money on trees

Money Still Doesn’t Grow on Trees! – Environmental Thermostats

money on treesNo one would turn down a good deal. Everyone is looking for ways to save money on anything they buy. Suppose someone reveals to you a ‘secrete’ to cut cost on all your bills by 50%? I think that cost saving is even too high! Some will want to reduce their monthly bills just by as low as 10%. This is a clear indication that money remains to be a scarce resource. However, do you agree with me that for you to save money, you must use some money first?

Alright, the issue of saving on energy bills is a concern for almost all homeowners out there. Many approaches have been attempted in order to cut energy expenses, as half of every home’s energy is spent on heating and cooling. The interesting thing with air conditioning systems is that they are ever running. When it is hot or cold, you need to cool or warm your living space respectively.

money saving tips

As to what I can refer to as ‘human nature’, people will always resist to changes; whether good or bad. According to a report published last year, many homeowners are reluctant to warm up to the newly introduced energy saving gadgets – smart thermostats. Even though several homeowners have a typical thermostat, there is a significant different between a traditional thermostat and a smart thermostat as far as energy saving is concerned.

Apart from the many ‘selling-posts’ that are continuously posted on various websites for to marketing and attracting potential customers, the issue of smart thermostats should be viewed from a different perspective. We are talking about saving on energy bills, which also has a beneficial environmental impact. If you are truly for environmental protection, I can see a solid reason to have a smart thermostat.

Environmental Benefits of Using Smart Thermostats

Help to conserve natural resources

conserve natural resourcesEnergy or power is produced using natural resources. If more power is in demand, there are more power plants that will be established to cater for the increasing market demand. This is not as business as usual because more land will be developed, meaning deforestation must occur. During power production, other natural resources must be depleted.  Therefore, there is a lot of pressure on nature.

Having a smart thermostat helps to regulate your energy usage, and thus conserving power. Since the Wi-Fi thermostats can be operated remotely, you can switch off heating or cooling if no one is in the house. If almost all homeowners can regulate their energy consumption in such an efficient manner, there would be no need to connect additional power to the national grid.


The industries are already releasing a lot of heat to the environment. This heat is certainly enough so far, and we want more improved ways to prevent increasing emissions into the environment. If every home uses extremely high energy, more heat is just being released to the environment. To prevent unwanted energy usage, installing a smart thermostat is the way to go. Probably, a big percentage of homeowners forget to switch their heating systems when leaving in the house. If there is no one to turn off the system, it will continue running for hours until the owner returns in the evening. What if you just traveled overseas only to be back after a week?

However, controlling a smart thermostat is as easy as tapping on your smartphone when connected to the internet. Every smart thermostat model has its own version of a mobile app, which you can download to your tablet or any other mobile device. You can control the heating regardless of your location. If all homeowners could have this magic gadget, energy consumption can reduce by a significant margin.

Other Benefits

Save money

This is one of the basic benefits of using smart thermostats. Estimated cost of heating and cooling cost accounts for 40% to 50% of the total cost of every home’s energy consumption. By installing and using a smart thermostat properly, you can get the returns on investment within a year. Most of the newest smart thermostats have all useful features you would want for regulating your home’s climate and temperature.

Improved comfort at home

With a smart thermostat, your home’s climate and temperature can be controlled in a more accurate manner. The gadget can sense immediately whenever there is a drop or rise in temperature, and then regulate it accordingly. You just relax comfortably and let the thermostat do its job.


organic fertilizers

How Does Waste help Plants Grow?

organic fertilizersIn this context, waste refers to organic materials that decompose to form organic fertilizers. The advocacy of organic farming has tied the use of waste to produce chemical-free fertilizers. Many state departments of agriculture support this move and that is why many organic farms and ranches are being established worldwide. Organic fertilizers help plants in multiple ways, whether it is for large-scale or small-scale farming.

Organic fertilizer is produced through digesting remains of food materials or vegetation that are consumed by animals. It passes nutrients to the soil so that plants can take them up. Organic fertilizer loosens compact clay soil, tightens loose sandy soil, and improves soil’s permeability. Since it is a processed organic material, organic fertilizer is a better alternative to chemical fertilizers for enhancing the garden soil.

It is not a must to use a processed organic fertilizer as the food waste materials generated in your kitchen can be used directly in the garden. You just need to decompose them first and then transfer the rotting sludge to the garden. In many developed countries, municipalities are encouraging homeowners to have garbage disposals. These are appliances used to grind food waste materials and then flush them down the drain. The liquid waste is transported to a sewage treatment plant.

Just before going to the benefits of fertilizers to plants, allow me to explain briefly the two of the many benefits of having a small garbage disposal at home.

First, it helps you to save money. A garbage disposal reduces drainage issues, which in turn prevents frequent plumbing costs. There are well-designed garbage disposals that can grind some harder food materials and flush them down the drain pipes without causing clogs. In case blockage occurs, the disposal can help you to unclog without calling a plumber!

Second, it eliminates bad odors from your kitchen. With a garbage disposal, you don’t need to store most of the waste in the bin. It ensures no food waste is left to rot, which causes a bad odor whenever you enter the kitchen. A disposal’s motor is capable of grinding and flushing the waste into the drain pipe.

You should note that the use of garbage disposals helps sewage treatment plants to generate useful products from the waste. One of the products is methane that can be used as cooking fuel. On the other hand, the compact residue left (sludge) is rich in nutrients and beneficial bacteria, which can help plants if used as fertilizer. In other words, most of the organic fertilizers nowadays come from the sewage treatment plants.

