News Articles

Do Government Incentive Programs Help Property Owners Build More Sustainable Homes?

Energy efficiency is one of the solutions seen to minimize the effects of climate change. For this reason, governments and organizations are offering a variety of incentive programs. These incentives are targeted toward residential homeowners. It covers options for new homeowners and homeowners who have existing properties that need to be energy-efficient renovated. The goal of these incentives is to make energy-efficient solutions more accessible and affordable for homeowners.  

Kinds of Incentive Programs

Incentives vary from one program to another. And these usually differ per state. Some of the most common incentive programs include:

  • Tax incentives
  • Rebates
  • Loan approvals for energy-efficient purposes
  • Discounts and savings

Incentive programs are usually offered for purchases of water heaters, lighting, building insulation, and HVAC systems. To know more about these incentives, it’s best to research the policies in your locality.

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Proper Insulation

The design and building materials used in a home contribute to an efficient insulation system. A home’s architecture can be designed in a unique way so that it makes rational use of natural light and its surroundings.

The building materials play into factor as well. There are specific materials that promote an eco-friendly and energy-efficient solution.

Unika Stenhus is one such example. This unique home is simple, practical, and energy efficient. Ola Torrång, head architect at Unika Stenhus, has designed this home with a mind for sustainability and flexibility.

Its building materials are made of lightweight high-insulation concrete elements that can store excess heat during the winter, while its heavy frame keeps the cool air inside the house during hot summer days.

Unika Stenhus’ design is revolutionary in that it requires very minimal maintenance and it is not prone to fires, molds, moisture, and any common damage most houses are prone to.

This Nordic home’s features are unique. It has a skylight dome that reflects natural light inside the home to keep it well-lit. The dome can also be opened during the summer for better insulation. In addition, it has corner windows that are designed strategically to filter light into the rooms. A clever use of natural lighting to minimize energy consumption.  In addition to these, Unika Stenhus is flexible as rooms can be upsized or downsized conveniently as per the homeowner’s needs.

Home electronics and appliances, lighting

Another major factor that helps energy efficiency is the use of smart electronics and appliances. To boot, changing your home’s lighting to LED lights is highly advised.

It also helps to reduce the amount of time you use these appliances to save even more energy. For older homes that are still using incandescent bulbs, changing these into LED lighting can effectively slash up to 15% off your electricity bills. To maximize energy savings, choose LED bulbs with the ENERGY STAR seal of approval.

Water efficiency

Another crucial step to energy efficiency is to save on water consumption. And this is where ENERGY STAR-approved appliances also come into use.  Go for washing machines and dishwashers that use less water. Install dual flush toilets if you’re still the old-school ones. Practice smart gardening.

Government Efforts

For a full list of local incentives and tax credits and rebates, you can check out the websites of the Department of Energy and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. Both of these sites provide detailed information on policies for improvements in energy efficiency and other pertinent information.

Both new homes and home renovations can benefit from a lot of energy-efficient solutions mentioned above. Choose quick solutions that can be implemented right away to get started. Then, inquire with your locality about the incentives available for you as a homeowner to defer your expenses in energy proofing your home.

Is Maryland ready for online gambling?

Is Maryland Ready For Online Casinos

Maryland has always loved to gamble, and the locals have for a long time been fans of activities like horse racing. Over the last few years, however, interest in casino gambling has spiked across the state, with the arrival of the month of March showcasing a whopping $150.1 million in revenues. This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the state has only 6 casinos, all of which are land-based.

In states like New Jersey, online gambling, in particular, has become a mainstay, and the state has been pulling in great returns both financially and in terms of what online
casinos mean for the local populations. Today, this market is worth $225 million annually. NJ online casinos have an interesting modus operandi-they are run by the same old companies that are behind brick and mortar casinos. However, there are some corporations coming to the fore and taking on an exclusive interest in the online aspect of casino gaming. These companies are solely focused on providing a great experience for players who want to wager on games from the comfort of their couches. PartyCasino NJ is one of those companies.

