Author Archive | Tim Werth

Road-Tripping in an Electric Vehicle: 4 Tips for Success

There are a lot of different cars on today’s roads — and with a PwC forecast estimating 107 million vehicles will be manufactured globally in 2020, there are going to be even more in the next few years. And while having a vehicle is often necessary, CO2 emissions are at an all-time high, partly due to vehicle use. This is one of the many reasons more and more people are choosing to purchase electric vehicles (EVs). But if you’re traveling this summer, you may be wondering how to plan your trip with your EV. Lucky for you, we have a few great tips in this article.

Drive Smart and Save Your Battery

EV drivers have to make the most of a charge — this is why it’s important to drive smart. When you’re trying to get the most out of your car’s battery, you should accelerate and brake carefully. If you slam on either the gas or brakes regularly, your charge is going to go down more quickly. Don’t forget to use your accessories wisely, too. Additionally, you should always charge your vehicle right before you leave so you can start off with a full charge. And remember to keep charge times in mind to ensure you stay on schedule. With U.S. manufacturing producing 18.2% of goods globally, EVs have improved drastically over the past few years, but you still need to treat your car with care.

Plan Your Stops Ahead of Time

When you’re on a road trip, you’re usually rushing to get to your final destination in excitement. But when you’re driving in an EV, you need to plan to stop frequently. So when you’re planning your route and travel time, make sure to account for multiple stops. Not only will EVs require more stops than regular cars, but the stops will probably take longer — it takes more time to charge an EV than to fill up a gas tank. But with the global specialty gases market expected to exceed $14 billion by 2026, EV drivers can enjoy saving money and going green compared to regular vehicle drivers.

Go Where Charging Stations Are

Unfortunately, much of the country is still not equipped with electric vehicle charging stations. This is especially true in less populated areas. So when you’re deciding where to travel to in your EV, be mindful of where charging stations are located. Cities and urban areas are a great choice because they’re more likely to have multiple charging stations you can utilize. While there are plans in place to get more EV charging stations in place in less populated areas, for now, you should stick to high-traffic areas. This way, you won’t have to worry about being stranded without a way to charge up.

Expect the Unexpected

When you’re driving a traditional vehicle, it can be fairly easy to simply hop in the car and take off with no plan in mind. But this isn’t a smart thing to do with an EV. Running out of battery juice far away from a charging station can be bad news. This is why you need to plan for the worst and expect the unexpected. You should always have a backup plan, like knowing about a charging station before your planned stop, just in case. With 5.5 million car accidents occurring every year and millions of cars breaking down on the roads, there’s no telling what may happen. So be prepared for anything that may come up along the way.

Driving an electric vehicle is a great way to do your part to help the environment. But because road trips in an EV can be a little more tricky, keep these tips in mind to ensure everything goes according to plan.

Pest Prevention: 4 Natural Methods to Consider

With warm weather finally here, it’s time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. But one thing many homeowners don’t want to deal with during the summer is pests. Ants, cockroaches, and termites tend to make their way into homes when the weather is nice. And these pests can be more than just annoying — bugs can do a lot of damage to a home, which is why it’s important to take care of them quickly. But it’s not always ideal to use harsh chemicals in your home to rid of bugs, especially if you’re one of the 44% of U.S. homeowners who have a dog. Chemical pesticides can be harmful to the health of people and animals as well as harmful to the environment. So let’s take a look at a few natural ways to get rid of and prevent bugs that won’t be harmful to you, your family, your pets, or the planet.

Do Some Landscaping

Pest control should actually start outside of your home. If you have trees, bushes, and other plants right up next to your house, this can make it easier for pests to enter your home. With trees and bushes right next to the house, pests can simply crawl up them and make the jump to the house. So take a look at the landscaping around your house and make changes as needed — look for greenery that is close to the house especially near the roof, windows, doors, and cracks in the siding. You should also check the cracks in sidewalks next to your house, which is a common place for pests to hang out. While it’s true that having smoother pavement can extend pavement life by up to 25%, it’s also important for controlling pests. So start with some basic landscaping to make it more difficult for pests to enter your home.

Use Soaps and Oils

If you’re looking for a product to buy, you can consider insecticidal soaps and oils. These products are botanical mixtures and contain no harsh chemicals. You can spray these soaps or oils right on the pests or around your house as a preventative measure. If you’re one of the 20% of homeowners who have termites as their main pest issue, this may not be an ideal solution. Insecticidal soaps and oils may be less effective on hard-shelled pests unless used on the eggs. These soaps and oils will be effective against many pests, while not harming other bugs nearby, like ladybugs.

Grow Some Herbs

Some insects, like ants and spiders, don’t like the smell of certain herbs. So even if you don’t use herbs very often, it may prove to be beneficial to grow some herbs in your house, specifically in the kitchen. Some herbs to consider include mint, rue, tansy, and pennyroyal. Or if you don’t want to actually grow any herbs, you can also consider placing dried bunches of these herbs around your home. Placing herbs near windows, doors, and other cracks pests can sneak in could do the trick. Additionally, you can spray some mint, lavender, or other oils near these trouble spots for further prevention. Either way, having some of these herbs in your home is sure to help deter pests from entering.

