Enhancing Sustainability in Manufacturing in America

Introduction

Much work has been done in the area of sustainability in manufacturing in the United States. Virtually everyone agrees that much more needs to be done to improve energy efficiency in manufacturing, reduce waste, improve the development and management of the workforce, and design and manufacture products that use our scarce material and human resources in a more optimal manner. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) states on its website:

The NAM and our member companies are committed to working with Congress to establish sensible federal climate change policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining a competitive playing field for U.S. companies in the global marketplace.

However, on the NAM website as of December 30, 2008 there is not one paper telling manufacturers about any best practices they could adopt to promote sustainability. It appears that NAM has no such task force studying how manufacturing concerns can create their current products in a more sustainable manner or begin to advance the state of the art in designing and producing the next generation of products that are more sustainable, efficient, effective, and less harmful to the environment. Possibly NAM and state associations promoting manufacturing and technology could undertake and publish detailed research across the tens of thousands of manufacturers to identify the sustainability oriented practices that have helped improve the environment, helped improve the productivity of their workers, and helped improve their bottom line.

The Current Situation

Much information already exists on “green manufacturing.” Conferences are being held. Books are being written. Engineering schools are focusing on sustainable engineering to attract students who can find great jobs in meeting the future manufacturing environments which will be embracing sustainability principles. A guick GoogleTM search reveals the following:

Green Manufacturing News

ManagingAutomation.com/Green.Mfg The Latest News on Technologies, Business Practices and Trends!

IndustryWeek – Connecting Manufacturing’s Leaders

Making Green: Sustainability In Manufacturing And The Clean-Tech Economy. Now that the green marketplace has firmly taken root, many manufacturers are…

Sustainability is good business

The main business drivers of sustainability for manufacturing firms make a good strategic concept for improving business performance:…

Amazon.com: Sustainability in Manufacturing: Recovery of Resources…

Amazon.com: Sustainability in Manufacturing: Recovery of Resources in Product and Material Cycles: Günther Seliger: Books.

Sustainable Manufacturing

Dec 10, 2008… Australian manufacturing firms are being placed on a more sustainable footing by our research in eco-efficient technologies and engineering…

SUSTAINABLE LEAN MANUFACTURING

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML

This set of slides is a brief introduction to the perspective Act Now brings to Sustainable Lean Manufacturing. This is not intended as actionable advice….

Tips for sustainability in manufacturing – 11/18/2008 – Control…

Nov 18, 2008… Controls engineers have quietly done sustainability related efforts for years; we call them “lean initiatives,” says Pack Expo speaker.

The Sustainable Manufacturing Summit provides the opportunity to find out how top manufacturers and their customers are lowering their carbon emissions and…

Fifty Sustainability Experts To Speak At Sustainable Manufacturing…

Jan 21, 2008… Sustainability experts are looking forward to sharing their carbon reduction strategies on April 8th and 9th at the upcoming Corporate…

Green Manufacturing Expo 2009

Sustainable manufacturing, defined as the “creation of manufactured products that use processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy and natural…

Information and Progress

The existence of information, conferences, books, tips, be it from the U.S. or Australia in the examples is an excellent first step in promoting the improvement of manufacturing based on sustainability principles. However, information alone is not sufficient to propel manufacturing concerns throughout the U.S. to begin adopting on a large scale more sustainability oriented manufacturing practices.

One challenge to securing broader and more rapid adoption of sustainability oriented manufacturing processes is that there is no universal agreement as to what “sustainability” really means. Tremendous work has been done on creating very useful sustainability “scorecards” and measures, and this is very helpful. In an effort to give a simple, yet direct definition of sustainability in manufacturing, we offer the following definition.

“Sustainable manufacturing processes deploy the optimal use of material and human resources for the long term to produce the desired product.”

That is the official definition adopted by the Sustainable Business Group concerning manufacturing and sustainability. It is simple and direct and focuses on one key term: Optimal.

When a manufacturing concern can shave one kilowatt or one cubic foot of natural gas use through energy conservation, without creating an inferior product or inferior work conditions, then it is not operating in a sustainable manner because it is not operating in an optimal manner. Even when it can use less energy in peak times, it becomes a more sustainable manufacturing enterprise since peak energy use is by far the most costly (in dollar and environmental terms) type of energy use that exists.

If the employees of a manufacturing concern are not properly trained and educated by the company regarding how to conserve energy and materials use on their jobs, in their homes, their churches, and in their life-style choices, then these employees are not engaging in the highest level of sustainable activities since their actions are not optimal.

These are easy words to write, but brutally hard to implement at the manufacturing plant level or across an entire globalized manufacturing concern. Where does a manufacturing concern start on the path or expand its already existing efforts toward becoming a more sustainable enterprise? This article begins in a very small way to address this question.

10 Recommendations to Promote Sustainability by Manufacturing Concerns

1. Make the optimal use of human and material resources in the production process, a key performance objective goal of the company with metrics to measure performance along this dimension. These metrics can be produced hourly, daily, or weekly and shared with employees, stockholders and customers. They should become a true source of pride in the company.

