Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Jan 04 2013

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

New Year’s Resolution: 10 Ways to GREEN your Transportation – The Garage Plan Shop

Bike RidingWhat better way to ring in the New Year than to make a resolution to green your transportation in 2013. There are all kinds of ways to make transportation earth-friendly this year. We’ve listed some of them here for you:

  1. Consider working from home. Telecommuting is an easy way to reduce work related travel. It will save you and your company money and time while cutting greenhouse emissions.
  2. Buy an eco-friendly car such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt. Hybrid and all-electric cars are great options that are environmentally friendly.
  3. Car pool whenever possible. Whether you need a ride to work or the kids need a ride to their soccer games, car pooling with co-workers, other parents, etc., saves everyone money and wear and tear on cars while reducing emissions.
  4. Recycle your oil and use recycled engine oil. Used oil doesn’t wear out, it just gets dirty. It can be cleansed of contaminants and recycled in a continuous cycle. New engine oil made from recycled oil meets industry lubrication standards. According to the American Petroleum Institute, re-refined oil is of as high a quality as a virgin oil product.
  5. Drive responsibly. Irresponsible and erratic driving burns gas at a phenomenal rate. Poor driving practices can dramatically lower your gas mileage. Some aggressive driving behaviors include speeding, rapid acceleration, and heavy breaking. All of these will lower your fuel efficiency.
  6. Unload your car. Many of us tend to turn our cars into storage lockers. Every pound your car carries goes against your fuel economy. Get in the habit of removing non-essential items from your car. Every little bit helps.
  7. Arrange your errands in order to save gas, time and money.
  8. Bike to work and other nearby activities when weather permits.
  9. Turn off the hose when washing the car to save water. Only turn it on when it is time to rinse.
  10. Keep your tires properly inflated for the best performance and fuel economy.

For other ideas about living green, please browse our Energy Efficiency and Green Building blogs.

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Nov 28 2012

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Tips: Avoid Hazards of Wintry Conditions – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Miscellaneous, Safety

Icy SidewalkWinter is almost here. Now is the time to make yourself aware of winter hazards and the precautions you can take around your home, garage and neighborhood to stay safe this winter. With winter usually come snow and ice hazards. Be very careful during snowy and icy weather. Below are some tips to help you avoid injury due to wintry conditions:

  1. Stay indoors if possible when snow and ice accumulates.
  2. If a snow or ice storm strikes during the overnight hours, try to alter your morning schedule. Don’t hurry of to work or school before plowing has been completed.
  3. Walk slowly and use railings when available during icy weather. If there is no railing, try walking in the snow instead of directly over icy patches on sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and streets.
  4. If you must go out in the ice and snow where boots with good traction to help you walk safely.
  5. Be alert for “black ice” on driveways, porches, sidewalks and streets. This is a thin layer of invisible ice that can form on concrete and other flat surfaces. You may think the sidewalk or driveway is clear and then step on black ice and slip. Check for black ice on walking surfaces and pavement if you see or know there was precipitation while experiencing freezing temperatures.

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Oct 25 2012

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Driving Safety Tips – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Miscellaneous, Safety

Traffic SignsWith the fall and winter holiday’s fast approaching, many car drivers will soon be taking to our roadways, highways and interstates whether it is for seasonal shopping or a long road trip to visit family and friends. When you’re on the road this holiday season (or anytime) keep these safety tips for car drivers in mind as recommended by the US Department of Transportation.

Buckle up: The most important and easiest safety rule/precaution for all of us to follow is to buckle up. Wearing your seat belt is the best protection you have if involved in a car crash. It will keep you from hitting your head or windshield or dashboard and it will prevent you from being thrown around in the car or even ejected from the vehicle. Likewise, those traveling with small children should follow all car seat laws for young passengers.

Appoint a designated driver: We’ve all heard it a million times, drinking and driving can be a lethal combination. Consumption of alcohol negatively affects a driver’s ability to make coherent and responsible decisions when driving from changing lanes to stopping at a stoplight. When you chose to drink and drive not only are you putting your own life at risk, but you are endangering the lives of others on the road. Be responsible and appoint a designated driver before you head holiday party or family gathering if you plan to drink alcohol.

Avoiding cutting other drivers off: Cutting other drivers off on the road can create an emergency breaking situation for other cars around you which can sometimes result in a serious or even fatal accident for you or another driver. Before you changes lanes, but sure there is plenty of room between and the vehicle behind you by checking your mirrors first.

Be aware of aggressive drivers: When you are on the road, keep an eye out for aggressive drivers. Speeding, cutting other drivers off, changing lanes erratically, and running stop signs and stoplights are just a few of the signs of an aggressive driver. These kinds of behavior can lead to dangerous situations for the aggressive driver and others on the road. Keeping a safe distance away from this drivers will lesson your risk of danger and in extreme circumstances, you could prevent a potential accident by reporting the driver to local law enforcement or the highway patrol.

