Mother Earth Living

Green Your Home at Any Price Point

These savvy water- and energy-saving solutions span the budget spectrum.
By Eric Corey Freed
September/October 2010

Fisher-Paykel AeroSmart
Photo Courtesy Fisher-Paykel
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These savvy water- and energy-saving solutions span the budget spectrum.

Energy 

Clothes DryersElectric clothes dryers use up to 10 percent of your home’s energy. 

• High
Fisher & Paykel AeroSmart Dryer, $879
AeroSmart promises superspeedy drying times and energy savings, and a self-cleaning lint screen. 

• Low
Clothesline, $10 to $175
Choose from thousands of models, including the Cord-O-Clip, a handy device that clips your clothes to the line automatically.  

Power Strips 

Even when they’re not on, your electronics draw electricity if they’re plugged into the wall. You can save up to 10 percent on your electric bill by plugging electronics into power strips you switch off when not in use. 

• High
GreenSwitch, $300 and up
GreenSwitch converts your outlets and wall switches so you can easily turn off electronics and light switches when not in use.

• Low
“Smart” Power Strips, $15 to $30
Smart strips can sense when a device draws power and some turn themselves off automatically. 
P3 International 
WattStopper
BITS Limited 

Programmable ThermostatsThe average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills—nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Once set correctly, a programmable thermostat can cut your heating and cooling bills by 20 to 30 percent annually. 

• High
Honeywell Prestige HD 7-Day Programmable Thermostat, $300
Sporting a full-color touch screen, this intelligent model walks you through the setup process. It can control your entire home, and you can program it to run different programs every day.

• Low
Honeywell 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat, $20 to $50
Without the bells and whistles of its big brother, this model comes preprogrammed with the most common settings to make setup simple.

Light BulbsLighting accounts for 10 to 30 percent of your home’s electricity use. Energy-efficient bulbs cut lighting costs by 30 to 60 percent. 

• High
Pharox60 LED Dimmable Bulb, $35
The “Cadillac” of light bulbs offers a 25-year lifespan and uses only 6 watts. It might be the last light bulb you ever need.

• Low
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulb, $2
If every household replaced its most-often-used incandescent bulbs with CFLs, electricity use for lighting in the United States would be cut in half. 

Water 

ShowerheadsAlmost three-quarters of your indoor water goes down the drain in the bathroom, and showers are one of your household’s largest hot water users. A low-flow showerhead can save more than 2,000 gallons of water annually.

• High
Kohler Purist Showerhead, $105
This 1.75-gallon-per-minute model saves 30 percent of the water a conventional showerhead uses and offers three luxurious spray settings.

• Low
Evolve Roadrunner Showerhead, $40 to $45
A special feature on this 1.5-gallon-per-minute showerhead turns off the hot water until you step into the shower.  

Kitchen FaucetsYou use 15 percent of your household’s water at the kitchen sink.  

• High
Delta Pilar Touch-Activated Faucet, $520 to $580
This faucet works only when you need it, saving hundreds of gallons of water a year. 

• Low
Foot Faucet Standard Pedal Controls, $149
Foot-pedal controls turn on water with a simple tap. 

Bathroom FaucetsTired of nagging family members to turn off the water when brushing their teeth? These simple devices do it for you.

• High
EZ Faucet, $60
Convert any bathroom sink into a sensor-operated faucet.

• Low
Instant-Off Water Saver, $10
This simple faucet attachment saves up to 10,000 gallons of water a year with an easy quick-stop function that stops the flow with a nudge of your hand.

ToiletsThe toilet is the single largest user of clean water inside the home. 

• High
Brondell Simple Flush, $79
The Simple Flush converts any toilet to a water-efficient, dual-flush model. 

• Low
DIY toilet tank filler, $2
Wash an empty 2-liter bottle and fill it about halfway with sand or pebbles. Fill it the rest of the way with water and seal cap. Place the bottle into the toilet tank as far from the valve in the bottom as possible. Make sure it can stand up by itself. Replace the tank lid. The bottle takes up volume in the tank, saving a half gallon on every flush and thousands of gallons of water a year.

GraywaterMost “graywater”—water that’s been used in a sink, shower or washing machine—goes down the drain. Using it to flush your toilet reduces water bills by more than 25 percent.  

• High
Aqus by Water Saver Technologies, $300 uninstalled
This clever device collects soapy water from the sink and pumps it to the adjacent toilet. A plumber should be able to install this in less than an hour.

• Low
Laundry to Landscape DIY Graywater System, about $20
Art Ludwig (aka “the Godfather of Graywater”) provides a do-it-yourself solution that captures water from your washing machine to irrigate your yard, cutting your water bills by up to half.
Book: Create an Oasis with Greywayter 

Portions of this text are excerpted from Green$ense for the Home: Rating the Real Payoff from 50 Green Home Projects by Eric Corey Freed and Kevin Daum 


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