Author Archive | Jennie Lyon

Is It Time To Revamp Your HVAC System?

 

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When you own a home, you have to provide your family with a place to live their greatest moments. The home must be warm and cozy and have an eco-friendly design with high-performance features. The good news is that making upgrades to your home can offer potential savings and create energy-efficient options.

For example, a homeowner can choose between adding insulation to their house or move towards an updated HVAC system. If you’re looking for a way to feel better about your home and conserve energy, then you’ve come to the right place.

Upgrade Your HVAC System To Help Reduce Energy Cost

Deciding to upgrade your heating and cooling system can help you reduce cost and make the home energy efficient. Here are a few options:

Ice-powered Air Conditioning Unit

This unit works by making sure that the water is frozen in a tank overnight. By using electrical energy during the night versus the daytime, a homeowner can have enough cooling during the day and reduce costs for peak hours.

Thermal Air Conditioning Units

These units are different and new to technology, but should take off in the next few years. The systems are supplemented with natural gas and solar energy. They provide more cooling capabilities than the traditional AC units and eliminate electricity costs.

 Heat Pumps

Dual heat pumps provide a great option for comfort. They are a combination of a gas furnace and an electric heat pump. When it gets cold outside, the gas heater will take over until the temperature rises above 35 degrees. Even though the cost is very expensive, purchasing the system itself can last for several years.

Floor Heating

This type of heating will give you the opportunity to experience warmth from the ground up. It will offer you radiant heat versus hot air heating throughout your home. However, it is very important to have the proper amount of insulation in your home so that you can increase energy efficiency by 30%.

Ductless

The majority of homes will have a hidden maze of ductwork underneath. If a particular ductless system is used to deliver conditioned air, then it will typically increase energy efficiency by 40% versus central heating.

However, you may have come across a few homes that are considered “smart homes.” These homes make it easy to move into and can be very convenient. They offer already automated appliances with technological advancements.

For example, you can leave your home and never have to worry about turning off your heating or cooling system. If you forget, then you can make a quick adjustment with your mobile device through an app.

A few other high-tech features would include scroll compressors, variable speed motors, smart control sensors, and dual heat exchangers. However, be advised that it doesn’t matter what system you use if your insulation system is faulty.

Sometimes insulation upgrades are a necessity. It can have a significant impact on your energy cost. By replacing your insulation or increasing it in your home, you will be able to reduce your energy bills. Remember, older homes sometimes lack the proper insulation, interfering with efficiency and savings.

Every type of insulation is different.

Spray foam – You can choose a spray foam type of insulation. The foam will seal gaps in leaks by hardening into a solid.

Fiberglass batts – If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, then you can choose fiberglass batts. They are a cheap type of insulation that can be stapled. When it is installed correctly, it can offer a quick fix.

Reflective barriers -Reflective barriers are usually found in the attic. They are used to reduce heat and cold and offer barriers that reflect the sun rays. This option is only available for homes that are generally in the sun a lot. You could choose this option, but make sure to speak to a representative for more guidance.

The cost of installation can vary depending on the size of your home and the design. An average attic cost can range from $400 to $1800. However, this small investment is a great price to pay if you are concerned about saving energy and reducing costs on your home.

You can also check with your state tax department to see if there are any rebates available for insulation upgrades. However, federal tax credits expired a few years ago. You may still be able to check with your local districts to determine if there are any incentives.

5 Spooky Fruit and Vegetable Halloween Treats for Healthy Kids

Halloween is my favorite holiday – mostly because it is an anything goes, don’t hold back, get as creative as you want holiday! I have been adding a little spookiness into Eben’s snacks by getting creative with fruits and vegetables. He seems to enjoy these “sweet” treats just as much as a sugary alternative – maybe even more. Read on for 5 spooky fruit and vegetable Halloween treats that I have used as inspiration for celebrating the holiday with my healthy kid.

#1: Jack o’Lantern Fruit Plate
This may be one of the easiest treats in the bunch – simply peel, cut and arrange a selection of organic strawberries, clementines, blueberries and grapes and you have a Halloween treat that is sure to please everyone!

+ Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate
+ via Wholesome Dinner Tonight

#2: Veggie Skeleton
Looking for a fun way to get your child to eat more vegetables this autumn? Look no further than this adorable veggie skeleton. This, along with the Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate would be perfect for your child’s class Halloween Party or your family’s spooky get together!

+ Veggie Skeleton
+ via Feeding Four Little Monkeys

#3: Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
Yum! These goodies are definitely calling my name – I bet the bananas would be even better if they were slightly frozen! These would be great for a kids party – just grab and go.

+ Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
+ via Kid Party Food Ideas

#4: Apple Teeth Treats
While these little yummies might take a little more time to prepare – I bet they are worth all of the compliments you would get at your Halloween party.

+ Apple Teeth Treats
+ via All Recipes

#5: Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
I want to whip up a batch of these yummy sweet potato fries to go with Halloween dinner. Not only does my family love them – but the spook factor will win them over for sure.

+ Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
+ Babble

How to Make Simple Upcycled Halloween Lanterns

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One of my favorite areas to decorate for Halloween is our front porch. It’s the perfect spot to share your Halloween decorations with visitors and neighbors! These painted glass lanterns are one of my favorite projects to pull out of storage every year. They are just so delightful!

What you will need:

What to do:

1. Spray the glass containers inside and outside.
2. Once dry, paint on the design or face that you would like.
3. Place a rechargeable or solar powered tea light inside.
4. Watch the delight on the faces of your neighbors as they walk by.

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What do you think of my Halloween lanterns?

Spring is Almost Here! Turn your Garden into a Magical Eco-Friendly Haven!

NOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: Thank you supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.
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A beautiful, well-kept garden can be the best part of any home. It’s a perfect spot to get close to nature, watching butterflies and bees hover around flowers. It’s also an ideal location to relax after a busy day at work or looking after the children. A garden can be at its most magical in the evening, but too many people head indoors as the sun sets. Here are three ways to enjoy your garden in the evening, turning it into a central feature of your home right round the clock.

Install Night Time Landscape Lighting

It’s hard to enjoy the beautiful sights of your garden in darkness, but you can give nature a hand with the latest technology by installing landscape lighting from factory direct companies, which can help reduce landscape design project costs. When planning your lighting project consider path lights, well lights, or lights that are positioned in trees, so you can have evening lighting that’s subtle or strong to suit your taste. After your project is complete, you’ll be able to enjoy your garden’s beautiful light, when nature’s lights go off. This is especially useful on warm summer nights, and evening illumination can create a truly magical feel.

To learn more about night time lighting projects, visit: https://www.voltlighting.com/

Warming Up Those Cooler Nights

Even with the perfect garden lighting in place, you still may prefer to relax indoors at certain times of the year when evening temperatures start to dip. This problem can be fixed with the addition of strategically placed patio heaters. These can be placed next to the popular spots in your yard, such as, a garden bench, table, or garden building, and they make sitting outside a pleasure despite the cooler temperatures. The latest models of heaters are also designed to be environmentally friendly, which can help you “green” your garden even more!

I know what you’re thinking – running lights and heaters outside uses electricity. There’s got to be a more eco-friendly way! You know I wouldn’t let you down. Check out these VERY affordable solar panel kits! Just charge up your batteries during the day, and you’ll have enough power to keep you warm and glowing all evening long.

A Perfect Place To Entertain

Do you like to host dinner parties in your home? One of the most enjoyable parts of a dinner party is when guests gather together to share entertaining stories. Guests often gather in the living room or in the dining area itself, but your guests will be even more impressed if they gather in your garden. With lighting and heating in place, a garden room or gazebo is an ideal place to meet and greet guests or to entertain them before dining. Gazebos and garden rooms come in all sizes, and as they are an attractive garden feature while also adding value to your property as a whole.

As a bonus, you can install rollaway screens around your gazebo, so you can keep insects at bay without having to resort to zappers or chemical-laden sprays. You’ll get all the benefits of outdoor dining, while sharing it peacefully with the wildlife around you.  

These three features can each add evening magic to your garden, but when added together they create a spellbinding place to sit back and watch the world float by. With subtle lighting and a source of heat nearby, you can relax by your gazebo and gaze up at the stars in the night sky. The only way to improve this experience is to have the person you love by your side and your favorite drink in your hand.

How Eco Artwork Can Improve Your Room Design

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Artwork is definitely an important element of any room design.  You can easily add interest to plain walls with fun and unique pieces of art.  Artwork can also bring together different elements of a room by providing color inspiration, a focal point or even by being a harmonizer.  Artwork often makes or breaks a new space. Incorporating a work of art is also a simple way to update your space in an eco-friendly way. By hanging a photograph or painting, you will refresh your walls without perpetuating the use of toxic paints or non-recyclable wallpaper. In this post, we’re looking at some of the main ways in which artwork can help improve a room’s design.

Artwork Adds Movement
In most spaces, you can use artwork to help create movement.  In the art world, movement is used by artists to help direct the viewer’s eye.  In interior design, it will also influence perceptions of the size of the room.  Using a piece of art that easily conveys a lot of movement will help create a rhythm between the chosen furniture your new wall décor.  Overall, this is how a room can evoke a certain emotion or convey a specific feeling.

Wall Art Provides Color
If you’re a little stuck when it comes to the color scheme you want to use in your new living space, artwork can help dictate or even enhance a color palette.  Firstly, try selecting a piece of artwork that matches the space and then create a new color palette influenced by the artwork. You can then narrow down accent colors from the work to help enhance it. If you’re bored with your wall colors, adding a piece of artwork is a great way to liven things up without worrying about the environmental consequences of repainting all the time.

Online sites like Fine Art America offer hundreds of thousands of artist’s works, so you can easily browse their expansive collection and find something that catches your eye.

Balance Texture and Scale in Your Room Design
Depending on the type of building you are furnishing, you’ll need to consider how art can help balance scale and textures.  For example, if you prefer sleek, low furniture with a modern design but your space has high ceilings, investing in a bold piece of wall art will immediately make the room feel more balanced as the eye will be drawn upward to the painting. An investment piece of artwork will also last you a lifetime and can be passed down to future generations, making it both eco-friendly and sentimental.

You can also use art to create a more dynamic room design. Textures, patterns and colors can all be pulled together with the right wall art.

Create a Rotating Gallery
If you’re the kind of person who easily changes their mind or gets bored with your space and you’re itching to switch up your décor, introducing a rotating gallery of artwork can be a quick and easy way to keep your walls feeling fresh.  Different pieces of art will help to highlight different furniture or other elements in your space. Since there is always a market for artwork, you don’t have to worry about being wasteful by replacing your pictures and paintings regularly. Instead, donate them to a used art retailer or make a little extra cash by selling them online. Either way, you know your art won’t end up in a landfill; there is always someone who will appreciate a painting or photograph you’re tired of.

Make a Statement with Your Art
Your artwork doesn’t always have the be the main focal point in a room.  You can also use art in subtler ways to add an element of sophistication to your room design.

The main thing you should take away is don’t be afraid to experiment with different art mediums.  Art is always a great investment that will help inspire new room designs.