Conserving Natural Resources With Green Home Solutions

The need to conserve natural resources and energy has raised the awareness all across the globe to practice simple eco-friendly improvements in the home. Green home solutions have always been there but not being utilized for quite a while. People tend to look for solutions outside, where in fact, there are many of them within the four corners of the home.

Green home solutions do not necessarily mean revamping your house from the roof down to the foundation. It is advisable to start by reusing or recycling the items that could have been thrown away such as appliances, large furniture and building materials.

One of the basic green home solutions that you can implement and has a big impact in conserving is recycling water. By upgrading your home’s piping system, you can reuse gray water from your washing machine and dishwater, reduce your consumption and wastage of gallons of water every day. Use gray rinse water to wash up your lawn and to flush toilets in your home. You may also have a reservoir for rain water which you can use for the same purpose.

Whatever green home solutions you use, green energy solutions always complement them. These two make a good pair especially in conserving electricity, minimizing pollution and costs. It is ideal to use renewable energy if you have plans of implementing green energy to power your home. Some of the best natural sources of energy that can be used and reused without resulting to drastic effects on the planet are solar, wind and hydro electric energy.

It is best to use sustainable building materials for your green home so you too can help protect the planet. Instead of using oak and other expensive and already depleting hardwood products, it is best to switch to alternative wood products. Bamboo is a species of wood that can grow quickly and do not leave damaging results.

Maximum levels of natural resources such as air and sunlight can be utilized when planning and constructing new homes. Make sure that your home has enough windows and doors where these natural elements can penetrate through.

No matter what green home solutions you’ll use, it is important that you implement them to help reduce the harmful results of human activities on the planet. And starting at home is the ideal way to encourage family members to help out, become aware, and spread the word.

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Enjoy a Stress-Free Holiday Using Smart Home Solutions

Whilst a holiday break brings a well-deserved sense of relaxation to individuals and their families, you do leave your home vulnerable. Considering that more and more families are turning nuclear due to numerous socio-economic reasons, implementing smart home solutions that conveniently let you monitor your place of residence whilst you enjoy your holidays is a must.

From the homeowner’s perspective, an ideal holiday home monitoring solution should be convenient to install, simple to operate from a remote place, have a short response time during untoward events, and most importantly, minimize the probability of burglaries. Only when all the above parameters are met, the home monitoring system can instil a real sense of security into the minds of the family when they are on holiday.

Well-engineered and intuitive smart home solutions feature a master panel, also known as a control hub, which remains wirelessly connected to a host of devices ranging from motion detectors, door alarm units, wireless smoke detectors, IP video cameras, and remote light switches. This control hub can be configured to be operated by your smart phones, tablets, laptops, and remote PCs using software applications specific for that device.

As a result, such a plug-and-play functionality provides homeowners simplicity to control and monitor critical peripheral devices. One most important feature of smart home automation solutions is that you receive push notifications on your data-enabled smartphone in response to events, including motion being detected, door getting unlocked and smoke being detected. However, one important point to note is that these devices require an active wireless data connection when you are away from home.

For extended flexibility, intuitive home monitoring solutions also give an option to receive text alerts in addition to web-based push notifications. Besides requiring no internet connection, these phone text alerts can be configured to be sent to more than one recipient. Accordingly, when you add your friends/neighbours to the ‘text alert’ list, they can take the necessary action whilst you are away with your family on holiday.

Whilst push notifications and text alerts are responsive methods to notify the homeowners when certain events take place, modern home automation systems also provide preventive security. These include being able to constantly keep a check on your house via the IP camera connected to the central hub. In case any unexpected movement is detected outside your house, you can immediately notify your neighbours or the police. Alternatively, you can schedule the light timers to automatically switch on and off for a predetermined length of time to give the impression that someone is at home.

Smart home solutions can offer you and your family peace of mind when you are away from home.

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Economy needs a culture of sustainable energy

South Africa’s economy is set for yet another blow following Eskom’s announcement to hike the cost of two of its biggest new power stations by almost R83bn, thereby adding to the utility’s rising multibillion-rand debt. Now more than ever, the investment into sustainable sources of energy is necessary to pave the way forward and to create a culture of sustainable energy in the country.
Cala van der Westhuizen
Cala van der Westhuizen

Affordable, accessible energy

This is according to Cala van der Westhuizen, of Energy Partners, who says that South Africa has seen a 200% increase in electricity tariffs since 2008 and could be looking at 1,000% increase between 2002 and 2020.

