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My Battle with Weight

On February 19, 2014, in Health, by OneWorld
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Fruit dietLike many women in their twenties, I was obsessed about my weight. My days consisted of consuming non-fat frozen yogurt (remember those days?) and running. But every third day or so, I would break down and eat a bunch of cookies or a big meal. After the fact, I would beat myself up and promise to start eating right again the very next day. My primary emotion was guilt and my primary thoughts were obsessive – I obsessed over food, calories, and what I was or was not going to eat.

This went on for nearly ten years.

Looking back, the saddest part of it all was that the constant obsessing and beating myself up completely robbed me of my inner peace. Thankfully, something told me to get away, which is when I moved to Chicago and had a spiritual awakening. (You can read about this experience in my first book, Opening to Life). After learning that my primary function was to express spirit or life-energy, everything changed. I surrendered and gave up my battle with food. Initially I gained some weight as I let go of a ten-year pattern of severe restriction. But over the next few years, I lost the weight I’d put on and began thinking about food in an entirely different way.

I also realized that guilt had become an addiction for me – even more so than food! Each time I overate, guilt would overwhelm me and stick with me for the entire day. Then, if I hadn’t given myself a guilt trip in a while, this monster would rear its ugly head and propel me to overeat just so I could feed the guilt monster that lived inside of me another big dose of energy!

I finally decided to swear off guilt and starve him to death by not feeding him any more of my precious time or energy. Even if I overate, I refused to feel guilty. Once my internal battle with guilt ended, my patterns with food loosened a bit and I had more flexibility and less compulsion. This was the beginning of the end. I also learned an amazing secret that has guided my eating choices ever since: hunger is a sign that your body is ready to metabolize food. Hunger is actually good! Eating when not hungry, however, is very, very bad…

Over time, I have learned to eat for peace. Since I won’t let myself feel guilty anyway, I might as well make choices that are going to lead to inner peace! I also eat clean, and only when I’m hungry so that excess food doesn’t build up in my and block spiritual energy from flowing through my body. No amount of food feels as good as a spiritual high!

I have put what I’ve learned over the years into a program called the Detox Lifestyle Diet. It is a five-step approach that teaches how to gradually clean up ones diet and begin eating for peace and energy rather than trying to fill oneself up with the dense energy that food provides.

The energy of spirit moves fast and when it flows through us we get high on life! But we have to decrease the density of our cells in order to effectively metabolize spiritual energy. When we do, excessive cravings for food go away and we become accustomed to feeling of balanced and energized.

I’ve put Detox Lifestyle Diet into an affordable and simple eBook format.  If you have an eBook reader such as a Kindle or a Nook, you know how easy it is to download books from Amazon. But did you know that you can download a free Kindle reader for your regular PC, laptop or iPad?

I’d like to invite you to get a copy of the Detox Lifestyle Diet and then share your thoughts and experiences with me. This book is going to evolve and I would welcome any experiences you have that might help other readers.

Click on the book below to view it on Amazon, and you can reach me through our contact information on this site or at http://www.kimberlykingsley.com.  I hope to hear from you!

 

Green Building Codes are Everywhere

On October 21, 2013, in Uncategorized, by OneWorld
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In the past decade there has been a rapid increase in the number of communities instituting so-called “green” building codes.  These are programs and codes designed to increase the environmental standards of commercial and residential builders.

In the United States, over 275 communities have such codes and programs.  Many are city or county codes, but in some cases states have instituted green codes and a number of Native tribes have also created such codes. For example, the state of Washington requires all new buildings to meet one of three green standards in order to receive state funding.

Almost all of these codes meet or exceed the federal guidelines for energy conservation with some communities going far beyond the national standards. These practices include the conservation of water and energy, the use of recycled or sustainable building materials, and the inclusion of features that significantly reduce water and power costs once the building is in use.

