Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stop Throwing Money Out the Window

Have you ever felt your window as cold as ice during the winter or burning hot during the summer, while your heater (or air conditioner) is operating at full blast? If so, you are definitely throwing money out the window ! Consider making changes on your existing window, before you have to sell your heater (or A/C) to pay for energy bills.

Window technology has improved dramatically in recent years because of the conscious effort to save on energy. Below are some of the features to improve the thermal efficiency window.

1. Glazing.

Gone are the days when a window is made up of a frame, a glass pane and a latch. Today, energy-efficient window-designs require a minimum of two (2) layers of glass, called double-glazed windows. Double-glazing insulates almost twice as well as single glazing (single glass pane). It is also possible to add a third or fourth layer to further improve the results. Some of these windows use clear glass only; others opt to install additional layer of thin plastic films for tinting as well as further insulation.

2. Thickness of air space.

In between the two glass panes in a double-glazed window is a space filled with the air. With a thicker air space, the window will be better insulated because it will have a better transfer of heat. Thicknesses range from ¼ " to 1”. If the air is wider than 1”, however, there is no further gain in performance.

3. Type of air in the space.

Traditional double-glazed windows were filled with air or flushed with dry nitrogen to ensure that the air does not leak. In a sealed glass pane, heat is carried to the top of the air space while cold pools settle at the bottom. By filling the space with a less conductive gas like argon (Ar), carbon dioxide (CO2), krypton (Kr), and argon-krypton mixtures, the overall transfer of heat between the inside and outside is reduced. It should be noted that the thickness of the airspace also depends on the kind of gas that is used to fill it.

4. Edge spacers.

What holds the panes of glass apart are the edge spacers. These also provide the airtight seal in the window. Before, hollow-aluminum channels filled with desiccant beads were used as edge spacers. Since Aluminum is a highly conductive material, heat loss (or gain) is now occurring through the edges. Improvements to the material used include thin-walled steel with thermal breaks, or silicone foam or butyl rubber. A low-cost option when ordering windows would be to consider insulating edge seals with traditional aluminum spacers.

5. Low-E coatings.

Low-emittance (Low-E) coating are very thin, metal or metallic oxide layers set on a window glazing surface primarily to improve the heat transfer (reduce the U-factor). Heat is transferred in multilayer glass from a warm pane to a cooler pane. With a low-emittance coated material facing the air space between the glass layers, it blocks a significant amount of heat transfer, thus reducing the total heat flow through the window. Different types of low-e treatment are now available for different climate zones and different applications in any particular location.

Enough about the glass pane, let’s now focus on the materials surrounding the glass, the window frame. Different kinds of materials can be used for the encasement, depending on aesthetics (suits the design of the home), durability (resistance to storm, wind or extreme weather) and, of course, energy efficiency (U-factor).

Metals (aluminum, or light metal) for example are lightweight and easy to clean, but conducts heat rapidly. If metals must be used for window frames, ensure to place insulating material between the inside and outside of the frame and sash.

Wood (natural and composite) have better thermal properties, but must be treated for moisture and termite decay. Natural wood also contracts and expands through weather changes and can be heavy and thick, thus reducing the view and light passing through.

Plastics (fiberglass, PVC, vinyl) have the highest thermal resistance as compared to the previous, especially if treated with insulation. It has good moisture resistance and need no painting because color treatment is already incorporated in its production. However, at extreme temperatures, they may expand, warp or crack. Also, if exposed to sunlight for long hours, colors tend to fade over time.

Lastly, here are simple steps to ensure you are buying an energy-efficient window:

a. Look for NFRC label as your guide to energy performance (U-rating) and to suit your climate, before buying a window.

b. Choose windows with good warranties against the loss of the air seal. If the glazing seal is lost, not only will fogging occur, but also any low-conductivity gas between the layers of glass will immediately be lost.

c. Hire only skilled contractors to install your new windows. This will ensure that they will perform as well as they should.

What else are you waiting for? STOP throwing money OUT YOUR WINDOW!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hydrogen Fuel System Saving Money For Your Car

For many years now, scientists and researchers are trying to find out an alternative source of fuel energy for cars. They have reached conclusive studies after many years. The fact is, cars won't run without fuel. But through a hydrogen fuel system, you can raise gas mileage and at the same time cut down gasoline expenses.

Automotive companies and hundreds of researchers are offering a very effective solution... hydrogen fuel system. What is the system all about?

If you own a car, this is the best time to use the hydrogen fuel system because it can save you a lot of money. You don't have to purchase a new car. All you need to do is to make some changes and put some additional parts. After that, your car will have added power. Major oil companies will be the very first ones affected by this new system.

