are happy to use your bags. It saves the store money on bags and, in some states, saves you money where there are additional charges for using plastic bags.
  • Ask for no bag. Most store employees assume customers want a bag, even for small purchases at CVS. Cut down on waste by saying "No, thank you" to plastic bags
Being a conscious consumer at the grocery store and being a conservative consumer of electricity at home will help you do your small part for the environment, and save some money in the process.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 11/16/2016

Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits. Green up your appliances Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home's total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Take Your Temperature Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home's temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68°F saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today's furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s. Use Water Wisely Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Let there be Light Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Practice Plastic Placement Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? — Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics. There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic's Green Guide. Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 8/10/2016

Home is where the heart is and we all want to make sure the heart of our home, our family, is healthy and happy. Creating a home that sets your family up for success towards becoming a healthier, and therefore happier family can lead to happy memories you can cherish forever. Keep reading for tips and habits you can enforce and lead by example in your home to encourage your family to make healthy choices both mentally and physically. Practice gratitude. At the end of each day, perhaps even around the dinner table review your family's favorite moments of the day and what they are grateful for. Creating space for these moments is akin to writing out gratitude lists which have been scientifically proven to help increase happiness. This habit also has the added benefit of bringing your family closer together . Spend time together at home. Whether it’s a weekly game night where your family gathers around the kitchen table to play board games, huddles up in the living room to play some video games or spend the day playing a game of ball in the backyard. Taking time to enjoy each other at home base creates happy memories and helps your family become more tight knit. Create zones in your house. Set up zones for activities such as tech only, homework, play, solo time and even family time to help encourage focus on the activity at hand while maintaining balance. By creating specific zones you help hardwire your family’s brains to focus on the activity at hand and allow a way for other members of the family to respect that person’s time while they are engaging in an activity. Healthy Choices. Set out bowls of fruits, pre-cut veggies to snack on and keep a jug of cold water on hand to guide your family towards healthy choices on their own. This works especially well with younger children so that you can allow them to make their own food choices at snack time and ensure you are making it easier for them to reach for the good stuff. Encourage physical activity. If you child is interested in an afterschool sport, practice being enthusiastic and supportive of their new interest. Spend time practicing with them in the backyard and volunteer to host their friends over for a group practice in the backyard. If your partner is interested in joining the gym or an adult league, leave room in your family’s schedule for them to easily stick to and enjoy their new commitment. Make relaxation easy for your family. Consider what each member of your family’s go-to technique to relax is and set up ways for them to easily do so. If your children love to draw or paint set up an art station they can easily access at their discretion. If your partner enjoys curling up with a good book and some hot tea arrange a bookcase with their favorite titles within reach and keep tea making supplies at the forefront of your cabinet. Get outside. Sometimes it's important to get out of the house too. A few times a month schedule times for family trips to get outside and visit nearby trails. Whether you walk, hike or ride bikes as a family getting outdoors to enjoy fresh air and be active will improve your family’s health and guarantee some quality time together. We all want health and happiness for the ones we love. You can help promote healthy habits that lead to increased happiness for your family with a little preparation and guiding by example. Working with, playing with, and supporting each other along the way will guarantee a healthier, more tight knit family with loads of memories to cherish for years to come.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 10/22/2014

They say it's a silent killer. Odorless, colorless, toxic fumes with symptoms similar to those of having the flu. It can kill you and your loved ones without you even knowing its there. Are you safeguarding your home against this deadly threat? Step one is knowing where the threat comes from. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states carbon monoxide can come from "unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages; and tobacco smoke." (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html) With winter upon us, and the possibility of power outages during large winter storms a reality, many homes have generators to help in these situations. But improper installation can cause carbon monoxide levels to rise, putting your family at risk. Ensure that generators are installed outside, away from your home, to ensure fumes aren't entering your home. Never install generators in your home, including your garage or basement. Another winter threat is fireplaces, wood or gas, and wood stoves. As you are snuggling up during a long winter night, you need to ensure that ventilation is sufficient. It's always best to have a trained professional inspect and clean your fireplaces and wood stoves on a yearly basis. So what else can you do? Buying a carbon monoxide detector is a cheap and easy way to ensure you are safe. For as little as $20, you can purchase detectors that will alert you if carbon monoxide levels get too high. And if they do, you can quickly evacuate the house and call the fire department for inspection of your home. Most states now require that when you sell your home, these detectors are already installed, just like fire and smoke alarms have been required for years. So be safe this winter season and take precautions as needed. It really could save your life!