HOW TO MANAGE A SMALL KITCHEN

HOW TO MANAGE A SMALL KITCHEN

Cosy, compact, quaint – call it what you want, but a small kitchen is a small kitchen. It’s only those dealing with a really tiny bit of space that will know how difficult it is to create and manage a gorgeous kitchen in confinement. It’s possible, but a challenge nonetheless.

So as far as the experts are concerned, what exactly should you be doing with a small kitchen to make the most of the space available to you?

OPEN PLAN

First of all, if there’s any way of combining the kitchen with a second living space, this will immediately make both rooms look and feel much larger than they are. Making the move to open plan can mean pretty heavy remodelling, but can vastly improve the appeal and even the perceived value of your home.

HIDDEN KITCHEN

An increasingly popular option these days is the hidden kitchen, where the open-plan kitchen’s surface, appliances and whatnot sit neatly out of sight behind folding doors. This does of course limit the size the kitchen significantly, though can look incredibly elegant.

MIRRORS

Though not typically associated with the kitchen, mirrors mounted in just the right places can make the whole room look and feel exponentially bigger. Mirrored units and cupboard doors in particular can make a real difference.

FLOOR SPACE

Focusing on floor space in any small room is important. The reason being that the more clear and open floor space there is, the bigger the room feels. The more stuff is crammed in there, the less free floor space and the more cramped the room feels.

BRIGHT COLOURS

Just like mirrors, bright colours work in the same way by making the place look and feel bigger. Bright kitchens almost always come across as larger than those decorated in darker colours.

WALLS AND CEILINGS

Last but not least, focus on using all available floor and wall space, along with hidden storage solutions to keep clutter out of the equation. The more clutter there is all over the surfaces around the kitchen, the more chaotic and cramped it will feel as a result.

If you would like more information from a specialists in Kitchen Design, please contact Designtime Kitchens in Nottingham or contact them today on 01159 81 89 81.

5 ways to reduce your business carbon footprint

5 ways to reduce your business carbon footprint

Pollution is making our lives difficult on a daily basis. The condition of the environment is deteriorating due to pollution. It is everyones duty to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Many businesses are taking steps to control their greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses are becoming more efficient, making a positive impact on our environment and encouraging others to follow similar steps.  There are many ways you can reduce business carbon footprint; here are some most effective methods.

1. Recycling

Landfill costs are increasing every year. Recycling your office waste can help to cut down this cost. Government figures show that commercial and industrial waste in the UK for 2016 was 27.7 million tonnes. Although this is a reduction compared to the 32.8 million tonnes in 2012, it is still an extremely high figure that demonstrates the importance of recycling over sending this waste to landfill.

“Managing waste correctly and responsibly can help to save your business money in the long term. In addition to recycling your office waste, your business can use recycled products such as document paper, cardboard boxes and packaging supplies. Old electronic items must be recycled in line with WEEE compliance laws which can help you to avoid potential fines. You should make it a company policy to recycle as much as possible in the office” says Green Plan-It, a waste management company based in Leicester.

2. Reducing energy usage

You should make it a business policy to switch off all the lights when not in use, especially at night. You can have occupancy sensors fitted in your office so that the lights go off automatically when there is no one in the room. It is also encouraged that companies switch to green energy suppliers for operating their business. Whenever your electronic equipment like laptops, photocopiers, etc. are not in use, turn them off right away. The amount of heating must be controlled with a thermostat. Your office walls must be well insulated so that energy is not wasted. You should maintain your office equipment well so that they don’t use too much energy.  All these actions will reduce the carbon footprints in your office.

3. Travel

Whenever possible, you should skip travelling. You can use telephone or video conferencing instead to get your work done. Try to plan ahead so that you can combine multiple trips together and reduce the number of trips. For example, instead of going to a place for a meeting twice, try to resolve everything in on one business trip. Encourage your employees to use public transport and eco-friendly vehicles like bicycles for coming to work. You can offer carpooling services for your employees so that less number of vehicles are used when coming to work. Continue reading 5 ways to reduce your business carbon footprint

Is Green Technology Really Profitable?

Is Green Technology Really Profitable?

Over the past 10-15 years we’ve heard a lot about global warming, fossil fuels and the need to move towards greener technology. Many investors saw this as a golden opportunity, since we would clearly all need to adapt in the near future, and many new technologies were on the horizon a few years ago. Solar energy, electric vehicles and more innovations were in the process of being developed about a decade ago, and all looked like they were destined to make huge profits within a few short years.

However, not everything has gone according to plan within the green technology sector. Adopting new technology has been slower than many insiders estimated, and the development plans of most green energy and transport solutions have run into issues along the way. It has been tricky to build confidence in new technologies, and many companies ended up trying to minimise their risk and failed to embrace greener, more modern innovations quickly.

Another factor is that the threat of impending climate change and other side effects from pollution has not been as effective as expected. Individuals and businesses have not been as motivated to change as originally anticipated, despite knowing all the facts about what will happen to the planet (and our short term costs too) if we don’t try to be more sustainable. As a result, the last few years have seen a relative drop in the levels of investment within the sector while people remain stubborn. Continue reading “Is Green Technology Really Profitable?”

