How Toxic Are Solar Panels Really?

Solar power is known as one of the greenest forms of renewable energy in the world.

But really, how green are solar panels really? And is there any level of toxicity involved in the panels, the installation, and the production?

These are all areas of concern that should be looked into in order to determine if solar panels are not only worth investing in but if the technology is as green as some in the renewable energy industry say it is. Now, it is important to realize that solar panels are still much more echo-friendlier choices than coal, oil, and pretty much any other form of energy available to mankind.

However, understanding what is involved with any energy option and its impact on the planet is still necessary to ensure a sustainable energy source for a future off-the-grid.

Manufacturing Process

In order to produce solar paneling, some chemicals are required. This includes hydrofluoric acid and sodium hydroxide.

Both water and electricity are used in the production, and while water and electricity alone do not create much in the way of toxins when combined with sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, it creates a substantial amount of greenhouse gases.

It is important to keep in mind that different solar panel manufacturers do vary in the amount of waste produced. Some companies produce fewer greenhouse gases than other companies. Trina, a Chinese manufacturer, is the best manufacturer in the world when it comes to low emissions – alongside SunPower out of California is a close second.

Cover Up

While there is no substantial cover-up regarding greenhouse gases and solar paneling; with the popularity of solar power increasing every year there are many in the industry who do not want all of this information to be out to the general public as it might kill off the trend of solar power.

The information, however, is readily available, but some companies are diluting information regarding toxic waste and greenhouse gases in order to focus on renewable energy elements.

Scoring the Companies

All of the information used to score the toxicity of a company and its manufacturing process comes directly from the information reported by the companies themselves. The Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition looks over several different variables in order to determine just how environmentally friendly a company is.

This includes factors like:

  • water use
  • recycling methods
  • emissions
  • chemical toxicity

In recent years, the Coalition has stated that solar panel manufacturers have started to reduce the amount of information shared with them. Name brand companies continue to provide the majority of information needed to properly rate the companies, yet a quarter of solar panel manufacturers withhold almost all information.

This quarter of the manufacturers is generic producers who do whatever they can to boost production while reducing the cost. Now, this is only a small percentage of the companies. It is also a reason why customers should know where their solar paneling is coming from and do a bit of research ahead of time so they know they are obtaining quality products.

This is also why it is vital to choose wisely. When choosing a solar panel company, you should only use one that is willing to provide this information.



Location Matters

While the cleanest solar panel manufacturer is based in China, the majority of manufacturers in China are not at the same level. This is because environmental standards in China are far less than those in the United States and in Europe. Due to this, the carbon footprint from a Chinese manufacturer is twice that of one based out of Europe.

When looking at solar panels, it is important to take into consideration not only what company is manufacturing the products but also what nation the company is based out of, as this can have a rather hefty impact as to how toxic the solar panels are.

The Verdict On Solar

With all the challenges the solar sector is facing, it’s vitally important to keep perspective on all the different types of energy we currently make use of, whether it be renewable or not. Once solar is installed, it generates electricity with zero emissions, and even though toxic compounds are used in the manufacturing of most solar panels, the significance of the industry is hard to ignore.

Its safety record speaks for itself, and solar is not only safer for the environment when compared to other forms of energy like coal, natural gas, and nuclear fission, but it also offers less danger for workers in the trade. In 2010 coal-fired power plants alone were responsible for emitted 1,999.6 million tons of carbon dioxide in the United States, not to mention the 13,200 deaths directly attributable to particulates from coal-fired power plants.

Considering that solar is a relatively new form of renewable energy that is now experiencing a boom like never before, there remains a lot of optimism while the industry matures, solar companies will adopt stronger sustainability measures and continue to improve the viability of solar as the renewable energy for the future.


Here’s Why Glass Break Sensors Are So Important

Burglaries are on the rise. Vandalism is increasing in many cities. Even full-blown home invasions are becoming the norm. When it comes to protecting your home and family, you can’t be “too protected” and that’s why many homeowners and renters are installing glass break sensors.

A well-planned home security system can help to alleviate your fears and keep burglars at bay. Installing an alarm system; security cameras and even spotlights can all help to ensure that criminals stay away.

Glass break-in detectors are another good source to both alert you (and the police) if someone is trying to get into your house and to warn criminals to stay away. Considered a homeowner’s first line of defense against a break-in, glass break-in detectors are designed to “hear” the sounds of breaking glass, and sound the alarm before the burglar has a chance to actually enter your home.