Here are some of the more common items included in green building codes around the country:

  • International Green Construction Code standards
  • LEED certification
  • gray water systems
  • moisture protection
  • air leakage reduction
  • thermal resistance standards
  • solar permits
  • straw bale construction (tribal codes)
  • limited density rural dwellings
  • innovative construction methods
  • energy-efficient lighting design
  • green plumping systems and products
  • rainwater use

In the case of incentive programs, many communities are offering extensive education and training as well as technical assistance for those who use green building techniques. Others offer actual monetary incentives, such as per square foot rebates for projects that meet the standards of a specific building challenge or program.

Builders around the country should always seek advice from a qualified attorney as well as the county, city, state, or tribal authority regarding which building programs and codes are in effect in their jurisdiction.

Below is a webinar providing information on the planning process, entitled “Which Commercial Green Building Code, Standard, or Program to Adopt”

 

Alicia Waterston is a columnist and blogger.  She covers a wide range of legal topics, from Supreme Court decisions to the activities of Denver lawyers to the application of laws in daily life. Her work has appeared on numerous news and legal blogs.

Tax Benefits of Green Improvements

On July 15, 2013, in Money, by OneWorld
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In today’s reality of environmental uncertainty it is every member of society’s responsibility to do his part to help protect the environment. There are many things that you can do to help care for the environment, from reducing your time in the car to making sure that you use only biodegradable materials. Some of the most important things that you can do to do your part in protecting the environment can be done right in your own home or business, and many of these steps are not just good for the environment. These changes can also offer you financial benefits that make them even more appealing.

Going “green” is about making responsible choices in the products that you choose and your daily activities in order to reduce your impact on the environment. Making certain green choices in your home and business can also offer you the benefit of tax credits or rebates that will save you money. These tax benefits help to cushion the investment of green changes and enhance the financial savings that many of these green changes offer over the long term. As tax laws vary from state to state, and each year can also bring modifications to these laws, it is important that you discuss any green modifications that you plan to make to your home or business so that you fully understand the tax implications of these changes.

Some of the green changes that you can make to your existing home or business that will benefit the environment while also offering financial incentives include:

  • Installing thermal windows and doors that increase energy efficiency
  • Use of effective insulation to enhance the home’s temperature control
  • Installation of energy –efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Use of biomass stoves

Other tax incentives are offered to green choices that are made for new construction. These are steps that are taken when building new homes and businesses that ensure that structure will operate in the most environmentally-friendly way. Some of the new construction choices that can be taken include:

  • Installation of geothermal heat pumps
  • Installation of solar panels and solar-powered water heaters
  • Use of fuel cells of ongoing energy storage and use
  • Use of wind energy

In order to claim the tax incentives for these changes you must have very specific information regarding the equipment or individual changes. It is critical that you retain all of the paperwork that came with these products so you can prepare your income tax returns appropriately.

Sam Joseph is  a frequent blogger who writes about topics like tax and business accounting as well as forensic accounting for various financial and business sites.

 

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Driving Green

On July 14, 2013, in Automotive, by OneWorld
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michelin tireWhile you might understand that Planet Earth is experiencing warped weather patterns thanks to pollution, you might wonder whether it is worth all the green hype currently in the media. Everybody seems to be talking about green this and green that; it would come as no surprise if ‘green’ ice cubes or ‘green’ hot dogs have been invented! Is it all just noise aimed at driving up sales of ‘environmentally friendly’ products or is our planet really gravely at risk? And if that is the case, how can you chip in to help prevent further damage?

Well, yes and yes. Some environmental experts claim that global warming poses a more severe threat to our world than that posed by terrorists. Global warming is caused by abnormal levels of carbon in the atmosphere and is said to be why some parts of the world are experiencing severe droughts while others are afflicted by severe flooding. The good news is that you can do something about it.

First, you can help reduce the amount of carbon floating about in the atmosphere by increasing the efficiency with which your car uses gas. This starts from the moments you’re leaving the house. Before you thrust your keys into the ignition, have a clear efficient route mapped out in your head of how to get to your destination. And if you plan your trips on a daily or weekly basis, you could combine journeys and reduce your consumption drastically. Also before you leave the parking, make sure your car is carrying only what you need. Research has shown that the more you carry, the more fuel you need to get from point A to B. Switching quickly to higher gears while driving is another trick you can use to postpone your next trip to the gas station. Accelerating smoothly to a cruising speed will also see you consume less than when you jam your foot on the accelerator.

