NEW: Home Controls Now Offers AirVac Motors

LNAVR7500 BAVP12000

The best part of an AirVac central vacuum system is what it doesn’t have: noise, inconvenience, and dust. Much less dust left behind – in your rugs, on your furniture, in the air and in your family’s lungs. Traditional vacuum cleaners allow too much dust to recirculate – on your rugs, on your furniture, throughout your home. The result: indoor air pollutant levels two to five times – and in some cases 100 times higher – than outdoor levels.

AirVac Central Vacuum Systems previously manufactured by M&S Systems are now manufactured by Linear LLC. M&S Systems has been an industry leader in the design and manufacture of built-in, electronic home amenities for over 50 years.

AirVac Red Series: The AirVac Red Series Bagless Central Vacuum System is a bagless central vacuum power unit. The Bagless Central Vacuum System is modular in design with nested components that reduce storage space and shipping costs. The nested design also simplifies handling, installation and service.

AirVac Blue Series: The AirVac Platinum Series Disposable Bag Central Vacuum System is a disposable bag central vacuum power unit. It is modular in design with nested components that reduce storage space and shipping costs. The nested design also simplifies handling, installation and service.

AirVac Accessories: Home Controls also carries a vast collection of tools, hose and replacement parts.

Post written by: Home Controls

10 Ways To Make Your Landscape Greener This Spring

The trend is clear-more and more homeowners are transitioning to a greener, more eco-friendly way of creating and maintaining beautiful landscapes. The benefits of making your landscape greener than ever this spring reach far beyond the positive environmental impact alone. In fact, going organic in your landscaping and lawn can even save money while providing a better looking outdoor space than ever before. Here are 10 remarkably easy and effective ways to make your landscape greener than ever this spring.

One: Make sure your soil is perfectly balanced.

Having your yard’s soil tested for its organic composition-both positives and negatives-is a fantastic way to start with a healthy and supportive palette. Simply take a representative sample of your soil, send it for analysis, and follow the recommended steps to bringing the soil back to it’s maximum organic potential. Here’s a helpful article explaining exactly how to have your soil analyzed. The ultimate benefit? Landscapes with the right blend of rich soil to support growth and water absorption means that the use of additional chemicals and water to keep the vegetation healthy will be reduced by a remarkable amount.

Two: Scale back too much lawn.

By its very nature, grass lawns are very durable and easy to maintain. But with the perfecting standards we’ve come to expect today, lawn care perfection has practically become an intramural neighborhood competition. Having a green and luscious lawn is certainly desirable, but why not scale the proportions back a bit to reduce the need for all of that extra fertilizer, pesticide, and water use?

Three: Eliminate strong chemical products.

Believe it or not, one of the best possible ways to achieve a healthy, thick lawn is to wean it off of all of the complex and harsh non-organic fertilizers and pesticides. Traditional organic substances like manure and lime can help your yard find a perfect balance-effectively creating a stronger root system and a significantly higher resistance to weeds and other common turf problems than a chemically-supported “surface only” lawn will ever develop. Plus, with an all organic lawn, there’s no need to worry about letting the little tikes play in the grass to their hearts’ content!

Four: Manage your landscape’s watershed.

Landscaping designs with lots of concrete and other unnatural “hardscapes” all to often have the unfortunate effect of directing a great deal of rainwater into the storm sewer system-along with all of the chemicals and non-organic materials it mixes with along the way. Eventually, all of these non-organic substances end up polluting the clean water sources we rely on. By allowing much of the runoff water to be naturally absorbed by the organic landscape, you’re home’s landscaping will actively be taking a load off of an already over-stressed water system.

Five: Landscape greener by planning more sustainable plantings.

Are you familiar with the concept of xeriscaping? If not, this spring is the perfect time to learn more about how to plan a xeriscape. Basically, the concept involves designing and maintaining a landscape plan that requires minimal irrigation-reducing the usage and pollution of our precious resources. Learn more with this quick and easy guide to xeriscaping.

Six: Add a solar powered water feature.

Water, the refreshing and renewing resource that we all so vitally depend on, is naturally the perfect way to create a soothing and reflective landscape centerpiece. What’s the perfect green solution? It’s simple-creating a lovely fountain or waterfall powered by the abundant energy of the sun itself. Creating a solar powered water feature will be a true highlight in any backyard paradise!

Seven: Remember that compost is your landscape’s best organic friend.

The rich and natural nutrients provided by compost should be a part of every organic gardener’s portfolio of gardening and landscaping essentials. Creating a composting system is easy enough to do for just about any home. And, the wonderful “black gold” fertilizer that composting provides would only end up in the trash bin if it wasn’t used to create the most effective organic fertilizer that money just cannot buy!

Eight: Eliminate weeds by growing healthier lawns.

Again, achieving the right balance in your outdoor landscaping design is always essential, but one thing is certain for those looking to reduce the growth of weeds in a grass lawn organically. By making sure the soil is full of the right nutrients and ensuring that the lawn is properly watered (but not over-watered), the resulting deep-rooted lawn means that less weeds will be able to penetrate the grass. Another reliable organic method of encouraging a strong root system is having periodic aeration done as necessary.

Nine: Set up a rainwater collection system.

What better way to provide plenty of water to your landscape’s ever-thirsty vegetation than to collect, store, and distribute plenty of clean water right from the clouds for free? Harvesting rainwater to provide or supplement your landscape’s watering needs is easier than you might imagine. Plus, using this water has a double benefit effect-not only does it reduce your consumption of processed water, but it also helps reduce some of the pollutant laden runoff water that clean rain water so often turns into as it works its way through the chemical rich landscapes and dirty streets back to its source.