Adobe glass-break sensor

Although older versions may have been less than appealing, often sounding false alarms from the clink of a glass or the breaking of a dish inside the home, new technology has increased the design and efficiency of modern units, making them more effective than ever before.

Do Glass Break Sensors Really Work?

Today’s high-tech models work very well, advise industry experts. Now tested on all types of glass used for windows included plate, tempered and wired, today’s glass break sensors don’t just go off when they hear what appears to be glass breaking, but when they also feel a certain type of “thump” or vibration which would indicate a break in a window or door pane. This has helped reduce the instances of false alarms from similar sounds in the house and yard.

Do You Need a Glass Break Sensor?

Security alarms are great at sounding once an intruder has crossed the threshold and is inside your house. Glass break sensors sounds before someone gets into your home. As soon as they detect broken glass the alarm sounds, alerting the home’s inhabitants, neighbors, and the police of a possible intrusion. This helps to keep criminal activity down. Burglars don’t stick around to see how long it will take the police to arrive. Once the alarm sounds, they get away – fast!

Where Should I Place a Glass Break Sensor?

You can place a glass break sensor just about anywhere in your home (inside or outside). They work up to 35 feet away, so a sensor placed on the side of the house can still work to protect windows around the corner. Keep in mind though that they do not work through walls, floors, and ceilings, so be sure to install individual detectors in several areas of your home.

Most security experts suggest placing sensors on the first floor near windows that are not covered by other security measures like motion sensors. Back-of-the-house bedrooms are especially vulnerable to break-ins, so be sure to add a few sensors to these window areas.

Other popular entry points for burglars are the dining room ad basement windows. These are usually left unattended and may be covered by landscaping trees and plants, making them ideal entry points for criminals.

Take a look around your home to see what windows are left unprotected before installing glass break sensors. These should be the first ones you protect. Second-floor windows that do not have easy access usually do not need sensor coverage, especially since detectors below can still detect trouble above if installed outside of the home.

Protecting your valuables and loved ones isn’t always an easy job. Being sure to add as many security features as you can help to alleviate your worry and keep criminals from attacking your home.

The Top 3 HVAC Trends For The Future

Smart technology is connecting the world, and the growing trend is greener, smarter, energy-efficient living.
It’s going to be interesting to see how “intelligent” HVAC products will be changing buildings and homes in the future. 
Intelligent HVAC products are already on the market, and technology that gets smarter on its own through apps, smartphones, and network systems are giving people more personal access control.
HVAC systems are trending towards electronic functionality and away from mechanical components.

HVAC Compatibility

Surges of new HVAC technology can be confusing. How do you know what you buy will work with your current tech?
The biggest challenge for the HVAC smart-home industry is compatibility. Not all products can talk to each other because there’s no universal language or protocol. The world’s tech giants are currently in a wrestling match for market dominance. Many have launched products and apps to connect home products to smartphones.

Smart Thermostats

If your HVAC thermostat isn’t properly programmed, you could be throwing away hundreds of dollars annually. This gadget actually learns what your home preferences are and then programs them all within a week. It can also be controlled from your phone.
Once it has learned enough, it creates certain financial advantages, like reducing heating and cooling costs by up to 20%. Every time you make a heating or cooling change in your home, the thermostat’s Nest Sense is learning to schedule and activate your preferences itself. It even senses when you have left home and adjusts your heating or cooling HVAC system accordingly.

Smart Vents

There is now a smart vent available for homes that open and closes “intelligently“. This helps to reduce cold or hot spots in rooms. The Keen Vent system creates an estimated savings of up to $200 annually.
There is a wide variety of vent designs to choose from and it can all be connected up to the existing home network using Zigbee. The vents allow zones to be set up in your home while the smart vent can then redirect the airflow to these zones from other areas.

Smart Window Air Conditioners 

Window air conditioners have become very popular, particularly in a large apartment and condominium buildings. The Aros smart window air conditioner gathers information from you and your smartphone, learning your locations, times, and schedules.
It’s smart, so it can be controlled using your phone when you aren’t home. It also figures out when you are approaching home using the phone’s GPRS system, so you can arrive straight into your ideal environment.
It seems then that the general HVAC trend for 2015 is integrating HVAC controls with your building’s existing systems, such as lighting and access control, while HVAC manufacturers continue to cut wasteful energy usage.

The Best Home Security Cameras Types Reviewed

As home security technology continues to improve, there are more and more types of surveillance camera types to choose from. Any model will help make your residence more secure. However, the right features can produce better footage and deter criminals with greater success. No one type of camera is best for every location. The most desirable choice varies depending on several different factors.