2. Create real incentives and rewards for everyone in the company to be more energy efficient, deploy human talent more effectively, reduce materials waste, reduce pollution and green house gas emissions, and promote the design and manufacture of the next generation of products that are more sustainable in the long run. Share in the savings being generated by implementation of a “gain sharing” type program to reward the employees and encourage creativity and savings.

3. Create real disincentives for employees and managers who do not effectively promote sustainability and reach the sustainability oriented targets. Create the accountability systems that will show management and co-workers who these employees are and how their disincentives are meted out to them.

4. Create and support a culture that promotes sustainability in everything the manufacturing concern does. This includes enhanced communication, testing of new methods/technologies and management support combined with a reward system to ensure the employees share a sense of ownership.

5. Reengineer the business plan of the manufacturing concern, adopt new technologies, human resource systems, and financial reporting systems to ensure that the sustainability activities created are cost effective and promote enhanced profitability of the company. A key to the success of the reengineering is assignment of “ownership” – managers must be assigned responsibility and given the resources and support to succeed. Additionally, relook at the manufacturing production schedule and ask the question, “Does it make sense to shift some production from the first shift to the second shift or third shift when there is less demand on the utilities (electric & gas) and rates are typically lower?”

6. Incorporate “externalities” (e.g., pollution for which a company is not charged, waste of materials and disposal of a product at the end of its life cycle disposal for which a company is not charged, etc.) in business decision making.

7. Demand real progress be made starting quickly and increasing cumulatively as the manufacturing concern learns how to become more sustainable. Utilize the heat generated by the manufacturing process to provide supplemental heating to the plant and office areas.

8. Develop plans in three phases: short term – focused on improvements in the next 1-3 years, medium term – focused on years 4 -10 and long term – ten and twenty year plans for getting closer and closer to achieving the optimal use of material and human resources

9. Demand that the supply chain used by the manufacturing concern adopt and implement sustainability planning and implementation. In order to get the supply chain engaged, the business must help define “what’s in it for me”, by providing a cost benefit analysis for the suppliers to use in their ROI calculations.

10. Create “sustainability” as an integral part of the marketing, public relations, reputation, product development and transportation processes of the company. A business that has successfully implemented “sustainability” processes can utilize the success story as part of the sales and marketing campaign as well as communicate it to the community they reside, as a true green manufacturer.

These 10 steps are general guides. Survey your workers to ask them how the company can make real progress toward a more optimal use of material and human resources. Employees know a lot about this topic. Survey your customers and ask them these same questions. Survey your managers and find out not only what their suggestions are, but also identify and promote the managers who will actively promote sustainability and be willing to be held accountable for reaching the sustainability oriented goals of the company.

Conclusion

In today’s recession, a new motto is arising in manufacturing around the world and especially in the United States. That motto is: “Change or pain.” The principles of sustainability promote the right kind of change that will help existing manufacturing concerns survive and new manufacturing concerns thrive as they develop the new products our consumers need and our world requires to promote increased prosperity in a sustainable manner.

The CEO and the plant manager must be the CSC – Chief Sustainability Cheerleaders. Someone in the company must be held accountable for improving the company every year towards the goal of the optimal use of human and material resources for the long run. While every company will take a somewhat different tack toward reaching the goal, the basic strategy for reaching this goal should be very similar across many manufacturing concerns.

Now is the time for Associations, educational institutions, and government agencies that seek to promote the economic improvement and the longevity of manufacturing in the US and throughout the world to gather and disseminate the best practices, hold conferences, educate workers and managers alike, and set their eyes on one simple goal – to help manufacturers strive toward the optimal use of human and material resources for the long run in developing their desired product. Company leaders and even company employees without significant managerial responsibility can help lead this effort in your company, in your industry, in your locale, in your state, in your country, and yes, in the world. The time is now for strengthening the leadership in improving sustainability in manufacturing.

Article by Herb Rubenstein, President, Sustainable Business Group, Denver, Colorado and Keith McAslan, Managing Partner, McAslan Consulting, Denver, Colorado

About the Authors

Herb Rubenstein is the President of Sustainable Business Group, a consulting firm to businesses and individuals in Colorado. He is the author of two business books, Breakthrough, Inc.: High Growth Strategies for Entrepreneurial Organizations and Leadership for Lawyers, and over 100 articles on business strategy, entrepreneurship, leadership, and improving how organizations function and deliver value.

Choosing Tools For the Beginning Woodworker

I often see and hear questions about which tools a beginning woodworker should acquire. And the numerous recommendations, although varied, all seem to have a shopping list a mile long. So, I want to also provide my shopping list. And remember that I am still a beginner.

What I say here some consider shocking, even blasphemous.

The only tools that a beginner needs are a saw and a hammer. And no, I did not mean a power saw. A simple hand saw will suffice. I may also add a screw driver and possibly even pliers.

So, you can not be serious. But, I most assuredly am. But, realize that the woodworking with these tools is sorely limited. Neverheless, it can be done, just not very well. So, what I'm getting at is that woodworking is such a broad area that it's harder to define. Because a contractors table saw might be of little use to someone who wants to do wood carving. Likewise, precision carving knives are of little use to a woodworker specializing in wood turning.

