7Insulation. Energy Star® also estimates that homeowners can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10 percent on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and
insulating their homes. A new home should be sealed and insulated
well, but to be really green, specify an earth-friendly insulation.
GreenFiber manufactures GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation for
use in attics, floors and walls of residential new construction and
reinsulation applications. It is a blown-in insulation that provides
outstanding thermal performance, fire resistance and sound control.
Moreover, it consists of 85 percent recycled content.
8Go Tankless. Traditional water heaters heat anywhere from 40 to 80 gallons of water at a consistent 120°F, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Instead, choose a tankless water
heater that heats water only when you need it. As long as a faucet,
shower or hot-water appliance is operating, the tankless water
heater continues to run. Once the faucet or appliance is turned
off, the tankless unit stops. A tankless unit costs more to purchase,
but the projected energy savings is around 50 percent, according
to the U.S. Department of Energy. It also takes up less room. It is
about the size of a medicine cabinet and can be installed on the
wall, in a closet or outside the home.
9Look for Recycled Countertop Material. Granite countertops are nice, but granite is a natural stone and therefore, a finite resource. As an alternative, consider installing countertops made of recycled glass
or those with recycled plastic content. IceStone manufactures its
countertops using 100 percent recycled glass and concrete, which
diverts hundreds of tons of glass from landfills each year.
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