Color or Black & White

Black and white cameras generally record the sharpest images in low-light conditions. They work well in many indoor areas. On the other hand, color units perform best when there’s plenty of light available. Consider placing them outdoors or in an area where electric lights remain in use at all hours. Some sophisticated models switch between color and B/W depending on lighting conditions.


Different cameras are designed for varying amounts of light. A lower LUX rating means that a camera can record clear footage in darker places. Night-vision, day/night, or zero-LUX cameras will even function under complete darkness. On the other hand, standard daytime units cost less and work well with adequate sunlight or artificial lighting. They should be placed to capture criminals’ faces before they can turn off any nearby lights.


Focal Length

The type of lens on a surveillance camera helps to determine how wide and tall an area it will monitor. A shorter lens can record footage of a larger zone, while a longer unit captures a smaller area but provides greater magnification. For example, a long lens may be preferable when you want to monitor a single door. The focal length is typically measured in millimeters (mm).

Image Quality

If a camera records high-quality footage, you may be able to identify criminals’ faces or read their license plates. Network-connected digital units generally produce sharper images than analog models. Different brands use a variety of measurements to rate picture quality. A 720p model records clearer footage than a VGA unit, while a one or more megapixel camera will outperform both of them. However, a higher resolution requires more video storage space.

PTZ Functions

Pan-tilt-zoom functionality gives you the ability to remotely adjust the position and focal length of a security camera’s lens. Some models also feature motion detection; they will automatically focus on anything that moves. This enhances the quality of the footage and helps to deter criminal activity. Not surprisingly, such units cost more than cameras that mount in fixed positions.

Indoor or Outdoor

An indoor surveillance camera is only designed to withstand normal indoor conditions. On the other hand, outdoor models stand up to rain, snow, bright sun, wind, and harsh temperatures. Outdoor units are more likely to prevent crime because thieves see them before breaking in. If necessary, it’s normally possible to use an outdoor camera inside of a home.

Style Options

Home security cameras come in a number of different shapes and sizes. Box and especially bullet-style models are more visible to onlookers. This deters crime but may also attract brazen vandals or negatively affect the appearance of a house. On the other hand, dome-style units are harder to see. They’re more likely to record the actions of unsuspecting criminals. Some models are also designed to thwart vandals.

Sound Recording

Although many units lack this feature, some surveillance cameras have built-in microphones. The ability to record audio isn’t particularly important in most situations. However, it might help you identify a familiar criminal by voice. Sound recordings may also enable you to document a crime in greater detail. This feature is more useful in low-noise environments.


Wireless or Wired

A wired security camera will produce clear recordings and transmit them securely. On the other hand, it requires far more installation work. You’ll need to pay for lengthy wires as well, and it’s difficult to reposition cameras or monitors in the future. New wireless models use encryption, so they’re more secure than they were in the past. You can easily place them anywhere at any time.

Remote Access

Many modern surveillance cameras take wireless a step further by allowing you to view footage from any PC, tablet, or smartphone with an active high-speed Internet connection. They accomplish this by connecting to your Internet service provider via a network cable or Wi-Fi. Nevertheless, you may save some cash by choosing a basic model that only communicates with a video recorder or monitor.

It can be a bit overwhelming to consider all of these features and specs. To get started, identify locations where someone is more likely to break in or commit crimes. Such areas might contain valuables or be difficult for passersby to see. After finding the best places to install security cameras, assess the vulnerabilities, dimensions, and lighting of these zones. The most suitable monitoring features depend on your lifestyle and the computer equipment that you own.

Home Automation and Your Appliances

Living with the freedom to control many aspects of your home from the palm of your hand has become reality.  This is not just true for the safety and security of your home but also for making your life a lot more comfortable.

Controlling your alarm system along with many of your home’s appliances from anywhere in the world is now standard practice for many Americans.

What Is Home Automation?

Home automation has increased exponentially over the past few years and more people than ever before are setting up their systems in this way. Who wouldn’t want to protect their home against break-ins or fire while at your job or even on vacation?

Automation is the process of setting up automatic or electronic control of your home by setting up different zones to control. You can also connect many of your home’s appliances to your home security system in order to control them.


The ability to manage several components of your home from another location by using an electronic device is priceless.  For some, this is the only way to have peace of mind.

You have even more control of your home by alarming and disarming your current alarm system while monitoring movements yourself (if you have cameras or motion sensors set up).

So why would anyone opt for full home automation? Simple. You have the ability to protect your home from an electronic device, limit your electricity usage, and lower your monthly bill simply by using simple setups that encompass your unique lifestyle.

