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Preventing Heat Strokes

Lately we have all felt the harshness of the unforgiving sun. It is paramount that we safeguard ourselves from the adverse effects of the rising temperature, such as heat stroke. Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia where an individual’s body temperature is elevated significantly to a temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The condition is marked by fever, and often unconsciousness. Other symptoms include: seizures, throbbing headaches, nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness, and rapid heartbeats. It is a medical emergency that can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated, causing death and damage to the brain and other internal organs. To help prevent a heat stroke, the most important measures to take are to avoid dehydration, and vigorous physical activities in extremely hot weather conditions.

 

Here are a few practical tips to prevent falling victim to a heat stroke:

 

  • Wear clothing that fits tightly to your body to allow it to cool properly. Clothing that is loose and light (weight and colour) also provides the added benefit of not absorbing a lot of the sun’s radiation.
  • Use an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. A hat is the second best option if you do not have access to an umbrella.
  • Sunburn affects the body’s cooling process. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. For the most effective results use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. Apply generously to exposed areas every two hours, or more if you are out swimming or sweating excessively.
  • Remain indoors and in shaded areas as much as possible. For activities that simply must be done out in the open, try to schedule your time in order to engage in those activities at the coolest times of the day (early mornings and late evenings). When exercising, it is wise to drink 24 ounces of water, sports drink, etc. two hours prior, 8 ounces after you are done, and 8 ounces every 20 minutes during.
  • As stated earlier, remaining hydrated is essential to maintain a normal body temperature. Drinking at least eight glasses of water, fruit/vegetable juices, coconut water, and sports drinks is recommended to replace sodium and other electrolytes lost from sweating, or a quart of fluids per hour. Avoid drinking caffeinated and alcoholic drinks (this includes sodas and tea) which causes the body to lose fluids quicker. Also, remember to monitor your urine. Darker urine is a likely sign that you are dehydrated.
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Keep Your Body Cooler During the Hot Summer Days

In this third installment of our fighting the summer heat series we offer a few tips to keep your body feeling cool and refreshed during overwhelmingly high temperatures.

  • Use silk or satin pillowcases, and satin sheets. These fabrics will feel smoother and cooler as you sleep.
  • Keep the back of your neck in shade (wear a cap backwards, or raise your collar) or put a wet handkerchief on the back of the neck. The sensor for our body temperature control system is in this area, and so with this method you can make the rest of your body think that you are “cool”.
  • Run cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds on each hand. This will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour.
  • Wear nothing or next-to-nothing. Put on a swimsuit, or wear your underwear at home. Wear summer clothing. Wear loosely-woven natural fabrics (cotton, silk, linen) rather than polyester, rayon, or other artificial fibers (with the possible exception of performance fabrics).
  • Wear light colors. Darker colors will absorb the sun’s heat and stay warmer longer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat. Wear natural summer clothing.
  • Sit still. Do not try to fan yourself — trying to move while feeling hot can make you feel hotter. Simply rest until the evening.
  • Sit in the shade. Find a shaded area and set up a water misting system that connects to an ordinary garden hose that can be found at home improvement stores. Sit there and let the mist cool you off.
  • Avoid peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 3p.m., when the sun’s rays are hottest.
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Keep Cool This Summer without Breaking the Bank

In a previous article we discussed natural methods of cooling your home on those scorching hot days. But understandably, some days the use of appliances such as fans and air conditioners cannot be avoided. Here are a few ways to use these appliances without racking up an unbearably high electricity bill.

 

  • If you must use an electrical cooling method use portable or ceiling fans instead of operating your air conditioner. Even mild air movement of 1 mph can make you feel three or four degrees cooler.
  • If air conditioning is really required use a programmable thermostat to adjust the setting at night or when no one is home.
  • Add insulation around air conditioning ducts when they are located in unconditioned spaces such as attics, crawl spaces, and garages; do the same for whole-house fans where they open to the exterior or to the attic.
  • Don’t place lamps or TVs near your air conditioning thermostat. The heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer.
  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Install awnings on east-facing windows because of the angle of the sun.
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity.
  • Avoid landscaping with lots of unshaded rock, cement, or asphalt on the south or west sides because it increases the temperature around the house and radiates heat to the house after the sun has set.
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater; 115° is comfortable for most uses.
  • Take showers instead of baths to reduce hot water use.
  • Caulking and weather stripping will keep cool air in during the summer.
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Eight (8) Tips to Cool Your Home Naturally

It’s a hot world out there and most of us if not all can feel the heat and the unbearable discomfort that comes with it especially within our homes.  The irony however is that, while spending money to keep our homes cool, we are using fossil fuels which contributes to global warming.  There are energy-efficient technologies to keep our homes cool with minimal effect on the earth’s temperature and without accruing a huge electricity bill. We can also copy some natural cooling techniques practiced long before fans and air conditioning were widely available.  Here we discuss eight simple low budget techniques:

 

  • Close windows and window coverings (curtains, blinds, shutters etc.) in the morning before the day heats up and re-open them in the evening. This prevents the hot air from entering the home during the day and allows the cool temperature to fill your home in the evening.

