Monday, August 28, 2017

Stay Healthy With Sunlight

When a person is in a “sunny mood” he is feeling good. Sunshine is associated with brightness, happiness, good health and overall wellbeing. Since the majority of urban dwellers spend most of their time indoors, ensuring that sunlight is able to enter a home or office is important to enhancing the quality of life. This may appear to be an overstatement, but a look at the research done on the benefits of sunlight proves that it is not.




The Benefits
·       Sunlight helps the body to produce serotonin, the hormone that boosts the mood and creates positive energy. In addition, increased serotonin levels have been linked to the suppression of appetite and thus the reduction of overeating and so to weight loss.

·       A study by the highly reputed British Medical Journal shows that low levels of vitamin D (produced by exposure to sunlight) are linked to the increased likelihood of cardiac disorders, especially in winter. There is also a link between the rise in cholesterol levels in winter and the drop in vitamin D levels.

·        The vitamin D from sunlight helps to reduce the risk of diabetes. A study in Finland found that children with higher levels of this vitamin had an 80% lower risk of getting the disease.

·        Seasonal Affective Disorder (or just feeling low in winter) has been linked to a lack of sunlight exposure.

·        The causes of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are still not clear, but research now shows that exposure to sunlight during childhood reduces the risk of the disease developing later on. The fact that the condition is less common in countries with sunnier climates appears to support this.

·        Although over exposure to direct sunlight can lead to skin cancer, the U.S National Cancer Institute has found that the risk of breast, colon, bladder, stomach, esophagus and womb cancer is lowered with exposure to sunlight.

·        Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to the onset of Crohn’s Disease and other bowel disorders. Once again, sunlight offers a way to reduce the risk.

·        In a study conducted by St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University in New York, it was found that women with menstrual and fertility problems benefited from the increased production of vitamin D that comes from sunlight.

·       Sunlight boosts the production of white blood cells which fight infections and boost the immune system.

·        Sunlight is known to help in clearing up skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Bringing Sunlight Indoors

Almost all homes have areas that need more daylight. Using electricity to illuminate these areas is not just expensive; it works against all the benefits of sunlight that have been mentioned above. Installing more windows or skylights to remove the darkness may not be possible and if it is, will be complicated and expensive. The right way to bring more sunlight into your home is with daylighting systems. These are simple to install and will carry natural light into even the most interior parts of a home. Using a state-of-the-art system means that you will have years of clear sunlight throughout your home with no running costs. Contacting the dealer of a reputed manufacturer can make a world of difference to the way you and your family live at home.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Dark Side of LED Bulbs

Artificial light is regarded as one of the most important factors in the development of the human race. The ability to use fire to light up caves changed the way early humans lived. Man was no longer literally left in the dark when the sun went down. He could work, eat and do everything with the light of the fire. Lighting evolved through candles, lanterns, gas lights, till the electric lightbulb was invented over a century ago. Today we have become so dependent on artificial lighting that a power outage brings life to a standstill.

Modern lighting uses LED technology and these bulbs will be in use in the foreseeable future. They are long lasting, efficient and minimize the amount to electricity they consume. While the technology is a blessing, it is not an unmixed one. There is a dark side to LED bulbs that many are not aware of.

Hazardous Substances

A study quoted in the highly reputed journal Scientific American says that LED bulbs contain over a dozen potentially harmful substances including lead and arsenic. Besides making disposal of old bulbs a major issue, what happens if one breaks in the home? Experts recommend that gloves and a mask should be worn before sweeping them up and then the debris, including the broom, should be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Artificial Light and Health

In 2012 the American Medical Association released a study on the impact of artificial light on health in general and on specific medical conditions. Among other things, it recommends that the development of new lighting technologies be given priority to reduce the health risks of artificial light. This is now a major area of research, but no practical technologies will be available for many years to come.

Daylight Is Best

We cannot do without artificial lighting. But controlling and limiting its use can make the home a healthier place. One way of doing this is to reduce the amount of electric lighting used during the day. Most homes have areas that remain dim during the daytime hours, requiring electric lights to be turned on when they are occupied. Instead of doing this, daylighting systems can be used. These systems capture daylight from the roof of a home and use high-tech tubes to carry it through ceilings and walls to parts of the home that need more daylight. The light they produce is completely natural and has none of the potential risks that extended exposure to electric lighting may have. They are free from hazardous materials and consume no electricity. Dimmer switches allow the amount to light to be controlled so the right illumination can be maintained. Using daylighting systems means that a home has clean natural sunlight in it and because of this it becomes a safer and healthier place to be in.