How Home Automation Works

Home automation systems are created from hardware, communication, and electronic interfaces. There is a main controller that acts as a computer and connects your internet network to the interfaces so it can be controlled remotely.

There are sensors that can be used to monitor things in their current state, such as a room with no activity, and turn the devices on or off. These components, the main controller, sensors, and interfaces, work to allow the two devices to communicate with each other and integrate.

When it is all set up, these automated systems can be controlled with a touch of a button no matter where you are. The alarm systems also use sensors, controllers, and actuators to adjust the settings of the home based on your preferences as conditions change. Examples of features available through home automation include:

  • Smart Lighting: Turns on when you enter the room, approach the staircase, set to a timer, or controlled from the palm of your hand.
  • Automatic Door Locks: Once your phone is detected within the zone, doors locks will activate, opening your garage and front door.
  • Heating and Cooling: Set your heating and cooling to automatically turn on at certain times or temperatures. Save by automatically turning off when nobody is there and minimizing your heating and cooling costs.
  • Smart Cameras: With smart cameras in place, you receive instant notifications when there is movement and even view a live feed on your phone.
  • Automated Blinds: Sensors that automatically detect the brightness in the room to close. Similarly, they are able to allow more sunlight when required to optimize the temperature indoors.
  • Everyday Alerts: Program the lights in your bedroom to come on when the teenagers come home. Set off a silent alert when someone enters a forbidden area. Fire and carbon monoxide monitoring. Receive notifications from your fridge that the ice is running low. The options are endless.

Many homeowners automate different scenes for different times of the day. One setting for the morning, noon, and evening. For example, the morning setting can gradually turn up the lights so you’re not jolted awake by an alarm while also reminding you that it’s trash day.

The Best Benefits Of Walk In Tubs Reviewed

The amount of independence a walk-in tub provides is perhaps the primary reason seniors and those with mobility issues are investing in them. For many people, an unassisted, private bathing experience is taken for granted, but for some, it is a complete luxury. Having an easily accessible, wheelchair-friendly tub gives you the confidence and independence to maneuver, in, out, and about the tub without any assistance.

Safe Entry

Walk-in bathtubs are specialty products that make bathing accessible to most people. Many offer a low threshold entry, making it easy to enter and exit the tub. Modern walk-in tubs also come with an inward or outward swinging door, both with their own pros and cons. Outward opening doors are a more popular option for some as they make it easier to enter and exit the tub. An outward swinging door also allows the opportunity to open the door during emergencies but keep in mind that the bathroom may be flooded.

Quick Tub Exit

With an advanced drainage system, most walk-in tubs drain within 90 seconds or less. This is extremely important for allowing bathers to exit the tub in the least amount of time possible.

Slip and Fall Protection

According to the National Safety Council, one person dies every day from using a bathtub/shower in the United States. Why is this? The problem with most bathtubs is the lack of safe access, as well as difficulty in getting in and out of the bathtub. Traditional bathtubs are not built to offer enough protection! However, with a walk-in tub, the bathroom is no longer a danger zone. Walk-in tubs come with the addition of ADA-approved non-slip textured flooring and safety grab bars. These great features offer added security and protection from slip and fall accidents.

Maintain Water Temperature

An in-line heater is essential, allowing you to enjoy a therapeutic soak for as long as you want. It will keep the water temperature level constant while you bathe, ensuring a more relaxing and soothing soak. An in-line water heater helps to prevent injuries such as scalding water burns and body shock. Without an in-line heater, bath time could be very unpleasant.


Tranquil Spa-Like Experience

Turn your usual bath time into an extraordinary experience with the help of a walk-in tub. Hydromassage therapy jets, air massage therapy jets, and dual massage jets are used to gently massage the bather’s joints and muscles. With targeted massage jets, you can get relief where you need it most. Health benefits include stress relief, detoxification, lymphatic system stimulation, improved blood circulation, and overall relaxation. You are now able to enjoy a spa-like experience in the comfort of your very own home!

Improve Circulation

Studies have shown that water therapy is great for opening the skin’s capillaries. This allows fresh oxygen to clean and renew your skin surface, increasing the blood flow and oxygen to your body. Because hydrotherapy increases blood circulation, it can help strengthen the immune system, give you more energy, reduce the effects of stress, and potentially help to treat depression.

Improved Sleep

As we age sleep can become a problem. With the addition of a walk-in tub, you will enjoy increased circulation, reduced stress, and less muscle pain, all of which will help improve your quality of sleep. Having easy, independent access to your walk-in tub enables you to take a bath before going to sleep, naturally putting your mind and body in a relaxed state and ready for bed. A walk-in tub will change your sleeping patterns and your life!