What’s the gambling landscape in Maryland like?

Maryland has not yet made forays into online casino gambling, but can they borrow a leaf from NJ and make even more money?

A small but increasing number of states have adopted an open approach to online gambling. Maryland sees what these states are doing and is aware that there are gains to be made, what with new online casinos are being launched every month across the country. Today, locals can place greyhound and horse racing wagers on the internet, and this tells you that MD could be open to a lot more.

The 6 casinos in MD already have a large pool of customers. They know that they can expand their base by introducing online experiences that make gambling convenient, discrete and lively. In fact, politicians in the state have indicated that they have no problem opening their doors to an online casino or two, but with a caveat; they want to see if the idea works out in other states first.

Brick and mortar casinos need to take this opportunity with both hands and open online sections of their businesses. They must not be intimidated by the rise of online casinos because there are many benefits attached to that. NJ’s casino companies have embraced the idea by being available both on land and across the internet, to a very satisfying degree of success. The state of MD can help by providing existing casinos with an enabling environment within which their online arms are going to operate.

Maryland is ripe for the opening of online casinos because they already have a large pool of clientele they can start with. The state can follow the example set by New Jersey and start earning from a hitherto untapped resource. Considering all the positives the state has enjoyed in its land-based casinos, surely there is enough to convince lawmakers that the idea of online casinos comes with nothing but good tidings?



Stuck in the past in the midst of turning tides: Is the US’s stand on online gambling bleeding it out?

One of the main advantages of US gambling regulations is that legislation pertaining this industry has been in effect since more than 2 centuries ago. However, this advantage quickly dissipates into a challenge when you consider the fact that what is in place today was made for a different time with different technologies and demographic circumstances. For example, a gambling rule affected in 1900 would have very little applicability in the 70’s, where you expect a wildly changed landscape. The problem with these rules from the past is inflated when you shift your focus to online gambling online casino rules in effect today are largely antiquated from bits of legislation that came into effect even before the internet was conceived. This problem is especially prevalent at the state level where lawmakers cringe at the thought of drafting new legislation that may turn out to be unpopular. They actually go out of their way to fight the establishment of new online casinos.

Blurred lines

At the moment, US online gaming laws are all over the place. Some states want the technology while others want nothing but brick and mortar casinos. In fact, at this moment, there are states, cities and counties that are moving to shut down the expansion of online gambling and basically stifle it. Others follow obscure legislation that does nothing but harms the industry. At the moment, the federal government seems to be holding its own. It has in effect three laws that govern online gambling:

The three laws work toward preventing sports gambling, betting on teams and what the federal government terms as illegal internet gambling’. Said laws have a small probability of prosecution in case of violation, but they do work to scare off investors and players. Their language is wordy and obscure, and this has created even more confusion. An objective look at the existing rules would greatly lift the gambling industry and open the floodgates to more gaming and more investment in online gambling ventures.

online casino laws

Lessons from across the Atlantic

The Brits have this thing down. They have very simple and direct laws regarding gambling of every kind if you are just a simple player looking for some fun. The complex legalese is left to the sites providing gambling services, but they have high powered attorneys who can help with interpretation and implementation. There exists a single regulatory body, the Gambling Commission, and it follows the Gambling Act of 2005 to make sure every party does their bit. Then you have Norway where it’s illegal with brick and mortar casinos, however there are plenty of online casinos where Norwegian can go for gambling. The US could benefit from centralising regulation and to be honest, just cutting everyone some slack.

Bitcoin Online Casinos

Is the tail wagging the dog?

Realistically, players have the system beat hands down in a way. At the moment, the proliferation of Bitcoin has led to the addition of more firms to the Bitcoin casino list outside the US, which means that people are spending money anonymously over the internet, and the money is leaving the country every day. Basically, the US is milking itself dry by way of draconian dogma. Lifting the current restrictions on online gambling would mean that companies would open sites inside the US, and players would benefit local companies and by extension, state and federal governments within the Land of the Free.