Siding and the Environment

In today's increasingly environmentally-friendly climate, the construction industry has begun to get something of a bad reputation for utilizing materials that are known to be harmful to the planet. The siding industry is no exception. With vinyl being one of the more popular and affordable materials for siding installation, the siding industry is often accused of contributing to the demise of the planet by introducing the modifying chemicals of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) into the atmosphere. Of course, the benefit of PVC is that it is inexpensive and quite easy to work with. But in the eyes of the average environmentalist, the advantages inherent in PVC do not outweigh its destructive impact on the planet.

So which types of siding are the best options as far as the environment is concerned? According to Ruben Jeruco, solid wood is probably the most environmentally-friendly siding material available today. Although wood siding requires a fair degree of maintenance, the fact that it is renewable makes it attractive in the eyes of those who are environmentally-conscious. Fiber cement siding is also known to be a reliably earth-friendly product. Offering the same great look and feel of wood but without the significant maintenance, fiber cement is another good choice for people who do not want to run the risk of destroying the planet.

Although it is quickly becoming a less popular choice among homeowners, aluminum siding is actually regarded as fairly environmentally-friendly. Although its production requires a significant amount of resources, aluminum siding is often made of recycled materials, making it a winner in the eyes of those who think green. Finally, natural stone and classic cement stucco are both regarded as earth-friendly siding options; however, the cost involved in stone and stucco puts both choices out of reach for homeowners with limited budgets.

Of course, despite the fact that vinyl is often regarded as the planet's greatest enemy, vinyl siding might not actually be as ecologically destructive as some might think. Vinyl siding requires far less maintenance than most other types of siding once it's installed, few environmental resources are needed in order to preserve it. Vinyl siding is also said to use little energy as part of its manufacturing process. So while the material itself is definitely not the most earth-friendly, vinyl might not be quite as bad as some people think.

If preserving the environment is important to you, then make sure that your siding contractor is aware of your feelings as he helps you select your siding material. With so many earth-friendly siding choices available, you can improve the exterior of your home without having to choose between conservationism and aesthetics. And while you may pay a bit more for your eco-friendly siding, you'll be rewarded with the peace of mind that comes along with knowing that you're doing your part to preserve our planet for many generations to come.

Financial Planning the Right Way: Mapping Your Future With a Professional Financial Advisor

Anyone can write a financial plan, or at least it looks that way. You can consult your banker, go to a brokerage firm, or hire someone who calls himself or herself a financial planner to prepare a plan for you. Financial planning simply is not that complicated, right?

Let's consider what's included in a comprehensive financial plan. There's a section on what happens if you died today. Will estate taxes be due? Does your estate have enough liquidity? Another section outlines what happens if you become disabled or need long-term care. Have you saved enough for retirement? And how will you pay for your kids 'or grandkids' college education? What about charitable giving, income tax savings, and investment allocation?

The first place to start is selecting the right person to develop a financial plan. Find someone with a fiduciary responsibility such as a Certified Financial Planner ™.

It is important to seek out someone who will listen to your objectives and design a plan to meet your goals. Be sure the person you choose to draft your initial financial plan is familiar with how the planning you do in one area affects exit in another. For example, what you do in the area of ​​investment planning can affect your tax planning. What you do to provide for asset protection can affect your estate planning, and so forth.

A sound financial plan should also address how you are expected to have when placed in a variety of scenarios. The only certainty in life is that the unexpected will always happen. When placed in an unexpected situation, most people will tend to make major decisions based on emotion, and then try to rationalize them, underlining their long-term planning. Therefore, a solid financial plan should be flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. This is especially true in the investment-planning arena. It is important to have a written investment policy statement to help protect your portfolio from unplanned and impulsive revisions of sound long-term policy. Especially in times of market turmoil, investors without an investment policy statement are inclined to make investment decisions that are inconsistent with prudent investment management principles – and their best interest. Your investment policy provides an agreed-upon and well-thought-out framework from which sound investment decisions will be made.

Many people believe the process ends once the plan is written. But good financial planning means regularly monitoring and adapting strategies to ensure you're meeting your goals. Remember, you're not just trying to create an end product that will not ever need to change. You're developing a map that will help guide you toward financial stability. And regular comparisons of where you planned to be in the future with where you actually end up can generate important discussions about why you ended up where you are. Are you ahead of plan because your investment portfolio did better than expected, were taxes lower than expected, or maybe you spent less than expected? The reason you end up at a particular place is important to understand because that determinates what types of adjustments might be needed for your plan A financial plan that's developed with the help of a professional financial planner could be the right map to help you reach your financial destination.

Many people can help you prepare a financial plan, but the most successful plans are crafted by professional planners which allegiance is to you, the client. Professional planners have the credentials and understanding to know how the different areas of financial planning affect one another so they can help determine what is right for you. And professional financial planners will follow up with you after the plan is in place to assist in analyzing deviations from the plan in order to make competent adjustments to steer you away from failure.