Arthritis, Muscle, and Joint Pain Relief

Water has many healing properties and with a combination of hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and chromotherapy you will be looking and feeling better in no time at all! Not only does a walk-in tub eliminate waste, encourage relaxation and improve skin tone, but it also helps to relieve all aches and pains. Just by being in the tub, you reduce your weight by 90%, releasing pressure from joints and decompressed cartilage. The use of water for therapy has been around for thousands of years, and today forms an integral part of alternative medicine.

Relax and Rejuvenate

The feeling of drawing a nice hot bath at the end of the day is a good feeling indeed, but soaking in a hot bathtub is not just a relaxing way of cleansing our bodies. A good soak at the end of the day will leave your mind and body refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on another day. A walk-in tub actually serves to maintain, and even improve your quality of life.

Do you really need another reason?

A Simple Soaking Solution

Bathing difficulties vary significantly, but at the end of the day no matter your age or range of motion, a walk-in tub will accommodate ALL your bath time needs.

Hydrotherapy has long since been discovered as a trusted method for treating many conditions. Along with the walk-in tubs’ bariatric design, ease of use, comfort, safety, and multiple therapeutic benefits, it is no wonder this simple soaking solution is becoming a must-have for absolutely everyone.

A walk-in tub will give you back your independence and confidence, allowing you to bathe in peace once again. Thanks to the walk-in tub, you will not have to worry about any slip and fall accidents around your home. With this safe bathing solution, you will even be able to bathe without the help of others.

Anyone who has difficulty using a conventional shower or bathtub will benefit from the addition of a walk-in tub.

So why should you choose a walk-in tub?

Because enjoying a safe, unassisted, stress-free bathing experience is what every person deserves.

How To Choose The Best Home Security System Monitoring Company

Choosing the Best Home Security Provider For Your Home Isn’t Easy

When it comes to protecting your family with a home security system you have an abundance of different choices. Not only are there now a variety of different systems but there are numerous companies that can help keep you safe. Trying to make the perfect decision for your lifestyle can almost seem like an impossible task.

When picking your provider it is imperative to vet them online and review the services that they offer. This will give you a much better idea of what type of service you will receive and what type of company will work better for you.

Clear Pricing

Reputable providers are upfront about their costs. The top providers are transparent about their pricing and will not include hidden fees. This means that you shouldn’t end up paying an arm and a leg something you didn’t expect.

Hard Selling Tactics

Remember, it’s not just about your safety but about profits for many companies. Because of this, some providers will try to talk you into a more expensive system or even lengthy contracts in order to get more money out of you. Hard selling tactics such as trying to convince you that you aren’t as safe without the “better” system is common practice. However, if they are clear about their pricing, like mentioned above, you should be able to see through these scare tactics and purchase the technology that will protect you and fit your budget.


The best way to not get scammed is to simply read the fine print. Go over all the aspects of the contract with your provider, and you won’t be getting locked into a contract you really can’t afford and didn’t actually need in the first place.

Proper 24/7 Monitoring

When choosing a provider you need to make sure that they have a reliable monitoring system. After all, you’re paying them to help alert the proper authorities if your home security system triggers. Many large-scale, popular providers have staff members working around the clock for monitoring purposes.

However, smaller providers may need to outsource this task to a larger facility in order to make things easier for them. Always ask who is monitoring your system and how often, as this is key to knowing how reliable a provider and system will be for your particular location.

Integration With Your Current Technology

With so many advances in technology today, many security systems do not just protect your home anymore. Many also come with the ability to automate many services of your home into one system.

This includes many small appliances, lights, temperature controls and so much more. Many systems now allow you to control all of these things via a central location, whether that be your cell phone, laptop, or wall unit.

With so many things controlled by one device, you can be sure that your home is completely secure and under your ultimate control.

Cellular Backup

In the past, wired security systems were the norm, however, a burglar or invader could simply cut your phone line and disable the system. Today, the most reliable and trustworthy systems are cellular-based, running off of a wireless connection.

The best providers are those who offer this type of technology as a backup. This means, that your system stays armed, even if the wires to your landline are tampered with. Cellular backup helps ensure that your family stays safe, no matter what the situation.


At the end of the day, your provider is supposed to make your home safer for you and your family. Make sure that you trust your provider and believe in the system that you are having installed is of the caliber you expect. Home security systems not only protect your home and your belongings but your life and the life of your family which is far more precious than any item in your home. Ensure that you love your provider and the services they can offer you.