 

  • Turn off lights when not in use. The electrical energy required to power on a light bulb converts to heat energy which circulates within the home, especially incandescent light bulbs, which generates a lot of heat.  Try replacing them with cooler light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescents (CFLs).

 

  • Like light bulbs electrical appliances generate heat energy. Unplug electronic equipment when they are not in use, or use a “smart” power strip to completely power off electronic devices; most electronics use electricity which generate heat even when they are turned off.

 

  • Do your laundry, ironing and cooking during the cooler parts of the day. These household chores are the top heat generating activities at home. A dryer also generates heat so using a clothesline instead of a dryer when convenient will certainly reduce the heat.

 

  • Replace an old refrigerator with an energy-efficient model which gives off much less heat than standard refrigerators. In a home without air-conditioning refrigerators consumed more energy than any other home device (probably you would remember people drying clothes behind the refrigerator).

 

  • If you’re planning to re-roof or paint the exterior of your home, use light colors that reflect the sun’s heat as well as metal roofs. The hotter the roof above, the hotter the rooms below, light colored roofing and reflective roofing are like a white shirt for your house because they reflect its radiant energy.

 

  • Let nature help keep you cool by planting trees around your home. Their broad leaves and branches will shade your home from the sun’s heat.

 

  • Install inexpensive heat-reflecting window films. These keep the house cooler by reflecting the radiation waves emitted by the sun. It also reduces glares and ultraviolet rays that damage furniture and floors.
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Why You Should Include a Powder Room in Your Home Design

A powder room is essentially a secondary or half bathroom that usually contains only a toilet and a vanity or face basin, and is usually located near areas that accommodate guests such as the living room. They are usually smaller than the average bathroom, but despite this, they offer a great deal of convenience and comfort to the entire family and your guests.

 

Here are a few benefits of including a powder room in your home:

  • By including a powder room, guests can use the toilet or sink without walking through your entire home. For home owners who value their privacy, or for the occasions when you may not have gotten the opportunity to ensure that entire home is spick-and-span, having a powder room can be very convenient.
  • Powder rooms are a great use of space. Given their smaller size, powder rooms can fit into an already established floor plan without taking up too much space. Not only would including a full bathroom take up more space, it would also be more difficult to incorporate into an existing plan.
  • Including a powder room will likely increase your property value as well as its selling potential. Having additional bathrooms are a surefire way to get home buyers to consider purchasing your home. In addition, if a full bath cannot be included, a powder room is the next best option.
  • Including a powder room would help reduce the people to bathroom ratio. For large families, a powder room would be a welcomed addition to the home, as it would provide family members with more convenience since it decreases the foot traffic to the main bathroom.

 

Keep this additional tip in mind to create the optimal powder room: choose fittings that can easily fit into the room without taking up too much space. For example, using a pedestal sink instead of a cabinet will make the space appear larger and easier to move around.

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Factors to Consider When Selling Your Property

Purchasing or selling real estate is one of the biggest financial decisions an individual can make in their lifetime therefore it needs to be taken very seriously. If you are considering placing your property on the market for sale here are a few things you need to know.

 

 

Whether you are buying or selling a property the process can prove to be extremely stressful and exhausting, especially if you are selling on your own. To take some of the burden off your back consider hiring a real estate agent/agency to assist you in getting your property sold. You may be given the option to list with multiple agencies or list exclusively with one agency. If you decide to enter into an exclusive agreement, ensure that you choose the right agents who will minimize worry, maximize results and have your best interest at heart.

 

Improve your properties curb appeal in order to make a great first impression. Depending on the state of the property, a prospective buyer could lose interest before placing one foot inside the premises. A prospect’s first impression should make them feel impressed and excited to see more.

 

Consider brightening up your fence or gate with a fresh coat of paint, planting a flower garden, creating a paved walkway, or simply move anything unsightly out of plain sight. Yard maintenance is also highly important. Please note that, particularly if you are selling land, properties that have been overtaken by overgrown grass and shrubs tend to appear smaller than their actual size.

 

Another way of increasing curb appeal is with the inclusion of outdoor living space, such as a deck, patio, or gazebo. This will not only beautify your property but can also increase its value and selling potential. It is important that your property is in a condition that can present it in the best light which allows it to be purchased at its maximum market value.

