Enjoy Saunas Safely


Taking saunas, or a steam bath, is an ancient custom enjoyed by men, women and children. Sauna is a Finnish word which means bath, but it is also the name of the structure. A sauna is a permanent small building. It normally includes a changing room, perhaps a shower area and the next room that is for sweating. A modern trend is to install a sauna inside of a home.

The Process

Clothing is removed in the changing room. The shower area is entered next. Here, both before and after taking a steam bath, the person rinses off.

The hotter room is next. It has high and low benches. The lower benches feel cooler than the higher ones. Water is poured onto hot rocks which creates steam. The intensity of the heat is determined by how much water is poured onto the heated rocks. After sweating and relaxing as long as desired, leave the hot room then enjoy cooling off. Jump into a lake, roll in snow or more commonly, take a shower. Saunas are taken alone or with company and are taken anytime throughout a year.

Health Benefits

Taking a steam bath helps reduce stress and increase relaxation. They are invigorating. A steam bath helps increase circulation, improve the heart, strengthen immunity and remove toxins out of the body. Saunas are a wonderful experience. Here are ways to take full advantage of it.

When to Take One

Don’t hurry through the process. Create a leisurely experience for yourself. Fit it into your schedule before work, after work, after exercising or after sport games. The important thing is to not rush.


Instead of a full meal, a light one is recommended when eating before entering the steam room. Then wait awhile before going in. Let your system digest and settle down after the meal.

What to Leave Behind

Wearing clothing may be uncomfortable in a steam bath. Do not wear anything made of metal like earrings, necklaces, watches or bracelets into the steam room. The temperatures in a steam room heat the metal. Do not wear glasses or contact lenses.

Take Along

Towels are important. If you don’t want to sit on wood, bring a towel. Keep another one close-by for wiping off perspiration.


Pour small amounts of water onto the heated rocks at a time. Wait for the steam to circulate throughout the steam room before creating more steam. Allow the heat to gradually build.

If you are on a higher level and begin to feel dizzy, immediately move to the lower level. If you continue to feel dizzy, leave and cool down.

Move Slowly

Keep movements to a minimum. Inside the steam room is not a place for energetic activities.

Special Health Conditions

While saunas have many health benefits, it is best for pregnant women to limit the time in a steam room, and consult with their physician before taking one. Anyone with a specific preexisting health issue, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should consult with their physician before taking one.

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Air Conditioning Specialists Keep Your System In Tiptop Shape

Air conditioner

No matter what type of air-conditioning system you currently operate, you are probably always on the lookout for ways to maximize efficiency and get better performance, while reducing your impact in the environment. Your quest may have even led you to ask your air conditioning specialist about eco-friendly or ‘green’ systems. Green systems are all the rage nowadays, and apart from their eco-friendly benefits, they generally offer the added advantage of lower operational costs. If you are still on the fence about eco-friendly air-conditioning systems, a closer look into their features and capabilities should give you a better idea of their worth.


Because of their increased efficiency and better performance, eco-friendly air-conditioning systems place much less demand on the power grid than standard systems. Many green systems are even designed to provide optimum performance even while being operated for shorter periods. These benefits translate to lower energy costs, while at the same time providing the benefit of reduced impact on the environment.


Here are some suggestions on how to make your air-conditioning system more eco-friendly:


Consider changing out your current system for a new one. Ask your air conditioning Whitby specialist about available options in eco-friendly air-conditioning systems if your present system is more than three or four yours old. New models come out all the time, with each offering increased efficiency and better performance than earlier systems.


Plan a schedule for replacing your air-conditioning system. You don’t necessarily want to throw out your system every time a new model becomes available on the market, but you should definitely plan an upgrade every few years. Although this may seem exorbitant given the cost of a new system, consider the benefits of better performance, increased efficiency, and reduced operational costs. With a well-planned upgrade path and judicious investment, periodic upgrades might actually be a better and more cost-effective option than holding on to your present system past its recommended shelf life.


Alternatively, you may also look into aftermarket additions and customization options that will enable you to squeeze a bit more performance out of your current system. This is generally a more feasible option than outright replacement if your present system is less than a couple of years old, but has been superseded by a newer model. By opting for a selective upgrade or aftermarket modification, you may be able to get your present system up to current standards and get a few more years of use out of it.


Keep your air-conditioning system in proper working condition with periodic inspection and maintenance. A well-maintained air-conditioning system will perform much more efficiently than one in which the vents and ducts are clogged with grime, and in which perceivable faults are unaddressed. Ask your air conditioning specialist if he provides such services or if he can make a referral. By keeping your system in tiptop shape, you will not only get better performance out of it, but reduce its environmental impact as well.

