NeighborhoodTop 5 Neighborhood Weatherization Tips to Conserve Energy and Save Money

The concept of neighborhood weatherization is one that you may not be familiar with, but many energy companies are starting to offer such plans as a way to help families, neighborhoods, and entire communities that they service. The basic idea is to help homeowners understand where energy waste is occurring in the household and then provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to address waste in order to cut energy consumption and lower their utility bills. This is not only good for individual homeowners, but it also aids the community at large by improving the environment. And generally speaking, it only requires that a couple of homes in any given neighborhood schedule energy audits (to pinpoint problem areas) and request that professionals come out to provide lessons in how to weatherize homes. But you don’t even necessarily have to rely on your power company to provide these services when you know the basics of weatherization. Here are just a few helpful hints that could lead to energy conservation and monetary savings.

1. Get an energy audit. Okay, this first step is going to cost you something. Whether your local power company offers neighborhood weatherization or not, you can’t really start addressing the energy waste in your home until you know where it is occurring. A professional auditor will go over your house from top to bottom and deliver a report that spells out where air is coming in and out, such as around door and window frames, near vents and ductwork, and even via outdated or inefficient insulation. Once you know the culprits you can begin to correct the energy issues facing your structure.

2. Add weather stripping. Even if doors and windows are seated properly, wooden frames are bound to shrink and expand over time thanks to temperature, humidity, and other weather conditions. And this could lead to leakage. In fact, these are some of the most common areas for drafts to occur. So add appropriate weather stripping as needed to seal up the leaks.

3. Insulate pipes. The pipes that carry water throughout your home are generally insulated in order to protect the surrounding structure and ensure that heat isn’t lost in transfer. But insulation can deteriorate throughout long years of use. While you might not want to tear out the walls in order to see if this is happening in your home, it’s not a bad idea to replace visible pipe insulation when you see that it needs to be done (and talk to a plumber about the rest).

4. Seal ducts. Ducts that vent to the outside can certainly become loose or unseat completely due to inclement weather conditions or even simple wear and tear. So check them periodically to see if you need to repair them and/or add sealant (duct tape, caulking, spray foam, etc.).

5. Create reusable window inserts. If you don’t want to shell out major money for winter storm windows to replace your summer screens, you can at least add an extra layer of insulation by creating inserts that can be used year after year and easily and cheaply repaired or replaced in the event that they are damaged. If you want to keep your electricity and gas prices low throughout the colder months of the year, all you really need is wood for the frame structure, weather stripping to make sure you get a tight seal in the window frame, and shrink wrap to trap an additional layer of air that will insulate your interior. You can find the best utility rates on sites like http://www.electricityprices.org.uk, as well as tips and tricks to reduce energy consumption, but there’s also a lot you can do on your own. And protecting your home from outside elements through weatherization is a great place to start.

Organic Pharmacy Baby WashMom” is loving this new organic product line designed for wee ones and their mothers! The Organic Pharmacy makes it easy to care for your new arrival in the best way possible by using The Organic Pharmacy’s mother & baby natural, toxin-free products designed especially with delicate skin in mind. The Organic Pharmacy line is gentle on baby’s skin, while the range of prenatal and postnatal care products is ideal for mom’s health and beauty needs.

Mom” adores the Apricot & Chamomile scent of the lotion, wash, shampoo and conditioner! It is light and fresh, leaving baby smelling sweet and oh-so cuddly! The line includes eight essential baby and mommy care products, including Mother & Baby Massage Oil, Lavender & Chamomile Milk Bath, Miracle Nipple Cream, Stretch Mark Oil, Apricot & Chamomile Conditioner, Apricot & Chamomile Shampoo, Apricot & Chamomile Wash, and Apricot & Chamomile Lotion. All of the products make an excellent baby shower gift to pamper the new mommy and her baby!

Organic Pharmacy Baby Wash

Some of our favorites from the Organic Pharmacy include:

Apricot & Chamomile Lotion (made with Aloe, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Apricot Oil, Chamomile, Honey, Jojoba, and Sesame Seed Oil)

Apricot & Chamomile Wash (made with Aloe, Rose, Rose Geranium, Rose Hip, St Johns Wort, Apricot Oil, Chamomile, and Marigold)

Apricot & Chamomile Shampoo (made with Algin, Aloe, St Johns Wort, Chamomile, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Lemon, and Marigold)

These luxe new items from the Organic Pharmacy will definitely be loved by little ones and their mommies alike! You can learn more at The Organic Pharmacy website.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Gazpacho with Grilled VegetablesTraditionally served cold, gazpacho showcases the entire summer season’s harvest and makes for a cool, nutrient-packed entrée or starter at any summer table.

