Top Home Improvement Solutions for Green Living

Going green is not just a fashionable whim. Adopting a variety of home improvement solutions for green living will allow you to conserve energy and water and save money, while preserving the environment for the future generations. You should not hesitate to use any or all of the following methods to accomplish all this.

Achieve green living by replacing your old appliances with ones that save energy. It is now easier than every to find energy saving air conditioners, water boilers and radiators as well as washing machines and dishwashers. You can readily buy smaller appliances designed with the same person in mind. There are even electrical shavers that are made to conserve energy. The investment might be costly, but you can separate it into different sages, starting with the replacement of the large appliances first. Spending money now will certainly pay off in the future.

Insulating your home is one of the best home improvement solutions for green living. Use insulation panels to cover your entire house from the outside. Installing wooden flooring is another superb option. The cork wall tiles are excellent for protecting the home from the outside environment. Install insulation window frames and treatments, such as curtains and blinds to complete this home improvement task.

Conserving water is equally important. There are various fittings designed for this purpose. You are highly recommended to install showerheads, taps and toilets that save water. An irrigation system with the same purpose is ideal for the garden. Check out other water saving options, such as instant water heaters and specifically designed waste water filters.

The use of solar power in the home is synonymous to green living. You can readily install solar panels and an energy converter and connect them to the electric system of your house. The costs of the materials and the installation are not small, but you can consider getting a loan. There are preferential interest rates for borrowing money for energy saving home improvements. You can get a tax allowance as well. As a start, you can install solar powered lamps, pond pumps and filters in your garden. This is much cheaper.

There are even simpler ways to save energy and water in your home as well. One of them is to have a shower enclosure or curtain in the bathroom. Planting trees near the walls of your home is a superb home improvement solution for green living. You will get insulation and the environment will have more oxygen.

Information Technology Service Management

Over the last few years I have facilitated several Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) work sessions within the oil and gas and utility industries. The challenge was to build consensus through identifying what is important, making recommendations and decisions and establish direction that would enable the IT organization to improve processes and services offered to their customers. The following article briefly outlines a number of lessons learned that came from our experiences.

An ITSM Work Session should provide the foundation for your organization to create the blueprint to propel IT services and business value forward. In establishing an ITSM initiative the following key groups must be involved:

Strategic: CIO and Directors to establish strategic intent, vision and enterprise objectives

Tactical: Directors and Managers to establish improvement objectives, priorities and program charter

Operational: Managers and Key Stake-holders to establish solution, roadmap, business case and project charters.

Fundamental to any ITSM session when engaging these groups is to develop a clear problem definition, defined and approved by the executives or senior steering committee. This is an area which IT often falls short. The lack of a clear problem definition negatively impacts the tactical and operational levels of the organization and limits the ability to move forward.

When working with your teams, build an understanding of all the work that is taking place in the IT department right now and how it fits within the ITSM support and delivery relationship models. Discussion, training and clarity will be required to ensure your people understand the ITSM relationship and delivery model. By engaging people in a defined work exercise, your teams can map out and see how their work aligns with your ITSM program requirements. This is effective in establishing leadership and team buy-in.

Establish a clear understanding of your points of pain (PoPs) and the IT maturity. PoPs can be established through focused brainstorming sessions. Once collected, your PoPs should be looked at from an organizational and process maturity perspective. This is often missed as IT has a habit of looking only at processes and tools to solve problems. Align your PoPs with the industry maturity model standards (non-existence, chaos, reactive, proactive, service, value). It is important that the content be translated into a service management maturity grid and aligned with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) process categories. Work to obtain various IT teams, customers and business representatives’ perspective on the ITSM organizational and process maturity levels. This builds some reality into the PoPs and maturity levels thinking by dislodging IT from a position of working in isolation.

Build a business case and program plan that can be activated by your people. At this point you are seeking clear recommendations and improvement objectives (what), benefit realization (why), tactical needs (how) and time frame (when) for which to move your organization forward with your ITSM program. This is the foundation for your ITSM program business case and charter that will be divided into project and operational requirements. You will need a solid approved business case and charter to enable you to navigate the challenges that will unfold on your journey and to clearly articulate the streams of work to be completed. There needs to be an executive team or steering committee assigned to provide clear strategic guidance. When forming and using a steering committee, their mandate must be strategic and clear. Tactical task-based reporting can be left to the project management teams and their need for task-based results and status meetings.

Recognize that ITSM is not an IT tool solution. From a business perspective, IT needs to stop chasing tool solutions, and “flavor-of-the-month quick fixes.” Ultimately, the ITSM program is a business organizational change program that seeks to align IT with the business objectives and requirements, improve processes and change culture in an effort to control or decrease costs, increase productivity and contribute to the bottom-line. ITSM programs need to be effectively operationalized. Therefore change management and communication must be at the forefront.

Work with your teams to have them answer “WIIFM” and “WIIFT” questions (what is in it for me and what is in it for them). Ensure you established the fears, uncertainties and doubts (FUDs). Be prepared to have a long FUDs list. These will need to be acknowledged and managed within the context of the ITSM program and the change management and communications plan. Use your teams and people to establish a communication plan that takes into consideration your target audience and communication needs. Every organization has an approach to communications that may or may not align with their corporate culture. Prepare a clear communications strategy and follow it.

The information in this article is based on feedback obtained during facilitated ITSM work sessions and the work of dedicated IT professionals. Efforts focused on consideration for the strategic, tactical and operational requirements. Ultimately the goal was to improve IT. It can be done. Good luck.

Home Improvement Solutions That You Can Use

Home improvement makes a great hobby. After all, it builds useful skills, creates a sense of empowerment, and of course it improves the function and look of your home. There are lots of ways to do it, some right and some wrong. Check out these tips so the time you spend on home repair projects will all be time well spent.

Get new tiling. If your tiling does not match your walls, or is cracking and becoming damaged, replacing it is a better way of refurbishing your home that is relatively simple and inexpensive. Stick-on floor tiles are available at many house improvement stores, and if you want to use the real ones, they are not too expensive either.

You need to make sure that you are getting the best price for your building supplies when you are doing any repairs or renovating your homes. All building supply stores carry the same materials but they all charge different prices for the materials. In order to get the best price you need to compare all of the prices at the different stores.

No matter what project you tackle with you home repair, stay safe while doing it. Wear the proper safety protection for your eyes and hands. Read the operation manuals for the power tools that you are going to use. If you do not feel comfortable with anything and it seems dangerous, hire a contractor to do that part.

Almost all Do-It-Yourself projects are pretty easy and self-explanatory. Most people can paint a room, clean storm windows, and make minor repairs. Be careful not to overextend your actual Do-It-Yourself abilities in more complex areas. Unless you really know what you are doing, you are likely to have trouble (and encounter danger) with projects such as Do-It-Yourself electrical wiring and DIY sewer line replacement. Call an expert!

Adding casual living areas to a home, is a smart and profitable home improvement project. Many homes have just one living area, the addition of a second that can be used as a family room or den are big plus to potential buyers who see your home as place that they can grow with their own family.

Follow the above tips, and the investments you make into home improvements will be wise expenditures of both your energy and the resources it takes to complete a project. From the smallest project to the most complex, home improvement can be rewarding and worthwhile in many ways — as long as you pay attention to tips like these.