Ideas For Arizona Landscaping

Landscaping is a big business these days, with new homes and
properties coming up in this southwestern state. A lot of homeowners are
wary of landscaping their homes since they are not sure about the kind
of plants that grow in the arid climate of the state without using lots
of water. The good news is that the landscapers can help you with
suggestions of plants which can survive the tough drought conditions.
You may get the landscape of your dreams by incorporating a fire pit,
inbuilt grill, or a pool. The first thing to do is look at your property
as an opportunity instead of a challenge.

The desert terrain of Arizona is characterized with
mild winters and warm summers. This is the perfect setting for outdoor
living round the year. Consider the ways in which your family would like
to spend their time outdoors. You might envision your kids swishing in a
new pool, or friends gathering around the pit. Try the AZ landscaping
ideas if you want to host incredible barbecues. There are primarily two
landscapes – the hardscape and the softscape.

Hardscape: This
includes the fire pit, water features, flooring, fireplace, and the
barbeque. You can create a relaxing environment with a carefully chosen
plant life, although not many pay attention to a decorative structure.
Decking materials, fireplaces, patios and barbeques have a crucial role
to play in your outdoor life. There are actually endless options. You
may choose according to your lifestyle, but the landscape specialists
can pick up the elements that suit your needs and tastes.

Softscape:
Flowers, plants and trees are generally the aspects we think of while
landscaping. Softscapes are usually the most distinctive features in a
landscape, one need to choose them intelligently. The AZ landscape
designers will help you make the horticultural decisions and the right
choice can help you choose wisely. If the trees are placed creatively,
you can create a curb appeal, enhance property value, decrease your
utility bills, and add to your outdoor living space. Once your property
is appraised, the landscape designer creates a personalized plan.

Flowering
plants are ideal for desert landscapes. These are ideal for adding
color and beauty while conserving your time and water. Torch plants and
bougainvillea are ideal for adding different shades and impressiveness
through the year. However, the petals may run your pool. This is why it
is best to go for colored shattered blossoms along the patio to give it a
Mediterranean look.

Terracing the back or front yard is a unique
way to handle sloping terrain. The landscape retaining walls are well
known in Arizona and there are different materials for creating walls,
from DIY projects to elaborate ornamentations by skilled craftsmen.

Energy-efficiency Electronics Hardware A bridge Fuel To The Future

Demand for energy continues to be a major topic around the world. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydro power are increasingly being utilized to provide for that demand. Many States have even recently passed laws raising the minimum renewable usage cap that utility companies must implement into their overall supply. But … we still require escalating amounts of energy for agriculture, industry, and to heat our homes and offices. Emerging as a “bridge fuel” to clean energy and renewable resources, the power electronics industry is poised to span that gap with hardware solutions needed to build intelligent power systems.

The Obama administration plans to spend billions of dollars on power conservation and sustainable energy projects as part of a $787 billion stimulus package which is has focused on energy efficiency. Andrew Fanara, of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program has famously said. “Energy efficiency is the bridge fuel we must build on and must invest in” he stresses “Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, fastest way to act.”

In part, the administration’s strategy is to use improved energy efficiency as a method of buying time to invest in and explore emerging and clean energy options. With initiatives like the smart power grid gaining traction, the power electronics hardware that makes it all work and its new designs aimed at increasing energy efficiency will be at the core of the plan.

Already, there is huge demand for power efficiency by consumers found an industry survey. And, consumers are willingly paying a premium for electronic hardware that delivers energy efficiency. This trend anticipates a growing number of electronic hardware devices will be utilized, which lowers costs and drives improved energy efficiency. Measured in dollars per watt this high volume of hardware deployment forecasts the efficiency for power electronics may drop to as low as 12 cents per watt by 2013.

The focal point of “smart power” systems and a national smart energy grid has clearly been on the hardware side of the equation. To be successful, in the not to distant future, engineers will also make use of the intelligence provided by software so that the hardware components communicate most effectively to accomplish maximum reduction of power consumption. The know-how exists now for this integrated software, but it is still far from widespread.