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Eco-Friendly Luxury Custom Homes


Luxury homes typically are not what come to mind when people think about eco-friendly homes. In fact, they are often criticized for being wasteful, having a big carbon footprint and ostentatious. However, many luxury homes are being constructed to include eco-friendly features. www.calgarycustomhomebuilder.ca and below are some of the features that eco-friendly luxury custom homes often have:

Solar Panels
People who live in a sunny climate often use solar panels. Solar panels are devices that can be used to convert sunshine into energy that people can use in their household. Solar panels not only protect the environment, but they can help people save money on their energy bill.

Water-Conserving Devices
There are a number of devices that can be used to save water. Energy-efficient water heaters, low-flow shower heads and low-flow toilets are examples of some of the water-saving devices that people use. These devices are often placed in custom-made luxury homes. Like solar panels, water-conserving devices also help people save money. People are able to reduce the amount of money that they spend on their water bill by using a water-conserving device.

Energy-Efficient Lighting
Many luxury homes today have eco-friendly lighting. They often use compact-fluorescent light bulbs. These light bulbs last longer and use less energy than the incandescent light bulbs. Additionally, some homes have light switch sensors that will automatically turn off the lights when the room is empty.

Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning
Air conditioners use up a significant amount of energy in the home. However, many of today’s units are very energy efficient. An air conditioner is considered energy efficient if it has a seasonal energy efficient ratio of 14 or greater. Many luxury homes have an energy-efficient air conditioner.

Energy Star Appliances
The appliances in one’s home also use up a significant amount of energy. That is why many luxury homes have energy star appliances. Energy star appliances use up to 40 percent less energy than the standard appliances.

Low-Emittance Windows
Low-emittance windows help keep the home properly insulated. They also keep the home cool in the summer time by blocking out ultraviolet rays from the sun. Ultraviolet rays also damage the home.

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Outfit Your Porch With Custom-Built Adirondack Chairs

adirondack chairs

Looking for the last finishing touch to your porch that will make it just perfect? Adirondack chairs are excellent additions to any porch, deck, or lawn, and their comfort and style are undeniable. Better still, Adirondack chairs can be built surprisingly easily, if you have even modest woodworking experience.


The traditional Adirondack chair design features a curved backrest and wide armrests that provide superior comfort. Beyond this basic design, you actually have a lot of leeway with regard to size and wood material. Cedar is a great choice for Adirondack chairs, due to its light weight and resistance to rot. If you want maximum strength, 1” stock is a good choice. For most uses however, ¾” is more than sufficient.


To hold the individual components together, use 1½-inch wood or drywall screws. Countersinking the screws makes for a more elegant and professional look, and plugging the holes with cedar plugs glued into place will further ensure a seamless finish. You might also want to look into carriage bolts (¼” diameter bolts will work best) to secure the slanted legs to the vertical legs and also to set the armrests into place.


If this is your first time attempting a project of this scope, it is a good idea to cut out a pattern on paper first and assembling a prototype. This is a much less risky approach than cutting out your sections according to a list, as it will enable you to keep a close eye on how each piece fits as you build.


Cut the two vertical and two slanted legs first of all. The first cut out of each pattern should be used as the pattern for the second cut. This will ensure that all the legs are identical. Take the vertical legs and attach them to the front of the slant legs with the use of screws or carriage bolts. The armrest support knees should be attached to the outer edge of the vertical legs using two screws for each leg. The legal assembly can now be attached to the bottom of the backrest with the use of two additional screws for each side.


Next, cut out the support section for the backrest and attach the armrests to it with the use of two screws. You will also need to cut out five pieces for the back support, and six pieces for the bottom. The center backrest connects to the top and bottom section of the backrest. The armrests can now be attached to the vertical legs and the support knee of the armrest. Now is also the time to ensure that the armrests are perfectly angled.


After the armrests are positioned, you can affix the pieces of the vertical backrest to the support section of the backrest, keeping an equal distance between each slat. The bottom pieces of the chair should be spaced equally as well. At this point, you can connect the front trim panel to the slant legs’ front edge. By now, you should see the classic form of the Adirondack chair, at which point you can simply disassemble the chair and sand the pieces down for maximum smoothness.

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Organic Bug Control Techniques That Really Work

Pest Control

When getting rid of bugs around the house, chemical-based pesticides would seem as if they offer a feasible pest control solution. While chemical products may be effective at helping you reduce bug populations and even eliminate them entirely, there is often a significant tradeoff in terms of health risks to people and animals present on the premises, and even in terms of lasting negative effects on the environment. For this reason, it is often better to utilize organic methods for bug control.

