October 07 2015

Changing to Energy Star Lighting

Efficient Home

If you want to run a household that’s efficient as can be, then making the change to Energy Star Qualified LED lighting is without a doubt the way to go. There are many exciting advantages associated with use of this innovative lighting technology.

Energy Bills Savings

First and forest, Energy Star lighting can decrease your monthly energy bills. This type of lighting employs a minimum of 75 percent less energy than the alternative option of incandescent lighting. If you’re interested in saving big money, going the Energy Star lighting route can truly work.

Cooling Costs

This lighting can also cut down on cooling costs. Since LEDs don’t generate much heat, you won’t have to use your air conditioning unit as frequently.

Maintenance Costs

You can even lessen your maintenance costs with Energy Star lighting. This lighting has much more longevity than its incandescent counterpart. It also has more longevity than fluorescent lighting. When you opt for Energy Star lighting, you no longer have to concern yourself with the hassles of replacing bulbs, either.

No Worries About Shattering Bulbs

Energy Star lighting is also wonderfully resilient and sturdy. Bulbs can shatter, after all. If you invest in Energy Star lighting, fears of breaking will no longer have to occupy your thoughts.

Useful Features

There are also many helpful and modern features that are part of Energy Star lights. Certain indoor varieties are equipped with dimming capabilities, to be specific. Certain outdoor varieties, on the other hand, are equipped with motion sensors and automatic daylight shut-off. If those features sound enticing to you, then you’re a perfect candidate for transitioning to Energy Star lighting.

Contact City Vibe Consulting

If you’d like to save money on Energy Star lighting, be sure to print out the fall coupons that are available. If you have any questions regarding Energy Star lighting and what it can do for your household and lifestyle, contact us at City Vibe Consulting without delay.

September 27 2015

Top 5 Home Improvement Trends of 2015

Owning a home means having a continual list of areas needing repair. For many different reasons, families often choose to make their home more livable. There are many styles, techniques and tools that serve as inspiration for 2015 if you feel the need to upgrade, redecorate or renovate.

Generic Design

The concept basically involves making a space more functional and appealing to all living in the home. Interior spaces may continually transform based on the current needs and preferences of the occupants.

Smarter Homes

An array of electrical chords, outlets and timers were once the means of automating lamps, coffee makers, sprinklers and other appliances. Today, homeowners can automate virtually every electronic device via specially designed integrated systems and control panels.

LED Lighting

The funky looking spiraled, energy-saving bulbs are more and more frequently being replaced with the more visually appealing array of LED lighting alternatives. Options range from bulbs and strips to ropes. The particularly creative have taken to hiding miniaturized LED light components into any number of everyday objects, which makes for unusual eye-catching accent works of art.

Energy Conserving Projects

Energy efficient HVAC systems, solar water heaters and entire house fans are some of the appliances now available that help households reduce energy usage and costs while additionally minimizing a family’s carbon footprint. Tubular skylights offer a modern means to no-cost lighting. Water-conserving landscaping keeps yards looking their best with less needed water and less effort.


The ideaology involves reducing waste by reusing or recycling someone else’s trash into your modern treasure. Old wood palettes might serve as a many different types of furnishing that include headboards and bed frames. Galvanized trash cans might make unique backyard planters or rainwater collection devices. The possibilities for upcycling are virtually endless and merely require a bit of imagination.

September 07 2015

10 Ways Increase Your Resale Value

A home can be a wonderful investment if the owner is willing to put in the work to maintain and improve on it. After these improvements, often one will find that the value of the home has far outstripped its original price point. Following are ten great improvements you can make on your home to increase that resale value.

  1. Landscaping

    While the house itself makes up a lot of the home’ value, don’t forget to pay attention to what surrounds the house, particularly your trees and bushes. Go out and prune and limb the vegetation as tangled bushes and unkempt trees will serve to promote mold, darken exteriors and obscure a good view of the house.

  2. The Front Door

    The entrance to the home will be the first thing a buyer sees; the introduction. It’s the house’s handshake, so to speak.

  3. Let In Light

    Many believe good lighting helps the most to improve the appeal of a home. Adding a dimmer will also work wonders.

  4. Clear Space

    Simply taking down a non-structural will help improve the flow of the house by creating additional space.

  5. Bath Improvements

    The bathroom is also a spot where you can spend a little for a full tune up, sometimes as little as $500.

