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Create the Green Dream with Home Automation

home automationby Elizabeth Eckhart

If you’re a homeowners like me who is interested in “going green” as much as possible, you should consider tapping into the many advantages of home energy control; new technology for home automation is making it so that we are not only conserving energy, but also choosing a money-saving alternative. A variety of technology and electronics manufacturers are taking notice, which means we finally get to benefit from multiple companies creating new, energy efficient products.

If you have already made the intention to refurnish your home, clean up your lifestyle, and contribute to a greener house, perhaps automation is where you, like me, should begin your search!

“Going green” is an expression that is used more and more in technology and business, and while it brings to mind the efforts of nature activists, and charitable causes to save the world’s resources, it is also becoming a big push in the business and consumer world (the one most of us live in!), especially when looking at home automation and appliances.

Whether it’s consumer electronics giant Samsung releasing networked appliances or home security companies like ADT’s new Pulse integrating more home automation features into their service offerings, allowing users to employ lighting and temperature control in the home, it’s clear that “smart” homes are quickly becoming an affordable reality. Essentially, home automation systems today can control many things in the home that have always been separate systems and make them work more efficiently than ever before. I’ve been looking at options to do everything from controlling cooling and heating throughout different zones in my house, automatically turn lights off and on as needed, open windows or shut them remotely, and even turn up the water heater as necessary or adjusting it to a lower temperature when it is no longer needed. Successfully automating all these things would waste less energy, cost me less, and have a positive impact on the environment!

The Latest and Greatest in Home Automation

Even Google made a foray into the world of home automation by gaining control of Nest Learning Thermostat, and as someone new to the home automation game, this was my first purchase. The Nest is basically just a thermostat that actually learns the preferences of a homeowner and controls the environment accordingly. For example, the Nest knows that I like it to be 68 degrees when I wake up, but can turn off the heat or air conditioning when I leave for work; when I get home, the thermostat ensures the temperature is comfortable, automatically dropping down to a lower level when no longer necessary.

Thermal powered lights are another popular product that I’ve tried; just like it sounds, they are lights that are powered by the solar energy that has been absorbed during the day, providing illumination at night. If you live in an area with a deregulated energy market like I do, it’s easy to find websites and resources for buying energy that comes from solar and other renewable sources, and so using your own solar at home cuts your carbon footprint down even further. Plus, it’s also a simple switch to solar powered motion sensor lights that are weatherproof, which are ideal for lighting the way outdoors or in the garage without the need for a light to be turned on for hours at a time since they’ll charge themselves during the day.

One product I’ve considered, but not yet made the jump to, is a full system for the whole house like mControl, which is ranked at the top of the list for companies providing the best in home automation. The system offers a way for homeowners to control every electronic device in their home, lighting, and climate. Relying on digital software, the mControl makes energy management more efficient and can address home security as well.

The Future of Home Automation

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the world of home automation. In the future, homeowners are likely to turn to cheaper do-it-yourself methods, from solar power to systems they can control to conserve energy and put more money in their pockets. Creative minds will take home automation to new heights, and if you can make the switch now, I’d highly suggest giving a few of the top-rated products a try!

Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Protect Yourself From Food Bourne Illnesses

Screen shot 2013-12-19 at 1.31.38 AMEarlier this year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report about Salmonella poisoning in various imported spices that people use every day. Shortly thereafter there was a nationwide panic when Salmonella was found in grocery store chicken. With these various threats it is important to know what you’re dealing with and how keep yourself safe from salmonella and other food-borne illness. And it is especially important to us that you understand why you never have to worry about such contaminants in Wakaya Perfection products.

What exactly is Salmonella?

The FDA defines Salmonella as a group of bacteria that is the most common cause of food poisoning. Symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea and fever, usually last 4-7 days and many can get better without treatment. However, symptoms can be more severe or lead to more serious illnesses in older adults, infants and those with chronic illnesses.

What are the sources and how do you prevent it from being in your food?

Salmonella is usually found in uncooked eggs, poultry and meat. It can also be found in unpasteurized milk, juice, cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, and spices that have been processed improperly.

