5 Tips for Choosing a Local Electricity Company

Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 in Earth Friendly Activities, Home Furniture, How To's | 0 comments

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Thanks to the deregulation of the energy market, consumers now have the option to compare electricity companies and choose one that fits their budget and needs. This doesn’t apply to all states, but if you live in a deregulated area, then it is important to do your homework before you sign a contract with an energy company.

There are several ways that electricity providers compete with one another. While some offer low prices for long-term contracts, others generate power from renewable energy sources. If you are shopping for an electricity company, then the following five tips can help you find the perfect service for your personal and financial goals:

  1. Find out If Your State Has Deregulated the Electricity Market
    You can obtain this information from two sources: either your current supplier or the state utility commission. Each state has its own utility commission, but the name varies from state to state. Examples include public service commission, utility regulatory commission, public utilities commission and utilities commission, among others.
  1. Research Providers in Your Area
    You can find a list of electricity companies that are licensed by the state in the office of your state utility commission. Alternatively, you can obtain supplier information on the company’s website or by calling it directly.There are also websites that let consumers compare local electricity companies by rates, contract features and other metrics. For example, business and homeowners in Illinois may find this webpage helpful: http://www.localelectricitycompanies.com/illinois/.
  1. Compare Rates
    Find out if the supplier’s rates include generation, transmission, distribution and monthly customer charges. The company should provide a breakdown of all fees in its statements.Also, ask if the provider’s rate is fixed or variable. Fixed rates remain the same for the entire term of the agreement. Variable rates, however, change with market shifts. Variable rates can help clients save money if the rates drop, but if they increase, then customers may wind up paying significantly more without budgeting for the extra expense.
  1. Compare Contracts
    Call the suppliers you are interested in, and inquire about their contracts. Some companies offer plans that lack minimum contract periods and monthly payments. Other suppliers offer contracts with minimum terms that last several years. Such contracts prevent clients from cancelling early. Ask the company about the length of its contracts, penalties if you break the contract, and what happens when the terms of the contract expire.You should also find out how your credit will affect the agreement. Some suppliers ask clients with questionable credit histories to make deposits.
  1. Discuss Payment Options
    Ask which payment options the company offers. Some contracts have a budget-billing plan. Find out what happens when customers miss payments, and ask about your supplier’s equipment charges, such as fees for special meters.

    Many local electricity companies offer customers a choice of energy sources, including renewable and non-renewable energy. Your electricity supplier should provide details on how it generates electricity. 

There are countless ways for property owners to save money, but most can benefit from keeping their energy bills low. Try these five strategies the next time you compare electricity companies.

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Myths and Facts about Paper

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Green Goods | 0 comments

We’ve always read articles on how recycling paper products help our environment but do we really know the myths and facts behind paper production and the recycling process? Here is an infographic on how this process works.

Green Paper

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What Color Are Your Sales Receipts?

Posted by on Dec 26, 2015 in Earth Friendly Activities, Environment News, Green Goods | 0 comments

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It’s likely you can fish a crumpled sales receipt out of the bottom of your purse or your back pocket on demand. These slips of paper are a part of our daily lives. Not many people may know, however, that white thermal receipt paper is likely to contain BPA or similar chemicals that are known endocrine disrupters. Fortunately, there is a newer alternative thermal paper that can show shoppers your store’s true colors. Here’s more about this socially conscious choice.

What Is It?

The traditional white paper strips that come out of a cash register, credit card machine, or calculator likely contain phenols, which are acids used as developer on the paper. The alternative is vitamin C thermal paper that uses a different formulation to achieve the same effect as paper that is not phenol-free. How can your customers tell the difference? The vitamin C receipt strips are yellow, a natural result of the components in the paper.

Why Does Color Matter?

The yellow color of phenol-free thermal paper is a visual giveaway to customers that there is something different about the receipts your company provides. It likely will prompt them to ask about it, giving you and your employees a chance to explain the difference and why you’ve made a better choice for the health of your clients. Even if they don’t inquire about the unusual receipt color, you can feel better knowing you haven’t provided additional phenol exposure to customers or your employees.

Is It Worth the Cost?

Vitamin C thermal paper may be slightly more costly than traditional receipt tapes, but the benefits are many. Studies in recent years have shown that an increasing number of consumers are willing to pay more to patronize businesses they know to be socially responsible. The percentage of people who indicate this preference rises each year. When you set your company apart from the competition in visible ways, you can connect with this group of shoppers. The added expense of yellow receipt paper can easily be offset by an increased customer base of consumers happier to buy from you. Plus, thermal paper is something you likely purchase in large quantities, so you can take advantage of bulk pricing.