When installing daylighting systems it is very important to ensure that they are from a world class manufacturer that uses the best materials and has the latest technology. Having the installation done by a dealer ensures that once in place, the systems will functions flawlessly for years to come.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Indoor Plants Grow Best With Sunlight

A home is a place of comfort and warmth. The décor is a critical part of creating the desired atmosphere and indoor plants play a major role in this. The presence of greenery and bright flowers brings a touch of the outdoors inside and adds freshness to the interiors. Not all plants are suitable for growing indoors and having the right ones, those that will bloom and grow indoors, is essential. One thing that all plants have in common is the three things they need to grow – air, water and sunlight. Air of course, is all pervasive and giving plants the water they need is simple. The problem with indoor plants is providing them with the sunlight they require.

Where to Get the Best Light

Traditionally, placing plants near windows is the way to give them the maximum exposure to sunlight. The problem with that is that the direction the window is facing is a key factor in sunlight availability. In North America, the typical light intensity based on window orientation is:


  • North facing windows. This direction tends to have the least light intensity and will usually have deep shadows beyond the limited area of direct sunlight. Plants normally do not thrive near these windows, especially in winter.
  • South facing windows. Since the sun follows an east to west arc, windows facing this direction usually have strong daylight intensity and plants placed here do well. One problem could be that excess sunlight could lead to some burning of the plants.
  • West facing windows. These get the maximum afternoon and evening sunlight. Although the amount is not as much as with south facing windows, this is the second best location for your plants.
  • East facing windows.  The morning sun that comes through these windows is good for plants that need only a limited amount of sunlight.

One problem with the light from windows is that placing plants in these fixed locations may not work with the interior décor and layout. A solution for this problem is the use of daylighting systems which collect sunlight from the roof and use special tubes to carry the light into even the most interior parts of the home, where sunlight is often very limited or not available at all. Not only will the presence of natural light make the interior look better, the placement of plants does not have to be dictated by their proximity to windows.

People Need Daylight Too

One of the biggest health issues facing city dwellers is the inadequate exposure to sunlight. The benefits of this on human health are well documented and known. Being indoors, often under electrical light even during the day, may be an inevitable part of modern life, but it is not good for health. Humans need sunlight just as plants do. Using daylighting systems to spread natural light indoors is a great way to make up for this deficiency. Besides benefiting human health, sunlight adds another level of beauty and comfort to the interiors. And, of course, the reduction in the use of electric lighting means a lowering of utility bills. Finding the right daylighting system for your home is not difficult. All you need to do is go online to find a company with a reputation for quality, state-of-the-art technology and cost effective solutions with simple and quick installation. In other words, find the brand leader. With that done, search for a dealer close to you, have a daylighting assessment done and finalize the type of system and fittings you want. It’s not just your indoor plants, everyone in the family will be happier with a daylighting system in place.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Save Money this Summer with Solar Powered Attic Fans

 
Summer is on its way and that is something to be happily anticipated. However, along with all the good things that the season has to offer, there are a few downsides. Among them is the heat which can make even being indoors uncomfortable. That, in turn, leads to increased use of air conditioning and this translates into larger electricity bills. Solar powered attic fans offer a reliable and economic way to keep your home cool and so reduce your air conditioning load and the resultant bills.

Why Attic Fans?


  • Attics are notorious heat traps and the heat that collects here affects the rest of the home. According to some studies, even a moderate ambient temperature of 80 degrees can push the temperature in an attic above 140 degrees. Passive attic vents can help to some extent, but not enough to make a significant impact on your heat load and utility bills.
  • Positive airflow has a much larger impact on attic heat buildup. This can be achieved by installing an attic fan. With the increased heat dissipation attic temperatures can be brought down to around 10 to 20 degrees warmer that the external temperature. For example, if when the outside temperature is in the 80s and the attic temperature is kept to between 90 and 100 degrees, there will be a 10 degree reduction in the temperature in the lower levels of the house. This means a significant reduction in the air conditioning load and the operating costs.
  • An additional benefit of these fans is that in damp weather the positive air flow will reduce moisture buildup in the attic. This moisture buildup can lead to toxic mold and fungus formation as well as weaken the internal structure. Moisture can also damage insulation and framing materials in the attic.
  • To maximize the benefits a solar powered attic fan is the right choice. It consumes no electricity so, once installed, the temperature reduction is achieved at no cost. Solar powered attic fans that are controlled by a thermal switch will run only when the attic temperature falls within a predetermined range that are available. This option will reduce the motor wear and extend the life of the fan unit.
  • An additional benefit of solar powered attic fans is that installing one entitles you to a 30% federal tax credit.

Be Sure Of What You Buy

The use of solar power in the home is becoming increasingly common. From electricity generation to heating, lighting and ventilation, new manufacturers continue to appear in the market to meet the growing demand. Installing an attic fan is not something you do every year. You need to be sure that the fan you use is the best available and that it will give you years of trouble free service. That is why the fan should be from a manufacturer with an impeccable reputation, a proven track record of quality and a history of continuous innovation to ensure that what you buy is the best there is.