If you are not yet a driver and are still mulling over the options for your first car, why not buy a vehicle that can run on fuel that does less damage to the environment instead of fossil fuels? Heard of biofuels? This is a category of fuels that will propel your vehicle while releasing less pollutants into the atmosphere. Biodiesel for instance is produced from filtered animal and vegetable fats and provides a good sulphur-free alternative to petrol. Alcohol-based fuels such as ethanol, ethanol and butanol are another environmentally friendly option. Another alternative currently in use is hydrogen which is a real blessing to Mother Earth as it is emission-free.  One of the most popular alternatives that car-makers are raving about is electricity. Hybrids (cars that use both fuel and electricity) and electric cars are increasingly being produced and the manufacturers of the batteries that store this energy are continually being refined to last longer between recharging stops.

Just last year the prototype of a vehicle that is powered by solar energy and made from recycled materials was launched in Brunei. There are many other vehicles of this kind including a microcar made from recycled plastic and a sports car whose body is made from recycled stainless steel. Work in this direction is still in its infancy though.

Neela Dodson is a blogger and lifestyle coach who writes about improving one’s life through making compassionate and socially responsible choices. 

The Future of Green Energy

On June 21, 2013, in Uncategorized, by OneWorld
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It sometimes seems like the environment has been a hot topic since the 1970s.  In 2013, the catchphrase isn’t global this or environmental that, it’s green energy.  How to get the world’s energy needs met in a sustainable, non-destructive manner that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.

As hybrid and fully electric cars find their way onto highways, new buildings are proclaiming their LEED certification, and home owners are relying on recycled materials for renovations and installing energy-efficient everything, it’s time to wonder what comes next.  A few green experts have identified several trends that they see as the future of green energy.

Smart Hardware

It will start with smartphone apps that let users compare how much energy they use in their current car and compares it to what they would use in an electric vehicle at the same speeds and road conditions. It ends with a refrigerator that automatically messages the smartphone to tell it what groceries it needs while the owner is still at the store, so they don’t have to make a second trip for something they forgot.

The marriage of technology and energy will have numerous applications designed to cut down on needless energy consumption and promote use of green energy over fossil fuels.

Electric Transportation

Hybrids were just the beginning.  Fully electric full-sized cars have eclipsed the smart car and made green energy vehicles more practical for the average driver.  While there may not be the same obsession with them as with the Prius, it is part of a larger trend of converting transportation from gas to electric.  This includes mass transit in some cities switching to electric buses, installing light-rail and high-speed rail networks, and even the resurgence of street cars.

Worldwide Adoption

Europe and the US may soon lose their leadership positions in the global green-energy statistics.  China has stepped up to the plate with ramped up programs in solar photovoltaic manufacturing as well as in the deployment of wind turbines.  They are also becoming a major player in the electric cars.

On the other side of the equation is the developing world. Inventive solutions using solar power to provide lights in villages with no electric grid or to power a gas station or other businesses are just part of the picture.  Central America is planning a new power grid that will incorporate solar and wind energy.

Corporate Leadership

A coalition of corporate titans include Bill Gates and Chad Holiday chairman of Bank of America) made a formal call for an annual investment of $16 billion in green or clean energy innovations.  The group wants government to change its policies of supporting gas, nuclear, oil, and coal and instead create regulations and subsidies that foster green energy.

While these are just predictions, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that, at least in the immediate future, these are some of the trends to watch in the green energy arena.

 

Mercedes-Benz Biome

The automotive industry as it stands today might quickly become a thing of the past if Mercedes-Benz’s engineering breakthroughs come to fruition. At the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio unveiled what might possibly be the greenest car in the world – the revolutionary Biome. Although just a concept car, the  Biome is grown – not built – in a nursery from only two seeds. Mercedes is calling it a partnership with nature and they are not wrong; the car is practically a custom built plant on wheels.

