9 Ways to Save Big This Summer
The latest products to save time, money, water and energy
Going green can give both your conscience and your wallet a boost. If you're looking to cut down on household expenses, especially costly water and energy bills, the kitchen and bath are a great place to start. In fact, appliances (such as your fridge and dishwasher) and water heating (we all like our warm baths) account for more than a quarter of a home's energy use according to the Department of Energy. The good news: Making smart product choices when remodeling, or making small upgrades, can go a long way. In fact, just choosing WaterSense-labeled toilets and faucets in your bath can save 11,000 gallons of water annually, which results in big savings on water bills. These nine new kitchen and bath products can help you go eco-friendly and maybe even save some green in the process.
Eco-friendly and stylish, bamboo has been popping up more and more in kitchens and baths but until now teak and cypress were the main options for outdoor cabinetry. Environmentally conscious homeowners have another choice with Atlantis Outdoor Kitchens new bamboo cabinetry, currently only available in the company's Destin line. The bamboo, which is outdoor-grade and harvested at the peak of maturity to ensure durability, is used only for the door, drawer fronts, and sides; the base and shelves are made of Perma Panel, a composite polymer designed to withstand extreme heat and cold that is available in seven colors.
$350-$450 per sq ft, Atlantis Outdoor Kitchens
Using a solar water heater can reduce your home's water heating costs by 50 to 90 percent. Rheem's new active solar water heating system, Solpak, is a way to start. Available with two 3-by-8-foot or two 4-by-8-foot panels and in 80- and 119-gallon capacities, the closed-loop system comes with everything needed for installation, including a heat exchanger tank, collector panels, controller, multi-speed pump, and thermal expansion tank. The heater is also eligible for a stimulus package tax credit for up to 30 percent of the installation cost.
Starting at about $3,500, Rheem
Doing laundry doesn't have to be an endless and expensive task. Save on time and water bills with Whirlpool's newest washer and dryer pair, The Duet. The washer uses 74 percent less water and 80 percent less energy than standard top loaders, and the Eco Normal cycle on the dryer improves energy usage by 40 percent. The speedy pair washes and dries a load in a mere 30 minutes and will save you up to $837 in energy costs in five years. Duet comes in Cranberry and Lunar Silver. The washer and dryer are both 38 inches high and 27 inches wide.
About $1,500- $1,600 for washer, $1,400- $1,500 for dryer, Whirlpool
If you're worried that a countertop made of recycled material will not be durable, the new ECO line by Cosentino may allay your fears. Composed of 75 percent post-industrial and post-consumer recycled raw material, including salvaged mirrors, used glass bottles, and porcelain from old sinks and toilets, the countertops have high stain, scratch, and scorch performance, according to the manufacturer, and are non porous, requiring no sealers. The line is divided into two collections, Green and Revive, for a total of 10 different color choices and is available in a 63-inch-by-128-inch jumbo slab and 12-inch, 18-inch, and 24-inch-square tiles. A bonus feel-good fact: the production of ECO is expected to reuse the equivalent of 60,000,000 glass bottles per year.
About $68-$118 per sq ft, ECO by Cosentino
If you want to improve the air quality of your bathroom, a ventilation fan is a smart choice. Panasonic recently introduced a new line of WhisperGreen fans that use a direct current/DC motor to operate quietly. The fans are Energy Star qualified, come with a SmartAction motion sensor to allow the fan to run continuously at a pre-set lower level, and have a built-in damper to prevent backdraft. You can also purchase a cheaper model for about $100 less without the SmartAction motion sensor or built-in light. The fan is 10¼ inches square.
About $392, Panasonic
Make a bold design statement with these eye-catching doors made of Parapan, a high-gloss, solid-surface material. But don't let their good looks fool you, these doors have substance: unlike other high-gloss finish doors, they can be buffed and polished to remove minor scratches and they are durable, UV and fade resistant, and easy to clean. Plus they contain no VOCs or formaldehydes. Available in 17 colors including bold brights and traditional muted colors, they are custom manufactured in 1/16 inch increments. To get a unified look, you can also buy Parapan decorative and appliance panels.
About $293 for a 36-by-15-inch door, Element Designs
The latest low-flow faucet or high-efficiency toilet is a great buy, unless it completely clashes with the rest of your bath's fixtures. To help homeowners balance design goals with eco-concerns, many companies are now offering entire suites of water-saving bath products, including Wicker Park from Gerber. It includes 1.28-gallon-per-flush toilets, 1.5-gallons-per-minute faucets, a pedestal lavatory, and self-rimming or undercounter sinks. The faucets are available in chrome or brushed nickel and all of the suite's vitreous china products come in white.
About $179 - $220 for faucets, $115-$311 for sinks, $429 for a toilet, and $380 for a lavatory, Gerber
Using less energy than a 60-watt bulb, the Resource Saver refrigerator from Whirlpool exceeds federal efficiency standards by 30 percent. The side-by-side refrigerator features a Fast Cool button that drops temperatures to accommodate new additions like hot leftovers. It comes in satina, monochromatic stainless steel, white, and black and is 35¾ inches deep, 69¾ inches high, and 35½ inches wide. The refrigerator also has a removable ice dispenser and collection bin on the freezer door to maximize storage space.
About $1,900- $2,200, Whirlpool
The newest dishwasher from Bosch is the company's most quiet and eco-friendly. The 800 Plus uses 70 percent less water than the average dishwasher and can remove large food particles with its new Triple Filtration System. It can hold 15 complete place settings, and the VarioFlex Plus Rack has 17 foldable elements in the upper and lower baskets to allow for more dishes. A built-in water softener prevents lime deposits in the dishwasher. It is available in the manufacturer's Evolution and Integra models.
About $1,649- $2,099, Bosch