Road Tripping: The Green Way

green-leaf-car

Road tripping is one of the most unique adventures one can have in their life. While they may be long and tedious objectively, the freedom of the open road, the spontaneous stops made along the way to the main destination, and the unbelievable stories that are built all throughout the journey truly make road trips a worthwhile experience. However, there are a lot of factors that come into play when planning out a road trip: how much money should be saved up, how many hours can one drive before taking a break, how many stops should be taken along the way, etc. If you are like us, then you ask yourselves an extra question: how can I stay eco-friendly while on the road? Luckily for you, we have a couple of tips and tricks that will save you some cash while also living sustainably as you travel and explore to your heart’s content!

Buying a Reusable Water Bottle

While on the road, you will discover that stopping and paying for drinks becomes very expensive and inconvenient. Why not save yourself the trouble, and purchase a large reusable water bottle? Most rest stops have a water fountain, so refilling it every couple of hours is an easy, free task. Plus, you will be reducing the amount of trash that is polluting our planet, which is a bonus in our books.

Packing Food Instead of Eating Out

 Similar to our last tip, buying food on the road becomes very expensive very quickly. Not to mention, a lot of the food you are able to buy while traveling is limited to fast food, which will make your body feel less than 100% while driving or sitting in a car for hours. Do yourself a favor and bring a cooler full of food from home to satisfy your hunger. You could fill it with sandwich meats, cheese, veggies, and condiments to make sandwiches, along with some fruits to snack on. Outside of the cooler, you could bring snacks like chips or granola bars to munch on as well. Not only will this save you some cash, but it also will allow you to use food in your refrigerator that may otherwise go bad while you were traveling. Just make sure to actually throw away your garbage and recycle anything that can be recycled at rest stops along the way; don’t litter!

Try to Pack Light

green-travel-1

 We know how hard it is to pack only the essentials when going on a road trip. You want to account for all possibilities, weather conditions, and planned excursions for your travels. While that may seem smart, we advise you to try to pack as light as possible. Not only will it save you some sanity when you have to unpack after coming home, but it will also lessen the amount of carbon emissions in the air from the vehicle you are driving. The less weight in the car, the less fossil fuels burned to drive the car. Sure, it may not be as convenient to limit your packing, but you will be doing yourself and the planet a huge favor.

Try to Only Travel with One Vehicle

 Going on a road trip with friends? Try to only drive with one vehicle instead of two. Sure, it may get cramped, but it will definitely save you and everyone else traveling money for gas. Plus, it will decrease the amount of fossil fuels burned and emitted into the air, which is much more eco-friendly!

Take Care of Energy Sources at Home Before Leaving

 A lot of people forget about everything at home when they are leaving for vacation. They are so wrapped up in their travel plans, making sure that they packed everything necessary, and calculating all of the costs that will build up that they forget about one of the biggest costs at home: letting their energy sources run while they are gone.

For starters, make sure that you unplug all electronics before you leave. Even if those electronics are turned off, they still have the ability to “leach” power. By unplugging them, you are saving energy while also saving some money on your electric bill.

Next, be sure to turn down your thermostat. There is no need to heat or cool an empty house while you are gone, so why spend the extra money to do so? Conserve that energy, along with the cash in your wallet.

Another great way to save energy in your home while you are gone is actually through your home’s insulation. Having proper insulation in your walls and roof will make an enormous difference in conserving energy and saving money. A lot of heat and air are lost in homes due to thermal bridging. Having an insulation that is high in thermal resistance, or r-value, will help reduce thermal bridging, and will maintain the heat or air that you desire in your home.

A great product that we recommend for your home’s walls and roof would be our PlastiSpan. It is a cost-effective, rigid EPS foam insulation that is guaranteed to eliminate thermal bridging in your home and make it more energy efficient.

If you are planning to build a new home and want a superior insulation system that will provide energy-efficiency and cost savings overall, we definitely suggest our Advantage ICF System. Similarly to PlastiSpan, it is made of EPS foam. However, the system is made of foam block pieces that have interlocking webs inside of the pieces. Once shaped and set how the home owner desires, concrete is then poured inside of the foam block pieces to ensure that a solid, thick wall is created and can eliminate thermal bridging in the future house being built around it. The Advantage ICF System additionally adds resale value to your home, which helps bring you some money back in the long run.