Be an attentive driver: When you are diving, the safest policy is to focus on the road only. If you need to handle another situation, pull off the road at a rest stop, parking lot, etc., where you can safely handle the situation at hand without putting yourself, your passengers or other drivers in harm’s way. Inattentive drivers can be just as dangerous as aggressive drivers because they are not paying attention to what is happening around them. Driving too slowly, ignoring brake lights and turn signals, texting while driving and talking on a cell phone while on the road are all things that can that inattentive drivers do that often result in emergency braking situations and even accidents for the inattentive driver or others around them on the road. When you’re behind the wheel, it is your duty to know what is going on around you and concentrate on getting to your destination safely.

For more information about these tips and others, please visit the US Department of Transportation and learn about how you can share the road safely.

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Dec 14 2011

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6 Health Tips for the Holiday Season – The Garage Plan Shop

Washing HandsMost of us think of the holiday season as a fun and enjoyable time of the year. But others think of it as stressful and sometimes plagued with illness and poor health. There are many simple things you can do to maintain good health throughout the duration of this exciting and busy time of year. The Garage Plan Shop recommends reviewing the following health tips for a happy and healthy holiday season.

 

  1. Wash Hands – Keeping your hands clean is perhaps the easiest and most important thing you can do to stay healthy and prevent spreading germs to others. During the holidays we find ourselves in more public places more often than usual. Grocery stores, airports, restaurants, and shopping malls are filled with germs. Experts recommend washing your hands often with soap and warm water. Scrub for at least 20 seconds and rinse well. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. You can even keep a travel size hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket when you go out.
  2.  Stress Management – The holidays are a wonderful time to have fun, be cheerful, participate in special activities and enjoy the company of family and friends. But don’t let all your extra activities wear you down mentally and/or physically. Maintain a relaxed and positive attitude about holiday activities. Manage your time between work, home and fun. Avoid over-committing to too many people and activities. Be sure to get plenty of rest. Finally, make sure to manage your holiday budget as over-spending will surly add more stress to the holiday season.
  3. Practice Food Safety – When preparing holiday snacks, cookies, meals and other edibles, keep you, your family and your friends safe from food-related illnesses. Wash your hands and food preparations surfaces often. Thoroughly clean cookware, cooking utensils, and dishes in between uses. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping poultry, seafood, meat and eggs (and their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to cook foods to their proper temperatures. Refrigerate leftovers right away. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
  4. Dress Warm – For most of us, changing temperatures and colder weather coincide with the holiday season. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems. They are especially dangerous for the elderly and infants and small children. Using several layers, dress warm whenever you go outdoors and stay dry. Be sure to cover your hands and head.
  5. Be Active, Eat Healthy – Moderation is the key to following a healthy diet during the holidays. Substitute your favorite piece of fruit for candy. Eat small portions so you can enjoy a small taste of all your favorite holiday meals. When it comes to dessert, choose one or two of your favorites from the plethora of sweets and treats at holiday parties. Make an effort to schedule a half hour of exercise every day. Also, encourage your family to participate in fun, healthy activities like ice skating, sledding or taking a walk through the neighborhood after dinner to look at holiday light displays. Organize an afternoon family game of football or kickball. Keep in mind, a little fresh air will do some good for everyone.
  6. Medication Management – It is easy to get off track, change your schedule or skip your daily routines during the holidays due to so many different special activities and gatherings. If you take daily medications, it is important to stick to your medication schedule. Take medications on time and as prescribed. Do not make changes in how you take medications. If you always take your medications with breakfast, makes sure you continue taking them with breakfast. If you are traveling out of town for the holidays, don’t forget to take your medications with you. It is important that you do not skip doses.

 

Following these simple tips will help you stay healthy and enjoy the entire holiday season.

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Dec 07 2011

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Shedding Light on Holiday Lights - The Garage Plan Shop

LED Christmas LightsAre you planning to decorate your home, yard and garage with those old strings of incandescent lights this holiday season? According to the St. Louis County Health Department, it is time to make the switch to LED lights. Most strings of incandescent lights are wrapped with a hard plastic PVC coating, which protects the wire inside. This coating is a problem for our landfills taking up to 500 years to breakdown. In addition, PVC is heat resistant and sometimes contains metals such as lead, cadmium and tin that are harmful once they make it into the ground.

 

So what are the benefits of using LED lights for your holiday decorating and light displays? Consider the following facts about LED lighting as reported by the St. Louis County Health Department:   

 

  • LED lights use one tenth of the energy when compared to a traditional strand of holiday mini-lights. Using less energy means a lower electric bill.
  • They last two times longer than incandescent lights – that’s up to 20 years!
  • LEDs can withstand, heat, cold and moisture making them ideal for outdoor displays.
  • These energy efficient lights are cool to the touch reducing the risk of fire.
  • The brightness of LED lights does not fade over time.
  • They are durable and harder to break than traditional holiday lights.
  • LEDs can be found at most home improvement centers and hardware stores.

 

Before you throw those old light strands in the trash, check locally for a recycling/collection program. Many hardware stores and home improvement stores offer collection programs, and some even give a discount on the purchase of new LED holiday lights for every strand of old lights you recycle.

 

So, be earth-friendly this holiday season and decorate your house, garage and yard with LED lights.

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