So, before we can design a shopping list, we ideally want to know something about what the woodworker wants to do with the craft. Now, with all that behind us, I will attempt to devise a more generic shopping list.

I would begin with some basic hand tools. By that, I mean hammers, assorted screw drivers and assorted wrenches. I would also include a generic hand saw, or two.

Next, I would consider the more basic power tools. I would begin with an electric drill. A battery operated cordless unit is desirable, but certainly, not necessary. I personally have a newer compact 18 volt lithium drill and I love it. Corded drills still function admirably, even though they give up a slight bit of flexibility. One note here is that a cordless tool is always subject to battery life and battery failure. Replacement batteries are often more expensive than a completely new tool. A corded tool only needs access to power and the proper extension cord. A circular saw, a jig saw and an orbital sander would complete my basic shopping list.

The next step beyond the basics listed above would likely include a table saw and a router. Often times this may include multiple routers, at least one of them would be bench mounted. Another of the basic basic tools is the compound miter saw. Some people also prefer the redial arm saw.

After this, the selection becomes a lot more specific to the particular aspect of woodworking you wish to pursue. A jointer and a planer seem to be for the more advanced woodworker, while a scroll saw is more for those that chose to do the smaller, more elaborate type of work.

I know that this list is not complete in all areas, and in some circumstances it is probably overly general. But it is a place to start.

Go Rustic for a Date With the Warmth and Splendor of Natural Stone Mosaic Tiles

Want to copy farmhouse patterns or aiming for a jumbled, but the smart decor, the rustic mosaic tile patterns would fill the house with happiness. Get them in small sizes and shapes, the mosaics bringing a warmth and a love to the setting. Whether on walls and floors around the house in living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, create the most attractive homely looks!

Choose from among several natural stone mosaics to bring an eternal rustic shadow that never leaves the sanctity of the home.

Rustique 3d Interlocking Pattern

The slate tile sensation comes in a mix of grays, browns, and rusts that together speak a winning language. The 3d Interlocking Pattern fits in prettily in an accent wall that reminds of a naturally sculpted mountainside. Arrange them around a fireplace to create a cabin effect. If they are put on the wall that surrounds a soaking tub in the bathroom, a tranquil spa effect is a welcome impact.

Hedron Interlocking 3d Polished Pattern

Among the best choices to spruce up style statements, this is a natural Crema Marfil Spanish marble tile! They come in a variety of beige shades. Though of a neutral light shade, it creates warmth in the surrounding and matches well with most other colors and shades. The design has scattered rectangular tile projections jutting out of the wall in a variety of thicknesses. Flat walls come to sheer life amidst the complex patterns. Imagine an accent wall under its impact at the entrance! Alternatively, combine them with the flat Crema Marfil marble countertop in the bathroom.

Silver Ash Tumbled Veneer

The rustic theme is getting more attractive and mystically so. This tile has an attractive rustic honed surface. The thin rectangles sit well on small bathroom floors and on horizontal walls too. The grays along with bits of deep tan grace the natural travertine tile. They look sensational to create accent borders in a pattern. Why not try them out on shower walls? They could provide a border stripe around the room too. Besides, the honed finish guards with a non-slip surface in the wet areas.

Chiaro Travertine Tumbled Veneer

Get the romantic feel all the way from Tuscany with this pretty tile! A striking traditional old world beauty comes from the sensational shades of beige with a tumbled surface. Put the Chiaro on backsplashes to grace a pretty granite counter, rising above the stove. The tile would grace the border on the floor too. The tile is very effective in the fireplace surrounds too. Let it grace the wall behind the fireplace or the mantel.

Emperador Cafe

A mosaic that truly haunts the vision with the unique rustic charm. The style statement is absolutely fascinating. It is a brown marble tile that is available in a range of sizes to suit a variety of applications. Some versions are the five-eighth-inch square pieces that are arranged in tumbled finish sheets. Alternatively, get them in sheets of brown marble blended with pretty neutral glass. Small-sized tiles help to create distinctive kitchen backsplash designs. Wall designs would need a larger ground tile.

A design plan is essential like arranging the bottom half on the wall in large squares or subway Emperador Cafe tile. A pencil molding appears above that, with a few lines of Emperador Cafe assorted with glass mosaics, topped off with rail mold. Plan the floor to ceiling tile arrangement with 12-inch square tiles in the three lower rows. Put the rail mold above that and then place the small mosaic squares all the way to the ceiling.

Natural stone mosaics bless the home and family with happiness and esthetics! Bring rustic peace and a traditional charm with the style and durability of natural stone mosaics. Nothing really beats nature’s treasures, raised in the timelessness of the womb deep below. Introduce timeless joys and an otherworldly ambiance into the home.

Let the family be blessed with moments of tranquillity amidst all the contemporary stresses. Create an oasis of old world joys for moments of reality that transcend time and space. Choose among a bevy of essentially fabulous natural creations, trimmed and designed by humans and technology. Build a bridge to the past and nature to bring utter happiness for the whole family.

Yoga Old And Modern

Generally speaking the perception of Yoga has changed significantly. When we compare the traditional yoga of the ancients to today’s modern version we can see if there are indeed changes.