6in-standard.png

Advertisements

7 Easy Ways to Go Green in Your Home

Within the past decade or so, the topic of sustainable living has become more and more prevalent in our society. In fact, thousands of people have already adopted the green lifestyle, and for very good reason. Doing our best to live eco-friendly gives so much back to the planet we live on, along with the people who inhabit it. On top of the numerous positive impacts that going green brings to the environment, going green stimulates the economy by creating jobs in green energy technologies, while creating a healthier planet for our civilization.

If you are already making steps to alter your habits and live green, we applaud and commend you. If not, do not fret! Our best advice for beginning this kind of lifestyle change would be to start right in your own home. Here are some simple, yet effective, ways to start becoming more eco-friendly.

Switch Out Incandescent Lightbulbs for CFLs or LEDs

iStock_000005097144Medium

When making little changes in your home to start going green, it is best to begin with your energy sources and utilities. A good place to start is with your electrical utility. Did you know that using incandescent lightbulbs is actually not very cost effective, and uses more energy than most other lightbulbs? On average, an incandescent lightbulb uses about 60 watts and only lasts about 1,200 hours. That may not seem terrible, but in comparison to CFL and LED lightbulbs, it is the least cost-effective product. CFLs only use about 14 watts and last about 8,000 hours. LED bulbs use approximately 7 watts and last about 25,000 hours. The less wattage used, the more energy conserved, and the longer lifespan you will have with your bulbs, which means you would be spending less money on replacing them, saving some cash AND conserving energy. That’s a win-win!

Use Energy Efficient Insulation

You may not know this, but you may be losing energy and therefore money right out your walls! With typical types of insulation, such as fiberglass, heat and air are lost to thermal bridging in the roof and walls, which means your air conditioning or heat are running inefficienctly. With the right kind of insulation, your home can maintain a desired temperature that is comfortable for you. By extension, your utility bills will be nore comfortable as well.

If you already own a home and have insulation in place, but want to replace it with a more cost-effective product, we have a variety of insulation solutions that will not only fit well into your project, but also into your budget. EPS rigid foam insulation maintains it’s R-value, eliminates thermal bridging, and is versatile enough to be used in all areas of your home.For a closer look at what insulation might work for you, visit www.plastifab.com.

If you are planning on building a new home, there are multiple solutions you can use to create an energy efficient, comfortable home. The Advantage ICF System provides strong, secure, efficient exterior walls for both below and above grade. Like our rigid foam products, the blocks that make up this insulation system are made of EPS foam. However, there are interlocking webs in the individual block pieces that hold the foam together, which will then be filled with concrete during installation. The concrete provides a thick, uniform wall that holds in heat, air, and sound, making your future home comfortable, sound-proof, and incredibly energy efficient. To see if this solution works for you, visit www.advantageicf.com.

Back to Basics: Get a Recycling Bin

recyclables

We know this sounds obvious, but recycling is one of the best ways to make your home more eco-friendly. Many household items can be recycled after using them, including plastic, cardboard, paper,

aluminum, or glass. Some recycling companies provide a curbside pickup service to make recycling more convenient. However, if that is not an option for you, it is easy to search online for a nearby recycling center to drop everything off. You can also drop off batteries, televisions, and many other obscure items that would otherwise be thrown away. The more items reused and recycled, the more trash pileups are reduced!

Wash Your Laundry in Cold Water

This may sound odd, but washing your clothes in cold water really makes a difference. Using hot water for your laundry takes a lot of energy, which will reflect negatively on both the environment and your utility bills. Cold water will clean your clothes just as well as hot water, but without wasting energy. Bonus: when washing laundry with cold water, you can wash whites, darks, and colors together without having to worry!

Buy a Reusable Water Bottle

For those of you who buy bottled water in bulk, you may want to reconsider. So many plastic bottles do not get properly recycled and end up in landfills or our oceans, adding to the planet’s pollution. Buying a reusable water bottle in a fun color or print will eliminate that issue easily, while also adding some personality to your H20. Now that’s some high quality H2O!

Unplug Electronics that are Not Used Often

Let’s face it: we’re only human, and sometimes we forget to unplug our electronics when we are done using them. However, this could be a potential reason for your electric bill’s high cost. Not to mention, keeping everything plugged in when not being used is a huge waste of energy. If you have any electronics that you do not use often, or even

daily, it would be wise to unplug them until you decide to use them again. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.

See if Green Power is an Option Through Your Utility Company

2030-globe

Here is something that not everyone knows: some utility companies offer a green power option. They gain their green power from wind power, biomass, hydro, solar energy, and/or geothermal energy. If you want to do your part in conserving energy for the planet, you can make a call to your utility company and see if they offer green energy options. It may seem miniscule, but it will make a world of difference when wind and water are being used to power your home instead.