“These additional price hikes are likely to result in above-inflation increases in energy prices, making it imperative for South African households and businesses to reduce dependence on the utility.”

He says that with energy technologies becoming more affordable and accessible in the country, business- and homeowners must explore the option of alternative energy.

Financing options available

“Understandably, for most businesses and households excess funds are not available at the moment to invest in energy solutions, but there are many financing options available that could result in a return on investment much sooner than expected.”

Van der Westhuizen says that when selecting and financing a sustainable energy solution, businesses and homeowners must focus on two main aspects. “Firstly, the immediate benefits of this investment, such as uninterrupted power supply – and secondly, the long term benefits – such as financial return on investment.”

Lessening dependency on the grid

People do not always realise that a good sustainable energy solution does not only save money indirectly by allowing an uninterrupted power supply, but should also yield direct financial returns, he explains.

Furthermore, there are home solutions available that can save a household up to 75% on an existing household electricity bill and yield a return on investment of more than 16% once paid off, he says.

“The biggest mistake a company or household can make is to do nothing when there are low-risk solutions available that can be funded creatively and yield financial returns, while lessoning the entity’s dependence on the national energy grid,” concludes Van der Westhuizen

Tellumat merges ICT division, forms new business unit

Tellumat has merged its ICT infrastructure assets in a new business unit, Tellumat Integrated Solutions (TIS). The amalgamation of Tellumat Professional Services (TPS), the group’s infrastructure consulting and services arm, with two newly acquired companies, CK Solutions (CK) and Structured Connectivity Solutions (SCS), has been a real boon for the group, says Ettiene Visser, MD of the new TIS unit.
btphotosbduk via
btphotosbduk via Wikimedia Commons
Visser says the merger was motivated by external market forces and the pursuit of internal efficiencies and synergies. The growing local strength of Chinese vendors, including ZTE and Huawei, has dramatically changed the landscape in the communications network infrastructure market. These and other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Ericsson and Nokia offer what local companies cannot in terms of funding, volume discounts and full turnkey capabilities.

Direct engagement

As a result, telco operators are engaging directly with the above-mentioned OEMs, procuring full turnkey solutions and managed services. Since the OEMs also have global agreements with commodity manufacturers of IT infrastructure (fibre optic cabling, batteries, shelters, etc.), this has posed a threat to the local supply of such products.

To combat the slipping position of local channel suppliers, CK invested in becoming a group-approved supplier to a leading multinational telco operator in South Africa two years ago. This paid off when the operator embarked on a multi-billion network upgrade and compelled its OEMs to procure certain approved components from CK.

Authorisation entrenched CK with the operator’s OEM suppliers to such an extent that its subsequent approval with other operators went very smoothly as a result. The merger was another master stroke. CK, TPS and SCS have realised key benefits from this. An obvious example is TIS’s scale – which in turn increases its appetite for dealing with OEMs. OEMs typically have long payment cycles and complex dealings, which smaller suppliers find hard to absorb.

Synergies unlocked

In addition, the merger has unlocked significant synergies, consolidating CK, TPS and SCS’s marketing efforts and bolstering the leaner combined entity with CK’s engineering and integration expertise and TPS’s professional services capacity.

TIS has further sought to beef up its value proposition by fundamentally rethinking its offering. “Our growth will come from focusing on our vertically integrated solutions, including building our professional services, and a more complete end-to-end offering,” says Visser.

TIS is already homing in on offering a full turnkey proposition – with business development outside of telecoms; product development; project management; supply chain management; implementation; fibre reticulation and managed services. As an example, it could offer customers a full turnkey fibre-to-the-home solution deploying the latest technologies in micro trenching. This is despite not having a fibre product division anymore.

Other divisions closed

TIS also closed some of its other commodity divisions that were underperforming because of the OEMs’ superior economies of scale. In addition to the fibre product division, this included its battery division and SIM card manufacturing arm. In all three cases, this has proved wise.

TIS has also set its sights on penetrating still deeper into the value chain, with a solutions-orientated innovation, skills and quality service.