If you think the system costs a lot, you're wrong because you will only need over a hundred dollars for a single fuel cell. Installation is also not a big problem because you can do it by yourself with ease. The system will not cost you over $180. If you want a more durable and smooth car engine, why not incorporate the said system in your car?

Your search for a cost-effective way to fuel your car has ended. The hydrogen fuel system can give you a lot of benefits. Firstly, your gasoline expenses will decrease. Secondly, you can help in improving the current status of the environment. You car will not emit a large amount of greenhouse gases thereby decreasing pollution.

Even if the hydrogen fuel system is advanced, it is easy to understand it works effectively. Instead of depending solely on gas, you will also be using water to power the car engine. Hydrogen from water will be extracted to provide the car with additional power to lessen the consumption of gas. You can easily install the system in your car.

You will have cleaner emissions because the byproducts of hydrogen fuel system are water and oxygen. But with an internal combustion engine, your car will give off carbon emissions and even carbon deposits. If you want to help in the current global warming problems, install a hydrogen fuel system as soon as possible.

Global warming and very high gas prices are quite alarming and these are the reasons why a lot of car owners today want to take advantage of the hydrogen fuel system. If you want to increase mileage by 87%, use the system; the same thing if you want 45-53% car efficiency.
Fuel Cells, Engines and Hydrogen

Car owners who are now using hydrogen fuel systems are enjoying decreased gas costs. If you want to experience the same thing, why don't you purchase a hydrogen fuel cell kit now? Simply follow the instructions included in the kit and put together the various parts properly.

After installation, you can now run your car using water or gasoline. You can't get rid of gasoline entirely but the cost of running a car will definitely decrease by more or less 50%. Besides, hydrogen fueled cars run longer distances.

Hydrogen fuel systems are not new. If you want to know more about it, you can search the net for related information. By doing some research, you will discover that a lot of people are already making use of the said system.

Friday, December 5, 2008

5 Frugal

If you have a family budget worked out, you know how hard it is to stick to it without having some real concrete plans and strategies to stretch your money as far as it will go. Usually, the first area we can squeeze a few extra dollars out of our wallets is on groceries. I'd like to introduce you to your new partner in your frugal endeavor, the black bean.

If you find yourself wandering aimlessly through the aisles of your grocery store, looking for something to make for dinner that won't break your budget, take a detour over to the black bean display and check out the price. Considering that black beans are loaded with nutrients like protein, iron, calcium, and potassium, and they are high in fiber, and low in fat and sugar, they really offer a lot of bang for your buck. It's obvious that black beans should be a staple in every household, frugal or not. So, let's think up a few simple meals to create with your new best friend... the black bean.

1) Black Bean Cottage Cheese Salad

A simple but delicious use for black beans is turning it into a creamy salad. Put a 1 scoop of cottage cheese in a serving bowl, and sprinkle a little salt and freshly ground black pepper on top. Then top with some drained and rinsed canned black beans, about 1/2 cup. Add a bit of chopped celery to the mix and you have a great, crunchy, creamy lunch, packed with protein, calcium, iron and fiber.

2) Bountiful Bean Salad

You'll be choosing your favorite canned beans for this salad, keeping in mind color and texture; favorites like black beans, butter beans, navy beans, kidney beans, waxed beans, and whatever else you like. Drain and rinse all the beans and put them in a large serving bowl. To the beans, add some sweet onion, or green onion including the tops, chopped celery, freshly chopped parsley, maybe some fresh rosemary, or whatever herb you like, and top it all with a little shake or two of a very good vinaigrette salad dressing, I use Paul Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette. You've got yourself a kid-friendly and nutritious salad.

3) Use-It-Up Black Bean Burrito

If you have a few staples in your pantry you can whip up this simple burrito. You'll need a flour or corn tortilla, either heated or not, that's up to you. Drain and rinse your black beans, then start building your burrito however you want. I add black beans, some diced tomatoes, a little onion, lots of shredded cheddar cheese, a little sour cream, leftover rice, some chopped up pieces of chicken from last night, and whatever else I have to use up. Depending on how I feel that day, I go a little heavier on the black beans and lighter on the other stuff. Get your salsa or taco sauce ready and enjoy.

4) Simple Four Bean Soup

What you'll need for the beans is 1 can each, black beans, garbanzo beans, butter beans, and navy beans (although you may substitute your favorite beans for any of those). Drain each can and set aside. Into a large pot, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil, add 1 cup finely chopped celery and 1 cup of diced onion. Cook on medium low until celery is just tender. Next add 1 clove of garlic, either minced, crushed, or grated, and let cook for just one minute. Then throw all your beans into the pot. Add 1 small can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and 1 small can chicken broth. Simmer nice and slow for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. It's done!