 

Give your property some tender loving care. Start by placing attention on the little things and work on fixing them before they become unmanageable or result in further damage. Prospective buyers, especially those who are determined to find their ‘dream home’, can at times be nit-picky and focus on details that you yourself may not consider an issue.

 

If you are going to place your property on the market for sale, it is wise to take a walk through the property and try looking at it from a stranger’s point of view. If you find any issue that can easily be rectified at a low cost, consider working on it as soon as you can. Doing this will also give the prospect the impression that the property has been well maintained over the years and give them a greater appreciation for the property.

 

Come up with a competitive selling price.  In order to settle on a formal selling price that will ensure that both you and the buyer are happy you will need to know how much your property is worth. Overpricing is one of many factors that can keep quality real estate from being sold. If you are serious about selling your property, it is far better to have it listed at a reasonable price than to have it sitting on the market for years without attracting any   potential buyers because it is overpriced.  Remember, your property is not the only one on the market and home buyers almost always shop around.

 

Before you decide on selling, it is important to note that when selling you will be required to pay Government Transferor’s Fee of 2.5% calculated on the selling price or value of the real estate being sold, whichever is greater.

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Plan Your Home Renovation

In general renovation works can be an exciting process, however, this process can also be challenging and at times overwhelming. There is a lot that has to be considered when undertaking a renovation project. You will need to think about what you would like to / should tackle first. You will need to have an idea of how much you are able and willing to spend. As well as the extent of the work to be done. Would you need the assistance of professionals or are you planning minor changes that you will be able to work on yourself. You should have a general idea of all of this and more before getting started.

In this article, we discuss a few tips that you should keep in mind when planning on renovating your living space into a space that suits your needs, your style and your budget.

 

Spend time to planning before you begin. A lot of preparation and consideration needs to be taken before renovation works can commence, especially if structural changes have to be implemented or professionals are needed. You will need to know what function you want the room to serve. Ask yourself, ‘What is your goal for the newly renovated space?’ Are you renovating to make the room bigger? Do you want to give the room a more updated look? Are you renovating with the intention to increase the property value with plans to sell later down the line? Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with the renovation you would have a better idea of what needs to be done.

 

When you are planning it is wise to think long term. Remember that your family and lifestyle is likely to change over the next few years. A newlywed couple planning to have children in a few years would need to ensure that the design of the space is child friendly. If the plan is to live in the home well into the golden years, it would be wise to make the room elder friendly as well. This can also offer immediate benefits if you have parents or grandparents who live with you or visit frequently.

 

It is important to be able to balance your new needs with the budget that you have for the renovation project.  It is wise to seek advice from an architect regarding how to creatively yet practically convert the existing design to the new and improved one while staying on budget.

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3 Non-Financial Benefits of Home Ownership

Whether it is through purchasing an existing property or having the home of your dreams designed and built, most individuals dream of one day owning their own home. Reaching the point of home ownership is considered a significant moment in an individual’s life and thus we work hard to turn that dream into our reality.

While owning a home provides several financial benefits it also offers some non-financial benefits that aren’t often considered. In today’s article we take a look at three (3) non-financial benefits of home ownership.

Individuals often compare the differences between home ownership and renting when considering the advantages that owning a home offers. A key difference between the two options is that when you own your own home you won’t need to worry about the cost of rent being increased or being evicted.  Also, renting a home or apartment does not usually provide much option in regards to modifying the living space to better suit your needs. Whereas if you own your home you are free to renovate or add an extension to increase your comfort and convenience.

Home ownership offers stability. Having to move from rental to rental is a major inconvenience and can be both a financial and emotional burden. When you spend your life constantly renting homes and apartments you can never really be sure where you will end next. Factors such as a change in your financial situation or even a growing family may require you to move to another property sooner that anticipated.

Another benefit to home ownership is that it grants owners the opportunity to be a more established member of a community. When you own your property you literally own a piece of your community. Being part of a community means being a good neighbor, and that requires owners to take care of their property and improve the community.

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Millenia Architects Awards Scholarship

As part of the Millenia Architects Guiding Light Initiative launched in June of 2018, a scholarship for tuition covering a one-year Architecture Associates degree program at the Dominica State College was awarded to Ms. Nerrisa George of Calibishie.

 

“The Millenia Group, comprising of Millenia Architects, Sorell Consulting Ltd., Kaliber Construction & Homes, and Millenia Realty, believes that sustainable development goes far beyond bricks and mortar that is why we have decided to invest in the development of the human resource that is needed to create a resilient economy for decades to come.” – Executive Director of the Millenia Group, Alistair Grell.

 

This initiative has also benefited two other young people so far.  The intern who went through our six (6) months internship last year has since been employed as a permanent member of our team.  Also, there is one person currently participating in on-the-job training and mentorship from our team.