With the weather heating up and the sun out, it has got me thinking about passive solar energy use and the many benefits it has to offer. Passive solar homes are houses that receive at least part of its heating, cooling and lighting energy from the sun. Passive solar design takes advantage of a buildings site, climate and materials to minimise energy use. Before you add solar features to your home, whether it be brand new or an existing structure, remember that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing heating and cooling bills. Although the initial upfront costs may seem higher in scale to ordinary materials, remember the ongoing costs of solar energy is far more cost effective in the long run, which not only benefits your bank accounts but also the environment. If you are working on an existing structure, the first step is to have a home energy...

If you or someone in your household is in a wheelchair, ramps are a must for navigating between the levels of your home, both indoors and out. That doesn’t mean they need to be purely utilitarian, though. By working with an experienced pro, you can have a ramp that is safe, stylish and perfectly suited to the style of your home. And because they are safer than stairs, ramps can be a good choice for homes with young kids … plus, they’re just more fun. Get all the facts on adding this feature to your home or yard below. Wheelchair accessibility may be the most obvious reason, but it’s far from the only one. A ramp is also helpful for aging-in-place design, and it’s more fun (and safer) than stairs for young children. With proper planning, a ramp can fit into indoor and outdoor spaces just as well as a...

I am sure many of us have noticed a considerable increase in our electricity bills as of late, so I thought it would be beneficial to highlight the advantages of LED lights. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, have become smaller, cheaper and longer lasting than ever before making it a much more affordable option over incandescent lights. As traditional incandescent light sources are being phased out and the application of LED lights has developed, the selection of well-designed lights that are available has increased. LEDs are better at placing light in a single direction than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Because of their directional output, they can be installed under counters, in hallways, and in joinery or furniture. They produce more light per watt than fluorescent or incandescent bulbs and their efficiency is unaffected by shape and size. They emit light of an intended colour, so do not require a colour filter, which...

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