Could You Be Entitled To Free Cavity Wall Insulation?

Could You Be Entitled To Free Cavity Wall Insulation?

Cavity walls are present on the majority of brick-built houses dating from the early 20th century or later. Since warm air can be trapped in the space inside a cavity wall, forming an additional barrier between the inside and outside, these make buildings better at keeping heat in and save on energy bills, especially when insulating materials are fitted in the cavity.

Typically, the process of insulating a cavity wall would start by confirming that the structure of the wall allows for it. A hole would usually be drilled in the outside wall to access the cavity, and from there insulation materials such as wool or foam can be injected into the space. As long as appropriate ventilation is also fitted, this simple process is enough to significantly improve the energy efficiency of many homes in a safe and cost-effective way.

Tip: You can actually distinguish them by the pattern of the bricks from the outside in a lot of cases. If all the bricks look the same size and are arranged facing the same way, there is most likely a cavity between two layers of the wall. If the bricks alternate in size and shape, this means the wall is probably one solid construction and there is no cavity area.

Once you’ve established that your walls have the capacity to be insulated from the inside, the next question is whether this can be done for free. Depending on a few factors, you may be entitled to this under the government’s ECO (Energy Company Obligations) scheme. Usually your entitlement to free cavity wall insulation will depend on things like your household income, whether you have children living with you, if you are disabled, any benefits you and receive and various other factors. Continue reading “Could You Be Entitled To Free Cavity Wall Insulation?”

What Is An Energy Performance Certificate?

What Is An Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an important document required by the UK government to ensure that the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) is met.

Ensuring regulations on energy performance are adhered to is a high priority for the government, since the effects of climate change continue to be seen and recorded around the world. An increased focus on sustainable fuel usage is still required, but holding buildings to the standards shown on an EPC is one method that has been successful for many years now.

A domestic Energy Performance Certificate will be provided to anyone moving into a new home. The EPC is one of several key documents which you can expect to be provided in this situation. This would be given by the previous owner if you’re buying the property, or the landlord if you’re simply a new tenant. Continue reading “What Is An Energy Performance Certificate?”

6 Reasons You Should Consider Solar Panels

6 Reasons You Should Consider Solar Panels

Most of us are aware of the pressure we’re under to find renewable energy sources and swap out unsustainable fossil fuels for more long-term substitutes. However, a lot of homeowners (and business alike) find themselves paralysed by uncertainty and hesitant to truly invest in renewable energy. This is despite the range of benefits available that many people might not be that familiar with. In particular, solar panels seem to be a particularly misunderstood concept.

We spoke to installers of renewable energy services about the six best reasons to use solar panels and generate renewable energy to power your home. Here are those six in detail…

1. Reducing your energy bills is an obvious benefit for anyone, as cutting costs is always helpful. By generating at least some of your own electricity to use in the home, your consumption from the National Grid will drop, perhaps allowing you to sign up for a cheaper package.

2. Reducing your carbon emissions is another well known benefit to solar panels, and ideally this should motivate everyone to get them installed! Even so, it can be hard to find the motivation and capital to make the initial investment, but that’s before considering the additional benefits that other people forget.

3. You may benefit from the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) in the UK if you are able to produce enough electricity through solar panel to feed it back into the National Grid. This may qualify you to receive subsidisation from the government. Continue reading 6 Reasons You Should Consider Solar Panels

Eco-Friendly Heated Towel Rails

Eco-Friendly Heated Towel Rails

Heated towel rails may seem like a luxury to some people, but they can actually be one of the most cost effective ways to add a really special finishing touch to your dream bathroom. They don’t have to be expensive to install or run, especially if you go for an option that’s designed to converse energy and minimise your carbon footprint while it’s in use.

Whatever finish you choose to coordinate with your existing fixtures and fittings, stainless steel, chrome or white designer heated towel rails made for bathrooms just like yours will be available if you find a specialist supplier in your region. Depending on what design you select, almost all heated rails will be available in the same or very similar designs regardless of whether you go for an energy-saving version or not.

The installation of your heater is where this may vary, but even if it’s more complicated and a little more costly, you should soon find that it’s worth the investment. By using less energy produced by fossil fuels, which harm the environment by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as they release energy, you can significantly reduce the impact your day-to-day activities are having on the rest of the world.

One straightforward way of enjoying a designer radiator or heated towel rail without excessive energy consumption is to have an eco-friendly timer fitted when you have your heater installed. This can automatically ensure that it is only switched on when you need it, making sure your towels are still warm and dry when you need them to be, but without wasting energy by having them heated excessively. Usually you can have such a timer installed very discreetly in a bathroom, just the same way you would have a light switch fitted. You can also set the temperature to further reduce wasted energy. Continue reading Eco-Friendly Heated Towel Rails

Are E-Bikes Really Environmentally Friendly?

Are E-Bikes Really Environmentally Friendly?