Visser notes an instance where TIS has developed a complete LTE ‘lamp post site’ – implementing sophisticated computer-assisted drawings and simulations. “We sold the principle without actually building anything.” Product innovation continues in the areas of cooling, power and site construction solutions.

Gartner: competition to be IoT Home Gateway increasing

According to Gartner, Inc the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) in the home is growing rapidly as the battle for IoT gateway in the connected home gets underway.
Gartner: competition to be IoT Home Gateway increasing
©My Make OU via 123RF
“The numerous IoT applications for the home include smart stoves, which tell you how to cook a meal and provide recipes; and smart washers and dryers, which help you determine the optimum time to run a load of laundry,” said Paul O’Donovan, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Add to that smart lighting, which can be operated remotely and programmed to dim or turn on or off at specific times; thermostats, which can have your living space at the desired temperature when you walk in the door; and entertainment devices, which can stream programming to your display whenever you want to watch it.”

The gateway is becoming the “centre” for connecting

As home appliances have increased in smartness, cellular and cable connections improved, and pricing declined, the desire or ability to monitor and control the home as a holistic platform of devices and appliances has emerged.

“Many IoT applications are triggered by sensors and need data management, but there is no single IoT gateway to the home,” said O’Donovan. “As internet-connected homes become increasingly smarter, the gateway is becoming the “centre” for connecting the different devices and home appliances to make the management of the ecosystem happen.”

The home IoT gateway market is expanding rapidly. The number of smart connected homes is expected to grow from between 100 million and 200 million homes now to between 500 million and 700 million homes by 2020.

The lack of a good business model or the immaturity of home IoT products has not stopped gateway makers from trying to develop the market to grab share in the home IoT opportunity. Cable companies, internet companies, alarm companies and mobile phone operating system providers are actively creating platforms and ecosystems in an attempt to break into the market.

Creating an ecosystem of smart home things

Gartner predicts that the most successful home gateway provider will develop a system that seamlessly integrates with nearly any vendor’s IoT application and is relatively painless to the homeowner. A system that locks homeowners into one specific operating system limits their opportunity, as consumers will want to exercise their preference in terms of the IoT products they choose.

Multiple home platforms have emerged, designed to capitalise on or create an ecosystem of smart home things that the gateway must connect to. Some of the platforms are beginning to open up, or at least work with the others to minimise the different number of platforms that the consumer and the gateway must deal with. Some smart home solutions are even taking advantage of this void and creating hubs that act as a central command system for the smart home devices, using multiple communication protocols to connect to all of the smart devices in the home and communicate to the world through the IoT gateway.

“As the IoT gateway market emerges, ISPs will be the early winners in the battle for the home gateway, provided they develop solutions or partner with hub manufacturers. The mobile phone providers will gain a smaller part of this market, but ultimately the cellular model will not have enough bandwidth to compete with the ISP solution. Longer term, there will need to be an integrated device, whereby the gateway is also the hub, or integrated hub and gateway solutions will be needed,” said O’Donovan.

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Contact A Professional Home Builder For Reliable Solution

British Columbia has many residential communities, which attract people from all corners of the globe. There are many home builders across British Columbia, which offer reliable solution to the customers. Modular homes have become popular across the globe as these are cost-effective. To construct a modular home, one must contact a professional home builder. These homes are manufactured inside the factory and the parts are shifted to the client’s site. Further, the parts are assembled by skilled workers.

In the construction process of modular home, less amount of labors are required as most activities can be performed with the help of machines. As the construction process of modular homes takes place inside the factory, there is less pollution. Non toxic materials are used for the modular homes, which can also be recycled further. Steel is the most widely used material for pre-fabricated buildings as it is highly durable. Apart from homes, modular structures are also used as hospitals, restaurants and warehouse. Entrepreneurs, who have temporary projects lined up, can use modular structures.

Construction process of the modular homes is not affected by adverse weather condition. The construction work can be completed within the stipulated period of time. It proves useful for those who want prompt and reliable home solution. The home builder first understands the requirements of the clients and starts the construction process. Different types of design solutions are provided by these builders. Some builders also show catalog or work samples to the clients from which selection can be made. Community design, site planning and consulting services are also provided by a home builder.As the construction process of modular homes takes place inside the factory, there is less pollution. Non toxic materials are used for the modular homes, which can also be recycled further. Steel is the most widely used material for pre-fabricated buildings as it is highly durable.