Do You Need a Good Domain Name to Make Big Money?

Domain names may be somewhat important to the survival and the success of your website, but they will not automatically make you a success. They are actually a very small part of your success in the grand scheme of things, so do not buy into the idea that a good domain name will translate to big money. For one, there is only one way that the domain itself can earn anything without help from other areas of the business, and that way is by securing a name catchy enough and in high enough demand to coax a big offer from a company with deep pockets . But major companies have started to change the way that they do Internet business. They have become more practical, and have even been known to develop marketing platforms that will incorporate a new original domain name to get around having to pay you anything at all.

No, the best option, if you are an Internet entrepreneur, is to spend less time on what you are going to name your site, and more time on how you will conduct your business. There are many ways to do business, but in the online world, the key to success is mercifully simple. It's the content, stupid. How will you get a large audience if you do not have a quality piece of content to draw in the masses and get them talking to their friends and family. You need devoted visitors, who are willing to do the hard work for you. The way to get them is to be enthusiastic about what it is that you are about. And the only way to be enthusiast is to be passionate.

You can not fake passion. The reason you can not that that your audience has the passion, and they will be able to tell if you do not. So make sure you do not go into any business situation that you do not feel strongly about. It will be more difficult developing content – and more costing developing good content because you'll have to pay someone, who is passionate to spearhead your platform, and that will not come cheap if you want quality.

As you venture into the online world, you are going to hear a lot of business advice, both good and bad. The one thing you should know ahead of time is that throwing a lot of money after a domain name is a waste of time and resources. Instead of burning so many calories over that aspect of the business, focus your efforts on having a great site that people in your area of ​​interest will want to visit. Something they will choose to go to bat for with the people around them.

Controlling Mold Without Toxic Chemicals

Mold can grow anywhere there are damp conditions – from a windowsill to a
bathroom, to a whole house. While the health effects of most common molds are minimal, the chemicals we commonly use to remove the unsightly growth can harm our health. Mold cleaners can contain toxic chemicals such as pentachorophenol, which can be harmful through skin absorption or inhalation, and formaldehyde, which can cause cancer as well as irritate eyes, throat, skin, and lungs. Many mold cleaners carry the "DANGER" warning label and state that they should be used only in a well-ventilated area (next time you want to clean mold from your shower, look around for the ventilation …)

Fortunately, there are ways to clean and even prevent mold that are natural and safe
for you and your family.

Mold is a living organism that needs certain conditions to stay alive. A moist, dark,
environment with little moving air is perfect. Mold just can not live in an environment
that is dry, light, or breezy. The solution to any mold problem of any kind is to
introduce heat (to dry the moisture), light, or moving air (such as from a fan).

I used to live in an old house in a forest, next to a creek, in an area that has a lot of
rainfall in the winter. One year was particularly cold and rainy and so to conserve
heat, I closed the door on my extra bedroom, which contained books and research
papers, a bed, and out-of-season clothing. By the end of winter, there was so much
mold in that room that was was literally growing on my clothing. My cotton espadrille
shoes and cloth-covered binders were covered with blue fuzz. What to do? Mold was
covering literally everything!

In my situation, I opted to use heat. I put a portable space heater in the room and
closed the door. After several hours I peeked in and steam was rising. It was like a
sauna. After twenty-four hours, however, all was bone dry and I was able to brush
visible mold (now a dry powder) from walls, clothing, and other surfaces. The moral
of the story: if you live in a damp environment that does not get much sun, make
sure your heat circulates completely around the house, and even though it may take
more energy, it's needed to keep your home dry and safe. Mold can do damage to
material possession and human health, so its better to stay warm and dry.

If you have just a small area of ​​mold, use a hand-held dryer to dry it up in just a few
minutes.

You can prevent mold from growing by keeping areas dry. Find the source of
moisture and control it. Mold in an undersink cabinet, for example, may require
fixing leaky pipes. Controlling mold in a bathroom may involve installing a small
space heater to run after a shower to dry out the room, or using a fan for the same
purpose. No moisture – no mold.

In a closet, hang garments with space between them to allow for air-flow and install
a small light, both to dispel darkness and provide a little heat. If you live in a very
humid area, a dehumidifier may be necessary.

To remove mold from shower tile or other hard surface, mix borax and water, or
vinegar and water, in a spray bottle. Spray it on and the mold wipes right off. Borax
inhibits mold growth, so wash down the walls in your bathroom with a borax
solution and just leave it on, or sprinkle borax in damp cabinets under the sink. If
you need something stronger to remove stubborn mold, use hydrogen peroxide.

Steam cleaners – which clean, sanitize, and deodorize using only hot water – also
work great on mold. You can purchase small hand-held steam cleaners in the
housewares department of discount stores for about $ 50 or larger units on the
Internet.

Read more about controlling mold without toxic chemicals in my new book Home
Safe Home, at http://www.dld123.com/homesafehome.html .