E-bikes are quickly becoming a popular alternative to other methods of transport. Compared with some alternatives, they offer a great selection of benefits, primarily cutting down on fuel costs as well as the impact their carbon dioxide emissions have on the natural environment. However, some have argued that the overall effect of having more electric bikes around is likely to be negative on the environment and people’s health and fitness in general. Here we consider both viewpoints.

Firstly, it comes down to what an e-bike is being used as a substitute for. If you regularly drive your own car to work or throughout the rest of the day, switching to a fast ebike might be an obvious way to reduce your carbon footprint. These bikes, with manual peddling assisted by a battery-charged motor when required, can really make the difference for some people who would find it highly impractical to cycle to work purely because the journey is slightly too long or difficult. Perhaps the only thing stopping you taking your bike is that steep hill just before you get to the office? Continue reading “Are E-Bikes Really Environmentally Friendly?”

Can Drum Heating Be Energy Efficient?

Can Drum Heating Be Energy Efficient?

Drum heating is a process that can be required when thick, viscous liquids need to be transferred or pumped from one container to another. It can also be used simply to stop those liquids from becoming completely solid or freezing. Examples of these liquids include fat, grease, syrups, chocolate, tar, lubricants and other related substances. What these different liquids have in common is that they are typically difficult to move at room temperature or below due to their partially solid state.

A drum heating oven is usually used to aid the process of moving or pumping such liquids because raising their temperature makes them more fluid. It might be necessary to heat the substance to room temperature or higher, depending on its individual melting point and the task required. Usually drum heaters work using either steam or electric heating elements to change the temperature of their contents.

A few benefits of drum heaters include the following:

They are generally built to accommodate multiple drums of the same specific size, so economies of scale are available.

By returning viscous liquids to a more practical liquid form, they can prevent waste materials being generated.

Liquids which are heated and able to move more freely can speed up production processes.

Precise controls are used on the ovens to ensure they only heat to the optimum temperature and the results are predictable.

For some it is questionable as to whether drum heaters can be an energy-efficient solution, due to the fact that they must be continuously used in order to maintain the temperature of a substance. However, there are a few specific arguments against that.

Certain types of high quality drum heating ovens in particular use modern technology to maximise heating performance with relatively low fuel consumption.

It is often necessary to use drum heaters only as and when required. For the rest of the time, some liquids can be stored in their natural state below their melting point with no problems. This depends on the specific liquid because not all substances will stand up to being solidified and melted multiple times without loss of quality.

How the UK’s Green Deal Affects Boiler Replacements

How the UK’s Green Deal Affects Boiler Replacements

You may have heard about the UK’s Green Deal system, or recent lack thereof, but not fully understand what it covers. To quickly summarise, the Green Deal is no longer supported financially by the UK government after being axed a year ago. Before that point, it meant that people all over the UK could claim financial assistance to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes. It applied across the country and included a number of different services, so for example if you needed boiler installation and repairs in Milton Keynes or Bedford which would help your home become greener, you’d have the same entitlement to government help as someone getting double glazing in Birmingham or draught-proofing in Devon.

There were numerous issues with the Green Deal. Sticking with the example of boiler servicing or replacement – one of the most common reasons people applied for help – it seemed like a great idea at first. The costs and risks involved with plumbing and installing a new boiler would often put people off, especially those with lower incomes who needed the support the most. However, the idea of free government money to alleviate these costs soon looked more like a pipe dream when people realised all the funds offered under the Green Deal were actually loans that required repayments. This somewhat went against the point of the scheme to financially incentivise greener technology in UK homes, as people were discouraged by debt more than they were attracted by the idea of efficiency. Continue reading How the UK’s Green Deal Affects Boiler Replacements

Advice on Saving Energy at Home

Advice on Saving Energy at Home

There are a few different areas to really focus on within your home if you feel like you should be doing more to cut down on your energy usage. This is normally a great thing to look into since you’ll be helping the environment as well as saving money. Altering your lifestyle slightly can make a huge difference, so look at these areas and see what improvements you can make…

1) Heating

A small adjustment can work wonders. Even if you just turn down your heating by 1°C, you could cut a significant amount off your bill over the course of a year. When it does get cold, try wearing more layers instead of heating the whole house. When it’s warmer, consider installing a system that can be controlled with a mobile app remotely so you can turn off your heating when it isn’t being used. To save on heating water, try using your shower on a lower pressure setting, as many people waste a lot of energy and water by not doing this.

2) Cooking

Try to limit the time your oven is on by coordinating with other people and cooking multiple meals at the same time. Use the appropriate size ring on the hob for each pan you use to maximise efficiency. When you’re finished, keep the oven door open in winter so the heat goes towards warming up your kitchen rather than leaving the house through a vent.

3) Washing

Using your washing machine on an energy efficient setting can make a huge difference. 30°C will be suitable for most washes, or 40°C at the most. Air-dry your clothes afterwards rather than wasting electricity with a tumble dryer. If you do use a dryer, end the cycle slightly early to cut down on the energy used, and your clothes will still be 90% dry. Continue reading Advice on Saving Energy at Home