Power Profiling is a valuable energy-efficiency tool that granularly identifies the power consumed specifically by HVAC, appliances, networks, lighting etc. and communicates this information to users. A user profile is developed by use of proprietary algorithms that calculate information regarding a structure’s overall usage, and several data points such as the time of day and its energy consumption history.

The purpose of power profiling is to enable users to know exactly what activities or systems are consuming the most power, including how much, and how that consumption is affected by actions they take. Most HVAC and appliances are not yet enabled so numerous hardware metering devices are used throughout the structure, at least an adequate number to demonstrate to the user what the largest power users are and how to limit consumption.

Home Area Networks (HAN) are increasingly communicating with utilities in addition to the traditional media centers and computers. Both utilities and consumer electronics companies are offering and assortment of hardware solutions with methods of pre-programming and remotely controlling home systems such as water usage, heating & cooling, and appliances. With the arrival of “smart” appliances and new wireless network protocols designed specifically for energy-efficiency, many of these hardware solutions communicate to users and utilities over one or more wireless systems.

ZWave for media and home automation

ZigBee chosen by utility companies because of it’s secure protocol, and

EnOcean a European self-powered energy harvesting technology that powers devices without the use of batteries.

Hardware using these wireless protocols can all be controlled from a single point building management system, or a homeowner’s computer. Even though these technologies are still on the leading edge, trends indicates they are very near to wide-scale adoption, enabling buildings to connect to smart grid applications that exponentially increase energy-efficiency.

Advances in alternative energy sources have provided greener ways of producing electricity and the burgeoning energy-efficiency industry is providing a plethora of energy saving hardware devices to help users re-tool . We can reduce energy consumption with these advances and make strides toward energy independence. Consider what T. Boone Pickens says “In additional to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable foreign nations, we spent $475 billion on foreign oil in 2008 alone. That’s money taken out of our economy and sent to foreign nations, and it will continue to drain the life from our economy for as long as we fail to stop the bleeding.

Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion – it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.”

“By investing in renewable energy and conservation, we can create millions of new jobs. Developing new alternative energies while utilizing natural gas for transportation and energy generation; securing our economy by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and keeping more money at home to pay for the whole thing.”

Moving forward with renewables is a must, but it is also a documented fact that this increased capacity will not be enough to meet upcoming demands and provide energy independence. The tremendous strides being made in energy efficiency technologies are to help stem the tide, bridging the gap.

Get The Best Brushed And Oiled Oak Flooring For Your Home

Many people tend to forget that the floor of a house is as important as the roofing and the walls. People are more worried on the size of the compound and the size of the rooms. They are worried whether these rooms are big enough to accommodate all their belongings. They are more concern on their TV sets and the space to put them. However, when it comes to worrying about the floor coating there are several things to think about.

The type of flooring depends much on the texture and your style. There are different kinds of flooring which you may choose from. Each flooring has a different way of maintaining it. Therefore the treatment you give to your floor will determine its lifespan. Taking good care of the floor will help you save on the maintenance and other costs that might be brought about by not taking care of it.

Whereas other people may risk taking a new kind of flooring, several others would want to stick to oak flooring. If you want your floor to be much beautiful and perverted then go for the real oak flooring. Its texture offers different colours so it is ideal for you if you want something stylish. More importantly, another reason why it is loved by many is that it is durable and long lasting.

Many people believe that oak wood flooring is best used only in places where there is less activity in the house, but with the presence of engineered oak flooring, it can be used anywhere in the house, even in the bathroom. Generally speaking oak wood flooring is just a marvelous way to add worldliness to your house. It is a necessity for anybody who loves exchanging the spirit of the rooms.

Before you decide on the kind of oak flooring you want, you must first understand the different types of oak flooring. Solid oak flooring requires a high level of DIY so you have to look for a qualified fitter to avoid damaging the floor. Most manufacturing companies have installation instructions therefore you have to follow the condition laid down properly.