Most retirees are making their way to British Columbia, owing to the beauty of the geographical destination. The residential communities across the region have all types of facilities, which are required for a comfortable and secured life. Presence of various hospitals, clinics, markets and restaurants provides convenience to the old age people. Modular homes can be purchased at cost-effective rates and the builders provide different types of facility to the buyers.

The construction work can be completed within the stipulated period of time. It proves useful for those who want prompt and reliable home solution. The home builder first understands the requirements of the clients and starts the construction process. Different types of design solutions are provided by these builders. Some builders also show catalog or work samples to the clients from which selection can be made.

There are various banks in the region, which provide loan facility to the customers. Loans can be availed at lower interest rates with minimum formalities. British Columbia welcomes people from all corners of the globe to settle in the region. The property acquisition norm is quite simple compared to other countries. Hence, many peoples have started migrating to British Columbia to spend rest of their life amidst nature.

How To Resell A Used Boat

For taking home the best resale value present the boat to the potential buyer in the best possible shape. A bit of extra work would ensure a good value for your boat.

Boats, like vehicles depreciate with time. So if you have decided to sell your vessel, bring the buyer to view it when it is in the best possible condition. Proper homework before presenting the boat would increase its resale value. It could cost you a few bucks refurbishing the boat but the investment would be worth it. Those bucks would return to you with many extra ones when you resell.

Know Your Boat

Before you try to sell your boat, it is imperative to know it well yourself. Prepare a list which must comprise all important specifications of your boat, including the year, model, make, power, engine capacity, equipment and other information. Make the list as large as possible so that nothing is left unanswered. The exercise makes your task quite easy later on. When a prospective buyer asks such details about a boat, you just have to hand over the list to him.

Condition of Boat

It is important to keep the yacht in good condition. Well-kept boats always command higher prices. A newer boat in poor condition will bring less than an older one in good condition. When speaking of condition, I comprise cosmetic as well as structural issues involving tanks, rudder posts, blisters, etc. If the boat is properly upgraded and maintained, it is more likely to pay more to the owner.

Proper Cleaning

Clean your boat thoroughly before bringing your potential buyers to view it. Begin by removing all dust and grit from every surface of the boat. You can use brooms and brushes for cleaning the dust. Use a home-made solution of soap and water to clean the deck and sides. After applying the solution, wait a while before you start to scrub. Giving the cleaning product a bit of time to set in and start working before you begin scrubbing will produce better results. Hard dirt and grime begin to dissolve after a few minutes of applying the cleaning solution, so get your rubber gloves on to keep on the cleaning job.

Before you begin cleaning the vessel, ensure that you have the proper equipment including brushes, adaptors, rags and towels. If you find yourself short of time or will to clean your own vessel, hire professional cleaners for the task.

Imparting New Look

Implementing a few tips while cleaning your boat will ensure that you impart it a totally new looks and increase the resale value.

* For cleaning the canvas, use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide with laundry detergent. Apply the mixture to the canvas, wait for 30 minutes and then brush off. If necessary, repeat the process.

* Avoid using bleach as it is harmful for the environment and the canvas on your boat.

* To clean the windows, mix a cup of white vinegar with a quart of water. Scrub all windows with the solution. See the result yourself.

* For cleaning vinyl tile and linoleum floors, use the mixture of a cup of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda with a gallon of warm water. Scuff marks can be done away with by applying toothpaste and scrubbing with a bristled brush.

* Clean chrome with apple cider vinegar. Polished chrome will make your boat shine.

* Instead of using chemical cleaners on the wood in your boat, polish it with almond, walnut or olive oil.

Some investment prior to selling of the vessel would help you increase your used boat values. Though it might cost a few dollars, the investment is totally worthwhile.

Are Model Homes Misleading?

In today’s world where scammers are frequent and petty crimes can take place anywhere from your grocery store to your Facebook page, it never hurts to be cautious. In fact, when it comes to buying a new home–likely the largest investment of your life–you should absolutely be cautious. Some people believe that Realtors might try to sell damaged homes at appealingly-low prices and hide the scary truth about them, while other people believe that landowners will try to reach out to tenants by claiming that their repair responsibilities make your monthly rent a better investment than a purchase. Still another facet of the home-selling market that makes people wary is the idea of a model home. Many builders of low-quality and high-quality new and repossessed homes will show you a pristine version of what you will likely be getting.