The car is built from a material —  grown from those two seeds — which Mercedes is calling BioFibre using proprietary DNA. The exterior of the car is built with one seed, while the exterior of the car is built with the other. The growth process starts from seeds places at the center of where the Mercedes-Benz “star” is positioned on the front and back of the vehicle. Each car can also be tailored made for specific people or purposes by altering the DNA of the seeds that grow the vehicle. And unlike most (or any) car rims and car tires the Biome’s wheels are grown from four different seeds.

Mercedes-Benz Biome Wheels

Benz also claims that their new BioFibre material is stronger than steel but lighter than plastic. The Biome turned heads at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show not just because of its unique design, but because it only weighed 875.5 lbs. The car was actually entered into the Auto Show’s Design Competition which was for new and safe cars that weighed 1,000lbs or less. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), the average U.S. car weighs about 4,000 pounds.

Mercedes-Benz Biome interior

The whole car is powered (literally) by something that Mercedes is calling BioNectar4534 — an organic liquid chemical bond. BioNectar4534 is one of material that comprises BioFibre and is also stored directly in the car’s chassis and used for fuel. BioNectar4534 can be safely produced by genetically modified trees, much like the entire car is grown from genetically modified seeds. The Photosynthesis that trees undergo in turn produce BioNectar4534 instead of fruit. This way even the car’s fuel is green and trees don’t have to be harvested. In fact, if the Biome becomes a reality its possible that we could see an end to deforestation as BioNectar4534 could become a new global fuel, prompting people and corporations to plat BioNectar producing trees all over the world. However, the Biome does produce emission when running, though not the kind of emissions that people might assume; the truth is that the Biome emits Oxygen when running. That’s right. Completely harmless oxygen –something the entire planet could use more of. Unfortunately, the one thing that Mercedes didn’t cover were the specifics of this seemingly magic Oxygen producing engine. Does it use a weber carburetor or an organic battery? At this point it’s anyone’s guess.

Mercedes-Benz Biome concept sketch

Lastly, the Mercedes-Benz Biome even has a earth-friendly end. Instead of ending up in a scrap heap like many cars today do, the Biome can be safely composted or recycled. To be honest, the entire thing sounds like science fiction, but here’s hoping that life will be a little Stranger than Fiction.

Check out this video from the Los Angeles Auto Show about the Mercedes-Benz Biome below.

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5 Ways to Green Your Office

On June 9, 2013, in Eco Friendly, by OneWorld
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What makes an office green? It’s not the mint wallpaper or sage carpet but the environmentally friendly practices employed by everyone in the office. Look around your work environment. If you see energy-wasting equipment or single-use plastic cups, it’s time to make changes. Greening your office doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Five simple changes save money and improve upon the environmental impact your office makes.

Reduce paper waste

Maybe your office isn’t ready to eliminate paper, but you can find ways to reduce paper waste. Whenever possible, print only the documents you absolutely need and set up the printers and copiers to print on both sides of the sheet. Use the blank side of non-confidential documents as notepaper or for phone messages. Furthermore, reduce waste when you buy paper in bulk, purchase recycled paper and arrange recycling bins that collect unwanted paper throughout the office.

Use soy-based ink

Most likely, your office relies on commercial printing for product brochures, business cards and price lists. For these printed needs, partner with a printing company that uses soy-based ink. This ink provides brighter and sharper colors because of the soybean oil’s clearness and it releases fewer harmful toxins than petroleum-based ink. Additionally, paper printed with soy-based ink is easier to recycle because it does not require a deinking process. While you can’t purchase soy-based ink for your office printer or ballpoint pens, you can save the environment and cash when you hire commercial printers who use this environmentally friendly ink.

Fill up a water bottle

From brewing coffee in the morning to serving cold water during meetings, your office relies on fresh, clean water. Instead of using bottled water, purchase a Maytag water filter for your refrigerator’s water dispenser. Replace the filter only once every six months. At a fraction of the cost of bottled water, a filter will pay for itself within a few days. Don’t clog the landfill with plastic bottles or waste valuable storage space with pallets of bottles in the break room. Instead, purchase and install a replacement filter, and gain fresh water every day.