  6. Basic Repairs and Maintenance

    Before looking ahead to big projects, simply fixing the things that are rusting and breaking down will quickly help your home’s resale value.

  7. Conservation Consciousness

    Everyone is going green these days and they will expect their prospective home to be ready for that energy conscious future.

  8. The Kitchen

    This is the place where families spend a lot of time in and often find the most important to look top notch.

  9. The Floors

    Reworking your home’s floors are a great investment with some home improvers spending as little as $700 on new materials and returning a value of up to $3,000.

  10. Take Down the Color

    Your personal tastes shouldn’t play too big a role when looking to resell your home. White walls will allow prospective buyers to imagine their own taste being applied.

August 27 2015

Why Tree Pruning Is Important

Pruning a tree is trimming away the dead or overgrown branches on a tree or shrub, and it is important for many reasons. Most importantly, it keeps you, your family, and your property safe. Dead or overhanging limbs can be a safety hazard to people, power lines, and building structures. Pruning itself can also be dangerous. Here’s three things to consider when pruning your trees.

Improve Growth

A tree’s structure can become unbalanced if it loses a limb or its growth is retarded in some way early in life. Pruning can help get it back and balance so it can continue to grow strong. It will also make for a more aesthetically pleasing tree. A tree can also develop two leaders, the part of the tree at the very top that growth comes from. Pruning will correct this. Proper pruning can also encourage a tree to produce more fruit.

Let the Light Shine

If you have a lot of trees in your yard, you may have too much shade from a thick overstory. Pruning will open the canopy, allowing the sunlight to penetrate. This will allow other herbaceous plants to grow as well as give more energy to the trees you already have.

It’s All About Timing

If a tree suffers some kind of sudden damage, like from a storm, and it poses a safety hazard, of course it should be pruned immediately. The same goes for a dead limb hanging over your home or sidewalk. But in general, trees should be pruned during their dormant period in late winter or very early spring, before they begin budding or flowing sap. Just like any living creature, trees can become stressed from pruning but insects and fungus won’t be able to take hold during the cold months.

It’s also important to not prune too much of the tree at one time. A professional arborist or landscaper will know exactly what is best for your trees.

August 07 2015

Why Gutter Cleaning Matters

If you allow debris to collect in your gutters, prepare to deal with home maintenance issues in the future. Gutters are important because they keep rainwater from weakening the foundation of your home. They also protect your landscape from floods that may develop during severe weather conditions. This apparatus is extremely useful, but you’ll expose your home to numerous potential hazards if you do not keep them clean.

An excessive amount of rubbish in your gutters can clog your downspouts and underground pipes. This is a common problem among homeowners who refuse to clean out their troughs regularly. Clogged downspouts will prevent the rainwater from flowing through the gutter system effortlessly. This is a recurrent problem that usually ends up causing a succession of maintenance issues.

If water struggles to flow into the downspout, it will eventually pour over the sides of the gutter. This will create a cascade that can quickly form a puddle around the home. The standing water can potentially flood the basement and compromise the structure’s foundation. It can also erode the soil and destroy any plant life that may be surrounding the home.

Cascading water can also seep behind the facia board and into the eaves. Some of the water may even bleed into roof boards and leak behind walls. If this water doesn’t dry quickly, the moisture can cause the wood to rot, soften, and bow in several areas. It can also leak into the electrical wires and components powering the home.

You will not lose anything but your labor and time if you make the sincere choice to clean your gutters regularly. Hiring a professional to do the job may only cost you a few hundred dollars at most. This is infinitely better than the thousands of dollars it will cost to fix a leaky roof or flooded basement. By staying on top of your gutter care, you can avoid these grim, but very avoidable, maintenance nightmares.

July 27 2015

Check Your Caulking

The Importance of Checking Window Caulking

Caulking and Drafts

If you want to maintain the comfort of your home, then it’s up to you to check your caulking on a regular basis. If your window caulking isn’t up to par, water and air can makes its way into your residence. This can lead to major discomfort for you and for the rest of the members of your household. It can also sometimes lead to increases in monthly energy bills.

Summer Heat and Window Caulking

Assess your window caulking frequently to prevent unpleasant chilly drafts in your home. Start by looking at the caulk located on your exterior window frame. This is important because the heat of the summer months sometimes causes outside caulk to become overly dry. This, in turn, brings on the conspicuous cracks that enable water and H20 to become unwelcome visitors on your property.

