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Serving Wake County and the Surrounding Areas for Over 25 years

Summer 2013

Going Green: The Ultimate Guide

The environment is a hot topic in the HVAC industry today. With the amount of discussion about green technology and the abundance of green and eco–friendly products on the market, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. If you find yourself asking what steps you take to be little greener, here are some helpful and easy guidelines.

1. Save Energy: Purchasing energy efficient appliances is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. If this is not an option for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of small changes you can make to cut back on your energy consumption. Unplugging appliances when they are not in use, replacing your old incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED models, and drying your clothes on a line or drying rack are all simple ways to reduce your home energy use.

2. Conserve Water: It’s easy to overuse water when we have it conveniently available at all times. Look at your water use habits, and then see where you can cut back. It can be as simple as taking shorter showers. Low–flow shower heads and faucet aerators are simple, inexpensive and effective devices to help with your water conservation. Even remembering to shut off the water while you brush your teeth can make a difference.

3. Use Less Gas: There’s no better way to save money and go green than to reduce the amount of gas you use. When available, take public transportation to work or school, or get exercise while you are helping the environment by walking or riding a bike.

4. Insulate Your Home: If you’re heating or cooling your home, make sure that your windows and doorframes are sealing properly. Gaps in the frames make it easy for heat or cooled air to escape outdoors. As an added bonus, good insulation will allow you to trap cool air in your home. Open up your windows when it cools down at night and close them before it heats up again.

5. Cut Down on Disposable Items: The convenience of single serving items, paper towels and plastic utensils are nice, but you can go green by trying to reduce your reliance on such products. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop or work, and switch to cloth napkins and towels. Washing them will make much less of an impact than throwing out disposable alternatives, especially if you let them air dry.

The best way to go green is to be creative. This guide should get you started, but remember, you don’t have to make huge changes. A lot of little steps can add up to great savings and a great impact.

10 Great Ideas for Summer Family Fun

When the weather warms up everyone loves to head outside and enjoy the sunshine. But what will you do once you’re actually outside? Check out our awesome list of fun summer activities that are great for kids and adults.

  1. Homemade Ice Cream – Even if you don’t have an ice–cream maker, you can still make your own ice cream at home. Check out this terrific Ice Cream In A Bag recipe. You can even put together your own ice–cream sundae bar with all the toppings that you can imagine.
  2. A lemonade stand – Nothing says "summer" quite like a lemonade stand. There are many lemonade mixes and recipes at the store that are affordable and easy to make. Be sure to bring napkins, an umbrella to stay cool, a tablecloth and a box to hold money. Your kids can also decorate the stand with balloons and banners.
  3. Breakfast for dinner – Lots of people think that breakfast is the best meal of the day. Pancakes, waffles, butter, syrup, whipped cream, strawberries, eggs, bacon: almost sounds like desert doesn’t it? Having breakfast for dinner is a great way to break with your routine and try something new. It’s also the perfect time to make some pancake art. You could use food coloring to make a pancake rainbow. You may also get really creative and make pancake words or try to draw the face of the kids’ favorite movie character. Clean, old condiment bottles work great for this.
  4. Backyard camping – Turn your backyard into the great outdoors by setting up your camping tent and pulling out the sleeping bags. There are a number of fun and safe activities to do including watching movies in the tent, telling scary stories, and making shadow puppets.
  5. Build a fort or a secret hideaway – Not only is building a fort or a secret hideaway a fun project, but it could be very healthy for your children. If you have space in your yard you can work with your children to design a tree house or hideaway. You can also bury some items in the ground with a treasure map, plant some flowers or mark the area with some rocks. You can also take this activity indoors and construct a number of secret hideaways in their bedrooms or in your living room.
  6. Photo scavenger hunt – Digital cameras make this activity easy. You can do this at your local farmer’s market, the mall or any other outdoor place. You’ll have to create a theme for them to focus on like numbers, the alphabet, animals, colors, etc. After they’re done you can go home and look at all the pictures. You may even want to create a photo book for them.
  7. Plant a summer garden – Gardening is a great way to connect with nature, get some exercise and sunshine and also teach your kids about gardening. There are some easy and fun projects you can do with your kids. You could also think about doing a themed garden as well.
  8. Get out the sidewalk chalk – There are almost an infinite number of things that you can do with sidewalk chalk. You could turn your driveway into an art canvas, a racetrack, or another planet. The options are huge and it will keep your kids occupied for a very long time. When they’re done clean–up is easy: just hose it down.
  9.  Create an outdoor movie theater – This is easier than it sounds and can also be pretty inexpensive. If you have a giant TV then you can just move it outside. You’ll need to make sure that you have access to electricity, light control and a bathroom. If can get your hands on a projector you could hang a white sheet from your garage and set up a sound system for a more immersive experience. Check out this handy list of children–appropriate films.
  10. Fly a kite and launch a rocket – Take to the skies this summer! If your kids are inclined for a more explosive adventure you can head to your local hobby store and get a rocket kit. If not, try teaching them how to fly a kite.