In most classes, articles, books, blogs and other media sources on yoga we can observe how they differ from traditions of the ancients.

These modern-day practices on closer inspection are very different from those of antiquity.

Some purists of the day who see modern yoga as being so different from the traditional they refer to modern yoga as “Not Yoga”.

To be a miner of diamonds,

take care of your picks and shovels.

To be a miner of your spiritual Self,

take care of your body, breath, and mind.

But don’t confuse the tools and the goals.

Author unknown

Historically speaking, yoga was taut orally and there are subtle differences between those teachers of old.

Principles of this practice were usually communicated through religious teaching where brief instructions were expanded on verbally.

For example, in ancient times the outline of yoga was be found in 196 sutras of yoga which was then discussed with and elaborated upon by a teacher to pupil.

Furthermore, the deeper meaning of Om mantra for example, is detailed Upanishad and is elaborated upon orally.

This article is not claiming that there exists a single universal contemporary yoga… there are also many different approaches.

However, the overall perceptions of yoga have made an overall shift which has proved worthy of scrutiny.

So yoga like many of the ancient traditional practices seems to have been compromised over the centuries.

We may argue though that these inevitable changes are only a reflection of yogas ability to adapt to the changes of time.

Ancient or otherwise traditional yoga combines deep religious roots with physical and highly meditational practices.

The aim of traditional yoga was to attain moksha-liberation, freedom from reincarnation and recognitions of one’s own divinity.

As we have seen traditional yoga is practiced in a different way than most popular modern styles.

An example of this can be seen when take a look at jnana yoga that doesn’t have any physical postures. Instead the emphasis is on a path of rational self-enquiry and seeks true enlightenment of one’s true nature.

When the term yoga is used many of us think of bending into different postures.

In fact, these postures, otherwise known as “asanas” traditionally were not a part of yoga until someone called Pontanjali wrote the Yoga Sutra around 2200 years ago.

Pontanjali created postures to discipline the body and conscious connection.

Ancient yoga practitioners viewed asanas as a small but useable part of the practice as a whole.

Traditional yoga styles are not a popular practice as modern yoga in Western culture, but many aspects are incorporated into today’s yoga styles.

Having said that, most yoga studios today now base their practice on a variety of physical postures/asanas.

Because of its many benefits including increased flexibility, and stress relief yoga has become a popular activity in Western culture

In addition, depending on the style of yoga a typical class may be focused on physical fitness or may focus on meditation utilising some of the ancient background.

Modern day yoga does not expect the practitioner to aim for any kind of spiritual enlightenment. However, it can be a catalyst which enables one to reach enlightenment.

The Easiest Way Grow Your Online Business Opportunity With Article Marketing

Whether your website is selling a product or a service you need constant exposure to get new visitors to your site. The only way you'll move up the search engine ladder is to learn how to grow your online business opportunity with article marketing. It's really an easy way to find new customers and make more money on the internet!

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is essential for moving your site into the top ranked postings on every popular search engine. After all, what's the point of listing keywords and key-phrases associated with your business if you're not going to optimize them?

Your friends are right! Article banks are filled to the brim with back-linked articles that not only get more visitors to the originator's website or blog, but also serve to increase and optimize their site's all important search engine rankings. Aside from providing a greater chance for your business to turn into a viral online success story, marketing through social networks and article data banks just makes good sense.

Article marketing began to gain strength as more business owners began using self produced prose to help promote their business. News editors began frequenting article databases for story leads and the number of hits to the sites grew to severe proportions.

Article marketing services will write and post informative prose for you all over the web! You will not have to become an internet or SEO-guru to figure everything out. Article marketing services can have the articles written for you and post them to all of the popular article banks.

In fact, simply by providing a keyword or key-phrase, these fee-based services can have a professional writer prepare your articles in as little as twenty-four hours for proofing. Then the article marketing service does the rest of the work.

In fact, there are many services available now that will write your articles and post them for you. All you need to do is supply a small fee and a keyword or key-phrase and Voila! In a day or two your articles are appearing all over the web and your search engine rankings increase accordingly.

You'll get all of the important backlinks needed to get your site noticed for just a few dollars. It's like getting big business level assistance for the price of a few Venti Lattes! What could be better than that?

Article writing and submission services range from $ 15 per unposted article to as much as $ 3,500 or more per posted article or prepared press release. There is a service to fit every budget and meet every unique marketing objective.

Whether your enterprise is large or small, you can grow your online business opportunity with article marketing. If you know how to write using keywords and key-phrases properly, the process can cost you nothing more than a little time. But if you would prefer to concentrate on your core business, there are many cost-effective article marketing service approaches that are available.

"Take the Stairs" Messages – Efficient For Weight Loss

Healthy messages printed in local places may encourage people to take the stairs instead of the elevator and even descend the stairs later, according to a team of British researchers.

The results shown that messages such as "Take the Stairs" or "Seven Minutes of Stair Climbing Daily Protects Your Heart" increased stair climbing by 190 percent, according to Frank Eves of the University of Birmingham and his colleague, Oliver Webb at the Kingston University .

