Liquid Assets: Water Testing for Household Well Owners A Snap

Easy Well TestingTesting one’s drinking water can be intimidating to a household well owner, but it can be easy if you know a few basic steps, says the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

If you are concerned about your well water, these three steps can help get owners the appropriate tests for contaminants that might present a health risk — or create taste, odor, or appearance problems:

1. Determine what you should test for in your water.

2. Obtain a reliable water test.

3. Get an interpretation of your test results so you can take any appropriate action.
An excellent place to start learning more about these three steps is the NGWA website,

Greener Cities Crop Up, Starting in California

SpreadRootsIt’s not easy being green these days — especially when you share space with more than 3 million people. And yet, one Southern California company is making it its business to do just that.

BP Gardens, a subsidiary of GreenGro Technologies (OTC: GNRH), an Anaheim-based eco-friendly technology company, is taking local farming in a crowded urban environment to a whole new level by designing vertical gardens. Its hope, says CEO James Haas, is to provide communities, restaurants, and grocers with locally grown, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.

Lighting Your Landscape Like the Pros

LandscapeLightUpCThe deck is swept and ready for summer barbecues, the lawn is freshly mowed, and the outdoor furniture is dusted off. In short, the stage is set for cookouts, family gatherings and entertaining late-night porch hangouts. But don’t get left in the dark.

According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), proper outdoor lighting is just as important for a beautiful landscape as a lush lawn, bright flowerbeds, green plants and manicured shrubs.

Jeff Dross, corporate director of lighting education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting, recently explained that homeowners are opening up to new ideas with landscape lighting.

Homeowners Let the Sun Shine In With American-Made Solar

AmericanSolarPanelsCFor more than a decade, homeowners have embraced going green in various ways. Now, a growing number of consumers are choosing American-made solar panels for their homes—and the solar installation industry is booming.

Currently, about 13 gigawatts of solar electric capacity have been installed nationwide—enough to power more than 2 million households. Underscoring this trend is that 82 percent of people who responded to a recent solar survey said they support making solar panels on American soil.

How Harnessing Solar Power Can Slash Energy Bills

Are you fed up with excessive electric bills? Well, look no further than solar-energy systems.

Did you know that you could cut your electrical costs and show off your environmental savvy by installing solar panels? Last year, 792 megawatts of residential solar systems were installed in the U.S.—enough to power the equivalent of more than 130,000 homes.

A case study: Cheryl and Robert Boland of Apple Valley, Calif., cut their monthly electrical bill from approximately $300 to about $1.75 by installing solar panels on the roof of their home.

Recoup Majority of Your Investment With Replacement Windows

Nothing does more to enhance the look and feel of a home than windows – especially if your house still has rickety single-pane glass windows. But replacing old windows doesn’t just add comfort by eliminating drafts – CNN Money says homeowners can see a significant return on their investment from increased resale value. Replacement windows can also help save money on energy bills every year.

According to a survey by Remodeling Magazine, the return on investment for replacing your windows is among the highest of typical remodeling projects. Not to mention, these estimates are modest with the emergence of more energy-efficient windows. Windows that not only can regulate temperature but also maximize sunlight in winter make a significant difference when heat and cooling bills are due.

Take Advantage of Programmable Thermostats to Maximize Energy Savings

From smart phones to programmable thermostats, today’s electronics come equipped with advanced operating systems that make life easier and more efficient. The challenge is knowing how to take full advantage of the capabilities of these devices.

Consider indoor environment devices like programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are capable of controlling the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system – from heating to indoor air quality and energy management.

“Adjusting the temperature up and down doesn’t equate to savings or even comfort in the home,” said Jonathan Payne, product manager of programmable controls at Carrier. “The key to total comfort is the homeowner’s ability to control the temperature, humidity, air circulation and energy use.”

Get Better Heat, Save Money by Going Hybrid This Winter

As the cost of fuel continues to rise, homeowners look for more efficient ways to heat their homes. One of the best ways to achieve efficiency, cost-effectiveness and comfort is to use a Hybrid Heat system. Hybrid Heat systems include a heat pump and gas furnace, managed by a compatible control or thermostat.

Hybrid heat or dual fuel systems deliver exceptional performance by using a heating source that provides its most energy-efficient comfort during moderate heating conditions. As the temperature drops outside, the system automatically switches to your second heating source when that becomes the most economical way to keep your family comfortable.

Cool Roofs Take on Heated Cities

The summer heat has peaked, and blistering temperatures are especially noticeable on scorching city streets. Known as the “urban heat island effect,” this phenomenon labels the way urban environments trap more heat than nearby suburban and rural areas. As a result, increased energy demands and air pollution are often anticipated, yet unavoidable.

“All the concrete and the blacktop warms up faster,” says Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “So it keeps the city hotter and it stays hotter longer.”