The primary ways to avoid Salmonella are to make sure that your meat and egg products are thoroughly cooked. Salmonella is usually killed off at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Also make sure to wash your hands properly before handling any raw food products, especially if you are interacting with animals or their treats beforehand. Germs can easily transfer from humans to the food, and if not heated properly can lead to Salmonella poisoning.

Be careful with your cooking utensils as well. Don’t use the same utensils to handle raw products that you do when your food is finally cooked. Check your labels and packaging for refrigeration protocols and follow them. Food that is not properly refrigerated before cooking can also carry the bacteria.

Why are you safe with Wakaya Perfection?

First of all, all of our products are 100% organic which means there are absolutely no outside pesticides or chemicals used in their processing. They are watered completely by Fijian natural rains – no man-made irrigation is used to cultivate our ginger plants.

Once our ginger is ground it is cooked for many hours in a sealed convection oven and immediately processed in our USDA NOP certified full stainless steel sealed suction powder processing machinery that allows no human contact or surrounding air contamination.. It is totally enclosed in the system for the entire process.

The packaging is immediate with no delays and no contaminants entering the system at any stage. The proprietary process is strictly controlled at every stage for immediate processing and not exposed to open environmental and human pollutants.  Our state of the art USDA NOP certified organically registered factory facility is our consumers’ guarantee of quality, purity and superior hygiene at all times.

4 Green Technologies That Are Actually Selling

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People are becoming increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint. However, just because we are concerned about this as a society does not mean that all green technologies are selling as well as they should be. In fact, too many of them have gone by the wayside. Luckily, there are still green technologies that are actually selling.

Hybrid Cars

The price of hybrid cars keeps coming down, and the demand keeps going up. As the price comes down, more people can afford them. When buying new cars, one of the biggest things families look at is the gas mileage. The next thing they look at is the overall price of the car. So, if they can get a car that is relatively inexpensive but will give them great gas mileage, they are going to jump on it. This is the biggest reason that these vehicles are selling extremely well.

Cleaning Supplies

Have you walked down the cleaning supplies aisle at the grocery store lately? Take a look around; you’ll see that there’s a lot of “green” products. That’s because these things sell like crazy. No one wants to clean their home with harsh chemicals. Instead, they want to get things clean, but do it as environmentally friendly as possible. Companies that create cleaning products have noticed this and now make green cleaning products that fly off the shelves.

Home Solar Panels

As the solar panel technology is getting smaller and more easily available for home use, it’s also becoming more popular. People are buying solar panels to put on their roofs to power their homes. Some use these to supplement their power, while others bring in so much from their solar panels that they are able to sell back to the power company in their town. In addition, many new homes come pre-installed with solar panels. This is a technology that is becoming almost as common as high-speed Internet in homes – it’s not quite there yet, but give it a few years.

Windmill Farms

One of the biggest sellers for cities and states is the wind technology. In fact, many areas are setting up windmill farms. These expanses of land literally have windmills set up on them, and that’s it. They harvest the power of the wind and use it to produce power. That power takes the place of more traditional power creation methods, lowering the carbon footprint of the city. Plus, many cities that do this are able to sell the excess power they create to other cities or even other states. In addition to larger entities doing this, some individuals are able to set up windmills on their own land. Sometimes the land is rented to larger organizations for the power creation.

There are a lot of green technologies out there. Some have come and gone without much stir in the community. Other technologies have yet to be tested on a larger scale. What are your thoughts on the green tech industry? Do you see potential for economic growth and job creation through these endeavors?

Get Down, a Little Dirty and Organic on Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day can easily become a day of unbridled excess.  Recent years have been prosperous and as such has upped the ante for a perfect Valentines Day from a box of chocolates and a love note to limousine service, five star dinners and a diamond tennis bracelet carefully hidden in a linen napkin.  Romantic, yes…if you’re Spencer and Heidi desperately trying to ratchet up the gag factor on yet another over the top PDA publicity stunt.  But for those of us living in the real world, circa 2009 and post-Bush the pressure to create a moment worthy of celluloid perfection has been thankfully lifted!  Excess is not longer in vogue and for the first time, in a long time…less is back to being more!