5) 30 Second Black Beans with Taco Seasoning

Try it and I guarantee you'll be wondering why you haven't thought of this before. My daughter was the person who "invented" this recipe in our family, and now we're all sold on it. Simply drain and rinse a can of black beans. If you have those little packets of taco sauce laying around, leftovers from carry-out, just squeeze a few in your black beans, give it a toss, and you have an incredibly delicious side dish that is sure to please. You'll have to try this one to believe it. You might want to try some hot salsa instead of the taco sauce, but use only a little, just enough to flavor the beans. (Throw some shredded cheddar on top and you're set.)
Seven Bean Mix - 15 lb Seven Bean Mix: GR

There are countless ways to enjoy our new friend, the black bean. You will easily be able to take the five ideas I've listed here and add your own personal flair to create black bean dishes to suit any taste, even your family's most finicky eater.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Run Your Car On Water To Save Gas And Money

Run your car on water - at first it sounds like a science fiction or a gas company's biggest nightmare. However, stories are popping up everywhere, even on Fox News, about this phenomenon that promises to dramatically reduce your gas usage and, as a result, to save you hundreds of dollars a month. Before you decide whether you want to attempt converting your car so it can run on water, you may want to learn a little bit more about the process.

How Does a Car Run on Water?

First, you need to understand that your car won't run solely on water. What you're actually going to create is known as a water hybrid. If you remember high school chemistry, you'll probably recall that water consists of two molecules: hydrogen and oxygen. A process known as electrolysis is used on the water so the hydrogen and oxygen can be used to run the car. Water vapor is the only waste product and that is emitted from the car into the atmosphere.

Is the Process Dangerous?

The answer is no. Of course, you don't want to ignite the hydrogen or anything like that but really the process is no more dangerous than driving around with gasoline in your tank. Some experts believe using water can actually make your car safer because you won't be carrying around as much volatile gasoline in your car. Think of it this way: you can get burned from boiling water but when gasoline ignites you get plenty more than a burn.

Does the Process Really Save Money?

Yes but how much you save depends on the type of vehicle you have. Remember you'll still need to use gasoline in your vehicle because the combustion in the engine is what powers the rest of the water hybrid process. You just won't need to use as much gas. The larger your vehicle the more gas you're still going to need. If you already drive a fuel efficient car or a four cylinder vehicle, then you'll see a more dramatic reduction than if you're driving an SUV or mammoth truck. That's not to say you won't save money - you still will but you'll need to use more gas in comparison to fuel the process. You might also save money in other ways though. Water burns cooler than gasoline so your engine will end up lasting longer and undergoing less damage over time. That means you'll save money on repairs.

How Can I Make my Car Run on Water?

First, you'll need a conversion guide. These guides can be purchased online. Videos are also available on the Internet that will walk you through the steps. If you or someone you know is comfortable with basic car maintenance, then completing the conversion should be no problem. Second, you'll need to purchase some equipment. The materials required will probably cost you less than filling up your tank at current gas prices. You can find them at most auto part stores on- or off-line. Overall, the conversion process is simple and provides numerous benefits. The best part is that it's completely reversible so if you're unhappy with the results you don't have to live with the change until you buy a different car.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Easy Ways to Save In Your Small Business

You’ve heard it over and over again: The lack of cash flow is the number one reason most businesses fail. So it follows that every small and home-based business owner should know how to stretch a dollar. Here are seven of the easiest ways to rein in your business expenses:

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Rethink how you use and acquire resources. Do you toss out paper printed on only one side, or buy new toners instead of refilling the old ones as often as possible? Or do you waste money on inadequate data storage such as CD-Rs and DVD-Rs? You could save money by using flash drives, DVD-RWs and CD-RWs, which you can use multiple times without losing data.

Also, instead of shelling out extra money or going into debt to purchase new computers, printers or faxes, buy refurbished models instead. Many of these tech goods are refurbished to a high standard and may come with guarantees from the sellers. Or, you can simply replace the parts of your computer system that need replacing, rather than buying entirely new systems. These budget moves are also good ways to green your business.

2. Sign up for an office supply store card or newsletter
Some stationery suppliers such as Grand & Toy offer discounts to card members. In some cases you can save as much as 35 per cent on the supplies you need. Other merchants, such as Staples, offer weekly discounts that you can learn about through their newsletters or flyers. Some suppliers even throw in free delivery within their local area if your order exceeds a certain amount.

Also, don’t forget about Costco. This big-box store sells electronics, computers and accessories, and stationery supplies at highly competitive prices.