Experts also studied other ways to make people take the stairs. They considered artwork hung by the steps or music in office stairwells as good ways to encourage stair climbing. The researchers collected data from almost 82,000 people that passed in a shopping mall in England in over six weeks.

First, researchers printed a colorful design on a target staircase but this did not attract too many climbers. Later, they added a healthy message to the design. The results showed a significant growth in the traffic on the target stairs.

Actually, the researchers also reported a twenty-five percent increase in people traveling down the stairs. However, on long term, people may start to ignore the message, so the long-term effect is still uncertain, according to Sandra Ham at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Regular stair climbing may help you burn considering calories, according to a previous study lead by Eves. For instance, a 175- pound man who climbs home stairs eight times per day may burn the equivalent of the calorie intake of four days per year.

(c) Project Weight Loss 2008. All rights reserved.

Natural Cork Flooring

With the myriad of flooring types available, shoppers tend to lean toward those that are most popular at the time. Unfortunately, this practice can cause a consumer to miss out on some great flooring options.

One of these hidden gems is cork flooring. Imagine a floor covering that is attractive, comfortable, environmentally friendly, durable and affordable. When most people think of cork, they think of a wine bottle or a cork board, and due to this lack of consumer awareness, this product is commonly overlooked. In order to appreciate this material, you really need to understand its unique characteristics.

Origin

Cork is actually the bark of the cork oak tree found in the Mediterranean. Portugal is the largest supplier with over 30% of the world's cork trees and 70% of the world's cork production. Every nine years the bark is harvested by hand with the average tree yielding about 4,000 corks.

The bark is honeycomb in nature, containing 90% air that can be compressed to 40% and then quickly returning to its original shape. This feature creates a natural shock absorber.

Benefits

Due to its air like composition, walking on cork is like walking on air. Its comfortable walking surface is perfect for kitchens where you are standing for lengthy periods of time.

Cork has a natural beauty with a rich, varying grain, similar to wood. It also comes in many different patterns and tile sizes from various manufacturers.

The same feature that makes the floor comfortable creates a natural noise reducer. It's extremely quiet to walk on and reduces the impact if an object is dropped on its surface. It's insulating effect make cork a great choice in a bathroom over radiant floor heating or even installed over cold concrete floors.

Cork is an environmentally friendly product in many ways. Since the bark from the tree grows back nine years after harvest, it's a reusable and sustainable product. It also contains suberin, a substance that is resistant to insects, mold and protects cork from rotting when exposed to moisture. Suberin is naturally fire resistant and cork does not release any toxic gases when it burns.

The durability of cork makes it a perfect choice for virtually any room in the house, including those high traffic areas. It has been successfully used in churches and other public buildings since 1898.

Disadvantages

Due to its resilience, heavy furniture can dent the flooring, so it's important to use castors or furniture pads under table legs. Just as with wood, an excess of water can damage the finish. It should not be used where you have problems with moisture or flooding.

Costs

The cost of cork flooring compares to high-end laminate or hardwood and runs approximately $ 4 to 6 $ per square foot.

Maintenance

Cork floors are extremely easy to maintain with regular sweeping or vacuuming. Damp mop the floor monthly with a mild detergent and very little water and avoid using abrasive or ammonia-based cleaning products.

The flooring requires up to five coats of urethane sealer, which will last several years. A dulling floor can be refreshed with another coat.

Bicycle Roof Rack – How to Correctly Fit It Onto Your Car

A roof rack is a frame frame attached to the top of a car roof in which assorted items can be fasted unto. By that definition, a bicycle roof rack is simply a roof rack specifically designed to attach bicycles to the roof of the car.

Why You Need a Bicycle Roof Rack

There are plenty of reasons why carrying your bicycle via the roof is a good idea. Mainly, it is because it saves space and enables smaller-sized cars to transport bulky items such as a bicycle without compensating the volume of passengers or trunk space. The thing is, if you're going to be strapping one or more bicycles to the top of your car, you'd better pay attention to some safety tips to prevent any unwanted accidents, especially when the car is traveling along bumps, slopes and at fast speeds.

Check Your Roof Rack Clamp Type

First off, check that the bicycle roof rack you are about to install is suitable for your car. The modern day roof rack now comes with two types of clamps. The traditional clamp attaches itself to the car at the rain gutter crevices whereas the other type of clamp does not. When in doubt, always ask around and any salesperson should be able to show you a table that will indicate to you the suitable type of bicycle roof rack for your car model.
Check Your Spacing

Bicycle roof racks come in an array of racks with different spacing between the front and rear of the rack. What you want to look out for is the optimum spacing for fitting your bicycles. Typically, users are advised to keep the front of the rack towards the front of the car take precaution as you would not want the whole rack to tilt forwards. Before you clamp down the rear rack, measure the distance between the front fork of the bicycle in relation to the rear tire. Ideally, the rear end of the rack should be as far as possible from the front section of the rack.

Check the Clamps

Now that both ends are clamped down, double check that the rack is leveled as its clamping strength is stronger when it is even attached at all four points of the car roof. By the way, even before you place your car roof on the top of your car, the first thing you would want to do is to first clean the surface area of ​​the roof. When the rack is finally leveled and you are satisfied with the distance and positioning of the racks, it is then time to tightly secure your rack to your car roof.