Add a gourmet twist to a traditional gazpacho recipe with aromas from vanilla’s natural flavors by adding a splash of Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. Made from the finest vanilla beans, the extract cuts the acidity of the tomato-based dish and pairs exceptionally well with spicy foods.

Gazpacho with Grilled Vegetables

Ingredients

2 pounds ripe tomatoes (may substitute with 1(28-ounce) can of whole organic tomatoes, drained)
2 ears corn, husks on
1 small red onion, peeled and halved
1 poblano pepper
2 red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
¼ cup rinsed, finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup spicy hot tomato juice (additional juice may be added if desired)
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

In a large saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Score the bottom of each tomato with an X. Working in two batches, place the tomatoes in boiling water for 15 seconds. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath. Peel tomatoes starting at the point of the X pulling downward. Seed and chop; set aside.

Pull husks back from corn and remove corn silk with paper towel. Place husks back around corn and soak in cold water, about 15 minutes before grilling. Place corn, onion cut side down, poblano and bell peppers on a prepared charcoal or gas grill grate, over high heat. Grill and turn corn until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove onion when nicely grill marked. Using tongs, turn peppers until skin is charred.

Place charred peppers in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap; set aside for about 10-12 minutes. Remove charred skin from peppers, rinse, stem, seed and chop; place in a large food processor bowl. Carefully run knife down corn to remove kernels from cob. Add corn, onion and garlic to processor bowl, process for about 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, cucumber, vanilla extract, vinegar, cumin and cilantro and process to desired consistency.

Pour mixture into a large bowl; add tomato juice; stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Makes 12 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Nielsen-Massey.*

Raw_Coconut_BallsA raw dessert too delicious for words! This recipe is great for snacks for kids with allergies – including dairy, soy and gluten. Dr. Oz says honey may actually help reduce seasonal allergies by helping your “body grow accustomed to the pollen and immunize your body against it.” Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need, feel free to improvise with any additional ingredients.

Raw Coconut Balls

Ingredients

1 cup finely shredded coconut flakes
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp Kelapo Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.
Place on parchment paper and put in refrigerator for one hour.
Once firm, form mixture into 9 – 10 balls.

*Recipe and image courtesy of CoconutOilCooking.com.*

Family Travel Tips for a Healthy End of Summer Vacation

Summer vacation may be coming to an end, but did you know that August is one of the busiest travel months for families? As parents are trying to fit in that last bit of fun before school starts up again, families everywhere will be preparing their carry-on bags and packing the car to hit the road. There’s no telling what adventures await you on your final summer trip, but you have to be careful, as traveling can upset your family’s health regimen and mastered schedule. Fortunately, a little planning ahead can help you fill your head with memories instead of regret!

Exercise Is Important, Even on Vacation

A great secret to staying healthy is exercising on a regular basis; this actually helps to boost your immune system! No time for the gym because your shopping too much? Take the longer route when walking to and from your car to the stores. Hitting the club scene? Dance the night away! Average 30-minutes of dancing can actually burn 150+ calories!

Upping Your Zinc Intake

Zinc Gluconate is clinically proven to short duration of a cold by almost half and if you start feeling symptoms of a cold, taking natural, homeopathic remedies such as Cold-EEZE Cold Remedy, which releases Zinc ions into the throat and upper respiratory system to prevent the cold virus from spreading. They are great to have on a plane, too. Sucking on a lozenge will alleviate the popping of your ears while flying!

Vitamin C – Complex B and Calcium

These vitamins not only strengthen your immune system, but they are easy to get a hold of as well! A glass of milk, orange juice or a quick trip the pharmacy can help you prevent a cold. Did somebody say Mimosa with extra OJ?!

Having Fun

Of course, stressing out before a trip is never any fun. Loosen up, laugh with friends, and dance a lot! Laughter reduces stress and the less stress you have helps your immune system function effectively

Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and avoiding the cold! Getting 8 hours of sleep on regular basis (even on vacation) is important and can help protect your physical and mental health. Staying up late and waking up early doesn’t allow for your body to get the rest it needs to fight off germs.

About the Author

These timely tips were provided by Dr. Jennifer Collins, a New York based Physician specializing in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.