However, this does not necessarily mean that you should not trust model homes in Washington County, Florida, at all. Caution is certainly important, but being overly concerned or even paranoid will lead you to miss out on a great new home. The solution, then, is to be wary in the right ways and know how to sift through the sales pitches and find the truth. Here are 9 tips for determining what you will actually get while you are visiting a model home:

1. Try to look past the decor. Model homes are staged to sell. It is your responsibility to be inspired by this decor but not be fooled by it.

2. Look past finishing details, like paint and unique lighting. These things are also added to sell to you; remember that these details might not even be in your home.

3. Ask about features that are present in the home, like molding, archways, special ceilings, and more. The company representative should offer details about these features, as they are selling points.

4. Look everywhere! Look inside the closets, in the cabinets, under the countertops to get the details behind the showmanship.

5. Ask how much older the model home is than the homes that are for sale. There is a chance that a model home might be much newer than the homes that are actually for sale. Get numbers; they tell you a lot about a property.

6. Ask if a new home can be built exactly like the one you are visiting. This will reveal if the builder has added features to the model home that they cannot create in yours or will add to yours for an extra charge. More importantly, this will reveal if your home will have the same materials as the model. Many model homes that have granite countertops will be used to sell homes with granite-like vinyl.

7. Try to work in your own customization preferences; is the company representative you are speaking with responsive to you potentially requesting changes? Some builders are not able to make significant changes to the homes they build and will instead work off an existing floor plan, which is just fine. However, having the freedom to customize your floor plan for your exact needs is essential. What if you love the model home but need to work in an extra bedroom?

8. How are the homes constructed? You need to ask this question. You do not see the upkeep that goes into maintaining model homes. What if the walls are extremely weak? What if the roof is flimsy? On what kind of foundation will the home be constructed? Get as many details about this as possible. If builders have nothing to hide, they will willingly offer extensive detail about their homes’ construction.

9. Do not rely on photographs! Photographs of new homes are frequently altered to be more appealing to buyers. Some “photographs” can be retouched to remove flaws, and even have computerized alterations, like grass with the green hues turned up or kitchen counters that are given artificial shine. Always see a model home you can examine for yourself.

When you take this knowledge and these tips with you, visiting model homes in Washington County, Florida, can actually be a positive experience! If you see honesty and integrity behind sales pitches–virtues that are certainly out there among builders in the housing market–you can successfully find a beautiful, comfortable, spacious, and–best of all–affordable home that is right for you, your family, and your pets.

Tips On Best Home Automation Systems

When it comes to high-end whole house systems, they generally cost from $5,000 to $250,000. This price usually does not include installation fees, so take a good look at what the dealer is offering before agreeing to anything! When choosing to buy a high-end home automation system for your house you need to ensure it will be properly configured and installed, as these two areas can sometimes cost more than the system itself. There is no limit in what these systems can do, because, besides security and lighting, they can integrate any climate control, audio, video and entertainment systems your heart may desire. You can even get sprinkler and pool/spa control systems, so that your house becomes the most comfortable place on earth for you.

The various features and functions that high-end systems usually include need a rather complicated interface to the users. Otherwise, the control would be very complicated. Because a touch screen can have the buttons specially designed for each and every house, the best solution for the control of high-end systems is choosing the more expensive LCD technology the touch screens offer. The advantage is a plus in comfort to the users and to the programmers too. Other types of interfaces that have recently entered the market include keypad stations with built-in temperature sensors and intercoms. Interesting option I might add, as most of the manufacturers will soon choose to introduce this on a wide scale.

There are some types of high-end systems that come directly with sophisticated lighting control subsystems. Additionally to that, you will get all the key components for a complete home automation system that you can customize according to your needs and wishes. Other types of home automation systems are less expensive, but the truth of the matter is that the only thing you will get for such a small amount of money you invested is a security, lighting and temperature control package. You will have to add the other modules on your own expenses. It is very much like a Do-It-Yourself toolkit that you can play around with. Not to speak about the integrated control of audio and video gear! This may cost a small fortune, if you asked me.The fact is that not all people are fans of these DIY things. People are much more interested in pre-programmed or plug-and-play systems.

Therefore, before deciding upon a certain high-end system for your home, you must absolutely study the market in order to choose the solution that will best fit your house automation needs.