Color Impact

You may forget the street address or the intersection, but you easily recall the yellow building with black bumble bee stripe roof. That's not a bad paint job it was the company's intent to impress this in your mind because a bumble bee is the featured element in their logo. Far more people know the "bee building" than know the street address, it's actually a local landmark. Internet marketers can take a cue from this example. Is your web site a landmark? What is distinct about the colors and logo that makes it unmistakably your site?

This company had the right idea in using color psychology to establish their bumble bee brand. They not only used the colors; bright yellow with black accents but they also used the black on yellow stripes as would be seen in nature. Plus they knew how to edit. The stripes can be difficult on the eye and distracting. By using it selectively and as an accent instead of a repeated design, the stripes focused the eye down to the main portion of the building. Internet marketers can imitate this idea on their sites. Overuse of textured, stripe or wavy backgrounds distract the eye and frustrate the viewer. Frustrated viewers are quick to click away. Selective use of these type of backgrounds and placement in a way that draw the eye in towards a product photo or copy can be a strong use of these elements.

Think about how your color choices reinforce or detract from your logo. In the example, the bumble bee on the logo became the color palate for the building and its advertising materials. How well does your product logo connect with the color choices on your web site? Even if you dislike the logo color of a product sold on your site, to use the logo you must have compliments colors around it. You can not paste in the logo and ignore its color impact. If it's your logo, change the colors. If you have to work with a product logo, ask if you can produce it in grayscale. Do not think that having a white background means "everything goes with white". That's true, but the logo and other web site graphic colors do not go with each other and to the eye, it's a total picture. Make smart, thoughtful uses of color to please the eye of your viewers.

How To Choose the Right Painter and Decorator for Your Home

In terms of house and home renovation having a professional painter and decorator to finish the job is one of the most important aspects. This is after all, the first thing that people will notice. So the question is: how can a person go about in hiring a local painter and decorator? What should you expect from a painter and decorator?

Most people think that it’s fairly easy to re-decorate a room. After all, what could be easier than painting a wall? However, as with most things, there’s a knack to everything, and painting and decorating is no exception.

How to Pick A Painter and Decorator

The range of services provided by any good professional painter and decorator will include the following:

  • Painting (both interior and exterior surfaces)
  • Hanging wallpaper
  • Varnishing and staining wood surfaces
  • Preparing surfaces for painting/decorating.

The Cost of a Painter and Decorator

A person must remember that painting a room or hanging wallpaper isn’t as easy as you might think. There are many factors to consider, not just the colours. For example, the type of wallpaper – will it be vinyl needing paste, or wallpaper that only needs dipped in water. What quality of paint should a person use? Even getting these relatively simple factors wrong can cost a person more in the long room. So the cost of the work by a professional painter will usually pay for itself in the long run.

Reasons to Hire A Professional Painter & Decorator

Here is what you can expect to get by using a professional:

  • Work done to high standard
  • He will have the necessary tools.
  • Has the knowledge to find solutions to difficult jobs

How Do I Choose a Painter and Decorator?

There are a number of ways to pick and find a good painter and decorator. For example, a person could ask around his neighbours and friends, he can check the Yellow Pages or find one through a professional trade federation/association. Let’s looks a two of these options:

Recommendation from a friend. This is probably the easiest and you have a better chance of getting a good job done. After all in this business, reputation is the most important thing. A painter who relies on his business by recommendations will make sure that he does a good job. More often than not you might get a better quote for the work. A person can also check out his work and get more information on the painter himself. You can often arrange to provide your own materials, and sometimes this is cheaper. A word of warning though – never buy the cheapest materials.

A trade federation/association. These groups usually have a list of the registered tradesmen in a particular local area. Usually all the members of the association are vetted for honesty, quality of work done and quality of materials used. This can be sometimes more expensive than finding a painter through a friend, but it has the advantage that if there is a dispute you can usually take it up with the trade association.

Which is Best Paint or Wallpaper?

After choosing the right painter and decorator, the next decision is decor. Nowadays there is so much to choose from that it can be difficult to know where to start. A professional painter and decorator will be able to give you ideas because more often than not he will have tackled something similar in his work and will know what looks good and what doesn’t.

Paint. This has some advantages and disadvantages. You can choose from an uncountable amount of colours and tones. Paint however, can be ‘colder’. Remember that the tone you see on the paint pot or even the actual tone of the paint will differ from how it looks on the wall.

Wallpaper. Wallpapers are good because they can cover up minor defects on the wall and they can be very resistant to wear and tear. You can be sure of the colour as well. The disadvantages are that wallpaper can be difficult to change or repair and you need a professional to put it up. However, Good quality wallpaper should last at least 10-15 years.

How to Hire a Painter and Decorator

Keep these factors in mind when hiring a painter and decorator.

  • It’s usually best to meet at your home. You can show him exactly what work you want done.
  • Have some colour schemes ready. Use the Internet to plan for this. There are many great sites there with pictures, ideas and colour schemes.
  • Explain in detail all that you want to do. That might seem obvious, but sometimes you have a clear picture of what you want, but does the painter and decorator have the same picture?