Reduce equipment waste

Your office relies on equipment like telephones, computers and copiers. Reduce energy waste with a few techniques, such as purchasing multi-purpose machines. A printer that also makes copies or telephone service that includes internal voicemail lowers your office’s energy use. Invest in equipment that automatically activates sleep mode during inactive periods. Whenever you finish using a machine, even if you’re simply taking a bathroom break, turn it to sleep mode. Turn off computer monitors rather than utilizing the screen saver and limit electricity waste. At night, turn off the office equipment. Replace outdated or broken equipment with Energy Star-qualified products and recycle used machines in order to reduce equipment waste.

Eliminate breakroom waste

Have you ever considered the environmental impact of your office breakroom or vending machine? Single-serve cups or a plugged-in vending machine wastes energy and adds extra expense to the office budget. Forego the disposable cups and plasticware and use recyclable cups or silverware instead. De-lamp the vending machine and add a sensor that reduces the machine’s power output when it’s inactive. Buy bulk rather than individually packaged food items. Coffee, creamer, sugar and cups cost and waste less when purchased in large packages. Stock the breakroom with local produce rather than sugary junk food and consider purchasing organic or fair trade coffee and tea.

Implement one or more of these suggestions to create a greener office. Any changes you make will reduce your office’s energy consumption, save the company money and improve your office’s environmental friendliness.

 

Can Racing be Green?

On May 19, 2013, in Automotive, by OneWorld
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It’s a valid question, and given the state of the environment and our growing concern about sustainability and Eco-friendliness, one that is more important that it has ever been.  More and more racing series’ have been looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact through instituting emissions controls, promoting hybrid racing, and running cleaner burning, modern engines.

Ever since CAFE standards have nearly solved the smog problem in Los Angeles, racing series have looked to things they can do to reduce their emissions.  Stock car racing, for example, requires that cars raced still have their emission equipment in place, meaning they still have catalytic converters, carbon canisters, and fuel return lines.  In the case of American Le Mans, the greenest racing series on the planet, officials strive to include other things, like sustainable tire compounds.

American Le Mans also includes events for bio-fuels.  Other series focus on hybrid racing.  Hybrid cars aren’t all boring like a Prius; on the contrary, names like Fisker and Tesla come to mind as high performance hybrid or electric cars that can definitely hold their own on a track.  Hybrid racing is also exciting—the thrill of a 300 horsepower V6, plus a 200 horsepower electric motor that has 100% of its torque available on tap, like on a hybrid Lexus GS, makes for impressive results.

Modern mechanical advancements also help make racing a much cleaner sport.  Carburetors and unrestricted exhausts and 7.8 liter engines may still be around in vintage racing and certain series like NASCAR, but for the most part, modern engines are much more efficient at burning fuel cleaner.  Technologies like direct injection, iridium spark plugs, and higher octane, more pure fuel mean that more of that fuel gets burned and less carbon and nitrogen are released, all while increasing power.

Green racing is, in the opinion of many, the wave of the future.  The attitude of doing more with less, more power with less fuel and less in the way of emissions means that we not only get a better, more exciting race, but one that does less damage to the environment.  Now that is something that nobody can argue against.

Article provided by Kristoph Grace, a sports writer who specializes in auto racing. He has profiled and reported on top American racers and teams for fifteen years.

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Going Green Can Be Costly

On May 16, 2013, in Eco Friendly, by OneWorld
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For years the media has touted the benefits of “Going Green” in terms of conserving resources, reducing pollution and saving money.  What hasn’t been discussed are the hidden costs of investing in hybrid cars and home improvements like solar panels and green appliances.

Hybrid Cars

Between 2005 and 2009 hybrid cars doubled in market share in the US. Saving money on gas was a tangible benefit visible every time drivers checked their monthly bank balance.  As gas prices continue to rise, more and more drivers are buying hybrids. More hybrid drivers means more tickets and more crashes.  The result is that insurance rates for hybrid drivers are skyrocketing.  Some estimates suggest that these rates will go up 20% or more in less than a year — and continue to climb. Only part of that rise is due to more bad drivers owning hybrids.