Benefits of Organic Fertilizers to Plants

 benefits of organic fertilizer

Improve plant growth

The basic benefit of organic fertilizers is to enhance the quality of soil by adding more nutrients. The fundamental ingredients in organic fertilizers include phosphate, phosphorous, and nitrogen. Nitrogen, in particular, is quite essential for plant growth. Even though nitrogen is in plenty in the atmosphere, its natural form is not readily fit to be utilized by plants. So, organic fertilizers provide ready nitrogen that can be taken up by plants without causing burning effects in the roots. Also, the nitrogen contained in organic fertilizers does not harm the useful microorganism in the soil.

Prevents diseases

A healthy plant is capable of resisting some diseases. However, it is likely to suffer from stunted growth if it lacks enough nutrients because diseases carrying bacteria can easily interfere with its growth. When organic fertilizers are supplied in adequate quantities, they provide plants with sufficient nutrients. This helps plants to growth healthy, hence attaining strong ‘immune’ to resist certain diseases.

Prevents invasion by parasites

Just like diseases, a healthy plant is likely to prevent invasion by parasites. Parasites usually take advantage of plant injuries, and then they find their way into the plant’s system. If a plant is supplied with adequate nutrients it needs, the tissues grow strongly and can repair injuries as soon as possible before parasites invade. Therefore, organic fertilizers have the required nutrients for the plants to grow healthy.

Prevent scorching effects

Scorching occurs on the plant leaves. This problem is neither caused by parasites nor diseases. It is usually brought by severe dehydration, especially if the soil doesn’t have enough moisture content. As we mentioned earlier, organic fertilizers help the soil to retain moisture. So, organic fertilizers prevent the problem of leaf scorch.

What is Reverse Osmosis

Grow Tip: Don’t Filter Your Water – The True Usage of Reverse Osmosis Systems

What is Reverse Osmosis, Anyway?

What is Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis simply referred to as RO, is a process of water purification that utilizes technology almost similar to ultra-filtration. A semi-permeable membrane is used to remove larger molecules from the normal water in order to produce pure water (solvent), which can be used for drinking, domestic purposes, agriculture, and industrial purposes. However, during reverse osmosis pressure is applied against the osmotic pressure, a process that is stimulated by a thermodynamic parameter of chemical potential.

Reverse osmosis gets rid of many particles (molecules and ions) from contaminated water. These particles include microorganisms and bacteria, and therefore resulting in clean and safe water for drinking. Many portable water packages are produced through RO, as well as in the production of industrial pure water that is used in chemical applications.

During the RO process, the solute is kept on the pressurized side of the semi-permeable membrane while the solvent is forced to pass through it. The membrane is highly ‘selective’ as it allows only smaller particles or molecules of water to pass freely while the larger molecules are retained.

For the water to pass through the membrane, a pressure is applied to the concentrated solution. A pump can be used to provide the pressure so that water and other lighter molecules (usually less than 200 grams per mole) are allowed to pass through the tiny pores of the membrane. The modern RO system is normally installed using a cross-flow so that the membrane can clean itself continuously, meaning that the ‘rejected’ particles are swept away from the semi-permeable membrane.

Is RO Water Ideal for Your Garden?

RO WaterOne of the main concerns about the use of RO water in gardens is the absence of some essential minerals. However, there is a way to add minerals back into RO water so that you can use it for your plants. But, our case here is whether or not RO is good for plants. This article will explore briefly that area so that you can have a clear understanding of this issue.

For plant growers, it is important to balance the intake of nutrients by your plants so that they can thrive well. Traditional water (contaminated water) contains a high level of impurities, which makes the nutrient-balance difficult to achieve. With RO water, you can provide the plants with pure water free from contaminants at their initial growth stage. This helps you calculate the mineral balance accurately, as well as eliminating the possible reactions if you use chemically-manufactured fertilizers.

When it comes to disadvantages of RO water, one of them is that a large amount of water that goes to waste. If you want to use RO water for a large garden, perhaps you are going to spend more money on water bills. On average, 3 gallons of tap water are used to produce one single gallon of pure water. So, there is a lot of water that will go to waste if you switch from normal to RO water. Another disadvantage is the absence of salts that are wanted by the plants to grow well. Some growers usually add fertilizer salts in order to restore the suitable salt content. The recommended amount of salt is one teaspoon per gallon of reverse osmosis water.

Even though many people claim that RO water is not good for plants, I would say it is. The disadvantages can be managed so that you can only enjoy the advantages. As mentioned earlier, there are ways to add essential minerals in your RO water in order to make it nutritious for your plants.

The Actual Applications of Reverse Osmosis System

Apart from purifying water for drinking, reverse osmosis systems are largely applied in commercial and industrial settings where a large amount of pure water is required. The RO system should operate at pressures between 150 psig and 1,000 psig depending on the semi-permeable membrane used and level of water quality to be treated. Some applications may require the use of a series of membranes in order to produce a greater purity of water.

The wastewater can also be forced through other advanced membranes to maximize RO water generation without wasting a huge amount of water. However, the wastewater may be flushed if some bad odor is detected.  The most common applications of reverse osmosis include desalination of brackish water, desalination of seawater, generation of ultrapure water, and treatment of wastewater.