The Right Painter and Decorator

If you choose well and follow these tips you will be able to get the right painter and decorator for the job. The end result will be a room, or rooms, that you will feel at home in and will impress your visitors

How You Can Reduce Watering Frequency of Potted Plants by Half

With potting soil treated properly with water-absorbing polymer crystals, you can go on vacation without worry that your house plants or container gardens will stress out and shrivel from lack of water.

In fact, when used properly, Water Crystals will cut in half-and sometimes more-the frequency for watering house plants and plants in container gardens.

But, do not wait until the last minute before your vacation to treat your soil.

You should apply Water Crystals at least 3-5 days before leaving and then saturate the growing medium before departure, or you could return to a disappointment. The earlier application gives the soil, polymers, plant and pot time to adjust to each other. The plants will find the water stored in the polymer crystals and drink from them as needed. Hydrated polymers will also keep the potting soil more moist than soil not treated with them.

In new pots, Water Crystals should be allowed to expand fully upon initial watering. You have two ways of doing this: Pre-swapping the polymer before adding to your potting mix; or adding the crystals in their dry state into your growth medium.

You can pre-swell by adding water at a rate of at least 12-15 gallons of water per pound of dry crystals. That's an equivalent to about 4-8 teaspoons for one gallon of water. The polymer will hold much more; but this rate will get you started. Allow the mixture to stand at least 20 minutes or until water has been absorbed.

The less-messy way to incorporate the crystals to you mix is ​​to add them dry crystals. To promote the uniform distribution of absorbed water, you must thoroughly mix or till the polymer crystals into the soil or growing medium.

After blending with the soil, a subsequent watering should be applied to maximize water content. Blend at a rate of 5-12 parts soil to one part gel (by volume). The normal ratio is 8: 1, but this can be varied depending on the soil composition, climatic conditions (temperature and humidity), and the type of plant to be grown.

To treat existing container plants or container gardens, make holes with a pencil, dowel rod, screwdriver or other such implemented in the planting medium to approximately 2/3 the depth of the pot. You're goal is to be sure that the Water Crystals reach the root zone. Add dry crystals evenly to the holes as follows:

Pot Diameter Amount # of Holes

6 inches 1/2 teaspoon 4 Holes

8 inches 1 teaspoon 6 Holes

10 inches 2 teaspoons 8 Holes

12 inches 4 teaspoons 10 Holes

For larger containers, follow the progress illustrated in the table.

Then, soak, but do not over-saturate, the soil. Remember, it will take 15-30 minutes for mid-graduation crystals to absorb the excess water; less time for granular powder.

Water Crystals or any polymer crystals are not substitutes for good watering and fertilizing. They only augment good irrigation treatment practices.

They increase the medium's water holding capacity and enhance the efficient use of available water by the plant. No soil should not be allowed to completely dry out.

Feeder roots seek out the filled reservoirs of Water Crystals, penetrating their membranes to provide nourishment to the plant.

Finding The Right Heating And Cooling System

Having little to no heating and cooling in your home can be as unpleasant as if your roof leaked for those living inside. It is not only unpleasant to have a poorly heated home in the winter; it can be bad for your family’s health. The reverse can be just as true in hotter climates during the summer, heat strokes from a stifling hot home can be just as dangerous as a cold brought on during the winter if not more so. Luckily, most installation companies will take care of both these heating and cooling problems at the same time.

When you decide to purchase heating and air conditioning it is important to know what would work best for your home. There have been many advances in the heating and cooling industry over the years and some of them might be better suited towards your needs than others. The most common method used to provide heat to the entire house is central air. By having air vents through out the house able to distribute the hot or cold air on demand is enough to keep most houses comfortable. This method however can require extensive installation, as it needs to have air ducts leading into every room, through floors and walls. If your home does not already have an existing system that your contractor can build upon the initial installation for central air can be extensive.

Another popular method of heating a home is called radiant heating. By covering your floor with flooring designed to transfer heat evenly your entire house will be warm from the floor up. The beauty of radiant heating is that since it covers the entire floor, there are no more cold zones as you step away from a heating vent. Radiant heating can be achieved in several ways, but the most common is electrically heated wiring beneath your floor or pipes of hot water. Both methods work by transferring heat through the floor into your home and both have their advantages and disadvantages so it is important to ask your contractor what he thinks would work best in your home.

One of the major disadvantages of radiant heating is that it does not do much to provide air conditioning for your home in the winter. In a central air system however most air conditioning systems will just use the same air ducts that the heating elements used to provide cool air through your house. If you live in an area that rarely gets too hot or can afford to have both systems installed into your home than radiant heating may be the right choice for you.

There is also always the option of getting smaller air conditioning system for your home if it is rarely too hot. It would not be as efficient or comfortable as a central air system but people have been using wall-mounted air conditioners for smaller homes and apartments. Whatever heating and cooling method your decide your family will thank you the next time the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Types of Candles to Use for Wedding Favors

Candles are one of the top choices for giving as gifts because they're so versatile and because they come in so many styles, colors and scents. This is also the reason why there are so many ways couples choose candles to use for wedding favors.

