Design & Planning Kitchen
The New Year is the perfect time to resolve to make positive changes. Like saving money and cutting household expenses. Or going green by adopting more environmentally responsible practices in your home. These are resolutions worth keeping, and we’re here to make it easy with the following tips.
Resolution: Save money on utilities.
Set your water heater to 120 degrees.
Beyond the risk of scalding, heating your water too much costs you money. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a heater set at 140 degrees or higher can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses, and costs you more than $400 to bring fresh water up to that temperature level.
Seal the cracks.
Add up all of the cool and hot air that escapes through all the cracks in your home and it just might be the equivalent of leaving a window open all year long. Use inexpensive expanding foam or caulk to seal up trouble areas around doors, windows and wall openings where pipes enter your home.
Buy Energy Star®-certified products.
A no-brainer. Look for the Energy Star® label on everything from light bulbs and box fans to large appliances such as refrigerators and clothes dryers, and you can immediately feel confident you’re saving money.
Get a programmable thermostat.
A thermostat that turns off when you leave and comes back on right before you arrive home is a significant cost-cutter. The EPA estimates the average homeowner can save $180 a year with a properly programmed unit.
Resolution: A green home
Saving money, and the environment.
Eco-friendly is also friendly to your wallet, even more incentive to make these following changes. Every one of the money-saving suggestions offered will also help make your home and your life more green by reducing your overall energy consumption.
Stop buying household cleaners that are potentially toxic to both you and the environment. In his book, The Safe Shopper's Bible, David Steinman suggests reading labels for specific, eco-friendly ingredients that also perform effectively.
Use less paper.
You can buy "tree-free" 100% post-consumer recycled paper for everything from greeting cards to toilet paper. Paper with a high post-consumer waste content uses less virgin pulp and keeps more waste paper out of landfills.
DIY without VOCs.
Conventional paints contain solvents, toxic metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause smog, ozone pollution and indoor air quality problems with negative health effects. Opt instead for zero- or low-VOC paint, made by most major paint manufacturers today.
Go bamboo for hardwood floors.
Bamboo is considered an environmentally friendly flooring material due to its high yield and the relatively fast rate at which it replenishes itself. It takes just four to six years for bamboo to mature, compared to 50-100 years for typical hardwoods.