In the world of business competition, it can be difficult to differentiate your company from your competitors. One simple and socially responsible way to do that is by switching to vitamin C thermal paper. The health of your customers and your company can benefit in the long run.

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5 Ways To Reduce Stress In Your Home

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in How To's | 0 comments

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For many of us, life has become somewhat frantic, and it’s likely our homes reflect our chaotic frame of mind. It feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done, and before you know it, your home is a mess of dirty dishes, unwashed laundry, books stacked up on all surfaces, and dust covering everything… but have no fear! There are things you can do to reduce the stress in your home. Here are five of them.

1. Use Crystals

Crystals? Yes, crystals. They’ve long been believed to be the answer to our daily imbalance, drawing positive energy to our homes. There are hundreds of crystals of different shapes and colours, all used for different purposes. Some are great for emotional wellbeing – calmness and understanding of those around you. Others may prevent physical ailments. Talk to experts who have a wide range of crystals and a wealth of knowledge, like those at Feel Crystals, who’ll advise you on the perfect crystals to suit your needs.

2. Remove Clutter

Clutter equals stress, even if you’re not conscious of it. Avoid having too many ornaments on display. Keep your electrical cords contained. Any appliances in your kitchen that aren’t used for a year probably won’t be again – ditch them. The same goes for clothes. Books and DVDs should go on shelves, not be left all over the place. Children’s toys should be kept away when not in use.

3. Use The Right Colours

It’s long been known that shades of red, orange and yellow spark irritation in most of us. You may want to avoid these colours in big amounts. A small splash of these hues is perfectly fine though – we all need some bright colours in our lives. Instead, shades of green, blue, and brown should be left for bigger areas – whole walls, big furniture items and the like. They invoke a feeling of calmness and a feeling of oneness with nature.

4. Have A Happy Room

If you’ve got a spare room, or even a small area that you can call your own, fill it with items that make you feel calm and happy. Perhaps some nice artwork, souvenirs and vacation snaps, your favourite books, or things your kids made when they were younger. Anything that makes you smile! Go to this area when you’re feeling stressed. You’ll feel better afterwards.

5. Be Technology-Less

While we rely on technology to get things done these days, it can lead to stress without you realising. It’s unrealistic to think you can live life without technology, but it is totally doable for allocated moments in each day in which you stay away from it. However, if there are certain things that relieve your stress – like reading books on your e-reader or listening to your iPod, then they’re okay! Just take short periods of time each day to breathe, meditate, write in a journal, or just relax without the aid of any gadgets.

While most of us have the same idea of what causes stress in our homes, we all have a different stress threshold. Some households can handle a lot of stressors, while for others the end of the tether is reached quickly. Try out these tips and see if the stress in your home is reduced.

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Advocating Environmental Stewardship for a Sustainable World

Posted by on Aug 3, 2015 in Earth Friendly Activities, Save our Planet | 0 comments

Dwindling resources, extreme weather conditions, and natural disasters can be threats to the survival of marine and land species. Unfortunately, modern human activities have brought all three together to wreak havoc in present time. Urbanization, overpopulation, pollution, and irresponsible use of resources have led to the destruction of ecosystems and extinction of species over the past decades. If people continue to turn a blind eye to the damage that is being done to the environment, then there is little hope for a sustainable world in the future.

Everyone who lives in this planet is responsible for taking care of it. Caring for the environment can start by opening one’s eyes to ecological concerns, ethical use of resources, and the relationship between humans and nature. Dancing Star Foundation (DSF) extends its hand to protect the planet by being committed to the advocacy of environmental stewardship for a sustainable world.

DSF is a California based non-profit organization that promotes international biodiversity conservation, animal protection, and global environmental education. Their programs include awareness campaigns through films, publications, lectures and symposia, ecological restoration efforts, and environmental field research.

Awareness plays an important role in environmental stewardship. Some people need a tap on the shoulder, or a nudge on their conscience, before acknowledging their responsibility to the environment and take steps to protect it. Spreading awareness can help multiply the good that can be done for the environment. The global environmental education arm of the Dancing Star Foundation has released several books, documentary films, and videos that deal with environmental and social issues all over the world. These are well researched films and books written by experts. Examples of these are Ecosystems on the Edge which was done in partnership with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Why Life Matters: Fifty Ecosystems of the Heart and Mind by Michael Charles Tobias and Jean Gray Morrison. One advantage of films over books is that they provide graphic images that take people closer to environmental issues. It also makes the threat of ecological extinction more real because viewers are given fact based visuals on the damage that humans can inflict on other species.