3. Don't always go with what you know
This requires getting out of your comfort zone. Take phone services; many people are still using traditional phone services for their businesses instead of cheaper services such as Vonage, Yahoo VoIP, or Skype. Some stick with their phone company’s long distance plan when they could save money by signing up with a competitor. Or some peope use the company that insures their homes to insure their businesses. But are they getting the best deal?

Often, people fear the paper work or the time it takes to set up a new service. One way around this is to ask your current provider to match a competitor’s price. Otherwise, you will have to decide if the potential savings of switching to a cheaper service outweigh the cons.

4. Hire the right people
You’ve probably heard the saying “be slow to hire and quick to fire.” This little nugget goes a long way when it comes to saving money. It takes a lot of time and money to search for and train a new employee. While small business owners are often overwhelmed and tempted to hire quickly, you shouldn’t shortcut the hiring process.

To trim your hiring expenses, be clear about what the job entails, your expectations, your business policies, and the skills the employee must have. If you can, get the employee to demonstrate their skills during the hiring process (for instance design a web page or database for you, or create a promotional brochure for one of your products) to see if they meet your standards.

Finetuning your hiring process also applies when you’re shopping for service providers on freelance sites. Don’t hire just anyone because you need to turn around a project quickly. If that provider screws up, you’ll have to pay someone else to fix their work. Or, you’ll have to do it yourself. How much is your time worth?

5. Shop online
Many stores, including book, furniture, software and computer stores, offer deals online that are not available in their bricks-and-mortar businesses. Some of these discounts can be substantial, up to 50 per cent off. Also, you can take advantage of deep discounts from resellers, whose prices often beat prices you’ll find in regular stores.

Online savings aren’t limited to products, however. You can also save on services, such as business incorporation, travel arrangements or freelance help.

6. Be a smart banker
Bank officials are great at promoting services with bells and whistles for your business account. Tune them out. Instead, choose the most basic account that gives you all the services you need. Get the generic checks, use ATMs, and bank online as much as possible.

Banks use advanced security technology to create a safe online banking environment, so the risk is low. Also, banking online saves you valuable time you can devote to other duties.

7. Keep your company logo simple
You can quickly rack up additional printing costs for business cards and letterhead if your logo has more than two colours. Keep it simple. Two colors don’t have to mean boring (think of CNN’s logo or the Nike swoosh). A vivid concept executed with sophistication can be just as powerful. Also, if you don’t have a quality laser printer at your disposal, you should find an affordable printing shop to do the job. You want your cards to be cheap, not look it.

Keeping your eyes on the bottom line can seem tedious at times. But as it becomes a habit you’ll find it easier. Plus, you’ll enjoy using those savings in other critical areas of your business.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Save 1/3 Or More On Your Grocery Bill

Who doesn’t want to save money in these soft economic times? One way to do it is to cut your spending on groceries. No, I am not talking about clipping coupons, although that is a way if you don’t mind taking the time to look and clip. Frankly, I don’t have time for all that. I think my way is faster and easier. Consider these seven tips.

(1) Buy in bulk. Most cities have an outlet that allows you to buy in bulk. Most charge a nominal membership fee. Even with the fee, the savings over a course of a year make it worthwhile. The advantage to buying in bulk is that the cost of individual units is less. While it may not be practical to buy fresh produce inbulk, there are many non-perishable items that can be effectively bought in bulk. Some of these include canned goods, dry cereal, pasta, frozen meat, etc. Most of these can be easily repackaged to a manageable size for storage. Another idea is to buy in bulk with a partner and split it.

(2) Buy more than one. The problem with buying only one of anything is that you are at the mercy of the grocer the next week when you need to replace it. Buying more than one of commonly used items allows you to store the extras, so that you can wait for the next sale to restock. Most grocery stores rotate sale items on a monthly basis, so that if you purchase a month’s supply, you have enough to last until the next sale.

(3) If it’s not on sale, don’t buy it! While this may seem to be a hard concept, by following the above rule, you likely will not need it until the next time it’s on sale anyway. We follow this rule religiously in our house and it works to save us 30-50% on a regular basis. By all means if it’s a dire necessity, buy it. If not wait until the next time it goes on sale.

(4) Buy fresh food. The general rule in most households these days seems to be to buy pre-packaged, heat and serve meals. While there may be a time savings, it comes at the expense of a higher grocery cost and compromised flavor. I learned this lesson shortly after my wife and I were married. I, being the typical bachelor, cooked most of my meals out of a box. My wife, however being from the Philippines was more used to going to the market and cooking everything fresh on a daily basis. I still remember the stunned looks on peoples faces who were behind us in the grocery line. Our cart would be overflowing with all sorts of fresh fruit and vegetables, rice and meat. It would still cost about half what their half-full carts of packaged food cost!

