Lewis Maclean June 2019

These days, energy efficiency is the name of the game. More people are installing energy-efficient appliances, from air conditioners to refrigerators. These appliances are better for the environment at large, and they can also lower your ongoing power bill. But what steps can you take right now to boost your home’s energy efficiency? While you can run out and buy brand-new, energy- efficient appliances, most people don’t have the budget for that. There are a few ways you can become more energy conscious without breaking the bank. One of the quickest ways to boost the efficiency of your home, particularly in regard to heating and cooling, is to install a smart thermostat . There are many options on the market, including those with smart monitoring and smart programming. Some units learn your cooling habits and can adjust themselves automatically. Other units can be controlled right from your phone, giving you complete control wherever you are. Plus, no more getting up to adjust the thermostat in the middle of the night! Another simple way to create a more energy-efficient home is to install new insulation — or install it for the first time. Insulation can degrade over time, so it’s important to check on it every once in a while. Some experts recommend having insulation inspections once every five years. Good insulation will keep you cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Water temperature is another thing to keep in mind when it comes to energy efficiency. For instance, washing your clothes in cold water and then line drying them can do wonders for your energy bill. If you are unable to line dry, drying them on a lower heat setting can also be beneficial. Does this mean you should disregard your clothing’s recommending wash settings? Sometimes, yes. Unless there is a situation when you really need hot water to get out a pesky stain, cold water is the way to go. 3 Steps to Better Home Energy Efficiency

Turn Family Game Night Into a Real Adventure Roll the Dice on Fun

Has Monopoly caused one too many fights? Are you tired of stockpiling resources in Settlers of Catan? Maybe it’s time to introduce your family to a new kind of game, one where you control the story and a single roll of the dice can change everything. This is the world of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs),

where players embark on epic adventures under the

supervision of a central Game Master. There are a lot of RPGs out there to choose from; here are a few your whole family can get into.

Go On a Quest: Dungeons and Dragons The first. The biggest. The king of tabletop RPGs. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has been around since 1974, though shows like “Community” and “Stranger Things” have only recently helped the fantasy game gain mainstream acclaim. There are a lot of rules involved in the gameplay, so D&D can seem overwhelming to new players. But once you become familiar with the game, there are limitless options for characters and quests. How will a human fighter, an elf wizard, and a dwarf cleric save the world? Roll the dice and find out. Become Super: Masks If your family has ever had a long conversation about who would win in a fight between the Hulk and Superman, then Masks is the RPG for you. Fly into Halcyon City where your family can take on the role of a team of young superheroes. Create your own hero and work together to make the world a better place. Fight supervillains, rescue citizens, and ultimately determine who has the best superpower. Solve a Mystery: Bubblegumshoe Did you grow up reading “Nancy Drew”? Are your kids all about BBC’s “Sherlock”? Then Bubblegumshoe is the game for you. This teen sleuth adventure is geared toward younger players, so it’s easier to start than other games on this list. Don’t worry if you’re not a mystery writer; the game comes with prewritten stories for your brilliant characters to solve. The villain might have gotten away with it if it weren’t for your meddling kids!

What are you waiting for? Grab some dice and get the party started!

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