The Dancing Star Foundation is not just “all talk”. Aside from spreading awareness, it also takes part in conservation efforts and animal protection. Their trust is to save and protect lives of animals, to use sound conservation strategies for restoring healthy and free populations of species, and to safeguard their habitat. DSF currently owns and maintains an ecological preserve in New Zealand.

Dancing star foundation

DSF Ecological Preserve in New Zealand

The conservation site covers about 400 acres of land that provides refuge for 7 known invertebrate species, around 126 native species, 11 native bird species. In the US, the foundation’s initiatives and partnerships are geared towards the sanctuary for domestic and wild species. DSF has an animal sanctuary for rescued animals in Central California. This refuge is manned by managers, caregivers, and maintenance staff to take care of their resident animals as well as habitat management and restoration.

The Earth is the only world where humankind can live. As this planet changes, species can go extinct and new life forms can emerge. The world’s resources are dwindling and the culprit is human activity. There is no more room for blind eyes and deaf ears when it comes to environmental issues. The Dancing Star Foundation has shown through its programs that the Earth needs a lot of care. It is time to start being an environmental steward for a sustainable world.

Images from Dancing Star Foundation website.

Sponsored by: Dancing Star Foundation

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The Movement to Eliminate Reusable Bags

Posted by on Jul 31, 2015 in Earth Friendly Activities | 0 comments

Disposable bags, especially the plastic ones that have become almost ubiquitous at grocery stores and other retailers, are taking a huge toll on the environment – and on consumers’ wallets. In order to eliminate this source of environmental and economic waste, companies, cities, and even whole states are taking measures to discourage consumers and retailers from using disposable bags.

One of the most common approaches to combatting this problem is to create a financial disincentive for disposable bag use. It is difficult for consumers to realize the cost of providing this convenience when it is not directly tied to a cost they can see. Retailers are beginning to charge a fee to customers who choose to use plastic or paper sacks. In addition, some states have mandated all retailers to charge these types of fees. The hope is that when consumers have a more visible reminder of the expense their preferences create, they will shift their expectations and choose to use more environmentally friendly options.

Some cities and even a few states have enacted outright bans on the use of disposable bags. In some cases, these bans have been applied to large retailers that have the resources to more easily make a shift to an environmentally friendly alternative. In others, the prohibition has been applied across the board, with all retailers – and consumers – required to transition to other options.

Read the infographic below for more on why eliminating reusable bags has become such an urgent priority.

Infographic: Harness the Power of Brand Recognition
Click here for the full-sized image.
Enjoyed this infographic? Read more promotional marketing tips from HALO.

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Three Home Safety Strategies You Should Implement Immediately

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Home Design Ideas, Home Essentials, Home Improvement, How To's | 0 comments

These days, more and more homeowners are realizing that placing primacy on the safety of their private living space is important. By making safety a priority, homeowners can preclude themselves and their loved ones from falling prey to life-endangering accidents and mishaps. If you’re interested in optimizing the safety of your home immediately, consider implementing the following strategies today:

1. Elevated Deck Systems Installation.

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As many home design experts know, elevated decks can increase the safety of your home. The elevated pedestal/paver system is effective in raising the surface of your deck to the entry threshold, thereby meeting the ADA’s requirements while also permitting safe, easy access. The end result of the installation is sufficient drainage and the prevention of water puddling on the deck’s surface. Companies like Elevated Deck Systems can install the systems near pedestrian walkways, patio areas, and pool decks. Learn more today by visiting the company website at http://elevateddecksystems.com/.

2. Home Security System Installation.

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image credit: freedigitalphotos.net

In this technological era, home security systems are all the rage. Although each system is different, the home security system basically comes with technologically advanced features such as automated door locking and unlocking as well as e-mail and text message updates that inform you of any suspicious activity transpiring on your property.

3. Be Discreet On Social Media.

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image credit: freedigitalphotos.com

These days, many people are passionate and consistent about connecting with friends and/or family members via social channels such as Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook. However, one of the dangers of communicating with people on these public channels is giving away too much private information. For example, some people might use Twitter as a medium through which to tell another person that they are going on vacation. This type of activity is not prudent because criminals can take this information and use it as a springboard to decide when to break in. For this reason, being discreet on social media regarding your general activity is important and advantageous.

Conclusion

If you’re serious about ensuring that your home is safe and secure as possible, there are at least three ways to realize your objective. By installing an elevated deck system or home security system and being discreet on social media, you’ll likely find that your private living space becomes safer than ever.

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