(5) Buy store brands if possible. While the nationally advertized brands may get more attention, they are usually more expensive. Many store brands are actually quite good. Most of the major chains have their own brand. Try them, you may be pleasantly surprised.

(6) Use “stretchers”. No, not the kind you carry sick people on. I mean the kind my mother and grandmother used to make food go further. Most meat dishes can effectively be stretched by using half the called for ground beef and supplementing with beans such as navy or pinto. Even Pork and Beans works well. We do this commonly with “sloppy joes” at our house and the kids love them. Bread crumbs or oatmeal can be mixed into a pound of hamburger to stretch things when you are making burgers for a crowd. I know of one national chain restaurant that uses ground beef and beans in spaghetti. I have not noticed their sales dropping off.

(7) Use leftovers creatively. Sometimes the little odds and ends that are left from a large meal can be effectively converted into soup or a casserole with a little creativity. Sometimes a happy accident occurs that you may actually want to repeat.

We use all these tips at our house to one degree or another. In so doing, our monthly grocery bill is less than most comparably sized families we know. By trying some of these, I’m confident yours will be too!
David Doolin
David Doolin writes on travel and vacationing related issues. You can learn more by visiting my blog,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Many Benefits Of Utilizing Low Energy Bulbs At Home

The need to use more energy-efficient lighting systems has been the battle cry of a lot of environment groups and sustainable development advocates. This has been the clamor in response to the burgeoning energy crisis, as well as to curtail the harmful effects of global warming and climate change. Industries and consumers are now heeding the call for the wider use of energy-efficient equipments and devices, and many are now using eco-friendly low energy bulbs for their home lighting needs.
These days, the most common energy saving lighting devices are compact fluorescent lamps which are also referred to as CFL's. These lighting types have been touted to be among the best and most affordable low energy bulbs for homes and offices. Although some still question the effectiveness and long-term benefit of these types of lighting devices, many however are giving it positive reviews and say that CFL's and other energy-efficient lighting devices are a step in the right direction. According to green lighting advocates, the standard light bulbs consume large amounts of energy because these turn energy into heat rather than light. CFL's on the other hand work in the same manner as their early fluorescent cousins, wherein the electric current makes its way through gas in a tube and its tube coating glows brightly. These low energy bulbs truly utilize lesser energy, remain cool to the touch, and generate the same amount of light as traditional lighting devices. According to green advocates, if only all of us use just one energy saving light bulb in our homes, we could save as much as 1-million buses full of CO2 emissions, and if each household uses just three energy saving bulbs at home, they would be able to generate extra energy to run our nation's street lights for a year. Wouldn't that be great for the environment, as well as to the economy?

Consumers today need not fret anymore or find any excuses not to use energy saving light bulbs. It's a fact that these home-lighting devices last longer than standard home lighting devices, as long as 6 to 15 years depending on the wattage type and lighting product you purchase. Consumers are also given the opportunity to save as much as of 75% of the energy you would use with traditional incandescent or old-school fluorescent lighting. In addition, the latest array of low-energy light bulbs manufactured and sold today are no longer really big ones, as these are usually slightly smaller than their standard lighting equivalents. These low energy lighting equipments also come with attractive designs and classic shapes. The wide variety of compact fluorescent lighting and energy saving bulbs sold these days is also equipped with domestic dimmer switches to enable users to increase the light or reduce it by using a conventional light switch. Consumer welfare advocates also note that the energy-efficient home lighting devices sold today are much safer to use especially in confined areas, and also generate very little heat as compared to the standard lighting devices. These devices are also considered safe to use in areas where children are present and do not easily spark or burn up.

It's also important that consumers be aware that all types of fluorescent lighting contain a few amounts of mercury. However, they need not worry as the mercury levels in these lighting devices are far less than what is present in a thermostat or small thermometer. The good thing is that, the constant use of these light bulbs helps prevent the release of mercury into the atmosphere, and when these bulbs burn out a few years after the initial use, they can then be properly recycled. Jo is an author and publisher for ‘Litelec’ (, a UK company that specializes in the distribution of electric light bulbs, light fixtures, electrical accessories and associated merchandise for domestic and industrial use which they retail at vastly reasonable prices. If you would like to cut down your electricity costs and at the same time play an important role to the safety of the national environment then begin by utilizing Low Energy Bulbs at home and if you have other electrical merchandise and accessories requirement then have a look at Litelec.

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