Change Out Stored Items

Homeowners tend to change things in their house regularly, especially with interior designers recommending updating home decor at least every 10 years. But there are some items in a home that rarely get changed out — stored items, like towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and bags are perfect nesting locations for pests because they don’t get moved around often. The average home in the U.S. has 300,000 items in it. So during the warmer months, it’s crucial to check on your stored items. Make your way around the house and check those cupboards and drawers you rarely go into to move the items and wash or replace them as needed. While this may seem like a nuisance, it can go a long way in preventing pests from settling in your home.

As you can see, you don’t have to resort to harsh and harmful chemicals to keep your home pest-free this summer. These simple tips will help prevent and kill pests in your home while keeping you and your family safe — all while being better for the environment, too.

How to Make Your Next Summer Shindig a Lot More Eco-Friendly

Many families have embraced an eco-conscious lifestyle. But when throwing a party, sometimes convenience takes precedence over preserving the planet. It’s so easy to go out to the store and purchase processed foods, plastic cutlery, and packaged paper plates that considering the alternative doesn’t always seem all that alluring. However, it might actually be easier — and more fun — than you’d think to throw a green get-together. Here are some of our favorite tips for making sure your next summer soiree, backyard barbecue, or birthday party will be as eco-friendly as possible.

Choose the Right Location

One of the most energy-efficient ways to host a get-together is to take advantage of natural lighting. That means heading into the great outdoors. Whether you choose your backyard or a local park, you can keep your energy usage low and be surrounded by the beauty of nature all at once. Remember that by choosing a local location and encouraging guests to carpool (or use greener forms of transportation), you’ll create a more eco-friendly environment from the start.

Opt for Digital Invitations

In the digital age, it’s become a lot more commonplace to skip paper invitations and send invites via email or Facebook. While some traditionalists may scoff, the truth is that this is a lot less wasteful and is now a generally accepted practice. If you want something a bit more special than a Facebook event, there are specific sites that will send invitations of your choice and even track RSVPs for you. And if you feel you really can’t do without paper invitations, make sure to construct them out of recycled materials and encourage recipients to recycle them once they’ve told you whether they can attend.

Be Thoughtful With Your Decorations

When you’re decorating for a party, the decorations tend to be pretty standard across the board: tablecloths and toppers, streamers, banners, flowers, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of those items tend to be thrown away after the party’s over. But by using reusable decorations and natural elements, you can be a lot less wasteful and make your party place look incredible. Use linen tablecloths and napkins that can be washed and used year after year or opt for recyclable brown paper that the kids can decorate with crayons. Use fresh flowers, branches, shells, and stones from your own garden to decorate the table. Instead of balloons, get some reusable bunting, make banners and chains from construction paper, or create pom-poms out of tissue paper or yarn that you can reuse. If you can, forgo electric lighting in favor of candles in mason jars or other glass containers.

Reuse Your Tableware

Plastic cutlery and plates are a ubiquitous sight at many a get-together, but they don’t have to be. By using real dishes instead of plastic ones, you’ll be able to wash and reuse over and over. If you’re worried about breakable plates and glasses, you do have some alternatives to disposable plastic or melamine. Sterling silver tableware (which is an alloy that usually consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper) can be a good option, as can recyclable paper products or disposable wooden cutlery. Some hosts might even consider asking guests to BYOP or BYOC (bring your own plates or cups) to cut down on waste. If you need to use straws, get some reusable crazy straws (or invest in metal or biodegradable ones) instead of plastic. For any items that do need to be thrown away, get some eco-friendly garbage bags to make clean-up a bit easier. And be sure to set up a recycling bin or a tub for reusable items.

Get Creative With Party Favors

If you want to send your guests home with some party favors, don’t go for plastic goody bags or junky toys. The typical American home already has 300,000 items inside, so you don’t want to add to the unnecessary clutter or have your gifts end up in the garbage. Get your hands on paper or cloth bags and fill them with useful gifts like chalk, pens, puzzles, books, plant seeds, small notebooks, wooden toys, or even some homemade or local treats. Make sure to wrap any leftover food in recyclable materials!

Pick the Right Food and Drink

In general, cooking outside is usually a good way to go, particularly if you use a gas grill (which uses less energy and gives off fewer pollutants than charcoal versions). Whenever possible, choose homemade foods over processed ones. Buy fresh, local foods from your local farmer’s market to ensure the highest level of eco-friendliness. Typically, the more veggies the better — they come with a reduced environmental impact and are a bit easier to incorporate into meals when there’s a lot left over. Instead of bottled water, opt for refillable pitchers or serve juice in old jam jars. Try to think mobile whenever you can; the fewer plates and forks that have to be used, the less clean-up you’ll have to do (and therefore, the less water you’ll need to waste).

Throwing an eco-friendly party may not be the easiest endeavor, but it’ll end up being a lot more fun than you think. Plus, you’ll encourage your friends and neighbors to think twice about their environmental impact, too.