Caulking and Pest Management

Caulking is also an important matter for pest control purposes. If you want to make sure that your property is 100 percent free of creepy crawlies, then you need to check on your caulking frequently. Without proper window caulking, pesky insects can easily gain access to your home, which is probably the last thing you want.

Caulking and Potential Water Damage

Window caulking is vital for maintaining a comfortable residence. Cold drafts are no fun especially in the middle of the wintertime. Heat leaks are no party either. It’s also not exactly great to have H20 leakage inside of your residence. Water coming into your windows can sometimes lead to damage of your possessions. If you want to keep your belongings safe as can be from water damage, then it’s absolutely critical to make sure that your window caulking is always in tiptop shape.

July 07 2015

Summer Commercial Building Emergency Checklist

You seen it many times. It’s summertime, you’re driving down the street, you hear the sirens, you see one or more fire trucks whizzing by and then later that day on the news you hear there was a fire in such-and-such a business…and you wonder what the cause was. If you’ve got a business yourself, you hope that will never happen to you. But… could it?

Each year in the US, here’s some scary statistics that apply especially to summertime but really all during the year:

  • There are 70-80K workplace fires in the US every year
  • Commercial building fires cause 30K fatalities, 18K injuries, $10B in property damage
  • Studies show that 85% of those fires are due, directly or indirectly, to human error

As already stated, the vast majority of these fires are due to human error of some kind but how does it break down beyond that?

  • Code violations
  • Shoddy workmanship on equipment or facilities
  • Misuse of of equipment
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Arson does occur but it’s not a major factor in the statistics

What parts of commercial buildings are more susceptible to fires? The answer is…potentially anywhere but here’s a few of the most common:

  • Boiler rooms, furnace rooms, and water heater cabinets. Note that these are all areas of minimal
  • human traffic.

  • Kitchens (obvious, right?)
  • Laundry rooms
  • Hotel/Motel rooms, Assisted Living facilities
  • Anyplace where large amounts of combustibles are stored (e.g. warehouses)

What’s the best way to prevent fires of this nature?

First, be sure that you don’t create situations where these kinds of fires can happen. Pay attention to such things as:

  • Maintenance schedules
  • Ensuring that your maintenance have appropriate training
  • Ensuring that your personnel know what to do in the event of an emergency
  • Be cognizant of any particular design features of your facility which might present potentialproblems (e.g. areas which, for whatever reason, don’t get much air circulation or areas which it’s hard for sprinkler systems to cover).

Here’s three examples of situations where fires started that could have been prevented by better adherence to a combination of the above factors:

1. Cardboard boxes stored near a heater burst into flame.

2. Some dresses placed too near a spot-light in a showroom window burst into flame.

3. A dryer, unattended, in a restaurant, assisted living center or day care center malfunctions and bursts into flames.

All of these situations could have been prevented by better training, better attention to procedures of using some of the equipment involved, better awareness of where potential ‘flash points’ were in the facility, and better assignment of personnel or company officers to establish and monitor fire safety factors in these areas.

But obviously fires will happen, right? So…what can you do about them?

Statistics show that there are two main lines of defence.

1. Having properly maintained and ‘charged-up’ fire extinguishers available, and people who know how to use them is always your first line of defense. But what about times when nobody is around?

2. Having an adequate automatic building water (or chemical) fire extinguisher system is an absolite must for any commercial building. In fact, in most municipalities in the US, you can’t even get your business approved to open unless the relevant city official inspects and approves your building’s fire extinguisher system.

But don’t scrimp on the design, cost and/or maintenance of your automatic extinguisher system. In case after case after case after case, experience shows that sprinklers save not only lives but also save businesses. You can get free advice on these types of sytems from many difference sources… least of all those vendors who sell them. Take their advice, do what you can using common sense but don’t hesitate to invest in equipment and training when you can.

June 27 2015

Check Your AC in the Spring to Keep Cool in the Summer

It seems to happen every summer: Your air conditioning unit breaks down in the middle of the hottest month of the year. Getting an appointment with a repair specialist takes several days if you even have the money to afford it. Until then, you might as well break out the oscillating fans and sit in front of your refrigerator.