If organic pest control solutions give you the impression of being somehow less than effective when dealing with stubborn pest infestations, it might be worth your while to consider a number of methods that are no less effective and provide the added benefit of being much friendlier to the environment besides. A number of these solutions have been put to good use by various civilizations over the centuries, and adapted to the demands of modern-day pest control efforts, they can be just as effective as commercially-available pest control solutions while reducing the risks associated with chemical-based products.

One of the simplest, and yet most effective ways of getting rid of bugs that infest your plants is spraying them with a mixture of water and chili pepper juice. Similar to the pepper spray used by law enforcement personnel, albeit in a much more diluted form, this homemade pepper spray serves as an irritant to many pests, and can be amazingly effective. Although you will have to be careful about keeping the spray bottle away from children and pets, this solution is much less safer than any commercially-available pest control spray you can buy.

Another pest control method you can experiment with is the placement of glue traps at strategic locations around your home. For bugs that infest your home infrequently and in relatively small numbers, this method can be surprisingly effective. Furthermore, glue traps are inexpensive and easy to use, and they do not cause any adverse effects on the environment.

Speaking of traps, there are a number of traps sold on the market that aim to reduce specific species of bugs. Although most commercial pest control firms have moved away from using traps over the years, they are becoming more and more popular nowadays given the increased emphasis on environmentally-friendly pest control methods. Like glue traps, these solutions are easy to implement, and they come with the added benefit of causing much less harm to the environment than chemical-based solutions.

Certain plants can also be quite effective for discouraging bugs and/or reducing their populations. Basil and a number of other herbs can serve as irritants to mosquitoes for example, and having a few of them around your home can work wonders for discouraging mosquitoes from congregating around your home.  If you don’t to handle these rodents yourself, you can also call an eco-friendly pest control Toronto company to get rid of them.



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Steel Buildings Go Green!

With the global emphasis on “green” technology informing nearly every aspect of society it was only a matter of time before the movement would impact on the construction industry. Green construction is just as much a buzzword as anything else connected to any environmental concern, and companies will definitely have to do their part if they hope to remain competitive in a market that has seemingly become infatuated with everything green http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel_building.

It is interesting to note that some of the most promising developments in green construction and design come by way of  steel buildings. Despite their industrial roots and spare, utilitarian image, steel buildings are actually providing to be some of the most environmentally friendly options in the construction scene. If you are looking to go green for your next construction project, steel buildings might just be the way to go.

What makes steel buildings so much better than traditional structures from an environmental standpoint? For one thing, steel is relatively inexpensive to manufacture. A building made of steel can cost much less than a similar building made out of wood or concrete. And since steel buildings will last for much longer without requiring repair and/or maintenance, they provide longer years of service than other types of structures. This reduces the toll they have on the environment. We have a great example at innovative construction method of architecture.

Future Steel buildings are also much faster to manufacture and to construct. Because most of the components are manufactured offsite before being transported to the construction site for final assembly, there is much less need for specialized equipment and heavy machinery at the construction site. There is also less need for technical personnel, and the project could generally be accomplished with a much smaller crew. Since a larger crew will have a correspondingly larger carbon footprint than a smaller crew (due to the increased demand for energy and resources), opting for a steel building is clearly the better option from an environmental standpoint.

There are many reasons to opt for steel building design, and many of them should appeal to building owners from a financial or structural standpoint. When you consider the benefits of such designs on the environment as well, opting for steel buildings would seem like the best possible alternative.

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Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas — For the Cook

Spice Rack Eco Friendly Gift Ideas    For the CookLooking for a green gift idea for the eco-chef in your life??  Check out these kitchen spice racks available in bamboo. Bamboo is a great wood to use because it grows extremely quickly with little water and no use of pesticides required at all.  Bamboo has been known to grow as much as 6 or 8 feet a day!!  This renewable resource is perfect for daily use because it is extremely hard and durable as well.

A spice rack makes an extremely good gift because they are constantly in use.  Even the most amateur wall rack Eco Friendly Gift Ideas    For the Cookcook will have a wide range of spices on hand to help concoct their dishes.  You can get spice racks that sit on the surface of the counter or a wall spice rack for kitchens without any extra counter top space available.

Whichever version you choose, it would be a nice touch to have some of your home-grown, organic dried spices on hand to fill the jars with.  This gives the gift a personal touch not available in big box retailers.