Couples also find that candles are one the least expensive yet most elegant ways to add color and light to the guests' tables at the wedding reception. Popular selections for weddings include floating candles, pillows, tapers and tea light candles.

Floating Candles
This type of candle is especially popular as an added accent to guests' tables, the cake table and other areas around the reception. They provide a calming, ambient light and can be purchased to blend in seamlessly in with the theme of the event.

You can float white or off-white candles in colored water or float theme-colored candles in clear water. Or mix and match the water and candle colors through the reception hall for a colorful accent.

Pillar Candles
Since pillar candles are free standing, they're often used as centerpieces on guests' tables and in combination with taper candles for the head table. At around two to three inches in diameter with one to three wicks, simply add a candle wring or weave some decorative silk foliage around the candles for beautiful centerpieces.

Taper Candles
Slender and charming, tapers can be short or tall, and the size you use depends on how and where you want to place them. You can have a medium to tall single taper candle at each guest's place setting or combine three shorter taper candles into one 3-candle holder as a centerpiece.

Tea Light Candles
These small, delicate looking candles are around 1.5 "in diameter by" "high and sit inside small metal containers. You'll often see tea light candles sitting under food warmers or they can be placed inside of a decorative candle holder.

Since most tea light candles are generally white, they can be placed inside of other candle holders and set around the tables at the wedding or one at each place setting as part of the wedding favors.

Purchase the Candles to Use for Your Wedding in Bulk for the Best Savings
One reason couples often choose candles for wedding favors or as an inexpensive way to add to the atmosphere of the occasion is because they can be bought wholesale, which saves a lot of money.

Even when you¡¯re having a small wedding with no more than 50 people, it's still one of the cheapest ways to add a centerpiece to each table and give them as wedding favors without going over your budget.

If you go to Walmart or Target and price individual candles, it can get pretty expensive, even though these are discount stores. But if you shop at a 'Dollar General' or other liquidation type store, you're going to get even greater discounts.

And for the largest discount, shop online at places like Oriental Trading for the deepest discounts available on the types of candles you're looking to use at your wedding.

Building Your Newsletter Opt-In List

Entrepreneurs build many strategies to communicate effectively and efficiently to their customers. They aim at communicating and fetching clients to bring business to their organizations. Email campaigning is one of such strategies to allure the customers and build strong relationship with them. A marketer communicates a company's message to the virtual community. A businessperson should target at the potential clients to reach the maximum customers effectively. For this purpose, a marketer builds an opt-in list. In email campaigning, one sends newsletters to promote the brand identity of a company. Therefore, a good newsletter opt-in list is essential to get good results.

Preparing an Opt-in List for a Newsletter:

A good newsletter opt-in list is instrumental in increasing the customer base of an organization. It fetches email addresses of potential customers. These customers are willing to receive a newsletter of specific interest. There are various ways to acquire email addresses of such customers. A marketer requires an opt-in box which is carefully constructed. This opt-in box provides a spontaneous flow of the email addresses of prospective customers. It gives direction to a marketer in conducting a result-oriented email campaign. An opt-in box draws maximum customers to receive a newsletter. It imports of first name, email address, button 'Subscribe' and 'Unsubscribe' as well as privacy policy. The purpose of asking the first name is to identify a visitor. The email address section or column is an important one that obtains the email address of a potential customer. One should ask for an email address that is often used by a customer. Then there are the buttons that give freedom to a viewer to subscribe or unsubscribe to the newsletter. The privacy policy ensures a customer about the non-exposure of the email addresses. A marketer also gives an opt-in offer in a form of short and crisp title.

A marketer can provide free newsletters to read. This gives you an opportunity to allure a reader to subscribe for the newsletters. A marketer should provide a genuine reason of subscribing to a newsletter. One should be able to brand the email newsletter. This can be done by adding authentic, good and fresh information every time. Fresh information helps a marketer to allure a prospective customer repeated to the information in a newsletter.

Mouse Pads And Their Various Advantages

Mice are a very vital part of the computing world from time immemorial. They have been evolved into different shapes, sizes and technologies over a period of time. However, their function to establish an interface between the user and the computer has not been affected even in the slightest manner. In fact, it is one of the integral parts of the computer which is yet to be replaced by a better peripheral.

The mice started as mechanical ones which involved the use of roller balls under the mice. During that period of time, the dust collected under the mice always stuck to the rim of the mouse and affected the mouse movement. This can be seen even today today as pollution often strikes the inner holes present within the mice. To avoid this catastrophic situation, the mouse pads were introduced in the market. The mouse pads are made of soft sponge which absorbs most of the dust present in the environment. It also absorbs water and requires it from entering the tiny holes present within the computer mice.

Beside providing protection to the mouse, it also effectively increases the efficiency of the mouse. It helps in a better mouse pointer movement and accurate clicks. Mouse pads are available in various materials and some of the most popular ones are fabric, plastics, neoprene and many more. Each of them has their own advantages and utility value.

Mouse pads are available in various designs, sizes, colors and shapes. A user may buy his desired mouse pad depending upon his taste and requirement.