In the other hand lacquered oak flooring are well furnished therefore cleaning it isn’t much work. The only problem with this type is the scratches but most people regard this as another form of decoration. In the recent past brushed and oiled oak flooring is gaining popularity among many home owners. However, oiling of this floor should be done on a regular basis to maintain its texture.

Choosing A Kitchen Worktop

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home, being a functional space where culinary masterpieces are created and having another use as a social space for entertaining or interaction.

Choosing the right kitchen to reflect your cooking requirements and the style of your property is vital, as the kitchen is a room where you are likely to spend a lot of time in and can add considerable value to your property.

As well as choosing paint colours, units, sinks and accessories, perhaps the most pressing ingredient to consider when designing your new kitchen is worktops. Depending on your cooking and entertaining balance, it is better to choose a worktop that can fulfil your requirements, whilst looking stylish in your kitchen.

Stone kitchen worktops are perhaps the hardest wearing of all work surfaces and as such are favoured by avid cooking fans. Popular stone includes granite, marble, slate and quartz. Such materials can give a high shine, expensive look to any well-designed kitchen. In addition to an opulent feel, stone worktops are durable, hard wearing and water resistant – the most well known of these being granite worktops. Hampshire residents to Leicestershire inhabitants can easily obtain stone worktops as they are widely available across the UK from bespoke suppliers to DIY stores.

For an industrial look, in a modern apartment or architect designed property, stainless steel work surfaces can provide a professional and bright theme – think stark white combined with a metallic and glass finish. Water resistant and incredibly durable, stainless steel worktops are favoured by professional chefs – do be sure to use a chopping board however, as they can be easily scratched.

Those who enjoy a more rustic country kitsch theme, will perhaps appreciate the natural beauty of wood worktops. With its anti bacterial properties and large range of colours and types of wood, such worktops are popular in large family kitchens. To prevent drying out, it is prudent to proof work surfaces annually – protecting against damage from spills.

House Plans Cost Per Square Foot Myth

The first thing most people think about when building a new home is the cost. You may have seen a cost per square foot calculator of some sort on a few house plan broker sites and home designer websites showing you the averages of building a particular home in the south, north, east, and west coast. Unfortunately, the cost per square foot method (CPSFM) tends to mislead unaware homebuyers. When calculating square foot cost of say a 2,000 square foot home, you are able to compare the numbers on home builders who use this method to quote you a price to build. As you will find, the estimates can be very different.

Here are several reasons why the CPSFM is ineffective:

(1) Home styles – A country house plan with wood siding and a traditional house plan with brick at the same square footage would not cost the same to build.

(2) Home type – One story house plans and two story house plans of the same square footage would not cost the same to build.

(3) Specifications – This is the true tale of why the CPSFM is unreliable. Take a 2,400 square foot house plan for example. Two different home owners, one who wants an all brick home with stainless steel appliances and plumbing fixtures, hardwood and marble floors, custom cabinets, and granite counter tops. The other homeowner would prefer only a brick front and siding on the sides and rear, the economy line appliances, chrome plumbing fixtures, carpet flooring, stock cabinets, and laminate counter tops. The difference in price would be several thousands of dollars.

As a rule, you should not rely on the CPSFM. The most effective way to narrow down the cost of building a home is to have your builder prepare a bid with a complete estimate done based on take-offs. Take-offs is a process by which homebuilders would disassemble a house plan (1 set of house plans such as a study set) and calculate the cost of seperate components of the entire home. Seperate components includes every item used in building the home. Some examples are lumber, concrete, masonry, windows, doors, appliances, drywall, finishes, mechanical and electrical systems. There is much more but these are a few of the items that would be included in a take-off.

Performing a take-off estimate is a lengthy task that can take a week or two depending on the builder. Some builders do it the old fashion way using a calculator, pencil, and paper. However, more builders are using computer software designed for take-off calculations in order to cut there bidding time in half, improve price accuracy, and present you with an easy to read cost breakdown of building your home.