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Beads For Change

earrings Beads For ChangeAre you looking for an eco-friendly product for the fashionista on your shopping list this year?  Check out Beads for Change.  This program employs women of Uganda who live in hillside slums.  They are refugees after decades of war in northern Uganda.  Their only previous means of supporting their families was to crush rocks for approximately $1 a day.  Imagine having to feed, clothe and house your entire family on a dollar a day…  I simply can’t.  Their reality is completely unimaginable to me.

necklaces Beads For Change

This program teaches their employees to make beautiful beads out of used paper that would otherwise end up in a scrap heap.  They make these beads into necklaces, earrings and bracelets that can be purchased and worn worldwide as a way of supporting women and the environment.

bracelets Beads For Change

This program not only provides training and employment for the women involved.  The crafters receive a professional wage and training on financial management for long-term success, budgeting tips, savings tips, entrepreneurship training and micro-finance training.

Each piece of jewelery comes with a tagged picture of a woman who’s life you are helping to change.  You can pieces individually, have a house party to promote the products to your friends or even do a fundraiser for your child’s school or team activity by purchasing these beads.  It’s amazing how a purchasing decision can make such a huge difference!!

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Oil Town Living

4654535617 7bf499dc5e Oil Town Living

Courtesy of Flickr User That Angela

I’ve got to admit that I live in the middle of a city fueled by oil.  Make no mistake about it, Calgary is definitely an oil town.  We’ve got a terrible reputation as red necks with out Stampede and a myriad corporate offices full of planet polluting, pipe line building, suit wearing “cowboys”.  However, there really is room in this city for even a major tree hugger like myself.  Even the never ending construction boom builders are beginning to realize it.  Us greenies are here to stay!

There are now starting to be more and more Calgary apartments for rent that take eco-living and social responsibility into account.  The Calgary Homeless Foundation movement is finishing renovation construction on 16 apartments downtown that will welcome homeless veterans an affordable housing option. These apartments will be provided with minimal rent to veterans who have served our country bravely and have suffered from long term problems of homelessness.  Although I couldn’t seem to find any articles about it online, there were clearly energy star appliances in these renovated apartments.  In addition, there are many great Calgary movers that can help you relocate.

Green building technologies have soared in the last few years and this oil town has embraced them with both arms.  Everything from dual flush toilet kits, low flow shower heads, energy efficient furnaces, solar panel technologies, composters, rain water barrels and even gray water systems are extremely popular both in new builds as well as renovations on existing apartments and homes throughout the city.  We may have been one of the last cities in Canada to have gotten curbside recycling programs in place but they are finally there and being utilized.

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Penguin Sweaters

Penguin Sweater Penguin SweatersTo be clear, this post is about tiny sweaters for penguins such as pictured on the left.  I am not writing about sweaters for humans with penguins on them such as this one from Chanel pictured on the right.  It’s cute but not exactly an environmental call to action!To be clear, this post is about tiny sweaters for penguins such as pictured on the left.  I am not writing about sweaters for humans with penguins on them such as this one from Chanel pictured below.  It’s cute but not exactly an environmental call to action!

Penguin Sweater2 Penguin Sweaters



Of course the real question is why would a penguin need a sweater?  A recent oil spill in New Zealand (check it out in the Guardian here) has left the penguin’s habitat in shambles.  At least 50 tonnes of oil have been jettisoned into the waters absolutely destroying the area for the more than 85 species of seabirds.  The oil gets all through the penguin’s feathers which the penguin then tries to clean off by preening.  Unfortunately, these cleaning efforts can prove fatal because of the ingestion of oil.

Hence, the sweaters.  There is a call to action for knitters worldwide to make these tiny sweaters in 100% wool.  I’m not a knitter but urge anyone who is to get involved in these efforts.  The New Zealand yarn store Skeinz is organizing efforts and has a “how-to” guide on their site to help create these adorable, life saving sweaters.  Apparently these types of sweaters are very useful in oil spill situations involving the penguins and have been used in other instances.

Penguin Jumper in 8ply – Must be 100% Wool Yarn
1 pair 3.25mm , 1 pair of 3.75mm needles , 1 set of 3.25mm dpn’s or circular
Cast on 36 stitches using 3.25 needles.K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this row 7 times. Change to 3.75mm needles and K2, P2 rib. Work 4 rows increasing at each end of every row. (44 sts)
Continue until work measures 15 cms.
Decrease 1 st at each end of every row until 28 sts remain.
Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.)
Leave on needle.
Make second side the same.
Transfer the 54 sts from both pieces to 3 of the set of 4 3.25mm needles.(18 sts on each.) and work a round neck in K1 P1 rib for 10 rows.
Cast off.
Stitch up sides to decreasing to 27sts (opening for flipper). Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17 cm (knots allowed). Flat elastic okay.

For more details, visit Skeinz’s website.

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