Read the Complete Guide to:
Valentine’s Day

So how do I give my Valentine’s sweetie a holiday that is both socially responsible and still worthy of expressing my love and affection?  The answer is remarkably simple…get back to the basics of romance!  I have carefully listed a variety of products and ideas that are organic, cruelty free, and earth loving while giving you the opportunity to lavish your love and affection on the one who brings you joy throughout the year.  So get yourself a sitter, turn off the phone/TV/blackberry and get to the business of love!

Set the mood:  Nothing says romance like a room set alight by the soft glow of flickering candles.  Put away your flameless t-lites and Glade scented plug-in’s tonight.  It’s time to break out a good old fashioned scented candle.  Soft scents such as vanilla, ylang ylang and lavender stimulate the romantic "scent-sibilities" and have been used as calming agents and aphrodisiacs for centuries.  Just stick to one scent and if your candle is particularly potent you can add light without overpowering the olfactory’s by choosing unscented candles for extra mood lighting.  Look for soy based candles that burn clean and are paraphin free like the one’s available here at www.findsoycandles.com.  Or…if you’re feeling especially artistic try www.cajuncandles.com for instructions and supplies to make your own scented soy candles!  Just be sure to make up a few extras for your special someone.

Go old school: I hate to break it to you youngsters, but there is still NOTHING more romantic than a mixed tape!  Okay…so maybe not an actual tape (this isn’t 1986 after all and we don’t have to hold the recorder up to the radio anymore) but a compilation filled with all the romantic songs that made your heart flip-flop when you first smooched your sweetie is a sure fire hit this V-day.  Recycle a re-recordable CD or drop it onto your I-pod or computer with a play list named "Love Songs Inspired by (insert your Valentine’s name here)" and you’ll be guaranteed a night of passion.  Spend a little time playing the "remember when we danced to this song" game, or whatever your memory may be and soon you’ll be reliving those fleeting moments when you thought you’d explode waiting for that first heart pounding kiss!  Take it a step further and put the lyrics to your special song in your Valentine’s Day card as a memento.  You can find the lyrics to thousands of songs at www.songfacts.com.

Channel your inner Cary Grant / Audrey Hepburn: Gone may be the days when men rose for ladies and ladies offered their hand for a gentleman to kiss but the images of romance these acts conjure can be just as intoxicating even today.  Somehow we’ve lost sight of the art of romancing each other and have replaced it with text messages and tagging on Facebook.  So what would Cary and Audrey do?  He’d show up with flowers and she’d have a sinful souffle’ in the oven (or vice versa…we’re a progressive world now!).  Simply pick local winter blooming flowers or bake your sweetie a homemade treat, they’ll be touched by the effort.  Not the flower picking/baking kind?  We’ve got you covered. Check out www.organicbouquet.com for eco-elegant blooms and organic fair trade chocolates that don’t harm the earth and provide hard working people with fair living wages!  Just stay away from the guy selling tacky carnation and baby’s breath bouquets at the freeway off ramp (the guys that buy these know who you are!) because no one wants blooms that smell like rush hour traffic!  

It’s rub-a-dub tub time! Is there anything more tempting than a warm tub full of bubbles, beckoning your lover to join you in its aromatic lushness?  I think not!  You’ve already set the mood with softly lit candles, sensuous mood music, and a sweet aphrodisiac.  Make the seduction complete with two times the fun in the tub!  Choices of bath inducing ooh’s and ahh’s abound at www.lush.com and will not disappoint!  Check out their Sex Bomb Bath Bomb for softly fragrant water, the Strawberry Feels Forever Massage bar for up close and personal tub time, or simply give a gift for him/her with the Hello Sailor or My Fair Lady gift sets.  Their products are 100% vegetarian, some Vegan, are made by hand, never tested on animals and are certifiably perfect for your Valentine’s Day pleasure!  Just make sure to have two sponges available (check out the natural sea sponges carefully harvested from sustainable and controlled areas at www.puresponges.co.uk) so that you can lavish your attention on each other and spread the Lush-ous love!

I am living my shared intent to live simply so others can simply live and I invite you to join us at Intent to see how you can benefit from getting back to the basics!  There is so much to be enjoyed in this big beautiful world if we simply take the time to sit back and take it in.  So grab your significant other and smell the roses…or chocolates…or bath salts, whatever strikes your fancy on this day of love and throughout the year!

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