How to Make Your Outdoor Space More Eco-Friendly This Weekend

Outdoor living spaces are becoming more and more popular. But despite the fact that they’re outside, many outdoor living spaces are not very eco-friendly. While it’s true that plants can reduce stress and negative feelings by up to 60%, planting a few flowers isn’t going to make a space very eco-friendly. So if you’re looking to turn your green space into something truly eco-friendly, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Use Green Materials

When you’re building your outdoor space, it’s important to start with using eco-friendly materials. Whether you’re building a patio or creating walkways, using the right materials is important. You should consider materials like rubber paving stones, permeable concrete, and reclaimed wood. If you’re extending your roof over your outdoor space, choosing the right roofing material can even reduce energy use by up to 30%. Think about using materials that are recycled, have a low impact on the environment when they’re made, and options that will last a long time so you don’t have to replace them. Starting with the right materials is key to building a great green space.

Choose Eco-Friendly Furniture

Another great way to go green with your outdoor area is by choosing eco-friendly furniture. Most furniture is not made with eco-friendly materials, but you can make the decision to ensure the furniture you’re buying is as sustainable as possible. Cushions filled with organic cotton, end tables made from recycled wood, and other sustainable furnishing options are not too difficult to find. Additionally, you can consider making your own furniture. You can use something like stainless steel pipes, which can last longer than 100 years, to create table legs and use other refurbished materials as well. Going green with your furniture is easy to do and you can still have aesthetically pleasing options. Even though furniture is the third most expensive item a person will buy during their lifetime, after a house and a car, spending a little more on eco-friendly materials is worth the investment.

Use Sustainable Lighting

Lighting is an important element for outdoor areas, especially if you’re looking to host parties and gatherings after dark. Unfortunately, using the wrong lighting can simply increase your energy bills and further harm the environment. But there is a wide variety of options for sustainable lighting — solar-powered outdoor lights are becoming increasingly common. You can use solar lights to illuminate pathways, your deck, and even throughout your garden. Solar lights are great because they look good and don’t use any energy. To go along with some solar lights, consider getting some outdoor candles, just make sure they’re all-natural to stick with your green theme.

Creating a great outdoor living space is easy, especially if you already have the perfect area picked out. And while choosing sustainable options may take a little more time and effort, it’s definitely worth it. So keep these simple tips in mind to help you get started on going green at home and you’ll have a great sustainable outdoor area to enjoy in no time.

Green Roofing Ideas to Consider This Spring

According to a recent report conducted by HomeAdvisor, nearly 80% of U.S. homeowners had upcoming plans for home improvement projects. And, of course, spring is the perfect time to set some of those plans into action. When all your landscaping starts to become greener, it might be a good idea to find out how your roofing can be, too. If you’re determined to embrace some sustainable practices this season, it’s often effective to start from the top down. Here are just three ideas that will make your roofing practices a bit more eco-friendly this spring.

Use Sustainable Materials

If you’re building a brand new home or need to completely replace your roof this year, you should give your choice in roofing materials some careful thought. Although asphalt shingles have been used in American homes for over a century, first appearing in 1901, this popular choice isn’t necessarily the most eco-friendly. Despite the fact that asphalt shingles are technically recyclable, most end up in landfills at the end of their lifespan (which is only half that of some other materials on the market). Metal roofing, sustainable wood shake, reclaimed slate or clay, reinforced rubber, and other recycled materials are typically much greener and are sometimes even more durable than asphalt. When choosing greener roofing materials, pay close attention to the materials recycled content, its weight, and any coatings that might be present; these can all play a part in how durable and how earth-friendly your choice really is.

Inspect Your Roof Regularly

Roofs should be inspected once or twice a year under normal conditions, and this is typically a really good way for you to know whether there are issues that could be costing you more money than necessary. If shingles have blown off or there are leaks, regular inspections can ensure you’re notified and can take action sooner rather than later. Not only can this help you to save money and to plan ahead, but it can also keep your energy expenditures down. If you have insulation issues, for example, an inspection can catch that before you lose a lot of energy (and a lot of money). Heating and cooling already accounts for more than 50% of the energy used in an average home. Poor insulation can only increase that number, That lost energy translates into negative effects for the planet; anything you can do to curb your energy consumption and energy loss will be a win/win.

Make Repairs Promptly

Now that you know exactly what kinds of problems you might be dealing with, it’s essential to make any repairs right away. The more quickly you deal with the problem, the less of a negative effect the issue will have on your pocketbook and on the planet. That said, you should make an effort to work with a company that focuses on environmental impact. While the number of jobs in the construction equipment operation industry was approximately 426,000 in 2016, not all contractors and their teams have green initiatives in mind. With so many consumers making environmental issues a priority, business owners are realizing that this can be a way to help their organizations stand out. Choosing a roofing company that’s truly concerned about sustainability will ensure that the hard work you do to reduce your carbon footprint won’t be all for naught.

Having roofing inspections and repairs performed might not be your favorite springtime activity. But taking action early on in the season will ensure that you can keep energy costs low when temperatures start to soar. Plus, it’ll be just one more way to make a positive environmental contribution.