Ten: Use internal combustion fueled power tools less.

Agreed, the gasoline powered lawn and garden tools we’ve become accustomed to over the years sure do make caring for landscaping a breeze. But the thing is, they also pump great quantities of harmful pollutants into the air we breathe. Many folks are finding that going back to manual or electric lawn and garden tools is a refreshing change of pace from all of the noise, racket, and smelly exhaust that emanates from gasoline powered tools. Plus, in addition to the green factor, using simple manual tools is also a great way to work in a little bit extra exercise-something we can all use indeed.

Hopefully, these ten tips will help you make your landscaping greener than ever. Just one more thing-once your organic landscape beings to really shine, don’t forget to take plenty of time to be outside and enjoy it!

Author: Home Improvement Advisors

Developing a Path to More Ethanol Resources

Steven Brown, staff microbiologist in the Biosciences Division at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and one of the inventors of the improved Z. mobilis strain explains, “Microbes have been breaking down plant material to access sugars for millennia, so plants have evolved to have very sophisticated cell structures that make accessing these sugars difficult.”

As the science stands in production now, biomass materials like corn stover, switchgrass and miscanthus must undergo a series of pretreatments to loosen the cellular structure enough to extract the sugar from the cellulose. Brown said these treatments add new challenges because, although they are necessary, they create a range of chemicals known as inhibitors that stall or stop microorganisms like Z. mobilis from performing the fermentation.

Brown said, “There are two ways to combat recalcitrance, or the difficulty created by the inhibitors. One way is to remove the inhibitors, but this method is very expensive and would not help biofuels become cost-competitive with gasoline. The second way is what we do, which is to develop microorganisms that are more tolerant of the inhibitors.”

The Oak Ridge team has for the first time identified a key Z. mobilis gene and shown the strain’s improved efficiency and its potential use for more cost-effective biofuel production.  The non-mutated strain of Z. mobilis cannot grow in the presence of one of the predominant inhibitors, acetate. However, when gene nhaA is over-expressed by inserting a slice of DNA containing the gene into the non-mutated strain, the bacterium can withstand acetate in its environment.  An open access paper on their work was published online 19 May in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Abstract link)

Round two!  Brown and lead author Shihui Yang did not stop with Z. mobilis but looked at related genes in other microorganisms and found that the method translates in different organisms. Yang said, “We took this gene and integrated it into a strain of yeast, and the improvements carried over into the yeast.”

Yang & Brown at their ORNL lab. .

Brown suggests this method of processing biomass for ethanol has the potential to become a “tool kit” – a combination of mutant genes that reduce the impact of specific inhibitors. The tool kit could expand quickly, too, as scientists now have more advanced DNA sequencing technology available to identify and resequence genes.  More broadly, the researchers say, their study shows that the application of biology systems tools holds promise for rational industrial microbial strain development. The combination of classical and biology systems tools used in their work is a paradigm for accelerated industrial strain improvement and combines benefits of few distinguishable types of propositional assumptions with detailed, rapid, mechanistic studies.  They believe they have a kind of lab test method coming up.

The Oak Ridge microbiologists are currently sequencing other microorganisms used in biofuels production that could also be advantageous if genetically altered to resist different types of inhibitors.

Brown said, “The DNA sequencer we used was unavailable as recently as five years ago, and it has unprecedented sequencing capabilities. It is 4,000 times more powerful than the machine that finished sequencing the human genome almost a decade ago.”

Yang looks further out, “By looking at the behavioral response to the genetic changes in this bacteria, Zymomonas, we can then look forward to improving other bacteria.”

It’s a good start.  Acetate is a major problem in conditioning cellulose.  Should the Oak Ridge team spread out the gene search perhaps the other inhibitors will fall as well.

Ethanol – the fuel many complain vociferously about – may be coming to a threshold of process development that could open up more plants as sources for production.  The use of cane sugar and corn in Brazil and the U.S. drive many to outrage over the idea of competition between foods and fuels.  While the issue is pointless, ethanol as a light alcohol has great potential as a fuel cell fuel, a gasoline additive and with other alcohols in gasoline substitutes.  The complaints are little but food for the foolish.

When researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have identified a key gene that can yield more cost-competitive cellulosic ethanol the complaint matters will change course, probably to land use choices.  But the idea, a much wider source of plants to produce cellulose would bring more marginal land into productivity where farming is now a low net income proposition.

Source: New Energy and Fuel

CE Pro Webinar: Social Networking Made Easy!

New Date! April 27, 2010, 2PM Eastern
Duration: 1 hr
Presented by: Deborah Smith, CE Pro
Panelist: Roland Graham, Co-Founder of AVDMedia, Inc. and recent Founder of HDhomes
Cost: $99

Online communities, blogs, forums, and other social media tools are changing the way we interact – and often how we make purchase decisions. More than 350 million people already use social media networks and participate in on-line communities where they freely exchange information about products, brands, services, and suppliers. Though some CE pro’s have figured out how to use these new web marketing tools to promote their services to a wide range of potential clients and networking referral partners, many more don’t really understand how to use social networking media to get results. Join us on April 27th for an informative discussion on the benefits and pitfalls of using Social Media and Web Marketing Tools to promote your CE business.

Roland Graham, co-founder of AVDMedia, Inc., a specialized Architectronic design and software development firm based in Chewelah, WA. and recent founder of HDhomes a blogging and vlogging community for the home integration industry, will discuss the benefits and pitfalls of using social media to promote your CE business. Roland is also an instructor at Residential Integrator School (RIS), presented by Home Controls.

Original post: Home Controls