Replacement parts for hybrids are more expensive, which means that after a collision, insurance companies generally have to pay out $180-$200 more to repair a hybrid than a non-hybrid. Overall, there is a 6.5% difference in repair costs and that applies to general repairs and maintenance of a hybrid, not just accident-related repairs. Most mechanics aren’t familiar with hybrid cars, leaving drivers to take their vehicles back to the dealership for repairs, which leads to higher labor costs. It can also take weeks or months longer to find replacement parts which can leave drivers having to pay for alternative transportation while waiting for their vehicle to be road worthy.

Greening the Home

In 2009 homeowners spent $49 billion remodeling their homes with energy-related improvements.  That was a 29% increase since 2003. Ideally, investing $18,000 to 24,000 in solar panel installation is supposed to make payments to the local electric company disappear and the savings in electric bills should repay the initial investment in about six years.  However, some utilities require an annual fee to stay connected to their grid and maintenance and repair costs associated with the system can add $5,000 or more to the cost of the system.  New estimates suggest that it will take 10-13 years for such systems to pay for themselves.

In fact, any energy-saving system or appliance is going to require specialized cleaning, replacement parts and upgrades.  Because these items are still considered niche products, local DIY stores do not necessarily carry replacement parts or cleaners, especially for those who live in smaller communities or rural areas.  As with hybrid cars, it can be difficult to find repair mechanics trained in these systems, which can increase both the costs of repairs and the time it takes to locate a qualified professional to do the repair.

The one benefit of energy-efficient upgrades has a hidden downside.  Green renovations can raise the value of a home by a significant amount, which is good when it comes time to sell the property.  In the interim, however, homeowners are looking at higher property taxes and insurance rates to cover that increased valuation.

Finances aren’t the only reason that people invest in green technologies.  For early adapters and environmentally-minded individuals, these figures are just part of the investment in protecting the earth.  Those who are looking at going green as a way to save money need to look at all the costs associated with their choices and not expect to achieve repayment of their initial investment for many years.

 

Investing in a Green Home

On May 16, 2013, in Green Homes, by OneWorld
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With environmental and energy concerns at the forefront of social responsibility topics, many people are choosing to go green, especially with their homes. People choose to “green” their homes not only because of the prevalence of environmental concerns, but also because, on a personal level, they can save money and potentially increase the value of their property as well. Saving money does not mean cutting corners. Homeowners can enjoy saving money simply by weatherizing their homes and installing energy efficient appliances. In addition, should a homeowner decide to sell their house, going green can increase the value, enabling them to sell the home at a more profitable price.

Cutting Expense of Home Ownership

images2Home ownership brings with it many expenses that renters do not often have to worry about. Between maintenance, repairs, the cost of appliances, taxes, and energy costs, homeowners have to find ways to save money and to optimize their budget. Energy costs are one place where the household budgets take quite a hit each year. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, the average household spends approximately $1,900 each year in energy costs alone. Going green can help you to reduce this cost by utilizing your resources more efficiently. Weatherize your home by replacing doors and windows, insulating, repairing and covering areas where drafts might come in, etc. If you cannot afford to weatherize, your local Community Action Partnership should have a program to assist you. You can also lower your energy bill by turning your thermostats down a mere degree or two, taking shorter showers,, using the energy saver mode on appliances when possible, and unplugging appliances when they are not in use. In addition, upgrading to Energy Star appliances and having your heating and air conditioning routinely serviced will help you to save a ton of money too.

Increasing the Value of Your Home

Today’s home buyers might very well appreciate a “green” home and be willing to pay a good price for it, since they won’t have to do much updating to make the home green themselves. Even if a buyer is not looking for a “green” home specifically, having made updates and upgrades is sure to raise the value of your house and to entice potential buyers. Newer, energy efficient appliances, weatherization, new windows and doors, and other interior and exterior updates and upgrades makes your home more beautiful, more practical and functional, and enticing buyers who know a good deal when they see one. Even if you are selling the home at a higher price tag due to the work you have done on the home, buyers will see the savings in not having to install new appliances or make any major repairs to “green” the house and save on energy costs.

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