The best way to avoid this familiar nightmare is to have your AC unit inspected during the spring. Catching problems early will save you from the impending summer heat and save money in the long run. One routine part of inspection is checking for leaks of carbon monoxide, a scentless but dangerous chemical, so AC inspection can even save your life. High temperatures can be particularly hazardous to pets children and the elderly, which is why its imperative to check your AC before the summer starts. Below is a list of things a professional would look for when performing an inspection.

AC Maintenance Checklist

  • Make sure your AC unit is running according to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Check for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be hazardous to your health
  • Identify problems areas to prevent the whole unit from breaking down
  • Check for dirt or leaks in the system, which can greatly increase your energy bills
  • Ensure the unit is running at peak efficiency to save energy costs and prolong the life of the unit
  • Test temperatures across the air handler as well as air flow across the compressor and condenser motor
  • Test the draw on the compressor and fan
  • Make sure the condensate system and the evaporator coil are working together properly
  • Check operating pressures and readings for sub cooling and superheat

As you can see, there are many health and economic benefits to investing in AC inspection before things start to heat up. You’ll certainly appreciate the effort after a cooler summer with lower energy bills. Learn your lesson from years past and call a maintenance technician before you have call the repair man.

June 07 2015

Top 5 Plants for Boosting Office Morale and Productivity

A healthy workplace is a happy workplace, and there’s no better way to invigorate your office than introducing plants. Numerous studies have touted the benefits of incorporating plants into office environments such as improved air quality, which can greatly boost morale and productivity. Here are five plants that are easy to care for and will fit right in with your office environment.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm can thrive in the sun or shade, so it is well suited for office life as long as you remember to water it. The plant produces a sweet scent your coworkers will love; indeed, its smell has been proven to enhance people’s moods in studies. Lemon balms require a pot with good drainage and rich soil.

Peace Lily

Another plant that appreciates the shade is the peace lily. These gorgeous flowers have been identified by NASA as one of the best enhancers of air quality. In addition to helping you breath better, they can add elegance to any office. Keep the soil loose and moist to keep your lilies standing tall.

Snake Plant

Also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue” for its pointy leaves and durability, the snake plant is capable of clearing smog, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from stagnant air. It is most active at night, so every morning you’ll walk into an office with freshly replenished oxygen. This plant is great for individuals who lack a green thumb as it requires very little care and can go several days without water.

Spider Plant

Studies have shown that spider plants increase humidity while decreasing concentrations of dust in the air, which will help you coworkers with allergies breath a little easier. It is usually content with florescent lighting and little water, but if the leaves start looking brown, place it next to a sunny window to revitalize the plant.

Rubber Plant

Yes, rubber plants are actually a living plant species, and they are one of the best at purging formaldehyde from the environment. This one can grow upwards of eight feet tall and requires regular watering. Having basically a small tree in your office will make everyone feel a little closer to nature.

May 27 2015

Ditch Your Single Serving Coffee Pods to Save Money and the Environment

Single serving coffee pods are becoming a staple item in offices across the world. Unfortunately, they are becoming permanent fixtures in landfills as well. Despite their tiny size, the trash adds up quickly: Keurig Green Mountain, which is just one of dozens of single serving coffee producers, made more than eight million coffee pods last year. If lined up next to each other, that’s enough trash to circle the globe more than 10 times!

About 20 percent of Americans use a single brew machine every day. The appeal of single serving coffee machines is easy to understand. You can have a hot, freshly brewed cup at any time of the day with no need for clean up. You may also think that you’re saving money by ensuring no coffee goes to waste, but that’s not necessarily the case. Believe it or not, even espresso machines with built-in grinders are cheaper to operate than capsule machines in office environments considering the volume workers consume. According to The New York Times, single serving coffee costs more than $50 per pound whereas a bag of roasted beans usually costs less than $20, so making the switch back to traditional brewing could save you money in addition to saving the environment.

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider how single serving machines might affect your health. All of the components that make up coffee pods are getting baked along with your coffee as hot water filters through it, so you’re likely ingesting tiny particles of metal, plastic and nylon. A few manufacturers have introduced biodegradable pods, but recent evidence has thrown their health risks into question. While Keurig claims that the plastic in their K-Cup pods is BPA-free, such plastics can still emit estrogenic activity that can damage human cells.

The trend of quick and easy single serving food products is on the rise as Keurig recently announced a similar machine for soup. Though it may seem like a tempting idea, using single serving pods has a negative effect on the environment, your health and even your wallet. Making coffee the old fashioned way pays off for everyone in the long run.